Marcia Wood Gallery

Atlanta Gallery Hop

One week of rest or one week of work-thats the coin toss that is "Spring Break 2017".

 

The break doesn't officially start until tomorrow, but already I have taken advantage of the down time and caught up on some things I've neglected around my house and my studio. I washed the floors of my studio space and wiped down the dust that had accumulated everywhere. I finished my largest sculpture and set it up to dry at a slow and even pace...hopefully. I slept in for a change and tried to use the day light savings to my advantage and readjust my internal clock by just sleeping through the time change. Most importantly though I made it a point to use the first weekend of the break to make my way up to Atlanta with some of my fellow grads for a day of gallery hopping around town.

I picked up Usman early at 6:15am on Friday and we headed for Midtown down I-16 for the long three hour and twenty minute drive. We left early to avoid traffic and ended up getting there much earlier than planned, so we had breakfast at West Egg. Afterwards we drove over to our first scheduled stop of the day, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. It didn't open until eleven so we walked down to Amélie's French Bakery for a coffee while we waited for Jessamy, Cyndy, and Josie (Cyndy's daughter) to arrive. While we waited we looked at all the different Mona Lisa portraits on the walls and made the joke that one of Zak's paintings would fit right in with the theme of the place. Once the rest of the crew showed up and it was closer to opening time we made our way down to the see the current exhibition on display by outsider artist Lonnie Holley called I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, on display until April 2nd. The gallery director walked us through a few of the pieces and got rid of Josie's hiccups for her. We even got to meet her dog Monster, a mix between a pit bull and a dachshund. The show is described as:

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (Atlanta Contemporary) is pleased to announce a solo exhibition with Lonnie Holley. Holley is a man of many myths and talents. Born in Jim Crow-era Birmingham, Alabama, as the seventh of 27 children, Holley traveled across the South and held a wide array of jobs before making his first artwork at the age of 29.

Well known for his assemblages, Holley incorporates natural and man-made objects into totemic sculptures. Materials such as steel scrap, sandstone, plastic flowers, crosses, and defunct machines commemorate places, people, and events. The exhibition will feature a selection of sculptures and drawings on loan from the artist. In addition to these works, Holley will create site specific installations reflective of the spontaneous and improvisational nature of his creative process.

Curator Daniel Fuller says “Lonnie Holley is one of the most influential artists and musicians of the 20th/21st centuries. His powerful work is improvisational and free in that it goes beyond the autobiographical and chronicles daily life and history of people all over the South. It is as much concerned with all of mother earth as it is cosmic.”
— Atlanta Contemporary Art Center Wedsite
 

Afterwards we went to a few galleries downtown to include the Hathaway Gallery, the Sandler Hudson, and the KAI LIN gallery. We had planned on going to the MOCA but we ran out of time and opted to just go to White Space gallery instead where we met the gallery assistant Emily Sorgenfrei. We talked to her for nearly an hour about how she got her job in the gallery, the things she did along the way, and how we could propose our work to the space. (Unfortunately, Marcia Wood, one of my favorite galleries was between shows and wasn't open.) I also made my way to the Signature Gallery in Buckhead, which ended up being the highlight of my weekend. The Signature Gallery, run by Carr McCuiston located on Roswell Road NE Atlanta, GA houses contemporary ceramic works by just about all the artist that I am interested in currently. It was cool going into the gallery and meeting SarahBeth Merritt, the gallery assistant, and talking to her about all the works on display. She graduated from Georgia State three or four-ish years ago and has been working at Signature, as well as the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. My sisters friend Abbey Hull also works there currently and she's been a greta help in answering my questions about the studio and how it's run.

Basically, I got a lot out of this weekend. I made some great connections with the staff at the galleries I would like to show at in the future. It's all about making those small one on one connections, and really pushing forward with getting your work out in the world that matters. I feel like this weekend might have helped that "snowball" get rolling.


After all the gallery fun Cyndy and Josie left and the rest of us went to Krog Street Market for a beer and some small eats. We ended up eating at this place called Nexto, where my sister works. It's a Japanese Noodle restaurant and we ate our weight in ramen deliciousness.

Saturday morning I went to Davens Ceramic supply store for some things for my studio. It's basically an adult toy store if you're into clay. I also acquired a long list of new books to purchase after perusing the selection at Davens. I took the opportunity to go to the Atlanta Barnes and Nobles and glanced through their craft ceramic section for books and ended up getting the three listed below on glazing and making. Very exciting stuff to introduce into my work.


As for studio time, here is a few snippets of whats been happening. Most things are still in progress, drying, or getting ready for more firings.

End of Year Studio Plans

Seeing as this may be my second to last blog post that I will have for this semester in school, I wanted to cover some end of the year studio plans.  First things first, I've got to go bigger.  All of my sculptures have been about the size of a toddler, but they are usually smaller.  They max out about about 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide and they contain little space.  Bottom line, I must go larger next semester. 

I have also found a very useful material for creating bases and larger pieces and thats corrugated cardboard.  It creates such a unique and unexpected texture once fired that I believe it will make for some interesting works down the line.  I also transformed a stuffed teddybear into a forever ceramic piece.  It's solid, with sharp glass hairs all over its body and hollow eyes.  I didn't want to display it for my critique this past Friday, but after some persistent words from my professors I put it on the shelf anyway.  What a mistake that was.  Everyone only talked about the bear, and I really wanted feedback on the other works ... such as the cardboard, the blued towers, the lace, and the terrycloth.  I'll know better next time though I suppose.  I did learn from this critique however that the the bears are not the direction I want to go in.  It was an experiment in transformation, and I found out that I can indeed do it.  But it is not what I want to do.  I enjoy creating the landscape-like sculptures from clothes, and binding them up to contain and restrain them.  This is also something I have to work on over the summer.

Summer.  Not to be melodramatic but I've been in school for an entire year now and summer is only two weeks away.  Where is the time going? Two semesters down and only four more to go.  This summer I'll be in Ireland for six weeks and I really hope that being away from the studio that amount of time will open up some doors for me mentally.  I have revised and revised my artist statement with little luck.  What I have now I feel most sure about, but after my critique I can see that what I think about the work is still not what it's actually portraying.  So yet again I am back to square one.  Theres a number of galleries I intend on visiting while in Ireland and I believe this will help me get some answers to the questions about my work I've got swimming around up in my brain.

As soon as schools out I am planning on going to Atlanta for a bit of a mini vacation away from Statesboro.  While there I want to revisit the Marcia Wood Gallery to check out artist Kim Piotrowski and her solo show called Field and Territory which is on display from March 31st to April 30th, 2016.  I wanted to go to the opening reception of this show but school wouldn't allow for it.  I do plan on attending the next opening in May though since school will be out.  I've looked at her paintings online and I have a postcard of Ravel 2015 but I think having the opportunity to talk about them in person will be good.  As for other artists I have been researching lately, Ill be honest I slacked off a bit as soon as critique rolled around.  Some of my professors gave me artists and philosophers to look into, and I've gathered the sources to read but have yet to actually read them.  All in time I suppose.

I think that is about it for this weeks post.  Nothing fantastic happened besides a critique and I went to another conference.  This time a Research Symposium at Georgia Southern where I presented my research on Visual Data in Glazing a study of ceramic glazes for student use.  It was a successful presentation and I have a number of questions at the end of my talk regarding glazing and how it works.  Other than that, it's winding down and things are getting tight on the time line!

Art in the Big City

What a week this has been.  This past week was my first Spring Break in over 3 years, my first of my graduate career, and although I had planned to fill it with relaxation and easy going days...very little of that happened.  The first weekend of my break I went and saw The Lady Chablis in Savannah, she is the Drag Queen featured in the famous book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.  It was her 59th birthday celebration and I somehow managed to get the entire crowd to sing her happy birthday while she was on stage.  And in doing so I was brought on stage and received a gift from her in return, a photograph of her and John Cusack which she kissed with her bright red lipstick and gave me a hug.  What a night that was!

The middle of the week was full of work however once I returned to Statesboro.  I spent all day Monday throwing bowls for the Club mud sale coming up near the end of March and then Tuesday consisted of trimming, loading two glaze kilns, and a bisque kiln.  I made new porcelain tests, recorded all of my fabric tests in my journal, and made a five gallon bucket of porcelain to work with later.  I also unloaded two of my newest pieces from the kiln, which are total tests in my book.  They are both made from stone ware and cotton, coated in white engobe, and then coated in a porcelain overlay.  In my mind, this should give me the white-blue color I am dying to see, but in almost a cheating sort of manner.  It'll be porcelain, but not actually a porcelain piece, just an exterior shell of porcelain.  Pretty sneaky if I do say so myself.  Those two pieces will get glazed and fired for my upcoming critique on the 30th, so stay tuned for photos of them soon.

Art wise I made my way up to Atlanta to see the last day showing of Ceramics at the Marcia Wood Gallery on Monroe Street.  This trip was so worth the drive up.  The ceramic work on display was amazing and actually gave me numerous ideas/solutions to questions I had about my own work.  I saw ceramics with hair, ceramics made from hair, ceramics made from slip casting, ceramics on shelving, ceramics on bases, ceramics made from porcelain and stoneware....I saw it all.

While I was gawking at the delicate works on stone bases by Dawn Holder, I met her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Holder.  They were in town to see their daughters work on the last day of its showing and I by chance began talking to them about how much I appreciated her use of a base, with ceramics.  Her father said "I have not clue why she uses stones to place the work on, probably because they look bad on a shelf alone and thats just what she wanted to do." (This answer made me think of my own father, who would also give a similar non-invasive answer to a question he had no clue how to respond to.) Her mother was just as welcoming to my inquiries, and we talked about Sister Wendy, and what the difference in viewing a 2D work is to viewing a 3D work.  She also asked me about my work and to see images, which I gladly, and as calmly as I could muster, showed her on my phone.  We came upon my bubble wrap, hair piece called Wrap and she insisted I giver her my information, seeing as she worked at UPS.  She had just met the people who make bubble wrap, the creators, and told me she would forward my work along to them seeing how I transformed their product completely but retaining it's original integrity.

Then the unthinkable happened.  A woman walked up, who I had thought was an employee of the gallery (due to my ignorance) and began talking to us.  I didn't recognize her as Marcia Wood herself, the gallery owner.  I told her I was a student of Komatsu, one of the ceramicist on display in her show, and how I had enjoyed speaking to Mr. and mrs. Holder about their daughter Dawn's work.  She graciously walked us around the gallery and explained some of the processes behind the works, answered my questions, and listened to the three of us babble on about the layout and overall aesthetic of the show.  We finished speaking and I asked if there was any type of printed media I could take with me, since there were not labels on the walls.  I was handed a printout, I thanked her for sharing her information with me.

And seeing the art, made all the difference!  Dawn Holders work was very inspirational.  She uses stone bases for her slip cast ceramics.  Which actually look perfect with the pieces.  They seem like barnacles laying on rocks, but she too uses natural materials in ceramics and then burns to material out in the kiln.  So it's a different kind of slip casting, more like slip bunking...which is pretty much what I do, just with different materials.  I've seen her grass works in person too before, but her work at Marcia Wood was much better in my opinion (probably because I could decipher the process behind them!)

Tomorrow though, I must return to school and get back to work.  I've spent the week running like crazy, while inserting a little fun, food, and laziness along the way but now I've got to head back to Statesboro.  It's a three hour drive from Atlanta, could be longer depending on traffic.  I celebrated my sisters 25th birthday, saw a drag show, ate copious amounts of food, saw some fantastic art, and received notice that I made it into my third conference and will be going to Ireland 100%.  I'd say it's been a pretty solid, productive, and crazy awesome week.

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