I remember an exhibit of sculptures at Winthrop 15 or so years ago. Each sculpture was an artistic coffin. Each one designed with imagery to reflect something about the person who used to live in the body the coffin was made to fit. It was a good show...lots of color and gloss...and yet there was a heavy sense of dread in the gallery. You wanted to laugh and enjoy but you just couldn't.
Our oldest dog was 14 last fall. He was tough as nails. He had several operations in that 14 years and was deaf and blind for the last 4. Now he's in a small ornate wooden box on the mantle. He was an excellent dog. The box is dignified but not playful and that bugs me a bit. He did love to play.
Creatively I've been idle for a couple of weeks. I've worked on some frames and cut some panels for mounting drawings, but that's not the fun stuff. I've had several very different ideas churning in my head for both 2D and 3D work. I'm trying to separate the sheep from the goats so I can get back to work. I woke up this morning ready to start something new. Nothing circumstantial has changed...I'm just ready.
My drawing exhibit is up at the Chapel Hill Public Library in NC now through mid-March. It consists of 15 of my framed ink drawings and work by Wendy DesChene.
And if you want proof that 2009 will be a better year, I offer you this: The band Clem Snide is back together and there's a new album out next month along with a tour. Yes we can.
Andrew Wyeth died this morning at age 91. I realize you don't care, but the news reminded me of his work. If you're unfamiliar, google it. (Go ahead and look up his dad, N.C. Wyeth while you're at it.)
I grew up with this guy. Almost. I grew up viewing his work in the local museum. The Holly and Arthur Magill Collection provided a great sampling of his paintings as a continuous exhibition at the Greenville County Museum of Art in SC from 1978 - 1989. (link)
As a child, going to see art meant going to the GCM and viewing the Wyeth exhibit and the growing Contemporary Art collection. I enjoyed Wyeth's work. It was quiet and it seemed calm but there was something unnerving about it. Something secretive. It is this idea that there's something just below the surface that has not been revealed that continues to keep my interest in his paintings.
Critics of Wyeth may argue that he was an illustrator or a decorative painter, and not a fine artist. It seems to me that one of his strengths was his ability to refrain from connecting all the dots for the viewer in terms of the concepts in his work. I don't think it was ever just a barn or just a woman. There was always something more. Something he wasn't telling us.
Maybe what the artist doesn't say can be the most important thing.
Each year as the weather turns cool and December appears on the horizon I begin to think about having some free time. With the end of fall semester I turn in my grades and get to enjoy having only 2 jobs for about a month. By Thanksgiving I entertain ideas of what my December will be like. I have visions of nights at home with the family. I compile ideas for all the new drawings I'll complete. I form a list of movies I've missed over the last year and plan to see during the break. Then I'll buy a book and think about how I'll read it as I sit by the fireplace and contemplate the absolute wonderment of a quiet winter's night.
And each year, almost without fail, December darts past me in a rush leaving me to wonder where all my free time went, wondering if I'll ever get to watch a movie again, and hoping I can still find that book I bought back in November.
I did accomplish a lot of tasks during this break (which ends in just 7 more days). I made a boat-load of frames, finished a tiny multitude of small sketchy drawings, started a new graphite drawing, updated & organized all sorts of things, and got vomited on. That last one wasn't really on my list of things to do, but it happened none-the-less.
One of my not-so-secret concerns with having a child was how it would affect my creative life. I worried that I would not have as much time to draw or sculpt. Selfish, I know, but a genuine concern for an artist. Now 2 1/2 years into it, I'm realizing how his point of view of the world is shaping my research interests and providing me with more interesting ideas and images. Everything is amazing if you look at it the right way. Just ask him.
So while I try to find that book I was supposed to read, you go ahead and have some coffee and enjoy the photographic highlights of the last week or so:
Pearson's Falls, Tryon, NC
Ri Ra's New Years Eve Hooligans, Charlotte, NC
Joe Kwan (the man, the myth, the legend) & his Avett friends in Charlotte