Tag Archives: Syracuse University

Things & Junk Like That


Even though the Mary Mattingly art exhibit is now over (it was at the Katherine O. Ellis Gallery at Light Work on Syracuse University campus), I still wanted to share it with you.  I saw the show and took these pictures when I was in the building for that Jerome Witkin art talk.


I loved the way she created these over-sized “junk” sculptures then placed them in environments and photographed them.  They had a similarity to Sandy Skoglund’s work. Kind of reminded me of – okay, I made this weird ball of stuff, now what should I do with it?  I like the idea of taking art into the world and placing it in other environments, and allowing the new place to give the work a fresh perspective or meaning.






I am working on a self-portrait style texture sculpture with 5th graders and I’m getting inspiration from Mattingly’s work.  Thinking about having them add metallic embroidery floss to their completed pieces – we selected ten pieces of wood for the basis of the sculpture then added the other items to create the texture and personal meaning.  The work here is in progress.  Everything will be painted in the metallic paint, hopefully by next class.


What do you think about the addition of the string?  I was thinking it’s like My Favorite Things – “brown paper packages tied up with string….” or will it be too weird?  Can art be too weird or do we always need to be pushing the envelope?

I absolutely love introducing students to contemporary artists they could potentially meet in their life-time – as I have been saying a lot lately, the world has become small enough through social media that the thought of interacting with your favorite living artist is a direct possibility!  As so much of what is being done today has a social impact, in this case, the idea of recycling (trash to treasure), I think these new artists have a lot to offer our students/kids/youth – think art in the modern world and what that constitutes with regard to emotion….


If you want to catch the next art exhibition at the Katherine O. Ellis Gallery, it starts tomorrow night – Wednesday, March 23, 2016 with a reception from 5:00 – 7:00 pm and  a gallery talk at 6:00 pm.  The show is called The Passenger’s Present and is the work of Japanese born artist Miki Soejima.


According to the Light Work website literature, they “were founded as an artist-run, non-profit organization in 1973.  (Their) mission is to provide direct support to artists working in photography and related media, through residencies, publications, exhibitions and a community-access lab facility.”

The gallery is at 316 Waverly Avenue, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13210.  Contact them at (315) 443-1300 for more information.

Let it Shine!


Penny, Anne and I went to two art openings on Thursday night!


The first was at SALT Quarters, a venue with ties to Syracuse University.  You ask to use the facility for short duration art exhibitions and they give you the key.  Here is the link to their Facebook like page.


It is located at 115 Otisco Street in Syracuse, NY.




Current key holder and artist Kathryn Petrillo has curated a two- week show of five artists:

Kathy Gaulin Donovan

Anastasia Keville

Steve Nyland

Chris Wayne Rosier

Nate West




Call (315) 443-0320 or visit www.saltquarters.com to view the art.  It will be on display until November 30, 2015.


The second art exhibition is at the Roji Tea Lounge, 108 E. Washington Street, Syracuse. Here is the link to their Facebook page.


The artist exhibiting, Niki Dellios, is a shining star.  Timing changed her life  – she was exhibiting paintings at the Syracuse Tech Garden when the art director from the movie Adult World (filmed in Syracuse) spotted the art and asked her to do a commissioned work for the movie.  She received film cred plus her very own IMDb page!


This show is up a bit longer – through December 2015.  Call (315) 428-0844 for their hours of operation.



I have to say, you will love all the sparkly bits.  Niki uses acrylic glosses, resins and glitter in her work.  They are a lot shinier in person.




BB & Hold the Banana

Banana Republic cardigan, BCBG Max Azria top, INC pants, BCBG Generations booties
Banana Republic cardigan, BCBG Max Azria top, INC pants, BCBG Generations booties

This week I did a lot of black on the bottom (BB).  So far, I have not done a single repeat in clothing or shoes.  I like the idea of planning what I’m going to wear for people to see because it’s kind of a fun way to look forward to going to work, so thank you to all of the people who liked my Instagram #ootd (outfit of the day) posts.

BCBG Max Azria sweater, Trina Turk leather skirt, Etienne Aigner oots
BCBG Max Azria sweater, Trina Turk leather skirt, Etienne Aigner oots

I went to a funeral this week.  My great aunt died.  I know how some of you don’t like being morbid, but I can’t help trying to see a big picture to life when someone I cared about leaves us for good.  I know, and I don’t even think about dying at all.  I think more about all the living I need to do and the existential quest of what I am supposed to be accomplishing, as though I had a plan before I was born.  I am supposed to find something or someone in a search for happiness, as if I had a bet with someone up there in the ether that even within the parameters of the life I was given, I’ve been challenged to still find it.  Whatever that may be.

Banana Republic blouse, Champion tank underneath, Banana Republic pants, Coach booties
Banana Republic blouse, Champion tank underneath, Banana Republic pants, Coach booties

It reminds me of the famous Robert Rauschenberg story of the Erased DeKooning piece.  In the video made at the time of the 1997 Guggenheim retrospective, Rauschenberg talked about how he had been doing a series of white paintings and he had conceived the notion of erasing a work making it white again (the paper).  The idea of the process backwards, you see?  It is such a cerebral notion for a guy who spent a lifetime laughing.

He decided he wanted to erase someone else’s piece since erasing your own would have this feeling that you already knew how it was made, so it would be a lot easier to erase your own work.  You know how much pressure you had placed on the pencil and how much elbow grease it would require to get rid of those marks.  That makes sense, right?

So he went over to DeKooning’s, a formidable guy even sober.  He knocked – the artist didn’t answer at first and he thought, okay so the idea has now died.  I tried and knocked and …nothing.  Done and done.

erased dekooning

But DeKooning answered, let him in, closed the door behind him and stood in front of it so that Rauschenberg couldn’t escape after announcing his query – in the back of his mind he thought for sure that DeKooning would beat the crap out of him.

But instead, DeKooning said something like. “Okay, I understand what you’re asking.  I’m going to give you something hard to erase.” He handed Rauschenberg a drawing made with charcoal and paint and other materials, and Rauschenberg spent months trying to erase it.

Banana Republic blazer, Bailey 44 top, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West boots
Banana Republic blazer, Bailey 44 top, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West boots

It was a challenge, and that made the idea more fun.  And as much as non-artists scrunch up their noses and think that’s not art with an Emperor’s New Clothes mentality, you really have to admit that it took loads of time and a lot of work to erase that art.  So in essence, it was and is artwork.

Art history scholars tend to relay it as a message delineating the changing of the guard from Abstract Expressionism to the new Pop Art establishment, but Rauschenberg himself insisted that was not his intent.

Bailey 44 top, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West boots
Bailey 44 top, Banana Republic skirt, Nine West boots

No matter what we do, people will put their own spin on things.  Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez are Instagramming like clockwork, and they take the good and take the bad along with it, the negative-nellies who voice their harassment of the selfie variety, and can be very harsh in doing so.

I won’t let that stop me from continuing my journey.  I am having fun with the fashion stuff, which was heavy on the Banana (Republic) this week.

In light of the death, my parents were talking about buying their plots this week.  Preparing for the inevitable in a way to reduce our stress when the time comes.  My great-grandfather bought one extra plot a long time ago and Mom and Dad were thinking of trading it in for their two – but that spot is like my perfect spot.  It is a short walk from my great aunt and uncle’s graves, overlooking  the Comstock Art facility, which is next to Manley Field House at Syracuse University.  I kind of want to keep it for myself.  It seemed familiar, like a part of the puzzle that made sense but didn’t….


It really is surreal to think of ending up there.  Like, what?  That’s all this was?  Me, dead, with a view of my art school, along with a giant oak tree and a huge gravestone marked MILLER?  What is that supposed to mean?  I mean, I know.



Fashion Queen


Just got a new pair of BCBG sandals.  If you have never worn four inch heels, I suggest you buy this brand.  They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  No pinching and the interior is fully padded so they are of the work-all-day-dance-all-night variety.


Not sure if they come in a men’s size, one required for the posers of Karen Bakke’s fashion illustrations.  The show, entitled Queens of New York, at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery at The Nancy Cantor Warehouse School of Design (the Syracuse University Building located in Armory Square) will be up until May 30, 2015, if you were not at last night’s reception.


Karen Bakke was one of my professors at SU circa the ’80s when I was a fashion design major.  She taught me how to use a knitting machine among other things.  She’s retiring this year and going out with a fashion bang.




Her artwork is really exquisite.  She uses charcoal to begin the drawings on Rives BFK paper.  Her lines are gestural yet confident. Deliberate, which I love.  Then she adds mixed media – acrylic, some paper collage and even actual makeup to add that whimsical touch of glitter.


My favorite is the one above.  It is a gorgeous face combined with the unexpected man hand. They are all illustrations of men dressed as women, so it’s kind of a casualty of the experience.  Karen told me that she’s had people criticize the proportions because the faces are so beautiful, but it’s clear that she is a master technician and the sizes are accurate.


You really have to see this show.  There is a fun interactive feature where you too can become a queen by sliding on a wig or two and maybe a boa and look at yourself in a faux-gilded mirror.  The pieces are really perfect when witnessed as a group and it is a testimony to a fashion artist who transcends the boundaries of time. They are timeless gorgeous-sos, which is the highest gorgeous I can give.  It goes gorge then gorgy then gorgeous-so.


The gallery is located at 350 West Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY, 13202.

Oh, and P.S. – Mary Schalk of Mary Schalk Design did the flowers and I got to take one home.  OMG they are perfection in a shoe too!