Columbus Museum of Art:Art 360 Eggs Have Landed

The ostrich eggs from “Art 360” have arrived in Columbus Ohio in fine fashion.  Last night was the opening.

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Greg Jones With Crab Cakes

Greg Jones (left) was part of the team which actually arranged and set up the show.  The setting was a long, narrow, hallway so this required much thoughtfulness and creativity.   Greg is a knowledgeable veteran and made sure the exhibit was the absolute best it could be.

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Chuck Bluestone

Curator Chuck Bluestone was as proud as any parent and attentive to so many details.  I especially appreciated the name tags which included images of our eggs as well as our names.  I can’t count the number of openings in which I either had to supply my own name tag or simply haunt the exhibit like a creepy wraith, trying to start conversations.  Well done, Mr. Bluestone.  Nice shoes, too.

One of the best parts of being in this show is the opportunity to meet artist-participants more than once.  It’s easier to circulate in a room when you already recognize some of the people in it.

Barb Vogel swanned through the reception like the pro she is, elegantly dressed as usual.

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Pam Kravetz With Her Puppet-Egg

Pam Kravetz pretty much owned the room with this fabulous punk hipster ballerina outfit.   Pam is from Cincinnati, my home town, and looks so sweet in this photograph.  Her piece was a standout in Portsmouth and remains so in Columbus.

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Friends came, too.   Bob Studzinski arrived with camera in tow…..

 

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Dave Barnes and Linda Hines….

Art 360 Columbus Artist Reception

Nicky Knepp, Joel Knepp & Lynda McClanahan

… and two of my staunchest supporters, 96-year-old mother-in-law Nicky Knepp and hipster hubby extraordinaire, Joel Knepp.  What troopers they are!

The room was full of familiar faces, faces whose names I don’t yet know and many fascinating strangers.

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Cody Heichel With Friends

I didn’t know Cody had “goofed” on me until after the download but I’m glad he did.   I meant to meet the lady with the beautiful golden hair and her bearded companion but never got around to it.  Maybe next time.011

It’s always interesting to observe the way people dress for arts events.  I particularly admired this floral kerchief and handbag separated by the large blue block of zippered vest and light blue shirt.  There’s a conscious rhythm here which is every bit as artful as anything in the glass cases behind her.

It was a wonderful evening with many highlights.  The exhibit itself is less brightly lit and more compactly arranged than in Portsmouth, so many of the eggs didn’t photograph as well.

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Lynda McClanahan Egg

My piece has better placement than the last time, which is nice.  Being at the top of the pyramid allows for actually seeing the spermatozoa swimming through the bottom of my ostrich egg sea.  Greg Jones did a great job  of visually making the most of each piece and packing a large number of objects into a smallish space, but I can’t help but mourn the lack of in-the-round access to the forms.

 

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Niqabs With Wallpaper

“Niqabs With Wallpaper” is finished.

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“Niqabs With Wallpaper” with hand-painted frame

I often let a piece rest a bit before the final scan, just to make sure there’s nothing left to be done.

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Frame detail: “Niqabs With Wallpaper”

The repurposed Mexican frame scavenged from Habitat for Humanity was a bit of a problem, but I managed to pull it back from the brink and make it work.  I’ve ruined so many pieces at the very  last minute that I’ve taken to calling this period of time the “gremlin hour.”  The unconscious urge to destroy what’s been accomplished often arises right before a piece is complete:  a step too far in detail, an upended can of paint, even dropping the thing upside down right before the last strokes have dried.  The phenomenon is so familiar it’s hardly worth noticing anymore.

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Green Niqab detail, “Niqabs With Wallpaper”

I fix what’s broken the best I can and soldier on.   I’m worried that these Muslim ladies are unsellable but the decision to complete all assignments exactly as they come means leaving behind the self-censoring filter.  When there’s no choice, what’s the use of fussing?

 

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Fun With Niqabs

I often peruse international clothing sites for ideas regarding color, ornament and pattern.    Recently I stumbled upon a site specializing in Niqabs, the full face cover favored by some Muslim ladies.  The irony of a commercial display of clothing designed to completely block personal display was immediately apparent.  There is also a psychological component; a heightened version of the tension many of us feel between what we display and what we choose to hide.  I was hooked.  “Niqabs With Wallpaper” is the newest painting on the drafting table.

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Niqab Sketch

I free-associated the backgrounds but sketched out all the shadows on the niqabs  in a paint-by-numbers fashion.   I’m not a formally trained artist and this method seemed to promise the most anatomically correct proportions.  Even a form which aims to disappear can’t help but remain present.     I’m aiming for lots of friction between the fussily detailed background and the salt-and-pepper-shaker-shaped color block of the covering.

In a visual marketplace saturated with sexual images, these forms seem especially alien and strange.

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Blue niqab with pink background

I like art which moves around in the mind and refuses to stay quiet.  Who are these ladies?    What does it feel like to be visually removed from public space?

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Niqab Sketch

I’m at once attracted and repelled.  The near nudity of much of Western advertising strikes me as more lurid than empowering but this is a severe response.  Full display or full erasure:  who or what is the ultimate beneficiary of both approaches?

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