Saturday, September 29, 2018

This and That

(Above:  Rapunzel.  Framed: 35" x 25". Red wig, artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters, marbleized paper, gold ink, and letters clipped from vintage ephemera.   Click on any image to enlarge.)

This past week has been a busy one with various projects in the works and all sorts of art in progress.  The most important thing happened on Thursday.  I installed my solo show, Last Words, at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts.  To accomplish this, I had to gather all the art quilts, epitaph banners, and the bags of artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters.  In one of the bags, I found the red wig I once wore for a performance art event called Ophelia.  I'd been looking for it.   I knew it would be PERFECT for my alternative fairy tale about Rapunzel.  Once I had the wig in my hands, the piece simply flowed into existence!  Other pieces were finished during the week too ... just keep reading!  More about Rapunzel is further below too.

 (Above:  Last Words at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts.)

All the rest of my artificial flowers went to the Greenville Center for the Creative Arts.  The show will enjoy a reception next Friday evening, and Steve and I are going.  I don't always attend my own out-of-town receptions.  It's a lot of driving and time away from my studio.  I enjoy receptions but they are not always possible.

(Above:  Stephen Chesley and gallerist Sandy Rupp at Stephen's solo show opening at Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, just outside Greenville.)

Steve and I were lucky last Thursday!  We were able to attend my mentor's solo show opening at Hampton III Gallery.  It just happened to be in the evening on the same day as my installation was scheduled!  As usual, Stephen's gallery talk was insightful and profound. His artist spirit is a lifestyle and mindset that will always inspire me.  For years, Stephen Chesley has advised me to work at being "more myself", comfortable in my own solitude, and follow my instincts without regarding what others think I ought to be doing/making/caring about.  I always fall short of this goal but keep trying.

 (Above:  Rapunzel, detail.)

I guess that's why I continue to make more and more pieces based on fairy tales.  I'm simply enjoying the process, the humor, and the unusual materials.  It really doesn't matter if these works are part of the upcoming Alternative Storytellers exhibit or not.  I already have more than enough for my share of the group show, but I'm inspired to make more ... regardless of whether it makes sense to do it or not!  It's fun!  I like doing it.

 (Above:  Rapunzel without glass, sitting by the back door for a photo op.)

Taking pictures of this piece presented a problem.  It is a rather deep "shadowbox" (a full 1 3/4").  The reflection off the glass would make a terrible image.  So, I snapped a few shots without the glass.  The work is pushed to the front of the frame but it does give a fairly accurate result ...

... just without the sense of space created inside the frame.  The story is written in letters clipped from vintage ephemera and reads:  What kind of idiot believes the story of Rapunzel? They truth is that I cut my long locks and made myself an escape route.  I saved the clueless prince from the evil witch.  As a reward, he offered anything in his kingdom.  I took the hand of his beautiful, older sister and together we reigned over a land free from gender inequality.  Now that's a real fairy tale!

 (Above:  She Loves Me/She Loves Me Not, Voodoo Doll.)

Last week I started transforming a collection of donated, antique dolls and dolls parts.  I continued this week with She Loves Me/She Loves Me Not, Voodoo Doll.  The original doll had no hands.  I removed an arm from another doll and shoved it up the one, empty sleeve.  The other arm was there but didn't have a hand.  I cut a plastic hand off another doll and attached it with red embroidery floss.  The heart charm was added and all the pins. 

 (Above:  She Loves Me/She Loves Me Not, Voodoo Doll, detail.)

This piece is small, just 15 1/2" x 10" x 3".  I'm having a great time using leftover pieces of picture frame moulding and marbleized papers, mixing my custom framing with art.

 (Above:  Frozen Charlotte.)

Frozen Charlotte was almost entirely driven by the presentation materials.  The outer shadowbox pieces have been collecting dust in my garage for at least fifteen years.  They were too small for anything else.  This piece measures just 10" x 10 3/4" x 4".  I'd never heard the cautionary tale of "Frozen Charlotte" before.  Nor had I ever heard of the early 19th c. humorist Seba Smith and his poem "A Corpse Going to a Ball."

 (Above:  Detail of Frozen Charlotte.)

Apparently, this tale warned young girls about dressing for inclement weather.  In the story, little Charlotte didn't want to cover her pretty party dress and froze to death during the sleigh-ride to the ball.  Of course, most of the little porcelain dolls no longer have any clothing at all.  They were mainly made in Germany from 1850 - 1920 and are figured naked on eBay.  For these antiques, dressing warmly isn't much of an option nowadays.

 (Above:  Don't Take My Picture, The Wall of Ancestors.)

In keeping with the artist spirit lifestyle that prompts me to make things regardless of common sense, future opportunity, and public opinion, I continue to create more and more pieces for my Wall of Ancestors.  I don't need more.  Storage is a real issue.  On Sunday, I am to dismantle the installation currently hanging at USC-Aiken and I don't have another show scheduled ... but I'm still making more work.  The images just seem to call out to me, "Use me!  Make me into art!"  How could I resist this picture?  As soon as I saw the frown, I knew the phrase to add:  Don't Take My Picture. 

(Above:  Shards of broken pottery fused together with epoxy.)

It is in my nature to make new things from old ones.  That's why last summer I collected the shards of broken pottery after an accident at the Rensing Center.  I knew I could fuse the pieces into something new. During this week, Steve and I poured epoxy over another work.  (It's on Sleeping Beauty!) My artist spirit drives me to use materials that had a life before they came into my possession.  I am happiest when working with things that have already had a life.  Suggesting a narrative is part of my soul and my artwork almost always has a story!  Steve and I delivered this refigured ceramic piece to Ellen Kochansky at the Rensing Center after installing my show.  It is home again, recycled and telling that tale of what was and what will be.

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

I so enjoying reading your posts and seeing your art. It is fascinating to learn about what drives you and how you recycle the past into something new. Interesting and inspiring! Thank you.