It feels good when your work stands out and catches the eye of a juror. In this case, my porcelain sculpture The Unbearable Heaviness of Being (I ) received an Honorable Mention at the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts where it was exhibited in a show entitled For and About Women. The juror was Traci Horne, art history professor at VCU.
I made this sculpture several years ago, and it has been exhibited at various venues. I am constantly reviewing calls for artists to see where past works may have a chance to be exhibited, often years after their creation. This particular work was part of a series examining the high price women pay as ‘collateral damage’ during wartime.
Interestingly, I have just recently begun sculpting a new series of small porcelain figures , but with a different emphasis. I want to create almost androgenous miniature figures which project those BIG human emotions like inner turmoil, fear or introspection.
Forget culture shock. How about temperature shock? Straight from a freezing cold Paris to the heat of Melbourne’s waning summer. A brief stay in Australia to participate in two family weddings did not leave much time for art. However, I did get to see (not once, but twice) the brilliant Ron Mueck exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in the heart of Melbourne. Mueck plays with our minds and our senses by pairing realism with exaggerated scale in his hyperrealist sculptures. A lot to see and a lot to think about.
My time in Paris is up. But the work I did, the friends I made, the culture I inhaled, the memories and the experiences I lived, will all come away with me. What was clear to me on the eve of my departure was that Paris still feels like a home away from home and I intend to come home again soon.
I am very pleased to be able to share an article published in Bonjour Parisin which I write about the artistic project I was working on in Paris. Over the coming months I plan to expand this work though at this early stage I am not sure exactly what direction this will take. Time will tell.
This is certainly one trip I will never forget. It has given me so much culturally, creatively, intellectually and socially. My days and nights are full of exciting events, great food, intense conversations and hard work. Here are just a few of the recent highlights. The Elles exhibition at the Centre Pompidou is mind blowing. A wonderfully curated exhibition from the Pompidou center’s collection following the path of modern and contemporary women artists, and very relevant to the work I am doing here in Paris on female sexuality. Many of the works were very risque and explicit and it was quite incongruous to see a group of nuns there. Followed them around a bit to get some shots.
Waiting in line at the Pompidou center it finally dawned on me what THE French accessory is. Scarves. Big, huge, wrap-around-your-head scarves, like the gorgeous young woman below. The bigger the better. And of course you must wear it as though you are not almost choking to death in its tentacles!
Yesterday even though it was below zero, I headed off with a friend to Auvers sur l’Oise to make a pilgrimage to Van Gogh’s house and his final resting place. It was a wonderful experience to walk in his footsteps and see where he set up his easel for some of his most famous works. The cemetery where he is buried is delightfully understated, making it feel so much more authentic.
I have also been printing my etchings whenever I get the chance to use Yael Braverman’s press. I have now completed four copper etchings and really love the process and the results!
Additionally I have been invited to Israeli folk dancing classes, salsa discos, champagne lunches, studio visits, avoided stepping in French doggie doo, have gotten used to the slight whiff of sewage in many old Parisian buildings, seen the most incredible collection of Islamic art in the world, and have survived waking up in the middle of the night with a mouse on my pillow, but that’s another story… All this is over and above the daily work I am pursuing at the Musee d’Orsay, which I hope will lead to a very interesting project.
Now to leave you with a good taste in your mouth, so-to-speak, this is the dessert platter I had recently at a very ordinary bistro. It is called cafe gourmand, which has a little bit of everything. Bon appetit!
Being in Paris seems to be sending out good vibes for my work back home. Here are the highlights regarding exhibitions and art-related news.
1. An announcement that the Fuller Museum exhibition The Perfect Fit will be travelling around the US visiting various museums over the next 24 months. Among the works will be my installation If the Shoe Fits.
2. Shocham Gallery in Tel Aviv is including my work in their February exhibition on Balance/Imbalance featuring artist mobiles. They are featuring a small number of my floating porcelain pages from the Living Without Them exhibition at the American University Museum in 2008. Last month they included my video from the same installation for a group exhibition called Eco-Book.
3. Two of my works will be exhibited at a very interesting show in Washington DC called Art of the Soul. My video entitled If The Shoe Fits…Buy It and an installation called Basic Needs.
4. My painting of a couple of DC detectives Double Trouble was admitted into the prestigious national portrait show opening in February in Punta Gorda Florida. The judge is Peter Trippi.
This last Sunday was extraordinary in terms of experiences that would be hard to find or recreate outside of Paris. Beginning with a breakfast straight from my childhood – fresh buttered baguette dipped into a huge bowl of cafe au lait. (I will get back to the calorie counting and limited cholesterol diet when I get back!) Next on the agenda was a serious attack on my meagre choice of clothes (after all, I only brought five pairs of boots with me!) to find an outfit that would not embarass me at the very exclusive, invitation-only, unveiling of next season’s Dior menswear collection. I was quite happy with what I came up with….
Being at the Dior fashion show was a real trip. The hype and buzz were palpable. Hundreds of people gathered to see what the House of Dior would come out with which will influence global fashion trends and trickle down to the ‘masses’ in watered-down versions. There were scores of photographers, TV crews, gay designers, models, fashion buyers, and even some real live famous people like Karl Largerfeld and Kanye West! The chief createur had designed the runway with a sort of horse dressage feel with the audience sitting in raised seats around the runway circle. Music blaring, the thin, rather sick-looking male models with hairstyles that needed serious hair product to produce, came striding out in some of the most gorgeous clothes I have ever seen men wear. I must admit I was sceptical about just how innovative one can be with men’s suits, jackets, coats and pants. But it was thrilling and required real talent and vision to produce the whole collection.
While in Paris I was very determined to also do some watercolors but did not want to do the usual gorgeous Paris scenes which have been done to death. I had the idea at the fashion show to do a small series on the people watching the show, rather than the models. Here is one example so far.
In the evening I was invited to an art opening at a private apartment in Montmatre. It was quite an evening, the hostess being Grace Tashima who regularly opens her gorgeous Parisian apartment to all manner of artists, wannabe artists, writers, mathematics professors, art critics, photographers, and moi! There was a very interesting photographer/dancer couple, David and Marie. Marie kept insisting that David photograph the two of us as bookends with various guests sandwiched in between. Here we are with Grace sandwiched in the middle on her famous red couch.
The evening ended up with a date to rendez-vous with Grace, an invitation to a private soiree where an opera singer will sing several cantatas and a very interesting conversation with the featured artist Christian Gorget about the cathartic nature of creating art. So yes, as my son Anton asked me, What Planet Am I On?
Impossible to sum up the incredibly rich, stimulating, creative and exciting time I have been having so far in Paris. So lets just take the last 24 hours as an example. But first just a few photos to set the stage….
OK. So now you get the picture – no pun intended! Yesterday morning I turned up for ‘work’ at the Musee d’Orsay from 9:30 to 1:00 (I am going to be posting a separate blog detailing a very interesting art project I will be working on during the remainder of my stay. Essentially I have been authorized to be an official copiste at the Musee d’Orsay, hopefully capturing on video some of my painting as a type of performance piece). Following an intense painting session at the museum,a delicious lunch and coffee. I am not a coffee drinker, but the coffee here sure beats Starbucks! Then off to make my first ever prints from the copper engravings I have been working on. Just love the results and the impression the copper plate makes in the paper.
After a quick dinner of goat cheese, baguette, and radishes I popped over to another artist’s studio to meet her artist’s group for some champagne and dessert. Painters, photographers, sculptors, print-makers. Back to my own freezing loft to finish off a quick study of a striking looking woman who works at the museum and matches her outfits to her red and black striped hair.
Today I met some friends at the Grand Palais to see one of the most spectacular installations I have ever seen by Christian Boltonski. More coffee and then rush off to attend an opening of an exhibition by artist Gilles Hirzel at the Assemblee Nationale. Very chi-chi – had to be on the ‘list’ to get in. Very powerful works on canvas made from found materials. Don’t sit back yet. As evening settled in I was invited to yet another opening in the very chic Faubourg Saint-Honore. Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana and Dior stores rubbing shoulders with exclusive book stores and galleries and restaurants…Then a taste of Paris commuter traffic as I got a hair-raising ride back home. This weekend, I have an invitation to the unveiling of the next season’s Dior Menswear collection, another gallery opening and a dinner party. So sorry you can’t all join me! And oh yes, I did have to get a beret, didn’t I?