March 24, 2015

How Many Hashtags is Too Many Hashtags?

I’ll be the first to admit I was late to the party when it came to joining the cult of Instagram.

You won’t find me spending hours a day taking studio shots and choosing just the right filter for my iPhone pics, but I’m now happy to confess that I‘m a faithful convert.  I’m having way too much fun sharing images of works in progress and other things I’m up to in the studio…





Are you on Instagram?  Click over and find me.


BIG Love,



 








February 6, 2015

The Magic Spells: The Facebook Art Throw-Down Challenge - Day #5

And for the last day of the Throw Down Challenge---something completely different.


For the past 3 years I've been wandering around Europe in the early morning hours picking through flea markets for little magical gems: spools of wire, broken bells, antlers, rusted picture frames.

These strange, disparate objects would call my name, I would pick them up, and I'd end up buying them.

I had no idea what I would do with them until last month when I took all the items I'd amassed out of storage and starting putting them all together.

The resulting combination?  Magic.


(Magic Spell #1), Assemblage: Orchid root, copper wire, pickle jar, plastic wrap,apple vinegar, 12 dead gnats. 






(Magic Spell #2),  Assemblage: Found object, iron scissors, ripped white table-cloth, beet juice.







(Magic Spell #3),  Assemblage: Glass bowl, rock salt, hair, antlers.



And that's all I'm gonna say about that.  Why spoil the mystery?


BIG Magical Love,



 








February 5, 2015

Strategy for Resistance:The Facebook Art Throw-Down Challenge - Day #4

For the fourth day of the Facebook Art Throw Down. I thought I'd take you waaaaaaaay back. 



Evidence of My Breath began as a simple series of self-portraits exploring the physical act of breathing as evidence of existence. 

For each exposure, a few seconds before the shutter would release, I would lean forward and breathe directly onto the camera lens. The end result was a series images with varying degrees of condensation caused by my breath on the lens. 



I took these photos in 1994.  

I was 19 years old.

An excerpt from my Artist Statement about the work:

As a Black woman artist the questioning of existence takes on a heightened level of urgency considering the dominant cultural agenda that largely marginalizes the lives, experiences, and creative expressions of women of color.  
In my work I use the self-portrait as a means of both historical documentation and self-representation.  I consider my work a part of a strategy for resistance.

Out of the mouth of babes!



Proof that I've been kickin' ass and taking names for 20 years.

I look at this work now and my heart picks up its pace.

And somehow feel like a proud mamma. 

Baby was brave!


Big DEFIANT Love,




 

February 4, 2015

Houses Tell Stories: The Facebook Art Throw-Down Challenge - Day #3

Back in 2008 the New York Foundation for the Arts commissioned several of its former Fellowship recipients to create editions of 10 small “Objects d’Art” to be gifted to the attendees at their Spring Benefit. 





NYFA is an amazingly generous organization that really hustles to support artists in the state of New York. I can’t express enough how much the NYFA Painting Fellowship I was awarded in 2004 helped shape the possibilities for my work and career. 

Naturally, I was thrilled to be able to help them raise programming funds by creating a series of small Artist Books for the occasion.




I created “Houses Tell Stories” from 10 palm-sized jewelry boxes. Inside each box was an image of a house. Inside the lid of each box was a corresponding photograph of the woman who lived in that house. 

Each jewelry box housed an accordion style booklet with a story, divided into several chapters, about different time periods and events in each woman’s life.





Throughout the series, the house is used as a symbol of family, home, and belonging. Each box opens to reveal each woman’s the private inner life.




In short, “Houses Tell Stories” is a fiction of my own making. It offers the viewer the opportunity to visually explore the lives of women whose stories and experiences are often excluded from the larger cultural narrative.


BIG Love,



 

February 3, 2015

So Fragile it Breaks My Heart: The Facebook Art Throw-Down Challenge - Day #2

Early on in my career I often combined painting, photography, and written texts as a storytelling device. My work was obviously autobiographical and deeply personal.

The images I'm sharing today are from my thesis exhibition at Hunter College in the fall of 2000.













Installation view complete with 4 tiny pairs of little girls'
black patent leather "Sunday Shoes".


The exhibition was originally documented in slide form. The fact that I have digital files hanging around my desktop after 14 years seems a bit miraculous, no?  Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be able to see and share them again.

What strikes me about this work now is it's simplicity and it's vulnerability. Each panel is so intensely personal and specific.

I love this work, but it also breaks my heart.

BIG fragile Love,



 

February 2, 2015

Under the Mango Tree:The Facebook Art Throw-Down Challenge - Day #1

I have now been nominated not once, but THREE times for the Facebook Art Throw Down. I figured I'd show the work here as well.

The rules: Post photographs of 3 original artworks a day, for 5 consecutive days.

So, here we go.





In 2007 I created a series of beautiful little drawings based on the Akan fable from Ghana about how deserts came into existence.

Under the Mango Tree reinterprets the story of Ananse and Akwasi who go to the creator of the Universe to ask for rain.  It's a fascination tale.  You can click to read it here.

As usual I took quite a few liberties with the story--replacing the two farmers with adorable little girls, in their best Sunday dresses, complete with shiny black patent leather shoes.



For the better part of a decade my work has explored the relationship between memory, history and magical-spiritual belief.  Fables, folklore and mythology have always been central to whatever I create.



Myths stay with us because they aim to explain the unexplained.

They add meaning and intent to things shrouded in mystery.

They help us find our way.


BIG Mysterious Love,



 


January 20, 2015

Under the Big Top: My Personal Art Picks from Art Basel Miami Beach.

No matter how elegantly they are designed, the huge white art fair tents
 always make me think of the circus.
 


This year during Art Basel Miami Beach I took thousands of photos. Thousands. Like most people, I use my camera as a type of visual notebook. Collecting images, names, works, people..... 

I take pictures of all kinds of seemingly nonsensical things so they may later serve as a reminder to go back and look at or research something again once I've recovered from "Fair Fatigue".

Just last week I finally had the time and energy to sort through what I captured. 

I can't even begin to share half of what I saw, but I wanted to take a moment to at least share a short list of art that I really enjoyed.





Shinique Smith at James Cohan Gallery.  (New York City)
Shield Maiden, 2014. 
Acrylic, fabric and collage on canvas over wood panel.






Hank Willis Thomas at Goodman Gallery. 
(Johannesburg and Capetown)
Raise Up, 2014.
Bronze.







Enoc Perez at Danziger Gallery.
Selected images from “Summer Job”, 2014.
Collage on paper.










Jean Lowe at McKenzie Fine Art (New York City).
Casein on Paper mache.










Chris Ofili at Osborne Samuel Art (London).

Afro Muses: Harem 1, 1995.
Series of 9 portraits, Unique, Signed.
Watercolor, ink and pencil on paper.








Erik den Breejen at Freight Volume Gallery (New York City).
Richard Pryor, 2014.
Acrylic on Linen.












Aime MPane at Haines Gallery (San Francisco).
Kinoct & Icono-Jeremie series, 2011-2014.
Acrylic and Mixed-Media on wood panel.











Squeak Carnwath at Seager/Gray Gallery (Mill Valley, CA.)
Confidence, 2014.
Oil and Alkyd on panel.








Vanessa German at Pavel Zoubok Gallery (New York City).
Considering the End, 2014.







So much beauty, so little time. Until next year...
























BIG Love,