There is a certain pleasure in unchanging exhibits at art museums. It is quite lovely to visit with one’s favorite pieces of art. When I was a youngster I loved to visit Hosukai’s Great Wave in it’s hidden corner of the big art museum. And I thought it was was both beautiful and enigmatic (and a lovely shade of blue).
But there is also something to be said for changing exhibits, especially in a smaller museum, like our local museum. One never knows what sort of things might be on display: like these bits of art from Haiti.
I have no idea what this means and all the artistic blather that inspired this piece, I thought it looked interesting (and it was covered in glitter, which is always a good thing).
I do love surrealist art as well.
I had wondered what to do with my collection of tiny plastic figures, here was the answer staring me in the face.
Sometimes one has to just surrender to the art.
Although my town is in always in the shadow of the metropolis to the north, we do get the occasional bits of interesting things happening. Besides getting to see Lynda Barry, this month also offered a chance to see in person some artwork from another artist that I admire, but only know from the internet. And it was fabulous!
This is a picture that I took from a video installation (sorry for the picture quality, I am an indifferent photographer). Chiho Aoshima does these anthropomorphic high-rise buildings, mixed with images from Japanese folklore.
It makes me want to squee with adorableness of these buildings.
But there is a fly in the ointment, a mythological figure turns into a cloud of black smoke and then the volcano erupts in this paradise.
Alien ships appear. Notice that the foreground is a cemetery, yikes. And what does it all mean?
A floating deity appears briefly in a cloud.
Then a tsunami knocks over some of the buildings, and makes the rest wobble about.
Bad things are happening, the black and white building grows legs and gets up to move because things are so bad. But the standing buildings grow construction cranes to repair themselves, the sky clears and the rainbow returns.
There’s a happy ending, until it starts all over again, much like life.
Back in 2014 I decided that I wanted to go to Europe, and that it would be nice to combine this trip with some sort of workshop or real reason to be there. So I came up with two great choices: One was learn to write a blog, with the author of the blog Spitalfields Life. This was a two day workshop in London (and this is why this blog exists). My other choice, was eight days over two weeks in France, to learn to write cartoons. As I speak terrible French and could not leave Miss Dog in the kennel for too long I decided on London.
So later I was going to take a class in New York state from this second choice, I had signed up and paid my money, but Miss Dog was ill and I was afraid to leave her lest she die in my absence. So I had never seen this artist in person until now and I was really excited to have the opportunity to see her right here in town. The snow didn’t materialize, and it was two wonderful hours of hearing Lynda Barry speak.
She has moved from drawing about life, to the intersection of neuroscience and art, which are two things that I like.
And I love that she shares some of my obsessions, like octopi, blackbirds, chickens and ghosts.
I did say that she was inspiration too, here is a page from my first collage book, which she kindly signed.
I had shown this page to the author of Spitalfields Life last November, and he mentioned that he had gone to the same college as the poet, just 400 years apart. 🙂 (So they never got to hang out together).
It was fabulous to see her in the flesh and hear her talk. And I decided that if I ever get a chance to take a workshop with her I must seize the opportunity. (Maybe).
The local public university, which started out years ago as an extension of the state university, located in an old unused tuberculosis hospital, has slowly been expanding into the surrounding area. And that is good, because there just was not enough *#*^!+# parking at the main site. And one of the expanding things that the university has is a new art gallery space in a theater building. The inaugural show has just been hung, so I stopped in to check it out. I missed the actual opening, and this is good because there were apparently 650 people crammed into the space for this (and it certainly means I would have missed out on the wine and nibbles).
I have paint cans and other bits of stuff laying about in my garage, why didn’t I ever think of displaying them like this? (Oh, it’s because I would trip over the strings). What you can’t see in this picture is that there was a barrier to prevent any mishaps.
The woman barely visible in this shot is studying to be a curator, so that she can put together shows like this one.
The artist only needed two colors of paint to finish this one.
I guess he forgot that paint runs.
This one is made up of multiple canvases, painted together to make a work large enough to cover the entire wall of this gallery. And me and the other two people at the show got to enjoy the works without any art talk to distract us. 😉
First Friday: the day of the month that all the local galleries try especially hard to flog their wares. The better ones have wine and nibbles, but on this day I decided to try the local museum. Recently acquired by the expensive private college, it seemed like it might be an interesting venue.
This statue formerly stood at the east end of the hall, now he’s here at the west end, ever at the ready to put an arrow in the ceiling, if required.
There is a lounge, shown here full of hipsters. It had a cash bar and art for sale: today it was knitted objects and hand spun skeins of wool, artfully displayed. I actually knew one of the artists from my knitting group, she was one of women who was under 100 years old. 🙂 I don’t know if she sold anything, but bravo to her for getting a show.
What kind of a hipster event would it be without this guy? Stylishly dressed (for a hipster) in his fedora and ink, he was doing a painting in neon colors under a black light. (These things take me back in time: Old guys wore fedoras when I was a kid, and who could forget the popularity of black light posters when we were hippies).
Apparently one of their paintings in the permanent collection has gone out on tour. This portrait of a local girl was painted by John Singer Sargent at the family estate in England. Her life and this very portrait is examined in a new book “Sargent’s Women” by Donna M Lucey. Elsie is getting her moments of fame, only a hundred or so years late.
So that was it, cash bar and no nibbles, perhaps I shall cross this off my list of first Friday venues.
I always enjoyed going to the art museum when I was a child: it was mysterious, beautiful and scary, always an adventure and free. The local museum is tiny and expensive, except on free days, so you can guess when I am likely to visit (I have forked over money on occasion). So I was there for the most recent free day, just having time enough for a quick look see.
I took scads of pictures of this display the last time I was there. What’s not to like about floating invisible people spiraling down an empty corridor? This is also I technique that I would like to explore someday (but not today).
The upper gallery displays change from time to time, and today featured a video installation with four screens of waving trees that changed color in a darkened gallery. Interesting, but what does it mean? The other gallery featured everyday objects, like a shovel or typewriter, made of glass. Another gallery had bare speakers hanging from the ceiling playing random
noise sounds. It’s all very artistic I’m sure.
A different sort of glass art is by this guy. I have seen his stuff in many different places, in the V & A, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Tacoma, WA and here, so his work gets around. I like the color and form in this piece, it reminds me of the worm in tequila (I’m not saying how I recognize them).
This would be the interactive part of the exhibit, one could write a postcard to one’s mentors and the museum would mail them out. It’s rather interesting that they chose this old-fashioned format (snail mail, really!).
Then it was on to the next thing I had to do, although I lost all my lovely photos due to user error (so no other pics). 🙁
You know that I have tried to limit the number of books that come into my house, and if you know this, then you also know how very bad I am at this. So here are a few of my newest books.
These lovely books were a gift from my friend GA (not George Ashley), whom I met through the internet. East End Vernacular is the most recent publication by GA, a collection of paintings of London’s East End. All of the paintings are previously unpublished works, which just goes to show that talent is not enough to make it in the art world. The next book, Traveller’s Children in London Fields, was the very first book that GA published and it is a collection of photographs taken by the late Colin O’Brien. And then there is A Hoxton Childhood, a reprint of a memoir of a working man reflecting back on a long life (and a really wonderful book). Thanks for the good reads GA.
These books are also from people that I know through the internet. The Daily Coyote started out as a blog, and Shreve published this wonderful record of Charlie’s life. Too bad if you see this and want a copy, it was available by subscription only. Dogs of Avalon is a much more challenging book, and it covers the evils of greyhound racing, and the sanctuary that helps these dogs recover their spirit. I “met” Laura some years ago after she published her second book “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, New Jersey”, which was a memoir with recipes.
I’m including these calendars in this post just because they come from the internet as well. I have previously bought a book from The Mincing Mockingbird, but he didn’t have anything new this year, so I just bought his calendars. And I do love Charlie from The Daily Coyote, he’s actually the only coyote that I like (and he is super adorable). But, I swear that these are the last books I’m buying (at least for this year, maybe).
It’s quite a lovely thing to be strolling down the street and to come across an interesting bit of street art (not tagging graffiti, which I find dull for the most part).
My attention was drawn to this piece by the person who was photographing it seconds before I took this shot. Peace to you, too giant skeleton person.
I have this thing about herons; I hate them. I hate them because they refuse to stand still and be photographed (although I still try every time I see one). But this heron is not going anywhere, so I was able to capture it.
I was actually taking the photo of the piece with the alien, balloon and bag of money (the bag of money being a necessity in any big city). Later I noticed the piece of pixel art above it. Could this be from the noted French artist Space Invader? Quite the enigma as the artist does create anonymously. But it certainly is in the Space Invader style (who knew this was a thing?).
And then I came across this piece in front of a Truman’s pub. I do know who created this, thanks to a blog post in Spitalfields Life. The artist and model is Robson Cesar, in his preferred medium of beer bottle caps (bottletops to you Brits). I have heard the saying “the purpose of art is to communicate”. Or maybe the purpose of art is to just add a bit of color and interest to life. Whether it’s the former or the latter, I think that the artist involved achieved his goals.
A list of my favorite things would surely include stop motion animation. Animators must have incredible patience and skill to create the illusion of being a living thing out of a tiny puppet. So of course I am familiar with the work of the great Ray Harryhausen. I love his films, and have seen each one multiple times. Having the opportunity to see an exhibit on his creative process was part of the very excuse of my visit.
This shot is of a scene in Jason and the Argonauts where they come across these giant metallic statues. The guy with the sword comes creaking to life and fights the hero before smashing into pieces. Great stuff!
This is the evil and deadly medusa from Clash of the Titans, the final film from this great director. She is much shorter than one would suspect and her gaze has lost quite a bit of it’s power (no one there had been turned to stone, much to my disappointment).
The magnificent Pegasus (as I mentioned in a previous post, I love Pegasus), it’s hard to believe that he could carry a full grown man on his back. But I would definitely ride one given the opportunity.
One of the most famous scenes created by this artist was the fighting skeletons in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I thought this scene was tremendously thrilling when I first saw this at a Saturday matinee as a child. Those skeletons were so ferocious looking that they seemed extra scary to me. (I decided it would be a good idea to run away if I ever encountered them).
Here is one that they captured to put on display. And he is still ready to fight (perhaps I had better back away slowly and make my escape). 😉
What is it about monkeys that makes them so interesting? We share a common ancestor and also share a lot of DNA, and we have some similarities with them, except for the tail bit. And they are quite adorable and if you are obsessed you can notice them in many places.
They have quite a distinctive and easily recognized silhouette, like this pattern on a floor.
And they make lovely lamps. Here they are available in whichever sort goes with one’s decor. (I’m not sure what it says about one to actually purchase this for one’s home, but these can be bought in a rather swanky shop.)
Perhaps a monkey on the wall fits in with one’s decor better than a table lamp. (But I do think that lamps need to have a shade.)
They are so very human in their expressions, this one seems to be quite sad gazing down on the passing multitudes.
It’s too bad that people don’t have tails, they are a built in security blanket, easy to wrap around and protect one, in case a scowl is not enough.