Friday, March 30, 2018

Spaghetti No. 3 (The First Installment)

Another piece I'm working on for Pop Culture Palimpsest is currently being called Spaghetti No. 3.  Since there is an excellent Italian restaurant directly below my studio, I'm 99.99% sure the title came from the label on the side of a box of pasta I saw.  That .01% of me thinks I could be mis-remembering that incident.  Either way, I saw a note in my sketch book for the title/idea 'Spaghetti No. 3', so I'm going with that for the time being.

The central disc/halo/mandala was one of the pieces I shipped down to Suriname back in 2015.  It is finding new life in Spaghetti No. 3. (You can see some of its early stages by checking out these two posts regarding The Suriname Adventure (FIRST POST and SECOND POST)).  The base canvas is also finding a new life -at one point it housed a piece from my Dialog Series.  I'm pretty sure it was the bag of fries piece.

Now it is reborn as Spaghetti No. 3.

Once the figure is in place, I add the carved wooden letters along the bottom.

This sketch is from one of my matchbooks I snagged awhile back.

I threw in the image of the sketch to show how sometimes what is happening on/with the canvas/composition necessitates modifying the original image.  Between the seam running down the side of the canvas and the fact that I didn't want the arch/oval to take up any more space in the composition, I sliced of the right hand side of the oval and pushed the 'Orders To Take Out' text outside of the original composition.

A couple more shots of the line work.

Next time Spaghetti No. 3 get some color.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Good Obsession -Groovin' In Your Own Sphere: Lisa Mahar Style

This post has taken me a ridiculously long time to bring to fruition.  I'm talking years...

A while back I attended the closing reception for one of my good art friends, Lisa Mahar, at the Bucktown Gallery.  I haven't seen a lot of Lisa recently, and upon seeing her work, I know why.  She has been hunkered down in her studio meticulously busting out some awesome work.

Lisa has been making work like this for as long as I have known her (well over a decade now), but with her latest work, Lisa has really matured in her usage of color, pattern, movement, and playing areas of tension off of areas of release/relaxation, -or as George Rose used to say in class, "areas of tense 'inhalation' vs. 'exhalation'".

Check this out.

It's almost two different pieces based on whether you are up close looking at it, or viewing it further away.

I love the attention she gives to her details, patterns, and line work.

Seriously, check this out.

Her faces have just enough visual information to convey emotion, but they're not overworked.

Her asymmetrical compositions have a wonderful vitality to them.  She plays her cool tones and warm tones off of each other in subtle ways.  That interaction/interplay creates complex areas of push/pull tension.

Piece after piece she delivers the goods.

Lisa also takes her dense and colorful patterns and imagery into 3-Dimensional projects.

And her mixed media books.

Even more recently, Lisa was part of a 3-person show called Goddess Tales at MidCoast Gallery West here are a few images from that exhibition.

Love that line work.

Lisa also had a small army of mixed media figures called Tin Nation.  Now when I say 'small army', envision around 50 of these small figures in large group on the wall.  Each one had its own personality and a story behind it.

I normally type lines containing a few characters of random text to serve as place holders for a sentence/idea when I make my first rough draft of a blog post.  I could type a whole bunch of stuff describing this picture of Lisa helping out at Quad City Arts when I was installing my show In/ConFLUENCE back in December.  However, I think 'asdfdasfdasfutyuty' speaks for itself...

A piece from Lisa's Goddess Tales show that bears a little further scrutiny is Man In The Moon.

Let's just take it off the wall and get a better look at it.

One of the things about this piece (and other pieces of Lisa's) I especially like is the Barbara Krueger-esque usage of text/type/words.  Looking at the image below, you could easily read it as 'Man In The Moon'.  However, since the words are not placed in one long row, other readings of it are also possible.  A different reading of it could also be 'Moon Man In The Stars' since down in the bottom right corner are two stars (a sparkly star and a button that says 'all star').  Constructing images so they can actively carry multiple readings is really some next level stuff.

Man In The Moon has now joined my other studio guardians.

As an added bonus, since I like this dude so much, I drew a quick sketch of him and have included him as part of the base layer of imagery in Countdown.

Lisa's work is full of energy, color, text, texture, and insight.  Some might even describe it as being super-duper-ruper.  You can check out her Facebook page by clicking this link: