Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

China, one more time

This image was once again published today in the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, the biggest newspaper in Hunan province, in their 2010 year-end report raising people's aware of enviroment protection.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Ice and Snow

I just returned from my second (of the season) cross country ski outing along the shores of Lake Michigan. It was incredibly beautiful. I did not have my camera with me but took many mental notes on the ever changing light as I watched the "lake effect" snow move in. I was thinking of my ongoing interest in ice. Years ago I would combine water and "stuff" in containers, place it in my back yard and wait for it to freeze. I would then photograph whatever surprises awaited.

Last year while doing an artist residency during a deep freeze in January at Ragdale, I started playing with ice and snow again. Sometimes when I TRY to intervene with nature, it just doesn't work that well. It feels contrived.

And then in early March there were shards of ice lining the beach. I was in a state of rapture as I took in the ephemeral beauty.

It seems that try as I might to manipulate my subject, no one does it better than mother nature.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

on "holidays"

Yesterday I was driving in my car and saw this text on the back of a truck.

Everyday is a "HOLIDAY."

That just says it all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just in from Beijing

This could be the last of numerous publications of my Crude Awakening series...thought I would share as it is fresh off the press from the Fellow Traveller Magazine in China.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butterfly Installation at Macro Museum in Rome

Thanks to a forward from Susan to Edward Lifson's blog, Hello Beautiful, I learned about another butterfly installation, only this time the butterflies are real. How cool is this?

A new installation by Bik Van der Pol – a house with hundreds of butterflies inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s popular Farnsworth House – was chosen to inaugurate the new wing of the MACRO Museum in Rome.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Blizzard of the Season

We are fast approaching the shortest day of the year. I was really interested to learn from a Iranian friend that December 22nd is celebrated in his culture with great zest for being the longest night of the year. The holiday is known for its poetry, dried fruits, nuts and watermelon (to signify the promise of spring).

I am currently experiencing the first snowstorm of the year. The winds are howling and the snow is falling. I found myself starting to do a butterfly installation in my home to counter the storm. The butterflies, simply put, make me happy.

I then found my back yard bird friends braving the storm at the feeder just a few minutes ago.

We ARE going to get thru this winter!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Blessings of the Butterflies

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" Frida Kahlo, 1953

I have just completed an installation in the entryway of Frontera Grill/ Topolobampo in Chicago. As many of you know, I have travelled for the past 12 years with award winning chef Rick Bayless and his wonderful staff to Mexico to become more familiar the culinary and cultural riches of each state. Every year I come back with photographs and mount a show from a particular region.

The idea for the current work was born on top of a pyramid at Teotihuacan just outside Mexico City. It was noon as I reached the peak of the Pyramid of the Sun. The quiet and gentle breezes were caressing my overheated body under the blazing sun. Much to my surprise and delight, I spotted many butterflies flittering about. The guide explained that the butterflies always appear at noon. The ancients believed the butterflies were reincarniated manifestations of the holy priests. It was a magical moment.

We also went to the village of Tepoztlan in which there was a audible collective sigh from everyone as we stepped off the bus into the gardens. It is a serene, low-key spiritual town nestled between craggy cliffs in the state of Morelos.

The transformative gardens of Tepotzlan

While in transit I was reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (another Ragdale Fellow), a book filled with images of magical realism. We also visited Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's home (known as La Casa Azul, The Blue House), adding to my deeper understanding her life and work.

All of these experiences contributed to my wish to communicate a certain feeling I have about Mexico. Having conceived of this work was a bit like jumping off a cliff. I have not done anything like it before and yet it seemed, in my head at least, to convey the magic of the places we visited. An unanticipated surprise for me was to experience the flutter of the butterflies as the door swings open, ushering in the cool Chicago breeze. I have included some installation shots but encourage you, if possible, to experience the work in person. You are sure to also have a culinary experience extraordinaire!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

now it is about the butterflies

I have been fascinated by the monarch butterflies for a long time. They are mysterious, beautiful and awe inspiring.

A facebook friend posted this video yesterday on the monarch butterfly emerging from a cocoon. I witnessed the transformation about 15 years ago in Northern Wisconsin and it was seared into my memory. I have since felt a very strong affinity with the butterfly and have incorporated it into my work at various times.

mixed media

encaustic, wood and photo

Stay tuned for the next installment of the monarch butterfly!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sally Mann

Sally Mann's new book, The Flesh and the Spirit, was reviewed yesterday in Fraction Magazine by Daniel W. Coburn. I have always been very drawn to her work. Coburn states, "Sally Mann grapples with the universal themes of love, loss and mortality that simultaneously enrich and plague the human condition. The beauty and power of Mann’s lifelong exploration of these topics lies in her ability to employ the art of photography as a psychological conduit. It is a channel through which she powerfully and effectively communicates her personal discoveries to the viewer. Her photographs celebrate a human existence that is both tragic and beautiful."

© Sally Mann from Immediate Family

Here are 2 of some of my favorite early photographs of members of my family (in need of a lot more darkroom work but for the sake of sharing, here they are)....

Mann's later work revolved on understanding death and dying. She released a book, What Remains, where she photographed the various states of decomposing bodies. In the following video Mann asks "what happens to a landscape when there are massive numbers on deaths on it" and then goes on to answer "The Earth doesn't care where a death occurs. Its job is to efface and renew itself. It is the artists who, by coming in and writing about it or painting it or photographing it, makes that earth powerful and creates deaths memory." She goes on to talk about the imperfections in art making as gifts...

Mann's work is endlessly fascinating, riveting and true. There are numerous resources online to explore her work further. Well worth the time.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Its about the TREES!

If you live in New York City, New Orleans or Santa Barbara, please consider visiting shows I am participating in that open Thursday and Friday nights...

© Burn No. 26

GIVING TREES, an upcoming fundraiser sponsored by 25CPW Gallery in New York City, opens Friday night. The exhibition will benefit Green World Campaign, a non-profit organization focused on seeding trees throughout the world and The Magnum Foundation.The hope is that through print sales and contributions "we can help the Green World Campaign plant trees in some of the most environmentally damaged areas of the world."

The featured Magnum Photographers are Bruce Davidson, Gilles Peress, Alec Soth, Steve McCurry, Jim Goldberg, Mark Power, Jean Gaumy, Stuart Franklin, Larry Towell, Martine Franck, Danny Lyon, Werner Bischof Estate, Trent Parke, Peter Marlow, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, John Vink, Harry Gruyaert and Jonas Bendiksen in addition to other select photographers from around the world (including the 3 images from my Burn series that are included in this post).

© Burn No. 83

Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara just opened an online curated show, Evergreen. In addition to Evergreen they are opening "Into The Light" tomorrow night. Burn No. 26 will be happily be hanging on the wall of the gallery.

And in case you are in New Orleans for PhotoNola 2010, my "Mourning Light" work will be featured in the SlideLuck PotShow tomorrow night, the kickoff for a great photographic weekend.

© Burn No. 72