Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bill O'Donnell ~ Many Rooms

The creative collaboration has morphed into a fundraiser for the upcoming Ragdale benefit . All of the former residents were offered a choice of 3 images to "remix" and those will be available for purchase at the benefit. Some of the images have been posted on the Ragdale Facebook page, where I saw Bill O'Donnell's amazing interpretation of the landscape photograph.

Original file of the view from the Ragdale house overlooking the 
 prairie landscape in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Here is Bill's rendition of the image. He "nailed" the Ragdale experience for me. Many artists have taken their inspiration from the surrounding landscape. I asked Bill if I could feature his intriguing work after I checked out his website.  What follows is his Many Rooms portfolio...


Divine Number

 In Bill's words...

"These pictures are shot in a rusting tin dollhouse. At once both implausible and convincing enough, the setting is a fitting laboratory for the questions treated. The pictures address three formal concerns of the Western philosophical tradition:

Knowledge, Conduct and Governance"



"How do we know what we know?

How might one live a virtuous life?

What is the relationship between the individual and society?"







  "Through the use and reuse of a limited set of props, I’ve focused on the fragile nature of accumulated wisdom, the acquisition of some moral compass and the difficulty of negotiating the threshold between the public and private domains."




                                      Bill has also been the beneficiary of a Ragdale residency.

 I can't say enough about the organization and how it has contributed to so many artistic endeavors. I am including some information about the upcoming "unveiling" of the Ragdale house, designed as the summer home of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, and one of the most complete examples of a turn-of-the-century retreat.  The party/celebration is going to be a blast.  If you live in the Chicago area and care about the arts, please consider attending what promises to be an amazing evening.

May 5, 2012       

Kick up your heels at this annual fundraising event with ragtime music, roaring 20’s décor, a silent auction and the grand re-opening of the Ragdale House, following a year-long $3 million restoration.  Ragdale House, the summer residence of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s artistic family, has been painstakingly restored to its 1926 condition. The evening benefits the Ragdale Foundation, the non-profit artist residency that has provided artists with time and space to pursue their creative work in an uninterrupted environment for over 30 years.  Funds raised at the benefit will support the residencies of writers, visual artists, composers and interdisciplinary artists.  For further information, click HERE.

If you can't make it to the benefit, consider applying for a residency. The deadline for fall residencies is May 15th. Click HERE to learn more about the application process.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rebirthing of Detroit

I was at a fabulous neighborhood pizzeria, Union, when the owner, Steve, began talking about Detroit with such passion that it resulted in a weekend visit. The city is a sight to behold. You can feel the former grandeur with its 8 lane boulevards crossing much of the city which was once  the former car capital of the world. The museums, especially the Detroit Institute of Arts was worth the trip alone. The Diego Rivera mural was breathtaking, as were the other collections.

I was so impressed with the energy that is being invested in the city neighborhoods by the residents and found out via Krista Tippett's public radio show, On Being, that they have over 16000 community gardens that have sprouted up all over the city. The podcast on "Becoming Detroit" can be found HERE.

And then there was the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit which had this light show by Joshua White and Gary Panter. I couldn't resist taking this image which reminded me of a Edward Hopper painting.  

...and then found this card there that connects Detroit and New Orleans!

On what felt like a scavenger hunt to find the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, I landed these 2 pictures which made the search worth it. The organization must be in its infancy because it was very difficult to locate online and in real time. Once I found it, the space was locked.

And then there  is the amazing Heidelberg project, a 3 block art installation by Tyree Guyton in its 25th year. I posted on this before and you can read about it HERE.
The rest of the photographs were all taken at the Heidelberg project.

 There is so much more to discover in Detroit. It is a city that is coming out of the ashes.       There is a lot of innovation which will redefine the city. 

"Never doubt that a small group of dedicated citizens can CHANGE THE WORLD. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
---Margaret Mead

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shelley Calton ~ Licensed to Carry, Ladies of Caliber

Shelley Calton is another photographer I met at Fotofest with an inside track into the world of firearms. She has turned the camera on a very sensitive and timely subject. Guns are in the news everyday and the cause of tremendous suffering. I  find these photographs very powerful and incredibly disturbing. 

That is all I want to say... the rest is for you to consider.

In Shelley's words...

"Since the early pioneer days, women have armed themselves.  As a young girl growing up in Texas, I was taught about guns and learned to shoot. My father kept a pistol in his nightstand and rifles for hunting. Today only the predators and laws have changed. There is a growing trend in the number of licensed women handgun carriers. These women are empowered and armed for protection.  They have been tested, fingerprinted, and schooled to use a firearm effectively." 

 "Until recently I have maintained an apprehensive distance from guns except through the lens of my camera. Yet, firearms have interestingly integrated themselves into my work, i.e., Hard Knocks, “Tex Offender’s Pistols” and Nécessaire “Colt 44.” In Licensed to Carry, I decided to explore the private lives of women who arm themselves and join them in becoming a licensed handgun owner. The photographs are set against everyday scenarios, the guns are prominently featured, and contrast their otherwise concealed nature." 

"Women who carry guns are unassuming: she may be the mother in line next to you at the grocery store checkout counter, the grandmother walking her dog, or the woman parking next to you at the shopping mall.  This is not an exclusive club and is open to anyone except a convicted felon."

"While owning and/or carrying a gun is not always kept a secret, it is seldom boasted or talked about.  That being said, when you ask a female gun owner to talk about her guns, she will open up, get excited, and proudly tell you about each gun.  What I didn’t expect and what I discovered through photographing these women is that many collect handguns as they would Wedgwood china or high heel shoes."


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cynthia Greig ~ Nature Morte and Representations

Another Fotofest find! I am so happy to share the work of Cynthia Greig, expanding our notion of what, exactly, is a photograph!

In Cynthia's words...

"To what degree are our beliefs and realities based on appearances and misconceptions? Nature Morte and Representations consider the malleability of identity, and the potential for reconfiguring the physical and imagined boundaries we impose upon the world."

"I’m fascinated by the persuasive power of the photograph, and its unique role in negotiating what we believe to be real or true. I make images that embrace both the limitations and possibilities of photography as a way to challenge our expectations and create a shift in our perceptual experience. Exploiting the camera’s monocular point of view, I examine the deceptive nature of appearances by confusing two distinct methods of representation—photography and drawing—encouraging the viewer to look beyond the surface and the presumed transparency of the photographic image. Drawing directly onto the surfaces of whitewashed objects with charcoal I create and photograph the resulting hybrids of three-dimensional drawings. Whether focusing on the fading familiarity of manmade objects made obsolete through time, technology or taste, or the temporal nature of the organic substance of fruit, the images meditate on the intersection of identity and representation, and the physical and perceptual process of transformation. The accompanying videos further explore time’s capacity to unfold and reveal the illusory nature of appearances."

Nature Morte is opening at dnj gallery this coming Saturday, in Santa Monica. Details follow:
April 21st - June 2, 2012
Artist Reception: Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 6-8pm
*The Artist will be in attendance*
2525 michigan avenue, Suite J1
santa monica, california 90404