Chris Dorosz is a painter who is pushing the work off the canvas and out into the space of the gallery. One might think of George Seurat’s divisionist/pointillist works when viewing Chris’ update on the traditional interior. Chris states:
The Painted Room is a three-dimensional recreation of my parent’s living room made out of splotches of acrylic paint on hung monofilament. Benjamin’s quote is especially true for me; growing up as the only son in a military family, our living room was packed and unpacked innumerable times – becoming a depository of memory.
In walking around his pieces, one becomes aware of the space between atoms, the ephemerality of our existence on a molecular level. Breathtaking and poignant, Dorosz’s work was exhibited recently at ICA in San Jose, California.
This July in Vancouver there will be a pilot project launched by curators Lynn Ruscheinsky and Bob Kardosh. A wonderful new initiative, the Drawn Festival will celebrate the drawn form, hosted by galleries across the city. Along with the exhibitions, symposia, and artist talks, a new drawing prize will soon be part of the yearly festival. Modelled after Toronto’s Contact Photography Festival, this will the first festival of its kind in Canada. You can find out more about this event by clicking here.
In her heart-warming book, The Principles of Uncertainty, Maira Kalman reveals emotional depth and a quirky wit. In an excerpt posted on the New York times website, she suggests ways to ponder the pursuit of happiness.
An illustrator, author, and designer, Kalman is widely known and loved for her children’s books such as Ooh La La, Max in Love, and her brilliant illustrated update of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Hear Maira talk about her life and work in a video from the public speaking series Ted Talks:
Jay Isaac is a Canadian painter who is carving out new territory by revisiting old approaches; he is making paintings of humble things, such as the view out his window.
I have not met Jay, but I first saw his work in a group show around 2002, at Vancouver’s Third Avenue Gallery. It was a picturesque view of a swan in a pond. I was struck by the voluptuous paint surface, the simple, endearing subject matter, and what came through to me was the sheer joy of painting. What’s more, dare I say it was beautiful? I still regret that I was not able to take it home with me, so I could enjoy it everyday.
In the current climate of young, new, hip artists with fabulous conceptual savvy (and some of them truly deserve the attention), let’s not forget artists and writers who came to their best work later in life, through trial and error.
Think: Louise Bourgeois today in her 90’s, Cezanne in his 60’s, Philip Guston in his late 50’s,Virginia Woolf in her 40’s. Says Robert Frost, who wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” when he was 57:
…it is later in the dark of life that you see forms, constellations. And it is the constellations that are philosophy.
Things are more or less in place in the new studio, and I finally got back to painting this week. Opening up my box of brushes was like an emotional reunion with old friends. As it’s been several weeks since I’ve painted, I decided a low-stress way to get back into things would be to touch up some pieces I had started in January.
I’m on the third floor of a one-hundred year old building that used to be a mattress factory. It’s filled with the bustle of artists, designers, and craftspeople in an industrial neighbourhood with warehouses, other artist enclaves, and an auction house nearby.
Not too many cafés close at hand, but there’s a gelateria and a quaint neighbourhood grocery store/bakery not far away. Meanwhile I’ve inherited a toaster oven and invested in an electric kettle, so can save money and precious time by eating in most days. It’s getting very comfy–which is good for being really productive. The only downside is I may not want to go home at the end of the day!
Aganetha Dyck‘s exhibitionCollaborations on now at the Burnaby Art Gallery is the result of her ongoing dialogue with bees. Her recent Hive Scans were created with the help of her son and his laptop computer. The printed results are very painterly, with blurring stripes that remind me of smeared paint, but which are actually the traces of bees in motion while the scan takes place. These images are very tactile, capturing marks of pollen, honey, and wax left by the bees on the surface of the scanner.
Dyck often takes objects she finds or constructs, and places them in the hive during the bees’ active summer months. Check out her wax-encrusted braille tablets and her striking back-lit manufactured metal plates of text, all of which are a poignant reference to communication between humans and bees.
Learning to drywall has been interesting, but let’s get to the art part already! It’s taken me three weeks to tear down my studio and set up the new one, and I’m worried I will soon have forgotten how to paint.
Monday: paint all the walls white.
Tuesday: mop up the dust, open up my beloved art supplies, and begin the shift back into painting mode. A big part of painting is the time spent thinking about them.
I’ve also been pondering furnishings. Now that there’s the space for it, I can have more fun decorating! I’d love to have a chandelier like the one at left found at Hampstead Village Guesthouse in London, but items like these are rather scarce in Vancouver, and likely way beyond my price range. Meanwhile, across the hall from me, Eszter Burghardt let me sit in her comfy Ikea chair. Only fifty bucks, and great for taking a break from hours of standing.
Fed up with the doom and gloom about the recession, global warming, and rising terrorism? Since they probably aren’t going to go away, perhaps you should read The Optimist, a new book by Laurence Shorter. Over three years, he spent time finding people who make the best of their time on the planet, including Richard Branson, Mick Jagger, and Desmond Tutu.
In his research, he discovered that “optimism” is actually misrepresented. A word coined by 17th century philosopher Leibniz, its original meaning was actually “optimal”, to signify the perfection of the universe as it is now–in other words, being in the moment, and deciding to accept things as they really are.
Interestingly,”Martin Seligman, in researching this area, criticises academics for focusing too much on causes for pessimism and not enough on optimism. He states that in the last three decades of the 20th century journals published 46,000 psychological papers on depression and only 400 on joy.” (Wikipedia).
“I have spent a lot of time in the last two years making cakes while continuing to make paintings. A cake to me is a work of art with the intention of generosity. It is beautiful, it is structural, it is an evocative work of color and balance. And then people eat it. They consume it. They find it too sweet or too sticky or too vanilla-y. And then they move on. This is the generosity of art. Create with intention and then, set it free.”
There is an interesting connection between the accumulation of layers in her paintings, and the strata of her cakes––a sense of play, and the elapsing of time. Well worth a look.