Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blogging will be sporadic for the next week. I am off to meet and help care for my new twin nephews. Hoping to finish the vein embroidery in between feedings and changings.
Here is a cool new artist to look at: we will be in the Netherlands show together next year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

(the wreckage)
Among the threads you see finger condoms.... about mid-week, when the callouses on my fingertips became unbearable, I had an idea and asked my husband to pick some up at the drugstore. And they work!.. they help you grip the needle better. I will never do extensive embroidery without them again.

I was traveling on personal business for the past two days. I am exhausted, but must get some packets together first thing tomorrow. I just found out that in August, I am headed to Seattle (for the first time!), and I need to send out some museum/gallery packets pronto.

Friday, July 18, 2008

(click to enlarge)
work in progress..... "Untitled", 22.5 x 104", embroidery on deconstructed flag, batting

This piece will eventually be shown in the exhibition "Political Circus" from Sept 5 through Nov at Florida Atlantic University. I submitted a proposal to them that was recently accepted, and I have been working day and night this week to get it to a stage where I could send them some images, but I will be tweaking the piece more next week.
Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exciting News, and a Crazy Day

I have been invited to participate in a show at the Van Gijn Museum in the Netherlands called "Forget Me Not: About Mourning & Remembering". Some of the other artists are amazing, and I will post links soon. I have to finish this embroidery in the next few days.... this is how I spent most of my weekend:
Thank goodness.... someone at the New York Times noticed. In yesterday's article "The Image is Familiar, The Pitch Isn't", Mia Fineman points out the alarming number of advertisements that appear to be direct copies of fine artists' work. I started crafting an elaborate post on the subject, but I have a deadline, and must embroider instead.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two day's worth of work. Could use that assistant about now....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008

"Hand to Hand: Artists Witness the War" opened this past week at the Carol Henry Gallery in Agoura Hills, CA, outside of LA. The Ventura County Star did an article on the show. The exhibition will be up for a month, not two days, as was mistakenly reported in the article.


The Problems We Have With Beauty

While I was canoeing down the French Broad River last week, Ed Winkleman was hosting an open thread on "why everyone is so afraid of beauty". It is hard to imagine a deader horse, but there are often great nuggets to be found in these sorts of arguments nevertheless. At last count, there were 131 comments, so I will give you my highlights: Pretty Lady responded to j.t.'s assertion that "For me, beauty in art is an escape from the everyday crap that surrounds us." with

" 'Nope, nope, nope.'
That's the definition of kitsch.

''s the relationships between colors and forms that make them beautiful, rather than the colors and forms themselves. Radical contrast breeds excitement, complex harmony, and a beauty that is rich, deep and all-inclusive. Kitsch is about avoidance--it edits out any awkwardness, any reference to death and decay, to comfort the mind's fears. But great art puts in the death; great art accepts everything. And unconditional acceptance is a prerequisite for enduring peace.'

I don't think we're 'afraid of beauty' so much as it gives us a powerful feeling of superiority to dismiss it. Apprehension of great beauty is a cousin to awe, and awe engenders humility. Feeling humble is anathema to surviving in the shark tank of the NYC 'art world;' we must maintain our sense of contemptuous disdain at all costs. QED."

Franklin's favorite statement about craft "...comes from Renoir, who assures us with considerable irony that becoming a craftsman will not stop you from becoming a genius."

This discussion often seems to divide people into camps of formalism and conceptualism, as if they were mutually exclusive. My obsessive, perfectionist response to this debate is my oft-muttered-to-self phrase, "everything counts".

The book "Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward A New Aesthetics", edited by Bill Beckley and David Shapiro, was published in 2001. Although I wrestled for many years with fashion aesthetics (suppressing my vintage clothing fetish and makeup wearing to be "one of the guys" in art school), I have never wrestled with the decision of whether to forgo or reject beauty in my work, as illustrated in an article about my UGA MFA show (many moons before the afore-mentioned book, I might add, when the word was still "dirty").
(click to enlarge)

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

An Amazing True Story That May or May Not Have Anything to do With the Dissolving Guardian Angel

In 1997, in the middle of Miami's hurricane season, I spent several months living in the home of a colleague. She and her husband were off to NY for a semester, and I was ready to trade up on my apartment, so I agreed to house-sit for her before moving into a new place. It was a gorgeous one-story home, well appointed with antiques, located in Miami Shores, north of the city.

This period in my life coincided with an intense episode of depression. I dropped about twenty pounds... my diet consisted of root beer floats and steamed mussels, because those were the only foods that would entice me to eat. I had horrific insomnia. I have read of other artists that they don't create when under the shroud of depression: I continued to create, but in a completely different way. Instead of sketching things out, planning and reworking ideas, I just sat down and spontaneously did drawings.

This piece, "Promise.", (the unusual punctuation denotes an imperative) was done in the course of one long night, sitting on the bathroom floor, with a clamp light aimed at my face. I taped the paper to a piece of foam core, propped it up next to the mirror on the bathroom door, and started to work. The drawing is done in charcoal, with Prismacolor colored pencil applied to the areas of the face that swell up when you cry. The mouth is slightly open because I was trying to capture that moment when you are crying very hard, and you stop to gasp for air. The vigil candle in the chest window appears in several other drawings and paintings from this period, which was subsequently named "The Vigil Series".

So, I stayed up all night making this drawing. Just before dawn, I carried the finished piece, still taped to the foam core, out to the florida room, and propped it up on my easel, which had been set up in my established working space in the corner. I fell into a deep sleep, listening to the rain pounding on the roof.

It is always a wonderful moment when you have pulled an all-nighter, and you awake in the morning to look at what was made the night before. The peculiar combination of detachment and awe comes from recognizing specific marks you made throughout the night, seeing decisions that had to be intuitive or unconscious ones, and knowing that you were too exhausted to really "see" the finished work before you collapsed into sleep. It is now light outside, a completely different context than the one in which the work was created: you turn the corner into the studio, and the work is brand new. It is almost a Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde scenario, where you get to see what your middle-of-the-night-self did.

So, on this summer morning I turned the corner into the florida room, looking forward to discovering my work, and spotted a large puddle beneath my easel. In this 2,000 square foot house, the roof had only leaked in ths spot directly above my drawing, on this particular night, and left dirty rainwater "tears" running directly down the center of my drawing. I was horrified, and ran for a clean towel to blot the drawing dry. About halfway through this process, I realized that I was making a huge mistake and stopped. Not leaving it as I found it remains one of my greatest art making regrets.

You can't really see the light water tracks in the photos, but you can in person. It occurred to me today while embroidering on one of my dissolving guardian angel paintings that there was a formal relationship between this piece and "Promise.", and I was transported back to that night.Posting will be light 'till Monday. Have a great holiday weekend.

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One step forward, many steps back....

In the middle of a very busy day, I find that someone has hijacked my email account and sent spam to my entire email list, including important curatorial & press contacts that I have spent ten years gathering. I have no idea how this happened, but now I need to spend time this afternoon making sure that it doesn't happen again. GGGGGGRRRR. Normally a pacifist, Kate feels a vigilante urge stirring.

(detail, in-progress work)