Happy New Year: Get Back to Work!

Yes, it’s December, and since there is relatively no Christmas and even less Hannukah here in Foça, it’s time to get into the New Year’s spirit, which means…

Resolutions! Now is the perfect time to decide to (as Akbar and Jeff used to say) get back to work!

And what better way to procrastinate getting back to work than designing new business cards!

My first choice was this image (above) from an installation that was part of an exhibit I organized around 10 years ago called “Art Windows”. The exhibit was held in vacant shops in Turgutreis (Bodrum, Turkey), which, sadly, accounted for a depressingly large percentage of the downtown real estate. If I remember right, we had about 20 shops lend us their empty spaces to fill with paintings, sculptures, etc. At the opening, we basically walked around town with the mayor, a city-council member, and all of the local press, as if we were tourists traipsing around with a tour guide. The local tv station showed a clip of the event all summer long, making it some of the cheapest publicity the town had ever seen. And the artwork looked good, I must say. My piece was an installation that occupied an empty shop that was once a grocers and was still filled with dusty jars of fruit preserves and tomato and pepper paste.

As far as these cards go, I’m pretty much sure I need that Dewey quote there, since I want to focus on projects involving art and education. I’m also pretty sure I want something multi-media – wouldn’t want anyone to mistake me for “just” a painter… When I took a browse through some old flash drives, I found this:

Evoking curiosity is a good thing, so I don’t mind that it might be hard to tell from the pic that this is a picture of a group weaving project. Anyone who passed by the “Çatal Ada Art, Culture and Environment” association’s stall at the second-hand market in Turgutreis was invited to do a little weaving. While the other charities were selling used clothing, we tried to have a different art project every week – mainly for kids, but we had adults interested, too. In fact, since we were close to Milas, a big carpet center, I shouldn’t have been surprised when one of the women at the market just took over the project… constructed from scrap fabrics from my brother-in-law’s old workplace. “A fun afternoon was had by all.”

The next choice for cards is from an afternoon of fun with my husband on Çatal Ada, the little island off of Turgutreis that our association got our name from. This time I had tagged along with Harun on a fishing expedition, and as usual, I found something to keep me occupied. Since I hadn’t brought my drawing kit with me, I ended up “drawing” with the trash I found on the island. Basically, I sewed a necklace out of it. (We wouldn’t have enough room in our little boat to have taken it back to the mainland and disposed of it properly, so I figured I’d at least string it all together so it wouldn’t blow away and it would be easy enough for someone with a bigger boat to haul back. I am happy to say, that that is exactly what happened.)

The next choice is from the latest work I’ve done, which was exhibited in a group show in Foça (Izmir) last month. It’s a double exposure (i.e., it’s a Photoshopped version) of an article of clothing that had washed up on the shore outside Foça – along with a lot of other clothing, a torn life vest, and a shredded rubber boat of the kind used by migrants attempting to cross the Aegean from Turkey to Europe. I took the original photos during another fishing expedition with Harun. (I’ve been tagging along much more rarely, and these days I tend to take a camera instead of drawing supplies.) I can’t really put into words the feeling that I had that day (“perverse fascination” seems to come closest, “obsession” might do) – which I guess is why I do visual rather than some other type of art. I spent a long time photographing the various articles of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing that had washed up and been caked with sand, and when I was done, I packed up some of the items in a plastic bag I found lying there and took them home. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I just couldn’t leave them there. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right.

The group exhibit in Foça was an interesting experience, because when we were hanging up the work we got into a discussion about how to “hang” the work appropriately so it could be looked at in its best light as a distinct work of art. I had a hard time explaining that I sort of have a problem with all that lies behind that assumption in the first place, and so I sort of gave up – but I was still insistent that the “quadruptych” of 4 photos didn’t need to be on a white wall, that the glass-brick wall of the space was just fine by me. That led to ensuing discussions over the course of the week-long exhibit about whether or not I was making a mistake… and it also led to an experiment on my part whereby mid-week I added a low table on which the washed and folded articles of clothing from the photos were displayed. I’m not sure whether or not turning the work into an installation added anything or not – a discussion with one visitor to the exhibit led me to suspect it might have even taken something away.

I’d actually done a version of the card with a black border rather than a white border first –

and it’s certainly easier to see it here (against the white page), although the white border looks (somewhat) more like a “traditional” business card.

The other card options are more variations on the “pomegranate” theme,

the last one being without Mr. Dewey’s quote. (Did you know he founded the New School of Social Research in NY? I didn’t. Research.

Input, anyone?…

Valentine’s Day Open Studio

little wc books 3 f

So, a friend of mine mentioned an artist she read about who was trying to survive on donations she was soliciting as a means of support for her art-making. I’m guessing that if she’s doing this through a crowdfunding web site, she’s “giving away” pieces of artwork as “gifts” to the folks making these donations. I suppose that was what I was doing when I put the Ottoman Princess fundraising campaing on Indiegogo. It allowed me basically to pay the costs of making an installation piece that is not “saleable” by getting support from people who were ostensibly “buying in” to the concept/aim of the Princess Piece.

For Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d just go the route of crash commercialism – in the spirit of the holiday – and open up my studio for people who might want to browse… and shop.
And maybe get a glass of pink wine as well. (In Marxian terms, I suppose a glass of pink wine and a little notebook could be considered equal in exchange value.

little wc books 1 f

Or is it use value? I never was a very good Marxist.

On the other hand, I’m pretty good at telling fortunes, which I found to be a very good way to get people to look carefully at art.

dur

And so I’ll be doing that at the Open Studio this Saturday as well. No charge.

I suppose I could take a line from one of those fake gypsys in their below-the-sidewalk lairs and announce, “I see a beautiful work of art entering your house to make you very happy…”

And then invite someone to look at this marvelous wardrobe, handpainted with an image from one of our favorite beach retreats, and announce that I do commissioned furniture pieces as well…

DEBORAH_DOLAP_2

But mainly, the Valentine’s Day Open Studio is just a way to catch up with old friends

Deborah 2a

and get better acquainted with some new ones

Water Pastel 090216

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(For directions to the studio, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.)

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….

Clearing up the mess…

I am sitting and waiting for my husband to wake up so we can have a late breakfast before he goes to work this afternoon and I go down to the Turgutreis Sevgi Yolu Sevgililer Panayır (very loosely translated to the Valentines Day Bazaar on Turgutreis’s Lover’s Lane).

While clearing up the mess in my studio (a never-ending process) and packing up some drawings to take down for my ‘discount days’ art sale at the bazaar, I came across the following text glued inside the cover of a box holding some old papers. I have no idea when I wrote this, or what I wrote it for, but I like it, and I thought I’d share it, for what it’s worth.

Aesthetics

What is Art About?
What do we look at to judge the value of a work of art?

Renaissance to Pre-Modern:

Mimetic. Art is about how it represents things.
We judge the value of a work of art by appreciating its formal qualities.
(What happens after the invention of photography?)

Modern:

Aesthetic. Art is about how it represents things.
We judge the value of a work of art by appreciating its formal qualities.
(What happens after the ‘white square’ or ‘black square’?)

Post Modern:

NOT primarily Visual. Art is about anything.
If art is about anything, how can we judge a work of art?
What kind of knowledge is necessary to judge?

_________________________________________________________

The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions to be a Work of Art

1. Be about something.
2. Embody its meaning.     (IN other words, art should give form to an idea.)

And on that note, here’s an idea 😉

Goddesses 1

 

 

 

More long, tall art

As is wont these days, I will begin with full disclosure:

These pieces are from last week.

Column Collage_Early Gardens         Column Collage Hittite Mommy

Since then, I’ve spent my time on

1. ‘engaging in paid work’ (boring);

2. developing a project (not boring, but definitely more left-brain than studio work);

3. visiting (sometimes I like to do that); and

4. (starting yesterday,) being cold.

But I must have hit a button on the computer that allowed Facebook to reassess its mystical algorithm, because I’ve had some people noticing the last couple of art-related posts, i.e., the top parts of these 2 pieces – ‘Early Gardens’ and ‘Hittite Mommy’ – both from my ‘Column Collage’ series.

Because they are so long, along with the full piece, I like to post the parts, so that you can see the details.

So, below, here are the top (again), middle and bottom of ‘Early Gardens’, followed by 5 segments (from very top to very bottom) of ‘Hittite Mommy’.

 

Column Collage_Early Gardens-Top

Column Collage_Early Gardens-Middle

Column Collage_Early Gardens-bottom

and…

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Top

Column Collage Hittite Mommy second from top

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Middle

Column Collage Hittite Mommy second from bottom

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Bottom

As always, feedback is welcome 🙂

 

A Couple of Old Columns…

So, in my last post I was discussing strange shapes, or, more specifically, how I like to work in formats that are not in the usual Golden Mean of proportions – namely, squares, or columns.

Lately, I have been working on a lot of vertical collages (just browse some of the earlier posts here), but this format is nothing new. Way back when (in graduate school in Baltimore), I got infatuated with columns – part of a general interest in architectural decoration. After a couple of long, tall paintings on wood, I got the opportunity to install some ‘real’ columns in a church in Baltimore. The occasion was a small exhibition of installations I was organizing at the back of a space that was being used for theater performances; the church had had a fire that had done some serious damage to the main hall, so until they got the funds together to replace all the pews, they were holding services in a smaller room on the other side of the church and using the pewless hall for art – bless them!

The pictures below are the only images I have of the 2 columns (had old slides turned into JPEGs last year 🙂 ). The columns were made out of sonotubes, i.e.concrete formwork, which I sliced in half vertically so that I could work on them and then put them back together around the existing church columns. Once I managed to get the tubes to fit in the elevator to my studio, things were pretty straight forward – except for a little difficulty that I might refer to as the ‘pop’n’fresh effect’ (picture a giant toilet paper tool trying to uncurl itself). I covered the surfaces of the columns in a layer of plaster mixed with plastic, another layer of acrylic paint, and then metal leaf, and then drilled holes for Christmas lights – as, luck would have it, the existing church columns each had an electric outlet at the base: plugged in, I had some pretty flashy columns…

With the theme of religion as inspiration (!), the 2 columns were a Goddess Column and what I refer to as my Crusader Column – or, from a more modern perspective, “Black Man, Blue Man”.

Column - brown man Column - blue man

This has been fun, this “Blast from the Past” – makes me want to do some more big sculptures. (I believe one side of the lower half of the Goddess Column went to a friend of mine in California, but the other parts are long gone to the landfill…)

What’s Going On In My World

What’s Going On In My World

And the totals are in!

OK, actually, I did not really do any quantitative data analysis – not in the spirit of fortunetelling, I don’t think; however, it did strike me as odd that the people who came to the Art Fortunetelling sessions (see here for details) kept turning up the same cards.

What are the odds that some cards would be turned up 3 times and others none at all?

I don’t know.  (Ask a statistician or a mathematician or some other kind of ician if you are really interested.)

All I can do is let you in on which cards turned up 3x :

The Journey

yolculuk

 

The Runner

kosacı

 

The Nurse

hemsire

 

Stop!

dur

 

Balance

denge

 

The Golden Ball

altıntop

 

Four Cauldrons

4kazan

Considering that the meaning of each card depends on the other cards in the reading,  and that all readings are subjective, I can’t give a hard-and-fast explanation of what these mean.

Best to just look at them and ask yourself the question that you might ask yourself in the presence of any work of art:

“What do I see here that tells me something about what is going on in my world?”

Return to the Museum

Return to the Museum

When in Ankara, the most important thing to do – the only really important thing to do – is to stop at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

This is definitely one of the best museums in the world.

And it has provided me with tons of inspiration.

This piece – I called it ‘The Turkey Piece” – is something I did nearly about 20 years ago; it was in my first exhibition in Ankara at the Dost Gallery (which, unfortunately, no longer exists).

Turkey piece

It was nice to see on display one of the inspirations for this piece

gold twins

In fact, there were 5 of these cute couples on display – somewhere around 5 cm (2″ ) each.

Another of my favorite objects at the museum is this strange metal tool:

metal top

 

I drew a sketch of it the first time I was at the museum – 1993. A few years ago, during a bit of housecleaning, I found that sketchbook on a shelf among a bunch of other things that were collecting dust, but which I couldn’t throw out. So I decided to cut up that sketchbook and use the parts in my collages…

kolaj2

These are the collages I will be using in a few days for my Art Fortunes.
If you’re in Bodrum and would like more information on this, just click here.

 

18 December in Ankara : International Migrants’ Day / Homesickness (?)

If you’re in Ankara, I’d love to see you…

On the occasion of “18 ARALIK ULUSLARARASI GÖÇMENLER GÜNÜ”,
the Bodrum Kaymakam’s Office invited me, along with 4 other ‘yabancı‘, to attend an evening event at the
Vali Galip Demirel Vilayetler Evi / Gölbaşı-ANKARA.
We’ll be showing off the contributions to society made by the Migrants of Bodrum… I’ll have the soundtrack and drawings frommy recent exhibit ‘Homesickness/Sıla Hasreti’ (along with other stuff…). For more on that exhibit, along with a slideshow, you can look under the heading ‘Installations’ (or click here).

DSCN0124

Look Into My Crystal Ball (…er, collage…)

Look Into My Crystal Ball (…er, collage…)

It’s close to the end of another calendar year – what a better time to give a good once-over to the studio, getting all those papers in order…

or at least clear off enough work space so that I can get back to work.

First up: a watercolor drawing for the Emanetçiler web page.

And then finish off a couple of new collages.

And speaking of collages, I thought I’d engage in a little experiment on the cusp of 2015:

Sanat Fali

 

Yes,  inspired by the response to my coffee-cup readings at the Yerleşim Cafe way back when, I decided it was time to get back into the fortunetelling business – this time, with art.

Why not? We’re used to looking closely at a work of art to try to discover the layers of meaning hidden in its deepest, darkest recesses – aren’t we? (Well, aren’t we?)

So, I devised a basic system of telling fortunes from collages – starting with a basic ‘pack’ of 52 ‘cards’. For example,

The Three Trees

Trees

and

Pointy Objects

Pointy objects

And of course all readings are free.

Happy Holidays!