Here are a few of the artworks I’ve recently sent to Joseph Gierek Fine Art (www.gierek.com) for the upcoming Holiday Art Show. I’m sure you’ll notice my “still life” object practice work now combined with characters. Yes, I’m trying to make every element count toward the visual story. You know, like a writer tries to make every word count.
Been busy packing and shipping an art exhibit’s worth of my artwork to Joseph Gierek Fine Art (link here). I’m feeling like Santa and the elves in the North Pole workshop. I’ve made the artwork, I’ve carefully sandwiched each artwork between thick sheets of cardboard then delicately wrapped everything in bubble-wrap with love. Now to load it onto the sleigh…
And off you go my precious… may you bring cheer and laughter to all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!!
Last evening I was looking up something in a book called “Drawing Masterclass” and I read this (again): “Animals as subject matter for the visual arts have a longer history than any other subject. The first images drawn by the human race depicted the animals that were hunted for survival [cave paintings]…. There is no period in art when animals have not played a major role.”
In my fine art animals become characters; my creative process is much like the way a novelist creates a character, a compilation of authorial thoughts and observations – a “collage” of them you might say – merged into one person/character within their story. I create anthropomorphic animal characters because I see humans as part of the natural world and the natural world as part of humanity. I’m inspired by both nature and culture.
So when I do animal portraits, people are there too. When I do a portrait of a particular dog, for example, a particular person (someone, or several someone’s I saw in real life) is also reflected. It becomes a visual story of that animal and that person. I define “story” as a plot where there is some surprise. The surprise in one of my visual stories might be the realization of how a human can be like a dachshund.
For example in my artwork titled “Happy Hour” (see image below) inside I sometimes feel happy and excited like my dachshund Rusty looks when he is bouncing around wagging his tail and dancing for his supper. (Places and objects enter in to my visual story creation too but that’s another discussion.)
My gallery agents often explain to clients that I create (as special commissions) portraits of pets as their pet owners; an imaginative merging of pet and person. And that’s true.
Here, so you can see what I’m talking about, are some of my animal portraits currently available at either Caplan Art Designs www.caplanartdesigns.com and at Joseph Gierek Fine Art www.gierek.com – please contact each gallery for more details.
Here are two of my fine artworks that were recently shipped to Joseph Gierek Fine Art http://www.gierek.com/sueclancy – these pieces and more will be in an upcoming exhibit opening Dec 1!! Joe, the owner of Joseph Gierek Fine Art encouraged me to do more of my “free associative” paintings – and boy did I have fun! Several of these new ones are inspired by music. Others were inspired by helium balloons or my questions about how the stars got in the sky… you can click the above link to see my other artworks currently at Joe’s. Have fun! (And yes, art shipped to the gallery – can be shipped anywhere – just contact the gallery ….)
A Holiday party opens Dec 3rd from 6 to 8 pm at Joesph Gierek Fine Art http://www.gierek.com/index.php and I’ve got some new artwork there. (See photo’s in this post and on Joe’s website)
Joseph Gierek Fine Art is a pro at shipping art anywhere – so if you see something you like, just contact Joe! Enjoy!