Friday, July 27, 2012
C A L L F O R D O N A T I O N S
Would you like to be a part of a public art installation?
Do you find yourself repeatedly collecting things just because you like them... not necessarily because you need them?
How many books or magazines are by your bed in queue to be read some day?
Or how many multiples of clothing or pairs of shoes are in your closet?
Is there yarn, fabric, beads, tools stored in waiting for their projects?
Cell phone cases, game cards, electrical devices, neckties, pocketbooks... you get the idea.
As a recipient of the 2012 Somerville Arts Council Fellowship Award, I will be creating a sculpture called stash that will be installed in the trees of Union Square, Somerville. Several large structures will be hidden in the branches in September while the trees are still in full foliage - and then exposed in October when the leaves drop.
The idea is to question the need to collect things; to ask why it is sometimes kept secret; and to wonder about what motivates us. Creating an opportunity to look at our selves through our things - and presenting an unexpected encounter, for anyone walking by, to question for themselves.
I'm asking family, friends and colleagues to think about this. If you identify with the concept and want to be a part of this project, please donate item(s) from your own collecting. It can be shoes, yarn, books, clothing, ear rings, housewares, unfinished craft projects etc. - you know what you have to offer.
Please don't be limited by my narrow range of suggestions, all objects are very important and the more randomness the better - anything goes. These donated items will be used in the construction of the packages that will be installed in the trees. Please note that the objects will not be returned.
Donations are needed soon, ideally by the end of July (or first week in August) since I will be building the structures during the month of August and installing in September.
I will pick up, or you can drop off at my studio, or leave at Joy St. just inside the yellow door by the mailboxes with my name on it (86 Joy Street, studio #4).
If you are interested in being a part of stash... I thank you in advance. I am grateful for the support I've received over the years and feel it a privilege to belong to such a generous community. Naturally, there will be a party around this event... I'll keep you posted!
This program is supported in part by the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Wayne and I share summer birthdays that are 12 days apart. This means that each year we experience together that acute sensation of time and the temporality of nature. I'm not just talking about youth, hair or waistlines :)... but our memories.
Memories are funny things. According to Lehrer in his book PROUST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST memories are not immutable states that exist on their own to be recalled on queue. In fact, they are very plastic and impressionable. "A memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. The more you remember something, the less accurate the memory becomes."
It's sometimes difficult to discern between actual memory and the memories of memories. Old photographs of cakes and presents, days at the beach and relatives long gone elicit everything from warmth to regret depending on the day. In scientific terms, the proteins involved in forming memory synapses only have a half-life of 14 days. This creates a ceaseless process of reincarnation instead of a fixed moment that is cemented into the architecture of the brain.
If neurons are so short-lived then how do we have long term memories? It is postulated that nostalgia or sentiment is due to a type of molecule called a Prion. Prions defy genetic biology by embracing indeterminancy and randomness and living by their own rules. In this way of life they accommodate both the plasiticity of experience and the concreteness of recollections, possessing details that mark memories to create "...a past that is at once perpetual and ephemeral."
The more I read the more I see the fundamental unpredictability of the world. To live in the present is not a platitude but a way of life. Nothing is permanent. Most systems are plastic. We have the capacity to change.
According to Proust: "The past is never past. As long as we are alive, our memories remain wonderfully volatile. In their mercurial mirror, we see ourselves."
So this year, following the example of the Prion, we'll make sure to remember to both HAVE our cake and EAT it too.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Check out the ingenuity that went into the creation of the "Cosmic Boogaloo". I've seen a young man riding this around the city. When I look at his things I wonder about who he is and what he does. Like why the wheelbarrow? Can you see the shopping cart? The crutch? Does he use these in his daily life? Is the wood structure an armature for future items to be attached to? Or just an aesthetic?
As different as it seems, it's traditional. The black milk crate up front references the old fashioned bike basket for instance. There's symmetry to the design with wheels placed for balance rather than purpose. And also practical, notice how items are privately stored under the tarp in the back trailer. Tucked away from public eyes as if in a private domicile.
It functions as a vehicle and storage unit at the same time. Is this an act of expression or of utility? I sense domesticity and order. Like the name suggests - a system of seemingly disparate parts that together work as a functioning whole.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Yesterday I visited Cushing-Martin Gallery at Stonehill College to photograph the state of my outdoor fiber sculpture Mushroomed. Mushroomed was installed late October 2011 for the show Stitched: Nature Constructed. It has tolerated a mild winter with a little snow cover, a very wet spring, and a summer with some very windy thunder storms, strong downpours and northeast winds. Yesterday, however, it was glowing in the warmth of a sunny July day.
It was striking how the aura of colors changes with the seasons. In the fall and winter, the monotone starkness of the leafless trees and crisp skies emphasize the unnatural colors of the sculpture. In the summer under the shade of a Maple in full bloom, everything had a softness to it. Some of the change in contrast may be due to a little fading of color of the wool and painted surfaces but when you look up close... the color was still strong, just lit through the filter of a strong green canopy.
Color still strong.
The wispy soft textures are most vulnerable to the weather... I'm loving the worn-in look with the surface showing a nice patina... so I left it alone.
Another area where I found the natural settling to be beautiful. I love how the pieces appear nestled in the organic matter at the base of the tree trunk.
From a distance the installation is overpowered by the bright light and green canopy of the tree in full bloom....
....As compared to this shot taken in December in different light and no leaves.
Monday, July 9, 2012
First Friday Celebrations in Portland Maine are free and spirited. There is a surprise around every corner. Anyone who reads my facebook posts will recall my sightings.
An unexpected find was the Museum of African Culture. One of their exhibits was of pottery and the collective energy of women working together in the creation of it. Here is an excerpt from the Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Some:
They are seated in a circle, and they chant until they are in some sort of ecstatic state, and it is from that place that they begin molding the clay. It is as if the knowledge of how to make pots is not in their brains, but in their collective energy. The product becomes an extension of the collective energy of the circle of women…..The product of work here, the pot, embodies the intimacy and wholeness experienced over the course of the day… They understand that it is necessary to reach a place of wholeness before they can bring something out.
A few hours later, and the purpose of my visit, I had the privilege to experience a 6-hour session with a collection of accomplished musicians, singers and songwriters from the area. Arranged in a circle in the instrument shop Acoustic Artisans, about 12 musicians took turns leading songs - swapping out instruments with each other as easily as changing a shirt. The synchronicity between them was like watching a school of fish change direction in a millisecond, with everyone in position, as if following a predetermined plan. The undetectable communication that comes from a place of intimacy and wholeness... almost as if making clay pots.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I've been keeping a photojournal of HIVE to document its growth each week - sort of like watching cells divide - and mirroring the natural accretion that happens in nature.
There'll be a brief post weekly of the work assembled from the chambers made at our meetings.
In total as of yesterday, July 2, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 18, 2012
June 25, 2012
Spotty meetings due to holiday and general summer fun! Will be back on track next week and would love to have you join us. If interested please contact me to be added to the email list.
In the meantime... you know what I'll be doing on the beach...
Hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day!
Monday, July 2, 2012
What a luxury and privilege to be able to take time to read. I'm currently infatuated with the writing of Jonah Lehrer and his book PROUST WAS A NEUROSCIENTIST. As a scientist, Lehrer makes connections between two cultures - art and science - presenting a few artists as the original thinkers of some contemporary scientific principles. I'm in the process of absorbing what I've read so far but here are a few quips from his prelude, and though taken out of context, they strongly resonate with me:
- The truth seemed to slowly accumulate, like dust.
- It is ironic but true; the one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know.
- Like a work of art, we exceed our materials.
Still pondering Walt Whitman and his prescient notion that our body and soul are emulsified into each other.... and George Elliot's refusal to limit her own transformations as compared to the human genome project. Next up, Escoffier, his veal stock and the essence of taste... yum!