Sunday, May 26, 2013

May, She Will Stay

April showers bring May showers,
resulting in some serious bloomage.
This is the Kingsborough campus all a-flower.

Last spring saw me taking lots of Pratt spring pics that were featured in the school e-newsletter, 
but, sadly, since I'm not there this year, Pratt is missing out on my camera's roving eye.

Well, not quite.  Here's a shot of the tulip tree on the Pratt campus on the day of my visit to Sally Novak's new studio space in the ARC building, post-fire.

This is one of Sally's works in her new space,
a new direction altogether for her, using discarded printing plates
sewn together to form a reflective surface for the softly colored canvas...

...creating a topography of light that glows warm and cool, 
an arena that brings to mind the ethereal skies of Tiepolo.

And here's another pic of Pratt on that day, alight in the spring sunshine.

Back to Kingsborough, here's some of my own artwork, a couple of napkin-doodles 
 done during my class...

...perhaps inspired by the still life I set up
for my students with the two hard-working torsos that grace the painting and drawing studios.
They look much better in this picture than in reality, 
where marks and cracks pock their no-longer-pristine white surfaces.
No sags or muffin-tops, however.  They've kept their girlish figures.

Speaking of the ravages of aging, May brought us several birthdays,
and the death of an old friend.

My sister's cat Moe (below on the right), seen here with his bosom buddy Izzy...

...has run out of lives, and is now buried in Sherry and Brett's back yard.
Moe will live on in our memories...  

(This photo taken last summer on the banks of Lester River where it flows into Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota.)

...and Sherry and Brett will get another baby-kitty so Izzy will know what it's 
like to be the the older cat with a little fuzzy, mewling thing harassing you night and day
with its tiny sharp claws.
So the cycle of life continues.... it does with Frank, who is also a May Birthday boy, his on the 17th,
which happens to be Norwegian "Constitution Day" marking the date when Norway
 began their quest to be rid of their "forced union" to Sweden (sounds nasty!) 
after 400 previous years of being ruled by Denmark.  Those Scandinavian imperialists!

Personally, I'm a three-quarter Swede, while Frank is a solid one-fourth.

Frank, however, is an equal-opportunity imperialist:  Viking, Aztec, what have you.

Coincidentally, we went to the Scandinavian-themed restaurant Aquavit, 
to celebrate Frank's  birthday a few days early.

As Frank reports:

"Well, they were heavy into amuse bouche so we were able to taste a lot of things. A few: Langoustine and Cauliflower, Veal Sweetbreads and Celeriac, Arctic Bird’s Nest ( wafers made of tapioca and infused with mushroom essence), [seen above] Charred Gravlax with Shaved Fois Gras and Crescent Duck Breast with Fiddlehead Fern. And when they poured you a glass of wine, they poured you a glass of wine, 
not a thimbleful."

As my sister Sherry said, "This is not my grandmother's Scandinavian cuisine."

Here is my "asparagus and beets, smoked trout roe, danish rye, nobis, spruce." 
Nobis?  No clue.
But the meal was art.  I don't know what they did to the beets, but they were super-delicious, slightly tart with a crumbly charred surface.  Here their remnants create a compelling ab-ex plate composition.

I document Frank's usual reaction to the restaurant bill (he did this on our first dinner date, 
and has continued the tradition every brunch, lunch or dinner date thereafter)
but this time it's been altered to reflect his big May 17th, 2013 event.

This is our view from the window seat at Aquavit.
New York, New York, that toddlin' town!
Oh, wait, that's Chicago.

But Chicago doesn't have the rats that New York does!
Down the street, on 53rd and Park Avenue, is a
12’ tall Bronze Union Scab Rat manufactured at Polich Tallix.

These rats are usually not made of bronze, but instead are blow-up, temporary 
creatures who sit in front of businesses who engage in anti-union activities.

(Internet photo)

 I've seen them all over the city, staring ominously into the front windows of
their chosen stores.

(Internet photo)

Frank and I wander further down Park Avenue at dusk... go to the closing ceremony of the Pratt
Senior show called "Flameproof" on a floor of 375 Park Avenue...

...which is owned by the famed Larry Gagosian, art gallery dealer of the stars,
who generously donated the space to the Pratt graduating class, some of who had all their 
artwork destroyed by the recent fire, as reported in a recent post.

Just a few of the many participants:
 above, Mick Junco
with his painting that speaks of free-floating dreams and visions guiding his hand, 
describing an eerie reality that belongs both to him and to itself.
(BTW, this is why the professional photographer takes more than one shot, which I didn't do here, 
which is why we see Mick mid-blink.  Sorry about that.)

The amazing Miss Dingo, below, lost all her beautiful work in the fire...

...but she is an unstoppable artist with an artist's inner fire, 
which trumps mere earthly flames every time. 
This is Juliet Knuth with her complex and uncanny biomorphic drawing
which speaks of connections, evolutions and devolutions...

...not unlike the writhing "Last Judgment" forms
in the Sistine Chapel...

...Juliet lent me her awesome mask for my Solstice filmings,
which will be featured in the video for my show at Trestle, opening June 21st...

...but before we talk more about me, me, me, here are some more
artists and art:
 below, Hannah Yook at her Pratt senior show
with an eclectic hanging strategy for her elegant, gridded collages...

...and Susan Luss who shares the space with Hannah for her senior show.

Susan uses found objects, dyed cloth and painted elements to create painterly installations that she never imagined in her first months at Pratt, drawing in materials and forms from multiple arenas.
Her work seems to be infused with a kind of kinetic tension,
not moving but with a continuous sense of motion,
balanced between being and becoming. 

The changes in her work were partially catalyzed by the shock of the fire,
but they also seem to be the natural result of the probing, curious, open, pioneering spirit 
that guides her life.  

Here she is with the woman who first suggested that she go to Pratt 
to pursue her dreams, Juliana Terian, founder and president of the Terian Foundation
which provides financial relief to families and children in the New York City area, and also
sponsors the Peter Terian Fine Arts Scholarship in honor of her late husband, to
"encourage students in their artistic endeavors, instilling in them the importance of original vision, creative diversity and their continued attention to the culture of their world."

Ms. Terian is a woman who makes many dreams come true,

Further along in May comes the opening of "Open Spaces" at Gallery 128
in the Lower East Side, curated by 
Kaitlin Martin, who was my fellow collaborator in "Something Something With Fish"
and whose work will be featured in my Solstice show, also.

Below, the Open Spaces opening...

...where the Painted People surround my new friend Christopher Pelley,
who has just returned from Roma
where he was teaching drawing to Pratt architectural students and making 
art himself - nice work if you can get it!
I knew Christopher from Facebook but now he's traversed the virtual into the real.

(photo by  C. Pelley)

The "Open Spaces" show also features my video "La Isla Bonita"
beautifully sung by Courtney Collins and starring who else but the Painted People!

"La Isla Bonita" was a song by Madonna that has a very entertaining video
that Courtney and the People have made their own.

There was also great music at the opening, courtesy of Tariq Shaw of the Riq Experience.

On the way home, Frank meditates on the wonder of it all...

...and another less fortunate soul meditates on the sad state of his physical being...

Back at our Livinston Street studio, things look bright!

The Painted People have new furniture, which they are enjoying... only they can...

...and, ta da!   Frank sold a major painting!
To a woman in Allentown via a gallery in Arizona!
Go figure!

Yay!  And soon my Solstice Show at Trestle will happen, coincidentally opening on June 21st!

"Air" from the "Earth, Air, Water, Fire" series

Mary at Trestle in my practice run.

But the best news of all is a grandchild in the making!

Jennifer and Andrew are pregnant,
the big day being sometime next November.
Can't wait to be Grandma Jeanne!!!

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