Sunday, April 30, 2017

Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction



Alma Woodsey Thomas, Untitled, circa 1968

I was alerted to this MOMA exhibition by an article in The New Yorker (April 24, 2017 issue). A good reason to plan a trip to NYC? The show continues until August 13 and, as an added bonus, MOMA's Rauschenberg show runs May 21 - September 17.

MOMA's website gives this description:

"Making Space shines a spotlight on the stunning achievements of women artists between the end of World War II (1945) and the start of the Feminist movement (around 1968). In the postwar era, societal shifts made it possible for larger numbers of women to work professionally as artists, yet their work was often dismissed in the male dominated art world, and few support networks existed for them. Abstraction dominated artistic practice during these years, as many artists working in the aftermath of World War II sought an international language that might transcend national and regional narratives—and for women artists, additionally, those relating to gender.  
"Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, the exhibition features nearly 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, prints, textiles, and ceramics by more than 50 artists. Within a trajectory that is at once loosely chronological and synchronous, it includes works that range from the boldly gestural canvases of Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell; the radical geometries by Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, and Gego; and the reductive abstractions of Agnes Martin, Anne Truitt, and Jo Baer; to the fiber weavings of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, and Lenore Tawney; and the process-oriented sculptures of Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, and Eva Hesse. The exhibition will also feature many little-known treasures such as collages by Anne Ryan, photographs by Gertrudes Altschul, and recent acquisitions on view for the first time at MoMA by Ruth Asawa, Carol Rama, and Alma Woodsey Thomas."
Also on the website is a 38-minute video of the two curators being interviewed in front of a live audience. One of the topics touched upon is the "reclaiming of craft" as art in the 1960's and 70's.




You can learn more about the exhibit here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930's





The Royal Academy of Art in London is currently staging the exhibition "America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930's".

To accompany the show, the curators have produced several 60-second video profiles of some of the artists featured, including Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

The show ends June 4, 2017.









Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hudson Artists Spring Show


Delighted to be participating in the upcoming Spring Show of the Hudson Artists. That's my fibre piece on the poster, chosen because it's the donation to the event's raffle in support of the local food bank. Notice our jazzy new AHA logo in the upper left corner, designed by President John Goodger. The poster itself was designed by our graphic wizard, Mona Turner.

I will have twelve new pieces in the show. Exactly which ones? I'm still figuring that out. 

Do hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Papier 17 by the numbers

Tenth edition.

Thirty-nine art galleries.

Nearly three hundred artists.

Twenty thousand expected visitors.

Three days, April 21 to 23.

Cost of admission? Zero.

Papier 17 is a fun opportunity to see what's happening in contemporary Canadian galleries. It's also a chance to visit one of Montreal's best art venues, Arsenal, at 2020 William Street in Montreal. All the work shown will be on paper: drawing, prints, sculpture, and cut and stitched paper, for example.

Nancy Petry  Noatak, 1970 Sérigraphie / Serigraph - 52.7 x 67.6 cm
Galerie Beaux-Arts des Amériques

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Exercise in Blue and Orange

I took my cue from a recent blog post by Jane Davies, and tried to make interesting compositions in the complementary colours of blue and orange.




These all measure 10" x 10".


I used a variety of techniques for visual texture: stamping, stencilling, scratching, brayering and blotting with paint, as well as torn and cut collaged shapes. And I used several variations of the two main colours. Transparent paints (blue over orange or orange over blue) often produced a green hue, so I favoured opaque pigments. There's a little scribbling with oil pastel too.


I tried to use shapes in a variety of size: small, medium and large. Sometimes I employed hard edges, and at other times smudged edges. I tried to have some boring areas, and others more complicated. I also wanted to have some ambiguity about what was advancing and what was receding, that "push and pull" that Hans Hoffman achieved. If I could create a sense of depth, all the better.


I found the piece was more successful when one of the colours predominated over the other, rather than having a 50/50 distribution of the orange and blue hues. I also think it was useful to have each colour coalesce into an interesting shape, giving the composition some unity.


This assignment was challenging to me, but I persisted with it because I feel I have so much to learn. Instructors like Jane can make an exercise like this seem easy, but in fact it was quite a struggle. I'm still thinking of these as "works in progress". When I look at them again in a week or so, I may well make further adjustments.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lakeshore Artists Spring Show



Always one of the best art shows in the region, the Lakeshore Artists will hold their annual spring exhibition at Fritz Farm in Baie d'Urfé, April 21 - 23, 2017.

Please note that Helena Scheffer, a fellow member of text'art, has donated one of her gorgeous textile pieces for the charity raffle.

For more information, go to the LAA website.

With any luck, the woods adjacent to Fritz Farm will be carpeted with scilla in time for the show.



Sunday, April 9, 2017

I'm Your Man

Dance Me to the End of Love

A local art gallery has put out a call for entry.  Every year, the gallery hangs a show inspired by the connection between the written word and visual art, and how one can inspire the other. This year, a concurrent theme is an homage to the Montrealer Leonard Cohen, musician, poet and visual artist. Figurative and abstract works are welcome, and there is no requirement to include text in the image.


Ain't No Cure for Love

I have never submitted work to this gallery, but I thought I would give it a try. So...


I Have Tried in My Way to Be Free

... I have chosen four of my remaining twenty-seven Touchstone pieces and titled them with the name of a song or a lyric from Cohen's oeuvre. This was not done in a slapdash fashion, but was carefully considered, looking for a good connection between the feeling evoked by the abstract image and the words. I even rotated one of the images to better convey the sense of the title. Come to think of it, aren't most abstract works titled after completion?


If I Have Been Untrue

Will my entry be acceptable to the jury? Much depends on what is submitted to the show by other artists, and considerations like space and price points. I'll post here when the results are in.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Continuing display at Café Mikko

Seven months ago, Elizabeth Glazier of Café Mikko here in Hudson suggested I might display my work at her popular restaurant and boutique. Every few weeks we change it up and install a new batch of art, whether cityscapes in fibre or abstract collage/paintings. Over the months I have developed quite an appreciation for their spring rolls with satay sauce!




I am delighted to have this exposure for my work. Above is a photo of the latest display.




You can visit Café Mikko at 403 Main Road in Hudson. With the arrival of spring, clients will soon be sipping their capuccinos in the front garden, observing the passing traffic of moms, strollers, shoppers and cyclists.




Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hudson Fine Craft @ Rigaud Library

A dynamic new group came onto my local art/craft scene a couple of years ago. "Hudson Fine Craft" meets three times a month to share their skills and enthusiasm for a wide variety of craft, including quilting, embroidery, jewelry-making, collage and more.




Their current show can be viewed at the Rigaud Library, and runs until May 15. Their work fills not only the small gallery, but is displayed on the walls of the library itself.


Joanna Olsen, Untitled

Above is a small collage by Joanna Olsen, one of the group organizers. It seems that no matter what the medium, Joanna's work is always exceptional.


Carol Outram, My Secret Garden


Another of the group organizers, Carol Outram, has several arresting pieces in felted wool, embellished with embroidery and appliqué.


Carol Outram, Folk Art series (Skylark)


Carol Outram, Folk Art series (Night Owl)

Ute Sell makes distinctive small paintings in ink on salvaged papers.


Ute Sell, Untitled


Marlise Horst, Fan-tastic

Many of the traditional pieced quilts showed a real flair for colour choice, like this one above by Marlise Horst. Marlise chose recycled silk ties for one of her smaller pieces, and unusual European prints for another.


Phyllis Spriggs, Untitled

Each of the works on display is identified with a unique card, featuring randomly collaged fabric leaves stitched into place with heavy thread.


wall in small gallery

I was pleased that my entry was included in the show, seen above on the gallery wall and then again up close, below.


Heather Dubreuil, Come Sit with Me, Georges Braque

Hudson Fine Craft was responsible for other interesting shows last year, including one on "Women's Work" at the Hudson Historical Museum and the War Memorial Library. They are an inclusive group, with a fresh take on the use of local spaces and an ability to make things happen. 

The Rigaud Library is located at 102 rue St.-Pierre in Rigaud. Hours are posted on the town's website.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Membership in SAQA

A cheque arrived in the mail last week, and once again I am reminded of the many benefits of belonging to SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).

A couple of years ago I made a small (10" x 7") cityscape intended as part of a SAQA Trunk Show. This collection travelled all over the world, introducing many people to "art quilting".

View from the High Line, Heather Dubreuil

When it came time to retire the collection, many of the items were made available for sale, and I was delighted that View from the High Line found a buyer, Cindy Grisdela. Cindy is an artist whose work I admire very much (great colour sense, distinctive rectilinear compositions). She is a published author, and also contributes articles to the quarterly SAQA Journal. I have connected with Cindy a few times at annual SAQA conferences.


Cornflower Blues, Cindy Grisdela

Already I have touched on some of the many benefits of membership in SAQA: the opportunity to show and sell one's work, two quarterly magazines, and annual conferences. Did I mention that one of my pieces will be included in an upcoming SAQA publication? The book is tentatively titled "Art Quilt Retrospective: Fifty Years of Innovation", and I am honoured that Camden Town #2 will be featured in it.


Camden Town #2, Heather Dubreuil

Some of the other aspects of SAQA membership that I value are the Yahoo chat group, the list of international calls for entry, and the opportunity to connect with other members, both at conferences and at regional meetings. A mentorship program is also available, as are many on-line resources.

The Central Canada region of SAQA has a new representative, Maggie Vanderweit, who has planned a series of small group meetings in various locales throughout Ontario and Quebec. A meeting for the Ottawa-Montreal area is tentatively scheduled for late May, and I have offered to host. 

Maggie is enthusiastic about sparking more activity at the local level so, if you live in Central Canada and you think that SAQA might be helpful to you, I encourage you to go to the website. There is still lots of time to join!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alex Janvier at the National Gallery

Lubicon, Alex Janvier, 1988

Earlier this month our text'art group went on a road trip to Ottawa's National Gallery. An inspired choice, Colleen!

We toured the Alex Janvier exhibit, which runs until April 17. This large show is very comprehensive. We see some of his student efforts, and observe how he developed a singular style that resonates with Dene visual imagery. We also see how in later years he continued to explore new approaches to painting. His entire oeuvre is on display, and represents a lifetime of serious artistic pursuit.

Janvier's association with the "Indian Group of Seven" is noted, and their individual paths to painting and printmaking can be compared.

Many of Janvier's paintings deal with issues such as the tragedy of the residential schools, and the conflicts over land use and treaty violations. The curator's notes and photos inform the viewers of the political significance of these themes. For example, the large painting pictured above was completed with Janvier's typical white background. As an act of protest over Lubicon land use issues, Janvier re-painted the background in a brilliant red.

With increasing coverage of native art and culture in the national media, Canadians will no doubt develop a greater appreciation of the range and talent of First Nations artists like Alex Janvier.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Free on-line painting class begins today!

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Green on Blue), 1968

Thank you, Dianne, for putting me onto this exciting opportunity.

MOMA has designed an on-line class offered through coursera.org, titled In the Studio: Post-War Abstract Painting. It includes art history and theory as well as hands-on painting assignments. It is available at reasonable cost, and for free if you don't care abut getting the certificate. Financial aid is also available.

Here is a description:
About this course: Want to know how some of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists made abstract paintings? This course offers an in-depth, hands-on look at the materials, techniques, and thinking of seven New York School artists, including Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko. Through studio demonstrations and gallery walkthroughs, you’ll form a deeper understanding of what a studio practice means and how ideas develop from close looking, and you’ll gain a sensitivity to the physical qualities of paint. Readings and other resources will round out your understanding, providing broader cultural, intellectual, and historical context about the decades after World War II, when these artists were active. The works of art you will explore in this course may also serve as points of departure to make your own abstract paintings. You may choose to participate in the studio exercises, for which you are invited to post images of your own paintings to the discussion boards, or you may choose to complete the course through its quizzes and written assessments only. Learners who wish to participate in the optional studio exercises may need to purchase art supplies. A list of suggested materials is included in the first module.
For more information, please visit the website. The class begins today!