Star Wars!

I've had a picture-correspondence with a five-year-old cousin of mine for a while now. Usually the subject is dinosaurs, but recently he sent me these drawings of Star Wars. I'll be replying to him soon and will post the pictures here.


Van Gogh at Artblog.net

Franklin Einspruch's Artblog has been really great lately, with his posts from a residency in Taiwan (here, here and here) and today with a fantastic "publication" aboout the Van Gogh drawing show at the Met. His take on Van Gogh is fascinating - proto-art blogger and, contrary to the myths, and hard-thinking drawer.

Van Gogh's drawings are amazing - like a visual language of marks. He moves all over his pictures...


T plus 40 days

Photo by S. Evans

For this last post in this series I'll be reviewing the work in my show. I was inspired to do this by reading about how Zadie Smith wrote and published a pretty harsh review of her own book White Teeth after it came out.

The strongest part of my show was how it captured the frantic and all-over quality of how I make art. I was concerned that having so many small groups of things (pencil drawings, big drawing, sculptures, little collages) in the show would make it seem like a flabby hodge-podge - I almost bagged the idea and was going to just show framed drawings. It worked however - the myriad of things held together and did a good job of reflecting me and how I work.

On the bad side I do see that many of the works could have used another layer or two of exploration, meaning and just plain drawing. I'll touch on some specifics later, but many of the pieces seemed to be almost there, but not quite. Using collaged drawings, and even making drawings that used lots of white space with a semi-early modernist, semi-cartoony style of rendering seems to me to be dangerously close to a lot of what I see in galleries all over, and though I do think the work stays true to itself, it may be lost out in the world among the gallons and gallons of glitter and glue pouring from Brooklyn and L.A. What hopefully carries the work over this hump is the quality of the actual drawing, and the skill of the applied collage color and texture. I know I can do those things reasonably well, but in service of what? I draw stuff and try to represent and even compete with the real world. That's where I hopefully can stand out from the crowd making work similar to mine - by trying to make the work an honest interaction with the world, not just a clever juggling of cultural signs and symbols.

Another weakness in the show was craft - some of the framing was shoddy and the glue I used didn't hold some of the paper as it should have in the collages. It wasn't too bad a problem because the work has a rough edge home-made look to it, but it annoyed me when I saw it.

I'll break out the smaller bodies of work seperately:

Photo by S. Evans

Big drawing:
While it's a good try, and it does show how a greater scale can make a strong impact, it ultimately doesn't work completely. The chunks of drawings glued on are good, but don't hold together with the strength that some of the smaller work does.

Photo by S. Evans

A new solution needed to be found to the up-scale problem, but I just tried to make it work as I would a smaller drawing. It does have a presence though, one that begins to overwhelm and fill one's sight if one is close to it. As a piece it's a little weak, but as a pointer to further work it has great value.

Photo by B. Landon

Medium collages:
Two of these are older works, the best of about 200 other pieces done at this scale. These work well and are strong because they embrace both the raw drawing and the collage aspect of themselves. Each becomes a story that tells itself, though I get a little troubled when I have to explain them in detail. There's a part of making them that I don't understand, and I don't know if that is ok or not...

Photo by S. Evans

Pencil drawings:
These are in a sense collages too; I drew from many different photos to make them. They have a quiet, almost somber quality at odds with some of the more frenetic collages I showed, but that placidity and almost gentle tone worked ok. They hold up well for what they are but they also don't reach as far as some of the other work - there are really nice passages with some great exploration of how pencils can make marks and how those marks can make images, but at times they seem to be made without struggle, without battle. I know I can crank these out and while most of them are really good, I need to be sure I'm not coasting.

Photo by S. Evans

3D drawings:
To me these are the stars of the show. They represent my pushing myself the farthest - I was really not sure they would be anything at all until the last minute. They make sense - collages come off the wall, highly aesthetisized action playsets - but were still a stretch and a risk for me.

Photo by S. Evans

I do think the same issues of craft and complexity are here though - they needed better putting together and they could use more drawing on some of them. These pieces hold up well though, and like the large drawing they point to more complex and meaningful direction for my work. I'm very excited about making more of these.

Photo by S. Evans

Small collage/drawings:
This wall of smaller work came out really well. While some of them could use some more work (and will get that work now that the show is down), as a whole it held together and became much more than the sum of its parts. My favorite aspect of this piece is its flexibility - I sold several of the components during the show, but I can continue to add (and subtract) from the piece and show it again because of how it works in its grid. Things can move and that changes (and hopefully refreshes) the piece. It also comes closest to reflecting the way I work in the studio - non-linear, all-over and multi-valent.

All in all, this show was good for me, despite my criticisms, because I was able to really push my work on a few fronts. Only the medium collages and the pencil drawings were the same as they were last spring - all the other work was the result of further exploration and battle. While its obvious that I wasn't totally happy with all my work in the show, I do know the value of trying to find new ways of making and showing things. I have a few shows lined up for next year, including a solo one next fall, and want to continue to forge ahead, especially in the 3d drawings, while adding more polish to my presentation.


This is a post in series counting down to my solo show True Defenders of the Craft at Second Street Gallery. See previous posts: T plus 27 days, T plus 25 days, T plus 7 days, T plus 3 days, T minus 0 days, T minus 1 day, T minus 2 days,T minus 3 days, T minus 4 days, T minus 7 days, T minus 8 days, T minus 9 days, T minus 10 days, T minus 11 days, T minus 14 days, T minus 15 days, T minus 16 days, T minus 17 days, T minus 18 days, T minus 21 days, T minus 23 days, T minus 25 days, T minus 28 days, T minus 29 days, T minus 30 days, T minus 32 days, T minus 35 days, T minus 37 days, T minus 38 days, T minus 43 days, T minus 44 days, T minus 46 days, T minus 49 days, T minus 51 days, T minus 54 days,T minus 55 days,T minus 56 days, T minus 57 days.


mas links

Posting has been light due to a sick flower (who is on the mend). I'm also working on my review of my show, but until then, more links:


This Saturday the Union Printmakers Atelier is opening a holiday show of art. I have two framed collages along with a few collage-drawings in the show. I've heard there's lots of good and affordable stuff in the show, so go, look and buy!

Show runs from Dec. 10 - Jan. 28
Opening is Saturday, Dec. 10 from 6-9pm

From TAA:
Participating Artists:

Julia Bloom, Scip Barnhart, Joseph Barbaccia, Chantal Bernicky, Iona Brown, Rosalind Burns, David Chung, William Christenberry, Warren Craghead, Dymph de Wild, Ben Ferry, Susan Finsen, Jenny Freestone, Pat Goslee, Susan Hostetler, Pauline Jakobsberg, J.T. Kirkland, Andrew Krieger, Judith Kahn, Alex Mayer, Kerry McAleer-Keeler, Michele Montalbano, Jody Mussoff, Robert Nelson, William Newman, Judith Nulty, Turker Ozdogan, Betsy Packard, Margaret Adams Parker, Randall Packer, Michael Pierce, Beverly Ress, Charles Ritchie, Russel Richards, Beverly Ryan, Clarice Smith, Terry Svat, R.L.Tillman, Helga Thomson, F.L. Wall, Mark Wamaling, Max-Karl Winkler, Ellen Winkler, Frank Wright


Two-Headed Nuke Zombie
Carved poplar, painted in oil, feet & hands dipped in rubber.

Sean Samoheyl is an artist here in the C'ville area. I've seen his great figures around but just met him last week. Here's another one:

Four Eyes, Red-dipped.
Carved poplar, painted enamel house paint, dipped in rubber.

These are both from his Monster Dolls Group. He did a workshop for Second Street Gallery with kids and the results were in the back room when I was hanging my show. I'll admit to playing with them late at night... Very cool with movable part sometimes.


clay and salad tongs

Joseph Barbaccia is in the above OH HO 05 show and in the Winter Art Exhibition at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda MD. He also has a studio-webcam here (very cool idea).


Alexandra Silverthorne is into a million things right now. She writes:
*I donated a photograph to the Art Helps Auction to benefit Food & Friends. I donated last year as well and went to the reception- It’s definitely an event you don’t want to miss. Check it all out on Wednesday, December 7th from 5-10 pm (cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served & admission is free). The reception is held at JAM Communications (1638 R Street, NW WDC). For more info, www.arthelps.org

*Photographs from the WDC: 8 x 10 series will be up from December 2nd through December 31st at the Center for The Arts at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA. This is the second part of my solo show, as currently, photographs from Hiroshima are hanging there. For more on the WDC series, check out the review on Thinking About Art

*The Hiroshima photographs move to the Gallery @ Porter Exchange at Lesley University for a solo show titled From Hiroshima. The show will hang from December 3rd – January 22nd and Lesley is located at 1815 Mass. Ave in Cambridge, MA. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibit will be donated to the American Friends Service Committee. For more info on AFSC, www.afsc.org

*Up on December 9th & 10th at Artists Space in NYC is Night of 1,000 Drawings. On Friday the 9th, from 5-10pm there is a reception with the chance to buy lots of affordable art (all art at $30-50). It’s a $5 cover, but there’s an open bar from 8-10 pm. On Saturday the 10th, space is open from 12-4 pm (no cover and no open bar). For more info, www.artistsspace.org

*Paper Politics (Brooklyn) hangs at 5+5 Gallery in Brooklyn from January 5th – February 19th. You definitely don’t want to miss this political printmaking exhibit. Opening reception is on Thursday, January 5th. For more info, www.5plus5gallery.com. As of now, I definitely plan to be at the reception for this, so I hope to see all of you in the area there.

*Finally, back home in the DC area, Cupidity, an innovative group show at Gallery Neptune full of artistic interpretation of the personal ads. The show hangs February 9th – March 4th and the reception is on Sunday, February 12th from 5-7 pm. For more info, www.galleryneptune.com

Whew! I'm in that last show, "Cupidity", with her at Gallery Neptune - I'll be collaborating with my old partner-in-crime Roger Noyes.


T plus 27 days

heap, signs, where we live (for Z. and C.) ; Photo by Stacey Evans

Last night pal/playwright/collector Gwydion Suilebhan posted a review of my show here (scoll down the the second post).

The show is over, so here's my post-mortem of how it went. I'll do a self-review in the next and final post in this series.

This post will be a little scattered, just random thoughts about the show.

The biggest success was getting the work done and up and looking good for the opening. We had ton of people there an I got a lot of feedback. I also got a great free meal after the opening. I met other artists, including Ju-Yeon Kim who was in the main gallery, and I got to know the people at Second Street better.

My biggest problem was not having things done more in advance, and this is a lesson I'll really be trying to learn with the shows I have lined up for next year. Overall I think the show went well and I know I worked as hard as I could getting it together, pushing my work in a few different directions, but one thing I didn't prepare for enough was how much time a new baby takes up. I didn't want to compromise my commitments to her or her mom which left less time for show prep than I originally figured. That said, I did get everything done I meant to: the big drawing, the sculptures and lots of little works.

Ahead of time I could have done more with the street poster thing - I did a couple but couldn't continue because of lack of time. They would have been cool to do, but I don't think they would have affected the turnout for the opening, so no real harm done. I also should have done some framing earlier - a few were rushed and looked it.

I got very little press for the show - only a review on Thinking About Art and another one on a friend's blog. These reviews are certainly more thoughtful and helpful to me than any tiny newspaper mention would be, but I would have liked some kind of print recognition. I know that there's a lot of shows here in C'ville, and that Ju-Yeon Kim's show in the main gallery was big and good (she got a few reviews), so I had long odds to start with. I made sure all the local writers got materials from me and the gallery, but it didn't help. One local writer attended the opening, heard me talk, said to a gallery-worker "I don't get it" but then didn't even bother walking over to speak to me. I would have thought being local might have gotten me some mileage with the local press - even a bad review is something! This is a lesson I should have learned much earlier in my career...

As for sales, I knew this would be a long shot too. Second Street is a non-profit space, not a commercial gallery with salespeople and collector lists. All the staff was enthusiastic about my work, but I didn't expect many sales. I sold some books and, on the last day, a few smaller pieces. One problem may have been that it looked like the wall of small works were sold as one piece instead of individually. Financially, the sales I did have added to the stipend for the show and the outreach programs almost matched my outlays for frames. What I didn't make in cash I got in glory.

The gallery itself was really supportive and great. Working with the staff Allie and Alice and the interns (and, via telephone, new mom Leah) turned out to be one of the best parts of the show. The outreach program was fun and in doing all the gallery talks I really honed my artist statement - I'm a lot better about talking about my work now. I also got to see behind-the-scenes of the gallery and see all the work that goes in to keeping it going.

So the good I take from the show - Glory, new pals, lots of work and a really good line on my resume. The bad parts I try to learn a lesson from - Get the work done early, no get it done earlier than you think, be even more weaseley and smooth-jivey with press people and GET THE WORK DONE EARLY.

Next and final post - a self-review of the actual work.


This is a post in series counting down to my solo show True Defenders of the Craft at Second Street Gallery. See previous posts: T plus 25 days, T plus 7 days, T plus 3 days, T minus 0 days, T minus 1 day, T minus 2 days,T minus 3 days, T minus 4 days, T minus 7 days, T minus 8 days, T minus 9 days, T minus 10 days, T minus 11 days, T minus 14 days, T minus 15 days, T minus 16 days, T minus 17 days, T minus 18 days, T minus 21 days, T minus 23 days, T minus 25 days, T minus 28 days, T minus 29 days, T minus 30 days, T minus 32 days, T minus 35 days, T minus 37 days, T minus 38 days, T minus 43 days, T minus 44 days, T minus 46 days, T minus 49 days, T minus 51 days, T minus 54 days,T minus 55 days,T minus 56 days, T minus 57 days.