Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Circling Back Home: The Opening Reception

The artists gather for a picture: Jill Milenski, Gail Crum
and Gayle Pritchard.
Exhibiting artist Gayle Pritchard looks on the
crowd at the entry to the exhibition.
 The opening reception for Memories Evoked: Circling Back Home was last Saturday night. The gallery staff reported it was the largest attendance for an opening they had seen. Needless to say, Gail, Jill and I were thrilled at the turnout. Having worked for two years to create the exhibition, each of us is delighted to be able to show a large body or our work. There are just over a hundred artworks on display, and each of us have thirty some pieces in the mix. Even we are amazed, not only with the amount of new work we created, but with how beautiful it all looks installed in the gallery.

Two feelings prevailed for me that night. Talking to people I know, such as my family, friends, my in-laws and other artists who came to see the show, I could say, "Now you know me better." The other palpable feeling I experienced is the slightly nervous anxiety that arises from being vulnerable in public. While viewers are necessary to artists, musicians,writers, poets, actors and other creative people, they do not always grasp what they are seeing, hearing or experiencing. My main goal is to create work that people engage with, as opposed to simply walking by it, leaving the work unexamined or unnoticed.
Another artist group to which I belonged, the West End Textile TArts, were organized by Susan "Pomme" Shie (not shown here: she's taking the photo!) to arrive early for a quick meeting. We were happy to add two new members, Mary "Ginger" Urbas and Gail "Riesling Grape" Crum. From the left: Jill "Lime" Milenski, Gayle "Kumquat" Pritchard, Christine "Cherry" Mauersberger and Christy "Raspberry" Gray. Our new members are on the right!

Friends old and new engaged in the show.
Spouses, children, collectors and strangers.

Susan Shie, Mary Urbas, and Christine
Mauersberger make their way through the
gallery.
So many people attended, and we were delighted!


My artist granddaughter made me a card that said Happy Art Night! My
grandson observed, "Grandma, I've been seeing all of this since I was, like,5,
and way before anyone else. It sure looks different in here, though."
Be still my heart. And thanks for coming.

 Up next: please come to our Gallery Talk on Sunday, March 12th at 1 p.m. at the Beck Center in Lakewood. You will meet all the artists, learn more about their processes, and see the artwork from the show in depth. Plus, ask all the questions you can think of! See you then.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Anticipation: Before Everything Else, Getting Ready

Gail Crum, Jill Gray Milenski and Gayle Pritchard created  
more than a hundred artworks in preparation for Memories 
Evoked: Circling Back HomeThe exhibition is on view now
through March 12, 2017  at the Beck Center for the Arts, 
17801 Detroit Rd., Lakewood, Ohio.
To quote Henry Ford, "Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." If that proves true, the opening of my artist group's three woman exhibition, Memories Evoked: Circling Back Home, should be a smashing success! It has been two years in the making, and the three of us have created over 100 artworks for the show. Last Friday we got all the work together to have a look before the artwork was installed in the gallery. Our take-away: impressive work, ladies!

As the Artist's Opening Reception approaches, March 4 at 6 p.m., we are seeing our exhibition proposal come to life. Here is the idea we submitted two years ago, the core of what motivated us to work toward this day for years:

For two decades, three artists with a shared aesthetic have met together, grown and supported each other. Though the artists express themselves through media as diverse as painting, assemblage and fiber, these three women share a passion for found objects, ephemera and colors chosen to give voice to the subject matter they explore here: memories evoked.  

In her work, Gail Crum rescues the unwanted and re-purposes the odd and discarded. Jill Milenski’s colorful imagery juxtaposes the idealized version of childhood with the reality of modern parenting. Gayle Pritchard integrates story-telling with fiber, paint, stitches and the written word in work that seeks to examine the past as a way to heal the present.

The artists met in a workshop Pritchard had developed to explore the process of imbuing ordinary objects with meaning. Twenty years later, these women have come full circle.  Together their diverse backgrounds in the business world, academia and art and their shared experiences as women in a complex world find confluence in the evocative and personal viewpoint each artist presents in the work displayed in this exhibition. 

Gail writes down titles of artworks that we have grouped
together for the upcoming installation in the gallery.
If you live nearby, we sure hope you can join us on March 4. If not, stay tuned for pictures of the installation and the opening. 



Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beginnings and Endings

About Chris, a photomontage in progress
As my upcoming show installation date approaches, I am busy each day putting finishing touches on various pieces that I want to exhibit. (Please see the Upcoming Exhibits link for details of Memories Evoked: Circling Back Home.) In the process of digging through collage papers and found objects to complete a piece, the makings of a new piece sometimes comes together before my eyes. That is the case with a new piece I have just begun, About Chris, a detail of which is pictured here. I am so excited to finish it, a composition of art photos and throw-away pictures of trees held together by a large house image and this painting.

I have just finished Dream House tonight, a handmade book inside of a handmade, hinged house structure based on a dream. Here you see the accordion book part of the piece clipped and clamped for drying.

Dream House by Gayle Pritchard. Here you see the accordian book clipped for drying.

The book fits inside the house structure, and accordians out of the openings. After the clamps were removed, I washed the Yes! glue from the picture surfaces so I could sandpaper them. I then added oil pastel into the scratches. Click this link to see how I alter photographs.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Preparing to Exhibit

Painting fabric for "Fear of Flying:
My house is an absolute mess at the moment. Not only do I have to finish tax paperwork for my company, but I am in deadline mode for an upcoming exhibition. (Details are on my Upcoming Events page.) My desk in my office is covered with paper receipts, and my kitchen table has neat little piles of paper ready for entry into my computer. My studio tables are full with almost-finished pieces, bits and parts here and there, waiting to be put in place. The overflow from my large studio pieces sit on my dining room table, where it is easier to walk around the large works as I finish them. When I was younger, it seemed easier to juggle so many "to-do" items at once. Now it's harder. I need to rest more. Everything takes more time.

My vision board from last year
That said, today I am giving myself a gift of time. I am taking the afternoon with my daughter and several close friends to make a vision board for the coming year. My daughter is our guide. She first learned to create a Vision Board in the context of a Native American women's circle she was fortunate to sit with for many years. She will be sharing some of those teachings about the tribal Medicine Wheel as we create our own visions for the year to come.

It is important to give yourself time to think and plan, no matter how busy you are. For me, having dedicated time for myself scheduled into my calendar works well. I am looking forward to some quiet meditation today as I chart my course for the coming year.

Detail of my assemblage, in progress