Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Visit: Suyama Space

After attending the lecture Panel: Distillations and Eruptions: Installation at NCECA, I was compelled to visit Suyama Space. 

It was my last day in Seattle and I was finally alone since my hotel roommates left by car for California.  I had about 6 hours to kill before my flight and top on the list of things to see was Suyama Space.  So, in the rain I walked and walked until I came upon it.  I almost thought I was in the wrong place since I didn't know that you actually had to go through the architectural office of  Suyama Peterson Deguchi to get to the gallery.  Fortunately, I ventured in. 

Boy oh boy, it didn't disappoint.  The curator, Beth Sellars, let me in and for about an hour,  I stood, listened, explored, and soaked up what was in front of me, while a gentle rain seemed to wash away time. The sight specific instillation that was up, Uprising by Rick Araluce and Steve Peters , might seem unimpressive to the uninformed eye but closer inspection revealed much deeper thought.  PVC pipe painted in a Trompe l'oeil style to resemble old cast iron pipes echoed the turn-of-the-century industrial feel of the interior.  Prior to the pipe being installed, several recordings were made within the space, capturing the squeeks and moans of the old wooden building.  These recordings were played in different pipes, depending on which pipe you listened to. 

When I pressed my ear to the pipe and listened I was blown away.  It was as if the building was talking, whispering stories of its long past in a language long forgotten.  The only word that came to mind: genius.  With the begnin objects of pipes, paint, and a recording , they created an experience that I will so not forget and I have never experienced anything quite like it. 

At Suyama Space, there is no shortage of genius.  So many of the past shows seemed to offer this unparalleled exchange between art and viewer.   Here are a few of their past shows:

The instillation Nascant, by artist Gerri Sayler, created of just long strands of hot glue just screamed simple beauty.

 Seeps of Winter by John Grade whos encounter with a dead humback whale inspired the recreated whale skin texture out of cast paper, cellulose and glassine.

Grotesque Arabesque, by Dan Corson

The lecture and visit has really called me to question the self imposed limitations with in my own work.  These instillations, if nothing else, transform the space they are in were viewer becomes participant; art becomes experience.  I need some of that! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My 1st NCECA

After being torn by weather to go to NCECA or not, and risk loosing valueable time for my show, I came to an important realization.  This isn't the end, it's the begining.  All that time I had been looking at it the wrong way.  I was so fixated on having this perfect show that I didn't realize this was just a stepping stone, the first of many, and that it was OK to have it less then perfect.  So, with that new insight I decided to go. 

It was great for so many reasons.  Seeing so much top notch art in one place was really wonderful.  The Seattle Deign Center had a particularly great assorment of shows under the same roof.  It was the first time I saw the work of Christina Cordova, Erin Furmisky, Jason Briggs, Christina Antemann, Deborah Schartzkopf to name a few.  There is no substitute for seeing ceramics in person, soo much is lost in pictures.  The idiosyncracies of the glaze on the Christina Cordova's sculpture in  A Show of Heads is quite simply, magic and I'm glad I could experience that first hand. 

The lectures were very informative but one stood out above the others.  Panel: Distillations and Eruptions: Installation Today was not only informative but inspirational.  In particular, Beth Sellars curatorial work at Suyama Space.  Slide after slide, I was intriqued, enthrauled, and inspired.  Only one of the artists shown made ceramic work, the rest were mixed media artists utlizing such experimental materials as: river rocks, hot glue, string, pvc pipe, and steel spikes to build the core of their work.  Each artist not only presented innovative, conceptual work but owned the space with power, simplicity, and elegance.  Qualities I not only admire in the work of others, but also strive for in my own.  I was so impressed with what I saw that I took a pilgrimage of sorts to this place that seemed to speak to me, and it did not disappiont. (I think it deserves its own post, so more details and pics will come).

At the Foster White Gallery, I had the chance of seeing an instillation by Shay Church, a fellow San Jose State alum.

I also got the chance to check out the ceramics studio at University of Washington, and talked to the lab tech there. I've been grad school shopping for some time and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to check them out.  After looking around, I was particularly impressed with the 3D emphasis.  The inclusion of glass and sculpture as essentially part of the same larger studio fostered use of multiple materials and that was evident in the student work I saw.

Overall, (besides the constant rain which I guess is to be expected) I had a great time, and look forward to next year in Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NCECA, here I come?

When I found out that this year's NCECA would be in Seattle, I was incredibly excited.  I knew it would be much cheaper to fly to and best of all, school is footing the bill for the hotel.  Having never been to  NCECA, I was super excited about going with the Ceramics Department from San Jose State. 

So, What's the problem? 

Well, in the course of being a grown-up you must sometimes make hard decisions.  I have a solo show (my first) coming up in late April.  I've been working like mad to keep up with that, and school, and work, and home (husband, kid, a clean house).  I'm behind on just about everything.  I can't seem to squeeze enough hours out of a day.  Now this wouldn't be such a problem if I weren't a perfectionist.  But, I am and OCD to boot, so now can see the dilemma.  I have this visualization of the gallery and each piece in the show exactly the way I want them and to have anything less will feel like failure. Now, four days of no work or school would go a long way to get me caught up, but I would lament missing such a great trip.  I've already paid for the plain ticket and I haven't gone on a trip by myself since 1998. 

Its a hard choice. 

Come Wednesday, 6:30 am I will have to decide if I get on that plain or not, or it will be made for me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Janet Echelman

Two words: Breath taking

To say that I am a fan of Janet Echelmen's work is an understatement.  To create work that is imbued with such beauty, power, and delicacy is the trifecta that I strive for in my own work.  Organic yet technologically engineered, ephemeral yet durable, these installations bring the idiosyncrasies of nature into the densest of city scapes.  I am equal parts in awe and jealous.  And to think she never went to art school!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Year of the Dragon

So, I'm not usually one for superstitions and such, but this year is year of the dragon in the Chinese zodiac. I'm a year of the dragon baby and I can't help but feel a little excited about the year to come.  I feel like the universe is finally on my side sayin," Ok, Spring I got your back."  And that feels pretty great.  My optimism is boundless: my determination unyielding. It feels like this is gonna be my year, but does that mean it's time to buy lotto tickets?  Well, maybe not, but more importantly its time to enter shows, make some great art, and get my name out there.  For 21 years, I have been pursing my craft: learning, reading, experimenting in relative solitude.  It has been nice and safe.  But tomorrow I will sign up for my first gallery show.  Yes, it's at school.  Yes, it's long over due.  But for me it will be a milestone that I have looked forward to for a very long time.  I'm excited and terrified.  I really don't wanna suck.  But first, I have to wait in line and fight it out with other students just to wrangle the spot.  I am told that the line for gallery sign-ups is something like the line at Walmart on Black Friday, in Oakland.  So common dragon don't fail me now!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taking the Plunge

As I type this first post, while sitting on my sofa in my pj's, I am wondering about the road ahead.  Trying to make a go as an artist, crafter, entrepreneur, or what ever you want to call it, seems crazy and perfect at the same time.  Yeah the economys in the toilet.  I know, I know, consumer spending is way down.   That's right, unemployment is high.  But sometimes you got nothing to loose, and everything to gain.  Either way, I'm in it all the way. 

What do I expect from the future? Lots, and lots of hard work to get the ball rolling, a general reduction in the number of hours I sleep, long hours in the studio, countless hours marketing, many trips to the library for new book on blogging, twitter, online sales, and plenty of self promotion.  But first, I better get those dishes done.