Monday, November 27, 2006

Car Accident


There are probably more sleepy drivers on the road than drunken drivers. I was hit by one of them last Tuesday up in Danvers. It was around 3:45 during rush hour on 128 North. I was on my way to a shoot up in Beverly. Traffic in both lanes was sluggish (about 25 mph). Then, out of nowhere, I heard a sound in back of me, and before I knew it, a white Toyota Camry pried between the two lanes at about 30 mph and tapped me on my left front wheel and bounced off to the green Saturn in front of me, smashing it up pretty badly. It seemed to have sped up as it moved forward until it hit a pickup truck. An old man emerged from the white Camry and confessed that he fell asleep at the wheel.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lowell & the Lowell Photography Weekend



Last weekend (November 11 and 12) was the Lowell Photography Weekend, which involved five participating galleries and their respective photography-related exhibitions. I visited Lowell mainly because of the Photo2006 Black and White Classic exhibition, where my one piece "View from Ladder" was displayed in the back section. The juror of the exhibition was Ron Rosenstock, who had studied with Paul Caponigro and Minor White for a number of years. The selected works were really, really wonderful. I can honestly say that I loved and admired every single piece there (and I was damned lucky to have gotten one piece in!). When you first walk into the gallery, four of Paul Wainwright's stunning pieces from his Spirals series (pictured above) are directly in front of you. I believe some of the prints in this show are not on his website. Paul Wainwright is the juror for the exhibition closing this Saturday November 18 at artSPACE@16, called PROOF: in Black and White (see my previous blog post). The Lowell Brush Gallery show is really wonderful, but its lack of publicity is a shame. I can't find an image for it on the web, but Meg Birnbaum's "Cowgirl" is a very memorable image. Meg's work is also exhibited at artSPACE@16. Another familiar name in this exhibit from PROOF is Silke Hase. I wished I could remember more names and I wished there is an updated page on The Brush Gallery's website, but there isn't. I understand that it's a volunteer-run organization and that website updates are not easy (I neglect mine all the time and do not update this very blog often enough), but one could only imagine that it must be difficult for the press to publish any content on it without even any information on WHO are in the show. I tried to obtain postcards for the show, but there were none left when I dropped off my work... *sigh* The biggest disappointment was that the juror Ron Rosenstock was not there during the opening reception. This show really is fantastic, but as far as I know, it didn't make it into the Globe. It runs until January 7th at the Brush Gallery.

My husband Ken and friends Joel and Maya accompanied me through all but one of the participating galleries at the Lowell Photography Weekend. Ken and I had visited Lowell for a Dar Williams concert over the summer one evening, but we had never walked around Lowell before. And I believe it was the first visit for Joel and Maya. I was surprised at how many museums and galleries there were in Lowell. The Whistler House Museum of Art has some good quality work exhibited in its main member's exhibition and its digital photography exhibition in the outer gallery and is worth visiting. On our way to the various galleries, we stopped by the Revolving Museum. The installation piece in the lobby and the kitchen walls filled with painted matzohs are some of its most impressive features. The current exhibition is "Race, Class, Gender ≠ Character." It's an interesting theme. One video installation that I almost didn't pay attention to turned out to be the most poignant piece to me. I think the title was "After the Smile." It candidly captures different groups of tourists posing for someone else's camera in front of some popular tourist attraction. When the posed shot is over the smile immediately fades and are often replaced by frowns, annoyance, or dejectedness. The Revolving Museum has one of the better websites of the above mentioned galleries and museums in Lowell.

The revitalized Lowell is a beautiful place with many old mills converted into modern luxury condos and museums. One can see that much money has been raised to make it beautiful, but how does it keep running as a self-sustaining economy? Does UMass Lowell offer enough consumers for its retail businesses? Are there enough art collectors and buyers to frequent its many museums and galleries?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

PROOF: In Black and White, artSPACE@16 in Malden

I've mentioned the current show PROOF: In Black and White several times in my blogs, but I haven't actually taken the time to talk about my thoughts on the show itself, artSPACE@16, nor Sand T -- the phenomenal artist, gallery founder and director.

Let's talk about the show itself. PROOF: In Black and White is a juried exhibition (for those not familiar with the term -- it means that the participating artworks are chosen by a juror, who is often an expert on the subject--in this case, photography). The juror is Paul Wainwright, a traditional black and white large format (referring those old large cameras that you use with a black cloth over your head) photographer. The requirement to enter the show is that traditional film and darkroom processing must be used to produced these images. On the jury day, Paul went around and picked the pieces judging solely on their artistic merit and without seeing the artists' names.

When I dropped off my work, I knew I had tough competition. The caliber of the work present was very impressive. And on the opening of the show, I felt immensely honored to be exhibiting my work among such wonderful photographs--and I learned a lot of their wonderful techniques. Here are some of artists with the most striking pieces and unique techniques. Paul Weiner's work shown here is one of them. He used a large format camera set on long exposure and flashed a flashlight over the room to draw patterns on the wall.


Chris Yeager's medium format studio portrait of singer-songwriter Rose Polenzani is shown on the left.




Silke Hase's Holga image (shown here on right) gives me new inspiration to try a Holga.


Erik Hansen's (left) abstract long/double exposure of a model set up in his studio.


Robert William Streeter
prints and processes a single image with multiple negatives--American Sarum is shown below right.





Elsa Campbell (left) brushed developer onto silver gelatin paper, instead of putting it into a developer bath as you would normally, thereby creating a unique print every time.


Now about the gallery artSPACE@16 and Sand T... This is the fourth show I've attended there, though it's the first time I'm exhibiting. For first time visitors who don't know anything about the place, they are often shocked to find that it is a converted garage in a secluded residential neighborhood in Malden. It's a hidden gem and well worth the trek. Sand T had pretty much converted her garage into a gallery using her own pocket money and created such professional exhibitions that got wonderful media attention. It is rated in the Boston Globe as one of the best galleries by Raphaela Platow, curator at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Sand T has worked tirelessly for years to bring this sort of attention to artSPACE@16. One can only imagine the struggle. Oh, did I mention that she doesn't even ask for commissions from her artists who make a sale??? I was flabbergasted when I heard this. She says she'll only hope for donations from the artists, and I can only hope that the artists know about this donation policy. Having just had a one-year project of a gallery myself (what was Pigmentia Gallery in Medford is now run by Marc Gurton and renamed 13FOREST Gallery), I know how tough it is to juggle the show schedules, getting money and time to have exhibitions. I am relieved that I'm on the other side now, but it certainly gives me a special appreciation for the gallery directors who put together shows for us -- and the commissions are justified.

As a person, Sand T is warm, generous, helpful and embracing to all artists around her. She is resourceful and can literally build walls and pedestals, paint and do anything to make any space look like a museum. When I first opened Pigmentia Gallery, Sand T introduced herself to me and connected me to not only the Malden art community but many artist communities all over Massachusetts. She is a very talented artist in her own right, though I know it must be hard to find time to do her own work with so many exhibitions going on. From this link you can see some of her work: http://www.artspaceat16.com/sandt.htm. Sand T crosses many media disciplines. She's an installation artist, sculptor, painter, and photographer. Just spend five minutes with her and you'll feel energized.

13FOREST Gallery

For those of you who don't know this, Marc Gurton, my accountant/business partner has taken on the gallery space and started 13FOREST Gallery.  The gallery has expanded its inventory to include many "beautiful, functional things" such as ceramic, glass, and fabric work by local artists and craftsmen.  His grand opening yesterday was a great success.  We're working on bringing his products online to help him expand the business beyond Medford Square.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Julie Thacker and Chris Yeager

I was supposed to be in NYC this weekend trying on bridesmaid's dresses for my sister's wedding. I got sick and just couldn't make it through a 5-hour drive yesterday. So now I'm home.

At SandT's b&w juried exhibit PROOF, I had the pleasure of meeting a very interesting couple -- Chris Yeager and Julie Thacker. Chris is a wonderful portraitist who is exhibiting at the same show (See Chris's work here at http://www.chrisyeager.com/new/slides/), and Julie is a writer (her website is http://www.juliathacker.com/).

I just read Julie's short story "The Funeral of the Man Who Wasn't Dead Yet." It is the first half of a novella currently published on AGNI, and it is beautiful.

There are several things that struck me about the story. The story wasn't actually about the actual funeral at all, but it was more about HOW this funeral came to be. Our anti-hero Houston Webb can be seen simultaneously as both a narcissistic womanizer and a freedom-loving spirit who misses his roots back in the Kentucky mountains. I dislike him but sympathize at the same time (it's hard to make a reader feel that way). Houston has moved to urban Ohio to make a living, but he's out of place there. He has high aims to be like Honest Abe and makes small gestures to be a father figure, but does not live up to his own expectations. He seems to want a funeral while he is alive so people can say nice things about him and give him affirmations about being a good person, not unlike how he needs the constant affirmations from Lana about everything he does. Another fascinating element is the setting of post-WWII America (late 50's/early 60's?), where women's roles changed drastically. Lana is progressive enough to divorce her first husband, but she's also human and needs love and companionship, which she hopes to find in Houston. And in order to make him happy, she succumbs to his temperamental mood swings and demands, even at the sacrifice of her children's happiness. Even though the setting is several decades back in time, the characters and their problems are timeless.