once is never enough

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FORMAL exhibit and INFORMAL blog


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real space = real experience

Carolyn, Sue, Mary and I began the planning of all this over one year ago. The blog and the exhibition are results of a meeting that occurred on February 6, 2010.  A synergy occurred among the four of us to pull the structure together. And each artist was able to maintain their own ideas, imagery and formal issues where their work was concerned. I trusted it would work.

The show hangs with careful balance. It has variety within it, in both content and form. We imagine you can’t help but relate to several bodies of work, if not all. We also understand the work connects most clearly through the use of line, texture, and a variety of material. Our intention is also a connecting element. From the beginning we wanted the mix and the experience to be educational. We learned about each other, and we hope you learned from our collective endeavor. A visitor commented after the Saturday afternoon panel discussion, Each one of you, she said, works so differently and complement each other so well.  Your respect, appreciation and affection for each other is apparent.
This observation rings of truth.

The experience felt natural and as I said in earlier posts worked organically.  There was an order and rightness that permeated our meetings and our coming together. Now, the plan is to continue to move our idea forward. Post show, we’ll assemble and discuss strengths and the weaknesses of what we accomplished. Things are bound to evolve and within a new structure there will be some change. We’ll see what develops.

Here are a few photographs of our exhibit.  The show engages the eye and the mind, in many ways. Cyberspace is fun and can be informative, but real space equals real experience. That’s what this is all about.

Photographs are by professional photographer Dan Delaney.
www. twodphotography.com

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at the photo shoot

Last night photographer Dan Delaney / 2D Photography came to the gallery to photograph some of our artworks and the show. Mary met Dan back in November during a photo shoot of her and her work (Luxe Interiors, February issue).
She’s organized the evening.

Each of us has experience photographing our own artwork, but we are in preparation for something a bit different and professional photographs of our large works, and the installation are necessary.
One can say this is another behind the scenes/What Goes On view. Another part of the plan has begun to take motion. That is, the next opportunity we hope to create.

Here are our photos of the photo shoot.  I will publish Dan’s shots next week. He gave us a quick glimpse of results last night. His shots of the work, and the space, are beautiful. The investment is worthwhile.  Before Carolyn and I leave for the evening Dan shares hints for sizing and finishing digital images.  I am using some of that direction now, in fact.

Dan lighting Carolyn's artwork.

For easier lighting set up, artwork is moved…

Assistant Blair takes a reading.

…and if art can’t be moved, it’s accommodated.

Sitting in the gallery in the evening, is such a different experience than being in it during the day. Studio lighting, natural lighting, gallery lighting and photographic lighting, each offer a whole different sort of feel. The shoot feels pretty good and it looks even better, if that’s possible. It is.

If you are curious to know more about What Goes On and What Takes Place, join us tomorrow for an In-Gallery Artist Roundtable Discussion.

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A small reception last Thursday was followed by a well-attended opening on Friday. Reaction was positive.

Mary comments about the many people who loved the blog. They came to the show well-informed and with a better appreciation for the work. You have succeeded in your original goal, she reminds me (of one of my original goals). People understand how much is involved in what we do.

People congratulate me. They’re impressed with the artists, with the variety in the four bodies of work, with the set up of the space, and with the quality of the experience. I’m complimented for the success of all of it and this surprises me. What exactly did I do? It’s good to think about.

I acknowledge I had one very good idea. It stemmed from curiosity,  creativity and wanting experience of a particular sort.  All the artists formulated the collaboration / exhibition. We started the whole thing over a year ago, and we met many times to plan out details. I did write the blog, it too came from continued conversation. And the show…well….it really takes a village that included the gallery and its staff,  husbands, children, family, friends and all the other professionals that crossed our paths, whom I mentioned in the blog. The creative act is a huge commitment and when it’s supported it goes a long way.

Practically speaking, we enjoy the opening for personal and professional reasons. It’s fun. There are comments that are helpful and reactions that are valuable. And there are sales, before and after the opening, good for all of us and so good for the arts in general. Magically speaking, we enjoy the turn out, the celebration, and (as though we had also planned it) the timely bright and full moon. That being said, there’s also timing.

There’s a huge handshake, involving lots of hands, when creativity gets going.
Which takes me right back to the beginning and the first photo I took, and the first post I wrote.
Excellent ideas, creative people, commitment, and timing … make the world go round. Proof positive.

For the opening, Rick, Mary’s husband sent each of us a bright bouquet…

Events will continue throughout the month. Next week is an artist roundtable discussion. I’ll be including photos of the show as well.

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install-another high light

high light – an important, conspicuous, memorable, or enjoyable event, scene, part.

mary will have video and sound

Delivery of artwork to studio and install took place yesterday and today.  All the last-minute stuff that goes on…went on. Sue has to work, she’s not around during the day. I hear that one of her drawings got sent to the framers this morning. She can rest assured Bill will have it back on time, no doubt. I have a few too many works, as it turns out, 3 will be coming back home. Less is more sometimes. Mary had lots to deal with so she completed installation of her large work yesterday. Last night she worked on lighting and sound.  Today she spends much of the morning carefully cleaning her sculpture…last minute de-fingerprinting. FYI…Mary carries in her purse just about anything you might need for any odd event that can ever possibly occur. And yes…Carolyn completed her artwork.

I felt emotional yesterday, and today is no different.  Moments before I leave,  Carolyn walks in, very still…with her husband behind her carrying in her very large painting. One emotional moment for sure, a highlight in fact.

It’s become clear to me that trying as we are, to share process, there are moments not easily put into words.  I am also reminded these last few days, no one succeeds alone. So many people make all this possible.

Photos below are general layout and start of install. You get the picture.

Sue got the brick area she wanted.

Carolyn's mono-print.

Carolyn's photos and artwork, front to front, back to back.

Monica's parts

Mary's Lunar Landing.

Brent assembling Creative Structure.

Mary de-fingerprinting.

First siting of Carolyn's completed work.

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20 across and 10 down

Carolyn draws. She’s been exploring the portrait, self and with animal, for about a decade. In her new large-scale canvas, she explores animal portraits. She will have you come face to face with 200 pairs of eyes. It’s an intense experience this grid of twenty heads across and ten heads down of birds, cats, monkeys, wolves, frogs, deer, rabbits, raccoons, elephants…
Here are a few process shots below which give you a sense of the intricate work.

In the beginning….

at 35

at 135

at 182

Portrait (detail)
graphite, gouache on canvas,
43″ x 86″,

Artist Statement

Self-portraits became prominent in my work starting in 2001, as a way to express myself politically after the 2000 presidential election.  But I continued to use them as a way to communicate, often rendering a mirror self-portrait and then pairing it with a caption of some sort.  I eventually paired myself with animal images that I wore as a sort of hat.  It seemed that my image assisted in helping with their nonverbal communication.

A couple of these will show in the exhibit along with an other process examples.

Marmot Self-Portrait

I usually just explain the different bodies of work rather than get very philosophical.  Partly because I am somewhat dry in personality and as a cop out.

Below are photos and a line of explanation…

Accidental Compositions,  scanned digital images from collage cutouts.

1 or 2 Journal panels. They connect to the Accidental Compositions.

Journal 52 (entwined)
11″ x 14″

The Journal body of work contains imagery that comes from my personal journals where I collage. I love the sense of ownership I get by appropriating images and doing what I will with them.  I collect things as I see them; I never go searching for a particular thing.  And while I appropriate anything that grabs my attention I also combine images with personal photos.  Any narrative content is a by-product of the type of things that were previously collected.  I don’t consider my journals to be art so I retain a sense of freedom during the initial collaging.

Arizona has proven to be a fertile place for creativity due to its raw, extreme, and contrasting qualities.  But I still love the Northwest flora and landscape which are referenced in my work and in the obsessive landscaping I do in my urban yard.

You should know that since this posting there are 3 more animal heads completed.

Carolyn Lavender was raised in  Washington and has lived in Arizona for many years.

She attended Northern Arizona and Arizona State University where she earned a BFA and MFA in Drawing. Some resume highlights are the 2004 Arizona State University Art Museum show “Democracy in America”, the 1995 and 2007 Tucson Museum of Art Biennials, and the “Group Show of Strangeness”, Durex Arte Contemporanea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Public collections include: ASU Art Museum Print collection, Mesa Contemporary Arts, Tucson Museum of Art, City of Glendale, City of Mesa, City of Phoenix Municipal Print Collection and Shemer Art Center.  In 1996 she completed a residency at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and another at Studios Midwest, Galesburg, IL in 2005.  In 2001 Lavender helped found the Phoenix artist-run space, eye lounge and was a member for 3 years.

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creative structure – I am

The idea began to formulate with this drawing, a few years back.  I can’t recall exact date, it’s been so long.  I was working on other things, so I got this down, if only to hold the thoughts, and then I put it aside. I brought it out again last year.

Body Laboratory
Casein, Prisma and graphite
40″ x 25″

Artist Statement:

These mixed media drawings and painting on canvas and on paper use line, form and color to represent a complex connection between body, mind, and spirit.

Looking closely at body structure I realize it is more sophisticated than any system or technology ever created by man.

I have interest in the esoteric concepts of the chakras. A chakra is believed to be a center of activity within the body that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy. The chakras connect anatomy, emotion and thought pattern. Color is an added element to the teaching that naturally calls my attention.

A Constant Vital Commotion
Mixed Media (casein,egg tempera, crayon)
35” X 45”

I go back and forth from realism to abstraction, because I enjoy ‘looking’ and then ‘putting down’ what I see, but I also like to loosen up and mark make, play with the materials.  I love a line.

What am I? /  Who Am I?… are usually the questions. The answer in the paining above is…one constant and vital commotion.

Constant– unchanging, immutable, permanent.
perpetual, unremitting, uninterrupted.
incessant, ceaseless.
steady, unwavering, unswerving.
Vital– characteristic of life or living beings
animated, dynamic, energetic, forceful, spirited, vibrant, vigorous, vivacious, zestful
Commotion– A condition of motion
tumultuous motion, bustle

Which brings me to the present and my current work:

Creative– having the quality or power of creating.
Structure– a complex system considered from the point of view of the whole rather than of any single part

Below is the developmental stages of a new work.  Sources from classical to folk art influence me… Leonardo to  Milagros (Mexican votive).

The drawing begins as a quick sketch. I have all my usual water soluble materials out because I know I want color.  I also want to make marks, emphasize line, and bring in detail, so out come the graphite, color pencils, a sharpener, and  fine brushes.

…months later….

Creative Structure
Mixed Media (casein, egg tempera, gouache, graphite, crayon and prisma on paper)
28” x 20”

The life-size work below called   in both english and spanish. The painting has various levels of meaning, it’s not only about all the parts, it’s also about the whole,  literal and symbolic.

Creative Structure-I am / Yo Soy–Estructura Creativa
Mixed Media on Canvas
74″ x 86″

Monica Aissa Martinez, born and raised in El Paso, TX, lives and works in Phoenix. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso where she studied Metals and Ceramics. She earned a master of fine arts from New Mexico State University, with emphasis in Drawing and Printmaking.

Her work has exhibited in the Phoenix Art Museum (Local’s Only), the Tucson Museum of Art (AZ biennial ’09), the ASU Art Museum (Here and Now), Tempe Center for the Arts, Mesa Arts Center, and the Scottsdale Center for the Arts (solo). Her work has been seen internationally, and is part of of numerous private and public collections including: New Mexico State University, Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Municipal Court House, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary of Art, Arizona State University, and Brigham Young University.

Martinez’s drawing, paintings and prints are featured in three publications through the Hispanic Research Center and Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue of Arizona State University. Both ASU and the University of Norte Dame have commissioned Martinez to create limited edition prints.

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mark-making, and the human condition

Honest. Mark-maker. Colorful. Informer of the human condition. That’s my take on Sue’s work and her process.

Here is an artist statement, and a few more choice works…

Sue Chenoweth explores memory, myth, and place through paintings inspired and informed by historical narrative, architectural forms, and zoological studies. Her research and travel catalyze the deeply personal content of her paintings, which bring to life a variety of subjects, such as swimming with great white sharks, mining the sub-basements of gilded-age estates, and following the migration of whales. Her work always traces a path back to the unity of the human psyche, and a universal understanding of the human experience.

Ghosts in the Clearing of the Great White Shark -detail
Gouache, acrylic, graphite, ink and Pantone paper
14.5 x 14.5″

Chenoweth often paints “pre-memories” of adventures before she experiences them, later investigating the similarities and differences between the “pre-memory” and the actual experience. By blending these intuitions, premonitions, and realizations, Chenoweth captures with her graphic media certain archetypes, common human experiences, and the surprising emergence of the extraordinary from within the everyday experience of being human.

I Saw Myself as a Great White Shark – detail
Gouache, acrylic, graphite, ink, Letraset and cardboard disk
14.5 x 14.5″

Fire on the Mountain and I am Feeling Fine – detail
Gouache, acrylic and graphite.
14.5 x 14.5″

I specifically ask Sue about the painting above. She comments, I see the fire on the mountain as a signal fire.  A survival fire. A wave to a friend.  I am here.  Like the other one with the light house [below].  A beacon.  I am here. But a fire can spread and quickly turn deadly.  The opposite of a signal.  Fire is a dichotomy in life.  It can kill us or help us survive.

Oh, to survive with a bounty of beauty, love and goodness.  Tending the fire to keep it contained and safe.

Futile Energy

Sue Chenoweth was born in Plainview, Texas. Sue received both her BFA and MFA (in painting) from Arizona State University.

Chenoweth’s work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including the Cue Art Foundation in New York City, and the New American City at the Arizona State University Art Museum. Among many grants, awards and fellowships, Chenoweth received a Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship, a project grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Contemporary Forum Materials Grant from the Phoenix Art Museum and the inaugural Ensemble DevMan Print Project Grant as well as Studio Space at the Cue Foundation.

Chenoweth not only researches ideas for her own art work but is on the quest to find new, inventive and relevant art education.  Teaching is just as important to me as creating art.  I want to teach the language of drawing before it is gone forever. Children should be able to draw as easily as they speak.

In the fall of 2011 she will be a part of We’re All Still Here, opening at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  The show, an alternative biennial, investigates ‘critical regionalism’ in the art world today.

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sideways saguaro-was the working title

When I ask Mary to tell me what I can share, she graciously replies,
Share it all, I have no secrets!

Working title: Sideways Saguaro (maquette)
Somewhere in between : I am close but not sure…
Final title: Lunar Landing
An Installation
Media: digital prints, plexiglas, styrene, silk, milled aluminum, LED lights and optical fiber
Completed Size: 10X10X12’
Yr: 2011

It began with this maquette below (which I’ve shown 3x…I can’t help it).

Below the form is carefully developed and we see it coming to life…

1,561 pieces of fiber get placed into the tubing when all is said and done

Mary statement about the work offers explanation about her process including sound elements:

My work as an artist is based on line and involves any process, which can accommodate a drawing in some form. I like to push the line out of the surface and that is the reason the optical fiber became important-it could sort of head out into space.

I like doing things I have never done before. The installation piece for this show is like a drawing for me, I am trying to fill the space with imagery that interests me. The labor of making art is also important; the labor pushes the concepts and reinforces my connection to the work. I like to touch and make and hear what goes on.

I will be using the sound of marks being made (pencil, pen and Wacom tablet) in this piece to let the viewer hear the work.

digital print/central image

clear tubing with hand drilled holes

Mary calls these 'wings', they are the upper portion of the installation

I ask Mary how it is she went from working 2D to 3D.

I was drawing Saguaro texture and I thought how it was so linear and interesting that I could fill a page just with the texture then I thought I could roll it up, you know rolling paper is common for storage etc. I called a plastic company to see if there were optically clear tubes and did the first one. From there I was working with pulling landscape apart so that I could establish the feeling of being out in the desert, with all the detail contained in the tubes and the space was in 2D drawings on the walls. This was the exhibit when I met you.

I was doing this work and I got a commission to do a terrazzo floor for the city of Phoenix, it just made me more aware of the possibilities of taking my drawings off the walls. As I applied for more public art I knew I needed to learn to draw digitally and I was aware of the tablets animators used and watching them I wanted to do some of what they did. I started generating my drawings on the computer and one thing led to another because you can print on so many different surfaces and in any scale. I think I use digital media like a printmaker in that it is not to be viewed on a monitor or projection etc.

The work I do with the tablet has pieces of hand drawn imagery in it-and I draw freehand on the computer also. The fiber optics became a way to take the line off the surface and out into space-even though these are 3d it is still all about line for me. I love to draw on paper and I love to make drawing work in new formats, sometimes I think I like to be a little unsure about what I am doing.

Below are a list of some of the works and info, that you’ll see in a few very short weeks.

Satellite 6: Hibiscus/ moon craters/ rocks
22″ X30”

Archival inkjet print
Edition of 10, 72″X18”

This is the long narrow image, working title sideways Saguaro which becomes Saguaro/Belt, a limited edition print, and then evolves into Lunar Landing, the installation. There was a point in the process when I asked for the title that Mary did say
I am close but not sure….

…yes Mary has no secrets.

Mary Shindell earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from Northern Arizona University and her Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing from Arizona State University. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Arizona, California, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Montana and Kansas. Mary’s work can also be seen in permanent collections at the Glendale Public Library, Mesa Community College, The Print Club of Albany, Westin Kierland Resort Herberger Ballroom and Phoenix Municipal Court Print Collection. Mary recently completed a terrazzo floor commissioned by the City of Phoenix Department of Arts and Culture for the Westside Senior Center and has public art commissions on the Northwest and Mesa Extensions of Valley Metro Light Rail. She is a member of 515 gallery on Roosevelt.

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framing prints

Each of us take a small area of our largest artwork, and create a limited edition print. The reproduction represents the large work, and the 4 as a grouping, are symbolic of our working together. We’ve made a small edition of 24, 6″ x 6″, archival ink jet prints.

This is the perfect time to mention our framer.  We each sign #1 of the 24, and then they’re off to Bill’s.

Mary, Sideways Saguaro

Sue, Tilly-From Quid Pro Quo

Carolyn, Portrait #39

Monica, Creative Structure


Mary, Carolyn, and I use Bill for all our custom framing. Mary’s worked with him since 1975. She introduced Carolyn in about 1978. Carolyn recalls Bill’s Custom Frames was in a kind of shack near the train tracks north of University. She adds…with chickens running loose. Bill’s Frames has been around 35 plus years. He’s an interesting guy. He’s still out in Tempe, south of University, off of the Hohokam highway.

I’ve worked with him since 1995. And speaking of chickens, a few years back when Paul (framer) learned that I painted with egg tempera, he gave me fresh eggs from his pet chicken and duck.
Note: egg tempera flows richer with fresh yolk.

Back to the print…
Bill’s impressed  with the four reproductions. He takes a long look at them and says he could be convinced one is an actual pastel. I set up a square format for framing, he suggests a horizontal layout instead.

Paul and Brian, the crew, step in to give me their thoughts.

Bill, Paul, and Brian

Horizontal it is!

Framing the artwork is one more part of the process. It’s an important part of preparing for exhibition.  It helps when you trust your framer.  Quality work guys. Thanks.

more →Bill’s Custom Frames

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