Archive for Reviews
I think lack of time is the number one obstacle for people wanting to start creating again or wishing they were doing it more.
And it’s easy to see why–our speed-driven culture creates high expectations of how much we should get done and how fast we should be able to do it.
But if we could change our relationship with Time–find our true personal rhythms–then all kinds of possibilities open up.
That’s the premise behind Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life by Waverly Fitzgerald. I’m only on chapter 3 so far, but I’m really excited by what she talks about, and I think it’s a great resource for anyone who feels like time is out of their control.
One of the first things she asks you is to explore your own beliefs about Time–ideas you might not even realize you embrace because they feel so natural, you’re so used to them, that they just seem like “The Truth”.
Many of these ideas come not only from the culture, but from your particular family.
For instance, I always feel like I’m in a hurry. And I realized that a big belief I learned from my upbringing was that hurrying signified being serious about something.
Conversely, being slow signified being overly relaxed, too casual–not taking something seriously. Therefore, if I cared about something, I had to do it in a hurry or I wasn’t taking it seriously
Whew, let me tell you, that hurrying belief wears me out.
It’s also very difficult to actually hurry through learning new things (which I’m constantly doing), so I usually feel like I’m taking too long to do just about anything–which means I’m also feeling like I can’t measure up. More exhaustion.
But when I think about my notions about hurrying as a belief I have instead of just being the truth or the nature of things, well then I’ve got a fighting chance to stop that pattern and allow a new belief to take its place–one that still incorporates my values and the things I want for myself–such as being productive or doing good work.
Here’s a few new beliefs affirmations I’m playing with:
>When I take my time, I do better work.
>I accomplish more when I’m relaxed and present.
>I feel good, think well, and accomplish a lot when I take my time.
>I make better artwork when I pay attention, take my time, and let my understandings unfold naturally.
>I prefer to pay attention to what I’m doing without multi-tasking.
Creating a New Paradigm
Our beliefs about time are very tangled up with how we do everything in our lives–when I think about my hurrying belief, I see how it impacts everything I do–how I clean the dishes, how I drive, how I create.
When I interrupt my usual patterns and slow down, it’s a great feeling because I’m allowing myself more. When everything isn’t urgent, it helps me remember my priorities. And one of those priorities is my creativity.
It’s exciting to realize I have the opportunity to interrupt what isn’t working for me about how I experience Time and begin creating a new paradigm for myself, based on my own best nature.
Frankly, it’s just so nice to realize that I have a say in all that. That I don’t have to go through life feeling like there’s never enough time to do what I want.
That how I experience time is up to me.
And since my time is my life, this ain’t no small thing!
Your Time and Your Creativity
How about you? Do you know what your beliefs about Time are? How do they impact what you do and what you allow yourself? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear.
As promised, today’s post is a mini review of The Armory Show, a big art to-do that happens every year in NYC.
As I mentioned in my Pulse post, I had a better time at the Pulse-NYC show than this one, but that’s because The Armory Show is a bit pretentious and I feel like the vagaries of the art market dominate the scene which can lead to cynical or trend driven art-world-insider type work at the expense of work created from listening to one’s individual voice or desire to create something deeply aesthetically pleasing or powerful.
But that said, I did see a lot of wonderful things and I thought I’d share a few of them here: (I’ll start with my favorites first).
I was actually blown away by this piece by H C Berg called Visual Vortex, and of course, I couldn’t take a decent picture of it.
I really loved how it glowed and was luminous–it’s hard to explain how it looked, but it’s a large curved piece of iridescent mylar lit up somehow with laser cut acrylic shapes hanging in front of it that shimmered.
The image actually extended out a few feet in front of the piece itself–reflecting or projecting, I’m not sure. So it had this very modern, plastic film kind of feel to it, but it was all airy and ethereal at the same time:
And I loved this piece below made out of liquor bottle top foils (the metal bit at the top that you can peel off) by El Anatsui. His site is under construction, but if you want to see more of his work, click here and here. Here’s my photo from the show:
I’m a huge Magdelena Abakanowitz fan, so it was fun to see several of her large repeated sculptures as I haven’t seen too much of her work in person:
I quite liked these carved book sculptures below, but unfortunately, cannot read my handwriting to tell you the artist’s name. I just sent a note out to the group that I went to the show with–if I find out, I’ll amend this post later. In the meantime, here’s some pix:
I was struck by these small totemic wire sculptures made in the seventies by an artist called Philadelphia Wireman. I looked him up online and Wikipedia had an interesting story about him–a bunch of these sculptures were found in the street by an art student in 1982, and folks surmise that they were just thrown out after this unknown artist died. I really like them:
I thought this painting was beautiful and haunting (and it reminded me of Hendrik Kerstens‘ work. I also managed to not write this artist’s name down somehow either–when I find out, I’ll amend the post:
Glitter and sequins also had a presence at both Pulse and The Armory Show so I must admit I enjoyed that: Here’s a photo of a cluster of small sequin “paintings’ by Daniel Gonzalez (I liked these best) and next to it are a couple of cut paper and glitter collages by Devin Troy Strother:
And finally, when I opened my bag, I realized one of my pencils was stuck inside a folded piece of paper and had made its own drawing while I was walking around.
I quite liked the delicate line quality–who knew my pencil was such a sensitive arteest! (I call it Mixed Feelings at The Armory. Graphite on 28lb printer paper. )
Do you have any thoughts/opinions about any of the art shown here? Leave a comment, (thumbs up or thumbs down) I’d love to hear what you think!
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Pulse New York
This past week was all about the The Armory Show at the Piers in NYC. It’s a pretty famous show with lots of different offshoot exhibits all over town now, so I thought I’d find everyone some inspiration.
The only “offshoot” show I went to was downtown at Pulse NYC. I actually enjoyed it much more than main event, which I found kind of pretentious, but I always have lots of ambivalence about the art scene. The gallery owners at Pulse were more open and welcoming and seemed truly excited by the artist’s works they were displaying.
The pulse show has more emerging artists in general. Overall, it was probably more uneven in quality than the Armory Show, but I liked the energy and genuine enthusiasm that I felt in the artwork I saw.
Here’s a few photos and thoughts below:
I thought this fur life preserver by Andy Yoder was an interesting political sendup about the economic downturn–especially in New York City, where the uber wealthy are more uber than other places:
I loved these woven rattan Buddha sculptures by Cambodia artist Sopheap Pich. Airy and open with a certain monumentality:
Megan Greene did some really lovely drawing/collages on top of pages of Audubon paintings from a book. Some people might think, “Oh, been there, done that” but I thought she really integrated her own skillful drawings wonderfully with the initial images, creating something fresh and well executed. She wasn’t really relying on the Audubon prints as much as carrying them somewhere else. My group picture doesn’t really do it justice. Check out her site for better photos.
I thought these mythic taxidermy creatures by Enrique Gomez de Molina were very cool, but some people around me were kind of grossed out. I guess I convinced myself he found the taxidermied pieces and then altered them with his own created bits, but really, I have no idea. They’re so imaginative and phantasmagorical to me and they have a lot of presence . Check out his site to see more and better images. (The walrus is covered in beetle wings!)
Laurent Craste had a wonderful piece that was a mix of video art and porcelain, but I couldn’t take a picture of it. He’s a porcelain artist, and most of his work (at this show anyway) is a commentary on decorative arts.
His piece that I really liked had a porcelain plate in a cabinet with a classic image of roses on it, but the image was digital, and he had the petals and leaves gradually fall off the decorative pattern to form a kind of heap at the bottom of the plate and then start over. Very witty, I thought–and well done video art, which I find kind of rare.
Here’s a few more of his porcelain commentaries:
Emil Lukas had a wrapped thread, piece that was positively luminous. Of course, my photo makes it look opaque and kind of awful, but it was really great and I wanted to include it here. I notice the other images of his work online don’t do much better either, so I think it’s kind of hard to photograph his work:
I really enjoyed Megan Whitmarsh‘s soft sculpture installation of her dream studio–it was very positive and actually kind of joyful. It really brought back memories of the soft sculpture rage in the 70′s:
So there was lots more that I liked, but I’m having a hard time deciphering my notes and my to-do list is a mile long this week! I’ll write about The Armory Show next with lots of pictures as well. Please share any thoughts you have about any of the art, I’d love to hear from you!
If you’ve got heavy feelings about your drawing skills, yearn to draw more (or more freely) or if you already draw well but feel like you’re in a rut, this book is a wonderful workbook and companion for freeing up your drawing–and maybe your soul a little bit while you’re at it.
Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within by Steven Aimone is one of the best how-to/inspiration books I’ve come across in a long time. I’ve been so jazzed doing the exercises, I had to rush here to the blog and tell you all about it.
Why I Love This Book
Steven Aimone provides fun, do-able exercises that are grounded in clear, helpful explanations about technique and the history of fine art.
All the explanations are also accompanied by images of works by renowned artists as well as his workshop students that support and reinforce each chapter’s focus. These art history lessons are refreshingly straightforward and a wonderful framework for the drawing exercises.
And even though his writing is clear, accessible and inclusive, he assumes his audience is deeply interested in fine art and making drawings in that context rather than treating non-objective/expressive drawing as mainly a therapeutic outlet for expressing your feelings (although he still acknowledges and embraces that additional benefit as a wonderful part of the process).
And besides all that–the exercises are FUN, FUN, FUN! Read More→
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Last week I had an interesting encounter with fate at the bookstore. After rummaging around in the clip art area looking at various repeat pattern collections, I began to leave the art section of the store when I suddenly turned back, feeling like I wasn’t done.
I then found myself in front of the graphic arts bookshelves (not usually my first spot) and started scanning the logo design books in front of me. I pulled out a book, but a different book came off the shelf at the same time and fell onto the floor with a loud thud. Startled, I hastily picked up the book to make sure it hadn’t been damaged, and fell in love with the cover. Gorgeous.
Since I basically think everything is a sign, I put down the generic logo book and picked up this wonderful book of the serigraphs by David Weidman and found a chair to check it out. A few minutes later, I was out the door, book in hand. Read More→
The Cooper Hewitt Felt Show
I loved the felt show at the Cooper Hewitt–it was a great mix of art, design and craft. Here’s a fun 30 second intro video from the museum to give you a glimpse of the variety of work on display (loved the “Swing Low” cradle by Ulrick Peterson shown at the end of the video):
I really loved the show because it was a great example of the sophisticated uses of felt old and new–it was my first chance, for instance, to see a traditional felted shepard’s cloak (a kepenek) up close–they are supposed to be unsurpassed for warmth and waterproof-ness (is that a word?) and I love how it’s such a simple, ancient garment/sleeping bag/personal tent combination.