Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Met Shary Boyle !

Shary Boyle, left, and I (laughing about something)
at the Judith and Norman Alix Gallery in Sarnia, Ontario
December 1, 2016

One of the highlights of last year was meeting artist Shary Boyle. 

Shary was at the JNAAG as part of the "Art and Ideas Series". She discussed her previous research of and work with eighteen-century European motifs in porcelain, and her insights on the clay body as material and metaphor.

From a website somewhere: "Shary started showing her work in underground galleries on Queen Street West in Toronto in the 1990s. Recently, she has attracted attention for her hand-animated projections — which have accompanied performances by Feist, Jens Lekman, Will Oldham, Es and Christine Fellows — as well as for her intricate porcelain figurines.

Her work is multi-disciplinary, including drawing, painting, sculpture and performance and often exploring themes of gender, sex and violence.

Her live-drawing and performance pieces include A Night with Kramers Ergot for the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and Dark Hand and Lamplight, performed with musician Doug Paisley in Brooklyn and L.A. .

Boyle's works often incorporate contemporary takes on myths and archetypes, infused with a touch of the grotesque. Her porcelain figurines, which are a stunning and sometimes disturbing fusion of the delicate and the grotesque, came out of Boyle's interest in the craft of porcelain lace-draping. She learned the technique by befriending and apprenticing with elderly women in Ontario who use the technique to create more traditional porcelain figurines.

Boyle's porcelain sculptures have been exhibited in solo shows at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ont.; Toronto's Power Plant; the Space Gallery in London, U.K., among others.

She works across diverse media including sculpture, drawing, and performance.  In 2015, she performed at the Luminato Festival and the National Gallery of Canada, created a commissioned sculpture for the Musee des Beaux Art Montreal, and presented with artist Shuvinai Ashoona at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain, Montreal.  Her work is exhibited and collected internationally, and is currently on display in Secres-Cite de la ceramique, and La Maison Rouge in Paris, France.

Currently she is working toward a major touring exhibition organized by the Esker Foundation, Calgary, in January 2017."

So. Wow. 

Way back in 2008, I saw this piece by Shary and I was immediately smitten.
Untitled, 2008, Shary Boyle.

I immediately gravitated to the macabre and surreal nature of her work. I appreciated the incredible work that went into creating this beautiful porcelain piece, and then laughed at how she chose to sever the head.  Excellent. Traditional technique, not-so traditional subject matter.

And she represented Canada at the Venice Bienniale in 2013, with her installation "Music for Silence".

I was thrilled that there were more of Shary's pieces on display the night I met her at the JNAAG. The exhibition was entitled "In the Shadow of The Millennium", and explored ancient knowledge, myth, magic, and ritual. It was fantastic. 

Ouroboros, 2006, by Shary Boyle. Porcelain, china paint, lustre. 
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting 
a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. 

Shary Boyle, Burden, 2009.

The Rejection of Pluto, a 2008 porcelain sculpture by artist Shary Boyle, 
which is part of the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Shary Boyle, To Colonize the Moon, 2008.

To see more of Shary Boyle's artwork, click HERE.

Also part of the exhibition were these Sasquatches by Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell. 
Which I needed to include because they were so fun.

To see more of Allyson Mitchell's artwork, click HERE.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

31 Day Nap

"31 Day Nap"
in progress

I bought some little 5" x 5" canvases the last time I went out with my friends Tracy and Becky. They are painters. I thought I might try my hand at making little paintings.

The little canvases sat in a corner of the Art Lair for about 6 months. I kept looking at them, trying to figure out what I might paint. But I just can't paint. Every time I see a blank surface, I need to curate and glue things to that surface. It's an ongoing battle that often extends to rooms in the house. (Empty space near the couch? Put something there! What about that wall? That wall looks bare. Let's hang something on that wall! etc..)

Here is one of the little canvases that I am working on. I've called it "31 Day Nap". It is an homage to my new mattress, which is very comfy. 

One of the other little canvases I bought has dried orange slices glued to it, and another one is going to be a 'road' for some old toy cars. 

What is that old saying? You can take the Girl out of the assemblage, but you can't take the assemblage out of the Girl. 

Or something to that effect.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Eye Had a Good Time

Me (centre) at Eye for Art, Thames Art Gallery.

Eye for Art on November 19th was great, as usual.
About 200 people showed up to celebrate the work of Chatham-Kent artists.
The art work, in my opinion, keeps getting better and better!
This year, there were many new artists represented on the wall.
This is a good thing, as it means artists are becoming more and more
brave about putting their work before a juror.  And it means that
they are ready to admit that they ARE artists.
The People's Choice Award was given to a man who has just moved to
Chatham-Kent, and he can't be any more than 25 years old!
Hopefully he will think about joining ARTspace
I will be serving my last month as Chair in December. The gentleman to my left 
in the photo, Scott Livingstone, will hopefully agree to be Chair of 
the ARTspace/Thames Art Gallery Advisory Board for 2017.
It has been an eventful year at ARTspace, and it felt satisfying to welcome all 
those supporters to Eye for Art as one of my last duties.
The ARTspace Advisory Committee has accomplished 
a lot in the past 8 years, but we have more work to do.
We are growing. 
Change is good. 
Peace out.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Got Damned!

The Damned IX Show

"DAMNED is an exhibition of those extraordinary creations that often emanate from within these prodigious moments to many times reveal enlightenment within our darkest of hours.  This is a minute glimpse within the vast shadows of id and ego…of overall mind and encompassing soul that may intrigue, disturb, inspire and/or repulse.  A one true reflection of self to express that beauty does lie within the repulsive, balance within imbalance or salvation within personal damnations." -from the Damned website

Me and my Damned submission 

Where they hung my Damned artwork

Deformity is a Gift, by Jeffrey Bowman                                   Itch, by Jody Elizabeth 
Two of my favourite Damned pieces at the show

The Damned crowd


One of the Damned cool performances

Absinthe being served at the Damned bar

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Damned If You Don't

Our Lady of Perpetual Light.
This is the shadowbox that was accepted for the DAMNED IX exhibition in Detroit.
"This shadowbox was inspired by a news story. A man did not agree that his wife should 
continue her education, so he bit off the end of her nose and gouged her eyes out. 
Our Lady of Perpetual Light discusses how religion and its misinterpretation often plays a key 
role in the oppression of women, illustrated here (in part) by the dog (dogma) and the building
 blocks which are covered by bible passages. Education of women is the key to enlightenment, 
not the key to damnation. (From the Saints series.)"


            Haunted, before                                                                 Haunted, after

When you've finished a project, how can you tell if you are 'done'?

Artists always have this problem. I know I've wrestled with what means 'done' for my whole art career. I try to rely on my Spidey Sense. If I can sleep without dreaming about the piece, or drive down the road and not have some component of it jump into my thoughts, then it is done. This works most of the time.

I created Haunted. And when I submitted it to DAMNED IX in Detroit, I honestly thought I was done. And then certain details of the piece started bothering me. Swarovski crystals on a torture helmet - isn't that a little too cute? And it seemed there wasn't enough connection between the top half and the bottom half of the piece. That metal bar of the old metal electrical panel box seemed to be too prominent and visually divided the box in half. 

Haunted was not accepted to DAMNED IX.  Our Lady of Perpetual Light was. And I'm glad because Our Lady is one of my favourite shadowboxes and, although I've had interest from art collectors, I have never wanted to sell it. But I felt I needed to bring out the big guns for DAMNED IX. I needed to submit out my best work. I did. And it was accepted.

After DAMNED IX accepted Our Lady of Perpetual Light, I left Haunted on my desk. This is not what I usually do. When a piece is done, I take it off the desk and cover it. That way I don't pick at it.

I picked at it.

And Haunted became something a little more macabre.

I added a vintage cake topper bride-and-groom (and replaced the bride's head with a mouse skull), a green plastic army sniper, a crashed vintage blue corvette, a Barbie arm with some surgery snips extending out and upward (to deal with that bisection of space), some dead thistles, replaced those cute crystals on the torture cap with small screws, added another dead mouse, and I dirtied the doll's face.  Plus if we're gonna talk torture, I thought I should take advantage of that exposed ear and shove something into it. You know, like Iggy Pop said, "Of course I've had it in the ear before/'cause of a lust for life ". 

Now there is a branch from my corkscrew hazel shoved into the doll's ear. Perfect.

I'm glad that DAMNED IX didn't accept Haunted in its first incarnation because I now realize that it wasn't 'done'. I would have been unhappy during opening night in Detroit, seeing my work hung on the wall, and knowing that Haunted desperately needed some adjustments.   

NOW I'm 'done'. And I am proud of what I've created. NOW I can show the world!

I like to believe that everything happens for a reason. 

Haunted is my submission for Eye for Art.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

'Haunted' and Damned IX

 Notice the Eye of Jenny Puss, left.

"No! No! Don't use that piece!" Jenny protested with her paw. 

The finished product:

Submitting to a Call For Entry is always interesting. Many artists have a stash of work, so they always have something to fit the call. Some calls ask for work done in the last two years. Some calls ask that you live in a certain geographical location.

And some calls, which are the fun ones, ask for work created around a particular theme. As soon as I saw the Call for Entry for the Damned IX- An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness, I knew I wanted to create something specifically for the show.

Most of my work has a healthy dose of the macabre. Making an assemblage that was deliberately macabre was liberating. I started with an old metal electrical panel box, which was given to me by my friend Roni.  She knows I like old rusty stuff.  I scrounged up my mouse skeletons. I found all kinds of rusty bits and pieces. Then I sat down in the Art Lair and started to work.

The result is Haunted. I think it represents my state of mind. Sometimes. Things are a jumble, and my thought processes loop around death and control and darkness. 

"DAMNED is an exhibition of those extraordinary creations that often emanate from within these prodigious moments to many times reveal enlightenment within our darkest of hours.  This is a minute glimpse within the vast shadows of id and ego…of overall mind and encompassing soul that may intrigue, disturb, inspire and/or repulse.  A one true reflection of self to express that beauty does lie within the repulsive, balance within imbalance or salvation within personal damnations." -from the Damned website

So, yeah- that's kinda what I was aiming for. On a more uplifting note, I really, really hope that Haunted gets accepted to the show. Because the party on October 29th sounds AMAZING and I want to go!  Check out the masquerade party photos from last year!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

remembering Dan Dingler

untitled.  Dan Dingler

untitled. Dan Dingler

untitled. Dan Dingler

untitled. Dan Dingler

Dan Dingler passed away a year ago on July 15, 2015. 

His family donated a massive pile of prints to the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham. Recently, ARTspace had a sale of these works, and I purchased the ones above.
I had not seen any of Dan Dingler's work before, and I was instantly intrigued. Yes, the man had an ongoing fascination with penises. They are consistently a central image in his work. And the work is beautiful (see above).

From Daniel's obituary, published by the Windsor Star, July 21 - 24, 2015:
"Daniel was a Bavarian by descent, American by birth and Canadian by choice. He always knew he wanted to pursue a career in art, and received his BFA in Painting/Printmaking from Layton School of Art and his MFA in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art. In the middle of his time at Cranbrook he was drafted by the US Army to serve during the Vietnam War, but even then Daniel was recognized as a talented artist and served for two years as an Army illustrator. Once he received his honourable discharge, he completed his studies at Cranbrook. 

Daniel began teaching at the University of Windsor in 1970, and established the Lithography Department in the School of the Visual Arts. He also established the first papermaking courses in Canada. He taught courses in Italy, Germany, Spain, the United States, and throughout Canada. Daniel's artwork is included in many private and public collections. A multitude of his work has been featured in exhibits in Canada, the United States, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ghana, Holland, Iceland, Jamaica, South Africa, Japan and Sweden. Daniel had major, one-person shows at the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Munich Opera House, Rodman Hall Art Centre at St. Catherine's, and the Boston Museum School. Daniel was larger than life and self-proclaimed "Master of the Overdone". "

So now I know a little about Dan Dingler. I wish I had met him. Many of my friends took classes with him at the University of Windsor, and said that his parties were legendary. Apparently, he had a very eccentric and x-rated decorating scheme in his house. 

After going through what seemed like hundreds of Dan's prints, I found this one (above). It intrigued me. It was just thrown in with his prints, and although it is marked S. Steindorf, no one could tell me who the artist was. It reminded me of the work of Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele and even Goya. So I did some research. And this is what I found.
I just had to copy it because it is so moving.

From the Windsor Star, May 23, 2009

"STEINDORF DINGLER, Susan Mary Susan Mary Steindorf Dingler departed this world on the 23rd of May, 2008. Susan I'm writing this letter to you to let you know how the first year without you has unfolded. Your favourite "Queen" song, says it so much better that I. "Just one year ago is better than a lifetime alone. One sentimental moment in your arms is like a shooting star right through my heart. It's always a rainy day without you. I'm a prisoner of love inside you. I'm falling apart all around you. My heart cries out to your heart. All I can do is surrender (to the moment)". I surrender all to Jesus. If God is like in quantum physics that grid or pattern that makes us all a part of one another through Jesus I can begin to relate to the un-understandable. Most of us have a spot in our field of vision that doesn't allow us to see beyond. This spot makes us feel separate. Separation one from another in life and death, distance and ego, fear and loneliness is the evil and the enemy! "I want it all and I want it now! With pain and anger I've got to find a future, move out of my way; ain't much to ask if you want the truth. Here's to the future for the dreams of youth. Empty spaces, abandon places, what are we living for. Does anybody want to take it anymore? I guess I know the score. Inside I might be crying, my heart is breaking and my makeup maybe flaking but my smile stays on. Inside my darkness I can feel the show must go on." Whatever happens I leave it all to God. "Outside the dawn is breaking, inside my heart is aching but my smile stays on forever. Hold the line I have to find the will to carry on." All the fight has gone from my wounded heart. I close my eyes and shut the world away. I remember when your sweet love filled this empty room. The tears I cry won't bring you back again, only Jesus can mend this broken heart of mine. *Sukey, "you were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn't speak. You were my eyes when I wouldn't see. You always saw the best there was in me. You lifted me up when I wouldn't reach. You gave me faith because you believed. I'm everything I am because you loved me. You gave me wings and made me fly. You touched my hand and I could touch the sky. No star was out of reach." I'm grateful for each day you gave me in 41 years. Susan "you stood by me and I stood tall. I had your love, I had it all. I was blessed because I was loved by you. Thank you for the joy you brought to my life and all the wrongs that you made right". I'll be forever thankful Susan you're the one who helped me up and never let me fall. You're the one who saw me through it all. I know God has something in mind for me but for now I'm lost without your love. With every new experience I wake and think I can call you at the hospital. It seems unreasonable for me to go on without you. We were so much a part of each other, not being able to touch, love, hold and laugh with you seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Susan it wouldn't be heaven if you had to worry about me, I'm so grateful for every second I had with you. I have been the luckiest man on earth. We together raised a wonderful boy, Noah. He is an intelligent, creative miracle of patience and love. Cameron is the best and most beautiful grandson, he smiles and laughs and talks at everything. He falls asleep in your lap without a bottle and sings himself to sleep. Wow, what a grandson. Laura has done such a wonderful job with him, no fear, loving, happy, reactive, baby boy. Laura and I have really connected she is so supportive Laura is the giving caring daughter we never had. They're just so far away. All by myself I have to wake up with only one leg and talk with only a bottom lip I'm half a man without you. Hey Suzy, I must admit I'm trilled and a tiny bit envious thinking of you with our heavenly father and being surrounded by your mother Marion my father Loyal, Mickey and even my mother restored to sanity. Windsor is still the picturesque cottage resort by the side of a vast and poisonous quicksand lagoon known as the rest of the world and I'm the under paid but stoic life guard. I have been busy not living... half dead and covered with bites, so I figured I'd just as soon wait till I got settled in after thrashing around in the underbrush of psychobabble, grief therapy and group therapy I then set out on a marathon acceptance journey. Hauling huge buckets of molten steel up fifteen flights of rickety stairs sprinkled liberally with scorpions and broken glass for nine hours a day seven days a week, just for kicks you understand. I sometimes wonder if it's all worth it... and you'd never realize I'm the master of the overdone. Susan you'll always be a part of me your loving husband Daniel." 

What an amazing man. What an amazing life.