Evocative Objects

6 08 2017

One of my recent experiments in photographing the things we leave behind and considering the ways that they channel memories… more to come –

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Exhibits, Essays, Etc.

29 06 2017

The past year has felt busier than usual, with being back in school while still working full-time, so I’m past due to post some updates. A few highlights from recent months:

Exhibitions

The opportunity to have a solo show in San Francisco this spring was pretty exciting. The print director at Mission Grafica generously invited me to show a selection of monotypes at Galeria Zapatista. A Hidden Garden opened on May 12 and we went out for the opening. Testifying to the idea that one never knows what doors will open, it looks like the show will now travel to a gallery in Fresno, thanks to one of the people who attended the opening.

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On the curatorial end of things, I had the chance to put together a group show called Crossing the Line, to be mounted in conjunction with a conference of the same name in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Artists interpreted line-crossing and encounters with borders and boundaries in many ways, whether by mixing media or speaking back to / with histories or offering political or cultural challenges. The curatorial essay is available online here.

Essays

And a few weeks ago, Elizabeth Stevensen at Fisch Haus staged the 8th iteration of her XX Biennial, for which she invited me to write the catalogue essay. Since it’s a tagging structure, where each artist from the last biennial tags one for the next, there aren’t always clear connections between the work, but this year it seemed very cohesive. (Essay is here, for anyone interested.)

Writing from the last couple of international maternal conferences has been on-going. Some pieces are still in process, but the London conference resulted in an entire issue of Studies in the Maternal. Expanding my conference presentation into a longer essay on “Performing the Breastfeeding Body” resulted in this piece, and I participated in another conversation on maternal art activism with several colleagues here.

Etc.

It was a rewarding year of teaching. There are always emotional ups and downs in an academic setting, helping young people (and sometimes colleagues) negotiate difficult issues, but by the end of the year it always seems worth it. I had the chance to create a new class this year, on Activism, Art, and Design. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Art Education Foundation, I was able to incorporate several visiting artists throughout the semester, to talk with students first-hand about their work in prison arts activism, immigrant rights, climate change, and community arts / activist workshops. I love teaching Printmaking, so that was a highlight of my year as well. I was honored to earn tenure this spring, and as an end-of-year bonus, received the Distinguished Teaching Award at commencement.





The Intimacy of Books

19 06 2017
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A fragile creature, she fears rodents, the elements, and clumsy hands, 2017, Coptic stitch, rust printing, and cut paper

I’ve been remiss in posting most any of my recent experiments in book arts but it’s been a big part of my MFA work this past year. These wordless books have companion phrases – more than titles, perhaps, but words that stand alongside them. And they are almost all very small, which underscores the need of such objects to be held. The scale (most less than 3″ tall) and the words both speak to an intimacy that I have felt all year as I’ve made the work, a feeling that I hope translates to viewers as they imagine their own narratives. A few examples:

 

 

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Have you planted the marigold seeds that I sent?, 2016, accordion fold with handmade papers and watercolor

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Now the garden is gone to seed, 2017, monoprinted and handmade papers with Coptic and centipede stitching

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Our backyard miracle began on the south side of the house, 2016, Kozo and monoprinted papers with lotus blossom stitch

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We survive storms with laughter, 2016, spiral accordion with handmade paper

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I imagine three nights of full moon, 2016, accordion and flower fold with monoprinting





Tiny Bunny Print Exchange!

19 05 2017

The bunnies are here! I don’t often participate in exchange portfolios, mostly because I’m not a big fan of editioning work, but last fall I saw a call for “Leporidae: A Tiny Bunny Print Exchange” – small prints (3×5″) on a bunny theme. How could I say no?

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I made an edition of relief prints on the three hares motif. And then I mailed them off and waited for the exchange prints to arrive.

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It was like Christmas when they arrived, in a beautiful sewn enclosure. Inside were a title page, a hand-stitched colophon, and two glassine envelopes full of tiny bunny prints.

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And what bunny prints! Relief prints, etchings, letterpress, screenprints, prints with flocking; mechanized bunnies, zombie bunnies, sorcerer bunnies, bunnies pooping (my students’ favorite).

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Many thanks to the Not So Secret Society of Bunny Benevolence (aka printmakers Yuka Petz and Lisa Hasagawa) for organizing this delightful exchange. All submitted prints can be seen on their tumblr site.





New Beginnings

2 09 2016

I feel so lucky: I get to be a student again! I returned to grad school this summer, to pursue an MFA degree. My head is spinning with ideas and information and input from classmates and professors – and it’s wonderful. I know that the program will push my work in all kinds of new directions, and I feel certain that it will inform my pedagogical practice as well. I’m excited to find that the program has such a focus on making writing part of the artistic practice; maybe my parallel paths will find interesting ways to overlap in the work that is to come. I am wholly impressed by my cohort and firmly believe that their diverse energies and perspectives will offer me all kinds of new insights into what it is that I’m doing.

And now we are into a new semester. I haven’t gotten to teach the art history survey in years and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the course – giving students a taste of so many different things, and seeing light bulbs turn on in various ways.





Mapping the Maternal in Edmonton

25 05 2016

 

Mapping the Maternal: Art, Ethics, and the Anthropocene was a feminist think-tank the likes of which I have never experienced. Organizers Natalie Loveless and Sheena Wilson described the project thus: “Our goal with this colloquium is to create a hybrid art-academic event through which an international group of feminist artists, scholars, and activists can collaboratively share research and co-construct new knowledge on contemporary feminist art and the maternal in the context of Anthropogenic climate change.” Days full of short provocations, careful listening, extended discussions, and caring for one another, all in the setting of Lise Haller Baggesen’s Mothernism installation, made for a generative time together. So many overlapping interests and thought-provoking new directions- I am eager to see what comes next.





Lex Wrap-Up

30 04 2016

Five years to the week after I first met with the directors of Das Verborgene Museum to consider a collaboration on the work of Alice Lex, I returned to Berlin for the opening of the retrospective exhibition and for the launch of the book. The entire week was highly celebratory and I cannot imagine a better culmination to a years-long project. Highlights of the week: seeing so many of Lex’s works framed and hung together in a single space, for the first time EVER; finally holding the beautifully designed book in my hands, after so many years of research and writing; giving an address in German at the exhibition opening – nerve-wracking but thrilling; gathering with so many friends from near and far to celebrate the opening; meeting with journalists (Tagesspiegel article here); and talking with Lex’s remaining family members, who seemed just as thrilled as I was to see this project reach completion. As an academic, it was truly rewarding to see that this work actually matters to some real people.