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.
Perhaps it is Spring that does it. Perhaps just time itself with long days and nights. But at last there is a bit of optimism that perhaps the art will continue. When the “blank wall” appeared in the past some little bit of art was made somehow, but it has been a long drought this time. What seems to have happened is that I let the painting, drawing and any other physical, “manual” form of art-making go. Just turned the canvas to the wall, closed the studio door as well as that mental door through which ideas slipped into conscious awareness in the past. Even the dreams have been vacant of ideas or references. A true creative desert!
But holding onto that metaphor, an oasis seems to have appeared. The instant gratification of photography has proved to keep a path open. The subject has been with me since 2005. It is the sculpture made for “The Threads Project”, “Child Revisited”.
Let this post be a short one, to celebrate. I have written before in this blog and in the book “What The Surface Reveals: The Threads Project 2001-2007” about the significance of “Child Revisited”.
In the next few days the new book of photographs of “Child Revisited” will arrive and prove that a new chapter has begun. Once it has been reviewed, then more about the book and the photos. For now, an introduction~
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.
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.
Staining and dripping fluid acrylic on the reverse side of a roughly cut piece of Okawara paper were the beginning of “My Country”. Misting the red paint with water allowed the pigment to achieve a matt surface as it stained and was absorbed into the receptive, cloth-like Okawara paper. The very thick drops of pigment retained the original gloss of the paint.
After some initial work it soon became clear that the image was failing to meet my expectations. Flipping the paper over I continued by working from the stained image that had bled through from the original side. As with earlier pieces, I decided to use a wrinkling method to add interesting texture. An attempt to accentuate the ridges and valleys of the relatively soft wrinkles with Nupastel was not a fruitful path. But the wonderful texture of the wrinkles created a kind of “landscape” on the paper and the large red stained central image evoked a map and thus the title “My Country”. And as with the previous works, dots continue to create fields of color.
I love the possibilities that wrinkling paper gives and have used it on crisper drawing papers with dry media like Nupastel where I could follow the “geography” of the crushed and wrinkled paper easily.
The qualities of paper and canvas have long been the subjects of investigation and relate to my work using dyes and pigments in textile design as well. (Working with dyes on fabric results in the same elements of staining that appear in these recent pieces.)
Okawara paper has a dual-sided ability to accept both wet and dry media and its durability allows physical manipulation like crushing and wrinkling as well as folding and creasing. (Four Maps For Karibib)
“My Country” continues the investigation of properties and process of materials and media that was more formally begun more than a decade ago.
In this triptych, “Three In Red”, from“The Threads Project” I used red and white to create analogous images using different materials. The section on the left is wrinkled drawing paper and Nupastel. The center work consists of loosely-sewn red thread on tulle, while the right work uses shades of red and pink thread on cotton sateen. Each is approximately 17 x 17 inches.
THE THREADS PROJECT contains a large proportion of work which relates to my first love in life, drawing. Although I didn’t realize it when this “series” began in 2001, (developing into an enormous body of work over more than six years), the questions I set for myself and the means I used to answer them helped me to expand my definitions of drawing on a very personal level.
I owned my first computer at the time that this experimentation began. Installed in it was the basic Paint program. I stumbled upon it and began to play a bit with the idea of drawing digitally. Immediately I began to see the linear relationship to my threads pieces and began to work with this in color and black and white.
BEATRICE’S THREADS 2002
THREAD LACE 2002
THREAD LACE II 2002
As “The Threads Project” progressed the idea of using actual thread and layers came into the work. This 2003 piece used thick thread sewn to tulle. Beneath the cream thread lies a single black thread. The earlier digital drawing, along with others, explored the idea of layers.
SINGULAR 2003 Thread, machine-sewn to tulle, hand-sewn to Okawara paper 14 x 11.75″
The digital drawings provided yet another method of using the idea of analagous images, but in a way entirely unanticipated. The linear quality of these digital drawings echoed that of thread of course, but also changed my ideas of what exactly constituted a drawing in my previous experience. The need for paper or any other physical support was unnecessary. The images remained “virtual” until printed in some way. Until then no boundaries existed except the frame of a monitor or computer screen. These images could be understood as thumbnails or “sketches” for other work such as an installation or sculpture. They could be fully-realized works on paper or fabric using a printing method of some kind. They certainly bore evidence of the maker’s hand yet not in any way I had ever before used.
One other element of the digital drawings was the use of inverting the images. This experiment provided a method that again, proved fertile much later when I began to work with digital photographs.
INVERTED THREADS I 2003
Black and white digital drawings as well as more digital drawings in color can be seen in the Page -DIGITAL DRAWINGS FROM THE THREADS PROJECT.
LINEAR STRATEGY BLACK VI 2002