Category Archives: art gallery

Art in Hospital

After the Happy Little Tree House art reception on Tuesday, Brandon Hall took Karmin and me to see his other hospital exhibition.  It is in the cancer center wing of Upstate Medical Center and will be up for a couple months, I think, or at least until the end of May.

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Brandon is an art teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.  He scours flea markets and garage sales to find discarded photograph albums and situates these unknown strangers into wallpapered assemblage landscapes peppered with texture and color.  They are mounted on wood and double-lacquered to prevent fading.  They are really exquisite and priced at only $250!

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Also in this show are Heidi VanTassel’s photography and paintings by Kate Renetta.

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Happy Little Treehouse

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I was invited to participate in an art show at the Syracuse, New York Golisano Children’s Hospital.  In 2011, my Chittenango Middle School students exhibited Mexican sun sculptures in this same little gallery on the 12th floor.  This time Ryan Wood from the 40 Below Public Arts Task Force connected with Jenny Dickinson, Coordinator for Pediatric Programs and Events to create an art event in which all artists produced treehouse themed art and called it The Happy Little Treehouse Show.

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An all call went out via email and I responded.  Three weeks ago, I created three new paintings for the event.  Other artists in this group exhibition are as follows:  Madison M. Quinn, Carlos Lee, Micha L. Crook, Sofia Marquez, Eva Hunter, Brandon Hall, Becki Fuller, Tommy Lincoln, Karmin Schafer, Jamie Santos, Melquea Smith, Aldea K. Gerard and Ryan Wood.

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Many of the works are priced as donations to the hospital.  Mine too, although the signage was wrong on that.  I must have checked the wrong box when I filled out the form.

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My paintings are titled “Spring”, “Autumn” and “Winter”.  They are encaustic combines.  I used two hardboard panels to create the abstract tree and house then added a variety of found object items.  Encaustic is a process of heating beeswax and infusing it with oil paint.  They are priced at $75 each.

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The one hour reception took place this afternoon.  Because of hospital security issues, only artists and hospital staff attended.  It was really lovely networking with the other artists.  The gallery is a wonderful space, right across from the library near the elevators.

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The Happy Little Treehouse show continues through the end of May.

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The Spirit Beckons

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Sandra Sabene and Laura Stisser have united in art for an exhibition at the Roji Tea Lounge in Syracuse, New York.  The artwork will be on display through May 2018.  Tonight was the reception, which included a demonstration of meditative painting by Sabene and a musical performance by Zoe Mullan-Stout and Blake Propst.

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Sabene spins her canvas on a mobile contraption-style easel her husband had built for her.  It was pretty cool and reminded me of a similar process I am using with my 5th graders – their paper canvas-based sculptures are propped on banding wheels in order to look at and paint them from all sides.

During her presentation, the artist’s hand, holding a two-inch flat brush, danced across the canvas to the beat of music, dipping that paintbrush in a succession of primary colors, working intuitively and discarding brushes along the way.  She would grab another and another in an attempt to prevent the inevitable muddiness that can occur using this process, as she had mentioned prior to her start.  She lets go of pain, hurt, and the past and focuses on the now.  In the present moment, her hand guides her emotional healing sparking the flow of spirituality and inner peace.

Sabene teaches this method in her studio gallery, the Liverpool Art Center, located near Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool, New York.  For more information on Sandra Sabene and her style visit www.artbysandra.com.

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Both artists create non-representational work.  Both connect to their inner spirit as they work.  Laura Stisser’s work looks to use a marbleizing technique.  She is evolving as an artist (she is a Sabene disciple) while also selling Young Essential Oils in her spare time, as well as making a living as a professional actor!  Connect with Laura Stisser at www.laurastisserart.com.

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The show is titled “A Soul on Fire…is the most powerful force on earth”.  The Roji Tea Lounge is located at 108 East Washington Street #2, Syracuse, New York.  Visit www.rojitealounge.com for information such as their latest menu and hours of operation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqJesktztEE

 

IPA: Spring Show

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Last night I caught the tail end of a three-hour art reception at Clayscapes Pottery in Syracuse, New York.  The IPA (Independent Potters’ Association) displayed their wares in the wonderful gallery in this basement establishment located at 1003 West Fayette Street.

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Clayscapes is where I get the clay I use in my classroom.  It is a retail business with walk-ins welcome; it is a gallery and it is home to studio space for ceramic artists, as well as a venue for ceramics classes for all ages.

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I can’t spend a lot of time in there, however – big secret revealed – I am allergic to clay!  When I do clay projects with students, I limit them to a four-class affair.  I do it, of course, because it is really an important media for sculpture and functional art.

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This gallery is really cool because many of the works are functional and so, when art lovers and customers see them, they want to use them immediately.  And they can because it is a cash and carry show.

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The glass shelves were formerly in the Everson Museum of Art before the museum went through renovations.  Everything looks amazing.  Every artist’s work is unique – there is really something for everyone.

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I spoke with Wes Weiss, a local guy and Nottingham High School grad who spoke of his process in such an interesting way, which totally resonated with me.  He said he took negative feelings of the political climate in this country and infused his feelings with positive text creating the message of melting his painful thoughts and keeping the good ones.  He said an idea grips him and it is almost painful until he purges it via creation.  He is “a slab guy”, using said technique to create tiles, lanterns and other pieces scattered throughout the show.

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You can claim a free tile from his bowl of positive words located at the entrance to the gallery.  I loved the sentiment of walking away with a piece of his goodness.  It really blends with my belief that we all work together to create our experiences.  Loved that so much.

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Also in this show are the following:  Casey Cleary-Hammarstedt, Jen Gandee, Matt Hill, Michael Hughes, Sookie Kayne, Bobbi Lamb, Tom Krahe, David MacDonald, Jamie Noce, Tina Parker, Jessica Pilowa, Margery Rose, Millie St. John, Tim See, Don Seymour, Karen Jean Smith, John Smolenski, Alan Stankiewicz, Peter Valenti, Sarah VanDerVoort, Michele Walters and Rebecca Wind.

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This exhibition continues through May 5, 2018.  Visit IPA at www.ipa.org for more information about this group.  Clayscapes Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

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Land of the Living

According to the blurb in the SU Art Galleries’ newsletter,

Artist Kiki Smith has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, featured at five Venice Biennales, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her many honors is the recognition by TIME Magazine as one of the “TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World.”

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She is a living legend in the art world, a kind of giant, a dichotomy of sorts because in person she really is quite delicate looking with slender features.  Her hands in particular, which seem a stark contrast to the sort of macabre drawings they produce.  Kiki Smith is my favorite artist’s favorite artist.  I read that somewhere decades ago.  Jasper Johns is famously tight-lipped to disclose the inner workings of his mind.  Smith is similarly private.  The language with which gallery director Domenic Iacono uses to describe Smith’s prolific career’s trajectory reminds me of this thing I read by a dating coach who insists women must keep men off-balance by speaking gibberish, like saying one thing and flipping it on its side to keep them guessing, lol.  Not to say that his words are not an accurate portrayal.

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Yes, I saw immediately via Smith’s slide presentation on Thursday evening, February 15, 2018 in the lecture hall adjacent to the gallery in Shaffer Art Building at Syracuse University how the work relates to life from birth to death and how that relationship is reproduced in a type of modern allegory.  It’s just that the description gives the impression that the artist set out to make particular meaning in her work, that there was clear and deliberate intent to be a crusader of issues or whatever.  And so, this presentation was like a breath of fresh air to me because it wasn’t what I expected at all.

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There were around (or over) three hundred people in attendance, many of whom students searching for a road map to art success, a short-cut maybe despite their unique circumstances.  Penny Santy, Laurel Morton and I had a different experience.

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She said, “I don’t know” a lot.  My friends and I responded to the realness of her being. Kind of reminded me of the Star Trek TNG movie where they time-travelled to meet the guy who invented warp drive.  How they had studied him in school and expected him to be a type of god only to find him to have the same sort of trials and tribulations as any one of us.

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Smith sat in a corner until she was introduced then raced up and got caught up in the microphone’s battery, which messed up her hair and caused her to flop into position and, while struggling with the technology, to utter, “I’m totally discombobulated.”

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You can hear my laugh in a large group situation.  I really should get a job sitting in the audience during the taping of TV sit-coms.  It was this unexpected sort of absentminded normalcy that I fell in love with.  Because Kiki Smith was not there to teach us to be like her or offer advice on the inner workings of the international art world or art super-stardom.

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She was here to share her art.  It was her focus on the specific and unique problem solving issues related to art material and rudimentary technique that propelled her journey, which if plotted probably resembles a scribble rather than a connect-the-dot drawing.

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Some people think or expect that you should make the same kinds of art forever because it creates a convenient narrative…I want my work to embody my inherent contradictions.

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Art, she said, is not meant to be permanent and neither are we.  It is simply a thing we can do to make our marks.  It passes the time.  You can sell it or give it away to friends. This despite also indicating that 90% of her art is self-owned and in storage, which most of us can relate to, lol.  She acknowledged that she was priveleged; she mentioned her father several times as well-known sculptor Tony Smith.  She said she was a college drop-out who had an inkling to become a baker and chef but never really learned to cook.  So she began to experiment with cheap or rather, non-archival art materials to sort of replicate the braid strands in challah bread and from that her artwork evolved through the evolution of several decades to sculpture, jewelry making, tapestry and stained glass via printmaking.

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My father was a baker and chef so I was amused by this.  The internet is littered with people who chastise her, thinking her success is solely attributed to her father’s connections and not to her talent, creativity and attitude.  Had she and I been flipped at birth, I can safely say that her self-proclaimed lack of culinary skills would not be in jeopardy.  Parents raise you – they do not do the work for you.  Everyone knows that.  You and you alone create your life.

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Her journey has taken the New Jersey native around the globe – to Germany to paint on glass, Iceland where the tapestries take years to manufacture and, as mentioned, to Venice, Italy several times for the Biennales.  She has even worked on and off as an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia!  It was a sort of Alice in Wonderland type story where help became available when needed.  Experts in their fields there to assist in creating the vision so that she could maintain the integrity of her mark-making, revisit old drawings and turn, turn, turn leaving no stone unturned – flipping everything on its axis until an idea had/has been fully explored.

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It was this part that I just loved.  Naturally, the point to me is meaning.  Not meaning in her work, more like, the meaning of my own life.  I saw the seemingly disparate dreams I have come together.  I saw my own path and how I got to where I am.  I am a dreamer first and foremost.  That is abundantly clear to me.

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A writer, an artist, fashion designer, teacher, friend.  And within these categories, sub-categories (in the case of my art, I am across the board with watercolor, collage, encaustic and all that).  But I do see how it is all related and that is a beautiful thing.

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I am so grateful I had the chance to meet Kiki Smith and selfie with her too, of course!  It truly is all about our personal journeys.  We are all exploring the body, the muse and the spirit in an experimental way.  Smith relayed the bit about how her mother’s passing, as well as the death of a beloved cat affected her work while I have sort of been hibernating all winter, I guess you could say, dealing with my own thoughts of mortality.

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Many of you know that I have been absent from work.  I have another month of healing from a medical thingy and that includes slowly getting back to exercising in a couple of weeks and venturing outside my little corner of the universe.  Before you get all freaky with the I’m sorry-ies, I am totally fine.  Trying to be private and like, kind of forgetting that people have noticed that I have been out of the public eye.  I mean, I put myself here so there it is.

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I am discombobulated in my own way, but I decided that instead of hiding from the world entirely or walking around with a dumb old grimace on my face, I will choose to smile.  Smith said sometimes she is thinking about some weird murder movie while making art.  She doesn’t want people knowing what is going on inside her brain.  I tend to agree with the limits of what should and should not be revealed.  People are going to believe what they want to believe and say things about you and/or about your art and it really is not anything you can control.  But you can/I can control my own experience and I choose happiness.

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So grateful to her – an amazing artist – for coming to our neck of the woods to be herself in such an inspirational way.  We are all here together, in the land of the living, and that is a precious thing.  I appreciate the love I know I feel from friends, family, students and readers of this web-site.  All of you have shaped my world and I appreciate you all very much. ❤

Kiki Smith and Paper:  The Body, the Muse, and the Spirit was curated by Wendy Weitman and is here courtesy of Oklahoma State University Museum of Art until March 9, 2018.  Visit www.suart.syr.edu for more information about the SU Art Galleries including hours of operation.

 

Dish Babies

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Gratitude is in abundance in November.  It is in the air we are breathing here in Syracuse, New York  The cold air that is making its journey across the ocean as I write this, which may actually bring with it a snow day or at least a two-hour delay on Monday (according to my meteorologist friend), is actually clearing our sinuses of the allergens from last season with every breath we take.

We are grateful for the freedom from headaches and nausea associated with said allergies, lol.  By we I mean specifically me, but I assure you, there are many who share the same sentiments.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we (again me, lol) are all more keen to bring conscious awareness to our love and appreciation for our lives – our families and the pets we love, our friendships both near and far, and all of the things we love (yes! like art!).

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I hosted a dinner party last night along with my friend Bobbi Rock Petrocci – Friendsgiving 2017, our 3rd annual and the biggest to date with thirty people dining together in the private room at Grover’s Table in Fayetteville, New York.  It was a blessed evening.  I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these amazing people.

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Last week, I met Bobbi at the Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville, New York to assist her in installing her latest exhibition of Christian Brothers Academy student artwork.  I did very little.  She is an epic installer, equipped with level, hammer, tiny nails and the perfect plan to display these very special diminutive plates.  I just provided the oh-that-looks-so-goods, and was the first to make a purchase.

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They were made by CBA art club students in grades 7 – 12 for the purpose of fundraising for Hope for the Bereaved, a grief counseling group.  These dishes are infused with color and spiritual messages, and/or delicate imagery meant to allow the flow of positive energy to encompass the viewer and subsequent owner.  They are priced at $10 each.  You put your money in a jar on the counter and write your name on the accompanying master grid to secure the one you want.  A butterfly sticker is then placed under the purchased piece until November 30, 2017 when the show comes down and all the artwork are released to their respective new owners/homes.

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These dishes epitomize kindness, the idea that we help each other heal; that children are just as capable as adults are to feel, express and share the positive vibe of love.  Each piece is unique.  I am sure that you will find one that speaks to you.

And while there, give thanks to amazing proprietor Debbe Titus who has been busily creating, crafting and baking pies to sell for Thanksgiving, as well as offering daily specials of breakfast and lunch – soups, salads and sandwiches that are very, very yummy – and of course, desserts like half moon cookies and pumpkin bread, cupcakes and all things deliciously amazing!  So grateful! ❤

 

T Minus One Week

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Futura comes down on Saturday, November 11, 2017 (11/11).  You can still see the show and buy the work in a cash and carry.  Paintings are $111 each.  Eye Studio is located at 712 W. Manlius, East Syracuse, NY.  They are not open today – hours are 11:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday.

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Here are the pictures from the closing reception last Friday night.  I am so grateful to Ilene Layow for offering me this wonderful space and throwing such an awesome party complete with music by Jerry Cali, and that gratitude is extended to all of my friends, patrons and family who came to support my art career.  Great time! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Trina Turk dress, Michelle DaRin jewelry bracelets, BCBGMaxAzria sandals