Monday, November 21, 2016

RIDGEWOOD ARTS COUNCIL











Friday was a very special day for Artfully Awear. 

I was invited by the Ridgewood Arts Council in Ridgewood, NJ, to give a talk about my work and exhibit my handmade dresses in the Stable Gallery.  An old stable which has been converted into a lovely art gallery, The Stable is a cozy, split level space in town.  Upstairs, I displayed my dresses, and downstairs was set up for my presentation.

When guests arrived, they were met with food and drink provided by local businesses, and a member of the community playing classical guitar.  There were between 50-60 attendees, which made for a warm and engaging crowd.

I told the story of Artfully Awear, from its inception to current projects, accompanied by lots of photos.  I answered questions about my process and future goals, and even discussed some of my artistic struggles.  At the end, Susan Knudsen, the Mayor of Ridgewood, presented me with a Certificate of Participation and a beautiful Dale Chihuly book - what could be more perfect?

Afterward, everyone mingled and I was able to meet so many members of Ridgewood's burgeoning art community.  It was so refreshing to be surrounded by so many art appreciators and it was an extra special treat to have everyone see (and touch!) my art dresses.

Many thanks to the town of Ridgewood for the warm welcome!  And extra special thanks to Drew Martin and Audrey Fink for organizing, and to Sherry Frank for hosting me.

Photos by Drew Martin and Dana Glazer.

Friday, October 14, 2016

IAN DAVENPORT


I need to be honest about this dress.  I hate it.

When I saw there was an Ian Davenport exhibition opening at Paul Kasmin Gallery, I knew I had to make a dress for it.  I was so excited.  I found a white dress and got to planning – I would tape off the stripes so I could paint each different color, and freehand the swirls at the hem.  It would be FUN.  I got to work.

Hours and days into the project, and I began to hate it.  I toiled away, struggling with bleeding paint, fabric that was too thin, running out of supplies, and on and on.  At some point along the way, I started to HATE the dress.  I didn’t want to look at it anymore.  It came to represent all of the challenges and frustrations of every project.

I couldn’t give up on it, not after I had invested so many hours.  So I finished the dress, but I knew I hadn’t captured the essence of Ian Davenport’s painting.  I didn’t want to wear it.  But the invested time forced me to put it on and go to the gallery.  At the gallery, the photos weren’t working.  The lighting was difficult and the dress had gotten wrinkled, and everything was just WRONG.

I was so frustrated.  I wasn’t going to post the photo.  I needed a break from this whole thing.  Art is hard.  Replicating art is harder.  Making art when you have a full-time job is nearly impossible.  WHY BOTHER?

And then I realized that the struggles and trials of making something are a part of the experience.  If it were easy, then everyone would do it.  But they don’t, because it’s hard.  Learning how to work with new mediums and styles and brushes and tape and paint is, actually, one of the best parts of making things.  When something doesn’t turn out the way I want or expect it to, I need to embrace it.  What else can you do?  You can start from scratch or you can ROCK the thing that you made and let it speak for itself, telling the story of all of the things you learned from it.

So here it is, in all of its glory, the dress that gave me hell.  But in the process, it also forced me to solve problems and embrace challenges, so maybe it was worth it.  Maybe.

Photo by Kathy Paciello.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CREATIVE AFRICA












If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed;
If in terms of 10 years, plant trees; 
If in terms of 100 years, teach the people.

These words of Confucius are the guiding principles to African architect Francis Kéré's work.  Born in the small town of Gando in Burkina Faso, Kéré was the first of his village to pursue higher education as an architect, and eventually returned to build schools and community buildings in his hometown.  The central facet of everything Kéré does is participation.  In all of his projects, he aims to include the local communities in the process, giving them skills and problem-solving techniques that they can apply to future situations. For his installation Colorscape for the Creative Africa exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kéré used the help of volunteers from local educational institutions to install the large paracord environment.

I visited the museum over the weekend with a dress I made especially for the installation.  After seeing my post online, Kéré invited me to come and meet him, as he was on his way to Philadelphia from Burkina Faso to give a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania.  I was seated amongst the masses in the lecture hall when Kéré noticed my dress and said, "Is it you?!"  We had a wonderful conversation afterward as I told him about Artfully Awear and how his work had inspired me.  For him, it was an example of how his work elicits a response - and, in my case, an entire new work.  For me, he had planted a seed but also taught me a valuable lesson about engaging with a work of art.

Photos by William Sealy.

CREATIVE AFRICA















If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed;
If in terms of 10 years, plant trees; 
If in terms of 100 years, teach the people.

These words of Confucius are the guiding principles to African architect Francis Kéré's work.  Born in the small town of Gando in Burkina Faso, Kéré was the first of his village to pursue higher education as an architect, and eventually returned to build schools and community buildings in his hometown.  The central facet of everything Kéré does is participation.  In all of his projects, he aims to include the local communities in the process, giving them skills and problem-solving techniques that they can apply to future situations. For his installation Colorscape for the Creative Africa exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kéré used the help of volunteers from local educational institutions to install the large paracord environment.

I visited the museum over the weekend with a dress I made especially for the installation.  After seeing my post online, Kéré invited me to come and meet him, as he was on his way to Philadelphia from Burkina Faso to give a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania.  I was seated amongst the masses in the lecture hall when Kéré noticed my dress and said, "Is it you?!"  We had a wonderful conversation afterward as I told him about Artfully Awear and how his work had inspired me.  For him, it was an example of how his work elicits a response - and, in my case, an entire new work.  For me, he had planted a seed but also taught me a valuable lesson about engaging with a work of art.

Photos by William Sealy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DALE CHIHULY!



"I never met a color I didn't like." 

With statements like that, of course I'm a fan of Dale Chihuly's work.  Today, on his 75th birthday, I'm revisiting my photos from last month's trip to Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.

Chihuly is such a prolific artist and craftsman, and walking through CGG was like wandering through the mind of Chihuly himself - from things he collected (like Pendleton blankets) to hundreds of blown-glass beauties, to a magnificent greenhouse (another of his infatuations).  The experience truly made me appreciate his work in a new way.

Here's hoping that Chihuly will continue to be as prolific and will keep pushing the boundaries of what can be done with glass through his 75th year and beyond.

Happy birthday, Dale!





Photos by myself and William Sealy.

Friday, September 16, 2016

CARMEN HERRERA @ THE WHITNEY




"I began a lifelong process of purification, a process of taking away what isn't essential." --Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera is a Cuban American artist, and her work is the focus of an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art which opens today in New York City.  When I began investigating her work, I found that there is a lot to learn from the 101-year-old artist, who was a pioneer of Geometric Abstraction.  She has said that her "quest is for the simplest of pictorial resolutions", which struck me as a valuable way to approach art as well as life.

I made a dress inspired by her painting Green and Orange from 1958.  It was surprisingly refreshing to work on something so direct, and it was fun to mix colors to emulate Herrera's palette.

Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight opens to the public today, and is on view until January 2, 2017.

Photos by Sarah Meller.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

DARK MATTER









dark matter noun ASTRONOMY 1.     (in some cosmological theories) nonluminous material that is postulated to exist in space and that could take any of several forms including weakly interacting particles ( cold dark matter ) or high-energy randomly moving particles created soon after the Big Bang ( hot dark matter ).

Dark Matter is the name of an exhibition of the work of Sarah Cain, which opens at Galerie Lelong in Chelsea today.  It also classifies her work in general: blurring the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and installation and including found objects as well as myriad methods of markmaking.

I really connected to this idea when I was creating my dress inspired by Cain’s work.  Inherent in the wearing of clothing inspired by art is the blurring of boundaries – is the clothing art?  Is the art clothing?  Part of the viewer’s experience with Cain’s installations is the feeling of becoming a part of the work, and that is exactly what I’m trying to achieve when I create a garment.  Cain’s 2,500 square foot floor painting gives you the chance to be one with the art.


Dark Matter is on view at Galerie Lelong (528 West 26th Street in NYC) until October 15th.
Photos by Danielle Wu (@Danie_Wu).