"To be focused and dedicated to doing one simple thing can perhaps be the most transformative thing." -Artist Louise Despont
Just watched PBS’ Art 21 video with artist Louise Despont. I’d never heard of her but am thoroughly inspired by her drawing process using architectural templates and repetition. She works in a spartan studio on the floor, intensely drawing with pencils on smaller sheets of paper that she combines to make much larger patterned images.
I can relate to the obsessive process. She’s very eloquent in describing why this process touches the Universal.
It was a super inspiring show in a beautiful building. I really have to hand it to the Center for how perfect the galleries are for contemporary artwork, and how sophisticated the hanging was. The Center is housed in a gorgeously restored Victorian school building with incredible historical details. It’s located downtown amidst restored architectural gems spanning back to the pre-Civil War era. It’s well worth the visit to see the town as well, and it’s only half an hour from Athens GA.
ANYWAY, I first met Don at The Hambidge Center in 2000 where we were both doing an artist residency. I saw his work in progress during the Cosmic Egg series (seen in the last image). I later happened on an opening of his in Atlanta where I saw his Bindu series (the rest of the images). This series really blew me away! He paints a bindu (or point/dot) in the center of the canvas or paper, then rings it with concentric circles that expand outward.
My favorites of these were the watercolors on rough Indian handmade paper (seen in the photo with the bench and in the next four details). His color schemes are so surprising and fresh. I like the system he’s set up for this series: the centered concentric rings. It makes the color choices and the differences in spacing between the rings exciting in their variations. The works pull together as one piece with many parts. Given the lighting and the quiet in the gallery, the Bindu paintings created a spiritual, contemplative space.
Messing around with some small origami paper squares and a variety of colors of washi tapes. I’ve been really into experimenting with simple color combinations lately. Collage is a nice way to experiment with color because trial and error is quick and serendipitous surprise color schemes are inevitable.
11 x 14” six color screenprint on 140 lb whip cream French Paper with rounded corners
Edition of 30
Last summer, Katherine McGuire and Amanda Burk of Double Dutch Press in Athens, invited me to participate in their triannual “[blank]” screenprint series. I designed the print, and they then screenprinted the image. Their craftsmanship is impeccable and they were amazing to work with. I highly recommend them for any fine art screenprints projects.
About the print: I wanted to take advantage of screenprinting’s ability to make process color prints, or Cyan, Magenta and Yellow in translucent overlays. I drew one long vertical rectangle with rounded corners sited low on the page, and simply repeated the same shape with a slightly different registration each time. The 6 passes of translucent ink in those 3 process colors (each color was printed twice) created various combinations of colors where the shapes overlapped. In the center, a neutral gray is formed. Simple, surprising, and fun! I was really honored to be a part of this project.
Last night, I ran across some student work from Seattle artist Ken Kelly at the University of Georgia’s Art Rox Athens exhibition. The exhibit showcased the incredible creative boom and cross-pollination of art and music of the late 70s and early 80s in Athens GA. Ken was an undergraduate at UGA during that time and had a couple of his minimalist works on paper on display. I really loved them and got the opportunity to tell him so.
I looked up his current work this morning and decided to post a few of my favorites. The patterning reminds me of textile interweavings, and the repetitive mark-making process is really interesting to view and empathize with.
Most of these are very small, only 8x10” or 16 x 20” (with the exception of the two bottom pieces which are about 40 x 60”). The surfaces seem very rich and thick, making the small paintings almost sculpture-like.
I love making and collecting works on paper, but it means framing them in order to keep them protected and to display them well. Luckily, through art school and loads of exhibitions I’ve learned how to frame things myself. This isn’t necessarily an intuitive skill, however, and while gorgeous, professional frame jobs are really expensive.
Not so expensive is getting the framer to cut a mat, or maybe even your local art supply shop can do that. Plus, if you wait to frame several things at once, you can save on the archival* mat by buying the large sheet at the art supply shop. Most shops will cut it down for you (the edges, not the windows) for a pittance or for free with your mat purchase.
* It’s worth it to pay extra for the archival mat if you’re framing an original work of art. Otherwise unsightly yellow acid stains will develop, and will ruin the artwork over time.