Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Laurie Hogin at Shroeder Romero

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

While perusing through some updates of the blog I follow I stumbled upon Schroeder Romero Gallery and their current exhibit of the paintings of Laurie Hogin. At firt, humored, then interested, then hypnotized by the images on the website in front of me, I was immediately reminded of the book I'm currently reading by Daniel Pink 'a Whole New Mind: Moving From the Inormation Age to the Conceptual Age' . More specifically, her work reminded me of Pnk's idea of Abundance, which is simply the idea that due to market competitveness and surplus of consumer needs, we now look for products that are more aesthetically pleasing, wholistic, and even transcendental in nature. Now this is a loose connection, or perhaps a better word, interpretation. But the nature of her work struck me as something that exemplifies abundance in art. Simply put, the surreal or better yet, hyper-real elements in her images depicting technicolor hybrid creations comment on our interpretation of reality. That reality is no longer appealing enough, so as a result we need to depict otherworldly, outerwordly, interpretations based on realistic experiences, ideas, and, feelings. I don't know if it supports or dissuades my point, but I like it.

The gallery put a succinct, if not a bit over the top, description of her new body of work, that above all else is really well-written. So if you are as interested as I was, after viewing the pieces, give the excerpt a once over.

Also here is the artist's website:

2009 NYSATA 'Why Art?' Convention

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
After having driven a total of 12 hours for my trek up to Rochester, NY to attend the NYSATA conference that was held at the Regency Hyatt, I was left feeling disappointed, and not to mention broke. The Hyatt charged a special conference room rate of $125 a night, which is probably half of what they normally charge for room rate, plus, the $17 dollars extra a night in room tax. The ticket fee for the conference was $125 dollars, which was the pre-registration fee. Pretty steep considering the National Conference ticket fee in Minnesota later this year is only $130 and even less if you your a member. As if that wasn't bad enough, I had to pay $26 dollars in parking fees, $50 to renew my membership at NYSATA, so I could get the reduced $125 dollar ticket price. and then meals, and tips (for the valet, and room maid, etc.), and gas money. The conferece was a total of three days long and on Sunday at around 4o'clock, before the last of the workshops even ended, vendors and stands were all but packed up. By 5 on Sunday the small convention taking up the second floor of the Hyatt looked like a veritable art ghost town.

Overall I attended about 12 workshops, a mix of hands-on, theory based, and supply company sponsered, they were all pretty interesting. But not 12 hours worth of driving interesting. Amidst the workshops my favorites were the recycled books one, where we learned some simple folds on used books to create sculptural pieces. The Massapequa school distrcits (my alma mater) 'Books of Hope Program' where students make books to send to children in need in Uganda. A paper making workshop, where we learned how to paint, sculpt, and mold with paper pulp. And lastly, a workshop that included a yearlong of high school curriculum. Which incidentally, the presenter ran out of cd's to distribute and we had to put our addresses on a peice of paper so he could mail it to us. I'll see if I actually get anything.

The keynote speaker, Alice Aycock, was pretty good also, her work was outstanding. She is an older woman, with a warm speaking voice, and her work consists of these monumental almost, installation like sculptures that explore the ideas of vortex's, spinning planets, (and spinning rides), tunnels, cave, observatories, and the paradoxical idea that we create things very formulaically and scientifically, only to use them to explore the unconcious, ethereal, and virtually unexplainable. I strongly reccomend checking her work out.

However a few good highlights, I had some issues with the conference as well. Firstly, many of the conference rooms were too small. At almost every workshop we were crammed in, elbow to elbow, with standing room only left over, and many times, even that was filled to capacity. Because of this, most of the time the presenters didn't have enough supplies, even handouts had to be rationed. which was extremely irritating. Nothing is more frustrating the taking the time and spending the money for professional development only to find that when you attend a workshop you have to either A: watch someone else make the project, B: fight it out over the supplies so you get your own, C: even if you get supplies wait, and wait...and wait, till someone else is done with the tools so you can make the project, or D: leave the workshop. Grrrr

Another issue was that the conference was small. I didn't think it was going to be huge, but I expected it to be at least twice the size it was. The floor it was on at the hotel was tiny, so in additoin to the rooms being small, the conference itself felt squisehd together. There were only about 6 districts from Long Island who exhibited their student work. Hicksville where I student taught, having the largest and most impressive stretch of work. Yay Hicksville! and the members exhibit was housed in a small room and with ALL the art teachers who were there, which was a miniscule, dissapointing amount, there were only about 15 peices showing. Four of which were again, from Hicksville. Considering the fact that there are over 60 districts on Long Island alone, each with it's own art department. There was an incredibly underwhelming amount of districts represented at the conference.

I'd definately go to another conference, but unless its within a reasonable (2 hour or less) driving radias, I'm sad to say, it just isn't worth it.

Melted wax-Trial and Error Part Two

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

This is the follow-up to a post I made on 11/4 regarding the melted wax paper I made with my students. Initially I had them print onto the paper using scratch foam (the white foam that lets you trace a design on it using a simple pencil or pen point) Truthfully, I don't really like the stuff, I know it's idea for young children, especially early childhood, but I feel like no matter how much care is taken with it, the prints are good for only one round, and even then the quality isn't that good. Proving my point, the prints I had initially hoped to do on the paper came out, let's just say, less than what I had hoped for, so i scrapped the idea and thought on it a few days. Lo and behold, one of my 6th graders took it upon herself to cut out her paper into the shape of a dog. To my surprise, it looked really good! So I went with it. I gave the students the option of cutting their paper into any shape they wanted. some made simple shapes, like a snake or ladybug, while others made more complex choices, like the girl I had who made a house complete with fence, tree's and bunny rabbit (for the bushes). The results were very cute, and it was a great use of the paper because it didn't require the altering of the materials so much that it took away from their basic appearance. So here they are:

ART20 Fair NYC

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

Running its 7th consecutive year the Art 20 show held at NYC 7th Regiment Armory on 6th ave and 67rh street is a modest and reserved art fair which really should have been called ode to abstract expressionism. 59 exhibitors from local to international galleries showed work ranging from 1900 to the present. A few of my favorites were pieces by Lori Nix (Miller Block Gallery-Newbury St. B'ah'ston MA), whose large glice prints of elaborately decomposing 'stage-set' like scenes appealed to my my interest in the ideas of the surreal and trancendental.

Fernando Botero's Circus Girl in her Trailer (Tasende Gallery L.A. CA) ,

Eric Zener (Gallery Henoch NY, NY) whose beautifully rendered paintings of swimmers in water really demonstrate the amazing qualities of reflection, light, and distortion.

and Alice Dalton Brown (Fischbach Gallery, NY, NY) who paints light and airy scenes that, if for no other reason, have the ability to remind me of peaceful New England summers at the Cape, that I never had, but would like to one day.

Other than a few choice peices (including the untoouchabes: Alexander Calder (works on paper), Robert Rauschenbergs and Roy Lichtensteins, which ranged in prices starting at the half a million mark, (which, lets face it, for the majority of us is..completely untouchable,) the rest of the works overall, had a muted, almost reserved feel. Most of which was abstract/expressionistic in genre.

The show was quiet, dare I even say peaceful, with little to no crowding and friendly and unobtrusive gallery workers. My only regret? Not having that spare 5 grand to buy a Lori Nix print (Damn, I knew I shouldn't have bought all those latte's from Starbucks!)

Sand (Art) Part Two

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Here are the end results of the lesson I did inspired by sand art. I ditched the castle idea, (way to tedious for the students + I had no buckets/pails etc. ) Instead the kids did beach themed animals/objects like shells, sand dollars, clams, and some other cute ideas. I used crayola brand self-hardening clay (not model magic) with a little bit of water to make the clay more pliable and to finish the pieces I used pearlized paints in peach, baby blue, brown, and off-white. After they painted their sculptures, while the paint was still wet I had them sprinkle either the corresponding sand color or different colors of sand, on top, to make it feel 'beachy'. The effect was really nice! When I display it in the art show I'm going to find a large shallow tray, fill it with beach sand, sprinkle in some of the colored sand they used and place the sculptures in that. It's going to look really cute. My only caveat? Nobody sculpted any seahoarses! Which would have been my first choice for things to make. Oh well, I suppose ya can't have everything!

Melted wax-Trial and Error

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Weeks after finding a mouse in the crayons, I've finally gotten around to having the students actually do something with all the miscellaneous crayon piecesI had them pick out. After given them each a small plastic baggie (similar to the ones found in the fruits and vegetables section of the grocery store. I had them pick about 10 crayon pieces, reminding them to try and pick a color scheme. Twenty students, one mallet, and 30 minutes of crayon hammering later. They all had a handfull of crayon bits to melt.

I used a warm iron and spread the bits out around the page. Then covering it with a sheet of wax paper, I ironed over the bits until they melted. However, I will say that if you don't melt the crayons enough (until they're a liquid consistency) when they dry, they're too thick and they crack and flake off the paper. Of course, I found all this out the hard way! But, alas, the kids were great sports, even liking the idea of pealing off the wax to reveal a light multi-color stain underneath.

So now that that part was done I had them hand tear a square shape. I thought the jagged edge would make it more interesting. In keeping with the idea of papermaking/prinmtmaking I played around with ways they could print things over the melted wax backgrounds. I'd like to say it was a success, but it kind of wasn't. I don't have printmaking supplies so I had to make due with the styrofoam scratch boards that can be drawn on with ballpoint pens and sponge brushes instead of brayers. The kids picked light colors for dark backgrounds and dark colors for light backgrounds and using the foam squares I cut, drew variuos bug images and then 'printed' them onto the backgrounds by pressing with their hans (I forgot to bring in a spoon or two to burnish with). The pressed images didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, althhough the silver lining was that, at least the few students I had try this seemed to like the printing process. But I'm definately going to try a different method of printing...I'd like the image to be a positive stamp instead of a negative, so I've got to figure out a way to make a cheap and easy to cut lino blocks. Ug art on a budgeT!

The worms crawl in the worms crawl out...

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
And just like that Halloween is over. Sad but true. At least I can say I had a pretty decent time this year. Having played the part of wicked fortune-telling witch for a scary Halloween maze, and marching in a Halloween parade that about 200 people attended, made for a pretty good All Hallows Eve. On Saturday night the festivities continued, with me making 'dirt' pie (complete with gummy worms and all. and watching lame vintage horror movies with friends.