Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Art at Unity Farm

My studio has moved to Unity Farm, and is almost complete and ready for new creativity. Over the recent past, nature has increasingly inspired my imagery in artmaking, and now that my life is focused on Unity Farm, the inspiration is limitless. I have updated my website to reflect these changes, and will post new work as it is created.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Transformations" at the Arsenal Center for the Arts: Community and Collaboration

This evening, there is an opening reception for the exhibition "Transformations" at the Arsenal Center for the Arts (Watertown, MA) from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. This exhibition represents more than the concept of transformational play with identity and persona, the theme connecting the seven artists. It represents the interconnection of community, and the value of collaboration, in this case between artists and art enablers.

I met Sharon Glennon in my Sourcing the Imagination: Drawing without Representation course at the SMFA. Like me, she has college bound or younger children, and has kept art alive in her life throughout motherhood. She was in the long and well considered process of transitioning from an arts education related field to something more directly arts leadership oriented. Not very long after the course was over, she was delighted to report that she had accepted the role of Executive Director at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It has long hours, and is a big commitment, but she has embraced the challenges. Some of her goals, expanding collaboration and innovating their offerings, were met by inviting us to create the show "Transformations".

I have always told my art students that it does no good to store your artwork away under the bed or in a closet. Get your work out to be viewed, enjoyed, and experienced, in the physical worked or online. Be part of the art community and part of the art discourse.

The artists in "Transformations" (Natacha Sochat, Jay Bordage, Margaret Hart, Gary Duehr, Kelly Anona Kerrigan, Gail Martin and myself) all make sure to be visible in as many of these as possible: art education, group shows, online in personal websites and social networking, and often solo exhibitions. Because they remain visible, and actively network, I knew about their work and was able to invite them to be part of the show. Embracing opportunity and being willing to work together to create shows in non-commercial spaces, are all things contemporary artists do regularly. Some of the works exhibited in "Transformations" were created specifically for this show, in a response both to the group dynamic, and to the wonderful open space of the Arsenal Center for the Arts. The act of hanging the show, and creating the total impact, was a collaborative effort, and I think the viewers visiting the gallery will experience a true sense of play, surprise, humor, and thought provoking moments.

Read more about the show and the Center in this article (some fun images of the installation process) in the Watertown Tab.

We invite you to come an experience the show for yourself - maybe catch a music or theater event there, some dinner nearby, and have an art-night-out!

Gallery open Tuesday through Sunday 12-6, until 8pm on performance nights.
The show runs September 9 through October 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Move! at NK Gallery

Welcome back from a summer hiatus.

I managed to have about half of the studio work days I planned, but that just happens sometimes. Summer in New England is very short and most people here try to maximize their experience of summer. At NK Gallery we held a beautiful exhibit of Al Jaeger's ceramic "Placescapes" for June and July, then closed in August, taking time for some summer experiences.

We just opened (September 1) a visually energetic exhibition called "Move!" at NK Gallery. The artists featured are Jeffrey Heyne and Rufus Butler Seder. Their images pay homage and play with, in different ways, to Eadweard Muybridge's photographic movement studies. Jeffrey Heyne was inspired by flip books of Muybridge's images, and his manipulations bring the frozen images back to movement, then freezes them again in a visually seductive resin surface. Rufus Butler Seder has developed a lenticular form of glass tile he calls Lifetiles, and at his studio creates all the many stages to build both small and very large murals of moving images - one of the ones at NK Gallery evokes the Muybridge Galloping Horse.

The was a great piece about the show in the Boston Globe today by Cate McQuaid, and another acknowledgment by Thomas Gagnon in the South End News, take a moment to check them out.

I hope you have a chance to visit the exhibition - and it would be a great festive Fall weekend to visit at the end of the month - when the Boston South End Open Studios event happens!

(Images from left going clockwise: Rufus Butler Seder "Figure Descending a Staircase", Lifetiles, 4'w x 6'h, 2009; Jeffrey Heyne "Muybridge Boxers No. 10+1", 2009 & "Muybridge Boxers No. 9+7", 2010, both digital print and polyester resin on Dibond panels)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Approaching Museums and Galleries: Artist-Run Galleries

Continued from Approaching Museums and Galleries: Introduction,
Approaching Museums and Galleries: Commercial Galleries Part 1, and
Approaching Museums and Galleries Part 2

Joining the Group

If you want to retain a high degree of control over your exhibitions, and you enjoy working with a community of artists, an artist-run cooperative art gallery may be something you might consider. There are many different variations in artist-run galleries, so you want to visit several to decide if they are a good fit.

Most artist-run galleries cover their expenses with monthly dues, and rely less on sales for getting through slow periods in the economy. Some group galleries have a limit on membership size, others do not. Some artist-run galleries are very selective about offering membership to applicants, others flexible. Accordingly, a gallery with an unlimited membership might not offer anything but group shows. Others provide a solo exhibition on a regular scheduled basis.

I am the most familiar with the artist-run gallery Bromfield Gallery (founded in 1975) in Boston - because I am a member. Members have a solo exhibition approximately one every other year. They can hang a work in the Members Gallery area for 9 months of the year, and participate in two larger group exhibitions twice a year. There are print files for addition work on paper to be shown at the gallery. Members meet once a month to conduct gallery business, including reviewing the work of artists applying for membership or visiting artist exhibitions. Members also participate in staffing the gallery approximately once a month, helping out at opening receptions, and other business details. Members pay monthly dues. Members are generally located within a reasonable driving distance, but long distance members have options also.

Other cooperatives in SOWA Boston include Kingston Gallery and Galatea Gallery. Kingston Gallery opened in 1982, and is structured similarly to the Bromfield Gallery. Galatea Gallery opened recently, and has a multi-tiered membership structure. In Rhode Island, you can find Hera Gallery, active for 34 years.

If you are interested in long distance membership, several options exist - a little diligent hunting with a web search engine will uncover them. These are a few that have supported artists that I know personally. One well structured gallery, Lana Santorelli Gallery in Chelsea NYC, is not a true membership gallery, but is artist-run and curates shows from open submissions. A.I.R. Gallery in NYC is a gallery supporting women artists with a wide range of membership options, as is Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.

These options are all different from traditional commercial galleries. You can best judge which might be the best fit by visiting as many of both types as possible, asking plenty of questions, and then deciding which style suits your schedule and personality. And if neither option appeals to you, you can consider other alternatives to galleries - curating, grants and other thinking-outside-the-box options. More on that in another post.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nan Freeman Master Drawings: Process

Nan Freeman is intensely passionate about drawing.

For March and April of 2010 in "Nan Freeman Master Drawings: Process", everyone gets a fresh glimpse at the hidden side of powerful drawing. The working master drawings in graphite, finished charcoal drawings, and finished acrylic paintings of several projects are on view at NK Gallery. In particular, the drawings for the development of the incredible Bridge of Hope mural at the Brigham and Women's Hospital are featured. Each life scale bird bears a medicinal plant, and is meticulously designed. One drawing of a pelican carrying a pumpkin vine utilized three sheets of large scale drawing paper; a recent admirer at the gallery found it compelling as an ultimate "blueprint of how to build a bird". The delicate tones of graphite are deceptive, the mark making is strong, confident and springs to life. (Image shown is "Screech Owl with Clover", 2009, copyright Nan Freeman, presented with permission of the artist)

Also on view are the Gibson House Candelabras finished charcoal drawings, and the working master drawings for her recent commission of the Kalco Chandeliers for the Dallas World Trade Center.

Nan Freeman is the Director of the Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and as senior faculty, teaches Drawing at the School also. She welcomes mural projects for both the home and commercial setting.

Reception! Meet artist Nan Freeman on April 2 from 5-8pm at NKG, 460A Harrison Ave, Boston. The exhibition is on view until April 17, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easy Websites for Artists

A few years ago, when switching from Comcast cable to Verizon FIOS, I naturally lost the ability to change and update the simple art homepage I had created on Comcast. More than two years went by, I could not change the website, but it would not simply go away either… Ugh. I found that having that old site lurk out there somehow made me procrastinate on creating a new site. Not sensible, but … Well, I constantly tell fellow artists in the WCA, my students, and artists in my community, that they have to have a solid, clean, controllable website with current work to insure a web presence as an active artist. So I needed to “practice what I preach”. I know some HTML, but did not want to actually program a site from scratch - I had procrastinated for nearly three years, and truly was not ever going to have the time to learn Dreamweaver or Joomla, in my schedule.

I found Other Peoples Pixels by looking at wide range of artist websites. This simple clean design tool appealed to me from the very first, and I really got hooked after I started to play with the free trial.

To see how it works, go to my webpage and click on the "Design" logo in the upper right corner - all the info and the free trial sign up is there.

You can quickly do the free trial - and that is what I did to start.

It is a website designer template environment created by artists, run by artists - but the end-user does all the designing very easily! No one to wait for to plan the work, no one to pay every time you change - and I can change mine in literally seconds if I want to. Obviously it is not going to solve everyone's web needs, but they are perfect for me, and many artists. When I was ready to move from the free trial to a live site, they do the transfer of the trial to real domain name within two days - in my case it was under two hours.

I designed my current website in under two hours. Although I still need to upload many of my more current art jpegs, the framework is there, and there are literally an infinite number of ways to design it!

I wanted to mimic the look of the blog I designed to "brand" a style, so I used similar colors.
They pay the fee for the domain name that you choose, and if I ever leave Other Peoples Pixels, they happily transfer the domain to me if I desire it. If you do a lot video and sound, you currently (March 2010) pay $260/year for 8000 artworks, but for less capacity needed it is $160/year for 2000 artworks. They host your site, provide support for the editing environment, and pay for the domain and setup fees, etc.

This option works for me in both money and time expenditure, and I admire the many ways to instantly change the look of the website, almost everything is flexible, and frankly - fun to create.

Once you have a website you also have to consider - what next. One book that helps you consider how to handle the website further is Effective Websites for Artists and Art Groups by Bob Nicholson. Just as leaving your artwork hidden in a closet will not be beneficial, you also want to insure your website does not get buried in the vast collection of other artist websites - there are simple possibilities to help drive meaningful traffic to your website.

(And I am happy to report the old homepage I created on Comcast was finally completely disabled by someone, somewhere… and I can happily focus on my new site.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Approaching Museums and Galleries: Commercial Gallery 2

So, you finally got your chance to present your work, and the gallery offers you a show….

The gallery wants to sell work. They usually represent several artists at any given time, so it is in your best interest to help convince them to really sell more of your work. Everything you can do proactively will help this reach the best outcome. To aid in this, be sure to provide the gallery with reliable ways to reach you by phone, email, etc. Some galleries take their own images for promotional purposes, but if you have them, provide the gallery professional high quality and correctly sized and cropped photographs/jpegs. It always is a positive thing to link your gallery to your website and cross promote the exhibition.

It doesn’t hurt to ask the gallery what they might need from you to build their marketing materials advertising. It is inexpensive now to have a photo book made of your most recent series. You should have your biography, resume and artist statements ready to deliver. When dropping off your paintings, schedule the delivery as a meeting with the owner/manager/director if at all possible. The more you can relay your information about the work, the more the gallery will be able to express those things to its clients.

When the long awaited day arrives, and you have your show, attend your own opening/reception, on time, dressed appropriately for the event. Invite people to the opening from your own mailing list, the gallery will be glad to work with you to strengthen the relationship with prior customers. In that vein, you can ask the gallery for feedback from their clients about your work. The gallery will work with you to establish a price list, but in advance - keep your prices consistent in all your locations of sales (studio, fairs, other galleries, online etc). This is a point of professionalism. And if a client sees a work at the gallery show but a short period after the show approaches you directly – remember that you are trying to establish a relationship with the gallery, and that it is not conducive to a good long-term relationship if you undercut your own gallery. Similarly, it is not productive to be present in too many galleries in the same area, with the exact same body of work. If the work is very different, a couple of galleries can actually make sense.
Not everyone might find the right fit in for-profit commercial galleries. One excellent alternative might be an artist-run, or cooperative gallery. More about that - in another post.