Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sew close to completion!

I have several pieces approaching completion, and my piece featuring vintage sewing materials is approaching the finish line.  I like the way it’s laid out as a collection of treasured objects, but just as importantly it features groupings of tools within the piece that speak to each other.  In the past I would have considered the piece complete, but I think my experiences in the theater now demand that the composition have both a plot and a lead character.  I’m reminded of Gwen, the director of Sounds of South, asking me how designing costumes for musicals impacted my art, and there definitely is a connection.  I discovered that I wanted to dress characters that connected in some important way in costumes that had an identifiable theme or color.  The costumes always had a story to tell that complemented or extended the verbal tale.  I discovered that I wanted my art to have a plot and a lead character that connects with the basic design of the piece.  In this weaving called ‘Following the Pattern,’ I’m going to include a red-headed weaverbird pulling at some of the threads incorporated in the weaving.  These birds construct elaborate nests using small branches and found objects, so I can imagine one competing for the fibers in my art.  To connect the faded red head and a cream body, I intentionally incorporated faded red objects into the weaving.  I even included the classic tomato pincushion with a dangling strawberry, which is used to sharpen needles.  Once the bird is in place I’ll have to tweek the composition to see if I need to incorporate more red or other elements to connect the piece to my main character. 

My new year’s resolution was to do more art ventures.  I’m hoping to do one at least once a month, like taking a trip to a gallery or art exhibit.  When I’m not doing art fairs I feel like I need to consume art, either for inspiration or education or just to make me happy.  I got off to a great start in Chicago by visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute, but the grip of winter left me wanting for more.  This week Dawn Adams and I made time for the hour long trip to Indianapolis and spent a day beginning at the Long-Sharp Gallery, which is part of the Conrad Hotel, and the gallery turned out to be closed.  Luckily, the concierge asked us if we wanted the security guard to open the exhibit – yes, please!  
To our great surprise we walked into a David Hockney exhibit, which was an amazing collection of etchings and prints.  The abstracted bowl of fruit was my favorite.  As we exhausted the accessible art rooms, we were peeking into a banquet room where they were setting up for a reception.  A friendly staff person asked if we wanted to see the artworks in other areas, which took us into a room with four Miro prints to greet us!  They were happy, fun works that just made me beam and smile back.  We went from one wonderful experience to the next as doors were opened before us.

Our next stop on our art adventure was the IndianapolisMuseum of Art at the newly named Newfields campus downtown.  I told Dawn I wanted to visit the contemporary art first, then modern, then see the impressionists.  She’s such a tolerant friend!! I love all the other artworks and styles, but it’s easy to get bogged down trying to see too much.  A fun surprise was that they had the orchid show going on at the same time, so within these galleries were fantastical orchid displays.  
There were too many provocative art pieces to describe, but I want to describe two.  One of the highlights was a piece by El Anatsui, whom I had seen in a television special but the live art is so much more powerful.  He uses all discarded objects and enlists the help of local artisans to create luxe appearing objects out of the simplest materials, such as the metal wrapping that seals liquor bottles.  The combined effect of the draped materials is enchanting.  A second piece, ‘Floor,’ by Do-Ho Suh, had a powerfully affected me.  
It is a long, low artwork that forced me on to my hands and knees to recognize that the tiny, colorful objects holding me up were actually small figures, all working together to support the surface.  I was encouraged to walk on it, which felt a little sacrilegious, but it was a powerful experience to be held up by so many people, unwavering in their task. 
Although there wasn’t a fresh pie this week, I did have slices of my tart lemon pie each weekday with my espresso for breakfast.  It was so good!  That tartness for breakfast is nice, so I’ve continued the pattern with grapefruit, but it just isn’t the same.  The long, draining wait for the next pie has begun. 

Until next week,

--> Martina Celerin

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