Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday, June 15th 2015

I do have a work related announcement.  One of my sculptures is in a show right now in downtown Loveland.  And go to this show and the Governor's Art Show too.  It's a great month for viewing art if you're going to be in the area.



WoW.  It's been awhile since I've posted, yes?  It happens.  Life.  The list of things to do gets so long that something falls off it...right off the edge.   ________________B
                                                                                                              L
                                                                                                                 O
                                                                                                                    G

See? 

So.  What's been going on?  Well.  Lets see. 

More ranch fencing, gardening projects, 3 colds, 1 round of anti-botics, a vacation, some family happenings, a couple of new calves, rain, rain, and more rain, home improvements, a new building for horses, ah.  Horseback riding lessons.  The highlight of every week.  I remembered something I had forgotten from when I was much younger.

I am completely happy when I am on the back of a horse.  Completely and totally. 

I am very happy in the presence of most any living being, really.  I love to sculpt them, true.  But that act is once removed from being with them, interacting with them.  I love when my cat is in my lap and she's purring and I can look at her fuzzy face and see each single hair on her nose.  It's a wonder.

In church on Sunday the sermon was about (among other things) presenting ourselves one way but behaving another.  The number of sermons we've had for these last months about drawing the circle wider have been many but as our guest pastor pointed out, then on Monday we tend to fall back into old ways of being divisionary, exclusionary, because we believe we know what is right and those who agree with us are wise and those who don't are fools...obviously.  That the opposite of Love is not Hate, it's Fear.

I think we listen to that fear through the voice in our heads.  Everyone has that voice inside their heads.  It's funny to me that when we're listening to it, or speaking from it we say, I say, "I'm just thinking."  This is the chattering voice.  It's shrill sometimes, it's self-righteous sometimes, or jealous, or well...it's giving voice to many variations of fear.  It really isn't thinking.  Bad enough it is when contained in our heads.  Much worse if words make it audible to others, if actions make it felt.

I'm not out among others very often.  I stay home and there's a lot to do at our little ranch even if I'm not sculpting.  But that voice, my own inside my head, causes a lot of trouble for me just in the company of myself.  Much of the time it's full of itself and thinks fame is "the ticket" to what will make it feel good.  I know that isn't true.  The wish for that comes from fear.  Fear of being unimportant.

Part of my (at least) one prayer to God every day is to make me the type of person he created me to be. 

Little's Voice says "What is it? I WANNA BE A BIG IMPORTANT ___________!!" (fill in the blank)...Little doesn't much care what goes in the blank...Little has Middle Child Syndrome...but not in a good way.

"Listen Little," (yes, I give this part of me a good talking to on a regular basis) I say, "I love you and you are an important part of me but Shut Up." and then I pray.  If Little chatters while I'm praying I'll never get to Amen...so hopefully Little does shut up.

"Lord Jesus, I want to do what you would have me do- what ever is my soul's work.  How can I learn what that is?  How do I know if I do that already?"  Mostly what I want to know is this.  Am I on the right track? 

When do I get in trouble?  When do I get off track?  When I don't listen to God and I listen to that trouble maker in my head.  It says things like "I don't deserve to be treated like that."  "I don't want to do that today."  "I want to do that." "I wish __________."  "I need _________."  "I hate it when ________."

Shut up. Shut UP. SHUT UP!!

"Make a list every day." 
"Give each your full attention."
"You will know what to do and when it is time to do it."
"That's it."

He never chatters.  I love that.

My wish for you today:
~Alex

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Breckenridge! This Weekend and Next

March 6-7 and 13-15, 2015


I will be in Breckenridge this weekend to unveil the large sculpture I started in Jackson last September.  I will also be demonstrating by starting a new sculpture.  

"Magical" is the first large sculpture I've ever done and will be 3-D scanned and available as a limited edition bronze. A very limited limited edition.  Pre-cast pricing will be made available to collectors who wish to get a special price on a bronze casting during this weekend and the next. 

If I haven't fallen in love with the original too much - I might be persuaded to part with it.

The original has been coated in bronze and copper and I have applied a cold patina and some Swarovski have been added in some fun strategic places and it has been coated with jeweler's grade resin to give added strength.  "Magical" is based on a revolving stand too.

It will never be as resilient as a bronze replica - but on the other hand - the opportunity to own an original artwork of this size is a pretty amazing prospect.  And I may never think about selling an original sculpture again.  So here's your chance...maybe.

Here's a copy of the ad coming out for the show.  Hope you can be there!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Inspiration Sunday on Monday

Yep.  There was no Inspiration Sunday yesterday. . . . however.  The Broncos did beat the Dolphins. 

To make up for yesterday I have some quotes for you today.  Enjoy them and I hope you have a terrific week and a wonderful Thanksgiving whether you are celebrating with yourself or with a crowd. . . .or even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving at all - giving thanks is good for the soul.  I know I can give thanks for the countless gifts I have in me and in my life.



 
 







Since this is a holiday week for me, I am not going to write another blog entry until next week.

'Til then!

~Alex

Friday, November 21, 2014

Isa Genzken

German artist Isa Genzken is next on our list of artists from the 120 artists featured in the 2007 show WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution - Curated for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, by Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA).

Berlin artist Isa Genzken has shattered countless glass ceilings throughout her four-decade career, while inextricably transforming her audiences by mirroring them in the shards. Defying the boys' club of Germany's postwar art hotbed in the '70s and '80s, she went against the proverbial grain carved out by icons Joseph Beuys, Sigmund Polke, Gerhard Richter, and Bernd Becher to define herself.

©Isa Genzken - Kinder Filmen 1
As one of only five female artists to whom MoMA granted a solo exhibition over the last decade, her latest "Isa Genzken: Retrospective" brought her to the cutting edge of New York's male-dominated art scene. With an oeuvre spanning an astonishing multiplicity of approaches from assemblage to sculpture to painting to photography to large-scale installations, Genzken simply can't be defined by a single medium.  [from Interview Magazine - Isa Genzken The Artist Who Doesn't Do Interviews by Emily Wasik]

©Isa Genzken - Schauspieler

Artists should not look to the left or the right. Art should be strong and nonconformist—and most importantly, art should always be personal.  ~Isa Genzken

©Isa Genzken - Untitled (2012)
Iza Genzken: Retrospective is currently at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) through January 4th.  I hope you will have the opportunity to check it out!

Hope you have a fantastic Friday and weekend!  Can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is right around the corner!!??   Impossible!   :) 

Inspiration Sunday is coming up! 

'Til then!

~Alex

Monday, November 17, 2014

Audrey Flack

Audrey Flack Is the next artist on the list of artists who's work was shown in the WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution show in 2007.  Flack is a New York based artist and started out much like any artist painting what and how you might expect.  She also did some abstract painting early in her career.  I especially like this painting:
©Audrey Flack - Still Life with Grapefruits
She then began a journey with photorealism and is probably best known for that.  Her artwork has always been heavily endowed with symbolism and meaning, even her earlier work.  This painting done from a photograph of Kennedy just before his motorcade made it's journey on the day he was shot is an example of that.  The shadow falling on Kennedy is foreshadowing his death, the hand of the man in the front seat is somewhat sinister.
©Audrey Flack - Kennedy Motorcade
I loved her story in an interview I read (Oral history interview with Audrey Flack, 2009 Feb. 16, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) about the painting, World War II :
"Oh, conflict and contrast is consistently presented in World War II, and that was intentional. I went to Lichtman's Bakery [New York, New York] to get the finest petit fours I could find to contrast them with the starving prisoners, for which I got criticized. How could she paint the starving people next to these rich petit fours? How could she do that? Well, I was eventually redeemed. By the way, I went to Lichtman's Bakery on Eighty-sixth Street and spent an inordinate amount of time selecting the pastries. "I want that one," I said, but there's a little dent in the chocolate. So finally I was so fussy, Mr. Lichtman came out and said, "What do you want?" I said, "I'm making a painting about World War II. And I really need perfect petit fours." . . . .He went in the back and got me the most perfect petit fours that ever came out. . . .  those petit fours, exposed a tremendous conflict. . . . I have a demitasse cup, a silver demitasse cup. A burning red candle, cello music, and a beautiful quote from Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. . . ."
©Audrey Flack - World War II
"So every review is saying greedy. How unfeeling I am. How could I do this? Right? - the pain of a horrible review is cutting. Ten years - and I'm miserable because I thought that was one of my best paintings . . . .the point is that often what is most ahead of its time, or what is most outside its time, eventually comes around. . . .  let me tell you my about redemption. It was ten years later. Nobody would touch the painting. It didn't sell. The Jewish Museum [New York, New York] didn't want it. Nobody! Then ten years later the Jewish Museum was doing some group show on the subject. And they asked - . . . . to borrow a World War II. . . . I felt so strongly about this painting. I didn't want to die until it was placed somewhere. So they borrowed the painting. A week after the exhibition opened, I got a call from the museum saying The Tel CHai Hadassah, a Jewish women's group, had voted my painting the one that they felt best, and they wanted to give me an award. . . .  I felt great! Well, they were having a luncheon at the museum and invited me. . . . I remember peach-colored tablecloths. These women were elegant. Adolfo suits. Their hair was coiffed in French knots. Their nails were done. But there was something weird in the atmosphere. Nobody paid attention to me. I was ushered to a table where I sat all alone. . . . Somebody from the museum sat down next to me, and I said, "Who are these people?" The reply was that they were all Holocaust survivors. I suddenly understood. Never again would they be in the rags that they had to wear. They were really coiffed and obviously well to do. They had survived. The outside world meant nothing to them. Even me, who they had selected to award. . . . After the luncheon, 350 women, that means 600, 700 high-heeled shoes clumped down the stairs, and gathered in front of my painting. . . . . they were in the Holocaust. And now I'm scared because of all the reviews that I got with how could you do these petit fours in front of these starving people? . . . .I was not in the Holocaust.. They were. So I was about to open my mouth, when Yeta or another woman who raised her hand - And I said, "Yes?" And she said, "I want to talk about those pastries." And I thought, oh, God! Here it comes. She said, "How did you know? How did you know to paint sweet pastries? I was starving. I had a crumb of bread and a glass of water. And the only thing that kept me alive was to imagine eating those pastries." . . . .anytime I've lectured, anyone who had been in the Holocaust had the same reaction. Apparently I touched on a basic human reaction. Then another woman, said, "Yes! Yes! Me too. How did you know to put the silver demitasse cup and tray?" I didn't, you know. I just needed silver, I needed a blue, and then I needed the red for the candle. She said, "What kept me alive was my silver tray that I polished every Friday night for the Sabbath to put my challah on. And that's what kept me alive. How did you know to put that in the painting?" Well then, another woman said, "What about the candle? You know Sabbath candles are white. Why is this candle red?" So I explained to them that white would have receded, and the red came forward, and red is symbolic of blood especially when the three drops of wax spilled. They thought about it and talked among themselves. . . ."
I read this and thought about the way art taps into universal consciousness and this story tells me that sometimes it taps into a very specific consciousness too.  And how interesting it is that objects play such an important role in our psyches - how much meaning they can have.

Anyway - I thought that was such a wonderful story and it helps all artists to hear stories like that one.  Our profession can make us feel isolated and knowing that what we do touches people in ways we can never imagine is a very important thing for us all to hold in our hearts.

Audrey Flack has also done a great deal of teaching over the years and has left her mark on the world of art that way too. 

These days she has been sculpting - still using symbolism to speak to anyone who views her work.
©Audrey Flack - Medusa

Wishing you a fabulous Monday.  And know that whatever art you create in whatever way you create it is touching the life of people in ways you could never imagine.

'Til tomorrow!

~Alex

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Inspiration Sunday

With only one post between last week's Inspiration Sunday post and this week's you may be wondering what the heck?  It's like this.  We live on a ranch and on that ranch are cows and they will, on occasion, have a cow.  In this case there came along a little black calf on the coldest day in the history of where we live in 101 years.

A busy life made busier making sure a new life didn't turn into a popsicle.  But today?  Glorious!  The sky is once again that special Colorado blue.  You don't see that color anywhere else.  Of course it's still only 7 degrees outside. . . but it's going to get better every day.

Hope these quotes are so inspiring that we get a whole lot of creative juice flowing this week!  Enjoy :)  Since I've been researching a lot of artists who's work is more abstract - most of today's quotes reflect that.

What experience has shown me is that it takes your life to become an artist. ~Eric Fischl
©Eric Fischl - Booth #1 Oldenburg’s Sneakers
'Realism' has been abandoned in the search for reality:  the 'principal objective' of abstract art is precisely this reality.  ~Ben Nicholson
©Ben Nicholson - Elephantine

What does that represent?  There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything.  It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic - this is by no means the same thing.  ~Fernand Leger
©Fernand Lager - A Vision of the Contemporary City

In the arts there are many right answers.  I've learned over the years that when you get a clue to another possibility to follow it through . . . . Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself.  ~Jerry Uelsmann
©Jerry Uelsmann - Untitled 1987

The trouble with recognizable art is that it excludes too much.  I want my work to include more.  And 'more' also comprises one's doubts about the object, plus the problem, the dilemma of recognizing it.  ~Philip Guston
©Philip Guston - Head and Bottle

So now the floodgates are open to the delight of pure form, whatever its origin.  Anything goes.  ~Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson's Glass House

Abstract expressionism was the first American art that was filled with anger as well as beauty.  ~Robert Motherwell
© Robert Motherwell - Black on White

If you make pictures you are bound to be an abstract painter on some level.  ~George D. Green
©George D. Green - Bones

Be guided by feelings alone. . . . Before any site and any objects, abandon yourself to your first impression.  If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion.  ~Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot
©Jean-Babtist_Camille Carot - P√Ęturage dans les marais

When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you?  You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water.  Well, I've tried to express just that.  If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest it movement, give a pattern or shape of reality.  I want just the flash of its spirit.  ~Constantin Brancusi
©Constantin Brancusi - The Kiss
Wishing you a wonderful (and warm) week this week.  I'll be back as soon as I can with another artist from the WACK show.

'Til then!

~Alex 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Louise Fishman

No blog in the last couple of days?  It's true.  I think it's just been too cold and gloomy outside and the only comfort I could find was in my studio...sitting in the office writing at the computer meant looking out the window. 

Our weather has gone from nice to ice in no time.  A few days ago it was 64 degrees outside.  Right now it is -1.  No.  You did not hallucinate the minus sign there.  It could be worse.  There could be more than an inch of snow on the ground in the bargain...something a lot of people in the Midwest are dealing with at the moment.  All I can say is...brrrr!

And.  Be careful out there.

I have been thinking about writing this post for the last couple of days when I have managed to brave the window.  The artist I have been researching is Louise Fishman.  There is an interview out on the web (Oral history interview with Louise Fishman, 2009 Dec. 21, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) that has a lot of information about Louis Fishman's life and work.  The following are some quotes from that interview along with some images of Fishman's work:
". . . . I was the only real painter-painter. I was doing traditional painting. I didn't understand what the connection was, but I liked it being in that context, because I think that I get misplaced a lot of times. People . . . . they think of me as being very traditional. I think I'm really not . . . . they always link me to Joan Mitchell and Bill Jensen now . . . . there are connections, but that's sort of a dead end in a way. It feels like it."
©Louise Fishman - Untitled 1971
"I seem to start a group of [paintings] and go back and forth for a while. And then usually one painting becomes prominent in my mind, and then I often put the others away for a while or stop working on them. Sometimes I have to put them away so I don't look at them much. And I continue working on one. And then I need a break. I bring another one out, and I go back and forth a little bit until - yes, so there is a kind of - a little bit of a dialogue between them."
©Louise Fishman - Angry Paintings 1973
©Louise Fishman - Tabernacle 1981
"The way I choose color is really like, how I'm going to use this and this, that. A lot of colors sort of come together from one painting to another. And it's just like a buildup. It's almost like adding clay, and it keeps changing. The color keeps changing. And - but I'm not relying on that black and white or that value structure the way I used to and the color was really just an addendum. The color is more on its own, or the hues are more complicated. There's more complex meaning in them in the way they interact with the whole. They are taking more of a place. They have their own identity."
©Louise Fishman - Slippery Slope 2006
"It's all like a chain of things . . . . it's sort of my interest in those Native American cultures, the architecture; the space is the sipapu and the mountain - the Navajos living right up against the mountain, the whole business about rocks and the mountains.  . . . . and a lot of it came from China, the ideas about the mountain. I, you know, think it's Eastern, all that continents moving apart and so on. So it made a lot of sense to me."
©Louise Fishman - Night Shining White 1998
"Well, a lot of people have referred to me, and actually, they think they're quoting me in saying that I'm a second-generation or third-generation Abstract Expressionist . . . . I never said that. Somebody else said it, and somebody quoted it. And it just got carried down . . . . And I never knew how to go about correcting that. But that's not true. I don't think of myself as an Abstract Expressionist. I think that I have roots there. I have roots in Cezanne. I think I have roots in a lot of places . . . ."
© Louise Fishman - Wintereisse 2002
". . . . Easier and harder. What's easier is my skill level. What's harder is to - skill is less and less useful in terms of what makes a good painting, for me, and probably for a lot of people, because it's not about making beautiful paintings. It's about something else. It's about making something that really has a life and has something that's inspiring. I don't really know how to talk about it exactly, but it's that. It's like, hey, yeah, well, it's rough, but it's so deep to me. One painting, Cooked and Burnt [2007], it was called, and I thought, that's really good. It is really - I'm happy I did that. It just felt - it had everything in it. It was not a beautiful painting. It was just so real somehow."
© Louise Fishman - Cooked and Burnt 2007
"TM [Transcendental Meditation] was just like a way of calming myself down and centering myself.  . . . .I started going on retreats.  . . . .I think a lot of artists have done that, because it's a very dicey life. I mean, all of our lives are dicey. But I think making art and trying to survive emotionally, the people, the world, and your work, all of that is - and we tend - I think probably most of the artists tend to be - to have their own fragility that's - I don't know if it's more than other people, but I know that there is a fragility in there. And . . . . one has to keep a balance of the unsettled stuff. It has to be there. You can't fix it. It's just what it is."
©Louis Fishman - Troubles Overcome are Good to Tell 1997
"I don't do drawings or prints with the intention of making a painting from them, ever. But they find their way later. Often it's stuff I wouldn't do in painting yet, because there's - it's easier to throw color into them. It's easier to have new, kind of, configurations in them. And they may occur in paintings and they get painted out, but - and then they'll show up. So I noticed that that process really does affect the paintings later. And they are - there is a freshness, and there's stuff that comes up in the drawings that shows other parts of my work that I think could shed light on what the paintings are about and not what people often think they're about."
©Louise Fishman - Untitled 2011
from the Venice Watercolors
Hope you enjoyed today's post and you are managing to stay warm.

'Til tomorrow!

~Alex