Friday, February 28, 2014

Stephanie Metz - Practice

Dedicated Meat Source

Stephanie Metz is an artist who explores the idea of seemingly opposing qualities coexisting within one object. Her sculpting material of choice is wool, which she compacts into nearly solid freestanding forms through a precise and laborious process known as needle felting.  The medium is crucial to the content: felted wool can appear both hard and soft, fragile and robust, natural and manmade. Felted wool is often viewed through the lens of its traditional and historical uses in the realms of domesticity, craft, and industry; in Stephanie’s hands it is loaded with potential for physical manipulation and conceptual redefinition.

Stephanie received her BFA from the University of Oregon and now lives and works in San Jose, California. She was a 2009 featured artist in “Bay Area Currents” at ProArts Gallery, Oakland, and has exhibited at Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. Her numerous group exhibitions include Creatures: From Bigfoot to the Yeti Crab at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho, Formex Stockholm 2008, in Stockholm, Sweden, and Transmission:Experience at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore Gallery, Singapore. Metz was honored with two Center for Cultural Innovation Grants in 2011 and 2009. She has taught at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee.

March 12 - April 5, 2014
reception: Wednesday March 12, 6-8 pm
artist talk: Friday March 21, 7 pm
story slam: Monday March 31, 7 pm

Click here and here to learn more about Practice.
I will be introducing each of the six invited artists of Practice over the next couple of weeks leading up to the opening on March 12. Click here and here to read about Caleb Cole and Zsuzsanna Szegedi.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Zsuzsanna Szegedi - Practice

Zsuzsanna is a Hungarian born artist, working in multiple mediums, combining painting, video, photography and installation. Her previous exhibits include Absent | Present at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA and Trace with Me at the Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn NY. She is currently a visiting artist at Wellesley College.

From Zsuzsanna:
The works are part audience performance, part video and part hand-drawn imagery. I investigate contradictions within the creative process, the idea of “complete”, temporariness, mistakes and our performative relation to it all. The deconstructions – performed by the audience – become a reversed creation placing the attention on process instead of the product. By allowing the limits of the art to be pushed further than the “finish”, the status of “complete” becomes arbitrary.

Practice is exhibiting one of Zsuzsi's videos as well as one of her live drawings.

Her dynamic approach, questions about her process, and the making of art will be discussed even further at the artists talk on Friday, March 21 at 7 pm.

March 12 - April 5, 2014
reception: Wednesday March 12, 6-8 pm
artist talk: Friday March 21, 7 pm
story slam: Monday March 31, 7 pm

Click here and here to learn more about Practice.
I will be introducing each of the six invited artists of Practice over the next couple of weeks leading up to the opening on March 12. Click here to read about Caleb Cole.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Caleb Cole - Practice

Born in Indianapolis (1981), Caleb Cole is a former altar server, scout, and 4-H Grand Champion in Gift Wrapping. His mother instilled in him a love of garage sales and thrift stores, where he developed a fascination with the junk that people leave behind. Cole is a 2013 Hearst 8x10 Biennial Winner, 2013 and 2010 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Winner, 2011 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner, 2011 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Finalist, 2009 Artadia Award winner, and a 2009 Photolucida Critical Mass finalist. He has exhibited at a variety of national venues, including the deCordova Museum of Art (Lincoln, MA), David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University (Providence, RI), and Jenkins Johnson Gallery (NYC), among others. Cole was also featured in Boston Magazine (HOME) as an emerging photographer who is "shaking up New England's visual arts scene." He is represented locally by Gallery Kayafas.

As one of the featured artists of Practice, Caleb will be exhibiting works from his series Other Peoples Clothes as well as several of his Dolls.  The images in Other People’s Clothes reflect his curiosity about stepping into the shoes of other people and their lives. He meticulously constructs scenes with clothing, objects and locations that best convey an individual's personal moment in time and place. 

The Dolls series is about using a children's toy as a blank canvas. They are made in the image of himself and project ideas about gender, sexuality and identity. He will be sharing several of these sculptures in Practice.

March 12 - April 5, 2014
reception: Wednesday March 12, 6-8 pm
artist talk: Friday March 21, 7 pm
story slam: Monday March 31, 7 pm

Click here and here to learn more about Practice.
I will be introducing each of the six invited artists of Practice over the next couple of weeks leading up to the opening on March 12.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More Wax

And the fun continues...

Below is a 1-part silicone mold of a face.
Watch it develop as the wax cools.

Here it is out of the mold before being trimmed and
melted into the panel.

A collection of natural wax reliefs on 5x5 wood panels.

And what a mess I've made of my new space!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spring Workshops

March cannot come soon enough for many reasons. First, the weather, but mostly because I'll be teaching some interesting workshops this spring at Somerville Skillshare, The Eliot School in Jamaica Plain and Five Crows Gallery in Natick.

Build your own organic growth. Learn the technique of needlefelting with wool and a barbed needle. Create a 3-dimensional orb while exploring the unique qualities of this material and process. Includes demonstrations of advanced technique using experimental materials.

Saturday, March 1
10am - 3pm
$100.00, materials fee: 20.00

A demonstration on how to build a wooly organic growth! Learn the technique of needlefelting with wool and a barbed needle. Try your hand at creating an orb while exploring the unique qualities of this material and process. Look for me at 3pm in the Yoga Room!

Sunday, March 2
Center for Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave., Somerville 

Combine traditional crochet with unconventional materials, transforming fiber and raw materials into evocative sculptural constructions. Explore the anatomy of the stitch, its actions, character and dimensions, in the creation of forms and textured surfaces. Play with scale, using materials from wire to plastic to wool, and looking at work by fiber artists in the process. You will use adaptations of several different genres of crochet in this class.

Sundays, March 16 and 23
10am - 4pm
$160.00, materials fee: 20.00 

Create inventive jewelry by combining traditional technique with experimental materials. Use wire or fiber and objects of your own design. We'll cover knitting and crocheting with wire, incorporating finishes, assembly of pieces, felting, simple wirework and beading.

Wednesdays, April 2, 16, 30
10am - 1pm
$150.00, materials fee: 20.00

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pushing the Wax

Two wax casts from workshop at Encaustic Conference. Left is solid, right is hollow.
Last June I attended the 7th International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown and took the workshop Casting and Sculptural Wax. It's been on my mind ever since and I'm just now having time to explore this technique in the studio.

Given that my process involves the collection of units into larger wholes - this technique of being able to replicate a single object into multiples is a match made in heaven. It's been some time so I've had to find my notes, dust off some cobwebs and ask many questions of the very friendly staff at Reynolds Advanced Materials in Allston, but now am well on my way to testing my ideas.

Silicone molding material and porcelain doll head, in process of curing before adding top half of mold.
My first experiment is an old porcelain doll head. Here I've closed up the opening of the eyes with plasticene, positioned it in the housing and poured the bottom half of the mold. This happens to be  curing as we speak. When it solidifies I will pour the second half, cure it and then will start playing with making some hollow wax casts.

I've been sketching like crazy with fantasies of very large wax sculptures with embellished surfaces and expressive postures.... we'll see. Here are some experiments playing with rubber molds and other materials on wood panel:

A fun ice cube tray in the shape of false teeth.
Foam rubber positives and negatives on the top row. Ice cube tray casts on the bottom.
Bubble wrap placed in a pool of hot wax and then removed to leave inimitable texture.
And here are some of the surfaces I've been playing with:

More relief experiments but with pigment, bronze, and patina.

Tonight, I'm at home impatiently waiting out the storm so I can get back into the studio. There are so many applications for concept and practice that I sort of don't know where to begin - I love that feeling!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mouthing off

We are super honored to be hosting massmouth at the Nave Gallery Annex during my show Practice. massmouth is a nonprofit organization who promotes the timeless art of storytelling through social media, education and live performance. They conduct story slams throughout the Massachusetts community with competitions that culminate in a semi-final awards event in the spring.

A story slam is a competition based on the art of storytelling. Think of American Idol with narrative. Each event has a specific theme and participants' names are pulled from a hat. The stories are personal experiences that are presented without notes within the timespan of 5 minutes and then judged base on performance and content.

There is an art to storytelling. A system of organizing thoughts, words and presentation to convey a complete idea. It requires thought and practice to be able to focus and get it across. massmouth offers workshops and opportunities to help people to perfect their storytelling.

On Monday evening, March 31, a few signature members of massmouth, including the cofounder Norah Dooley, will perform their stories on the show's theme, Practice. Next, they will provide a fun and friendly how-to session on the art and craft of the story. Then the audience will be encouraged to try their hand at one of their own.

This is not a competitive event but an opportunity to see some amazing local talent, experience great entertainment, learn about the craft and try it out for yourself. There will be food and drink and all who share their story will receive a to fun gift for their efforts too.

Norah Dooley is an accomplished storyteller, author and educator. She has been presenting workshops and stories for people of all ages throughout New England and also in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix.

There is a suggested freewill donation of $5.00 to attend. All proceeds will go to StoriesLive®, one of the many storytelling programs that Norah and massmouth is involved with. In its fourth year, the StoresLive® program has introduced over 5,000 high school students from 15 Massachusetts high school to the art of 21st century storytelling and awarded over $17,000 in scholarship prizes.

This night has all the ingredients of a wonderful time and we hope to see you there.

massmouth Story Slam: Monday, March 31 at 7 pm 
Practice: art influenced by craft
exhibition dates: March 12 - April 5
reception: March 12, 6-8 pm
Nave Gallery Annex
Davis Square Somerville

Friday, February 7, 2014

Over and Under


 Over and Under: 
Weaving Together the Fabric of our Community

Today was the first of 6 community weaving events at Wheaton College in Norton MA. As part of a program sponsored by the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning, students are invited to participate in creating a collaborative tapestry. 

We constructed a scaffold weave in between two poles that measures approximately 6 x 16 ft. It will be moved around to several campus locations over the course of the 2014 spring semester. Instruction was provided on how to prepare the materials. Everything from flags, to athletic towels, to pinstripe was cut into strips and woven.

Today we occupied the Belfour-Hood Student Center. In the coming months we'll move to the Mars Center for Science and Technology among other places.

Accompanied by music and free candy, each person had a relaxed time sharing their uniqueness and learning about others. The event garnered a lot of attention as many stopped by on their way to class or coming from picking up their mail. Our next meeting will happen again at the student center on Tuesday evening, February 25 from 5-7 pm. This time there'll be free pizza too!

It's a great benefit to have an installation over an extended period of time like this. The project has the space to grow over the expanse of a couple of months more than it can in a single afternoon. Everyone left today with lots of plans for the next time. And student facilitators will be working with interested parties to teach them how to have their materials ready to go - more time for socializing!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I am curating a show for the Nave Gallery Annex in Davis Square Somerville. This space is quirky and intimate - a real gem with generous art spirit and support from the community.

This is a wonderful opportunity as well as a total indulgence. I get to think about what interests me and then engage in conversations about it with some pretty amazing artists. It is thrilling that everyone invited is able to participate, bringing their own special coolness to the project.

The show is called Practice and it is about making - the material, process, craft and commitment behind all genres of creation.

"PRACTICE explores artwork inspired by craft, and features highly skilled, process-oriented and conceptual works that require a high degree of proficiency and commitment - including drawing, photography, felting, installation, sculpture, performance, bookmaking and storytelling."

Wednesday, March 12; 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Nave Gallery Annex, 53 Chester St, Somerville, MA

Caleb ColeJodi Colella, Julie Kumar, Stephanie Metz, Amanda Nelsen, Zsusanna Szegedi, Hannah Verlin

I will be posting sneak peeks in the weeks leading up to the opening. Stay tuned!

Cell Signalling Technologies

Last Saturday I installed some work at Cell Signalling Technologies in Danvers. As a strong supporter of the arts, CST has an in-house art gallery where they display the work of two regional artists for 6-week periods on a rotating basis. I am exhibiting Feb. 1- March 28, 2014 with the photographer Estelle Disch.

As the facilitator and installer, Debra Olin helped me to get it all up. Since my work isn't the easiest or the fastest to install, we spent most of the day working on it.

The results are fantastic. The organic nature of the work is a good fit for a biotech company. The generous space and track lighting add the necessary dimension. Thanks to Debra, Carol and CST for this opportunity to exhibit. Looking forward to meeting everyone at the reception!

 Undercurrent shines. It's the first thing you see when entering office area from the foyer.

This version of Imprint is arranged using about a third of the tiles. A modular artwork that has the benefit of being easily adaptable to any space. 

An arm from Carnivale peeks out from the wrappers while waiting its turn.

Happy to have this long hallway between office areas to show off my photograph series Token Affections.

One Day is occupying its own cozy corner in reception.

We were so busy, I neglected to photograph Estelle's install. Her photographs are beautiful and colorful and you can see them here.

Cell Signalling Technologies
Feb. 1-March 28, 2014
Reception Feb. 20, 4-6pm

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day

I planted lots of seeds today. Not something one would consider viable in this weather but actually the conditions are perfect. I'm not sowing vegetables or flowers but activities. By being stranded a few times this snowy 2014, I've had the gift of time to ponder residencies, exhibitions and conceptual work.  In the quiet expanse of today alone I managed a couple of proposals to make it a total of 7 since the new year. Expectations are appropriately measured, but the work required to pull one of these babies together has many rewards besides the honor of acceptance. There's no better way to organize your thoughts than to make yourself write a coherent statement.