18 December 2014

oh hello. let's talk sen [again]

hi. i guess i needed a break. putting up the show, plus teaching, plus life and something had to be neglected. this blog became the unwatered plant.

anyone still here?

my show at walter maciel gallery is up for a few more days. i'm actually going to go visit it this weekend with my family [the little wanted to see the show. yes. heart got all melty]. but i thought i'd finally post some images here for those of you that won't be able to make it there physically.

let's start with the drawings? i have still been working with/interested in SEN - or 1000 in japanese [other explorations of this idea/installation are here, here, here [with a contributor list], and here]

when i went to sanjusangendo in kyoto i was forever changed.  the sea of buddhas is like nothing i've ever experienced. in the last show i abstracted the "crown" that they wear into this shape. i wanted to do another piece with that shape. walter's space has a hallway. i wanted to recreate a small version of walking down the hall past all the buddhas. this buddha crown piece is in 3 parts - each one 45" or so wide.


it's how you enter [or exit depending on how you walk into the building] my show. 

i felt compelled to do another version of senbazaru or 1000 cranes. this one more like some of the garlands that people make and hang [sort of like this]

did you know there's a 1000 samurai march that happens once a year?  well there is, and samurai wear kabuto [warrior helmets]. so i abstracted those. and drew them really really tiny. this piece is about 14" x 14" 

then i decided to try and recreate the feel of a march in a drawing. this was one of the hardest pieces to make as i had a layout in my mind, but also had to get to 1000 heads. i wanted to create depth so the heads/helmets in front are larger, but as i kept going i realized i had to also give up negative space. in the end i think i was able to keep enough negative space for it to feel as though it's a sea of people moving down a street... but this one definitely made me sweat. 

i alternated between about 6 colors for the samurai - only the red guys got knots/thread. 

senju kannon is the buddha w/ 1000 arms - they usually hold weapons, but i thought i'd just draw buddha hands in mudras - this one is has teaching and reassurance. 

this one [the last piece i finished] has both 1000 hands -with the addition of the expelling demons mudra [aka the headbangers mudra] - and 1000 knots. double the luck. 

when i first conceived of the 1000 doily piece i originally wanted it to be in a circle. there was no way i could pull that off when i first exhibited it. i didn't even have them all in my possession when i was laying it out. so i went with a simple grid. while gridding it, i realized i wanted to try to do it in singular vertical rows of color - and i got to do that at the ulrich .

this time i was going to get it into that circle. so this was my template drawing to see approximately how many across it would be. could i even get it into a perfect circle. most likely not. so then what? how to "finish" the shape? what would the color order be? 

i decided to use a painting chart color order for my order. starting in white, ending in yellow. 

may i just say that this was the hardest instal i've done of these piece. and the other two were definitely not a picnic. 5 days. up and down a ladder. no way to make the circle except for tape and my eyeballs [and the eyeballs of my incredible helpers]. oh that row is off. move it. get it right. start pinning. up and down. up and down. and not a regular ladder [although there was one of those] - a ceiling hook ladder - not an A frame. you can see it in the video below.  

this view is from atop that crazy ladder. the last night, late, when i was pushing through to just finish.

hi. me at the opening. which was so fun. i love my extended LA family. it still feels familiar. a home away from home. i won't ever love the traffic, but a part of me will always be happy to be there. 

and here - here's the video of me and my incredible assistants putting up the piece. it's a crazy labor of love, and again i'm amazed that people are willing to help me. to risk sore fingers and crazy shoulder pain for this. for this.

happy december you guys. 

04 November 2014

two shows !

hello there. i am smack in the middle of another crazy install. today was day 3. sore fingers, hamstrings, brain... re-configuring the 1000 doilies [in a circle - oh yes... and oh no (no template)]... i once again have the help of some saints : beth bauler, wendy crabb,  finn aka lost boy, tony hoang,... with a guest appearance by marshall astor and friend.

i made some new drawings too. still chewing on that number 1000. the opening for this show is Saturday. this Saturday. the 8th. from 6-8pm. if you are in the los angeles area and willing to come to culver city. i'd love to see you.

Walter Maciel Gallery 
2642 s. la cienega blvd.
los angeles 90034

also opening this week is a show i co-curated called good mail day for artstream studios. there are 60+ artists - frankly some of my most favorite people on the planet - all working 4x6 in size. all the work will be available for viewing and purchase online starting November 7th. RIGHT HERE 

ok. and now i'm going to go stretch my legs before crawling into bed. more doilies await tomorrow. 

17 October 2014

some inspiration :: katherine sherwood // tara donovan

i am always harping on my students to go see artwork. monkey see monkey do, right?

last night i was at gallery paule anglim  to see katherine sherwood's show. she was a professor of mine when i was an undergrad and totally influential. after school i worked for her for - in her studio and office for quite some time. that was a life changing experience. we discovered we have the same vocabulary/vision for color. i would print litho prints for her and she could say 10 in tangerine and 15 in bright lime green and i knew exactly what she wanted. that's actually a rare thing. your tangerine might be quite different from my tangerine, you know?

anyway - she was a mentor in many many ways. she helped me procure my first teaching job. i'm honored to call her a friend now. and her new paintings are STUNNING. really. she painted on the backs of these art historical prints that were mounted to linen [think vermeer, durer, renoir]. you can see the names of these legendary icons on some of the canvases. she's painted these amazing renditions of iconographic women - manet's olympia, ingres... but she's given them brain scans for heads [referencing the stroke she had 20 years ago], and they all have a disability [notice the brace on the woman above]. they sit on these STRIKINGLY gorgeous patterns. they are powerful, cheeky, art historically prudent [if you are an art history geek like me, these get you very excited on multiple levels]... and they are living in the same space with works by joan brown. brown was in many ways a mentor to HER. it's a very strong and interesting pairing. if you are local - please go see the show.

over the summer pace gallery put a pop up space together in menlo park and featured an entire giant warehouse of her work. i dragged the little right before the show closed. 

good god. 

i had seen pieces individually before, but never some of them. and never all of them together. 15 years of work. a mini retrospective. she still is one of my heroes. i've listed the everyday material in the captions below... 


cut pencils

paper plates

straight pins and glass

acrylic rods

mylar tape


01 October 2014

wichita :: signs

so - truth be told i'm in the beginning stages of PANIC. my show at walter maciel gallery opens nov. 8th. i'm on track. i just have a LOT of knotting and stitching left to do. it WILL get done, but i only have a month. yikes. and school has started. and i've grading up to my ears. and kindergarden homework with the little [which isn't hard, but it is work]... and and and. so - things get neglected. like blogs. and laundry.

i still have things to share from kansas/wichita. so i'm just going to show you some signage i found and liked while there. i like vintage signs. i just do. the typography. the nostalgia. the faded. the beat up. the cool.