Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 24 Hour Theatre/Art Festival

My contribution to UW Rock County's 24 Hour Theatre/Art Festival

When Alicia Reid, owner of Janesville's Raven's Wish Gallery/Studio told me about an upcoming theater/art festival, I was intrigued.  So I emailed U-Rock associate professor Zac Curtis for the details about the art part of the event.

Artists were to show up at 7 P.M. Friday at the campus theater, where they would be given a theme and a challenge.  Then they would return to campus with the art by 4 P.M. so it could be displayed before the theater, dance, vocal and instrumental music and poetry part of the evening.  Attendees could browse the art, bid for it in a silent auction, then take home their purchase at the end of the evening.  From my standpoint, it was nice because there was no entry fee, and I could set a minimum bid for my art - or even not sell it at all if I chose.  Artists also were given complimentary tickets for the performance, which proved to be both interesting and entertaining. It helped to keep in mind that everyone was under an extreme time limit, and that the stated goal for the evening was to try out new ideas and take risks.

Here was the challenge given to artists:

Art my be any size and any medium.  You will use your own materials, and be asked to sell your piece through silent auction and the opening gala.  You will be allowed to set your own minimum bid if you would like.  You will be given the option to indicate that you would like to donate your sale back to the UW Student Theatre Association if you would like.

Theme - Truth and Lies

Challenge - As a primary element of your art, you must use a recycled or repurposed material.  This may be either an element of your art itself, the frame, or the "canvas" you create your art on.  You must use at least one material from the items provided.

The items provided were varied indeed - boxes of nuts and bolts, stacks of record albums, glass vases, plastic fruit, old photos, old books, containers of glass "jewels," an old house shutter, metal screening, a bird cage, and so on.  I was thrilled to find a couple of vintage textbooks to use for collage elements in my painting.

I decided to collage pages from an old practical math text on a 16x20 inch canvas I got for a song at my favorite local second hand store.  Then I wrote out as many little white lies as I could think of:
I'll call your tomorrow; your table will be ready soon; I love you too; you look just fine; I see what your mean; we took him to a nice family in the country; that fish was ten feet long; officer, I had no idea I was going that fast....  You get the idea.  Then I just painted ambiguous looking portrait of a person who may have uttered, or been hurt by, white lies.  Finally, I used the textbook pages and cut out letters which spelled out "white lies." 

So, the piece was started at about 9 A.M., finished by about 2:30, varnished, wired, and delivered by 4 P.M.  I was exhausted.

But the evening was fun, and the piece sold at a price a student might afford.  Can't ask for more than that.

Friday, February 21, 2014

King Billy - Monarch Collage

7.5 x 7.5 inches, paper collage
contact me if you are interested in purchasing

Winter has been a beast, long cold, full of treacherous roads, and dim days.  So after I finished Barbara Kingsolver's novel (Flight Behavior) about, among other things, the way climate change is having a lethal effect on monarch butterflies, I decided to create something more colorful than much of my recent work.  The characters in Flight Behavior refer to the monarch as "King Billy", after the royal colors of William of Orange.

The papers in this collage include origami sheets, old magazine pages, sheet music, vintage receipts, and painted tissue paper.  The black part of the wings is acrylic paint, since the tiny white detail work just was beyond me. I started the piece about two weeks ago, then set it aside because we spent a week on the Pacific coast of Mexico.  When I returned to the studio the bright colors spoke to me even more, and I was inspired to finish it up.  This weekend I'll cut a mat for it, and then we'll see where it ends up.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making An Effort

6x6 inches, paper collage
page from vintage children's book, envelope liner, altered magazine page, text, painted map

I'm making collages again, sorting through plastic bags filled with papers sorted by color, arranging and rearranging.  I try to mix up the elements in these small pieces, guided mostly by what appeals to me at the moment and pure chance.  I include both some pieces that are pretty much as found, as in the illustration of the 1950's girl on her way to school, the blue lining of a safety envelope, the "E" from the cover of an old Life magazine, and some papers that I have altered.  The text above the blue is a fragment of a child's illustrated dictionary, glazed with gesso.  The yellow paper upper right was a page from National Geographic, altered with Citra-Solv cleaner, and the map lower right was glazed with yellow paint.  There also is a bit of an old dress pattern tissue, and some random circles and splatters of gesso to tie it together.  

I try to find materials that go together because of their colors, shapes or size, but very little effort goes into coordinating them thematically.  I do not, for example search for text that has something to do with school, although the fragment is from a dictionary.  The striped blue paper was chosen simply for a splash of color that punches up the reds.  The pattern tissue was chosen for its color and the way it pulls disparate papers together - plus I have lots of it.

One of these days I need to start painting again, but for now I am happy cutting and pasting.