I am thrilled and immensely grateful to be the recipient of the 2018 Aninstantia Foundation Visual Arts Grant.
From the Foundation's website: Aninstantia Foundation believes there is a need for art in the world of today. The intention of Aninstantia Foundation is to support individual artists who embody the creative force that, through art, touches an expansive range of senses, feelings, and thoughts—art that augments dimensions of our lives. Artists talking about the relationship between art and art forms provide insights into the making of art that enhances the richness of human experience.
I intend to use the grant to support my transition to my new studio, my ongoing studio work, and to further my explorations in printmaking.
Each separate board was numbered and indexed so that they could be installed in the lobby of the new building. The piece is approximately 16.5 x 10.5 ft, and its location provided some interesting challenges. As you can see, the lobby is a very tall but quite shallow space and it can be hard to take in the whole of the piece from such a close distance, however there are multiple viewpoints from the adjacent stairs and landings, and crucially the piece is visible through the glass windows as you approach the building. So my intention is that you see the larger graphic elements and general composition from outside, then once inside you see the material and textural elements.
Here are some installation shots. I am hugely appreciative of all the people who helped make this happen, especially all the people of Avenidas, Elise DeMarzo and Nadya Chuprina of Palo Alto's Public Art Program, architect Susi Stadler, Vance Brown Construction, and my pal Lee Tollefsrud who once again helped me install the piece.
A quick update on what's happening in the studio. I have some new paintings underway, but am mostly working on a commissioned wall piece for the lobby of Avenidas Senior Center in Palo Alto. For many years Avenidas have been located in an older Mission style building in downtown Palo Alto, and they're currently remodeling the old building and grafting a large new building onto it. The wall piece I'm making uses timbers reclaimed from the old building which have designs carved, painted, and added in relief. The design is rooted in an abstract digital painting I made a few years ago which seemed to suggest themes of growth and connection.
I'm working on the piece is sections in my temporary space at Jackknife Studios in Oakland with woodwork being done at the woodshop at Trainhole Studios in Berkeley. The piece will be hung on a two story wall in the main entry lobby and is approximately 16 x 11ft so pushing the limits of my modest current space! Installation will happen in January so stay tuned ...
From their website, "Founded in 1974, Kala Art Institute provides exceptional facilities to professional artists working in and across all forms of printmaking, digital media, film, video, and sound, book arts, photography, and performance". I recently took a three day series of monoprint classes with Jen Cole at Kala's print studios in Berkeley and you can see some of the resulting 14 x 14 prints below.
When I was in college I did a little printmaking but was always put off by the very step-by-step, technical nature of the processes which didn't really gel with my more intuitive approach to developing images. Since then I've dabbled with some linocuts, collagraphs, and monoprints, all just approached with a minimal degree of real technical knowledge , and I realized that printmaking can be very spontaneous and intuitive after all. I thought it was time I took some more serious lessons and Jen's approach which combined technical input with encouragement to experiment was perfect. I'd like to pick up the printmaking thread again next year at some point.
I hope your summers are going well friends! I'm having a busy one and want to share a few pieces of news.
Jackrabbits in Huntington Beach
I've just installed this commission "From The Earth" in the garden of the new Huntington Beach Senior Center. It's been in the pipeline for few years and has taken up the last several months with much intensive fabrication. The piece comprises sixteen columns with hand made and hand glazed tile. More pictures and information about the project here.
I currently have a few pieces in the summer group show at Stremmel Gallery in Reno. The show runs through August and is well worth visiting if you find yourself in the Sierras.
Thomas Henry Gallery
I have some recent paintings at Thomas Henry Gallery in Nantucket and will soon have some in their gallery in Newlyn, Cornwall, UK. The mid-century St Ives and Cornish painters have always been a big influence on me both philosophically and visually, so I'm excited to be working with a gallery based in Cornwall and in a US gallery with Cornish roots.
I've just relocated from my long-time home studio to Jackknife Studios (formerly The Hive Studios) near Jack London Square, Oakland. I'm looking forward to working in this great little creative setting, plus it's going to be a lot more convenient for hosting studio visits. Let me know if you ever want to drop by and see what's going on.
The Crocker Art Museum commissioned an evaluator to observe children and families interacting with their Art Spots installations which included three temporary installations and my permanent Dreamboat installation I made last year. The findings are fascinating!
"In Dreamboat, children had highly imaginative experiences. They walked into this installation and almost immediately appeared to immerse themselves into this “other world.” In this space, children were often observed creating narratives, deepening them as they engaged more with new play participants or found objects in the installation."
There were behaviors I hadn't anticipated:
"Dreamboat also fostered opportunities for social and emotional development. In this space, children expressed more moments of tenderness and awareness towards other’s needs. Older children also appeared more confident in taking on leadership roles, rallying their peers into play with them."
My single favorite observation was this one:
"A child and their caregiver are alone in Dreamboat. Almost immediately upon entry the child runs to the boat and begins narrating a story – the child is Wonder Woman and they are going out to sea. The child spends close to 45 minutes narrating their play and further developing their world, almost entirely alone. At various points throughout their play they voice a question about what to do next. In these moments the child holds a conversation with themselves taking on a secondary role of Wonder Woman, contemplating her actions as a factor for what they should do next. It is through this persona and acting it out that this child further explores Dreamboat, deepens engagement, and moves from collecting objects for their sailing trip to identifying creatures they must protect to building tools at the craft table to use in their adventure."
A short video about the installation was shot last Fall and you can see it here.
I'm really happy to now be represented by the marvelous Stremmel Gallery in Reno, Nevada. Ever since I came to the Bay Area I've loved to visit the Sierras and many years ago stumbled across it's two art-gems - The Nevada Museum of Art, and The Stremmel Gallery. Stremmel is a long established gallery showing work is big airy spaces and has long-held relationships with a stable of terrific artists. I'm honored and excited to join them.
Currently on show, a few pieces of mine pictured here alongside figurative paintings by Linda Christensen and sculpture by Roger Berry.
I was invited to be one of the many California artists contributing portraits to this show that raises awareness of immigrants and immigration issues - a subject close to my heart. For the show I made the first portraits I have painted in many years, one of my son Sam, and one of my friend Luis.
With Liberty and Justice for Some
September 23 - October 8, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, Sept 23, 6 - 8 pm
Co-curated by artist Monica Lundy and gallerist Walter Maciel, this exhibition features portraits of immigrants to the United States by artists from Southern California and the Bay Area. Back when Donald Trump was still the President-elect, long before his executive order became a flashpoint for pro-immigrant rallies at airports across the nation, Lundy, like many in her artistic community, felt both helpless and determined to do something. In response to this need, Lundy and Maciel invited artists from across the country to make 8 x 8-inch portraits of individuals who came to the United States as immigrants including historic subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and self-portraits. The exhibition launched in Los Angeles, then traveled to the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and will be exhibited at Berkeley Arts Center from September 23 to October 8, 2017.
Notable subjects portrayed in this exhibition include actors Bela Lugosi and Marlene Dietrich, entertainer Grace Jones, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Architect I. M. Pei, Province of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, and several established artists such as Eva Hesse, David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Rothko, and Enrique Chagoya.
Each portrait will be priced and sold individually, with a percentage of the sales going to the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) and YAZDA – A Global Yazidi Organization.
Pictures from the end of the installation and the opening family day for this interactive installation for under-fives. Great to finally see it in action!
Dreamboat is an immersive, interactive environment for "Totland" the room that serves as a base for the under-fives in the museum's amazing and award-winning education department. The idea that the center-piece would be a boat occupied by semi-abstract people and animals came from a carved spirit-canoe in the museum's Asmat artifact collection. The installation also features "wharf-shacks" and evocative murals that wrap around the walls and ceiling of the octagonal space.
I love The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and it's been my pleasure to work with them over the last year developing an installation in conjunction with their outstanding education department. The work has been constructed over the summer and we start installing it all this week. Here's a view of what my studio looks like right now:
The starting point for my idea was a carved wood piece in the Crocker's collection, a Papuan spirit canoe occupied by various human and animal figures, knowing that it would have intrigued the five-year old me. I've built my own version - a life-size boat with it's own "crew"and surrounding environment. I hope that children feel drawn in and compelled to explore it and lose themselves in imaginative games of their own invention.
I’ve avoided anything that leads into a specific guided activity - I recall the thing that always kept me engaged with art at an early age was its ambiguity and mystery, and I still think that intangibility is one of Art’s biggest assets in our very analyzed and explained world.
You can follow the installation process on Facebook or Instagram and of course at The Crocker.
Opening of the installation is Sunday, September 10th, 10.30am to 1.30pm when The Museum will be throwing Super Sunday Playday. In addition to my installation and redesign of the Tot Land space there will be two other interactive Art Spots installations, children's art making activities, music and entertainment. Museum admission is free for kids 6 and under, and youth 7 -17 are $5.
A couple of really exciting pieces of news to share with you.
Firstly, I'm thrilled to announce that I am now represented by Vessel Gallery, Oakland. Like everyone familiar with the East Bay art scene over the last decade, I've got to know and admire Vessel as one of the key galleries at the core of Oakland's art-led revival. The thoughtful curation, support for both emerging and established artists, and commitment to the larger community of owner-director Lonnie Lee have always impressed me. I was invited to take part in the well received group show Disruptus last summer, and now look forward to future projects together.
In late August/early September I will be completing an installation piece for The Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker has an excellent and nationally recognized education program and last year commissioned four artists and artist-teams to design temporary art installations that could be accessed and interacted with by pre-school age children. My proposed piece has now evolved into a permanent sculpture/mural/installation environment that will completely remake the existing early years education space.
The starting point for my idea was a piece in the Crocker's collection, a spirit canoe from Papua, Indonesia. I will be making an actual life-size boat with human and animal figures, and building it into an environment that will make entering the room feel like entering one of my paintings. The aim is to invite children, and their adults too, into this scene and to immerse themselves in fantasy and role play.
It's going to be an interesting project the progress of which you'll be able to follow on Facebook or Instagram.
Detail of spirit canoe from the Crocker's collection.