Sunday, April 27, 2014

Snake Rider(unfinished)2014

A few weeks ago The Photographer's Gallery in London asked if they coud represent my work  Last week they requested any kind of video that would introduce people in the UK to me and my work, so my husband and I shot this video today.  I don't know how to edit video, but I could show Bob what buttons to push on my camera, and I did have an idea of something that might work if we shot it all in one take(It ended up taking two takes because we shot the first one upside down).  This is what we made:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bucking Bronco 2006

I will sometimes watch, on TV, professional bareback bronc riding(as opposed to saddle bronc riding).  The riders are all young, male, and seem to be named "Cody" or "Jarrod".  They flop around on the backs of  horses with names like "Chuckolater" and "Smack Down" who do their best to dislodge these young men.  If the cowboys are lucky and stay on for the required eight seconds, they will be eligible to win large pots of money depending on how well they ride their broncs.  One cowboy, when asked what it was like to ride a bareback bronc said, "It's like putting your hand in a vice, attaching it to a train, and then driving it off a cliff".

My “Bucking Bronco” is about risk and the (often) disastrous results of that risk.  The cowboy’s rock constructed body means that when he does go off, he will be guaranteed a hard and brittle landing(on the rather large boulder immediately behind him).  The  horse, with the back half of his body portraying a missile range, gives us clues as to just how dangerous he really is.  A time lapse view lets us see our cowboy’s head snap back, with the last head, open mouthed, showing us just how frightened he really is as he realizes he is most probably going off.   And of course, the wheelchair symbol making up the front half of the horse clues us in as to where this rider will eventually end up.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gluing 2014

Counter clockwise from left to right:
1.  Image, which is finished, and has been adjusted and changed and fine tuned until it is as close to perfect as I can get.  It's all temporarily adhered onto the painted surface with yellow sticky stuff so that I can look at it for a long long time before I glue it.   This is part seeing how it wears over time and part procrastination.

2.  Scissors:  Good ones, in this case Dahle  (shouldn't I be getting a kickback from Dahle on this?).  I have about twenty pair of scissors.  The Dahles are pretty much the only ones I use, and I've had them for at least 25 years.  I use my other scissors if I'm doing coarse cutting of plastic or paper that I don't care about.  The scissors, at this stage, are to trim and refine as I glue.  I always keep the bits and pieces of what I cut off in case I've cut off too much and need to correct.

3.  A fine brush to paint in problem areas in the painted surface or the photo that I see after I've glued everything down.

4.  A white pencil to mark the areas of the image that need to be trimmed.

5.  A magnifying glass to make sure my glue edges are good.  Older eyes(even with glasses) aren't serving me as well as they used to.

6.  Foam brushes to coat the backs of the paper that I will be adhering.  Different sizes brushes for the different sizes of paper that will lay down.  I always want to make sure I go over the edges of the paper I'm about to glue, but I also don't want to waste the adhesive.  Bowl of water so that I can drop the not being used foam brushes in so that the adhesive won't dry.

7.  Spray bottle of water to spray the front surface of thinner papers like dictionary pages, tissue, or newsprint so that they won't curl into a nasty ball when I put the adhesive on the back.

8.  Little ball of yellow sticky stuff that I use to adhere the paper onto the panel temporarily and which I also use to register where the paper will go on the panel just before I drop it down.

9.  Polymer medium, in this case Dick Blick, but all the brands work pretty well.  I buy it by the gallon and it lasts about two years.

What I'm not showing is the back knobber which I use to try and push out the large, uncomfortable  knots  that I get in my back from standing and maneuvering badly behaved pieces of paper.  I'm also not showing the EKG display which records the wild and erratic rhythms of my heart as I realize that I have glued something at the wrong angle, backwards or upside down, or when, as I smooth the paper down with a discarded credit card(not shown), all of the ink pulls up, so that I'm left with a blobbed smear of paper.  And lastly, I'm not showing xrays of my locked jaw and frozen neck, concretized from my standing rigidly for hours at a time trying to force all those big and little pieces of paper to bend to my will.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Studio 2014

Looking to North wall:  stacked images with blank paintings below
Looking to East Wall:  work table with piled photos and papers

Looking to South Wall: stacked paintings and work table covered with piled photos and papers

Looking to West Wall:  stacked paintings on both walls and end, tables covered with photos and papers
I have been working fairly steadily since September of last year(2013)in preparation for two upcoming shows; one in June in Santa Fe at Zane Bennett Contemporary Art  and the other in September in Santa Monica at Craig Krull Gallery . It's been an interesting ride.  I feel that I'm making some of the best work I've ever made, but it's time to get off the horse and clean up.

My studio has become waist deep in bits of paper, photographs, paint, books, and painted panels.  Unfinished images are stacked two and three deep on my walls(The unfinished pieces consist of  collaged images on top of painted panels, but only adhered with little bits of sticky stuff).    The layers of paper/photographs on my work tables have become quite dense as the months have rolled by.  It seems chaotic, but it's not.  As I work, I can remember where a certain animal head or a scrap of a photo with a particular value is, no matter how many layers down I have to go, no matter how long ago I cut up a particular photograph.  Even better, while looking to find something, I might happen on a scrap of paper that leads me to start a new collage.  It's a rich and fertile room if you happen to be collage artist.

When I first started out as a young artist in graduate school, I would have small bits of time when I would be able to really concentrate on what I was doing, maybe ten or fifteen minutes once or, if I was lucky, twice in a work session.  Now I can go for several hours with that same concentration(my limit now is fatigue--I can't go for more than about four hours).*  I've also changed--hugely--in that I don't get as attached to an image, and when it doesn't work, no matter the time invested, I'm able to let go fairly easily.  Younger Holly would have stumbled into the house in a sad comma shape, or have cried,  or despaired, or most probably, done all three.  Now,  I'm just deeply happy to be in my studio every afternoon, following my hands and my intuition, painting, cutting and sticking, truly pleased to be able to make images that I love.

*However, I often have a difficult time remembering why I've gone from one room to the next.