Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday at the Conference

This was a VERY FULL day! Today was the first day of workshops, talks, meetings, openings, etc., etc.  I have to be crazy to be up this late writing about it all, but here I am. I hope you are with me.

First off, here are three shots of the completed hallway show, Best Foot Forward, which Joanne said she should have called Everyone Into the Pool. (click on photos to enlarge)

I have many closeups of individual pieces which I'll post later. (Later, it's always later!)

Anyway, the morning began with a wonderful panel at the First Parish Church (the yellow church) on the topic of Making a Career in Encaustic. Panelists were Elena de la Ville, Barbara Moody, Jane Allen Nodine, Alexandre Masino and Eileen Goldenberg. The moderator was Joanne Mattera. (Read details of each panelist's bio here.)

In reply to pertinent questions from Joanne, each panelist responded with descriptions of how they have managed to support themselves while continuing with their studio practice. All of the panelists said that being able to create art and have enough time in the studio had governed many or most of their life decisions. They have composed their careers as artists from enough working parts to make this possible. They gave such informative, interesting and even humorous responses that the audience was totally engaged, and we could see how variously and imaginatively they have created opportunities for themselves.

I took a lot of notes during this panel and may write a post about it if someone else doesn't beat me to it. (And by this I mean that there may be an online recreation of responses posted by Joanne at a later date. It would be a shame not to share this valuable information that will definitely provide the impetus for many of us to think about forming our careers in a non-linear fashion - if we have not already done so.)

Lunch and New England Wax
Since it was drizzling and dark outside, we were unable to eat our lunch on Beverly Common. Instead, the boxed lunches were provided in the dorm lobby, and we made our way into the Hardie Building, where there were plenty of places to sit, chat, and eat.

New England Wax members took the opportunity to gather for a conversation about future meetings and ideas that might be developed to enrich our networking and knowledge base. As usual, it was a pleasure to see so many members in one place and also to welcome residents of New England who were interested in joining our group.

Several ideas for future activities were discussed.

But, as always, our Chair, Kim Bernard, pointed out that those who have ideas for activities must be willing to make them happen by organizing them.

Somehow this still didn't seem to stop the flow of ideas.

Post Lunch Sessions
The afternoon was filled with three hour-long sessions for talks or technical demonstrations. I filled my time with three excellent events:

Lisa Pressman after her presentation. You probably already know her blog.

The Encaustic Studio
Lisa Pressman presented a fascinating selection of images from the studios of 13 artists around the U.S., many of which she was able to visit personally. Those that she did not visit were represented by images that she requested of particular things, for example: favorite tools, view from the studio window, the artist at work, the encaustic workspace in the studio, etc.

And she gave explicit instructions to the artists not to clean their studios. I'm not so sure that everyone complied or else we have some mighty neat people working in encaustic. Anyway, I loved seeing all these images, and Lisa did an excellent job of talking about the work, the way the work developed and is made in the studio and the way that the view from the studio window is so often mirrored in the work itself.

Next I opted for a demonstration by Pamela Blum of Encaustic on 3D Supports. I thought that this would be mostly about how wax is applied, but instead Pamela actually showed us how to build dimensional forms from wire mesh wrapped with plaster bandage strips and then covered with a plaster-like papier mache material. She did a great job of describing (and showing us) the various meshes available and their properties and ease of use. Wrapping the mesh armature and then coating it with Sculptamold was also well demonstrated. When Pamela arrived in the process at the stage where paint was applied to the now dry and smoothed form, she discussed the way that transparent versus opaque encaustic would coat the form and how pigment in the encaustic would rise or sink depending on its composition.

Pamela had several examples of works and experimental forms to show us. On top of it all, she has a very well-developed sense of humor as indicated by her description of her work as, "My life: What I stole from history, and how I live with it", and/or "Misunderstanding is...the cornerstone...of civilization." (Both quotes from Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible.) She described the forms she was working with as "sexy, repulsive and funny" - what a combo!

This was a presentation packed with information and lots of inspiration for experimentation back in the studio. It was a wonderful hour. And by the way, Pamela's finished work (a few pieces on the wall behind her head) is beautiful and intriguing, not to mention gravity defying.

My third hour was spent with Ellen Koment on Working Large. Unfortunately, I do not have any images to show you, but Ellen presented the work of 27 artists who work or worked in encaustic, ranging from Diego Rivera and David Siqueros into contemporary painters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Along with the lovely images of big work in single or multiple panels, Ellen also discussed how the studio and work habits need to be adjusted to handle larger work.

The Awards
I have to admit that by this time I was winding down, but wait - that's not all! There was still the opening at the 301 Gallery of the Flow and Control show and the awarding of prizes. (Be sure to check out Lynette Haggard's blog for more info on Flow and Control, including interviews with Maggie Cavallo, Joseph Carroll and all the artists in the show.)

Assistant Curator Maggie Cavello, left, introduces Joanne Mattera and juror Joseph Carroll.

Maggie also announced the Juror's Award, which went to Shelley Gilchrest, and the Conference Award, which went to Ruth Hiller.

Copper Falls, Shelley Gilchrest, 2010 - from the Flow and Control show - Juror's Award

Specimen 116, Ruth Hiller, 2010 - from the Flow and Control show. Ruth was awarded the Conference Award prize of a solo show at next year's conference.

The final award was made by Joanne for the work she chose from about 200 in Best Foot Forward.

The work (sorry I can't read the title in my image) by Karen Freedman from the hallway show for which she was awarded the Director's Prize by Joanne Mattera.

So you can see the day was super jam-packed and I didn't even tell you how we went out for sushi afterwards and I laughed so hard that I cried and nearly had an accident. But more tomorrow!


Stephanie Clayton said...

Excellent post. I must plan to attend this conference next year. (I'm getting way ahead of myself- haven't even begun to work in encaustic yet! I'm still in the process of relocating back to the US...) What a wealth of information and insight you've provided here! I'll visit the links for more.

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I know you will love encaustic when you give it a try and the conference is a wonderful event that I'm sure you will love.

Cherie Mittenthal said...

Thanks for the post. I really missed being there this year. It looked like a GREAT event as always! Bravo Joanne.

kate miller said...

Thanks so much for your blogs on the conference. I wasnt able to be there this year, or last, I was there in 2008 and I WILL be there in 2011 so I was so glad to see the images and read about this years events.

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks for commenting, Babbette and Kate. I'm glad you're reading about this wonderful event. I hope to see you next year!