Archive | Exhibitions RSS feed for this section

Droppin’ Y-Bombs: Suzanne Tidwell at Occidental Park

4 Oct

While Mr. Forager & I are on the road, making our way to California, we’re rerunning Artsy Forager’s most popular posts.  This post originally published on July 18, 2011.  Enjoy!

This being my first summer in the Pacific Northwest, I knew the climate would be much cooler than summers in Florida.  But no one told me that even the trees would be wearing scarves!

Yarn Bombing by Suzanne Tidwell, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

G and I were in Seattle on Saturday and our first stop was Occidental Park.. I was dying to see large scale yarn bombing in person.  Suzanne Tidwell’s bright warm colors juxtaposed against the dark trees under a cloudy sky would melt the heart of the Grinch himself.

Yarn Bombing by Suzanne Tidwell, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

Yarn Bombed Lamp Post, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

I mean, let’s face it, here in the PNW, we have a lot of gray days.  So why not help nature along a little by adding some color and whimsy?  I think the trees approve.  They just look so much happier, don’t they?  ( Wait, did I just inadvertently quote Bob Ross?! )  And of course, those bony lamp posts HAD to have been cold, being steel and all.  Now they’re super cozy.

Yarn bombing is a type of street art, which instead of using chalk or paint, utilizes colorful installations of knitted or crocheted yarn.  Begun as an attempt to enliven and beautify cold, urban environments, it has grown into a full-on art movement.  These aren’t just grandmas and bored housewives looking for a creative outlet and a bit of mischief.  Many yarn bombers are fiber artists who connected with the whimsical style and slightly rebellious nature of yarn bombing.

In many cases, the yarn bombing is done illegally, just like traditional graffiti and often under the cover of night.  However, bombers are rarely prosecuted, if caught.  Perhaps due to the playful, non-threatening nature of the “tagging”.  It would be like arresting Tinkerbell.

Fiber artists have tagged iconic public sculpture such as the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia, a traditional red London telephone booth and Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull sculpture ( But don’t call that one yarn-bombing to the responsible artist, Olek.  She takes offense and considers her own work art, while the work of others to be trite.  Not sure I see the difference, but that is her prerogative, I suppose. )  What began as a clandestine art movement is now moving into mainstream favor, with artists, like Seattle’s Suzanne Tidwell, being commissioned to produce large scale public installations and corporate projects.

Totems and Yarn Bombs, Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

There is so much darkness and despair in our world today.  I say thank you, yarn bombers, for seeking to bring a little sunshine and fanciful wonderment to our world.  Long may you knit.

If you’d like to learn more about Suzanne Tidwell, whose work is featured in Occidental Park in Seattle as part of the summer ArtSPARKS program, check out her website and Facebook page.  To learn more about yarn bombing, check out this website, run by two knitters living in Vancouver, BC who also wrote a book about the phenomenon, Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti.  

Action Figuration: Betsy Cain

5 Sep

When I took figure drawing in college, I recall my professor telling us that once we mastered drawing the figure realistically, that’s when the real fun begins.  For once you understand the hollows and bumps of the human figure, you can then abstract your representation to your heart’s content.  Savannah artist Betsy Cain’s work energetically fuses the figure with the abstract in gorgeous layers of color.

Red Yellow Love Melt, oil on canvas, 60×80

Like the work of other abstract expressionists, Cain’s work appears to be purely non-representational, but often you can detect a figure coming through the energetic fever of the canvas.

Neural Nude, oil on canvas, 54×72

Nature of Not Knowing, oil on canvas, 60×60

Each work consists of layer upon layer of colorful, expressive strokes which may end in a purely abstract composition yet each gives us a glimpse into the artist’s connection between her mind, the paint and the canvas.

Nerve Flower, oil on canvas, 60×60

To see more of Betsy Cain’s work, please visit her website.  If you happen to be reading from North Florida, you can check out Betsy Cain’s solo exhibition, Selections at Florida Mining in Jacksonville, opening this Friday, September 7th!

Slow Build: Mel McCuddin at Art Spirit Gallery

19 Jul

I can only imagine the courage it takes for an artist to create in front of a group of people.  Heck, even one other person would terrify me.  But at The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, ID ( our hometown for just another 6 weeks ), their new featured artist for the month gives a demo on the Saturday following their opening.  It is a fantastic way to gain a real “behind the art” glimpse into the creative process!  I can’t believe it took me this long to attend one, but I’m so glad I did.  The work of Spokane artist Mel McCuddin is striking online, luminous up close, but to see it in progress was truly inspiring.

Matchmaker, oil on canvas, 52×48

Reveries, oil on canvas, 48×44

Each canvas begins as an exercise in Abstract Expressionism– it is all about the paint, texture and color.  Slowly, as formations evolve in clouds, a figure emerges on the surface.

The Old Dog, oil on canvas, 36×40

Black Dirt Farmer, oil on canvas, 48×48

McCuddin thoughtfully builds his layers, alternating patches of light and dark.  Deliberate smudging of large swaths of canvas give way to areas of delicate and careful application.

The Late Bus, oil on canvas, 52×48

His finished works are often left with an eerie glow, giving them a slightly alien quality yet they are approachable and likable.  His subjects stare back at us with curious wisdom.  You can see a slideshow of images of Mel McCuddin in action here ( Artsy Forager now has a YouTube channel! ).  His solo show can be seen at The Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene until August 4, 2012.  I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area!

Featured image is Three in a Tub, oil on canvas, 48×52.  All images are via The Art Spirit Gallery website.

Emotional Pop: Mark George

10 May

Advertising imagery has become such an integral part of our cultural landscape that products are often instantly recognizable simply by their logos.  Like his Pop Art predecessors before him, Jacksonville, FL artist Mark George takes inspiration from the inescapable world of advertising, putting his own spin on the Mad Men era.

Of course, there are obvious parallels between George’s work and that of Pop Art icon, Roy Lichtenstein.  Yes, the imagery also takes its cues from advertising imagery and comic books.  But where as Lichtenstein enlarged his imagery to the point of replicating in paint the Ben-Day dots that comprised printed materials of the day,  George chooses to flatten out the imagery even further.

The lack of visible brushstrokes and use of smooth, reflective surfaces emphasizes the slick nature of the mid-centuray imagery.  While the severely cropped faces and “torn” edges of his panel suggest that these are relics abandoned to a different kind of future.

But what interest me most is the emotionality to be found in the faces of George’s subjects.  There is a sad, melancholia about the imagery, bordering on the disturbing.  In this respect, his work could be seen as our past looking back upon itself with current eyes, shocked and saddened by what is seen in hindsight.

What do you make of the faces of Mark George’s subjects?  Please visit his website to see more of his work.  If you’re in South Florida, he will be participating in a show, Jet Set Glamour at Harold Golen Gallery in Miami, opening tonight!

All images are via the artist’s website.

Steve Williams in Sustainotopia

27 Apr

I hope you guys have wandered over to the Artsy Forager Facebook page to check out this month’s Featured Artist, Steve Williams!  It’s been so much fun sharing Steve’s work with you over the month of April.  With the Month of Steve is coming to a close, I wanted to share with you a few new pieces from the irrepressible Mr. Williams.

Cap Tossing Over the Wall of Space

These latest works were created for the Sustainotopia conference, which happened in Miami this week.  Sustainotopia is “an impact conference that encourages people to really consider how social relationships between investing, finances, and environmental sustainability can become more collaborative, creating a global community that benefits economically from doing what is, essentially, the right thing.”

A Slender Acquaintance With the World

National Soil Destruction Leading to Self Implosion

You can read more about Sustainotopia on their website ( and make plans to attend next year! ) and read about Steve’s thoughts on living an impactful life on his blog, Making Cheddar.  And if you’re new here or haven’t already done it, be sure to check out Steve’s website!

The Wild Selves: Anne Siems

24 Apr

As I mentioned before, there were certain shows I knew I wanted to see while we were in Seattle last weekend.  I’ve loved the work of Seattle artist Anne Siems since first seeing it online and was excited to get my chance to see her work up close and personal.  Her solo show, Guidance is showing at Grover Thurston Gallery, just up ( or down? Still don’t have my Seattle geography down pat ) the street from Foster/White, so away we went.

Wolf Girl, acrylic on panel, 48x48

Siems’ inspiration behind the show was the evolution of her daughter from childhood into adolescence and the idea that wild animal spirits may help children navigate their way through this transition.  In each of us there is a wild, animalistic-like spirit that, as we grow up and grow older gets buried under years of suppression and training in proper behavior.

Antler Girl, acrylic on panel, 40x52

In Siems’ work, we see children taking on historically grim expression and formal, constricting garb, reminding us of centuries of children whose innocence is lost all too soon.  Children whose natural wild spirits may fight against the constraints of social tradition and custom.

Bison Boy Drawing, mixed media on paper, 38x50

I was particularly drawn to Bison Boy ( above ), perhaps for the way the figure is isolated starkly against the white paper background.  He has been taken out of his environment, out of his element.  His garments are in the somewhat effeminate style of his era, yet his bison head & skin seem to be reminding us to not forget the wildness within.

George’s favorite work in the show was Lynx Cap ( below ), as this figure retains a sprightly, little girl expression in contrast to the other figures’ more suppressed, even haughty countenances.  She is still an innocent.

Lynx Cap, mixed media on paper with embroidery, 22x30

Guidance Tree, mixed media on panel, 48x48

I could go on and on about these and talk about every one– they are so interesting, visually and spiritually.  If you’d like to see more of Anne Siems’ work, please visit her website.  If you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend a visit to Grover Thurston to see these in person, a truly stunning show.

Featured image is Heart Branches, mixed media on panel, 30×30.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Mixing Light Into the Grey

12 Jan

None other a luminary than my husband’s man crush, Eddie Vedder said, “It’s an art to live with pain.. mix the light into the grey.” Although I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that all artists must suffer in order to create great work, artists have long had a way of funneling hardships endured into their work.  The result is often something extraordinary.  When diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, Cleveland artist Arabella Proffer channelled the painful endurances of modern medical procedures into research of the remedies of the past.  The result is a new series, The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa, a collection of paintings exploring the medical procedures and superstitions of the past.

Skin of the Fox Cures the Pox, oil on linen, 16x20 ( via Lee Joseph Publicity )

Being in the midst of a Frida Kahlo biography, Arabella’s work immediately struck a chord with me.  But these aren’t remade Kahlos.  There may be a similarity in style and subject, but while Kahlo’s work dealt directly with her own experiences and emotions, Arabella instead chose to portray imaginary female subjects, creating not only a visual representation but a history and backstory for each.

Violets for Heart Veins, oil on linen, 16x20 ( via Lee Joseph Publicity )

From the artist: “After having a section of my leg removed, I began researching medicine from the Middle Ages through the 18th century; this series was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I’m going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. My art and interests were in the way society lived in the past, but with emphasis on the defiant, glamorous, and eccentric — not daily strife. You could have been rich, important, or beautiful, but if sick, you would still receive brutal or worthless treatment.”

Sawed, oil on linen, 16x20

Black Madonna, oil on linen, 5x7

This series, along with selected works from the Black Madonna series, are now on display in a solo exhibition, Ephemeral Antidotes at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco through February 3rd.  If you’re not in the San Fran area, be sure to check out Arabella Proffer’s website for more of her work.

Featured image is a detail from Violets For Heart Veins, oil on linen, 16×20.  All images are via that artist unless otherwise stated.

Artsy Spot: Florida Mining

7 Nov

Ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my life in the Pacific Northwest.  But occasionally, there is that nagging little 1% that longs to be back in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, just so that I can be in the thick of the exciting artistic resurgence happening there.  Though the arts in Jax were hit hard by the recession, artists and art supporters are determined to make Jacksonville a cultural destination.  Among them, artist Steve Williams is bringing home forward-thinking, atypical art with his new gallery, Florida Mining.

CPHACE by Laird, inaugural exhibition at Florida Mining

Williams is no stranger to playing gallerist.  He’s been at the heart of several successful galleries in Jacksonville over the years.  As an artist, he thrives on being involved with other artists and their creative processes.  And, being the generous soul that he is, wants to help them succeed and in the process, is bringing his unique vision for the arts to his hometown.

Florida Mining

Florida Mining’s mission?  To present emerging to mid career artists who are thought provoking and fresh with a mix of medium and perspective.  And they were off to a slammin’ start with their first show featuring a new series of work by Northeast Florida photographer Laird, a series infared photographs which begin with organic surroundings and are composited and mirrored so that the resulting image becomes almost hauntingly alien, yet familiar.

CPHACE series by Laird

Florida Mining’s sleek, contemporary space, designed by the brilliant team at Designmind, Larry Wilson and Rebecca Davisson ( both artists in their own right ) is the perfect showcase for making avant-garde work accessible to North Florida.

Florida Mining

Up next for Florida Mining is a new show, Tonya Lee: All Smiles, a new series from the Jacksonville-native, current Philadelphian featuring paintings and wallpaper ( yes, you read that right! ), embracing Lee’s fascination with alternative materials.

Tonya Lee: All Smiles

Tonya Lee: All Smiles opens at Florida Mining this coming Friday, 11/11/11.  If you are anywhere nearby, you will not want to miss it!  Big things are in store for this new venture.  Go and experience it for yourself.

If you’re not in Florida, be sure to check out Florida Mining on their website, Facebook and Twitter.  Always interesting and cheeky fun to be had.

Vibrant Earth: Deanna Marsh

19 Sep

After three months in the cultural dead-zone that is Aberdeen, WA, it feels good to be living in a town with an active arts community.  Grants Pass, OR isn’t exactly Portland or Seattle, but it is a welcome change.  Last weekend, I was delighted to tour the current show at the Grants Pass Museum of Art , Vibrant Earth, featuring the glass sculptures and tapestries of California artist Deanna Marsh.

Gone Rogue, kiln-formed glass and steel, 36x36

It is really no surprise for artists to be inspired by the Western landscape in all it’s dynamic diversity.  Deanna Marsh’s fused glass and metal sculptures capture the essence of the rushing rivers and steep mountain slopes.  Recalling the wild spirit that still resides throughout so much of this landscape.

Golden Geodesy, brazilian geode, kiln-formed glass, copper and steel, 48x18x3

Deanna’s work is beautifully wrought and large in size, making her ideal for corporate & healthcare placement ( *hint, hint, to all my art consultant & designer readers!! ).

Accommodating Land by Deanna Marsh, kiln-formed glass and steel, 64x30

So if you happen to be anywhere near Grants Pass, Oregon, A) Let’s have coffee! and B) visit the Grants Pass Museum of Art before September 30th to see the work of this talented artist in person.  If you can’t see it in person, please make sure you visit the artist’s website to view more of her work.

Featured image is Choose Your Path by Deanna Marsh.  All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

The Designers Who Would Be Artists

13 Sep

It seems that the art world is embracing fashion and its cultural influence.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beautybroke attendance records for fashion exhibits at the institution.  Designers, especially ones specializing in couture fashion, seem to have more freedom than ever to create uniquely artistic forms.  We see designers such as the late McQueen taking inspiration from the art world and creating masterpieces in their own way.

Dress, VOSS, Alexander McQueen, razor clam shells stripped and varnished

Are these practical clothes?  No.  But then, art isn’t created for practicality’s sake.  It is created to be an outlet and a source of inspiration.  McQueen and other designers like him have taken inspiration from the forms and textures of ancient and modern sculpture to develop glorious garments that inspire.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Mary Katrantzou

Stephane Rolland

Manish Arora, Autumn/Winter 2011-2012

On a simple dressmaker’s form, these could be mistaken for museum-worthy sculptures, but when worn, they become a moving work of art.

%d bloggers like this: