Saturday, December 12, 2009

SOFA Chicago Part 2: Closure....

As I seem to have never found the time to write all the words I meant to about November 2009's SOFA Chicago, I'm going to post the pictures as that's what really matters in the end. Enjoy! I'm sorry there are no significant captions - this is driven by my need to simply move on to the new year.... I promise to do better in the future.

Feminine Mystique
I found an interesting trend of traditionally feminine works at SOFA - delicate stitches, lace-bound books, purses, dresses.... enjoyed seeing this theme amidst the bold, shiny objects that abound....

This fascinating woven glass work kept me coming back again and again - little glass bolts woven together with copper wire, threaded or crocheted through with the fuzziest purple fiber.... very unique!


As always, beautiful work by Barbara Lee Smith at Snyderman-Works Gallery.

Vivid bright colors in a dramatic large textile work by Joy Saville, also at Snyderman-Works.

Gorgeous stitches by Hilde Morin at Maria Elena Kravetz Gallery. I liked these intimate little works the best.

Intriguing layers by Jeanne Raffer Beck, also at Maria Elena Kravetz.

And the glass.. the glass........

Randy Strong... the agave plants I saw recently at the Desert Botanical Gardens reminded me so much of his work...

Standards: Therman Statom and Danny Perkins...

Another stunning display of Czech glass. Always powerful.

New body of work by Jamie Harris - love the fluidity of color.

Long-time favorite artist Stephen Dam - thrilled to see his show pretty much sold out.

More beautiful work by Cassandria Blackmore...

Alex Bernstein, who also gave a wonderful lecture at SOFA....

And Phoenix favorite David Bennett!

Mmmmmmm..... clay..........

ASU Professor Susan Beiner had a fantastic, intricate installation....

Compelling and unique: Dirk Staschke at Wexler Gallery.

Birds were also seen throughout the fair, and not just flying overhead in the cavernous space.

Beautiful evolution of Myung-Jin Kim's work at Ferrin Gallery.

Vivid colors and pop shapes were prevalent this year, and overall the fair was well-curated, well-attended, and reasonably well-bought. Here's to better years and adventurous dealers, may we match the daring of our artists!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

SOFA Chicago Part 1: Skulls and Shiny Things

Good evening from sunny Chicago! It's been a gorgeous day for fair-goers, and we're all grateful for the pleasant weather. Makes for a much nicer fair. This will be a quick post as it's late! Just got home from a very nice post-opening dinner with painter Joanne Mattera, and gallerist Melanee Cooper and her artists: Julie Karabenick and Kathleen Waterloo both opened excellent shows tonight. I'll fill in the gaps tomorrow and post more pictures and more details.

View from the Pier this afternoon.

Some common images running through the fair were skulls, animals and metallic thread. Very interesting - maybe I'll see different patterns when I walk through tomorrow, but these elements were definitely prevalent and actually well-used. Here are a couple of skulls (all seemed to be glass). I won't have all the gallery and artist credits tonight, but will fill them in shortly.

William Morris - skulls, animals - a lot of nice pieces.

To give you a taste of the show, here are some subjectively-chosen works: all artists that work with Cervini Haas Fine Art. Great job all!

Jennifer Falck Linssen showing a nice transition to wall pieces at Del Mano Gallery.

Gorgeous new glass works by Jamie Harris - can't wait to get some of these for CHFA!

J Paul Fennell at Del Mano - delicate, precise, an impressive offering of new pieces.

I love Bennett Bean's wall tiles - this asymmetrical work is brand new and is a strong new step in Bean's work.

Adrian Arleo has a beautiful installation at Jane Sauer Gallery - sensitive honeycomb works of thoughtful female nudes.

GREAT new graphic work by Steven Heinemann. Very pleased to see it on the wall.

Three new glass sculptures by Danny Perkins - they have such a grace and elegance to them, they remind me a bit of seaweed waving underwater.

This evening's opening at Melanee Cooper Gallery on Franklin St. was packed. Julie Karabenick's geometrically abstract, eye-popping acrylic paintings were intense and vibrant:

Kathleen Waterloo paints with encaustic so thick and richly colored they reminded me of quilts from a distance - lots of dimension, texture, definition. Congratulations on a fantastic show! And thank you to Melanee Cooper for a truly enjoyable dinner after - the food and, most of all, the company - at Costa's Greek restaurant on Halsted.

Other events of the day: fiber lecture including Jon Eric Riis was inspiring; the Dale Chihuly opening at Habatat was packed - new botanical work was dramatically displayed, (but my favorite works were the Shayna Liebs in the back); and this year's slightly smaller SOFA Fair is overall a success - maybe all the more so due to its palatable size. More later.... second impressions of SOFA tomorrow! Starting the day with Jan Hopkins' lecture on her mixed media fiber works.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anatomy of a Commission Part I

Our artists are frequently asked to create custom works for clients and public spaces. This is Part 1 of the "Evolution of a Fiber Art Commission," a custom artwork by Tim Harding for a private residence in Scottsdale Arizona.

The clients were familiar with the artist's previous work, so I met with them to show them what was new. They noted specific colors and patterns that they liked in the existing pieces, and Harding then created these swatches of color groups.

I met with the client in their AZ home to see the installation site and the surrounding artwork and furnishings. We worked together to narrow down the color selections - which is difficult when each piece of silk fabric is more gorgeous than the last!

We also chose a series of Harding's wall-hung fiber artworks to base the commission on, deciding on the "Shimmer" series.

"Golden Shimmer" by Tim Harding

Next, all my notes go back to Tim's studio and the work begins. I'll also send along photographs of the client's home so he can see the environment his work will hang in. This commission should take about 8 - 12 weeks to complete.

I'll keep you posted on the commission process and post a picture of the finished piece. This weekend, I'll be attending, and blogging about, the SOFA Chicago Art Fair.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mesa Contemporary Arts Benefit

Last night's 10x10 Benefit Show & Sale for Mesa Contemporary Arts (at the Mesa Arts Center) was a great event and a successful fund raiser. People got in line up to an hour in advance of doors opening to have first crack at their painting of choice, and by the time I got in I was happy to see a great number of the works had been sold. Each painting was created by an Arizona artist, and it was impressive to see the quality of work that was donated. Judging by the exceptional art, I can only think that the artists obviously cared about being a part of the show and contributing to the success of the MCA. Often auctions can be a disappointing selection of second-tier works, but the results of last night's exhibition tells me that MCA is involved in a truly successful give-and-take with the artists of the community, and they care about each other's success. Wow!

Artists Farraday Newsome and Jeff Reich (both are also teachers in the MAC's ceramics department).

It was also pleasing to see some artists crossing over into an atypical media for this event: some sculptural artists tackled work on canvas, with great results, and others forwent the canvas for their known medium but adapted it nicely to the 10" x 10" format. The mixed media created a well-rounded visual texture in the show.

A number of artists represented by Cervini Haas participated, and the pieces were tantalizing. Here are each of their works:

Stephen Johnson, "Field", reed, paper, paint, m/m.

(top left) Sandra Blain, "Exterior", stoneware, m/m.
(top right) Stephen Johnson, "Field", reed, paper, paint, m/m.

Jeff Reich, "Agave Moon", acrylic.

Sarah Obrecht, "Bloom #2", copper, polymer clay, acrylic.

Sarah Obrecht, "Bloom #2" and Farraday Newsome, "Gone", acrylic (lower level, white background).

Sandra Blain, "Interior Markings", earthenware w/slip, oxides, glazes.

These other pieces really piqued my interest, some of them being artists new to me, others a reminder of how much I like these people!

Carol Panaro-Smith & James Hajicek, "Conversations in the Garden", photogenic drawing on masonite.

Marla Hattabaugh, "Attempting 10", fiber wall quilt.

Kaori Takamura, "Sewn/Crossing" (top), "Sewn/Circle", acrylic on canvas, stitching.

Les Lawrence (apologies, I didn't note the title of this intriguing m/m work).

As well, it was nice to be back out and about after a long hot Phoenix summer, when we all hibernate indoors. October is generally the start of the art season here, and it was a treat to be at this event, see a number of artists/friends, and enjoy the fantastic MAC building. I'm looking forward to going back to take a better look at the exhibit of Mexican Art "Conexiones".