Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short is the trailer for Girl from God's Country (GCG Productions), a documentary about silent film pioneer Nell Shipman (1892-1970). Shipman was a director, screenwriter, actress, animal rights advocate, and a pioneer in a male-dominated industry. She made 27 feature-length films.

Inspired by Shipman's life and career, director, producer, and writer Karen Day of Boise, Idaho, looks at the status of women today in film and other creative media. 

Day's documentary has been screened domestically (2014 Sun Valley Film Festival, 2015 Bentonville Film Festival) and internationally (2015 New York International Film Festival, Artisan Festival International: Cannes World Cinema). It was named "Best Documentary" at the Artisan Festival International.

GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY Trailer 3 minutes from gcg productions on Vimeo.

Karen Day

Girl from God's Country on FaceBook

Friday, July 3, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ A special "Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition" has gone on view at the Katzen Arts Center at American University Museum. Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the August 1945 bombings of Japan during World War II, the exhibition features just 20 artifacts recovered from debris and six of 15 extraordinary, large folding screens, created over 32 years by 1995 Nobel Prize nominees Iri (1912-2000) and Toshi Maruki (1901-1995) and depicting the horrific consequences of the attacks. 

1985 Artbook on the Panels

Also included are Hiroshima Children's Drawings, created in the 20th Century at All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington, D.C. See the trailer for the documentary Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard and images.

The exhibition continues through August 16.

✦ Thirty emerging artists and scholars in their early or mid-careers are selected each year for the Rome Prize of the American Academy in Rome. Requirements and applications for the Rome Prize are on the academy's Website. The deadline is November 1, 2015. For a quick overview, see the FAQs. The visual arts are just one of nearly a dozen disciplines in which awards are made.

✦ The National Gallery of Canada offers a wide range of excellent content in its online magazine, including exhibition news, artist interviews, studio visits, photo galleries, book and film recommendations, and other art-related goings-on. The magazine covers not only NGC but also Art Gallery of Alberta, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and Winnipeg Art Gallery.

✦ Don't miss out on the excellent artist profiles on the blog of Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland. Recent features in "Artists Beyond Our Doors" have introduced assemblage and installation artist Judith Pratt, multimedia artist Fierce Sonia, painter Anne Marchand, and printmaker Gina Louthian-Stanley.

✦ Multidisciplinary artist Fanny Allie recently was named one of eight artists to watch during Bushwick Open Studios 2015. See her needle series and embroidery on fabric.

Bushwick Open Studies on FaceBook

✦ A new series, The Artful Project, from Anthropologie recently launched online. First up: Maine artist Tessa Greene O'Brien, co-founder of Portland Mural Initiative. This short shows O'Brien painting in Congress Square Park.

Philanthropie: The Artful Project from Anthropologie on Vimeo.

Portland Mural Initiative on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Ceramics by Christine Nofchissey McHorse are on view through the end of the month at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, part of the Institute of American Indian Arts. A survey and traveling exhibition, "Dark Light" presents work from 1997 to today. McHorse's abstract black vessels, flecked with mica, are gorgeous and masterfully created. See images at the exhibition title link above.

An illustrated monograph accompanies the exhibition.

Monograph Cover

MoCNA/IAIA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Opening today at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is "Petals and Pop", a summer floral celebration that continues through July 31. 

The Clay Studio on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Photographs by Jill Brody are on view at North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks. Continuing through August 26, the exhibition, "Hidden in Plain Sight" features 36 large-scale images of daily life as experienced by Montana's Liberty Country Hutterites. Brody shot the photographs, which number in the hundreds, over four years during her visits to Montana. The images encompass children at play, the community gathered for meals, harvesting, and at prayer.

NDMOA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ The Art Institute of Chicago has mounted the first major exhibition since 1998 of work by Los Angeles-based sculptor Charles Ray. Featured in "Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997-2014", the exhibition, which runs through October 4, presents 19 works. Co-organized with Kunstmuseum Basel, the show's only venue in the United States is ARTIC. Four new sculptures are featured. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition. A number of gallery talks and lectures are among exhibition-related events.

ARTIC on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Continuing through July 19 at Alexandria, Virginia's Athenaeum Gallery is "Saturate", a group show of work by Stephen Estrada, Abby Kasonik, Hannele Lahti, Eve Stockton, and Thomas Teasley.  The works on view include paintings, woodblock prints, photography, and video. On July 9, multimedia artist Teasley, who is also an instrumentalist, will demonstrate in a one-time installation sound as manipulated, inspired, and created with water; the live piece will involve electronic percussion, flutes, ancient drums, water gongs and bells, and prerecorded ambient sound.

The Athenaeum on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, July 2, 2015

'The Lady Lifers'

I'm not an angel but I'm not the devil.

Recently, I watched a performance by "The Lady Lifers", a group of women sentenced to life in prison, without possibility of parole, in Pennsylvania. The women sang at TEDxMuncyStatePrison in November 2014. At the end, each introduces herself and tells a bit of her story as a "lifer" through the song "This is Not My Home" (Howard Woodring): "I'm a woman, I'm a grandmother, I'm a daughter, I have a son. I'm not an angel, I'm not the devil. I came to jail when I was so young." 

Each of the nine women has been assigned a number but, as their song relates, the women are more than that, with their own needs and hopes and fears, and each proudly has a name: Brenda Watkins, Dannielle Hadley, Debra Lee Brown, Theresa Battles, Diane Metzger, Thelma Nichols, Joann Butler, Lena Brown, and Trina Garnett.

Already, the women have spent decades in prison.

Dream of freedom, hope for mercy.

The local TEDx event was produced independently of TED Conferences.

Muncy State Prison is a maximum security facility.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Artist Eva Kot'atkova at MIT

I work with everyday stories and situations, re-evaluating
them, transforming them, locating them within new coordinates,
given by my personal experience and biography. . . .
~ Eva Kot'atkova, Artist Statement

Work by Prague-born Eva Kot'atkova is the subject of a noteworthy exhibition at MIT's List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge Massachusetts. The artist's first solo show in the United States, "Eva Kot'atkova: Out of Sight" continues through July 26 (it opened May 22). For the exhibition, curated by the center's Henriette Huldisch, Kot'atkova created a number of new groups of works, including collages, drawings, installations, and sculptures, all of which reference her long and abiding interest in and exploration of how the individual relates to his or her social structures, codes and conventions, traditions and rituals, whether imposed by government, school, or family. 

Kot'atkova's art makes use of a wide variety of materials, from illustrations cut from medical textbooks and suspended on string, to doors without visible supports, to objects such as cages that restrain the body or serve to exclude and isolate, to tools such as saws and pincers that can be used to harm. Its physical form underscores not only a sense of profound vulnerability but also of fear and fragmentation, and even invisibility. Similarly, the works'  titles—Image atlas of Johan, a boy who cut a library out of the clinic into pieces (2014), for example, or Words Staying in the Mouth (Klara's Letter Box)—convey consequences of control or its total absence, and how the two are in tension, always. The narratives Kot'atkova creates reside in the depths of the imagination, source of ideas both freed and constrained.

Below is an interview with the award-winning artist at the 55th International Art Exhibition (Venice Biennale) in 2013; Kot'atkova talks in particular about her installation Asylum.

Read a review of the MIT exhibition by Cate McQuaid in The Boston Globe, "Eva Kot'atkova Examines Balance of Imagination, Socialization".

On June 20, in conjunction with its exhibition, List Visual Arts Center sponsored a screening of Frederick Wiseman's extraordinary if disturbing documentary Titicut Follies of 1967. (An excerpt from the black-and-white film, which concerns the state prison Bridgewater State Hospital and its treatment of the criminally insane, may be watched on Vimeo. Described as "the first film to be banned in America for a reason other than obscenity or national security", Titicut Follies was shown on PBS in 1992. A DVD was issued in 2007.)

The Juan Miro Foundation, Barcelona, is the venue for Kot'atkova's "The birth of the object", on view through September 6. (See image.)

Eva Kot'atkova at Hunt Kastner and Meyer Riegger Art Gallery

List Visual Arts Center on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take It Down (Poem)

Take It Down

It will take a snip.
Go to one corner
and cut. Begin

with a red thread
and pull—gently.
First, you want to

take it apart slowly,
one long red thread
by one red thread,

calling out loud
a letter of every
name—nine more

now. Rough cloth,
it may not yield
with your next tug.

Find the thread
that holds it all
together, the heart

of a story that repeats
in our homes, our
schools, our capitals

of two-sided streets,
our separate entrances,
our safest houses

of gospel. Every
stitch made you will
want to weaken.

Hear the tear?
Now pull the cross
from its center,

the meeting place
of a long rope,
a stack of white robes,

welts on the bruised
backs, field reports
to the FBI. So many

threads of connection
to break. The deniers
are among us, still.

But the thread will give.

© 2015 Maureen E. Doallas

Other poems in this series: "State of Affairs", "You there, on that screen", and "Crisis of Faith".

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Muse: Summer Writing Workshops

If you're a writer who can use a summer workshop or two or want or need an introduction to publishing professionals, you'll find below a half-dozen possibilities.

✦ There's still time (the deadline is July 3) to register for day participation in the 19th Annual West Virginia University Writers' Workshop, which is July 16-19 in Morgantown. Workshop faculty include director and author Mark Brazaitis, novelist Paula McLain, poet Erin Murphy, and classical ballet teacher and writer Renee K. Nicholson. Sessions during the workshop cover fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. There's even a separate workshop for high school students who are interested in a writing career. The fees and a schedule, as well as other information, is available online.

WVa Writers Workshop on FaceBook

✦ The Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas, is the setting for the wide-ranging DFW Writer's Conference, July 24-26. The registration deadline is July 24; late registration also is possible. The DFW Writers Workshop sponsors the event, which includes a session for agent pitches. Check the Website for classes, keynote speakers, vendors, and other information.

DFW Writers Workshop on FaceBook

✦ The 44th Annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is July 31 through August 3 in Los Angeles, California. The conference features agents, editors, art directors, established writers, and industry publishers; see the faculty bios online. Opportunities are available for one-on-one manuscript and portfolio critiques. SCBWI members receive a registration discount.

SCBWI on FaceBook

✦ You can escape the summer heat by registering for the 53rd Annual Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, to be held August 6-9 in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The conference, sponsored by Cape Cod Writers Center and titled "Inspired Storytelling by the Sea", includes writing sessions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir, as well as screenwriting. Topics range from self-publishing, to romance writing, to writing for television and film, to promoting ebooks, to getting an agent. See the conference brochure (pdf) for information about keynote speakers (they include Marge Piercy), daily sessions, descriptions about one-, two-, and three-day courses and intensives, and faculty.

Cape Cod Writers Center on FaceBook

✦ Established and aspiring authors and screenwriters can meet or network with agents, editors, producers, writing instructors, and other writing and publishing professionals at the 46th Annual Willamette Writers Conference. Scheduled to run from August 7 through August 9 in Portland, Oregon, the conference offers more than 80 workshops, panels, and presentations. Complete conference information, including an interactive schedule, faculty bios, and registration options, is available on the conference Website.

Willamette Writers on FaceBook

✦ Fiction writers have their own annual conference, the Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute, scheduled this year for August 7 through August 9 at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. (The conference formerly was known as the Nora Roberts Writing Institute.) The three-day writing retreat includes a special offering at the same time: Hub City Teen Writers Institute. The MAFWI offers panel discussions on such topics as social media promotion, self-publishing, and publisher-author relationships, sessions on writing dialogue, creating characters, and writing thrillers, and networking activities. Complete registration and conference information is available online.

MAFWI on FaceBook

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thought for the Day

But progress is never individual.
~ Marge Piercy

Quoted from "Hope is a long, slow thing" in Made in Detroit: Poems (Knopf, 2015)

Marge Piercy, Novelist, Poet, Memorist

Marge Piercy on FaceBook

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short, Transforming, directed by Mizuki Kawano and produced by Yuna Takayama for Taiyo Kikaku Co., Ltd., is all about nail art. . . and what happens when it comes to life.

According to notes accompanying the video, once animation data were created from a series of designs, the data were printed as 3D artificial nails (521 in all), using a full-color 3D printer; the nails were repeatedly attached, filmed frame-by-frame, and then replaced, until the animation was completed. No computer graphics were used. Watch "Making of 'Transforming'".


Transforming on Tumblr and FaceBook

Friday, June 26, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Artist India Flint describes herself as a "botanical alchemist & string twiner" and "the original discoverer of the eucalyptus ecoprint". An installation artist who prints, paints, draws, writes, and sculpts, Flint works with leaves, discarded materials, cloth, paper, stones, and bones, creating beautiful, unusual objects for the wall and the body. I'm especially drawn to what Flint calls her "marks on paper". (See her blog prophet of bloom.)

India Flint on FaceBook 

✦ Representational painter Erin Anderson paints oil directly on copper sheets then etches it away, enveloping her primarily female figures in flowing lines or designs. A semi-finalist in the 2015 BP Portrait Award Competition, Anderson is exhibiting through July 3 in "Contemporary Figuration" at Abend Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Erin Anderson on FaceBook

✦ The National Gallery of Art's excellent Gauguin: Maker of Myth, a 30-minute video narrated by Willem Dafoe and with Alfred Molina speaking as Gaugin, was uploaded earlier this year and is available to view online. It also is available on iTunes and as a DVD.

✦ Toronto's Cybele Young creates tiny, intricate sculptures from exquisite Japanese papers. Some new work can be seen on the artist's Website and in the exhibition "Some Changes Were Made", through July 17 at Forum Gallery in New York City. When she's not busy making art, Young writes and illustrates picture books. Watch a selection of her time-lapse films and read an interview.

Cybele Young on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ See the watercolors of Lourdes Sanchez, a New York painter, at Sears Peyton Gallery. I especially like her delicate-looking flowers, created in watercolors and ink.

✦ Below you'll find a quick preview of an exhibition of watercolors by British painter and designer Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. The artist is introduced by curator James Russell, a specialist in the artist's work. The exhibition continues through August 31.

Dulwich Picture Gallery on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Opening June 28 at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art, "Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye" presents a selection of work created between 1875 and 1882, including the paintings The Floor Scrapers, Paris Street, Rainy Day, Man at His Bath, and Nude on a Couch. The first major show of Caillebotte's work in two decades, the exhibition is organized thematically, showcasing depictions of interior life, portraits, still lifes, street views, and river scenes. Continuing at NGA through October 4, the show travels to Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, where it will run from November 8, 2015, through February 14, 2016. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue (image below), co-published by NGA and University of Chicago Press (UCP page for catalogue), is available.

Catalogue Cover Art

NGA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Motherwell, who died in 1991. To celebrate, Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina, is presenting a centenary exhibition, which opens June 27 and continues through August 29. See the gallery's Motherwell page for selections of works on paper and prints by the artist. In recognition of the centenary, the Dedalus Foundation is giving priority in 2015 to the Motherwell Legacy Program, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is presenting through July 26 "Robert Motherwell: Lyric Suite". Work by Motherwell, a painter and printmaker who also was an editor, writer, and teacher, can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Tate Britain, among other institutions. 

David Slovic's two- and three-dimensional works of manipulated masking  tape (see images) are on view through November 15 at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. A group exhibition of Philadelphia-area artists Margo Allman, Charles Burwell, and Antonio Puri, titled "Layering Constructs", may be viewed through September 7. The latter is presented jointly with Delaware Art Museum (view a selection of images).

DCCA on FaceBook and Twitter

Delaware Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ "Nathaniel Stern: Giverny of the Midwest", a selection of "performative prints" by Nathaniel Stern, is on view through September 6 at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. To make his images, Stern uses a scanner and a computer and immerses his body in a lily pond. The artist will give a talk about his inspirations and computer-based creative process on July 30 at 6:30 p.m.

In the video below, Stern explains "Rippling Images", which he makes underwater (see final prints):

See Stern's "architectural" installation Giverny Remediated at his Website.

MOWA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ In Oregon, work by Betty LaDuke may be seen in "APEX" through July 19 at Portland Art Museum. Presented in the show are new works as well as paintings from LaDuke's 65-year retrospective that took place in June 2013 at Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University. (An article about LaDuke and her work for the latter is online at OPB.)

LaDuke is the author of Africa: Women's Art, Women's Lives (Africa World Press, 1997) and other books, including the forthcoming Bountiful Harvest: From Land to Table (White Cloud Press, October 2015).

Betty LaDuke at Hanson Howard Gallery: Bio and Images

Watch "Celebrating Life ~ The Art of Betty LaDuke":

Portland Museum of Art on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, June 25, 2015

State of Affairs (Poem)

State of Affairs

We don't have Bed-Ins
in this country anymore.

Lennon's gone, and Iraq without
Saddam is our latest Vietnam.

Instead of Agent Orange, there's
chlorine gas in the barrel bombs,

and drones get named Raven,
Dragon Eye, Tarantula Hawk,

as if all the animals were doing
the world's killing. Millennials run

off to join ISIS; a kosher grocery
on the outskirts of Paris is laid waste.

Serbia declares, We will not close
up and live in Auschwitz, because

Hungary decides to put up a fence
to keep the illegal migrants out.

Not even the Mediterranean Sea is
dangerous enough to stop the boats

that carry the thousands that flee
the countries that traffic in crime.

Here at home, we test our children
more than the cars we buy and drive,

dispute global warming and climate
change while the Arctic ice melts,

ban books on controversial issues
and let hide out the priests who use

the bodies of boys for their pleasure.
We believe in civil and human rights

then twist hands when cops choke
the breath out of a 350-pound man

or take down and put a knee in
the back of a teen in a bikini. Now

that we've gotten past Columbine,
Sandy Hook, Aurora, watched

Baltimore burn, coined a hashtag
#BlackLivesMatter, nine blacks

praying and studying the Bible are
shot dead—and a Confederate flag

still flies high over their state capitol.
Race is a deep fault line in America,

Hillary says. It's history! Tomorrow
the Facebook crowd already will have

moved on, set up their grills, signed
their Hallmark cards for Father's Day.

© June 20, 1015 Maureen E. Doallas

When I wrote this poem, the Confederate flag, symbol of hatred, repression, and oppression, had become the issue of the day. South Carolina's governor has called for the flag to be taken down, though it flies still, even as murdered state senator Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Mother Emanuel, lies in state in the capitol building; Alabama's governor has ordered removal of Confederate banners, and Virginia's governor has announced plans to phase out the symbol on state license plates. Some retailers (Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay) have vowed to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise. Our National Park Service also has issued a voluntary request to stop sales of flags and related products by its partners and affiliates. Let's be clear: This is the least that can be done. All these actions are politically expedient. Ban the flag, lower it forever, put it in a history museum, stop making and selling items that bear that despicable symbol—but don't claim any of these steps will dispel the hatred and racism that reside in too many American hearts. And don't just move on. We all have a lot of work to do. 

As the late Jake Adam York wrote in his poem "Vigil" in Murder Ballads (Elixir Press, 2005):

[. . .] Let the crucible door open like a mouth
and speak its bloom of light, molten and new.

Let me stand in its halo. Let me stand
as it pours out its stream of suns.

Let me gather and hold it like a brother.
And let it burn.