Monday, February 28, 2011
I was up at four a.m. I think I slept a grand total of three hours. I got a drive with my neighbour who dropped me off at the Irving. I picked up a coffee and paid the rude grumpy, girl behind the counter. I ask myself, why to rude people work in the service industry? I say people get another job! I just wish I could get the nerve to say it out loud to them!
I didn't have to wait too long for a ride and a very nice truck driver stopped. He said he'd spent the last 22 years in Israel and was originally from Russia. He said he didn't like the Summer weather all the time in Israel. I thought on that a minute and about prying the icicles from my arse.
Well I have fifteen days within the month left to finish school.
We had our in progress critique today for Open Media and I got some good ideas regarding my final project which involves my late husband's writing and my long hand journals that span from 1972 up to the present. Someone suggested I scan them both. Good idea!
Good thing I got my painting done over the weekend, it's due on Thursday.
On a totally unrelated topic, I hate house work.
There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. ~Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant, 1968
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I have tried to be mindful of not applying too much raw umber or sienna, because I loose my image in it, and I think it becomes too heavy and a dark and the egg tempera looses it's transparent luminosity. It 's not as easy as one might hope. Anyway I'm almost done this but I am out of eggs all except what little I have mixed up in a jar. I'll have to make this bit count. I think I may add some high lights of white sparsely.
I have done many portraits in the past. Mostly graphite drawings of people and critters.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Don't get me wrong I love writing.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
by Brian Sherwin on 2/19/2011 9:50:57 AM
This article is by Brian Sherwin, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
When one thinks of the art world, one thinks of a place of openness and tolerance-- yet that is hardly the case. The ‘art world’ shares the same prejudice we face in the real world. That said, the illusion of togetherness that has been constructed around the art world makes said reality even more toxic. Forms of sexism, racism, and ageism dominate art culture just under the surface-- which dictates our collective knowledge of art history. This is a topic that few gallery owners want to discuss-- because it is a topic that, more often than not, reveals a world of bigotry and unnecessary challenges placed before artists.
During my research for this article I contacted Elaine Kaufmann of the Brainstormers-- for those who don’t know, the Brainstormers are an art collective striving to force discussion concerning gender inequities within the contemporary New York art world. Many of the stats I used for this article are based on research the Brainstormers have conducted-- as well as information provided to me by an anonymous artist claiming to have association with the Guerilla Girls… a group that has fought against art world discrimination and corruption since 1985.
Kaufmann made it clear that when asked about exhibitions or gallery lists of artists that include overwhelmingly more men than women, curators and gallerists typically respond by arguing that what gets exhibited is based solely on the quality of the work. Kaufmann stated, “This seemingly lofty statement about quality disguises a belief that would be unacceptable to say outright, the belief that men make better artwork than women.” She went on to say, “Many perceive the art world to have long ago rid itself of discrimination against women. Unfortunately, it persists and continues to affect new generations of women artists.” Professionals within the mainstream art world obviously don’t want to face the reality of prejudice that they have helped cultivate-- which tends to spiral down into all aspects of art culture.
New York is considered the hub of the art world in the United States-- a place where you would think ‘openness’ and ‘tolerance’ would reign-- yet the average New York art gallery represents 76% to 96% male artists. Galleries representing the same percentages in favor of women can be counted on one hand. Over 77% of the galleries in Chelsea represent more males than females-- and only around 5% represent males and females in equal numbers. These gaps have fluctuated ever so often-- but artists who happen to be male continue to dominate gallery rosters. These numbers foster the myth that males are more apt to be better artists in the eyes of the general public. People in the position to bring about change-- such as curators and gallery owners-- tend to cling to the status quo rather than find solutions.
Some have suggested that the stat breakdown does not represent educational background-- which implies that art school graduates tend to be male. However, when you consider that the average MFA program in the United States has up to 20% more female students than male students an obvious gender bias is clear. In other words, the MFA argument is flawed because more women study art on an academic level than men nationwide-- yet men dominate mainstream art galleries where the value of an MFA is obviously considered.
The glaring percentages don’t stop there-- they can also be found in our public institutions. For example, in a typical art museum visitors will find that 95% of the displayed artwork was created by an artist who happens to be male. Thus, women are only represented visually by 5% of the displayed artwork in the average museum. True, there have been many museum art exhibits that focus on ‘female artists’-- but I don’t think a handful of special exhibits make up for the overall percentages and clear gender gap. It sickens me to think that artists are being placed on the back-burner simply because of their gender-- but this hardly a new problem within the professional art world.
I can recall an interview I had with Sylvia Sleigh in 2007-- in which she stated, “I do think things have improved for women in general. There are many more women in Government, in law and corporate jobs, but its very difficult in the art world for women to find a gallery.” These words are haunting when you consider that the late Sylvia Sleigh is considered an artist who helped shatter the glass ceiling of sexism within the contemporary art world. Obviously that ceiling still exists-- research by groups such as the Brainstormers and Guerilla Girls bring light to the issue.
In the recent past, it was not uncommon to see only two solo shows by artists who happened to be female for every dozen solo shows to open in New York. Women exploring painting as the focus of their artwork stood even less of a chance of receiving a solo show compared to men. I doubt the situation has changed that much over the years. It troubles me that in the mainstream art world-- often noted for being liberal in thought-- such clear prejudice based on gender continues to dominate. This veiled prejudice fosters the idea that art is a man’s game-- and shoves that mode of thought into the psyche of the viewing public.
Due to this glaring bigotry, I find myself loathing the labels and descriptors that art world professionals, specifically art writers, use to group or categorize artists based on sex, race, and age. For example, this form of prejudice based on gender within the art world can be observed in mainstream art magazines, art blogs, and in the media as a whole when art is the focus of an article. It leaves one to ask why in 2011 artists who happen to be female are often stamped as ‘female artist’, ’female painter’, and other gender-specific descriptions that are never used when describing artists who happen to be male. It is almost as if the writers who describe artists in this way are giving females a pat on the back for their attempts. It is insulting.
Prejudice within the art world does not stop there. Race also becomes an issue. For example, you never read an article about an artist starting with so-and-so is a “Caucasian artist from…” to describe an artist who happens to be white. That said, if an artist is from any other racial background you can almost be assured that race will become a descriptor for that artists efforts-- “African American artist from…”, “Hispanic artist from…”.. the list goes on. While it is true that race can define an artists visual message-- if that is his or her direction-- I don’t think placing race before artist is a sound choice to define an artist in general.
The issue of age is apt to pop up in the fray of art world prejudice. Age is arguably the most offensive way to define-- or should I say label?-- an artist. I say that because the age factor often meshes with the two forms of prejudice I mentioned above. For example, most art critics, gallerists, and artists will tell you-- if they are honest-- that the majority of 30-something exhibiting artists who happen to be female are near career- end. That decision is not by choice-- it is fueled by age and gender alone in association with the prejudice of art dealers representing them.
After all, there is a double standard within the context of the art world-- artists who happen to be male in the same stage of life are often viewed as coming into their own. Sadly, I don't think the majority of art dealers, curators, and art critics realize that they are creating-- or helping to maintain-- a cloud of prejudice over the art world. It is almost as if it has become the status quo-- supported by feeble arguments that tend to bypass the issue altogether.
If you are not an artist who happens to be white, male, and are past the age of 35, it is likely that your career within the mainstream art world is playing an unwilling game of Russian roulette with three bullets in the chamber. I say that because the descriptors involved with those three factors often are reduced to art market trends and fads-- labels that artists don’t necessarily want for themselves but get stamped with anyway. This prejudice is an ugly stain in what is otherwise one of the most liberal thinking aspects of our culture.
I, for one, feel that it is time for art critics and the media in general to drop descriptions based on gender, race, and age when describing an artist unless that information is vital to the artists work. Gender, race, and age should not come before what an individual does when writing about said individual. Yet it happens all the time-- and most of the major art publications have long been guilty of this. Who knows how many artists could have continued to shine had it not been for these three factors serving as obstacles. These labels/descriptors breed prejudice no matter how you try to warrant it. It is time to look at the artwork and what artists have to offer instead of being so focused on their gender, race, and age.
In closing, we-- and I include myself in this-- have allowed the mainstream art world to become a place where maturity is punished, the color of our skin reduced to a mere exhibit qualifier, and our sex twisted into age-old stereotypes. It has become a place where the wisdom that comes with age is abandoned for youthful ambition, a place where an artist is defined more by his or her race than what he or she creates on canvas, a place where the likes of Tracey Emin will always be viewed as an adolescent girl breaking the rules-- even when she is 80! It is time to come together in order to deal with the issues of sexism, racism, and ageism within the art world as a whole.
Take care, Stay true,
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Geoff Campbell is my fellow student Mountie, in the International
Studies Program and I recently subscribed to his blog.
I have highlighted the link to a recent event, that took place on-line
because of Geoff's interest in NRP, and how suddenly, humble
Geoff Campbell became part of a training session a the Annenburg
School for Communication and Journalism.Today this video is the
10Th top favourite video for News & Politics in Canada and 5Th
Top rated in the same category. I am happy that Geoff got this
kind of notoriety even though it was inadvertent and unexpected.
It is an interesting example of the power of social media and the
individual and how a small humble voice can suddenly become a
big voice. Never underestimate the power of the individual.
I've been doing house work which I really don't like doing though it is a good feeling when I get something done. I've been working at it ever so slowly. Oh to have a good house husband to help me!
Regardless I am a single woman never to be re-married again of that I am quite certain. Not to say that I wouldn't want to be married again because I do believe in the institution. The fact is, as a woman gets older statistically there are more single woman available, as opposed to single men, and many of these men, I refer to them as knuckle dragging' neanderthals named, Flog Grog, that you really don't want. Not wanting to sound completely cynical, I am sure there are good men to be found, but they are few and far between. Interestingly there is a much higher percentage of folk having a single status , than married.
Many women, myself included, have historically wanted to be rescued in some way by a man. I know today, that I have had to become my own heroine and rescue myself and it has been an empowering experience.
The day you wind up single through divorce or separation is the day you get to test who you really are. - Ernie Zelinski
I have a multitude of options open to me primarily because I am single and don't have to negotiate where or how I'm going to live with anyone. - Flying Solo, Carol Anderson and Susan Stewart
The freedom to make the many small, daily choices, taken together, tenders a much larger gift: a sense of control and mastery. This is the gift of being single women most cherish. - Flying Solo, Carol Anderson and Susan Stewart
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Cunning and wise, reliable friend,
Guide my steps through this maze of deception
And see this problem to its end.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I was very fortunate to have had a painting teacher, Dana Loomis, who was a student of William De Kooning. His work was no longer abstract expressionism but realism. I think he was a great influence on me and why I think the way I do about painting and art. A required reading he gave us to read was, a book by Robert Pirsig, entitled, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This was another one of my life changing books because it taught me about the importance of balance. Dana had really come out of the decade of modernism lived through post-modernism and then came back to painting realistically. I am of the belief that the figure stills speaks strongest to the audience. Perhaps not because it is the most popular subject matter but because we are human, as social beings we have a strong inclination to and curiosity in observing and understanding ourselves.
When I complete a realistic painting, the critical censor within comes out and I hear negative messages, things like, that arm is out of whack and culminates in a lingering feeling of self doubt about my ability to render at all. I am quite certain this is a common occurrence with many folks involved with the creative process.
I ask myself this question, " Is it really essential that my painting be completely accurate in how it is rendered, or can I mix both realism and abstraction?" You might think, well do what ever you want to do. I am somewhat torn between the two, though I do know I am more drawn to realism and representational art. I would not consider myself an abstract artist, though I do appreciate it.
I don't really have anything to conclude but am thinking out loud and trying to understand and clarify for myself what it is I am doing and why, I think this is what it means to be an artist. I do think I have answered my own question. It is all about balance. between classical and romantic thought. I can't have one with out the other , I want and need both.
“ The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves. ”
— Willem de Kooning
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Discernment is the ability to grasp, comprehend, and evaluate clearly. It means we can see the true nature of things; it allows us to distinguish between what is real and what is imitation.
Discernment may begin with intuitive hunches and perceptiveness. With intuition as a starting point, the quality of discernment is built over time on honest observation, careful reasoning, and balanced application of our knowledge and principles. In a person who is highly discerning, intuition, emotion, and reason inform each other. As we grow in experience, our ability to discern usually grows stronger, providing us with insight that propels us toward greater wisdom.
Monday, February 14, 2011
I have lots of challenges in University as a mature student. I do believe there are some real advantages to this however I have the same challenges other students have with work load deadlines and all the other stuff that happens in life. My most challenging is the weather and secondly money. Money is always an issue with most students so I do know I am not alone!
Any way I'm just rambling on here with nothing much in particular to say. I am going to go write in my long hand journal.
Last night I took pictures of my journals after dragging them out of the old antique box I keep them in. I laid them all out in the upstairs landing arranged and rearranged them, opened some up noticed the dates on a few all the way back to 1970s. I thought to my self like I often do when I revisit my journals, what in hell am I going to do with all of these. I did attempt some years back to compile and and edit them online keeping them in a folder. I made good head way. But I think I need to find the time to continue with this "project". I'm not sure if I can express in words exactly why I feel the need to do this, but I do know it has a lot to do with self discovery, self exploration, memory and my own personal history. We all have a story to tell. and we all have our own stories and keeping and writing journals is part of my story.
I've rambled on long enough I am going to go write and then it's off to photo.
I am wishing everyone out there in a very Happy Valentines Day and feel the love people!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I have been trying to be very diligent in posting every day, but honestly not always writing. It is a different kind of journaling when you sit working from a computer. I recently heard a news item that said neurological science has proven that those children who are fluent in writing long hand, had actually developed parts of their brains that enable better brain function and with those of an older age can off set dementia and keep the brain active. There is also a link to an increase in creativity with the development of the the process of actual hand writing.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I am doing a presentation in my Canadian Art History class about the relationship that exists between art, audience and community. Having been very interested as of late in rediscovering the artist Eric Fischl who taught and lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, I was really excited when I found out about this project America Now and Here via Artrain he has undertaken with the help of many other artists. We need something like this in Canada!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I was asked to list five people who are my, "Pantheon of Artists, "I admire and state the reasons why. I can think of many dead and gone, but I want to focus on the living and include more contemporary artists that I relate to and consider to be not only great artists with integrity but examples of mentors and teachers.
I am presently in a very vibrant learning environment as part of the Fine Art program at Mount Allison University and I cannot help but be influenced by the artists around me on a day to day basis. Some are teachers and some are fellow students and many are most inspirational to me. Here is my list.
Heuristic (pronounced /hjʉˈrɪstɨk/) or heuristics (from the Greek "Εὑρίσκω" for "find" or "discover") refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a good enough solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical. Examples of this method include using a "rule of thumb", an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense. In more precise terms, heuristics are strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines. Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/heuristic#ixzz1DZ8rEVD8
Having been a student at NSCAD in the Art Education program, I became acutely aware of what makes a dynamic and dedicated art teacher. One thing of particular importance I believe, is that a teacher have good rapport with their students. Having a sense of humour, and an ability to communicate effectively with others. Essential to teaching is an inherent passion for what I believe, needs to be a vocation. There are several other characteristic strengths and skills that I could mention however if a teacher of art does not have the foundation of these qualities I would suggest they stick to being an artist or some other career choice.
I will touch on each of the artists I have listed and speak about what it is a appreciate about each one and why I admire them as artists and as people, because I do not think I want separate the two.
Eric Fischl is the first artist I have been very influenced by over the past few years. I admire his sense of integrity and courage to invest in his subject matter which is figurative and representational. Coming out of the decade in the 70's where painting was dead and figurative painting was non-existent especially in art institutions, it took courage not to collapse under the weight and pressure of the then modernist and abstract art world. He considers himself first and foremost a painter and not an intellectual but I very much appreciate the way he thinks about art, with his head, heart, psyche, and life itself and what it is to be human.
Andy Goldsworthy is an incredible sculptor and is an environmentalist of sorts, doing remarkable outdoor site specific sculpture. His work has a timeless quality that is usually made on the spot, from the natural materials he finds available within that natural environment. Many of his sculptures will stand the test of time and will be there for future generations to discover, which I find very appealing. Other pieces have an immediate in the present moment nature to them, disappearing over a short period of time under the influence of weather, and the elements.
Tom Forrestall I had the privilege of meeting last Summer, when there was a retrospect of his work in the Owens Gallery, at Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick. I was spellbound by his paintings, particularly by his egg tempera pieces. I found myself wishing there were teachers at Mount Allison that were skilled in this ancient tradition, because I am now involved with this medium and process in my painting. There is something special to me about having a connection with artists like Tom Forrestall that not only were teachers in the Fine Art Department at Mount Allison Universty, by were also students there. Tradition and history are very important to me as an artist, however I do not want to be fettered by the constrictions that can be often imposed by the constraints and conservatism of tradition. It is essential to me as an artist to be open to change and to be flexible.
That's my list of five. I would love to hear from others and who they have on there list as their Pantheon of Artists.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The question I hear posed repeatedly, "what are you going to do when you graduate", or "what will A Bachelor of Fine Art, is that what it's called, get you?". My classmate and I were discussing this notion the other day. I concluded the reason for this query from others perhaps is, because many do not understand how a Fine Art degree can possible translate into anything really viable, other than endless hours of painting in a garret, being a tortured soul, and living from hand to mouth.
Family, and the educational system both played a major role in my draw toward creative interests and pursuits. Once I became older I was able to find great rewards and satisfaction in my life and work as a Youth Care Worker and being an artist became a life style choice and a way of thinking that was fulfilling and gratifying. I could help young people the way I was helped. Being an artist is more than a vocation, where once being a Youth Care Worker was my vocation, being an artist is all about learning and living life in a holistic manner. Life and art are not separate entities. They both inform one another and as an artist I intend and hope to make the world a better place in encouraging others to follow a creative lifestyle regardless weather they themselves decide to be artists.
I am primarily a painter. I am not sure if I can verbalize exactly why but I have come to learn that painting tells me about myself in a variety of ways. In addition, I feel the strong desire to communicate through painting, though I use other medium, painting for me is the one I feel most connected to. It is a very sensual, physical, and tactile experience. There is a challenge in approaching the blank canvas going through the painting process and then having the satisfaction of work completed. There is a freedom I feel through the discipline of being a painter. It just feels really good for me. As an artist I have learned to be honest, open minded and willing through the creative process.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I started my day over around 1:30 p.m. It's much better now!
"I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit. All things - and I mean ALL things - have their own will and their own way and their own purpose; this is what is to be respected."
-- Rolling Thunder, CHEROKEE
" Everything on earth has a purpose and is designed special. No two things are created identical. Sometimes in our minds we have a picture of how things should be, and often what we see is different from what they really are. When this happens we often want to control how things are, making them act or behave according to our picture. We need to leave things alone. God is running all things. How do we do this? In our minds we tell ourselves to love all things and respect all things just as they are. Accept what we cannot change.
Great Spirit, teach me the value of respect and help me to accept people, places and things just as they are."
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Learning about Annie Pootoogook in our Canadian Art History class was an exploration of a woman inbetween the past and present and no doubt left in doubt about wondering what the future holds for the Inuit people.
Meaning: The giant
Inukjuak is located on the north bank of the Innuksuak River, known for its turquoise water and turbulent rapids. The many archaeological sites scattered along the meandering river evidence thousands of years of inhabitation. The land around Inukjuak is marked by gently rolling hills and open spaces which endow the landscape with a "silent beauty," in the words of local Inuit. From the tundra, one may admire a splendid view of the village, its small port, the Hopewell Islands and Hudson Bay. In spring, ice between these islands and the mainland is moved by the action of tides and currents to create a spectacular field of immense, upraised blocks of ice.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the area was given the name Port Harrison and the French fur trading company Révillon Frères established a post here. For its part, the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) opened its post in 1920. Competition between these companies ended in 1936 when the HBC bought out Révillon Frères. The subsequent HBC fur trade monopoly continued until 1958. The St. Thomas Anglican mission was founded in 1927 and, in the years following, the federal government began delivering basic community services in Inukjuak: a post office and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police attachment were opened in 1935, a nursing station in 1947 and a school in 1951. In 1962, the co-operative store opened and, in 1980, Inukjuak was legally established as a municipality. Throughout this period, most Inuit however continued to prefer their traditional lifestyle on the land and only began settling in the village in the 1950s.
A much more painful period in the history of Inukjuamiut incongruously involves Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord, communities created 2000 km away in the High Arctic. It was in 1953 that Inuit from Inukjuak were involuntarily relocated north by the Government of Canada, essentially, in order to act as flagpoles. They represented this country's efforts to occupy the uninhabited High Arctic and counter the feared expansionist activities of other nations. Families were split up and relocatees were placed in the cruel position where to survive they had to quickly acquire new hunting techniques in the face of much harsher climatic conditions. In 1996, the Canadian government provided monetary compensation to the surviving relocatees and their families, but this settlement fell short of apologizing to the Inuit for the hardships they had endured. Instead, it offered a 'statement of reconciliation.' History should remember these people for their important role in establishing Canada's presence in the High Arctic.
This information was obtained from the Nunavik Tourism Association Web Site www.nunavik-tourism.com
James Houston is credited as the person who brought Inuit artwork, particularly their ancient art of stone carving, to the attention of collectors and museums, and it was Houston who introduced Inuit to the art of printmaking. Because of his efforts, the Inuits had prosperity and the outside world had new forms of art. He was also an author, film maker, designer, painter, and for 40 years, a designer for Steuben Glass for whom he created more than 120 pieces.
I found it of interest to note that James Houston studied with Arther Lismer. I saw an NFB film made many years ago about the Coop he started in Cape Dorset.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
When I think of Norvel Morriseau's art work and many First Nation's people, I am reminded of semiotics, a word I just learned about in my Art Seminar class! Don't ya just love school?!