Friday, December 18, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Arlington Arts Center - GRACE

This week I had a chance to drop by Doug Moulden's acrylic and plaster on plywood wall sculpture show at Greater Reston Arts Center and IMAGE/PROJECT, a photography and video show curated by Taryn Simon at the Arlington Arts Center.

Doug Moulden makes empty landscapes so the viewer can insert herself into the scene. To me, the work feels like tapestries on the wall. They appear soft and as though they were draped on the wall. The effect of many layers of acyrlic ink was pleasingly impressionistic and invited the touch.

Leslie Awender's photography is striking. She has 5 works related works, her Red Earth series, in this show. They invite comparison and kept me coming back to observe their details more closely.

Alma Leiva's work is a reminder of the power and manipulative quality of photographs. She documents in her videos the violence in Honduras.

Upstairs is new work by resident artist Jill Romanoke. Her kimono-like hanging system for her double-sided drawings is very successful, drawing me all the way around the work and encouraging appreciation of the prints on translucent paper created both in Maine and here in Arlington.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1050 K Light Box Gallery

Monday flyby: the hallway galleries in the gorgeous new building at 1050 K Street, NW (designed by Hickok Cole Architects.) Check out the lobby light box currently featuring Ezra Stoller's photographs of "Man in the Machine". The light box was included early in the building design process, because the client wanted to tie the building together with artwork.

rainy day chocolate

"I'm done with the rainy, cold, and wet part of my day. Now I'm in the warm and dry part of my day. I'll be in the chocolate shop the rest of the evening."

Try Robert's new Lavender Shiraz.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Track housing

When is a house not a home? Take a look at the works of Etienne Bossut and John Kormeling.

Sculptural Caesar Salad

Last night, a crisp cool, quick-walking sort of evening was the invigorating backdrop to the crowded First Friday scene in Dupont Circle/14th Street areas. My fly-bys included Hillyer for Martha Jarvis Jackson's, "Ass Against the Wall", (2) WPA for Minna Nathanson and Joan Belmar's Coup d'Espace, "Influence = Convergence", (3) Smith Farm for Dulce Pinzon's "The Real Story of SuperHeroes", Congrats to Brooke Seidelman, on her job as new Gallery Directory, (4) Project4 for Laurel Lukaszewski's solo, "Once," and (5) Creme Cafe for a bite to eat with Ani and Dave.

"Superheroes" was thought-provoking, asking me to compare immigrant workers in generic jobs (from nanny to cook to prostitute) who are sending home a significant amount of their weekly wages back home. I was struck by the obvious, but no less poignant: How hard they must each work. How different their culture is that they choose not to spend their money on material goods, but on making their families' lives better.

"Once" is beautiful. Laurel presents clay cherry blossoms floating all over the space, evoking April in November.

"Ass" is a cool installation piece featuring a Tadjikistanian donkey, wood + ?. That donkey photo on silk is compelling, grounding. The crowd was too large to allow a complete viewing; the show needs a return visit.

"Convergence" is the effect of two artists' sharing studio space for a couple of years. For me this show is all about the delight and concern. It's delightful that another person can inspire you. Maintaining your own voice is a concern.

Creme Cafe served Ani, Dave and me some good food in a too-noisy atmosphere. They (Creme Cafe, though not to take anything away from Ani & Dave) have a good sense of humor. They're willing not to tell you what's in the vegetable platter which enticed us to order it and be wowed. They managed to make the humble Caesar salad look sculptural.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gestural Electricity

Tod Machover, from MIT's The Media Laboratory, created instruments and software that are helping people to create music. It's a magical combination of electrical stimuli and interactivity in the case of the Beatbugs and Shapers. The instruments measure sound, muscular movements and electrical current from the body to create music in response to the player's feedback. It seems improvisational. Gestural electricity is the essence of the Hyperchair. Penn n Teller were involved in the development of the Hyperchair, which happens to look like a magic prop, actually.

Learned that some researcher has discovered that simple repetition of singing songs to a stroke sufferer does nothing to help regain speech. Melodic Intonation Therapy uses half-tone variations and percussive movements to help retrain the brain in speech. No wonder so frustrating results-wise, but at least a humane, connective act.

The Hyperscore requires only the ability to read and draw a line. I was struck by Machover's comment at Carnegie Institute tonight that kids under 8 yrs and older folks over 70 yrs were most responsive (creative?) with the instruments. The Brain Opera, an interactive music creation experience using both these instruments and software resides in Vienna, Austria. Now I need a residency in Vienna!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All good architecture leaks

Hickok Cole Art Night: what a fabulous party! There were so many engaging people, all interested in architecture or art. A generous table too.

Hickok Cole purchases one art work at the annual Art Night Washington Project for the Arts fundraiser. The method is unusual. It's basically an "Employees' Choice" award. Thanks to all HC for choosing my work this year.

Tac, thanks for the dotty picture.

The other architectural highlight is an article that I wrote for the AIA/DC Chapter, interviewing two of my fellow Artomatic artists, Erwin Timmers and Fabian H. Rios Rubino. Take a look at How to ART-ify Your Architecture.

Cross Currents: Trends in Contemporary Art Media

Please check out a great sculpture group show called, Cross Currents. My fellow artists are Dana Reifler Amato, Elizabeth Burger, Ian MacLean Davis, Mary Early, and Hadieh Shafie. It's at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College, Paul Peck Building, 2nd Floor, 51 Mannakee Rd. It's up until November 6.

I have four pieces up including a corner work specifically made for the gallery. The steel is salvaged from an earlier work that didn't happen as planned. Going around a corner gives the work added dimensionality and really makes the ceramic pods pop out.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New work - printing on steel

I'm printing on steel as I prepare for my fall shows. This is one of my new works, which is a highly-magnified image of a crinoid's exoskeleton on sheet metal.

Installation view of WVSA exhibit:

My first show is Strata Displaced, a solo show partly funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Please join me at the opening on September 17, 2009, at the ARTiculate Gallery in Washington, DC, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm.

The DCCAH grant will help bring this new body of work to a wider audience. The pieces also incorporate some of the ideas I started to develop at last July's residency at Rocky Mountain Recycling, a metal scrap yard in Denver. The show runs until September 25 and 30% of all sales will support WVSA, a non-profit that provides arts-infused programs to children and adults.

Monday, August 31, 2009


My NPR interview (see this link) stirred up old memories. The memories themselves are less important to me than that they are refreshed and are current stories once again. This is one of the points of my memory series. I realized that after my mother died, there were a certain body of memories from my years living and traveling overseas that I will no longer be able to hold as current stories.

Print screening on salvaged steel seemed to be the most appropriate way to communicate that loss. The steel already had some rust pock marks on it and is much more pronounced 1/2 year later. The wonderful thing is that the simple act of making and hanging the pieces in my studio has kept these memories current.

NPR: Geography of Friendship

NPR interviewed us as examples of how being thrown together by the dorm lottery at University of Virginia led to our life-long friendship due to our vulnerability, race and proximity

This was a fun reminiscence with one of my best friends, Sally Hoffmaster. We especially enjoyed recalling all the points that a short radio story can't bring in and, come to think of it, would result in a different story. My thinking is that the reasons for our good friendship are more our mutual interests in music and art and our similar and quirky senses of humor.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The copper skeleton plate that I fished out of one of the barrels is highly finished. The shape of the skeleton and my thought that copper is easily bent, leads me to weave the strips. The idea is good, though as with all of my studies during their residency, the execution is rough. Weaving allows copper to literally shine. The metal's strengthen is its reflective quality.

Aluminum pipes

Aluminum pipes (short, 3/8" diameter) attracted me for their similarity. I simply line them up horizontally and then vertically. The pipes each make their own sound when struck. The wind coming in through the shed's back door kicks one of them over, making a tinkling sound against the concrete floor. I look up to watch them fall down on each other domino-fashion, each making it's own high-pitched sound, like low-silver-content coins.

Mt. Evans hike

I climb to the top of my first "14-er": Mt. Evans, a poster-child of sorts for the Wiki entry on "altitude sickness." Starting from Summit Lake, it was an exciting climb for the variety: first and foremost, the GOATS, and also the spectacular views, hard uphill climbing, bouldering and slip-sliding down a 1,000 foot scree field. Very satisfying, yet a humbling experience due to my reaction to the altitude on the last 500 feet of the mountain. Larry, Glenn and I talk about Glenn's daughter starting her climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro and wonder how she's doing.

Steel torching

Wielding 6000 degrees F of fire and turning steel into molten metal is satisfying in a primal way. Spending several days torching, I gouge and pierce into steel discs of .5" to 1.5" thickness. I experiment with slag as a design element, but decide to grind it away. The red-hot flowing metal reminds me of magma, which in turn reminds me of the concretions I saw on the Dinosaur ridge wall.

Oxy-acetylene torch

The oxy-acetylene torch: the power of Vulcan in a hand-held tool! Frank and Tony from the maintenance shop showed me how to safely use the torch and calmed my fears.

In the yard, the torching crew (using the big oxy torch, cut apart gigantic steel - 10' diameter containers, huge sides of steel, enormous tangles of steel cable), take the time to find and cut 1/2 dozen pieces of steel for me. They are covered from head to toe with suede jacket, chaps, bib, gloves, respirators and helmets.

Favian, the crane operator, swings the claws of the material handler, immediately finds a 1' disc and with the greatest of delicacy, gently places the disc two feet away from my feet. I give him a thumbs-up with delight. Juan, Francisco and Manuel cut and cool the other discs for me and forklift my finds back to the Shed. They are generous, gentle men working the toughest job in the yard.

Lead Sheet and Stainless Auger Drill Blades

Exploring the lead only with my hands at first, I was struck by its malleability. My gloved hands could easily unfold, straighten and bend the metal. With only a bit of hammer force, I could crease the lead so that it would stand on its own.

The curves of the stainless steel auger drill blades appealed to me. I buffed up some of the blade surfaces to contrast with the as-found surfaces.

Flat Iron hike

The Flat Irons outside of Boulder are striking rock planes in front of the Rockies.

We climbed between Flat Iron 1 and 2.
The angled cuts in the lichen and moss-textured boulders caught my eye (and tripped my feet.) This hike was a conflict between safety and appreciation.

Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge concretion

We visited the majestic Red Rock. Two monumental cliff faces loom on either side of the amphitheater. The "rocks" used to be ancient seabed that was lifted by the earth into its current position. It's a Wonder.

Across the way, we saw a concretion, embedded in a wall along Dinosaur Ridge. This one was a ball in sedimentary rock, probably sandstone, and formed by some chemical process after the rock was deposited. On the one hand, it's just a ball o' dirt. On the other, maybe there's some fossil treasure inside?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The metals

The metals that RMR recycles range from the huge (ten-foot diameter steel liquid containers) to the tiny (aluminum turnings). The first days I spend getting to know the materials that I could work with. What catches my eye are repeated shapes - rail car axles, condenser tubes and the bales - of copper, aluminum and stainless steel. One of the most intriguing finds is a lead sheet which looks like distressed canvas.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First impressions

Walking through RMR's yard for the first time, I am struck by the gigantic size of the material handlers, shears, guillotine cutters and baler. They're monster machines, efficiently moving huge amounts of material. My temporary work space is filled with noise and dirt. The yard's backdrop is a ten-story grain elevator.

One of RMR's guys stands next to the claws of a material handler.

The yard is divided into sections: torching, shearing and baling. The goal is to process as much of the metal as quickly as possible and to ship it out via railroad or truck.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rocky Mountain Recycling Residency

One week in July in the Rockies with my husband and our friends. Then two weeks in July in the Rockies at an art residency.

Rocky Mountain Recycling ( has generously agreed to host my residency. The company recycles all scrap metals including Copper, Aluminum, Brass, Stainless Steel, Zinc, Aluminum Cans, Lead, and all types of Iron and ferrous metals for companies in the Front Range, the plains and mountains surrounding the Denver area.

Residency possibilities include working with new metals, exploring curves in metal, making large pieces, learning to use a plasma torch, and exploring the boundary between print and metal.