Things are now going smoothly maybe too smoothly. All the work I did this summer is paying off.
Last week I spent everyday packing and boxing the pieces I made this summer. I needed boxes they could hang in. Regular wardrobe boxes are not wide enough, so I made my own wardrobe style boxes to transport the sculpture pieces. I took two 30” X 30” X 30” boxes, stacked them and taped them to make them 78” tall.
Then I wrapped each element of each piece in thin plastic dry cleaning bags and kitchen zip lock bags. I don’t want any thing getting tangled. Each little section is in its own plastic cocoon.
Behind and attached to the Silos at Sawyer Yards
In May I started seeking a space to exhibit new environmental, 4D kinetic sculptures. I hoped to use this new work as a start to an art installation inspiring conversations about topics I am very passionate about; the unexpected consequences of forcing natural processes into an industrial model and the complex relationships between humans, plants, and animals.
The stars aligned in July when Sculpture Month Houston’s founder and curator, Volker Eisele, invited me to be one of the 19 artists asked to create a site-specific sculpture in the historic Success Rice Grain Silos behind the Sawyer yard’s artist studios. In the 50th anniversary year of man landing on the moon, this year’s exhibit title is Outta Space from the 2012 Van Halen album A Different Kind of Truth. Outta Space will combine two curatorial themes: one features work focused on environmental degradation issues and the other focuses on interpretations and explorations of Alternative Worlds as envisioned in the fantasies of the artists.
I have passionately committed myself to this installation every day since July. My passion comes from spending my early years on a farm in west Texas, from my concerns regarding industrialized food and its effect on our health, from my love for historic buildings and, most importantly, from my desire to make an impact on the return of our most important keystone species.
As a site specific installation artist my aspiration is to create a piece that is unique to the silo’s space and true to my work. My silo is a circular space constructed from cinder blocks, 18’ in diameter and spans 20’ in height. It has, in the center of the space a 10’ tall funnel suspended from the ceiling. There are a few old, large light fixtures, conduit runs vertical and perpendicular on the walls and there are three entrances to the space. I have three weeks to install the work that I have assembled to date. My mantra as an artist is “if I am not nervous to take on a new project then I am not stretching myself”. I am slightly anxious, yet happy to embrace the butterflies and honored to have my name listed among this year’s SMH artists.
In celebration of the opening there will be food trucks, a bar and music provided by Chapel In The Sky with projections by Michael Walrond - SHDWSOFDUST.
Public Opening for the Exhibition
SITE Gallery Houston,
(The multi-story building behind the artist studios facility).
This is a continuation of an earlier post that documented my intuitive process to embrace and abstract the bee that was listed on the endangered species list January 11, 2017.
The posting was titled Embracing Bombus Affinis. Here is one more experiment.
In the experimental piece below I focused on the transparency of the wings.Through the wings you can see the bees hairs on the back of his abdomen. You can also see the flora in the background and through his wings. FYI- a favorite of the Rusty Patch bumble bee is blueberries. Blueberries are one of my favorites too. There is always a box of blueberries in our refrigerator. I hate the thought of my blueberries being pollinated in a lab.
I am not sure if showing the transparency is necessary or if it bogs down the energy with too much information.
If you want to help insure our food remains pollinated as nature intended see below-
Limit the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers whenever possible or avoid them entirely. Pesticides cause lethal and sublethal effects to bees and other pollinators.
I ran into the print making room to drop off some new paper. I took the opportunity to see how the last 6 compared to each other and how multiple bees might look together. I will do one more experiment and the plan the grouping.
I am really liking these 6 today. I don’t think they are your typical rendering of a bee. Any thoughts? I am glad I took the time to look at these as a group. They are inspiring me to make several different bees from different views in this same technique and showing them together. I am getting some interesting ideas of how to do it.
i will do one more experiment first.
He is one big pig, the beloved family pet that had to be hoisted upstairs to save him from drowning in the flood waters of Harvey. The idea of saving a pig was inspired by a YouTube video posted by a young family in Conroe, Texas. I hope you see in the figure not only the strength it takes to lift up a frightened squirming pig but also the determination that the figure has not to let the family’s favorite pet parish. The pig twist and turns while straining his back legs straight out trying to reach the ground.
photo by Nash Baker
66” X 42” 60”
Steel, stainless steel lath, plaster, hydro stone, wire mesh, screen and cloth, and baling wire.
the next pig post - why a pig?
I started the upper torso.
I always make the shoulders too broad and then have to adjust them. I will do that tomorrow.
Today I spent a lot of time cutting off and rewelding. The upper leg/booty was too big. After four hours it now has a trimmer.
I am trying to decide if I need to reinforce the lower half of the body or move on. Once I reinforce the joints it is a lot more difficult to make changes. If I move on without reinforcing the welding joints, the piece could fall apart. That is my dilemma.
Connecting the legs and reinforcing them.
Building the hips and connecting the legs
I create triangles to give the piece stability and strength.
Left side view with triangles
View from the back
view of the right side
Using scraps to create triangles to strengthen the ankles.
Looking back, I can now see the hips are not right and are exaggerating the movement. I will have the movement exaggerated when the piece is finished, but for the armature, I will have to tone it down.
This sculpture is about the movement and the energy of rescuing livestock (a pig) during Hurricane Harvey. Today I have to decide on where the figure's weight needs to be to best balance the sculpture and express the energy of hoisting the swine to safety. The photos I took of Griffin while he was walking helped me committe to the foot placement. For the weight, I need new reference photos taken from each side. I am fortunate that my husband is always agreeable to posing for me. We wrapped a stool in a towel to stand in for the pig. Below are the new photos.
Three of his and a few of mine.
Dove/pigeon - bronze
Doves/pigeon and a fish
Two of my Herman Beak trumpeter pigeons with leg muffs in charcoal
Two frill back pigeon is one in Talc powder and one in charcoal.
When you witness or experience a horrific event there are images that hold onto you; images that will forever be conjoined to the experience.
Weathering Houston’s hurricane Harvey, I was glued to the TV and Houston’s social media postings. My eyes soaked up videos of contaminated waters creeping in the homes of nearby neighborhoods. I witnessed daring rescues of families as they were evacuated. In amazement, I watched mothers and children pile into garbage trucks, elderly folks in wheel chairs airlifted by helicopters. Through social media calls for help, it became obvious our cities first responders could not get to every home in need. Proudly, I saw brave Texans convert their flat bottom fishing boats, and jacked up pickup trucks into liferafts and search for those who called for help. No Texan would be left behind.
When our street drained, turning off the news and putting my social media in my pocket, I packed up my dry survivor’s guilt and headed down to the George R. Brown convention center to volunteer and treat my pain and my conscience. The Red Cross had turned one-third of the GRB into a families with pets section. Entering the building with dilated pupils I wove my way through the walk ways created by the clusters of cots and kennels occupied by families and their pets. It struck me that even in the midst of a disaster we humans create neighborhoods and small communities, we are pack animals. I headed towards the pop up pet supply store well stocked from donations made by citizens and the volunteer veterinary clinic where I would be helping out. Careful not to disturb the sleeping citizens of the newly formed families with pets city, I was confronted by a single cot. It was freshly dressed in a crisp white sheet accessorized with a fluffy white pillow and tucked in by a cozy, white flannel blanket decorated with tiny Red Cross logos all over. It was isolated from the others waiting for the next victim of Harvey to tuck themselves in and comfort them with safety. With all the rescue images of people trudging through unsanitary water, homes floating in floodwater fresh in my memory bank that cot was shockingly - humanity. Thirty thousand GRB citizens would be relieved to make it their new homestead. It was heart breaking and beautiful all at the same time. I could imagine if I had been rescued that cot would have been a long-awaited relief. I would not have asked the sheet thread count or if the cotton was grown pesticide free. My heart hurt for all those who were grateful to have such a cot. That cot, that crystal clear image of stripped down humanity, is the Harvey image that holds onto me.
Within weeks, I made two watercolor monotype pieces of the cot. One as I saw it and one with a pet waiting for its owner. I was pleased with their crispness and the delicate watery shapes seen when closely inspected. It occurs to me that the cot was so symbolic to me because of the constant looped eyewitness news reporting and abundance of social media posts. I was seeing the same strong images over and over. From my dry den, I too experienced Harvey.
I have taken photos of my television screen and collected screen shots of these images and will use them as inspiration for additional works to go with the cot. It will be interesting to see if it is interesting to anyone but me.
I want to use only black ink on white paper. If I were to make the pieces color ink, I would need to address skin tones and ethnicity. And the truth is that during Harvey, skin color, political and religious affiliations (things that often divide us) were not an issue to the point that they were not even part of the commentary, and that was beautiful. It is a very shuttle way to make a strong statement. I hope it is heard.