search /// Vera m




i’m jealous of vera moller

I love these gorgeous, organic, graphic ceramic sculptures by German {Australian based} artist Vera Möller. Wouldn’t it be amazing, and quite frankly kinda magical, to find a few of these little things “growing” on the forest floor while out for a morning stroll…

Yes. Yes it would.





vera van wolferen

What? Oh my goodness… none of my paper looks like this. This is the absolutely lovely work of Dutch animator turned artist . These pieces are part of an installation, titled “Plant Life”, that is currently showing in Porto, Portugal in one of the city’s oldest bookstores – Livraria Lello. Clearly, if you’re anywhere near Porto you have to go see these beauties in person. Oh, but before you do, I have to share part of the email Vera sent me… I love this:

“During my study in Fine Arts I was in the sculpture department, and kept making videos of my sculptures. That’s why I went to do animation, cause everyone said – hey you should make your sculptures move! So I did stop motion for a year, but figured out I was most interested in creating the set design, lighting and photographing the sets… not so much the animation part of it. I now focus on making “Story Objects”, sculptures that are vehicles for the imagination of the viewer. It feels like the objects contain a story, but it up to you to create your own.”
See? Love. This.




betty tompkins

“Women Words” by American artist Betty Tompkins. There are decades of history behind this work, but these are some of the latest iterations of a series that now includes thousands of paintings, and mixed media pieces. These ones, ripped from the pages of art history books*, are the most recent {2017-2020}. I found so many interesting interviews with Betty, that instead of retelling the story, I just pulled my favorite bits from several places:

In 2002 and 2013, Tompkins circulated the following email: “I am considering doing another series of pieces using images of women comprised of words. I would appreciate your help in developing the vocabulary. Please send me a list of words that describe women. They can be affectionate (honey), pejorative (bitch), slang, descriptive, etc. The words don’t have to be in English but I need as accurate a translation as possible. Many, many thanks, Betty Tompkins.” Over 3,500 words and phrases were submitted in seven languages, equally split between men and women. – Gavlak Gallery

Tompkins had bought more than *60 art history textbooks and was tearing out pages, unapologetically defacing some of the world’s best-known paintings and using female figures as canvases for unused suggestions for “Women Words.” “I come from a family where you couldn’t even crack the spine of a book, let alone tear out a page,” she recalled, admitting that “it was a lot of fun!” – Artnet Interview

ELLE: A lot of anger, violence and frustration towards women comes out through this process of audience participation. How do you deal with that?

BT: I have a really good sense of humour, and I think it’s saving my life – and my blood pressure! There was one guy who had written ‘the only thing that would make her more beautiful would be my dick in her mouth’ and I thought, who is this guy? You have to laugh. Someone else had written ‘heck, most people don’t like women’ and I thought ‘okay, let’s think about this one!’ – Elle Magazine Interview

Words on Mona Lisa above: “POOPSIE” IS A WORD USED BY MY EX-BOYFRIEND WHICH I THOUGHT WAS SEXIST AND DEMEANING. HE MIGHT HAVE TREATED ME NICE BUT I WAS HIS CONCUBINE, BOUND FEET, DYSLEXIC, SUZY WONG OR TROPY WIFE. AFTER A SEVEN YEAR REATION, HE GOT HIS 7-YEAR ITCH. HE GOT ME ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFTER I GOT LAID OFF. I WAS HOMELESS FOR 6 MONTHS. EH ENCOURAGED ME TO COLLECT DISABILITY BENEFITS WHILE HE SURFED THE NET FOR A WIFE. SHE JUST HAPPENS TO BE 29 YEARS OLD. IN ADDITION, HE KEEPS HIS 2 HOUSES IN PROVINCETOWN AS WELL AS HIS RENT-STABILIZED APARTMENT. OF COURSE THERE IS NO WORD FOR A MAN UNLESS HE IS A CASANOVA, A PLAYBOY, AND OTHER POSITIVE THINGS TO PROVE HIS VIRILITY. – via @bettytompkinsart on Instagram

Kick-ass women are my favorite.





jean shin

Bits of Mountain Dew bottles take over the landscape in “Invasives”, and hang like a glowing chandelier in “Floating Maize”. Oh my, yes, this is my kind of recycling program! These are just two of many installations by New York based artist Jean Shin. I happen to love these two works, but her materials certainly are not limited to green beverages! …

Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.

Follow her on Instagram to see what she’s up to, in progress shots, how to make dumplings, etc. Note: Jean’s dog, Trevor, was not officially part of the work… but he is a very cute photo-bomber!





“children of the rainbow”

I’ve been dying to share this episode with you! My podcast guest today is Bisa Butler, a New Jersey based artist who, “paints with fabric”. Looooove! I wrote about her jaw dropping, life-size portraits, made entirely from bits of beautiful colorful patterned fabric, a few months ago {posted below} … and then immediately reached out to invite her onto the podcast. We cover everything from being a child of the rainbow {that will make sense in a minute} and flirting with Tupac, to how she found her way to quilting and eventually to where she is now… which is an incredibly exciting place to be. As we speak, she has just arrived in Chicago for the opening of her exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago! WHAT!? Anyway, we’ll get into all of that and more. You can listen right up there underneath Bisa and “Dahomey Amazon,”, or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify.

First, the pieces I wrote about a few months ago. Again, THIS IS ALL FABRIC:

Allllllll fabric!? Stunning. And her subjects? They tell the African American side of the story about American life, because as Bisa’s artist statement says:

“History is the story of men and women, but the narrative is controlled by those who hold the pen. My community has been marginalized for hundreds of years. While we have been right beside our white counterparts experiencing and creating history, our contributions and perspectives have been ignored, unrecorded, and lost.”

I love that she has chosen to tell these stories in bits of vintage fabric. Here is the first story she ever told that way, during her Masters program in 2001:

The second piece is the rework from a year later. Look how much she’d honed her skills! This is a portrait of “Grandpa Zakani”.

Next, “A New Dawn, 2020”, which features the young boy Bisa talked about:

So beautiful in so many ways… his repaired overalls, bare feet covered in a pair of Converse, the WWII airplanes on his pants, all of it. Oh, and I had to throw in a sample of  “Devaluation” so you could see what Bisa was referring to. She hasn’t used this fabric in any of her pieces yet, but it’s ready and waiting.

Ummmm, how did we not talk about either of these huge career milestones? :

The cover of TIME Magazine, and a feature in the New York Times! Clearly I’ll have to have her back on so we can discuss this properly. That fabulous shot of Bisa from the Times article was taken by @gioncarlovalentine.

Up next… oh you know, just a giant show at The Art Institute of Chicago that happens to include an absolutely huge piece {144″ x 108″}, titled “The Warmth of Other Sons”. Bisa spent seven months making this. Take a peek:

Gah! She just posted this jumping-for-joy photo to Instagram! Oh my word, can you even imagine seeing your work like that? I would sob. I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU, BISA! She also included this caption with a sneak peek of the exhibit and I just have to share:

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to share my work at such a beautiful institution. I was told today that not only am I the first African American woman to exhibit in the 2nd floor European Painting galleries, but I am the first living artist in the museums 141 year history. I walk in the path left by the African American artists who have come before me, and I hope to leave a path for others to follow.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Oof. Okay, deep breath. Back to that insane work… I mean, seriously, the amount of detail in that one piece alone is staggering. And where does this magic happen? In her dining room, of course:

Yep, that’s Bisa’s crazy sewing machine… I kinda wanna take it for a spin around the block, don’t you?

And finally, let’s wrap things up with these two stylish graduates:

Ha! I had to, because Grad 91 RULES! Thank you to Bisa for hanging out with me for so long, sharing all of her stories, and for emailing me her graduation photo!

Isn’t it kind of wonderful that a little girl who started school at “Children of the Rainbow” is now creating artwork filled with colorful, rainbow-hued people? I think that’s exactly how this was meant to play out. Bisa, if you happen to be reading this from Chicago, have an amazing time! What an incredible, well-deserved moment for you. And of course, huge thanks to all of you for listening. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend. ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Bisa on Instagram
  2. Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem
  3. Howard University
  4. AfriCOBRA / Jeff Donaldson
  5. A Big Important Art Book – Now With Women 
  6. Simone Leigh, Venice 2022
  7. Montclair State University
  8. Dutch wax fabric
  9. Natalie Baxter {textile guns}
  10. Art 1-54 Fair
  11. Art Institute of Chicago: “Bisa Butler – Portraits” Nov 16, 2020 ~ April 19, 2021

 





clare celeste börsch

She’s done it again… another immersive, jaw-dropping collage that I want to move into immediately. “Biodiversity” is the latest insane collage by Berlin based artist Clare Celeste Börsch. I’ve written about her several times, she was on the podcast in 2018, and so when I saw this installation, clearly, I had to share it too! Here are Clare’s words about her newest paper wonderland:

68% of biodiversity lost in just 50 years…

My latest artwork shares a message of love, urgency and hope. Love for our planet, our future selves, our children and future generations. Urgency, because climate change is upon us and the predictions of what to come are dire. And Hope, because there is still a narrow window of time to act and there is still so much we can save.

We are currently on track for 4 degrees of warming by the year 2100. This means a future marked by increasingly violent storms, droughts, wildfires, flooding, and crop shortages.

But we have the tools and technologies to respond to this crisis. We must now collectively and individually rise to this unprecedented challenge. In the video, I list concrete ways you can make a difference today. Please watch and share! It is available on YouTube.

Soooooo beautiful! Happy Friday.

*photos, video and editing by Patricia Schichl.




vicki ling

“Hanging By A String”, 2020. You can say that again. All of these pieces are part of a personal series {graphite, colored pencil} by Chicago based artist/illustrator Vicki Ling. Here are her words about this work:

“The theme I am exploring with this series of work is the feeling of insecurity brought forth from the potential catastrophes of modern life.  Contemporary lifestyles tend to obscure various crises that spontaneously erupt, from privacy invasions to public health issues and from climate change to personal emotional disorders, etc. I’m interested in surfacing that sense of tension and insecurity and raise these issues to our collection consciousness in this collection of work. Each composition leverages a red string as a visual device to represent the tension of modern life. Fragile objects interact with the string in an almost impossible way to create a direct challenge to the balance and harmony of the overall scene.”

Well said, and beautifully executed. As I write this post on the afternoon of November 3rd, I can’t help but wonder about the balance and harmony tomorrow may or may not hold.





scott froschauer

The mirrored START hooked me, UR OK made me exhale, and VOTE brought it home. Sigh. This is the work of Los Angeles based artist Scott Froschauer, and these are his words about this ongoing series, titled “Word on the Street”:

“How does one express humanity? I think it’s pretty complicated. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes less so. I don’t always know what a particular piece means and I love to discover new perspectives in conversations with viewers.

I ran into a city worker who was maintaining the landscaping around one of my street signs. He asked what the sign was supposed to mean. Of course I asked him what he thought it meant. After several minutes of explaining his search for the official meaning of this very unofficial sign, he finally said that he wasn’t really sure what it was supposed to mean but it made him feel something, something he wasn’t quite sure of… Something that felt like hope.”

Hope, indeed. START, UR OK, VOTE.

{Scott’s work is available via WallSpace, LA}





juliette clovis

Gasp! This is the latest work from French sculptor Juliette Clovis. I wrote about her nature-covered busts in 2017, but these never-ending, scaly wonders took my breath away. I should say, I have a major snake phobia, but luckily, these aren’t snakes. I’ll let Juliette explain… poetically:

“Manis Tetradactyla is a species of pangolin: a small long-tailed mammal living in West and Central Africa. Like the animal, thousands of porcelain scales interlock into each other and form a carapace which covers entirely the surface of the sculpture. The final shape draws an abstract line, invasive and sinuous, almost looking like snake curves. Like a gigantic Gordian knot, Manis Tetradactyla has neither beginning nor end. An hybrid and reptilian creature with an immaculate beauty born from Intertwined and sprawling forms.

The course of events seems then reversed. The cycle of life takes another turn and instead of disappearing, a new living being emerges from the pangolin’s scales. A powerful form springs out fragile porcelain shards. The spectator is faced with an unknown animal. Is it one of a kind? Are they several? Is it a threat? The impression of strength and invasion is palpable. But the delicacy and fragility of porcelain soften this tension making the animal less disturbing than intriguing. Strength and fragility are balanced to give life to a new form of harmony. 

Manis Tetradactyla scrambles the tracks and plays the spectator who no longer knows if he is in front of a prehistoric animal resurfaces from the past or a metamorphic and futuristic creature announcing the birth of a new era.”

Ahhh, a new era. That sounds great.





suchitra mattai

Gasp! What are we looking at here? Well, for one, VINTAGE SARIS woven together to create stunning sculptural textile pieces… not to mention the neon lighting and hair rollers in that “rainbow”. See, the *gasp* was very necessary. This is the work of Guyana born, Denver based artist Suchitra Mattai, and I could not love it more! Here is part of her artist statement:

“I am interested in giving voice to people whose voices were historically quieted. Using both my own family’s ocean migrations and research on the period of colonial indentured labor during the 19th Century, I seek to expand our sense of “history.” Re-writing this colonial history contributes to contemporary dialogue by making visible the struggles and perseverance of those who lived it. I often focus on women and employ practices and materials associated with the domestic sphere such as embroidery, weaving, etc. I re-imagine vintage and found materials that have a rich history as a way of creating dialogue with the original makers and the time periods in which they were cherished.”

So beautiful. ps. Suchitra’s latest solo show, at K Contemporary in Denver, just came down in mid August. Reach out to them re: her available work.