Conversations With Culture

I’m very excited to be exhibiting in “Conversations With Culture” at Iwasawa Oriental Art, 75 Universtiy Ave in downtown Los Gatos! It’s an exhibition arranged by Gallerist, Kumiko Iwasawa Vadas in her gorgeous, authentically Japanese Gallery to be part of Asia Week San Francisco Bay Area 2018! Like Asia Week, the show runs October 5-14 and there is a special reception TODAY from 1-5 pm with exhibiting artists, Hiroko Ohno, James Ong, Lorraine Lawson, Patrali Paul, Evelyn Consorti and myself giving artists talks (maybe around 2 pm). The show is free and there will be wonderful refreshments.

Artists are like sponges, soaking up all kinds of influences along their path but what they squeeze out in their work should not be a mere imitation of something they’ve seen before but something new, filtered through their own idiosyncratic prism of experience, perspective and vision. The paintings I create are rooted in my own personal narrative and the manner in which I handle paint, color and line are certainly my own but I feel there is a certain Asian resonance when it comes to composition and depth of field in many of my paintings. There is also a shared reverence for the beauty of nature and sense of season.Having said this, It is quite natural that when I paint a flowering cherry branch or a lily floating on a pond, or a peony in full bloom, I can’t help but think of all the exquisite depictions of these very flowers by Japanese and Chinese artists over the centuries and this rich tradition will inevitably pull me in that direction. But it happens even with less obvious subject matter. My paintings have been made better through my exposure to Japanese prints and Chinese brush paintings as well as their influence on artists I much admire like Whistler, Van Gogh and Monet. Often this cultural conversation is taking place in our heads without us even realizing it! I will be showing the following Asian influenced paintings that I have done over the years and I will talk about how this influence came about and how it has affected my work.

Beijing Grey
Oil on canvas
48″ x 30″

Pond Lily Magenta
Oil on canvas
24″ x 24″

Mr. Katayama’s Peony
Oil on canvas
24″ x 24″

 

 

Together We Will at RISE!

Karla Albright of the Los Gatos chapter of  TWW/Indivisible Los Gatos caught the Gutfreund Cornet Art show, RISE: Empower, Change and Action!, the day it opened and approached Whitney Modern for a special tour so the rest of her group could take it in! Though it is a national exhibition, a number of Bay Area artists were happy to get together again and share some of the inspiring motivations behind their social justice work in the gallery.

Please note that if you click on any of the names of artists and organizations, etc, in bold in this post, you will open a link to their website!

Suzanne Whitney Smedt, welcoming us all to her beautiful contemporary art gallery, Whitney Modern, located on the second floor of 24 N Santa Cruz Ave in downtown Los Gatos. The gallery typically represents twelve fine artists but has teamed up with Gutfreund Cornett Art for this specific summer show curated by Karen Gutfreund, Sherri Cornett, Marianne McGrath and Suzanne Whitney Smedt.

Karen Gutfreund reading Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise from the exhibition catalogue, on which Ceciley Blanchard (Jackson Tennessee) had based her photographic series. I love hearing that read (or sung by Ben Harper)!

Irene Carvajal (Belmont, California) with her (what) do YOU think? desk with the positive  messages we’d wish we’d grown up with carved into the wood. You can even take rubbings with the graphite pencils and paper provided, if there is a resonating message you’d like to bring home with you.

Priscilla Otani (San Francisco) with her original braille art book, Political Action Group on democratic women in congress and democratic women running for congress – copies available at the gallery have all sold out but you can still order them through Amazon!

Rozanne Hermelyn Di Silvestro (Sunnyvale, California) with her monotype, oil, paper and string on panel piece, Bound and her mixed media installation, In a Constant State of Rising and Falling.

Winnie van der Rijn (San Carlos, California) with her photographic image transfer and embroidery on muslin pieces, One Size Fits All.

When it came time for me to speak about my painting, In the Pink, I shared how I believed that the Pussy Hat (originally co-created by Krista Suh) became such an immediate, global, viral icon of the Woman’s March because it employed such a feminine voice. It took knitting, a traditionally feminine craft, one that we do with our hands, and our hearts, in our homes or together in groups, using soft, warm, pretty and fuzzy fibers and often give as gifts to one another to wear with pride (a bit of kitty humor) saying in our sea of pink that, “We see you Pussy Grabber in Chief and we do not approve, we will not forget, and we will stand together and march for our rights.” Even the metaphor of knitting one stitch, connected to another, and another, collectively making something bigger than ourselves, is so perfect!

Rinat Goren (Woodside, California) with her beeswax, pigment and paper paintings, Finding Points of Agreement 1 and Finding Points of Agreement 2.

Irene Carvahla (Santa Cruz, California) with her acrylic, mixed media and image transfer, Ambient Thoughts.

Irene Carvajal (Belmont, California) with her screen print on paper, fan and plexiglass tank kinetic sculpture, Future Gains: the dollar is rising. She is selling individual bills to help fund her trip to the border to offer her language services to those families who are seeking asylum at the border and are too often being separated and denied their legal rights.

Chandrika Marla (Mountain View, California) with her acrylic on canvas painting, For Our Lives.

Karen Gutfreund standing with Jenny Reinhardt‘s mixed media on canvas painting, Split the Sack, shared the dismall figures, of the percentage that women artists earn in comparison to their male counterparts, as well as how poorly they are represented in museum shows and what an incredible value their work actually is! Sales continue a pace at Whitney Modern and RISE has been extended to September 9th, 2018 to be included with ForFreedoms a 50 state activist art initiative!

Shannon Edwards from TWW/Indivisible Los Gatos thanking the Whitney Modern and the artists for the evening. Together We Will as a grassroots civil engagement movement that helps to lobby for progressive initiatives, supports candidates and sponsors local events was the perfect audience for RISE! It’s so great to join together like this!

Artist, Winnie van der Rijn and author and speaker, Nilofer Merchant.

Artist Walk and Talk – NUMU

Join me for an Artist Walk and Talk with NUMU’s Waterlines artists, Christel Dillbohner, Theodora Varnay Jones, Danae Mattes, Linda Simmel and curator Marianne McGrath along Los Gatos Creek Trail this Tuesday, January 9th (rain date – Thursday, January 11th). We will be meeting at 11:00 am at New Museum Los Gatos. Learn about the artists’ practices and connections with the natural environment, and the role that hiking plays in creativity and problem solving. After the hike, everyone is invited to return to NUMU for refreshments, an exhibition tour and continued conversation.

Tickets are available at NUMU – $10 general admission and free to members.

The hike (which I do regularly) is fairly moderate with some rises and falls – good footwear is essential and hiking sticks can be very helpful in areas with loose gravel.

Here’s a little preview of some of the great views along the trail which I had snapped on a recent hike with Marianne McGrath.  Let’s hope for great weather!

 

Fade – Artist Talk

I was delighted to give an impromptu Artist Talk at Fade (my solo show at Vargas Gallery at Mission College) prompted by my friend artist Lorraine Lawson who kindly rounded up a great group which included people with backgrounds in galleries, marketing and art.  It is a special thing when artists come out to support other artists!

I loved sharing the stories behind these paintings, how I choose both medium and technique to help tell the tale and the symbolism I try to employ.

Telling the story behind Blooming Deadwood.

So nice to see artists Veronica Gross, Dotti Cichon, Lorraine Lawson and Linda Benenati! We are enjoying the suggestion that I get a scissor lift for my paintings like Hung Liu uses!

Sometimes you can better see what’s in your heart with your eyes closed.

Talking about employing chiaroscuro (light /dark) in both the lighting of the figure but also more figuratively in the lightness of the feathers and the darkness of the Bacchanal in the folding screen.

Talking about combining different experiences to create an image, the albino deer of Pine Mountain Lake, the dormant forest at Picchetti, a nest of branches at Kirkwood, the fawns that visit my backyard and the antler drops I have in my studio.

With gallerist Kumiko Iwasawa, Lorraine Lawson and designer Robin Sedgewick.

Kumiko Iwasawa in front of Blooming Deadwood – we spoke of exhibiting at her gorgeous gallery, Iwasawa Oriental Art, in the spring!

Waterlines Artist Talk at NUMU Tomorrow

Please join me for a conversation with curator Marianne McGrath at NUMU tomorrow, Saturday, November 4th. We will be talking about the genesis of my pieces Stilla Maris (drop of the sea) and California Water Rites, currently on exhibit with Waterlines. We will explore my artistic process, my relationship with water and notions of what might be considered sacred. Come and ask me stuff! Share your experience of water and what it means to you!

Here are some panoramic view of the exhibit which includes  (painting, photography, assemblage, installation, video, drawing prints and sound pieces)  by Judith Belzer, Barbara Boissevain, Marie Cameron, Matthew Chase-Daniel, Christel Dillbohner, Linda Gass, Nancy Genn, Liz Hickok, Theodora Varnay Jones, Pantea Karimi, Cheryl E. Leonard, Danae Mattes, Marsha McDonald, Klea McKenna, Ryan M. Reynolds and Linda Simmel, curated by Marianne McGrath.

Several artists exhibiting with Waterlines will speaking about their work in conjunction with NUMU’s Winter Celebration which will run from 12- 4 pm. Check out this link for all the activities (including decorating sugar skulls)!  This is free for all NUMU members, $10 general admission, $6 for seniors, students and military and free for everyone 18 and under.

NUMU is at 106 E. Main Street in Los Gatos, California.

Quinn Peck – Artist Talk

Aside

Tuesday, the Art Docents of Los Gatos were treated to an Artist Talk with Quinn Peck!

Julie Jenkins (owner of JCO’s and fellow board director for the Art Docents of Los Gatos) opened up her ArtHaus for the first time to introduce us to the dreamy and ethereal photo based work of Oakland based artist, Quinn Peck.

Elizabeth Greer, co-chair of the Continuing Education committee welcoming us to the talk, introducing us to Quinn Peck and recounting how his Liminality Series had stood out at Anne & Mark’s Art Party this past fall, on EVERYONE’s top favorites list.

Julie Jenkins describing her reaction to Quinn Peck’s work when she first saw it at Anne & Mark’s Art Party last fall, how the pieces would move as you rounded the corner, lifted on the breeze of the motion of the viewer’s passing and draw you back in, how moving they are and how happy she is to represent his work now here in Los Gatos.

JCO’s gallery director, Bridget McMahon welcoming Quinn Peck.

Liminality: Self-reflection from the space in-between, is a series of archival inject prints on layers of silk. The top layer is a transparent silk organza and the base a heavy Fuji silk, the layers are hung loosely from a bar allowing for space and between the layers. As you move past the piece, viewing it from different angles the images shift slightly, almost like a stereograph or a hologram. The effect is like a dream or a shifting memory, something unstable, unfixed. In fact, Peck was inspired by Civil War era spirit photography which used double exposures to “capture spirits”. Liminality itself refers to thresholds.….(from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete …(thank you wikipedia).

These deeply introspective pieces invite viewers to identify with the subject who is either facing a void or a gate, a passage, a path or a plunge. All of this is emotionally engaging with rich with and powerful metaphors, but what is even more profound is that these pieces were all self portraits from before Peck began his transition from female to male! I am so deeply touched by how many levels this work is operating on, all in it’s quiet and sublimely beautiful way!

Jumping Off Place

Edge

Broken Steps

Tunnel

A native of Cambria, Quinn Peck holds an undergraduate degree in Visual Art (emphasis in photography) from University of California, Santa Cruz, a Masters in Photography from the Academy of Art University, and a MA in Counseling Psychology, Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is currently  working on his certification in Permaculture Design at Merritt College.

To see all of the work Quinn Peck has at JCO’s check out all the gorgeous images on their website. I love them all but Edge is coming home with me!

In Conversation – La Niña and Social Justice

In conjunction with the opening of Social Justice: It Happens to One It Happens to All on at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art (September 18 – December 1, 2016), Gutfreund Cornett Art arranged for the exhibiting artists to come and speak, In Conversation! 19 of the 46 artists were able to come, some traveling as far away as San Diego, LA. Utah, Mexico and New Zealand! We were all share it there was a single event that had tipped the scale for us, why were were creating the socially engaged work we exhibiting. In this photo above, taken by Sherri Cornett, we are all nervously waiting to begin, the quiet before the sharing. I was struck by how heart-felt and deeply human and absolutely inspiring all the artist’s stories were! I thought I would share with you here what I shared with the crowd last Sunday about my piece.

The image for my painting, La Niña, came to me in a flash and it haunted me, calling me to paint it. I had been following the coverage of the tide of unaccompanied minors from Central America flooding across the border between the United States and Mexico and I was driven to try and understand the circumstances in their homelands that must be so horrible as to drive them to make this dangerous journey alone. What I found was an environment of rampant gang violence, gangs like Mara 13 and 18 that began in LA and were deported to El Salvador where they had flourished, fueled by poverty and civil unrest. So pervasive and endemic was this culture of the Maras, many minors felt they had no choice but to flee from forced recruitment and rape. There was this one photograph I came across that made such an impression on me, it was of a young woman with a giant 18 tattooed across her face which she had received in punishment for refusing to execute a gang murder, it was a family portrait with her baby and her husband, who was the gang’s tattoo artist . She seemed so sad and worried – branded in this very obvious way, an admonishment, a possession, a target. The photo was taken by Christian Poveda, a Hispanic-French photo-journalist and filmmaker of La Vida Loca who was later killed by the gang for his work. In this photograph, I saw the impossibility of the situation where your very skin is indelibly marked with violence. I imagined  the image of an innocent baby floating buddha-like in a sea of tattoos, those of one gang etched on to her body, and those of the rival gang floating around her. In searching for a more universal statement, these very specific gang symbols later morphed into more generalized symbols for danger and entrenchment that are marking the lives of our children.

La Niña – Oil on canvas

Here I am interpreting symbols I had morphed in this photograph by Ann Dubois at the reception.

Social Justice in Moraga

Long time no see – but just because it was summer vacation and I was far to busy for blogging, doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot happening behind the scenes that I’d love to share and I’m going to see if I can catch up! As usual, the post is loaded with easy links to click on where text is bold.

Yesterday, for instance, I took in my painting, La Niña to Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art in Moraga, California for Social Justice: It Happens to One It Happens to All, an exhibition curated by Gutfreund Cornett Art.  I’m standing in front of the exhibition banner featuring one of my favorite pieces from the show, Xian Mei Qiu’s  The Bird Cage (I can’t wait to see the original photograph on plexiglass in person!) The show opens Sunday, September 18 with a 1:15 pm  Artist Talk at the Soda Activity Center and runs through to December 18.

The art in the exhibition is extremely moving and powerful (as can be seen in their online catalogue), juried from artists across the country and beyond!

The exhibition catalogue can also be ordered through Amazon (I’m on pages 34 & 35).

Saint Mary’s College mission styled campus is stunningly beautiful, its white stuccoed architecture gleaming through its green and flowering landscape, nestled into the golden hillside east of Oakland - a gorgeous setting to look at some of the darker themes we need to pay attention to in our world.

This the the Soda Activity Center (up behind the church) where I’m told the Artist Talk will be held. There is free public parking directly in front of this entrance and the Museum is just across the way where a reception will be held in the pretty courtyard. I hope you’ll consider making the trip to experience the work first hand and to hear the artists tell their sure to be fascinating stories!

 

Art Docents High Tea Fundraiser

The Art Docents of Los Gatos hosted a fabulous High Tea fundraiser at my home and studio yesterday. This dynamic group (that brings art to our public school) keep themselves well informed by taking in all kinds of exhibitions, documentaries and artist talks. I was absolutely delighted when they approached me with the idea of throwing a catered High Tea here, using the very antique teacups that I use in my Birds and Teacup paintings. The idea was brilliant and I jumped at the opportunity to share my work with such an informed audience! Such a nice way to support this organization which does really valuable work with our children.

Karen and Elizabeth thoughtfully paired freshly cut flowers with the vintage cups!

The table-scapes looked beautiful, each setting uniquely individual.

The High Tea was sold out and as the catered food was plated and the tea prepared I gave a guided tour through my studio to the assembled quests.

In the studio I spoke of my series, Critical Masses – stories of us and them, relating the stories behind the work, my process and inspiration.

Here I described how the red dots on the vintage mother of pearl fishing lures are meant to imitate a wound and signifying easy prey to hungry fish. These lures served as my models for Lure, and led to the red dot in the middle of the painting.

I was also able to share the story behind End of Spring and how it came to be the cover art for Christy Ann Conlin’s new novel, The Memento.

In the house we talked about my Birds and Teacup Series and discussed how they were inspired by the desire to create synchronistic moments where the image on the antique porcelain is reiterated in the bouquet made for the cup. The unlikely introduction of a wild bird into the setting serves to further increase the magic, presenting a puzzle for the brain to figure out.

Sharing one of my all time favorite teacups – an eggshell thin, hand painted Japanese piece from the 1800′s. The painting of the flower, butterflies and and basket design is so finely skilled that it really should be in a museum somewhere! I forgot to tell how I’d used this cup in a dramatic photo shoot with a live black widow.  (Birds won’t co-operate in these shoots and have to be shot separately an imported into my teacup arrangements through photoshop but the spiders will model for a while).

I gave a peek into what’s behind my Florilegia series (quite literally) – a generally illuminating and playful take on the Victorian meaning of flowers thorough mixed media assemblage paintings inset with antique Magic Lantern Slides.

The dining room served as my portrait gallery where I had many of my People In My Neighborhood series on display. I spoke of the intimacy that the direct gaze establishes in our often impersonal public life and how it turns out that our community is rife with models!

We had just a few more moments to talk about portraits I’ve done of my children, using moments from their life as the spring board for art.

Meanwhile everything in the kitchen, (pomegranate, pear and field green salad, savory finger sandwiches and tempting sweets) was ready to be served…

…oh yes, and lots of tea!

Sue Ward making magic in the kitchen!

So happy to see guests enjoying themselves.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, better company or a more perfect tea!

Thanking our guests for coming as they depart.

High Tea wrap up in the shade.

View from the hammock – post tea.

Last of the clean up crew – xo!

Thanks to everyone at the Art Docents who worked so hard to make this event such a success, with a special shout out to Elizabeth Greer, Sue Ward, Sue Nystrom Walsh and Karen Harlan.

Thanks to my collectors, Marie Hetherington and Shanna Desai for allowing me to borrow back pieces for this special event.

Thanks as well to artist Holly Van Hart for the lion’s share of these photos!

Finally, thanks to everyone who came and helped to make this such memorable day!