Saturday, June 30, 2018

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76 3/3

Harmony by Anne van Oppen
Final highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76. 

A small spider dangles from a bit of web stuck to an index finger. In a moment the bug will land on the foliage beside it and crawl away into the folds of the leaves, and the person will serenely watch them go. 

Memory by Theresa Martin
Upon seeing this second print, I wondered who Wiesel was. I googled and quickly found Elie Wiesel, and knew that was the correct person because something about this print had made me think of Holocaust survivors. The aged and weary face that looks out with such an expression of gratitude speaks volumes. It is the expression of one who can feel immense appreciation for all of life's moments, however small - such as a brief and peaceful encounter outside with a garden spider. 

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76 2/3

Humanity by Brad Ladwig
More highlights from Baren Forum's Exchange #76

With these two prints, the theme of humanity is represented in the abstract. Brad Ladwig's people remind me of Leo Lionni's picturebook Little Blue and Little Yellow, as all the people are shown as circles of color. In Lionni's story, the colors are at first separate, but then they mix, and become unrecognizable to those around them. 

Conversely, in Ladwig's print, the circles are all together in the same bowl, still, static and distinctly separated from each other. As Kahil Gibran wrote On Marriage: "let there be spaces in your togetherness." 

Interconnected, You & Me by Diane Cutter
Diane Cutter's print perhaps shows what happens if the circles intermingle but instead of blending their colors, they create new shape, rather like the intermingling of oil and water. The shapes morph like a lava lamp, creating new shapes as they go, though it seems no matter how much they intermingle, creating ever increasingly complex designs, the even percentages of stark black and white will persist. 

Looking longer at these images, they both seem to illustrate a sort of pluralism, where participants of equal value manage to meaningfully retain their differences as they share the same space with each other. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76 1/3

Stand up and be heard! by Chris Doogan
These are some highlights from Baren Forum's Exchange #76 - another particularly excellent set of prints. Thanks to all who participated.

To start, I'm just going to leave these two here, and viewers can make of the pairing what you will. I don't have any specific point to make. With all the talk of gun violence in America, with the inevitable suicides via firearms that are so common here, and the cringing I personally endure all summer as the news reports of shooting rise with the heat, I simply want to share with the viewers of this blog the experience of leafing through my latest pile of new prints and contemplating the juxtaposition.

Sniper by Anthony DiMichele

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #75 2/2

Part 2 after yesterday's part 1. For my second post highlighting some of my favorite prints from Baren Forum Exchange #75 I've decided to feature two landscape: Sauvie's Island by Barbara Mason and Saou by Abel Dewitz 

We've been here many times before. It's so familiar, we keep designating it as a place to meet up. It only exists in our mind's eye, a memory of a few shapes and colors. The details aren't important for our purposes. It is a sudden grasp, a deep inhale, a purposeful opening of our eyes after a period of dark retreat inward. The world is still out there. In there. Over, out, and above.

This will all fall away. Break up, drift apart, and disappear.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #75 1/2

I'm rather late posting these highlights of Baren Exchange #75 (I've already also received the prints from #76 - will post those highlights later this week), but they also were delivered late, and big whoop, later is better than never.

I've selected these two to feature first - if I'm  honest - for personal reasons, both sentimental and existential.

Wait, don't I always do that?

I spent a lot of time around children or by myself, and so I'm perpetually hungry for contact with other adults. Not boring small talk, but intelligent or at least juicy conversation. So when I looked at Therese Krupp's Over Coffee... I couldn't help but identify with the figure on the right who seems to just be yap yapping away, while the figure on the left looks ahead, sipping coffee. There's no clear indication of how either of these people feel or what they are discussing. I don't know if the person sipping is all that invested in what she's hearing her companion say or not. It's all just sounds, and a big, red rectangle, and steam rising up from mugs, and the smell of coffee, and this is the wallpaper of one sort of human experience.

So then there's this Still Life - Bananas and Coffee, by Brad Ladwig, and I'm in my kitchen, alone again, staring at this carafe I use every day, this fruit I bought at the grocery store yesterday, and I'll buy another bunch next week, and the week after that, and I'm just utterly struck by this pretty, but lonely, awkward, and incomplete moment, that is so much like many others, and yet it is this moment, right here, now, and never again.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Photos from "Imaginarium" Reception at CAC

Just got back from the opening for the show in Wallingford, featuring all of the artwork from The Nautilus and the Ammonite. Here are some photos. If you want to see the show in person, it's up through July 20. Duke Gallery at the Community Arts Center414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086.

"Peace Puzzle Woodcut" more info click here

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Year of the Dog Exchange

This was the first year I participated in the Baren Forum for Wood Block Printmaking's Chinese New Year exchange. I finished and mailed out my contribution at the end of January. The trickle of small prints from the other participants began that month and finished up about a week ago when I received this last one from Leigh Beatty titled Waiting. It turned out to be one of my two favorites. My other favorite below is Cemetery of the Innocent (32) by Linden Langdon.

I like both of these prints because they are not cute dogs. I'm a printmaker who has made a lot of cat prints that are explicitly not cute, and now I'm working my way into making dog prints, and I'd like those to not be cute either. Which is to say, I'd like get a little more to the heart of what these beings are as animals. Yes, they are affectionate household companions, too, but they were bred from fearsome predators, and their relationships with humans are far more complex and interesting than could be ascertained by most cat and dog posters and gift books.

In Beatty's dog print, the dog is staring up at presumably the owner. I guess it is the owner because of the intensity of that almost desperate stare. The title is "waiting", and indeed the dog is in great anticipation of something. Maybe food, maybe a walk, or maybe some simple affection from that person they are most devoted to in the world. Any way about it, this desire is a deeply-rooted yearning, and the red and black colors with the zigzag carpet pattern help to convey the primal nature of this animal's patiently-endured hunger.

Langdon's image is more subdued, but equally serious. I feel there is something otherworldly about this image, as if I could float right through the landscape like an unseen spirit. The dog is turned away, not hearing or perceiving my observation of them. They seem focused on something else beyond my own vision, maybe small and in the grass, or perhaps farther away. This dog is in many ways the opposite of the one above; distant, dark, and self-possessed.

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Heart With Plant" by Santhosh C H

It pumps blood; we know that now. The tightness in the chest, the thumping, faster, slower, everything in motion, even as we are frozen still. Always moving, growing.

I know it is an image of a heart and a seedling. Does the seedling sprout from the heart, or does the heart carry it? We cannot tell from this set of information; a not-quite-solid black background and the illusion of an elegant, asymmetrical, grey shape created by uniform, gouged marks that point in this and that direction. Like a meditation.

Ba bum, ba bum, ba bum.

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Imaginarium" Summer Fellow Exhibition in Wallingford

THIS SUNDAY, Imaginarium Reception: June 24, 2pm to 4pm
414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086

Summer Fellows exhibit in the Duke Gallery of the Community Arts Center. The show will include all of the artwork for my newly released book "The Nautilus and the Ammonite", many works from my other book projects, as well as the debut exhibit of some of my new ceramics.
On view: June 23-July 20

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Happy Birthday To Me


Today is my 40th birthday, and it seems that instead of having a mid-life crisis, I'm driving toward a mid-career crisis. Yes, I'm coming to terms with the inescapable reality that I've landed in that dreaded phase (at least I hope it's just a phase) of being a mid-career artist. As neither a sexy "emerging" artist with oodles of potential nor a truly "established" artist pursued by dealers, agents, and collectors (other than family and friends), I'm stuck working my butt off in the studio whenever I can in between my actual income-driven work and personal life. I'm proud of my accomplishments, confident in my current work and the direction of its future. But the old stuff that hasn't sold has piled up in my house like some kind of benign tumor. Yeah, it's not malignant, but it sure isn't helpful, takes up space, and ain't pretty.

Maybe some of you reading this want to say something about how my old work is good or great or important or whatever. And perhaps much of it is. But to me it is dead. Been there, did that, moving on.

Don't worry, I'm not going to burn all my old art in a bonfire like I've recently mentioned and fantasied about. I'm too old and not illustrious enough for something that melodramatic. But something must be done.

AND SO *trumpet sounds* for all of JUNE, I'm offering any of my woodcuts featured on the Facebook Album "Take My Old Art, Please!"  PAY-WHAT-YOU-WISH + $5 shipping*.

And when I say pay-what-you-wish, what I mean is offer $100 or $1 or ONE PENNY. You will not hurt my feelings. I promise I won't talk smack about you later. So long as you are moved by it in some way and desire to possess it.

Or maybe you want to give it as a gift to someone you think would love it. Maybe you have 10 friends who would like 10 of my prints as gifts. Pay me $50 to ship 'em all plus ONE PENNY and they are yours. Get some of your holiday shopping done. I seriously don't mind if you are essentially asking me to give you art, because I'm not trying to make money. I'm just trying to find a home for this stuff before putting it away for good. This is not a cynical act. I WANT people who like my woodcuts to have them, regardless of whether you have it your budget to buy art or not.

After the month of June, the album will be deleted and all of the remaining featured artwork that didn't sell will be packed away in a portfolio deep in my basement for my kids to deal with after I'm dead.

*If the piece/s you want is/are larger and matted OR if you live outside the USA, shipping will be higher than $5. Contact me and we can work it out.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Unexpected Requests for Permission to Use My Art

This past month I had a couple interesting requests for permission to use my work, both of which I happily agreed to. The first was from a metal band in New Zealand that came across a woodcut I made and posted on this blog back in 2011, Gorilla and Baby Goat. I originally made that print for fun and for a friend who specifically requested it. The band happened to be making their debut show at a vanue called Fifty Gorillas and they were also playing with another band called "Goats Az", so the image worked.

The second recent request was not nearly as unusual, though still rather cool - it was from a prof who wanted to use my woodcut of the goddess Freyja on the syllabus for a class she was teaching on Norse Mythology.

Good to know my work is getting out there and appreciated through such varied channels.