Saturday, October 31, 2009
Before my open studio event earlier this month, I went through a bunch of my works on paper, sorted some out and displayed a lot of them that I haven't exhibited previously. That part was great. The not-so-great part was having to wrangle with the poor storage options I had for these works. There are good archival storage box options out there, but most of them are more expensive than I'm ready to deal with for studio storage.
I was in one of the art supply stores I frequent a couple of months ago looking for archival boxes good for long-term storage. They didn't have any in stock at the time, but the clerk I spoke with suggested using acid-free foam board and archival linen tape to make my own boxes. I thought about it and finally got around to making one this week. My first box (see photos above) measures 24" x 32" x 3" to accommodate the 22" x 30" sized works, like 'Blue Pool' in the second shot. I spent about $32-$34 in materials (acid-free foam board, archival linen tape and white velcro for fasteners) and spent almost three and-a-half hours to assemble it. I expect to improve on that time as I do more of these. The cost of good archival storage boxes in a similar size hovers around the $90-$100+ range. Of course, mine aren't made to last 100 years, but they will still go a long way towards protecting my drawings and other works on paper while in the studio for a long time.
I still need to make about one or two more in the same size as well as a couple of smaller boxes for immediate use. The one above is filled already with works I did this past spring and summer. Making these boxes is a little time-consuming but worth it for me. Now that I have the first one done, I have a better idea of what to expect and hopefully, the next few will be easier to construct.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Video artist, Bill Viola, talking about his piece, Ocean Without A Shore that was installed at the 2007 Venice Biennale. I found this on the Tate's video channel (thanks to Vincent Romaniello for posting the link to the site).
Video description from the website:
Bill Viola's latest video installation, Ocean Without a Shore, is presented in the atmospheric setting of the church of San Gallo, Venice. Monitors positioned on three stone altars in the church show a succession of individuals slowly approaching out of darkness and moving into the light, as if encountered at the intersection between death and life. Viola talks about his artistic intentions and the technical challenges of the piece.
There are quite a few other videos on the Tate Channel featuring interviews and artist talks from a range of artists.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Poster announcing my lecture at West Virginia University. Last Thursday and Friday (Oct. 15-16), I had the honor of being the visiting artist for the latest installation of Concurrent, the traveling exhibition featuring works by Natalie Alper, myself, Diane Simpson, and Larry Webb.
I arrived Thursday afternoon and gave a lecture that evening, right before the opening reception. The crowd was composed mainly of very attentive art students and faculty. My talk went on for just over an hour, which surprised me because I remember thinking months ago that I'd have a hard time filling up that time. Once I started talking, the time flew by.There was time for a short question and answer session at the end, after which everyone went upstairs for the opening reception and out to dinner afterwards.
Friday morning, I met with three out of four graduate art students who had signed up for crits. The fourth was sick and couldn't meet with me. I was a bit surprised that more students hadn't taken advantage of me being there and available to talk with them about their work, but it left me with more time for the ones with whom I did meet.
I left WVU later that afternoon for a plane out of Pittsburgh that was scheduled for a 5:40pm departure. That turned into a 6:50pm delay, which turned into a cancelled flight, leading to a mad dash for the 'special services' desk for US Airways. There were no more direct flights back to Philly, but they put me on one that went to Washington, D.C. with a connection to Philadelphia. A flight that should have only taken just over an hour took 6 hours, instead. At least I was able to get home. I felt bad for those who had more complicated situations to deal with.
Overall, the two days were great, and were made much easier thanks to Chris Barr, Bob Bridges, Michael Sherwin, and everyone else in the College of Creative Arts involved with the exhibition.
Undercurrent next to exhibition signage.
Sculpture by Diane Simpson.
Stratum I next to drawings by Natalie Alper
Paintings by Natalie Alper (left) and Larry Webb (right)
Cape by Diane Simpson.
More paintings by Natalie Alper and Larry Webb.
Plume, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 60" x 72" (left) and All that could be, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 60" x 84" (right)
Drawings from my Random Expansion series, water media on paper, 20" x 20" each.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Wall of paintings, 2008-2009, set up for open studio event.
Things went pretty well in spite of my injuries. They gave me something else to talk about when I saw that look on visitor's faces when they noticed my bandaged hands and swollen eyelid. Had a good turn-out, a little lighter than last year, but still well worth the effort put into preparing for the event.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Friday found me in a very unusual predicament. I was prepping for my open studio weekend and had a bunch of errands to complete on my bike. One part involved picking up some paper products from the K-Mart at 10th and Market Streets. I purchased what I needed and set off back to the studio eastbound on Market Street.
Before I go on, I have to say something about the condition of Market Street on the south side, the side I was on. For some reason, the city decided sometime back in the 80's or maybe early 90's, I think, that it was a good idea to use a cement mixture to "extend" the sidewalk about 6 feet into the street between 13h and 6th Streets. So, you have the sidewalk, curb, and one lane of "sidewalk" in the street. No one walks on it, it's just another lane for vehicular traffic. Now, after a number of years and all sorts of street work, the cement lane is pretty rough to ride on. It's very uneven and there are areas where asphalt has been used to patch up previous road works.
It's about 12:45pm and traffic on Market Street is light. So, I'm riding and as I approach 8th Street, the red light changes to green and I accelerate and then...nothing. The world around me disappears and I have the strangest feeling that I'm suddenly dreaming. In my mind, I'm even thinking that I'm dreaming and about to wake up in bed. Well, I did wake up slowly, and only after having crashed somehow just after passing 8th Street. I wasn't hit by another vehicle. What I remember is a vague feeling of my rear wheel going sideways out from under me as I rode, which means I possibly crossed an uneven line in the cement and went down. The thing is, I don't remember hitting the ground at all-I simply blacked out.
What I recall after crashing is in bits and pieces: people around me, helping me lock my bike to a near-by bike rack then I was being loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Here is where I started regaining full consciousness. I ran through a mental checklist of things, like where I was, what day it was, what I was doing, etc... and then the EMT personnel started asking me a similar series of questions to determine how mentally fit I was. They took me to Jefferson Hospital where I found out that I hadn't broken anything and only had a few patches of skin ripped from my hands. That's it. I was wearing a helmet which probably saved my life. There is an area on the side of it that absorbed the impact. I still had an abrasion over my right eye, which was swollen until today. I also didn't have any headaches, blurry vision, nor double vision, so my brain was working well. Thankfully, I didn't need stitches; they used a skin glue to close the eyebrow wound. In the meantime, one of the nurses lent me a phone to make some calls. One of which was to my wife, who was at work and my best friend, also at work. They arrived at almost the same time.
I was extremely lucky to not have had any more injuries than I did. I mean, as a painter, the use of my hands are pretty necessary, and even though they were hurt, I won't have any problems doing what I need to do in the studio. Besides my hands, I've had no other soreness nor aches, and thankfully, no road rash. They kept me in the ER for about three or four hours. After the x-rays and cat scans came back clear, they gave me the go-ahead to leave.
I'm still not over those minutes I lost on the street being unconscious. I keep wondering how exactly I fell and how it was that I wasn't hurt as much as I could have been. I don't think I'll ever know, but I am thankful for whoever saw what happened and called for medical assistance. I'm also thankful for my body's defense mechanisms.