As usual, thinking about what I am doing/making comes after the fact! And usually with input from others.
The sentence from my friend Maureen, used in my current art box, has provided me with a much better name for these creations. In the past I have made assemblies of “artifacts”, “shrines”, “reliquaries”, and “treasure boxes”.
Now I have a new name for all of these art pieces: spirit box.
Here is quote from my own description of work made in about ten years ago:
I struggle to find the right words to describe the assemblies I make. Each piece houses a carefully selected collection of items that have a special meaning for me. And in a way that is outside any traditional religion, each work is somehow sacred to me. The terms shrine and reliquary come to mind, however I hope that my creations contain vigor and life, as well as natural and man-made remains.
All of the work I was trying to describe, and several other pieces made since, now seem to me best described as “spirit boxes”. The works are absolutely creations designed to feed, repair, revive, or soothe the spirit!
Update: I have a title for this piece now. It is “Hallelujah Spirit Box“.
This is a finely woven “silk” box given me by a friend for creative use. I have found a place for some resin pieces made several years ago & never incorporated into a finished work. I like having multiple surfaces: layers! I can attach things inside on two surfaces, and outside on both surfaces: there is no front & back (but there are sides…). And actually I can put this together in two ways: lid on, or lid behind.
It is all about playing with lights, translucency, weight/weightlessness.
Don’t forget to click on the first photo to page through the larger lightbox view (much more impressive :-)
Not sure what this piece is about. The kneeling figure was cast in resing from a figure I carved in soap, while spending a winter in Mexico, surrounded by Catholic churches. It is about reverence, and perhaps there is some allusion to death/ascendence? And flight, and a “lightness of being” or perhaps “not being” (death).The lenses may be about trying to see more/further.
My work in this exhibition is not for sale. It is experimental, and most pieces are, I hope, prototypes for larger more durable work.
1. Four Watchers, 70”x72”. Fabric, photo transfers, & ink. This curtain screens but lets in the light, and it changes with the light. The center area represents the connections made & broken by power lines, phone lines, & building rooftops in the city. The rats go everywhere, and see everything although we only seem them some of the time. 2. The Fight I & The Fight II, each 20” x 24”. In each piece, an observer watches with angst the tension between a female & male figure. Someone will get hurt. These works are translucent, designed to hang in front of a window or other diffuse light. 3. The Ancestors, 16” x 20” plus frame. The watchers in this 2-D mixed media work are strong and tense, but they are not anxious as they watch the bones of a human figure returning to the earth. 4. Shattered, 6” x 6” x 18”. Plexiglass, inkjet prints, tape, LED lights. The two fighting figures are in Pioneer Square, represented by the iron & glass Victorian pergola which has been shattered and restored several times. 5. Community of Shadows, 18” x 22” x 26”. Lightbox, cardboard, plywood, spraypaint, vellum, inkjet prints, markers. Translucent abstract and representation 3-sided figures populate a lit stage. This piece is both dark and light, and it is not clear why these figures gather here or how they relate to each other.
Now that I have three new sculptures finished, labeled, and set to be entered to an upcoming juried show, it is time to move on to the next thing. I am not sure exactly what this will be. I took a one day “break” from art, working in the yard, walking, cooking (and eating of course, with wine for dinner :-).
Then yesterday the “next thing” started, with a visit from good friends Maureen and daughter Noa Piper. Such excitement! Noa will be coordinating/curating/designing an art display & event at the TK for the Seattle Art Walk in July. And I/my work may be included… this would be excellent. But this is quite short notice, and with not much information to work with yet!
It is possible that I will have some interesting new work to do for that event! In the meantime, a sketch of Ratty, who lives in & about my yard :-(
I enjoyed watching & listening to the last half of two painting demonstrations at Northwind Arts Center yesterday, when I arrived to sit the gallery desk. The two artists featured in the current exhibit, Kristi Galindo Dyson and Jackie VanNoy, were working and talking about how they work, in conjunction with their current exhibit, Creative Play. Nice!
Afterwards the gallery got quiet, so I did some drawing. Inspired by the demo, I used grid lines to get started and an idea from Maureen P.: the notion of compass points and quadrants to represent different phases of my life.This is my doodle, using my water soluble graphite pencils.
Yesterday was another fun day at the print shop (Corvidae Press), but my results are not quite as pleasing as on my previous poly litho printmaking attempts.
I made two new plates, one directly from an original pencil drawing transferred to the polyester plate using a laser copier. The other plate is based on two original pencil drawings that I combined digitally in Corel’s PaintshopPro software, after scanning them. However I then drew further onto an inkjet print of this new piece before making a laser copy directly onto the polyester plate material.
So I printed from both of these two new laser toner plates, but I never quite got the darks I wanted on these. Laser toner definitely requires more charging than ballpoint pen on the poly plate, and I may not have used quite enough ink either. I printed only a few prints, none quite satisfactory as is. Almost true to the original drawings, though. My Gamblin Portland Black ink looks alot like graphite pencil in these prints.
But it will be quite easy to touch these up with colored pencil to get a bit more contrast, and color can be added in several different ways. Eventually I am sure that I will use all of these prints. And I expect that even the faintest, least satisfactory prints will become very satisfying artworks.
For me it is not about perfecting the craft of printmaking, even though I certainly enjoy and appreciate excellent printmaking! I am primarily interested in a desirable end result, andin enjoying the process of getting there. So that means I won’t struggle endlessly for perfect registration or creating the perfect plate. After all, once you have perfect printmaking technique you simply have a means of duplicating your fine work, and I don’t need that.
Soft World, two pass print
So I am an artist who used printmaking, but I will never really be a printmaker! The print showing a circle inside a circle, with lots of detail (Through a Lens :-) has grey colored pencil and water soluble graphite added to increase the contrast. The double “brain” image has had the background digitally “cleaned” of fingerprints & smudges!
After hours of struggling with a recalcitrant poly-litho plate first drawn with sharpie (then cleaned & redrawn with ballpoint) it is a treat to work with another plate (shown above left) that inks cleanly! It gives me hope.
I will abandon the original Circles plate (shown in an earlier post), and perhaps create a new plate based on that design. Above you can see the a plate that works (shown at left), one print from this as scanned, plus one at right digitally enhanced for darker stronger lines. I have already added more to this plate for the next print round!
But here the fine point ballpoint lines are so delicate and the prints lack impact and strength. Much more work is needed!