Monday, February 28, 2011


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.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Book of Quakers by Stephen Livingstone. See Stephen's website here.

"Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found" - James Russell Lowell

When I first started googling, not quite 4 years ago, I had never heard of an altered book. I was staggered when I realized this was an artform. Now I am discovering the most intriguing book cover artworks and deconstructions.

Another piece by Stephen Livingstone. See website here.

"i use natural and found materials. paints made from pulverised rocks, sludge and dust, the results of rusting and burning. i collect rusted objects and reform them, give them new life. i recycle books, save them from incineration and give them new meaning." - Stephen Livingstone

Mixed media piece using book cover by Jo Horswill. See Jo's blog here.

Two of the most exciting pieces (in my opinion) are those of Jo Horswill, an artist and blogger from Australia. I love the fact that she has incorporated bits of her own etchings and prints into these pieces. Jo has written a wonderful post about book art on her blog, My Story. Well worth a visit!

Another piece by Jo Horswill. My favourite! See Jo's blog here.

Stain by Pat Swanson. Discarded book parts and graphite on wood backing. See more here.

Scraps I by Pat Swanson. See more of Pat's work here.

You may recognize Brigitte Riesebrodt's work from an earlier post. See more here.

John Fraser, another familiar artist featured on Art Propelled. See here.

All that Remains by Gillian Robinson. Blog post on Drumcroon - Art Education Centre, here.

Reliquiae - All that Remains by Gillian Robinson. See more here.

"Books have a powerful symbolism, communicating ideas, knowledge, wisdom, history, experience. ‘All That Remains’ seems to capture that sense of power, combined with great vulnerability" - Words by Kevin on the Drumcroon blog.

A detail from one of Jason Twiggy Lotts intriguing pieces. Jason's website here.

Jonathan Callen's work always stops me in my tracks. See more here.

"Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do." - Robert Henri

Monday, February 14, 2011


Library of Alexandria (detail) by Ania Gilmore. Read post by Catherine Nash here.

My fascination with scrolls began when as a child my Grade 3 teacher told us the story of a young sheperd boy who discovered a cache of ancient clay jars in the back of a cave near the Dead Sea. I can still feel the butterflies in my stomache thinking back to that day .....when sitting crosslegged on the floor of a chalk scented classroom.... my teacher came to the part of the story where the lid was removed from one of the jars to reveal ....... a scroll that had not seen the light of day for more than 2000 years. 2000 Years!!! A simplified, condensed story of course but it made quite an impression on me.

Library of Alexandria by Ania Gilmore. See website here.

Many years later I read a short magazine article about the healing scrolls of Ethiopia. I had a fit of the butterflies again which sent me on a fact finding mission.... but my search came to a very disappointing dead end until I began working in the University library. Thrill of all thrills, I found a book.... a whole book! ..... about these amazing artefacts . When we finally had access to the internet and Google, several years later, one of the first things I googled was Ethiopian Healing Scrolls.
Long Ago and Far Away by Dot Krause. See website here.

This post however is not about the ancient scrolls of long ago but rather about contemporary scrolls or paper rollings that artists incorporate into their art.
Who Owns the News by Joan Giordano. See website here.
Who owns the News, detail by Joan Giordano. Website here.
Mixed media collage by Leslie Avon Miller. See Leslie's blog here.

Mixed media collage by Donna Watson. See Donna's website here.

Tribal Offerings Series # 7 by Joanne Williams. See website here.

Stairs to Mauthausen by Robbin Ami Silverberg. See website here.

Reeds of Knowledge by Rosie Huart. See website here.

I've featured these scrolls by Mary Ellen Long in another post but I love them so here we go again. See Mary Ellen's blog here.

Crush by Vadim Katznelson. Acrylic paint and mixed media on board. See more here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Safe House by Kim Schoenberger. Found objects, metal and clay. See Kim's blog here.

When I set out to do this post it was not with the Twin Towers in mind but it was difficult not to think of 911. David Nash did not set out to create a sculpture with Twin Towers in mind either but he found himself carving An Awful Falling 911, from a piece of beech wood. You can read a full post about David Nash on the blog That's How The Light Gets In.

An Awful Falling 9.11 by David Nash. See more of David's towering pieces here.

On to more positive imagery. I find Richard Shilling's land art very uplifting. Generally, landart overlooking a wide landscape gives me a good feeling, as do all the towering sculptures featured in this post. Scroll down to see the innovative work of Ken Munsie.

Land Art by Richard Shilling. See Richard's Flickr photostream here and his website here.
Iron House by Hao Ni. See Flickr photostream here.

Tower of Pans by Sally Mankus. I LOVE this piece! See Sally's website here.

Tower of Babel by Clifford W. Tresner. Photograph by scilit on Flickr, here.

Ceramic sculpture by Mary Fischer. See more of Mary's work here.

Ceramic Sculpture by Mary Fischer. See more of Mary's work here.

Ceramic sculpture by Christina Wiese. See website here.

Sculpture by Barry Smith. Rosegum and rusty metal. Height 1.4m. See Barry's website here.

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Towered by Ken Munsie. Timber, metal and paper. See website here.
Chain Mail by Ken Munsie. Timber, metal and paper. See Ken's website here.

Sculpture by Dave Kinane. See here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Souvenirs of the wounded by Hugh Shirley

Those who have spent time in boarding school will know how important receiving post is when living far from family and home. Every lunch time we would all congregate in the quad while a prefect read out the names of those with post. I will never forget that feeling of euphoria when my name was read out. It was wonderful to receive one letter but two, three or four would make me feel quite giddy. Some of the girls received thick bundles of envelopes tied up with string and others would wait for days or weeks without receiving any mail at all.

I found this image on Tumblr.

My mom was always very good about sending a few letters a week. Some envelopes were thick with cuttings from newspapers and magazines, pressed flowers, snippets about the goings-on at the farm, jokes and anything she thought would cheer me up. I was not a happy boarder!

Out of Context by Janet Jones. See Janet's website here.

Valentine's day at boarding school was an important occasion which we all looked forward to because the prefects intercepted the post and actually opened and read the cards out in front of the school. Some of the messages were rather steamy and others were extremely soppy which would have us all rolling around on the floor with laughter. 

Kathryn Frund. See more of Kathryn's work here.

Cecil Touchon. See more of Cecil's work here.

Love Letter series by Crystal Neubauer. Read about the series at Crystal's blog, here.
"The series is built around a stack of love letters found stashed inside a wall in my mothers childhood home.

All of the letters are written to Gerald "Jerry" from his sweetheart Mary, as he travels around the state in the late 1920s looking for work. In the end Mary breaks Gerald's heart by telling him she can never be the kind of girl he needs her to be for marriage.

Background is comprised of original pages of love letters, which have been sampled by the mice and ravaged by time. Other elements include texts, cloth, objects and photographs relevant to that time. " - Crystal Neubauer

Photo mosaic of a carving I did for someone living far from home. See my website here.