#37: Pay attention. Be present. Allow transformation.

#37: Pay attention. Be present. Allow transformation.

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reminders posted on my studio wall

The opening reception for “Allowing Transformation” is Saturday, Sept. 12… 5-7pm, at AS220’s Project Space, 93 Mathewson St. Providence RI. Check out my last post for more info and if you happen to be in town, stop by.

The show was installed on Sept. 1st– I was humbled and impressed by the precise, professional and perfect installation of my work by AS220 gallery director Neal T. Walsh and gallery assistant.

They spent over three hours hanging the show, measuring (to the 1/8 of an inch) so that the large four-panel paintings, as well as the works on paper, all 30×22 and suspended by rare earth Neodymium magnets, were hung right. 

In fact, there are three AS220 galleries, showing 5 different artists, and Sept. 12 will be a busy AS220 evening. Don’t miss it…

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September artists @ AS220 galleries: L to R: Karen Rand Anderson, Dan Crenca, Ryan Dean, John Housley, Tim Heibert

#36: Another show, new work, and a revival of “Cleaning Up the Studio”

Since it’s been so long since I posted (three months, what?!?) I have to review how to create a blog post (WordPress keeps telling me it’s a piece of cake.) Like many things, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” {insert your own concept here}. In any case, as this sultry New England summer muddles along, I’m moved to begin writing again, and sharing art events, thoughts, possibilities.

I have another show coming up right over the horizon. “Allowing Transformation” new work by Karen Rand Anderson,  at the AS220 Project Space, 93 Mathewson St. in downtown Providence, RI will be on view from Sept 1- Sept 26, 2015, with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 5-7 PM.  AS220 is a complex and amazing successful, artist-run, non-profit organization that has played a key role in the revitalization of downtown Providence. Check it out. 

Waterfire in downtown Providence

Waterfire in downtown Providence

FYI– also on that Saturday eve, Waterfire will be in full swing downtown on the Providence River, and if you have never had the opportunity to experience it, well– maybe now’s the time. Just for the record… the restaurants in Prov are only getting better and better, and a new favorite is Red Fin Crudo & Kitchen. It’s conveniently located right down the block from The Project Space Gallery, and I imagine it’s where I will be headed after the opening…

Here’s the Facebook link to the event “Allowing Transformation” at the AS220 Project Space. If you’re in the area, please stop by. And maybe check out Red Fin.

“Finding Answers in Shadows” 22×30″. mixed media on 300# Fabriano paper. ©2015 Karen Rand Anderson

#33: Reaching for beauty in troubled times

It’s just too sad, the world.

Preliminary sketch in my 11×14″ sketchbook of “Reaching for Beauty”

Lately I’ve been trying to fend off massive attacks of feeling rather worthless in the face of what’s going on in the world— I mean, the nasty stuff. The unbearable tragedies. The unforgivable actions of hatred, anger, violence. The incomprehensible behavior of those we call terrorists. The inexcusable shootings, kidnappings, rape, and other things too awful to mention. And of course, the other nasty stuff, like outbreaks of disease, hunger, and what-have-you.

As an artist, I am not trained to deal with global tragedy. As an overly sensitive soul, I have a hard time even processing it. As a relatively privileged and fortunate person, I grapple with guilt at how I can “help.”

My simple response has been to reach for beauty, and to make art that might offer some solace in troubled times.

To that end, my recent show “Reaching for Beauty” is now installed at a lovely little gallery in historic Wickford, RI: Coastal Living Gallery. Some new work, some not so new work, some little organic sculptures, some interesting thoughts. I am reaching for beauty these days, as the long cold winter and the incredibly sad state of affairs in the world have taken a toll on me. If by chance you find yourself in Rhode Island, please come join me for some joy, lots of color, and the opening reception of my show “Reaching for Beauty” on Saturday, April 11, 4-7 pm. (Awesome views from the deck, right on the water, in Wickford, RI.) Show runs from April 1-April 28, 2015.

p.s. To read a recent article and interview about my work, click here. As the author says, “A single artist might be powerless in impacting the world, but an individual can be profoundly changed by beauty.”

36x36", acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

“Reaching for Beauty” 36×36″, acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

Coastal Living Gallery

83 Brown Street North Kingstown (Historic Wickford) RI 02852

Located behind Beach Rose Café on the pier.

Open Tuesday – Friday 9:30-2:30 and by appointment, chance & special event. 401.612.6121

www.coastallivinggallery.com

#24. Abstraction is in the details (or: painting pieces of paintings)

Painting a piece of a painting…? I’ve played with this idea in the past (not very successfully)– to isolate a small section of a painting, and reference it to make a large painting. If only I could magnify the immediacy and verve that live in those sexy little sections that were produced through spontaneity and intuitive mark-making, and create BIG paintings echoing those same qualities. Sounds easy. Ha.

So my last post showed the large piece I recently finished— “New Territory”.

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“New Territory. 53×65”. mixed media on Fabriano paper. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

What I didn’t say about it  is that it’s actually referenced from a very small detail from another painting, “Shadow Walk”, 36×36”, mixed media on wood panel. See the loose reference? This detail is about 4×6″. (I left out the dead tree in the 53×65″painting.)

Imagedetail, “Shadow Walk”

Here’s the quick journal sketch: Image

 And here’s the original painting:

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Shadow Walk, 36×36″. mixed media on wood panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

I still like the detail best.

 Abstract expressionist Franz Kline  was able to maintain that freshness from small sketches to gargantuan canvases.  He loved the quality of the mark-making in his small quick brush sketches, and in 1948 when his buddy Willem de Kooning turned him on to the Bell-Opticon opaque projector, he discovered he could project those small energetic strokes as enlarged abstract gestures. He grabbed a big brush, some black house paint, and used the projected images as templates for some very big paintings, which became huge calligraphic statements on the canvas.

ImageFranz Kline in studio, 1954.  Fritz Goro photo.

When Kline first projected one of his small ink sketches onto the wall, this is what he described:

“A four by five inch black drawing of a rocking chair…loomed in gigantic black strokes which eradicated any image, the strokes expanding as entities in themselves, unrelated to any entity but that of their own existence.”

Sounds like abstract expressionism in a nutshell.

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Franz Kline (American, 1910-1962). Untitled II, ca. 1952. Ink and oil on cut-and-pasted telephone-book pages on paper on board. 11 x 9 in. (28.1 x 23 cm). © 2010 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 Here’s a short, jazzy little video from the MoMA about Kline’s painting process. 

Keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more you spend— time, materials, energy. Bigger brushes=expensive; bigger canvas or panel= way expensive; more paint (oil or acrylic) = way, way more expensive.  Klein used black enamel house paint because he could get it inexpensively, and loved the workability of it. [Oh well, I’m a coloroholic, I’ll  admit it. Also I use water-based materials. No more toxic stuff in my studio] So, big for me is say, 60 or 70″. Big for Kline was, well, REALLY big.

While Kline sometimes used a projector to magnify his images, I take small digital detail pics with my iPhone and then make awkward sketches of them in my art journal before attempting to translate the image into a larger scale. I wonder. Should I find a projector?

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detail, from “Vermont Reflections” On it’s way to becoming a big painting…. maybe.

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“Vermont Reflections” 24×24″. mixed media on canvas. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

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“Alter Ego 1″ 48×36”. acrylic on canvas, 2013.

What is is about the cuteness (or weirdness) of bunnies? According to painter Shari Weschler Rubeck  (aka Sumo Bunni)—“In 2011, the Bunni became my story teller and continues to do so.  He or She is in a mood, communicating a specific experience.  [The Bunnies] are metaphorical messengers who relate to us easily.  They beg for us to look at ourselves and perhaps find humor in the serious.”

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“Bunni in Waiting” 48×36″ acrylic/airbrush on canvas. 2011

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“Robot Swimmer” 10×8″ watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2012

When I first saw the strange and magical work of Shari and her sculptor husband Christian Rubeck, at Gallery Z in Providence RI, I did a double-take, slowly perusing all the work at least twice over. The room spun with bizarre and wonderful imagery, peppered with off-beat humor. It took me a while to figure out that the pseudonym Sumo Bunni was actually the artist Shari (thank you, Facebook) and now I get it.

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“Hide” 22×16″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Long Hare" 40x30" acrylic on canvas. 2011

“Long Hare” 40×30″ acrylic on canvas. 2011

Shari’s massive body of work is comprised of several recent series which relate to one another in, well, odd ways. Best to put it in her words: “Life experiences, human psyche, curiosities of animal nature, elements of theatre, dance, backstage goings-on and pun drive my imagery.  Working in series that often materialize simultaneously, my imagery is primarily figural in nature.” She has a background as a dancer, which is apparent in the imagery and narrative in her work, and a BFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. 

"Ram Head" 64x46" acrylic on board. 2012

“Ram Head” 64×46″ acrylic on board. 2012

There were so many of Shari’s paintings and drawings I wanted to post here, it was tough to pare it down to just 8. Or 10 or 12. But to see lots more and and figure out the Sumo Bunni mystery for yourself, visit Shari and Christian’s website, ArtInMind.org (FYI- Along with some other venues, Shari has a show coming up this year at Chez Pascal,  one of Providence East Side’s BEST restaurants.)

"Sharp Intrusion" 43x28" acrylic on canvas. 2013

“Sharp Intrusion” 43×28″ acrylic on canvas. 2013

"Rabbit Robot" 10x8". watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

“Rabbit Robot” 10×8″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Power Trip" 20x14". watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

“Power Trip” 20×14″. watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

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Weschler/Rubeck show at Gallery Z, showing some of Christian’s sculpture and Shari’s paintings, 2012

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

p.s. Shari and Christian have two awesome artist offspring, Skyla, 11 and Desi, 9. (It’s a family art affair, and they recently had a show titled “The Rubeck Four” at Coastal Living Gallery in the quaint village of Wickford, RI.)

Desi Rubeck, "Goose Eye"

Desi Rubeck, “Goose Eye”

Skyla Rubeck, "Bluebirds" and "Wooden Dog".

Skyla Rubeck, “Bluebirds” and “Wooden Dog“.

All images © copyright protected by Shari Weschler Rubeck, 2014

#20. Taipei: Pandas on Tour Exhibition

#20. Taipei: Pandas on Tour Exhibition

I just love pandas. Who doesn’t? Although I’ve never met one, sad to say. There are so few left in the wild on this planet, and here is one artist who is making a statement about that. Check out these wonderful and charming installations, and maybe check out the World Wildlife Fund as well. Reblogged from http://theartjunkie.wordpress.com/

Global Art Junkie

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French artist Paulo Grangeon’s 1,600 papier mâché pandas took their seats in the National Theatre in Taipei this week, part of an international tour by the World Wildlife Fund that began in 2008 to bring attention to the endangered species.

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#17. Modern Art Explained (no, really. seriously. )

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I do love little books, especially if they have great pictures. They get more points if they are educational, informative and fun to read.  “Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained”  by British author, educator, art historian and artist Susie Hodge fits the bill perfectly.

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A tiny tome, it examines 100 works of modern art, many of which have historically attracted critical hostility or derision, particularly for appearing to be over-simplified and easy enough for a young child to have done.

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The author discusses and delineates just why, in fact, your five-year-old could not have created that Cy Twombly chalkboard painting, or Pollack’s poured paintings, or Pippilotti Rist‘s hanging underwear chandelier, though you might think otherwise.

ImageThere are five chapters, arranged as Objects/Toys, Expressions/Scribbles, Provocation/Tantrums, Landscapes/Playscapes, and People/Monsters. A few of the artists included: Lynda Benglis, Anselm Kiefer, Gilbert&George, Eva Hesse, Vito Acconci, Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, Dan Flavin, Tracey Emin, Rothko, Richter, Cornell, Johns, and of course Duchamp, Picasso, Modigliani, and the like, along with dozens more. It’s packed. (remember,100 artists!)ImageImage

A great little gem to add to your art library. And it hardly takes up any room. (Here’s a charming and comprehensive 2-minute video of the (very attractive) author talking about the book, and explaining how it’s set up.)

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When I googled Susie Hodge, I found that she has a slew of published books, articles and online pieces ranging from modern and conceptual art to medieval art and architecture to teachers’ resource articles, including the Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum , as well as books on How to Draw Dogs and How to Draw Cats. (No kidding.) She is an art historian, educator and lecturer, and facilitates workshops in history and non-fiction writing, among other things. 

A companion book by the author is 50 Art Ideas You Really Need To Know which covers, incredibly, fifty defining artistic periods in art history, from Prehistoric art to Hyperrealism and New Media.

Here’s my excellent advice:

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