Archives for posts with tag: Outer

Went to an amazing talk by Yael Kanarek on Nov. 9th at the CU Art Museum. She is a multi-media artist from New York/Israel, and she presented on the topic of Visualizing Language. She has created a whole new alter universe, called World of Awe, in which the narrator travels through a time-space gap on the lower-east side in Manhattan, and travels through this new world in search of….

What struck me most, while at this talk, was the reminder of all of the separate worlds within our whole existence on this planet. Around the globe there are SO many different cultures and languages, and also “languages of type” – in other words, people that tend towards a certain interest also have a language about that interest, and speak about it in a certain way. To outsiders, it seems a little foreign, until you hang around for a while. I noticed this when Yael was speaking, or when I talk with other artists. There is a flowing stream-like quality to the speech and topic, and artists seem to be able to tap into another language to describe what they are getting at. This is because what artists are getting at is typically non-verbal, so of course they (we) are trying to speak as close to that experience as possible.

I find it thrilling to be a part of this dialogue.

On a recent trip to visit a friend in Portland, I got a tip to check out Em Space, a letterpress studio and book arts center. Very cool place.

Em Space is located in the heart of the industrial part of the city (south-east), and we noticed that there were other commercial printing companies around, so we suspected we were in the right place.

Em Space is a co-op, where membership allows you rights to use the member-owned-and-loaned presses, sets of type, and more. Rory, the founder, was very cool and explained a little bit about the structure of the organization, and she was very open to sharing ideas for those who want to start a print co-op in their own city.

One of the presses they have in the studio is the Vandercook, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009! New York printers Barbara Henry and Roni Gross enlisted artists from around the world to create works on this press in honor of its place in history. The collection is named the Vandercook Book. Em Space was lucky enough to have access to one set of the prints, and we checked them out on the studio wall. Amazing work.

“The company was started in Chicago in September 1909 by R.O. Vandercook. Designed to proof a page of type before being sent to the press, the earliest proof presses depended on a roller and the force of gravity to make an impression of type on paper. The Vandercook proof press built upon this technology to incorporate a carriage and cylinder that could be finely adjusted.” (from The Museum of Printing History)

Elizabeth Dee was featured in an article in the October issue of Vogue magazine, titled “Dee’s Day”. The article primarily highlights her accomplishments in the art world, including owning her own gallery and launching a unique project called the X-initiative – a one year project including “durational artist interventions, site-specific projects, historical in- depth exhibitions, one-night performances, lectures and weekly events”.

Her gallery, and the X-initiative, features younger artists, carving out new territory, responding to the economy with less permanent mediums and with collaborations that stretch into the unknown. All of this is very cool. Collaborations are just one of many systems that help me plug into the world. What piqued my interest in particular was something she said about the meaning of art:

“Art is not meant to answer questions. It’s meant to demonstrate possibilities.”

This made me wonder – what is the difference between answering a question and demonstrating possibilities? Strangely enough, my response comes from my business background. A leader does not answer the question for you, forcing only one right way. Instead, a true leader is one who enables those around them to thrive, investigate, discover.. She leads you along, so that you may find the answer yourself. It seems that this is what art is always doing, and it seems funny to acknowledge this in the face of a long time trend of asking the question – what does art mean?

Then I can ask more of this thread (and of course it could keep going…). Does this then mean that is art less “finished” because it’s demonstrating possibilities, instead of answering questions? Because artists are purposefully not making the answers clear (if there are any at all)? Because they are creating in new mediums, exploring boundaries and possibilities just in the process, forcing curators and collectors to help “finish” the piece by placing it somehow in a space?

I love the NY Times as a resource, and while I’m going to try not to lean too heavily on it, I’m also not going to avoid its obvious intelligence and depth. This morning, they ran an amazing video on the history of Op-Ed (opposite the editorial page) Art, check it out! I find several components interesting:

First, the intersection of graphic design, art, and writing in Op-Art. This combination is beauty – visuals and type convey many messages, whether you are listening or not. What type do you see around you? What do you not see?

Second, the video discusses a bit of history that I’d like to pursue further – the arrival of many Russian illustrators to the United States, during and after the Cold War. I’m curious about the recent decades of Art History, and I’ll investigate more of that in this blog. What do we call the current Art movement(s)? What are the recent events and thought patterns in art that have led up to today? What about the Kowalskis?

I recently learned about this cool interactive effort: The Sketchbook Project. For $25, the Art House Coop will send you a sketchbook that you get to fill – in any way you want, as long as you pick a “theme” – by early January and return to them. All sketchbooks will go on a national tour, and for an extra fee, you can have yours scanned in and shared digitally.

This could be a good way to get the drawing muscles activated, and I’m typically motivated by deadlines. The key is to be flexible with the “theme” – be creative as you follow the path and investigate all meanings of the words/concepts of your theme.

And a great follow-along would be this art blog on the NY Times! James McMullan is providing a lesson every week for 12 weeks on DRAWING, which could provide great fuel to the actual practice of sketching.

I just need to order my sketchbook now…

(Followup, added 10/27/2010 – I didn’t order the sketchbook after all, since I think I have my hands full with starting this blog, and with a figure drawing class that I’m taking. Next year?)