Time Flies When You’re An Artist-In-Residence

The staff, faculty and other artists at ISCxGFS have been showing us a great time!

Took a trip into NYC to see some friends and shows a few weeks ago. Fellow PSU MFA Kayley Berezney’s corpulent exhibition Lumpy, Dumpy & Grumpy opened at Disclaimer Gallery. Kayley’s work is super physical and visceral and it was effectively situated in the tight, cramped space within the Silent Barn. Plus there was a metal show in the main room.

Got cozy with my dear friend and fearlessly nimble artist Aidan Koch’s albino transgender corn snake.

Also took in some fantastic shows in the city, including Tomorrow Tomorrow curated by Stephanie Snyder and Wallace Whitney at Canada. The show features some of Portland’s finest, including (above) Kristan Kennedy (top), MK Guth (middle), Evan La Londe (bottom), Storm Tharp, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Heather Watkins, among other talented folk.

Liz Craft, Mushroom Bubble (Green), 2016

Megan Marrin’s show Corps at David Lewis featured impressive portraits of Titan arum, commonly known as corpse flowers. Vibrant life, sex, death, captivity and cultivation in 8 large canvases.

great group show Dirge at JTT included this portrait of fictional paleobotanist Ellie Sattler from Jurassic Park (which I almost lol’d as I entered the gallery, this is the first thing you see coming through the doors) and these humorous mixed media pieces by Liz Craft.

Isabel Cooper, Three-toed Sloth, 1922

A very interesting show at the Drawing Center tickled many fancies for me. Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions included archival footage and ephemera from William Beebe’s (1877-1962, basically Jaques Cousteau b4 Jaques Cousteau) many adventures (and marketing campaigns), two large diorama installations by Mark Dion, and a ton of stunning original drawings made by brave and intrepid artists (many of whom also happened to be women) who accompanied Beebe’s mobile laboratories and documented the flora and fauna they observed and studied. Many thanks to Aidan for the tip!

Nick Van Woert, Untitled, 2017

Nick Van Woert’s Organ Donor at GRIMM’s new spot was exactly what i’ve been needing. Van Woert’s work touches on subjects i’ve been researching or have had a lifelong interest in and he deals with them across a wide variety of materials and forms. Ecological activism, human/nature interactions, technology and it’s deceptive and destructive potential, all with a successfully poetic touch. Perfectly timed to accompany my reading of Ted Kaczynski’s Industrial Society And It’s Future (aka The Unabomber’s Manifesto), and viewing of the documentaries If A Tree Falls (chronicling the activities and unravelling of the Earth Liberation Front), and Let The Fire Burn (an examination into the devastating lengths the city of Philadelphia went to to suppress MOVE, a peaceful collective of black social and environmental activists began in the 70’s). Van Woert’s pine bark pieces are some of those works that make one think “Dammit, wish I’d thought of that.” Gotta see if I can set up a studio visit…

Dave & Busters is a funny place. Went with my college buddy Ronnie Reo and her fam to the one in Philadelphia. Blue drinks abound, and there’s plenty of disorienting driving and desensitizing violence-against-the-Other to be found here. It’s kind of a terrifying training ground for what I don’t know. I did have a coconut & rum drink that changed color and some really decent mashed potatoes so all-in-all totally weird and worth it!

Things have been picking up in the studio. This residency has provided me with a more crystalized vision of my practice. Weeks 1 & 2 were about exploration, introductions, collecting. This place is someone else’s home, whether it’s the peacocks, cardinals, bats, fish, frogs, lightning bugs, trees, or park staff. Introducing myself and getting to know the site and it’s inhabitants is a crucial step for me to have a foundation to build on at a residency.

Once I feel comfortably integrated into the vivisystem, it’s time to start messing with all the things i’ve collected. Weeks 3 & 4 involve much more formalized experimentation, brainstorming, and just randomly sticking things together. From these sketches a few ideas start to rise to the top, and from them I will focus on one or two things to work towards completing while i’m here. For me, ideation is one of the most joyful moments of this endeavor. Many times simply envisioning a work is almost sufficient for me, to create an image in my own mind. But alas an artwork needs to be realized, and planning, follow through and completion are areas with plenty of room for improvement in my practice.

Waterflow from International Sculpture Center on Vimeo.

i’ve begun work on a piece that scales up the sozzled magic of those cascading signs you see in quality dive bars, and combining it with sounds recorded in the park to make (what I hope will be) a mesmerizing landscape. I’m a relative novice when it comes to the nuts and bolts of electronics, but i’m sure i’m smart enough to figure out some simple motor situation, if I break it down into smaller, explicit steps.

Tom Moran, chief curator at GFS, took us out to some of his favorite local sources for materials. We went to a couple sellers of stone (a material I also don’t have a ton of experience with) and on every palette there were textures, colors, and forms that sent my mind racing.

Then we went to the Route 1 Diner for a really excellent lunch. Two thumbs up, would dine again.

Last but not least Johannah and Jeanette from the ISC brought us to check out MANA Contemporary in Jersey City. We met the ISCxBSMT resident artists Olga Alexander and Gina Miccinilli, took in the exhibitions including Michael Clemow’s Tabaci Memoriae (above). The artist has been cultivating and processing his own tobacco crop in his studio, alluding to the site’s history as a tobacco warehouse. Also a delightful show of late and exuberant Warhol prints.

Here is another moment at the grounds digging for roots with Nooshin! Thanks for reading!

Grounds For Sculpture Excavation from International Sculpture Center on Vimeo.

By Shawn Creeden


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