Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Filling the Well

Last Friday I drove to Buffalo for an Artist Day. Don’t you just love the days when you treat your artist self to new experiences and perspectives?

First I visited a fellow artist and friend, Barbara Murak, who has has been exploring working with a new embellisher as well as with encaustics. We discussed how she is working with these tools and how they’re helping actualize some of her  ideas for new work.

Barb is an amazingly creative and giving artist who is currently an artist-in-residence at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where she uses art play to provide a respite from cares and concerns for patients and families in chemo waiting rooms and ICU units.

We both have busy lives, so our visits are few and far between, but whenever we do get together it seems we could talk on and on about art and making and life for days!  Around lunch time, we headed off to a terrific little cafe in the Buffalo neighborhood where I used to live 40 years ago. It has become a flourishing creative community with the vitality and energy that I’m seeking to find on a smaller scale.

After lunch we drove to the new Burchfield-Penney Art Center, a huge space where Barbara currently has two pieces in their Craft Art Western New York 2009 Exhibition. Ah-hah! A venue to put on my list to enter next year if I can use my studio address to apply (it’s a county specific opportunity).  It offers the diversity of mediums that I find so stimulating together.


Image #297 Drawing (Tracings from Buffalo, NY), by Ingrid Calame, 2008, colored pencil on trace Mylar, 18” x 26”.

Next, we  walked across the street to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, one of the finest contemporary art museums in the country,  to see a new exhibition of work by Ingrid Calame. Read about her work and process in this New York Times article link. You’ll understand my fascination when you read about her inspirations and ideas for drawings and paintings through this link.

Ingrid spent three weeks in Buffalo in 2008 as the first artist-in-residence at Albright-Knox. During that time she visited Buffalo buildings and chose three sites to use for her work.

Ingrid traces cracks, spots, stains and other markings in public spaces. Once Ingrid identifies a space she wants to record, she and her team of assistants roll out large rolls of clear Mylar and painstakingly trace the exact lines of the marks below.

Back in her studio the artist uses these tracings to compose layered Mylar colored pencil drawings like the one above, as well as oil paintings on aluminum from details.

Because I am so process-oriented, the consideration of how Ingrid is drawn to certain sites and and the histories these marks suggest all help inform my own work.  It also validates my fixation with old walls, decaying surfaces and the cracks in my cement studio floor and hallways throughout  my building!

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