Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Larson Gallery's Metamorphosis exhibition

The current exhibition at Larson Gallery in Yakima (on the Yakima Valley Community College campus) is amazing. I don't generally write about exhibitions that don't involve me or my students, unless maybe they involve a lot of clay, but this show is worth highlighting.

The show features four artists whose work I simply love. I never pass up an opportunity to see Renee Adams' work and even made a point of visiting her studio in Thorp when she was on the Ellensburg artist tour thing a few years back. I own work by both Kristen Michael (Kaiten) and Justin Gibbens. And I recently had the pleasure of sitting in a gallery for six hours with work by Scott Mayberry.

All four of these artists reward viewers who spend a long time with the work. Six hours wasn't enough time at CORE Gallery and I've only gotten to spend a couple of hours at Larson Gallery for this show. Metamorphosis is packed with art and each piece in the show is packed with visual stimulation.

Kaiten's work is by turns funny and heart-wrenching. My reaction to her triptych, "Waiting" was physical; my stomach dropped and my heart ached. The small piece is powerful and surprising. And I continued to react strongly to it the next two times I walked by the work. Her "Fruit of the Anti-Spirit" series is witty and fun. I actually laughed out loud at two of them. Luckilly most of my students had already moved on.

I am having my students write about one piece in the gallery--their choice--for their first art history writing assignment. The class is Ancient & Medieval Art History, so they aren't making direct connections between the work and their class content, but they are writing about materials, composition, subject, symbolism and cultural context. I think the works offer a lot of variety in the first four areas and it will be interesting to see what the students have to say about the context of these works, especially when viewed together in this show.

All four artist mixed media in interesting ways. Quite a few of Mayberry's paintings include sculptural elements and even the flat paintings include references to other media. Gibbens has several sculptural works, including some specimen creatures in the back of the gallery, one of which seems to be an exotic chimera of a giraffe and a bug. The construction of these pieces reminds me of some of Adams' sculptural forms.

I have always loved Renee Adams' use of mixed media. When I first saw her work, I thought it was mostly ceramic, but she confidently switches back and forth between polymer or epoxy clay, found materials, fabric and paint. Her work, more that anyone else's, makes me yearn to be in my own home studio, making work and trying to achieve some of the fascinating, graceful, suggestive shapes that show up in her work time after time.

Go see this show.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Faculty Exhibition at YVCC

Classes start Monday at YVCC. The art department still has space in two new classes, Ancient and Medieval Art History and History of Photography. You can check in with instructors on the first day if you are interested in these classes or any others. (Gold card students, if you'd like to audit a class, show up on the first day to check with the instructor, even though you can't enroll until Thursday).

the central display space in the middle of the hall

The faculty exhibition is mostly installed in Palmer Hall. Currently we have work from most of our faculty, including my sculpture, paintings by John Bissonette (who teaches drawing, painting and humanities classes), photographs by Jennifer Saracino (photography), and work by Justin Martin (design, drawing) and David Lynx (art appreciation, Asian art history, and photography). 

my sculpture and 2D work by Justin Martin

By the end of the week we hope to make space for some larger work by Timm Wauzynski who teaches art appreciation online.

work by David Lynx (photographed when I was in the building, not when the light was right)

This year we have also added a new adjunct art instructor, Robert Millard, who will teach art appreciation in the classroom. Robert, as an art historian, does not have work in our display.

work by John Bissonette

We plan to leave the work up through Fall quarter and switch it out for Winter quarter. Classes begin Monday and the building should be accessible for students, faculty/staff and the public to see the work during the day. You are welcome to see the public areas of the building during the day. If you'd like to see the clay studio, you may contact me to show you around. Please do not enter studios during class.

work by Jennifer Saracino

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Summer of No New Work and Upcoming Shows

This summer I have spent a great deal of time working in the new clay studio of the Palmer-Martin building at YVCC. I've also unpacked my office in the new building, planned a new (to me) Art History class beginning this fall quarter, and I took a throwing workshop in Montana. I also spent some time in Seattle at CORE Gallery and on Mercer Street taking down a show.
all this work, the only finished pieces are round and small
One thing I haven't done much of this summer is make any actual work, by which I mean sculpture. I haven't finished any new sculpture and it feels very strange not to have finished anything. Even writing on my blog has become more irregular because I don't have a lot of pretty studio pictures to share.
the functional work isn't bad, just less sculptural
I have glaze fired several times, but most of it has been functional work and functional work doesn't feel the same to me. It is a strange, strange feeling, coming into the new academic year without having made work over the summer. I was busy, I had a break from teaching, and I had a nice summer, but not the sort of summer I am used to.

one sculpture finished this year--it was formed about two years ago

Upcoming Shows
Though I also haven't applied for much this summer, I do have several upcoming shows, or opportunities to show my work.

Oak Hollow
I currently have work in the semi-permanent sales area at Oak Hollow Gallery in Yakima. This summer I added functional work to my offerings at Oak Hollow and I've sold more than usual. Either the utilitarian nature of the work or the low low price has been more attractive this summer.

Palmer-Martin Building at YVCC
Classes at YVCC start on September 21, and the art faculty have decided to fill some of our display space in the new building with a mini-faculty art show. We are hoping to get the work installed by the time other faculty are in the building for convocation events next week.

Seattle's Pioneer Square
In December, I will be part of the CORE Gallery Holiday show.

Windows Alive in Yakima
In Spring 2016, my work will be featured in the Yakima Arts Commission's Windows Alive program downtown. I don't have a lot of information about the dates, but I'll post them when I know more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

50 Women in Ceramics

The other day I got an e-mail about a women's ceramic project. In the e-mail they asked for permission to show one of my pieces on their Facebook page.

The piece I submitted

I didn't know anything about 50 years project, so I checked out their Facebook page first. It's actually a pretty neat collection of artworks by a fairly wide range of female ceramic artists. I highly recommend visiting their site and browsing through the images.

Apparently the group that runs the Facebook page is raising money through a Kickstarter campaign to fund a show featuring work by 50 female ceramic artists. They say it will be one of the first all female ceramic exhibitions in the US. You can see a video of the artists on the Kickstarter page.