Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tis the Season....

one of my all time holiday favorites....

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Socrates on Death and Dying

© Jane Fulton Alt

"To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"      Socrates

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paul den Hollander ~ Luminous Garden

Feast your eyes! One of the many pleasures of traveling to the Noorderlicht Photography Festival in the Netherlands was learning about the work of Paul den Hollander

  I was immediately transfixed by his work. At first I thought I was looking at deep sea bioluminescence, the production and emission of light by a living organism as the result of a chemical reaction.

 But no, these images were "lit up" by the creative ingenuity of Paul den Hollander. Somehow, Paul is turns the invisible visible by bridging art and science. The electromagnetic field's of these plants are stunning.

 In his words...

 "My photographic work can be seen as an example of photography which breaks through the familiar way of looking at our physical world; it is an adventure in consciousness and perception. It is a fundamental idea though that our limited sensory capacity excludes from the field of direct awareness almost all the electromagnetic spectrum.
In the series ‘The Luminous Garden’ I penetrate deeper into the secrets of the vegetable kingdom. Showing a known physical reality in relation with the, for the naked eye, invisible electromagnetic field that penetrates and surrounds the physical plant. This creates a very different experience of ‘reality’."

Instead of using a formal scientific method in showing this unseen reality, I am using an artistic way, full of imagination, in revealing this important and vital aspect of life, this fascinating world full of magic and enchantment. "

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marie Cecile Thijs

As you may know, I was in the Netherlands this past September. I loved the country and the people I met. I was just sent a link (thank you to Deann and Frances) of Marie Cecile Thijs's work. The portraits are so well seen and remind me of the best Dutch European  paintings. The subtly and light....extraordinary!
 "Marie Cecile Thijs  specializes in staged photography (portraiture and autonomous photography). In her photographs she strives for intensity and stillness. She mingles contemporary style with classical references. "

Marie Cecile Thijs initially had a career as a lawyer, but more than fifteen years ago she rediscovered her earlier love for the camera, and decided to become a photographer. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mark Rothko ~ The Formula

                                 Mark Rothko ~ From a lecture at the Pratt Institute, 1958.
The recipe of a work of art—its ingredients—how to make it—the formula.

Burn No. 29 © Jane Fulton Alt
1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death—intimations of mortality...Tragic art, romantic art, etc. deals with the knowledge of death.
2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.
3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
4. Irony. This is a modern ingredient—the self effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.
5. Wit and Play..for the human element.
6. The ephemeral and chance...for the human element.
7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.

I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the porportions of these elements...

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Meditation

©Ben Canales; The Star Trail;  Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
National Geographic 2011 Traveler Photo winning photo
What is "art" but the effort of giving permanent form---- in language, in painting, sculpture, music ---to those elemental forces in our lives, those passions, hurts, triumphs, and mysteries that have no permanence otherwise, and so require art to be known at all? Our lives, especially at their happiest moments, fly past as quickly as a mountain stream rushing along its rocky course, throwing up frothy, sparkling spray; the effort of art is to slow the rapid motion, to bring it to a halt so that it can be seen, known. All artists know either consciously or instinctively that the secret intention of their life's work is to rescue from the plunge of time something of beauty, permanence, significance in another's eyes."
                                                                              Joyce Carol Oats ; Telling Stories

Friday, August 31, 2012


I am very pleased to be included in this international photography festival, Noorderlicht, which takes place annually in the Netherlands. 115 photographers from 36 countries will be shown at "Terra Cognita, an exhibition about the relation between man and nature. How do we experience nature, and what is its value for us? Our romantic longing for pure nature is diametrically opposed to the practical desire to control the world and cultivate it. "

This is a mock up design display for the work which will be presented outdoors. 
My Burn pieces will be blown up to 30" x 30" and printed for outdoors. 
I am leaving shortly for the Netherlands to attend the opening festivities.
So fun!
© Toni Hafkenscheid
Father and Son at Grand Canyon 2007

Nature, Toni Hafkenscheid tells us, almost always comes across as artificial. It is as if it has been transplanted directly from the model railway he has as a child. Hafkenscheid associates the North American landscape with the trees of cotton wool and cardboard mountains through which his trains used to run. In CONFABULATION he tries to give the real the appearance of artificiality. For that he uses  tilt-shift lenses, which, because he uses them the ‘wrong way around’, offer him the possibility of having only a small slice of the landscape in sharp focus, leaving the rest of the image fuzzy.

More information on the festival can be found HERE.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Art of Human Rights and Healing ~ Survivor Quilts

Some amazing work had transpired in Chicago under the creative brainpower of Greg Halvorsen Schreck, a photography professor at Wheaton College
Greg collaborated with Chicago’s Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center in creating a photographic/quilt project with survivors of politically sponsored torture. The Kovler Center transforms the lives of individuals recovering from the complex consequences of torture,  providing medical, mental health, and social services.

Constructing the quilt 

"We had discussed possible photography projects for years. However, the need for survivor confidentiality made conventional documentary approaches impossible. Instead of a traditional documentary project, too often cementing images of individual victims, we decided to use an approach that visualized a community of survivors. Through a collaborative group project, we were able to create a process that promoted dialogue and understanding between survivors, students, and staff members. We all wanted to create an image of a supportive community that would present survivors with dignity and beauty. Posing torture survivors for photographs might reiterate the problem of someone exerting control over them, so we allowed each person to depict themselves in ways that offered self-expression, autonomy, and anonymity. The basic set consisted of a computer monitor next to a camera, allowing the subject to see each image on the screen as it was made. Most importantly, we gave them a remote control to make their own self-portraits. We wanted the survivors to see themselves in community—in solidarity with case workers and other service providers—so the Kovler Center staff participated as well." 
"After making photographs to their satisfaction, the survivors were invited to choose two photographs that they liked the best. The images were cropped into squares and printed on-site. The photographs were then cut into strips and woven back together. The editing and weaving process allowed the participants another way to alter their identity, as needed. They could control exactly how they would appear. Finally, the completed squares were sewn together to create a quilt. Students were responsible for various parts of the collaborative process: helping with the camera; editing, cropping, and printing the images; cutting the images and weaving them back together; troubleshooting and overseeing the visual design of the quilt; and sewing the quilt together. The production room was festive and energetic, with students, survivors, and Kovler Center staff working together in various combinations. The quilt was reinforced and finished at Wheaton College."

The participants’ response was overwhelmingly positive:
 “They did the worst things to me, the worst. I have scars all over from where they hurt me. I thought I didn’t have a body anymore . . . I brought my therapist with me, and then I felt okay. I made some pictures, and I started feeling happy. I could do it by myself, without the therapist anymore. I liked the pictures I saw. I started moving and having fun.”
“I realized that I could have a body again; I could be in my body. I could move. I realized I could have a life here. I could start again. I felt like I was a model, that I was beautiful.”
“After what they did to my body, I never knew I could feel this way again.”
“You made me beautiful . . . I am beautiful!”
“I felt immortal.”
"A non-traditional intervention, the finished quilt has proven to be uplifting, empowering, and transformative, beyond what any of us could have imagined. Something magical and healing occurred when survivors took the remote control in their hands, determined how to pose their own bodies, and decided when and how their image was to be recorded."

Greg shares more ideas from this past fall on working  with another underserved population in the Chicago area...
 "I started my class this semester working with the escalating refugee population in Wheaton.  Mostly from Congo and Burundi; the civil war there is pretty harrowing.  A number of us in Wheaton donated our backyards for some of them to farm.  My students documented the gardens and we had an exhibition a few weeks back: all the African gardeners came.  There was abundant Congolese and other food that they made.  Only a few of the homeowners came.  The refugees had never been to an opening, nor had most of them seen pictures of themselves.  It was quite a wild time.  So Karen and I invited our gardeners for dinner this afternoon with another refugee family.  Talk about culture shock..."

 You can read more about the quilt project HERE.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Art of Human Rights

Charles Gniech, Chief curator of The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago and fellow artist, is at it again. He has organized an alternative exhibition at the Zia Gallery in Winnetka to support the amazing Heartland Alliance of Chicago. His energy and curatorial abilities are impressive. The show will only be up for a few short days, so if you are interested in supporting both artists and a wonderful social service organization, be sure to stop by.

Zia Gallery, 548 Chestnut Street;  Winnetka, Illinois
Monday, August 27 – Exhibition opens
Thursday, August 30 – Main event: 5-8:30 
Saturday, September 1 – Exhibition Closes