the rough bark of culture

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artist book, artistic inspirations, Authors, books, creative thinking, dog portrait, Dogs in Art, fine art, handmade books, handmade papers, mental health, visual thinking, words and pictures

This coming Friday at the Joseph Gierek Fine Art Gallery (www.gierek.com) an experimental art exhibit of mine titled “The Rough Bark Of Culture” opens!

Yes, there are dogs. Lots of dogs. About 24 of them. Dog art that is. Clancy style.

The experimental part of this exhibit is that instead of being 24 works framed and hanging on the wall like a typical art installation – I’ve added my artist book thinking to my fine-art exhibit idea.  Which means my entire exhibit is intended to be an intimate experience.  Think curling up with a book. Or playing with a deck of cards.

Lucky for artist-me the gallery owner is willing to be playful.

Here’s what gallery-visitors will find: a box that looks like a leather bound book. I made the box and covered it with my hand dyed paper, paper that I’ve given a rough physical and visual texture. I designed the cover and the spine and various elements so that it appears like a book.  When closed this book-box measures 9 inches tall 7 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep. When you open the top “cover” it opens out to be 14 inches wide.

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Below are a couple of different angle-views of the cover so you can see the spine has the typical book-markings and that the edges of the box are painted to look like book text block “pages”.

Inside the book-box cover is a handwritten statement that puts my art-object-exhibit in a context.

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Then further inside there are 24 individual hand created dog art pieces done in my ink on handmade paper style. Each artwork is in an archival sleeve so that a viewer can flip through the box-contents like a book. (there’s even a ribbon to help people lift out the ‘pages’) Or the viewer can take out the pages and lay them out on a table and re-sort them.

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Below is some of my thinking behind the exhibit – including my resource book list. I referred to some of this book-research-resource mining in an early blog post here.

General exhibit thoughts for “The Rough Bark of Culture” by Sue Clancy

It is said that humans are the only animal that laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), develops music, creates art, writes/collects/organizes/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. The ability to read and absorb information via symbols in pictorial and written form is also a uniquely human ability.

Humans are curious, they experiment, seeking novelty and creativity. Wanting enthusiasm – not boredom – they play. Play is part of being human. Play is also an essential component of being creative.

Creativity, communication and organization are attributes of being human. But in modern times it can be hard (rough) to carve out time to play, to be creative, to sort and organize information – to do those very things that make us human.

This exhibit is about what makes us human.

Why dogs? Dogs are enthusiastic about being alive – that’s why I’ve chosen them as my character “actors” in my artwork.  It’s a way of remembering that humans have the ability to create the world around them in ways that make life more comfortable, more fun – so that we can be more enthusiastic about being alive.

Reference material:

“Wonderland: How play made the modern world” by Steven Johnson

“The Creative Spark: How imagination made humans exceptional” by Agustin Fuentes

A quote I used as a guiding light – so to speak:

“To imagine is everything. To know is nothing at all.” Anatole France

Exhibit statement (which means I neatened up for handwritten inclusion in my book-box the thoughts outlined above):

It is said that humans are the only animal that; laughs, cooks (using heat and spices/herbs), specially crafts beverages, develops music, creates art, writes/collects/shares information across time and space, sorts things numerically, reads books/information in order to learn and devises elaborate rules for playing games simply for amusement. Humans sometimes share with dogs an enthusiasm at being alive – seeking novelty and creativity rather than boredom.  Unlike a dog, humans are able to plan and organize our time. We can defer gratification. Yet modern life sometimes makes it hard to carve out time to be creative – rough to do the very things that make us human; play.  This exhibit is about remembering to be human and enjoy life.

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If you want a flavor, a hint, of what this exhibit is like there’s my conventionally printed and bound book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” – https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy

Creating a conventional book on this exhibit topic helped cement my idea that I also wanted my viewers to be able to physically “play” with my artwork. Even so – I’m proud of the printed and bound book too. It’s playfulness of a different sort. And able to be more widely available than a one-of-a-kind-art-exhibit in a gallery can be. Having both kinds of play available – the team kind or the individual kind – are important to me.

And speaking of teams; it’s almost time for me to go meet up with friends for a book-store browse and then to go to happy hour! Adult team play! Yippeeee!!

exhibiting art

art exhibit, art gallery, art techniques, artistic inspirations, fine art

All of my artwork has been delivered to the Caplan Art Designs gallery for my one-person exhibit opening Oct 1st at The Daily in the Pearl in Portland Oregon! Here’s a pic of me handing one of my new artworks to the owner of the gallery (yeah, okay we’re posing for a photo):

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Sue Clancy (black shirt) with the owner of Caplan Art Designs. Sue was delivering several new artworks for her upcoming one-person exhibit.

I took all of my work to the gallery and a few days later the gallery owner sent me an image of the exhibit – my artwork installed! Looks nice huh? There will be a 3 course dinner with wine pairings on opening night – Oct 1st – hence all the tables and chairs.

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Sue Clancy’s fine art installed by the Caplan Art Designs gallery

I had no clue as to the order the artworks would be hung – that I left up to the gallery owner’s considerable experience – so as I created the works over the last year I tried to make sure all of the art pieces would “make sense” when grouped together no matter what the order turned out to be.  Essentially I worked to a “theme”.

In a blog post titled “pleasure patterns” I talked about my theme development process so I’ll not repeat that here. But here is a photo of the exhibit statement as it is posted on the wall of the exhibit. It’ll give you a clue about the theme I worked toward.

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The fine art exhibit statement by Sue Clancy

Now all that’s left to do before the exhibit opens Oct 1st is the “shouting” – i.e. the P.R., social media stuff, email invitations etc…. here’s an example: http://dailyinthepearl.com/events.html

Thank heavens the Caplan Art Designs gallery and the Daily in the Pearl are also doing P.R. and social media – it’s not completely left to me! This is a prime example of what I’ve talked about before (like in this post titled “riding the P.R. train“) about how the life of a professional artist becomes about many more people than just the artist. It’s a team effort. Thank goodness!

Actually I misspoke – it’ not just the P.R. that’s left to do – I’m also writing and practicing a short 5 minute talk that I’m giving during the opening dinner party.

So… speech-writing… public speaking…. hoo boy, that’s a topic for another day.

time music art

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, fine art

Here is my first piece off my new easel: “Out Of The Blues” – it was easier to move my easel up and down as I needed to and even though this is a small piece (10 x 8 x 2 inches) the easel was unbelievably comfortable to work on! Watch out world – I’ll be popping my art out now like a creative eye-candy factory!

Out Of The Blues by Sue Clancy, 10 x 8 x 2 inches hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

Out Of The Blues by Sue Clancy, 10 x 8 x 2 inches hand dyed paper, found paper and acrylic on cradled board

And yes, “Out Of The Blues” is yet another new artwork destined for exhibit via Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com in the coming months.  As you’ve probably already guessed “…Blues” is about surprising delightful musical melodies that arise from within creative constraints.

Alright, back to work; I’m going to do another art piece, write an exhibit statement… there’s a lot to do before an exhibit happens! Fun times!

If you’re just joining this regular programing – the last blog episode about my new easel is here: https://sueclancy.com/2016/05/05/the-easel-has-landed/

writing art exhibit statements or “blurbs”

A Creative Life, art exhibit, art gallery, fine art, words and pictures

As I’ve mentioned before in other posts there is a lot of writing that goes on in a professional fine artist’s career.  Exhibit statements (or “blurbs” as I call them) are written for each gallery show an artist has.  These blurbs are often less than 100 words.

When I write such statements I try to: be descriptive, interesting, and clear/concise.  It’s a tall order to fill, one that uses all of my writer’s skills and stimulates me to learn more about writing in general – because I know I’ll need to write another blurb for the next show.

This very important exhibit statement gets used by the gallery (in this case Caplan Art Designs) in flyers, on press releases, in online promotions – just to name a few uses – to help promote the exhibit.  Like most writers I submit my best draft and an editor, aka the gallery agent, edits my best draft as needed.

Here is the final blurb for my upcoming exhibit titled “Paws to Enjoy”:

Life happens and Sue’s response is to pause and think about it by cutting up one-of-a-kind hand dyed papers, smearing glue on them and putting the cut paper pieces together again. She thinks about dogs, cats, and rabbits and soup, coffee, and whiskey. Then she sums up my thoughts and transforms them into literary images. This exhibit is a collection of enjoyable thoughts.

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This is the “signature” image the Caplan Art Designs gallery chose to represent my exhibit in their promotions:

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For more info about my upcoming exhibit see:

www.caplanartdesigns.com

http://dailyinthepearl.com/events.html