finishing a grant last night, then tossed and turned for another hour and a half. Up at 8, paint til 12, Dr.'s appts and errands the rest of the day. Drove to Durham for the Branch Gallery opening... it is a small place, but very cool, they are showing really interesting work. Rachel Bernstein's work was fun, most of the pieces were very long tubes of flesh colored felt, stuffed, then bent and hand sewn together at points to resemble intestines. There were 5 or 6 of these, then there was an arm/hand and a foot with felt exteriors and awkward but obsessive embroidery (that I am really jealous of) over the tubular stuffed interior.
I am always trying to do awkward embroidery, like the boys in fiber class, but it always "neatens up" somehow. This started as a wild, freeform embroidery stitch that I kind of made up as I went along, trying to keep it sloppy and it did not work. I need to embroider with the "wrong" hand, like they used to make us do in drawing class. Anyway, the highlight of Ms. Bernsteins' work was a scrotum piece: I might not have registered "scrotum" in the first second, because one is not used to seeing one a.) independent of a penis, and b.) flayed open to reveal the embroidered testicles. I am also jealous of embroidered testicles. The effect was humorous but unsettling, they literally look like 3D illustrations from an anatomy textbook rendered in handmade felt and found threads of various thicknesses. There were a few wall pieces that were flat handmade felt with monochromatic embroidered veins of single limbs that were vaguely reminiscent of Kiki Smith's "Nervous Giants" pieces, only smaller and under glass, giving them the quality of a specimen, the rough felt being rather pelt-like . If there was a fire, I would have saved the scrotum.....
Stopped at the Blue Bayou Club on the way home for one beer. It is one of the coolest places around here, in Hillsborough. We are members, it costs $5 a year (yep, the cost of parking at a parking meter for one night on South Beach, if you are lucky enough to find one). Mighty Lester was playing, we saw them at the Blues Festival in Greensboro a few weeks back: and it was tempting to stay, but I had to get home to paint. : (
Seeing Mighty Lester for a few minutes has inspired Kevin to break out his saxophone: his studio is in the basement, mine is on the 3rd floor: I hear nothing.... that's why we live in Burlington, because your money buys lots of house. Now I will stop blogging and paint: we are only at a mildly scary point in the painting, upbeat music to keep me awake, but no need for chocolate.