Thursday, April 29, 2010

Glorious Imperfection

Wabi-sabi is a concept that you’ve probably encountered in some context, even if it wasn’t identified with its cool Japanese name. It’s the ancient Japanese art of seeing beauty in the imperfect, impermanent, rustic and primitive.

Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. (thanks wikipedia)

When I first became aware of wabi-sabi, I thought it summarized perfectly my fondness for “destructed” surfaces. Then I started seeing wabi-sabi mentioned a lot, mostly in the context of artwork. You know how it happens—once you’ve noticed something you see it everywhere! Anyone else fascinated by imperfection and character? I'd love to hear about it if you are.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day is Every Day

For "Earth Day" today, I didn't buy anything. I was very earth friendly by not driving to the store to acquire something new. I simply strolled around and gazed at some of the results of my recent (and not-so-recent) labor in the flower garden.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Ultimate Late Bloomer

May Wilson Carmen Bouquet, 1968
Mixed-media assemblage , 15 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 4 inches

An artist I've discovered in the past couple years is May Wilson. She moved to New York in her sixties to make art. I love her quirky fearlessness at putting together ordinary objects.

MARYLAND housewife May Wilson took a real correspondence course in art. That was before her husband announced, when she was 61 years old, that he had plans for the future--and they didn't include her. Seemingly nonplused, Wilson took a bus to New York and established herself at the infamous Chelsea Hotel. As related in the documentary Woo Who? Wilson was so traditionally sheltered a woman that she didn't even know how to unplug the bathtub her first night alone.

But she quickly learned and just as quickly bloomed into the fullness of her eccentric personality. She took to frequenting a neighborhood photo booth, cigarette in hand, her long mane of white hair piled up, an inevitably droll look on her face. The resulting photo strips would later be cut and pasted onto reproductions of famous art--Wilson's face replacing that of Whistler's mother--on old cards and paintings she'd been given, composing what she called her "Ridiculous Portraits."

from: "Artists Ray Johnson and May Wilson: Taking the cake" by Gretchen Giles

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A New Direction

"Boro Tree" found object assemblage, 12" x 3"x 3", 2010

"Woman" found object assemblage, 11" x 3" x 3", 2010

Yesterday I heard that two of my most recent works have been accepted into a pretty competitive juried show in the Mid-Atlantic. As someone a little mystified by the jurying process, I'm wondering how these jurors know when something is brand new, as in, if it had been a painting it wouldn't have been dry yet. Almost like when your mom seemed to have eyes in the back of her head and always for your own good...

Anyway I'm very pleased and encouraged to keep working in this direction. Making assemblages is what I really love, just combining things. The only problem is that it takes a lot of stuff to be able to pick and choose from when an idea strikes. Since I adore going to any kind of estate, yard or tag sale, this is perfect for me on the surface. However it's a little bit love/hate once I get my treasures home since I have more of a zen esthetic when it comes to home decor. My house isn't very minimalist as we have far too much stuff for that. But I can dream!