Sunday, July 8, 2012

Governor Nikki Haley; First, Not Necessarily Best

Governor Nikki Haley is the first female and first minority governor in the history of South Carolina. Both are significant accomplishments for the state that was also first with a European settlement-1526, first public library-1700, first professional female artist-1707, first opera performed-1735, first musical society-1762, and the first public museum-1773 (see list). 

But Governor Haley, supported and elected by the Tea Party, has waged an on-going battle with the Arts in South Carolina, and is determined to see the demise of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the autonomous state agency created by the state legislature in 1967 "to build a thriving arts environment for the benefit of all South Carolinians". Due to the Governor's actions this week the Arts Commission web page states, " The governor has vetoed all funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission. Due to the unprecedented timing of these vetoes the Arts Commission office will be closed pending legislative action on the vetoes. "

For this post I find it is necessary, once again, to speak out in favor of public arts support. I am posting an open letter I wrote Governor Haley last year when she vetoed funding for the SC Arts Commission and support for SC ETV, our arm of Public Television. Whether she saw my letter or not, I do not not know, but I did receive a form letter from her office that I will look for and include at the end of this post in the next day or so.

January 23, 2011

To Governor Nikki Haley,

Life without the arts and ETV will:

Leave bookshelves empty of scholarly literature that informs and entertains, it will close doors to museums, theatres and galleries where live performances of music, dance, drama and art move souls and inspire the next generation to use creative forms to interpret the human condition and make sense of our complexities, it will snuff-out creative after-school programs that offer young minds a chance to learn new skills for creative and critical thinking that can be used to move into higher education and toward productive careers and participants in community--(it will offer them a life and opportunity away from ignorance and poverty, prevalent in SC). 

What will it be like when the music is gone? The silence will spread like a deafening wave, a social tsunami that crosses the world through the instant access of social networking. The masses will gasp as they see South Carolina’s decision to disband and dissolve the arts and Educational Television that airs programs revered by viewers across the nation. 

In 1982 the National Endowment for the Arts established the NEA National Heritage Awards as a way of honoring American folk artists for their contributions to our national cultural mosaic and modeled after the Japanese "National Living Treasures" concept. In 2010 Mary Jackson, a native sweetgrass basket maker on John’s Island, South Carolina, received the award from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2008 Jackson received a United States Artists Fellowship, and that same year she was awarded the most coveted recognition in American Art, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant in the amount of $ 500,000.00. Mary Jackson’s work is included in collections worldwide including Empress Michiko of Japan, Prince Charles, Renwick Gallery, the American Craft Museum, White House Collection of Arts and Crafts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Museum of African American History, Detroit. This single artist’s work is a jewel of grand PR in the coarse clay and gritty sand of the South Carolina terrain. Had she not received support from the South Carolina Arts Commission we could not celebrate this marvelous treasure.

                                   Artist, Mary Jackson, sweetgrass basket

UPDATE: July 18, 2012

The People of South Carolina have spoken. The legislators have heard their voices and restored funding originally cut by Governor Haley.

"House overrides vetoes; Money restored for arts, rape crisis centers, teacher raises

Arts Commission

After a statewide campaign and a rally in Columbia, arts advocates also won Tuesday as the House voted 110-5 to restore $1.9 million for the S.C. Arts Commission and voted 89-25 to restore $500,000 for the commission's grant money."
See details: The State

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm Back in the Saddle Again....out where a friend is a friend.....

Made famous by Gene Autry in the 1940's, and later rewritten, updated and energized by Aerosmith, Back in the Saddle, is a good metaphor for getting back into the studio. So in this post I'm sharing a few new pieces recently completed and slated for one or more of several exhibits I have scheduled for the fall and winter. I hope you're being productive, either gathering new ideas or applying them in your studio. 

Venetian Lace, traces, and terra ignota, are three series of work with recent examples shown below.

Venetian Lace developed when I began experimenting with various color combinations and tree resin. Early results immediately reminded me of the beautifully textured and colorfully weathered walls of Venice Italy.  Further exploration of the process rendered rich textures and patterns that were pleasantly reminiscent of my Italian travels when I was teaching in the summers from 1999 to 2008. This technique reveals the luminous layers and play of lacework in the series. 

Venetian Lace.21 © 2012 size: 33 X 12"
encaustic wax, pigment, resin on panel

trace, is a theme I have used for many years with 
emphasis on memory as related to record, trace elements, or the vestige of some past activity. The non-objective abstractions in this group incorporate naturally occurring marks and patterns made from iron oxidation, better known as rust, and include burn marks, extraneous marks and monotypes. As the patterns and layers develop, some elements become obscured in the hazy film of the wax, as others become more evident and appear to float or come forward in the luminous properties of the material. 

trace.103 © 2012 size: 22 X 19"
encaustic wax, ink, iron oxidation, resin on panel

Most recent is the terra ignota series. Loosely translated as uncharted territory or unknown land, I felt the term fitting for work that seems to be taking a new direction...into the unknown.

terra ignota.03 © 2012 size: 12 X 24"
wax, pigment, resin, ink, rice paper on panel

terra ignota.02 © 2012 size: 20 X 24"

encaustic wax, iron oxidation, graphite, resin, pigment on panel

terra ignota.01 © 2012 size: 22 X 19"
ncaustic wax, iron oxidation, graphite, resin, pigment on panel 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vantage and Scale; When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary. Cornelius Völker at the Von der Heydt - Museum

In March I had the opportunity to visit Wuppertal, Germany for the opening of my solo exhibition WACHSSPUREN at the Gallerie Kunstkomplex. In earlier posts I gave details about my travels and the exhibition, but I have not had a chance to post about a worthy painting exhibition I saw at the Von der Heydt Museum located in the city of Wuppertal. 

I started out one morning walking to the mid-town Museum location to meet my friend and artist Bodo Berheide, where we planned to see a newly installed exhibition of German Expressionism. How appropriate to be in Germany to see this exhibit, and I was looking forward to works that might be more obscure in the big picture and may not have traveled as widely as many well know iconic works from the period. Big disappointment, when we arrived we found the installation "still in progress" and were informed the show would not officially open for several days. We had seen posters for another exhibition that was located at the Museum's crosstown facility so we so we caught the rail and walked across town. The ads and posters for the Cornelius Völker exhibit,  gave a modest indication it was a figurative painting exhibition. 

Bodo and I were pleasantly surprised when we entered the museum to find a powerful exhibition of large-scale, lushly painted works that included subjects of the ordinary and mundane, that of insignificance, waste and detritus, and all charged with an energy beyond their material intent. The work of Cornelius Völker is compelling, not just for the scale and vantage of his subject matter, but also for the swift spontaneous strokes of rich thick paint lathered onto the surface with skillful mastery.

Völker, born in Kronach, Germany, studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Dieter Krieg. While Völker has exhibited in the US, the majority of his activity has been in Germany, with notable sites in Belgium, Norway and Austria. The exhibition in Wuppertal continues to the end of May. For more details on the artist visit his website: Cornelius Völker

Hands 2003 oil on canvas 78.7 x 118.1 inches

Hands 2003 oil on canvas DETAIL

Hands 2003 oil on canvas DETAIL

Bodo in front of Hands painting shows a sense of scale.

Gallery Installation View.

Books 2007 oil on canvas 118.1 x 70.9 inch

Books 2007 oil on canvas DETAIL

Lighter 2009/2010 oil on canvas 94.5 x 63.0 inch

Browning GPDA 2009 oil on canvas 39.4 x 41.3 inch

Smith & Wesson Detetive Specialt 2009 oil on canvas 39.4 x 41.3 inchs

Man 2007 oil on canvas 74.8 x 55.1 inch

Man 2007 oil on canvas DETAIL

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's it all aboutAlfie ?

Summer mini-exhibit 1

I love to hear Dionne Warwick sing the song from Alfie, the film about the quirky character played by Michael Caine who occasionally breaks from role to address to the screen audience. In this post I'm beginning my summer mini-exhibits, and I've selected three works I made in the late nineties that often draw the same question from the viewing audience; What's it all about? 

perforation, transfer print & graphite on prepared paper © 1999, size: 37 X 41"

perforation, detail

obsession, transfer print, acrylic & graphite on prepared paper
© 1997, size: 30 X 21"

distressed image II, transfer print, oil & graphite on prepared paper on panel
© 1997, size: 62 X 44"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Looks Like Light at the End of the Tunnel !!

Graduation was over a week ago and I have most of the loose ends of the semester behind me. Our administrative assistant, or I should say our spectacular administrative assistant, has just touched down in Rome for two weeks, and my voice mail had a glorious message stating that "court for next week had been cancelled and you are NOT required to report for jury duty"!!!

I'm thinking I better run get a lottery ticket before this buona fortuna washes away !!

I always look forward to spring, ending the semester,  starting my gardening, and getting time for myself in the studio. I began last week by unpacking about six cartons of work that had been patiently waiting for attention. Suddenly I feel like I can take a breath and focus on me and my work. I'm letting communication devices dictate less of my time, and I am scheduled to attend the Sixth International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown at the beginning of June. I look forward to seeing good friends there from across the country, networking and making new acquaintances, enjoying good food, and in general, soaking up the energy that will be flowing that week.

I have several shows lined up for later this year, and fortunately most of the work is completed. So that means I can work on new projects and ideas I've been contemplating for a while. I have a bit more cleaning and arranging to do in the studio, but I plan to devote a good bit of time to developing those new ideas, and once resolved, I'll post some examples. In the mean time and for the next few months, I plan to post work that  in some way or another has not had much exposure. With so many gallery closings, exhibition venues struggling with budget cuts and the variations that come with summer schedules, I'll be using Studio RSVP as a way to present mini-exhibitions. Some will be my work and some posts will include whatever I find that interests me in the process. I hope it will interest you too. Come visit occasionally and let's see what turns up over the summer !!

Afternoon sun on my porch where I plan to spend time reading and ruminating.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wachsspuren Opens at Galerie Kunstkomplex !!

Wachsspuren, or Spuren aus Wachs translated as Wax Traces,  is an exhibition of my work in encaustic hot wax that opened at Galerie Kunstkomplex in Wuppertal, Germany on March 8th. I was very pleased to receive the invitation to exhibit in Nicole Bardohl's gallery located in the heart of the city near other galleries and museums. 

Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX in Wuppertal, Germany, street view and entrance.

The Galerie has a strong presence in Wuppertal with a following of artists, philosophers, critics, writers and actors from the region extending to Dusseldorf. The Galerie showcases solo and group exhibitions along with art performances, presentations and interdisciplinary events. 

Inside Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX, views of the installation.

My exhibition included works from both my image-based and abstract
of work that is inspired by memory and past experience.

Shot of me checking out the installation.

Above and below several examples of the abstract works.

Below are several examples of figuration works in the exhibit beginning with adjustment, 10.5 X 14", encaustic wax, graphite and digital print on panel.

 atonement – 11 X 9", encaustic wax, digital print, oil, toner transfer on panel.

seared impressions.03 – 11 X 9", encaustic wax, digital print, burn on panel.

seared impression.04 – 11 X 9", encaustic wax, image transfer, oil, graphite
and burn on panel

Here are several abstract works in the exhibit including trace.107 that was purchased by Sparkasse Bank for their permanent collection. I am most pleased to be included in their collection as they are highly supportive of the arts through sponsorships of special events and exhibitions along with an impressive permanent colllection of contemporary art that is installed throughout their major locations including the tower complex in Wuppertal.

trace.107 – 10 X 10", encaustic wax, paper, staples – Purchased !

Shots above and below during the Vernissage that was held March 8th.

The evening of the venissage the Wuppertal newspaper sent a photographer and reporter. The Galerie and I were very pleased at getting a rather detail report in the weekend papers.

Link for the online article Wuppertal News

Friday, March 16, 2012

Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, Cragg Foundation

I mentioned in the previous post that artist Tony Cragg lives in Wuppertal, Germany where he has established the Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, loosely translating as peace walk sculpture park. With the atmosphere of a Hansel and Gretel forest, the heavily wooded trails and walking paths cover hills and valleys of an area that is twelve hectare or about thirty acres in size. In 2006 Cragg acquired the property that included the architecturally designed home of a former lacquer manufacturer associated with DuPont, an industry that continues to be successful in Wuppertal and specializing in aqua coatings for the automotive industry. Cragg renovated the house to use for events such as symposia, built an entrance office to the park, and constructed a cafe and restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Also in the park is a magnificent glass cube gallery that is heated and maintains numerous works for viewing. 

The afternoon of our visit, Bodo and I had the park mostly to ourselves. It was quite cold, but we had dressed for the weather so it was a pleasant experience. I can imagine a spring or summer visit that might include a stop at the cafe would be even more enjoyable. If you have plans to be near Dusseldorf, a side trip to Wuppertal and the Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden is worth your while.

Tony Cragg stone sculpture located at the entrance of the winding driveway into the park.

Bronze Cragg sculpture foreground and the building entrance to the park.

Marvelous heated glass cube gallery for exhibiting sculptures indoors.

Inside the glass cube, Cragg works in foreground and in back. I believe the red one is wood
and stainless in rear.

Additional Cragg works  in the glass gallery. Various materials include bronze, stone, steel,
stainless steel,  and jesmonite seen in this foreground work.

This view gives a good example of the forest in relation to the works.

Some works are installed on concrete pads while others are based in-ground with
gravel and bark for a more integrated system.

Many of Cragg's forms echo similar molten layering but there are strong contrasts in materials
and surfaces. I was told that Cragg has maintenance to clean the sculptures every day which
is evident in this brilliant stainless work.

This is a striking work that shows the integration with nature and the gravel walking paths.

Next post, Jane's exhibit Wachsspuren opens at Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guten Tag! Spring has Sprung in South Carolina!!

Salutations from sunny South Carolina! Yes, sunny and 70 degrees no less. I spent last week wrapped in down coats and wool socks for the 40 degree weather in Wuppertal, Germany where I was visiting to attend my solo exhibition "Wachsspuren" at Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX.  Located near Dusseldorf, Wuppertal has a population of around 300,000, a river that runs through the city center, a suspended rail train, and strong cultural ties to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where artist Tony Cragg serves as Director. 

Wuppertal Schwebebahn or Floating Tram

I received the invitation to exhibit in 2011 after artist Bodo Berheide visited my studio when he was in Spartanburg giving a presentation at USC Upstate on his sculpture project, Figura Magica, a six-ton cast-iron oversized horseshoe magnet that traveled to ten different countries before being permanently installed in the city of Wuppertal. Bodo originally studied with Joseph Beuys in Dusseldorf, and much of his work is associated with the philosophies of Beuys and the ideas of social sculpture. He asked about my work and became intrigued when I explained I was using beeswax and the encaustic process of heating and applying the medium to panels and paper. Bodo and I share friends Dirk and Catherine Schlingmann who live in Spartanburg, so I invited them to visit my studio and see the process I'm using. 

Artist Bodo Berheide next to the famous image of
Joseph Beuys at the Von Der Heydt Museum.

Tony Cragg installation in the stairway at the Museum.

One thing led to another, and soon after Bodo returned to Germany, I was contacted by Nicole Bardohl owner of Galerie Kunstkomplex in Wuppertal. Nicole had reviewed my work on the web at Bodo's suggestion and was very interested to bring an exhibit of my encaustic work to Wuppertal where it is a relatively unknown process. In the past I have shown in Switzerland and Italy but those were group exhibits, so an invitation for a solo show was most exciting, and to make it better we decided I would visit for a week so I could attend the vernissage and present a talk on the encaustic process.

Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX, Hofaue 54, Wuppertal

So, on March 3rd I flew out of GSP and arrived in Dusseldorf early the next morning. Bodo met me at the airport and we proceeded to Wuppertal getting a brief tour of the area before arriving at my hotel. The region reminded me of the Asheville, Hendersonville area of North Carolina that is near to where I live and is filled with lush forests and rolling hills that allow for beautiful vistas of the landscape. I was pleased to have a chance to visit Bodo's studio, located on the top floor of his flat and overlooking the city of Wuppertal.

Bodo Berheide in his studio and view from the studio windows.

Monday we went to the Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX so I could see the space and arrange the paintings for installation. Nicole and I had spoken on the phone and emailed, but it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person and see the Galerie. She had sent press releases in February so when I arrived I was pleased to see two of my works were published with details of the exhibit in their culture magazine. The vernissage was scheduled for Thursday, and I was to give a talk on the wax process on Friday, so this gave time for touring the city, food and beer!! Good German beer!!

Galerie KUNSTKOMPLEX prior to the installation.

......and of course, German Beer !!

Coming soon, a visit to the Tony Cragg Sculpture Park, my exhibit "Wachsspuren" opens, views of the city, and a visit to Stephan Werbeck's print studio, Syngraph Atelier Freie Graphik.