Saturday, August 18, 2012

Art Unites

Today was a changeover day at the Belmar Arts Council- one show comes down, as people submit work for the next one.  So I was there to pick up my piece from the Animal Spirits show (just the bottles, as the cats were sold) and to drop off work for the next one, called Unite.  The theme is collaborative works, art that was made by combinations of artists.  It could involve things like writing or music, but I imagine that most will be between visual artists.  Mine are.

I've done a few collaborative pieces in the past, not that unusual for printmakers.  The most recent such project was the For Love Not Money postcard project from a few years ago.  After I had sent my card to Mauritius, and then another to Pennsylvania when most of the participants from Mauritius disappeared, I still had a bunch left over.  I offered them to people in the critique group to see what they came up with.  It seems that the group was not in a hurry to try it, as I only saw one in the first year.  Then a few months ago long time group member Tim Aanensen brought me the card shown below.

He added some yellow color in the sky over my blue and orange textures, the line drawing of the monster (Tim's label) and the little red bird, some coloring of the two figures, the words shown in the orange doors, and his signature.  Knowing that this show was coming up, I was glad to have at least one piece of art to submit.  Since Tim provided the narrative for the piece, I went with one of his suggestions for the title- The Chase Is On.

For a second submission I went back to the last century.  While I was in grad school in Carbondale I talked fellow print grad Linn Nelson into doing a couple of collaborative woodcuts.  The first was a small block on which she drew a stylized scene of what looked like dense woods.  I imposed a black and white shape breakdown on it and cut and printed it.  We took a different approach with the second one.  I gave her a larger piece of wood and she drew various figures and object above and straddling an arc that covered the upper third of the image.  Some of the images made me think of circuses and fairs.  A line (...saints at the fair...) from a recent song by the Breeders went through my head.  At the time I was doing this I was well into my saint series, which gave me the idea to create a quilt within the area under the curve, each square showing an object from one of my saint prints.  Again I chose values for both sections and cut the whole block.  The resulting print, which I ended up calling Saints at the Fair, is shown below.  Only a few were printed at the time, with both of us signing it.  She kept one which she showed at least once later in her home state of South Dakota.

While the print is an ideal example of a collaboration, I had one concern with this one.  One rule for this show was that works should not have been in a previous show at the Boatworks, but this one was.  About four years ago I ended up as part of a four person show,  a prize for being an award winner in the previous year's big annual juried show.  I put this piece in as one of the fifteen that were my portion of it.  I put the question to the organizers and it was decided since its last appearance was in a non-competitive situation (and they didn't remember seeing it before), it would be allowed.

Not a juried show, so as long as they are presented in a reasonably professional way (and my stuff always is), they'll be in.  The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, August 25th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, remains open through September 19, 2012.


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