I am happy to announce these two pieces of mine were accepted for the “2011 Pittsburgh Society of Artists Annual Exhibition”.
Of 138 art pieces submitted by 75 PSA artist members, juror Janet McCall, Executive Director at the Society for Contemporary Craft, selected 46 pieces for the exhibit. I am so honored! Believe me I do not get into every show I hope to, so I am especially appreciative. The opening is Friday October 28th at Fein Art Gallery from 5:30-8. Runs through early December.
If you just want to look at the art and have your own thoughts great! You’re done. If you want to actually come to the opening or to the exhibit and see it, awesome! I’d love to see you and look at all the art with you. If you want to read a bit about my own thoughts about these two pieces, and what I was thinking as I created them, read on.
I have some good friends who live a few blocks away and their neighbors have the BEST plastic deer I’ve ever seen. Last December I took some photographs of their deer at night,
just enjoying their smooth forms and the color of the plastic when illuminated.
When I started painting “Tsunami March 11, 2011” fracking was on my mind, the resulting environmental destruction, loss of water quality, the relentless pursuit of things below the surface which has characterized Pennsylvania and the rapacious relationship of drilling concerns to communities, government and home owners. There is a lot of loss in the subject but the happy, attractive style of this painting was my counterweight to the depressing possibilities. At least that is how I rationalized it after the fact.
Once it took shape it became a general meditation on loss, and I thought of it with a title like “Crossing the Universe.” My concerns about fracking morphed to loss in general as I revisited the losses my family sustained over the past few years: my mother, my nephew John, my dear friend Valerie, and her mother Gay. The deer became a central symbol and I realized I could collage my photographs of the plastic deer into the painting as well. As the painting became very developed, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan happened on March 11, an unimaginable event. I added the water flowing.
Later I wondered…all these horrible things and here is my cute, sort of quirky-celestial painting. Because of the insistent blue and white in my painting I thought about Ando Hiroshige’s woodcut “The Wave” and how we probably buy so many posters and greeting cards of his image, not because the destruction the wave represents (there are many fishing boats being splintered in his wave) but we like the graphically simplified, reduced, and beautiful depiction of the wave. We don’t really think about the boats- I’m not sure many people would recall them without seeing the picture. That reminded me of the stylized way the Japanese have historically depicted a very tamed and reduced nature in their landscaping and in their art.
The second piece “After the Tsunami” is my salvaged wood shelf + the stylized painting I made of waves. This is something I created in the past couple of weeks to go with “Tsunami March 11, 2011”. Inspired by making a little shrine to art from salvaged wood for the 2011 Arboraid, I HAD to keep working right away in salvaged wood. It was very
satisfying and a different way of working. Plus I love roaming through all the
disassembled building parts at Construction Junction to think about how I could
reuse them. I got the plank there whichÂ I cut up for the shelf, and collected the bone dry branches by the roadside.
I fell hard for the little white frame as Borders Bookstore was going out of business and pulling us in with all those going out of business emails! The fat rounded machined edges of the pure white frame with it’s chunky depth reminded me of architect Zaha Hadid’s work. I liked the contrast of the rustic elements of the salvaged wood with the pure white frame, so I painted a very stylized, reduced wave painting (think I’m turning Japanese I really think so) for the precise frame. This completes “After the Tsunami” where the ocean returns to what we love, not a blitzkrieg, but a mesmerizing circus of form we mostly see once a summer, a force that softens stones, sea glass and wood washed up on shore.
Weathering the storm, now I am wondering where does that trope come from?
Ando Hiroshige,-Japanese b. 1797Â The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, 1823-29