slightly wonky


Christmas is coming…and I’m getting fat…

Okay, just kidding.  Sort of.  I seem to be the only member of the family who is interested in making a wide variety of Christmas cookies and eating them.  Meanwhile, my son is still sloooowly making his way through his Halloween candy.  I kid you not.  He gets to have 2 pieces per day.  Is that bad?  Probably.  Anyway…his memory for what candy is in his plastic pumpkin is like a steel trap…I don’t dare throw out the candy or eat some, lest I be willing to bear the tsunami of vitriol that I’ll receive from him.  He’s definitely my kid.

a-20131220-03What are those, you may ask?  Well, I’m the over-achiever mommy who had to lovingly hand craft with a glue-gun these delightful gifts for my son’s kindergarten class.  Not only am I up to my eyeballs in Christmas nonsense…my son’s birthday is Christmas day, so I’m also managing birthday nonsense.  BTW…craft fur is pure evil…I may have a sort of mild case of “craft fur mesothelioma”, as a result.

In the true holiday spirit of giving, I bought myself this book recently:

a-201312202LOVE IT!  Not only are the Gee’s Bend quilts amazing…but the architectural photos and references are beautiful enough to satisfy this lapsed architect.  These quilts seriously put to shame all of the boring, traditional quilts and fabrics that are today’s norm.  I bask in their artistic and crafty glory.

So, I did manage to shovel my way out of the house to see some gorgeous art & fashion.  (No, I wasn’t looking at what’s stuck on our kitchen refrigerator or at my son’s mismatched/backwards outfits.)  I went to the MFA and the Peabody Essex Museum!!!

First…the Sargent show at the MFA:

a-20131220-06John S. Sargent, Alice Runnells James, 1921, watercolor

Oh. My. God.  Sargent’s watercolors are STUNNING.  Look at her hand!  Look at her face!  Look at the smushed pillow!  INCREDIBLE.  (Please remember that this photo looks like complete garbage in comparison to the actual painting.)  His watercolors are phenomenal.  Watercolor painting, for those of you who have never attempted to tame that wild beast, is VERY difficult.  It’s difficult because you’re trying to control pigmented water over the surface of paper…the pigment can settle in weird ways (if you’re incompetent, like me)…the colors are translucent, and thus every mark is indelible.  There is so much that is so amazing about these works.  With the most minimal of marks, he creates images that are luminous and, at a distance, appear nearly photographic.  In a way, his painting are simultaneously abstract and realistic.

a-20131220-07John S. Sargent, Venice: I Gesuati, 1909, watercolor

Can’t you just get a sense of the cloudy day in Venice?  Look at that doorway!

a-20131220-08John S. Sargent, Magnolias, 1908, watercolor

The shadows and dappled light on the water are gorgeous.  You can practically see this bough, weighed down with its enormous blooms, bobbing in the breeze.  MUST SEE.

Be warned…it might be crowded.  It was when I went.  I feel that when you are at a crowded exhibit, you need to be hyper-vigilant about your gallery etiquette.  For example…please don’t stand directly in front of a painting chit chatting with your friend about what so-and-so said the other day.  Go stand in the middle of the room and do that.  Better yet, go get a coffee.  Please don’t stand in front of a painting for more than, literally, sixty seconds.  Come back to it if you need more time…there are thirty other people who’d also like to see it before the museum closes.  Need I say more?

There was also an amazing photography exhibit:  She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World.  These images were gorgeous, albeit often disturbing.

a-20131220-04Rula Halawani, Untitled I from Negative Incusions Series, 2002, pigment print

This negative image is so frightening and intense.  These is something so eerie about the tone reversal…it does make it look like an electrified night scene.  I also can’t imagine how Halawani felt standing right there to take the picture.

a-20131220-05Rula Halawani, Untitled XIII from Negative Incusions Series, 2002, pigment print

Again…look how horrendous the subject matter is.  She looks in danger of being crushed by a falling chunk of concrete.  Was this her home?  Did she know the people who lived there?  So unbelievably sad.

SIGH.  And now…to lighten the mood…besides making myself a cup of tea and eating my 27th holiday cookie of the day, I’ll show you the exhibit: Future Beauty: Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion at the Peabody Essex Museum.

a-20131220-09Issey Miake, Dress & Coat from Spring/Summer 1995

As a complete addict to Project Runway, I was GIDDY at the sight of all of this STUNNING couture.  I have also dabbled in sewing (i.e. struggling to sew a straight line), so my jaw dropped with so many of these fashions.

a-20131220-10Junya Wantanabe, Comme des Garcons, Autumn/Winter 2000

For some reason, I wish that they had chosen mannequins that were more “abstracted.”  Maybe that’s too “Sears” of me?  Who knows.  Look at that collar!!!  Even the skirt, so plain in comparison, is gorgeous.

a-20131220-11Tao Kurihara, Comme des Garcons, Spring/Summer 2010

Luckily, they did have some videos showing runway shows.  This was good, as you miss how the clothing moves if you only see it on a mannequin.  This dress would probably be pretty fantastic worn by some moody model stomping along.  It becomes less so when I imagine myself in it (especially after my 27th holiday cookie for the day…)  DRAMATIC SIGH.

Happy holidays to everyone!  I hope to make it to 2014 with my sanity intact…albeit in a larger clothing size…

Oh well.

a-201312201



Who the hell would want a carnivorous plant, anyway?
December 5, 2013, 4:17 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

We would!  No joke…I bought a VENUS FLYTRAP!!!

a-venusEww…right?????  You’ll notice that some of the little “mouths” are closed.  Why, you may ask?  Well, because we were told to feed it little balls of HAMBURGER.  I’m not kidding.  So, it’s digesting hamburger blobs.  I love how my husband is vegan, yet we have a carnivorous plant.  I’m not sure how happy it is with the burger bits.  I mean, are they going to dissolve?  Or, does it spit it out when it’s done with it, like “plant poop?”  No idea.  It was kind of disturbing to watch it clamp down on the hamburger bit.  It looks so coy, with it’s sassy green “lashes.”  But don’t be fooled…it’s looking for MEAT.  If you’re a product of the 80s, this is likely the first thing that came to mind…

little_shop_horrors_xl_01If this starts to happen, I’m stopping the hamburger balls (aka a mini-meatball) STAT.

Does anyone else out there completely ignore their landline when it rings? I do.  99.9% of the time, it isn’t someone that I want to speak to.  Considering that I rarely check our voicemail, it’s a bit of a black hole, really.  Why do we have it?  Well, it’s kind of like a technological pacifier…it makes me feel “safe” that we can always make a phone call, even if  our cellphones are lost/not charged/left in the car.  Does that make sense?  No?  Well keep reading, if you find making sense boring…

So, I’ve managed to tear myself away from staring suspiciously at the Venus flytrap in order to go out and see some art!  (Or, “aht,” as this is a Boston ‘burb.)  My advisor, Adria Arch, recently had a show at Bromfield Gallery:

a-arch2Adria Arch, Bromfield Gallery

a-arch1Adria Arch, Bromfield Gallery

a-arch3Adria Arch, Bromfield Gallery

a-arch4Adria Arch, Bromfield Gallery

The show was fabulous and ran from October 27 – November 30.  I was hoping to post about it earlier, but something awful happened recently (see my last post), so I got a bit sidetracked.  Arch’s work explores the innocent, yet sometimes revealing, doodles or marks that people make.  She magnifies these marks so that they command attention in a way that is unusual for something typically done without conscious thought.  She captures every nuance of the mark, both in paintings…and now in plexiglass sculptural works.  Arch has a great deal of experience in installations, so these newer plexiglass elements allow her pieces to be unfettered from their typical painted fields.  Beautiful!

Nancy Diessner was also showing at the Bromfield.  She is a printmaker who’s subject is often animals, both domestic and wild.

a-diessnerNancy Diessner, Bromfield Gallery

a-diessner2Nancy Diessner, Bromfield Gallery

a-diessner3Nancy Diessner, Bromfield Gallery

I love this new series with pairings of delicate images.  I think that’s a nose on the right…amazing!

While I was wandering around the other galleries, look what I found at Carroll & Sons:

a-bdp1Boston Drawing Project, Carroll & Sons

WOO HOO!!!  You’ll notice my drawing folder featured on the middle shelf, second one from the right.  I was SUPER EXCITED to see it on display like that.  Having anything up at Carroll & Sons would pretty much be the apex of my career, so I think that this is as close as I’m going to get, realistically.  Anyway, I’m happy.

I also went to the Boston Printmaker’s Biennial at 808 Gallery at B.U.  I LOVE THIS SHOW.  So much variety and so much talent.  I love that gallery space, but it is kind of a pain if you are looking at works behind glass.  The glare is pretty distracting:

a-francisCate Francis, Around The Tree

Now, that’s an amazing print.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to see.  I love the graphic quality of this paired with the warm, Japanese paper.  So cool.

Because the glare was so difficult, I’ve selected images to show you of prints that didn’t have much of a glare problem.  There were lots of beautiful prints, but I won’t bother with the ones that have too much of my silhouette ruining the image.

a-iancu1Raluca Iancu, Corroded Mammoth

This is an enormous, and simply gorgeous print. It’s beautiful.  I love the limited palette.  She’s a virtuoso.

a-bricher1Naya Bricher, Mini Fridge

This is so amazing.  I think it’s an aquatint.  Doesn’t she capture the light and feel of the ubiquitous mini fridge?  Look at the Pur water pitcher!  Look at the Glad storage containers!  Brilliant.

a-talcottJulia Talcott, Portable Color Trap

I am especially fond of this print, as we have one as well!  I’m not sure how many she printed, but isn’t it amazing?  The image looks tipped because it was above me when I took the photo.  I love the bold, mechanized quality of it.  It simultaneously has both flatness and depth.  Fascinating.

a-korman2Louise Kohrman, …Forever on the Mind

a-korman1Louise Kohrman, …Forever on the Mind (detail)

Isn’t that so delicate and amazing?  Kohrman’s work always seems to have a kind of etherial quality to it…lovely.

a-kernan1Catherine Kernan, The Heart of the Matter

This is an incredible and enormous print. I’ve actually taken classes with Kernan.  She is very skilled and knowledgeable.  Her prints are obviously gorgeous.

a-mazure1David Mazure, Defeated/Amputees (WAR)

What you can’t see is that there is actually recycled rubber tire flocking on the black areas.  Amazing!  It looks like ornate wallpaper, yet there is something very dark about it.

a-corcelleChristiane Corcelle, Boundless

I’m sorry that this photo isn’t great.  Both the glare and the height which it was hung make it a challenge to see this well.  This is the work of a printmaking teacher that I had for several months.  She’s super talented, and works a lot with carborundum collagraphs.  I believe that there are actually strips of paper collaged on, which you can sort of see here.  I like the contrast between the delicate paper strips and the heavy inked area near the top. Lovely!

a-welden1Dan Welden, Fairly Squarely

Dan Welden actually invented solarplate printing (I believe.)  This looks is a solarplate intaglio.  I love the heavy black area with the gray, scribbly zones…it’s kind of crackling with energy…

a-miranda1Ibrahim Maranda, Mapas

Oh. My. GOD.  His works were GORGEOUS.  I wanted to own all of them.  ALL.

a-miranda2Ibrahim Maranda, Mapas (detail)

His works are crazy, multicolored, multilayered smashups of marks and images with a “graffiti” sensibility.  STUNNING.  I could have put a chair down in front of these works and looked at them all day.  I didn’t do that, as I had to get back to the Venus flytrap to be sure that it wasn’t eating the house.  You know how it goes…

This is kind of a long post, so I’m feeling a bit worn out.  I’ll finish with a hilarious drawing/installation by my son:

a-spidermanHe stuck this on the front panel of a wood bookcase.  LOOK AT SPIDERMAN!  DON’T YOU LOVE IT???  WordPress actually provides a way to set up a “poll.”  Part of me is tempted to set up a poll with the question, “Isn’t this AWESOME????”  Of course, the only right answer would be “yes.”  Those who answer “no” will get the stinkeye from me, his adoring yet slightly unstable mother.

I hear scratching sounds in the living room.  Gotta go…it might be the Venus flytrap (soon to be…the Venus mommytrap.)  At least I have a landline so that I can call for help from the depths of its jaws, right?  The cord will come in handy as something for me to anchor myself to when the plant decides that I’m next on the menu.  See?  Landlines DO serve a purpose!  Told ya so.

October 27 – November 30, 2013
October 27 – November 30, 2013



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