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!

Traveling with art supplies

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Waaay behind on posting these days. We flew away from snow and ice, and are now enjoying sunshine. I’ve packed a bunch of art supplies and am actually dragging them around in my shoulder bag every day.

I saw guy at the hotel who had the coolest bag — when I asked he said it was a vintage Swiss army gas mask bag (sans gas mask) he got from a flea market in London, so have been plotting to find my own vintage bag for art supplies when I get a chance.

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We are staying at our friends’ boutique hotel and traveling as part of Russ’s Rotary/Sister City group, to see the progress of donations used build an extra classroom, office, and play yard for a family-services school in our Sister City. We were also supposed to help build a soccer park, but though we all brought tools and such, the goal posts haven’t arrived, so that project will have to be postponed.

chalk.jpg Russ came up with a great art project to do with the entire school, but it was interesting explaining why we were carrying 50 pounds of chalk to customs and airport security. I loved that this little guy drew a chalk track and then drove his car on it. How Harold and the Purple Crayon is that?

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It was a fun day, working with the kids at the school — art usually bridges barriers of language and custom. Sister Cities motto is “Peace through People” and the projects are grass-roots — a great way to travel, meet, work with people, and make friendships.

Scouting East Village in DesMoines

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First day of the trip, the big event was making a pineapple, peanut, marshmallow salad for bonobo chimpanzees at this place, but that’s a long story for another day. Second day was filled largely with exploring Des Moines historic East Village.

Not that we were looking for it. My SIL got the family to meet at Boomers, a diner that supposely Obama once ate at, and then following a trail of interesting shops led us to other fun places.

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Smash – a screen shop that makes cool unique t-shirts. Pure Paper – lots of cute paper and recyled books and gifts. Several places like Ephemera I honestly had to do window shopping because they were closed for the holidays.

But mostly sampling teas at Gong Fu Tea, a teahouse with 130 teas. By the time we left East Village, it was dark (that’s a single star over the back of buildings, not a speck on my camera lens), and onto searching for Indian food and mean game of Bingo.

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What is humor?

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What is humor? I been thinking about this question since I was asked to juror the show for SAQA called “Sense of Humor” (see last post for more details.)

I’m not going look in some dictionary and give you the definition, I don’t even know what a real definition is — I just have my own personal definition: humor is thinking outside of the box. And here’s another one: creativity is thinking outside of the box.

What was it they told us in algebra? When A=B and C=B, then A=C. You do the math. Anyway, that’s just my own take on things.

The above photo was taken at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art last October at this event on my blog. The artist: Jeroen Nelemas. The art is not the man in the photo, it’s the installation made of grass, astroturf and metal grid called “Six Feet Above.” When you climb the steps, then turn around and look out, this is what you see looking out from “Six Feet Above” to the biggest exhibition space at the center.

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The thing below is another artwork by Keith Lemley called “Hovercraft.” Also not as it appears at first glance. You have to experience it. Here’s the directions. hovercraft_directions.jpgAnd here’s me doing my Silver Surfer impression — it really does float and move around, but not recommended after a glass of wine at the opening. Or maybe that’s when it’s best.

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That thing hanging behind me is another installation by Vanessa Tomczak and Carl Bajanda. The little gizmo at the bottom very slowly unknits the long white hanging scarf(?), you can see the pile of unknitted yarn at the bottom.

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Here’s some details. Click to make big. vanessatomczak_carlbajanda2.jpg

I loved this show and my whole experience at the UICA. Just curious, does anyone else think this stuff is funny?

Visiting Calder and other inspirations

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Yesterday we went to visit this sculpture by one of my very favorite artists Calder, the master of cool shapes. I read somewhere he said, “My fan mail is enormous. Everyone is under six.”

calder2.jpg Unfortunately we missed the big Obama rally that was held underneath the sculpture by just a few hours, because we were inside at the conference listening to the history of this piece and how it was one of the first public art installations funded by the NEA — after Nancy Mulnix Tweddale wrote a long-hand letter to then congressman Gerald Ford for support. So artists, maybe we need to get back to writing long-hand for our agendas and skip this email stuff!

Russ took this photo of me testing the weight of the sculpture — yes, it is too heavy to lift.

The rest of the day was busy with lectures at the Meijer Sculpture Park. I took pages of sketch-notes at a mentoring session with Patrick Dougherty who makes fantastic sculptures out of sticks, and at a profound keynote address by Barcelona artist Jaume Plensa, and will have to wait until I’m home to fully reflect on it all. Both are artists I’ve mentioned on this blog before, so you can check the links in the meantime.

Public art conference – a day of workshops

iron_pour.jpg Crand Rapids is hosting an ISC public art conference and Russ taught one a great one about three-dimensional computer-aided design for sculptors and artists. While he was teaching inside, a group of sculptors built kilns in the roped-off street outside for an iron-pour and sculpture casting. I tremble at the thought of walking around with a pot of molten metal, but they had many practice runs for timing and safety, and the result was dramatic as the sun set in the evening.

The workshops were held at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art — a very cool place offering artist workshops and exhibitions. I was happy to find a couple of ceramic pieces by Lisa Naples that have me itching to try my hand at ceramics again. Here’s an article about how she changed her style without losing identity from The Crafts Report.

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The UICA spread out the best workshop food I’ve ever seen. Take a look at these cupcakes! I’ll be dreaming of painting with icing in my next cake dream. At the end of the conference, the UICA will  also be hosting “One Big Art Party” on Friday — can’t wait!

No, I haven’t taken up smoking…

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…but I’ve been collecting retro melamine ashtrays that make great brush/water holders for painting. And they come in great colors (I have bigger yellow and green ones at my studio.)

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This is a small one, which is good for travel, especially on a boat where your brushes might roll overboard. The watercolor pencils roll also, but at least they float when they hit the water, so you have time to dive in and retrieve them.

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Also for travel, I like using old watercolor tins to carry small brushes. They work better than anything new I can find, and add a nice flavor to the process.