In preparation for an online class that I am making for the Artful Gathering, I have moved myself into a brighter, more cozy (albeit, smaller) studio space on the main floor of our house. The attic has proven to be too cold in the winter and the stairs too tough on my knees. So, our three-season porch, has become winterized. I have been busy out here for the past few weeks, moving into my new space.
This past fall has been a complete whirlwind. I don't know how it got away from me. I taught two classes at Shake Rag Alley in September. Then I headed up to Minneapolis to spend some time vending a Art-Is-You. October and November had me designing and building costumes for NightFires, shipped them back to Vermont. How I missed working on that show. I'm was so excited and grateful when Marianne asked for my help with the dancer costumes.
Then December crept in. I was immediately off to Asia to work for two weeks with some of our vendors in Korea and Hong Kong. The day job has left little space for making or even thinking of making new art.
But, finally, with this new space, with all my materials around me- I have become inspired to work on art again.
Assemblage from found objects
Volt meter case, rusted lamp parts, metal lid, rusted spring, recovered bottle, vintage text, wire, china marker.
9"x 6 1/2" x 3 1/2"
This piece was inspired by a single atom and Walt Whitman's Song of Myself. In some ways it reminds me of the Shrine of Invention. There's a bit of an evolution my assemblages have changed some since 2008.
Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
We are all stardust. We are all interconnected.
Wishing you Peace and Joy was we move forward into 2016.
Last summer an EF2 tornado touched down in the northern part of Dodgeville - about 10 miles from where I live now. Many homes and farms along highway ZZ were damaged-barns leveled, forests of trees flatten in the blink of an eye.
Yesterday, I visited one such farm. The house and two of the outbuildings were completely unharmed. Looking at them today- you would have no idea that a tornado swept through 12 months ago. But two other barns, only 100 feet away were flatten. The owner is preparing to move and sell her property, but she heard I work with barn board, she invited me to come up and salvage materials for my next project.
So I donned my jeans, workbooks and gloves and when up to her place to do some, very careful digging....
I'm really excited about these materials - the wood is noticeably different than the boards I used in Vermont. Some of the boards have chipped red or white paint on them, several have knot holes and a quite a few have nail heads that will be close to impossible to remove. I'm planning on leveraging these new characteristics. This difference is going to have an interesting effect on the next series of prints that I plan to do.
I have my work cut out for me today- I need to unload them, wash and sand them before I can even think about working on them. That part is the dirty business, thank god we have a nice cool breeze today- otherwise wearing all my protective gear will be very hot.
I'm excited to announce that I will be teaching at this Shake Rag Alley, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin in September. That's only two months away!! If you haven't been to Shake Rag, you are in for a treat. This arts and craft school, resides in a cluster of small historical buildings nestled along a babbling spring. Built along the hill side on 2.5 beautifully landscaped acres these little structures house a Blacksmith shop, Jewelry classes, Fiber Arts and Mixed media programs, youth arts education and a small performing arts stage. I'll write more about Shake Rag and it's history in an upcoming post: But if you want to wet your appetite click here to check out their website and see what's creatively in-store for you at this magical location.
I am teaching of two of my most requested classes
SOUL HOUSES an introduction to mixed media assemblage and process orientated art making
I had to take a reality check and decide not to go to the Drum Corp show in Dubuque tonight. I had just been to a DCI show in Madison, WI on the 27th and then one in Whitewater, WI on the 5th. The Bluecoats and Phantom where calling me, but the reality of work (I need to catch up after being out of the office for the holiday) and everyday life (eating a decent meal and taking care of the dog) circumvented me driving the 45 mins to Iowa to see yet another competition.
Dear Reader, I know that's what you are thinking... What the heck is Drum Corps? How the heck can you be addicted to it?
Oh lord. How do I explain this? This thing, this activit, that I did as a teenager and revel in (perhaps even revere it) as an adult fills me with excitement and joy. Some people have their sports teams, baseball, football, soccer... I have DCI. From the end of June to the beginning of August, Drum Corps is my obsession. I am a huge fan of this hybrid of music, theater and motion, that is part spectacle, part religion.( I will try to explain that part more at some point) It's all about team work, determination, stamina and joy. Music, moving on a football field. Marching like no half-time show marching band you have ever seen. Brass and drums and color guard silks that bring out emotion and give you goosebumps.... that's what Drum Corps is.
There are about 25 world class corps in the US. Most of these corps are made up of 150 kids- we're are talking high school and college kids, no older than 21. They dedicate their entire summer to learning musical repertoires and drills, that are incredibly complex and detailed. The Mid-West seems to be the hot spot for Drum Corps International. But these kids tour all summer long, from California to Boston and back again, pushing themselves to give a 110%.
To quote a friend I recently introduced to Drum Corp," it's a half-time show on steroids."
This Drum Corp International video, probably does a better job of describing the musical phenomena:
I had always loved the Phantom Regiment, Cavaliers and Madison Scouts. Three solid, long standing corps from the mid-west that always performed a great crowd-pleasing show. But, in Madison, at the Drums on Parade show, my heart stopped. The Blue Coats took my breath away, Their show Kinetic Noise brought tears to my eyes. I had never seen them perform before, but have been recruited to the Bluecoats camp. Oh. My. Lord. They are a sight to be seen. They are a force to be reckoned with, And if they don't win the championship in August, it will only be because of internal DCI politics and crappy judges. (There- I've said my piece.)
Ok - that's just their "warm-up"...
I'm a horn fanatic. I played brass for the LI Grenadiers (1981-1985, Medford, NY) many, many moons ago, And although, I don't play anymore, it is something that I have the DEEPEST, appreciation for,
LI Grenadiers. That's me, 2nd row, 4th one from the left. Next to Hector Colon. I'll never forget that night- We won the Garden State Championships!
I suppose there is more to tell...but I will save that for another night.
Salut! my friends... if you have never experienced Drum Corp and there's a show near you, seek it out, buy some tickets in the cheap seats, enjoy the summer twilight, music and motion. There's nothing like it... watch out... you might get addicted.
I've been thinking a lot about Gregory Crewdson lately. Probably because, in these early days of summer, sitting on my front porch, at twilight, with the birds singing their evening song and the distant drone of highway 151 penetrating my head- The atmosphere in Dodgeville, feels so surreal. Maybe it's the campers parked in front yards, or the blue bottle trees, or old '77 Cutlass Supreme, the croaking tree frogs, white boy who thinks his all gansta long-boarding on the sidewalk headed to the bar downtown. Maybe its the stop signs mounted onto electric poles or sweet pink geraniums planted in Harley Davidson milk cans, black silhouetted cowboys or kissing dutch boy and girl lawn ornaments. I don't know. Most probably it is the combination of all these elements that, at this time of day, as the sun is sinking into the horizon, that I feel like I am trapped in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. That sitting here on my porch, watching the worlds around me, that I might just amount to a single layer, that is layer upon another and another and another, that creates a complicated, point of view about Middle-America,
If you have not seen Brief Encounters, I recommend it. It is an amazing documentary about a very passionate and driven contemporary American artist. Gregory Crewdson. Crewdon works tirelessly to produce stunning photographs of middle class American, that blend fact and fiction. His desire is to produce an perfect moment and his photographs are flawless. They capture the imperfection of normal life with beauty and grace. (Interesting, right, flawless photos that capture imperfection.)
Since I have moved to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, I have felt like I have landed in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. So while Crewdson fabricates environments, Dodgeville, unwittingly reflects the artist, in ways he will probably never come to know or appreciate, And I am certain, that if you live in a small rural town like DV, you might understand what I mean. In the twilight, there is something, so beautiful and sublime that it is extremely hard to pin down or identify, It is there in the stillness and the brief moments of activity. It is something intangible- recognizable, yet escapes description. (At least from me,I am too close to it,)
Corner -L Reynolds 2015
So, I sit here, listening to the birds, watch this light change and the cars go by, the occasional owner walking their tiny dog, the wind rustle the leaves in the tree and I am reminded of Gregory Crewdson's photographs and the beauty found in the ordinary and the everyday.
Frontier- L Reynolds 2015
I am thinking about how to capture what I see and feel in this town, A tentative, insecure beauty, It lays in the saturated greens of almost-perfect lawns and the tinge of blue that lingers on simple turn-of-the century white houses that have been removed of any character and completely re-sided with vinyl. It is a history mining that lingers, quietly, in the tiny stone cottages that once belonged to miners. It is a main street that struggles to stay a-float while a new super Walmart takes root up by the new 4 lane highway. It is the mourning dove that calls out to it's mate that it is time to settle down for the night.
These photos are just sketches of something bigger that I am try to arrive at, Not sure how I will get there. Not sure what it will be...but there is something there, in Gregory Crewdson's Neighborhood.
There's something about titles that can tend to be difficult. Sometimes the name came be so elusive. You don't want the title to give away too much, but you don't want to waste the meaning either. This piece might have spawned out of one too many nights in the studio watching Outlander. Although not Scottish,the tune has been stuck in my head for weeks now. I even tried watching old 27th Lancers videos to get passed it. As the work began to come together on the table there was no second guessing it. 'o Danny Boy it would be. Whatever the influence, this box assemblage come together rather quickly.There's something different and new about the work that have been coming out of my studio the past few weeks. I'm excited about how things are coming together. More photos (and more work) to come- I promise. New Work 'o Danny Boy Assemblage from found objects Game board, old Victorian scrap, chess piece, gilded picture frame, transparency, rusty metal. $175
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