Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Art and Music: An Online Show - Part Two

This post continues the online show of submitted images of works about music or musicians or works that are inspired by music. The deep connection between music and the creation of art becomes very apparent as you read the text sent in with each image. The texts also give an aural connection to each artist's studio so that if we can't see what the studios look like, at least we can imagine some of the soundscapes surrounding the artists as they work. (NOTE: CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)

Mood setting - image from the internet

Linda Womack, Portland, Oregon

All Seeds Awaken, 2011, encaustic on limestone clay, 28" H x 12" W

Linda says:
I always have music playing when I paint and I find the influence of what genre I'm playing really makes a difference in how my work progresses. I usually pick music based on my mood or what's happening in my life so what I choose is rarely random. Whether it's rock, classical or Hawaiian, the glyphs I use in my work become an extension of the song. It's as if I'm conducting an orchestra, or better yet, choreographing a dance within my painting. This piece and several others were painted when I was really homesick for the islands and was leaning heavily on music from my favorite Hawaiian musicians like Israel Kamakawiwo`ole.

Catherine Carter, Holliston, Mass.

Honeysuckle Rose, 2009, acrylic, ink, fabric collage on canvas, 30" H x 20" W

Catherine says:
This painting was inspired by the song “Honeysuckle Rose” as sung by Lena Horne. I didn’t intend to illustrate the song. But I realized after I had completed the painting that the moods, colors, and motions Ms. Horne had conveyed in her interpretation – which I had been listening to while I was working – had seeped into my consciousness during the process of creation.

Lisa Sisley-Blinn, O'Fallon, Missouri

l.v. (A musical term "laissez vibrer" meaning allow the sound to continue, do
not damp, let it ring.), 2011, diptych, encaustic with oilstick and metal leaf on cradled panels,
24.5"H x 28.5"W

Lisa says:
Along with many talents, my husband is a very fine cellist. Over 35 years of marriage, I have had the privilege to listen to his daily practice, attend concerts that he has performed in, and listen intently to regular
quartets or quintets in our living room.

One of my favorite experiences in careful listening has been to hear the ring of music hanging in the air during a pause, break between sections of music, or at the end of a piece. The notes seem to linger, dance, vibrate
with a golden resonance that fills me with joy. I painted this piece for him and his love of perfected technical craft and soul inspiring musical expression.

Michele Thrane, Arlington Heights, Illinois

Cool Riffs, 2010, beeswax, resin and pigment on paper, 9" x 12"

Lisa says:
I painted Cool Riffs after hearing a jazz concert by saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa, at Chicago’s Millennium Park in 2010. As I listened to this concert on a beautiful summer evening, I found myself visualizing the colors and layers of jazz riffs. The layering of beeswax, resin, and pigment seem perfect to reveal the jazz interaction of theme and variation.

Gregory Wright, Lowell, Mass.

Remixed I, 2011, oil on canvas, 40"H x 36"W

Greg says:
My Remixed series is based on my love for dance music. Songs are remixed and given new life with upbeat tempos and auditory embellishments to make them modern. I have done the same with older paintings of mine, taking cues from their past imagery and bringing them in line with my current sensibility. The intertwining movements of the colorful shapes dance to their new beat.

Joan Stuart Ross, Seattle, Washington 

Staccato Beat, 2011, collage, oil, encaustic on canvas mounted on wood, 48" x 48"

Joan says:
This painting was assembled from "repurposed" collage elements--the parts and cut-ups from my own paintings and prints from the past--the juxtaposition of color is the pulse--the beat goes on.

Marsha Hewitt, Harrisville, New Hampshire

Rhapsody I, 2003, encaustic, 20" x 20"

Marsha says:
Myy piece called Rhapsody 1, was inspired by music. The gesture, movement and color all convey a sense of rhythm in music.

Nancy Natale, Easthampton, Mass.

Ray's Riffs, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 24"

Nancy says:
This piece was part of a series of works in acrylic that I painted recently. Although I normally don't work in this medium, I enjoyed the freedom to compose and mix colors more easily than in my usual constructed works. The canvases felt to me like jazz compositions as I divided up the space of the canvases to create juxtapositions of shapes and colors that were a bit unexpected but still harmonious. 

This piece reminds me of piano keys and I named it for Ray Charles, whose album "Genius After Hours: The Great Ray Charles," I was listening to repeatedly as I painted this series. The album is jazz piano, without lyrics, played by Ray with great accompanying musicians.

Melisse Laing, Battle Ground, Washington

Let the Sunshine In, 2010, fabrics hand-dyed by the artist, machine pieced and quilted,
45" H x 46"W

Melisse says:
As I was working on this piece the song from “Hair” kept running through my brain. At the same time a beam of sun hit the flowers outside my studio window. Both of these inspirations led to the title of this piece.

Beverly Rippel, South Easton, Mass.

Portrait of Raymond, 2012, oil on canvas, 12" x 12"

Beverly says:
In addition to my weekly studio practice, I have been painting this past year with a "Monday Model" group of artists associated with my Stoughton art center/gallery. Friends,students, and townspeople sit for the group of us for about 2 hours. Someone brings a cd of music- anything from jazz to blues and so on. The night I painted Raymond, someone had brought in a Chris Cornell cd that included his rendition of Ave Maria...something I only hear at funerals....and not usually sung by a man. Raymond is a very tall, poised, strong man with blueblack skin and a stark white beard. I stood directly in front of him to paint his portrait, and was captured by his warmth. He was composed and relaxed. When Ave Maria came on, I noticed that Raymond was deeply moved -by a memory or something from his unknown past. As his eye began to well with a tear, he became quietly uneasy with his vulnerable presence, and wiped away the tear- almost apologetically. I feel as though the music in the room- that song that night - embraced and connecetd me to Raymond in a silent circle of unspoken understanding. At the end of the session, he just stood about 10 feet from the portrait and stared at it...then said that he felt I had really captured him. It was such an incredible honor to have him let me in like that. The music was the catalyst, I am sure.

Roberta Lee Woods, Watsonville, California

The Barnes Book of the Opera, 2010, antique book pages with encaustic medium
on panel, 14" H x 18"W

Roberta says:
This piece is actually made from The Barnes Book of the Opera, but I love the opera (Phantom of the Opera, really). My titles are really secret, sarcastic ideas. One of my big secrets is trying to paint towards silence (da ticha in Czech), starting loud and turning down the volume (aka minimalizing the art). There is harmony in music and the silence between the sounds.

Tamar Zinn, New York, New York

Broadway 66, 2011, oil on panel, 16" x 16"

Tamar says:
In recent years my imagery has moved into geometric abstraction, but the work stems from my involvement in both music and dance.

My listening tastes are rather eclectic--ranging from Bach. Mozart and Bulgarian wedding dance music, to blues and jazz.

This painting is part of my Broadway series, which reflects a period when jazz was ever present in the studio. I am particularly attuned to rhythmic pattern and the interlacing of melodic lines.
While the paintings do not reflect specific pieces of music or performers, the palette sometimes mirrors the emotional tenor of the music.


So there you have it - a small online show of diverse work and musical taste. Perhaps this will encourage all of us to be more aware of music's influence on our work.

To send you off with one of my favorites, here is the great Etta James with Steve Winwood on "Give It Up" from the album The Right Time, which I highly recommend.

Art and Music: An Online Show - Part One

This post, although delayed by computer problems, is in response to my call for images of works about music or musicians or inspired by music. As you may recall, the idea for this show came about after I had posted images of my Blues for Etta. Somehow I thought that images would flood in and I would be hard pressed to cope with the emails, but, in actuality, only 24 people sent me images. Rather than curate a show from this small but diverse representation of the theme, I am just posting them all and also including another one of my own. I'm also giving the full text each person submitted because I think that reading about the connection to music gives a broader context for the image. I hope you enjoy looking at the images and reflecting about the important role music plays in making art. (AS ALWAYS, CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)

Setting the mood  - image from the internet

Ingrid Ellison, Camden Maine

September Sky, 2011, oil/metal leaf on birch panel, 24" x 24"

Ingrid says:
I like the idea of this call very much. I am always listening to music in my studio while I paint and work. I tend to listen to a song or selected few over and over until I complete a painting. Even if I put a painting aside for a while I feel the need to put on the 'original soundtrack" in order to see a piece to completion- the music brings me back to a certain state of mind. It is a good thing I do not have to share my space- the repetition could drive someone else nuts!

This particular piece I am submitting was done this summer while collaborating with a poet - he wrote I painted, we came up with two works. My piece starting out tentatively pale in palette, and then as the colors intensified on my piece I came to listen to this song, "Salala" sung by Angelique Kidjo and Peter Gabriel. It is so joyous and alive . I hope that is what comes across in looking at the piece.

Cherie Mittenthal, Provincetown, Mass.

Crow Series, 2011, encaustic on panel, 20" x 16"

Cherie says:
This work is about the Crow image. I have been surrounded by birds this winter on the beach and I love it, I have been photographing them, drawing them and now painting them. Most have been pigeons, but when a crow in on the beach it feels different. I’m trying to create a mood or a feeling that the crows evoke in me.

I listen to a lot of Latin music, R & B. I feel like the energy of the music and the feeling of the Crow work well together.

Cheryl McClure, Overton, Texas

They Paved Paradise 1, 12" x 12" x 2", encaustic and collage on wood, 2009

Cheryl says:
Though I do paint with music going all the time in
the studio, this painting was painted when I had only been using
encaustic for about 3-4 years. There was a theme to the show... Global
Swarming coming up at a newly renovated building in Fair Park,
Dallas. As I have stated a gazillion times, I HATE themes and I was
scratching my head ... 'what was I going to do for this show' Dallas
Wax was sponsoring???

I was driving down the road with music blasting when Joni Mitchell's
song "Big Yellow Taxi" came,, that was my subject to
paint with for the show. You know the one with the lyrics, "put away
the DDT, give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the
bees, please!....and 'they paved paradise and put up a parking lot".

SO... I painted three new paintings titled, "They Paved Paradise"...

Helen DeRamus, Marietta, Georgia

No Strings Attached, 2011, 24" x 18", encaustic/silk photograph on cradled birch panel

Helen says:
My paintings are musically influenced no doubt because of my musical background and musician family. When I'm working there is always a musical background to accompany my painting.

Diane Reardon, Oak Harbor, Washington

Monks in Choir, 2002, 27"H x 32.5"W, fused, quilted, reverse appliqued
and machine embroidered hand-dyed cotton and recycled fabrics
with beads

Diane says:
Monks in Choir is part of my Monkish Ways series . All pieces were accompanied by lots of Gregorian chant as I worked. The power of art came through when in 2003 I ended up singing for 4 years in a Gregorian chant choir myself, ending up our tour in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The power of art indeed!

The theme of this series is solitude while in community, using the pointed arch shape of a medieval church door. Abstract images reflect the rituals that connect daily life to the sacred, those used by monks and by others.

Pamela DeJong, Ashland, Mass.
no website

Love is Blue, 2012, oil and encaustic on birch, 10" x 22"
Pamela says:
This piece is about the song "Love is Blue". I was Prom Chairman and chose it as our theme. It was a top forty hit at the time. Recently, the song came to mind, and I couldn't get the melody out of my head, so I decided to paint it. The flower shape represents the gardenia I wore on my wrist. Unfortunately, I had a fever of 101 degrees and had to go home early that night. I had strep throat and a week or so later had my tonsils out! I had a wonderful time at the prom while it lasted. I think I was actually hallucinating from the fever.

Lynda Ray, Richmond, Virginia

Half Island, 2012, encaustic on panel, 12" x 9"
Lynda says:
Similar to experiencing music with different instruments playing simultaneously, the arrangement of color, light, temperature and pattern embrace time and process.

David A. Clark, Palm Springs, California

Break The Wall, 2012, encaustic monoprint on Rives BFK, 22" x 16"

David says:
Music plays a huge part in my studio practice. I need to run an enormous fan while printing, so I can usually be found with headphones on listening to music and drowning out the drone of the fan. I listen to french pop and hip hop music mostly. MC Solaar, Isabelle Boulay, Piaf, Alain Souchon, Yannick Noah and Francis Cabrel are my go-to friends in the studio. But the piece I'm sending you was influenced more by music through the words of a musician. 

I am a huge fan of Patti Smith and a huge fan of her writing and music. The work attached is directly drawn from my response to "Just Kids" Patti Smith's soulful book on the years she shared with Robert Mapplethorpe. The music in Patti's words inspired me, and her words sang. They broke open a part of my history that was the planted seed from which everything else grew. So, this image belongs to her, and to the sound of rock and roll and rain as it hits my bare feet running down Fifth Avenue towards Washington Square Park.

Zoe Ani, San Francisco, California

Sorrow Road, 2009, encaustic on wood, 14" x 11"

Zoe says:
Sorrow road is a song by Jan Bell. The track comes from her Album, No Country, put out by Little Red Hen Records in 2003. I had the pleasure of working with Jan bell as a bartender at Superfine in Brooklyn, New York. This gave me the opportunity to see her sing live at work and in many different music venues throughout New York. I got to know her voice very well. When I moved to San Francisco in 2008 I missed Brooklyn something fierce. This track was on repeat for many hours in the studio as I painted away. The painting, Sorrow Road, is a direct manifestation of that longing for home and the heartbreak of leaving so tangible in the song of the same name. It got me through and I can hear the song every time I gaze at this painting.

Philip Gerstein, Cambridge, Mass.

Not In A Silent Way, 2010, mixed media on paper, 28" x 22"
Philip says:
It was hard to choose one piece for this show, as I alsmost never paint without music, and so many paintings of mine even have music-related titles. In fact I just finished a 5' painting titled after a Mingus tune... .
This painting's title is after a Miles Davis' album "In a Silent Way". I often thought about the irony of using "silence" in naming a music tune, so reversed the title of my painting to "Not in a silent way" -- as this is a painting that declares itself loudly. The intervals and juxtapositions in this work can be compared to transitions in a free jazz tune.

Leslie Sobel, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Watershed monotype #4, 2012, encaustic and oilbar on Kozo, 50" x 25"
Leslie says:
I love your theme - it's one that's often on my mind. I've been doing a series of encaustic monotypes which are partly about rivers and watersheds but are also based in jazz improvisation. I listen to my local jazz station all day in the studio and I started making monotypes in particular in response to what I've been hearing. 5 of this series including this one are being installed in a solo show at the University of Michigan's new Art & the Environment Gallery at the School of Natural Resources in a couple weeks. More on the show:

Sue Katz, Amherst, Mass.

You Bring Thought, I'll Bring Emotion, 2011, encaustic on wood, metal spring and copper
7" x 6" x 6"

Sue says:
Interesting idea - at first I thought no, I don't have anything for this, but then I realized tht I do! So here is the scoop. I have been a groupie of Heather Maloney for a couple of years - she is a young singer song writer living in Turners Falls. I first heard her at the Yellow Sofa in Noho and then in Turners Falls, Montague and then invited her to play at my forum at Gallery A3 Nov 2010 and talk about her creative process.

I play her two CDs frequently when I'm working in my studio. I like her voice, her writing, her style in general. I really like the song after which I named one of my art pieces in my "Synapse Series" – "you Bring Thought, I'll Bring Emotion." It's just the kind of polar opposites, the sort of ying yang way of thinking that preoccupies most of my thinking about art and life and whatever else pops into my brain. I explore possibilities through littles mental dialogs that I have with myself!

Milisa (Misa) Galazzi, Providence, RI

Connected, 2011, encaustic and oil on birch, 20" x 20"

Misa says:
I listen to many different stations on my Pandora Radio List depending on my mood. While I was working on my Ghost Lace Series last winter, I listened to a lot of Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. I created this piece called, "Connected" as I listened repeatedly to Johny Cash singing the 1963 hit, "Ring of Fire." This song was co-written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore while June and Johnny were falling in love. While June was writing this song, Johny was struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. "Ring of Fire" refers to falling in love and the trans-formative power of love. 

This painting is about the protection one person can offer another when both are bonded by love as well as referring to the transformation of single entities into one whole "connected" by love. Literally, I see June as the larger ring of strength and Johnny as the smaller, weaker ring. Together, these rings create a strong connection or bond which is ultimately greater than the individual parts. (I know this all sounds so very saccharin y-sweet and I hope that my writing here does not ruin the painting for you!)

NOTE: This post is now at about the halfway point. I'm going to make this Part One in the interest of my beauty sleep and to give this miserable Blogger interface a chance to think better about its mistreatment of me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pix from the Bing Opening

On Saturday night, February 11th, the Bing Arts Center hosted an opening reception for my show, GEOMETRIC BRICOLAGE: Found Materials Transformed. Here are some pictures from the event that are just casual shots of people taken by my wonderful wife and art assistant, Bonnie Caldwell. We have yet to take installation shots of the work, but those are coming - soon, I hope. (click on the images to enlarge)

I present it all to you (in front of "Thinking L.D.")

Talking to Brian Hale, Executive Director of the Bing Arts Center

Joanne Mattera taking a look at "Blues for Etta" in the lobby

Capturing details

In the West Gallery with "As Sweet As Honey," "Dark Companion," "Black Sun"
and "Once Upon a Time" - plus Joanne of course.

What visitors are NEVER supposed to do - LoLo touching "As Sweet As Honey"

Viewing three pieces from the Iconic Books series

LoLo's sister, Nancy, in the same gallery with "The Blue Flower"

Binnie with Brian Hale's wife, Deanna, and one of Bonnie's lovely fruit trays

Big decisions at another food table

In the East Gallery with "Bandito" and two of the deconstructed book pieces

Joanne with her new giant brush and me with my flowers from the generous gifter - Binster

Joanne demonstrating how she would use the brush - complete with sound effects

Binnie embraces the world while a deep conversation occurs

Guests in the lobby with a view into the East Gallery

Lynette Haggard photographing "The Black One" and "Material World" in the lobby

Greg Wright looking tres chic beside "The Black One"

Explaining it all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sneak Peak of the Bing Show

The reception for my show, GEOMETRIC BRICOLAGE: Found Materials Transformed, at the Bing Arts Center will be held Saturday night, February 11th, 5 to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to join me to see the work and enjoy some refreshments. Here are a few quick pictures to preview the work exhibited. Many more images will follow.

The Bing has glass-fronted galleries on either side of the central lobby entrance. (See the Bing Arts Center image in the sidebar at right.) Both sides announce the show title with my name. This is nearly as good as seeing my name in lights!

Add caption
One wall in the righthand gallery features the two Centerfold pieces (30"x30" each), Thinking L.D. (48"x60") and Half 'n'Half (32"x40.5").

Part of a wall in the gallery on the other side includes three pieces from the Iconic Books series (each 12"x21"), The Blue Flower (30"x40") and the two Subliminal Stretch pieces (each 51"x16").

There are 32 pieces in the entire show of works constructed from mixed media with encaustic on panel.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Listen Up: A Call For Images About Music

Listening to music while making art is a common practice in the studio. All that silence of solitude needs breaking up with melody and rhythm. It keeps us company, gets us singing and dancing, influences our moods and creeps into our art. It must affect us all - some of us subtly and others more overtly. Does it get into your art? That's the question I'm posing in this call for images about music or musicians.

Detail from Blues for Etta, 2012 (click to enlarge)

Until recently, I can't recall making a piece so directly about a musician myself, but Etta is often in the studio with me and has become part of the rhythm of my art making. I felt like I just had to do something when I heard that she was about to leave this world. I may have been influenced by my brother, himself a musician, who has recently taken up painting. He's making a series of portraits of jazz musicians, each in a different monochromatic hue. I like that idea because it combines his lifelong devotion to jazz with his new passion of painting.

My friend Joanne Mattera, curator of several successful online shows, including today's Dots Show, suggested this curatorial theme to me. I would probably have just gone for a color, but that's been done many times over, and this more intriguing topic may bring some interesting results and give us more clues about what really goes on in others' studios.

So here's the deal, email me an image 72 dpi, no more than 10"x10", of one of your artworks that is about music or a musician or that was influenced strongly by music. Title your image with your last name and the name of the work. In your email, make MUSIC the subject and give details about date, size and materials. Also tell me something about how you were inspired to make the piece. Note that your work doesn't have to be a portrait of someone or contain a figure. In fact, the more abstract the better.


DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: February 18th at midnight.



IMAGE SIZE: 72 dpi, maximum 10" x 10", minimum 4" x 4"

TITLE OF IMAGE: Last name_artwork title

INFO ABOUT IMAGE: Full title, year, materials, size

OTHER INFO: Your name, city, website, what the work is about

I am planning to publish the show post by the end of February, if not before.

Further to the above post, here's an art review from the NY Times of a show at P.S.1 by Henry Taylor, whose work is described as "The Visual Equivalent of the Blues, in Warm Shades." Can your work be described as a musical genre?