Artist of the Day- Ben Durham at MacDowell Colony (click on image for more)

Ben Durham is another of the artists we visited at the MacDowell Colony last weekend. I've included an artist statement which makes the entry very long...and I know it's too much writing but...once you read it the work will have so much more meaning. Patience!

"Mug shots of childhood friends are the source material for the ongoing Text Portraits series. Every day I search an online data base of arrest records from my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.Some of the subjects have been arrested for traffic violations or nonpayment of fines. Some have been arrested for assault, rape, or murder. Following backward into the past from the found mug shot image, my struggle to remember begins a process of storytelling that is written into the piece itself. Each drawing is composed entirely of handwritten text. The content of that text is a graphic, unedited recounting of everything I can remember or have been told about the subject."

Artist of the Day-Harmony Hammond at MacDowell Colony(click on image for more)

Harmony Hammond was working in the printmaking studio at the MacDowell Colony. She had a series of maybe 12 pieces pinned up on the wall. They were made of handmade paper and grommets she had pounded flat into the paper and then run through the press. I’ve included a couple similar ones from Google. She was delightful to talk to…excited to have a press to work on. She’s no newcomer. She’s long been involved in the feminist movement and has written extensively. She’s been awarded a Guggenheim and fellowships from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation…not too shabby.

Artist of the Day- Duke Riley& MacDowell Colony(click on image to view individually)

This guy…amazing! He is working on a long term, many faceted project. Too long to explain but so so interesting. Started with smuggling cigars out of Cuba…on the backs of pigeons…that he trained! Then he strapped tiny cameras on the bellies of other pigeons so he could have the smuggling recorded. And…as well protected as our borders are…Guess What!!!... The pigeons escaped being arrested by Homeland Security! So…at MacDowell he’s been working on large paintings of birds of prey- hawks, falcons etc. that attack the pigeons. He is painting on black roofing paper with egg tempera, yup…made from pigeon eggs!!! These paintings are beautiful and full of detail and the black roofing paper represents the dark of night when the hawks can’t see…so the pigeons can get away. OHHHHH I could go on. You should go to his website and see for yourself all the crazy things he’s been involved with. As you can see I’m a bit ‘over the moon’ about him! Oh…he’s a tattoo artist. Don’t his drawings remind you of Wolfli from Monday?! AND…our son Amos knows him…was in his class at RISD and rented studio space from him in Brooklyn!

This guy…amazing! He is working on a long term, many faceted project. Too long to explain but so so interesting. Started with smuggling cigars out of Cuba…on the backs of pigeons…that he trained! Then he strapped tiny cameras on the bellies of other pigeons so he could have the smuggling recorded. And…as well protected as our borders are…Guess What!!!... The pigeons escaped being arrested by Homeland Security! So…at MacDowell he’s been working on large paintings of birds of prey- hawks, falcons etc. that attack the pigeons. He is painting on black roofing paper with egg tempera, yup…made from pigeon eggs!!! These paintings are beautiful and full of detail and the black roofing paper represents the dark of night when the hawks can’t see…so the pigeons can get away. OHHHHH I could go on. You should go to his website and see for yourself all the crazy things he’s been involved with. As you can see I’m a bit ‘over the moon’ about him! Oh…he’s a tattoo artist. Don’t his drawings remind you of Wolfli from Monday?! AND…our son Amos knows him…was in his class at RISD and rented studio space from him in Brooklyn!

Artist of the Day- David Lynch&MacDowell Colony (click on image for more)

This past Sunday we went to Medal Day at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. This is our favorite day of the year.

Each year the Colony honors a visual artist, writer, composer, poet, photographer or journalist. Artists of all kinds can apply for a residency to spend a couple months or a few weeks to work on a project they have described in their application. They get a small studio on the grounds, their lunches delivered daily in a straw basket and the rest of their (fabulous) meals served to them in the main house. Once a year the studios are opened…on Medal Day…and you get to go and look around and talk to artists about their projects and their ideas and dream of how great it would be if YOU could be there!

This year David Lynch, the director-artist was the honoree. I hadn’t known him as a visual artist. His artwork carries the same dark underbelly as his films.

 

 

Artist of the Day- Danica Phelps (click on image to view individually)

My daughter in law worked briefly with Danica Phelps in Brooklyn at a preschool. That’s how I heard about her. I own one of her small drawings. The red and green markings denote her tracking the progress of life…financially and emotionally…drawing the daily life of money coming in and going out…monitoring her life. Her figure drawings are so interesting. Frequently you are seeing through a figure, to one beyond.

Artist of the Day-Barbara Takenaga (click on image to view individually)

Born N. Platte Nebraska .She has 2 upcoming shows, one in Williamstown Mass. at Williams College where she teaches and a second at Rhode Island College in Providence.  Her work feels cosmic and cellular. It also makes me think of jellyfish and the upcoming eclipse...there is a sense of the slowing down of time.

She has a huge piece on view right now at Mass MOCA! You can see it when you click on the images. It's the last image...the long wall...100ft!

 

  

  

Artist of the Day- Adolph Wolfli (click on image to view individually)

"Every Monday morning Wölfli is given a new pencil and two large sheets of unprinted newsprint. The pencil is used up in two days; then he has to make do with the stubs he has saved or with whatever he can beg off someone else. He often writes with pieces only five to seven millimetres long and even with the broken-off points of lead, which he handles deftly, holding them between his fingernails. He carefully collects packing paper and any other paper he can get from the guards and patients in his area; otherwise he would run out of paper before the next Sunday night. At Christmas the house gives him a box of coloured pencils, which lasts him two or three weeks at the most."

Wolfi was abused as a child, then became an orphan and was raised in a series of state run homes. Then he was an indentured child laborer and was later jailed repeatedly for attempted child molestation. Eventually he ended up in a psychiatric hospital in Bern, Germany and began making art. This quote is from one of the doctors who took a real interest in his case and his artistic progress

Artist of the Day- Marc Chagall (click on image to view more individually)

Here are some images of costumes designed by the Russian artist Marc Chagall. He designed for the Ballet Russes and also for opera. He was a real music lover.  His daughter, Bella Meyer says, “He always had a record player or the radio on and would listen to classical music. I understood from these wonderful conversations that the material and texture was very important. And through them, his paintings sing.” There is currently an exhibit of his costume designs on view at LACMA in Los Angeles.

Artist of the Day- Goya (click on image to view more individually)

In these hard times, Goya comes to mind. And yet, like all of us amidst the fear and anxiety there is/was…from time to time…beauty and humor peaking through. The 3 figure paintings are of the Duchess of Alba…well the standing one is for sure…the others…certainly idealized! Goya’s relationship with her is uncertain but his paintings of her are a reminder that beauty stirs.

Artist of the Day- Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida(click on image to view individually)

“Sorolla painted very, very fast. "I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly," he once said. "Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted." Besides Sundays, he would work six to nine hours a day, often standing in the full glare of the sun dressed in a suit. Most of his pictures were painted in from four to six mornings, many in one or two.” Sorolla painted outside…even for portrait painting. He felt he couldn’t establish a relationship with the sitter indoors. His work reminds me of his contemporary, John Singer Sargent AND like Sargent…man could he paint WHITE!

Artist of the Day- James Woodside (click on image to view individually)

“A direct and clear response to the “power of place” is what interests me; that’s what I’d like my paintings to convey. I do my paintings from direct observation and I complete them on-site. Working quickly, I try to maintain a direct and emphatic relationship with the subject matter I’m painting.” There’s a lot of energy in these paintings… probably due to the speed at which he paints them. Things change quickly when you work out in nature!

Artist of the Day- Yinka Shonibare (click on image to view individually)

Yinka Shonibare 

One of the pleasures of studying art history is recognizing art historical references in contemporary work. Shonibare gives new thoughts and ideas by rethinking these images. For me seeing the skater…elaborately dressed, none -the -less instantly conjures up Raeburn’s The Skating Minister. By dressing him in ‘African garb’ we are then confused…left scratching our heads. And as my sister-in-law says… “the thing I found fascinating is that what we see today as African fabric was of Indonesian design, mostly made in Britain… how bizarre is that? And apparently, it only became associated with African dressing in the 80s.” How things move through the world with us making grand assumptions!

 

 

Artist of the Day- Julian Opie (click on image to view individually)

“Things in my experience don’t look photographic”, he observed in 2001. “When I recall the things I did in a day, for example, it’s not as a series of photographs, high resolution pictures. It’s a series of images which resemble symbols and signs. It’s like another language.” These images, bring to mind Minimalism, Pop Art, cartoons and comic books, billboard signs and blockprints in part because of the heavy black outlines. I don’t think I recall my days in symbols…mine seem to be more of a blur!

Artist of the Day- Betty Blayton-Taylor (Click on image to view individually)

Betty Blayton-Taylor died in 2016. She was a real activist in the African-American community in NYC. She was the co-founder of the Studio Museum of Harlem and the co- founder and executive director of Harlem Children’s Art Carnival…and a bunch of other organizations. She knew from childhood she would be an artist. She is best known for her works often described as ‘spiritual abstractions.’

Artist of the Day- Cathleen Rehfeld (click on image to view more)

 My main focus with everything is always the light that creates shadows. How the light is falling on objects, whether it is an apple or a tree, the shadow that objects cast onto other objects. About the medium I use - oil paint has such intense color and luscious creamy look, it allows me to make expressive brushstrokes that bring out the qualities of luscious striation in the oil paint. 

Artist of the Day- Maureen Gallace (click on image to view more)

 "  Both familiar and impersonal, her art reflects a desire for beauty and solitude while inviting us into a broader meditation on our common culture. Whose bucolic landscape is this? And, for that matter, who lives here? "A quote from MOMA where her work is now on view. The work is so small. Most paintings are about 9”x12”. In MOMA’s large galleries the paintings must feel like small pale jewels. For me they evoke summer and the beach and The Cape…but also such emptiness.