Category Archives: found object

Art & Dining Experience

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Banana Republic cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Chan Luu bracelet, BCBGeneration sandals

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The art reception for Honor Thy Master at Dolce Vita World Bistro was last night.  This was the perfect opportunity to break in my blue BCBG Max Azria dress.  I bought it a year ago to wear to a wedding in Florida.  I decided to wear something else that day instead – you must know me by now to know that I had three possibilities at the ready (I went with the Jill JIll Stuart black jersey gown).  In addition to the never worn dress, my new BR cardigan was freshly delivered from www.bananarepublic.com, and so, coupled with sandals and gold hoop earrings, I was ready to be ready to have a great time at my party.

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It was magnificent!  I am soooooo grateful to have support from wonderful friends and family.  We filled the restaurant.  It was an incredible thing – surreal might be a better word – to see people from work, fellow artists, students, my parents and my besties all dining together, all coming together to view my art and to enjoy a three-course meal, which included some amazing cheesecakes for dessert – OMG!

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I didn’t actually eat – I table-hopped, chatted and laughed, and took all of these fun pics!  It was definitely one of the best art parties I have ever had, really and truly.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for coming and sharing your Tuesday evening with me. ❤

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This was a successful experiment.  Magical, more like.  Bringing people together and offering them a special menu created for the event.  Making an art show more of a happening in a way that benefits the venue and its patrons, as well as the artist.  There was actually interest in my work – potential sales.  Yes!  My dream of finding homes for these paintings is coming true.

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So it was and is a win-win.  I loved sharing my art message with those who asked.  It is a funny thing to verbalize one’s visual language.  Mine is a personal vision and it requires a certain amount of vulnerability for me to do so.  As I reflect on this series of paintings, its meaning has shifted.  It happened gradually at first, with the changes I made two weeks ago and now I discover something new every time I look at them, as if they are still in flux, changing and growing emotionally as I am.  It’s almost as if I can feel myself moving even while sitting here writing this.  I can feel the momentum of the planet and it is like when you watch those films that fast forward the life-cycle of a tulip in bloom.  Evolving exponentially.

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I heard that an artist’s energy resides in their work and people of like energy are the ones who are attracted to it.  Therefore, an artist in despair will find their patron in someone of a similar disposition.  My paintings speak of the need to seek solace in love, and are in the spirit of taking that leap of faith in order to find it.

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That used to feel sad to me, but it doesn’t anymore.  There is no fear of despair in that journey.  Only a sense that the best is yet to come.

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Last night was very special.  I will treasure that feeling of friendship and camaraderie for a very long time.

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Honor Thy Master will remain on display until the end of April 2017.

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The World

It means the world to me to share my artwork with all of you.  To find the perfect venue, Dolce Vita World Bistro, for the Honor Thy Master series.  To take a group of paintings that had been stored under my bed, re-work them to give them new life, and get them out into this world.  And to just see them again, breathing new life on the walls of this wonderful restaurant – it just feels magnificent.  This is an artist’s bliss.

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Today I installed my art exhibition at Dolce Vita World Bistro.  It took two-and-a-half hours to figure out the placement and hang them all.  I brought the paintings into the space and began by just leaning them against the wall where I thought I wanted them to go – the way I do when assisting the artists who show at the school library gallery.  I rearranged a little bit but it pretty much looked like my vision very quickly.  Then it was only a matter of climbing on a barstool, measuring with my favorite yardstick borrowed from school, and figuring out how to operate the clasps on the plastic cords that make up the display system on the walls.  That, and finding the right bit for my power screwdriver, lol (I brought flat head rather than phillips head screws – how weird).

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I love the way the artwork looks in the space.  The colors work well with the terracotta walls, and I love the contrast of abstract work in this old-world classic style bistro.  It just works.

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Here is the menu for the special one-night only art reception on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

Menu for Dolce

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There may be a wine special – proprietor Antonietta Vigliotti is working on that, as well as selecting some great music via the sound system.  I requested ’70s rock, preferably 1977 stuff, which is my definitive moment musically.  I think you pick the music of your life when you are fourteen, am I right?

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All are welcome.  Make your reservations early if you care to join.  Antonietta said she has already received a few reservations!  Yessss!  I am sooooo excited.  It will be a fun party.

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The paintings are only $200.  The larger one – 24″ x 48″ is only $500 (regularly $800) and the three 11″ x 14″ paintings are only $75.  They are priced low to sell.  I want them to find good homes.  That would mean everything.

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Honor Thy Master will be on display through the month of April 2017, so if you cannot make the reception I trust that you will find the time in your world to visit the restaurant some time during the month! ❤

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Honor Thy Master

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6863, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

I took a lesson out of my friend Penny’s playbook and re-worked eight paintings for my exhibition at Dolce Vita World Bistro that starts next week.  Spent the last two days in intense artist mode, which I haven’t done in quite a while.  It was a long time coming…and now I get it.  I get what Penny feels.  I get the lecture Anne gave me the last time we spoke – about making a commitment to painting because that is who you are.  A painter.  An artist.  Much of what I told her about who and what I wanted to be seems inauthentic now.

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Angel, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

Nobody knows the real me.  Some of you know some of my secrets – but not all of them.  It is strange to re-visit these paintings because I know what they are about, what they are still about and seeing them now as my future self, it is like I already knew the journey.  I’m still on it, but, OMG, I am so much closer, if that makes any sense at all.  It doesn’t have to.  I know what I am talking about, lol, and so, I feel a profound sense of love for my old self.  It’s weird and exhilarating, and just overwhelmingly emotional.  I finally know where I am going and, of course, now that I know that, I can finally just enjoy the inspired action I will take to get there.

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Me & Bob R., 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

I added varnish to these paintings and chalkboard paint to the borders.  Some were tweaked with twine knots and other mixed-media, a visual language insert to augment the journey, so to speak.  These improvements are like the bridge that hurdles the gap between who I was and who I am now.  Maybe I am not much different to the naked eye, but to me I’m vastly better, new and improved in mind and spirit.  I am exposed and yet, still within the confines of my dreams where reality is soooo amazing.  I love life as an artist.  There’s truly no better way to live.

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Flag, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

The series – did it have a name before?  Because I don’t remember it.  Regardless, I’m calling it Honor Thy Master.  The original concept was the idea of the mandala as the first mark-making a human being creates.  The circle and cross or X iconography on a white field is juxtaposed with torn postcards/notecards of artwork by Modigliani, Johns, Rauschenberg, Van Gogh, Michaelangelo….  I am honoring those master artists by adding their work to mine in combination with authentic mark-making.  The addition of the chalkboard element, as always, is for the purpose of a third artist – the future owner  of the work.  My chalk marks will eventually erase and so, that person could add or subtract marks to the border with chalk themselves.  In this way, we all join hands and make art together.

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Footprint, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

I am so proud of the way it all connects.  The twine is the rope that binds us in both love and angst; we are free to choose.  It is powerful and yet so simple, so perfectly cast that it gives me such a thrill to put these puzzle pieces together – like, literally…really!?!  So much joy in the perfection of it.

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Blood, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

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I will install the show next weekend.  There will be a reception on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 6:00pm at Dolce Vita World Bistro.  A unique dining experience!  Antonietta Vigliotti has prepared a special menu for the evening.  I will create a public Facebook event page for it and invite all of my friends and acquaintences, and they will be able to invite friends too – the more the merrier, although it is not a huge space.  I think the dining room serves up to forty people at a time.  Reservations are in order for the dinner, but you can come and hang out at the bar too!  It will be amazing to see everyone!  I can’t wait! ❤

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Dolce Vita World Bistro is located at 907 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York (13210).  You can either call for reservations (315) 475-4700 or fill out the form on their web-site.

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Landscape, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200
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Dream, 24″ x 30″, 1998, mixed-media, $200

Triple Whammy

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So, here’s something crazy weird and great – I will be exhibiting artwork in three locations during the month of April 2017.  Showing watercolors – the ones with the baseball themed titles – at the Half Moon Bakery and Bistro in Jamesville, New York.  No date as of yet for the reception, but I am hoping they will do a baseball cake or cupcakes for it.  That will be fun for spring, right?

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I’m installing an exhibit at Dolce Vita World Bistro in Syracuse, New York on April 2, 2017.  It would be nice to keep them up longer than a month, but no deets on this yet.  I would love to have a gathering one evening, maybe fill the dining room with friends and have music too, but I haven’t planned that far ahead.  Art shows are a great excuse for a party!  I will either exhibit the encaustic crown series from 2012 or something more retro – oil & collage paintings from 1998.  I don’t remember what I called this series.  I made them in the 2nd bedroom of my apartment on Woodbine Ave. during winter break that year.  Does anyone remember anything pre-new millennium?

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Crowning Glory, 18″ x 15″, 2012, encaustic, $125
LIFE. LIBERTY. HAPPINESS., 18X36, 1997 (300x156)
Karen Tashkovski, Life. Liberty. Happiness., 1997, oil & collage, $675

And finally,  my 1997 oil & collage series of paintings Messages (From the Other Voice) is up in the Chittenango Middle School library, Chittenango, New York, for the next two months!

STRENGTH, 18X36, 1997 (300x159)
Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18″ x 36″, 1997, oil & collage, $675

So happy to be able to share my artwork in public spaces (you know, to captive audiences).  New work is actually coming soon.  My sister is opening a yoga studio around the corner from my house.  I will be making encaustic paintings to exhibit and sell there. I’m going to be turning my kitchen into an art studio during spring break next month to get those (horseshoe paintings and maybe hearts too) ready for Syracuse Yoga’s opening in May 2017.

Valentine-ing

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On Tuesday, I gave each of my twelve Studio in Art students a valentine.  I prepped 3″ x 5″ canvas panels with a few layers of beeswax. I carved in a heart stencil.  I thought this would be a quick and fun way to introduce them to encaustic painting.

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I took an encaustic course (graduate level) at Syracuse University in 2012 with free credits I’d earned for hosting a student teacher.  Davana Robedee was my instructor.  I love incorporating this relatively new-to-me media in the art classroom.

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Students melted oil pastels on pancake griddles (all the windows in the room were open and the fans were on high) and went to town tackling their tiny canvases.  The thing about wax is that when warm, it produces a luscious liquid color on the brush – but as soon as you remove it from the heat source, it solidifies, so…that brush stroke needs to be a quick thinking confident one – needs to count!  They really loved the process.  We decided to add a second day of it, which gave them time to process the process and make better decisions once they got the hang of it.

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I painted 11″ x 14″ canvas panels with black acrylic paint for each of them and glued wooden plaques to the centers.  Students carved into their encaustic paintings with clay tools to enhance the texture then added mixed media items to it and/or to the black frame.  We brought the encaustics in for the landings with Elmer’s glue.

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I am in love with the decisions they made and the fact that in three classes they all created these wonderful emotionally-charged finished products.   So beautiful.  I love heart energy! ❤

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Rage of Love

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The artwork presented by storyteller artist and quilter Vanessa Johnson is an extension of her being.  The outstretched arms of this humanoid fabric art are inviting, welcoming and loving, connecting the women they represent, the artist and the viewer in a heart-warming embrace.  She is honoring women as she visually interprets their struggle while contemplating her own life journey as an African American with roots in Ghana.

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Vanessa begins with the bodies – sewing cloth to cloth, much of it found in West Africa.  This becomes her canvas and from it sprouts limbs, heads and the detailed decoration of meaning that produces emotionally-charged and animated floor-to-ceiling quilts.

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Last night was the opening reception for Unwrapping Vanessa at ArtRage, 505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, New York.  The art exhibition continues through March 25, 2017. ArtRage is a gallery that focuses on social issues.  They hold several exhibitions a season and coordinate them with other events – lecture/discussions, musical performances and poetry readings, film screenings and theatrical plays.  There is a pancake breakfast on Sunday, March 5, 2017 beginning at 9:00 am.  On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Vanessa Johnson will give an artist talk at 7:00 pm.

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Vanessa has been creating art quilts for over twenty years and has exhibited her work all over Central New York.  She displayed work at the Chittenango Middle School library a few years ago!  Since then her work has evolved considerably.

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There is so much raw emotion to be discovered.  Of the love of identity, of the power of friendship and of the joy of knowing a world where so many women of color are respected in their achievements.  She is certainly inspired by these women and by the strength of the community in which she lives.

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The artwork is combined with stories, text in quilted books and woven into the tapestry.  In addition, pouches of soil from her homes here and in Ghana are lovingly added as a type of talisman.  She calls them “gris gris”.  It is this narrative that blurs the lines between artist and artwork, iconography, environment and inspired action.  So much beauty in the richness and flavor of her life! ❤

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ArtRage is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 2:00 – 7:00 pm and Saturday noon – 4:00 pm.  They are available for school tours as well, and are always seeking submissions from artists for future exhibitions.  For more information, contact info@artragegallery.org.  Their website is www.artragegallery.org.

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Army of Thieves

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According to the literature for this exhibit of sculptures by Vanessa German, “when assembled together, these power figures resemble an army of women on the march”.  German creates them from a plethora of found objects.  The mannequin parts are plastered and tarred then assembled and dressed via wiring, sewing and gluing the objects in place, adding jewelry and dress that evokes some form of armor.

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They become modern soldiers lined up in effect, like those terra-cotta figurines found at the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in China.  It is incredibly breathtaking and powerful to witness.  The work is in the Sculpture Court and in the Wampler and Robineau Galleries on the first floor of the Everson Museum of Art (400 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York).

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Tonight was the art reception for this exhibit titled de.structive dis.tillation (a nod to the chemical construction of tar), as well as for the Bradley Walker Tomlin retrospective.  I will be attending an in-service for teachers in March that focuses on the latter.  I titled this post Army of Thieves because the German sculptures stole the show, which is totally ironic in that the upstairs galleries are full of local artists work and that has ALWAYS been my dream for the Everson, lol, and includes my colleagues and former S.U. professors in its mix.  Vanessa German is a product of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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German’s dolls are meant to tell the story of/create a dialogue about the social injustices of the African-American experience.  It’s to do with destructing in order to construct.  Rebuilding a world and giving voice to a type of commitment to peace, joy and love in spite of challenges.  The result is the whimsical and harmonious sound of texture, a cultural heritage-based beauty and personification that has the potential to resonate for everyone in our community.

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It is the flavor of intense joy.  There is so much to see here!  Flea market finds that take your breath away.  Attention to detail with regard to fabric and fibers.  The sculptures are skateboarding and riding tricycles, standing on soap boxes and rejoicing as they stand for one’s tears and for the healing hope of a better future.

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You need to see them!  I really ought to plan a field trip for my Studio in Art students.  We just finished creating sculpture/mobiles of paratroopers using plaster, found objects and humanoid forms, so, this would be right up their alley.

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The exhibit continues through May 7, 2017.  The Everson is planning a day camp for students during the week of Mid-Winter recess (that starts a week from today).  Go to their web-site for more information or call them at (315) 474-6064.  They will also be doing a Saturday workshop for children, and in addition, several events such as family day and docent led tours of the exhibitions. ❤

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