Monday, February 28, 2011

LYNNE PERRELLA'S VISIT TO THE JOE FIG EXHIBITION

Bill Jensen's Studio. Table sculpture by Joe Fig. #



Lynne Perrella visited the Joe Fig Exhibition at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and has kindly offered to share her experience with Art Propelled readers. In addition, Lynne will be giving away a copy of "Inside The Painter's Studio" plus a little "something"extra to one lucky reader whose name is drawn from the hat on the 8th March. Just leave a comment at the end of the post and hold thumbs!


Melissa Meyer's Studio. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig. #


Now without further ado, it's over to Lynne............

For whatever reason, I have always liked the idea of “documenting” an experience, as a way of further examining it and placing it deeper in memory. For instance, it is not unusual to use a page of my art journal as a swatch board, gathering snippets of all the various materials used in a just-completed assemblage. Or I might take along a notebook to make my own scribbled notations at an exhibit, rather than rely on a museum catalog or flyer. These habits help me to prolong the enjoyment of experiences I have enjoyed, and challenge me to decode them in new ways. Somehow, the documentation practice brings me into a closer relationship with the things I do and see….and becomes its own form of reverie and observation.

Amy Sillman's Studio. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig #

Joe Fig, an artist from Connecticut, has taken Documentation to new heights by creating intricate detailed replicas of contemporary artists’ studios, and I recently saw a definitive exhibit of his work at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. (“Inside the Painter’s Studio”, Stephen D. Paine Gallery ) Fig’s practice consists of meeting with artists, conducting in-depth interviews (using his own self-styled questionnaire) followed by an extensive photo session….and then he retreats to his own studio to create uncanny miniature dioramas of the various artists’ studios. This exhibit includes twenty studio dioramas by Fig, as well as paintings and prints by the artists he interviewed. In a space, lets say….approximately 11” X 11” X 9.5” he created a replica version of Gregory Amenoff’s wooden work table literally encrusted with paint and surrounded by studio debris including bleach bottles, rags, discarded water bottles, tape rolls, a tiny level, blank canvases, a white wooden stool, etc. When interviewed, Amenoff refers to the “corrosion” of paint on the actual work table, a studio relic that he has kept throughout various moves for the past twenty-five years. The sentiment behind this favorite studio necessity is echoed in Fig’s tiny pocket-sized version of the table, complete in every last smaller-than-small detail.

Greg Amenoff's Studio. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig #

For the first several minutes in the gallery, my mind was occupied with inevitable practical musings….”How do you suppose he DOES this? How long do these models take to build? Good Lord! – Lookit all those little paint tubes!”, etc. But soon I was seduced into a much deeper connection to these tiny environments. Although each was different and unique, every model evoked a feeling I know very well – that complex feeling that occurs when I cross the threshold and enter my studio. Whether I am there to putter, or get to work immediately, or just simply “inhabit” the place and hang out; the physical space and all of the accumulated debris is there to facilitate whatever is next.


The Studio of Barnaby Furnas. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig #

Karin Davie's Studio. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig. #


Fig’s models of overflowing tables and work carts mottled with paints, and chock-a-block with brushes and rags, remind us of the mundane objects that collect and accumulate in a studio, and the eager feeling of anticipation that happens when we enter. Yes, there is the mess, the overflow, the strata, the coagulation, the junk. For some reason, we seem to need it. By leaving my own studio, and visiting this gallery full of miniature studio environments, I was reminded of the necessity to allow a studio to “be” as an organic evolving launch pad for ideas. Not unlike looking through a microscope in a lab, the process of leaning down and peering closely into these intricate convincing mini studios, I rediscovered my own art practice. The mundane clutter, it turns out, comprises our necessary tools of the trade. The things we reach for in the midst of some artistic frenzy, and expect them to be there. The “old reliables” that we couldn’t do without, even if we only use them once a decade. In my studio, there are lots of relics left over from a previous life as a commercial illustrator. Circle compasses, French curves, ruling pens, pica rulers, and a metal T-square, among others. More than nostalgic clutter, these tools remind me of how one art experience flows into another, over a lifetime.

Ross Bleckner's Studio. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig #

Quite appropriately, the final construction that I viewed, before leaving the gallery, was a model of a white two-car garage with a couple of skylights…..the studio of Joe Fig. He has thoughtfully left one of the miniature garage doors open, so we can bend low and peer inside. We observe his pin board full of postings/clippings/flyers, his easels, his work table and computer, his drafting table with materials and tools for creating his miniature studios. Best of all, a smaller-than-small model of the very model that we are viewing is displayed on a tiny work stand. You might say, a studio within-a-studio. Having a flashback to childhood, when I always insisted that every doll have a doll of her own, I considered the highly developed sense of work and play that inhabits each one of Joe Fig’s amazing constructions. Every tiny diorama provides testimony to the tenacity and work ethic necessary to spend a lifetime making art. Or, as Chuck Close observes, during his interview – “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”. Exactly!



*Joe Fig's website, here.

*To make it interesting, mention your favourite studio in your comment.

*To match the art with the artist, click on the # under each image.

*To see Lynne Perrella's new collage series go here.

46 comments:

  1. WOW! unbelievable! All of them- just blow my tiny mind! Thank you so much for posting this! Amazing and cool and just WOW!!!!

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  2. Amazing art work! Wow. Thanks Lynna and thanks Robyn.

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  3. What an amazing exhibit! Absolutely fascinating on so many levels. My favorite of the pieces shown here would have to be: Greg Amenoff's Studio - although I can't even say why.

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  4. What an incredible idea-- so creative and innovative- because my studio is so messy right now I think I like Ross Bleckner's studio replica the best-- thank you Lynne for sharing.

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  5. An awesome project. I think Greg Amenoff's studio works best as a photograph, but if only I was as tidy as Ross Bleckner. That will never happen as my workspace most resembles Amy Stillman's. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. le monde des artistes en miniature!
    très surprenant et amusant..
    merci! bonne semaine elfi

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  7. Out of chaos comes beauty. The studio spaces that excite me are those of collective printmaking workshops with their large presses and all that collective creative energy.

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  8. i've always been a fan of small things but this takes it to another realm. wish i could see the exhibition.

    as to a favorite, while i appreciate the controlled chaos of the others, it's the order of ross bleckner's studio appeals to me most.

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  9. The Barnaby F. is my favorite one. I think I could move in there and start creating. It isn't quite as messy as the others and the last is a bit too neat. They all are amazing. I love to see other work stations and this 3D look is the best ever. Like you I wonder how he does it. WOW. Thanks for this look into other worlds.

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  10. How fascinating - wish I could see this exhibit. It's amazing how Joe Fig created these replicas down to the smallest details.

    Thank you for posting the images. I think I like Bill Jensen's studio the best -- his chaos seems somewhat orderly. lol

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  11. oh, Robyn , you and lynne have done it again. what a delightful post. I thought all the artist's work areas were great but my very favorite is Karen Davie's. I wish I could get closer so I could see what project she is preparing for!

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  12. Awesome
    thank you for sharing

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  13. I've always been very interested in looking at other artist's work spaces. I love to go on open studio tours. The space is another wonderful expression of the art's mind and heart. I like Barnaby Furnas's studio the best...it's orderly but he's not afraid to spill paint on the floor. Thank you for sharing Joe Fig's creations and Lynne's well written thoughts on the exhibit!

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  14. Coming here is never dull!! This takes miniatures to a new level!!!

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  15. Great post! Peeking inside another's studio is so interesting. I love Melissa Meyer's studio sculpture because this morning when I entered mine, I thought, this is organized chaos and hers reminds me of mine.

    Love your site, Robyn.

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  16. Barnaby's space appeals to me the most. Just look at all those paint colors!

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  17. I liked their work very much indeed. Isn't it interesting how some people like to work in a very studied atmosphere of tidiness and others like organised chaos.

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  18. Glad to see I'm not the only one with "organized" chaos!
    Seems if I REALLY organize, I can't find things! Although Ross Bleckner's table looks inviting. :-)

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  19. Brilliant!
    It makes me feel so much better about my desk.

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  20. I greatly admire Lynne's ability to take us not TO an event or place, but take us through it, peeking behind the curtain, turning to the unseen pages. There were elements in every studio that delighted me, but something about the paper grocery bags under Barnaby Furnas' table, plus the colors, the sheer sense of amassing...that would be my pick. And visiting Lynne's website to see the new paper quilts...I appreciate her sharing a bit of her technique for the worn, faded, beloved quilt feeling is caught so precisely. What a happy morning, here in virtuality.

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  21. these are fabulous and i especially find the disorganized ones are my favorites...

    Dexter is fine now but spent 5 days in the hospital..esophagitis and gastritis.. apparently he ate something he should've have..does Ben still eat everything? .. and I watch Dexter like a hawk...

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  22. That was super interesting! I especially loved Ross Bleckner's studio for how tidy it was but, Barnaby Furnas's made me drool. Look at all the color. A all the bottles. A person could have a lot of fun in that space!
    Grat Post!

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  23. Australian painter William Robinson's palette's [some of which can be seen in the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum

    http://www.ogh.qut.edu.au/wrgallery/

    are as delightfully encrusted also

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  24. Joe Fig is a miracle man. He´s holding a mirror to us. They´re all special.The floor of Alexis Rockman is a painting itself.The installation of Fred Tomason´s studio looked like an installation of an early Rauschenberg. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  25. What a classic ... these say so much...
    thanks to Lyn and to you Robyn for bringing them to us!

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  26. this is enough to pry me off my island home, travel 30 miles over seas in the winter.....my oh my...
    Greg Amenoff's Studio would feel most like home to me. All of the studio's and Joe's amazing capacity for recreating the space and drawing you in to the story is truly captivating. One ponders just how many hours go in to each piece and how connected Joe must feel when he has completed them.
    Robyn and Lynne thank you for bringing this to our attention!! Lynne I can always count on you to seek out the unusual and most interesting. Best to you all! Bee Shay

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  27. Fab post...I do love this one...The Studio of Barnaby Furnas. Table Sculpture by Joe Fig #...one day my studio will be just for art!

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  28. Really enjoyed Lynne's documentation of Fig's amazing work. I cannot begin to comprehend how he goes about getting all that incredible detail. I must say Ross Bleckner's appeals as it is sooo tidy. Great stuff.

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  29. Holding my thumbs but dont expect anything. My favorite studio? I cant think of any except Australian artist Pro Harts which I saw last year.
    Interesting work documented here.

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  30. I saw the exhibit & it was amazing. How does he do it ...every detail so perfect. Would love to own the book.

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  31. Always a delightful combination - great art and Lynne's "sightings" of it.

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  32. Barnaby Furnas' studio caught my eye.
    Thanks for the review, Lynne

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  33. Joe's book is wonderful and so was this post. Thanks Lynne and Robyn for sharing the experience. His minature studios have always fascinated me and I am happy to say that he has an exhibition of completely different work which opens tonight in NYC. I look forward to seeing it soon. No need to add me to the giveaway Robyn as I already own a copy of the book.

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  34. Amazing!!
    What can I say more ...
    I hope it is life fulfilling for Joe Fig.

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  35. After all of that work Joe must feel he knows each person's studio as intimately as his own.

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  36. Wow - smaller than an album cover? Very cool post and report. Loved seeing the photo on the exhibit site that showed the displays jutting from the walls. It seems to have evaporated, can't find it now. As for a favorite, I totally connect with the messy ones since that is what mine looks like. I would have to select the last one because it's neat and orderly and looks ready to be played in (will be messy soon!) I wish there was a Studio Fairy who would come organize me each night :)

    Thanks Robyn and Lynne.

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  37. Lynne and Robyn, thank you for offering us Joe Fig's magnificent celebration of studio life. This is my first introduction to his work--I find it fascinating, bewitching and gives me much to ponder. I was struck by the similarity in the studios--the overflowing containers crowded onto the studio tables; altars of the artists' spaces.

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  38. What a fabulous book...please put me in the draw!

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  39. I've never seen such exhibits as these. I love looking at artists work spaces "in action" and these sculptures are amazing! I especially love the Barnaby Fumas studio
    although they are all mesmerizing! Thanks for writing up this exhibit. Would love to be included in your drawing!

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  40. Wow, these dioramas by Mr. Fig are simply amazing! I am enthralled by all of them, but am most drawn to the one of Karen Davie's studio....looks alot like mine. Great post! Thank you Robyn and Lynne!

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  41. I like Linne Perrella's idea to "document" in her own way a cultural event, that has impressed her, so that the excitement of it prolongs... So thanks to her we could see Joe Fig's exhibition! I liked Melissa Meyer's studio most! I like the artistic chaos in nearly all of the studios and am sure that each one of the artists keep "relics", as Linne does. "Relics" - memories and signs of their steps to that studio in that very moment!

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  42. I wish Lynne would lead a museum or gallery tour each month. Lynne, you are always finding the best exhibits!!

    ....and Robyn, it goes without saying that you are the best curator.

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  43. I've seen this book briefly. It weirded me out and fascinated me at the same time. Would love to see these things in person, rather than just in a photograph.
    Okay, my favorite studio is my own. :) Enter me in the drawing!

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  44. These are wonderful, I'd feel most comfortable in Greg Amenoff's studio. Can hardly believe the detail. Love the Chuck Close quote, please add me to the draw.

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  45. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Wish we could give out 44 prizes!

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  46. WOW Robyn, this is a fascinating post... all these amazing studios! They are so realistic and so filled with color, and the stories are so wonderful too! As always, you have filled me with wonder... roxanne

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