Thursday, January 29, 2015

Construction Zone.

Guess what…I'm still making houses.  Above is a collage on crumbly wallpaper made from paint samples.  Below is an oil pastel drawing in a dang handmade (my hands) frame.

I'm back on the wallpaper train y'all.  The top collage is made from old wallpaper samples and I am affectionately calling it garbage art and below you can witness another garbage art masterpiece in the works.

And finally, the top drawing was done with pastels, graphite, and oil pastels on a portion of butcherpaper that was on my drawing table and below is the beginning stage of a painting I'm calling the Honeycomb House. Excuse me…I've got to get back to work.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Grad School: First week. Second semester.

View from a rooftop in Bushwick.

Semester Dos had a pretty epic kickoff - NYC baby!  The trip was a success - everyone made it back alive and we collected morsels of inspiration to savor for a very long time.  The days were cram-jammed with gallery, museum, and studio visits.  It was a whirlwind of awesome, all done in frozen tundra-like conditions.

Let's take this NYC biz back into the studio - how can that insane city fit into my work?  I saw an apartment with potted plant-filled windowsills which overlooked the most unnatural landscape.  In front of every residential building were countless browning, discarded, and undecorated Christmas trees mixed in with the garbage.  The lines between public and private environments are stretched as thin as humanly possible.  Spaces are built within spaces then stacked on top of more spaces.  As we were being hustled along in a crowded coffee shop my friend said, "there's just nowhere to be", which I think is a perfect description of New York.  It's as if you have to remain in motion because there is no room to stand still.

I find it all fascinating and revolting and energizing - so I am making a painting about it.  Here's the progress...

stage one

stage two

stage three

stage four

While the paint dries on the NYC painting, I have a couple of other projects in the works.  I got my mitts on some badass wallpaper scraps.  They are old and dirty and crumble at the slightest touch and I love them.  What does one do with such greatness? laminate and layer them, you glue them to wood panels, and you cut them into squares, stack, and hang them of course.

Then it's on to researching and drawing the house.  I scored some amazing books in New York, Funeral for a Home and Playing at Home:  The House in Contemporary Art, and the stack of books wasn't high enough in the studio so I hit up TCU's library and found Rural Studio.  I am absolutely in love with the chapel-like space that serves as a connector for smaller living spaces.  It is that particular space that has my undivided attention at the moment.

from Rural Studio 

from Rural Studio

Friday, January 2, 2015

Landscaping the House.

For the past couple of months I've had two parallel bodies of work going:  nature & houses.  The houses have definitely been on the front burner but I've still been making work about living breathing things that come from the earth.  (Although I've tweaked them a bit.)  I don't see the two paintings below as completely separate from the house series, I'm starting to think about what would be in and around the houses I build - like landscaping the outside or decorating the inside.

I've always been fascinated with "outdoor" things that we bring indoors such as house plants, fireplaces, birds in cages, fish in bowls, floral arrangements, fountains, etc. and vice versa - items to be enjoyed outside but versions of inside items like lawn furniture.  Then there are lovely objects like turf grass and faux wood grain that are so distinctly unnatural but so completely recognizable as being based on the outdoors that they create their own category of weird manmade nature all together.  I adore all of these things, they float between being indoors and outdoors - they are a bridge that connect the two.

I'm pretty sure if you had on x-ray glasses and looked at magnolia tree seed pods, you'd find they are filled with cogs.  And an ant farm would be involved too.

Outdoor plant, indoor plant, outdoor plant, indoor plant.

Not to worry…the houses are still being built.

Blank structure.

In-progress house.

And so are some wooden panels.  I spent the last couple of days building two panels and it is becoming important to construct the entire piece - support and all.  (Not to brag but I totally built the frame above the panels a few weeks ago.  (Totally bragging.))