Sunday, May 25, 2008

In the Habit - at

I kicked off the holiday weekend working in the hab. Doing some more quick brush studies and then tacking some swimming pool fragments to the outside of the structure. I began placing a simple grid 2x2" grid with the intention of using it as a platform for further sculptural additions to the skin.
As with most work I do, plan very little before hand, and try to develop as I go. That's what happened here. As I spend time in the habitat, I find myself concious of what I'm doing in there. Is it different from what I would do elsewhere? No, not really. Should it? Maybe, perhaps not. When I consider the space, I know I want it to be evolving, not static, functional, and hopefully dynamic.
How it's adorned, and how it's used will change. As I was tooling around with my shards of blue plastic, (shards that have been sitting on a shelf for nearly two years, therefore I'm happy to put them to some use, thereby validating my sometimes compulsive aversion to throwing out) creating little dimensional paintings, I was weighing the validity of a decorative vs. functional exterior modification. I had early on figured that I would want to incorporate some retractable work surface on the outside of the structure, and I realize for practical reasons, I could certainly use it. Where would I put it? When a clear componant of this process is that the structure is a sculpture, where should the art end and the design begin. Should every inch of this place be useful - functional? Yes. But would that not simply a be a beautiful shack, and a bit of easthetic exploration for its own sake, is that not valid?
These are internal diatribes that fire back and forth in an instant when I'm working. They are not profound probings, and not worth much of a mention here except that as with the previous post serve to triangulate myself on the path of process. Whether many others read this, I will eventually, and it will add context for me.

Kamp Maykr review

Here are a couple of images of Michael Natiello's mowed grass piece that was part of last weekend's Kamp Maykr project on the grounds of our apartment in Beacon. Over at, I've posted some images of the other pieces from Kamp Maykr as well as the happenings at Spire Studios that were happening at the same time.
The brunch we held on Saturday was really enjoyable, and the weather was excellent. I appreciate all of the artists that participated in the project, and I'm grateful to everyone that came by on Saturday morning. It's a positive reminder of why I continue to throw these types of things together; interacting with and being inspired by other artists' takes, and pushing myself to step out of my normal habits of seeing and making.
Just as Meatballs had its sequels, so too will Kamp Maykr. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inside the hab

Here's a quick tour of the inside of my habitat from Saturday's HFA event. I've posted a few images over at maykr with more to come.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Of heart and mind

Ingredients for discovery: soft architecture and toasted whole grain oats.

I remember building forts, when I was young, in the kitchen or living room with random furniture joined with ligatures of blankets. Having that veiled sense of comfort. The world softened, filtered to meet my eye. I can’t remember now when I learned about it, and I don’t want to project preference onto memory, but at some point, some teacher of mine spoke to us about the notion of “querencia,” basically a Spanish term that refers to one’s comfort zone; a place from which one draws strenght. Those structures of fabric and re purposed dining furniture represented the tangible form of my Querencia. Come to think of it, the evocation of a place of comfort comes originates,for me, in same conditions lo these 30 years later.
I’m on a bent to relate the sense I have when entering my “hab” at night, but it's not easy to convey. The corrugated transparent ceiling panels let in a bounty of wonderful light. That ceiling is responsible for transmitting a good deal of heat and stuffiness, so yesterday I installed a baffle. A white sheet attached to lengths of wood on two sides to swag across the ceiling overhead, softening the light and buffering the heat. The effect of soft architecture and muted luminance even more strongly evokes that feel of the child’s fort. Not until I used the word “structure “ In the previous post did I realize that this temporary workspace and sculpture is not just like building a fort as a youngster. it is a fort. Built for my own pleasure, largely improvised by what I can easily scab together, its intimate and all together my own contemporary incarnation of a querencia; one in which to move freely and confidently in thought and courageously in action.
Speaking briefly tonight with Alexis Elton, who is back in Beacon for a short break from her current stint in NM, about the relevance of we artists partaking in this project making space for to make our little objects, when, in Cerrillos, south of Santa Fe, she’s spent time with a program which works with individuals to construct similar structures to simply meet their basic needs. I agree that there is something potentially, inevitably frivolous, about a group of artists “roughing it” in a parking lot, making artwork out of doors, devoid of electric light and convenient potty. What is this artist's process of leaving a trail of objects but frivolity and diversion, particularly when
war and suffering exist? At it’s best, though, this tinkering and crafting we do is a vehicle to engage with the materials of this life to put forth an effort in demonstrating an appreciation, if not a comprehension of all there is in this life. I appreciate her take, and in a broader sense of mayking, I myself have struggled with it in that past and continue to do so. This hermit's pursuit tracked through the production of objects and actions is as often philosophical as it is random and silly. It's a pursuit that allows me to touch realms of meaning that enhances my experience of life. It's the sharing of the fruits of these labors that, if needed, lends relevance. Whenever you capsulize an experience or even a philosophy and put it on show, there's something of the prurient and voyeuristic that seeps in, but that's a side effect of communication. There is a bit of the ridiculous in the row of mini buildings that have sprouted at the south end of Spire’s parking lot. But that ridiculousness that is part and parcel of that artist’s experience. (insert here, some Shakespearen quote regarding the clown's profundity)
It's ridiculous to fixate and contemplate a bulk box of Cheerios. But as the experience of so many in our culture, myself included, is not directly shaped by the tides of war and capricious Mother Nature, a significance relevant to broader questions may come from that contemplation. Being able to carve out a moment of Querencia in which to pondering the depth of such frivolity provides the gumption to draw audacious connections to areas of true significance that can lead to deeper understanding - connections which otherwise would not be entertained for lack of confidence or fear of embarrassment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Habitat For Artists Project Launch, May 17, 1-6pm

It mayks a village. Here's a glimpse of the habitat enclave as it looks now - nearly. After you fill your belly at Kamp Maykr, run around to a few other sites in town, make it back to Spire by early afternoon and start imbibing whilst you check out what might turn out to be a weird analog to Colonial Williamsburg. "Come see and experience artists in their natural habitat." Check out the Habitat for Artists blog for updates on the day, and the overall project as it develops through the Summer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On initial marks: green and pulpy - blue and runny

I arrived home this evening from two days of a painting job in Ridgefield CT. to find Michael Natiello standing in front of our lawn looking like a deranged farmer. Michael began work on his mowing piece for Kamp Maykr. Angelika took some photos of him doing his thing... I'll post those shortly.

As for other beginnings, it's taken nearly a month and a half after the skeleton of my Habitat went up that I finally made it in there to begin some work myself. I was expecting to jump in and start spending a bit of each evening in there tinkering in early April, but it just wasn't in the cards.

As my habitat is parked right under one of the lampposts, I benefit by piggybacking the lightsource well into the night, and it is certainly a sufficiently bright to work. So, late tonight, I put myself in there and christened the joint with the first drips and splatters. I have a big tub of navy blue rit dye left over from a recent dyeing project which will be my medium of choice for the purpose of letting loose on some paper. The images depict the first several sketches of many to come.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sleepaway Camp Let's just call it Brunch. See ya in the morning

Ever since we moved into our apartment, a little over a year ago, I started dreaming of potential "project spaces" that could be created both inside and outside. I'd invite various artists to stage a visual intervention in a closet or in the crotch of the tree out back. Alas, with all the other halfcocked inspirations that promote within me the excitement of potential, mixed with a wee bit of anxiety, these little inhouse galleries have never gotten off the drawing board.
But next weekend, May 17 and 18 will be a concession to those intstigatory impulses. Kamp Maykr kicks off with a potluck brunch at 10am on Saturday, May 17 on our lovelyporch and in the garden. There will be a small exhibit of installations throughout the garden and yard which will be on view that day and the next, Sunday May 18 from 12-5pm.
Kamp Maykr is taking place at 1172 North Ave in Beacon, NY.
Here's a map. Ya'll are invited, and if you're coming up to Beacon for the weekend, be sure to stop by.

Sneek Preview: Here's a stack of rocks that Matt Hereford brought over to our place last fall. And it has been our trusty barometer ever since; you know, 'if the rocks are wet, then its raining' if the rocks are white, then it's snowing', if the rocks have fallen down, then Chris has to try to restack them to best approximate the artist's original intent and gesture.....' Matt will be bringing more rocks for the weekend.

Originally, concieved as a corollary event to accompany the Sitelines Art Fair that was to be held in Beacon that weekend, the potluck brunch and yard work exhibit will be an informal how'do and kickoff to the day's events. And indeed there are other things going on that day and the next. Habitat for Artists, Electric Windows, open studios at both Beacon and Spire Studios will provide much to see. I've highlighted a list of the weekend's events over at maykr.

We are very appreciative of our landlords, Elizabeth Barrett and Lee Kyriacou for supporting this event.

Observed and Considered @ CCS Bard Library through May 30, 2008

Two of my canvases in the foregrown. Three of Peter Acheson's toward the back.

I currently have work on view at the CCS Bard Library located at the CCS Hessel Museum at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
The exhibition of my work, along with that of Peter Acheson, Daniel Berlin and Mark DeLura is installed throughout the library and was curated by CCS Hessel Museum director, Tom Eccles.
I'm showing several of the Genesis paintings, and two recent oils on canvas which have grown out of those. The marriage of divergent image and text and the convergence of high and low exemplified within the Genesis pieces is enforced by their presence in such a place of literature and letters.
Some of the Genesis pieces over the computer stations.

Daniel Berlin's oil on canvas pieces.

Mark Delura's work in the reading room.

Peter Acheson's abstract visionary pastoral pieces.

More of Mark Delura's works on panel.