Tag Archives: installations

Droppin’ Y-Bombs: Suzanne Tidwell at Occidental Park

4 Oct IMG_3766

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.  

Melting Messages: Nicole Dextras

1 Oct Dextras

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 December 21, 2011 and an Etsy Facebook post feature made it go just a little viral.  Enjoy!

This Florida girl is pretty new to the powdery white stuff.   If you live anywhere with snow, you know, as I am now finding out, that the fluffy white sugar transforms and quiets all around it.  But it is a fleeting beauty, only lasting a few months before turning to slush and ushering in the newness of spring.  And with the environmental changes taking place and urban sprawl snowballing ( pun intended ), the time and places to enjoy unspoiled beauty is diminishing quickly.  The vulnerability of the landscape under the threat of commerce is the underlying theme of Vancouver, BC artist Nicole Dextras’ Ice Typography installations.

View, 6 foot ice letters on the shore of Lake Ontario on Toronto Island during an art residency at the Gibraltar Art Center in 2007.

Her installations of words against backdrops of natural and urban landscapes begin with wood forms which are filled with water and left to freeze.  Once frozen, the forms are removed, leaving behind only the ice, which as we all know from Frosty’s story, only lasts for a little while.

Resource, Ice text installed on Lake Nipissing during the Ice Follies exhibition hosted by the WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay, Ontario in 2008.

These installations are indeed powerful when whole, but it is once the ice begins to melt, or is blown over by wintery winds that their real potency comes through..

Resource ( melting ), Ice installation lasted 4 weeks. ( photo by http://www.lizlott.com/ )

Equally compelling is the juxtaposition of words and phrases against their natural or urban backdrops..

In Flux, created during an Art Residency at the Banff Art Center in Alberta in the winter of 2005.

Desire, Night shot with the city lights glowing in the background.

Consume, Ice text in the front of the ever expanding Coal Harbor real-estate boom.

To see more of Nicole Dextras’ poignant installations, please visit her website.  During this season of incredible beauty and rampant consumerism, perhaps take a walk in the woods instead of heading to the mall.  It will be good for your soul.

Featured image is Legacy, a shot of the plywood forms installed on the frozen Yukon River.  All images are via the artist’s website.

Bubbaliciously Artsy Installation

29 Aug Bubblegum

Today seems to be the day for posting childhood memory-inspired works of art!  I am a firm believer in public art that serves to delight and inspire any viewer.  Public art should appeal to the public, you shouldn’t need to be versed in art history or elements of design to appreciate and admire it.  The Bubblegum installation of artists Merijn Hos and Renée Reijnders perfectly demonstrates the ability of public art to enchant and amuse.

Bubblegum, day

Bubblegum, night

Bubblegum, night with people enjoying the scene

The installation could be seen floating above Weerwater Lake in the Netherlands in 2010.  Check out the websites of Merijn Hos and Renee Reijnders to see more images and what they’ve been up to lately.

All images are via Renee Reijnders’ website.

Stringing Me Along: Anne Lindberg

23 Apr Lindberg

Following our “stringy” theme today, check out the installation work of Anne Lindberg.  Amazingly delicate, gorgeous, saturated color.

Drawn Pink, Egyptian cotton thread, staples, 35x6x10 ft

Canto Yellow, Egyptian cotton thread, staples, 18x6x6 ft

Adante Green, Egyptian cotton thread, staples, 24x18x6

To see more of Anne Lindberg’s work, check out her website!

Aside

And One, No Make That a Bunch, to Grow On

9 Mar

OK, maybe we’re not taking a total break from color today.  Spotted this installation by Marilee Salvato and just had to share it with you!

Growth Patterns, etching, digital prints mounted on wood, this installation 7'x34'

Be sure to check out her website for more images of the incredible installation!

Friday Faves: Street Cred

27 Jan Pasquini

Henry David Thoreau said, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”  Street artists take that idea quite literally, by taking art out of the isolating artistic environments of galleries and museums, bringing the art to a public that might not otherwise be exposed to it.  Check out these examples of art full of street cred!

Alice Pasquini

NeSpoon

Ben Wilson

Juliana Santacruz Herrera

Snyder

Keep your eyes peeled for street art while you’re out and about this weekend!  Would love to see some examples from your community!

Featured image by Alice Pasquini.  Click on each image to view the source.

Hello? This is Art calling.

25 Jul IMG_3769

Do you remember the days when we didn’t carry our phones around with us, but had to actually seek out that communication tool known as a phone booth?  That small, 37″x37″ box where you could look up a number, dial and have a conversation all for just a 25 cents?  OK, a dime if you’re really old experienced.

Seattle photographer Todd Jannausch saw in an old phone booth, not a relic of the past, but the blank walls of a would-be gallery.

Gallery ( 206 ), Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

Gallery ( 206 ) in Seattle’s Occidental Park, contains artwork by over 206 Seattle area artists, 18 artists are represented on the “walls” of the booth by original works on plexiglass.  This littlest gallery is part public art installation, part exposure vehicle for artists not represented in area galleries.  ( 206  is the area code for the Greater Seattle area ).  It provides not just an artwork display but an entire experience for anyone willing to step inside for a more private conversation.

Inside Gallery ( 206 )

Inside, lighting is provided by a solar-powered installation overhead and yes, there is still a telephone inside. If you pick up the receiver, you won’t be able to make a call, but you will be rewarded by the music of Dave Abramson.

When is the last time you actually used a phonebook?

Taking a peek inside the Gallery ( 206 ) “phonebook” and you’ll find more 206-area artists, showing examples of their work and contact information.  Not since the days of Superman has entering & exiting a phone booth been so much fun.

Addendum to the original post!  Thank you to artist Troy Gua for sending me a photo of his ceiling installation in Gallery ( 206 ).  The overcast weather that day ( in Seattle, imagine that! ) didn’t allow me to get a decent shot myself.  So here it be!  Truly cool.  Check out Troy’s website and Facebook page for more of his work.

Troy Gua installation

To find out more information, visit the Gallery ( 206 ) website.  If you’re in the Seattle area, stop by Occidental Park and see it for yourself!

My Husband GETS Abstract Art.. finally

8 Jun Admiring the work of Hilary Williams

My hubby is a very intelligent and creative person in his own way– the stories he concocts and “sketches” he comes up with are Saturday Night Live-worthy and he reads books like A People’s History of the United States for fun.  But when we started dating, he was definitely an art-world novice.  Questions like, “But what exactly is wrong with Thomas Kinkade?” made my head want to explode.  But maybe the biggest struggle was trying to explain what I loved so much about abstract painting and why no, honey, a 3rd grader could NOT have done that.

George checking out Rauschenberg

Part of what I love about George is how much he appreciates my creative side and artsiness.  Makes me more interesting than the average-gal, I suppose.  And, like all lovey-dovey types, I wanted to be able to share that part of myself with him.  We went to art festivals, galleries and openings, all in pursuit of awakening his mind to a world of art he may have never experienced before.  He became a fan of Christina Foard, following the opening of her Williams-Cornelius show, admiring her use of color and texture.

Moonlight Solitude by Christina Foard

We also discovered that he doesn’t always care for abstract expressionist-type work, i.e., seemingly random slashes of paint across a canvas, which will more than likely elicit a shoulder-shrug and a “eh” from him.  He does, however, appreciate light and texture, as he surprised me by totally digging these pieces we saw recently in a gallery in Hood River, Oregon.

Artist: Barry Mack

Artist: Barry Mack

Surprisingly, his tastes have emerged as running a bit more deep & avant-garde than mine.. where I get drawn in by beautiful color, texture and form, what may draw him to a particular work is the narrative of the story it is telling.  For instance, he was very interested in investigating the details of the Rauschenberg prints we saw in Tulsa.  He also tends to lean more toward multi-media work, such as this kind of creepy haunted-house-like part sculpture-part installation at the Denver Art Museum held his interest far longer than it held mine.

Installation at the Denver Art Museum

But what really keeps me on my toes is how inquisitive he is about what he is seeing– the process, the motivation, background story, etc.  He asks questions that I don’t always have the answers to, which results in us making discoveries together.  ( Who could ask for better? )  It is that inquisitive & curious nature that I think finally led him to the realization of just what it is about abstract art that makes it so interesting and provocative.

Admiring the work of Hilary Williams

As we were leaving the art gallery at The Pines in Hood River, George said to me, “I think I understand why you like abstract art so much.  When you see another realistic painting of a tree or landscape, it’s usually just another painting of a tree.  But abstract art draws you in, makes you think.”  YES!  Here’s to more discoveries with you, my love.

Museum Hopping

7 Jun

Though our time in the cities we visited on our cross-country tour was short, we managed to hit a couple of wonderful, yet very different museums along the way.  In Tulsa, we spent a few hours exploring the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Front facade of the Philbrook Museum of Art

My Jacksonville readers will be familiar with the Cummer Museum of Art in Jax.  The Philbrook is, to me, like the Cummer on steroids.  Like the Cummer, the Philbrook was once a private residence, which was donated to the city of Tulsa by its owners, oilman Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve.  Once we entered the museum doors, we found ourselves in a gorgeous, domed center hall, light streaming through the oculus in the center of the dome.

Center hall at the Philbrook

Philbrook oculus

Just walking the halls of this Renaissance style villa, built in 1927 and designed by architect Edward Buehler Delk for the Phillips as “a place where there two children could entertain friends” ( Imagine the sleepovers you could have! ), is a pleasure in itself.

Corridor at the Philbrook

The museum houses a varied and extensive permanent collection of art, ranging from African & Asian collections, Native American art to Italian Renaissance and a surprising and delightful modern collection.

Bougereau at the Philbrook, a favorite artist of the Frenz's

Lovely little Picasso at the Philbrook

Fabulous modern design collection at the Philbrook

While the museum collections are enjoyable, it is the museum grounds that really steal the show.  Though we visited on a gray and rainy day, it didn’t stop us from exploring the extensive gardens behind the museum.  The original formal gardens extend from the rear colonnade of the museum down to the tempietto.  Let’s take a little walking tour..

Rear collonade at the Philbrook

View from the colonnade down to the tempietto

Wonderful stepped fountain

Beautiful, naturalistic water feature

No formal garden is complete without a koi pond!

View from the tempietto back toward the museum

Yours truly in the tempietto ( wouldn't this be a romantic spot to pop the question? )

Contemporary sculpture walk beyond the formal gardens

Let’s switch gears now, fast-forward through another 12 hour day on the road and pay a little visit to Denver.  While in the mile-high city, we spent some time downtown including a tour through the Denver Art Museum.  While the Philbrook is classically ornate, the DAM’s Hamilton Building, where we spent our time, is splendidly contemporary.  Designed by Daniel Lubeskind, the structure represents the Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding Denver.

Denver Art Museum

We started at the top and worked our way down, discovering lots of fun & interesting contemporary work along the way.

Noguchi sculpture and Motherwell painting **Sidenote: Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, WA, the town where we are living for the summer.

Ceramics at DAM

Did you notice in the pictures above how the walls are slanted?  The angled walls created a very interesting visual space, especially in the 4th floor gallery where they were prominent.   They were a bit disconcerting when walking down the main stairs, though!

Artist: Mark Tansey

We were all fascinated by the piece above, by Mark Tansey.   Another highlight was the Fox Games installation by Sandy Skoglund.  I first saw Skoglund’s work in Jacksonville and am always fascinated by the environments she creates.

Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund

And there was just something about “Minotaur with Brushstrokes” that appealed to us.  What can I say, we like work that makes us smile.

Minotaur With Brushstrokes by Richard Patterson

Speaking of making us smile, George & I also loved the piece below, although I’m sad to report that I don’t recall the name of the artist.  But it reminded me of spring in the Northwest.

Kicking myself for not writing down the title & artist for this piece! Anyone have any clues?

The museum also boasts an impressive Western American Art Collection, as well as African, American Indian, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Collections.  We toured through the current special exhibition, Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy, but alas, no photography allowed in the exhibit, so you’ll have to check out the DAM website for a taste.  As you can see, our art experiences on this trip were widely varied and we are looking forward to more such experiences here in the Northwest.

%d bloggers like this: