Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Busy Day of Arting

I spent the day today on the other side of the brush - looking at art. For some reason I wasn't thinking about blogging as I usually do and taking pictures of everything in sight. Instead I was into either full-on looking or chatting up a storm with friends I ran into.

Gregory Wright: Tidal Dance, diptych, 36"H x 42"W, encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birch, 2009. This painting is one of my favorites in the show.

First stop was Greg Wright's opening at Regis College in Weston. His show, "Microcosm/Macrocosm? - a Fantastic Journey," will be up until December 12th.. Greg is giving an artist's talk in the gallery on December 4th, see the link for details.

Since I didn't take pictures at the show, I tried to take some from Greg's website but they came through as low-resolution - too blurry and pixilated to make a good representation of his work.. Instead I'm using some images that I had on file from a previous post about Greg. The actual paintings are mind-boggling and there were 25 to 30 pieces in the show - a lot of work. When you see how detailed each painting is, you will appreciate that the show represents a tremendous investment of time and energy.

Effervescent Ascension, 36"H x 30"W x 2.5"D, encaustic, oil, pigment, shellac on birch, 2010 

I have written about Greg's work here (and here) before and his true mastery of unusual effects with encaustic and added materials such as pigment and shellac. Greg says that Microcosm/Macrocosm is "inspired by topographical formations and movement" in which he seeks to "define the connectivity that exists between the cosmos, the terrestrial and the cellular from different points of view."

Refuge From Overcrowding, 48"H x 30" W, encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birch, 2010   

Reaching for a Certain Outcome, 36"H x 30"W x 2.5"D, encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birch, 2010

Several of us agreed that "Reaching for a Certain Outcome" was an outstanding painting that manages to offset the tendency of yellow/gold to come forward visually. Greg has been able to create the illusion of deep space despite the color. The contrast between the yellows and the darker edges that are achieved by burning shellac is really lovely in person.

Entwined by the Tempest Along the Way, 48"H x 30"W, encaustic, oil, pigment and shellac on birch, 2010

This one is an unusual painting for Greg, I think. It's darker and less complex than many of his works but I find it very intriguing because of the darkness. 

Congratulations to Greg for a great show!

Chatting, Always Chatting
It's so nice to run into friends at an opening and catch up with what they're doing. I had a great time talking with Lynette Haggard, Linda Cordner, Kathleen Austin and Jeanne Griffin at Greg's opening. I only intended to stay for a few minutes, but I was there a couple of hours hearing what was happening with their work and lives. I'm excited to hear that Lynette is now working more sculpturally and I'm looking forward to seeing what she's doing. We had a two-person show together last year and it was a good experience for us both. Going through all that work getting organized and then gallery sitting for hours at a time brought us closer together. It's nice to share that art connection.

Blossom, a piece by Lynette Haggard that was recently shown at the Danforth Museum

Ted Larsen at the Clark Gallery
When I finally dragged myself out of Greg's opening, I was headed off to Concord but stopped along the way to see Ted Larsen's work at the Clark Gallery. I had seen his work before online and in Lynette's blog but never in person. He is a Santa Fe artist who works with pieces of found automotive metal that he assembles into sculpture. His work is really lovely - very minimal but with the surface of found objects that have spent time in the world. I think it has a connection with my Running Stitch pieces but my work is softer and more intricate.

Ted Larsen: Eye Dazzler Variant I, automotive metal and annealed wire, 60" x 70", 2008. This piece was not at the Clark, but he had another Eye Dazzler that was a red and yellow quilt-type work around this same size. I loved it.

Rivet, automotive metal, 5.5" x 5", 2008

I tried to add another image but Blogger was just not cooperating. Anyway, most of the works in the show were of the small, sculptural type like the white piece above. There were only two of the larger quilt-type pieces to which I was drawn. Larsen seems to be working flatter now. His new work looks a bit different from either of the pieces pictured here. Check out his website and you'll see.

I really appreciated his statement:

The works I create supply commentary on minimalist belief systems and the ultimate importance of High Art practice. An artist's work usually adheres to the construct of a cohesive direction with the work illustrating a single theme or underscoring a didactic agenda. But such a logical order has no specific place in my studio practice. 

Introducing salvage materials to my own formally driven abstract sculpture, I hope to bring purist shapes and surfaces back down to earth. I quest for new materials, "non-art materials" to create my work. I am constructing assemblages of detritus in order to re-purpose the materials and re-identify their meanings: to re-contextualize and re-label the idea of Ready-mades. It is my on-going experimentation with contexts, hybrids, and scale.

The works keep possession of pleasing formality and visceral elegance while making fun of modernist purity. This is a tribute to anti-triumphalism, the spontaneous, non-hierarchical, un-monumental thematic artistic landscape which offers no specific resolution and no isolation of meaning.

I am not so sure that his work is making fun of modernist purity because it seems too carefully made to be constructed purely for irony. There is something humorous about them but they are beautiful, too, in the way that old things are, and they are pure in their intent. I like the "assemblages of detritus" since that is what I'm doing now only with a wider range of detritus.

Onward and Upward
From the Clark Gallery, I journyed on with my usual directionally-challenged driving to the Concord Art Association, where I saw a show of encaustic works by Kellie Weeks. Kellie had a large number of pieces displayed in a colonial-era house that unfortunately was not the most art-friendly space for an exhibition. Nevertheless, Kellie's brilliantly-colored work stood out prominently against the white walls and had the luminous sheen of glass. In fact, two people who were looking at the exhibition while I was there originally thought that the work was composed of glass until they read Kellie's statement. Here are a few images that I took from Kellie's website.

Kellie Weeks: The Bridge, encaustic on panel, 30"H x 24"W

The Eternal Ascent, encaustic on panel, 30" H x 24"W

Together We Travel, encaustic on panel, 30"H x 24"W

Kellie says that her paintings relate to familial and social relationships where "objects are often seen yielding to one another and/or competing for space. Shapes are at times incomplete, interrupted or overlapping." The saturated colors in her work "can also indicate bold intentions versus subdued reactions. All of these elements speak of relationships, journeys and transformations."

The show of Kellie's colorful, gleaming paintings is up at the Concord Art Association until November 29th. Congratulations, Kellie!

Home Again, Home Again
It was a lovely day for driving today, bright sunshine, clear blue sky and a mere hour and a half or so for me to get to all this great art and artist friends. Driving west into the setting sun on the Mass Pike on my way home was a bit difficult and nearly migraine inducing, but I managed to struggle through until that great ball of light descended far enough not to blind me. It did look like a great round disc through the trees on the western hills as I made my way home, singing along to the nasty sentiments expressed by Bob Dylan in Positively 4th Street and other geezer faves on my radio. 

1 comment:

Kelly M. said...

loved reading about your art journey, esp. Kellie Weeks' works -- fantastic colors and masses. Thanks for sharing --