|A sculpture by Sarah Braman in front of|
Lindsey at the "Paint Things" show, de Cordova Gallery
I recognized Brooklyn before reading any wall texts, even though I haven't been there for years. Robert Frank's work struck a chord as well as Bill Owens' Suburbia. The sixties and seventies came alive in the humorous quotations accompanying the photos. I enjoyed the teased hairdos, leisure suits and mini-skirts as well as the general suburban kitch. William Eggleston's 14 Pictures were also on display.
We perused the "Eye on the Collection" of well-known American paintings in the collection and "Stone, Wood, Metal, Mesh: Prints and Printmaking." Apparently the Addison has a very large print collection, of which 150 were on display. There was a large portrait by Thomas Eakins of a mathematician which was very interesting because of its frame! The portrait was beautifully executed in a traditional, academic style, but the frame looked very modernist. The frame was a wide, flat golden band around the portrait with mathematical symbols inscribed boldly in scriffito and black paint. I responded to a painting by Winslow Homer which defies reproduction. A huge stormy, grey wave breaks by the shore where a small figure watches on the beach. It sounds like a typical Homer composition, but the drama and simplification of the forms was fantastic. I was excited to see a hand-made book by Helen Frankenthaler. It's too bad we could only see one page in the display case!
Once we arrived at Lindsey and Matt's home, we settled in for the duration of the blizzard "Nemo." It was quite a storm, dumping 20 - 25" of snow on us with high winds and drifting snow, but it was not as dramatic for me as for Bostonians. We have similar snowstorms where I live in Canada, sometimes one after the other.
On Sunday, after we were able to drive again, Lindsey and I went to the de Cordova Museum to see the "Painted Things" show. We both enjoyed this museum very much. 'Painted Things" shows works which combine paint and sculpture in new ways. Several people had recommended that I look at Katie Bell's work, so I was glad to have an opportunity to see eight pieces, ranging in size from wall-sized to 9" x 12." I like the way Steve Locke's pieces glow from underneath with florescent paint - not so easy to do as I have discovered! We attended an artist talk with Andrew Witkin and Amanda Katz of the Boston Globe. Andrew discussed his installation for "Platform 11." His work prompts the viewer to question why the objects are arranged the way they are. Several collections of objects worked together in the whole installation. Amanda talked about the "Ideas" section of the Boston Globe and the two of them compared notes about where ideas come from and how we act on them. I recognized Amanda's name from reading several of her articles on the web, which I cam across while researching my essays for AIB.
Monday things were almost back to normal in Boston and I was able to meet with Jill Slosburg-Ackerman, my mentor for my third semester. Jill and I had a wide-ranging discussion which was very helpful. I have been experimenting and exploring widely with my theme of nature in the back yard, so it has been difficult for me to see where to focus to create a cohesive body of work this semester. I originally wanted to work with Jill because of my interest in wood, but it has become so expensive for me to work with and ship, that I have decided to concentrate on other media for the time being. We both share an inspiration in nature for our work, as well as a love of drawing.
I was so glad that I had brought my sketchbook to show Jill, as I have several ideas recorded in it which could become major projects. I had thought of presenting two-dimensional work in a scroll format before and Jill encouraged me to pursue this idea. She also was very positive about my close-up thumbnail sketches of vegetation, tree bark and junk from a junkyard arranged in archive-like grids. I will be working in small formats, so that I can pack my work into a carry-on bag. It can be presented as scrolls, or on wood panels later on. Some sketches could become large works as well. I have a couple of ideas I developed combining disparate photos which could be interesting. So far, the drawing has more depth and subtlety than the acrylic paintings. It is great to work with a medium which seems to be an extension of my hand. I always seem to be fighting the acrylic, to make it do something which doesn't come easily to it.
Next time I visit Boston, I am looking forward to seeing Jill's exhibition "In Rome, The Pine Grove" at the Worcester Art Museum. The storm delayed her scheduled artist talk for at least a few weeks. I 'm not sure I will be able to attend her re-scheduled talk on March 3.