Tuesday, November 26, 2013

65 degrees

I'm honored to be a participant of this encaustic show at Nave Gallery Annex in Davis Square. I am in amazing company with 19 other wonderful encaustic artists.

This show enabled me to expand on the INDEX installation. The curator, Leika Akiyama, asked if INDEX was available and when it wasn't we set to task on a smaller adaptation.

INDEX is currently installed at Wheaton College in the show THE ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE. It consists of 198 objects and encaustic tiles arranged in a formal grid and numbered to correspond to a library card catalog. The installation planned for 65˙ will have 80-100 additional objects and encaustic tiles that will pick up and continue from number 199. They will also be arranged in a grid and have corresponding cards in a small file box. The name of this installation will be APPENDIX

INDEX at Wheaton College, The Order of the Universe

Both APPENDIX and INDEX are arrays of everyday items loaded with accumulated experiences and associations. Arranged in a grid, there's a level of seriousness and order, with chronologically numbered panels and a corresponding card catalog of definitions. These same panels are paired with random phrases from a Victorian word game, placed to puzzle us and throw all meanings into flux - the actual, the perceived and the ridiculous - they reconfigure context and set the stage for new relationships.

I'm looking forward to this exhibition and reception. The installation will be unique to this very intimate space. It's always great to meet new artists and view beautiful art. Here there will be opportunities for all of the above.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Life is an installation... well, lets say I can't keep myself from making art from what's around me. It can be tiresome for some of the people in my life, or lots of fun. This weekend was FUN. Facing a studio move with numerous decisions about what to take and what to leave behind, I am reminded of the agency of things. Purging can be cleansing. Letting go of obsolete materials and clinging to the precious produce datapoints that help define the who/what/why of the new you, in the new place. It can be painful and awkward but most definitely is exhausting.

So, let's make a game out of it. Let's see if interacting with others about their desires can give me the necessary energy and motivation to organize mine.  It couldn't have been better timing because my last weekend at Joy Street happened to be Open Studios with an instant audience of potential participants. In order to play, one needed to enter my studio to say hi and then receive a strip of red dots to vote with. My ulterior motive was the hope that they take away some yard sale items while they were at it, and thus lighten my load.

Red dots are a loaded symbol to all practicing artists. They signify a sale or transaction. In this case a friendly hello is all that was required in exchange for a chance to express oneself. A book was provided for those who couldn't find what they were looking for from the offerings. As of last night there were many new entries that will be filed away for the future.

This was the perfect environment for the double entendre - artists WANTing to sell, art admirers WANTing to own - and sometimes the interaction would actually happen, resulting in a big fat juicy red dot! I WANT also made space for metaphor by reflecting in a small way what people are looking for - both the material and the sublime.

The options provided were collected from casual surveys of colleagues, friends and family. I WANTed to make sure there was more than one perspective represented. I was pleased to see how much time everyone spent thinking about what they WANTed and I witnessed many intense discussions about everything from vegetarianism to what it means to teleport.

The energy that happened outside my door the entire weekend reinforces what I believe - that people crave connection. Thanks to everyone who played with me, I am totally energized and ready to move.

Here's where I'm going:
Miller Street Studios
11 Miller Street

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Last Thursday I attended a talk by Janine Antoni. It goes without saying that her work is genius. She has no inhibitions around expressing with her body, what it is to be human.  Her installations are incredibly approachable and accessible in concept. She gets to the absolute essence of what she's saying in both performance and medium. I'm in awe of her thought process and perspective on life. She is also a very approachable speaker and teacher. As the visiting artist at B.U.'s School of Fine Arts, Janine is also teaching some workshops to the students. Boy, what I would give to be a part of that experience!

She led us through a timeline of her work beginning from graduate school at RISD where she established her theme about separation. Below is a work about separation that takes you through the stages of breast to prepackaged bottle nipples.

Then her amazing forays into chocolate and soap with Lick and Lather and Gnaw where she uses her mouth and the activity of eating or chewing to carve two 600 lb cubes, one made of chocolate, the other of lard, then used the chewed out bits to create chocolate boxes and lipstick tubes, which she then displayed in a mock store front.

More body art with drawings made from eyelashes and mascara in butterfly kisses, cover girl thick lash mascara, 1996-1999

Her process is labor intensive, methodical and transcending. It was interesting to hear about how people are always trying to make it easier for her by offering suggestions for shortening her process. She explains how living through the long process is vital to her experience. That she wants to change as much as the object changes and that the experience informs her for her next work.

Janine spoke often of her daughter who is now nine years old. As someone who is so self-aware and prolific about commenting on the day-to-day experience of who she is, being a mother provides her with a ton of material. One of her fascinations is how babies put everything in their mouths without any reference to what the object is used for. This is their way of learning about the world (and often Janine's too). She wants to remember these early primal and visceral relationships - especially in light of the indirectness of experience that is happening in contemporary society.

She also talked about the triangular dimension of her life - being placed in the center between her mother and her daughter. She is honest about her dread for the inevitable losses that come with aging and the loss of aging parents. I can't wait to see how she translates these ideas. Her approach is so intimate and personable, it's easy to feel like you're one of her close friends, even though the closest I really got to her was 10 rows from the stage.

I'd like to close with one of my favorites...

JA: What if the apparatus for peeing while standing up was a gargoyle? And what if I actually cast this apparatus as a sculpture and used it to pee off of a landmark building in New York City? Gargoyles fascinate me, not only as hellish creatures but because they signify the mythical, shadow side of our psyche. There’s no consensus on the source of their grotesque configuration. They are functional, though, designed to disguise a funneling system that reroutes rainwater away from a building. I chose to sculpt a griffin gargoyle, which is a hybrid—a mythical composite of different animals. It occurred to me that to use my invented apparatus was to make myself into a hybrid, because as a woman my anatomy doesn’t enable me to pee standing up. See more of this interview here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Out with a Bang!

I'm long overdue in writing about the End of Season Bonfire event at Fruitlands. We had a marvelous time and the bonfire exceeded all of our expectations. There's a complete album of the event here and here.

It was a true collaborative event beginning with the generous assistance of the Fruitlands Facilities crew and Mike Volmar the chief curator. I also had help from Marketing Director Mary Delaney, her son Lawrence and Wayne, on day of, with the addition of many more layers of wrapping. Lots of giggling by all of us as we maneuvered large balls of fiber around an approximately 12x14 foot bundle that was  sitting on a hill... get the picture? It just goes to prove that anything is possible when we all work together.

More collaborating that evening – The audience was asked to write down offerings, or things they wanted to let go of, onto slips of paper that they tucked into the bundle before the lighting. Everyone totally embraced this idea and you could see a lot of thought invested into each and every offering. All ages could identify with the transformation of the fire and of the ritual.

The S'mores were a big hit with well organized bags of ingredients available for anyone who wanted to toast their own. And the sun offered us up another beautiful setting as well.

The Drummers des Lookie Lookie ushered us into the night with their magical percussion. The rhythms grounded the event, creating a audible center for everyone to gather while waiting for the big moment of lighting the fire.

And then the moment arrived for Mike to strategically light the bundle from a point within the base. The fire spread slowly and powerfully at first before it shot up to heights of about 50 feet or more. Many camera phones were present to document it.

The fire department is close by to contain and extinguish at the end of the evening.

I too made my offerings to the fire by saying my farewell to a meaningful and productive year as the 2013 Artist-in-Residence at Fruitlands Museum. It's been an amazing time of learning, working and making new friends. I look forward to many more connections with the museum staff and public in the future.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bonfire at Fruitlands Museum

In Native American culture the fire ceremony symbolizes a transformation from the old to the new. With my residency coming to an end, I’m excited to be able to celebrate the completion of my year at Fruitlands Museum with this event. My final installation at the Fruitlands is a large wood and fiber sculpture that we will set ablaze as the sun sets in the Nashua River Valley. Participants will have the opportunity to offer up their own messages, letting go of the old or welcoming the new with inscriptions on paper and twigs tucked into the sculpture. Drummers de Lookie Lookie, a latin percussion group, will usher in the night when we light the sculpture to send our messages towards the heavens. 
Saturday, November 2, 2013
5:30-8 pm
5:30-6p   Write up messages and add to the fire.
6 p          Lighting of fire
Free Event
And while you’re out here… make time to attend the Craft Beer Tasting event at 4 pm. Click here for tickets.

Rick Barry, Ken Winokur and Vicente Lebron collectively bring well over a century of drumming experience in every style, from Afro-Caribbean and rock to ska to film soundtrack music. They have been key members of bands including the Alloy Orchestra, Bim Skala Bim and the Either/Orchestra, and together now power Lookie Lookie, a band reviving Latin Bugalu, a crossover style from the Groovy 1960s.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Order of the Universe

INDEX installed at Beard & Weil Galleries, Wheaton College

Installations evolve each time they exhibit and INDEX is no exception. This iteration includes 25 more objects for a total of 198 with 35 of them being new for this show. They are hung closer together and tower feet over the heads of viewers. This arrangement creates an immersive environment that wraps around the viewer's space when they are standing in front of it. I like it, and will push the size and number even more in the future. 
This version's additions include a Betta fish, microscope, baby doll head, balloon, pez container, embroidery hoop, monarch butterfly, bubblewrap etc etc. The tags aren't always within reading distance but the point is made with those that are. The students seem to be having fun playing with order/disorder and the powers of association.

Just down the hall from INDEX sits YARNS in its celestial glow... video running on tablet to the left to give context: 
Yarns is made from skeins of yarn that were forgotten about for decades and found in an attic. Winding from the core out with color on color, almost as performance art until as large as a celestial body. A tribute to the life work of Colella’s mother, Yarns records a shared visual language and serves as an icon for disclosure, loss and consolidation.

And 3 more additions to the IMPOSTERS, an asian spoon, clothespin and flat head screwdriver (not shown).

I'm honored to be in the company of Marina Zurkow, Andi Sutton and Julie Kumar. Here's a sample of their work in this exhibit:

Crossing multiple disciplines with her practice, Marina Zurkow (NY) builds animations and participatory environments that are centered on humans and their relationship to animals, plants and the weather. Engaging audiences using film and video, sculpture, print graphics and public interventions, Zurkow’s work is by turns humorous and contemplative.

Andi Sutton is a Boston-based artist whose practice explores the ways that performance art methodology can create new models for community development and social engagement.  Sutton’s Gardens of the Future: Conversation in Memorial is a room-size installation that invites visitors to enter and contemplate questions about extinction, human impact on the environment, categorization, and more.

Julie Kumar’s (NY) work explores systems, rule structures, and self-organization. She creates compositions in time with computer programs, builds immersive environments that are activated by projected light, and intervenes on materials that erode, drip, melt, evaporate, break apart, or float away. She continuously structures and re-structures systems to allow unforeseen experiences to reveal complex underpinnings behind phenomena and new perceptions of the material world.

October 16-December 13, 2013
Beard & Weil Galleries
Watson Fine Arts, Wheaton College

Artist Talk by Andi Sutton - Nov. 5, 6:30 pm
Artist Talk by Marina Zurkow - Nov. 18, 6:30 pm

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Status Report


is an outdoor installation at Fruitlands Museum that consists of a large bronze 3D assemblage and 16 bronze fiber balls. It was installed on September 27 and has been exposed to the weather for almost a month. When I visited 10 days ago, the verdigris patina surface color had intensified due to the rainy weather that increased the oxidation of the metal finish. 

I love having this opportunity to test out my trompe l'oeil castings. The museum public is convinced that these are bronze statues. A trick of perception by memorializing the actual things with paint, wax and patina; rather than an indirect representation of them as if they were cast from traditional bronze. It gives an imagined weight to the agency of the everyday object.


Tomorrow I'll be back at Fruitlands for the HIVE finale. My residency is drawing to a close. It's been a very prolific and rewarding experience but we're not through yet. On November 2 from 5-8 there will be a big bonfire event with an interactive activity and three amazing percussionists to accompany us. I will post more about this soon.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Germinating the Universe

One of the perks of what I do is that I have opportunities to meet people who are thinking about, and realizing some very innovative projects.
These two shows are no exception. I cannot wait for the receptions and artist talks to learn even more.  I am honored to be a participant in each of these new and exciting exhibitions.



Six Artists at Gaining GroundMonika Andersson, Liz Awalt, Jodi Colella, Ilana Manolson, Sarah Purgus, Kathleen Volp

Gaining Ground is an organic farm in Concord, Massachusetts that grows produce and gives it away, for free, to local hunger relief agencies. Six artists, inspired by the beauty of the farm and its mission, will show paintings, photographs and sculpture. At least 20% of all sales will be donated to Gaining Ground.

Exhibition Dates: October 1–31
Reception: Thursday, October 10, 5:30–7:30 pm

Concord Public Library
129 Main Street, Concord, MA


Artists Employ Scientific Classification  

Order of the Universe is the second in a series of four exhibitions at Beard & Weil Galleries exploring connections between science and art, this one focused on the classification systems and taxonomies both artists and scientists often use in their work.  Order of the Universe will open on October 17 and will feature the work of four artists: Marina Zurkow, Andi Sutton, Julie Kumar, and Jodi Colella. The exhibition will include sculpture, installation, video, printmaking, and more. 

Exhibition Dates: October 17-December 13
Reception: Thursday, October 17, 6–8 pm

Artist's Slide Talk by Andi Sutton
Tues., November 5 at 6:30
Ellison Lecture hall, Watson Fine Arts

Artist's Slide Talk by Marina Zurkow
Mon., November 18 at 6:30
Ellison Lecture hall, Watson Fine Arts 

Beard & Weil Galleries

Friday, October 4, 2013


As part of my residency at Fruitlands Museum, and a continuation on the themes of material culture and identity, I recently installed a new work called RELIQUARY (aka a holder of relics). Included in the installation are a new bronze assemblage inspired by more of my mom's belongings plus 16 bronzed balls of fiber and yarn. These wrapped bronzes not only identify with one of the icons, YARNS, from my show last summer, THE NOBILITY OF THINGS...  they also express ideas around secrecy, oppression, disclosure, possession and consolidation.

The bronze and patina blend quietly with the natural textures of the pine tree - making connections  between the manufactured, the natural and the complex relationships formed with the objects in our lives.

Herringbone pants and a sweater embracing possessions that include a television, yarn, dolls, doll furniture, kitchen utensils, bedroom curtains with pom poms etc. An almost figurative composition that abstracts the feelings around a search for fulfillment.

The bronzing is a what I like to playfully call a 'forgery'. These are not molded, cast and bronzed, but actual objects that are assembled, sealed to appear as if cast from a mold and then painted with paint that contains actual bronze chips. It is a several step process that involves the application of a patina and finally a wax finish.

It appears as if it is a real bronze statue and even though the final surface is very firm, the fabric will give under pressure if you poke at it. I love the trick of perception with the material and concept - portraying itself as a memorial statue of a particular place and time - but very much in the present tense.

Again, I'm indebted to all the assistance and support of everyone at Fruitlands to make this happen. Mike Volmar, the chief curator, was a real sport and climbed huge heights in the tree to attach the large balls. I would also like to thank Gary, Tim and Mary.

Please check it out during your next visit. We're meeting for HIVE on October 10 and 14. Plus there will be a large bonfire and interactive event on November 2... stay tuned for details.