Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have been putting in 14-16 hour days, but I haven't posted because I am mostly fussing over details on what is already done, and completely revamping another part of the painting (oh, and a misc. grant application). This guy
had to go, he wasn't earning his keep, not interesting enough for the amount of space he was taking up. He may appear elsewhere in smaller form. I needed another air kiss, in a more conspicuous place, so he got bumped.

I am living a unidimensional life...... nonstop painting, with occasional moments of working on/agonizing over what I am going to wear to the opening next week. Got the email show announcements today.
(click to enlarge), but I will not send them out until I can announce the new website simultaneously.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

As a prominant Manhattan gallery is shut down amidst a flurry of lawsuits, there are mumblings about whether some regulation might benefit the largely obscured nature of the art business. Artworld Salon initiates the discussion here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

So, this is a pretty amazing work....
Before bed....
Reading No One Belongs Here More Than You, by Miranda July. Little stories. They make me laugh out loud, and yet are so nourishing, soul-feeding. You can read one per evening, before bed, in about 15 minutes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A grey, drizzly, matted-wet-leaves day in Burlington. I have a horrific cold, but cannot really afford to stop painting. I juried a student show at Elon University yesterday morning, then canceled a meeting and came home to go to bed. But today, it has been a surprisingly good painting morning, things flowing through an almost fevered delirium.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vernissage TV
Forgive me if I am the last person on the planet to know about this, but stumbled upon Vernissage TV in my surfing this weekend.
1. Pick a city, or an art fair.
2. Stay home in your jammies and eat popcorn while you passively watch the highlights of the exhibition.
3. At your next cocktail party, mention how you liked this show in Berlin SO much more than that show in Los Angeles.

Because it is called Vernissage TV, I thought there would be more filmed art openings in it. I thought that whenever I missed my friends and ex-students, I could watch an opening in Miami and pick them out, but no such luck. But good walk-throughs and some interviews, too.


Monday, October 22, 2007

It was an intense weekend. Spent Saturday driving an hour and back to Raleigh, to get art and shipping supplies at Jerry's Artarama and JoAnn Fabrics. Unpacked my art from the last exhibition, and started cutting foam core for my package. Spent all of Sunday doing some last minute work on the website, which is SO close to being finished. Today put the packages together for MAD. This is the first time I will not be transporting the pillowcases myself. My usual method is to iron them at the hotel, and deliver them to the site hanging from a hanger by safety pins with a dry cleaning bag draped over them.
I decided that they needed to be shipped flat, so they did not have to be ironed, but neither of the pieces can have anything on top of the embroidered area, because the eyelashes and curls would be crushed. I used a strongbox from Art Float. They deliver it to your door looking like this. (Longtime readers, note that the ugly beige tasteful wallpaper still covers our front hall... it's been a busy year.)

After ironing the pillowcase for "Ebb.", I positioned it on the foamcore, and covered it with glassine with a hole cut for the eyes.
taped down the glassine,
then covered it with a double layer of foam core with holes cut in them.
Taped more glassine over the eye area.
In the box.
"My Young Lover" required a buildup of six layers of foam core to not squish the curls. First I thought to use curlers to hold the curls in place during shipping, then decided that they added too much weight pulling on the hair, and remembered that my hair used to tangle in curlers.
I spent over an hour grooming the hair, separating each curl, combing it around my finger with a wide tooth comb, then coating each curl with water and a little bit of conditioner, like the two curls above. When finished, I "scrunched" all the hair and put a plastic shower cap over it, taping down the edges, but letting the center puff out, so as not to squash the hair. Then I packed it as I did "Ebb."
Called Fed Ex for a pickup at 4 pm, then made dinner because my husband and I both forgot to eat lunch today. The pillows were shipped separately, as well as a framed piece. Exhausted, but gonna do some painting before bed.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

This weekend is devoted to building elaborate shipping containers for shipping hair embroideries to NY. In the old days, I would drive them to their destination, iron them on-site with a press cloth and the special iron used only for artwork (so it never gets gunky). Now I am relinquishing control by allowing someone else to set them up. I can do it. Good illustrated directions, and I am enclosing white cotton gloves.

If I am lucky, will be finished and painting tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Got some great news today... 2 hair embroideries will be included in "Just A Ghostly Paper Sigh" at 31 Grand Gallery in New York from November 15 - December 22 ! (The rest of them will be in "Pricked: Extreme Embroidery" at The Museum of Arts & Design beginning November 8.)
Twenty years, no shows in NY... this year, 2 simultaneous group shows in New York. Pinch me. Then give me a good sleeping pill.

(the photos taken at night have glare, sorry)
I have always loved Julie Heffernan's work, (I remember seeing her first show in NY), but this just blows me away. A fellow ex-Catholic, as if you couldn't tell. Gorgeous.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On Pushing One's Art Forward

Sometimes it's good to step back, take a good look around, and reassess to gain some perspective.

While preparing images for my new website, I went looking through old images of my paintings, and was struck by how beautiful some of my old work is, and how much I love them. I have brought up the discussion with my husband that there is one seminal piece in particular that I would like to try and buy back, as it has proven difficult to get the owner to lend it for exhibitions, and it was sold before it was even finished, so it left my hands upon completion. If possible, I would like to live with it some more, because I would like to look at it as I go forward with my new work.

Seeing these images got me thinking. As a child, my head was saturated with books and movies about ideals ( see Fate of A Technicolor Romantic)... to the point where upholding these ideals (and making art about them) became the most important guiding force in my life. My brother Bob and I used to call it "living fictionally": if you swear to someone that you will meet them on this bridge in ten years, you are there, even though the other party has "grown up" and doesn't even remember making such a promise. You always tell the truth, and stand by your promises, even when it is inconvenient, and a reasonable person would back out if circumstances made it too difficult (this led to things like stupid, death-defying, sleep-deprived road trips because you had to be somewhere "no matter what"). Sometimes ideals can lead you to some pretty absurd places: there were times when I was dating that my feminist ideals would cause me to insist on paying my share or taking my turn on a date even if my date was making six figures, and paying for the meal was going to break me. After lots of therapy, I have worked hard to extricate familial pathologies from "ideals", in order to ascertain when I am being too hard on myself, being absurd in my desire to prove something, or setting myself up for disappointment.

I find that this self-examination holds true for artmaking as well. I have always been guided by my intuition, making "what needs to be made". I generally have lots of ideas for new work, and devote my time to the one that screams the loudest. This is not the best system for building a career: producing two hair embroideries and two paintings a year, with an occasional Psychological Clothing piece thrown in, does not fit the art world model (providing a whole series of hot new paintings that look similar enough that one might replace the other if a collector's favorite has been sold). For example, I sold most of my "Beauty Wrest" series (women sleeping in cars). I could have had gallery representation early in my career, and was told I could have sold more of these paintings, if only I made more, but I felt the need to move on and make something new. (If YOU have had therapy, you might be mumbling to yourself, "career self-sabotage...", but I believe these impulses come from a nobler place.)

I have always thought that one of the great things about not "making it" is that there is more freedom, and less pressure to become a brand or an assembly line. I still don't feel that I have "made it", but after the unexpected attention surrounding "Blessed Art Thou", I did have to wait for the intrusive voice of the outside world to go away to make what needed to be made next.

I do and I don't know where Blessed Art Thou came from. I do know that I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone when making it, and I know that in the new paintings that am working on now, I am STILL working very far out of my comfort zone. 16 months ago, I had a formula that worked for me when making paintings, and I chucked it, to make a different kind of painting: different kind of space, different subject matter, figures of various scales that I never painted before, different techniques, different type of composition. It is rewarding and terrifying on a daily basis. During the making of BAT, and during this painting, it has held true that one day in the studio, I think I am a genius, and the next day, I think the painting is worthless and I have wasted the last 6 months.

My rationale: if I am not growing and challenging myself in my work, I am simply producing luxury goods, like making designer handbags or building yachts. And if I am making art to give meaning to a life deeply lived and explored, spending my whole life making one thing in one "style" (I hate that word, but it is superficially appropriate) doesn't work for me. I also have a Picasso quote ingrained in me, one that helped to form my ideals (there it is again) about artmaking: "To repeat one's self is pathetic."

But my point is, I wonder sometimes if I am pushing myself just for the sake of pushing.... like when I took Calculus in high school because I loved all my other classes so much, I thought I should take something that challenged me and that wasn't fun, just to do it. Like I trained myself to read books from opposing points of view, for discipline, even though I rarely learn anything from the experience that changes my position. Like the fact that, over the years, virtually every time I do a new painting, I have to set up a new light problem for myself. Looking back over my life, most times I thought that something wasn't working, I stepped back to realize that it was a result of forcing my will, of trying too hard.

These days, as I am coming into the home stretch of finishing a monumental painting that I am very excited about, I am thinking about what part beauty used to play in my work, and what part it plays now. And the role of joy in process. I wonder, if your goal is striving to always make "important" work, what limitations that might place on the work. I am considering the possibility that sometimes you can go off in a different direction, learn something from it, and circle back to pick up what you loved about earlier work, combining all that you have learned into a loopy culmination, rather than the relentless, exhausting, driving forward for its own sake.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I saved most of it, but I really should have published ALL of the hate mail I got at the beginning of the year. For the most part, it has abated, but every once in a while I will open an email, and get something like I got today, from a woman in Columbus, Nebraska:

Your picture is alfull. Jolie is a slut and I hate how her own child is dressed and the other two kids are naked. You are a great painter—so paint something worth your tailent----not that piece of crap".

I have lots of time left to finish the current painting, but my brain has already kicked into overdrive, not allowing me to sleep, thinking about the next ten steps that need to be done on it. Even with a Tylenol PM, I was up past 3 last night.

A slideshow of the editor's picks at the the Frieze Art Fair from
I am very pleased to announce that my work is now a part of the Drawing Center's Artist Viewing Program. If you have time, visit the site and peruse according to your thematic or media-based interests. There is a lot of stimulating, inspirational work to be found there, pushing the boundaries of how we define drawing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

In the studio today, painting wrinkles
and getting the husband to pose as a hand model the minute he walks in the door from work.
Also dangerously close to deciding to replace a major character in my mis-en-scene, despite the fact that it is rather late in the game, painting-wise.
Jerry Saltz, in his new gig at New York Magazine, gives a State of the Union address: he makes some great points about the hype in the art market, but still gives us some hope, while asking, "Has Money Ruined Art?" At Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green comments on the article and takes him to task for adding to the problem.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More tiny heads.


Friday, October 12, 2007

The New York Times recently ran a follow-up article on the recipients of the first United States Artists grants. Not surprising to anyone who has actually devoted their life to making art, many of the artists used part of the grant for much-needed health care they had been putting off.
Art World is Like the Sex Trade World

It's no secret that I have been a big fan of Stella Vine for some time. I am waiting for her new book to land on my doorstep any day now. I recently stumbled across this gem, an Observer interview from 2006, where she compares the gallery system to the sex trade.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Art World Truth #2", thrift store overalls, worn to paint "Fate of A Technicolor Romantic", embroidery, 57 x 19".
Just finished this afternoon, these are the raw photos... the pants in this series will be ultimately be stretched flat behind plexi in wide ornate gold frames. I am dying to start the next one, so I am off to get thread tonight.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Doris Salcedo

Doris Salcedo - Installation for the 8th, International Instanbul Biennale, 2003, 1550 chairs,
Photo Muammer Yammaz, Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York

I have been looking at Doris Salcedo's work for many years. Some of her most beautiful and subtle work is hard to grasp from images, but remains nevertheless powerful, enigmatic and often technically unfathomable. She has unveiled a new work at the Tate, the story is here in the Guardian.
In my studio... some painting, the last of my prep work for the new website off my plate and onto my brother's, and a scramble to finish my second Art World Truth Embroidery for inclusion in the aforementioned website.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My friend Elmer sent me the links to this Miami Herald story about artist Spencer Tunick's new project, set in Miami and using locals. Some of my old art buddies assisted. The slide show is here. If he tried to do this in Burlington, NC, maybe ten people would show up, and the churches would send out protestors.

Took my brother to the airport yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. after an allnighter. The website is about 1/2 finished, worked on it all day yesterday, and think that my part will be finished today, and I will be back in the studio tomorrow. Spending so long looking at all my old work has provided some great perspective, and given me pause to think about my future direction. This reflection is good, because these 14-20 hour days at the computer are a bit mind-numbing.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Great Website Overhaul
Picked up my brother at the airport this morning, and have spent the whole day working on my website. He does code, and I do image prep gruntwork. Linking and more linking. The dilemma of what to do with all those old fuzzy transfers from slides that will now be sitting next to new crispy digital images. It will be a late night and will go well into tomorrow night. He goes back early Monday morning, but all the pages may not be live till next week. But back to painting on Monday, the two-day break creating a hunger that will make for some productive days, me thinks.

Oh, and a great article on Louise Bourgeois, one of my personal heroes, over at Guardian Arts.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I spent about an hour this morning painting this woman's hands. As I progressed today, the figures I have been working on just kept getting smaller and smaller.
I am at that stage in the painting where I begin to question my sanity.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Got a new scaffold for the studio. $99 at Lowes. Should have done it ages ago.
Radley doesn't know quite what to make of it.

Spent the day painting lots of (mostly uninteresting) minutiae, laying groundwork for the fun that is to come.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Painting till dark, then embroidering in the evening. Almost done with this "Art Truth" embroidery, will be pushing to get it done, as I am very anxious to start the next. In between, preparing images for the big website overhaul this weekend.

Monday, October 01, 2007

David Byrne hit the openings in Chelsea a few weeks ago, and blogged about the explosion in attendance. Apparently, not everyone is there to see the art.

When I lived in Miami, I once got so disgusted with all the trendy partiers unwittingly leaning against the art in the galleries that I was tempted to make a film about it, concluding with interviews of the people exiting the gallery, putting them on the spot by asking them to describe their favorite piece.