While searching for the pictures for my last blog post, sifting through pages and pages of photo albums, I came across these gems.
In 1999, I had an art exhibition at Roasters, a coffee shoppe that used to be next to where the Fayetteville, New York YMCA is now. It was owned by artist Ilene Layow and her husband. One wall was devoted to a mural and the other available for monthly art shows by local artists.
I used to make postcards for my events and had a 200+ mailing list to insure that I would get a 10% return – meaning about twenty people might come to the opening. This party happened on a Sunday afternoon in December of that year so I was happy to have welcomed enough people to fill the whole place.
I created only eight pieces in this series, called Black & White. For those of you saying to yourself, why not twelve?, I think when I went to purchase a dozen canvases, the store didn’t have enough in stock – something like that.
I prepped the canvases as I always do – canvas collaged to canvas, the addition of some drink coasters for texture. Then I created compositions by using a ruler to break up the space including the use of a border, using the width of the ruler to establish it. I painted with oils and added collage bits at the end. My work was beginning to be more three-dimensional. I am devoted to Jasper Johns, but I’d been to the Robert Rauschenberg retrospective at the Guggenheim in NYC in 1997, and I really fell in love with him and his combines. That may explain why I played with elements at the edges of the canvases for the first time.
I also had applied and won a grant from Rauschenberg’s foundation, Changes, Inc. That $1,000 came in the nick of time when I needed it most, so he will always hold a special place in my heart and my art!
I used to write articles for the Bridgeport-Chittenango Times, a now defunct free weekly paper. At the time, I was the only person besides the school superintendent allowed to share school news in a public forum. I wrote about art lessons and community events such as Ozstravaganza and other neat things happening in the village (the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and dozens of other children’s books).
This may have contributed to my receiving such a super-sized article (posted above) about my exhibition, which may have assisted in sales. Maybe not. I sold five of the eight pieces – two to one patron and three to another. My artwork seems to be purchased in multiples a lot, which is why I tend to prefer one woman exhibitions over group shows.
Of course, this (above) is probably my favorite picture from this flashback – the late, great, BEAUTIFUL artist Yolanda Tooley. She was such an inspiration to me, as I’ve mentioned before. She always encouraged me to be fearless with my work and used the word brave – you’re very brave – the idea that exposing your emotions can leave you very vulnerable. You can easily fall victim to criticism, but revealing oneself in this way is really the only way an artist can share their work with the world.
I’ve had a number of people compliment my honesty in regard to writing these blog posts, something that, if you read earlier posts, I wasn’t actually doing. I started writing like a child learning to swim. Toe in first then comfort, and then diving into the deep end on a spring board with a bit more spring than she thought.
This series was titled Black & White because I was living on limited funds due to my obsession with fashion (mainly, as well as other actual wasteful spending), so I had planned to only use black and white paint, like Picasso during his blue or rose periods. Each painting has text with either black or white written in different languages – four of each.
At least that anchored the theme, because I just couldn’t do it. I can’t see the world in black and white nor shades of gray. It’s complex, rich with color, limitless and…okay I’ll stop before I go off the deep end. Oh, forget it – I’m already there.