Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“Work: In Progress,” Varied Subjects

My artwork was on view September 2-19, 2010, at the Johnson County (Kansas) Library’s Central Resources Center.  This post shares images and commentary from that show.

The "Work: In Progress" show spans several decades, and gives kind of a past/present/future view of my work. It included some of my 2-D work from my "first art career" in the 1980s, all of the current paper sculptures, and sketchbook pages, which show some of my works in progress--a glimpse of the future.

In my last post, I showed the work from the south-side display case, which focused on my fantasy artwork, and included 2-D pieces dating back to the 1980s, when I was showing and selling my artwork exclusively in the science fiction and fantasy genre.  In this post, I focus on works from the north-side display case, which address a variety of non-genre subjects.

The northern (right-hand) display case at the library was devoted to work on a variety of topics.

 Development pages for "Midwest Flora" Series, 2009.
In September 2009 I took a series of photos near the site of the Hidden Glen Arts Festival, Olathe, KS, which formed the nucleus for a new series. This sketchbook spread shows some of the studies I did for what I intend to be an ongoing series.

"Monarch Season" 2009-2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
This was the first piece I started, in the "Midwest Flora" series. It includes four species of plants, as well as a Monarch butterfly, created to scale.

 "Wind in the Grass" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
I used a "design approach" to create this small piece, floating a "cropped" rectangle of grasses against a textured background. It also is part of my ongoing "Midwest Flora" series.

"Windblown" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
In this piece I returned to my love of rendering leaves (see "Treetop Primaries" and "The Leaf Thing" in the Fantasy Subjects album for this show). My objective was to explore the expressive possibilities in making the leaves seem not only like they were blowing in a wind gust, but also to explore ways of "floating" them above one another so they would seem airborne. This piece is the third one completed so far, of my ongoing "Midwest Flora" series.

Development pages for Yemeni Architecture Series, 2010.
Ever since I first discovered the beauty of traditional Yemeni architecture, I've wanted to make art about it. Greatly aided by Google Image Search, and later by my treasured friend Zaid, I have been attempting to do justice to these amazing structures in the medium of paper sculpture. This is just one of many spreads from recent sketchbooks.

 "Sana'a Fantasy" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
 This was the first piece I created, based on the wonderful traditional architecture of Yemen. Unfortunately, some of the architectural features truly are "fantasy." When I showed it to my dear friend Zaid, he gently informed me that the windows are all wrong. I now am at work on several pieces that attempt to portray the windows of Old Town Sana'a more accurately—but in the meantime, I still felt the dimensionality of the buildings and mountains created an interesting design.

"House on a Rock" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
This piece is based on architecture from the mountainous northeast part of Yemen, though once again my extraordinarily helpful friend Zaid has alerted me that I've mixed different villages' styles. I'll try to do better in future works!  There were multiple challenges involved in cutting these pieces in perspective, in reverse (the construction lines are on the back).  However, the hardest part of making this piece has to be the rocks. I added the Prismacolor pencil marks before folding, so I had to do a lot of imaginative visualization to get them to come out looking right.  I now list "can fold rocks" as one of my super-powers.

 "Through the Arch" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
This small piece also is an architectural study, but it is not based on the buildings in Yemen. It was more an exploration of the ways I could combine the optical illusion of drawn shadows and highlights to create visual texture, with the actual dimensionality achieved by layering several depths of real texture.

"Four Seasons Courtyard" 2007, earthenware and glaze.
I based this piece on traditional Islamic garden design (as a microcosm for Paradise). Each corner references a different season—perhaps it is not the most subtle expression of the idea that we live in Paradise right here on earth, but I had fun with it.

 "Fields Like Patchwork" 2007, earthenware and glaze.
Aside from the pun in its name (the fields are laid out like a 9-patch quilt block), this piece also expresses my love for the beauty of the earth as seen from an airplane window.  I deeply loved working with handbuilt ceramic sculpture, and would like to explore this medium further in the future.

 Developmental pages for "Italian Greyhounds" images.
I've always loved the sleek beauty of sight hounds, so naturally when I came to own a pair of Italian Greyhounds, I knew sooner or later they'd show up in my artwork.  The tan-and-white dog in the photos on the left side of the page is my dog Jake. The little black one on the right is my Brenna.  As you can tell from my little "first prototype," I'm still working on how to turn them into paper sculpture. I've nicknamed this little guy "Oakley," because his color reminds me of a dog owned by my friends Brad and Jessica. 

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the artwork in my "Work: In Progress" display. 

No comments:

Post a Comment