Announcing the opening of Clouds — a group exhibition
Opening Night Reception, Thursday, 23 March (7 – 9 pm) at Cityscape Art Space in North Vancouver (235 Lonsdale) — featuring fifty-one artists interpreting clouds in a variety of media that range from beadwork to photography.
Among the many cloud musings is my spontaneous iPhone capture of sunburst lighting up clouds on Chesterman Beach/Tofino, one of those rare moments when the drama of light obscured colour to show the contrast between rain and surf.
Clouds will be on show at Cityscapes Community Art Space through 22 April.
Chesterman Beach (iPhone image)
Another sketchbook is on the way to the Brooklyn Art Libary for the 2017 Sketchbook Project. Three streams of consciousness merge: hybrid monsters (real, imagined and augmented), an assortment of owls (scowl owls, wise owls and stylized) hidden and tucked into unlikely compositional elements and sketches of freeform climbers traversing, ascending and building stamina. Exhibition and touring details will be announced shortly. Nightmares — monsters, owls, and bouldering will soon be on view online; until then, nine digitized sketchbooks can be viewed here.
Announcing the publication of Seeking the Nuance (second edition).
Glenn Lewis, Phyllis Schwartz, and Debra Sloan present the second edition of Seeking the Nuance with new essays, photographs and glaze recipes. In this second edition is new historical information and discussion about how the Leach/Mingei philosophy continues to influence many studio practices within the BC ceramic culture.
The 2010 edition of Seeking the Nuance was based on Glenn Lewis’s 1970s glaze recipe card files that had evolved from his early 1960s apprenticeship with Bernard Leach. One of the main outcomes of this publication is an academic research written by Alex Lambley, a doctoral candidate at the Leach Pottery in St. Ives, Cornwall.
According to Debra Sloan these recipes not only demonstrate the numerous influences imported to British Columbia, but also they convey how information is utilized, especially in the constructed and geographically sequestered cultural environment in BC. Phyllis Schwartz believes that sharing these recipes will continue conversation amongst potters as they seek to nuance these heritage recipes work within their own practices.
Seeking the Nuance will be launched at the Best of BC (Gallery of BC Ceramics, 09 March) and the Canadian Clay Symposium (Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 18 March). It will also be available for purchase at the Gallery of BC Ceramics (Granville Island, 1359 Cartwright Street) for $25. A portion of the sales goes to the Maureen Wright Scholarship Fund (Northwest Ceramics Foundation).
Recently, I had an opportunity to reprint a series of photographs I made when the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau spoke to the students at Point Grey Secondary School in Vancouver on 19 May 1974. It was easy to mark the day because it was the day after Operation Smiling Buddha, India’s first nuclear weapons explosion. In his address to the students, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau shared his thoughts about the global impact of this nuclear test and affirmed Canada’s commitment to Peace Keeping.
At the time of Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit, I was a new Canadian who had just signed a continuing contract with the Vancouver School Board. It was a new beginning for me in a chaotic time, and Canada offered both opportunity and a sense of social order. As well, I could not only afford an SLR camera but also my own darkroom equipment. The Prime Minister’s visit to Point Grey, along with a press entourage, was probably my first event photo-shoot. I had no experience working with all the lighting added by myriad photographers and videographers, but perhaps you will find that part of the honesty characteristic of 1970s artwork. Jay Currie, President of the Student Council, and son of G.B. Currie, Chairman of MacMillan Bloedel, introduced the Prime Minister to the student body and staff.
Artists by nature are not hard-wired to boost, promote, or sell their work. Buyers usually want to know more about the works that attract their attention and perhaps purchase. That more can be the backstory, the technique or inspiration, and it is often said that it is not the work that is sold but the story that is bought. For some artists, that conversation is difficult. In my own artist practice, all of this is the case. If I could bring that story to life in conversation, there would be no need for me to make a drawing, photograph, artist book or ceramic sculpture. I came to value (and now miss dearly) art school critiques because I learned how to speak more confidently about the backstory, techniques and inspiration in my artist practice. Having said that, this blog feels somewhat like shameless self-promotion, but it could also be a year end summary about where my work can be found, where this work can be purchased.
South Main Gallery (279 East 6th Avenue, Vancouver) now represents my work, particularly More Illuminations, featured in Vancouver’s Capture Photography Festival (2016).
Cityscapes Art Rentals (335 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver) holds a small collection of my work for rent, rent-to-own, and purchase. A selection of my work will be in the 2017 Art Rental Show (opening 12 January through 04 February 2017).
The Brooklyn Art Library (28 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY)/ Sketchbook Project now sells high quality prints of pages from nine of my sketchbooks in their collection. Sketchbook Collection
Gifting is an art form in its own right, and in this season of gift giving, a gift of art is a double gift because it gifts the artist as well. More about my photography continues at http://www.sassamatt.com
A selection of my ink spot drawings are showing at the Winchester Gallery (Winchester, UK) during the Small Press: Independent Comics and Self Publish Event. Curated and installed by Dimitri Pieri, my work is exhibited alongside artists from Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Poland, France , Bristol, Glasgow, London and Prague and includes screenprinting, collage, photography, fine art, comix and illustration.
More about this event and installation in the following links.
More about this event and installation in the following links. http://wsasmallpresscomics.tumblr.com https://www.facebook.com/events/1749239822025875
Telling Stories — a visual art exhibition, my most recent Best B4 Collective project co-curated with Alison Keenan, presents the work of nine Vancouver artists telling stories in a variety of media. We have selected artists who both tell stories about contemporary issues and push the boundaries of their artistic medium. The exhibition opens 07 November at the On-Tak Gallery in the Chinese Cultural Centre and runs through 19 December.
Urban and environmental issues are the predominant themes running through the stories in this exhibition. Alison Keenan uses scale to tell visual stories about the territorial clash between avian and human creatures. Edward Peck’s photographs zoom into Berlin graffiti to re-tell the on-going stories found in the urban streetscape. My Salton Sea series pictures surreal environmental devastation caused by the food and computer industries situated on the US-Mexican border.
Phyllis Schwartz: Evidence
Edward Peck: Looking Outward
Alison Keenan: Avian Fables 3
New to the Best B4 Collective are six artists who tell stories using fibre and installation art. Daphne Harwood uses the quilting medium to document urban transformation where once stood Imagination Market on the north shore of False Creek. Sophi Liang installs a ladder which holds traditional books to deconstruct traditional Chinese cultural values transplanted in a new cultural landscape. Colette Lisoway’s multi-screen prints build up a new image of a multicultural society in a rapidly changing community.
Daphne Harwood: My Map of the Imagination Market
Sophi Leung: Where Does the Ladder Lead Us?
Colette Lisoway: Happy to Meet You
Uncanny stories are told in sculpture, painting and photography, stories that reframe the issues of environmental, urban and cultural conflict. Debra Sloan’s sculptures freeze tense, mischievous moments. June Yun’s paintings might look like misty Chinese countryside landscapes, but they are in fact stories of pollution that causes a nuclear winter. The tension in Jim Friesen’s stormy skies tell stories about the cycle of tension and release, a metaphor for many of the issues presented in the stories in this exhibition.
June Yun: Cloud Dream B
Debra Sloan: Travellers to the Coast
Jim Friesen: Iona Island Confession
Each weekend, free community events will be offered to the public, and during the week, participating artists will be working with students in the community who visit the exhibition. Further details are found on the Events Page of the Best B4 Collective Blog.
Mobile phones have become a notebook of sorts; they store images and fragmented memories, keep a phone call and text log, store data, track appointments and whole lot more. For a photographer, the fully loaded mobile phone is the notebook I’ve been waiting for. I can use it standing up, lying back or hunkering down without awkwardly searching for something to write with when the visual thought is in front or behind me, just about to disappear as the train is leaving the station. With a little planning, I have access to tools to work on stored images and maybe even prepare them for publication. I’m not much of a speech to text person, but I can dictate thoughts that take the shape of words or keep those words as a soundtrack. This is not to say that it replaces the coil bound artist notebook that is central to my artist practice; I have three crates of artist notebooks, and there’s no sign that that habit of visual journaling will be replaced by my mobile phone. But finally, there’s a notebook for photographers.
From time to time, I sing the praises of Aline Smithson, creator, editor and publisher of Lenscratch, photographer, writer and teacher. I read her blog daily, and it fuels my artist practice on many levels. I appreciate her seasonal calls for submissions to her theme-based blog exhibitions and look forward to visual content and editing/curating, offering a reading of these juxtaposed images that adds up to way more than the sum of the parts. A recent LENSCRATCH blog featured five pages of cellphone photography and included one of my cellphone photographs. Set among other cellphone photographs, I read my work in a new way.
Scrolling through LENSCRATCH 2015 Cellphone Exhibition, this blog emerged, and writing about my own work is always more laboured than this one. It was an inspirational series of images that illustrates how versatile the cellphone and cellphone camera can be. I am one of many who believe that technology and the economics of the cellphone camera have democratized photography, making cellphone photography a genre in its own right. While I began celebrating the notebooking opportunities of the cellphone, I end with a statement about the potential of the cellphone to make photography both immediate and contemplative, complex and spontaneous. View my Screenshot in isolation in this blog, but also view it in the context of the Lenscratch 2015 Cellphone Exhibition.
Three of my sketchbooks are on the Sketchbook Project Summer Tour. This year’s tour kicks off at the Brooklyn Art Library on Friday, 05 May and then travels to nine tour stops in North America. Sketchbook Project tours are fun: in addition to checking out and reading artist made books, there are also drawing and postcard writing activities.
On board this year are two new sketchbooks and one classic. Find your closest city, check out some sketchbooks and let me know what you think. Summer Tour Schedule
Big Wheels is a girl’s look at big wheels on roads, streets and sidewalks. It amazes me to think about how the wheel is one of six simple machines and how much complex technology is dependent on basic elements like a wheel. This book has been to Chicago, NYC, Bloomington, Ocean Shores, Iceland, Denmark and Germany. It traveled many miles to get to you.
Songs for the Accordion was inspired by the accordion book form and wanting to make a unique book that could visualize song and dance. Music threads through a landscape of colour and leaves notes to play and replay. Marks on paper were made using Procion dye, acrylic ink, charcoal, thread, acrylic medium and white glue. Of all the books made for the Sketchbook Project, this was the most difficult to send away.
My Brooklyn Childhood — a memoir has been on many Sketchbook Project Tours, including Art Basel. It is a compilation of my father’s memoirs and memory drawings. It brings together work that my father talked about but never achieved: illustrating the many stories he told. His memory drawings open a new understanding of his Brooklyn boyhood, and the Brooklyn Art Library is a fitting location for this first edition. This book is also available from Blurb
View these and my other Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbooks on line.
Winter Salon 2014 opens Thursday, 27th November ( 7 – 10:30 pm) at PhotoHaus Gallery (14 West 7th Avenue) with an exciting collection of work that includes three Lumen Prints that were recently exhibited at die Bedürfnisanstalt in Hamburg Germany in September.
MisSummer Spanish Bank Impressions is my current analogue Lumen Print Series. On a parched summer day, I gathered materials from what had been deposited on the beach at high tide. In my work, I am always curious to discover what emerges from the footprints and shadows of my compositions on photosensitive materials. This summer’s pareidolic gift offered images of caribou, bears and canine forms, including one that received Honourable Mention from the Cascadia exhibition jury.
My current series of Digital Lumen Prints, Illuminations and Impressions, are made from materials gathered from the Ocean Shores (Washington) foreshore. These images are made from handmade negatives using a Lumen Printing process and then digitized. These new plant forms have made new forms that trace the footprint and capture the shadows on photosensitive materials. Their luminescence invite the viewer to imagine motion and drama in what remains.
This Autumn’s exhibition at die Bedürfnisanstalt featured a selection of New York analogue Lumen prints that were exhibited in Tree — literal and figurative (On-Tak Gallery, Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre) and premiered MidSummer Spanish Banks Impressions. A selection of digital Lumen Prints were previously showcased at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum as well as new works made at Ocean Shores, Washington.
Caribou Portrait, Ocean Shores Impressions 1, Serious Caribou
Winter Salon 2014 continues through December. Check hours and address at PhotoHaus Gallery’s website. http://photohausgallery.com/upcoming/