Sunday

under the gun....

Forgive me please for I shall be absent this week due to the fact that it is crunch time... yes crunch time! And I feel a bit like I'm back in Pratt cramming for exams. My two person exhibit with my friend and artist Katya Piskareva is coming up very quickly. As a matter of fact we are hanging it next Monday and I am scrambling to finish up some new pieces and to keep on top of all the details. The exhibit link is on the side bar and here is the Facebook invite.

Please consider yourself invited! The artist reception is not until November 14th and I hope to see you! For now I'll leave you with a tease....these photos are details of brand new work.

Thursday

several random events

Keeping busy happens easily around here... so here's a wrap up of several random, inspirational, creative, interesting, amusing things to share in order of their appearance in my life...
Creative is an excellent word to describe my friend Jane, it might not even be enough of a word as she is just ooozing creativity. She had a solo exhibit that just closed and Vivien and I got to see it just in the nick of time. We are very sorry to have missed the opening, but really enjoyed the exhibit all to ourselves one Thursday morning. (Gotta love a gallery that opens at 8:30A!!) While at the gallery, which is on a school campus, we peeked into the studio space behind it. Brought me right back to my art school days...The required studio class where you were forced to be from 9A to 4P and draw draw draw...How I wish I was forced to do that now! I would have loved to have worked on this paper bag drawing project.

This past weekend my friend Irene told me about an antique quilt exhibit nearby. It was such a beautiful day, the girls and I just had to meet her there. It was a lovely exhibit of exquisite quilts, it's up till the end of the month if anyone would like to see it.

Tuesday I had a grand time traipsing my old stomping grounds in the Garment district in NYC. I came with a mission in mind - Russian school play costumes needed some special fabrics. I found some, but must go back for more fabrics and inspiration soon... just try and hold me back! I love those NYC canyons...

Monday

back to Russia for just a minute

I saw a wonderful exhibit while in St. Petersburg this summer. There is a fab space called Manege/Манеж right in the heart of the city with intriguing exhibitions through out the year. This is a view of just one end of the gigantic exhibition hall.This time it was an exhibit commemorating Derevnya Khudozhnika/Artist Village. Unfortunately they do not have a website in English, try clicking through this and see if the google translator can help.
The basic premise is this - various artists through out the eighties have made a home for themselves in the villages of Ozerki, Shuvalovo and Kolomyagi. This a run down area on the outskirts of St. Petersburg where studio space came very cheaply as there were hardly any amenities, most of the homes where built the early 20th century. Eventually some or most of these artists have made names for themselves, their art became known and their area became known. Many have had exhibitions throughout Europe. So now they hold art festivals there, master classes/workshops and open studio days. (One day I'll make it out there for the real deal!)
In the last 10 years the government of St. Petersburg has started helping out the artists and they are melding the city life, nature and modern art. The artists work in many mediums, there are sculptors, ceramicists, painters, quilt artists, textile artists, graphic artists, photographers, actors and musicians. So this exhibit was sort of bringing the village into the heart of the city.The concept and the execution of the exhibition were spectacular, I thought. The space was transformed to give a hint of the village inside the white marble building. They actually put down turf in the middle of the whole thing and you could walk on it but only in bare feet!
This what this sign says - walk on the grass, in bare feet, thank you! We saw the exhibit the day before it closed, so the grass was a bit on the dry side, but still....

Here is some of the art that made an impression on me... Lets start with a quilt artist shall we? This is the work of Larisa Dergachyova. Holiday Mood is the name of the happy red quilt. St. Petersburg Rain is the name of the blue piece. Here's a detail. I really enjoyed the humor in the work of Oleg Zhogin. His assemblages where a wonderful example of recycling at it's best. This one is called ArcheoFish. Dinosaur Egg was a delight!The details in House were just wonderful. These beautiful over sized ceramic veggie slices are by Vera Noskova and they are called Breakfast on the Grass. I loved this delicate installation by Polina Shvetzova, it was called Disappearance. There were many ethereal weaving's by Elena Tkachenko, one of my favorites was this one called Water and the City, from her Venetian Series. I think these garments were meant for performance art as there were photographs of the artist dancing and twirling in her creations. I adored these wooden sculptures by Gelya Pisareva. This one is called The Legend of Boris and Gleb and this one Angel Protector. There was a very prolific textile artist represented with a gazillion works through out the exhibit space, she is Marina Spivak and most of her work is simply titled Collages. She used old clothing and textiles in their actual size and makes huge.. collages. This is a view of just one of her installations. This piece is is titled.. you guessed it... Collage, fabric. I love the simplicity of the titling, perhaps I shall do that too from now on... Here's another. This one actually has a title - Morning Coffee, and it's a collaboration with the artist Alexander Posin.
I have tried to find and link to as many sites of the artists as I could find, unfortunately many of them do not have them or they are just CVs in Russian. So as my girls say - you get what you get and....
Sometimes I wish I could live in an artist village too....

Monday

costume time!

Nope, not for Halloween, Russian school Christmas play! Yes I know it's October, (and yes there are Halloween costumes in the works, but the girls are letting me off easy this year and are recycling and rearranging old costumes - who am I to argue?) and the Christmas play is not until end of January... but! there are lots of costumes, lots of kids, lots of people involved, so in order to keep the rest of my sanity and the rest of hair on my head from turning gray in a hurry, we're starting in October.

The play is a classic Russian fairytale - Tzarevna Lyagushka/Princess Frog. No it's not the prince that turns into a frog in this one, quite the opposite, and the kiss doesn't reverse the curse either. The link above takes you to the 1954 cartoon version of the story that I grew up with, there were many reincarnations of the story. Speaking of many stories, it's pretty funny that the other Russian school in the area has chosen the same fairytale for their play too. I can't wait to see it and to see how different or same our plays are!

I thought I would share a few of my costume sketches here ( in secret hopes that you might all decide that you want to help me make them! heh...). These are some of may favorite characters because of the drama they provide.

At the top of the post are costumes for Skomorohi/Jokers, they will be the comic relief for the story.
Then we have Zmei Gorinich the Dragon and Koschei Besmertinii. These will scare the wits out of the little children. One of my favorite personages of most Russian fairytales - Izbushka na Kurih Nozhkah that the Baba Yaga lives in. And here is the heroine of the story herself - the princess frog in her two transformations. I had so much fun researching and drawing these characters! Now to the construction phase! Who wants to help???

Thursday

finally caught up to september!

Yes. I know it's October. But I'm caught up now and that's what counts! This is the inspiration for my September diptych, the simple sketch from 2009. I started off by painting my canvas boards with three (yes three) different shades of red. Why? Because I wanted achieve a slightly mottled background color. Naphthol crimson, cadmium red medium hue and cadmium red deep. I love paint names...Then I started cutting strips of painted dryer sheets (painted a while back just for the sake of painting and knowing they'll come in handy one day), stacking the different lengths and widths and then hand stitching them together with a cotton variegated thread. That's when I decided that I needed something a bit more substantial with the dryer sheets. White spongy packing material fit the bill perfectly. Here it is freshly glued down. And layered with dryer sheet strips. And with more packing strips added on top. Then I found a very light yellow plastic shopping bag, cut out small squares and glued them on in several layers. Here a textural close up for your pleasure! and tah-dah! The September diptych.
I'm starting on October tomorrow so I can be done before November...ahem...