Pick a card.

I should be doing my morning yoga, but I left my telephone/timer downstairs, so I decided I would write to you instead. (I am trying to get into a routine of yoga every morning or every other morning; I’ve gotten from 5 minutes up to 15 minutes, and I NEED to do some this morning because yesterday morning was already the “other” morning.)

Well. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can post you three pictures – you can pretend they are the three cards that you picked when I read your Art Fortune. Or, if you don’t like these three, and you’re close enough and free enough to get to Foça this Wednesday or Friday afternoon, you can pick your own cards. It only takes about 5 minutes, it’s absolutely free (unless you want to buy me a beer or a coffee or support some other “worthy cause”), and best of all, we get to have a conversation.

Now, let’s pretend:

4kazanThis card is “The Four Cauldrons”. It looks like you’re running from here to there, trying to carry something forward while negotiating with others who are also trying to do the same. But as you can see, there’s not much room to negotiate in.

 

yolculukThis card is “Travel”. In fact, part of you would rather just take off with your hubby to some Mediterranean shore (Oh, wait: You live on one!)

 

dengeWhat the future appears to hold is this card, “Balance”.
(Unfortunately, it was really me who picked the cards, and it is very hard to interpret your own fortune. Maybe you can help me out…)

Re-furnishing…

Table 1+2 a

Hey, I like that I am using a template of an old blog post for this post about recycling…
Or is it refurbishing? More like refurnishing…

It has been several months since the movers carted our stuff out of our place in Bodrum and up to our place in Foça. (Well, geographically up , but then physically down – the three levels from our street to our garden.)

Although most things have long since been put in place – up from the garden and into the house – there is still “the ex-furniture issue” – also known as “the question of furniture reincarnation”, i.e. how to incorporate the remains of the Yerleşim Cafe into our new abode. (FYI, the Yerleşim Cafe brought installation art and espresso to Turgutreis way back when, but I just tried googling it and it apparently no longer exists.)

In previous incarnations the cafe’s kitchen counter/bookcase was cut up into garden furniture and end tables, among other things, and the cafe’s tables became, well, tables – with the only transformtion being accomplished with another layer of paint.

In this incarnation, the tables have once again become tables – but they’ve been snazzed up thanks to my new favorite possession, an electric sander. Also, in this life, they have titles!

Here’s  “Islands on the Map”, followed by “Tide’s Turning”…

Table 1Table 1aTable 2Table 2a

If you’ve got any wooden items desiring a make-over, feel free to stop by…

Titles, a Thought Experiment.

Water Pastel 150116_bSwimming in the Aegean

Today I thought I’d post some more drawings. I’ve been really enjoying working with oil pastels again. I’ve been able to do that thanks to a big piece of turquoise fake fur that I’ve turned into a curtain to keep the cold air out of the studo. Its almost like looking out into the turquoise-blue Aegean… ok, not really…

But from the pictures here it should be clear that we are looking out at the sea – or at least at water: you wouldn’t know it was the Aegean (or any sea, for that matter) unless I did something like title the painting ‘Swimming in the Aegean’, or something similar.

In fact, I hadn’t thought about titles for these drawings until I went to save the digital photos on the computer, which prompted me to ‘Save as.’

So I saved them as Water Pastel (date, a-z).

And I got thinking about the problem of titles again.

I’ve always hated when paintings are ‘titled’ Untitled. It seems to me such a breach of responsibility. One could argue, on the other hand, that a title gives to much ‘direction’ to the viewer, instructing them on exactly how to look at the work. In fact, I vaguley remember there having been times when I have used the strategy of not titling a piece because I wanted to let people find their own way into a work. Most of the time, however, I like to give some kind of instruction – althogh maybe ‘instruction’ isn’t the right word – maybe a title is more like identifying a field – like in charades, when you say (or sign) ‘film’, or ‘book’, or ‘whatever’ to let the other members of your team at least know what ballpark you’re playing in…

In other words, instead of just calling the drawing up above Water Pastel 15.01_b, I could have given it the title, Swimming in the Aegean.

Would that have changed how you looked at the piece?

I think it would have. Although I hate people who go to an exhibit and go straight to the little title card hanging next to a piecce before they look at the piece itself, titles can be very helpful in providing information that can bring a new or different understanding to how you see the work. Sometimes in very surprising ways.

So, let’s try a little experiment:
Here are some of my new oil pastel drawings, with some new titles…

Water Pastel 150116_b
Swimming in the Aegean

 

Water Pastel 150116_a
First Swim of the Season

 

 

Water Pastel 170116_a
Surfs Up

 

Water Pastel 170116_b
Making Waves

 

Water Pastel 150116_b
Look Before Crossing

 

Water Pastel 170116_b
One Down…

 

Water Pastel 170116_a
Drowning Migrant

 

Water Pastel 150116_a
Lonesome 

 

As always, your feedback is appreciated.

 

My Holiday Presents to You

As the media reports on Black Friday pointed out so emphatically, the holiday season is upon us. Need I list them all? I don’t think so…

If you’re among the anxiety-prone and you’ve already begun fretting over the proper response to ‘Merry Christmas’ (as I get wished in Turkey) if you aren’t Christian (I’m not), or ‘Happy Winter Solstice’ (as I get wished in Facebookland) if you aren’t Pagan (I’m not…sure…), then take heart in the advice I read the other day:

Don’t worry about making any ‘corrections’, and certainly don’t get into a politically incorrect huff, just say,’Same to you.’

So, to warm you up with some holiday cheer – especially those of you who have already gotten out your winter woolies – here are a few modest little watercolors that I did on the way to and from Adana in September-October before Harun and I left for New York…

and have a very happy and merry Same to You.

 

 

Datça-İncekum 2Datça

 

Datça-İncekum 3Datça

 

Datça-İncekum 4
Datça

 

Outside Göcek 1Outside Göcek

 

Outside Fethiye 2Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 4
Outside Fethiye

 
Outside Fethiye 5
Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 6
Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 7Outside Fethiye

 

 

Outside Fethiye 8Outside Fethiye

 

Outside Fethiye 10Outside Fethiye

 

Severed Heads

Head 1

This beautiful work by an art student in New York  and my wish to share it with you has finally put an end to my procrastination.

After the hectic energy and motion involved in getting together my most recent bit of installation art, “Have Your Photograph Taken as an Ottoman Princess”; followed by total paralysis in response to the piece’s sudden removal from the Bodrum Biennial under mysterious and rather disturbing circumstances; and a gradual thaw that involved slow travels along the Mediterranean coast and fast times with friends and family in New York, which, gratefully, brought me back to myself… well, let’s just say, things are back to normal – if you can call editing a magazine, writing a grant proposal and cooking a Turkey – all at the same time – normal.

A propos this posting, the grant proposal had to do with a project for a workshop on ‘community arts’ here in Bodrum. That idea was prompted by the experience of putting together the ‘Ottoman Princess’ exhibit – and then having it taken down. As a piece designed to raise awareness about violence against women – all kinds of women – and the Turkish legal system’s tacit acceptance of this violence through court decisions that reduce the sentences of the perpetrators (usually husbands/ex-husbands and boyfriends/ex-boyfriends), I thought I would have the support of women in realizing this exhibition. In fact, I had a lot of women – as well as men – support the piece financially, but finding a woman’s advocacy group willing to contribute to the content of the piece was difficult. Moreover, it eventually became clear to me that the decision to remove the piece was due to a combination of fear and mistrust – by women!

Princesses on the truck_sm.jpg

Luckily, however, there have been a few women (you know who you are) who have given me the encouragement to try and find another place to exhibit the work and, just as important, if not more important, to continue doing work that keeps me in the world rather than just in my studio, and to encourage others to do the same.

Reading up on ‘community arts’ confirmed my belief that there are two things that art is really good for. The first is self-expression, and the second is community expression. A lot of times, the second type of expression comes more in the form of ‘expression about community’ than ‘self-expression by members of the community’, but when you manage to get both of those things together, well, there you’ve really got aesthetics in the original sense of the word, which had as much to do with moral satisfaction as it did with sensual satisfaction.

head b.jpg

Back to where this post started out: the clay sculptures created by students in the Forensic Sculpture Workshop, a class offered through the New York Academy of Arts’ Continuing Education program, are reconstructed facsimiles of unidentified crime victims that “capture the likenesses of unknown citizens who faced cruel and untimely deaths from a variety of gruesome circumstances” created by students and displayed in the university’s windows in the “hopes that someone walking by the university windows will see a face and recognize it.” As the program’s director explained to the Huffington Post, the program is “the perfect marriage of art and science. Having students use art and their extensive knowledge of anatomy for a bigger purpose and real world application to help the community at large was an opportunity worth waiting for and one we hope to replicate for years to come.”

head group port.jpg

I find poetic the fact that the ‘community’ being represented here is a community that, up until these art students became involved, had lacked representation in the literal as well as the figurative sense of the word.

And I’m impressed that this all took place in a continuing education program. Presumably, all the students in the class could have chosen to take a sculpture class that would have allowed them the opportunity to focus more on their own self-expression, but instead they chose to focus on the expression of someone else.

To read the Huffington Post’s story about the program, click here.

Princesses at the Castle

Have you had a chance to see my piece “Have Your Photograph Taken as an Ottoman Princess” on exhibit at the Bodrum Castle as part of the 2nd International Bodrum Biennial? Well, you won’t any time soon – despite the fact that my name is still on the list of participating artists on the biennial website and has been on the blog of the exhibit since way back at the beginning of July.

Entrance (1)_sm

 Entrance (2)_sm

Another princess sm

Farm and Business princesses_sm

Bodrum P text sm

The first princess sm

Fist princess x2 sm

 

 

The pictures above are from the “Princesses” very first hours at the castle – and also their very last.

Whether or not their removal was a matter of censorship or just a bureaucratic fuckup is still unclear; however, eventually I intend to get to the bottom of this…

Wisteria Books

So, I made these books last month, see?

little wc books 3 blittle wc books 3 f

Back when the wisteria was in full bloom here in Bodrum.

Here we call it “Mor Salkım” – in other words, “Hanging Purple”.

Boy, it was just hanging all over – I even followed Fadime’s advice and made some Wisteria Jam –

believe it, or not.

little wc books 4 flittle wc books 4 b

I just collected a bunch from my friend’s wisteria vine – which I sat in front of all day drawing,

back on one of the first nice days of spring/summer.

And I had such a good time making these little notebooks (fronts, backs, and in-betweens),
I thought I’d make some more.

So I went down to the seaside to draw.

little wc books 1 f little wc books 2 b little wc books 2 f

That was back just before ‘the season’ started.

That is the most deceptive time of year.
So many of us out there, artists, trying to figure out ‘what to make to sell to the tourists.’Frankly, I make some pretty nice stuff. But as any successful salesperson will tell you,
‘A good product is not enough.’

And as I could tell you, (and often have, probably), I lack the ‘salesman gene’. (I mean, check out
my Etsy Shop; no, wait: I haven’t gotten around to maintaining that since… wait, I’m thinking, since…)

Well, I guess I was just having such a good time making these little books, and I thought they were

SO NICE,

that I just ‘plum forgot’ that I’d likely never be able to sell them – or at least not at a price that
would make it worth my while to sit down and make ’em as ‘business’. Fun is fun, and making a dozen or so
little notebooks for no money is fun; but making like a hundred or so? No Fun.

So, now, I’ve got these little notebooks, see?

little digiprint notebooks 1

And I’ been thinkin’, I ain’t gonna make any more of them, see?

little digiprint notebooks 2

So – should I give them away as presents? (Could do…)
Or should they get themselves turned into an installation, somehow? (Could do…)

If I sent ya a notebook, would you write in it? (Maybe…)
Maybe even send it back to me so I could read it? (Maybe…)

Hmmm….

Number 10

It is the time of year where it is warmer outside the house than it is inside the house.

Still, it is not quite painting weather (the blessed shade is less blessed in April than in July), so instead of getting back to the Water Paintings (or following up on the urge to begin some Wisteria Paintings), I finished up another ‘Column Collage’.

Because the pieces are only 10 cm wide and about 70 cm long, with a lot of detail throughout, they don’t really lend themselves to being viewed on the computer. But I can show you the top, the middle, and the bottom separately…

The TOP:

Suburban Wilderness topWhat we’ve got here is: some sequins cut from an old exhibition poster, part of an oil pastel drawing of sky, some black paper I cut in fringes to match the fringes from a picture of a ‘puffy pillow’ from an old exhibition (Nu:Nar) and in between a watercolor drawing on very thick tracing paper, some more sequins, the edge of the ‘puffy pillow’ picture that shows the beaded seam on the edge over the gold leaf, a bird I cut from a business card (original bird was a painted piece of wood from another painting -the collage got an addition of a yellow breast), an ink-jet print of a photo from Avanos that I printed on Japanese rice paper (and glued down backwards), a bit of a garden watercolor, a bit of a watercolor and ink drawing of an old Chinese cauldron, and a bit more of a watercolor and ink landscape.

The MIDDLE: 

Suburban Wilderness middleAnd what you’ve got here is: more of that bit of watercolor and ink landscape, some photos of some very damaged pavement photocopied (the photos, not the pavement) on light blue paper, a little bit more garden landscape, a drawing based on another drawing of a Hittite clay object from the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara, a red flower from part of a design for a mosaic tabletop, some bits of an old drawing (red and gold leaf) and photocopies of old sliver leaf-coated drawing paper from another piece (from nearly 20 years ago!), a map of Long Beach (I had planned on using in a collage for the installation Homesickness, but never did, and the back of the poster that had the sequins on it.

The BOTTOM

Suburban Wilderness bottomAnd finally what we’ve got is: some more map, some more birds, some more poster-back, some more pavement, a bit of watercolor ‘gift-wrap-paper’, a pastel drawing of a bit of oleander, a photocopy of bugle-beads that were sewn onto an earlier painting (from 15 or so years ago!), and (‘a partridge in a pear tree’ – no, just kidding) a glimpse of the uncovered surface of the marble-patterned paper that everything else gets glued onto!

This post is titled Number 10 because this is the 10th of the ‘Column Collages’ I have been making using the paper leftover when I cut the paper for the Water Paintings. I titled this one ‘Suburban Wilderness’ – Suburban because Long Beach (and Bodrum) is suburban – otherwise it would have been titled Urban Wilderness – because ya gotcha animals, ya gotcha pavement cracks, etc.

Sometimes I wonder where the images come from – and sometimes people ask me what I was thinking about when I made something – and I think the answers to these questions are : ‘I got a lot of stuff hanging around’ (in other words, the images are all recycled from someplace else – so that I can save resources by using up all the paper I have collected over the years); and, ‘don’t know, whatever…’

Women in Art

The following  pictures are from the installation titled ‘2000 Women’ from 2000 that featured 2000 drawings of naked women. The drawings were all copies of about 7 classic nude images from artists ranging from Reubens to Degas.

After the exhibit, I thought that a better title might be ‘Backfired’.

2000 women installation shot
(unfortunately, best resolution I’ve got – sorry…)

That’s because the original intent of this piece – together with ‘Nü-Nar’ (‘Nude-Pomegranate’), another installation in the British Council’s gallery in Ankara – was to raise the issue of the commodification of women through art.

With 2000 women, I thought that the entire piece would turn into a giant abstract work that would in some sense supersede the individual drawings (200 per month over a 10-month period, 50/week, Mon-Friday, 10/day). In a sense it did, but in a sense, it did not. Horny men still expressed the most interest in the big-busted blondes, whereas they had less appreciation for well-drawn feet and faces.

I thought I would post these today, 4 days after a young woman in the southern Turkish city of Mersin was murdered by a would-be rapist.

The first photo below is another exhibition shot, but the next 2 are pictures of some tea trays I decorated using parts of some drawings that had been in the exhibition. Over the weekend, I had a box of about 200 of the drawings on sale at an open-air Bazaar in Turgutreis that hoped to breathe some life into the dead downtown of a tourist trap in winter and earn some money for some women trying to improve their economic circumstances.

Money – Sex – Violence – Power.

These are the things that ‘art’ messes with.

In the meantime, my husband and I happily celebrated Valentine’s Day with a dinner out on the town:
I’d rather celebrate love than excoriate hate.

Let’s see how to ‘tag’ this one, folks.

 

2000 women detayi fuzzy

 

Tray- Caryatids

tray - angel w winged bowl