Tag Archives: sculpture

Come This Way or That Way

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The five pieces that make up this whimsical installation by Abraham Ferraro of Albany, New York, are the reason children grow up to be artists.  (What kid didn’t have a sticker collection in the ’80s – am I right, people?)  Arrows wrapped in brightly colored postal tape direct viewers towards this behemoth labyrinth of recycled cardboard and stickers.  You can’t take a bad picture – every angle is perfection.  It is just so incredibly fun!  There is this feeling of discovery, the idea of packages – think Willie Wonka meets Amazon Prime via the U.S. postal service.

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It is located in the main gallery space at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the featured items in a three-person show called Made and Remade:  Re-Imaging Industrial Systems and will be on display until August 18, 2019.  The other artists in this exhibit are Landon Perkins of Bentonville, AR and Sherri Lynn Wood of Cincinnati, OH.

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Apparently, Ferraro mailed the boxes and arrow-shaped sculptures to the Schweinfurth then added more tape and arranged them to create the eye-popping playground-like display.

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Tonight was the gallery’s First Friday event.  In addition to viewing the artwork, browsing the gift shop and enjoying delicious snacks, there was a free re-purposed art project (creating a self-watering planter from a wine bottle) set up in the basement – led by my friend Davana Robedee, Program Coordinator.

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Michelle DaRin Jewelry, BCBGMaxAzria dress and sandals

The next First Friday will be August 2, 2019.  Edgy Folk will perform.

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SCHWEINFURTH ART CENTER
(315) 255-1553
205 Genesee Street, Auburn, NY 13021
mail@schweinfurthartcenter.org

HOURS
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 1pm – 5 pm
Closed major holidays and during exhibit installations.

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Peek-A-Boo

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In the 1950s, the artist Dorothy Reister and her husband purchased land for a summer home in Cazenovia, New York.  They added acres when land became available then turned the place into a sculpture garden, creating hiking trails, as well a sculpture studio attached to their mid-century modern A-frame home.

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The property transformed into the incorporated non-profit Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, recognized by National Geographic magazine as one of the top sculpture gardens in the nation, and home to permanent and temporary sculptures by such renowned sculptors as Rodger Mack and Emilie Brzezinski.  Now the home and art studio on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is open to the public to enjoy.  Today was the perfect day to hike the trails and fall in love with the hidden sculpture gems playing peek-a-boo around every corner.

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I am on vacation this week, Spring Break.  I spent a few hours investigating several trails and breathing the fresh air of this space with my high school pal Suzy, who is a fellow teacher.  There was really no one else around – it was a serene and wonderful experience.

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I highly recommend coming here, especially if you have kids at home this week and are looking for something to do.  I brought students to Stone Quarry Hill on a school field trip a few years ago and they loved it.  There truly is a surprise around every corner!

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Suggested donation is $5 at the front entrance.  If you wish to donate to the upkeep of the park or volunteer, there is more information on their website – here  

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Several events are upcoming – kite flying, an art exhibition in the indoor space, and a YMCA summer camp experience.  All information is on their website – here.

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315-655-3196

office@stonequarryhillartpark.org

3883 Stone Quarry Rd., P.O. Box 251, Cazenovia, NY 13035

Dozens

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I thought it would be fun to create trompe l’oeil donuts.  We made them from an armature of aluminum foil, paper towels and masking tape.

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Students then applied Mod Podge with a brush to paper towel bits, adhering them to the armature.  They really looked like glazed donuts – so cool!

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Cell-u-clay was next.  It is a paper pulp that is applied wet in a sort of oatmeal consistency.  This was the frosting.

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Each student (in two of my 8th grade art classes) created a dozen donuts.  Because I didn’t think six was enough, lol.  They painted the Cell-u-clay with acrylics and added decorative details.

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Some students glued their finished pieces to foamboard and others placed them in boxes provided by the local Dunkin’ Donuts.  The projects are currently on display in the library at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.

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I just loved this project.  I think everyone loved it!  Students in the 9th period B day class even came in during their study hall to become “donut fairies” – they helped the A day group!  Everyone helped each other and it was truly magical.  So fun! ❤

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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.

 

Pigs for Sale

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You may have noticed the development of pig sculptures – I’ve had them on the counter as background in my #ootd pictures.  The project had a couple of components.  Students created armature with paper towels, masking tape, aluminum foil and a recycled bottle of juice or iced coffee (I have tons!).  The sculptures were engulfed in Pariscraft then painted.  Once they were done, the artists took their pigs to a secret location somewhere in the school and using their I-Pads, photographed them in a composition.  It was a really fun project.

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My Facebook friends inquired if the sculptures would be auctioned off.  I mentioned that to the students and a few got the professional artist bug, lol.  So, some of the pigs are for sale.  Proceeds will teach students a valuable lesson about their time and effort.  All pigs are priced at $50 each.

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These eight pigs are available.  Artwork can be collected at Chittenango Middle School.  Email me at ktashkovski@chittenangoschools.org to make arrangements to purchase.  All proceeds will go to the budding artists.

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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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Going Greek

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This was a fun lesson – another one of my inventions:  Greek urns.  They are made of Pariscraft, not clay.  We used the plastic water bowls as molds, so it was a stagger start since I don’t have very many of them.

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Students placed 4 layers of plaster of Paris on the bowl.  In the following class, they were in a déja vu re-run because we needed two bowl molds for the armature.  Next, they added plastic cups (from Subway, Wendy’s, and various cottage cheese varieties).  I cut the hole at the bottom of the top cup and at the top of one of the plaster bowls.  They added plaster to the separate pieces then taped the bowls together with masking tape and went back to the plaster station to complete the step.  (Aluminum foil for the handles.)

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This was followed by painting the urn one solid color and then applying Greek patterns – and more color.

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They are stunning.  I love them!  Really substantial two and three feet sculptures.  I want them to write a note to their future selves and store it inside the vessels.  I am always thinking about my thirteen-year-old self.  Is she proud of who I have become? (I know she is!)  The note would serve as an artifact, the way Ancient Greek urns found in an archeological dig teach us about the culture that once was.  So fun!

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