Monday, September 29, 2014

Food for the Soul, Agnes Martin: Arne Glimcher in Conversation

This is an interesting conversation with some background that I found quite poignant about Agnes Martin, her life and her work.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Joan Stuart Ross: SEATTLE

Artist Joan Stuart Ross
photo: L. McConnell

Please share a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and what were any early influences on your work? 

I grew up in Roslindale, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and went to The Conley School, the Longfellow School and Boston Girls Latin School. I think my sense of ‘myself as artist’ began in kindergarten, when the teacher praised me to my mother for my profile drawing of an angel. I remember that I loved my second grade teacher, Miss Toland's, dress of red roses on a black background. In fifth grade I drew a mural of Little Bo Peep with colored chalk on the sewing class's blackboard (I was not allowed to take Manual Training/Woodworking because girls were required to take sewing), and, in sixth grade I won a commendation for a watercolor painting of a nasturtium.

The Vast Perhaps
12x12encaustic, collage on wood panel
I also remember making a 'Book' about a kitten who lost her mother in the forest. Girls Latin School deemed Art a "frill," but an art teacher came in once a week. In 10th grade I won an after-school scholarship to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Public School Art Program. On Saturdays, my Dad drove me into Mass Art for a mask-making class that I loved. I was thrilled to be in real Art classes!

An enduring influence on my visual development were childhood summers spent at White Horse Beach, south of Plymouth, MA, where my family had a cottage. I loved the yellow sun, the white sand and the blue ocean.

Je t'adore
11 x 15.25"
encaustic, collage on wood panel

Did you receive any formal art training?

At Connecticut College in New London, CT, I double-majored in Studio Art and Religion. I received a graduate scholarship to Yale Divinity School; I took Josef Albers' Color class and Gabor Peterdi's Printmaking class at the Yale Art School. In the mid-sixties, Yale was a bastion of male chauvinism, so — after a year I left to attend Art School at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I'd heard about Iowa's Poetry Workshop and about its famous Printmaking Professor, Mauricio Lasansky. I received an MA and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking there, spent a summer at the Jane Burr artist's residency in Woodstock, N. Y, and then moved to Seattle, where I’ve been living and working for four decades.

12 x 12
encaustic and collage on wood panel

What is your current work about?

In my work I experiment with visual ideas in a manner similar to the scientific method. My work begins, changes and returns to its roots over time. Trial, error, chance and plan lead my eye and hand. I look for an uplifting sensibility in my use of materials and in my visual decisions. I examine the spirit of physical, mental and emotional places, their metaphysical properties and mysteries, and how we inhabit them. I create non-linear narratives that celebrate light in its dominion over potential opacity.

Pink Rose
encaustic, collage on wood panel
Some of my inspiration draws from the Great Basin’s windy “high lonesome,” the Northwest’s fog and mist, the ecstatic race of surf and spume and the subtext of items from personal history.

My work is obsessive and repetitive. I layer, carve, scrape, assess and reassess. I paint with encaustic, oil, and use the intaglio process in layers of medium, embedded collage, and incised expressive lines filled with color. Layers of tangents and trajectories connect, cross and convene to reveal what happens on and underneath the surface.

8 x 8"
encaustic, collage on wood panel
My current work has evolved from my interests in color dynamics, collage, encaustic and the acts of piecing and inlaying — all engage as subject matter and as the underpinnings for my imagery.

What is your workspace like?

In the Seattle studiophoto: B. Savadow
I have two studios, one in Seattle and one on the SW Washington coast. My 1000 sf Seattle studio is at BallardWorks, an artists' workspace building that I helped to develop ten years ago. The other is a 600 sf studio in Nahcotta, a village on Willapa Bay, on the southwest coast of Washington state. My husband, 5 cats, a dog and I go to and from Seattle to the coast when we can.

Nahcotta studio exterior
Nahcotta Studio Interior

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?

BallardWorks, my main working community, has 20 individual artist's studios and two art-related businesses. It's a community that I helped to create and that I work with two other artist partners to sustain. We recently prevented the City's officials from rezoning our block and raising the taxes of our affordable artists' workspace building.

I'm also a member of Salon #1, a critique group of nine artists who have met once a month for 15 years. We discuss our work and organize its exhibitions. We’ve recently shown together at BallardWorks and at Baas Gallery, Seattle. We're scheduled to exhibit "Off the Grid" at the Columbia City Gallery, Seattle, this spring, and are presently applying to show at the Kirkland Art Center and the Bellevue Art Museum.

Mariposa II
encaustic, collage on wood panel

I taught Art at the college level for 42 years, and recently retired from 13 years as a tenured professor in North Seattle Community College's Fine Arts Department.
Prior to that, I was a nomadic professor for 28 years, running like a chicken, teaching part-time at 4-5 individual institutions, including in my own studio. I also worked as a waitress and interviewed for the Census Bureau. In the '70's I was the first teacher of Monotype Printmaking in Seattle, having attended a workshop with Nathan Oliveira where he printed several layers, one over the other. I carried that idea forward, using 30-50 layers. Now my original students' students are teaching this technique! I continue to mentor former students, artist colleagues and students.

This coming June, I’m happy to be invited to speak at the 8th International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA as part of a Panel, “The Roots of Contemporary Encaustic.”

Thank you, Joan! You may see more of her work on her website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bonny Leibowitz — DALLAS

My first interview with Bonny was October 29, 2012

Artist Bonny Leibowitz
Since then, she has begun working more dimensionally on an ambitious body of work that evolved from the Symbiosis series.

wood, wire, foam, mulberry bark, vinyl, acrylic, fibers, and tree
photo credit: Hal Samples

This new work, Plight of the Pleasure Pods, speaks to a range of emotions, fantasies, and complexity of human relationships. Leibowitz touches on the irony of impulse and order, consciousness and surprise, sexuality, aging and the rawness of life. So let’s ask Bonny a few questions to give some context to the work.

1. Can you share a bit about your path from your two-dimensional work last year, and the newer, three-dimensional work?

The Symbiosis series of works contained some pod like forms, photography of milkweed pods, which I was collaging large scale. The pods continued to fascinate me beyond the end of the series I and decided I’d like to explore them dimensionally.  I started out by creating “pod like” forms in plaster which began to take on human qualities.

Love Sandwich
fir wood, foam and acrylic

2. Can you speak about your references to the human psyche in this work?

Assisted Living, received its name, as did all the works in this series, as its persona appeared to me in its making. I’ve been collecting objects which have intrigued me for some time now and a large piece of burl wood was just one such object sitting on my “one day I’m going to do something with this” shelf. I was working on smashing up a plaster piece when a smooth shiny bowl like shape popped off and it instantly dawned on me to see what the big wrinkly burl wood would look like if I placed it on there. So I did, and the strong juxtaposition of youth and age became the paradox to explore. I painted the smooth plaster form pink, planted the burl wood form in it and teetered it up on a small piece of petrified wood and then the entire piece is sitting on a medical cart with surgical tubing hanging out of the drawer.

Assisted Living
burl wood, plaster, acrylic, petrified wood, medical cart and tubing
photo credit: Hal Samples

I’ve been thinking about age and how time has become so extraordinarily important, wanting to do and say all that can be done before I no longer have a chance to do so. Many feel this way of course, it’s universal, the desire for legacy and the doing.  Couple that passion with the natural erosion of the body and how we shift our focus while still holding onto sensuality and “beauty”, as bits slip away and you’ll find a rich dialogue to explore. Although these are serious matters, I enjoy the humor of it all and bring that element to the work in a big way.

The materials I chose to speak about these struggles and joys are plaster, foam, vinyl, acrylic, mulberry fibers, rawhide, faux fur, encaustic wax, and branches to name a few.   

Justice For All?
plaster, tree bark, acrylic, faux fur, hinge, metal and shellac

3. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Owning two teaching studios keeps me very busy with teaching and organizing workshops etc so I commit myself to the studio at least a day and a half per week and often times work into the wee hours. I will sometimes break away in between classes to get a few things done. I’m fortunate my personal studio is a right behind my two teaching studios. In addition, I give myself a few weeks a year for some concentrated time, a chance to really think and let the ideas flow.    

Keeper of the Flame
plaster, wire, fiber, foam and acrylic
photo credit: Hal Samples

4. You mentioned that you moved into a new studio. Can you share a photo of it, and discuss how it may have affected your work?

It was completely serendipitous that the space behind my teaching studios became available just as I started working on large mixed media works last year.  Taking on the additional space was a bit scary financially but so far so good and I LOVE not having to take everything out and clean everything up before and after classes.  This body of work grew, in part, out of the time and space that allowed me to work large and see the work as a whole. 

5. Tell us about the talk and video you'll be producing and how you are tying the work into venues where it will take on a life of it's own?

I wanted to tie the work into a bigger, more far reaching endeavor. Seeing the pieces as archetypes, I decided to look for a writer from the Jung society here in Dallas to write and speak about the work and see where that connection might take the work. I went on the Jung Society of Dallas site to find yet another wonderful piece of serendipity. Listed on the site was one of my painting students, Donna Cozort, a Ph.D. analyst, Diplomate C.G.Jung Institute, Zurich. Since that time, Donna has been documenting her insights on the work and we’ll be doing a video of our gallery talk speaking on richness of meaning behind the works.  I have published a book containing the writings and images along with a review by Todd Camplin.

6. You seem to have given a lot of thought to planning for this show and potential future venues. What is your vision and why?  

I have made some connections already in L.A., Laguna and another space in Texas in the hopes of bringing the work to a wider audience. Those connections have been really exciting and it’s just the beginning. I will see where it all goes. My intent is a dialogue on how we reflect on our personal histories and the subject of aging which is often taboo. I love the aspect of humor as well, an aspect which is healing and binds us.  

Queen For A Day
23 x 12 x 12
foam, brass, acrylic, sheep fur, velvet and cast iron 

“Archetypes cannot be truly known, but we catch glimpses through images which take on symbolic significance when they become activated within our psyches. When this occurs, their dynamic energy fuels the different reactions, processes, and patterns that inspire and move us. Like all aspects of life, archetypes have two opposing poles or sides, one positive and the other negative, or we might say one is light while the other is dark, one good and one evil. As a Jungian Analyst, I have seen the tremendous power of archetypes both for destruction as well as for healing. Because of their universal significance, archetypes have the potential to startle, seduce, fascinate and even rule us. Sensuousness, pleasure and depth of experience are expounded in the Plight of the Pleasure Pods works”.
— Donna Cozort, Ph.D, Diplomate C.G.Jung Institute, Zurich

You can see this new work in “Pleasure Tempest”, at the Cohn Drennan Gallery,  

Pleasure Tempest 
Bonny Leibowitz and Winter Rusiloski
Opening Reception November 23, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition Dates, November 23, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Bonny, Thank you and congratulations on the show!

And more of Bonny's work here:

Thank you Lynette, for creating this platform. I appreciate your great questions the opportunity to share my experiences here. — Bonny