We are closing in on numbers 1-30. These artworks will close on Friday afternoon (February 10th) at 5:00pm. Give us a call or an email and we'll place the bid for you. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-581-3229) These works are sensational!
Also, remember that all of the art can be bid on during this month but we are closing sections each week. If you have any questions, be sure and call us. We love talking about the show and sharing bits and pieces about the artists.
Here they are! Enjoy reading their inspirations.
Red Letter Day
When the artist Tom Haney presented me with a statement by the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, I created the artwork Red Letter Day. The piece relates not only to time and how it can make us crazy, but also to the 2011 Year of the White Metal Rabbit in Chinese astrology. The red letter day of February 3, 2011 was Chinese New Year.
Last November, I received Karen Croner’s note in the mail with one of her favorite poems called, “Peonies” written by Mary Oliver. This intimate poem leads us through a range of emotions and observations, capturing the pinnacle of the flower and its fleeting life.
My initial desire was to take a stylized Asian design approach with it.
After further “digging” and research, it was obvious I needed to capture the peony’s lush femininity in 3 dimensions--and to do this with wool fibers since I’m a felter.
The wet felting process--my last step--could be associated with watering a plant. Soapy water along with agitation and heat enable the wool fibers to open, interlock, and produce a strong matted fabric. After drying, this felted peony lifts from its hollow vessel to offer a surprise.
Recently, I shared my pen pal’s poem with a dear friend and gardener who has cancer. She lamented that her peonies never survived Oregon’s unpredictable rain. While the peony is terrifically resilient, it’s also a good reminder to be present and to live within the moment.
I've been enjoying having Mark's letter hanging in my studio the last couple of months and thinking about what he couldn't part with and that I would want. He being in California and me being in Portland in the winter, I decided it was a sunny day. And I don't blame him for not wanting to part with that.
My letter from Kim, my partnered artist, was written on October 17, 2011. It was handwritten, brimming with descriptions of autumn, the weather, an old house, a trip, and a change in the seasons. Her letter evoked rich imagery of color and emotion.
I originally struggled with how I would capture all that Kim offered so eloquently to me through her words. I started one piece, covered it over, started again. In the meantime, I had cut up some squares of old cardboard to make little pieces of art for a guerilla art project I was working on. It struck me that the cardboard squares captured and depicted the essence of Kim’s written imagery. I returned to the letter and began circling words that were ripe with possibility for a mosaic of cardboard tiles. Some of my favorites:
In answer to the concluding lines from A River Runs Through It, a novel by Norman MacLean, I have created a river of black and white rayon interrupted and tied with 21 basalt
pebbles. The circle conveys the recycling of the waters of time and the ties between two brothers and their father. A patriarchal story of a family’s genesis dealing with differences,
strengths, forgiveness and silence played out in their Land of Eden. And so too, a river runs through each of our lives.
3 x 7 = 21 rocks
Three : thought, word, and deed
When I received my letter with only the words "Want Less" I immediately thought of how human beings really need very little, yet we live in a world littered with accumulated waste.
I immediately wanted to create a piece for this show out of foraged items from my studio recycle bin and trash can. I found a little cigar box whose lid had come detached, some copper scraps from a Christmas ornament project, some blue thread from a neighborhood free box, some black mat board scraps, some colored pencil stubs and a tube of dried up cobalt blue paint (which I sliced open with a razor blade to salvage the tiny amount of remaining moist paint.)
The piece came together in a way that I hadn't initially planned. After cutting a hole in the box, I edged the opening with triangular copper scraps, which looked like a flower or the sun. This made me think of how little we really need as human beings, and how our greatest wealth lies in our connection with nature. This notion made the rest of this piece fall into place. The blue thread became the rain, the old paint provided the sky inside the box, the mat board scraps became the figure with was rendered with the colored pencil stubs.
After initially being somewhat thwarted by the vague nature of the words "Want Less", I found that it quickly led to a subject that is very dear to my heart.
In a conversation with some artist friends the other day, someone relayed a comment she had read that went something like this (at least this is what I took from it): artists tend to be drawn to images and subjects that were in his or her life from birth to the age of four. We all laughed and then thought about it . . .
My work over the past number of years has dealt with memory, nostalgia and loss. Utilizing photographic images of my dad’s family taken by my grandfather, I have pieced together stories, some made up but most faded recollections of stories from my early childhood. Lately, I have begun using remnants of fabric in my work, remnants leftover from the many quilts and dresses my grandmother made when I was a child. I recreate the patterns from the fabric in paint and then work on top of them.
This piece - a collaboration - began with a paisley fabric pattern that I remember well. My partnered artist sent a series of images and I chose one of a nude woman to work with as she resonated with me the most. It is a simple piece that plays on the relationship between the fabric remnant (leftover after the dress is long gone), and the nude (perhaps in need of the paisley dress).
Robin and John Gumaelius
After receiving my artists letter from Ruth Armitage I was delighted to find how much in common we had. This made my task all the more pleasant. I envisioned her story as if it played out in my own garden, I laughed and worried throughout the telling.
To make my piece the first step was to do multiple sketches then two black and white mock ups. I spent hours cutting to complete the first layer. The white back ground is an enlargement of a portion of Ruth's letter. If you look carefully you can see some of her key words showing through, robe, feathers that are all over, she was still and so on. It gave the piece an added layer that is a lot of fun.
The concept and rewards from this project are on going and I'm so pleased to be part of it.
"The Country of Strange Things":
"Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us-" Picasso
The above quote is the one I was given to create from. So I knew right away I had to create a painting, versus my normal collage or assemblage. I wanted to include the magical element and also the concept of another world. The literal idea of a painting being another world to enter (haven't we all seen one we would like to jump into?).
So I found a quote from a 1928 fairy tale book about going to a faraway place called "The Country of Strange Things", which sounded like a magical place to me. I tore it out and collaged it on the bottom of the painting. I used acrylic and watercolor paints as well as various calligraphy inks. I enjoy using the metallic and iridescent inks because they give off a glimmer and look different as the light changes during the day. I layered about 20 different colored inks and paints to achieve a semi-landscape look with the appearance of a magical land. It has been sealed with a high gloss coating.
Some people thought the landscape had mountains, others clearly saw a volcano, some saw forests and an ocean....so it's highly interpretive.
The letter I received contained a poem entitled “A Little Story.” The poem gives a glimpse of the writer’s feelings of connection to the moon. I began thinking about the mass of human-derived attention the moon receives . . . How is it to be the object of so many thoughts? What of that single thought that an individual directs to the moon—is it somehow received? And if it is received, is there any true connection if communication flows from only one direction?
This piece is made from silk that has been machine embroidered. The moon’s shadows have been created using the poem I received. The handwriting was first photocopied, then enlarged, reduced, reversed, layered, blurred, and finally transferred onto the silk. I’ve put my own “story” upon the moon by portraying it as pale, soft and vulnerable amid its environment of bold, frenetic lines. Interestingly, my tale is nearly opposite of the moon described by my artist-partner for this project.
This sculpture of a dozing hare is inspired by the dreamy quality of my letter from fiber artist Laura Berman. Laura describes a household at rest on a perfect autumn day. A lull in a busy life. Her sketch of her sleeping cat, Ozzie, captures the mood.
I thought a hare might help me tell my story best. For all her waking vigilance, a sleeping hare seems the picture of tranquility.
My piece began with a wire and papier mache’ armature. Then, in a nod to my fiber artist pen-pal, I used soft, loosely woven cheesecloth to add shape and texture to the sculpture. This little hare is painted in those fall colors that allow her to blend in and catch a few winks on that perfect autumn day.
My partner artist is Tory Brokenshire, who sent me a wonderful Robert Frost poem about being at the edge of the woods in the evening. This is my daily routine, and one I cherish. Our hen house sits at the edge of a woods where I go to gather the eggs each night just before dusk so that I can close them in safely for the night. The cool air and shadowy rustles are calming after a long day; and I often linger quite a while just waiting for the hens to wind their way up the little ramp to their roosts. It is always a struggle to tear myself away and come in to prepare our evening meal.
It was so flattering that Tory thinks of my art in the light of this poem. I feel that she knows my heart a little bit by viewing my art. We share this common understanding through visual communication, one that neither of us felt comfortable putting into our own words, but that Robert Frost has phrased beautifully. This is just the feeling that I am after for my work, and it feels good to have another artist recognize it.
As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music -- hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.
Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.
The last of the light of the sun
That had died in the west
Still lived for one song more
In a thrush's breast.
Far in the pillared dark
Thrush music went --
Almost like a call to come in
To the dark and lament.
But no, I was out for stars;
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked;
And I hadn't been.
A child on a tricycle, a woman facing away fishing in a creek, as if it were a way to kill time and a hand written note with theses words: “ my grandmother spent much of her life trying to fill the whole left by the loss of her daughter.
Contemplating that kind of pain, whether as a result of an actual death or loss of relationship lead me the idea of an empty chair, images of sorrow and compensation. Typically I am an artist that uses humor in my work. I could not find a way to that with this work.
My collaborator sent me a poem called “Pete the Parakeet”. As an assemblage artist a tribute to Joseph Cornell seemed perfect, so here is “Pete Meets Joe”.
I sent a letter to Apifer Farms with a simple poem- "Sun lined tree girl- kisses each leaf - as they fly away", and also Apifer Farms sent a letter to me expressed the time of winter coming. When I started to paint, Seattle was already in full blown dreary winter season, hibernating and drinking many cups of coffee wondering how to survive the dreary season. In response, a conversation with my neighbor 'Duff' came to mind, we had both grumbled about the 'liquid sunshine' ; what mattered most - he said - "sunny on the inside" so, I poured another cup of hope; and continued to paint.
Black is the new black
1 day ago