Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 Vashon Island Holiday Art Studio Tour

The 2009 Vashon Island Holiday Art Studio Tour has come and gone.  My studio is a bit off the beaten track (even by Vashon standards), so I was surprised and very encouraged by the numbers of people willing to brave the cold and the unknown in search of art.

I want to thank Tiffany Huslig,  Sooze Bloom de Leon Grossman and Benjamin Grossman for the wonderful artwork they created to exhibit during the tour and to say thank you one more time to my family and friends for traveling long distances to help make the tour so much fun and such a success.

I had many, many inspiring conversations with art patrons and fellow artists during the tour.  Making art is a peak experience for me and the next best thing to making art is talking about art.

Thanks so much for your interest, patronage and for visiting my studio.

Above are shots of my print studio in exhibition attire.  Below is a shot of some of Tiffany Huslig’s beautiful ornaments.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Achilles Complex

This evening I am posting an image of my (still a little wet) painting, Achilles Complex. It will be exhibited for sale in my studio during the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour.

When Thetis became convinced that her son Achilles would die if drafted into war with Troy she hid him on the island of Scyros, disguised as a girl, among the daughters of Lycomedes.  (Imagine a young Brad Pitt in a dress.)

The Roman poet Statius wrote about the repressed Achilles, his sexual awakening among his “sisters” and the subsequent end to his feminine masquerade by Ulysses in his poem “The Achilleid.”

Based on this mythic evidence psychiatrist Demetrian Delias suggests that the violence and aggression that the adult Achilles manifests might be traced to trauma that began during this pre-Oedipal period. The person who suffers from an Achilles Complex is dominated by sadistic, murderous impulses that may be turned against the self or may ultimately be enacted against others. 

Achilles Complex is an oil painting on canvas, mounted on wood panel, 16 x 16 in.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Titans









The Titans were deities of Greece’s mythic Golden Age.  Born of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Sky) the twelve Titans who ruled the universe were the brothers Kronos, Koios, Krios, Iapetos, Hyperion, Okeanos and their sisters and consorts Theia, Rhea, Themis, Memsoyte, Phoebe and Tethys.

Kois, Krios, Iapetos and Hyperion were each associated with a cardinal point representing the four great pillars which in early myth separated the earth from sky and later supported the entire cosmos. Kronos (Time) represented the fixed point, around which the world/cosmos ticked, while Okenos was the river/ocean or fabric wherein the world/cosmos moved.

In this Monotype, Kronos is depicted as a Sphinx, symbol of question and answer,  the cosmological constraint or constant that simultaneously embodies the past, present and future.

Posted above is an image of my Monotype Titans mounted on wood panel, 14 1/8 x 35 1/2 in.    Look for Titans on the Vashon Holiday Studio Tour at my studio (#15), December 5-6, 12-13.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sweet, Holiday Ornament by Tiffany Huslig


Tiffany Huslig’s beaded holiday ornaments are remarkable, beautifull, one-of-a-kind designs.  Made from the artist’s collection of glass and metal beads.  Each handknotted beadwork ornament incorporates traditional and original beading patterns and stitches.  I am delighted that Tiffany is exhibiting with me during the Vashon Island Studio Tour,  December 5-6, 12-13, 10am-4pm.  See the  tour map at: www.VashonIslandArtStudioTour.com.   Above and below are examples of her unique art.





Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alpha Beta

 

My painting Alpha Beta was created for Vashon Allied Arts Miniature Show at the Blue Heron Gallery (19704 Vashon Hwy. SW)  in December.

The elements of our alphabet, the alphabet I am using as subject for painting and that you are reading now, were first developed as cuneiform writing in Sumeria. ca. 2500 BCE.  Egyptian civilization also adopted the representation of symbols as syllables at about the same time. Phoenicians subsequently adopted and adapted those systems and the Greeks, around 800 BCE, began to use letter names of Phoenician letters to represent a word that began with the sound represented by that letter.  Aleph, the word for ox became A,a.  Bet, meaning house, became B,b and so on.  Romans then adapted the Greek system, ca. 600 BCE.  The Anglo Saxons used the Roman system to write (English) beginning in the 7th century, CE.

Alpha Beta is a painting in oil on canvas, mounted on wood, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Laughing Magpies

I am so pleased to be sharing my studio during the Vashon Island Artists Studio Tour with my good friends at Laughing Magpies, Sooze Bloom deLeon Grossman and Benjamin Grossman.  The skeleton above and mermaid below are wonderful examples of the imagery they make with fused glass.  Their glass kilns and studio aren’t far from my own and I am always excited to see what fun they are up to.  I am always inspired.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Centauromachy (Battle of the Centaurs)


I have completed another Monotype to be exhibited when my studio (23520 147 Ave SW, Vashon Island, WA) is open for the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour (the first two weekends in December).  This work, titled, Centauromachy, (Battle of the Centaurs), is my riff on a classical Greek theme, and favorite subject of European Renaissance artists.

The Lapiths, in Greek mythology, were a pre-Hellenic race who lived with Centaurs in Thessaly in the river valley of the Peneus.  Mythic genealogies make Lapiths and Centaurs a kindred race, the Lapith King Pirithous being the son, and the Centaurs, perhaps, sons or grandsons of Ixion.  (The myths of Ixion are confused and very interesting.  I am working on future imagery inspired by his story).

During the celebratory wedding feast of Pirithous and his bride Hippodamia the Centaurs, inflamed by wine, attempt to abduct the bride.  In the battle that ensues the Lapiths with the help of legendary heroes like Theseus, defeat and subsequently drive the Centaurs from Thessaly.

The strife between the half/man, half/horse Centaurs and their cousins the Lapiths is generally recognized as metaphor for the conflict between lower animal appetites and civilized behavior in humankind.

That was the central lesson being expressed in architectural relief in the temple of Zeus at Olympia and in the metopes of the Parthenon in Athens, where they are accompanied by similar themes of battle with Giants and Amazons. The Parthenon metopes were created just after the first Athenian victory over the invading Persians (480 BC.)

(Below) is a detail from, The Centauromahy, Monotype mounted on wood panel,
14 1/8 x 35 1/2 In.
   


Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess


I have completed another Monotype whose imagery draws on the bull, the Goddess and Cretan ritual for inspiration.  It is called The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess.  It will be exhibited at the Heron’s Nest during Vashon Island’s Holiday Studio Tour (December 5, 6 & 12,13) and is one of several paintings and Monotypes I will be exhibiting at The Heron's Nest throughout the month of December.

A few years ago two good friends walked the El Camino de Santiago in Spain. Later, while describing the experience of hiking through Galicia and encountering shrine after shrine to “Our Lady”, one commented that these alters were probably manifestations of the Goddess filtered through the Christian tradition.  Her observation struck a personal chord and inspired my own arm chair research and subsequent visual exploration.

The Goddess or Mother Goddess is the oldest deity in the archaeological record. Her manifestations are legion. One of her earliest (neolithic) forms is that of the Queen Bee, leader and ruler of the hive.  In the ancient world bees were wisely valued as necessary to  pollination,  acknowledged as special beings and honored as symbols of regeneration.   The Queen Bee (Goddess) in particular was often portrayed  at the center of  ritual communication and dance surrounded by adoring sister bee priestesses.  Ancient cultures the world over have believed that bees and bulls are connected. 
Marija Gimbuts conjectures in her book “The Language of the Goddess” that bull-begotten bees or the perception of regeneration and renewal of life which both bull and bee symbolized in many cultures may have come about  “by an observable, albeit mysterious, natural phenomenon: the sudden appearance of a swarm of insects in the carcass of an animal.” 
  
In Minoan myth the two are inseparably linked. Bees resurrecting from the dead bull were perceived guarantors of renewal or zoe (the indestructible life force) and consequently were also equated with souls of the dead.

The Minoan new year began on the summer solstice when Sirius, the star of the Goddess, rose in conjunction with the sun. Prior to the solstice, honey from bee hives was gathered to ferment and be made into an intoxicating mead central to the ecstatic rites and celebratory sacrifice of a sacred bull. 
My Monotype image with gold leaf, The Bull, the Bee and the Goddess, is 14 1/8 x 35 1/2 inches and mounted on wood panel.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Art Auction

The Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Crab Feed, a much loved tradition (1969-1994), party and auction fundraiser,  rides again.  This 2009 gala promises to be spectacular!  In addition to beautiful glass. sculpture. painting and print art donated by local and regional artists there will be such exceptional items as a flight over Bainbridge in an historic airplane, Emu Topsoil Garden Compost (really!), a Sage fly rod, and tickets to the Elton John/Billy Joel concert.  The party starts a 6:00 PM, October 24 at Banbridge Arts and Crafts.  Purchase tickets at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts or by telephone at 206.842.3132.  The image above is my donation to the Art Auction, a Monotype print, titled
The Garden of the Hesperides.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Bull from the Sea

Today I am posting an image of and detail from The Bull from the Sea. It’s a Monotype I have just completed and will be displaying when I open my studio for Vashon Island’s Holiday Studio Tour, the first two weekends in December. Lately I have been reading about bulls and the richly various rolls they have played in human history. If you are familiar with the myth of the Minotaur you may remember to what the tittle refers.
Archaeological discoveries of ceremonial objects and art from numerous Paleolithic, Neolithic, and particularly in Minoan and Mycenaean sites attest a long symbolic life giving connection of the bull, to seasonal waters, vegetative regeneration and the incarnate generative force of the Goddess. Dorothy Cameron in her book “Symbols of Birth and Death in the Neolithic Period” offers diagrammatic comparison that the likeness of the head and horns of the bull in Neolithic art may also be a symbolic depiction of the female reproductive organs.
Cretan culture is rich with bull imagery. Carved figure and colorful frescoes found at Knossos celebrate the ceremonial leap and somersault between the horns of the charging bull. The Minoan Horns of Consecration, an emblem of bull and sacrifice resonates with another familiar Cretan figure, the goddess, arms uplifted in blessing.
Crete’s mythic civilization begins with the abduction by Zeus (as bull) of Europa. With their union, Europa would become the first queen of Crete. When Minos, a descendent of Zeus and Europa, defeats his brothers to become King he prays that Poseidon, God of the Seas, might send him a white bull to sacrifice in recognition that his Kingship is divinely sanctioned. Poseidon’s gift, a beautiful pure white bull, The Bull From The Sea, appears as petitioned but Minos instead elects to substitute another bull and keeps the beautiful sacrificial animal for himself. Poseidon, enraged, curses Minos and persuades Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, to cause Minos’s wife Pasiphae to fall in love with Poseidon’s gift. A child is conceived and born, half bull, half human, named Asterion, but called the Minotaur.
My Monotype, The Bull from the Sea, with gold leaf, is 14 1/8 x 35 1/2 inches and mounted on wood panel.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

PrintZero Exchange 6, Night Garden



Beginning in 2003 PrintZero Studio, founded by Brian Lane and Jeremy Cody, has hosted and coordinated the exhibition and exchange of prints with the admirable intention of promoting the art of printmaking.
Participating print artists must submit an edition of 15 small (5x7) prints created through any traditional printmaking process. There is no assigned theme. Each artist then receives in exchange 13 randomly selected prints and the opportunity to exhibit in a wonderful traveling venue.
Past PrintZero Exchange shows have exhibited in Seattle WA, Portland OR, Miami FL, Homer AK, Laramie WY, Buffalo NY, Madison WI, and Naestved, Denmark. This year 383 participants representing 21 countries will be exhibited.
My submission, Night Garden, is a simple linocut and visual exploration of a poem by a friend called “Madam of the Secret Garden”.
The opening reception for PrintZero Studio’s Exchange 6 exhibition will be held on Saturday August 29 from 6-10pm, at Airport Way South, Seattle WA.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cabbages and Kings



Earlier this summer, VIGA, the Vashon Island Growers Association, invited regional artists to submit imagery, for reproduction, representative of island growers and garden produce. My Monotype, Cabbages and Kings was selected to advertise the VIGA markets as a promotional poster for 2009.
Now Greg Wessel, manager of the Two Wall Gallery, has invited VIGA and all artists that participated in the competition to show their poster entries and related work. In addition to wonderful imagery, art patrons may also sample tasty food made from Vashon-grown produce at the opening. The show will hang through September and opens Friday, September 4th, 6pm at Two Wall Gallery, 17600 Vashon Hwy SW. Posted above are the two Monotype images, Cabbages and Kings and Harvest Kings that I will be exhibiting.

 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Postcards from the Edge





George Wright, sculpture and director of the Heron's Nest Gallery on Vashon, invited seven artists to create work for an August show in the gallery. She chose Postcards from the Edge as theme and everyone has approached the subject quite differently. I frequently print at an almost postcard scale, particularly when I am searching for accidental compositions to develop as paintings or larger print imagery. The cards are 6 3/4 x 5 inches. Above are a few of the twenty Monotype and Collograph print images I made for the exhibit.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trojan Mail

Trojan Horse
Achilles Rage

This weekend is the 19th annual Vashon Island Garden Tour and the island is humming. This much anticipated tour benefits Vashon Allied Arts. Six island homes open their garden gates and welcome plant and garden design enthusiasts on Saturday and Sunday June 27 and 28, 10 AM to 5 PM. For all the details visit www.VashonAlledArts.org. There are lectures by Karen Baer, on Friday night, a sunset garden dinner at the home of landscape designer Daniel Klein with guest speaker Valerie Easton, a wonderful exhibit at the Blue Heron gallery of sculpture by Mike Urban, watercolors by Donna Botten, paintings in oil by Kristen Reitz-Green, and not to be missed, a chamber music concert by world renowned cellists Rowena Hammill and Doug Davis with piano accompaniment by Francoise Regnat.
Who could ask for anything more? How about a chance to bid on an artist-created mailbox. Twenty island artist have turned ordinary mailboxes into works of art. Here is my take on "mail box" titled Trojan Mail or perhaps Trojan Male. I know I will be bidding on the incredible, every square inch is beaded, Snail Mail by artist Sy Novak.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ATLAS




































And so, the world turns. In archaic Greek cosmological explanations of the heavens the Telamones became one and and the one was Atlas. Described as the sufferer or bearer of the heavens, Atlas was a second generation Titan. His brothers, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoitios were all sons of Iapetos and Asia, or perhaps Iapetos and Klymene. Homer, in the Odyssey, writes,"Atlas the baleful, (oloophron); knows the depths of all the seas, and he, no other, guards (or holds) the tall pillars that keep the sky and earth apart." After Atlas leads a failed revolt against the Olympian gods Zeus condemns him to this fate and he becomes the one who turns the heavens on their axis, causing the stars to revolve.  I have been playing with compositions for digital prints with Atlas as subject.  Above is an example.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Telamones







































I am making progress on Telamones, the video cabinet commission, and presently working out the painted pattern that will be applied to the outside. I still need to give it another coat of gesso before I begin transferring the pattern and painting.
The specifications changed from a wall mounted flat screen to one that sits on a table and so the design also changed to accommodate the base that is part of the flat screen video and a roof element to visually balance the base. I think it is starting to look pretty fun.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pillars of the World




I have been listening to Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel as I work on a new comission. The book is constructed around letters from his daughter Sour Maria Celeste and is about Galileo Galilei's life as the foremost Italian scholar of the seventeenth century, his earth shaking discoveries, all framed by his eventual clash with Catholic doctrine.
I am often drawn to the investigation of definition as subject or the edges of redefinition. The place where one myth is replaced by another or the explanation that reflects current discovery and the truths of a new epoch take hold. The science and art of Italy in the seventeenth century were all about new truths and redefinition of the accepted truth.
While listening to Galileo's Daughter I have been working on several images and a commission who's subject is “Pillars of the World.” These originally began with a Monotype print titled Telamones. Telamones are the male equivalent of the female Caryatids of classical architecture. Human figures that act as columns to support entablature and roof. They may also be thought of as connections between the earth and sky, separating but linking what is below and what is above so that you and I may occupy the world between.
In near-eastern myth these pillars are children of Gaia (the Earth) and Ouranos (the Sky) and are the Titans; Krios, Koios, Iapetos, Hyperion.
Led by a fifth brother, Kronos, they conspire to overthrow their father and when Ouranos descends from the heavens to be with Gaia, they seize and hold him while Kronos castrates him with a sickle. Kronos assumes his father's position and powers. A new age is born. Eventually, it would seem inevitably, Kronos is deposed by his own son, Zeus and the Titans are banished to Tartaros where they become in cosmological terms bearers of the entire universe. Cool story!
These myths and their evolution reflect the expansion, clash, and assimilation of peoples and their beliefs over time. Sometimes a long time. Probably a much shorter time today than at any other. It has only taken the Catholic church four hundred years after it put Galileo on trial for heresy to accept his writings, complete its rehabilitation of the great scientist, and erect a statue of him inside the Vatican walls.
Here are a drawing and photo of the commission I am working on. It's a flat screen video cabinet with Telamones as motif.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Archives An Art Sale





































 Today I have been looking through older work trying to decide what I might show in Vashon Allied Arts Archives Art Sale at the Blue Heron Gallery. I came up with several collaged monoprints from a series dating from and referencing the invasion and occupation of Iraq.


In 2003 we were being bombarded by euphemisms to sell and provide cover for war. Preemptive War, promoting a war to prevent war is a good example, as is Collateral Damage, people killed in military actions who were not the intended target. How about Enhanced Interrogation? I mean torture. I was offended and thought a print series highlighting these tittles of misdirection and militarization of the US media was an appropriate response.


The print titled I Don't Know But I've been Told, (originally words from a military marching cadence,) is about people's willingness to believe. Without question, they march in the direction they are told.


The Archives Art Sale begins May 29 at 5pm for VAA members and will open to the public May 30 and 31, 10am-4pm. The Blue Heron Art Center is at 19704 Vashon Hwy. SW Vashon Island. It really is a wonderful opportunity to purchase work by some very talented artists at 40%-50% of its' original price.