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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Ask Again, What Is Art?

After a recent visit to MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC with my husband and daughter Shasta, the art student, we had some lively discussions again about art. Some of what we saw was truly intended to push the envelope to challenge the question. And yet "Modern Art" is now a part of history, and I am told we are now in the "Post Modern Art" period. Minimalism sticks its tongue out at you and the artist seems to say "I am an artist and I declare this stick to be art". And Pollack's splatter paintings are more about process than result. Ordinary things of good design were grouped by a curator as a "show". Are we fools to accept art of this genre? Or are we neanderthals not to? It makes the artist/curator all powerful to make the declaration of what is art.
Here is my completed piece shown previously as a computer generated design. I saw the original Picasso at MoMA which influenced my recent creation, "Girl in a Mirror - Transformation". It was awesome to see it and all the wonderful work by the early 20th century artists.

I am in a quest to rise above craft to art. It is more of a struggle for me than the minimalists. But I keep on plugging along. I have made a commitment to myself now to complete 10 artistic pieces before March 27th to apply for a show. I have finished 6, working on the 7th, and 3 more to go. Above is "Grounded in Nature".

I really like this one, called "Keep your Focus". It represents my personal dreams and utilizes some nice glass painting, which I am really loving.

See my web site blog for some other recent work.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gallery Openings & Inspiration

Artists are a community. We try to suck up enthusiasm, camaraderie and nerve from each other. On Saturday I attended the openings of 2 Allentown Art Guild members. One was in Bordentown and the other in Asbury Park.

Let me back track a little. On Wednesday night I met Sandy Sandy (yes, that's her name) in Medford at the Chairville School Community Art Show where we were both exhibiting work for the main purpose of teaching and inspiring the children (grades K - 5). Her illustrative style work incorporates soft flowing watercolors with nature and animals. She encouraged me to use all the internet net working that is available including Facebook, blogs, and web sites. She maintains a huge list of such venues.

I had already made plans to have dinner Saturday in Bordentown City with an old high school friend (who lives in Va.) at Oliver A Bistro. Afterwards I went to the Artful Deposit Gallery, to see a group show which included the work of my friend Ericka O'Rourke, She had a series of small winter landscapes skillfully executed with a loose brush stroke style and photographs. The town was hopping and the gallery was packed. It was good to see my friend CJ, the gallery owner, whose gallery began in Allentown in the '80's, and who was the previous tenant of my space, Off the Wall Craft Gallery, at the old mill in Allentown.

Then after a quick stop in Allentown to pick up my husband, Bill, we were off to the Mattison Gallery in Asbury Park. What a wonderful solo show we saw of the paintings of Jude Harzer Her subject matter includes children in most of her work with interesting blocks of space, quilt like, with symbolic elements of flying like feathers, birds, wind, and so much more. Some of the pieces were very large and varied with mixed media, metal strips, and more. There was also some amazing stained glass art displayed in the gallery by Ted Ricchiuti, His craftsmanship is superb and his graphics and painted glass techniques amazing. I am reminded that I have a lot to learn. I should try to find out if Ted teaches. It was First Saturday in Asbury Park, and with the weather so warm, the town was full of people and everything was open. I chanced upon a shop in an old arcade building where Anthony Primo, was selling his own art glass - fused, slumped, lamp worked, supplemented with some other quality pieces, mostly glass. After some coffee and a walk on the boardwalk near The Stone Pony, where Bruce Springsteen got his start, we headed home.

Being with other artists, encouraging each other, sharing concerns and technical tips is so inspiring. Marketing work is a real challenge. The topic of making art from the soul versus making art that people will want to buy is an age old question. I believe if you stay true to yourself, success will follow. Vincent Van Gogh may disagree or maybe not?!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

What is Art?

This morning I awoke with the age old question in my head. Based on a lengthy conversation with my daughter Shasta, the art student, working on her final projects for her BFA in painting, and being schooled by professional artists showing in the Chelsea district in NYC, she spared me nothing. After viewing my computer generated rough design, she really wanted me to think a lot about color, design, and INTENT! Now that last word holds the key between the decorative and art. As a glass maker (crafter...fabricator...artist) we as a group have mostly held the job to please clients with a vision of something beautiful and meaningful TO THEM!

But I am embarking (in my spare time between custom work and saleable pretty shop pieces) on using the media in a different way - to express something: personal - with good balance and movement, using color to express importance, flow and focus. Art just being something pretty and aesthetically pleasing is not the bottom line. I went on-line to some galleries in Chelsea and saw that the "artist statement" is an important and integral part of each artist's collection. Then I went on-line to see what my fellow flat glass "artists" were doing and presenting. As a group, we are not recognised as artists in the art scene, except for a few whose works are shown at galleries that specialize in glass art, such as Hawk Galleries in Columbus, Ohio, where my family had the chance opportunity to see a Dale Chihuly Show . Maybe it is partly because we mix art with craft to pay the bills. Paul Stankard is recognized for his amazing finely detailed paper weights, and also owns a studio in South Jersey where he and his daughters make limited editions. There are definitely glass artists in hot glass , but even Chihuly does art that is "decorative" such as the "chandeliers". The American Glass movement is still evolving as art.

The sketch above is about transformation. The face is now painted with 5 cut pieces. It represents reinvention and the mirror is not reflection but rather seeing yourself in a different way. It is obviously inspired by (1) the classic Picasso, (2) a tiny hand mirror I did in the '8Os, and (3) the outside shape from the S curves in my brain merging with the shape of a wall mirror in the Marlton, NJ Starbucks. Let's see where it goes completed.

The 10 works that I have commited myself to make are likely to show an evolution in style from the first to the last, and will be hindered by the speed in which they will be done, my newness to warm glass techniques, and my newness in thinking like