Thank you again for your talents and personality that make working with you just perfect.”
Hurry – there are only a few days left to see Intertwined: Contemporary Southeastern Fiber Art, a juried and invitational exhibition celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance. Selecting the juried portion of the show gave me an opportunity to reconnect with a number of familiar faces and discover some new ones. Jim Arendt’s Best-in-Show Totemic Figures (below) can stop you in your tracks! Honorary mentions awarded to to Robin Haller, Susan Lenz, and Jacqueline Mehring emphasize the amazing diversity of this exhibition. The juried show is accompanied by an invitational of artists who have made extraordinary contributions to the five-year success of SEFAA. The show, at the Hudgens Center for the Arts, will be in this Gwinnett location until March 21, and later in the year will travel to Barnesville and Valdosta, Georgia. A catalogue for the show is available from http://www.blurb.com/b/5943285-intertwined-2015
Photography courtesy of the artist
The Book as Art: Expanding the Limits, was the second version of the Decatur Arts Alliance’s artists’ book exhibition accompanying the Decatur Book Festival, and was on display at the Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur’s gallery July 18 – September 19, 2014. ArtsATL.com included the 2014 version of the exhibition in its top critics’ picks for 2014, stating, “As the kickoff event for the AJC Decatur Book Festival, this wildly eclectic 39-piece exhibition challenged traditional perceptions of the book in analog form. Utilizing pop-up illustrations, hand-dyed silk pages, scrolls or materials made out of everything from bamboo to aluminum, international artists found new and often startling ways to reimagine not just the physical format of a book but also the ideological essence of the content.” (http:www.artsatl.com/2014/12/year-review-visual-art/).
The exhibition was juried by Mary Murphy, Savannah College of Art and Design; Barbara Tetenbaum, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Triangular Press; and Alexander Campos, New York Center for the Book. Prize winners were Sarah McDermott for Channel and Flow; Robin Price for Love in the Time of War; and Diane Jacobs for Nourish, All Our Relations.
Photograph: Sun Young Kang, Memories Unfolded. Photo courtesy of the artist
Some of the most exciting public art opportunities in the Atlanta area are currently on the Atlanta BeltLine, the redevelopment project that encircles portions of intown Atlanta on the site of long-abandoned rail lines. The BeltLine website (beltline.org) describes the project as, “. . . rails, trails, greenspace, and transit.”
One of the metro area arts community’s major accomplishments in recent years has been to assure that art is also part of the equation. If you’ve ever wondered how public art is selected, IIDA (International Interior Design Association)’s Georgia chapter worked through the process over a matter of years and succeeded in commissioning and following to impressive completion a new art landmark for the BeltLine.
Early in the development of the massive BeltLine project, IIDA seized the concept and made an opportunity to plan for a contribution to this facet of what has become a major city greenspace. Vision in the early days was based entirely on faith, but the organization’s annual Trash to Treasure event raised the funds over the years to commission a sculpture.
The process of public art is always interesting (and often different from previous projects). Michele Lyden (Lyden Design Studio) was president of IIDA-Georgia when the process began, and invited me to serve as art advisor for the process. Guided by Fred Yalouris, design director for the BeltLine, and Elan Buchen, project coordinator, a call for proposals was issued nationally. The specifications for a sculpture were that the piece should reference the history of Atlanta and its railroads, and must be constructed from railroad artifacts retrieved from the 22 miles of BeltLine corridor—and, must conform to the budget! Proposals were received, a selection panel was appointed—with Michele and myself representing IIDA—and proposals were reviewed and evaluated on several levels. These included aesthetic appeal, historic interpretation, and feasibility. Atlanta sculptor Phil Proctor’s proposal, referencing the Corinthian columns from Atlanta’s classic Union Station demolished in 1972, was selected from more than 20 applications.
Proctor’s massive and graceful column (23’ in height), completely accurate in its classical details and composed entirely of rusted rails, anchors, plates, switches, and other long-buried relics, was dedicated last week (November 8, 2013). IIDA’s vision has made possible a permanent and important landmark along the Eastside Trail, located just east of the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark. It has become an instant place maker on the trail, and its important reference to the historic built environment of the city is especially appropriate for IIDA’s work with the contemporary built environment.
Congratulations to IIDA-Georgia, Phil Proctor, and the Atlanta BeltLine for this important contribution to the visual environment of the metro area!
The book exhibition that critic Jerry Cullum has referred to as “sheer aesthetic magic” (Review: Books Become Magical Objects in “The Book as Art”, www.artsatl.com/2013/08/review-book-art/) closed on September 20 after a nine-week stay at the Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur gallery. The juried exhibition of artists’ books, sponsored by the Decatur Arts Alliance, drew work from twenty states, as well as Canada and Israel.
This intimate show was beautifully installed by Angus Galloway, director of the gallery, who handled all challenges with aplomb and grace. White-gloved Arts Alliance volunteers guided visitors through heavy traffic during the Book Festival, and visitors responded to the opportunity to have pages turned and work discussed. Interesting byproducts of the show were the challenging discussions on techniques, meanings, and the future of the book in both traditional form and as a sculptural object.
The exhibition also stimulated a generous donation from artists Martin and Erik Demaine, Through the Looking Glass I (above.) This is the inaugural work in a collection to be held by the Arts Alliance, with ongoing additions from the AJC-Decatur Book Festival and the DAA. Details for exhibiting the collection are in development, but the goal is to have this work promote the book arts through an exhibition schedule in conjunction with the metro area public libraries.
This has proved to be The Year of the Book, and The Book as Art has been a really exciting part of it!
My summer’s project has been acting as coordinator for the inaugural version of the Decatur Arts Alliance’s The Book as Art at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur’s gallery on the Decatur Square.
We have been overwhelmed with the response to this show, and hope that you are able to see it in person. We are looking forward to big crowds on the square and in the gallery August 30 – September 1. The kickoff to the weekend is The Book as Art gala reception August 29 – details are in the invitation above.
Go to decaturartsalliance.org/blog/?p=571 for a preview slide show of the work, and to download a pdf catalogue. If you are not able to attend during the weekend, remember that the show is up through September 20.
We are also looking forward to increasing participation with the City Schools of Decatur, with Nick Madden’s third grade class from Glenwood Elementary performing this year as our pilot program with the schools.
Thanks to the original inspiration of Lisa Mittler Bradford for knowing that 2013 is truly the year to examine the IDEA OF THE BOOK as a vehicle for information, an art object, a documentation of fleeting and permanent knowledge, and a stubbornly analog format in a digital world.
Enjoy the show!
The Decatur Arts Festival 2013 wrapped with the Last Call event at the Fine Arts Exhibition on June 2. The event was, as always, a great sendoff. Judy Parady, working with the Decatur Arts Alliance, invited a diverse selection of artists to talk about their work to an appreciative audience of arts supporters. The speakers included Best in Show collage artist Cynthia Frigon, photographer Elyse Defoor, painter John Cargile, encaustic artist Helen DeRamus, and woodturner John Madajewski.
Award winners in the Fine Arts Exhibition 2013 were:
Best in Show, Cynthia Frigon, Decatur, GA. Sunset After the Quake; paper collage
Gold, Robin Miller, Savannah, GA. Zombi Dovetails; crayon on vellum
Silver, Russell Everett, Roanoke, AL. Flying Hannah with Henri: Owed to Matisse; pencil, paint, crayon
Christina Bray, Tucker, GA. School Hallway; acrylic on canvas
Scott Eakin, Atlanta, GA. Ulysses; ballpoint, colored pencil on paper
Melvin Toledo, Atlanta, GA. Calas; oil
The Fine Arts Exhibition of the Decatur Arts Festival is a show that I have worked with for many years – one of the best volunteer gigs around! Be sure to catch the next version – May 20 – June 1, 2014.
Artists’ books take many forms – from handmade and lusciously tactile to linear and informative; abstract and questioning to sculptural and monumental. Artists’ books can be a delight to the eye, a pleasure to the hand, and made tangible in forms that introduce us not only to new interpretations of an ancient concept but also to questions and ideas on 21st –century form and format. Artists who observe this world and interpret the IDEA of the book are invited to enter a juried exhibition that visually celebrates the book form.
The Decatur Arts Alliance (DAA), in conjunction with the gallery of The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, is bringing the first juried exhibition of Artists’ Books to that great celebration of the printed word, the AJC Decatur Book Festival. The exhibition introduces a new and exciting visual component to the largest independent book festival in the country from July 19 through September 20, 2013.
The gallery’s location on the Decatur Square in the heart of the Festival grounds is ideally accessible to the more than 75,000 attendees at the festival. The Festival’s attendance demonstrates that books are cherished by multitudes in tangible and touchable form even as they morph into new forms and formats. The Festival dates are August 30 – September 1, 2013.
Jurors are Brian Dettmer, Atlanta, Georgia; Jerushia Graham, Jonesboro, Georgia; and Beck Whitehead, San Antonio, Texas.
For information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404.371.9583.
Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College
Dana Fine Arts Building
141 E. College Ave. (map)
Tuesday, May 21 • 5:15-7 pm
Be among the first to view an intriguing collection of paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture and mixed media selected by this year’s distinguished jury. Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments. Held in conjunction with the May meeting of the Decatur Business Association. (more…)
After Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, while the city of New Orleans was searched house by house and building by building, first responders developed a unified code that could be interpreted by others as they criss-crossed the city searching and rescuing residents from structures damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flood. The code consisted of a large X spray painted somewhere on the façade of each structure (door, siding, window, etc.) One piece of information was entered in each quadrant of the X. This information included the date, sometimes the time, the unit doing the searching, and sometimes other information. In the bottom quadrant was noted whether or not anyone was found there, alive or not.
These codes are a valuable record, expressed in an unforgettable graphic, and displayed on the unique architecture of the city. The codes are expressed as a part of the architecture, and are even more powerful as found art when considered in the stunning volume of their repetition. The protocol, originated by Urban Search and Rescue teams, became an icon of the post-Katrina cityscape.
The repetition of this code on house after house after house on mile after mile after mile of streets was a powerful narrative of the weeks following the storm, and is also unique in that it is a narrative told ON the architecture of the city. The repetition was also unique in that the symbols expressed a graphic even handedness—they appeared on structures spanning the socioeconomic mix of the city, and reflected the fact that this was an equal opportunity disaster.
This powerful graphic and its overwhelming repetition was noted by both amateurs and professionals documenting the event and its aftermath, and many of these viewers recorded the markings photographically. The visual recording of the found art of the X-codes has by now become a found art itself—the images are held by both amateur and professional artists who were moved and impressed by the sheer volume of the repetition as well as the unique power of communication.
Two articles on this subject have been published on SouthernSpaces.org, an online peer-reviewed journal from Emory University. The articles may be accessed at www.southernspaces.org/2009/x-codes-post-katrina-postscript and www.southernspaces.org/2010/katrina-5-x-code-exhibition. Work continues on this project.