Unconfined Perspective

Obviously I have been lost for a month or so - at least to my blog.  It is the never-ending struggle of balancing my 'daily' life with my 'art' life, which somehow doesn't seem to co-exist very well during certain times of my life.  As you know, I don't have a 'day' job or a salary.  So, what, EXACTLY, do I do with my time??? I've been trying to figure that out myself.  When I do get down into my beloved, treasured studio - I am extremely productive.  In fact, I am amazed sometimes at the amount of work I can get accomplished overnight.  It is the 'getting down there' that is the problem at hand. Studio Image from Fall 2009 Studio Image from Fall 2009 Unbeknownst to some, the work of an exhibiting artists entails caboodles of paperwork.  Some days it feels like I have made work (let's say 1 day that week), but the rest of the time is spent marketing, proposing, begging for grant money, all in an effort to have that work get out to the public.  I've been struggling with this, too.  Is my work created just for me?  Would it be enough to make it and keep it hiding here in my house?  If I do keep it here, what does that make it?  A hobby? Finished Encaustic Assemblage Work - on studio shelf Finished Encaustic Assemblage Work - on studio shelf I think intent is so important here - my intent when I make objects or alter them is to make commentary on social issues.  Therefore, I have a calling to do social interpretation . . . which, therefore, requires a society to interact with them.  Would it not be so much easier if I just wanted to quilt something to keep myself and my loved ones warm?  Here is my stick - that isn't enough for me. So there.  It isn't enough for me.  So my calling is to make and my duty is to get it out there.   Towards that end I had the 2 trips to Grand Rapids for Artprize in Sept/October.  I still had my broken ankle and that made things more difficult - but the installations were great and it was seen by more than 10,000 viewers.  I found out during that trip there is still much gender-bias in the art world.  I am disappointed, but more determined than ever to move forward. Coping Skills, as lit at ARTPRIZE 2009 Coping Skills, as lit at ARTPRIZE 2009 Also during October were 2 of my kids' birthday parties (Claire's 7th was a happening in and of itself) . . . more company and then in November I had the honor of being chosen as the first ever seed SPACE artist in Nashville, TN.  [NOTE: seed SPACE is a lab for site-specific installation, sculpture, and performance-based art that brings attention to the excellence, diversity, and interest in contemporary art in Tennessee.  seed SPACE brings in nationally recognized art critics to write exhibition essays.]  My art reviewer was Chen Tamir the Director of Flux Factory, Queens, NY.  seed SPACE is currently developing their website - I will provide their link when it becomes available. Having an interview with a critic is not an easy thing.  I am a very open person (obviously) - but I find that each time I have had a one-on-one with an art critic (including Linda Weintraub) the experience has cracked my art spirit wide open - even further than it was prior to the interview.  I have likened it to having a living autopsy performed on oneself.  I maintain that opinion.  The benefit of going through this process is that the critic/reviewer, from their UNCONFINED PERSPECTIVE, can see all the connections and scars and various conditions of your lifework.  Talk about insightful.  Revelatory.  Cathartic.  I could go on and on. Thomas Eakins' THE GROSS CLINIC Thomas Eakins' THE GROSS CLINIC This all brings me to the following  responses about the experience:  the first draft review is incredibly astute and I appreciated the seriousness with which Chen viewed the work and our interview.  It  is invaluable to me, as a developing artist, to have such direct and unconfined perspective on my works to date.  Interestingly enough, these interviews always spur in me an even greater understanding of who I am becoming and my place in the world - let alone the deeper investigations with the works themselves. There are many other things which have occurred, including the beginnings of several new series, but November seemed to focus on investigating previous works as they are being exhibited.  Additionally, I have 3 years worth of blogs to re-load all the images for due to my Typepad/Wordpress transfer - total debacle! As I move into December, it begins another year of my life - my 43rd.  Although some have mistakenly dismissed me as a bored housewife, I can tell you - there is little that would be more difficult for me to attempt than to nurture my art at the same time I try to raise a family.  If I only needed to be entertained, i can think of much funner, cheaper, and immediately gratifying than being an artist.  It is not the easiest route.  Forging a new path never is.
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Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

So I want to blame the dog for eating my homework . . . but that would be me lacking verisimilitude.  What really happened?  Well, it was animal related - my MIA status.  Snappy, The Evildoer! Snappy, The Evildoer! It was the cat's fault.  All Her Royal Tailless Snappyness was doing was sleeping . . . possibly purring.  This is normal - but where she chose to slumber was unexpected.  SO unexpected that I fell down (possible threw myself down) five garage steps until I splayed onto the concrete floor.  Somehow, I managed to levitate myself over the cat slumbering on the stairs. Similar to my garage stairs . . . Similar to my garage stairs . . . Having birthed three children, busted my head and arm open in an all-terrain vehicle accident, several failed childhood suicide attempts . . . I have never felt such searing pain.  Mainly in the ankle regions of my appendages.  The Controversial General Hood The Controversial General Hood We have to put this in chronological perspective as well, because THE VERY DAY BEFORE this a friend and I went to three Civil War Battlefield sights in Franklin, TN and the theme of the day was appendages -  the loss thereof, in particular.  In fact this friend and I had stayed up all night (again) ruminating over the severity of the war, the injuries, and the deplorable decisions by Hood that lead to the carnage.
The bad timing was that I was loading the car to head into Nashville to crate the  TAKE CARE exhibition to prepare for its shipment to Grand Rapids, MI.  Needless to say, I didn't make it to that appointment!
banner8inch So, I and my apparently disconnected legs lay tangled on the concrete.  I couldn't breathe, it hurt so much. "It" meaning - everything.  My back, my shoulders, my hands and wrists where I had tried to catch myself, but worst of all - below the knees just seared and sang with so much pain they were almost numb.  I did some lamaze breathing.  I shed tears.  I collapsed when I tried to push myself up with my arms. After about 10 minutes of writhing and gasping, I managed to sit up somewhat and although I couldn't feel how the feet were connected to my legs, I visually assured myself that they were, indeed, there.  So - this is good, no?  Because: 1) I don't have to wave goodbye to my own leg from the window (as did some of the Confederate and Union soldiers in the war); 2) Well, at this point I couldn't think of a 2nd good thing! When I felt I could talk I scouted to the van on my bruised behind and retrieved the already packed cell phone.  Who to call?  My friend was in the house, but she was sleeping 3 levels away with the very loud, highly coveted hurricane fan on . . . in the the cave sleeping chamber . . . no way would she hear my screaming.  Humm, also her cell phone was on the charger in the basement so it would do no good to call that phone. So, I decide to call my husband.  He is a PT, if nothing else he can come home and scrape me off the cement.  I was so shaky I had a hard time calling the number . . . and, of course, he didn't answer the cell, which meant he was with a patient.  I decide this qualifies as an emergency and call the front office - I squeak out that I need Don and that it is an emergency . . . so he leads me through a few toe moving tests and we determine that the right ankle/foot is not broken, but the left probably is.  He advises ice.  So I crawl back up the steps, get icepacks and lay on the couch.  I figure my friend will wake up and can take me to the doctor or when my son gets home he can drive me.ankle clip art Before that can happen my son calls from school saying he is sick with a fever.  So.  I can drive with my right foot so I go get him at school . . . he drives home and drops me at the doctor and I get xrays . . . and diagnosed, 1 sprain, another bad sprain and a crushed outer ankle bone (that triangle thingy that sticks out), do the air cast/boot, get painkillers . . . home.  My son goes back to the dr. on his own.  He has mono.  Lauren comes home, sick.  Dylan takes her to the doctor.  My friend wakes up in this chaos - we laugh as I giggle on my painkillers and we imitate General Hood waving his shoulder stump as he tries to say good bye to his own arm.  We are, obviously, evil beings.  We have never laughed so hard.

Dylan's Mono

So that was all about 4 weeks ago.  I am off the crutches and am down to braces and wraps for the ankle and can hobble almost anywhere.  The worst part is trying to walk down stairs.  (remember, my studio is down a very steep flight of stairs, I didn't see it for a whole week).  If I have been on my feet too long I am exhausted . . . but, you know - it could have been so much worse.  For a few days I had the perfect excuse to sit and talk and get giddy on painkillers.  Not a bad way for the universe to inform me I better slow down OR ELSE!  I found out what OR ELSE meant . . . just like the Fairygod Mother that swoops down and wacks Little Bunny Foo Foo on the head. Little Bunny Foo Foo LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO . . .

So that gives you a bit of the story of where I have been . . . not to mention the fact that I lost the information on how to access my very own blog for several weeks . . . I am back on track, back on my feet and there are NO MORE EXCUSES!

You can expect more updates, and the saga of how I am making it to Grand Rapids, MI in the near future!

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Fear of the Studio

I have suffered the most devastating loss . . . my recently finished, yet to be acclaimed, masterpiece "My Vintage Soul" was destroyed last week.   Thursday night, as I dealt with my insomnia by blogging and shopping on eBay, at 1:00 a.m. an unearthly crash shook the house - and lying on the hardwood floor in front of the fireplace was the face-down remnants of "MY VINTAGE SOUL".  As my husband lifted and turned it face-up, we discovered that not only were all the ceramic, vintage figurines crushed, but many of the rolled fabric forms crushed.  Apparently the 150 lb (supposedly) picture hooks I used were inadequate.   I am thoroughly crushed and cannot even face going into the studio right now. This is a complete wash.  I can re-install some other figurines and re-work it - but this was the seminal piece of my new series and will never be able to re-capture the joy I felt as I created it - as it formed beneath my hands and revealed itself to me. It is a memory - a figment of my imagination. I am considering a burial or a cremation.  This was to be the highlight of my new exhibition. In deep mourning, For Art's Sake, Sher
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First Debacle of 2009

Sher’s Newest - 2009 - Debacle This begs the question, "What, exactly, is a debacle?" Wikipedia defines as such:  "A débâcle is an event that turns out as a disaster." Well, my chronic events qualify in every way for this definition . . . so, shall we set the stage?  Wednesday night . . . Ah, such a soothing evening, sitting on the couch with Donny, knitting away . . . deciding to go get in my pj’s (NOTE: this is a complete act of faith on my part as I NEVER sleep] and tenderly fold away my current ‘thing’ I am knitting (I don’t knit anything specific, I just start knitting a doohickey), patting it lovingly into the yarn bag when OUCH. that hurt. I slowly pull my hand out of the bag and attached to my thumb is a long metal . . . needle? no. ??#*)$)$. Ugh - it is a tiny metal crochet hook (from the 1800’s from when they crocheted THREAD, that is how tiny it is).  Unfortunately, the HOOKED/barbed end is lodged in my thumb! It. will. not. pull. out. because. it. is. caught. up. inside. my. thumb. I can twist it half way round. But when I pull on it, I can see the correlating, opposite side of my thumb depress. Hum, this does not look good. I wait until the show Don is watching is over (meanwhile, twisting the crochet hook this way and that way, this way and that . . . have you ever seen a camel, go this way and that). Don says: “I thought you were getting ready for bed.” Me: “Well, I have a little problem.” Then, I start laughing hysterically, because . . . poor Don . . . there is no way to know what I did this time. Don: “What! What the hell, what is it! What is it, what did you do, how do you always do this to yourself - really, What is it!!!??” Oh, dear, perhaps I should have waited a bit longer . . . it is ONLY 9 pm . . . So, we move to the lighted kitchen, Don twists it himself and confirms that - NO, it will not come out when you pull it. And YES it is hooked in there in my thumb. I decide to call down Lauren (our 14 year-old daughter) - because, really the entertainment value is UNPARALLELED and there is no blood. Yet. I am still laughing at this point, but getting PALER with each twist . . . We literally stand in the kitchen pondering what to do. Don decides to investigate some more . . . prodding, twisting, pulling . . . I begin to sweat, squeal, and finally to get faint and almost pass out . . . so move to the bar stool. Obviously, I can’t take these ministrations sober and/or fully conscious. So, I cry for the freezy spray stuff . . . whatever that stuff is you put on wounds. We do that some, my thumb starts to turn a bit gray so we decide frost-bite is not the answer, although it did numb the entrance wound slightly. Lauren gets me ice water, Don gets me Brandy. The brandy makes me have spasms (as in shrieking and hollering from the awfulness of the taste and after effects), which in turn jolts the crochet hook dangling from my thumb and I almost pass out from the side effects (seizures) of/from the brandy. Don decides to use the brandy as an anesthetic instead - pouring it on my entrance wound. My hand is now in a bowl of ice, it is literally soaking in brandy on the rocks. I finally ask for him to cut off the big, heavy end of the crochet hook so that: 1) it won’t keep getting caught on things, and 2) we already took a picture so now we can trim it down. Meanwhile, Don is asking me specifics about crochet hooks: "What does it look like at the end, do you have one like it so I can see how it is hooked, if so, where would it be? blah, blah, blah . . .". Mewlingly, I answer “I don’t know, I don’t know, it hurts, it hurts . . . maybe in the studio, maybe in the trunk, maybe in the coffee table storage . . . oh my GOD, just take me to the ER.” He gives up and I hold the end of the crochet hook while he snips it with wire cutters, while I advise him on turning them this way and that so he cuts through the thinnest portion . . . Surgeon Donny now takes the cut-off end of the hook in pliers and begins an additional round of pulling, twisting . . . I begin another round of mewling, squealing, laughing, crying into a towel, twisting my body and legs with every twist of his pliers. I decide that I would prefer cutting it out NOW -or- I want to go to the ER right now. Cut it out. So we set up that equipment. During this jolly time, I decide we need to videotape it and that we need a soundtrack and decide the best song would be Bryan Adam's “Cuts Like a Knife” - - Don and Lauren agree and Don fetches the CD, sets it up on the laptop and we are ready to roll - literally. Holding onto thumb-meat with tweezers, Don uses a scalpel to slowly slice around the entrance wound. After a few moments of sawing and pulling (before the song is over), he slides the crochet hook out. Ta da! We take further pictures . . . regret that we have no Iodine, but pour some more Brandy on the wound, Don squeezes neosporin into the cut . . . and bandages me up. Today my thumb is very sore. But it is not festering, although I believe it is time for me to renew my tetanus shot. Quite unfortunately, my plan to write a novel has been thwarted as this has already been done.   A future video will be released on YOU-TUBE featuring the procedure, my sound effects, and the background music of "Cuts Like a Knife."
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