Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Save the Last Dance for Me, the Red Shoes Show at VCA

Save the Last Dance for Me

Once upon a time “Red Shoes” were linked to status, wealth and power.  The cost of red dyes like cochineal, and madder
, used to die cloth and leather, made them affordable only to the rich. Popes, Emperors and Kings wore red shoes to symbolize a divine right to rule.  By the late 18th century red shoes had become a sign of aspirational fashion for men and for women.

When author Hans Christen Anderson published “The Red Shoes” in 1845 he linked Christian themes of sin, pride, disobedience and redemption to a Danish folk tale and red shoes took on a darker meaning.  His protagonist Karen and by extension women who wore red shoes, became cultural transgressors of the acceptable feminine norm.  Red shoes were recast as symbols of passion, as uncontrollable urges and in Anderson’s version, red shoes possessed a will of their own…to dance. The only way Karen could stop dancing was by having her feet and shoes removed by axe.  

Since Anderson’s characterization, red shoes have become a malleable symbol applied to issues of women’s agency and physical journey, to dance/dancers, role play, gender and the edges of cultural boundaries.  In 1939 red shoes were transformed in a new narrative as “Ruby Slippers” in the film version of L. Frank Balm’s “The Wizard of Oz”. 

This Oz story is a classic Hero’s Journey. When Dorothy’s house, by way of Kansas and tornado, lands on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East in a world somewhere over the rainbow, Dorothy claims and wears the ruby slippers worn by the witch.  Like Anderson’s version of “The Red Shoes”,  Dorothy is unable to remove the shoes once she slips them on, but these shoes (she will eventually discover) respect the wishes of their wearer!

Dorothy Gail,  in short order, excepts the call to adventure, makes exceptional friends while sharing a message of love and acceptance and achieves the prescribed goal.  She and the friends who have accompanied her on this journey are empowered by facing personal fears and through reliance upon each other.  They are rewarded with recognition of their innate abilities and the confidence to be themselves.  Dorothy returns “Home” enlightened and self aware.

My print “Save The Last Dance For Me” celebrates true love and being being true to oneself.  It’s one moment in a series of images exploring gender role play and same sex relationship. Leo and Lang are the characters in this personal exploration of two hearts who find each other and themselves.  


The Red Shoe Show, Curated by Kathleen Kinney, opens Friday July 27, 6-9 PM at Vashon Center for the Arts during the Vashon Summer Arts Fest.  Additional evening opening will be August 3 and August 10, 6-9PM.  Gallery hours: Monday-Friday 10-5, Saturday Noon-5  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

"The Printmakers Hand IV" & "Pressing Forward"

My monotype “Gemini” is exhibiting in "The Printmakers Hand IV" at Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water Street, Port Townsend Washington from July 5-29, 2018.  The exhibition is co-sponsored by Corvidae Press of Port Towndsend and juried by Bob Kochs of Augen Gallery in Portland, OR.  The opening reception and awards are on July 7, 5:30-8:00.  A talk by Bob Kochs is at 1:00 pm on July 8 at Northwind Arts Center.  

It's a busy summer.  Jayne Quig, a fellow Quartermaster Press printer, and I recently hung QMP's exhibit "Pressing Forward" at the Tacoma Art Museum's Cheney class room, July 11- September 27, 2018.  The official opening is July 19 when I will also demonstrate a monotype/collagraphy process.  

Below is my monotype print Gemini exhibiting in "The Printmakers Hand IV" at Northwind Gallery and my monotype King of the May showing with QMP at the Tacoma Art Museum.


Brian Fisher Monotype Prints-   Gemini,  22.5" x 15"  and   King of the May, 6" x 6"

VIVA Garden Totems

VIVA, the Vashon Island Visual Artists organization, will be selling Garden Totems during 
Vashon's Strawberry Festival July 21-22. 

Each one is unique and hand-crafted by Vashon Island artists. Proceeds go towards funding the new VIVA website.  The Totems will sell for $175. each.

Below are my contributions, Byzantium and Susa, to the project.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Leo and Lang - QMP at Tacoma Art Museum

Below are my new Leo and Lang images inspired by Karen Gantz's print in the Tacoma Art Museum collection.  Here is a link to Karen's "Puppet".

Quartermaster Press  studio will exhibit work in it's latest show- Pressing Forward, at the Tacoma Art Museum's Cheney class room July 11- September 27, 2018.  Each QMP member artist selected work from the permanent collection and created a new generation of prints in response to subject, image and/or print process.  What an exciting challenge!


Brian Fisher,  "Love Puppets" and" The Dating Game", intaglio prints from the "Leo and Lang" series.
The Intaglio prints I created in response to Karen Gantz's print, “Puppet", (which I read as role play), have become a personal print series exploring relationship and role play within relationship. "Love Puppets” and “The Dating Game” are visual moments in the tale of Leo and Lang, twin sons of different mothers who find each other.  It's sweet, a bit sappy and everything old is new again...  It's a dance.

QMP - Pressing Forward - Maypole

Below are two new images inspired by Doris Lee’s prints in the Tacoma Art Museum collection. 

Quartermaster Press  studio will exhibit work in it's latest show Pressing Forward at the Tacoma Art Museum's Cheney class room July 11- September 27, 2018.  Each QMP member artist selected work from the permanent collection and created a new generation of prints in response to subject, image and/or print process.  It has been an exciting challenge!

Doris Lee’s “Maypole" image might appear quaint, her pictorial approach intentionally naive, but the subject has as source an ancient fertility rite and I think her take on the subject a little subversive.  Here is a link to her print.  Maypole  I celebrate her vision and explore the mythic spring rite in “Beltane" (the anglicized name for the Gaelic May Day festival) and again in my monotype print version of “Maypole”. 
 
Brian Fisher, "Maypole" Monotype
Brian Fisher, "Beltane"  Monotype with 24k gold