slightly wonky


Elves and a snacking stupor…
March 14, 2014, 9:36 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My son gets angry every time I buy Cheez-its, because I eat the whole box myself.  (Gross, I know.)  Maybe they have MSG in them?  (Grosser.)  They’re VERY addictive.

I have recently discovered a new snack food to eat excessively:

pickles

I know.  Grossest.  Try them!  They’re not bad.  I still think that salt & vinegar are more tasty, but I had to try these.  I remember in Spain that they had some Lay’s chips that were flavored like a ham sandwich.  Now, THAT’S gross.  (BTW that bag isn’t empty…YET.)

I recently finished another crafty project…a quilted purse!

purse2purse1

It was pretty labor intensive.  I’m going to figure out a way to get small elves to work on these while I sleep at night.  I’m also going to ask the elves to clean the house, since they’re already up.  I’m thinking of opening up an Etsy store.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Words of wisdom?  Are elves hard to find?  They can’t be THAT hard to find, as everyone else’s house is much neater than mine, so they must be using elves.

Please don’t have them take me away and put me in a padded cell.  While that might be good for napping, I’m sure that they wouldn’t give me any Cheez-its.

My son is always creating fearsome drawings:

drawing1He’s 24.

Just kidding.  He’s six.  I love the “v” shaped mono-brow that all of the faces have.  I’m hoping that this truly is supposed to be a monster, and not just me on Monday morning.  I haven’t gotten my eyebrows done in ages, so I have a sinking suspicion that this is actually me.  At least my legs look skinny.

I’ve gotten a bit of “press” as a result of being in New American Paintings.  I got to be the “artist of the day” for March 1 on this website.

artist a day 2

C’mon people!  I need votes!  I only have 28 votes so far.  You aren’t allowed to vote if you don’t give me a perfect score.  Okay, just kidding.  Make it at least NEAR perfect.  It makes me feel better about my imperfections, like my “housekeeping blindness” ailment.  Very troubling.

I also got some press in the latest issue of Artscope magazine.

artscopeRight now, this series of drawings is still up in Dedham at the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center.  Can someone pick up a copy of this for me?  I live in the ‘burbs, and I only know of one local place that has this journal.  Otherwise, I’ll have to schlep into Boston to get some.  Sigh.  Just going to Stop and Shop seems like a major hassle…don’t make me drive 30 minutes to get into Boston.  I’ll have to locate my “good” pair of mom jeans for that excursion.

I’ve recently starting ice skating on a regular basis.  I skated a lot as a kid (not gracefully, mind you) as we lived near a small pond.  I forgot how fun it is!  I hate exercising, so this is pretty much the only way to get me to move around a bit, other than telling me that a fresh box of Cheez-its are in the next room.  I’m even starting to dabble with ice hockey.  I’m pretty terrible, though…so patience is key.  Not falling on my face is generally important too.  I think that the years of playing field hockey is actually doing me a disservice.  I keep forgetting that I’m standing on two, skinny blades on a sheet of ice.  Hmm.

Speaking of ice, my hands are frozen into two claws.  I’m typing this in our unheated basement.  I’m going to stop now, thaw out my hands by sticking them in my husband’s leftover coffee, and then probably finish the bag of pickle potato chips.

THEN, I’ll move onto the box of Cheez-its…

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Brrrrboohoohoo!
February 28, 2014, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags: , , , , ,

“BRRRBOOHOOHOO” means that I’m getting VERY TIRED of the temperature around here.

I know.

11 degrees isn’t THAT bad.  But when the wind  blows, it IS cold enough to make one’s face ache, fall to the ground, and get lost in a snow drift.  I almost tripped on mine the other day.  We sort of missed out on warming up during February vacation, as we didn’t go anywhere.   I was delirious with kindergartener fatigue for that entire week.  I found myself staring vacantly at a spot on the wall while my son talked incessantly about: double inverted fishtail bracelets, how he needs more rubber bands, and why it’s better to stay inside all day and make bracelets instead of going outside for sledding and exercise.  Because my son is obsessed with Rainbow Loom, we have an explosion of colored rubber bands all over the house, in addition to all of the bracelets/charms/actions figures that he makes.  He keeps reminding me that I said that it is the “worst toy in the world,” which I mistakenly said when I was in a fit of frustration trying to help him with some rubber band disaster project.  I get a migraine just thinking about it.

Actually, those days at home were much easier than the days with playdates.  I yearned for a large margarita both during, and after, every playdate.  Thankfully…there weren’t many of them as MOST people were gone because they had gone somewhere to thaw out.  In our house, that’s standing in front of the toaster oven.

Let it be said that I am thankful that we have both a house and a toaster oven.

The vacation was a general success, though, as we did manage to get through it without Mommy falling ill with a case of the vapours.  I threatened to do so numerous times.  In order to cope, I also obsessed over my own crafty projects:

kostojohnquilt

THAT…is a stupendous baby quilt that I made for a friend.  I even sewed on a poem:

kostojohnquilt1

I know that I can post this without spoiling the surprise, as new mom’s don’t have time to get changed out of spit-up covered pajamas, never mind read my mindless blog!

NEXT PROJECT:

kostojohnbagfront

Yes.  I made that.  I followed a pattern that I found online, so I can’t take credit for the design…but I CAN take credit for the snazzy fabric choices!  I’m using it to keep my knitting in…(more craft addictions…pls send help!)

kostojohnbagback

Check out the super cool lining!   I nearly broke my sewing machine with this…so next time, I’m using lighter weight fabrics.  OR…I am going to get an industrial sewing machine, which I’ll set up in the middle of the dining room.  (JUST KIDDING, HONEEEEEY!!!)

Besides showing you my ridiculous crafts…I am also proud to say that some of my drawings have been included in the latest issue of New American Paintings.

new american paintings 1

nap2

nap3

WOO HOO!!!!  Yes, I draw AND make garish things out of fabric.  Maybe I need to start drawing the garish things that I make out of fabric?  Maybe not.  I should probably start with some overdue housework first…

Nah.

The drawings in New American Paintings are actually up at a new arts center in Dedham right now: Motherbrook Arts and Community Center.

overall

It’s great to be included in this show, as there are many really talented artists who are also participating.  I’m going to show you the work of just a couple of people…

corcelle

Christiane Corcelle, Square 27

This gorgeous print is part of a series that Corcelle has done.  She specializes in carborundum collagraph printmaking.  I have taken several classes with her, and she is also a great teacher.  I LOVE this whole series…the colors…the transparency…the textures.  Amazing.

wakefield1

Martha Wakefield, Slip #11

Wakefield is one of the co-curators of the show.  She has an entire series of paintings on slips.  In each one, the slip is almost floating down off of the canvas.  She really captures the lightness and hidden quality of these garments (or rather, undergarments…).   They don’t hang as if suspended from a hanger, but they are almost drifting away…slightly billowing to suggest the form of the wearer.  Beautiful!

williamson

Jeanne Williamson, Fence as Lace #7

Williamson is the other co-curator.  She describes her own work as: “Contemporary abstractions that combine grids from orange construction fences and rich textured mixed media surfaces.”  She has taken such a neglected part of our landscape: plastic construction fences, and transformed/re imagined them into compelling works of art.  I love the neutral palette with limited color. The dark textures almost seem to relate to the construction origins of the material, whereas the dots of color (and the title) relate to textiles/femininity.  

Go see the show, as it’s up until March 21.  Please feel free to buy one of my drawings too, as I know that you’d love to have a picture of me on your wall!!!!  I go with most decor, especially Chinoiserie.

Actually, I just need more funds for my craft addiction…and maybe some groceries too.



Groundhog grumpiness…
February 7, 2014, 9:46 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., textile forms | Tags: , , , , , ,

If this post seems grumpy, it’s just S.A.D.  Those of us in the Northeast embrace this seasonal grumpiness by complaining about the temperature, the snow, the temperature of the snow, shoveling, lack of parking, lack of daylight, lack of warmth, and the general fatigue and malaise induced by constantly having to spend half an hour putting on layers of clothes to go outside, and another half an hour taking them off when we come inside.   There’s also hat head and/or static electricity.

a-snow

Can we ship some of our snow to drought-ridden California?  I’d be more than happy to stuff some into a Tyvek envelope and send it over.

a-snow 2

This is what our deck furniture looked like during the blizzard on Wednesday.  Hmm.  I guess the cursed groundhog saw his shadow the day before. Evil creature! Vile vermin! (Maybe a groundhog can’t be vermin?  Too big???)  Speaking of groundhogs…LOOK WHAT MY SON MADE THIS WEEK AT SCHOOL:

a-groundhog

I might have to keep this FOREVER.  I assumed that this was a popsicle. I was told that this was not the case, and that this is obviously a groundhog.

a-hoghome

Oh.  That clears everything up.  I think that the background paper should have been white, not green, just for the sake of accuracy.  (Actually, I should think that at the current temperature outside, all groundhogs are kind of like popsicles, right?)  Please excuse my blurry image, but THERE ISN’T ENOUGH LIGHT in the dead of winter to take an indoor photo.

Tonight, I am going to the opening reception of a group show that I’m in.  It’s being held at the Motherbrook Arts Center in Dedham.  I’m looking forward to seeing the work of the other artists!

a-art

I may have to gear up my team of sled dogs to get over there.  I wonder if I can go through EZ Pass lane on the Mass Pike with sled dogs? Stopping to pick up a ticket will really slow me down.

a-sled dogs

Can I at least go in the carpool lane?  No?

Besides complaining about the snow and doing rainbow loom nonsense with my son, ad infinitum…I also finished up that little quilt that I was working on:

a-quilt

Kind of cute, right?  The back:

a-quiltback

Now that I look at it again…those scallop shapes are starting to look like groundhogs to me.

a-quilteyes

Hmm.  Maybe I need some fresh air?  I may have to put myself in a Tyvek envelope to be mailed to California…it’s warm there, right?  I’ll say “hi” to the California raisins for you…

 



Technicolor yawn
January 24, 2014, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing, textile forms | Tags: , , , , , ,

Where have I been???  What have I been doing???  Honestly…I have no idea.  I was SUPPOSED to post last week, but my beloved child was home with a fever.  We were all pretty much sick, and my husband is still on the mend.  DRAMA.

You know that it has been cold when 14 degrees Fahrenheit feels not so bad.  I’ve been wearing the same, over-sized wool sweater for what is likely a month.  I didn’t wear it today, as I had to meet with a museum curator…and I didn’t want to potentially offend her high aesthetic standards with my Sasquatch-like appearance.  How cold does it have to get for all standards of appearance to be eliminated in favor of comfort?  Clearly, that bar is never very high in my world.  I’m always wearing some kind of sad, D.I.Y. project.  It’s funny that after YEARS of being an architect, where we are trained (brainwashed?) to avoid color in favor of black, gray and white…my D.I.Y. projects are always crazy colorful.  I often think that my aesthetic sensibilities actually haven’t changed since I was seven years old, which is kind of sad…as I dressed kind of weird as a kid.  Things haven’t changed, I guess…

I finished up a knitting project recently:

a-front2

That’s the front…here is the back:

a-back2

Kind of neat, right?  I can’t take credit for the pattern…even though I changed the neckline…the cuffs…the length, etc.  This is not the sweater that I’ve been wearing for the past month.  The sweater that I’ve had on is more like a wool mu-mu.  This week, I realized why I can’t move somewhere warm…I’d have no reason to knit.

I’m totally serious.

You’re likely wondering when I’ll stop yammering about my technicolor craft projects, and move onto something more interesting.  Well, your wait is over!

My friend, Helen, has her work up at one of the well-known Boston galleries…

a-helenpayneHelen Payne, detail of installation “Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” at Bromfield Gallery, Boston

Here is the description of the installation:

An installation on bathroom tiles where drawings make visceral vignettes, showing moments ranging from giving birth to getting booked.  A shape-shifting protagonist emerges from the tiles. She morphs in time and race and limps along at odds with expectations but at one with viscera. 

“Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” is about the ill fit of the body and how our most private moments can play out in the public sphere.

Helen beautifully elucidates aspects of humanity (primarily vices and viscera) that are typically hidden.  Her work is both sensitive and bold.  Helen’s drawing fluency is as compelling as her chosen subjects.  Please check out her installation at Bromfield.  It will be up for a few months…but don’t procrastinate!  Go see it!  If you see something that looks kind of like Sasquatch at the gallery, come over and say, “hi.”  It’s probably me.

I’ve been sidetracked on a quilt project that I’ve been meaning to do for AGES.  Yes, I said “a quilt.”  Yes, I know that I’m supposed to be focusing on art, but as I just said…I’ve been getting a bit sidetracked as of late…

a-quiltSewing curves is challenging…so I decided to put myself in circle boot-camp by doing this koo koo quilt.  So far, it has been super fun…albeit a royal pain in the tush.  This is a mini-quilt…so the width is around 32″ or so.  Each of those little scallop shapes is probably 4″ wide.  In doing this quilt, I learned why people don’t normally use linen-type fabric for quilts (which I did.)  The weave of linen is so wide that it’s like trying to sew a piece of friggin’ GAUZE.

a-gauzeOkay, well not quite THAT bad…but almost that bad.  I fear that this quilt can never set foot in a washing machine, lest I want the thing to turn into a huge blob of colorful thread.  Kind of like this, but made out of thread:

a-fish

Do you know that’s actually a creature called a “blob fish?”  I kid you not.

Sigh.  I always have to learn things the hard way.  At least I can sew a half-decent circle now, in spite of the fact that I look like Sasquatch.

Speaking of blobs, did you read about that recent study that says that sitting too much will pretty much kill you???  WHA?  HOW?  WHO?  I have pretty much sat through my entire adult life.  Besides pulling all nighters at school and at work, where I was SUPPOSED to be sleeping but was just deliriously SITTING instead…all of my favorite hobbies and activities involve SITTING.  Can I possibly knit whilst hopping around?  Can I somehow read AND do jumping jacks?  How about sewing and yoga?  Quilting and Tae Bo?  No?

Upon hearing the bad news about sitting, I promptly slid down within my enormous wool sweater and pouted like that hideous blob fish.

a-fish5

Boo.

I’m waiting for the study to come out that says sedentary craft activities are actually good for everyone’s health because they keep mommy happy.  And we know what a maelstrom of discontent mommy can be when she’s NOT HAPPY…

a-fish4

Be thankful that you don’t live with me.

 



Cresmes and One lump or two…
January 3, 2014, 12:45 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve managed to make it through this holiday season with most of my sanity intact.  The snow day today and tomorrow, however, has REALLY made me borderline cray-cray.  If it hadn’t been 15 degrees outside, I might have just  bundled up my son and shoved him out to get him some FRESH AIR, and me some SANITY.  Alas…I was fearful that his cherubic cheeks would ice over, so we’ve been inside all day.  ALL DAAAAY.

I may have to go for a walk/trudge to Trader Joe’s tomorrow…just to get out.  I’ll just hang out there all day, eating samples and commenting on what people are buying, until I am asked to leave.  There’s a Starbucks next door, so I’ll just move my insanity show over there.  I suppose I’ll return home when I’m no longer welcome there either.

This has been a particularly busy time.  Not only was it Christmas…but my son’s birthday IS Christmas day, which adds complication and hysteria.  Not only that…just a few days before, I drove out to Cohoes, NY for the opening of a two-person show that I am in at The Foundry.  The show is titled, “The Human Condition + Communication Technologies,” and my series titled, “Are You Still There?” is on display.

a-kostojohn1Elizabeth Kostojohn at The Foundry

The work of the other artist, Nancy Daly, was SO interesting…

a-daly 1Nancy Daly, Status Update, at The Foundry

a-daly 2Nancy Daly, Looking for Love, at The Foundry

Her work comments on social media, its simultaneously transient yet permanent nature, and the vastness of it.  It’s just a coincidence that her work is as monochromatic as mine.   The pieces looked good together!

My best Christmas gift this year was not a nap or a box of chocolates, but an amazingly funny poster that my son’s teacher had him fill out.  I guess this poster is supposed to be an “about me” type of thing.  I love the fact that my son didn’t even ask for help in any way…he just grabbed a marker and set out working on it.  Here are some of the things that I learned about him:

a-pekokHe is six years old and his favorite animal is a “pekok.”  REALLY????  Since when does he like peacocks???  Look at his crazy self portrait….I love his arms.  He’s kind of “groovin'” along like he’s on Soul Train, or something.

a-familyYes, that’s our happy family.  I’m just glad that we’re all smiling.  Let’s hope that he remembers his childhood this way.  Mommy looks so relaxed and happy!  Look how wiggly I am!  Please also notice that his favorite color is white (wht?), and that his favorite food is “hot dog.”  So true.

a-cap codHere is his favorite place…no surprise here.  I notice that he omitted including the lyme disease infested deer ticks in the long grass, which he so lovingly drew.  Good call.  He also doesn’t show mommy yelling, “AAAAA!! GET OUT OF THE GRASS!!!!!”  Nice.

a-treehouseMake the treehouse?  WHAT???  I think that he and his dad must have come up with some idea about this.  I’m staying out of it so that I can’t be blamed when he falls out of the tree and DSS arrives.

a-demolisherOh, joy.  He wants to be a demolisher when her grows up.  Greaaaat.  Well, judging by the looks of our living room, I’d say that he’s going to be a natural.

a-cresmesOkay, how friggin’ cute is that???? He’s wishing for Christmas.  Notice that all that’s needed is himself, a present, and a tree.  Notice also the enormous grin on his face.  Mommy is probably still asleep upstairs in this image.  I know…I know…he didn’t wish for “peace on earth” or anything thoughtful like that.  We’re working on peaceful at home before we move onto the whole dang planet.

Besides this fantastically funny poster from my son, my other treat this holiday vacation was to get myself to the ICA to see Amy Sillman‘s show, “One Lump or Two,” JUST before the show closes on January 5.  I LOVED IT.  Sillman is a wry, master of color, and supremely talented.  I bask in her artistic brilliance.  Here are just a few of the highlights…

a-ocean 1Any Sillman, Ocean 1, 1977, Oil on Canvas

So gorgeous.  I love the use of primary colors…the contrast between the saturated background and the bold, graphic waves…the layering and transparency…ahhh.

a-gouacheAmy Sillman, The Umbrian Line, 1999-2000, Gouache on paper

This series of drawings is so beautiful.  Sillman’s colors and her mix of almost collage-like flatness with delicate linework in these works is amazing.  I felt like I could have stared at each one for an eternity.

a-portraitsAmy Sillman

This series of portraits was fantastic.  I love the distortions in the figures…they seem more real, as a result.

a-psychology todayAmy Sillman, Psychology Today, 2006, Oil on Canvas

She has many large, bold paintings with a combination of discernible figures and loose abstraction.  I think that one of the things that I really love about what she does is that she is always mixing unexpected colors, images, shapes, and ideas.  She can create both minimal drawings of great humor and enormous paintings with visceral intensity.  This show feels as if it gives a very rich view into this artist and her world.  Perhaps that is more a result of her willingness or desire to have herself revealed in these works?  Not sure…

a-bird in the handAmy Sillman, A Bird In the Hand, 2006, Oil on Canvas

a-shadeAmy Sillman, Shade, 2010, Oil on Canvas

a-drawerAmy Sillman, Drawer, 2010, Oil on Canvas

This is a MUST SEE show.  I’m sorry that I’m writing about it so late!  Sigh. Now, I’m getting panicky that it’s closing soon…it would take a small miracle for me to be able to see it again.  Best not push my luck…but YOU should see it.  I know that there is a blizzard outside, but if you head out now with your team of sled dogs…you’ll probably make it to the ICA in time to see this before it closes.  Hey…while you’re at it, pick me up along the way!  I’m lovely company, and I’ll bring you a bunch of extra samples from Trader Joe’s.  I PROMISE.



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


Searching for solace…

This has been a rather rough week.  A friend of mine, her two sons, and her husband died this week.  I won’t go into the details, as those are even worse.  I want to say something profound about the whole ordeal, and about her, but I’m at a bit of a loss.  I feel as if my brain stopped working this week…my thoughts have been stuck like a needle skipping on a record, repeating the same awful refrain.  Short periods of heartache and angst have been interspersed among longer periods of numbness.

I tried to find solace this week by going somewhere that I love:  The deCordova Museum.

a-decordova3

I have been coming here ever since I moved to the area in 1998.  I find it to be peaceful and beautiful.  It truly feels like an escape to me.  This week, it helped provide me with fresh air and a necessary, albeit temporary, distraction.  While I walked around like a bit of a zombie, there were things that made me smile and appreciate that there is still beauty in this world.  I don’t mean beauty in a superficial sense, but beauty of thought and sensibility. I present to you what I saw at the museum…because I can’t talk or think about my sadness right now.

a-genger1Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It was a cold and clear day.  I aimlessly meandered through the grounds and was drawn to this new installation by Orly Genger.  I first saw her work at Mass MOCA.  This specific piece was originally commissioned for Madison Square Park in NYC.

a-genger2Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

I love to knit, so the loopy, monumental, yet somehow furtive, quality of this work appeals to me.  I like that it becomes taller than a person at times, defying knitting’s typical scale and delicacy.

a-genger3Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It winds its way around, changing from red, to yellow, to blue.

a-genger4Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

See how it winds around the grounds?  Knitting is very meditative, and I looked at all of the silent stitches and wondered about each one.

Inside the museum is the biennial exhibition…

a-murrowEthan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen 

Morrow’s work fills the main staircase at the museum.  His drawings are amazing.  Detail:

a-murrow2Ethan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen

Isn’t that breathtaking? He has drawn gorgeous, ethereal ships floating up the expanse of the stair wall.  He included historical details and text along with his drawings.  I bask in his drawing brilliance.  You must go see this.

a-yurukogluBahar Yurukoglu, Primodial Future, Mixed media installation with projection

Please take a look at Yurukoglu’s website…it’s very interesting.  I like bright colors and transparency, so I liked where this was going.  Everything was wall bound…and I kind of wished that there was even more, somehow.  Look at his website…lots of beautiful images and stunning photographs.

a-bracialeLaura Braciale, Rods and Cones, Mixed media installation

I liked this piece.  I liked the translation of these odd objects into flat, 2D paintings.  It looks like some kind of research project to me…an experiment in perception.  I also like all of the white space (of course.)  You’ll see that there are quite a few installation pieces in this biennial.

a-jane4Xylor Jane, Magic Square for finding missing people,  Oil and colored pencil on panel

I really liked Jane’s work.  It felt very different to me.  At times, it almost seemed to be like a textile, with seams.  Her work was very bold.

a-jane3Xylor Jane, Via Crucis XII,  Oil on panel

There is something both dark and menacing, and happy and lighthearted about this piece.  Overall, it’s chromatically dark…but you can see the sort of rainbow palette with almost heart shapes throughout.  What you can’t see in this photo is the beautiful use of textures…the main background is a matte black, and the colors are glossy dots in a grid.  So cool!

a-jane2Xylor Jane, 2,3,5,7,  Oil, graphite, marker and colored pencil on panel

This was really fascinating.  This painting in particular felt like a quilt/textile…and yet it had such depth and transparency at the same time.

a-jane1Xylor Jane, Nox Rex #26, Hypnos,  Oil on panel

This is an amazingly detailed pointillist painting.  I can’t help but think of The Matrix. (Perhaps, I shouldn’t admit that? Does that automatically make me a total philistine?)  Again, the grid and precision are rigid, but the undulating colors brings some levity to the piece.  I love how her four pieces worked together.

a-gibersonPetrova Giberson, Tree Flowers, Mixed media installation

I really liked how this piece and its shadows interacted.  It’s kind of like a sad, old comforter that somehow went to heaven.  It’s hard to see, but there is a line of threads hanging from the ceiling to the right of the comforter, which created an interesting threshold.  The whole piece had a very intriguing way of occupying the space.

Upstairs, there was more to see…

a-gross1Rachel Gross, woodblock print and acrylic

First off, I want to apologize to Rachel Gross because I did not keep track of what the title of this piece is.  In any event, Gross’s work is stunning.  Her woodblock prints are some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.  Please take a look at her blog.  I love the layering, textures, color palette, composition…everything.

a-gross2Rachel Gross, Pink Box, Woodblock print with spray paint

I love the simplicity of this.  I love the crinkled paper and flat texture of the wood grain.  (I also love hot pink…)

a-abbas1Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

Again, my apologies to Hamra Abbas, as I don’t know which number this work is in the series.  Abbas does miniature paintings of the Kaaba, contemplating its historic, religious, and everyday influence.  She then has the miniature paintings photographed and enlarged to form these prints.  They have a mysterious and atmospheric feel to them.

a-abbas2Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This is so luminous…with both flatness and three dimensionality…

a-abbas3Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This has a fairytale feel to it…beautiful!

The final artist that I’m going to show is someone who’s work I love, and who I managed to meet at an open studio that he had.

a-palocci4Anthony Palocci, Jr., Empty Fridge, oil on canvas

Don’t you love it?  He just looks at everyday household objects and reinvents them.  Brilliant.

a-palocci2Anthony Palocci, Jr., T.V., oil on canvas

I love the cold glow of this T.V. So amazing…

a-palocci1Anthony Palocci, Jr., Phone Call, oil on canvas

I love this too!  It’s sort of humorous…but there is something “vacant” about all of his work.  The viewer is looking at these objects distilled to pattern and value.  They’re so ubiquitous, yet now they have a sort of uncanny feel to them…

a-palocci3Anthony Palocci, Jr., Window Fan, oil on canvas

This is a large painting.  Take a look at his website to get a sense how how large it is.  It’s as if something that is normally forgotten and silent has somehow been given a voice.

a-palocci5Anthony Palocci, Jr., A/C, oil on canvas

I took a photo of this painting with context, so that you can see some of what I perceive as the humor in this work.  It doesn’t look odd to see an A/C unit sticking out of a wall…but this is a painting, of course.  I thought this was a wry location for the work…

a-decordova

Well, I’m signing off. It’s been a long week.

On Tuesday, there will be a vigil held for my friend and her family.  If you’re in the Arlington, MA area and would like the details…let me know.

Peace be with them…



Zip-a-dee-do-da

This past Wednesday, I got back from a fabulous FIVE DAYS IN PUERTO RICO.  No, it’s not April 1, I’m serious.  This was a birthday celebration that my friends and I did because we are all turning/have turned 40 this year.  SCARY!  Luckily, we still have the maturity level that we did back in high school, so we had a blast.

Before I left on my trip, however, my son made me this birthday cake:

a-halloween cake

I think that it says “Halloween…40…For Mom.”  I thought this was hilarious.  Isn’t it creative, and adorable???  Look at the candle he drew!  Awesome.  It was pretty odd to be leaving my family for 5 days, as I haven’t gone anywhere since my son was born.  For me, a trip to the grocery store is a big to-do.

a-laconcha1

Umm…let me just say that the oddness quickly went away as I was in pure Mommy heaven for those five days.  Sitting by the pool…sitting by the beach…going for a swim…reading and finishing Orange Is The New Black…and gabbing almost continuously with a cocktail in hand.  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE????

a-laconcha3This was my view one morning.  I know.  Ridiculous, right?  If I didn’t have a son and husband, I might not have come back!  Sigh.  I had to swap my flip flops for socks and boots when I came back to the Boston area.  BRRR.

Okay, while we were outrageously decadent and lazy, we didn’t sit around the WHOLE time.  We did go zip lining one afternoon:

ziplineThis was beyond fun.  (This is a photo of one of my friends…who shall remain anonymous…gracias.)  I have no idea how fast you go on these, but it feels like 40 mph.  Actually, when you’re midway…the wind is whipping past you and you’re looking at the amazing scenery…you don’t really notice how fast you’re going.  BUT, when you are hurtling towards the end, then it gets a bit disconcerting as you can’t imagine how you could possibly stop without crashing into the cable support.  Luckily, they have some kind of braking mechanism that kicks in during the last 20 feet.  It’s kind of like how a roller coaster stops at the end…jarring, yet efficient.  Most of the photos I have of people coming in are just a blur.

Okay.  So, now I think that we need a zipline in our yard.  Right???  (You must agree.)  I’m a housefrau re-evaluating the laundry line for alternative purposes.  During the day…it’s mommy’s koo koo adrenaline ride… but when my son/husband is home, it’s got clean towels on it again.  Brilliant!  I think that the neighbors already think I’m crazy, but this will ensure that they never come to my house to borrow any butter.  Now, if I could only zip line to Starbucks and back, then I’d be a happy camper…

While I didn’t see ANY art on my vacation…I went yesterday to see the opening of the small group show that I am participating in.  It’s in Harvard Square, so all you locals have no excuse for not stopping by…

image001

Cambridge Art Association show

Let me just say that the work by the other artists is really amazing.  I’ll show you some of the pieces:

a-strassman

Ann Strassman, Singularities IX – (Woman with cigarette)

Strassman does these fascinating portraits of people about town, often on a park bench.  She uses discarded boxes as her canvas.  I love how the people are caught in these familiar scenes…unaware of the viewer.  I also love the cardboard with it’s own mundane story.  Amazing!

a-schappler

Patricia Schappler, Coming and Going

Schappler does ENORMOUS, phenomenal drawing/collage/paintings.  Mind blowing.  I love the mixed media…the layers, the beautiful way that she draws.  So gorgeous.

a-kornrumpf

Daniel Kornrumpf, Mr. David Lasely

Kornrumpf does GORGEOUS portraits that have an unfinished and open ended feel because he often doesn’t paint parts that he has sketched in.  There is a beautiful mix of complete/incompleteness to his work.  Even his line drawing/painting is amazing.  His sense of color, composition, and overall skill is breathtaking.  I love that the subjects are often pensive and relaxed…aware that they are having a portrait painted, yet real and at ease.  His work reminds me of Alice Neel, whose work I also revere.

a-melamed

Yair Melamed, The Extrovert

Melamed is a physician AND a photographer.  I couldn’t find a website for him.  I absolutely love the contrast between her gray hair/background and her warm face.  I love how her face fills the frame.  He has a series of really compelling photographs…a must see.

My own work is minimal in comparison:

a-kostojohn

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? series

Because my work is so small, I think that it’s good that they are grouped together.  I wish the lighting was a bit better, as there isn’t direct lighting on the drawings…just the downlights for the hallway.  As a result, I think that the drawings look slightly washed out.  Hmm!  In any event, I am super grateful to be participating in this show with these other, talented artists.  The show is in the University Place building, at 124 Mt. Auburn Street.  Go see it!

Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I’ve got a clothes/zip line and a latte calling my name…

zipline2

Starbucks, here I come!!!  Make mine a double!!!



Is it Halloween yet????
October 11, 2013, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

I had NO time to see any art these past couple of weeks (save for the stuff that my son makes, but more on that later…)  I have, however, rediscovered shrinky dinks in the past week, which I am now OBSESSED with.  The only negative is that I’m convinced that by baking them, toxic vapors are released into my home.  Is this irrational?  This is the reason why I haven’t bought any of those “melty beads,” that kids love so much. (well, I also don’t feel like sweeping up spilled beads for the next six months…)

big ben

That’s a whole lot of plastic.  How in God’s name did they even do that?  Maybe they used a hairdryer? I thought that you had to use an iron to fuse them?  More importantly: why do I think that “shrinky dinks” are less toxic that these “melty beads?’ Who knows.

In an effort for your mind not to go completely numb, I did find some art online that I thought looked pretty amazing.  Check out this FANTASTIC artist whom I thought I should share…MYRIAM DION.

dion-1

Myriam Dion

That started out as a newspaper page.  NEWSPAPER.  She takes newspapers and turns them into beautiful lace.  Is this not mind blowing?  Don’t you think it’s phenomenal?????  Look at the detail of her work:

dion-2

Myriam Dion

Is that not completely gorgeous?  Her work is sooo breathtaking.  Please check out the links that I provided to her website.  She’s from Montreal, so the website is in French.  Here are many of her pieces together, with the paper scraps below:

papers-1

Myriam Dion

papers-2

Myriam Dion

Look at the papers draped together on the floor!  AMAZING.  I am in complete awe.  I would LOOOVE to see these in person.  What are the chances that she’ll come to Boston?  Hmm.  Well, it’s slightly warmer here…but then again, we have less fashion sense and most of us don’t speak French.  Hmm.  Yes, WHY would she come here?  Sigh.  Nevermind.

What’s also incredible is that I can’t imagine that these pieces will last, as newspaper is so fragile.  She has created beauty of what is normally depressing and dirty.  (Why does this immediately make me think of my lack of housekeeping skills???)  I should get inspired to pick up around here.  Or not.

Speaking of paper…my son has taken it upon himself to make Halloween decor for the house.  Sigh.  Clearly, my string of pumpkin lights aren’t enough.  He felt the need to make THIS:

a-zombie

That’s a zombie.

And THIS:

a-mummy

That’s a mummy.

And THIS:

a-witch

That’s me.  (just kidding!!! Sort of…)  I helped him a bit with this one, I confess. My arms and hands aren’t really that big, though…BTW…

He also convinced me to buy this pumpkin carving kit:

pumpkin_carving_kit

Do NOT be tricked into getting this.  Yes, it is “safer” than using a kitchen knife.  It becomes less safe, however, when your five year old keeps wanting to point out with his little fingers where you should be cutting WHILE you are cutting.  They should have provided a set of handcuffs for the kids.  My beef with this project is this: carving a really detailed pumpkin, while impressive, is A TOTAL PAIN IN THE TUSH.  Here’s how ours turned out:

IMG_0674

I know.  This isn’t even THAT detailed, but it felt like it took aaaaages.  Probably because I was frantically trying to work on it whilst making dinner.  I’m a mommy who multitasks.  My son was also interested in somehow doing the QR code, as shown on the kit:

scary code

No joke.  I tried to explain to him gently that carving this would likely cause mommy to want to perform hara-kiri with the pumpkin knife. I’m sure that if Myriam Dion did a pumpkin, it would be pretty phenomenal.  I’m just going to settle for “happy that I didn’t cut off anyone’s finger.”

Halloween is still 20 days away.  I’m not sure I’m going to make it with my sanity, and fingers, intact…




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