Friday, September 18, 2009

I have gone quiet, like a submarine.

I gave up the computer for a week while on vacation. That stillness has carried over into my Fall.

Here is a nest, built around an apple. Photos from the Cape and other local wonders. At the studio, much cleaning of supplies and soul. New work soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Coming to the Loading Dock Gallery

Recently I joined the publicity team for the coop Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, where I share space with the Lowell Fiber Studio group. The mailing list stuff comes hard - organization, me? but I love the writing. Suddenly, a use for all those years writing papers and editing books. So here's my second review. The exhibit is a hummer. Come by if you can.

David Barton and Jessica Cohen present their Insights and Observations in this exhibit of painted and drawn figures. Their work embraces opposites. Privacy is observed. Imagination looks you in the face. Walk among these figures, and you explore both daily life and dreamed realities.

David Barton celebrates opposites. Built from found objects such as mannequin parts and broken machinery, Barton’s figures mesmerize the eye with unexpected combinations. Simultaneously elegant and disturbing, his creatures seem to have walked out of a dream. Limbs end in machine parts. Calm faces float above wheels and wings. Barton invites the viewer to see the work “as part of a much larger story,” one where beauty and ugliness, danger and safety, reality and dream coexist in each being.

Atlantis by David Barton

Jessica Cohen draws people immersed in the everyday. Her subjects do not face the viewer. Instead they turn away to read, listen, make music, or even sleep.

Two Girls at a Show by Jessica Cohen

She draws with an inquiring line, black on white. “I think art is everywhere,” says Cohen. She captures moments of quiet focus. Her figures are filled with inner energy. Through Cohen’s Insights and Observations we glimpse ourselves.

Man Reading by Jessica Cohen

Insights and Observations is at The Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, 122 Western Avenue September 30 through October 25, 2009. You're invited to a reception Friday, October 9, 6-9pm. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11am to 4:30pm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dog for Dave

One of my students in the Alzheimer's ward is nearly silent. He sits, hums, and shakes his hands and head "no" when you offer him a pencil or brush. But he had a dog once, and one week picked up his brush and painted a dog. So I brought in dog photos this time, just for Dave, but he shook his head and hands. "Can't see. All fuzzy. No thanks."

So when class was almost over I came back and asked permission to try. When I looked up, the entire class was watching, and, then, briefly, talking happily: about painting, about dogs they'd loved, about family.

When class was over, a nurse came to escort Dave, tall and unsteady on his feet, back down the hall. In the doorway he stopped. "It was really good of you to come today!" he called out. The nurse just about sat down in surprise.

Art is a gift.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Teaching today

Climbing back in the saddle after a long week away and a longer summer. Today I teach my Alzheimer's students. A small class, constantly changing. People lose skills from week to week. New members arrive. I try to bring them color and memories and the chance to just BE, which is the gift of art.