I was born in a small town . . .

If you know me - you know this fact - I WAS BORN IN A SMALL TOWN!!! I believe there were less than 300 people in Olivet, IL when I arrived at the age of 4 with my Mom, a new Stepdad and various step and half siblings, with more to arrive . . . The Carter Clan: r & back)Mom; Lisa; Joe; Janetta; Janice; Daddy Jim; middle) Me; bottom row: Johnnie; Troy; Susan If I had to choose an anthem for my teen years - it would be this song.  So many of the lines screamed out from my soul . . . there were a few lines that I 'wished' were true . . .  here are some random thoughts and memories which bubble up every time I hear John crooning . . . Lyrics are copyrighted by Mellencamp   www.johnmellencamp.com "Small Town" Written by John Mellencamp Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town Probably die in a small town Oh those small communities
All my friends are so small town My parents live in the same small town
 
 
  My job is so small town          my first job was at Burger Chef, Danville, IL Provides little opportunity   perhaps one of the reasons I ran away at 18? Image of a similar Burger Chef from the '70's Educated in a small town     attended Pine Crest Elementary (Georgetown), First Baptist Christian School (Danville), Hope Christian School (Danville); but where I really learned the MOST and glimpsed the wider world was in the boundless walls and bookshelves of the Carnegie Library just down Route 1 in Ridge Farm, IL.  But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town   Married an L.A. doll this would be married a Jersey boy and brought him to this small town now my kids  are small town,  just like me  
Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy - across the highway from my Mom's house, Olivet/Georgetown, IL Used to daydream in that small town   reading about worlds far away Another boring romantic that's me       how many Barbara Cartland's can one girl read?? . . . then my brother's threw one of those paperbacks out the back window of the Olive Green/Panel Country Squire Station Wagon on vacation . . . "Bye, Bye Bawbwa Cawtlan!" No I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
 
 
 
I cannot forget the people who love me from the Sunday gatherings at Grandpa's farm . . . to the church families . . . and the immediate family of siblings and nieces and nephews . . .  
Yeah I can be myself here in this small town  well, I didn't feel I could be myself
And people let me be just what I want to be    and I always felt I was expected to conform to Fundamental Baptist rules - I couldn't be what I wanted to be - but I figured that out later on . . .
 
 
Got nothing against a big town  I feel just as comfortable in NYC, in fact! Still hayseed enough to say Look who's in the big town But my bed is in a small town Oh, and that's good enough for me
Well I was born in a small town And I can breathe in a small town Gonna die in this small town Oh that's probably where they'll bury me  well, I will be cremated and submerged in Copper Canyon, along the Colorado River, near Lake Havasu . . . but you get the idea.  I love to visit the graveyards where my Grandpa and step-dad lay . . . those graveyards are some of the places where my heart has been completely broken, and yet I felt close to those of us left behind.
 
Torpedo as Mailbox? - Olivet, IL 2009 My daughter Lauren, age 15, at Forest Glen Park, Georgetown IL, May 2009   Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town   what I loved were the people in the church and the hymn worship services.  My favorite hymn is "It Is Well With My Soul" . . . my Daddy Jim's funeral was in this very auditorium which occurred just before the interior was burned in a fire . . . from ages 4 to 18, I attended with my family and we filled an entire pew . . .
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Sher Fick: Worshiping at the Altar of Biomedicine by Chen Tamir

Sher Fick:  Worshiping at the Altar of Biomedicine By Chen Tamir Coping Skills (2008-9) A Paxil A Day… (2008-9)  Viewer experiencing "Coping Skills" at seedSpace If there were a thing that consistently made me happy – that allowed me to be well, feel good about myself, do the things I value, and be loved by those around me– I would worship it. I would create rituals, even daily ones, and give thanks to the higher powers who have made me its beneficiary. However, my dependency on this hallowed thing would also stir anxiety caused by being at its mercy, hoping it will always be available, and resenting its power over me. Such complexity is evident in Sher Fick’s work. This all-American wife and mother works around issues of bioethics, gender, and discrimination. Fick has suffered from clinical depression and anxiety, along with chronic insomnia, pregnancy complications, and migraines. Her cure is a daily cocktail of prescribed drugs, which she uses as inspiration and defies the taboo of being a mother on anti-depressants. Fick’s interest in bioethics melds with her strong socialization as a Southern woman and her exploration of gender borrows from artists who deal specifically with materiality, symbols and even craft, such as Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois. Coping Skills is a sculpture comprised of 45 pill bottles ensconced in girlish fabrics and stitched shut. The bottles are arranged in three long rows over a horizontal mirror with a wooden frame, erected on wooden legs. The scraps of fabric stitched over the bottles are comprised of vividly colored, irregular patterns, often scraps of hospital receiving blankets inspired by cloying pop culture imagery. Some of the patterns have bits of texts on them, such as “please stay with…,” “Our Wedding,” “Viva Frida” (over an image of Frida Kahlo), and “Brassier.” The wide variety of bottle shapes and sizes suggests Fick takes a plethora of drugs, or has experimented greatly to find the right ones. In fact, the 45 bottles total her yearly consumption. The simple structure of Coping Skills amounts to what looks like a strange altar. It is also reminiscent of a lady’s vanity table, with dainty bottles of cosmetics that, like drugs, augment us to perform the functions of womanhood as society prescribes (pun intended!). When approaching the work, I glimpse myself over the mirror, and think instantly of Narcissus admiring his reflection. The mirror is one of our culture’s most ubiquitous symbols whose meaning runs the gamut of narcissism to introspection to doubling. All of these interpretations are valid here: The doubled person who enjoys two versions, the given one, and the one improved by drugs; the introspection and lonely battle of coping with mental illness; and the love for oneself at triumphing over it. In Coping Skills the mirror also fulfills an aesthetic function: doubling the bottles turns them into short tubes that resemble candles, bringing us back to the notion of a devotional altar. The shadow cast by the pill boxes above the mirror creates light reflected onto the back wall which adds a beautiful touch. The cast shadows resemble the gates of a baby crib, alluding to the post-partum anxiety and depression amplified in Fick’s work, and the bottles themselves resemble toys. The colorful bottles are stitched shut, ornamented with the care that comes from valuing precious heirlooms. However, a double entendre complicates the imagery here too. Damien Hirst's "Lullaby Series"  The bottles, lovingly covered, are also sewn shut, mummified and ensconced forever. Fick’s exploration of modern medicine and its social stigmas falls in line with work by artists such as Damien Hirst, whose Lullaby General Idea's "One Day of AZT" series (2002) are giant mirrored cabinets filled with rows of colorful pills, and Canadian collective General Idea, whose One Day of AZT and One Year of AZT (1991) are clear predecessors to Fick. Fick's work, A Paxil A Day…, Fick's "A Paxil A Day"
is  a more personal and modest piece consisting simply of various pills in clear bags pinned to the wall in a small grid formation. The pills’ numbing repetition of daily doses creates a calendar that counts down the passing months. Neither chalk marks on a prison wall nor happy celebrations of life - this work creates a foreboding tension between a Minimalist aesthetic and its loaded content.
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Forgiveness Begs The Question

This FB entry is by my uncle, Jimi Barlow,  writer for the Univeristy of Oregon (formerly  journalism at U of Ill - urbana/champaign) Jimi - 1975      Early Career  Left -Jimi in 1975, Rebel with a Cause. Right photo - Jimi in 1955 - already predestined for a writing career The following Facebook Entry is just one example of why I love this man - my Uncle Jimi - endowed with integrity, wisdom, and the curiosity of Michelangelo and a pen of wisdom . . . he is the one I can thank for my love of reading!  Spending time with him in the summers, I read The Odyssey and Illiad at age 12, The Pearl, listened to the Beatles, saw that the world was bigger than the crumbling 'abode' I was growing up in . . . saw that education can make a difference.       http://uonews.uoregon.edu/staff/jim-barlow His travel blog:  http://www.barlowtravelerblog.com/?page_id=4 In front of some overstuffed bookshelves -  ..  he passed this love of the written to me, a most pecious heirloom.   He is the definition of what an uncle (my biological father's brother) should be (as opposed to the white trash uncle -married to my maternal aunt - that raped me). And always, he was the doppelganger of John Lennon . . . if John Lennon were still alive, he would look like my Uncle Jimi! Facebook does provide some intelligent conversation, such as this topic: Jim E Barlow I answered our main line today, something I don't normally do. An older, well spoken woman with a European accent said that she was needing to say something about an on-going situation we're having on campus. As background, we have a retired professor who years ago began hosting a free-speech forum in which he invited people with rather oddball opinions to speak on their causes. The events were off campus, but he got ousted from one or two places, then realized as a professor with emeritus status he could, under university policy, use some meeting rooms without charge. Recent events have included those who deny the Holocaust. The forum has been labeled by a national oversight group as a hate organization. Things heated up this academic year with a series of talks by those who pledge allegiance to the Nazis and who openly use swastikas. Students have become outraged, marching, holding protests and prompting their student-government association to approve a resolution calling on the university administration to close the campus to this forum. At face value, what the students are asking could be applauded. Their stand is stop such blatant hatred away, but they are making this stand on a campus long known to be open to counter opinions and cultural choices. The administration is wrestling with repealing a policy that allows long-time professors who retire in good standing from having access to campus. To refuse the forum's use of meeting space would be acting in opposition to the very stance that allows free speech.... See More Back to the woman caller. After saying she had something to say, she literally continued talking for some 10 solid minutes, without me uttering so much as a uh, huh. She said she was very upset over the current dispute and the hatred that underlies it. She said that in World War II she lived in Europe. Her family was continually in hiding and/or on the run, and the appearance of swastikas always led to oppression and brutality. Her family fled to England, and nearly died together amid the onslaught of German bombing runs on London. As she wound down, I was sure she was going to urge me to tell the president to close the doors on the forum and forever silence the voices of these hate-spreaders. Then she blew me away. She said that she struggled for years to understand what happened to her family, and why. That she, over many years, had come to find peace and forgive the Germans but not the underlying hatred. She said that our students need to listen to these purveyors of swastikas and what they stand for. The students need to be told and understand the history of the Nazis and learn, probably for the first time, that such hatred really happened. Do not oust the forum, she said, but encourage students to listen and absorb, and then study the context from which these people emerged. Don't silence them. Learn from them. Reject them, peacefully. Finally, she stopped. I simply said, "That is the most intelligent, compassionate and most-educated comments I have heard since this issue came up." Our conversation continued for another 10 minutes. An hour later she called back and asked to talk to me again. She thanked me for listening and told me about her family. She has three grown children, each living in another country, including deep in China. That someone can survive the most hideous oppression and then speak up on behalf of freedom of expression is awe-inspiring. And it makes you think. Yesterday at 11:16pm The comments following were as heartfelt and as brilliant as he is, if you FB - you can friend him!!!
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First Open Studio for 2010

IMG_2962  OPEN STUDIO/SALON HOURS: 10AM-4PM DATE: THURSDAY, JANUARY 28TH WHERE: SHER FICK'S 4ARTSAKE STUDIO                 1023 ST. HUBBINS DRIVE, SPRING HILL TN                  STUDIO ENTRANCE IS DOWN THE STAIRS BEHIND THE                  DRIVEWAY . . .   Artists are encouraged to bring something to work on, artworks to critique, anyone is welcome to come and join in on the conversations, we'll break for lunch at noon (bring your own, or there are many restaurants within 5 minutes of the studio).   Call if you need an area set up for your workspace, otherwise - come and go as you please, interested guests are welcome!  We are hoping to make this a monthly, growing event.
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Woman Artist MIA for Two Months, Reappears, Injured, But Determined

Quick Update on Why I Have MIA on MY OWN BLOG . . . After a big health in October (dogging breast cancer but still needing to have a lumpectomy) and then having my former health issues of an injured back flare up again (culminating in a painful herniated disc) - the last month has been all about getting through the holidays, family visits, and getting myself to and from the chiropractor . . . I still have some very bad, pain-filled days which has caused me to be fighting off depression . . . but I think I have turned a corner today. Today I turned in my Fellowship Grant to the Tennessee Arts Commission.  It has been a goal for 3 years and this is the first time I didn't miss the deadline.  It almost happened, but somehow, with the help of friends and my supportive husband - that paperwork was delivered! As to the 'art', here is what has been going on since my last entry: Currently I am on the couch with my left elbow up so I can type with 2 hands.  This gets very tiresome, however, I can research and play lots of games with only my right hand! (note: I am not to sit more than 15 minutes at a time) So - more good news this week (if you haven't seen my Facebook updates) . . . 1.   I will be part of Miami Basel in December (hopefully, my pants shan't fall down as happened to a dear friend in the Miami Airport).  This will be the traveling exhibition I have been in Take Care  .  My work in it will be Coping Skills, see below. 2.   My art was featured on the Home Page of   OvationTV  (might still be there). 3.  Yesterday Adrienne Outlaw and myself were invited to be part of a museum exhibition (based on our pharmaceutical work) at The Customs House Museum & Culture Centerin Clarksville, TN for March-April  - which is actually an amazing place for kids and adults.  Not sure of exact dates or our exhibition title yet, but there you go!   The exhibition will feature 10 Distinctive Contemporary Women Artists - celebrating National Women's Month.   4.  I got the fellowship grant delivered 4 pm today to Downtown Nashville.  I don't want to throw away that 5K!  Keep your fingers and toes crossed - it would truly be a blessing to have those funds for attending a workshop at Arrowmont, to purchase more art supplies and studio equipment . . . it would be a miracle. So, if I can just live through this herniated disc, I can accomplish all these things.  I have decided not to travel to NYC for the (group) Queens, NY show in February at Flux Factory- but I will still travel to the Gulf Coast Florida show that I am assisting in the jurying . . . doing this with an art friend, Aletha Carr, because she can drive and I can be prone on her back seat . . .  so I have about a month to be mobile. Even more great things -   I made some new art a few weeks ago - it has many excerpts from emails sent by friends about encouraging me in my art.  Created from encaustic, tin, model magic, archival inkjet, tracing paper.  14"h x 12"w x 12"d.  Created for "CALL HOME" installation at Flux Factory, Queens, NY - February, 2010.   "YES YOU CAN . . . HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO" YES YOU CAN . . . HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO!           Detail view of "YES YOU CAN . . . " Currently (November '09 - March '10) I have an installation up at seedSPACE, Nashville, TN - it consists of site-specific installations and include: Coping Skills and A Paxil A Day: Coping Skills          Detail View of A Paxil a Day  above right: (detail of A Paxil A Day) - it actually covers a 4 ft x 6 ft wide area and can have as many as 169 units . . . Fresh off the press is "JUST DESSERTS" Just Desserts, 3"h x 11"w x 8"d        Detail of "Just Desserts" consists of: glass vanity mirror tray, foil candy cups, lucite cones, fabric, silicone So - I feel like I am completely unaccomplished, but I guess a few things are going on beneath the surface. So, what do you think???
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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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Afterthoughts - ArtPrize 2009 - Take Care

Entrance to Gallery 114, KCAD- Annette Gates "Colony" Series on Right Entrance to Gallery 114, KCAD- Annette Gates "Colony" Series on Right
Sadie Ruben's "Alien Fetus"; Sher Fick's "Coping Skills"; and Kristina Arnold's "Drip"
Sadie Ruben's "Alien Fetus"; Sher Fick's "Coping Skills"; and Kristina Arnold's "Drip"
  By Golly I am back . . . I lost a few posts due to the hacking of my blog and the subsequent confusion it caused. Eventually I had to delete EVERY SINGLE image from the transferred Typepad posts and delete several new Wordpress posts . . . Therefore, I have a huge hole to dig out of! It will take me some time, of course. Here are few quick images of the installation which took place at Kendall College of Art & Design, Gallery 114 during Artprize 2009. Obviously, we didn't win any of the money, but our exhibition was seen by more than 10,000 people!!! Coping Skills by Sher Fick Coping Skills by Sher Fick With the great assistance of the Curator, Sarah Joseph, and her brilliant gallery assistants - we were able to unpack and install the 9 artists exhibition in 2 short days. www.kcad.edu After 3 weary days in Grand Rapids, MI (I adore that city), I limped home by way of Indiana and was able to enjoy two visits my sister Lisa in Indianapolis and a large family get together as well. Once home, I prepared 2 birthday parties: Claire's 7th, an American Girl Tea Party, and Dylan's 17th - Gaming/Pizza Party.  Lots of help from my sister Susan and Mom & Don's Mom as well! Adrienne Outlaw's "Fecund Series" Video Installation Adrienne Outlaw's "Fecund Series" Video Installation What was amazing to me was that the many years of work that Adrienne (www.adrienneoutlaw.com) and I did - actually came to pass.  To see our work hung in a professional location, in a professional manner (kudos to myself) - it was astounding and very gratifying. It stood up admirably against every high-end, contemporary work I saw at ArtPrize.  Although the process was very costly (think: printing for brochures, travel to and from, hotels, gas, food, rental car . . .) - I believe it was worth the expense and time involved.  Note: no money has been made by anyone - in fact, all we have encountered is expense and unpaid work time . . . we are doing this in the hope that someone, somewhere, will find the social and economical value of our work and become either future venues and/or collectors.  What a shot in the dark!!!!  Does this make us stupid? Libby Rowe's "Womb Worries" Libby Rowe's "Womb Worries" The experience, after 3 years of research and hard work was satisfactory for the most part.  I feel I know this work inside and out and have a good feel for the importance of our viewpoint.  What seems to be disappointing is the gender bias we are still facing at the dawn of the 21st century.  One would think that males in 'art' would have evolved with technologoy - but that is not the case.  Those males in 'mid-power' postions were 'not interested in what we [women] had to say.'  They looked over the fact that we are a group of 9 highly talented artists.  That we cover the gamut of craftsmanship and technique.  All that was obliterated and ignored because they felt our message was 'not interesting' to their testosterone brains nor to their students - both male and female.  Well guess what - that really chaps my ass!  Our exhibition is not only about reproduction (which includes both MALE and FEMALE to get that going - apparently they didn't have sex education in high school), but the scientific and ethical issues which are now facing 21st century parents.  The very generation which is bringing forth ground breaking therapies, 'growing' their very own children - that subject is unworthy and below them!  Lindsay Obermeyer's "Shadow Series: The Blues & Red Hot" Lindsay Obermeyer's "Shadow Series: The Blues & Red Hot" with Monica Bock's "Fluid/Sac/Cord" in foreground So, eh hum, I lose major respect for any sculpture male professor who judges an incoming artist on their gender.  Grow up Neanderthals! Open your eyes - you are outnumbered according to the world census records and you will not be pro-creating with anybody if you continue your male chauvinist pig attitudes.  Plus - you suck! I am so proud of each and every one of our artists included in "TAKE CARE" - we prove the addage - those that can DO -  Do. . .. finish that phrase on your own if you have the brain power. Left: Jeanette Mays "A.R.T. series" with Annette Gates "Colony" Series on Right Left: Jeanette Mays "A.R.T. series" with Annette Gates "Colony" Series on Right This crap makes me so tired.  There seems to be very little respect in America for artists' time and expenses that they 'in good faith' enact with very SLIM chances of success.  There are a few good apples out there - but the way we are treated in the USA is vastly different from artists in Europe.  On my recent travels in Europe, when I replied that I was an artist - the people practically bowed to me.  Yes - what we do - when it is done well - is sacred and deeply deserving of respect. Yes - I will make art no matter the price.  But does that mean I should be a pauper and GIVE AWAY for free what I have spent money studying to do - I pay for supplies - etc? It is all so very confusing as I also have many dreams for my children and their educations, which also cost money.  So - I'm back - I did receive a $1,000 grant to reimburse part of my expenses . . . so all in all, I am only about $2,000 in the hole for being part of Art Prize.  I am hoping this ends up being a marketing expense and that someone out there sees the value of Art In America - and can free themselves from any bias to art created by women.
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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!

Signature LINE sher

 

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Yet Why Not Say What Happened? - Robert Lowell quote

Seriously, I am so sick of the oblique/obtuse comments on Facebook and elsewhere. WHY NOT SAY WHAT HAPPENED? I think obtuse people are just begging for attention like a whiny toddler. Conversely, you also hear and read people say TMI - too much information.  So I am walking that tightrope right now. Normally, I lean far to my right, almost falling off  from providing said TMI. This is me: 1) Open mouth; 2) Spill forth every synaptic thought that fires in my head; 3) Silence (from the requisite 'peanut gallery'). So then, if I hold a bit back, I hear this: 1) What's wrong? 2) Or You o.k.? The worst line I ever hear, because there are just too many ways to interpret it is:  HOW ARE YOU/YA? I get to choose between my normal - spill my guts mode or the very lame "I'm fine, how are you?" . . . which makes me want to just pass that 'hiya' person right by. I once had a former (not that I knew it at the time) friend ask me: "How are you - don't say anything about school or your art, how are the kids and Don?" That was the last time I had a conversation with her. I have another hysterical story about her, but I need to figure out how to do it anonymously because the story explains exactly the type of person I DON'T WANT FOR A FRIEND. So, get this - I decided that on MY BLOG, on MY WEBSITE, I get to . . . get ready - SPILL MY GUTS.  Because where else do people come directly to me wanting to hear exactly what I want to say!!!!????? This is amazingly freeing. I get to whine, or be insightful, or be obtuse (this is doubtful as I freaking hate OBTUSEness) . . . So . . . . I am coming out of my Manic Closet (note: I am 85 percent manic - which explains the sleeplessness and excess of creative energy - and only about 10-15 percent depressive). I can handle the depressive side most of the time (I am a self-declared CELEXA taker). I am a self-aware person, what really trips me up are a few triggers: - lack of funds to promote my art - having a serious 'discussion' with my husband about said funds (er, lack  thereof) - feeling like a failure as a mother - feeling like I just don't want to get out of bed -or,  if I get out of bed, feeling all day like I want to crawl back in there. So, one too many triggers last week sent me into an hysterical tailspin off the tightrope. I crashed with no safety net - I refused to let a few people give me a hand off the tarmac . . . I laid there a few days complaining about everything . . . then I woke this morning and decided I would do the 'fake it 'til you feel it' strategy. Be perky, put on makeup (I do this once a week if Don is lucky), take my little one for a Frosty, get dressed!!! and put on the pretty skirt Claire wanted me to wear, take my little one to see her new 2nd grade classroom (which, due to my depression I had conveniently 'forgot' last night), I EVEN smiled when I talked on the phone . . . Now, 14 hours later - I actually feel it. I faked my way back into a decent mood.

Looking back, what I realized is that ALL ALONG I had people underneath me, holding tightly to a trampoline hoping I would bounce back up.  Here is what some of you were screaming up at me while I fell and after I was lollygagging on the *what I thought was the sidewalk, but was really the* trampoline:

"I know it is hard to have a career and be a mom and wife.  It is a constant struggle.  But having a family is worth it.  I wouldn't want to not have a family.  Relationships are the most important thing about life!  That's what I believe anyway." - Aletha

And I even got my OWN WORDS quoted back to me from dear Carrie:

"I've been reading old blog posts lately, they make me so happy. You said this: Even When We Feel Static, Progress Is Occurring - our creativity is like unto the lunar tide - moments of fullness and moments of waning. The pull inward and the push outward. The unearthed debris visible one moment and submerged the next . . . So there you go. "

. . . Carrie goes on to say:   "Remember how you made everything else happen? I know you have it in you to make this happen, too . . . You know this is your Right Work. But our calling is our instructor, too. Don't be discouraged. You are an Artist. And SO few artists have the full package as you do. Allow a discouraging day, resistance is futile. Then put on your Invincible hat. Because you are, Sher, you ARE."

"You are wonderful, know that and be good to yourself." - Caryl

And here is Maureen (always Miss Sunshine to me), again, someone quoting me: Which, as you know – is my goal in life – to be the twisted soul that I am, but to be lovable (and, loving, of course).” That’s exactly why I love you, Sher!!!! and just a few days later this one from Maureen: "Oh Sher, beloved Sher . . . Hang on tight . . . Love ya, woman! We're behind you."

"You've been in my heart today, I can't explain why." - Amy R. (this was the day I melted down and BEFORE I had shared it with anybody)!  Amy R. also saved me a vintage advertisement and is sending it to me to alter - mailing it FOR FREE as a gift!

 Here is the MOST stunning which came the evening BEFORE my meltdown when I was 'holding on tight' to a modicum of 'sanity' -

from Kathleen:  "I have been on your pages many times and follow your blog.  One of these times, words will tumble to describe what gifts you give.  Here are a few...

About your vintage-ish pieces... You participate in acts of redemption with your art.  This is no small thing. You wrap, seam and embellish memory and truth in teal, pink, calico.  The result... reality comforted, nostalgia disturbed. And through it... your particular kind of shine persists. Your vision is shared (thus we join) yet singular (thus we marvel). Congratulations of the Grand Rapids Art Prize Show.  As a mother of three soul children, Nora, Morgan, Grace lost through miscarriage, I celebrate the all akimbo view of motherhood. So this night, know this... what you do matters and people notice.  Many people notice.   They do not all comment. Let my comments echo as many for you this night. Blessings for whatever in your life these days is pushing me to send this to you tonight." For God's Sake - Slay me NOW . . . as I said, ALL ALONG, you (all of you) were there holding onto the trampoline.  I may not have gotten it quickly this time, but I understand now.  That, for the first time in my life, I feel I have people/friends who will - CATCH ME IF I FALL -(altar niche creating in 2005-2006) Thanks - friends of my heart Thanks - friends of my heart  There are many more people, and here are some more short excerpts of love messages from my 'posse' - "Sher, your art is fabulous . . .  you are BEYOND fabulous . . . Hang in there!  It will all be okay.  I so love the little piece you made me.  It makes me smile."  - Mary Lou There are a few others that have the power to lighten my heart, even if I haven't quoted them here, I give a bow to:  George, Haven, Linda, GiGi, Vanessa, Kate and her Oreo Bon-Bon's and general pin-up girl fabulosity, Jim Shue, John M, Michael T., Brenda QuinkyDink (all the HK Talkers! and former BB's) basically, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND SUE ME IF I FORGOT YOUR NAME . . . Marshall, who THANKED me for being HIS friend . . . I may actually sleep tonight.  I, too, wish Gigi could send me some Ambien, darn those rules and regulations!  

 

 

 

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If You Are Here, You Found ME!

Welcome to the 'new' blog . . . testing Wordpress . . . which I am determined will be easier than my technical challenges with Typepad. Amazingly, I am going on 2 years, this Fall being my 3rd year 'on-blog'. I hope I am getting better at entertaining or at least that you are enjoying the ride along with me as I fumble through my life and art career. A lot has changed for me in 2 years. I have surpassed many goals and am sad to say other goals were left behind in the dust. View of "Coping Skills" installation, from above View of "Coping Skills" installation, from above Seriously, even if inserting and labeling the images is easier, it is worth it to me! So, here we go, fasten your seatbelts - we are off!! Let me know if you are having any troubles with this format and I will try to work the kinks out.  I still have 1 week to finish setting my gallery on the website before I will really feel 'set' - but I promise to practice and keep you posted . . . so, bear (do you 'bear' with someone or do you 'bare' with someone?  English teachers???) with me while I get the hang of it . . . As always, each day, For Art's Sake, Sher
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Rapunzel's Tower: Update

I am happy to report that Rapunzel's Tower has been modified and installed in our new backyard: as you can see it was the perfect setting for my daughter, Claire's, 6th birthday party: costumes welcome!  We had a blast welcoming the 10 friends, resplendent in medieval princess costumes, even a batman, and a fairy.  Once the portrait panels were removed, it became a great 'open-air' tower for the little friends.   How many princesses can you fit in Rapunzel's Tower? Answer: 8!!! It was so much fun creating the sculpture for children of all ages - even adults have really seemed to enjoy the whimsy and creativity!
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Curatorial Resume

Sher Fick – Artist/Independent Curator

1023 St. Hubbins Drive, Spring Hill, TN 37174 – 615-975-1025 (cell) sherart1861@aol.com

www.sherfickart.typepad.com

CURATORIAL RESUME

INCENDIARY, A Political Invitational Exhibition celebrating freedom of speech – Sculpture, Painting, Photography & Installation Works – October, November 2008, Middle Tennessee, USA – 51 works including suspended installation of entire gallery.  www.sherfickart.typepad.com for prospectus information or www.artcalendar.com

EARTHworks, An Invitational Exhibition – in correlation with National Land Association Conference, Nashville, TN, October 2006.  Guest Curator, Crystalwood Gallery.

FLUX, Primary Organizer, Todd Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University, Spring 2006.

PUBLIC ACCESS I & II, Cope Administration Building, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.  Fall 2005 and Spring 2006.

SPIRITUAL MEMORY.  Sprint Theatre Gallery.  Niceville, FL.  Spring 2003.

NEW FACES – SEMINAL - REGIONAL REFLECTIONS - TREASURE TROVE, Quarterly Exhibitions, New Endeavors Art Gallery, Destin, FL  2000-2002, Gallery Director.

FOR THE PUBLIC, Art Film Series at Art Center Galleries. Niceville, FL, 1998

15 monthly exhibitions of traveling exhibitions, juried exhibitions, guest artists, and membership exhibitions, FORT WALTON BEACH ART MUSEUM, Curator, 1999-2001.

1997 ANNUAL JURIED STUDENT EXHIBITION, Art Center Galleries, Niceville, FL.

Assistant to Gallery Director, Art Center Galleries, Niceville, Fl, 1997 - 2001

 

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Press/Media Kit

Contact: Sher Fick, Artist      sherart1861@aol.com ; 1023 St. Hubbins Drive, Spring Hill, TN 37174; cell 615-975-1025 Headshot: Photo Credit: Rhonda Schaeffer of Niceville, FL Around Town Photography, copyright. Links: www.sherfickart.typepad.com - artist's art blog http://perambulating.blogspot.com/  - art review by David Maddox, Nashville Scene http://www.commercial-news.com/local/local_story_313210623.html - "Artist's Hard Work Pays Off", article on artist, Danville Commercial News by Staff Writer Barbara Greenberg  http://www.neoimages.net/artistportfolio.aspx?pid=2287 - juried showcase of visual artists Other numerous links are available on artist's blog for additional online art venues. Art Info:
Midwest, 1967 - currently residing in rural Tennessee, United States
Sher Fick holds a BFA Painting/Sculpture (2006) from Middle Tennessee State University and has studied at the Santa Fe College of Art and The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. While living in the Florida Panhandle, Fick was nominated for the Cox/Bravo Channels Champion for the Arts Award. Fick's work explores personal and cultural archeology. Motifs include childhood remnants and found objects, safety pins and disassembled doll parts. Many artworks explore the origins of nursery rhymes, fairytales, and childhood treasures.  Materials utilized include mixed media assemblages with encaustic, altered garments, and fiber constructions. Recently Fick has taken her creations to new heights in the creation of outdoor installations.  Art Critic David Maddox found Fick's work "dealing with childhood and domestic matters handled in . . . a pleasurably lively manner and that the materials were arranged in a . . . ceremonial and ritualistic way". (http://perambulating.blogspot.com/, April 2006).

Specific to Rapunzel's Tower:

 

Fick has interned and subsequently worked for Installation Artist Adrienne Outlaw at her Nashville studio.  Fick continues Outlaw's art advocacy by extending opportunities to new, emerging artists.  For Cheekwood Art & Garden's 2008 Happily Ever After exhibition, she has hired two former studio mates from MTSU to create the portrait panels for Rapunzel's Tower- Denise Johnson will create an image of the Enchantress and Selena Long will create images of the King/Queen (Rapunzel's erstwhile parents). 

 

As a former elementary art teacher, Fick especially enjoys creating art specifically for children.  Rapunzel's Tower will include: rock climbing wall with rappelling rope (Rapunzel's Braid), silly mirrors, discovery panels, and a letter search for the letters spelling out Rapunzel's name.  Each aspect has been chosen to cover the imagination of children of all ages: from infant to the adult-young-at-heart.

 

 

Image:

Sher Fick at a Nashville Untitled Exhibition, October 2005.

 

Photo Credit: Julie Anderson of Made-Up Media, Waleska, GA.

 

Image:

 

Artist's Model of Rapunzel's Tower.

Photo Credit: Sher Fick, 2008.

 

 

Image:

 

Upper Level of Rapunzel's Tower, Studio Progression (unstained).

Photo Credit: Sher Fick, 2008.

Completed Tower will be 15 feet tall, including flag.

 

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In the Studio . . .

So things are progressing on Rapunzel's tower.  I have had the meeting with my hired painters for creating the King, Queen, and Enchantress panels.  I can't wait to see what they come up with.  I had so much fun mixing the paint and putting together their "kits" - included the primed wooden panels (think like Leonardo da Vinci), color splash pages visualizing all the paints I pre-mixed (and bottled up in my plethora of prescription bottles), brushes, water tub, and palettes. We also had a lot of fun sorting through my box of Renaissance teaching references, posters, and student work- they had a great laugh at my demos!  It really made me wistful for teaching - the year at Bluewater Elementary in 2001-2002 is a real highlight in my life.  I am really hoping that in the new, larger studio I will be able to have a workshop area for private lessons and for lessons for home schoolers. We are lucky enough to celebrate the opening of a County Rec Center in our neighborhood (less than 2 miles away) - it opens in late April and I am also hoping to contact them about teaching some private lessons there.  One idea I have is to teach an Art Appreciation for adults - we would do 6 weeks of slide shows, lectures, and some hands-on creation and end with a field trip into Nashville for museum and gallery hopping.  It will take me a while to get the proposals together and I will probably have to wait until after the installation of Rapunzel in May . . . but just having something like this to think about while I am "working my jigsaw" is invigorating - mental stimulation cannot be taken for granted! Here is the final product of the stepping stones to be hidden around the Rapunzel tower:   They are all lined up side-by-side and are not the most professional shots - I am trying to be less perfectionist and get some more posts live - that was the whole point of the blog, right???? Other working shots of the studio (ie, garage):     Panels for upper tower, and my version of the JIG - note my lovely posture (not)! Actually all the walls of the upper tower are cut and - MIRACLE - they actually fit together perfectly . . . after I finish painting the kids' bathroom today I hope to get back in the studio and take the next level of shots showing the next stages. Will be traveling to Knoxville, TN this weekend - a great art friend, Alicia Beach, is having a solo exhibition and I will be meeting my little sister (who lives in Spartanburg, SC) and my nieces Gracie & Emma for a Zoo day on Saturday.  It will be just wee Claire and I and we are really excited (we are still keeping our fingers crossed that Grandma will make it, too)! Some of you might not know this, but our family has a penchant, shall we say, of bizarre accidents.  Here is Emma, Gracie, and my sister Susan on Easter Sunday.  On the day before Emma got busted in the eye while playing on a slide before the Egg Hunt (phone update on site), then leaving the park Susan fell (in her flip flops) off the curb and strained her ankle . . . additional phone updates . . .meanwhile, at "home" in Illinois at my mom's house for her 65th birthday/Easter dinner on said Saturday (me being lazy we had this catered, thanks brother John) . . . while waiting on the food to arrive my nephew Garrett (17, big football player) was helping my Claire (age 5) and niece Morgan (age 8) to fly their HELLO KITTY kite . . . he tripped on one of the numerous brick flowerbeds and broke HIS ankle in 3 places and has had an ortho surgery already!!!!  We have decided there must have been a bizarre full moon or eclipse on the 22nd!!!! Garrett has his Xrays on his my space page . . . don't know the link, but will add it later.  On a sad, sad note, this means he doesn't get to go into the Marines as planned as he now has "hardware" holding his ankle together.  The war beats on and I also have a niece going into the Army in July and my nephew Joshua signed up for the Air Force last Friday . . . terror in our hearts, but pride, too . . . our family has a long history or military enlistments from the Revolution (J. Cahill was on the boat when Washington crossed the Delaware River and SO WAS ONE OF MY HUSBAND'S ANCESTORS - IT WAS FATE!), then through the Civil War on both sides, both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam - this is not something we intend to perpetuate, but there you go. So off on additional tangents - god love Eckhart Tolle and A New Earth, I can't keep up with the on-line classes and listen while working in the studio - but, wow, I'm so glad there are other beings out there like me - thought I was a freak! For Art's Sake, sher
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Finally Made a Web Banner!

I have been working on this web banner for at least a month now - it still doesn't stretch as far as I would like - but, it is there! For some reason my insert image icon isn't working or I would add some alternative banners here - will try again later . . . Just another professional job I do not feel fully capable of - the whole "graphic designer" jobs that are required of visual artists in this technological age.  But I do like the idea of being in control of my image and how I am presented to the world.  I have far to go in my graphic knowledge and really need to get back into the studio to work on RAPUNZEL - have been researching material and finally bought the wood yesterday.  It was a huge boost to open the check from the museum - I feel very official now!! Wish me luck - pictures to come soon - can't find my camera in the jumble of house, studio, and have been visiting family while my children were on Spring Break (but my hubby did take them to Disney for 3 days - I worked on art most of that time)! Sher
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Coming Soon . . . Sher finally goes public . . . Plans for the weblog

COMING SOON . . . Art Review of Steven Finke's Solo Exhibition, "Composite Things" at Ruby Green Contemporary www.rubygreen.org "Traveling Artfully" - Journal and Images from our Summer 2007 Italy sojourn - including art reviews on the Venice Biennale.  Also will exhibit my sketchbook and the resulting artworks. Other items I will include: Encaustic references for technique and artists Book Reviews/Suggestions Curatorial Development with Contacts for Artists Artistic Process - ongoing journal of the construction of "Rapunzel" to be on view at Cheekwood Museum's Summer Garden Installations . . . "Happily Ever After"  www.cheekwood.org
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Artist's Statement for Coping Skills & Garment Series

In recent series I wanted to explore and question the roles of women and women artists.  In the last decades artists have been allowed to move beyond the gentle arts of needlepoint and watercolor, allowing for a more aggressive and passionate expression.  As an artist, I never identified myself as a feminist.  My being female was just a part of my biology, driving my sexual encounters and relations and the cause of reproduction.  All of these feminist identifiers caused ambiguity within me.  Constriction, restraint, feelings of abuse, and invisibility were the products of my femininity.  In no way was I called to wave the feminist banner.  I did not want someone to give me credit for or look at my art only through the pink lenses of feminism.  I feel art should stand on its own as to content and visual principles of design.  Does the viewer really need to know that a female created a work?  So for years I de-feminized my subject matter, colors, and construction.  I was going for an androgynous art. 

 

 

Unfortunately, this separatist attitude developed into a denial of my complete person.  I AM a woman.  I AM a wife.  I AM a mother. I loved playing with dolls as a child.  I love to sew and crochet.  As I began an archeological dig culturally, psychologically, and personally in my recent Excavations and Explorations series, I re-discovered and acknowledged - for the first time - my feminine history and existence.  My new works include the very ambiguity I feel over this issue the abuse of the innocent child, societal attempts to break the feminine spirit and strength, celebrations of the resilience of children, the paradox and invisibility of motherhood and domestic practices, as well as the raw desire of sex and love. 

 

 

My use of domestic and childhood materials and constructions of fabric and vintage apparel reveal the paradox of the life of a woman artist.  I have embraced my love of the color pink and the vintage teal that stands for home and comfort.  By questioning what femininity means to myself, I hope to offer a record of one-woman artists journey into acceptance and the embrace of the feminine spirit I have denied for years.  In this series I visualize the depolarization of my artist/feminine self.

 

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