The unexpected invitation by The Bureau of Cultural Affairs of Norfolk, Virginia to show a fairly comprehensive selection of work from “The Threads Project” is now on view at the Off Site Gallery in The World Trade Center. Although I was able to include only about fifty of the nearly two hundred works from that seven-year project, I was able to show some of the major pieces and illustrate some of the ideas and concepts that drove the work over those years.
Dorothy Coakley, of the Bureau, did a wonderful job hanging the show and also found the title, “Threads Of Time”. That title seems entirely appropriate to a project that evolved and developed over nearly a decade.
All photos: Eric Lusher, LusherProductions, Norfolk, Virginia 2015
I am pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work from “The Threads Project (2001-2007)”. “Threads of Time” will open on the evening of Friday, September 18, 2015 at The World Trade Center’s Offsite Gallery in downtown Norfolk, Virginia and continue until October 16.
After showing many of the pieces from this project since its inception in 2001 in juried and solo exhibitions across the United States, I am happy to be able to have a fairly comprehensive selection of pieces on view. Visitors will be able to see approximately sixty of the several hundred works completed over the years 2001-to about 2007. Included will be textile pieces, drawings, works on paper, unique prints and works on paper derived from prints made at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, paintings, and a sculpture.
The blog covers in detail the history of “The Threads Project” and is a good resource for those planning to visit.
The Offsite Gallery is run under the auspices of The City of Norfolk through their Office of Cultural Affairs. It’s temporary gallery space is in The World Trade Center as its usual space was severely damaged by an explosion earlier this year.
This exhibition is a bit of a homecoming as I showed my work long ago in 1980 for the First Anniversary Exhibit in the original damaged gallery, The Selden Gallery in the historic Selden Arcade.
Of course I never imagined then that I would one day return to Norfolk. Some of the pieces in the exhibition have roots going back to that time. The technique of frottage or rubbing began after one of my first trips to Europe, to London, where I made tombstone rubbings at Westminster Cathedral. I enjoyed experimenting with it over time and when “The Threads Project” began several decades later it proved to be one of the important methods in my work.
“Threads of Time”~an appropriate title for a long journey.
This new post comes after a long hiatus indeed. Leaving the West Coast for the East, a long renovation on a new home, all conspired to keep me away from my blog activities.
I’ve returned to Virginia after leaving in 1983 for San Francisco. Norfolk was my home from 1977 to 1983. I am happy to mark my return with an exhibition at The Art Works Gallery, sharing the exhibition with Lawrence (Skip) Hollingsworth, a painter, and Zach McKiernan, an historian who brought the work of a collective of printmakers from Chile.
I chose to hang a selection of works from “The Threads Project”, a large body of work which has been extensively documented in this blog. This project marked a great change from the primarily figurative work that I was making in the years I lived in Virginia and has informed the work which evolved and developed since.
The pieces in the exhibition were selected to illustrate important ideas from “The Threads Project” such as pairs and analogies, “lab pieces”, thread drawing, the “stitch-mark”, and using thread as both subject and medium, all of which may be read about in this blog’s Posts and Pages. Among the works were pieces which have been previously exhibited such as two triptychs, “Three In Red” and “Elements”. Works chosen included paintings, works on paper such as the announcement piece “Pages II (Red)”, and textile pieces.
Also included was “Mind’s Eye”, one of my most recent works. This is a work on paper which is descended from the ideas and relationships in “The Threads Project” that link my fine art to my textile work. I used fluid acrylic in a kind of staining method on paper much in the way that I once used dyes on fabric.
“OJECTIVE/SUBJECTIVE: MAPPING AS VISUAL LANGUAGE”, the two-part exhibition at NIU’s Art Museum in DeKalb, Illinois has opened. This will continue to May 24, 2013.
Included is my 2005 work on paper, from the folded suite of four, “Four Maps For Karibib: Interior Landscape”. This was exhibited in Karibib, Namibia in 2005.
The museum announcement describes the exhibitions:
“Contemporary artists utilize the visual and conceptual language of mapping to respond to both real and imagines spaces. Artists included: Erin Coleman-Cruz, Nancy Engstad, Adam Benjamin Fung, Ilana Halperin, Donna Katz, Ray Klimek, Dan Miller, Dan Mills, Ben Rosecrans, Ken’ichiro Taniguchi, and William Walmsley.”
A parallel exhibition, “MAPPING: MEASURING ACROSS PLACE AND PERIOD, INFORMATION, NAVIGATION AND GEOGRAPHY” opened on April 4 and continues as well to May 24.
“Focuses on the utility and aesthetics of ancient and modern maps and explores contemporary artistic interpretation of maps and mapping devices. This exhibition is organized by the Art 656 Museum Exhibition and Interpretations graduate students enrolled in the NIU Certificate for Museum Studies.”
The museum also describes their mission:
As an art museum belonging to an academic institution, the dual roles of NIU Art Museum are to contribute significantly to the university’s educational curriculum, and to provide opportunities for art education and cultural enrichment to the people of the northern Illinois community. The Museum serves to educate, preserve, exhibit and enlighten by balancing the challenges of contemporary art with the riches of traditional media for comprehensive examination of visual culture.”
The museum has an impressive calendar of events in conjunction with the Mapping Suite Exhibition, including gallery talks and workshops. Also scheduled are an informal talk by George and Mary Ritzlin, dealers in antique maps, talks by Gerald Brauer, an art historian and map collector, and programs by James R. Ackerman, Curator of the University’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography, Newberry Library, and Diane Dillion, Director of the Scholarly and Undergradute Programs, also of the Newberry Library.
Workshops provide events and activities for both children and adults, fulfilling the museum’s mission to focus on the educational opportunities of the exhibitions. Included are “Mapping: An Artmaking Adventure”, a three-day workshop for 9-12 year-olds.
“Aimless Wandering: The Theory and Practice of Getting Lost” is a workshop for adults with Karen Brown and Sarah Evans of the university faculty.
Peter Olson, co-curator with Heather Green, sent along a link of Flickr photos of the exhibition: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niuartmuseum/sets/72157633209120291/
It is an impressive curatorial effort and an amazing collaborative effort with the university’s faculty, libraries, and staff.
I am pleased to be included in this intellectually and aesthetically challenging exhibition. Each of the artists brought another dimension to viewers. The perception and definitions of “maps” and “mapping” was most certainly expanded by the work presented.
Painting is back in my life after a rough patch. I have finished two paintings that remained unresolved, one for more than five years, and the other since last May.
My trip to Namibia in late 2005 resulted in so many memorable experiences and images. One of these was the abundance of amazing termite hills. Inspired by the landscape of this sparsely-populated desert country I thought to do a series of work both in textiles and painting. But alas, this tall, vertical painting sat unfinished and unsatisfying until now. The impetus to start again came from the last image posted, “Mind’s Eye”. This employed gold acrylic in two forms on my beloved Okawara paper. The more liquid of the two media happened to be Jacquard’s Lumiere, a paint I have used to great purpose in my textile work. I discovered that it worked beautifully on not only paper, but the rough and textured surface of the painting. I went on to pick up the last of my 30 x 30 inch canvases left unattended for months. Risking overkill, I discovered that Lumiere lends itself to subtle layering with fluid acrylics as well as various mediums.
Here are the results~
NOON: APEX 2013 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 24″ Private Collection
Kurt, Carolla, and grandson were my hosts at their forty-five acre game farm. Carolla and I participated in the first invitational, international art exhibition, Art Action-Seven Fires in Karibib in August of 2005.
As mentioned in earlier posts, one of the pieces exhibited there, from a suite of four works on paper, will now appear in an exhibition at Northern Illinois University’s Museum of Art at DeKalb. The exhibit, called “OBJECTIVE / SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language” will show the work of ten artists from March 19 through May 24, 2013.
These works echoed the landscapes of not only the as yet-unseen country in which they were to be exhibited, but a landscape of the mind and imagination sparked by the materiality and process of paint on paper. I carried the four pieces folded into a pocket on the side of my luggage and they were hung in a stone building with clear plastic clips. The same system will display “Interior Landscape” at the museum exhibition.
A BIT OF GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK~”Four Maps For Karibib-Interior” has been selected to be included in the spring exhibition “Mapping” at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. The exhibition will take place March 19 to May 24, 2013.
This piece is one of four in a suite titled “Four Maps For Karibib”. They were created in 2005 on the occasion of an invitation to exhibit for the first international exhibition in the town of Karibib, located a few hours from the capital of Nambia, Windhoek. Nambibia is a sparsely-populated country just west of South Africa. With an land area twice the size of California but with less than two million people, this exhibition was a big event to its citizens. A German colony until the early Twentieth Century, then aligned with South Africa, Namibia is now an independant republic since 1990. It is still a rough and tumble place that attracts people from many countries. Our exhibition was held at a compound in Karibib owned by a Russian ex-pat Leonid Stupenkov. The event was not only an opportunity to show work of artists but a celebration that included bonfires, fireworks, roasted goat, music and dancing. It was truly an international event! In attendance were members of the media, including radio and newspaper, as well as the Russian consul and his wife. Some traveled, I was told, two hundred kilometers to join the festivities.
I wrote about the exhibition in an earlier Page on Webs And Threads. Here is a partial excerpt:
“ART ACTION-SEVEN FIRES” ~NAMIBIA 2005
I received an unexpected email one day in June, 2005, inviting me to exhibit my art in Namibia where a dear old friend, Armand has lived for many years. We met in Virginia in 1979 as he was ending a long journey across America and Canada. He was about to return home to Nuremberg, Germany to continue his studies in architectural restoration and art.
Although we knew each other just a short time, it seemed like the right thing to do when I accepted his family’s invitation to visit Germany for a Bavarian Christmas and what was to be my first trip to Europe. It was to be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. We have all stayed in touch since then, in spite of far-flung locations and busy lives.
Armand’s adventurous spirit took him to Africa, where he finally settled in Namibia in the small town of Karibib. There he has worked as a sculptor as well as created amazing mosaics and stonework. Although the digital age means that we now stay in touch more often, the email invitation came out of the blue!. After all the years of thinking about a visit to Africa, the time was right!
There were only a few weeks to prepare my work for the exhibition. I came up with the idea of folded works on paper when I noticed a folded map of California. This turned out to be the ideal solution to transporting art more than eleven thousand miles.
I simply folded the suite of four “Maps For Karibib” and put them into the zippered side pocket of my luggage. On arrival and the installation of our work, Armand strung a stainless steel wire in the stone building where our work was located. I use stainless steel spring clips to hang them like laundry. The beautiful Okawara paper did resemble fabric and visitors enjoyed walking around to see both sides of the four works.
I keep a file of ideas, inspirations, and mementos, as many artists do. These images, articles, or hand-written notes may lie around for years before I realize that they have “seeded” an image in my work or may have provided a direction for it.
While preparing for my momentous trip to NAMIBIA 2005 to participate in an exhibition there I began researching this amazing country. Among the interesting bits of information I came across this incredible image taken by NASA and used in a BBC News online article. It shows a satellite photo of The Brandberg Massif, a granite protrusion that broke through the earth’s crust about 120 million years ago in what is now Namibia.
The most recently finished painting, “Delta”, continues the new series of work such as the triptych called “Dreaming of India”, featured in the last post, Following The Thread. These paintings are inspired by the vivid colors, textiles, and jewels of my trip to that country in late 2009. I had begun to think of the clipping long ago saved in the inspiration file. But I did not look at it, merely thought about the idea of the way the rivers fanned out into a kind of delta. I had forgotten completely about the massif shown. I began the painting with just the idea of “delta” in mind. The same linear marks combined with intense color and obsessive dots and patterns.
DELTA 2011 acrylic on canvas 30 x 30 inches
When I returned to the file to scan the long-ago clipped photo of the Brandenberg Massif I also found this image from the same article:
Here the image seems to resemble the staining and marks not only of these recent paintings but also call to mind the original “maps”, Four Maps For Karibib, made on folded Okawara paper for the 2005 exhibition in Namibia.
FOUR MAPS FOR KARIBIB-NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST 2005 acrylic on Okawara paper
An interesting footnote to this post is the information I found on the Wikipedia page on Brandenberg Mountain (Massif):
Origin of Name
“The name Brandberg is Afrikaans, Dutch and German for Fire Mountain, which comes from its glowing color which is sometimes seen in the setting sun. The Damara name for the mountain is Dâures, which means ‘burning mountain’, while the Herero name, Omukuruvaro means ‘mountain of the Gods’.”
Tourists brave the dramatic desert climate to visit this northwest area of Namibia and to go to The Tsisab Ravine where thousands of ancient rock paintings can still be seen.
It seems fitting to discover that the landscape holds art from millenia ago and continues to inspire art in the 21st Century.