The Mississippi Arts Commission has announced that I'll be receiving the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in Visual Art.
If you'd like to see what else is going on in the arts in Mississippi, visit MAC's site:
Had a great time in Gatlinburg TN at Arrowmont! This past summer, I applied to attend the Figurative Association Symposium. All the presenters were wonderful artists whose work is thoughtful, technically proficient and soulful. I couldn't wait to hear about the wonderful ways the figure is being handled in contemporary art. Not one of them let me down! I came away from it so full and eager to apply what I'd learned from their approaches. It was heartwarming just to be among all the artists Arrowmont draws.
An extra blessing was that, upon receiving my application to be an attendee, I was asked to give the closing keynote speech. I am so pleased at its reception. Folks said they especially appreciated my closing remarks which I'd like to share with you, my readers.
While I still lived in New York City, I had been approached by a gallerist who offered me a solo show. She felt that ten pieces would be adequate. But, since my works take on average a year to complete, that number required a 10-year commitment to fulfill. That was what precipitated my move to Mississippi where there was nothing between me and the required focus. That focus cost me the company of my closest family and friends as well as all the benefits of living in New York. On top of that, amassing a collection - even one as small as that - required that the work could not be sold. That limited my income. Focusing on small sections of a piece, seated hour after hour, is also hard on the body. I was willing to do it all. But now, after 9 years, I realize that that approach - while good for production - was a form of violence to the Self. I recommended that artists aim for some amount of moderation. Art is only part of our lives and even art is benefitted by healthy minds and bodies.
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
556 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN 37738
Penland is some kind of gorgeous! Once you arrive, you don't want to leave. The property is a beautiful, art-filled landscape (hand-forged railings, mosaic signage, bead-sprinkled paving, exotic plantings.) Atmospheric housing. Even better, it is filled with committed artists. It did my heart good to soak it all in.
Many of Penland's buildings have evocative names. The one I slept in was called "Heavens Above". It was enclosed by natural stone and filled with wood walls and furnishings. Like a camp cabin but several notches up. (Refined Rustic?) This is the path toward the "Lily Loom House" that housed the clay, metals, main office and the two textile studios. My class was in "upper textiles," above weaving and adjacent to dyeing. Below is the back door, seen below, where I entered twice a day.
Just before my arrival, there was an exhibition in which my work was included at the Penland Gallery & Visitors Center. It was entitled "I dwell in Possibility: Unconventional work by Penland instructors" (March 27 - May 13, 2018).
If you ever want to learn from the country's finest instructors in the company of committed artists in this beautiful setting, please contact:
Penland School of Crafts
Post Office Box 37
Penland, NC 28765-0037
There are scholarships and work-study opportunities available.
I'm back in The City participating in a Mackey Twins exhibition which is on view weekdays 9:00am until 5:00pm until May 31, 2018. The exhibition is titled: Intellectual Property: Art and Politics. This group show is being held at the Interchurch Center Gallery, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115, directly across the street from the famous Riverside Church. Art is by participating artists Xenobia Bailey, Stacey Brown, Leroy Campbell, James Denmark, Essud Fungcap, Magno Laracuente, Charly Palmer, TWIN and myself. All works are for sale.
Teacup Fishing (illustrated above) is one of folks' favorite pieces by me. At the Interchurch Center Gallery, you can see from a distance how what appears to be a painting becomes something else entirely when you're up close. You might think it's similar to a painting created with a palette knife or some other highly textured technique but it's not. If you're in town, see it for yourself.
It didn't occur to me before but maybe my interest in teaching others about the processes I use to create my art came from my mother who was an elementary school teacher. If so, my sister, choreographer Bebe Miller, seems to have picked up on it too. Here's a recent article in the New York Times that links to one of Bebe's sites.
I will be teaching at a famous American arts and crafts school next June. In thinking about that session, I've been wondering... If you could attend a class taught by me, what would you like to learn?
This is a snap from the opening by artist Joey Rice shows four of the artists with Sandy and Ann of Smith & Lens Gallery in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The month-long group show is ending now but it had some wonderful pieces. As they say, "A good time was had by all."
Had to get back to you about the Gallery Talk yesterday. It was fabulous. After a morning of rain, even the weather cooperated. Do I have a photo? No indeed; I was having too much fun. If one of the others who were taking pictures will send me one, I'll share it with you. The folks at the Ohr-O'Keefe said that yesterday's event was a record turnout for an artist talk. Standing room only. At one point the staff had to step out of the hall in order to not go over the fire department's occupancy limit. I was so pleased to have seen all those faces - almost every one is now a new friend. (The rest were old friends.) After my short talk, they asked great questions about my approach to art and I have no doubt that many of them will take my advice that it's never too late to embark and follow through on their own creative endeavors.
I want to thank Debbie Stringer at Today in Mississippi, Keith Wilson at The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, Tammy Smith at The Sun Herald, all the people at WLOX and WXXV television stations, and Alanderia Whitlock at JZ94.5 radio station for helping us get the word out and for being so hospitable when I was with them. I tended to worry about my public speaking abilities but they really put me at ease. In my previous post, I mentioned some of the Ohr's staff but didn't have everybody's name. It's important that I call them by name because each one helped to make the event and the exhibition a success. The docents are: Effie Clark, Annette Franklin (who wrote me a lovely poem "One Stitch at a Time"), Margaret Browne, Pamela Cevallos Amores and Sharon Barnes. They have been my eyes, ears -- and mouth too -- because they intently and continuously inform themselves about my work and daily pass it on to any visitors who have questions. That the Visitor Services Supervisor Adriaan Simpson is sharp and efficient, I have no doubt. The quality of the docents says it all. Christina Broome, Admissions Representative, and Erin Herrera, Museum Store Manager, pave the way with ready but not pushy info on all the exhibitions. I've seen them both in action greeting visitors at the front desk. No museum these days can work full-throttle without the help of volunteers. I've met some of them but all of them have aided my exhibition by doing their part. They are: Kathy Bristol, Ike Edwards, Dora Faison, Gigi Gunter, Diane Kiser, Linda Mabry, Dudley McAllister, Dale Nunnery and Susan Pollard. I can't close this post without mentioning the Mississippi Arts Commission which has supported me since my arrival in Mississippi. They funded and promoted this exhibition and this month awarded me a Visual Arts Fellowship with support from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Mississippi state legislature. Each of these people and organizations has more than just done his/her job; they've been enthusiastic supporters of me and my work. Many thanks to them all.
And you still have time. The exhibition remains at the Ohr-O'Keefe until August 19, 2017.
Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art (228) 374-5547
386 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi MS 39533
My show at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art has been going great. The museum has been really supportive. First of all, Rhea Miner and and rest of the curatorial team has hung the show so nicely. It is really pristine and easy to navigate. All the docents are eager and able to explain the fine points of the exhibition. Natalea Thomson in marketing is getting the word out. Executive Director Kevin O'Brien has appeared on live TV with me... twice. On June 13th we appeared on WXXV Fox 25 and this past Wednesday, July 26th, we were on WLOX interviewed by Dave Elliott. And it's working! Everywhere I go people are enthusiastic about it. I've dropped in a couple of times in the past few weeks and some folks tell me they've come back more than once to take it all in. Not only do they like the art itself, they love the fact that they can see the everyday decision-making that is part of the artistic process. All that has brought the Ohr's visitor-numbers up up too, I'm proud to say. And there are about 3 more weeks until closing, August 19th.
The museum has granted me another Artist Talk scheduled for Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. So find out what the fun is all about. Come talk with me, one friend to another at the:
Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art (228) 374-5547
386 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi MS 39533
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The other good news is that one of my pieces, The Evocation and Capture of Aphrodite, is on view simultaneously at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama's leading arts center. The exhibition is called The Red Clay Survey: 2017 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art.
The 2017 Survey will be up from July 9 - October 1, 2017. It's solid work shown in a grand piece of architecture. Check out the artists of the Southeast US:
The Huntsville Museum of Art (256) 535-1743
300 Church Street South
Huntsville, AL 35801