Archives for posts with tag: visual art

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

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IntervalsWeb-1024x622Presented by South Main Gallery and Capture Photography Festival
Curated by Edward Peck and Phyllis Schwartz (Sassamatt Collective)
We are pleased to present exciting new and recent work by 7 international photographic artists, including 3 world premieres at South Main Gallery. The exhibition features Goga Bayat, David Ellingsen, Jim Friesen, Diana Nicholette Jeon, Edward Peck, Phyllis Schwartz and Andrew Ward.

March 31st to April 9th
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 31st /7 – 9 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, April 2nd / 2 – 4 pm

Don’t miss a chance to talk to the artists about their work on Thursday at the Opening Reception or Saturday at the Artist Talk featuring Diana Nicolette Jeon and Andrew Ward.

Seven global photographers converge in an exhibition about the rhythms and tensions in the contemporary geographical, social and psychological landscapes.

Intervals: Photography in Flux is a collection of unique and unusual digital and photographic processes that are rarely seen in one setting. The methods and techniques range from those used long before the invention of the camera to the advanced technology available to artists today. The works are presented through diverse photographic methods using encaustic, cameraless exposures, and iPhonography. Their themes thread around the deconstruction of identity, environmental issues, disposable society, speaking under oppression and the mysteries in the mundane.

An Exhibition Catalogue will be available in the gallery and from Blurb

South Main Gallery
279 East 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1J7
The exhibition continues through Saturday, 09 April. South Main Gallery is open Tuesday – Thursday (10AM – 5:30 PM), Friday-Saturday (11AM-5:30PM) and Sunday by appointment; private viewing available (604.565.5622). An Artist Talk will be held on Saturday, 08 April (2-4 pm).

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Frozen

Frozen

I’ve been gifted this review of my current series: Salton Sea Eco-Disaster — I cannot look away.

 

The Salton Sea Eco-Disaster – I cannot look away
One of the most provocative and insightful bodies of artwork in the Telling Stories: a visual art exhibition is a series of photographs by Phyllis Schwartz. Although a great deal of her work is more abstract in nature and rooted in the historical techniques of photographic image making, this series is a departure for her. The images are very monochromatic and stark as well as being rivetingly close to their subject matter.

What has caused this departure, especially when the work has been simmering since the winter of 2011? Having witnessed the ecological destruction on the shores of the Salton Sea, California’s largest body of water, the images were just too graphic and unworldly. How does a visual artist work with a set of images that seem implausible, yet at the same time so captivating? What are the implications of creating a series around these images that wander between a work of art, a statement of witnessing and a political commentary on our economically driven ecological disasters?

Vacant

Vacant

In the end one cannot really look away, as Phyllis Schwartz expresses in her subtitle, without becoming even more complicit than one already is creating these images. To look away is to do what is so often done, to pretend we are not part of the problem. We are collectively the authors of this series; even in Vancouver, the food grown in this area that flows 15,000 tons of phosphorus and nitrogen into this landlocked sea is the food we shop for on our grocery shelves. The cars we drive that are made in Mexico in the maquiladoras just across the border, emit a toxic stew mixed with sewage, and this flows down hill across the border into the Salton Sea. This artificial river is now the most toxic waterway in North America, we should not be looking away.

Schwartz’s images are simple yet draw in the viewer; they are micro-compositions of areas no larger than a dessert plate. Abstract in presentation and mostly black and white with hints of colour, one can not help but think of Edward Weston’s work and the intimacy he expressed with the objects he photographed. Yet the images are not as subtitle, and unlike Weston, the images are much less rooted in the post modern culture that favours irony while making allusions to knowledge. It also seems to lash out at the pseudo-modern world of around us where iPhones and social media often gives the impression that one is immersed when often one is overtaken or swallowed up.

Desiccated

Desiccated

As the viewer moves from one image to another, one begins to feel that something is amiss. What is the magnitude of the dead barnacles beach? Why are the fish mostly unconsumed by the other wild life in the area? Why have they not been cleaned up by local inhabitants? Having chosen to work at such an intimate range, the work hints at the extent of the problem without graphically showing the masses of dead fish that actually litter the shoreline. The artist here is reflecting our tendency to minimize and reduce things down so we do not see the scale of the problem. One cannot look away, but one does not want to see the scale, a scale might prove too challenging. The softness and almost abstract forms allow one to at momentarily escape before the mind lurches back to what is being presented. It moves the viewer to search out the subtext and the footnotes of this ecological metaphor of our current age.

Edward Peck (15 November 2015)

Edward Peck

On the Wall Series, photographed in Germany in 2015, will be part of the Telling Stories:a visual art exhibition opening on the 7th of November 2015. The exhibition will include photography, painting, sculpture, fibre art and other installations. It will feature the following nine artists: Alison Keenan, Phyllis Schwartz, Jim Friesen, Daphne Harwood, Sophi Liang, Colette Lisoway, Edward Peck, Debra Sloan and June Yun.

This is the BestB4 Collective’s latest exhibition, and it is graciously hosted by the Chinese Cultural Centre in their On-Tak Cheung Exhibition Gallery.

Opening: Saturday, November 7, 2015

Location: 555 Columbia Street

Regular Hours: 11:am – 5pm (Tue-Sat), Nov 7th – Dec 19

For Special Hours and Events see BestB4Collective’s Blog

For more information please go to the BestB4 Collective’s events page:
http://bestb4collective.blogspot.ca/p/events.html )

A Brief Word About the Series

My artist practice has always been about teaching myself to see. While walking around Berlin and Hamburg, I noticed that…

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Telling Stories: a visual art exhibition, a new exhibition presented by the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver in collaboration with the BestB4 Collective, opens at the On-Tak Cheung Gallery at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum on Saturday, 07 November, 2015 from 2 – 4pm.

This new  BestB4 Collective project is a collaboration with nine visual artists and community members; the gallery is transformed into a meeting place where photography, painting, ceramics, fibre and installations tell and evoke stories. Salton Sea Eco-Disaster — I Cannot Look Away, my Salton Sea photo-graphic story, will be on show in this exhibition.

In the Winter of 2011, I made my second photo-exploration of the Salton Sea in Southern California to continue my study of the environmental impact of the local economy on the region and am now working toward a return to the area for a future photographic project. This eco-disaster is complex: as this salt lake dehydrates, the toxins from the Mexicali-Calexico food industry and computer industry contaminants concentrate, which in turn kills the fish, birds and plant life. As a result, the shore of the Salton Sea is ringed with layers of dead fish and birds; the stench of dead marine life hovers over a series of ghost towns built with the intention of a recreational paradise in the desert.

My work in this area has only begun. It is simultaneously seductively surreal and an outrage. I use the photographic process as an investigative tool. The process of photography reveals detail and texture. I seek universals, digging beneath the surface for invisible truth, open to the optical unconscious revealed by my camera. In my quest for the poetic, my photography addresses the nature of permanence and impermanence by asking, “What remains?”

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More about the Best B4 Collective 
More community events

Papergirl Vancouver
One of my favourite events. It’s about sharing. It’s about gifting. It’s like sending out a message in a bottle. This year my work is being distributed Mexico, Bristol, Hannover and Vancouver.

All of the artwork submitted to Papergirl Vancouver will be lovingly placed on display at the Roundhouse Community Centre for a week before riders head out on their bikes to spread art throughout the city.

Join the celebration of another year of art and altruism on Monday, August 24th at 6pm at the Roundhouse Community Centre!

Papergirl Vancouver 2015 Offerings

Two of my vintage analogue Lumen Prints have been selected for auction at ArtBeat Vancouver. Works by fifty up-coming and established local artists have been curated by Lynn Ruscheinsky and will be auctioned at ArtBeat 2015 this Saturday, 25 July at the Belkin Residence (7349 Blenheim Street), 4 – 10 pm.  Event details and ticket purchase details can be found at ArtBeat/Events.

Both Lumen Prints from the Spanish Banks Series were previously exhibited at the in the Emily Carr Awards Exhibition at the Winsor Gallery. These works are early explorations of the Lumen Print process using materials gathered from the seashore.

ArtBeat 2015 is a fund raising event for the expansion of Esther’s Place, a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence, as well as Little Footprints/Big Steps, a charity founded to aid rescuing children from situations of abuse, slavery, homelessness or severe neglect. More details can be found at ArtBeat/The Cause. 

Spanish Banks Impressions 13 (Lumen Print on fibre, unique photogram)

Spanish Banks Impressions 13 (Lumen Print on fibre, unique photogram)

Fan Coral (Lumen Print on Fibre, unique photogram)

Fan Coral (Lumen Print on Fibre, unique photogram)

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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.

I am writing this blog so I can learn to spell and understand pareidolia. In the 70s, I read an article in Scientific American that explained how the eye-brain constructed recognizable shapes from ambiguity. That information gave me insight into how visual art that compelled caused me to look again, and I was sure I would remember that word. I reached for that word many times, talking around it and hoped someone could fill in the gap in my knowledge. That gap was filled in conversation following one of my Facebook posts during  the  Black and White Photo challenge this September. Now in a time when access to this kind of information is only a few keystrokes away, I am able to fill in that gap.

Pareiolia explains why we see the man in the moon, dragons in clouds, faces (especially eyes) in tree bark and projected imagery in reflective surfaces. This rediscovery of this word and this phenomenon gives both an explanation for my fascination with abstract Lumen Print compositions and a context for my artist process. Artwork, music and literature that offer multiple valid readings have always attracted me;  my favourites continue to invite another layer of meaning. My Lumen Prints that render smaller ambiguous pareidoltric artifacts engage my viewers and often spark interesting conversation. I look again.

Bladderwrack and Rainwater (2010)

Bladderwrack and Rainwater (2010)

One of my most enduring compositions, Mother and Child, was an early starting point in my Lumen Print artist practice. When I look at this Lumen Print, I see a goat like figure and a playful calf nuzzling up affectionately to a protective figure, a mother to my way of looking at it; I want to see a Mother and Child, and a reach into the photograph for more imagery to complete that story. Others might see darkened outlines of familiar seaweed shapes: bladderwrack, sea lettuce and the potassium deposits made by sheets of Lamenaria left out in the rain. My early Lumen Print work was essentially creative botanical documentation. I discovered the X-Ray like marks in Lumen Prints  yield more information than in botanical drawings; these Lumen Print documents simultaneously photograph the interior and exterior of the specimen. When I freed these materials from their orthodox portraiture and used these materials in the markmaking process,  then landscapes and narratives emerged. Instead of Lamenaria and Bladderwrack resting on photosensitive surfaces for a portrait, they were telling stories.

Sea Shells and Rainwater (lumen lith printed from a handmade negative, 2010)

Sea Shells and Rainwater (lumen lith printed from a handmade negative, 2010)

Wanting to go beyond the discoveries of the botanists who were among the first to discover a photographic process for recording visual information in their notations, I turned to an exploration of the capacity of sheet film in Lumen Printing.  A 4 x 5 inch block of sheet film does not leave much space for composition, a challenge when I was composing organic material on photo paper that measured 16 x 20 inches. I was curious to find out how much detail sheet film would record for printing and projecting in large format. Sea Shells and Rainwater was my first handmade negative; I positioned a small handful of crushed seashells on sheet film and exposed it to an afternoon of hazy light. This negative was digitized and developed much the way I worked in an analogue darkroom: amplifying light and tonal values. I worked on this image until it came to life: when a pair of eyes appear and a life form took shape on a green colour field. In digital format, I am able to show X-Ray layers in much the same way they appear in analogue Lumen Prints.

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Recent Lumen Prints, both analogue and digital, tell pareidolic stories: Caribou posing for a portrait, momento mori in What Remains from gathering foliage in New York, possible life forms Among Cherry Blossoms, a portrait emerging from Chesterman Beach sea tangles. And more at Sassamatt Images.

Art Rental Show — two of my recent Lumen Prints have been added to the Cityscapes Art Rental collection and will be on show in their salon syle exhibition. Thursday, 08 January, 7 – 9 PM (Cityscapes, 355 Lonsdale, North Vancouver).

Truth and Beauty DoorCrasher Special— offers Limited Edition Prints (Desert Salt, for example), OpenStock Prints and Loose Prints at discounted prices. One week only: 10 – 17 January (Noon – 5pm), 698 West 16th Avenue. Check out the Collective collection.

Winter Salon at Photohaus Gallery — WinterSalon continues thru January. Three of my Lumen Prints are on show in this exhibition. Two of these prints are analogue lumen prints; it is an exciting opportunity because (as far as I know) I am the only artist in Greater Vancouver working in this hybrid photo-printmaking medium. Check website for hours of opening and location.

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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

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/

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