Wednesday, February 03, 2016

PLAYA, A Month in Paradise

(Above:  PLAYA: A Month in Paradise, solo show at Anastasia & Friends Gallery, an alternative art space in the lobby of the Free-Times Newspaper at 1534 Main Street in downtown Columbia, SC.)

Earlier this week my solo show, PLAYA: A Month in Paradise, was installed at Anastasia & Friends. The opening is during the monthly "First Thursday" art crawl on Main Street ... which is tomorrow!  I can hardly wait to share work created and inspired by my October art residency in the Oregon Outback.  PLAYA is the name of the art residency program that awarded me this special time.

I am thankful to Bohumila Augustinova and her assistant Grayson Goodman for their hard work to arrange and install the show.  I left all the presentation decisions to them ... except for the arrangement of pieces for my shrine to the dead Northern Flicker.  The empty vessel is the one in which I placed its lifeless body for the photos.  I hadn't entirely decided what to do with the black pedestal underneath.  (Mostly, I wasn't sure if it was necessary or would add to the shrine.  Seeing it on site let me know exactly what I wanted to do!  Scroll down to see!)

Anastasia & Friends Gallery is a lovely setting for this work.  The exposed brick and partial plaster walls enhance the textural feel of the show. 

There's also plenty of natural light during the day ... which means there are some odd angles of light for some of these photos.  It also means that everyone walking past the building can see inside to the artwork.

Once inside the door, this is the wall to the immediate right ...

... leading to this corner ...

... across from this view!

Several of my fiber vessels are displayed on this large, low pedestal.

Others are on taller pedestals ... right beside the window to Main Street.  That's the Columbia Museum of Art on the other side of the street.

With the sun shining through, I thought better photos weren't possible.  Then, I looked through my camera's lens on this sort of detail!

I focused on the crackled interior of the fiber vessels.  This surface was created to resemble the dried Summer Lake bed.  The photo resonates with me ... because one of my most important reasons for having this show is to share the experience of an art residency with local artists, writers, composers, choreographers, poets and creative individuals in Columbia.  These two images have the unique feature of PLAYA juxtaposed with Columbia's art museum ... almost bridging the connection ... hopefully suggesting a new direction for others.

Now ... back to my shrine to the dead Northern Flicker.  During my first week at PLAYA it flew into a window. I tried to save it. Despite my best efforts, it died in my hands. I created my first fiber vessel as it suffered. Then, I placed its lifeless body inside to snap lots of photos ... some of which were turned into art quilts.  One of the art quilts is the long, framed, horizontal piece above the framed photo.  The now empty vessel is just beneath the photo.  Below is a black pedestal.  As soon as I saw it, I hated it but I immediately knew how to make it better!

I matted an antique map (1902) of Oregon and Washington and cut a piece of glass to fit on the top of the pedestal.  The candle is one of those realistic types ... that is actually battery operated.  The rocks are shards of obsidian found near Paisley, about twenty miles from PLAYA.  Obsidian is a naturally forming volcanic glass that occurs when molten lava cools rapidly. Since pre-historic times it has been used to fashion arrowheads and cutting devices. Metaphysically, obsidian is a protective stone with mythical properties for the removal of negativity. It is said to protect the gentle from abuse and to cut emotionally unhealthy attachments.  While at PLAYA, I felt removed from negativity and emotionally happier than ever.  Perhaps it was the obsidian.  Perhaps it was the high desert. Perhaps it was the fact that my days were totally filled with the process of making art.  Probably, a little of all of this!

The antique map was published only 59 years after the Western explorer Captain John C. Frémont's 1843 exhibition through the area.  On December 16, 1843, the expedition struggled down a steep cliff from a snow-covered plateau to reach the lake. He named them "Winter Ridge" and "Summer Lake".  In my mind, however, it is simply "Paradise", aka PLAYA.

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 


Wanda said...

Oh does everything look awesome!!! I too love the brick and rough walls and they did a wonderful job of displaying and arranging. The vessels look really wonderful and the pedestals are perfect! The photos of the cracked interiors are really goes to show that with patience, even sunny photos can be beautiful. Of course, the shrine is wonderful. Perfect. The usage of the black pedestal is absolutely right. It feels right, looks right and simply IS right. the antique map is so YOU as well. Susan, this is a great solo show. And I know this is from your heart...I can feel it and I certainly see it...even in the pictures. It is going to be a wonderful treat for those who have the opportunity to experience it in real life!! Congratulations

Lesley Turner said...

What a wonderful heartfelt exhibition. I do hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

Amy Art Quilter & Fyber Cafe said...

Your displays are great, as an Oregonian and a desert lover too, I can really feel a connection. The flicker photos are wonderful, so sad it gave up it's life for art. I can see the different efforts and techniques that went into a cohesive show. Wonderful.