Reaction:1019 at Beacon Arts Building

The nice thing about working in thread and fabric is that an entire room-sized installation can be broken down into this:

But I’m getting ahead of myself! This past weekend 5790projects (a carefully curated side project of pop-up exhibitions by Matthew Gardocki and Catlin Moore of Mark Moore Gallery) opened in Inglewood at the Beacon Arts Building. Alongside the curated exhibition, Beacon artists opened their studios and invited me to rally artists from BAB’s sister building, 1019 West Art Studios, to fill in the empty studios with a group exhibition and installations. I wouldn’t call it curated, because the exhibition was open to any 1019 artists who wished to participate, but I was very lucky to have some incredible artists willing to put work into the spaces and I organized the different themes and styles as best I could on short notice!

Participating artists included: Melanie Newcombe, David Spanbock, Ernest Steiner, Steve Daly, Susan Amorde, Rachel Kaster, Jeffrey Peters, Jeanne Dunn, Claire Jackel, Steve Jakobsen, Liza Vosbigian, January Parkos Arnall, Michele Asselin, and Cathy Fairbanks.

I took the opportunity to try something completely new for me and installed a room-sized installation in a small studio. I wouldn’t say it was really a success, but it was definitely a learning experience! I loved the idea of exploring how and why viewers look at art works and took a page from Marcel Duchamp in deciding to wrap the entire room in string and thread. This wasn’t completely foreign in that all of my work recently has really revolved around the use of thread as both material and metaphor as I explore interconnections among women and families as well as the pulling apart of these family fabrics. In the end, I really liked the installation and I really liked the work but didn’t like how the work and the installation functioned together. If and when I try this again, I think more staid and flat wall work would have complemented the chaos of the installation better than the falling apart of the exhibition alongside the falling apart of the pieces. I also would have added an exploration to the exhibition, having visitors find something at the end (chocolate and wine in a cushiony sitting section?). I also think a sound component would have rounded out the space a bit better.

Here are a few pics of my installation titled Dark Energy: Things are falling apart faster than we ever expected.

Dark Energy Installation: Things are falling apart faster than we ever expected.








Visitors negotiating the strings in Dark Energy








Dark Energy Installation with visitors








And here are some shots of the group rooms:

Sculptures by Melanie Newcombe, site specific installation by Susan Amorde, painting by Jeanne Dunn

Works by (from left) David Spanbock, Steve Daly. Sculpture by Rachel Kaster

Melanie Newcombe

Works by (from left) Steve Jakobsen, Michele Asselin, David Spanbock, and sculpture by Rachel Kaster

ZERO DOWN; Open Studios and Pop Up Art Event

I hope to see you all at this fun art event! I will have my studio open from 5-9pm and will be organizing an exhibition of work by tenant artists on view that night and by appointment.

ZERO DOWN is a festive one-night art event happening on Saturday, June 1, 2013 in the studios and on the premises of the 1019WEST Artists Studio Building in Inglewood. For the first time, multidisciplinary artists from 1019WEST team up with curators, Catlin Moore, Marielos Zeka, and Matthew Gardocki from 5790 Projects, to bring alive the site for an exciting evening of performance art, music, group exhibition, and open studios staged at the massive retrofit building that appeared two years ago on the LA art scene.

JungHwa Lee

JungHwa Lee

More than 30 artists’ studios at 1019WEST will be open to the public from 5-9pm, while 5790 Projects’ eight invited performance artists will be intervening throughout the site from 6-8pm. Food and drinks will be available throughout the evening, and visitors will find ample parking both on the grounds (entrance on West Manchester just west of the Hindry intersection), and on the street. Several art models from The Gallery Girls will act as hostesses for the evening.

“It’s always interesting visiting with the artists here because everybody is unique and there’s no single style. Plus, there’s an LA sort of logic to having art studios in an old automobile dealership,” said Scott Grieger, tenant artist and Professor of Art at Otis College of Art and Design.

Jesus Max

Jesus Max

Participating artists from 1019WEST are:

Susan Amorde, January Parkos Arnall, Michele Asselin, Lee Clarke, Nicole Claudette, Steve Daly, Jeanne Dunn, Catherine Fairbanks, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Rives Granade, Scott Grieger, Jennifer Hattem, Claire Jackel, Steve Jakobsen, So Young Jang, Rachel Kaster, Henry Kitchen, JungHwa Lee, Alma Lopez, Stuart Marcus, Jesus Max, Melanie Newcombe, David Peters, Jeff Peters, Kour Pour, Jan Scruton, Jim Self, Kiki Seror, David Spanbock, Ernie Steiner, Michele Troxell, Liza Vosbigian, Pontus Wilfors, Joey Wolf.

Participating artists from 5790 Projects are: Patricia Burns, Andrea Breiling, Lenae Day, Crystal Erlendson, Nuttaphol Ma, Christy Roberts, Chris Silva, and Allison Wyper.

Zero Down Emailable Invite copy

New Studio, New Work

Now that I have finally signed the lease, procured the keys, and brought all my supplies over to the new studio, I can get around to actually looking at some of the projects I have been working on, little-by-little, over the last months. I think so far this is the best part of having the studio space, I can spread work out and look at it on walls. I can also keep projects out in the space to glimpse and re-work and remind, to view out of the corner of my eye as well as with concentration. Ah, this is what I have been missing!

First some pictures of the space:








Some trees in progress that are a part of my exploration of family, familial closeness, and loss that constitute a new series tentatively titled “Dark Energy”



And some other random work within this series… I love how little bits and pieces evolve, disintegrate, and then somehow build up, sometimes upon one another, into something altogether new:

Back to work!

Exciting news! As of tomorrow I will again have a studio outside of my kid-infested home… not that I don’t love the little buggers to death, but it is incredibly hard to work with only a pane of glass between you and two three-year-old children… Once I’m settled in I will share some pics of the new digs at 1019 West in Inglewood, but for now, check out my name listed beside these amazing artists… hopefully some of their enthusiasm and talent will inspire me!

"come on mommy, you don't need to work--let's play superheroes!"

rainy weekend art excursion!

Look out Los Angeles, if you weren’t planning to indulge in some art viewership this weekend, this may change your mind! Not only have hundreds of international galleries descended on us with the LA Art Show at the Convention Center, and Art Los Angeles Contemporary at Barker Hanger, but also at least 19 area museums are offering free admission this weekend.

Events to check out associated with Art LA Contemporary include:

  • Jim Shaw’s The Hole and The Whole presented by MOCAtv at ALAC today (Thursday, January 24th) and MOCAtv will again be a spotlight for ALAC on Saturday from 5-7pm with “Feast of Burden”
  • “It’s not you, it’s me, I will always love you dear” by Jon Pylypchuk will premier as a large-scale installation at ALAC’s entrance.
  • Also a part of ALAC, director Jodi Willie will present “The Source Family” with original members of the family in attendance at 4pm on Friday, January 25th at Santa Monica Airport’s Ruskin Theater
  • The Ruskin Theater will host another ALAC event, Saturday, January 26th at 2pm with Ry Rocklen’s “Trophy Modern” followed by Scott Benze’s “W.W.A.R./Die Dritte Generation” at 4pm
  • Machine Project is presenting “Paris At Your Home” at 5pm on Saturday in their space on North Alvarado as part of the Ceci N’Est Pas series
  • Night Gallery will also be holding their Grand Opening Saturday night from 8-10pm in their new space at 2276 E. 16th St.
  • Closing the ALAC fair, the Los Angeles Free Music Society will give a talk presented by East of Borneo at 2pm Sunday, January 27th.

Free museums:

Free museum Jan 2013

Pacific Standard Time’s last weekend and free day!

It feels like just yesterday we were enjoying the opening weekend of Los Angeles’ Pacific Standard Time arts festival with collection tours, gallery, and museum openings as well as multiple art fairs throughout the city, but alas that was a long five months ago and we are now nearing the last weekend of the sprawling city-wide event. To celebrate its final weekend, PST-affiliated museums are offering one last lovely gift to the Los Angeles art community with free admission on March 31st. Participating museums include festival sponsor, J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as 18 other institutions big and small, acclaimed and some overlooked. Unfortunately most of the PST shows will not be traveling on to other venues, so, while some shows will be on display through April, this is your last chance to see many of them. Happy viewing!

American Museum of Ceramic Art (usually $5)
Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (always free!)
California African American Museum (always free!)
Chinese American Museum (usually suggested donation of $3)
Eames House Foundation (reservations required, usually$10)
Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California (always free!)
The J. Paul Getty Museum (always free! parking $15)
The Grammy Museum (usually $12.95)
LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) (by appointment)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (usually $15 + $5 for In Wonderland)
Mingei International Museum (usually $8)
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives (West Adams and West Hollywood) (always free with $5 suggested donation)
Pacific Asia Museum (usually $9)
Palm Springs Art Museum (usually $12.50)
Pasadena Museum of California Art (usually $7)
Pomona College Museum of Art (always free!)
Santa Barbara Museum of Art (usually $9)
Scripps College, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery (always free!)

In addition to free admission, there will be a few special events taking place at various locations including the following:

American Museum of Ceramic Art: special reception for the general public and artist, and video screenings.

California African American Museum: 2-6pm, Ulysses Jenkins will be speaking at 2pm and presenting three of his documentary videos from 3pm to 6pm. The final event of the evening will be a dance party reception featuring music from the 60s and 70s.

Chinese American Museum: 11am-3pm, In a child-friendly event, artists will create a one-of-a-kind skyline on the sidewalks of El Pueblo Plaza.

Eames House Foundation: 10am-12pm Camp for Children, 1-4pm camp for adults. Design Camp: Making the Connections, participants will create their own designs inspired by principles and processes of Charles and Ray Eames. Reservations Required 310-459-9663.

J. Paul Getty Museum: 1pm and 3pm guided viewing of In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945-1980.

LACMA: 5-7pm, Celebrating Califonria Design, 1930-1965 and Maria Nordman Filmroom with a live concert by the Surf-City band.

Pasadena Museum of California Art: Reception throughout the day including food and beverages.

Pomona College Museum of Art: Uniquely designed and individually wrapped PST-inspired cookies will be given out to visitors of It Happened at Pomona.

Scripps College: Informal tours of Clay’s Tectonic Shift and performances in the courtyard from the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dancing Team, a Claremont a capella group, Psyko Taiko Japanese drummers, a jazz ensemble. Refreshments also available.

David Hammons, The Door (Admissions Office), 1969 (at CAAM)

Creativity is a new buzz word, again.

The purpose and inspiration of creativity have been much discussed lately. From the environment best suited to creativity, to the personalities intrinsically most creative, to the process most nurturing toward creativity, we seem, as a culture, to be especially concerned with the world of inspiration these days. Perhaps it is a direct consequence of the media attention around US students’ seemingly dismal displays in math and science,  increasing standardization in education and public schooling, or the recent early passing of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, but whatever the reason, creativity is a buzz word today, again.

That said, it was with skepticism that I listened to NPR’s Robert Siegel interview author Jonah Lehrer on his new book, Imagine; How Creativity Works. Much of what they talked about is not new, in fact, Susan Cain’s latest, Quiet; The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking discussed many of the same ideas about environment and interaction, but the end of the interview was poignant for me. Discussing creativity and the presumption of originality, Lehrer says, “The brain is just an endless knot of connections. And a creative thought is simply… a network that’s connecting itself in a new way. Sometimes it’s triggered by a misreading of an old novel. Sometimes it’s triggered by a random thought walking down the street, or bumping into someone in the bathroom of the studio. There are all sorts of ways seemingly old ideas can get reassembled in a new way.” In terms of art, in fact, these are the most powerful creative ideas, the ones that are imbued with the strength of cultural resonance. These are the works that allow a Jungian resonance within us based on our common knowledge of their antecedents. As an artist I am constantly pulling from things that I’ve read or seen, and always I am worried about connecting too directly to a source. Ultimately, however, the process of creativity, the necessary filtering through the artist’s individual mind and hand, transfuses the work, permeating it with originality.

As a gallery-goer and writer, I am constantly asserting my own readings of works (such as in my recent discussion of The Ungovernables on I realize in this forum and researching other audience interpretations, that for a million different viewers there are a million different views. We each bring something to a work, including the specific images and words we have consumed throughout our lives, and through that didactic experience we each take something different to use later. This “misreading” as Lehrer frames it, or individualized reading, is what informs the creative impulse.Nothing is made in a vacuum.

Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans 4, 1981

An extreme example, Levine photographed reproductions of Walker’s Evans’ well-known images, asserting herself as a quintessential feminist postmodernist.

New Work

Just wanted to duck on here quickly to share a new direction my work has been heading. In the last year I’ve been doing a lot more straight photography and feeling uninspired by much of it so I decided to go back to the playful, tactile approach I’ve used for most of my career. You may notice a few blogs back that I attempted a painting – that piece brought up a lot of ideas about family and brought me back to using fabric and thread in my imagery. Fiber and family actually go together quite well for many reasons including the history of women’s crafts in the United States, and the symbolism of thread and quilting as binding disparate materials/beings. In that spirit, I’ve begun some new work that incorporates photography on fiber, hand quilting, and will eventually also lead to hand-dyed fabrics and some more sculptural elements on some pieces…. I’m so excited to see that going back to my roots has taken me to a new place in my creativity and that unburdening myself of the need to make ‘finished’ work has allowed me the space to pursue those more creative endeavors. I’ll have a more complete post for you in the next few days to discuss the art work we saw on our recent trip to New York and other goings-on!

currently untitled, from the series Dark Energy

detail showing the hand stitching

the back of the piece but I love it so much that in the next pieces I plan to incorporate the stitching on a more finished back and allowing the work to be viewed from multiple angles

digital expectations are ruining viewership

In the wake of the super bowl hysteria this past weekend, I have had renewed interested in ads. This amazing video was just brought to my attention, it isn’t from this past super bowl or anything, but it is an amazing spot:

Of course, on first viewing I found it fun but it really wasn’t all that impressive, until I saw this video showing how they made that spot…

WOW! right? In our modern digital world we expect pretty much everything we see was made by someone just sitting behind a computer. We forget sometimes that these amazing feats of artistic and physical production exist and are often behind some of the most interesting digital works. Digitization hasn’t completely destroyed craftsmanship, it has just changed it and changed our expectations and viewership practices. Street artists are doing some wonderful works that challenge our ingrained ocularism, confronting the sedentary nature of art consumption with works that are physically as well as mentally challenging. Check out the artist, Axis, who was behind this awesome/insane commercial –

And, just a little levity on how we make/read/do/think today…

UPDATE: How I have never seen this one, I have no idea! An even more amazing and ambitious wall animation here:


new painting

So, I’ve been working on this painting… and, I haven’t painted since my first year of art school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a lo-ong time ago. I attempted to paint a tree, attempted to paint a figure, attempted to paint ANYTHING that would remotely resemble what was in my head… and ended up with a black field. Now, it isn’t straight-up black, but close enough that I’m chuckling at myself. It is just amazing where you go with a piece, from conception to end result (and trust me, the picture I’m about to post is not the end result by far, but at least I’m getting closer…). I just love allowing myself to experiment again and knowing that where I’m going doesn’t have to be where I end up, it just may be a way-point to somewhere interesting. It is also amazing to allow your intuition to take hold. I once heard an interview with Shakira about her song, “Hips don’t lie” where she said, she always knew if her music was working because she could just feel it in her hips, her brain and everyone else could be telling her that it was working, but if she didn’t feel it in her hips, she knew it wasn’t done. That is how I feel about art, there is just a tingle when you know you are on your way to something… I love that feeling!

study for Dark Energy, January Parkos Arnall