Monday, March 11, 2013

cohesive reflections

I am a little bit obsessed with my upcoming solo show. I want to have a cohesive body of work in textile, glass, and printmaking, and that goal presupposes that there is some element that drives my output.

I had a lucky opportunity to obsess even more today after my car died and I was awaiting the nice Auto Club man for a good chunk o' minutes.

My phone battery was perilously low, and I had nothing to read but an issue of the periodical Art in America that happened to be in the car (I guess you never know when you'll need reading material). I had canceled my subscription, as the magazine is a bit too installation-of the-New-York-minute for me.

However, in this forced-attention-moment,  I found, to my delight, a review of an exhibit of the work of Jan Schoonhoven, who is regarded as one of the most important Dutch artists of the 20th century.

Oh, my. I have written of my fascination with the element of line in art, and this fellow's work is all about line.  Many of his works can be seen here: And here is the work that was featured in the magazine:

 ©  Art in America, April 2011, p. 126

Here are a few other works:

Line, line, line. I was reminded of the work of Canadian artist Dorothy Caldwell, who taught a week-long workshop on mark making at Nancy Crow's Barn in Ohio that I was fortunate enough to attend. Dorothy's work is all about line, as seen in this photo of her work from the homepage of her website:

                                                                © Dorothy Caldwell 2012

So, this little car trouble gave me a swell opportunity to reflect, and I came home and looked over my digital files to see if I could discern any linking element (hopefully, line, now inspired by the Dutch artist's work). Here's what I saw.

First, I saw the red glass piece I showed at the beginning of this post. Line, yes! Then I looked at some of the exercises I did in Dorothy's class.

 First mark, on paper, covered with a piece of silk I had brought to class that I had dyed with faint marks in it; cloth stitched to paper.

Kantha-type stitching (right), my Dorothy Caldwell workshop rendering of one of the figures I had created for Figure and Ground (2011) -- hmm, gestural lines, architectural lines, maybe I have an inner line-gene...

...and fast forward to 2013 and my recent printmaking escapades...more lines?

My review was, as I wrote, an attempt to glean some overarching element that can tie my works together. It may not be readily evident to a viewer, but think it's there.  Line.

Who knew that a quiet interlude with an art magazine would result in such a nice exercise. Thank you, Jan Schoonhoven, for such an inspiration.


talksilkpainting said...

I've appreciated reading your thoughts on your own creative process- and wondering about the challenge of finding the common element that resides in a body of work. If there is a common element! I'll be looking at my own work differently now, to ponder this question. I love your work- I like the stitching and drawing combination.

Pamela Price Klebaum said...

I am honored by your words. I deleted that post for a few hours yesterday, as I felt that it was not enough to focus on an an element of art, that an Artist really creates from a deeper well. Dorothy Caldwell, for instance, explores the human-ness of mark making, and her focus on line is in furtherance of that purpose. So now I am looking deeper, and hope that there is some character or world-state that has propelled me so far. I so admire those whose art makes us think, but quietly, by whispers that evoke contemplation. I love your Wednesday image today.

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