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Posts Tagged ‘Paula Ogier’

Animal_Magnetism_Exhibit“Animal Magnetism: Celebrating the Radiant Spirit of Animals” is an exhibit of art prints by yours truly at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston. You have until June 3 to stop by and enjoy this colorful celebration of fine furry beings, and while you’re there, you might just find a fabulous new friend to adopt!

This art exhibit features four dogs, four cats and a rather saintly cow. All pieces are for sale, and for each piece sold I am donating 50% of the net profit to the ARL. You get an imaginative and colorful work of art, and the ARL gets extra support for all the work they do on behalf of animals. It’s a win-win.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston is at 100 Chandler Street in Boston’s South End.

Adoption Center hours are:
Monday: by appointment only
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 1-7pm
Friday, Saturday: 1-4pm
Sunday: 1-4pm (adoptions only)
Phone: (617) 426-9170

You can also follow the ARL of Boston on Facebook or on Twitter.

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PurpleLoversPurple, the bold balance of hot red and cool blue, is irresistible. Imagine a polished and glistening amethyst stone, fields of lavender flowers or the shiny supple skin of a ripe plum. Equally soothing and dramatic, it can feel luxurious, inspirational, dreamy and romantic. Purple definitely speaks to my creative nature. What about you? What does purple say to you?

Paula Ogier @ DENY Designs

 

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Glass AppleI attended an event in Harvard Square a few nights ago in which the prolific novelist Joyce Carol Oates read from her latest novel, Mudwoman, and answered a variety of questions from the audience.  When asked if she kept specific routines for her writing (for example, a goal of 500 words per day) she said that she didn’t, but that she liked to hold images in her mind before writing about them. She described waking up and lying with her eyes closed for 20 minutes or so, and just turning an image or an idea over in her mind.

I found myself closing my eyes and imagining doing this, realizing it is similar to what I sometimes do when I wake up from an unusually curious dream. For me, staying with an image or an emotion upon waking helps the rest of the dream events unfold like a long cord unraveling.

Oates went on to say that it is her practice to try to hold and turn over these images without putting words to them, and letting the words come later when she is sitting down to write.

Since hearing her talk about his, I have been thinking that there must be some sort of visual art equivalent to this process she uses for writing. The night before I heard her talk, I had purchased a copy of Digital Studio, a magazine put out by Somerset. I pick up a copy of Digital Studio a couple of times a year when I have the urge to feed my experimental spirit. It isn’t that I have been lacking in inspiration. I’ve been making art any chance I get and having fun with it. But sometimes I just want to shift a little bit in another direction, without necessarily even thinking about it in those terms. Which is what led me to the massive arts-related magazine rack in my neighborhood, and to taking home a nice thick issue of artistic images to soak up. The images featured were (and usually are) collages, some made from photographs, some made from free shared images available on websites like Polyvore.

I liked the collages very much, but found that many of the images used by the artists in the magazine didn’t quite resonate with me. So what were my images? The day after Joyce Carol Oates’ talk, I began to look around at objects in my home that I especially like. Pretty things. Things I just like looking at. Out came the camera, and I began to take photographs of them from various angles and in shifting relationship to one another. It was an opportunity to spend time just turning them over in my mind, studying and appreciating their qualities.

"Pretty Things" mixed media collage, Copyright © 2012 Paula Ogier

"Pretty Things" mixed media collage, Copyright © 2012 Paula Ogier

I downloaded the photos and opened Photoshop, placing the photos, layer upon layer, onto a deep orange and white multi-layered pattern design I had recently made. I added another pattern into the mix, this one with orange, gold and turquoise. As I layered, I adjusted the transparency of each layer so that the layers beneath could be seen, and I erased in and around many of the images to bring forward what I didn’t want to be as veiled. When I was done, 15 layers later, it was like rising to the surface of a pleasant dream and stepping tired but happy onto the shore of the topside world.

I liked the piece very much, perhaps because it felt true to me. Making it was like letting that long cord unravel, beginning with the urge to find some fresh inspiration, and following it to its eventual end. But the end is always a beginning, too. What’s next, I wonder….?

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"Red Roller" (Linocut 16”x12”) by Julia Talcott, 2010

The sturdy geometric foundations of printmaker Julia Talcott’s roller coaster images give support to their more voluptuous and undulating aspects, bringing to mind the highly structured yet gracefully lolling curvaceousness of coral reefs. This conversation between the natural world and the built world is an apt reflection of Julia Talcott’s own internal artistic dichotomy.

“I love colors I see in nature and looking at patterns in nature. Arc patterns, branch patterns, seed patterns, all of those. I find them fascinating. If I look at nature, I come up with something better than what comes up in my own head just doodling from my mind. Even as a kid, I looked very carefully at nature.”

The roller coaster prints, part of her ‘built world’ side, came out of “an effort to do a really big print — some kind of organic thing.” Of my observation of the similarity between them and coral reefs, Julia says, “Coral reefs are great, huge growing patterns. Even though the roller coaster is supposedly made of steel girders, I wanted to make it feel like something that’s growing.”

"Rollercoaster" (linotype 24”x74”) by Julia Talcott, 2009

A printmaker in her 20s, she got an MFA and then went into illustrating for a living. Life got busy. There were three children and an illustration career, and no time or space for printmaking, and her connection to it got lost in a very full life. Her illustration clients included magazines, books, advertising and design agencies.

"Circus 2" (woodcut, 12"x12") by Julia Talcott, 2007

She explains that being a vector-driven computer illustrator suited the hard-edged, graphic, word-loving part of her. “It was a function of the fact that I love line and graphics and color.” About six or seven years ago, she started printing again with Mixit Print Studio in Somerville. “I took a class with Annie Silverman to start, and I went ‘Oh, of course! This is what I want to do!’ I had the muscle memory from way back. Time is short — I don’t want to finish out the rest of my career doing just illustration.”

Her reconnection with printmaking served as a connection to her “interpretive, softer, more painterly” side. “I think I’ve brought the two together in some places,” says Talcott. “Computer illustration work somehow doesn’t have the heart that printing on paper does. I love printing on paper, and the impression of the ink on the paper, the slight embossment. It’s a handheld luddite activity. That’s why I returned to real printmaking. A computer printout is not the same.”

She still does illustration from time to time, but on average spends about five hours a day, five days a week, printmaking in her Newton studio.

PO: Do you have a group of specific artists who you think of as your community?

JT: I feel tied to two different communities because I switched courses. There are my illustrator friends, who I don’t see often, but are very supportive. We see each others’ work out there, a lot on Facebook, and it’s nice to hear from those people and see them from time to time. I appreciate their comments. Here in Boston, I am part of the Boston Printmakers. It’s still new to me — I’ve been there two years — and I’m getting to know those people now.

There’s also Lois Tarlow who is on the board of the Boston Printmakers and a well-known local artist, and Annie Silverman who nurtured my return to printmaking. Susy Pilgrim Waters is an old friend, and a marvelous illustrator. She’s a very talented, spontaneous person; I get carried away when I’m around her! She’s like a creative geyser. It’s great to stand in the spray around her.

PO: I saw you in Gracie Finn’s (shop in the South End) a few months ago and you were showing printed dishtowels.

JT: Sometimes Susy Pilgrim Waters has trunk shows I take part in. I teach printing on fabric as a class. It involves a lot of work, making linoleum cuts and getting the colors right. I teach and do it because fabric can just be hung on a wall rather than framed, or used as a curtain or a dishtowel; fabric is something to make everyday life beautiful. I feel very free printing on fabric. I have fun with color and pattern. It’s a rabbit hole I jump down and I could stay there for days at time. The trunk shows are fun, too, because I enjoy getting out of the studio and meeting new people.

PO: In 1996 you illustrated a U.S. postage stamp. How did that come about?

JT: As a general illustrator with a graphic style, I had been sending promotional pieces to a designer in Needham for a long time. I never heard from him and began to feel like I was wasting time and postage sending them. Then one day out of the blue, after about six years of sending promotional cards, he called me and asked me to submit ideas for a series of Christmas postage stamps for the US Postal Service. We did it all over the phone and fax. I never met him. I like to think of it as my biggest print run — there were 2.6 billion printed! Watching the Super Bowl on TV that year, there was an aerial view of the stadium, and it occurred to me that almost everybody there had probably seen the stamps or gotten mail with them on it.

Talcott told me that the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA, a truly impressive museum I had the great pleasure of touring a few months ago, typically holds a print fair each Father’s Day.

A steamroller pressing one of Julia Talcott's prints at the Museum of Printing

“For a couple of years they hired a steamroller and invited artists to have their carved relief images printed with the steamroller,” says Talcott. “I carved my pieces offsite, but brought them with my roller and supplies to ink-up to the tent they set up in front of the building. It was raining. Dan Abugov, husband of a board member there, put on a yellow raincoat, got on the steamroller, and steamrolled right through the tent, over the artwork, and out the other side. The prints turned out pretty well.”

Pre-press inking

Because she loves helping people to create images themselves that they couldn’t have imagined, she loves to teach. Talcott says, “The approach I encourage in all the classes is to relax and enjoy the different techniques that I demonstrate, find what works for you, and keep exploring it. The possibilities are endless.” She teaches at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown and Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge.

Mixit Print Studio’s “Rethink Ink: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio” exhibit, including Talcott’s work, will be at the Boston Public Library April 12-July 31, 2012.

Also, the Newton Public Library will be showing her work for the month of July in the large gallery.

To see much more of Julia Talcott’s work, visit her artist website.

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Cover of LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969

Cover of LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969 with story titled “Peter Max: Portait of the artist as a very rich man”

The SOWA Vintage Market has a little something for everyone. Open every Sunday in Boston’s South End neighborhood, it has three long rooms housing a variety of vintage ware dealers. Some dealers are there regularly, while others rotate in and out. The fun, energetic music adds to the charm of discovering clothes ranging from glitzy 50’s-era cocktail dresses and sparkly baubles to clear acrylic platform shoes, feathered hats and Jackie-O style jackets with big buttons and 3/4-length sleeves. Non-wearables might be anything from record albums and old paintings to repainted furniture, ceramic ramekins, lamps, signs, curious storage containers and carry-alls, and giant metal mixing paddles for commercial mixers. This past weekend, one of my companions picked up a pair of square-toed black velvet Ferragamo pumps in great condition for $22.

This winter I found a copy of LIFE Magazine there from September 5, 1969. I bought it for $15. What attracted me to this particular issue was the image on the cover of the head of a then young Peter Max floating upon a pastel pink, blue, lavender and yellow sea of his own artwork. The artwork is made to look as though it is being peeled away like an onion skin to reveal rows of dollar signs behind it. And the headline — Peter Max: Portrait of the artist as a very rich man.

"The Mark of Max is Everywhere" from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969

“The Mark of Max is Everywhere” from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969

In 2010, I wrote a blog piece called Circling Back to Peter Max in Another Galaxy, reminiscing about his artistic influence on me and about meeting him at an art reception in Providence, RI. Naturally, I was interested in this LIFE Magazine issue, published when I was 11 years old and just becoming aware of Max’s art. I knew he’d gained fame and wealth at a young age, so I wasn’t surprised that this article described him as a tycoon at 29, owning five companies and licensing his designs to 50 other companies.

Images of Peter Max at work and at play from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969 issue

Images of Peter Max at work and at play from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969 issue

Its author, whose name is not given, describes Max’s art at the time as “a savory rehash of art nouveau, pop and op. It’s every bit as exotic and eclectic as his three-continent background: he was born in Berlin and brought up in Shanghai, Israel, Paris and Brooklyn.”

One of several two-page spreads in the article is captioned “Self-portrait of the artist voyaging through a kaleidoscopic cosmos.” It features a poster which, “created especially for LIFE, is a pictorial autobiography of the artist. Entitled Portrait of the Artist at the Dawn of the Golden Age, it chronicles Max’s terrestrial and spiritual journey through life.”

"Portrait of the Artist at the Dawn of the Golden Age" from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969

“Portrait of the Artist at the Dawn of the Golden Age” from LIFE Magazine, September 5, 1969

It’s a weird little slice of 20th-century American history in the Art section of this old magazine, beside a story about Japanese GI babies coming of age, and another about Richard Nixon’s five-acre retreat at San Clemente, complete with photos of top aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman bare-chested and preparing their sailboat for a cruise off the California coast. There are ads for Del Monte canned creamy-style corn, for Sony’s Digimatic Forget-You-Not clock radio in Deluxe Hardwood sporting a handy speaker that hides under your pillow, and for Viceroy and Marlboro cigarettes. The magazine’s cover price: 40 cents.

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Sculptor Kim Bernard demonstrates the Harmonograph

Sculptor Kim Bernard demonstrates the Harmonograph

I visited the Boston Sculptors Gallery on a whim this past Sunday and was delighted to find Kim Bernard, the artist responsible for Stuff Moves, one of two exhibits happening there, overseeing the gallery that day and encouraging visitors to play with her installations. The spacious back half of the gallery was alive with eye-popping red balls — hanging from cables, topping off the ends of sticks and serving as the weights at the end of pendulums — but the star of the exhibit was movement. Bernard’s Stuff Moves exhibit is play, art, color, choreography and physics lesson combined, and part of its fun and refreshment lies in the viewer being allowed to physically engage with the installations. The result for me was a happy wonderment inspired by bright color, large scale wave-like fluidity, and the occasional surprise of motion taking unexpected turns.

She invited those of us in the gallery to take part as she introduced us to Harmonograph, a set of three wooden structures utilizing red balls for pendulums and a pulley string for controlling the up and down movement of an ink marker. The central structure has a top platform with piece of paper lying on it, and a pendulum that can be set into motion to make the paper gently move back and forth, up and down.

Sculptor Kim Bernard watches the Harmonograph's pen descend to the paper surface to make a drawing

Sculptor Kim Bernard watches the Harmonograph's pen descend to the paper surface to make a drawing

When the pendulums of the two outer structures are pushed into movement, the viewer can lower the string holding the marker to let it create a drawing on the piece of paper. The effect on paper was highly reminiscent for me of the beloved Spirograph art toy of my childhood, except that in this case, once the pendulums have been set in motion, the forces of nature take over.

Bernard’s kinetic sculpture work comes from her fascination with movement and its basic laws. Another piece in the exhibit, Quantum Revival, was inspired by the Pendulum Wave, which she came across in researching pendulums.

Quantum Revival kinetic sculpture by Kim Bernard

Quantum Revival kinetic sculpture by Kim Bernard

Bernard first laid a series of hanging red balls into a shelf bin on the wall. As she released them all at once, we watched the balls take up an undulating pattern of movements, alternating between moving in sync, in waves, and in complementary step. The display was a lovely and seemingly choreographed dance.

“I certainly did not discover the Pendulum Wave,” says Bernard, “but rather ‘borrowed’ the idea to create a kinetic sculpture. Though I knew each pendulum needed to have an exact period, I did not know how to calculate the length to produce the exact number of oscillations. My son, who is a physics major at Harvard, knew the formula that would generate the cable lengths, hence the correct number of oscillations. In five minutes he produced a spread sheet with all of my cable lengths.”

Dance of Shive sculpture by Kim Bernard

Dance of Shive sculpture by Kim Bernard

Dance of Shive, another kinetic sculpture, was made up of 12 feet of nylon strapping stretched between two posts. The strapping held horizontal rods, each tipped with a small red bouncy ball. She welcomed us to move the rods, setting off a twirling wave of the 146 red balls. The effect was an ever-changing beautiful spiraling movement. I found the moving shadows it cast on the wall almost as enchanting as the piece itself in motion.

I was disappointed to learn I’d stumbled upon the exhibit on its final day — otherwise, I’d be encouraging you to pay a visit there. I did get a chance to talk with Kim Bernard about her work, though.

She has lived in Maine for 25 years, and works from a home studio in an attached barn. In the cold months, she works in a smaller, heated area in the barn, while in warmer months she can spread out into the entire lower level (her husband, a painter, has a studio on the second floor). If she really wants space or the wood shop, though, she will work there on milder winter days. “My step son is a custom surf board builder/designer and has a shop on the third floor of the barn,” says Bernard. “You might be interested to know that my 19-year old son will major in music at USM in the fall and my 22-year old physics major son is also a musician. My step daughter is a professional photographer in NYC.  Need I say, we’re a creative bunch!”

PO: How do you work in your studio, and how often?

KB: It all depends on my exhibit schedule. For the three months leading up to my Stuff Moves exhibit at Boston Sculptors Gallery, I worked in my studio all day, every day. After I take a show down, I regroup, fill the well, research, you know…put some compost back into the soil. I always have ideas for future work. It’s a matter of what I’m most curious about, what I’m excited to investigate, what spaces I have to exhibit my work in. It’s often a matter of matching an opportunity with an idea that’s been fermenting for some time. My husband would tell you I’m a workaholic, I don’t agree. It’s a labor of love and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. If I’m not in my studio, I’m researching a future project, visiting a gallery or museum, or doing something art related.

What is atypical about this year is that I received 25K grant that has allowed me to reduce my teaching and focus on some specific projects: Build a Harmonograph, create some interactive kinetic sculpture, take a physic course, study cymatics to create an interactive sculpture, work with time-lapse video and investigate Body Sensor Networks. You can read more about that on my blog: http://kimbernard.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html

PO: Can you describe your general evolution toward doing what you’re doing now with sculpture? How did you start out? Were there any Aha moments for you along the way that pushed you in a particular direction?

KB: From the get-go, I’ve been a mover and a maker. As long as I can remember I have liked to make things and enjoyed dance. Six or so years ago I started questioning why I had two simultaneous but separate practices, one of creating 2-D work (in encaustic) and sculpture (in a variety of materials) and the other, a movement practice which has run the gamut of dance, martial arts and now yoga. I have always been aware of my body on space, ergonomics and kinesthetics. There was one particular ‘aha’ moment…I was assembling a sculpture that required that I bend, scoop up a piece of the sculpture, string it on steel rod in a spiral fashion (like a bead), then repeat the motion again and again. I became more interested in my body moving in space than the sculpture.

The reason why I make sculpture is probably because there is so much body work involved. So, I made it my assignment to bring these two pursuits together and now my work is about movement and nothing else. At first, that seemed limiting but now I realize it is infinitely expansive. At times that means I’m creating kinetic sculpture, sometimes it’s making contraptions that draws, sometimes that means I move and make marks as a record of my own movement. I’ve been playing with stop-motion video lately since it captures and allows me to study movement patterns.

With this exhibit of interactive kinetic sculpture people have often asked if I have a science background. I don’t. I studied sculpture for my BFA and MFA. My answer is that I am simply fascinated with movement and things that move, and that my work is an attempt to understand how things move. My way of doing that is with my hands and with my body.

To see the Stuff Moves exhibit in motion, watch this short video.

The Boston Sculptors Gallery is at 486 Harrison Avenue in the SOWA district of Boston’s South End. It functions as a cooperative, hosting two simultaneous solo shows each month featuring the works of its 34 members.

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The Blue Glass Cafe in the John Hancock Tower is once again hosting an exhibit of art by ten local artists. The Local Artist Project features work by:

Jen Matson
Jenn Sherr
Joshua Marcus
Regina Valluzzi
Jess Barnett
Andrew M Slezak
Carmela Cattuti
Dianne Brooks
Paula Ogier
Linda Goldberg

The exhibit features several découpage artists, as well as abstract and contemporary painters, photographers, and a digital painter (me). There is a reception tomorrow, Wednesday, November 16, from 4:30-6:30 pm. The cafe is on the first floor of the Hancock Tower, but the art gallery is inside the cafe’s second floor loft. Come meet and chat with these ten artists, wander around this expansive space and enjoy the art, and have some refreshments prepared by the Blue Glass Cafe.

Thanks to Sean McCaffrey, the Blue Glass’s manager, for giving local artists this opportunity!

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