Hello from Studio B55!

Since the beginning of this residency I have been preparing for a solo exhibition at Keystone College in LaPlume, PA. After preparing for this exhibition over the last few months I am happy to report that it has been installed at Keystone College!
The exhibition is called, “Sugar, Spice, Not Very Nice,” this body of work has been an autobiographical reflection on personal experiences of growing up and feeling the need to fit into a mold that represented femininity. The work of this exhibition is a series of drawings, sculptures, and photographs reflecting this experience. Continue reading

Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens

Ai Weiwei sculpture

Remains (detail), 2015. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei studio.

“How does he manage to do it?” One wonders.  It’s not just that Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei can work with media as varied as cast iron, steel rebar, porcelain, wood, or Legos, but that somehow the finished works are beautifully crafted and always embedded with carefully considered layers of meaning.  The exhibition Natural State at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park brings an impressive cross-section of his recent work to the heart of America’s Midwest, and amply demonstrates Ai’s uncanny knack for seamlessly integrating craftsmanship with concept.  Continue reading

High Fidelity

Marc Courtemanche sculpture

Marc Courtemanche, Toolbox of Tools (detail), 2010, stoneware and metal, to scale

There is, as a lot of people might remember from their art history classes, the renowned story related by the Greek writer Pliny the Elder concerning the artist Zeuxis, and of the claim that his painted representation of grapes achieved such fidelity to their subject matter that the birds attempted to eat them. Continue reading

Sugar, Spice, Not Very Nice

Parochial Collar #1, in Sugar, Spice, Not Very Nice exhibition, 2017. Photo by Anna Margush

“What are little girls made of?” Those familiar with the well-known 19th-century nursery rhyme will answer: “Sugar and spice and all things nice. That’s what little girls are made of!” Artist Katie Hovencamp, on the other hand, provides an alternative response in her solo exhibition, Sugar, Spice, Not Very Nice, which is on view in the Linder Art Gallery at Keystone College, from 2/28 through 4/28. Against a backdrop of hand-painted, 19th-century-style wallpaper, the show features Hovencamp’s Parochial Collar series, accompanying photographs of the artist wearing the collars, and a collection of Victorian-style drawings, all of which subvert traditional ideals of femininity. Continue reading

Rodin’s Human Experience, and Our Own

Rodin Sculpture

Three Shades, by Rodin. Photo courtesy of the Portland Art Museum.

I tend to prefer abstract sculpture— however, even in more representative work, there is plenty of abstractness to find and appreciate. Take the Rodin exhibition currently at the Portland Art Museum. Subtitled “The Human Experience,” the exhibition certainly showcases the representational aspects of Auguste Rodin’s masterful bronze works. The 52 bronzes in the show are almost entirely of human forms, and are curated so that the viewer learns about the process by which the sculptor produced the works both in detail and at scale. In re-using aspects of previous works, Rodin allowed particular characteristics of the human form to span across his oeuvre, and the viewer can immediately sense these pieces of humanity— hands, torsos, heads, limbs— extending throughout the gallery, like memories or ghosts of the many models that the artist employed to create these testaments to the human form. Continue reading

Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, London

Robert Rauschenberg Sculpture

Robert Rauschenberg Installation View. Photograph courtesy Tate Photography
© Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York

The first time I saw the film Casablanca, I must have been about twenty years old. I was sitting in my grimy student flat watching it on an old computer with my friend, when they turned to me part way through and said something strange. The film was incredible, they acknowledged, but the dialogue was making them cringe. Casablanca of course is now, and probably forever will be, famous for its incredible wealth of iconic lines. From Rick’s sad lament about ‘all the gin joints in town’ to perhaps the zenith of the picture’s dialogue as he and Ilsa say goodbye at the airport, it is responsible for some of the most memorable exchanges and suave one-liners of any film in history. But in reality, my friend wasn’t really commenting on the dialogue in Casablanca as much as the subsequent dialogue around the film. So much of it has become fodder for parody, imitation or even just general praise that even its most ground breaking moments have become over-worn clichés for many, making it hard to encounter the original film without a lot of distracting baggage. It begs the question, how does one say something interesting, original or relevant about work which has long been established as part of the canon? Continue reading