The works that drew me were almost entirely printmaking; the bulk of them were fascinating works from the Zea Mays biennial printmaking show at APE gallery.
Edda Valborg Sigurdardottir
This work caught my eye first because I’ve been thinking about stitching a lot lately. I like the installation–installed above body height, on a hanger.
Of course I had to spend some time with the map artwork! I like how straightforward and accessible the construction is. Her work fascinates me, and reminds me that after a certain point, all geographically-referencing map artwork is about climate change…
Louise Kohrman Martindell
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about small multiples and other works in which repetition implies change over time, or narrative, so these works caught my eye. In the wall text the artist mentioned that each specifically references an aspect of childbirth and family, so there’s an element of inscrutable datavis as well.
I ran across her work at the Smith art museum and was immediately obsessed. I love the detail, the content, the scale, all of it.
I liked the sorting in this piece in the museum, but I particularly liked what she had to say in the wall text. And her Wikipedia page (linked above) also introduced me to geomancy, which sounds like a fascinating historical combination of earth and algorithm.
I got to attend Clio Art Fair in midtown Manhattan last weekend (particularly to support my friend Regina Valuzzi, who was showing), and the variety of work there was impressive. Some of my favorites:
The first art I noticed when I came in was Rachel’s, because she was “live painting” with a handheld 3D extruder onto canvas. The effect immediately reminded me of textiles, and also of Maggie Lowe Tennesen‘s paintings on panel. Because the plastic “stroke” will be thinner in the middle and thicker towards the edge, it also reminds me of how watercolor pools at the edges while it dries, and that effect makes it look more organic than the plastic material it’s made from.
I really liked the execution of Christina’s enormous flamingo paintings. I got to chat with her later in the event and learn more about her process, which was fascinating.
Her work was made over images of the Women’s March in DC, with the background covered in silver foil and the pink hats highlighted. I particularly liked this piece with the flags called out–and was glad see the red dot it gained by the end of the show!
These were probably my favorite works in the exhibition. I love the sparse materials (it’s actually subtly dimensional embroidery) and the abstraction in the content.
I was really taken with her installation, which filled her upstairs room. I’d seen her abstract artwork before, and I love the addition of botanical imagery in the new work.
Victoria Manganiello + Julian Goldman
An excellent physical computing/industrial design piece referencing the history of computing stemming from Jacquard looms. The textile has alternating colored fluid and air bubbles running through it, so it looks immediately like a digital display but the physicality is also instantly apparent. It was mesmerising.
Last year she had an installation of tiny interventions in the landscape just outside one of the Colonels Row houses. This year she had a full upstairs room which she enhanced with similar interventions with a larger range of scale.
One of the most well-executed and arresting rooms in the fair. When I entered, the array of white projection-mapped half-spheres on the ground each had one huge eye blinking in the middle. The looping reel that’s projected on them continued to be aesthetically coherent and graphic. As we left, some kids were trying vociferously to figure out how the magic worked.
One entire room was filled with a site-specific installation of rolled book pages. Besides the overwhelming aesthetic experience of this book cave, it also created an unusual sonic environment; we had fun seeing how sound carried differently in the altered room.
Beautiful and well-executed web spanning a whole downstairs room. There was a memorable installation a few years ago in a kitchen space that was similar, but white instead of black; the tone in this piece took it further than just the typical associations with lace or spiderwebs.
Margaret Livingstone spoke at NYU on the subject of “What Art Can Tell Us About the Brain” on Tuesday, and I filled this page before she even got to the Q&A. I’d been curious to see her speak because of my interest in perception and how she relates it to art, and the talk was very spirited. She explained different aspects of perception with a series of optical illusions, including her insights on the Mona Lisa’s smile which I’d seen and found fascinating.
A couple of the biggest takeaways from this were:
- our visual processing “normalizes” the visual information we get, and artists know + play with this, which explains why a painting of a scene will regularly be different from a photograph of a similar scene.
- many visual processing quirks stem from the fact that there are two processing streams when parsing an image, and one is colorblind (the older system). This explains the “shimmery” effect we get from colors that have color contrast but no luminance contrast, for example.
- From the overflow to these notes: on the impact of diorama-type work, she said “Maybe by making something the wrong size, artists get you to process it with a different part of your brain”, referencing things like how we don’t really process an image of a face if it’s upside down. This is food for thought for me as I continue to work with, and be interested, in representations of space at small scales.
I visited LIC Open Studios at the end of last month and saw a significant amount of work that really resonated with me aesthetically. Some highlights:
Alexis Duque (website)
I’m of course a fan of the super dense city drawing style; I was also really intrigued by the way he translated it onto carved sculptural works as well. I’m definitely considering trying out something like that.
Kathy Ferguson (website)
I’ve seen her work at previous open studios; this year she was demonstrating gel plate printing, which she uses to get the different textures that she collages together onto her works.
Kyoko Takei (website)
I’ve also seen her work before but it continues to be fascinating; it’s so delicate and intriguing.
Marjorie Van Cura
Very interesting markmaking on clear film–another project I’ve been hoping to try…
Overall it was a particularly inspiring event, and I’m looking forward to working on some new projects out of these ideas!
Some highlights from the recent Governors Island Art Fair in New York:
I’m a huge fan of works that take advantage of the architectural setting. The installations are all in decaying governors’ quarters on the island, and the best ones really meld with and play off of their surroundings.
There’s some beautiful outdoor installations as well:
And the beautiful day and gorgeous views definitely don’t detract :)
First we saw a map/diagram art show at the Center for Book Arts in New York:
Inge Bruggeman, the infinite between us, 2011
This piece was incredible; it was a music box whose tape feed was a chart of weather data; when you fed a tape through the box, it mechanically “played” the weather.
Sarah Bouchard, Weather Box, 2014
It was very simple and conceptually fascinating. I’d love to make something like that at some point.
We also went to the Brooklyn Art Library, home to the Sketchbook Project archives. I requested a mappy sketchbook through their system—and randomly received the sketchbook of Clint Fulkerson (who I’ve followed on Instagram for a while) as well! That system is lovely.
Saw some of my favorite street art too—the huge fish/city mural inside Jackbar in Williamsburg.
And I couldn’t miss communing with de Chirico at MoMA. I’ve been inspired by that kind of uncanny-valley dreamlike Surrealist architecture for a while. I think it’s not unrelated to the feeling of seeing a map that could be real but isn’t…
Some artwork and installations that have been inspiring me:
Industry Lab art installation
Barbara Moody installation at Kingston Gallery in SoWa
Arthur Ganson at the MIT Museum
I’ve also done a bit of museuming recently—I went to the Art Institute twice when we were in Chicago and visited the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Here’s some pieces I saw that inspired me:
Giovanni di Paolo. I like the super geometric fields and the flat perspective. I wasn’t expecting to be inspired by 15th century religious paintings but this little corner was interesting.
Robert Delaunay at the Art Institute. I think I take a photo of this piece (“Champs du Mars”) every time I go.
Frank Lloyd Wright at the Art Institute
Charles Sheeler at the Art Institute
Miriam Ellner at the Museum of Arts and Design. The screen had this magic thing where although it was totally opaque, because some parts were mirrored it looked deceptively like it was semi-translucent. We spent a while in that room and I couldn’t stop thinking I could see through it.
The other week I braved the weather and headed out to First Friday for the first time in a while. I got there really early, which ended up being great—the event can get pretty busy, even on a cold day in the middle of the winter, but I got to chat with artists individually. Some of the people I saw included:
– Nedret Andre, whose artist statement really resonated with me. I love how her paintings have both landscape and map aspects at the same time. She was also friendly and had some really heartening things to say when I described my current responsibilities with Somerville Open Studios.
– I was shocked to experience being the only person in the Totally Wired Sculpture studio—that’s definitely never happened to me before. The artist Brian Murphy was offering some small heart-shaped sculptures to visitors for Valentine’s day, but I didn’t have the heart (haha) to just take one. I’m sure they all went by the end of the evening though.
– One of my favorite new art experiences that trip was at Galatea, which was showing Brenda van der Beek “Terrain of the Mind“. The title alone would attract me, but her drawings spoke on their own; it was very interesting that they were architectural but at the same time organic and freeform.
– I always like to check in with Marian Dioguardi, and her brightly colored studio was particularly engaging on a cold February evening!
The other gallery shows were also interesting, particularly Geoff Hargadon (“CA$H for YOUR WARHOL“) at Gallery Kayafas, although unfortunately I didn’t get to ask him in person about his Somerville Gates project.
It got cold, so we soon repaired to JJ Foley’s for some comfort food and the Olympics opening ceremonies. I’m definitely glad I braved the weather, and look forward to seeing more art this winter!