Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sebastian Salgado

A wonderful article on Sebastian Salgado this morning in the New York Times.
He too has been photographing nature, traveling the world over for his "Genesis" project. His subject matter for this project is the natural world that has been untouched by modern development.

In the article, Salgado states “I’m 100 percent sure that alone my photographs would not do anything. But as part of a larger movement, I hope to make a difference,” he said. “It isn’t true that the planet is lost. We must work hard to preserve it.” So I am thinking that he along with so many other artists are trying to do just this.

If you are not familiar with his work, you should be. It is epic. He is well known for his Workers and Migration projects. He clearly photographs with his head and his heart and is one of the great photographers working today.

Going up the Serra Pelada mine, Brazil, 1986

Full view of the Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil 1986

Gourma-Rharous, Mali 1985

Refugees in the Korem camp, Ethiopia, 1984

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Richard Olderman

Amazing work and amazing artist. Dick has been very influential in my taking up photography and pondering the state of the world.

"This small body of work, the grains of sand found on the beach at Little Talbot Island in Northeast Florida, keeps me mindful of Nature's reality. Here, worked upon by the wind, rain , sea and tides, the grains of sand ebb and flow in an exact manner to create such overwhelming beauty that I am guided back to my heart's desire.

In a civilized world of intentional brutality, one can easily lose what is most important about being alive. The necessary awareness of beauty and pleasure that should surround our days is there...constantly to be experienced. The moments of being a small part of this beauty, working with the possibilities it offers, is what I love to be doing. To have the good fortune to share what I have discovered completes the cycle.

Hopefully, you might be touched to discover your own location in the natural order of things. These images of sand are my evidence of two becoming one."

More of his work can be seen HERE.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

“Reveries of a Solitary Walker” Rousseau

According to Rousseau,

"If there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner-what is it?
If not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reflections on The Modern Wing of The Art Institute Of Chicago

Spectacular is not a strong enough word to describe the new Renso Piano's addition of the Art Institute of Chicago.
It is totally awe inspiring! A must see. The building, the light, the space, the art will be walking two feet off the ground after your visit and it is great excuse to drop in on the Windy City. Here are a few pix I took the other night...

Jeff Coons, Women in Tub, 1988

I was blown away by the very considered placement of the art. The marble sculpture of Jean Arp so beautifully compliments the Joan Miro painting.

So totally Chicago...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Aleksandar Hermon

Was reading the New York Times today and ran across an article about the writer, Aleksandar Hermon. The full article is HERE. I was really intrigued and went online to learn he was giving a reading in Chicago this afternoon. After planting a few tomato plants I headed down to the Book Cellar and heard Aldksandar Hermon read from his just released (today) book, Love and Obstacles.

I was blown away...

One of the many moving passages was from The Noble Truths of Suffering, short story, one in which the narrator is invited to meet a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Now I ask you, what creative person has not pondered the following...

"When he was young, like me, he said he used to think that all the great writers knew something he didn't. He thought that if he read their books they would teach him something, make him better; he thought he would acquire what they had: the wisdom, the truth, the wholeness, the real shit. He was burning to write, he wanted to break through to that fancy knowledge, he was hungry for it. But now he knew that that hunger was vainglorious; now he knew that writers knew nothing, really; most of them were just faking it. He knew nothing. There is nothing to know, nothing on the other side. There was no walker, no path, just walking. This was it, whoever you were, wherever you were, whatever it was, and you had to make peace with that fact....
"This?" I asked. "What is 'this'?"
"This. Everything."

Another reading in Chicago is tomorrow, Monday, May 18, 12:30 PM, Borders on State Street (150 N. State St.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Overwhelming ~ A Must See

If you saw Ruined (which travelled to NYC) and liked it, The Overwhelming presented by The Next Theater Company is a MUST. They just extended the show until May 30.

"With his tenure at risk, Professor Jack Exley uproots his family from Illinois to Rwanda on the eve of the genocide to interview a mysterious doctor about his AIDS treatment program. When the doctor vanishes without a trace, the family finds itself lost in sea of changing stories and shifting alliances. A hit in London in 2006 and off-Broadway in 2007, The Overwhelming is a potent, gripping drama about the challenges facing a progressive American in a foreign country on the brink of disaster."

It raised so many questions, thoughts and discussion. One of the better plays I have seen this year. So happy they extended it.

This is a two for one because opening tomorrow at the Noyes Cultural Art Center is the work of Chicago photographer, Ursula Sololowska. I have admired her work from afar and it was great to see it up close and personal.

Ursula Sokolowska, Untitled No. 32 ©2006

Ursula Sokolowska's Artist statement

"This work examines the trauma and uncertainty carried from childhood. In particular, I am referencing my own upbringing as a Polish immigrant. There is an undercurrent of helplessness and misdirection linked to a sort of schizophrenic parenting, excommunication, and constant movement. Typically, the perception of children handed down by my elders was that children did not have a choice. Frequently, I heard a Polish equivalent of the phrase “Children should be seen not heard”. I am attempting to give these children voices.

These photographs are projection-based installations. The models are mannequins and their faces are projections. The faces of the children are slides that my father took of me when he was still involved in my life. The other slides are present day images that I have shot of my mom, my dad, and myself. My goal is to reconstruct my own childhood, empowering the past for better or for worse. The result is a troubling recreation of events that may seem disturbing but are far less in context to the real events that transpired."

Ursula Sokolowska Untitled No. 65©2006

Thursday, May 14, 2009

NYT architecture review of Renzo Piano's Unveiling in Chicago

Michelle Litvin for The New York Times

Everyone I have spoken to who has visited the new Morton Wing addition of the Art Institute of Chicago say it is truly breathtaking. It opens to the public on Saturday.

The following is from an article by NICOLAI OUROUSSOF of the New York Times, published: May 13, 2009

"But it is the light that most people will notice. Mr. Piano has been slowly refining his lighting systems since the mid-1980s, when he completed his design for the Menil Collection building in Houston. Over the years these efforts have taken on a quasi-religious aura, with curators and museum directors analyzing the light in his galleries like priests dissecting holy texts.

At the Art Institute Mr. Piano has stripped the system down to its essence. The glass roof of the top-floor galleries is supported on delicate steel trusses. Rows of white blades rest on top of the trusses to filter out strong southern light; thin fabric panels soften the view from below.

The idea is to make you aware of the shifts in daylight — over the course of a visit, from one season to another — without distracting you from the artwork, and the effect is magical. On a clear afternoon you can catch faint glimpses through the structural frame of clouds drifting by overhead. But most of the time the art takes center stage, everything else fading quietly into the background.

It is this obsessive refinement that raises Mr. Piano’s best architecture to the level of art. In an age with few idealists, he exudes a touching faith in the value of slow, incremental progress. He has never fully abandoned the belief that machines can elevate as well as destroy.

The beauty of his designs stems from his stubborn insistence that the placement of a column or a window, when done with enough patience and care, brings us a step closer to a more enlightened society."


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fiona 1995 - 2009

I am writing about Fiona because she is weighing on my mind. She was a companion for 12 of her 14 years. (With all the traveling I have done in the past few years, we decided to have her live with a family more rooted in the day to day).

Six months ago the two families met to discuss concerns about her aging. We decided that when the time came to euthanize her, we would do it in the most comfortable way possible. Having spent time with hospice and thinking a lot about death and dying, it was important to me to midwife Fiona to the other side in the most loving, gentle way possible.

Compassionate Veterinary Care came highly recommended by our regular vet. Dr. Shanan was one of the most extraordinary people I know. When he entered the living room, Fiona barked briefly at him. Then he got on all fours and allowed Fiona to befriend him. It was an extraordinary sight to see them bond so immediately. Dr. Shanan then explained that Fiona would receive 2 injections, one a tranquilizer and the second would be phenobarbital.

She was surrounded by loved ones, holding and touching her. It was very calm and peaceful. (I asked Fiona to forgive me of my shortcomings in caring for her and to let me know what it was like on the other side). She drifted into a twilight sleep with the first shot and slipped away by the time the second shot was fully administered. As her bladder muscles gave out, she urninated on our rug once again, for old times sake. I must admit, I did not mind and actually found it humorous.

We then fully wrapped her in a sheet that she had slept on for many a night and proceeded to the corner of our backyard, where we had dug a opening in the ground. We gently placed her in the hole and took turns covering her with the soil. Flower and evergreen plants were then planted.

It was the most respectful, loving procedure of letting go of Fiona that I could have imagined. I miss her....she taught me a lot about absolute love and loyalty.

NYAXE Gallery Representation Winner ~ May 21, 2009 Exhibit

From blog

Congratulations to the artists selected for representation at the NYAXE Gallery. 3 artists-- Jane Fulton Alt, Leah Tomaino, and Miles Holbert, will have their work physically represented at the gallery. 17 others will be represented digitally.

Jane Fulton Alt

NYAXE Gallery is located at 818 Emerson St. in Palo Alto, CA. The represented members were chosen from a selective-- ongoing --competition that allows members of the community to compete for NYAXE Gallery representation. The gallery serves as a bridge between the online and physical art world.
The NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA marks as one of only a few social art sites to have a physical presence in the form of a brick & mortar gallery-- as well as the only online art community to have a physical gallery presence in the heart of Silicon Valley. The NYAXE Gallery places members art within reach of some of the most powerful-- and wealthy-- professionals in the United States.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New Work ~ The Burn ~ Opens Tomorrow

The Burn series evolved from my ongoing interest in life cycles. For the past two years I have accompanied restoration ecologists on their prescribed burns in nature preserves and prairies. These controlled burns imitate naturally occurring fires by removing accumulated dead vegetation and releasing seeds from dormancy. By opening the woodlands to more sunlight, the fires prepare the soil for new spring growth, and the cycle of renewal continues.

Wall Space Gallery
358 Richmond Road
Ottawa, Ontario

I will also have images from last years burn in addition to some of my Pool chiffon images in the exhibition. I will post installation images as I receive them.

If you don't happen to be in Ottawa this weekend for the opening, a piece from the collection will be auctioned off at the Evanston Art Center Annual Fundraiser on May 16.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thank You Frida Kahlo

I had the privilege of visiting Frida Kahlo's home in Mexico City in 2005 while on a staff trip with Chicago chef Rick Bayless. I was so excited about going there and had all these preconceived ideas about photographing the space, only to learn that no one was allowed to photograph inside the home. I did, however, make a few images in the garden.

What really peaked my interest and curiosity was how Frida Kahlo embedded ceramic vessels along the outside of the house, I am assuming to attract nesting birds.

I spent time gardening this past weekend, watching and listening to the many birds that passed thru my garden. I then realized that I could try to create a nesting area, similar to what Kahlo did, only on our garage. I have yet to know whether any of the local birds will be drawn to making their homes in these baskets but it sure is fun to anticipate the possibility!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Art and Empty Store Fronts

Returning home last night after viewing Art Chicago left me with a host of thoughts. It was very stimulating to see so much art, some of it wonderful and some of it leaving me wondering why they bother. The scene felt very subdued compared to the hussle and bussle and of last year ( they had 5 shows last year instead of the 3 of this year). I missed the Artist Project, where I had exhibited the past 2 years but was happy to have the time to take in other artists' work.

I have had a keen awareness of all the empty store fronts in my community as a result of the downturn in the economy. On the drive home I was thinking of all those empty stores and all the artists I know who would love to have their work seen and how it would feel, as a pedestrian, to walk past a window of wonderful art verses a sorry reminder of our economic woes.

I contacted the chair of the Evanston Arts Council this morning and guess what! I got and email stating,"...We actually are embarking on that project as we speak.... and should have Evanston artists work in the Orrington/Church area within the next month or so." How thrilling is that!

I would urge you to fill your empty neighborhood storefronts with art...a win ~ win for everyone involved.