Monday, June 30, 2014

Stormy Weather; Dances with Flowers; Arctic, Apocalypse and Abstract Art

The Painted People have been doing some exciting things during the past month -
here they are under stormy skies, leaving behind a trail of organically grown vegetables.
It's too bad all the storms we've been having lately don't leave succulent veggies behind.

I am inspired by the idea of the city turning into acres of greenery,
the land rising up from ground level and sprouting plants of all kinds - flowers, food, trees,
all of it high up from the streets, out of range of deer and other annoyingly intrusive wildlife!
Except maybe a few birds, and the bugs, of course. Always the bugs.
But we need the bugs. And the bees.

But wait, do we need this particular bug, the one that I found a few feet away from our apartment door,
having made it that far before it keeled over?

After creating the Painted People under cloudy skies, 
I discovered the following pictures of existing roof farms
 created by the Brooklyn Grange. This looks so magical it's hard to believe it's really real!

(internet photo)
 They have a farm in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, above,
and in Long Island City, below.

(internet photo)

This is how a city should look!

Here's how it looked on street level a while back.

 But it's changed from that to this in Downtown Brooklyn on Livingston Street...

...which two years ago looked like this!

Thank goodness there are a million new condos and upscale rental units
in the area making it necessary to 
brighten up the mean streets!

In Park Slope on 3rd Street, (not a mean street) April showers...

...bring us May flowers! 
(Note the man on the ladder adjusting various equipment for the movie filming going on. 
3rd Street rocks big-time!)

Also seen in Park Slope: recycling of food garbage!
What a concept!
It brings me back to my farm and commune days when pretty much every molecule of our 
food waste went back to the garden in the form of carefully mulched rich dark humus. 
But this apres-food-service isn't happening in our building, unfortunately.
Otherwise I would have thrown that big bug in there.
Then again, maybe that bug was full of exterminator poison 
thus unsuitable for the organic mix and
only appropriate for regular, normal, everyday garbage full of toxins and other horrific substances.

Lots of rain in the city this spring.
Here some of it pours through onto the subway tracks
while a trendy young man talks obsessively about his blemishes and pimples.
Um, TMO! 

There's always something creepy about work trains in the subway. 
Like they've crawled out of some alien underground place where 
water bugs and rats and other devilish creatures live.

I am tempted by this sign - what a great service for the busy urbanite!
Gives a whole new meaning to the term "prayer service."

Here's one of my subway activities - this time I've had some good luck:
I'm number ONE all the way! 
Woo Hoo! I rule!

But on internet Scrabble, it's not so clear cut...

Along with playing games, I think about this job
for a few seconds...about the time it would take to blow a bubble and pop it. 

Frank and I go to see the movie "Chef" which is a lot better than this
empty BAM theater would contest.

I travel to SoHo, that glitzy funky outdoor mall that used to be the center of the art world.
I attend the meeting of the American Abstract Artists
at Siri Berg's beautiful loft which gives us a taste of a better SoHo up above the teeming streets.

There's plenty of high-end stores in SoHo with unfamiliar names, like this one on Prince Street.
At least unfamiliar to people who have no interest in high-end stores.

Pretty cool window, however.
Reminds me of my friend Julian Semilian's artwork a bit
in the intensity of the color, and the effusive roses.

Here's the corner of Houston and Broadway, filled with huge ads;
SoHo beginning to rival 42nd Street.
Nice sky, though.

Back in Brooklyn, I visit Tabla Rasa Gallery in Sunset Park,
the same area where I recently visited my friend Karen Heagle
 as noted in my last blog post:

The Tabla Rasa exhibition is entitled "Intimate Forest."

"Bright Boy" was painted by Mary Hrbacek - her work is an
homage to trees and the work they do for the earth, their
life processes being critical to the air we breath and to maintaining all life on earth.
She has a beautiful artist's statement about her work:

This piece is done by Audrey Flack Anastasi who has a studio adjacent to the gallery
where artists gather together for sessions of life drawing.
Her trompe l'oeil composition makes me want to pick up that pencil and draw a few lines myself...

Joseph Anastasi's romantic composition
brings to mind Ophelia's leafy grotto, except the woman seems to be in a state of
mesmeric suspension, not death...or perhaps a kind of creative gestation where
her inner and outer worlds are in harmonic if the world is standing still for her...
...something that doesn't happen for many women these days...

The following images are from Star Forest's thesis show
where the world is not standing still:

It is a very mysterious occasion, a show put on just for me,
where I go tripping along at subway speeds down this Arctic road.

Other parts of my journey include an eclectic array of items...

I successfully travel in and out of Star Forest world, courtesy of my ticket to ride.
It is a trip!

Speaking of stars, Ms. Forest was one of them in my recent Fridge Art Fair video program,
a selection of which, by the way, can be seen here for a while longer:
(Look for her under the name Chen Lin.)

Speaking of journeys, our most excellent friend Debera Johnson visited the studio and
went on a tour of the cloud tunnel, experiencing my Summer Solstice piece - 
"The Sun and the Horn"
- that was premiered a year ago, June 21st, at Trestle Gallery.
Time has flown on wings of...on wings of...well, it's gone by really fast.

Debera Johnson is Pratt’s Academic Director of Sustainability
and is also the executive director of this The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator.

This amazing space provides laser cutting, 3D printing, knitting machines, retail and conference space, labs and studios, mentoring for up and coming designers of every stripe, and much, much more!
Check it out here:

And speaking of amazing spaces,
here is Cynthia King at the ribbon cutting ceremony for her new dance studio space
on 21 Snyder Avenue in Brooklyn.
Her fierce and joyful creative spirit manifests itself in the lives of all these young people.

Look at these cool kids dance!
I am inspired
to make a digital collage starring Cynthia King dancers Sade Venord and Jayla Loiseau
along with the coral roses I saw on the way home from the dance studio,
growing on 7th Avenue and St. James in front of the 
Memorial Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn.

Next, in another part of Brooklyn, Williamsburg, I attend a talk by Leo Rabkin
about his artwork at Sideshow Gallery.
Leo is a long-time member of the American Abstract Artists and 
was president of the organization fifty years ago.

Here he is speaking to his friend Augusta Palmer, who
and also a video called "Nugatory" , a playful and witty animation of his art
that I featured in one of my CREON Gallery "Video By Night" events a while back.

Here is the current president of the organization, Daniel Hill, showing
Pinkney Herbert, Creighton Michael and Mary Schiliro 
how to conjure up a powerful beam of light with your hand.
Behind him is Katinka Mann's luminous and looming sculpture, that may have something
to do with the magic.

I admire the crystalline surface of Creighton Michael's "Palimset 413" - 
but you need to see this piece in person to see the way that light bounces around inside it.

Under Katinka's sculpture is Sharon Brant's "52-2014", 
David Row's "Untitled (DR944)" and Nola Zirin's "Suspension Study."
This show has been hung in a way where all the work is 
communicating with each other: relationships are formed; conversations are had.

Above is Emily Berger's richly colored "Untitled"; Judith Murray's "Daydream";
Mary Schiliro's elegant "Cats Cradle 12";
Manfred Mohr's "P1640_389"; James Seawright/Mimi Garrard's "Virtual Sculpture 2.1 Libra."

In my gallery experience, putting together a group show like this one is an interesting process.
All the work hangs around together for a while, wrapped, then unwrapped,
on the floor leaning against the walls, all kind of casual-like.  Then things get serious and the
artworks begin to talk to each other, so to speak,
some of them just seeming to gravitate toward each other,
others more like two north poles, not even wanting to be in the same room.

Here are two views of Jim Osman's "ALLOWANCE" sculpture
showing it interacting with the work on the walls.

I am interested in the way that Pinkney Herbert incorporates digital technology into his paintings.
Or maybe he incorporates painting into his digital artwork.
In this piece he slashes warm-colored paint on top of a cool digital print,
the paint lending a sensuous textural quality to the smoothness of the underlying print.
Painting on prints is something I haven't done yet but it seems very attractive to me. 

My piece in the AAA show is one of my Animated Abstractions,
the fourth in the series, made out of
four of my small drawing/paintings, all from the same sketchbook,
each of the drawings worked on over a period of several years
when I go back into them and add a bit of color here, a line there.
They tend to grow organically.

You can see the resulting "Animated Abstraction 4" here:

The music in the video includes my son Andrew Keeley Yonda playing the xylophone
that I bought as a gift for their new baby, Elliott.
It has the sweetest, purest tone.

Here is Elliott learning how to play...

(Image by Jennifer Keeley Yonda)

(Image by Jennifer Keeley Yonda)

Well, he hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet, but he will.
(Sorry, had to sneak in a couple of adorable baby pics.)

Seguing over to Chelsea, I visit the Elizabeth Harris Gallery where my good
friend Rick Klauber has some of his shim pieces on the walls.

Here's what I wrote about his work a couple of years ago for his one-person
exhibition upstairs at the Howard Scott Gallery:
"Rick Klauber’s recent paintings on carpentry shims hover on the wall as lightly as birds on a wire. They seem to breathe color."

And further:
"This work is an evocation of abstraction’s power to strip creativity of the burdens of narrative, storyline, plot, and in turn reveal something pure and essential..."

This is what I think of abstract art in general - I am drawn to its succinct clarity 
and the elemental directness in all of its infinite manifestations.
The first time I saw a DeKooning, I understood something important about our human
ability to connect with nature, to be inside of it, not just study and report on it.

Next, on to the Mike Weiss Gallery for something completely different.
This is Jerry Kearns: "RRRGGHH!!!"

She's like, can I bum a cigarette, Marlboro Man?

Jesus is both victor and victim here, apparently looking to heaven for answers (for confirmation? acknowledgement? liberation?)
while things go to hell on earth. Yet he still seems to be in control somehow,
his crazy eyes on the prize, all this nutso earth stuff just a passing fancy,
full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, a crown of thorns for all of us, WHAP BAM BOOM.
For more of an explanation, go here:

And here is a dynamic duo par excellence, my good friends in reality and in Facebook,
Gail Worley of, and Geoffrey Dicker of According to G,
Two better bloggers one could not find.
Look out for these two!

Next I make my way downtown to see the performance of Karl Erickson's Monotonic Surfaces 
where he is live-mixing videos made on his expeditionary residency in the Arctic region, 
at Apex Art on Church Street in Tribeca, with music by Stephanie Richards and Steven L. Anderson.

Crazy cool stuff.

Interesting that the Arctic is showing up big in my art world recently.
Personally, it haunts me. I hear the constant drip drip drip of the ice melting...the ocean
rising and lapping at the land, inch by inch, waiting for the next storm, and the storm after that, and then the perfect storm that synchronizes all the carbon spewing craziness and moves in to embrace all of our coastline vanities and sweep them away for the next millennium, or the next millennium of millennia.

But in the meantime, we've got clear skies, blue and sunny.  Right?

1 comment:

  1. Great post Jeanne. I always enjoy reading your blog.