I have been moving forward with ideas of creating larger crochet works as the completion of the "Distorts" series . . after 8 years of shoebox sized works for that installation (a total of 333 crocheted sculptures) I felt inspired to expand. The above image in a piece I've been working on for a number of months . . ( 5' x 5' - still a long way to go) . . but I am seeing the result I am am looking for.
—The art works have returned from the exhibition launch of the "Woven Tale Press: Selected Works 2015" Book at the Open Spaces Gallery in Putnam, Connecticut
Thanks to Sandra Tyler and Paul Toussaint for their work to see this successful project through
—Needle felting has continued to inspire me and now I test myself with a 4' x 4' portrait work.
stay tuned as they progress . .
—Writer Yvonne Owens has just republished the first writing she did on my work "Threaded Chronicles" you can see it here at: Academia.edu
Ideas for new assemblage works are forming and materials being gathered and sorted . .
if you feel compelled to drop by the studio give me a call or email:
I've been busy for this past week working on a new approach to needle felting - a much looser method with choices of colour added much like paints dabs. The original photo is black and white and made for an interesting study in tonal range of imagination.
There is a community of artists in Victoria who aren’t seen in commercial galleries, are not employed by the University of Victoria and yet have been creative workers of considerable skill in our city for many years.
Martin Batchelor’s eponymous gallery is a place to which many of them gravitate, for, unlike other galleries, his space can simply be rented by the exhibitors. Yet each year, Batchelor likes to do a bit of community outreach, to invite artists through an open call to exhibit in a themed show. This year the theme is “Selfies,” and the triple-hung show offers self-portraits by almost 100 artists.
The show has been curated by Martin Batchelor and Efren Qiroz with artist Irma Soltonavich. Though not an artist himself, Qiroz is the man behind the remarkable website Exhibit_V.com. With no commercial or institutional support, Qiroz has made it his personal project to record the art life of Victoria and, to date, has posted more than 1,800 videos on YouTube.
When he announced the Selfies show on Facebook, with a $10 entry fee and no jury, the results were instantaneous. And everything was hung. The opening last week was packed, testament to the solid interest the show has tapped into.
There is often resistance among artists to thematic shows, but since the theme was the artist herself or himself, everybody wanted to participate.
“At first, they swore that they never had made a portrait of themselves,” Qiroz said with a laugh, “and had never made a selfie.” Though many people disparage selfies, everyone seems to be doing it.
Many media and a wide variety of approaches are on show.
Arlene Nesbitt, a photographer, caught herself in a reflective moment amid the miscellanea that is her usual subject matter. Marion Evamy, the principal of Red Art Gallery in Oak Bay, sent in a beautiful painted panel that began as a photo on her cellphone, was Photoshopped into a schizoid vision and was then painted with her typical vivacious colours. Appropriately, her signature is spelled ME.
Odette Laroche brought three tiny oils. My favourite shows her as Cleopatra, with a diadem and a smirky grin I just can’t forget.
Another wonderful painter, the talented Dawn Pearcy, brought a superb little painting of herself (with barnacles on her shoulders, pine cones in her hair and a touch of gold leaf for flash). She also brought two others, of her in disguise! At $200 these gems are hard to resist.
Richard Motchman, whose work I have followed for at least 25 years, is an accomplished painter of faces, and for this show he made a forceful self-portrait, which, in his usual style, is set like an altarpiece behind two hinged doors. The outer and the inner man are not the same, of course.
So many artists. Angela Montanti is one I met when she was artist in residence at Monterey Elementary School in Oak Bay. Good artist, no gallery.
Another who seems in the same boat is Nicholas Vandergugten, a singularly talented linocut artist. His stunning images of the Johnson Street Bridge, seen at Bean Around the World Café years ago, are the defining image of that structure. Rumour has it he is preparing another show soon.
In my tour of the room, I noted my tendency to favour the representational portraits over the many and varied expressive abstractions that stood in for a face. Jesi Barron is a senior citizen but her “selfie” is a vigorous oil in the traditional representational style, and perfectly portrays this well-loved artist. It occurred to me that a strong selection could be made from this show if we ever decide to create a local version of the National Portrait Gallery.
The finest of all is surely Dale Roberts’ felted portrait of himself as Mailarta, the mail art queen. You might expect that his very personal imagery and unusual medium would make it hard for him to find an audience, but Roberts has been working at a high level as an artist, apparently undeterred by thoughts of what some audience might require.
He communicates joyously through the mail with thousands of people worldwide. While his medium of felting — fibres coloured and matted together, and embellished with a bit of needlework in this case — may be a hard sell in the cutthroat gallery world, Roberts works with love and finesse.
Roberts’ self-portrait (in a mail carrier’s hat) stands out in a strong field. If there was any justice in such things (which there isn’t, by the way) this piece would be purchased by the City of Victoria as an important component of its gallery of notable citizens.
“Selfies” — self-portraits at the Martin Batchelor Gallery, 712 Cormorant St., 250-385-7919, open Monday to Saturday, until Aug. 27.