à la ligne, string and thread on denim, stained with fabric dye and bleach, 10 x 8 inches
This semester I tried some new ways of working. The piece above was created for an assignment I had early in the semester. Our assignment was to create a painting inspired by a piece of art that we don't like. I first fell in love with painting when I saw impressionist paintings in high school, but have always disliked Renior. His chalky pastel palette is off-putting and his forms often lack definition. They're so etherial, like they're made of someone's hot breath.
But the assignment intrigued me. I started looking at his paintings online and came across the painting Le pêcheur à la ligne. I was drawn to the phthelo green + beige color palette and marks he used, so decided to try and reproduce those elements of the piece, minus the subject matter.
The first thing I did was turn the reproduction of the painting upside down as a way to isolate the colors and marks. Working from "back to front," I poured fabric dye on a canvas of stitched jeans that I had made earlier. Then I added some bleach to the dye. I worked back and forth until I created a "stain" to work on top of. Then I began adding lime green stitches to the denim using my sewing machine and drawing with a royal blue marker to describe some of the forms I observed, like the flittering leaves of the vegetation. Then, for several hours, I continued layering machine stitches, hand embroidery, and loose threads to the surface until the image felt resolved.
I really enjoyed the assignment. It was a practice in empathy. I learned to appreciate the technique of someone's work who I usually have a negative reaction to. It was a little like being locked in a room with an enemy and being forced to find common ground.
Left: A Piece of Me, A Piece of You, acrylic, spray paint, oil pastels, string and thread on sewn canvas and repurposed clothing, 18 x 22 inches Right: Love Quote, repurposed clothing and mesh on sewn canvas, stained with fabric dye, and oil on pre-primed canvas, 22 x 18 inches
I continued experimenting with mark-making throughout the semester. Above are two different examples of experiments in mark-making that I tried. On the left, I layered a lot of different colored sewing machine stitches on top of paint, spray-paint, and oil pastel until the colors began to blend together. This caused the canvas to warp and buckle. I had seen this technique several years ago in a video of Rebecca Ringquist explaining her process and knew that I wanted to try it at some point.
On the left, I created individual marks with the machine, dispersing them across the canvas. To me, they start to resemble letters or characters from an alphabet.
Detail of A Piece of Me, A Piece of You
November 4-20, 2020
25 Lowell St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 5, 6:30-7:30 on ZOOM
For nearly 20 years, the Cambridge Art Association has hosted a fall exhibit, open to artists from the New England states, centered around a color--RED or BLUE, depending on the year. Both the success of the exhibit series, and the challenge to participating artists lies in channeling the varied meanings of a color like RED. It is the color of action, violence, heat. It is the color of luck, happiness, passion.
Image: A Case of You, 2018, oil on canvas, 16 x 12 inches
Your Work Here @ Gallery 5
September 9-October 9, 2020
855 Commonwealth Avenue, 5th Floor, Boston, MA
I recently installed a couple of paintings in the Gallery 5 Pop Up Show, Your Work Here. Undergrad and graduate students in the School of Visual Arts were invited to hang recent work in the space. I love the conversation that is happening between the two pieces I chose and how they interact with some of the other pattern and textile work in the show.
Sedrick Huckaby in front of A Love Supreme
I learned about the work of Sedrick Huckaby when I was an undergrad in painting. Serdrick also went to BU for undergrad. At the time, I was painting a lot of self portraits and was intrigued by his use of thick, imposto paint to create portraits.
My mom happened to be visiting town while he was having two solo shows--one at a gallery on Newbury Street and one at the Danforth Museum of Art. We went to see them together while they were still up. His paintings at the gallery on Newbury were small and intimate portraits of himself and family members. The paintings at the Danforth, on the other hand, took up an entire room. Each of the four canvases depicted a still life of quilts, each one fitting the four walls of the room. I was blown away. The pieces were immersive and intimate, yet grand and powerful.
Sedrick Huckaby, A Love Supreme – Spring, 2001-2009, oil on canvas, 92” x 240”
Sedrick Huckaby, A Love Supreme – Summer, 2001-2009, oil on canvas, 92” x 240”
Sedrick Huckaby, A Love Supreme – Fall, 2001-2009, oil on canvas, 92” x 240”
Sedrick Huckaby, A Love Supreme – Winter, 2001-2009, oil on canvas, 92” x 240”
Sedrick's paint is thick and lush. His paintings are meditations, feats of strength, acts of love.
I was reading a catalogue of his work a couple years ago, and this passage stood out to me:
"A painting is a quiet dialogue in which volumes of information are slowly and silently revealed, yet its entire essence can be experienced within a moment's glance. I believe my paintings are done in a language more closely in tune with my soul then the language of my tongue. For me, the act of painting is not just a means to a product; it is also a meditative process of communication."
-Sedrick Huckaby, 2004
To view more of his work, visit his website: https://huckabystudios.com/about/sedrick.
2020 Members Prize Show @ University Place
Juried by: Jessica Rosico
February 11-April 30, 2020
124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA
Opening reception: Friday, February 13 from 6-8pm
Excerpt from the juror's statement: A juried show can reveal the tenor of what artists are finding most urgent right now, and the works are often reflective of a broader consciousness. For me, a satisfying exhibition often evokes an overall feeling rather than too much cohesiveness in visual approach. To that end, the submissions to this show did not disappoint. This exhibition is filled with painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, fiber art, and a range of mixed media. Not surprisingly, there is darkness lurking under the surface of a number of these works—whether they are unsettled domestic scenes, physically and mentally dark and dense landscapes, strident text, or frenzied abstractions. We do find ourselves more uncertain than not when we think about our place in this world, and this anxiety is present in many of these works.
I also noticed a preoccupation with vision—how the viewer is intended to see and respond to a particular work, and how the subject itself is portrayed. We see figures blurred, covered, or cut off entirely, taken out of their original context and reinterpreted by the artist. The weight of tradition and history is also a thread that runs through this exhibition, with nods to aging landscapes and titles that recall how things might have been. The use of encaustic, alternative photographic processes, and even an emphasis on realism reminds us that we should never forget our own histories, even while creating an object that is very much in the present moment.
Images: We were children now we've grown, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2019
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November 4-20, 2020
25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA
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