3D Neonscapes by Russ RuBert

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Don’t know why I like these two photos so much. Maybe it’s a little neon yin and yang? Maybe it’s because I just learned that the grill-shapes came from the eyes of Griff’s hamburger guy, who had eyes with hamburger grills in the middle.

Russ has rescued a lot of vintage neon over the years, from old restaurants going out of business or getting demolished. He stores it all, then when an opportunity like the Spiva Center for the Art’s Brave New Art Show comes up, he makes new creations from the old glass neon tubes.

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The old stuff is incredibly fragile. If you handle it carelessly, it may crack, or one of the glass nipples where the glass-blower ended the tube is bumped, the tip can be broken. If any of these things happens, the gas inside will leak out, and it will never again work as a colored light.

Also there are little wires on each end, embedded in the glass. If these break off or are cut too short, there is no way to hook the electricity to the tube — which is what excites the gas and makes the light. I know this stuff, not because I do any of the technical or design stuff, but because I help hold and move the glass!

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Like much of Russ’s other art, these pieces are interactive. The glass is all hooked up to motion sensors, and as people move around each piece, the colored light goes on and off — illuminating the room and metal in different vivid colors.

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For more photos of the neon, you can visit Russ’s porfolio here. Probably I’m trying to do too much right now, but also trying to edit some video of the installation since it is very three-dimensional and four-dimensional as the different pieces light on and off.

Have Extension Cord, will travel

bench_desk.jpg Welcome to my temporary office. Please have a seat, if you don’t mind a small child-sized chair.

I have to admit that I travel with ridiculous amounts of gadgets and electronics. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to also bring an extension cord.

It’s much more fun to work in galleries than hotels. Give me some gallery space, and I’ll usually just slowly take over whatever is open. The gallery where Russ was installing his 3D Neonscapes was especially nice because they had pocket doors in the walls that could be opened to create a window view of the outside. Gotta remember that feng shui even if it’s only for a day!

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While it can be difficult to find an empty table, I can usually find a bench to work at. I don’t mind working on benches since I’m happy being low to the ground. But the cooler was hard and cold to sit on, so since we were driving home every night, I brought these toddler-sized chairs from the studio so I could sit in style.

I got them at a church basement yard sale for cheap — and they’ve been wonderful. Strong, sturdy, better than a step stool for reaching the top of my design wall, and good for company when the company is pint-sized. So if you ever see anything like this at a garage sale, snatch them up quick!

What was I working on? Downloading and editing photos, posting them on websites, writing press releases. Got a lot of work done and what’s best, out of my normal box and surrounded by creative and energetic people has gotten my brain whirring. The opening reception was really good, will try to post some more photos tomorrow.

Modern Materials and friends

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Last weekend at the opening of Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt was a real treat. The [Artspace] at Untitled gallery was my kind of space — mix of old and new and art galore. Flavored largely by the art collection of eye of [Artspace] Founder Laura Warriner, the gallery sits on the edge of hopping Bricktown and only three blocks from the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The show has brilliant piece by top artists working in the quilt medium today, people who are really pushing the boundaries and taking changes. Curator Jill Rumoshosky Werner who did the humongous “Knitted” piece above did a great job of curating the show. Love looking at PaMdora throught the knitting weave….hmm, maybe I could talk Jill into doing some kind of installation collaboration someday!

knitting_pamdora2.jpgJill and the gallery staff all treated the visiting artists like royalty — they published a snazzy catalog of the show (and free! through a grant), let us have the run of the second floor for things like cooking up Elia Woods’ home-grown eggs into huge omelets, organized an artists’ panel discussion, and mud-painting on cloth demo.

mm-longtable.jpg My talk went pretty well. Instead of going up on the Oklahoma Memorial and local art studios tour (which I was really sorry to miss), I sat at this crazy long table, tweaking my talk and keynote presentation. Actually I had a blast sorting through 20+ years of photos, organizing some 400 into a talk I mentally titled “RuBert Studios: Creativity, Art, and Building Artists’ Communities through Volunteerism and the Internet.”

The images alternated between my husband Russ RuBert‘s work, my work and our studio, and showed how they all influence each other. I flip through images pretty quick, some like how my quilts come together are almost like animations. But still, I ran over the allotted hour by 15 minutes. No one seemed to mind too much though.

The best part was meeting and getting to know the other artists and the cool people in Oklahoma City who are doing some really exciting art collaborations. The gallery videotaped my talk, panel discussions and workshop, and did pod-cast recordings interviews with all the artists. So we’re looking forward to see that on their new website, I’ll let you know when that’s online.

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Here’s Elia Woods holding her home-grown eggs standing by her quilt “All Paths Lead to Home.” One of my favorites in the show, but challenged even my open defination of a quilt. Doesn’t matter though, it’s also sculpture which is a great achievement. Wish I could say more now about the show — I also spoke about some of my impressions and explorations of the Modern Materials show on Saturday night. But since we’re already knee-deep installing Russ’s show that opens this Friday, I’ll have to save that for some other time.

In the meantime, check out all the photos I posted on Flickr about the show, gallery, artists and weekend activities.

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Pictured above, left to right: Angela Moll, Elia Woods, [Artspace] at Untitled Founder Laura Warriner, Pam RuBert, Susan Else, Theresa M. Heaton, and curator Jill Rumoshosky Werner.

Vintage Friday again!

Here are some old photos I scanned to use in the introduction for my artist’s talk tomorrow evening at the Modern Materials exhibition opening weekend.

Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt
[Artspace] at Untitled
1 NE 3rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Hours: Tues – Fri: 10am-6pm, Sat: 10am-4pm
July 10 – August 29, 2009
Opening Reception July 10 at 5 pm
Artist’s talk by Pam RuBert, July 11 at 6:30 pm

Yes, that me in the brown cat-eye glasses:

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And the blue cat-eye glasses….

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Apparently, even as a child I couldn’t get away from large cartoon characters……

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and showed an early interest in technology.

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and as my mom always said, had fat knees.

Today we are also crating up one of Russ’s 7’x7′ neon sculptures to deliver to the Spiva Art Center on the way to the other show. His show, Brave Art, opens next week at the Spiva, so I’ll be posting more about that installation as soon as we get back from Modern Materials. Gotta run — have a great weekend, and hope to see some of you at the reception tonight!

Beam me up, Fluffy!

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Not much art going on this week, other than emails and boxing up stuff for shows. Also thinking about what I’m going to say for a full hour at the Modern Materials opening weekend artist’s talk.

I was going to transport this quilt to the Untitled [Artspace] gallery via space-age technology, but the space-time portal didn’t reveal itself in time. So I had to fall back on FedEx.

FedEx is not a bad second option though. I usually use the second-day delivery, and have always been happy with the ease of computer-generated labels and email confirmation of delivery. The routine is so regular now it’s almost boring — roll it, wrap it with fabric, wrap with plastic, box it, label it, stick a letter in it and ship it.

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However, give me a Sharpie and that girl who likes to draw and hasn’t gotten out much lately takes over.  mmbox-elephant.jpg Although I can’t say for sure what that elephant is tossing — a peanut or a caterpillar? (click for a closer look)

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However, Mochi, the supreme guardian of all things postal that come and go through the front door seems unimpressed by my wrapping, boxing and excessive taping technique. (By the way, have I ever shown you the impressive stainless steel floor in the lobby that she guards?)

Did I say that? (less is more)

qn_backcover.jpg When I first got into some art shows and was asked for an artist statement, I often spent a lot of time at the word processor — refining and tweaking and trying to cram as many power-packed poetic words into the space allowed. Type…..check the word count…..retype……check the word count.

Now after a year of using Twitter (only 140 characters, not words allowed!), or maybe because I’ve decided I’d like to leave some mystery for the viewer, my statements are getting much shorter than the space allowed.

In fact, my statement for Quilt National 2009 was only one sentence long. I’d actually forgotten I’d said it because it’s so core to what I believe that it seems apparent, but was pleased to see it in print. And it also ended up on the back cover of the book. Sometimes I guess, less is more.

In case you can’t read my quote in the photo, it says, “I believe the true power of art is the ability to transport us to new or unexpected places.”

She’s in the Wall Street Journal

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Who? That woman I told you about, the one with a big nose and Eiffel-Tower hair.

I first got wind of the article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal from folks on the SAQA yahoo list. Those of us who aren’t at the conference and Quilt National opening last night are feeling left out and checking the internet for show gossip.

So that’s a good excuse to go out for a Green Tea Latte, right? And I found the print version on the news rack at B&N. The photo is really tiny and oddly cropped, but looks pretty swell in the website article and slide show here.

Thanks to Meg Cox, for the nice mention in her article and more info about other quilt shows this summer. I’d never heard about the populist Sisters Oregon one-day outdoor show — that sounds like a crazy fun affair!

Modern Materials poster

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Speaking of summer shows, there’s a stellar show curated by Jill Rumoshosky Werner that’s in the works for July 10 – August 27, 2009. It will be at [Artspace] at Untitled gallery, and I’m really impressed that the curator and gallery has decided to feature so much three-dimensional work — at a time when many shows are pulling back from allowing 3-D work.

Jill has done a great job assembling an great group of artists and she’s gone the extra distance to publish a curator’s blog. Scroll down through the blog, and you’ll see posts about each of the artists and why she invited them.

The poster above was published by [Artspace] instead of the usual postcard announcement. I love the way the graphic designer used the colors of Arturo Alonzo Sandoval’s quilt to map out the colors of the text. It folds for mailing (hence the fold-lines in the photo), and I have a few extra, so email me with your address if you’d like one.

Here’s the full press release from the gallery about the show, catalog with introduction by Sandra Sider, and a couple images of work for the show.

The Franken-Quilt

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I’ll tell you a little secret about my quilt that’s going to be in the upcoming Quilt National — I call it a Franken-quilt (as in Frankenstein).

I was trimming it to prepare for the binding (at about four in the morning — a ghastly time to do such a critical task) and I trimmed too much. When I pinned the binding on, I found it would hit the edge of the flower shop at a bad place – yikes!

So I dug the edge out the trash, zig-zagged it back on, and re-trimmed slightly wider. Enough that I could move the binding over a bit and the zig-zagging doesn’t show. So no one knows about the mistake except me, and now you.

Quilt National groups A, B, and C

Dale Anne asked about the coding of the artists listed on the Quilt National 2009 website. The whole show will be on exhibit at the Dairy Barn from May 23 – September 7, 2009. After that, it will travel to The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Missouri — the only other venue that will exhibit the entire show.

After that, the quilts are sorted into three groups called A, B and C.  This way smaller segments of the show can travel to museums and other venues that can’t accomodate the whole show, which is quite large when taken together.

The entire collection will be on exhibit at The Foundry Art Centre from September 25 – October 29, 2009, and I’ve been asked to do an artist’s luncheon talk and then walk the audience through the exhibition on Thursday, October 8.

So if you can’t make to the Dairy Barn in Ohio, come visit the show at the Foundry in Missouri! After that, I think the schedule for the smaller group exhibits is still being planned.

Quilt National 09 alerts

When I received the new Quilt National postcard, it reminded me the opening is soon — next weekend. And hey, I just checked and there’s a new QN website to explore — here’s a list of all the QN09 artists. I can’t remember if I mentioned one of my quilts was accepted, but I’m on the list!

It’s not a PaMdora quilt, because I sort of wanted to see what would happen if I submitted something other than PaMdora — would it be accepted? So I started the new “Wish You Were Hair” series. Another lady did get accepted into the 2009 show. She doesn’t have a name, but she does have an attitude.

PaMdora will be at the QN banquet though, wearing her old “Moth-eaten Sweater.” I did that little quilt for the Art Gallery in a Box IV which will be auctioned at the banquet to raise money for Studio Art Quilt Associates. Here’s the postcard for that:

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Taking a peek at the names of the other artists who were accepted and the many other people I know will be at the SAQA conference, I wish I could be there too! The last two were a lot of fun. Here’s my blog posts from the 2007 opening and party next day outside The Dairy Barn.