Sunday, February 24, 2013

what makes art contemporary?

 One definition of contemporary art is that it is art created by an artist that is living, now, in this time.  I suppose that makes all art 'contemporary' during the time in which is it or was created.  But then how do you describe it after it's not timely or fresh or new?

'Modern' would be another word that seems wrapped up with those same ideas, but again, what are the time constraints for something to be modern?  And then what does it become?

The DAG/Student U mentor pairs took a field trip yesterday to the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh (CAM).  I had been once before, but one of the galleries was essentially closed, hanging a new exhibit, and the other had some funky, found object, interactive sculptures with music and light.  I wasn't overly impressed with that exhibit, my friends at the  could have come up with more interesting pieces (I am biased).

The exhibits we saw yesterday were interesting.  The one in the photos above, in the lower gallery, were mainly black and white drawings on paper, very reminiscent of MC Escher with optical tricks and cartoonish figures.  Some were extremely intricate, others bolder in their presentation.  The artist had also created these linear patterns on the floor with tape which appealed to me the most, and as you walked into the gallery space, YOU were immediately part of the canvas.  He was there at the time, giving a gallery talk, and I asked him about the floor; whether he figured out the math ahead or what was his planning process.  He bravely admitted that he just started in one spot and kept going.  He said there were some mistakes, and that he had strategically placed a few smallish sculptures over the really bad spots.  I immediately warmed to that information, and the courage it took to admit it to the group who were listening.  I think contemporary art has to be bold and brash, it takes a lot of gumption to decide to cover a museum floor in tape (with mistakes) and force the viewers of your wall pieces to be part of a canvas.

 The artist in the upper gallery had made some scientific machines, one captured a single drop of water and kept it suspended on a gentle breeze, he also had a tornado machine that could whip around some paint dots, and make a painting.  Then again, he stacked up some mdf boards using prime number configurations and called it a bench.  And boiled up Evian water and put the sediment in a glass etched with the mountain range from which it came.....

I think most contemporary art must ask the viewer in some way whether they think what is being presented is art (or not).  I have a pretty broad acceptance, how about you?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

layers exhibit additional hours

Several of you wonderful friends have asked about additional viewing dates/times for my mosaic exhibit "layers" over at NC School of Science and Math ETC Auditorium Lobby.  It is a student building on campus, so not always open to the public.  Here are some upcoming open dates/times...

Feb 23,24 8am-3pm
Mar 2, 9,16 8am-3pm
April 27  8am-3pm

May 10, 11  6-9pm
May 12 1-5pm

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

sweet arts

If you're looking for a fun and special event for your Valentine (or be your own Valentine), please consider the Durham Art Guild's 19 Annual Sweet Arts Auction and Fundraiser event, this Friday, Feb 15, 7-10pm at Golden Belt.  Proceeds support our local artist events and programs, including a new Mentor Partnership program with Student U.  Five mentor/student partners are spending two hours per week from Jan-May working together, learning together, and creating and practicing different art skills.  In just a few weeks, my student has taken dozens of photographs, edited them with computer software, measured and cut glass, applied photo transfers, learned how to safely use two glass and cutting tools, trying different design ideas and layouts, and is now working on her first mosaic panel.

 Meanwhile, I am enjoying getting to know this young lady, and brewing up some ideas of my own.  Join us Friday evening, celebrate Valentine's day, and support our local arts!


Monday, February 4, 2013

falcons and knights and mps

Tessellations are fun.  It's math and art combined.  The word 'tessellation' also has the same root connections as 'tesserae', pieces of mosaic.  I've been working again in Granville County with 8th graders at all the middle schools doing tessellating patterns that are significant to their school: N. Granville knights (look for the knight's helmet pattern), Butner Stem MS falcons, and Mary Potter, well, MP pattern.  I have one more middle school left, and will be there in a few days with tessellating hornets.