Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Remnants Finale

Amanda J. Cawby, Page Turner,
Melissa T. Hall, and Mary Rezny
There is a week left for the Remnants show but like a meteor skipping across the night sky, it is almost time for the Remnants show to sail off into the great beyond. 

No - don't be sad!  There was one last creative whirlwind to help us reach a creative crescendo.  Page Turner came into town from Virginia to attend the Remnants artist reception and to teach her 2 day Intuitive Found Object Assemblage Workshop.  
It was delightful to meet someone who makes me look practically spartan when it comes to the collecting of "stuff"!  Page brought an amazing amount of ephemera to be used by her students.  It makes sense that if objects are your palette, then you are going to need a wide variety of accoutrement.  That's my new excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Bundles were laid out at each workstation to get each artist started.

Page gave a wonderful presentation introducing us to assemblage as a fine art form and showcasing examples of contemporary artists who work in the medium.  

She got us started and past being nervous about ripping into materials.  I hadn't even realized I felt constrained, but Linda wasn't for sure!

Next we all got busy.  Walking around watching the evolution and inspiration was so much fun.

Trish came prepared!  Page was impressed by her bag of power tools.  I've already spoken to Santa about these...  They were from the Craftsman Bolt-On Series.  Trish's drill could be turned into a router, sander, reciprocating saw, or even a hedge trimmer!  Sitting next to Trish turned out to be a tad dangerous though.  I kept dodging flying bits and pieces.

Linda earned the title of the Bundle Queen!

This was my first time meeting Anna and Holly, who were a delightfully creative mother/daughter pair. 

Kevin's work took on such wonderful narrative qualities.

Remember those nice, organized bundles Page handed out at the start of the workshop? Well here's what they turned into very quickly:

Page even took us on a field trip of the parking lots and drain culverts surrounding the gallery to find new bits to use in our work.

Of course I had to stop and take pictures
instead of looking for interesting flotsam.
We finished off the workshop with a lovely discussion and critique of the work which had been produced.

I want to thank both Page and Amanda for joining me in this show.  They are both such wonderfully creative spirits and I was honored to be entrusted with their work.  

Page also can't be thanked enough for putting on such an awesome workshop in conjunction with the show.  It was wonderful to meet such a generous, warm-hearted fellow artist and to get to learn about the depth and meaning behind her work.

On behalf of Page, Amanda, and myself, I want to thank everyone who came out to see the show, bestowed words of encouragement, continued to be patient while we were all working crazy hours, took Page's workshop, and/or perhaps took a little something something home with them from the show.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remnants - How Did I Get Here?

I knew at the end of 2013 I would be hanging a show at the MS Rezny Studio and Gallery in Fall 2014 - this month to be exact.  When presented with any and every option available I tend to freeze.  How can anyone make a decision when the universe is your set of choices?

This year I had decided to work with other artists toward a common theme so I felt the pressure of picking a theme all 3 of us could work toward.  I chose "Remnants" after reading the following definition:  

Remnants - noun \ˈrem-nənt\
: the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone
: a surviving trace or vestige

You see the other 2 artists, Page Turner and Amanda J. Cawby, create wonderfully detailed assemblages.  The match for them seemed perfect since they are already working with actual physical remnants.  Here's where my thoughts froze more solid than any ice cream headache.  I was left wondering how in the world do I relate to this wide open theme?  I use vintage costumes and props in my photography but that seemed a weak connection at best.  I must have moaned for months trying to find my way.

Finally the universe set 2 light bulbs off right in front of me.  Teresa, my friend and model in the triptych below asked me to think about what had left marks on me.   She knows my naval-gazing ways well and made a very good point.  I tend to think better when I can directly relate to a theme on a personal level and not just as some esoteric generality.  A week after that conversation, I was on the phone with my mother and she unknowingly set off the 2nd set of fireworks in my brain.  She wished that she could buy new living room furniture.  The back story is that 20 years ago when my great grandmother passed away my mother inherited her furniture.  Fast forward 20 years later and a decision my mother is trying to make is still being controlled by my great grandmother after 2 decades.  Ah ha! That was something I could sink my teeth into and gratefully the ideas finally started flowing.

On a side note, the piece below was created for the show to represent my amazingly strong, and oh so chic great grandmother, Lucille Ledbetter.  Most of the family jumped when she asked but not because she was a dictator, just because more often than not she was simply right.  I was lucky enough to have her around until I was in college.  There was never a problem I couldn't take to her for a tidy solution.  I can remember that she was always dressed to the 9s. There were never white shoes on her feet before Memorial Day - perish the thought!  But she also didn't mind getting her hands dirty.  One of my last great memories of her was walking into her house to find her, at the age of 90, high up on a ladder hanging new wallpaper in her bedroom.  It never occurred to me at the time that this wasn't a fine idea...
Grace Under Pressure

My artist statement for this show:

The stories of family have been heard all my life.  These miniscule glimpses into long and full lives led by not-so-distant ancestors have become woven into my own identity.  Small trinkets, newspaper obituary clippings, vintage military records, odd bits of furniture, and mysterious piles of unidentified photos dot my domestic landscape.  These remnants, both physical and emotional, have inspired my recent body of work.  Inherited heirlooms became symbols sparking visual narratives.  Tall tales and individual histories fueled ideas for concepts and compositions.  In the knowing and not knowing of these characters from my family, I sought to examine the contradictory potential to be both burdened and inspired by these remnants which cling to us from the past.

Lay Down Your Burdens
So...I know right now (God willing and the creek don't rise) that I will be hanging another show at the gallery next Fall.  Don't ask me yet what the theme will be!  I honestly don't have a clue, but maybe I've learned this year how to limit my options a little better.