Apologizing to plants

To the plant I bought at Home Depot. I am sorry. I know you needed more attention. Thank you for hanging in there.

To the geraniums, yes, I could water you more. Thank you for the color. And the fragrance. Fresh. But when I snap off those used flowers stalks, well, it seems painful. I am sorry if I hurt you.

To the Aldi salad mixes, I sometimes let you go to waste. I am embarrassed.

To the decorative grass. It was a bad idea. Sorry

To the plant not well painted. I am sorry. I may try again later. I will make sure I throw this one painting out.

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Notes on mom painting

It was good to take oil paints out again. It is a luxury to paint.

It is also a pleasure to paint figures. Oh I will return to the bunnies, but I like this challenge.

The painting has an unfinished quality, but I believe it is done. It is from a photo from my baby book.

How did she find time to put that together? All five of us are wearing dresses she made with swiss dotted fabric, each in a different color. I could not possibly remember this, could I?

I suggested mother portraits to the MotherArt Revisited group. http://motherartrevisited.com/ I believe we will post them sometime soon. But this will probably be my contribution. So many of my art seems to be a Mom portrait. I found a single earring of hers and encased it in resin behind the Lost in Space TV box I painted. That worked too.

Acknowledge the difficulty for artists who are mothers to do it all, heck, acknowledge the many challenges for all of us. https://www.ebdzart.org/

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Thank you, Mrs. Hull

Small private school. Girls in plaid skirts, boys in ties. 1970’s.

A teacher who I did not think was important was the most formative.

Mrs. Hull was really old. I mean like maybe 60’s or 70’s. She stood under 5 feet tall even with the platform shoes she wore. Her clothes included groovy pant suits and paisley bright patterns. She complemented outfits with oversize jewelry. Pouffy white hair. Oversized teeth. Big thick glasses with styling frames. She taught Music Appreciation.

We all knew she had a son who performed with Up with People. Up With People, matching outfits with Brady Bunch choreography. Am I remembering this wrong? I think they played for an early Superbowl. They may have even performed in our gym.

Was Music class a semester? Two days a week? Like I teach Art Appreciation now?

She ran the class from a well used notebook and a phonograph player, the kind that comes in a suit case.

She began all her classes the same way. “Music is magic for everyone.”

We wrote these notes down. There would be tests. Mrs. Hull would walk in and out through the rows, not really policing the class but giving hints to anyone who could not come up with the answers. Oh, it was probably more than hints.

There was classical music as well as the current stuff. We listened to Jesus Christ Superstar. “Tension and Release’ said Mrs. Hull. We listened to Jethro Tull. Aqualung.

We were in invited to bring in our favorite albums. It was painful to listen as Mrs Hull place the needle.

But you got cool cred if the music was appreciated.

Stop

Imaginary David Bowie: You’re writing this now because?

Me: I doubt everything, but maybe I share some of that joy too.

IDB: You want to give them more than that?

Me: I want to give them enough.

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Picturing Faith working

In my work email, notes on faith take up a lot of real estate.

Mostly I give them a cursory view.

It is often a window as to have the sender is doing. I can see who is having a rough day and maybe send a note back.

If it is from someone higher up in work, it takes a more didactic color.

The images and fonts of these messages get to me. One image has accompanied daily Lenten messages. It is austere, verticals and horizontals, black and white. An older figure is present with the rounded shoulders of age. No comfort here. Each time I open my mail I feel a chill looking at this picture. It is not that sometimes the words aren’t reassuring (sometimes they are) but seeing the image changes meaning.

Other emails encouraging faith are prayers featuring bright colors, cursive fonts, fast images from the top of a google search. Accessible they are. Dismiss-able mostly.

My apron images are on my desktop.

The apron is a garment of service.

The plate of cookies food prepared for you.

Apron prints, crayon rubbings on used security envelopes

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F I V E working

Dr Scholl Exhibit Mezzanine Gallery

Marmion Academy

F I V E

March 8-April 8, 2021

F I V E is a critique group formed from the Lowres MFA 2018 class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Tyler Kirkholm, Jessica Mueller, Kris Shaedig, Laura Drey, and myself.

Kirkholm

The first piece you might notice as you come into the gallery looks like a rock. And it’s a rock on a single grid. The piece is hung so that it’s eye level. Well, it’s eye level for me not necessarily so for my taller students. It looks like pink granite, but surprise! This is made out of clay. If you look in the back, you’ll see that it is hollow.

The way it is displayed references traditional trompe l’oeil paintings. It fools you into thinking it is something it is not. If it were placed on the ground, you might pass by and consider it a misplaced piece of landscaping.  But in hanging it in this vertical manner gives it a different life. Is it a lie or an homage?

Mueller

Continuing to the left is a case with three small ceramics and six drawings.  Three terra cotta pieces are each about the size of an orange.  They reside in a glass case. The one on the top shelf has roots. It resembles a sea creature out of its environment.  I am reminded of the squid at the Smithsonian. Just beneath the shelf are two more pieces, one is a ceramic cup or a cap. Is this a cap for a tooth that has been enlarged for demonstration purposes?

The most terrifying piece is a screw type instrument. Looks like dental torture but the displayed documents tell us that this is a “second chance.” A second chance for a tooth or what?

The display looks like a Wunderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities.[1]

Schaedig

On the next grid are two fabric pieces. They are suspended on twigs. There is stitching and different fabrics one on top of the other. These fabric pieces are a natural extension of her painterly practice. Here she paints with materials that have lived a previous life. You can identify pieces of bed linens, aprons, and kitchen cloths. These are remnants of the fabrics the family has been using for years.

These hangings are compilations of white-on-white fabric with these little bits of color.  She operates the same way an abstract painter does, playing tone on tone. And then on top of these fields of different color she draws with zigzaggy lines that crossed these fields of a fabric.

In this space one may contemplate the composition while considering the past life of the materials. Bits and pieces of family memories are presented for appreciation for composition as well as content.

Drey

Drey: I use farming packaging materials to investigate the layered identity of my American experiences and my Mexican heritage. I juxtapose traditional techniques with contemporary technology to create assemblages where weaving and storytelling come together as a hybrid of symbolic and literal objects. I incorporate hand-weaving and sewing as small ways to pay tribute to those who came before me and worked with the material under very different circumstances.” [2] Drey’s piece here is a weaving comprised of red twist ties. Like Schaedig’s fabric hangings, meaning and material merge in an aesthetically striking experience.

Dzuricsko

Security Wear Panels. Four panels of paper works are up next. Completed during a Marmion printmaking session, students and teacher alike considered the Benedictine value of hospitality through imagery. I chose used security envelopes as a meaningful substrate. These were used envelopes, some from the school finance office, some from bills at home are in the mix. Some may have been used for tuition payments (names have been removed) some may have contained art supply invoices. Most were printed the image of an old-fashioned apron with hands offering a plate of cookies. The backs of some of the prints, feature crayon rubbings of student linoleum plates from February and March of last year (before Marmion went remote due to the pandemic.)  They are tied together like a quilt with yellow ribbon.  

Work done in art class is affected by the artists in the class through conversations and physical art pieces. My work has been improved by the interactions with my critique. In the same way my work and my students work inform and support each other.

The classroom interactions have changed due to the pandemic, but it is my hope to foster more collaborations and interactions with my socially distant students. Theater is also operating in a differently this year. Performers in the recent school radio play exaggerated inflections for delivery of content. The dialogue required effort. Likewise, this communication used to advance art and thought requires effort. The results are worth it.


[1] https://artsandculture.google.com/theme/the-cabinet-of-curiosities/4QKSkqTAGnJ2LQ?hl=en

[2] https://mantecahtx.com/profiles/laura-drey.html

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Therapy Animals (working)

January 6 was a long day. Hard to break from the news. Mother Art Revisited On Tyranny project was helpful in parsing out the current condition of American democracy.

I had written 2 letters to Vice President Pence. I thought perhaps his need to appear moral might be the angle I could work with. Pence could ask Trump to step down. Trump could frame this departure in any number of ways. Maybe he could retire to become a golf pro. He could have a good time manipulating his scores and handicap – right? He could rig the golf courses.

So much grief over the losses Covid has afflicted. More grief in the wounds our democracy has suffered.

Fever dream: herd of mini therapy horses in their little converse tennies march down Pennsylvania Ave towards the protestors. Long flowy manes, little snortie sounds.

In the face of such majesty and impossibility, all turn and marvel at the sight. Everyone turns and trots home.

Except the Senate and the House who respect the public’s wishes and declare Biden president elect.

Imaginary David Bowie: well….this is a different space

E: I know. This I question do I even show this to anyone?

IDB: You just did. Make the thing that you want to make. In a conversation with J Jenkins he said the same thing. He makes the things that interest him.

E: It really doesn’t have to matter to anyone else.

IDB: Hey, where is the graphic?

E: working on it…

E: It doesn’t feel like work.

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Star Trek on Election Day

Oh, the Federation and Klingons had never been able to get along.

And now they find themselves on the Enterprise together.

But wait! They are not the only ones on the ship!

A malevolent entity is with them too. It implants false memories, of crimes and injustices that did not happen. These false memories inflame tempers. Weapons just happen to be lying around, so they use them.

But everything ends OK. Both sides discover they have been manipulated by the orange glowing presence. They realize it exists off their hate. So they stop hating and believing in those lies. They laugh and move on. The entity leaves. It gets even better. Klingons and the Federation work together in future Star Trek series.

No news or results for me tonight. I’m hoping for a Star Trek future-like ending tomorrow.

https://www.startrek.com/database_article/day-of-the-dove

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On Tyranny working

Chapter 13

Practice Corporeal Politics

The pandemic has made it more difficult to be physically present.

I am an older being.

I am a dinosaur too.

Right now, I show up face covered but my heart exposed.

I face the other dinosaurs.

Chapter 15

Contribute to Good Causes

Help the species evolve.

Dinosaurs could evolve into flying creatures. Lets support each other.

Contribute to worthy causes: BLM, ACLU, food banks, charities serving the homeless. There are so many. Contribute to the campaign of a worthy candidate. This could make a difference.

https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/how-ruth-bader-ginsburg-got-her-start-at-the-aclu/

Fear of devolving into crabbiness https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a34389129/crab-evolution-carcinization/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

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New Vehicle

Can’t use the old one. It won’t work in Pandemic-a

.

I Wright Brothers

I’ll be Wilbur and you be Orville. From parts that we already have and some we have recently required we will attempt to reach our destination.

Some of this will be accomplished with no feet on the ground. Navigating midair.

II Moonshot

I’ll be NASA and you be astronauts.

I am not alone in NASA my fellow engineers and myself are constructing a ship to take you to your destination.

This requires a melange of new technologies. I will be conferring with my fellow engineers often.

You need to communicate with me often, especially as you are taking this journey.

You need some help in navigation. So do I. Mission Control.

III Dr Who

I’ll be Doctor Who and you be the companions and we will enter a small space that is much larger on the inside. We travel through time, ignoring space, and marvel at the new reconstructed world.

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