Blackfish Gallery

During the month of November, I had a display in the Fishbowl II window of Blackfish Gallery facing NW 9th Avenue near the Pearl District. It was terrifying and weird, yet educational. When I came back to take down the exhibit, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I sold two paintings to an unknown buyer (World on Fire and Drones and Rain).

Day residency near Goldendale, WA

I took a 24 hour break from thinking about painting/photographing construction sites and went up with my sister to Rainbow Springs near Goldendale, Washington. The grass was pink with tufts of green and some scatterings of purple and dayglo yellow. The light and clouds, in typical PNW fashion, were dramatic. There was silence (except for the birds and bugs) and at night, complete darkness. We hiked to Ekone Ranch, followed a welcoming team through the horses and foliage to look at lady slipper flowers, and stayed for lunch (volunteering to wash dishes). We spent the last hour or so sitting in front of the canyon – I was able to get an underpainting started, while my sister read excerpts from her book about the social hierarchies of baboons. We have been processing the news of a family member’s sudden passing. The processing still continues but I’m glad my sister came up north this weekend.

making room

blog2018

The show at Backstory Books finished up earlier this month and I managed to get 7 paintings off my hands and received the first checks for art in a very, very long time. When you price your smaller pieces low – it tends to sell (who knew!).   This gives me a little more room to grow and keep working without expecting to always burrow things away forever.

Influences of the month:

Pierre Bonnard – Painting Arcadia : I borrowed a book on Bonnard from work, which is a beautiful catalog from a retrospective show at SF’s Legion of Honor a few years back.  Bonnard has always had a special place in my little consortium of favorites. It started about 12 years ago when my color theory teacher, Donna Larsen, assigned him to me for a project (I vaguely recall having to replicate a sample of his painting along with color swatches).  At the time, I knew nothing about Bonnard’s work and had initially written him off as boring.  But of course his work won me over – his color use and brush work made his paintings have a glow, and it’s a glow I’ve been subconsciously trying to replicate in my own work during the past few years.

The Eva Hesse documentary : I finally watched the film on Eva Hesse that was released last year – once it was over I immediately played it again while I was painting. Hesse died very young from a brain tumor, but she found so much success and recognition as an artist within a short span of time.  The part of her timeline that stuck out to me the most was when she returned to Deutschland for the first time since she and her sister escaped the Nazis through Kindertransports as a toddler (her extended family was murdered). Although her parents managed to escape, her mother later committed suicide when Hesse was only nine. Hesse reluctantly returned with her then-husband Tom Doyle after he was offered an all-paid artist’s residency at a former textile factory on the Ruhr River near Essen. Although the residency was offered to Doyle, the 14 months spent between 1964 and 1965 at the abandoned factory served as a launching point for Hesse. She began to transition from painting flat to incorporating sculptural elements into her surfaces like wire and metal scraps she found lying around the old factory space. She returned to NYC after finding her voice, and her work only expanded from there (latex/fiberglass sculptures and works on paper). Over the next five years she produced enough work to fill the entire Guggenheim during her memorial exhibition shortly after her passing.

News:

My superior at work offered me an opportunity to exhibit some of my paintings and pinhole photographs at the Concordia University’s George R. White Library and Learning Center during the months of July and August. More details to come when summer begins.

 

 

catalog cards

Fotoram.iomnemonic whale catalog example

I think need a break from the Mnemonic Whale for a while. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on it, but I am ready to work on bigger paintings and make videos. Although the whale is a vessel that is never complete (more side drawers need to be added someday in the future), it is currently fulfilling its duty at Backstory Books. For some of the books chosen from Amanda’s shop (and subsequently placed behind each door), there is a corresponding catalog card in the right side drawer.

I took inspiration from the book The Card Catalog by The Library of Congress published last year. Actual visual examples win me over every time and it was more proof for me that art and library science can be combined. My handwriting has always been the worst. Attempting to fit my bulbous and kinked scrawl onto a 3 inch index card is a little personal challenge of mine (“library hand” penmanship this is not). But practice will eventually make perfect (or close enough) and I hope to learn “library hand” someday. For now, making these little cards are actually helping me with recognizing categories more easily at work. They are free for the taking of course ~

The updated Mnemonic Whale page can be seen here: https://sylviedakotahuhn.com/others/mnemonicwhale/