Monday, August 30, 2010

Watch out world, here come my creatures!!!

I just got an email tonight, that said ~
"I am delighted to inform you that your piece : creatures ~ strength, wisdom and trust has been chosen for inclusion in the exhibition, Cutting Edge: A Celebration of Fibers at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY."

Yahoo! on so many levels!!!
First - it is in Brooklyn, NY!!! BROOKLYN, NEW YORK!!!! my old stomping ground!!

Second - the show sounds really interesting, the space looks awesome and I love the work and the blog of the woman who curated the show ~ Joetta Maue. Check out her blog as she talks a little about the selection process.

Third - this was the public debut of my creatures, out in the big world, and they got into the show!!!!

Submitting these pieces was part of that crazy week that i blogged about awhile back, and these babies were causing me some heartache. When I heard about the call I knew that I really wanted to submit at least one of my creatures ~ but i just wasn't sure how to exhibit them!! I love them!! I love making them, the organic process, adding the different yarns, beads, whatever. They are very tactile and have a wonderfully comforting weight. When people see them in my studio they immediately gravitate to them & need to hold them and play with them. And most everyone (believe it or not) puts them on their head, making them a hat. Here my daughter is not only modeling a creature as a hat, the blue creature is her baby ~
Madonna and child!

They are also very suggested of living things ~ cells, sea creatures, molecules. The largest white creature I started when I had my hand surgery. I saw it as a healing spirit, an extra large and extra strong white blood cell. In fact, all these white creatures have a charm crocheted into each one, hence the names ~ strength, wisdom and trust.

But how to show them?!?! To leave the experience of them opening to the many possible interpretations of them yet also highlight their beauty, construction and materials. I experimented with hanging them on the wall, draping them over sculpture stands, perching them on fabric structures until I decided to suspend them from the ceiling!! I like that they are at eye level so that you can see their uniqueness. Also, at this level, I hope the veiwer may be able to engage with them. Someday I would love to create an environment/installation with many, many of these creatures hanging, so that the veiwer could wander & weave their way through, maybe getting lost for a minute or two. But for now these babies are going to Brooklyn!!
which is awesome!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The girls are on the move again....

This weekend my family & I delivered some of my girls to the Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, NH for their Enormous Tiny Art show 8. Fourteen dresses joined the many mini masterpieces gathering at this great gallery!! It was wonderful to wander around and look at all the work. We all became so enchanted by a painting by Melissa Moss that we bought it. You see, I believe in a kind of support your fellow artists karma ~ if financially possible, I like to buy some art before a show that i am in. So now we own a charming painting!!
The gallery has set up a super website for the show ~ displaying each artist's work on their own page. Click here to see my page. The collection that I gave them consists of 6 of my 3d dress on hangers, 6 of my small dresses on canvases (shown in this post) & 2 3d papier~mache sculptural dresses which are making their debut (more about these in another post) . I really enjoyed thinking in this small scale. I have always loved creating these smaller dresses ~ it is a format in which I can make a statement about an idea a little quicker then with the full scale dresses &/or I can be a bit clever ~ tongue & cheek-ish, if you will.
The dresses shown in this post are Strength (upper left) Black & blue (lower left), Home Improvement (upper right) and Number please (lower right). They are all on a 4 x 6in canvas.
The show will run from September 1 - October 3 with the opening on Friday, September 3rd, 5-8pm. I am hoping to go - I do love Portsmouth!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

take a number ....

The creation of this dress was , as it usually is, a journey for me ~ starting off with one idea but the dress taking me in an entirely different direction. I have used these deli tickets before & I love them~ their color, the graphics and what they stand for .... waiting to be served. I have used these tickets for a 'thank you for waiting' theme, but this time the phrase 'take a number' echoed loudly in my head. For me, this dress is a little commentary about how I have been feeling in the last weeks of summer vacation. Now don't get me wrong - there are many, MANY things I love about summer vacation. I especially love having long days with my girls to explore, play, veg out!! However ~ there are times that being mom, artist, daughter, wife, cook, waitress, taxi driver, referee, cleaner, dog walker,... for 24/7 can take its toll ~ I feel frayed, at my wits end. This dress came from that place.
I created the top with pink tissue as a base that I would cover with some bright patterned paper. But as it was drying I saw the translucence of the tissue & I decided to leave it ~ it created a feeling of softness and vulnerability. Then i felt that this dress needed to have a heart, an anatomically correct heart, as I have been feeling that my heart is on the outside for all to see. From this heart I sewed onto the paper top many lines, in reds and pinks, creating a pattern but also suggesting veins. I am VERY interested in the anatomy of the body lately, especially the heart. Many pieces that I am working on now have a heart in or on them. However once the lines were sewn onto the bodice my anatomically correct heart got lost in the I placed the gem over the heart. Now the heart is quietly peaking out from behind the gem, maybe the gem is protecting it, keeping it safe.
I am always amazed at how my work unfolds before me .... I can struggle with it and fight my internal critics, but if I quiet my mind, and really listen & follow that still quiet voice without doubt, amazing results happen. And sometimes I don't even recognize it until I sit here and blog about the process. After writing this post I feel that this dress is not only about feeling pulled in many directions, waiting on many people ~ it is about heartstrings! It is how it can feel when you put your heart out there and love and care for people ... it can being scary, tiring, painful but also wonderful!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the end of a crazy, but great, week!!!

This week I spent dotting my i's and crossing my t's ~ getting many pieces ready for either submissions or for shows!!! It has been at least 4 solid days of dawn to dusk(midnight) working and I wonder how I get myself into these situations ... i had known about these deadlines and have been working on the pieces. But then I realized that the looming, larger than life due dates give me boundaries. A reason to tell my family and friends no, I am sorry, I REALLY have to work! I could honestly work in my studio 24/7 ~ well I think I could, that theory has never been tested. When my husband takes the girls for an overnight or weekend away - when I am not sleeping I am in the studio! but those are short periods ~ only a few days. Maybe i would get tired of 'work' but i think not ~ there is just too many wonderful things out there to do, to make, to construct, to read about, to learn, to photograph, to collage, to blog :) ~ I could go on & on. So due dates do help me to focus, to finish a project and for that i am thankful. I need the boundaries - it is a hard line to walk yet a tremendous blessing~ how much time can i work, how much time to spend with my girls, friends and family. I believe I am extremely fortunate to want my days to be at least 48 hours long!! or that i didn't need as much sleep :).

So I am coming off an intense few studio days and I know i will (most likely) hit a wall, but for now I am still buzzing!! I hope to post most of the work that I finished this week, in the coming few days. Above is a personal favorite of mine ~ called 'all is well' . It is part of a collection of small dresses that i created for the eta8 show at Nachotta Gallery in Portsmouth NH. The Enormous Tiny Art Show 8 opens on Friday, September 3rd, 5-8pm & features only original art that is 10' x 10" or smaller ~ so enter Virginia's small sculptural dress and wall dresses.

This one is a particular favorite of mine ~ it's skirt consists of many fortune cookie fortunes and one in the front reads "The stars appear every night in the sky. All is well." So this dress is called 'all is well' ~ I love that sentiment!! And i am very happy with the way the dress turned out. It is an interesting experience making these little guys - never an easy task!!! but what fun would that be?!? :)

Hope to post more but I have kind of lost my 'boundaries'. In fact at this moment their is a dog continually knocking my elbow saying 'time for my walk!!!!'. So time for my walk!! Much love to all & peace!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wow ~ where has the time gone?!?

We are in the warped speed part of the summer .... the tick-tock until the school bells rings, all of us anticipating it with both excitement and sadness. For me it does mean a bit more of a regular work schedule ~ which i always welcome. But I have not been totally slacking off....yesterday David Lang and I delivered our respective pieces to The Gallery at Worcester State College for their show In-Between.Their call for submissions was intriguing, asking for art that combines one or more media or conceptually imagines in-between spaces, time, or identity. Artworks that think about space, time, or in-between sites may also reflect states of in-between. I submitted three pieces ~

1.'spirit' acrylic and stain on wood

2. in and out ~ a more conceptual piece with an interesting story of coming into being!!!
Made with these 'dolls' that i have been sewing for a year or so, in a jumble of pink and red remnant fabrics. My initial idea was to make a huge dress with all these 'people'~ a celebration of humanity ... a mass of these generic gingerbread figures. But I was a bit put off by the scope of this desired dress so these guys have been hanging around my studio - literally hanging on the wall. Now the interesting part ~ when I was cleaning up for my studio party I was looking for a place to stow this wooden frame and suddenly saw my 'dolls' thru the frame so I hung the frame around the dolls. This looked interesting and I lived with it for awhile. Then this in-between call came and I saw this piece through different eyes. I moved the frame so some of my dolls were contained and some were outside the frame. I loved it - it spoke to the same idea that made me want to create a dress out of these dolls - the idea of being included or not, the idea of community, fitting in or being an outsider. I also loved how the dolls were pinned to the wall, not the inside of the frame ~ emphasizing the idea of belonging, these piece is attached to the wall of the studio! For a person who really doesn't like cleaning it was a boondoggle to discover this piece.

3. Treacherous - this dress is made out of cooking skewers glued together, with 3 figures made out of masking tape climbing over it and one figure hanging/falling/suspended in the middle. the dress rest over a sea of broken mirror pieces. I love this piece. It was in the works for many years!! The first version i just connected the joints with masking tape ... sadly that did not hold up so in version #2 the joints are wired and super glued and then taped - quite sturdy.
I am happy to announce that Treacherous made the cut!! I am so glad that she is getting out in the world because for those who have seen her she is quite compelling. She is the classic 'dress project' story ~ i strongly needed to build this dress for my reasons yet many people have had their own personal reactions to it. I am writing this a bit vaguely because I don't want to tell people what to think, what the piece 'means' ~ there is no wrong interpretation. I just love that when I express something personal to me it can be read on an universal level.

So Treacherous is now residing in Worcester. The show runs from Sept. 11th thru Dec. 2nd with the opening reception: Sept. 11th 6-8 pm. I think it will be an interesting show!!
Enjoy these glorious days of late summer & peace!!!