When I was a kid I drew. And painted. Everywhere. I am born to make things. Kinetic. Creator.
I never thought about where the objects I made would hang. Never cared if they sold. Those concepts never entered my mind. All my life I made art to make it—no choice–more like a compulsion. Last Thursday, I went to the NYC gallery where my painting is on display. Friends and family were with me and that made it more real for me that my work is hanging in NYC. I’ve heard others describe it as a dream they always wanted even from childhood. Odd that it never crossed my mind as being that important although I exhibited a few times in the 80’s because I was invited to do a small show.
Until a few years ago. I turned 49 and was on the upswing to 50 when I made a decision that I would exhibit again. I called it Aurora The Third Act. Aurora is goddess of the dawn and what a dawn this has been these 4 years. I am so pleased to be accepted into NAWA and have work in the annual exhibit. And pleased that I create work that brings pleasure to so many people. Although it can seem like it is about me, the artist, its not. Its about the viewer. You. Its about what you see and how you feel and where it leads you when you view the art I make. Together we make art an experience.
This photo is a picture of my tools and work in front of me. I work at a constant pace on paper and reserve my longer bits of time for larger paintings. The small work gets me through rough patches when time constraints are pushing me to and fro, or space is limited and I am on the go. Much like a knitter takes their work along, I take small paper drawings and pens. This work probably won’t end up in a gallery setting but I make it anyway. I use all my skills to create the best possible work at any given time or using any medium.
Lately, string is pulling me into hours of reverie, inventing images in my mind about what I might make with a crochet hook. I have a painting on an easel at home and one in the studio. Yet I don’t feel inspired to go to work on them. Summer was a series of trips and events that took me from home interspersed with the death of 4 people I know. Their passing has left me feeling very bereft and I think of them several times a day. I can’t see them again and have conversation or ask questions, smile with them, hold their hand. Mortality is rearing its head and I am interested in how that plays out in life and art. Life goes forward. So will the art.
Mailing my card today! I’ll be selecting from the cards I’ve already made and it might be one of the cards in the above photo. here you go Danny Nickerson! For those who wish to participate here is the speed version of Danny’s address. This was on channel 6ABC news and is legit.
The last few weeks I have been working incredibly long hours and the work is ready to go on display. Some watercolors and acrylics are to be on display at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Pa starting on Thursday July 18th, 6-9 pm. The exhibit will run through the end of September.
Sunday September 23rd was a gorgeous autumn day in Easton. The River Arts Festival at the Forks of the Delaware hosted the Philadelphia Funk Authority. The Sigal Museum has a quilt exhibit and it was my privilege to give a talk on Art Quilting: Stitches in Time, Then and Now. The Sigal Museum is a great resource with a collection of local artifacts and historical objects located at 344 Northampton Street in Easton, PA. Barb Kowitz is enthusiastic as director and is accompanied by a staff that is friendly and knowledgeable. Currently, they have an exhibit of quilts called Stitches in Time. Barb invited me to talk about my art quilts including my FrankenQuilt series. I work in several different mediums, art quilting represents approximately half of my work. Art quilting allows me the freedom to find a different voice as an artist. Most of my art quilts are whimsical and derived from dreams and fairytales. It was a pleasure to address an enthusiastic and attentive audience and discuss my work in the context of the history of American quilting. The exhibit provided a dynamic space to contrast contemporary art quilting against charming traditional quilts. Art Quilts represent a way for us to push forward with fabric, thread and stitching; yet honor those who worked to create practical objects that had rich tradition of being decorative using precious fabric. Another highlight of the day for me was to introduce my mother Bess and her influence in the sewing process. Among friends in the audience: art curator Lee Allison Vedder, Barbara Vedder, jewelry artist Susan Weaver, mixed media artist E. A. Kafkalas, and a rare appearance by artist, N. “Slope Eye” Carmichael. Another point of interest, is the Martha Salemme exhibit also located on the second floor. The exhibit was made possible by the Salemme Foundation, directed by my friend and fellow artist Joe Skrapits of Allentown, PA. Martha’s work is primarily watercolors; landscape and still life, but there are a few pencil sketches and should not be missed. Some pieces in the collection can be purchased and are well worth collecting. Martha’s work fits nicely into the context of the Easton arts scene as she and her husband and fellow artist Antonio Salemme were residents of Williams Township. Other fabric arts were on display at the River Arts Festival, where quite a few tents were setup by local artists, including painters, ceramic, and glass. My mother, her friend Jeanne and I had a late supper at Sette Luna on 2nd Street in Easton. As always, the food was superb and the espresso and dessert rounded off a lovely day.
A friend and poet Ishmael Street performed this piece at http://www.thebrewworks.com/allentown-brewworks/ Ishmael, thank you for sharing your words and intellect with us. The night was an ending to a day I don’t want to relive–but hearing your voice speak those words changed how I see the world. Ishmael – I put this piece up for you in return for your generosity. It is a watercolor I painted called Baroque Love.
UNTITLED by Ishmael Street
Do you know your worth? Are you an Earthly Queen or Eternal Goddess? See a Goddess knows she more worthy than The sun and moon She is never subdue She is worth everything She is the universe and the stars Are her children Love is she and she is the supplier of Unlimited love She is never alone She is exist for eternity Do you know your worth? Are you an Earthly Queen or Eternal Goddess? A queen know she is royalty, knows she should be Treated as royalty She holds this title of queen at birth Her worth is determined by how she treats others She knows can’t make everyone happy but She must rely on others for the longevity in her Kingdom She holds power in her own kingdom and she may Reign over her kingdom for only a short while Do you know your worth? Are you an Earthly Queen or Eternal Goddess? Maybe Neither Maybe just a child of God Needing a label a crown to define your Worth told by others who looks into a broken Mirror every morning calling it Self esteem So let your light shine Liberate from your fear Revolt against your insecurities Then your presence will liberate others.
A conceptual art group is being let loose shortly in Allentown, PA – the New Bridge Group. NBG has arisen out of the need to bridge artists and community together.
Allentown and the surrounding area have generated groups of artists and like all groups they go through changes. In 2008, The Chen Arts group was started to provide a place for local visual and performing artists to meet, network and collaborate. The intention was to have open group shows. For a time that worked—artists drifted in and out. In autumn of 2011 a buzz was heard about the future of Chen—changing from the unstructured open format to a more structured organization. In the meantime, the city embraced some serious structural changes and altered the landscape to provide for an arena and remove some older buildings—one is the House of Chen restaurant where Chen Arts group based its name.
Members E.A. Kafkalas and Alison Bessesdotter of the Chen Arts group ran head-long one winter evening into a local sculptor Steven Condra. Alison and E.A. invited Steven to exhibit with the Metamorphosis show. They explained that the next Chen show would be themed Bridges Outside the Box, representing a change that was needed to start a new movement in town. Steven was intrigued—because he had also formed an idea about bridging artists together—snapping together the free thinking 20th century German expressionists with a modern twist called The New Bridge Group. Synchronicity was in full force; it was the mash-up of their concepts about building bridges between artists and the community. The intent would be to create and maintain a vibrant and productive artist group in Allentown with a tribal feel. When asked what that means, Alison explains that the tribal concept is about creating genuine relationships with true freedom of information, and a future of limitless potential bound only by their imagination. Audacious—it may well be, but the New Bridge Group/Chen Arts wants to change the world view of art and the relationship to earth and community. Alison says “The time is right for this, the core is in place and the only thing we need more of is you.”
The 2012 Metamorphosis show was organized by E.A. Kafkalas who is quick to explain, “the success of the Metamorphosis show was truly an effort of everyone involved in the production—it was not the effort of one person.” The show opened with the sale of 9 pieces of work from a diverse group of artists at the 2 week event in January 2012.
Today The New Bridge Group/Chen Arts are planning the next show Bridges Outside the Box. The show runs from May 27th through June 10th at the community room of the Allentown Art Museum. For information on becoming a member or just to see what all the fuss is about, see the NBGArtists Facebook page or http://www.nbgartists.org/ to find our next event.
On Valentine’s Day 2011 – Mom and I went to a party at the Salemme Foundation in Allentown, PA. Barnaby Ruhe was there and did our portraits. Barnaby did something mom and I really liked. He painted some illustration board on one side, and collaged some photos into the painting, then cut the board into random size pieces. When guests arrived at the party they could select a piece of board and Barnaby would do a portrait. Mom and I both did that, she chose a photo of Robert Rauschenberg and I chose a photo of a shark. I was feeling pretty sharky about then.
We have them setup on the bar near the front door and enjoy them as we enter the house.
Anyway, I just got them scanned and here they are:
My friend Kate Hughes, a myriad of talent and amazing woman is a cast member and asked me to donate a piece of artwork for a Silent Auction for the cause. This cause is particularly dear to my heart and I am really thrilled to help out. I also assisted as a volunteer for the show setup and to take tickets. So….drumroll…if you are attending one of the shows, Please visit the gallery for the silent auction and BID on this colorful and very detailed watercolor!
The piece I donated is 7″ x 10″ and pictured below: