Friday, March 20, 2015

The Painted People Rule the Riverfront!

The beautiful downtown Yonkers Art Gallery on the fourth floor of the Riverfront Library
hosted a 2015 show starring the Painted People,
curated by Haifa Bint Kadi, dear friend and fellow artist, who is the director.
(FYI - the gallery will soon be going by the name "Riverfront Art Gallery.")

From top row: Red, Ayla, Crystal, Rocco (the original four);
Cal, Dawn, Stan; Ronni, Jude, Lucy, Lilith; Julius, Blondina; Patsy, Serafina, Craddock

The show got some awesome press coverage on Channel 12
reported by, coincidentally, Carol Wilkinson!
Carol is my middle name!
What are the chances? I wonder if her middle name is Jeanne?

video


In fact, Yonkers is becoming quite the art hub, hosting many arts weekends where the city is turned
into an art walk, and recently art collector Daniel Wolf and his wife Maya Lin (famously the artist
who created the "Vietnam Memorial") bought the old Yonkers Jail and are turning it into
a fabulous art space. Also Richard Prince recently bought a Yonkers property.

So we're in "lofty" company as the Painted People are carefully installed and choreographed by Andy and Stephanie, members of the group of young docents who usher people around the gallery, talking about the art and the artists so people will leave the gallery educated, comfortable
and wanting to know more about art.


The trip to Yonkers is a scant (and pleasant) half hour trip north from the truly grand 
Grand Central Station…


 ...up the east bank of the Hudson River…


…an excellent ride no matter the weather! 


The People and the Animals arrive intact.

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

Left to right: Koni (hippo), Condor (horse), Baba Ram (ram), Arion (horse), Ella (elephant),
 Bertiak (camel), Dina (dinosaur), Argo (green horse), Purple Horse, Leona (lion).

And with a couple waves of the hand...

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

…this is transformed...

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

…into this!

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

Well, maybe it wasn't that easy…

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

The opening is a wonderful event - below are Nana Delaplanque and Patrick Derivaz
(who live above Frank and my studio on Livingston Street)
along with Haifa. 


Nana's show just came down - her work graced this space before mine!



Artist and friend Jessica Soininen-Eddis and her daughter Sophie explore the  
ins and outs of the Cloud Tunnel,
my video presentation.




Sophie isn't quite sure about the intentions of the Painted People.


Are they friendly, or threatening?
Others have found them a bit intimidating, too.
In the archives of people's reactions to the exhibition,
someone wrote that the gallery was both "happy and scary" with the Painted People in it.


Many other awesome people face the wonder of the Painted People at the opening...

(photo by Ms. Davis Photography)

(photo by Ms. Davis Photography)

…including Andy, above left, and below, Samantha, Stephanie and Pamela...

(photo by Ms. Davis Photography)

…and Frank!

(photo by Ms. Davis Photography)

(Photo by Frank)

I present an artist's talk about the evolution of the People, and just as I'm opening the floor
to questions, several official-looking men stride into the gallery
and inform us we MUST EVACUATE THE BUILDING!
IMMEDIATELY!
The transformers are overheating!
The building could blow!

(photo by Ms. Davis Photography)

So we all pour into the street.
The building doesn't blow, fortunately, but the opening reception is over for the night.
Alas!


But we get some cool press in Yonkers Rising, courtesy of the amazing photographer
 Donna Davis!

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

I make several visits to the show during its run and also take time to enjoy Yonkers.
The Riverfront Library is in a beautiful setting right next to the Saw Mill River which
flows out into the Hudson.


View from library, above; view from street, below.


The Saw Mill River was put underground in 1922, which was the last time anyone saw it in Yonkers…

(pic from website:

...until 90 years later, in 2012, when it was "daylighted"
to once more run through the city rather than under it, a project sponsored by
 the Saw Mill River Coalition and its parent organization, Groundwork Hudson Valley.
What a great thing, to see the river being a river again instead of basically an underground sewer line!


View of the stately train station from library, above;
view from train station of sunset over the Hudson, below.


Every second Saturday, the gallery presents an afternoon of art projects for all ages,
and during my show, people can make their own Painted People
and either add them to the clan, or bring them home.



The dolls are first painted white...

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

…and then painted in all the colors of the rainbow!

(Photo by Sara Fasano)



(Photo by Sara Fasano)



Many new members are welcomed into the clan.



Above are Briannalynn and her Painted Person (with the outstretched arm), Lesat!


Above are Joshua and "Cody."
and below is Julio's dramatic "Jade."




I am given a gift of two dolls by the docents!
 Hailey...


…and Hunter…


…who become Painted People back at the studio,
along with Greenhorn the Unicorn...





…and they travel with me back up to Yonkers for the duration of the exhibition...


(Photo by Sara Fasano)

(Photo by Sara Fasano)

 …where they enjoy blending into the family…


…and making new friends!


In today's Yonkers Art Gallery Second Saturday art event,
Analia brings home her Person...


…but her twin brother Shayvon leaves blue Jonathan behind!


Below, Shayvon experiences the flying Painted People from inside the Cloud Tunnel.


On my trips back and forth to Yonkers, past towns like Marble Hill and Spuyten Duyvil,
 the scenery from the train is full of the drama of changing seasons.




In mid-February, the Palisades rise vividly across the Hudson;
in mid-March, they are shrouded in mist.



For the last event on March 14th, I bring along a cache of dolls that I got at 
St. Vincent de Paul's Thrift Store in Madison, WI while shopping with grandson Elliott.


Madison is the place to go for your naked and half-dressed characters.



And once in New York, they are transformed!





Samantha and Mickey get a chance to create their own People!



This is Luna, created by Andy, who has the very cool name of
De Aza Jimenez Anderson D'aza.



During the closing reception, I finally get to do an artist's talk from start to finish...


...with a wonderful audience that includes Stephanie, Imani, Samantha and Andy.

Apparently I have plenty to say, with dramatic hand gestures.

(From video by Frank)




The People and I take a few last looks around before it comes to an end...

(Photo by Frank)

…and they are transported back to the studio, to their Brooklyn home…


…where they are greeted by a small great-ape who had been left behind to hold down the fort.
He regales them with tales about the many activities going on while they've been gone,
such as my great "Art Giveaway Project" where I've been giving good
homes to many wonderful people of the unpainted variety.


There's much to talk about, and new members of the clan to get to know.




Home again, home again, 
jiggity jig.
Or jog, whichever is your preference.


********************************
SPECIAL ADDENDUM: WORKS IN THE SHOW!
For those of you who unfortunately couldn't make it, 
I'm including here the roster of works presented in the exhibition
(roughly) in order of appearance,
showing a number of adventures and vision quests of the Painted People since 2007.
(For information on prices, contact me at jeannewilkinson@gmail.com.)

Over the River and in the Clouds, 2014
 Digital collage/mounted C-print, 20 x 40 
This image was made especially for the Riverfront show, to feature the main characters
in an appropriate setting, in the clouds over the light-filled Hudson River and New York City.


Beth 1, 2010
 Digital collage/gallery plexi-mounted archival c-print, 12 x 30
This image comes from a music video of one of my son Andrew's songs
when he was in the duo called The Buffali
with Claire Stoner Fehsenfeld.
The song is the beautiful and haunting Beth Dances the Tango 
written by Andrew Keeley Yonda that you can see HERE!


Critical Mass: Deliver Us, 2010
 Digital collage/gallery plexi-mounted archival c-print

This image is derived from underwater footage of the devastating British Petroleum oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico a few years back, with the Painted People trying to save
their child in the middle of this chaos.
This piece was shown at EXIT ART back when it was still going.


The following eight images were photographed by Andrew Keeley Yonda,
and were the first adventure of the Painted People, and a non-virtual
one at that, choreographed by me on a trip from Denver to San Francisco
taken by myself and Andrew to mimic one I had taken in the late 60's 
in a VW microbus.
We rented a car and camped and drove through the mountains and desert to the sea,
with a 60's soundtrack - a pretty groovy trip for all of us!

Western Walkabout: Onward! 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

Western Walkabout: River Crossing, 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7


Western Walkabout: Fiery Furnace, 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7


Western Walkabout: Sunset 2007, 20x16, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

Western Walkabout: Sand Mountain, 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

Western Walkabout: Big Valley Overlook, 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

Western Walkabout: Ocean Overlook, 2007, 20x16, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

Western Walkabout: On the Beach, 2007, 11x14, archival C-print mounted on aluminum, 3 of 7

The "Flying" series is the first virtual adventure of the Painted People,
incorporating imagery of my abstract paintings and of Lake Superior and Prospect Park.


Ayla Mirror (from the Flying Series)
2006, digital collage/gallery-plexi mounted archival c-print, 1 of 10, 30 x 20
(gifted to Haifa Bint Kadi)

Ayla Mirror (from the Flying Series)
2006, digital collage/gallery-plexi mounted archival c-print, 1 of 10, 30 x 20

Rocco Splash (from the Flying Series)
2008, digital collage/ gallery-plexi mounted archival c-print, 1/10, 24 x 20


Rocco Blue (from the Flying Series)
2006, digital collage/gallery-plexi mounted archival c-print, 1 of 10, 16 x 20


Crystal in the Sky with Diamonds (from the Flying Series)
2006, digital collage/gallery-plexi mounted archival c-print, A/P, 16 x 20

The "Landing" series takes the People up into the wild blue yonder,
looking down on what lies below. Do they bring changes as they go, or
do they just observe what is changing?

Sky People: Landing, 2012 
Archival digital collage on paper/unframed image, 1 of 3, 22x30


Sky People: Garden, 2012, 
Archival digital collage on paper/unframed image, 1 of 3, 30x22


Sky People: Skyline, 2014
 Archival digital collage on paper/unframed image, 1 of 3, 22x30


Last Supper with the Painted People, 2014, 20 x 40
There are many versions of the "Last Supper" - I thought it was time for the Painted People to have their own. I emptied out Da Vinci's painting via Photoshop, got rid of the annoying door...


 ...and then filled it with the People, trying to accurately reflect Da Vinci's poses and personalities.
Except instead of a bag of coins, Stan (as Judas) is holding a peace sign.



The Night in the City series was called “iridescent” by Dan Bischoff in his review in the
New Jersey Star Ledger. Here the People are a kind of  Paleo-Postmodern migratory clan,
trekking across the face of an earth that reacts to their presence by becoming more alive,
more beautiful, more revelatory of its underlying forces.
Cities turn into strange night places where streets become fluid streams,
skies morph into oceans and webs of life,
buildings both harbor and dissolve into fantastic life-forms.
The Painted People traverse a world that has been altered in profound ways to reflect a world of premonition, environmental change (apocalypse?) and natural magic.


Night in the City 8, 2008, 
digital collage/archival c-print mounted on aluminum, 24 x 16 


Night in the City 5, 2007, 
digital collage/archival c-print mounted on aluminum, 24 x 16
   

Night in the City 7 (Freewheelin’), 2008, 
digital collage/archival c-print mounted on aluminum, 24 x 16 




Night in the City 10 (Coming Soon), 2014
 Digital collage/archival mounted and framed c-print, 14 x 11 inches 


The Night VS. Day series incorporates imagery from all over, including
the area of Fort Tilden which is an abandoned army base on the beach on the Rockaway
Peninsula in NYC. The old deteriorating cinderblock buildings are a continuing
art installation of unforgettable, ever-changing imagery, word-art, and poetry by unknown artists.
I placed the People there virtually because they seem to be at home
in such a setting.

Friends Die, Faeries Die, 2012 
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 

No Feer, 2013 
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 


Shadow, 2012
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 



Feer Euphoria, 2012, 
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 


99 Stares, 2013 
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 

Tango Tilden, 2012 
Digital collage/mounted and framed archival c-print, 11 x 14 


The Alight Series puts wings on the People and flies them all over.

Rocco Alight, 2008-9
archival C-print mounted on aluminum, A/P, 24 x 16

Red Alight: Reflection, 2008
Archival print on paper

This recent series is called Storm Garden and puts the people
in conjunction with garden plants that are mysteriously
growing on city bridges and roads.

Storm Garden: Sunflower, 2014
Archival print on paper, 9 x 13 1/2 in.

Storm Garden: Tomato, 2014
Archival print on paper, 9 x 13 1/2 in.

Storm Garden: Beans, 2014
Archival print on paper, 9 x 13 1/2 in.

What's going on here? Is the city becoming a more fertile place,
or are these strange growths aberrations that seem more foreboding than fertile?

The Painted People keep their secrets well,
but they welcome the stories and conjectures of others.

















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