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Showing posts from September, 2016

Art in Unexpected Places

I had a minor scrape with the car at the weekend, which meant that I had to take it to the dealer yesterday to get it repaired. This meant that I had to go out to the northwestern part of Chicago, to a suburb called Niles (where my wife was raised, as it happens). There's not a lot to do there while you're waiting for four hours, so I walked a few miles to a Catholic cemetery. When I got to the middle of the cemetery, I came across a series of well-designed memorial chapels faced with this mosaic mural:


I think the artist was somebody called Wilfredo Bonsol, thought I couldn't find any information on him online, so I'm not sure. But the skill in the mosaic tiling is really impressive. Look at the gradation of tones and hues in the sky:


In between the interment crypts, I found a bronze statue of the baptism of Christ, again a well-executed piece, kind of old fashioned in its theme, but made in a style that reminds me of religious sculpture from the 1950s:


The suburb it…

More Acrylic Resist Etching Niceness

Yesterday was the second week of my acrylic resist etching class at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. I assisted the participants in printing a proof of the hard ground on copper plates that they prepared last week. The hard ground is actually acrylic floor polish, and as you can see from the image below, the etch it produces is amazingly sharp:


There are a few "blemishes" here and there, but those can be corrected or tidied up in subsequent prints. And remember, these are the first prints that two of the students have EVER done, and the first A.R.E. print that any of them have done:


What's great about the etch is that the lines are just as sharp and dark as if made using a traditional toxic ground. If you embiggen the images and look closely, you can see what I mean.


Video of Picasso's Linocut Process

As regular readers of this blog know, I am a maker of linocuts, and a teacher of the linocut printmaking process, and therefore a huge fan of Picasso's linocuts. The British Museum in London released this video in relation to a 2014 acquisition of several of Picasso's 1950s linocuts. It's got some nice insights into Picasso's process.

Airships and Art Shows

On Wednesday, I taught a class at Columbia College Chicago, and took my students to the Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue. There, I saw an exhibition by Paul Catanese, which involves flying this blimp around the interior of a giant gallery on the fourth floor. More about this when I review the show for Hyperallergic.

COALTOWN: at Terrain Exhibitions, Oak Park, IL

My installation COALTOWN is now on show at Terrain Exhibitions, an experimental outdoor art space in Oak Park, Illinois (which is adjacent to Chicago going west). I spent a long day in the studio last Saturday getting the diorama finished. This is a short video I made at the end of the day:



And here is how it looks in situ, together with some pieces installed in the garden/yard in front of the house:



The work originates in memories of growing up in a mining town in the north of England, and is preoccupied with how to represent memory, industry, violence, death. You know, small subjects.

Beautiful Work From a Journal & Sketchbook Class

Last week, my writer-wife Patty and I taught some classes at Shake Rag Alley Art Center in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. As you can see in the above photo, the grounds of Shake Rag Alley, with their lush gardens and nineteenth century historic buildings, are perfect for sitting outside to do some drawing and writing.

One of the activities we give students to work on is to write a series of instances, beginning with the phrases I remember/I don't remember/I'd rather not remember/I've been told. It's a great activity for stimulating memories of moments that come to be braided together in almost poetic ways. One of the best examples of that came from participant Wendy Moylan, who kindly agreed to allow me to post it here:

Yellow

I remember the old wedding shot, my grandpa lighting a cigarette in the flower girl’s mouth.
I don’t remember if he’s smiling or gravely playing the joke.
I’d rather not remember that he erased all stories in his barn.
I’ve been told he chose a shotgu…