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Words in Red Exhibit by Masterpiece Christian Fine Arts

Masterpiece Christina Fine Arts Foundation logo and header imagePresents

 Words in Red logo for the art exhibition presented by Masterpiece christian Fine Arts Foundation in 2017

“Words In Red, – the Direct, Uncensored,  Provocative Words of Jesus”
July 1 – 23, 2017
 

Opening Reception Saturday, July 1st in Ashland, Oregon

    Ashland is known for its world renowned Shakespeare Festival. What guests will also find this July is the traveling “Words in Red” fine art exhibit.  Guests and tourists from across the country can stroll through this fine art gallery to view Nicodemus at Night, The Woman at the Well, Healing of the Blind Beggar, The Woman Caught in Adultery, the demise of the demon possessed pigs, the crucifixion, the resurrected Christ on the shore of Galilee.  A visual plethora of compelling artistically rendered scenes by contemporary art legends Michael Dudash, Ron DiCianni, Frank Ordaz, Chris Hopkins, Glenn Harrington, Mick McGinty, Dan Chen and local artists Austin Maloney, Cathy Gallatin, Debby Fisher, Veronica Thomas, and Melanie Cardinal.

Plus the cinematic sounds of the Words in Red music score, “Sanctus” by Willem van Wyk
Experience this enrapturing sound
July 1 – 23rd

Rogue Coworks at the corner of East Main and 64 N. Pioneer St across from the Black Swan Theater .
Join us for the opening reception
Saturday, July 1st  at 7:00 pm.  $7 at the door/reception or advance tickets here
Daily   11 a.m. – 7 p.m.    Sun. noon – 6.   Regular admission is free

Group tours available . Call 541. 601.7496  for info.

Santus CD cover, music by Wilhelm van Wyk, Masterpiece Christina==an Fine Arts Foundation

Can’t make the show, but want to explore the Words in Red exhibit?   Order the full Gallery Guide here with artist bios, full color depictions and more.

Experience the Incredible Music!
Listen now to the cinematic-esque original music score for the Words in Red exhibit by international composer Willem Van Wyk

Sanctus takes you on a moving journey with a blend of fusion and ethnic world/folk music, rich with haunting vocals (Clara Sorace, Celica Soldream and Victor Sordo) and orchestral grandeur that speaks to the heart. Inspired by the Words of Christ and the artwork of Words In Red, these musical tracks accompany the exhibit experience . Listen now and download one or more of these compelling melodies.

SOSA June 26 meeting Featuring Sheri Dinardi

The Southern Oregon Society of Artists (SOSA) June 26 meeting at the Medford Public Library starts at 6:30. This month our guest Artist is Sheri Dinardi. Her subject is “Figures in Oil.”

Moon Dance, portrait in oil by Sheri Dinardi

Moon Dance, portrait in oil by Sheri Dinardi

About Sheri Dinardi

Sheri Dinardi lives in Jacksonville, Oregon, a small rural town surrounded by farms and distant mountains; a constant source of inspiration from the surrounding beauty. This quaint 1800’s gold rush town, rich in history with cottages, and original farms; inspires her to produce paintings that convey a sense of timelessness.

 

Dinardi’s subjects revolve around the female figure with young women and girls in landscape settings as well as intimate portraits. For settings, what could be lovelier than golden light across a newly harvested wheat field, fragrant lavender or rose garden with distant mountains in the horizon? She follows the rhythm of the seasons and aims to capture the fleeting effect of light as it changes throughout the day.

ARTIST STATEMENT

“Painting for me is an expression of life. Simple everyday beauty surrounds us. I am especially moved by light, whether it is the rising sun or light spilling across the form of a person. As primarily a painter of people, I enjoy the unique privilege of standing before a beautiful living human being. It is there that you observe the beauty of the colors of light, warm and cool tones spilling over the form. Beyond the imagery is the person hood of the model that seems to emanate into the room. How does one capture it all with mere paint on a blank canvas? Therein lies our life long challenge… to communicate life and beauty to our viewers.

As an artist I desire to paint images that bring joy, inspiration and a sense of hope to the viewer. Most importantly, I hope to express the beauty of creation in such a way as to honor our Creator who gives us life and breath; and inspires me every day with His amazing masterpieces.”

PRESS

Art critic Brian Sherwin commented on artist Sheri Dinardi’s artwork, remarking, “There is a soft quality in the way that Sheri Dinardi approaches oil painting — a certain radiance that projects a sense of spirituality in the way she captures her subjects.” Sherwin added, “These works convey a positive message… a reminder of the sacred simplicity, if you will, of the past.

Sandy Cathcart writes: “Watching the play of light on golden fields of grain prompts her to capture the effects of fleeting light as she paints women and children in a landscape scene. Viewers are lifted into a sense of timelessness and sacred radiance, as if they have been transported to another world of beauty and hope. You can almost smell the sweet fragrance of lavender and roses… viewers are invited to look deeper than the surface, sensing a soul that has been set free. Her love of creation and Creator are evident in every stroke.”

Exhibitions:

  • Oil Painters of America’s Salon Show Birmingham
  • Small Works Show at Howard Manville Gallery in Seattle
  • American Women Artists, Dallas
  • Best and the Brightest, Scottsdale Artist School
  • Oil Painters of America’s National Show Santa Fe
  • Oil Painters of America Western Regional Show, Couere D’ Alene
  • Best and the Brightest, Scottsdale Artist School
  • Great Christian Art, Pasadena

Study History:

  • 2013 Week long workshop in Dan Gerhartz Studio. Best Workshop ever!!!
  • 2006-2014 Masterpiece Christian Artist Conference: Chris Hopkins, Michael Dudash, Thomas Blackshear
  • 2009-2014 Ilene Gienger Stanfield: Pastel Portrait Workshop, Class Study, and Life Painting in her studio
  • 2010 Weekend with the Masters: Workshops with Dan Gerhartz, Carolyn Anderson and Sherry McGraw
  • 2009 Southern Oregon Academy of Art: Anatomy Studies
  • 2007 Scottsdale Artist School: Michael Malm
  • 2004 Plein Air Pastel and Oil Painting Workshop with Albert Handell
  • 1991, 1993 Academic Painting Workshops with Frank Covino
  • 1985, 1986 Class Study in Oil Portrait Painting with Richard McKinley

Awards:

  • 2015 Bold Brush Painting Competition FAV 15%: Mar/May: Sarah’s Spring, Jun/Jul: Crystal Earring,
  • 2014 Painting of the Year for Southern Oregon Society of Artists: Quiet Hope
  • 2014 Bold Brush Painting Competition FAV 15%
  • 2013 Bold Brush Painting Competitions FAV 15%:
  • 2011 Honorable Mention, Brightest and the Best, Scottsdale Artist School
  • 2009 Painting of the Year, Southern Oregon Society of Artists
  • 2008 Best in Show, Upper Rogue Artist Association
  • 2007 Best in Show, Upper Rogue Artist Association
  • 1988 Picture of the Year, Southern Oregon Society of Artists
  • 1986 Picture of the Year, Southern Oregon Society of Artists
  • 1986 Best of Show, Pelican Bay Art Association, Azalea Festival
  • 1986 Marshal’s Award, Pelican Bay Art Association, Azalea Festival
  • 1986 Popular Choice Award, Pelican Bay Art Association, Azalea Festival

Artists and folks interested in art are welcome. For more information contact BJ Mathis at 541-414-4993 or Judy Grillo at 661-609-5838

Art and consciousness

campbell

The past two years have been a desultory mix of so many obligations that it has been nearly impossible to hew to a daily painting discipline. Typically, I’ve enjoyed two months of fairly uninterrupted work and then faced a month when I might have only a few days available for painting–earning some money as a writer, putting in time as a caregiver for my parents, working on our house, visiting my kids in California. As of this June, though, I’ve been able to paint every day and should be able to stick with this schedule into the foreseeable future, with only some short breaks here and there. It’s put me in a much better mood, in general, though that’s tempered by the fact that I’ve reached a point where I’m more critical of the work I’m doing, as I do it. I keep wrestling with a specter of what I recognize as a hyper-sensitive discouragement about results, when the results are actually perfectly fine because what I’m doing and seeing in the work is part of the evolution, the path. Ironically, I feel as if I’m at a threshold where my methods and skills are such that I can reliably do certain things now that weren’t possible before, so I have to fight an impatience that arises when I’m not surprised by what I’m doing. (I’m still struggling as I go, facing uncertainties, but it’s more within a broader range of confidence, so my success at this or that doesn’t impress me as much.) I need to be patient and do what I know how to do for a while, consolidate what I’ve learned about how to paint, in order to build a body of work over the next couple years–which means I have to fight the impatient urge to push past this stage into something a little bolder. More on that later.

Meanwhile, in an email alert from Open Culture, I learned that I can listen to hours of Joseph Campbell lectures for free now on Spotify. Quelle pleasant surprise. I immediately started listening to his lectures at Cooper Union in the late 60s, and after only a few minutes Campbell got right to the heart of the matter and confirmed that I will have some pleasant hours ahead of me:

One of the problems man has to face is reconciling himself to the problem of his own existence, and this is the first function of mythology is that reconciliation of consciousness with the mystery of being, not criticizing it. Shakespeare and his definition of art where he says, art (or the art of acting,) holds the mirror up to nature. It is a perfect definition I would say of the first function of mythology. When you hold a mirror up to your self, your consciousness becomes aware of its support, what it is that is supporting it. You may be shocked with what you see; or you may be pleased that you become aware of yourself, your consciousness becomes aware of that darkness, that Being which came into being out of darkness and which is its own support. The first function then of a mythology is the reconciliation of consciousness to the foundations of being and the realization of their mystery as something that consciousness is not going to be able to criticize, not even going to be able to elucidate, not even going to be able to name. It is something beyond naming, beyond all definitions, and when that is lost one loses the sense of awe, which Goethe calls the best thing in man. One loses the sense of gratitude for one’s privilege of having a center of consciousness aware of these things.

Wafaa Bilal

To me, there is no such a thing as a black and white. There is always, has to be, room for dialogue. Because I believe the truth doesn’t exist. The truth is very subjective and it depends on what angle you’re looking at it. So if that’s the case, how can we present something that doesn’t impose upon people, but engages them?

Wafaa Bilal was born and raised in Iraq where he survived the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, two wars, a bloody uprising, and months spent in a Kuwati refugee camp. Bilal eventually immigrated to the US and became a successful professor and artist. In 2005, his brother, still living in Iraq, was killed at a US checkpoint, and in response Bilal created Domestic Tension. For one month, Bilal lived in a prison cell-sized room with a remote controlled paintball gun. Visitors to his website could control the gun and fire it 24 hours a day. The project attracted international attention and ultimately Bilal was awarded the Chicago Tribune’s Artist of the Year Award.

Editor’s note: This interview took place in 2008.


Stephen Duncombe & Steve Lambert: How do you think about your work and the audiences that will eventually see it?

Wafaa Bilal: I always debate with myself: just how do you make a project not only interesting, but how do you engage people? And for a long time I did a lot of work that was bound by the gallery world, and I don’t know how successful or how much people were really attracted or engaged when the work is within a gallery space.

But in the last two projects that I did, I tried to break away from the gallery and perhaps establish the gallery as the physical platform and a virtual platform that exists on the website. So now you have these two things come together, which provides greater access to people who would go to a gallery and people who go online.

Since my work is political – and it seems like not only my work but other political work, as well – it alienates more than it engages. And so I started thinking about these straight engagement strategies. And for now, I’m just playing with three of them: one, is aesthetic pleasure versus aesthetic pain. Two, the body has it’s own language. And three, the conflict zone versus the comfort zone. And these strategies specifically are dealing with an artist trying to communicate a message where subject matter is very specific.

Subject matter: I am from Iraq, I wanted to do a work about Iraq. And I am currently living in a comfort zone [in the US], and Iraq is a conflict zone. And how can I engage people within this zone I’m living in, which I have become a part of? So, there is that separation; physical separation breeds disengagement. And one thing I started playing with is aesthetic pleasure versus aesthetic pain, which is: how can we engage people without directly imposing our own ideal or our own concept on them? And how can we make the work dynamic to the point that it becomes a platform for engagement, it becomes an encounter? And how can we make that encounter as a dynamic encounter?


Pictured: Wafaa Bilal in “Domestic Tension,” an interactive installation piece from 2007. Bilal spent one month in a prison cell-sized room with a paintball gun (not pictured) pointed at him. Visitors of the exhibition’s website could choose to shoot him through the click of their mouse – drawing a parallel to the dehumanized tactics used in the Iraq War and their very human effects. By the end of the exhibit, 65,000 shots were fired by people from all over the world.

So, for example, with the Shoot an Iraqi project, I also called it Domestic Tension, that was what’s behind it. It’s just like how can we put just something, make something really silly, grab people’s attention? That’s the aesthetic pleasure. Then, the aesthetic pain is delivered slowly, not only because of the content of the project, but from the engagement: when you open up the dialogue and make the platform a democratic platform, uncensored, and let other people become part of it, which makes the project an open narrative, it’s completely transformed not by the artist but by the participant. So, now with these strategies, the artist cannot become authoritarian.

To me, there is no such a thing as a black and white. There is always, has to be, room for dialogue. Because I believe the truth doesn’t exist. The truth is very subjective and it depends on what angle you’re looking at it, right? So if that’s the case, how can we present something that doesn’t impose upon people, but engages them?

S&S: Okay, so take Domestic Tension as a success story. How do you know you were engaging with the audience?

WB: That’s the simplest answer to this project. Because I kept recording everything: every IP address, every click we get. So by the end of it, which is one month long, we had 80 million hits. We knew how many shots we were directed at me, we knew how many people click left and right, and 3,000 pages of a chat room.

S&S: You had a chat room for people? Why did you do that?

WB: 24 hours, and recorded. In the end, when I look at the project, the chat room is one of the most interesting things to come from the project.

S&S: Why was that?

WB: Because of the feedback. And, I think a lot of these encounters are ephemeral by nature. They don’t leave any physical object behind. But I think what was left behind in the chat room is documentation of how diverse the audience were.

One of my fears at the beginning by doing the project, and I think a lot of people online said the same thing, is you’re gonna preach to the people who’re already engaged in this line of thinking. And I think we tend to do that. Gallery work tends to do that. So, I was aware of that notion. In the beginning, I started interfering with people’s reactions; I wanted to see what would happen. And I think one of the viewers, not a participant, alerted me to the idea that I was interfering too much in people’s reactions. And then I started stepping back. So, I became the moderator of the platform, not the enforcer. And even when I was asked, “Should we shoot you or not?” I said, “We all face that decision at some point in our lives; I’m not going to tell you what to do.”

S&S: Okay, you have these people engaged, you created sort of a space for them to both engage in the artwork, shoot you, and also talk about it and so on. What do you hope happens after that? Is that the end point or is there some goal after that?

WB: It’s a good question. I think that was the beginning of it. Because what happen is, within our comfort zone, there is a lack of platform. The public space is being taken away from us; the idea of the [town] square is being taken away from us. We have no formal democratic platform to come and engage in this dialogue. But when people come together they inform each other, and they come to a starting point, not an end point.

 
The virtually-activated paintball gun. “Domestic Tension” by Wafaa Bilal. 2007.

What happens when you are given the opportunity to act but there are no consequences but your conscience? Because the internet allows people anonymity, so the only thing we are left with is the guilt of committing something. I think that mirrors what soldiers are going through. When you’re out there, either you shoot or you’re gonna be shot. I think it opened the dialogue because you have so many people who shot and came back to apologize.

And I think that’s one of the engagement, I said strategies of engagement, the body has its own language. So what happens is when the body is present, our body’s being affected because of the movement. So having the body streamed live, I think that affected people a lot because they see the physical impact. Also, one of the decisions I made is to release a video once a day, or two, on YouTube. So while I disengage people on purpose from the website, grainy image, no sound, I engage them mentally on YouTube because they were waiting to see what I’d been going through that day. And I did not hold anything back.

S&S: So you’re narrating and talking to the camera?

WB: Oh, yeah. And I didn’t hold anything back in terms of my emotional rollercoaster on a daily basis. Because, part of it, I think I wanted them to connected, I wanted them to be confused just like how is it terror? It looks like it’s a playful game. And look at the complexities of it. And I think that established kind of a culture around the piece. And it started spreading beyond my expectations. And because of that video I’m releasing every day, that culture around the work started growing and growing and growing. And to the point if I don’t release the video on time, people start complaining. It’s like: where is the video?

S&S: A week later, or two weeks later, a month later, a year later, what do you want those people to have taken away from it?

WB: I think to me, if the notion of the connected between these two zones [comfort and conflict] illustrates the point that we are far removed from the conflict – if people get that from the grainy image and them shooting me, versus the emotional rollercoaster I am going through every day – if people connect these two things, I think the project is a success.

S&S: So what comes of that connection?

WB: Of that connection – awareness. And with awareness comes action.

S&S: How do you know people aren’t just wanking off on the computer?

WB: Oh, that’s possible too.

S&S: I don’t mean quite sexually, but I mean—

WB: No, but seriously.

S&S: But like politically wanking off into the computer, which is, “Okay, I’ve done my job, I felt guilty, I’ve now created a human shield, and now I’m going back to work.”

WB: You know, you don’t have control over that. I mean how could you control that? Change does not come very easy. And everyone who is in art and activism understands that notion. I’m not going there and saying, “okay I wanted to change people’s lives and how they behave.” I am hoping just to touch one person’s life. And that person might touch another person, people’s life. But the fact is you have 136 countries participating in this; it led me to believe, it wasn’t just gonna stop after the project stops. And I think following that with a book also in a way is going to continue the dialogue. It’s not going to stop when the project stopped.

S&S: Do you think dialogue, discussion, change of mind leads to change in action?

WB: If it’s a real one, yeah. What else can bring us to take an action except our belief in a dialogue or an argument?

S&S: Well, you often talk a lot about the body and moving the body, which seems like it’s a little bit separate from dialogue. I mean, when I was an activist, my job was to get someone to do something, no matter how small. Not to think differently, but to get them to do something because then I knew they would do something else and do something else. It was very bodily.

WB: But I’m giving them the option. I’m giving the option to do it or not to do it, which I think might be more effective because sometimes I see activism disengage, or alienate more than engage. But by approaching it differently, I’m not placing guilt on people. What I’m doing is to give them the opportunities to see other points of view. You have the hunters who come to the site, you have the hackers, you have the paintball players, you have the moms, you have the kids 17 and 13 years old who are hacking it, so but every one of them is just saying what’s on their minds from cursing at me and calling me a sand nigger, to highly refined political dialogue. Either way, it’s exposure to other ideas. And I think one of the things I was hoping is when we hold the mirror to ourselves, sometimes that image scares us because we are so engaged in our own beliefs that when that image is reflected we get so scared by it.

S&S: So, if your work is trying to effect change, it’s not a visible thing, it’s more internal – more in people’s minds.

WB: And it might be more true. Because if I am on the street and I just approach somebody, saying here, do something, change. He might do it just because I am confronting him, but not out of choice. I don’t want it to confront them –

S&S: You want them to confront you.

WB: Exactly. And I want the conflict to be within that person. And that might have a longer effect on people’s lives.

S&S: I’m still unclear what the effect is. That is, or do you just say: “I want people to confront themselves, I want people to have a discussion, created a public sphere where they have to think about their actions. Then I’m done, and what they do after is their business”? Or do you have an ideal of what might happen?

WB: Yeah, I mean, you can’t follow everybody’s actions, but it’s just about continuing to create the dialogue through other pieces. To me, the project was the first step.


Still from “Raze 213” by Wafaa Bilal.

S&S: Have you ever done a project that just didn’t work?

WB: Yeah. Shit, yeah, so many of them.

S&S: And why? Why did Domestic Tension work and not the other ones?

WB: There was a project I did called Raze 213, which exposed one of Saddam’s methods of torture, where the prisoner is confined to a very small cell with pipe that drips acid from different points of view. I built that project at the University of New Mexico, a lot of people were outraged by it, and even fellow Iraqis and Arabs said, “this is so fucked up.”

S&S: Why was that?

WB: Because it alienated people. And I think the effect that it generated was totally the opposite of what I was hoping. So I was hoping that, by exposing this method, people would sympathize. On the contrary. People were so shocked by it, they totally rejected the notion, totally rejected the ideas, and the project stayed idle until the state university was like, you can’t have this anymore. Just because I created so many layers into it: the body movement, the smell…

S&S: Was it performance? How did the piece work?

WB: I built a physical space but instead of a body I recorded a body and then replayed it in the space itself. But the way you view it is through a window –

S&S: From the interrogator’s perspective?

WB: Yeah, exactly, it was a window cell. It was closed down by the Health Department, which I understand. I used meat, acid, excrement, just whatever just to create the smell. And then later the History Channel did a piece on it. It was before the war in 2003, they did a program called Why They Don’t Kill Saddam. That’s the name of the project. At the time, I didn’t know their intention, but it was basically the drumbeat for war. And they came to Chicago for two days, and they recorded it with me. But then, the way they edited it, it sounds like I’m the one who built the torture method for Saddam. And I start receiving phones calls, like, “I didn’t know you designed torture methods!” So, then I fought them and they agreed not to show it again.

S&S: Tell me about the alienation thing because I think that’s a problem a lot of artists, and political activists face. Here you are, you’re trying to show the horrors of prison and Saddam, but somehow people have the opposite reaction. Why is that?

WB: I think part of it, one, is we don’t want to be exposed to such a thing. It’s about implication. Because if we admit it exists, we are part of the system. Creating as much distance as you can is safer for us. And second, it really affects people to see, to smell it, hear it, it just affects people, and I think that’s why it created the opposite. And I think with political work in general, a lot of time, we don’t want to look at it. We close our eyes. Because if I admit that it exists, I am part of the system of oppression. So, that’s why we don’t want to look at political art, we don’t want to engage with it, and the more distance we create, the better.

S&S: A lot of people talk about media hits. And this sounds like it had an immense media saturation. The smell and everything was so effective that people were talking about prisons. Is that controversy something you want?

WB: I’ve been accused of that a lot. And the latest accusation, I’ve been called attention-whore. Some have the suspicion that I create these projects to get that attention so the art will be exposed, or that I just love controversy. I think some artists do. But we have to look at the bigger picture: what’s the objective of the controversy? Is it really just to get attention? Or is it to engage? These are two separate, different things. If the objective were to raise awareness, to let people know what you’re trying to do, I think that’s a noble objective. But if the objective is just to get media, I think that’s crappy because then the work is not going to deliver what you want, and you’re not going to go very far.

S&S: Speaking of media, do you make an effort to get media?

WB: No. I think it’s the other way around.

S&S: They make an effort to find you.

WB: Exactly, exactly. I used to send out a press release and try to get the media, but I find viral connection is much better than going straight to the media. And here’s why: a lot of times people think that the big corporations broadcast the news they want, like a George Orwell world. But a lot of it is the opposite. Look at CNN – how does a story gets to the top of their website? It’s basically by clicks. So it’s helpful to understand how the web is serving us. So, when I decided to do Domestic Tension, I did the opposite of the traditional press release, and I went to the internet from my email list, to friends’ email lists, to friends’ email lists. So that’s what creates media attention, and what happens when you have such a huge amount of attention is that it puts pressure on the established media to bring them to talk about it.

S&S: When you sit down to plan your work, do you think about your audience, do you think about effectiveness, engagement, how best to engage them?

WB: I recently give a talk, at Pomegranate Gallery about these two works. The one, Domestic Tension, and the other Virtual Jihadi. And at the end, there was a young guy who stood and said, “I’m an American soldier, I just came back from Iraq, I appreciate what you do, but please explain this to me: with Domestic Tension, you engage a lot of people, with Virtual Jihadi, you alienate a lot of people. Why is that?” And you know, one must consider who the audience are. With Domestic Tension, it was a lot about bringing people together and have them talk. The Virtual Jihadi, it was about exposing our hypocrisy and getting people who didn’t want to talk about it to talk about it.

S&S: And when you sat down to plan these projects, did you think in terms of this?

WB: You do. You have to.

S&S: So you think of the audience first or simultaneously…?

WB: No, I think the project determines a lot of things. The project can determine the media, the project can determine the audience, I mean a lot of things. Saying, “why do I want it to be this project?” – that’s the first question; second, “who do I want it to engage?” – third is “what’s the medium?” The medium is determined by the project itself. But then the audience, that’s your second question: “who do I want to engage?” Or maybe sometimes it’s the first question, too. “Who is the audience, and what do I want to do with this project?” And I think the question “what do I want to do with this project” is basically saying, “who is my audience?”

S&S: Why use art? Why not write essays? Why not go out there with a picket sign?

WB: I think it’s the medium where I can best express myself. But also writing. Writing’s a great thing. I’ve held so many signs, you know, and stopped traffic. But beyond that intersection, they move on. Art, I find it effective because way early on I found out that the [Hussein] regime would kick people out of art school if they’re in any way engaged in politics or even if their families are engaged in politics. So it has a lot of power.

Art is not concrete. The narrative is open. The idea of me as a viewer assigning my own value to the object, establishes a connection which is unique – your connection is your connection. And it has a lot to do with what I see in that object and where I’m coming from. And I think that’s why we engage sometimes in an object for so long while rejecting others.

www.wafaabilal.com

Edited by Sarah J Halford

Art is not thought

Agnes Martin, Gratitude, 2001, acrylic and graphite on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Agnes Martin, Gratitude, 2001, acrylic and graphite on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Thoughts on how not to think, from Agnes Martin:

The life of an artist is a very good opportunity for life.
When we realize that we can see life we gradually give up the things that stand in the way of our complete awareness.
As we paint we move along step by step. We realize that we are guided in our work by awareness of life.
We are guided to greater expression of awareness and devotion to life.

You must say to yourself: “How can I best step into this state of mind and devote myself to the expression of life.”
You must not be led astray into the illustration of ideas because that is not art work. It is ineffective even though it is often accepted for a short time. it does not contribute to happiness and it is finally discarded.
The art work in the Metropolitan Museum or the British Museum does not illustrate ideas.
The great and fatal pitfall in the art field and in life is dependence on the intellect rather than inspiration.
Dependence on intellect means a consideration of observed facts and deductions from observation as a guide in life.
Dependence on inspiration means dependence on consciousness, a growing consciousness that develops from awareness of beauty and happiness.
To live and work by inspiration you have to stop thinking.
You have to hold your mind still in order to hear inspiration clearly.

Doppelgangers

Introspection, Dario Tazzioli, carrara marble.

Introspection, Dario Tazzioli, carrara marble.

I had some fascinating conversations with fellow artists at the reception for Doppelgangers at Oxford Gallery, where Jim and Ginny Hall have assembled another fine group show. It drew a large crowd, and it may have offered the largest number of pieces of any show they’ve ever put together, more than sixty. Many of the contributors took the theme as a pretext for submitting a pair of works, some two- and some three-dimensional, and yet everything seemed to fit perfectly into the available space. The idea of doppelgangers inspired or at least drew some exceptional work that had already been completed. As always, it’s impossible to do justice to everything on view, but again Dario Tazzioli’s sculpture was a magical affirmation that the artistic past is also its present and future. His Introspection, the bust of a young woman with a mane of flowing, wavy hair, carrara marble carved with a hand-turned bow drill—delivered to the show from Italy—stands as a quiet traditional tour de force, a testament to how nothing is off the table in art now. “Anything goes in art” used to mean that Warhol could fill a room with balloons and call it a masterpiece; now it means that the heritage of Donatello can still speak powerfully to a contemporary audience.

Tom Insalaco’s two paintings of faces offer the same lesson in a darker mood. They are the work of a man who has, for decades, been inspired by and driven to honor the Renaissance and baroque periods. He continues to quietly labor at his home studio in Canandaigua, NY, with more than one room turned into warehouses for his past work, all of it deserving a serious retrospective, but as if often the case with brilliant work done in obscurity, no one seems to be knocking on his door offering to revive interest in his remarkable career, which moved over the years from photo-realism to a reverence for the Old Masters. Since last year I’ve been studying and reading about Piero Della Francesca, whose work, especially, toward the end of his life, strikes me as powerfully alive and evocative and stylistically individuated in a completely contemporary way—which again suggests that emulating the mannerists or the Old Masters or the early Renaissance, or any other period, doesn’t need to be even a quasi-ironic undertaking, as it is with John Currin or Kehinde Wylie.

I had a long, probing conversation with Phyllis Bryce Ely about the recent work of hers I’d seen earlier in the day at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, NY: a pair of iceberg paintings from photographs her father took when he was serving as a Navy photographer documenting the construction of the DEW line in the arctic. These ghostly forms fed into her preoccupation with water—frozen water in this case reflected in the surface of the unfrozen kind—resulting in remarkable evocations of stillness and disembodied space, reductions of complex scenes into simple and flowing strokes of paint, that seem like fluid reverberations of what they represent—water shape-shifting into paint. I had a chance to finally meet Daniel Mosner, whose contribution to the show is an eerie depiction of what appears to be a woman whose face is moving from side to side so frenetically it’s nearly a vibrating blur—like those liminal, ominous figures who haunt the central character in the movie Jacob’s Ladder. In the background, through a doorway, you can catch a glimpse of what looks like a large, glowing flat-screen television. The paint is beautifully, confidently handled, luxuriant and full of subtle color. Mosner talked of how he works in isolation near Binghamton, NY, and how good it was to be with other artists for a while, and how he’s currently building a painting that sounds like a commentary on the history of modernism—a scene in which objects at different distances from the viewer will be rendered in ways appropriate to different movements from the 20th century, like striations in different depths of rock: realistic up close, Cubist in the middle distance, and expressionist in the most remote areas of the scene. “All of it will be unified by the light source,” he said, as if it were a matter of routine. He’s an exceptionally gifted painter, so I expect interesting results. Bill Santelli offered two paintings, from two of his four main bodies of work, one of them being the focal point of the entire show, as you walk in, the first work you see—a swirling abstracts, where the colors curl upward like smoke, highly simplified into the near-symmetry of a Rorschach blot, a red wound or flower in the center surrounded by a rococo sea of blues and greens. It’s one of his best from this ongoing series. Tony Dungan contributed an image of multiple human figures, built around his current obsession with a particular yellow-green hue, close to the one you’ll find on the backs and feet of runners as a warning to traffic. In Dungan’s hands this color is like a captured bird, pressing out against its confinement, full of energy—a glimpse of the life force itself. He works quickly and prolifically, and isn’t afraid to keep painting over whatever doesn’t please him, and he pulled out his phone to show me a large portrait that gave him such fits that he sanded it down, in an attempt to start over, but liked what he was seeing as he subtracted rather than added to the image. His experiments are always powerful: he’s someone who wrests unity from images that can be incredibly complex and, at first, seemingly fragmented.

The revelation of the show, for me, was Kenopsia, by Ryan Schoeder, hung brilliantly beside a pair of paintings by Matt Klos. Klos had a show not long ago of a series he did of abandoned homes in Fort Howard, Maryland, which was once a military installation and is now essentially a ghost town. Klos submitted two paintings from this period: one the image of a green house with a surrounding pillared veranda, an osprey’s nest in the eaves. It’s a plangently lovely image, a study in green, blue and brick, with the blue of the sky reflecting delicately off a shadowed wall, almost entirely angled away from the viewer—as if the actual house were slowly melting into the air, which in a way it was. Klos paired the painting with another scene from his studio, with this same painting sitting on a shelf, a clearly discernible object among many others lost in the ambient light. Both paintings pit the beauty of the image itself against mortality’s song of loss and decrepitude. Perpendicular to these two pieces, Schoeder’s large near-abstract actually seemed like a doppelganger of sorts for Klos’s unobtrusive, soft-spoken mastery. Schroeder’s large painting has a glowing, symphonic presence, drawing you in with the grandeur of its light, as you squint and turn your head trying to make out what you’re trying to see. Gradually, as you adjust your expectations, you begin to recognize an immense interior volume, a structure that seems to have been hollowed out, half full of rain or a storm surge or the massive dregs of a fire hose. This vacant, ghostly and cavernous space is intensely, brightly illuminated, as if you’re in a psychic waiting room for a near-death experience. In the center of this space rises a ragged, formerly-load bearing piling, like a pillar of salt or limestone but likely just cement. I was standing beside another visitor to the show, who was fascinated and bemused by the elusive quality of the painting, “I don’t know why, but it reminds me of the 911 memorial. Have you been there?”

“No, but I’ve seen images of it. I’ve written about it. It’s remarkable. The falling water,” I said.

“This feels like that, to me,” he said.

It was an amazing, intuitive leap to make about the painting since it looks almost nothing like that memorial, but it did evoke a feeling similar to the effect of that excavated crater, and the hint of water—not falling but motionlessly reflective—brought to mind the same kind of uneasy and yet serene gravity. I immediately got out my phone and looked up the word kenopsia: “the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet—a school hallway in the evening, an unlit office on a weekend, vacant fairgrounds—an emotional afterimage that makes it seem not just empty but hyper-empty . . .” So it struck me that, with the work form Matt Klos nearby, one corner of the gallery had been invisibly roped off as a shrine to kenopsia, a curatorial choice that only magnified the central qualities of all three paintings.

With this painting, I finally was able to make sense of what has been driving Schroeder in most of his recent work over the past few years: as if the title of this painting had arrived belatedly to lend perspective to his entire body of work up to now. He’s basically been trying to depict what can’t be seen, this kenopsia, over and over and over: in derelict spaces, long abandoned, with their jumble of deteriorating walls and floors and beams. In a tiny chapel with rows of empty pews. In subjects so crepuscular you can hardly make out what he’s trying to show you. He’s aiming his eyes at what can’t really be seen, maybe as a sort of analog for a Buddhist or existentialist void, but with this painting suddenly that space is illuminated like a stadium at night. I’m eager to see where this new light leads.

Southern Oregon Society of Artists May Meeting

SOSA February meeting : sosa logo southern oregon society of artistsThe Southern Oregon Society of Artists (SOSA) will have its regular May Meeting on May 22, 2017 at the Medford Public Library at 6:30 pm.
Our Guest Artist will be Doug Iverson, demonstrating  Abstracts on Yupo.  Everyone artistically bent is welcome. Free.
For more information call BJ at 541-414-4993 or Judy at 661-609-5837

Southern Oregon Plein Air Event 2017 Last day for Early Registration Monday, May 15

Southern Oregon Plein Air Event 2017

Last day for Early Registration is Monday, May 15th!

Event Takes Place 06/28 – 07/01/17

Quick Paint Competitions!
Art Supply Representatives!
Over $1500 in Cash Awards & Prizes!

Visit www.soartistsworkshop.com or call 541-324-7624 for full details and schedule!

Southern Oregon Plein Air Event 2017, produced by the Artistsworkshop and sponsored by Central Art Supply

Aimless beauty

Iris Murdoch, by Ida Kar, 1957 National Portrait Gallery

Iris Murdoch, by Ida Kar, 1957 National Portrait Gallery

Iris Murdoch, from Existentialists and Mystics:

Following a hint in Plato (Phaedrus, 250) I shall start by speaking of what is perhaps the most obvious thing in our surroundings which is an occasion for ‘unselfing’, and that is what is popularly called beauty. Recent philosophers tend to avoid this term because they prefer to talk of reasons rather than of experiences. But the implication of experience with beauty seems to me to be something of great importance that should not be by-passed in favor of analysis of critical vocabularies. Beauty is the convenient and traditional name of something that art and nature share, and which gives a fairly clear sense to the idea of quality of experience and change of consciousness. I am looking out of my window in an anxious and resentful state of mind, oblivious of my surroundings, brooding perhaps on some damage done to my prestige. Then suddenly I observe a hovering kestrel. In a moment everything is altered. The brooding self with its hurt vanity has disappeared. There is nothing now but kestrel. And when I return to thinking of the other matter it seems less important. And of course this is something that we may also do deliberately: give mention to nature in order to clear our minds of selfish care. It may seem odd to start the argument against what I have roughly labeled as ‘Romanticism’ by using the case of attention to nature. In fact, I do not think that any of the great Romantics really believed that we receive but what we give and in our life alone does nature live, although the lesser ones tended to follow Kant’s lead and use nature as an occasion for exalted self-feeling. The great Romantics, including the one I have just quoted, transcended ‘Romanticism’. A self-directed enjoyment of nature seems to me to be something forced. More naturally, as well as more properly, we take a self-forgetful pleasure in the sheer alien pointless independent existence of animals, birds, stones and trees. ‘Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystical.’*

I take this starting point, not because I think it is the most important place of moral change, but because I think it is the most accessible one. It is so patently a good thing to take delight in flowers and animals that people who bring home potted plants and watch kestrels might even be surprised at the notion that these things have anything to do with virtue. The surprise is a product of the fact that, as Plato pointed out, beauty is the only spiritual thing that we love by instinct. When we move from beauty in nature to beauty in art we are already in a more difficult region. The experience of art is more easily degraded than the experience of nature. A great deal of art, perhaps most art, actually is self-consoling fantasy, and even great art cannot guarantee the quality of its consumer’s consciousness. However, great art exists and is sometimes properly experienced and even a shallow experience of what is great can have its effect. Art, and by ‘art’ from now on I mean good art, not fantasy art, affords us a pure delight in the independent existence of what is excellent. Both in its genesis and its enjoyment it is a thing totally opposed to selfish obsession. It invigorates our best faculties and, to use Platonic language, inspires love in the highest part of the soul. It is able to do this partly by virtue of something that it shares with nature; a perfection of form that invites unpossessive contemplation and resists absorption into the selfish dream life of the consciousness.

Art however, considered as a sacrament or a source of good energy, possesses an extra dimension. Art is less accessible than nature but also more edifying since it is actually a human product, and certain arts are actually ‘about’ human affairs in a direct sense. Art is a human product and virtues as well as talents are required of the artist. The good artist, in relation to his art, is brave, truthful, patient, humble; and even in non-representational art we may receive intuitions of these qualities. One may also suggest more cautiously, that non-representational art does seem to express more positively something which is to do with virtue. The spiritual role of music has often been acknowledged, though theorists have been chary of analyzing it. However that may be, the representational arts, which more evidently hold the mirror up to nature, seem to be concerned with morality in a way which is not simply an effect of our intuition of the artist’s discipline.

These arts, especially literature and painting, show us the peculiar sense in which the concept of virtue is tied on to the human condition. They show us the absolute pointlessness of virtue while exhibiting its supreme importance; the enjoyment of art is a training in the love of virtue. The pointlessness of art is not the pointlessness of a game; it is the pointlessness of human life itself, and form in art is properly the simulation of the self-contained aimlessness of the universe. Good art reveals what we are usually too selfish and too timid to recognize, the minute and absolutely random detail of the world, and reveals it together with a sense of unity and form. This form often seems to us mysterious because it resists the easy patterns of the fantasy, whereas there is nothing mysterious about the forms of bad art since they are the recognizable and familiar rat-runs of selfish daydream. Good art shows us how difficult it is to be objective by showing us how differently the world looks to an objective vision. We are presented with a truthful image of the human condition in a form that can be steadily contemplated; and indeed this is the only context in which many of us are capable of contemplating it at all. Art transcends selfish and obsessive limitations of personality and can enlarge the sensibility of its consumer. It is a kind of goodness by proxy. Most of all it exhibits to us the connection, in human beings, of clear realistic vision with compassion.

-“The Sovereignty of Good Over Other Concepts”, Existentialists and Mystics, pp. 369-371

* Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is.” — Wittgenstein. Tractatus logico-philosophicus

Ashland Gallery Association's May 2017 Spotlight Exhibits

Bruce Bayard: Video Projections

Bruce Bayard continues his exploration into time-based imagery with video collages created for installations and performances. The video compositing process he uses is similar to that of the Photoshop process used in all his still images, interjecting stressed surfaces and multiple layers of interacting images. The resulting video clips are further combined in a program that randomly selects and runs portions of the clips in constantly changing sequence.

This batch of work contrasts trains, airplanes, forests and calm water surfaces. No soundtrack exists for the videos, but are created improvisationally in the moment using a Buchla Music Easel, and additional modular electronic sound sources.

During the First Friday Artwalk the projections will run continuously, with a combination of pre-recorded and improvisational soundscapes.

Bruce Bayard Boatman
Image caption: “Airplane,” video still by Bruce Bayard

Ashland Art Works

Michael Gibson’s Paintings 

This month Ashland Art Works features new work by Michael Gibson: Surrealistic “Winescapes” with homage to Dali and Chirico. “I had fun with this series,” says Gibson. “I got into their heads, appreciating the originality of their compositions, use of color and love of life.

Michael’s style is unique and at the same time inspired by works of post-impressionist artists. He received his BFA from Houston Museum of Fine Arts and has worked as a designer, art director, and taught life drawing, illustration, painting, graphic design and photography at Art Institute of Houston and the Art Institute of Seattle.

5 GALLERIES AND THE SCULPTURE GARDEN:

As always, you will be more than pleased by our selection of Fine Art and Crafts.

  • AAW is home to these outstanding local artists…
  • Elin Babcock’s assemblage, jewelry, & paintings
  • Marydee Bombick’s functional and garden pottery
  • Suzanne Etienne’s joyful paintings
  • Michael Gibson’s painting in post impressionists’ style
  • Cheryl Kempner’s jewelry, garden art & Crazy Clay Birds
  • Claudia Law’s textile creations
  • Daniel Loch’s photography
  • Bonnie Morgan’s decorative and functional pottery
  • George Popa’s dimensional wire sculptures
  • Lorene Senesac’s raku sculpture & wall reliefs
  • Connie Simonsen’s handpainted silk scarves
  • Angelique Stewarts functional and stylish weavings
  • John Weston’s fine woodwork & cutting boards

Surrealistic Winescapes

Image caption: “Surrealistic Winescapes” by Michael Gibson

American Trails

Alebrije or Animalistas

In May, American Trails Gallery we will be featuring the woodcarving folk art out of Oaxaca, Mexico. Fanciful carvings called alebrije or were first done by artist Pedro Linares Lopez in Mexico City in the 1930’s. He made elaborate piñata’s, carnival masks and religious figures out of paper mache and cardboard. This caught the attention of prominent gallery owners who began to market the pieces. Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo began commissioning the fanciful alebrijes, which means monsters. Linares returned to Arrazola in Oaxaca and began sharing his designs with fellow artisans. Manuel Jimenez Ramirez was the first to carve the colorful creatures out of copal wood in the 1970’s. The art form exploded in the 1980’s with folk art galleries in the US becoming more and more interested. Today, there are three main villages that the carvers reside; Arrazola, the pueblo of Manuel, San Martin Tilcajete, and La Union Tejalapam. We are proud to have over 80 families represented in our gallery.

American Trails Gallery proudly features the art and crafts of the indigenous peoples of the America’s. Weavings from the Navajo’s and Zapotec’s, carvings from the Hopi, Zuni, Haida, Kwakiutl, Inuit and Oaxaca, ceramics from many of the pueblos in the Southwest, Acoma, San Ildefonso, Zuni, Cochiti and the Mata Ortiz of Mexico, handmade historic and contemporary jewelry from the Pueblos, Zuni, Santo Domingo, Navajos as well as from Taxco. The largest selection of Historic Basketry in the Pacific Northwest including Pomo, Maidu, Hoopa, Karok, Wintun, Shasta, Modoc and many more. We also feature Regional artists depicting the Wildlife and Landscapes of the area. When you purchase a gift from American Trails you are helping to support hundreds of families who are working hard to keep the traditional Arts and Crafts of their communities alive and well.

The American Trails Gallery which for 23 years was located at 250 East Main Street on the Plaza in Ashland is being reopened at a new location 250 East Main street.

Open 10 am to 6 pm everyday excluding holidays

“Animalistas” woodcarving folk art

Image caption: “Animalistas” woodcarving folk art

Hanson Howard Gallery

Wataru Sugiyama & Lewis Anderson, ceramic sculptures & digital photography

The influence of the aesthetics and imagery of Asian art will be strong in our May exhibition.  Wataru Sugiyama slyly infuses a contemporary charm and, at times, humor into what we recognize as traditional Japanese motifs in his ceramic sculptures.  Lewis Anderson digitally blends photographs of the Pacific Northwest into landscapes that exist in a world of his own invention but have distinctive undercurrents of traditional woodblock landscapes.  Large in scale, at times up to 80” wide, these landscapes have the ability to draw you in and hold you. Show runs May 4th-30th.  Join us for an artist reception on First Friday, May 5th, 5-8 p.m.

Wataru Sugiyama has cultivated an appreciative audience for the Haniwa type imagery in his sculpture. Elements of Japanese history and mythology are almost the exclusive focus of Wataru’s creations.  He interprets imaginary and existing objects and gives them a modern twist by bringing his personal vision to these subjects.  His sculptures are truly inspirational, have a powerful presence, sense of humor, and make a strong impression on his viewers.  Besides historical elements, extremely fine detail and exquisite facial expressions are featured on his sculptures.

Lewis Anderson accurately describes his art as being somewhere between photography and painting, somewhere between East and West, somewhere between contemporary and ancient. The images invite the viewer to explore quiet moments in diverse landscapes full of light and shadow and symbology.  An ancient river winds through tall foreign mountains, full of soft golden light and blue fog. A single silhouetted figure in a small boat appears to be slowly rowing into the unknown in one of the three scroll-like panels of Boatman. This timeless image, like the others in Lewis Anderson’s Dynasty collection, emanates a strong sense of peace, solitude and mystery.

Boatman by Lewis Anderson

Image caption: “Boatman,” digital print on aluminum by Lewis Anderson