A little sneak peek for next week's Free Radical, presented by the Avenue for the Arts. I will be showing two (very large) drawings in the windows at Tower Pinkster, a Architecture/Engineering firm along S. Division in downtown Grand Rapids. The event is November 7th (and 14th) from 6:00PM-10:00PM, and takes place all up and down S. Division in various galleries and businesses. Check the Avenue website for more details!
I love Free Radical. I always end up doing something slightly outside my norm that informs my practice for the rest of the year. This time is no exception--with lots of color to celebrate fall and to ward off the coming winter. Gold Home, indeed.
Did I mention this drawing is giant (and doesn't photograph well)? Eight feet by fifty inches. I've got one more to go before next week. About halfway there... so much neon.
Last but not least, Avenue for the Arts is currently doing a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for a new headquarters. This organization has done incredible things for our city over the last decade, and deserves our support. Give if you can.
When I start making drawings about my dry, chapped, (nearly) winter body.
Breathing out the summer, breathing in the fall.
making room for real summer.
The idea of home is a precarious one: it can be represented by a physical place, a person, or a simple object. Home can be found, constructed, restored, or destroyed. Home is a constant for some, lost for others, and countless manifestations inbetween.
My current body of work explores the necessary process of recreating a lost home. Much of my last year has been in flux: moving, changing, losing, and finding one new home after another. This undertaking has left me with far more than a series of addresses, and I find myself with an abundance of ambition, gratitude, and wonder. As such, these drawings are not representations of a physical space, but instead are a careful examinations of my relationships with those individuals with whom I feel most at home. These drawings consist of good friends and family, drawn carefully in order to create a likeness but also to impart a feeling of depth and physicality into these people who are more than houses. Paired with these portraits are images from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, a folk tale illustrating another young woman’s travels. This story reflects the importance of relationships and trust, and denies circumstance as the only factor in determining where home lies.
Each drawing in this series is a combination of graphite and chalk pastel, materials that allow me to create areas of focus while letting other elements go unarticulated. As a result of this approach, the drawings seem dreamlike, defined by emotion instead of real space. In addition to the other individuals in this series, I have included a few self portraits. Creating home is a task for one’s whole self, and requires a great deal of self awareness to keep it. As the story of The Wild Swans suggests, this dance between the individual and their community does not imply an end destination, but instead a perpetual journey with many stops along the way.
Despite being fairly worthless for the last two weeks due to a bout of summertime bronchitis, I still managed to:
a. Become blonde again. I feel way more punk and awesome when I'm blonde.
b. Spend some time with two of my besties from Indianapolis--what a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Bike rides, beach, and Michigan magic.
c. Put together a solo show! Everyone is welcome to join me at the opening on August 1st at the 106 Calvin Gallery in downtown Grand Rapids from 5:00PM-9:00PM. Many thanks to the gallery for all their wonderful work, and to my friends for their gracious support. I'm super pumped to see everything together in the space. The show is work from the migration series--check out the gallery to see more.
Cheers to a lovely July!
Spend time outside, spend time in the studio, spend summertime wisely.
When we dance
When we dance
Eels and sea grass float on by
I'm ten thousand leagues
Beneath the sea
Ten thousand leagues
(Galaxies, Laura Veirs).
Had a couple of the best weekends ever--right in a row. So grateful for this warm weather, my amazing housemate (she is a yard wizard!), magic trips to Indy, and tiny objects from Burley Park.
Happy summer, y'all.
Oh, George Michael.
Sun makes all the difference. Of course it does. My Michigan amnesia is already kicking in, and soon I won't even remember what the snow looked like--much less what that that wind felt like on my face and any other body part unlucky enough to be uncovered.
April, you are most welcome. This time of year means Art.Downtown., the spring gallery hop created by Avenue for the Arts featuring the work of over 400 artists taking place in downtown Grand Rapids. My work (see above) will be at Craft House next week Friday, April 11th from 6:00PM-11:00PM as part of the Co=efficient show. Several local Grand Rapids collectives will be exhibiting together, and I'm pumped to see what everyone has been up to.
So get out! Of your house! Come hang out downtown and treat your eyeballs to something awesome.
This drawing is funny because it ended up being about how desperately I wish spring would arrive for the sake of my dry, itchy face skin and limbs more than anything else. Yes, I am complaining a little. At least I'm drawing while I'm doing it.
It's spring, and as a result I've been thinking about winter's tendency to diminish and take away in contrast to summer's abundance and generosity. I sure do miss smelling things. And color. I think I've made good use of my indoor time, but for crying out loud I need to get back on my bike.
I promise I'm done complaining. Winter is necessary, snow is beautiful, and it will be even more lovely when I'm swimming in it once it's melted.
Almost out of the winter cave: spring is coming, and flood warnings abound. Still working on self-portraits. I think the narrowed eyes on this one reflect my skepticism of the outside temperature ever exceeding 35 degrees for more than 10 minutes.
Don't worry, March. I've got your number, and it's 31. Get in here, April.
I haven't drawn a self portrait in long, long time. I'm going on nearly a decade without drawing my face. But how? How did I get through art school without one, or two, or seventy?
Simple. I'm just not all that fond of drawing myself. In my figure drawing classes, I outsourced the modeling for all my homework projects... it's a wonder my family and friends still put up with me. Hours and hours of sitting still while my pencil and I scratched along from across the room. I sat looking intensely at their bodies and faces, unblinkingly recording their every bump and fold, when I could have just as easily sat in front of the full length mirror in my closet.
I'm ready though. I think. And it's just as weird as I anticipated. Looking at your own face for long periods of time is both strange and wonderful--like really seeing your own ear for the first time, or just how many cowlicks you have, or what it might be like to watch yourself dreaming.
At the risk of sounding self-celebratory, I'm pumped about this body of work. I'm excited to insert myself into this narrative, experiment with the figure again, and see what comes out. Winter is long, but I am patient. And there is plenty of drawing to do.
Aha! As promised. Although, bummer, I haven't been able to use the entire statement yet because of character limits on residency applications, so I figured I'd post it here. I was after something short, simple, and straightforward--let me know how I did.
Hans Christian Anderson’s The Wild Swans is a tale full of contrasting themes: home and loss, pain and reprieve, creation and destruction, day and night. My current body of work explores these contradictions, using the story's imagery to explore the my own journey as a maker. The story tells of a young woman and her brothers who are forced seek a new home after being cursed and cast out of their own. Each day, the brothers become swans—only returning to their true selves by the light of the moon. The young woman promises to break her brothers’ curse by weaving them shirts of nettles, though they scar her hands and feet and she must take a vow of silence to break the spell.
The Wild Swans resonates with the idea that it is impossible to make something from nothing. The act of creation is one of transformation, pain, and necessity. Drawing allows me to investigate these concepts simultaneously, creating areas of focus within each piece while letting other elements go unarticulated. As a result, these drawings are dreamlike, defined by imagination instead of real space. The faded hues suggest a nighttime setting, when the sun has gone down leaving only traces of what is visible during the day. As the story goes, truth is revealed at night.
So there we are. Work in progress. Keep going.
It's time to write another artist's statement (insert heavy sighing and squinty eyes here). And as usual, I desperately wish that I had written something (anything!) down as I was creating the set of drawings I am currently working with. Instead, I am filled with breathy half thoughts and have long lists of misspelled words floating around in my brain space.
Lesson learned, yet again: time to observe and reflect is just as important as doing time.
If only doing time didn't thrill me so. We'll shoot for a paragraph by Sunday.
Happy weekend, all.
Sometimes you just have to draw your own shadow--especially since it's January and there's no sun to cast one.
This week has been so full. Parking tickets, miscommunications, and snow banks one one side, but magic teaching moments, free ice cream, genuine conversation, and time to reflect on all the good things on the other. I also went to the gym (twice!), which is weird and great at the same time.
Happy Friday, all.
Polar vortex=adventures in cabin fever. Aside from reconnecting with my juicer, we have been busy: chased out a squirrel who found its way into my bedroom from the cold outdoors, underwent an epic car dig out, and ventured on a harrowing but fruitful journey to the grocery store.
Doesn't actually sound like all that much when I type it out, but I can promise you it's been a solid couple days.
I also made my 2014 list fancier, and am excited to hang it up. Last thing on my list of snow day tasks is a potholder. Suffice it to say that I am pumped to get back to work tomorrow.
Among other things. Here's the top 5:
1. Eat breakfast, even if it's not the first thing I do in the morning.
2. Wear my glasses more. Period.
3. Continue to focus on being present--everyday, everywhere.
4. Don't apologize for things that aren't my thing.
5. Swim. Draw. Be active in mind and body.
Here's to your top five, and an awesome 2014.