Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh--be still, my beating heart--!

Today, in the mail, something I've been anticipating since I first began talking to the person who would become its creator: the journal I'm to take with me on the Arctic trip.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and a thing of utility, symbolic of adventure and discovery and nascent nostalgia, that happens to also be a thing of beauty--well. Words are useless in the face of such a thing; "joy" is just a word that dissolves into the feel of hand-polished maple being hugged to one's chest.

.....sigh! <3

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lauren Greenwald, Brooke Steiger, and myself have been cooking up a three-person show together for a while, and it finally came together this week.

The reception tonight was a pleasure. Sweet to see so many good friends and meet so many new people who came out to support us.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is the last week to catch the CAS Prize 2012 show, at the Raymond Jonson Gallery at the UNM Art Museum in Albuquerque.

photograph courtesy of UNM Art Museum and CAS

The arrangement of the work shows everything off to great effect; and overall I'm really pleased. And it's always a bit exciting to see one's name up in lights, as it were.

The other award-winners--Xuan Chen, Kate Carr, and Heidi Pollard--and I gave brief talks at the gallery, in conjunction with the exhibition. Many members of the Contemporary Art Society of New Mexico were in attendance, and all were very supportive. I felt proud and humbled that so many people had volunteered their time and effort to organize this exhibition on our behalves, and had come to hear what we had to say. Sincere thanks to them all.

photograph courtesy of UNM Art Museum and CAS

The show remains on view through this Saturday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I've been thinking much about last summer's Australia trip, lately, doing this latest batch of drawings. So, a little excerpt from AU field studies journal--from our time camping in the mallee woodland, Calperum Station (June 22, 2011).
....I stopped a little ways out of camp to pee, and as I was looking at the ground, saw… a paw? Yes—a severed paw, blue-black, four claws, the fur matted and the wrist trailing off into attenuated, amber-colored tendons. I stood up and looked around, and not ten feet from me was a kangaroo skeleton, disintegrated past the point of viscera, but still holding together and covered with skin. It seemed complete except that the skull was gone. I would have liked to have seen that. But even headless it was an irresistible form to draw and I pulled up my chair as near it as I dared. I'd brought a bug head-net overseas with me that I'd begun to regret packing as I’d yet had no call for it, but it turned out to be very useful now, over my hat, for keeping the flies out of my facial orifices.

I did a few sketches of the desiccated body from different angles before heading further into the bush to do some landscape studies. The mallee trees were unassuming, but handsome, with graceful curves and shoots and multicolored bark, and I recorded their shapes as best I could. There was another beautiful plant growing out of the orange sand that commanded my attention late in the afternoon. It looked almost like a cushion, round and full and low to the ground. It was such a soft pale green, like a ring of tall grass, and its interior was dark and flat, as though something had made themselves at home in the center, and I wondered ignorantly if perhaps the emus nested in them. I came close to one to examine it and when I reached out to stroke its fronds, was shocked by how extraordinarily sharp they were. So much so that I looked to see if they’d drawn blood. They hadn’t, but my fingers were still stinging from where they’d been pricked, and I blinked in amazement, trying to reconcile the reality with the cozy vision I’d been cultivating.

I was glad once again for my bug net as I finished up and wiped the gouache palette clean--the flies buzzing around the paint—and headed back to camp. Bk arrived as I was doing one final drawing, a close-up of mallee leaves. His face looked wild from his day of solitude. His pants were scintillating strangely in the dusk, and when he came closer I saw that he had wrapped packing tape around his legs from ankle to knee. I laughed, impressed. It’d been helpful protection as he trudged through the strange sharp undergrowth, which he knew the name for: Spinifex. It was such a perfect name for the spiny plant, all thin and sharp and alluring in the mouth! I was glad to know it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Last month and this, I've been working on some drawings for an upcoming show (more about which soon). They're composed mostly of Australia-based imagery, with some Southwest mingled throughout. All are ink on watercolor paper.

Davidson/Summoned, 10 x 13 inches 

Davidson/Summoned, detail 1 of 3

 Davidson/Summoned, detail 2 of 3

 Davidson/Summoned, detail 3 of 3

Lost and Found, 7 x 9 inches

 Lost and Found, detail

Invasive #4, 15 x 20 inches

Megachiroptera, 9 x11 inches

Wend/burn, 13 x 18 inches

Wend/burn, detail 1 of 2

Wend/burn, detail 2 of 2

Saturday, July 7, 2012

More good news:

The most direct benefit of this award is some grant money, which is very, very helpful as I acquire materials for the trip. Normally I'd cringe to drop a couple hundred dollars on paint--so it's sort of an exquisite luxury to not have to think about the cost so much, and just get some of the supplies I need.

The other honor / benefit of being the Crissey Award recipient is an exhibition at the Harwood. My plan is to use its small gallery space to showcase the field notes and studies that result from the Arctic trip. This exhibition will happen sometime early next year--January/February/March-ish.

[Edit: the exhibition will take place in April. -cw8/3/12]