Mom's Plants

Mom's Plants

My mom keeps beautiful gardens. She works long hours all week as a Nurse Navigator at an Oncology Center and if she isn't doing that she is either quilting or gardening depending on the season. She is a busy bee and while I don't think I can hold a candle to that flame of hers, I like to think that I follow in her footsteps at least a little bit with my productivity levels.

Red There

Red There

There is just so. much. to learn.  When I'm in the studio my head is spinning with ideas and then later I get lost in Instagram where I find other artists making amazing things that I want to learn more about.  I'm looking at everybody from students to major ceramic organizations.  All in all, I'm finding a confirmation of the fact that there truly is so. much. to learn. This is good news, I'll be busy for the foreseeable future.

Photos of people in their homes at night.

Untitled No. 50
Pasadena, CA 1995
Digital Chromogenic Print 38 x 46.5"

Michele Iverson takes photos of people in their homes at night.  They don't know she is there and they never do.

Untitled No. 59
Pasadena, CA 1995
Gelatin Silver Print 38 x 46.5"

Michele Iverson knows that what she is doing is perverse and intrusive.  This excites her. Her excitement makes her uncomfortable.  She is interested in this discomfort.

Untitled No. 62
Pasadena, CA 1995
Digital Chromogenic Pring 38 x 46.5"

Iverson says that she would not want photos like this taken of her.  However, she quickly follows that statement with the acknowledgment that if photos like this were to be taken of her, it would be her own fault for not closing the curtains.

Untitled No. 63
Pasadena, CA 1996
Lightjet C Print 40 x 48"

Have you ever looked in through somebody's window at night?  Even just from a car window driving by?  I have.  I wonder sometimes about what color people paint their walls or how they set up their furniture.  I've never really SEEN anything though.  Maybe if I hung around for a while, I might.

Untitled No. 66
Pasadena, CA 1996
Lightjet C Pring 38 x 46"

Follow this link to the website for the Third Coast International Audio Festival and listen to what Michele Iverson has to say about her work.

Follow this link to see Iverson's website where you will find more photos from the "Night Surveillance Series."

Artist Interview: Robert Jessup

Alright.  So I just recently had a whole bunch to say about Robert Jessup.  After I said what I had to say, I figured I would take a shot in the dark and send him an email letting him know just what it was that I had been saying. 
So now I have something else to say about Robert Jessup.  Dude is a gemstone.  What a great guy.  Robert got right back to me, both thanking me for my interest and responding that he would be “delighted” to answer some of my questions about his work.

A bulk of my questions centered around one bigger idea:  “What is going on with the major switch in stylistic choice that began in 2008?"  Looking through Robert’s work during this time period,  it is clear to anyone that this artist was making some major decisions about how to make a painting.

Check out these paintings:

"Man Climbing a Cliff in the Mountains", 2008, 68 inches by 64 inches , oil on canvas

"Robert", 2010, 44 inches by 42 inches, oil on canvas

"Landscape with Two Figures" , 2012, 60 inches by 66 inches, oil
Pretty clear, right?

“My work has changed drastically since returning from a life-changing trip to Europe in 2008. I went with the intention of learning from the techniques of the great Baroque masters, but I came back fueled by a spirit of radical invention and expression. While my narrative paintings had always been anchored in my ability to envision what I could remember and imagine, I returned from this trip determined to not just envision, but to become aggressively visionary.  I wanted to reconfigure my imagined world, to subvert what I knew and destroy what was comfortable. So I changed what I imagined. Then I changed how I drew.  Then I changed how I painted. Now, my drawing is primarily directed by my capriciously impulsive, insouciant, and perverse Line.”

I am in love with Robert's more recent body of work and am so thankful (Thanksgiving day post people!) that this transition developed.

In the studio:

Another thing that I am thankful for is the dedication that was drilled into me at my alma mater, to straight up do WORK in the studio.  I think my parents can probably get in a bit on that hard work and dedication thankfulness too, but I'm getting away from my point here.  Because of this beliefe that hard and steady work in the studio is so vital, I am strongly compelled to hear about other artists’ studio practice.  The variation from artist to artist is huge, but one thing seems consistent and that is that the artists who go to the studio with consistency, and make SOMETHING, even if it is terrible or unimportant, seem to be the most satisfied with their efforts.  I remember hearing Dana Schutz (post about her work from a little while ago) answer questions about this during a talk she did at BU four years ago; she sleeps in, gets coffee, makes her way to the studio in the afternoon sometime, looks at things, preps for a while, breaks to eat, then paints until about 4am.  I could live like that.  laxin laxin laxin WORK.

What a beautiful mess this pallet is!

A studio day for Robert is any day that he does not have a class over at the University of North Texas where he is a Professor of Drawing and Painting in the College of Visual Arts and Design.

"Sometimes, the painting sessions are fifteen minutes, sometimes they are three to four hours..."  "I'm doing these little works on paper and when I don't feel quite up to the messy work of slogging around in the oil paint, I can make these little pictures. My table for doing them is set up in my studio, where I can look up and see the canvas that I'm working on. I usually only have one painting on canvas going at a time, but during the course of a painting, I may have several works on paper going. I also usually don't complete a work on paper in one sitting. I often have a fast start of one sort or another then leave it alone. Then I'll come back and respond to those first markings and try to advance the form and nascent imagery. Altogether, these little works probably take between two and four hours over a couple of days to bring to completion. The paintings proceed in much the same way, but over a longer period of days and sessions. Most paintings, though, have always been completed in a week to ten days."

A woman looks at 'Le jardin d'Hiver,' 1968-1970, a work by French artist Jean Dubuffet 

Guston, de Kooning and Picasso were also on the list.

Dubuffet and Scully are two artists I haven't seen before, always thrilled to see more artist's work.  I know the last three artists' bodies of work but they are definitely worth looking at for those who are unfamiliar.  

So that wraps it up.  A big thank you to Robert Jessup for being game for my question, hopefully this is something I can do with other artists in the future.