Wednesday, October 29, 2014

getting back into "it"

Okay, I'm going to admit it... I feel terrible about not posting on this blog more over the last 6 months. Mostly because I REALLY appreciate your interest in collage and this site. In some way, I feel like I have let you down a little. BUT, enough of that... I am hoping to post more now again. And I hope that you will enjoy what I post. Tonight I was in my studio again. I needed to do some art "custodial work" for some pieces that need to be "shipped out". However, I was able to sit down and do some exploration. A couple "sketches" started to emerge..

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sculpture Space CHAIRity Auction 2014

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the major annual fund-raiser for Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. This organization provides paid competitive residencies for sculptors from around the world. I have been involved with the organization since 2000 and am a member of the Board of Directors. Every year I donate a piece for the auction, and being the competitive individual I am, I am always hoping to "set a new record" for amount that my piece fetches at auction. I was SO excited and pleased last night when my piece "shattered" last year's high water mark! It's a shot in the arm for me. And as anyone who reads this blog knows... once in a while an artist needs some good feedback about their work as encouragement to "keep on keeping' on"!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lysergic park

I worked in my studio for a while last night. It was fun... but I was getting a little bit anxious after some time. I was doing lots of experimenting with placements of elements, but nothing was really "coming together". After a while, I brought out a piece I had set aside for quite some time (I've done that with several projects). I REALLY liked the substrate; so much so that I had already gotten a mat and frame made specifically for it. One of the reasons I was so excited about it was because it was a "centerfold". Since my collage work is all analog (i.e., I do no photocopying or digital manipulation), I am always on the lookout for a cool image element that might give me an opportunity to "spread my wings" in terms of size. You'll see below the "full" substrate image (a B&W photo of some boys in Central Park). I decided to play with some additional element placements and happened on the one I show below. BUT, it is "truncated" in size from the original centerfold! The thing is, I LOVE this truncated piece! I have not put anything down permanently, but I am seriously thinking of forgetting about the centerfold and doing the smaller composition. I have included a couple of "detail" shots here to show the "mini-figures" in the piece. The left side of the composition looks like a reflection of the building in a body of water... but that is NOT what that portion of the image is. There is no water (except for the little bit of blue below the boat). I suppose I will find another interesting "centerfold" or equivalent for the mat and frame I had made. I have tentatively entitled this piece "Catching the Boat at Lysergic Park" (since it is such a weirdly surreal piece).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Faces conference in Athens, Georgia

On Sunday, I am heading to Athens, GA for a small humanities conference which will focus on the "Phenomenology of Faces". The conference is organized jointly by folks at The State University at Albany (SUNY, Albany) and Nomadikon (a group out of The University of Bergen in Norway). I will be presenting a paper about the intersections of neuroscience, psychology and art. I will be specifically discussing "face detector" neurons in the temporal lobe of the brain and artwork by 16th Century artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo; 20th Century artist Salvador Dali and contemporary collage artist John Stezaker. If you are not already familiar with Stezaker's work, it's really worth checking out. I would refer to him as a "minimalist" collage artist as most of his pieces consist of two or three elements. I love his work! Here are a couple of examples...


Here are three "sketches" that I did a couple nights ago. If you follow this blog at all, you might recognize some of the elements with which I was "playing". I am compelled to comment on the "dark" sketch here on a number of levels. Firstly, I suppose you could say I was hesitant to post this composition. It does seem pretty "dark". But why should I feel hesitant to post it? Maybe it's because I don't consider myself a particularly dark person and I don't want viewers to "get the wrong idea". Part of me is hesitant because I don't want viewers to be "repulsed" by my work. On the other hand, if my work elicits any reaction, I suppose I should be pleased. Certainly folks go to see dark movies (some of which are violent). I just find it strange that I should care so much as to be hesitant (because I still am). But I will post it. On a less personal note perhaps is the interest I have in the base element (the substrate?) of the dark piece. My typical strategy is to go through vintage and contemporary magazines and rip or cut out pages that I find visually interesting. Sometimes I read about what the image is and sometimes I don't. The image here that looks like one boy is holding his hand over the other boys face is intense methinks. I like intensity. I don't recall the context of the photographic image, but I seem to recall that it was not as dark as it seems (although I can't be sure). And the fact that I don't have (and am almost precluded from re-obtaining) that specific information I think makes the image all that more intriguing. One of the primary reasons I love collaging is that it creates so many levels of intrigue!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


I try to stress upon my students when I am in class that "the process is much more important than 'the answer'"! I FINALLY got back into my studio this evening. It was great to be back! It was a little bit daunting initially, as I have not been doing much artwork lately (for a number of reasons). Anyway, I was just sort of getting my feet wet a little bit and exploring some placement of elements. In a very serendipitous manner, I ended up playing with this beautiful vintage photograph of an overloaded boat of Chinese people (note the photo of Mao in the back of the boat). I experimented with various elements and finally decided upon the one you see last here. However, I had many "candidate" compositional placements on the way. I love to document the "process" rather than simply show "the answer" (i.e., the finished composition). What you see is approximately a two hour "journey" to get to the final composition. The piece is 8" x 10" and is entitled "Love Boat (or My Night at Sea with Mao)"

Trenton Falls Arts Festival

I was invited this year to be one of the featured artists at the Trenton Falls Arts Festival (in central New York state). I am humbled to be exhibiting with an impressive group of artists. Another beautiful venue!