Marietta Leis Sculpture

Albuquerque based Marietta Leis is one of my favorite contemporary artists. Her paintings are often color fields, expressing light and place. But sometimes mixed in with these are representational pieces, adding a kind of narrative.

She says: “Solo” one of the works in my upcoming “Engrained:an ode to Trees”exhibit. Yes our trees are the new gold!

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Haiku, anyone?

Making of Two Monoprints by Isabel Winson-Sagan

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The title is “I Am Body.” It was done as a palimpsest, over two poems by the artist:

“I Am Body”

I dream of having sex with the dead
Skeletal, flesh departing slowly, laughing face of bone and mirth.
He is a kind lover.
And I am a body.
I am not separate from myself.
I am not at war.
This disease is not my enemy, insidious, inside my very skin, tears me apart.
My brain screams, every second, every day, “Pain! Pain!”
I wake up screaming.
But this is MINE.
This is me.
I am not at war.
I am a body.
I will not overcome, defeat my own bones.
The dead man is kind.
He does not notice.
“It’s not normal,” they say.
“If you only work at it, you can be free”
/Protestant bullshit, Calvinist work ethic built America but it cannot make me believe in a war against myself./
I am body.
I am alive.
And my dead lover waits for me to realize
how the veil between our worlds
is so very thin.

***

“Race War”

There is a race war
In my mind.
I am in a peaceful place
Lama mountain behind
Birds cooing in the early light.
But the mountain
Is on fire.
Smoke fills
The inside of my mouth, tickling, searching.
Farmers thresh the fields
In this pastoral paradise.
The mountains burned 20 years ago
And now,
Black men are being shot
Black women are dragged from their cars and beaten
There is a race war in my mind.
The mountain is burning
Why is my body a battlefield.
No one can apologize for existing.
I never thought that this would happen again,
In my lifetime.
How do I get out?
How do I stay?
If everything is only you,
Why am I burning.

This print was also done during the residency at Herekeke.

mono-1

Title from a poem by Miriam Sagan: “sober as the Devil and drunk as God.”

Art by Roshan Houshmand

Of all the artists I know, Roshan Houshmand is the only one whose paintings are both in my house and in my office on campus.

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Artist’s Statement

As an Iranian/American painter who was raised in the Philippines and then Iran, with a Dutch-American mother and a Persian father, my roots are steeped in ancient patterns and textures.  My formal education in the arts however is absolutely Western, with a BA from Bennington College and a MA and MFA from Rosary Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy.

My life’s journey has been based on making art for the past thirty years. It has been the only constant in my life for as long as I can remember.  My process feels ritualistic, and I am often guided by intuition, and a sensitivity to the formal relationships in paint.

The most recent series “Petrichor” incorporates Persian calligraphy, block prints, collage and painting. Petrichor refers to the distinctive aroma released when rain falls on dry land, activating certain compounds in the soil.  These paintings are about the present.  They were achieved with a spontaneity guided by process using mixed media.  The immediacy allows for a certain specificity and clarity that inthe past has been diffused through a more formal and analytical approach to image making.

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http://www.roshanhoushmand.com/

Have You Sacrificed To Be A Writer or Artist?

After writing a recent blog post about not having it all, I started to wonder about the rather old-fashioned romantic view of the artist as having to sacrifice something for that art. This might include ordinary life, financial security, even health or mental well-being. It’s an idea that held some sway with me when young—and I’ve always loved La Boheme. However, when I asked a group of contemporary writers and artists this question, most hardly saw any dilemma at all.

What did you sacrifice?

Some noted that one choice excludes another:

Isabel Winson-Sagan Other life plans

Yehudis Fishman really every choice that is chosen sacrifices the choices not chosen; most of us have multi and often conflicting interests that we have to navigate between.

A few did note the sacrifice:

Larry Goodell A huge sacrifice. No moneyed career. Poverty as a result of priority being the demand of creativity. Consequently very little travel and almost a daily penny pinching. But creative life has its incomparable surprises.

But a lot of the response focused on the purely positive:

Audrey Erin Wiggins I see writing as a gift not a sacrifice. It’s special.

Rod Scott I think it is a sacrifice to ignore the muse. Ignoring the muse has led to decreased empathy and frustration. My challenge has always been to make the effort to embrace the creative muse as it attempts to envelope my consciousness.

Reverie Escobedo When I was writing more, sacrificed on all fronts but was so glad to be writing and it allowed me to be home with my kids.

Holly Baldwin I sacrifice time daily as a parent for my children’s art, but that is very important to me as a member of the human family. More than anything, I sacrifice sleep and exercise, although I have become much better with that studying art/writing than I ever was as a pre-nursing student. I think we all sacrifice something in our pursuits, but it has to be for something extraordinary to our heart for it to be worth the trade off. Do what you love.

Jan Marquart I sacrifice nothing. Writing is first, everything else falls behind that.

Michael Smith No sacrifice at all, except TV. And that is no big loss! But perhaps I am in a unique position.

And some continue to contemplate the muse:

Russell Miller I don’t think I’ve offered up to the gods anything I wanted to keep for myself. But I admit I ask myself that question almost every day.

Guy Nickson Threading the different imperatives of life may not be a matter of volition or sacrifice. Maybe it’s karma or the puppet master that makes us dance our feverish jigs? Only Regret invites the question.

***

Thanks to all participants—a wonderfully varied and thoughtful cohort.

For Margarete Bagshaw at Fifty ( 11-11-64 to 3-19-15) by Jeanne Simonoff

For Margarete Bagshaw at Fifty ( 11-11-64 to 3-19-15)
Jeanne Simonoff

Life marches on doesn’t it?
One canvas after another,
the way her smile and images catch my heart.

In her own word, phoenix.
She rises again and again.

Shows me how to live on the
edge of a line and cut trail back.

What is a modernist, I ask myself
and she tells me how the old times
began to shape it: Pablita, her mother, Helen.

How she built on the shoulders of
her mother’s secret.
How she shared it openly.

She sat in her gallery
a month ago, I recall,
resting for a moment and
the next I knew,
supernova, a big flash and gone.

This plane longs for her to
water our dreams.
Teach us how to grow from a seed.

This is how I start it, she told me
the answer in a child’s voice:
“Dream big.”

Why You Don’t Have To Work Harder As An Artist

The southern part of the United States is known for its writers. In Charleston, SC I am thrilled to see that the free give away ART MAG has real literary coverage, including an amazing resource:
Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet.

The book is downloadable at:
http://www.artistsu.org/making

Here are some quotes—but I really suggest reading the entire thing.

Taking power as an artist means going
from beggar to partner. Artists who are
strong partners thrive. They find resources,
connections, and audiences. They don’t wait
for opportunities; they create opportunities.

I think of careers like scaffolding, those metal
and wood structures you put up when you are
building a house.
The scaffolding is important. Pay attention to
it. But it is not the house. If you focus all your
efforts on the scaffolding, you end up with a
lovely scaffolding and nowhere to live.
Your career is not your work; your career
supports your work.

Sustainable means your life can work over the
long term.
A lot of artists’ lives are built for 23-year-old
single, frenetic, healthy, childless workaholics.
That doesn’t last. Our lives change and our
needs change.
Sustaining is radical.
(Starving is not.)