Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Exhibition News



                                                   Vertical Lines                                                                       15”hx15”wx8”d                  

Encaustic, Cheesecloth hand dyed by artist, Hemp cord, Wire, Found metal   


[v. in-vahyt; n. in-vahyt]    verb, in·vit·ed, in·vit·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
1. to request the presence or participation of in a kindly, courteous, or complimentary way, especially to request to come or go to some place, gathering, entertainment, etc., or to do something.

                                                      Unfulfilled Dream                                                        6"hx32"wx7"d

Encaustic, Cheesecloth hand dyed by artist, Hemp cord, Wire, Found metal
It is always nice to receive an invitation.  Although, today it is usually in the form of an evite, non-the-less it is always nice to be asked. 

As an artist, it is especially nice to be asked to participate in an exhibition.  I was very happy to receive such an invitation last month from Beate Minkovski, the director for Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.  The jurors for the upcoming exhibiton. From the Earth, Mary Stoppert and Carmen Perez have invited me to exhibit three of my sculptures; Vertical Lines, Unfulfilled Dream and Coming Together.

Coming Together


Encaustic, Cheesecloth, Wire

This will be my first exhibition at Woman Made Gallery.  From the Earth runs from November 15 to December 22, 2013.  The opening reception is November 15, 2013, 6-9pm. 

Woman Made Gallery
685 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The Power of Place
encaustic, fiber, hemp cord, wire 
Inspiration can come from anywhere.  As an artist, I am inspired by the urban landscape. I am drawn to the innate sense of randomness, clutter and change that can define an urban existence.   The landscape of the city and its architecture can seem unwelcoming with its hard edges and its overflow of inhabitants.  In actuality, there is an inherent harmony that exists in a city.  The visual repetitiveness and symmetry of the buildings themselves to the city plans they fill. The cacophonies of sounds that can, with their aspect of constancy, make for a soothing element of dependability.  And while certainly, there is a certain discordant relationship among some city dwellers, there is a remarkable interchange of order among the majority of inhabitants.  I am also inspired by those people, whose visions helped to create this world. 


The Power of Place
My latest sculpture, The Power of Place, was inspired by Richard Serra.  This remarkable artist is known for his large-scale, minimalistic sculptures that invite the exchange between the viewer, the site and the piece itself.  His large steel works are often site-specific and are designed to dwarf the viewer.  I am drawn to his work as it often has a feeling of flowing movement and is always complex in its simplicity. With my own sculptures, I try to pare down basic elements of color, shape and movement into elegant simplified forms.  I explore the right angled urban world and how people live in this environment.  How they interact with the spaces, the architecture and with each other.   Serra has said that his sculptures create new spaces within existing spaces which makes me associate a level of architectural design to his work.  While encountering his work, walking around it and through it, you are forced to acknowledge the space around you which often includes the people around you who are sharing this experience.
The Power of Place


Two interesting videos on Richard Serra installations at MoMA:



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What a Great Way to Spend a Day!

Earlier this year I was contacted by Kelley Baum, a teacher at Franklin Fine Arts school in Chicago with a request that I participate in the school's annual Arts Day.  I was happy to have been asked and eager to participate in this annual event.  Every year artists from all areas of the arts are invited to spend the day with the student body.  This year artists included dance companies, authors, theater companies, visual artists, actors and musicians. 

I have some experience with teaching art in the classroom.  During the 2005-2006 academic year, I designed and implemented a weekly comprehensive art education curriculum for a Montessori class of children ages 6-9.  This curriculum amounted to a hands-on trip through art history.  The challenge was to create weekly projects that not only followed the history of art but were engaging and workable with the ages included in the classroom.  We began with one of the earliest examples of art, cave paintings.  Working with clay each student created his/her own individual section of a cave wall and carved and painted it using the original cave painting images for inspiration.  Well, needless to say, working with clay was a big hit with 6-9 year olds.  It was a messy but successful first class!  Throughout the year we progressed through the history of art.  We made papyrus scrolls with glue and brown paper bags (which was  messy and therefore a hit!) which we decorated by adding each students name in hieroglyphs.  The students got to feel what it must have been like for Leonardo de Vinci to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when they created drawings on boards fastened to the bottom of their chairs.  They also were introduced to artistic concepts such as cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.  During one class I told the children about Jean Arp and the idea of chance.  By tearing  pieces of paper, dropping them onto a sheet of paper and gluing them down where they fell, each student was able to create their own collage using the law of chance.  This also taught them the importance of letting things happen and being ok with that lack of control.  That was probably one of the most important lessons taught in art class that year; to let things happen, to embrace that your art was not like the example or the student sitting next to you.  "Happy accidents" became my mantra and I repeated it more times that I can remember during that year of art.
So back to the present, as I said, I was eager to participate in Arts Day and looked forward to having the opportunity to work with students again.  Now, the question was, what was I going to do with a classroom of 4th graders for two hours!?!  I decided to create a project that the children could do that was similar to my encaustic and fiber sculptures but had a decidedly less abstract, more familiar form; the hand. 
I began my time with the fourth graders of Franklin Fine Arts by talking about encaustic, demonstrating  the process and showing them my work.  The first question I received was whether or not I was a REAL artist.  It was with that question that I knew that it was going to be a great way to spend a day! 
The excitement level in the classroom was really something.  They were going to spend the next two hours learning about something they did not know (although one little girl told me with great seriousness that she was very familiar with beeswax as her grandmother has candles all over her house).  For the next two hours they were going to make art and that was cause enough for excitement!  Yeas, this was going to be a great way to spend a day! 
Using paper outlines of their own hand, each child used a lightweight wire to trace that shape and create a simple wire armature.  Looking at the final hand shape that each student formed, I questioned my earlier belief that the hand shape would be a less abstract design than some of my own works! 
With each new sculpture I make, there is inevitably scraps left over of encaustic coated fabric.  It was these remnants, pieces that ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor, that the students were to use for their sculptures.  Laying their wire hands on a piece of wax paper, they chose shapes and colors from my many bags of scraps and layered and layered until their design was complete.  Now it was time to fuse.  This, was a highlight of the day for many of the students who returned to the back of the line again and again to see me heat their hand sculptures again and again.  The heat from the hot air gun causes the fibers to move slightly as the wax melts and the fibers fuse and that, to a fourth grader, is really something to see!  For a final "hands-on" fusing, each design was covered with wax paper and a towel and it's creator was able to rub the surface to ensure a nice smooth fuse as well as being able to feel how warm it had gotten.  Probably the students biggest challenge was waiting until their hand sculpture was cool enough to peel off the top layer of wax paper.
That really was a great way to spend a day!  I came away with a lot of great memories of the children I met and especially of the things they said and the way they viewed those two hours in their life.  I think my favorite quote of the day was made by a little girl, who, upon hearing someone say that they were not good at art, corrected him by saying that "everyone is good at art".

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Exhibition News

Well summer has taken it's time getting to Chicago but it is finally here!  The cool rainy weather has kept me indoors and in the studio creating work.  I am happy that many of these new pieces have been included in area exhibitions. 

Staci Boris, Chief Curator for the Elmhurst Art Museum juried two of my sculptures, Vertical Lines and Considering Mies, into the Summer Show at Water Street Studios in Batavia. I am thrilled to learn that I was chosen as an Honorable Mention artist in this show.

The show was beautifully curated.  I was particularly pleased to see Vertical Lines hung out in the open.  Given the small size of my studio this piece was never afforded the space that gives it it's sense of floating.
 The Water Street Studios Gallery Summer Show runs July 12-Aug 24, 2013

Vertical Lines
 The name of this sculpture, Vertical Lines, was influenced by the artist Robert Mangold.  He is known for translating basic elements such as line and shape into paintings that express simplicity of form yet evoke complex ideas.  I loved that he described a circle as being 2 bent vertical lines. 

Considering Mies
Chicago is known for it's architecture and we embrace the influence that architect Mies van der Rohe’s has had on our city.  His architectural style is noted for its extreme clarity and simplicity followed a “less is more” philosophy. He sought structural order and balance in his architecture; seeking a balance between interiors and exteriors through the use of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture.  Considering Mies indeed does "Consider Mies"!
Unfulfilled Dream
Unfulfilled Dream was featured in my May 2013 blog post
and it will be included in the exhibition "Fluidity" at the Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights.  This regional juried show will feature art that is "calm, quiet, subdued, and peaceful".
It will run from August 7-September7, 2013. 
The opening artist reception is August 9 from 6-9pm.
 Closer to home, I have two sculptures in the exhibition Encaustic USA at ARC Gallery in Chicago.  I was so happy that my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law, Marion and Roland Boehm were able to attend the opening artist reception!  Jurors Shelley Gilchrist and Paul Klein chose Make No Little Plans and Living Together-But-Separate Lives for inclusion in this outstanding show.  These two pieces were also exhibited together at the Wright Gallery of Art at the College of Lake County earlier this year.

Make No Little Plans
 "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."
— Daniel Burnham (1846-1912)

Architect Daniel Burnham, whom some consider the inventor of urban planning, offered a vision of what he believed a civilized city should look like at a time of urban disorder. He believed that a city could be both beautiful and efficient.  His work sought to merge things often thought of as opposite such as business with art and the practical with the ideal. Burnham’s influence is strongly felt in Chicago as well as across America.

Encaustic USA runs from June 26-July 20, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Unfulfilled Dream

Unfulfilled Dream
encaustic, fiber, wire, cotton twine, found metal

Just about 6 blocks from my house, along the Chicago river, is a huge hole in the ground.  It is 76 feet deep and 110 feet wide and is all that is left of the vision of what was to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.  The 2000 foot Spire, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, was to be an architectural wonder in a city renowned for it's architecture.  Ongoing real-estate woes ultimately resulted in the abandonment of the project and the eyesore that remains. 

Unfulfilled Dream
A Work in Progress

"Unfulfilled Dream" is the first in a series of sculptures that consider the impact that water has on Chicago’s urban landscape.  With beautiful Lake Michigan outlining the city to the east, the Chicago River that winds its way throughout the city and the many lagoons and waterways, water has indeed had an impact on this city.  Water is an element that, among other things,  can determine presence of place.  It is at once familiar and yet can convey a sense of mystery and the unknown.  It can be viewed as restorative and at the same time it can be a formidable force.  Water is truly a paradox.

Unfulfilled Dream


Santiago Calatrava equated his design for the ill-fated Spire to an imaginary smoke spiral rising from a campfire built along the Chicago River by Chicago earliest residents.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spring Exhibition News

Coming Together
encaustic, fiber, wire
I do not like the cold. I know that many people are eager for the start of winter. They are happy to embrace the snow and the cold and all things winter. Now don't get me wrong, I am not immune to the beauty of newly fallen snow and the wondrous vision of the world enveloped in a white veil during a snowstorm but I prefer to experience this while tucked away in my home without any need to head out into all of this splendor. Needless to say, I am one of the many people that are eager for the start of spring. I love spring. Nature comes to life, replacing the dull colorless landscape with polished green and lovely flecks of color. One of my favorite signs of spring includes the return of boats to our harbors. While sailing along Lake Michigan this early in the year would undoubtedly be chilly to say the least, this action speaks to the optimistic expectation of warmer days to come.  

It is with great expectation that I look toward the exhibitions that I will participate in over the next few months.

Within and Beyond
encaustic, hand-dyed fiber, wire

Eighth Annual Encaustic Invitational
Conrad Wilde Gallery
439 N. 6th Ave.   
Tucson, Arizona

I am happy that my sculptures will again be included in the Conrad Wilde Gallery’s Annual Encaustic Invitational.  This exhibition runs from March 2, 2013 – April 27, 2013.  There will be two artist’s receptions -   March 2 and April 6, 2013.   

Tendency of Thought
encaustic, fiber on panel

Two shows this spring are group exhibitions featuring members of FUSEDChicago.  FUSEDChicago is a group of Midwest artists that work in the encaustic medium.  These group shows are always outstanding, offering an engaging look at the incredible range of this medium.

Searching for The Infinite in the Finite
encaustic, fiber on panel
FUSEDChicago 3
Second Floor Gallery
Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago          

FUSEDChicago 3 is the third exhibition of paintings by members of this group at Chicago’s Fine Arts Building.  This historical building boasts the last remaining manually operated elevators in the city.  The show runs through February 28, 2013. Opening reception February 8, 6:00-8:00pm                                                                                                

Living Together-But-Separate Lives
encaustic, fiber, wire, twine

FUSEDChicago: A Group Encaustic Exhibition       
Wright Gallery of Art
College of Lake County
19351 W. Washingon Street
Grayslake, Illinois

This exhibition runs from March 1, 2013 – April 7, 2013 Opening reception March 1, 7:00-9:00pm                                                                                                                                                           
Make No Little Plans
encaustic, fiber on panel

Monday, November 5, 2012

Make No Little Plans

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."
— Daniel Burnham (1846-1912)

Architect Daniel Burnham, whom some consider the inventor of urban planning, offered a vision of what he believed a civilized city should look like at a time of urban disorder. He believed that a city could be both beautiful and efficient.  His work sought to merge things often thought of as opposite such as business with art and the practical with the ideal. Burnham’s influence is strongly felt in Chicago as well as across America.

My newest piece, Make No Little Plans began as a simple wooden cube. Any of you who are familiar with my work will find this shape to be of no surprise! The square shape encourages balance and underscores the potential dichotomy in everything.   It symbolizes a prolonged state of presence and is a dependable and grounded structure.   I find comfort in its stability, predictability and familiarity.

I began by making a simple cardboard model, as I often do.  I have my Father to thank for the construction of this wooden base.  I promptly thanked him with a homemade sweet potato pie (his favorite).  There is no picture of said pie as while, I was told, it was truly delicious, it was a sad looking little pie attesting to my lack of baking skills! 

In a September blog post titled Challenges are a Good Thing,, I wrote about my latest series of paintings.  In this new series I adjust the way I treat the encaustic and fiber materials I use in my 3D Vessel and Sculpture series. The results are unquestionably 2D.  Pattern and repetition play key roles in these new works.  The interplay of colors in the highly textured fragments of larger images feels harmonious.  The flowing lines resulting from the placement of these small pieces set a visual path that gives rise to a calming sense of rhythm.

Make No Little Plans, detail

This new sculpture, Make No Little Plans, is the perfect combination of the 2D use of materials with the 3D sculptural form!

Make No Little Plans
encaustic, cheesecloth on wood base