Thursday, August 27, 2009

Catch and Release

Piles of trial proofs ,documentation, collage material, proposals and random paper

** This summer I've been contemplating clutter. Specifically the capital "C" clutter and accumulation that resides in my art-making locations around the house. Accumulation with the intent of a future use or recycling of objects into art. The accumulation is difficult to categorize as much of what I collect seems to have no specific context as it is collected; it simply "is". I have no preference in mind as it is collected, although there are unformed themes jotted in sketchbooks that may influence what is collected.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.
John Cage

Perhaps the gathering of material is a form of map making in which I accumulate the possibilities of alternate paths. An alternate route of different or no preference.

Sometimes the objects find their way into a mixed media piece or onto a scanner bed for reference, but more often than not they eventually find their way back to insignificance through neglect.

Earlier this summer I was inspired by a terrific piece on this topic; the Song Dong installation at MoMA. Song Dong has installed the entire contents of her mother's house on the second floor atrium. While more about transience, the contents are transformed by their neat arrangement as artifacts for us to observe. Culturally our disposable world seems at odds with the mothers waste not want not collection of possessions.

Confession time. I probably shouldn't call my studio a specific space. Art making seems to manifest in different locations around the house and property depending on the the particular spatial demands of the Art.
One of my favorite rooms for art making is an office size room with my computer, scanner and printer; as well as several tables and flat files. The way I use this office-like room has necessitated moving anything having to do with office-like activity OUT. Bills and bill paying has migrated to the kitchen table. (consumption area?)
This was the room I had to de-clutter this past weekend. My art work with digital collage depends to a large extent on scanning a variety of found objects and digitally recombining them with my photography. The tables tend to fill with "stuff", either waiting scanning or never disposed of. (attachments?) Plus a fair amount of trial proofs lie around in piles. Add to the mix the paper, adhesives, paints, inks...well... Eventually it gets to the point where I'm reminded that it is impossible to thiiink. So a scorched earth, nothing is sacred attitude is adopted to clear everything to bare surface.

Longing - observing - collecting - processing - art making - purging. The Cycle.

Worktable empty! After latest purge.

This accumulation/purge theme must be in the air because I visited blog author's Rosie Kearton's Ruminations-Rambles-Reflexions site to follow the packing and moving of her studio. A visit to her blog (she also references the Song Dong piece) contains a link to artist Michael Landy, the British artist whose latest work consisted of destroying everything he owned.

So while it was cathartic to clean out this one area, there is still the shop where I do mixed media and and my basement framing area. Plenty of clutter (or unmanifest objects) to occupy myself until the impulse to purge overtakes me once again. Alternatively, I can take comfort that on the studio clutter scale not many can compare to painter Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon's Reece Mews studio

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lazy Summer?

Wish You Were Here - digital manipulation of photograph - evertson ©09

** Lazy summer days? Not a chance! this is the summer of too many irons in the fire and studio time has taken backseat to long neglected projects and promotion. But the work of art is not standing still and continues on slow boil. September is right around the corner and I have artwork in several group shows.

The Emily Harvey Gallery is home to the "A Book About Death" project. Organized by Matthew Rose, this group exhibit invited artists to contribute a page to an "unbound book" on the subject of death. The exhibit is both homage to artist Ray Johnson and tribute to the late Emily Harvey. All "pages" are in postcard format and each artist has produced an edition of 500 cards to be given away over the course of the exhibit. My piece is a reproduction of my digital work "Wish You Were Here". The postcard has been modified to contain an enclosure for my short story Text Messages From The Dead. The show opens September 10th and runs through September 22nd at Emily Harvey Gallery at 537 Broadway, NYC. The A Book About Death blog has previews of the art as well as downloadable posters for the exhibition. The ABAD wall is viewable as a slide show.

Eclipse Gallery - Contemporary Art and Handmade Design

The recently opened Eclipse Gallery is hosting an exhibition called 50/50/50. Fifty artists representing fifty states in fifty different media. The exhibit is curated by Sarah Elizabeth Condon, artist and owner of Eclipse. I will be representing Connecticut with one of my digital collages created in Photoshop. The gallery, located in Algoma, Wisconsin, is dedicated to contemporary art and handmade design. The exhibition runs from September 15th through the end of the year. A visit to the Eclipse website will provide a nice overview of Sarah's completed vision of establishing a venue for exhibiting the work of evocative contemporary artists.

Artist Jennifer Zoellner has spent the last year soliciting and organizing an exhibition of Mail Art. The exhibit, titled Chromatophore, opens September 27th at Studio 620 in St. Petersburg, Fl. Photos of the mixed media piece I submitted was featured in my recent post on July 30. Be sure to visit Jennifer's blog to preview some of the great snail mail pieces included in this exhibit. The opening includes US postal artifacts, live music and interactive art activities.

Finally, I will be exhibiting a variety of my digital collages at the Glastonbury, CT. "On the Green" show. The open air exhibit is Sept. 12th and 13th and features juried artists from throughout New England.

Sun Holding Moon - For Rachel - evertson ©09

I've been exchanging more and more Mail Art with contacts from across the web. A recent post featured art received from Rachel Freeman. The piece I returned to her was a small silver solder work that continues to explore freehand "drawing and writing" with this molten media.

Mail Art received from Ria Vanden Eynde
with instructions to modify and pass on to another artist.

Last, but not least. I received mail art from artist Ria Vanden Eynde of Belgium. Ria has asked me to colaborate on the piece then pass it on. I've been procrastinating a few days until a few of my other projects were under control. Last night I started sketching out a few ideas for my contribution. I'll post my alterations to the 10" x 10" piece above when I finish. Ria's work can be found on her blog, Painting 2 Cancers. Ria's blog documents her artistic work as a survivor of both breast and thyroid cancer. Her output and insights are inspirational!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Link Arrested!

Author before arrest as a young and unwelcome hippy
** Last week I never would have believed I would have anything I wanted or needed to add about the Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley dust up and Obama’s unscripted characterization that the police acted stupidly.
I was extremely hacked off to read this morning that one of my “links” was arrested in similar circumstances in NYC recently. Ravi Shankar, poet, professor at Central Connecticut College and editor of Drunken Boat was arrested as police were on the look out for a 140 lb white male. Shankar, whom I met recently at the Wesleyan writers conference, happens to be a 6’ 2”, 200lb Indian man. The tale of his ordeal in police detention is worthy of clicking over for the brief read.
While charges were dropped in both cases no one should be surprised that racial profiling is alive and well in America. Shankar, while of Indian origin, appeared somewhat Middle Eastern and was referred to as a “sand nigger”. As I’ve read various accounts and opinions concerning the Gates/ Crowley incident I find that every black author has a similar police experience to relate. Not so with white commentators who seem to focus on whether Obama should have reigned in his thoughts until all the facts were in.
My own dust ups with the law concern mostly protest rally incidents although I did have a dubious but frightening arrest in North Carolina in the early 70’s. Pulled over for “crossing a (non-existent) double yellow line” I was held overnight in county jail until money could be wired to pay my fine. Although I was just an unwelcome long hair hippy to shake down, this did give me a vicarious taste of profiling and marginalization by authority.
I wonder if the White House Beer Summit really did any good. Gates may have been disrespectful, but Crowley used his authority to prove he could make you have a really bad day. Race or testosterone? I’m thinking a bit of both, but it’s foolish to believe we are in a post racial America.