Monday, December 19, 2011

the misunderstanding of clouds

A few images from the exhibition at Hous Projects. The show will be up until January 14, 2012.

Friday, December 9, 2011

milking the status quo

During an art discussion I participated in last week with a few local artists, we talked about the definition of success. What does it mean to be a successful artist? How does one qualify as such? Is it money, exhibitions, education, gallery representation?

Throughout my time at graduate school the route of success was quite specific; get as many shows as possible at the very best galleries, take risks in your work, while maintaining the status quo. Seems like quite a conundrum to me. How can you take risks when you are given such boundaries? What if I don't want to create installations?

There is also a status quo in the role as a mom; feed your baby organic, make sure they have adequate naps, study vaccinations carefully, never allow passive learning, breast feed for at least a year (the list continues). Neither the status quo of mothering nor that of the contemporary art world remind us to ask what is best for us.

In about two weeks I will have nursed my daughter for an entire year. For some women this might seem as an easy feat, but for me it was quite a struggle. (If I could count how many hours I have sat locked in that rocking chair) And yet, even as I approach a year I have asked myself if that is enough and, should I go on? How far can the status quo go? What is enough? How often do moms ask if they have done enough for themselves?

There are many different routes to success as an artist. Just as there are in being a mother. I have begun weaning Ila to milk; I have done enough. And I have to ask; can I get a milkshake with that?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the misunderstanding of clouds

Clouds are forms that are in perpetual transformation. Each is a metamorphosis of another. Similarly, the work shown in an exhibition the misunderstanding of clouds is constructed through a revision and restructuring of past paintings and billboard material. The constant transformation of discarded materials is meant to symbolize the cycle of clouds.

The exhibition opens December 8th at Hous Projects in New York City.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

air born

The moment my daughter took her first breath is one I will never forget. She was born into air.

With wind gusts of up to 70 mph in Salt Lake City and the valley drenched in smog, I thought today might be the perfect opportunity to speak about air. Our air does all sorts of things; it brings in weather, it pollinates, it allows us to breathe. Air is also completely taken for granted. We live in it, for it and with it every second of our lives. What's not to love about air? We couldn't love, let alone LIVE, without it. Which makes it a really important thing for us to consider protecting.

The valley of Salt Lake City was missing this morning. It had sunk beneath pollution, a reminder of what we pump into our air heating our home, driving our car, mining for goods; habitual tasks.

It is so easy to get caught in the everyday. Much of the time we just want to get to tomorrow and forget about what we have today, taking those things for granted like the air we breathe. Since having my daughter, I like to consider what needs to be taken care of today so that she can have it tomorrow.

My most recent body of work begins a study of air - clouds, weather, pollution. The Misunderstanding of Clouds, opens December 8th in New York, NY.

Friday, November 25, 2011

seeing through the leaves

Near our house is a great walk up a canyon that parallels a small creek. Despite frequent strolls up its path, on a recent trip the surroundings all looked new to me. I realized that the fallen leaves had revealed what was usually hidden. Immediately the walk that was so familiar to me became something new.

It is so easy to get caught up in a routine. Many of us are most comfortable with knowing exactly what is around the corner. Of course we know that fall is coming, and then prepare ourselves for winter, and clean up for spring. However seasons offer a time of change, something new. My daughter never lets me know what is around the corner. She presents new challenges and successes every day. Not quite as timely however, like seasons, she is always changing.

This year, the coming of fall decidedly brought a new attitude on my life as a mother and artist. It stretched blank canvases for a new body of work. It cleaned up my studio, posted ideas on the wall and helped me nestle in to what the next few months, the next season, had to offer. I am looking forward to what I will see through the leaves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

fear of falling

The creative process is tricky. Unlike so many things in our lives: seasons, schedules, calendars, systems, it is completely unpredictable. Creativity comes unexpected and sometimes even uninvited.

My daughter's nap schedule (although often absent) is the bane of my existence. Although I feel obliged to say that I love EVERY minute I spend with my daughter, I will not withhold the the fact that I look forward to "nap time." Not only does the nap serve as a time for me to catch my breath, maybe grab a cup of tea and a snack, but it is also the time for me to head on up to the studio and make a few marks. The minute there is quiet on the monitor, is like hearing the referee to say "GO!" at the starting line.

But then comes this sickness in my stomach. Oh gosh, I must create, NOW. Hurry up, think of something, make, fast, do, succeed. Oh yes, that is where it gets really tricky. Not only do I expect to make a few marks on the canvas, but I must succeed: finish: cross off one thing on the to-do list. I want to apply for this show, send one to that gallery, sell to these people.

This is a common struggle for many creative people. After one success, another is expected immediately following and then another. But one thing I have learned as an artist is that you MUST fall, you MUST take a bad fall in order to progress towards something better.

My daughter, now 11 months old, just started crawling. For months I thought she was on the verge; hands and knees, rocking back and forth. But I could see that she was fearful of falling and now the same is happening with walking. She fearfully reaches out to make sure BOTH my hands are there before taking her first step. Sometimes caution and fear need to be left behind to take that first step.

what to expect, when you have expectations

After my daughter was born, I created a whole host of ideas, goals, and expectations of what my life as an artist and mother would be like. Being the type A person that I am, I had always tried to control everything in my life in the past, why not continue? Well, that to-do list of expectations, ideas and goals still exists. It haunts my every day existence. Maybe today I will finish a painting and apply for that show, or maybe not.

Frustration starts seeping in. That to-do list lingering. I used to be so PRODUCTIVE. Now my productivity is changing diapers, making food, cleaning up after messes. And where does my art making fit in?

I remind myself of how important this moment is. The one I will never get back. The day she first crawls, says "da-da," points to "da-da." Without expectations, I try to ease into whatever it is the day brings me, whether or not it allows for time in the studio. I try and trust that my art making will fit in where it can.

In the past I always found that non-attachment to productivity works best in the studio. Sometimes just showing up is the most important step. Likewise, I showed up the day I conceived having no clue as to what (really) to expect. And here we are.

Being a parent is completely unpredictable. No matter how many books you read and suggestions you accept your child will be different. Much like my process of art making, there is only so much you can control. But maybe that is where the excitement lies.