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.