(Above: Gossip, detail, my contribution to The Gossip Game at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios for Artista Vista.)
Every spring the downtown arts and cultural district here in Columbia (known as "The Vista") has an art crawl called Artista Vista. This is the twenty-fourth year. My studio is located in a cooperative artist setting that is one of the event's anchor galleries. There are twelve artists and together we mount a show every year for this event. It is sometimes difficult to select a title, a theme, or have new work that might come together in any sort of cohesive way. Why? Well, the group is quite diverse. We've got a non-object abstract painter, a stone carver, a realist landscape painter, a more impressionist painter, a figurative drawer, a collage artist, and several other artists with different media and approaches ... including me, a fiber artist. So, last year a project was selected early. It is called The Gossip Game. It took all year to complete!
(Above: Sunset, The Envious Fox by Charles Courtney Curran.)
The State Newspaper wrote a wonderful introduction to the project:
Vista artists are playing a game of Gossip.
Instead of passing a phrase around in whispers, the local painters, sculptors and printmakers are passing around their own works and creating new pieces inspired by those of their peers. The circle started with Charles Courtney Curran painting “Sunset, The Envious Fox,” currently on exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art and selected by Chief Curator Will South. Artists “responded” to the piece preceding theirs in the series, beginning with “non-objective” abstract painter Eileen Blyth responding to Curran’s impressionist work.
Twelve artists worked one month at a time over the period of a year to create a collection of pieces inspired by each other, but still embodying each artist’s unique style.
(Above: Eileen Blyth's impression of the original Curran painting.)
Each of us had only three weeks to complete our piece. Only Eileen knew what the original artwork looked like. Why? Because, like the childhood "Gossip Game" (also known as "Telephone"), the next artist was only given the prior artist's work for viewing.
Michel McNinch saw rocks and water under a cloud filled sky.
David Yaghjian saw Odysseus and the sirens in the rocks and water.
Pat Gilmartin saw the sirens' songs just out of reach.
Laura Spong responded to the forms and colors ... but added an abstraction of the music ... and "accidentally" painted what might have been an animal figure.
Heidi Darr-Hope continued, almost in a spiritual way, to bring back the notion of a life presence and added text.
Robert Kennedy simplified the shapes into clear cut figures ... maybe the fox and the solitary bird reappearing?
Laurie MacIntosh refined the two animals with calligraphy like additions and scribbles of text.
With Laurie's permission, I photographed her work and altered it in Photoshop. The resulting image was uploaded to Spoonflower, printed on fabric, and mailed back to me. I layered it was a piece of recycled felt and did the free motion stitching before handing my work to my mentor, Stephen Chesley.
Stephen Chesley returned to the small portion that was making its way through the group ... the "envious" fox and his companion bird had truly reappeared ...
... but were finally abstracted back into two, simple shapes in Sharon Licata's stone carving.
These are the pieces that are hanging ... one after the other in proper order ... at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios for tomorrow's Artista Vista art crawl.
(Above: The original Curran painting hanging at the Columbia Museum of Art.)
This project was an excellent way to partner with the Columbia Museum of Art. In fact, a week or so ago found several of us (including me) talking to the lunchtime public tours.
(Above: Laura Spong talking to the lunchtime museum tour group.)
Lots of people showed up to see a couple of the responding work and hear each of us talk about the project. Many were totally fascinated by the fact that I could have a digital image printed on fabric ... using the Internet for ordering!
(Above: The image I created for Spoonflower.)
I don't waste any of the fabric. Because the image I created didn't quite fill the yardage, I added a strip to the left-hand side. That area was obviously cut off when I stitched the piece for the Gossip Game. I used it (and another strip from another order) to create a halo for another art quilt, Guardian Angel.
(Above: Being interviewed by WACH-Fox early morning television.)
Yesterday morning I opened Gallery 80808/Vista Studios at 5:15 AM. Why? Because I live the closest! By 5:30 Laurie MacIntosh, Stephen Chesley, and the Vista Guild's PR person Katie Alice Walker were ready for live segments filmed for WACH-Fox morning news program. I hope this means that lots of people will be coming tomorrow for Artista Vista. I'm not sure what our group will think up to beat this project for next year's spring event!
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art work.