Tag Archives: artwork

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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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

Retrospective Reflection

My mom is not a hoarder.  Everything she has is organized – she just keeps a lot of stuff. In her defense, it’s a lot of our stuff, my sisters and me, things we left behind when we moved out.  I can ask her for the most random thing – a super-ball for playing jacks for example, and she will produce it in thirty seconds or less.

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I went over there today to hunt for vintage bridesmaid dresses for a Halloween costume idea I have and found a dress from 1978.  Yes, it still fits, which is hilarious because it just feels so weird to put something on that I wore when I was fifteen.  More so because it even exists, lol, and is actually in decent condition.

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I started looking at the old photo albums stored in heavy duty plastic bins in the basement, which took the better part of the afternoon – all the bad hair and bad posture pictures that make me cringe and think thank God we didn’t have Facebook then.  I’d rather be the keeper of my own image and so I brought the albums home with me.

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Yesterday I went to visit Linda Bigness in her art studio at the Delavan Center in Syracuse, NY.  We did a video interview and as soon as I can figure out how to send her the video through email- it’s about 45 minutes long – she will edit it for a future post.  Watching her work made me wish I had a studio like hers and that I was as compelled to paint everyday as she is.  I used to be.

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In 1997, I worked as a Master Teacher at the New York State Summer School of the Arts.  It was held at Cazenovia College that year.  I was thrilled to have been hired by former Syracuse University professor James Ridlon because at the time they were looking for high school art teachers and I taught elementary  (although my certification is K-12) and I didn’t even have tenure.  I taught one class in the morning and spent the rest of the time in a studio space painting 36″ x 36″ canvases.  This was right after my first year at my job.  I was still living in my parents’ basement (cellar dweller) and right after that two-week stint complete with living in the dorm, I got my apartment on Woodbine Avenue where I ended up existing for nine years.

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I had lunch every day with a Cazenovia art professor, Corky Goss, who later offered me the opportunity to exhibit in their gallery. Bring everything you have is what he said, because the space was so big.  I took that literally and framed a heck of a lot of paintings for the show the following year.

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I found pictures from that show in one of the photo albums.  I think they were pictures Mom took because you can see the reception spread and Mom always documents the food.  Upon reflection, it’s so funny because I still look at that show and remember how much I thought I had arrived as an artist and how I thought I was going to be phenomenally successful and all I would need to do is wait passively for the accolades and the next step to just happen to me.  The rollercoaster ride, you know?  Like it would just happen.

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I wonder how many other artists have had that same feeling.  Probably everyone of us at one time or another.  The moment arrives and you are so sure it is a turning point but then it isn’t, wasn’t.  Art is quite a ride, whether it is visual or performing arts.  You have to have a thick skin to deal with the rejection.  Maybe nobody has a thick skin.  It’s more that we try to focus on the positive experiences and remind ourselves of them when things are not going so well.  In my career, it was never so much about not going well, it was more success-nothing-nothing-nothing-success-nothing-nothing, etc.

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Maybe things will change, maybe not.  I’m not discouraged because I do feel very lucky.  I have my family and memories complete with decades old paraphernalia.  Reflecting on the past makes me realize that there have been so many good chapters in my life and a great many goofy ones.

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