Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Self Portrait among Many: "Mirror Frame 1" from 2010

I entered this piece into an Open Call for Self Portraits by Bregje van der Laar at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands. If you have some time, it is strangely addictive & highly interesting to browse people's self portraits.....
Click here to read my notes on this piece:      ...then go to "Overzicht" at the top, or go to "Media kunstwerken" on the right to browse categories (use your English or German to guess at the Dutch).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Artist Statement" January 2013 - or Why I Make Art

I like to surround myself with physical objects that tie me in with the past - my personal past, humanity’s past - and through the past, make me feel a part of eternal time & space that stretch in every which direction. Underlying my desire, I’m sure there is a good degree of pure & simple fear of death.

In my house are stones & sea shells; my grandmother’s clay figures; my grandfather’s painted landscapes that look like they could have been painted anytime between 1880 and the present; my other grandmother’s creations as a talented dressmaker; my other grandfather’s publishing company’s books; my artist mother’s beautiful drawings of children; my architect/inventor father’s accretions grown in collaboration with the sea; my artist partner’s wonderful creations; and my son’s watercolors & drawings that never fail to astound me.

And so I try to add to the steady stream of beautiful things made by humans for humans, that make this short life more rich, sensual, and thoughtful. However short-lived these physical objects, too, may be in the grand scheme of Nature, they help us consciously experience the here and now, by pointing to the past as well as into the future. They are as unique as living creatures are, with a fragile life of their own that will one day end.

I like to use materials that, through their very existence, help me feel a connection, like stones and beautiful fabrics. (Upholstery fabrics in particular remind me of a professional upholsterer who worked in the same building as I in 1990s New York City. He in turn reminded me of my dressmaker grandmother: a professional working precisely yet fluently with fabric, needle & thread. He died, still working in his studio, at age 86. His heirs offered me his scraps & roles of upholstery fabrics, which I still use in my artwork today.) I feel connected to humanity through working with my hands. Humans have always worked with their hands. My hands are the interface between my mind and the materials I touch, feel, manipulate and shape.

With regards to content, I am especially interested in Empathy; here, again, is the theme of connection. Though within our more or less self-contained physical bodies, we are separated from each other for the duration of our individual biological lives, we are nonetheless linked together via many factors. One of these is Empathy. I like to observe how it figures in our life arrangements with humans, and with other animals. I like to think about what Empathy might mean for our universe, and for our understanding of it and its many diverse life forms; for our spirituality, and for what our concept of “God” might be; and for just plain making our everyday more enjoyable. I hope that something of these thoughts, and the possibilities they present, is reflected in the Wall Dolls, objects, paintings, drawings & collages that I make.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monthly Art: January 2013

Legs with Purple Socks SOLD
Polymer clay, acrylic.
2 5/8" high x 4" wide x 4 1/4" deep.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Your Child & Your Art

 You know how people with small children just kind of disappear from your life, if you’re lucky only for a few years? Well, of course I know now why this is so. A small child (or several small children!) takes so much energy…if you have only small financial resources; no parents around to help via free & mutually beneficial babysitting; and want to do it right. Even with money and family handy, it ain’t easy.

And then, if you’re an artist of some kind, you need time & space to devote to your art: physical time & space, and mental time & space. To carve out even minute crumbs of this elusive time & space becomes a huge challenge. You sacrifice other areas of your “adult” life – maybe socializing, going out, email correspondence; maybe keeping a clean house, advancing in whatever other career you may have, or making things like scarves or cabinets. You don’t regret it, your wonderful child is worth every bit of it. And yes, your child gives you BACK a different kind of energy…warmth, love, a more relaxed attitude, feeling part of a larger cycle; the confidence that you can do ANYTHING if you really have to, for that child. Your child makes you LEARN, and there is nothing better than learning. But, in all honesty: it remains difficult, the realization that your OTHER child, Art, has had to make way for your physical child. Now, nothing is forever, and the rhythm you’re in will surely change again…hold tight to the thought.

Another challenge living with a small child poses to any artist is the repeated, constant realization that whatever that child makes – art, music, dance – is so DAMN GREAT, it is BETTER than anything you could make. Unencumbered, sure-footed, beautiful & perfect every time. The famous Picasso observations “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” & “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” are so very true. Hopper rubs it in my face daily. And I’m so glad he does! When I am worn out by juggling work, childcare, trying to create a better life, retaining a semblance of a social life, and trying to keep up my art & music, THAT CHILD with his magnificent freedom of expression & creation reminds me that Art never fails to add magical sparks to life. It does not matter whether that magic is put there by me, him, or entirely other people of the past, present or future: what counts is that the Magic is HERE.