THE VISUAL ART QUARTERLY OF ST. LOUIS
Amy Reidel , Supercell detail (image courtesy of the artist)
CONTENTS IN REVIEW (PGS. 01-11) EXECUTIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH
CREATIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER AMY REIDEL (ON LEAVE)
INTERIM ASSOCIATE CREATIVE EDITOR THOMAS MOORE
DIRECTOR OF LAYOUT AND DESIGN MAXINE WARD
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD REILLY
WEB DESIGN AND ADMINISTRATION AMY MILLER
SOCIAL MEDIA AND OUTREACH MANAGER *IN TRANSITION*
CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS LINDSEY DUNNAGAN SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH EILEEN G’SELL BILL KRANZ CATHERINE LEBERG LAURYN MARSHALL TOM PETERSON SUE PRUCHNICKI
AMY REIDEL ERIN MCGRATH RIEKE RACHEL SACKS HOLLY SCHROEDER EVAN SULT KEATON TREECE AMANDA VERBECK JESSICA WITTE
Our Reviews cover art exhibitions and events that took place in the St. Louis area in recent months. In this section, you will find thoughtprovoking commentary written by established and emerging art writers. In this issue, Eileen G’Sell discusses Vita Eruhimovitz’s exploration of augmented realities at the Sheldon Art Gallery. Catherine Leberg writes about Higher Ground, at the Sheldon Art Galleries, which incorporates a variety of artists and academics to examine racial truths buried in Washington Park Cemetery. Lauryn Marshall reviews Blue Black, currently on view at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Erin McGrath Rieke considers Jacob Berkowitz’s exploratory gesture marks in THE SILENCE IS SHOUTING: Expressions in Partial Control at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery. Rachel Sacks describes the collaboration and stunning visuals of the Screwed Arts Collective, also at Hoffman LaChance. Evan Sult reviews the survey of men’s fashion in Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015 at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
ARTIST INTERVIEWS (PGS. 12-15) The interviews in this issue take on the theme of “wellness” - wellness of artists, in art, through art. Art therapist Julie Gant talks about her work and experience with art enrichment programs at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Ilethia Sharp discusses her curatorial mission of producing temporary, site-specific art exhibitions in otherwise “non-art” spaces in order to engage local artists with communities in the region. Photographer andmusician George Sams talks about his over 40 years experience of living as an artist. Dacia Polk discusses art as a way of life.
COMMUNITY VOICES (PGS. 16-18) Here, artists and creatives offer experiences, advice and ideas relating to our “wellness” theme. Artist and performer Bill Kranz regales us with tales of the Celestial Theatre, a performance art group, that has nurtured his wellbeing over many decades. Artists and architects Sue Pruchnicki and Tom Peterson offer safety advice for those of us working and playing in creative spaces. Amanda Verbeck, of Pele Prints, begins a four part print tutorial on relief printing - a practice that might just bring a state of wellbeing to the practitioner.
COMMENTARY (PGS. 18-20)
Front Cover: Jacob Berkowitz installing THE SILENCE IS SHOUTING: Expressions in Partial Control (image courtesy of Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery) Back Cover: Screwed Arts Collective: Bryan Walsh, Jasper Spencer, Jacob Berkowitz, Cheeraz, Gormon Kris Mosby, Christopher Burch, Justin Tolentino, Daniel Burnett, and Stan Chisolm (image courtesy of Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery)
Artist Lindsey Dunnagan tells us about her interactive project Shedding Stones, centered around the idea of forgiveness and letting go. Holly Schroeder examines how her art practice serves as her mindful meditation and self care. Keaton Treece describes plans for a new St. Louis city art incubator.
Amy Reidel, Love Tumor (Blonde Flagella) (image courtesy of the artist)
“Art, Artists and Wellness” is the theme that Addoley Dzegede gifted us for this issue as she worked simultaneously on the race to complete our Summer 2017 issue and the race to organize multiple exhibition installations of her own. Like every profession that requires total life devotion and has no off-hours, visual art production can wear and tear on an artist’s health. Of course, it isn’t just the art making that brings health struggle with it. Many artists are self-employed or work at hourly paid jobs that lack health benefits, making wellness dependent upon the individual’s best efforts at preventative health care and a whole lotta hope and luck. All the Art co-founder and creative director Amy Reidel is on what she is calling a “happy family leave” as she grows her family this year. Her decision to step back for a minute was not an easy choice for her to make or hold to, but it was an important step toward ensuring she stay as in-control of her many efforts as she possibly can, with a wild new life entering the scene. Yet, wellbeing is not always something we can achieve through planning, even when we rank our own lives and communities high on our list of cares. Like a sudden ocean storm, our bodies can turn on us, turning our lives and those of our loved ones’ inside out. Reidel’s art practice is devoted largely to this very subject of human bodies functioning without concern for human plans. Her work has shown in several regional and national exhibitions during her “happy family leave” and, though we feel her work is too close to many involved in this magazine to review objectively, we also know her work is important and speaks particularly to the subject we’ve used as a thematic anchor for this issue. Reidel’s art objects often appear as abstract lures. Those she titles Love Tumors can look like giant wads of brightly colored chewing gum or
playdough, crystals and other children’s treasure. In a delicate and dazzling glitter floor installation, she seamlessly combines MRIs showing breast cancer tumors with weather radar and Doppler ultrasound imagery from a typhoon that hit the Philippines on the date that her mother was diagnosed with cancer. For over a decade, Reidel has worked through emotional, physical and world events by placing the very small human moment of one individual and binding that ittybitty but devastating thing to an Earth event, something unmistakably huge. She creates hybrid analyses that she can place on a gallery pedestal as a sort of memorial to the moment, to the person whose wellness is just as all-consuming as a Mid-West tornado. Reidel helps us to move in and out of differing levels of perspective as we face our own life upsets. She supports our lives with her artworks, very much like local organizations in our midst support artists in their practical lives - advising to prevent fire disasters, serving as fiscal sponsors, offering spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration and networking. Her artworks shape a story around moments that require reflection. Her memorialization demands acceptance of time lost and support given. That story making is vital for moving forward. So, with that in mind, we give you the theme for our Winter, 2017-2018 issue. STORY. Does an artist’s story resonate with you? Would you like to tell it? Do you find that an artwork tells a story as no words could ever do? Perhaps you’d like to argue against the need for any meaning in visual art. The theme is, as always, yours to interpret.
All the Best,
Executive Editor and Co-Founder
Interim Associate Creative Editor
HOFFMAN LACHANCE CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY
Michael Hoffman, co-owner of Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery, normally hangs the exhibitions himself. This time, he handed members of the Screwed Arts Collective the keys and said, "do what you want." There's something powerful to this degree of agency, and the exhibition, Alley Oops, with its many contributors, benefits from such creative control. The Screwed Arts Collective, formed in 2010, brings together multidisciplinary artists to innovate collaboratively and progress a participatory artistic culture. Alley Oops
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displays individual and collaborative artworks by seven collective members: Jacob Berkowitz, Christopher Burch, Daniel Burnett, Stan Chisholm, Cheeraz Gormon, Kris Mosby, Jason Spencer, Justin Tolentino, and Bryan Walsh. Alley Oops bears the feel of its creators—the graphic movement, clusters of fantastical subjects, dynamism, and crisscrossing energy. Despite the manifold voices, it's a kind of symphony, interacting textual works (such as those by Chisholm, Gormon, and Mosby) with figurative artworks (Spencer’s grotesque
creatures) and abstract expressionist artworks (Berkowitz’s gestural paintings, Burch’s curvilinear shapes). The mingling of styles in the artists’ curation—styles ranging from graphic to satirical content, both figurative and abstract—produce an effective synergy, visually stimulating and pointed in its commentary. The raw, energetic lines and street art influences of the exhibition evoke a graphic novel, an effect further achieved in the juxtaposition of imagery and text. The artwork, rife with layered meaning, demands the viewer’s involvement. It's hard not to get lost in the contrasts of artistic styles, the artists' individual identities maintained even as they interact effectively. The wall that welcomes the viewer into the exhibit held Spencer's unnaturally hued creatures, Berkowitz's thick, monochromatic brushstroke. The marriage of the two,
Larger-than-life artworks centered the exhibit. The center work features a dark-hued dreamscape atop an iceberg-like form. Nostalgia radiates through quaint cartoonish figures echoing past decades, the figure of a child with a backpack, the way the subject is nestled within the composition. Fantastical monsters and animals by Burch and Spencer were hung to surround the central collaborative artwork. The monsters paradoxically become all the more terrifying and surreal
when Burnett’s figure sitting high among text that reads, “WE MADE OURSELVES KINGS” is recognized as Donald Trump, grasping piles of gold-green bills. Mythical elements intersect with truth. Situated underneath Burnett’s artwork hangs one of Spencer’s monsters, titled Swiss Cheese Humanoid. A Trump-like figure and ISIS-like masked men in black garb hold children hostage. Spencer's creatures are unnerving on their own, but in context, they are imbued with further unease and dread. In a corner, sectioned off, Gormon and Mosby’s collaborative textual artwork, Bloodline, set a typographic homage to inherently splintered African-American family history that transformed the messages of the exhibition. Their depiction of familial and cultural narratives fragmented violently by
slavery, placed alongside the critiques of corporate capitalism, makes a powerful comment on the intertwined roots of capitalism and racism. These artists deliver a good gut punch. In addition to its stunning visuals, the subtle politics of the exhibition contributed to its effectiveness. The Screwed Arts Collective artists don’t drop a concrete block of meaning on the viewer’s head, nor do they conspire to stymie the viewer. Though, in toto, Alley Oops struck a political tone, its myriad messages enhanced, but did not eclipse, the aesthetic experience. -Rachel Sacks www.hoffmanlachancefineart.com www.screwedarts.com
Screwed Arts Collective, Alley Oops installation view (image courtesy of Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery) IN REVIEW
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grounded with Walsh's foundational blocks of color. Spencer and Berkowitz’s effective collaboration, balancing individual identities with collective synchronization, is characteristic of the exhibition overall. Chisholm's iconic lettered painting, featuring the text, "villain A-list,” could be the book cover to the graphic novel of this exhibit.
HONORING WASHINGTON PARK CEMETERY, ITS PEOPLE AND PLACE SHELDON CONCERT HALL AND ART GALLERIES It’s difficult to tell if the images of Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery, Its People and Place or the sound hits you first. The sounds of African American traditional spirituals, documented by artist Denise Ward-Brown, flood the galleries adding reverence, joy, sadness and an undeniable sense of place to the entire exhibit. Originally conceived by artist Jennifer Colten, Higher Ground incorporates a variety of artists, academics and the contributions of the people this show is centered around, to fully flesh out a deeper racial truth in the city of Saint Louis that reflects the country at large.
objects, hang from the ceiling with a spiritual reverence. An animation she created, Sankofa: A Collective Mythology, narrates the tale of her search for her grandmother and then expands, telling the story of the city of Cahokia, highlighting historical figures in the region. Much like the story of the cemetery itself, it’s personal, but with a wider, social reach. Denise Ward-Brown’s work completes the overarching story told through this exhibit. Her series of videos, documents everything from
church singers to archivists at the Missouri History Museum. Her work concerns the people who work to create a future for the cemetery, who search its grounds, the people who are tied up in its history. Each person she profiles and travels with adds their own meaning to Washington Park and to the exhibition as a whole. The poignant sounds of part of her video collection, Home Going flood the gallery with the music of the black experience, from spirituals to contemporary gospel adding a level of worshipfulness to the
Washington Park Cemetery is nearly a century old, located in Berkeley, Missouri, and built under Jim Crow laws as a final resting place for African Americans. Though originally presented to families as a clean and well-cared for burial ground for their loved ones, the owners of this for-profit grave site broke their contracts and allowed it to fall into disrepair. The land was sold multiple times and cut into by infrastructure projects. Bodies were disinterred to make way for highways and airport expansion. As the years passed, funding that went into the maintenance of other, read: white, cemeteries never materialized for Washington Park and it became overgrown. Jennifer Colten became fascinated by the grounds, and her work, a series of photographs, documents various sites of the cemetery during a period in the 1990s. The photos portray something more than dilapidation or construction/destruction. Through the graves sinking into the ground, the overgrowth, the planes flying close overhead, Colten is documenting a story. Her curation of the exhibit successfully develops that story with the addition of the work of artists Dail Chambers and Denise Ward-Brown, and academic contributions of Michael Allen and Azurra Cox. Working under the idea of “Sankofa, a West African tradition meaning to go back and reclaim one’s past,” Dail Chambers’s sculptural installations and video relate to her search for her grandmother (Evelyn Haynes) who was buried in Washington Park Cemetery. Many gravesites have been lost over the years of construction and mismanagement. Chambers’s sculptures evoke the cemetery itself. Constructions of clay, metal and found 03 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
Dail Chambers, A Mythological Journey (image courtesy of Sheldon Art Galleries) IN REVIEW
Jennifer Colten, WPC Section 11 [287.8], (image courtesy of the artist)
Jennifer Colten, WPC Section 1 [87.11], (image courtesy of the artist)
space. Her other videos are in quiet alcoves and fitted with headphones so that the viewer’s full attention is on those she interviews and the many short stories told through the people who are still working with and for the cemetery, to create something new out of a downtrodden past.
Paired with research from Azzura Cox and Michael Allen, as well as submitted images from visitors, the gallery is definitely informative. But more than just relaying a history, Higher Ground: Honoring Washington Park Cemetery, Its People and Place forces the viewer to confront the racism in our culture, both present and historical, and how that
Jennifer Colten, WPC Section 10 [273.12], (image courtesy of the artist) IN REVIEW
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racism is enacted upon the black body even in death. In one of Ward-Brown’s vignettes she talks with a veteran, Freddy Jefferson, who works to repair the cemetery and cut back over growth. He discusses the five former enslaved people buried there, the many who would never have voted, the many who would have died for a country that wouldn’t give them anything in return. He remarks that in many ways, this cemetery represents the history of African Americans in this nation. In response and behind the camera, Denise Ward-Brown simply states “That’s why it’s buried.”
VIRTUAL PALLIATIVES: THE AUGMENTED REALITIES OF VITA ERUHIMOVITZ
THE SHELDON ART GALLERIES “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction." Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto, 1984 In her seminal Reagan-era exegesis on cyborgism, philosopher and socialist feminist Donna Haraway sought to elegize essentialist strictures of gendered identity—and identity at large—through the guise of technological hybridity. What if the artificial, the mechanical, was less an impediment to our true selves and rather the pathway to liberation? What if the line between the tangible and digital, between real and virtual, were effectively collapsed? 33 years on, with over three fourths of the US Elmered to a smartphone, enamored of the screen, these questions gain new currency. Does techno-corporeal permeability imperil our humanness or rather make possible its long-term survival? Such questions are among those at stake for Israeli artist Vita Eruhimovitz, whose exhibition Un/Virtual is on view at the Sheldon Art Galleries through September 23rd. Comprised of videos, augments (3D images that emerge
from an iPad dangling from the ceiling) and sculptural objects that seem to forecast the charred remains of environmental ruin, this interactive show examines not only our anatomical fidelity to mobile devices, but how these devices mediate our experience of landscape and the gallery itself. Exploring the show on a quiet Friday afternoon, the disjunction between material and virtual is especially, almost eerily, stark. From pointing an iPad onto fixed algorithms spread around the space, jubilant 3D augments jump into view: a yellow console television leers over two slick flat screens, a jet-black bunny rabbit perched at the top; glossy, gold-fish patterned balloons resemble Chinese New Year spangles; a cylindrical robot reaches out her blue metallic arms; a giant silver sphere supports a trio of billboards beaming verdant summer scenes. On one wall, footage of running through St. Louis’s Forest Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv intersects with two target images in the shape of park maps. Point the iPad here to algorithimically
trigger a globular fluorescent form over a stately mountain range; an upside-down flamingo balancing the range on his dainty foot. Next to the park footage, a pedestal stamped with another map sparks a concrete cube lit by shimmering blue moon rock, static aside an orbiting rainbow sphere. Without these augments, the space is dominated by ominous black sculptural objects: a bundle of branches; two black boots conjoined at the calves, resembling a dormant rubber propeller; a stack of burnt soda cans akin to geological detritus. To activate the luminous virtual sculptures in such an inhospitable context grants a sense of not only agency, but plangent hope. Black circles painted on the walls suggest the rabbit holes from old cartoons that are drawn and jumped through by someone running away. “I see them as portals between the physical and the virtual, between reality and its futures,” says the artist. Perhaps, but nearing these dripping portals, it’s clear that we’re still hitting a wall. Says Haraway, "[If] women (and men) aren't natural but constructed, like a cyborg, then, given the right tools, we can all be reconstructed … Maybe humans are biologically destined to fight wars and trash the environment. Maybe we’re not." With her mingling of whimsy with the threat of dystopia, Eruhimovitz validates both possibilities. In a world of virtual spectacle, our wellness is refigured—our futures both subterranean, matte-black and ash; and ethereally, deliriously, bound for the sky.
www.thessheldon.org www.vitaeruhimovitz.com Vita Eruhimovitz, Un/virtual, installation view (image courtesy of the artist) 05 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
IN REVIEW Vita Eruhimovitz, Untitled, (image courtesy of the artist) IN REVIEW
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BLUE BLACK When entering an empty room, what makes it empty? Is its emptiness defined by the lack of human presence? Or is it the absence of items in space? Given the opportunity to be alone while walking through Blue Black, the exhibition curated by Glenn Ligon at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis’s Grand Center, I felt no feeling of solitude. I felt that the artworks interacted with and against each other within the gallery spaces, as should be the case in any well-conceived grouping of visual artworks. It made it easy to be drawn in and engaged in the combinations of things, all commenting on a line sung by Louis Armstrong “What did I do to be so black and blue?” Deep in the museum, an isolated gallery space contains nothing but the pulsing glow of Derek Jarman’s Blue, which provides an auditory addition to the experience which is Blue Black. Other exhibition spaces have works clustered in salon-style hanging or across from each
other in small rooms, that demand the acknowledgment of each artwork as part of the larger group. This call back toward Ligon’s theme is the constant action taking place as one enters the museum space and joins the conversation, a conversation which continues to exist through the various associations made possible through proximity. The main theme was inspired initially by Ellsworth Kelly’s looming 28-foot painting Blue Black. Ligon has set Kelly’s permanently installed painting from the Pulitzer collection as a starting point for an assemblage of artworks that amalgamates the visual, auditory, and tactile (although implied) around the colors of black and blue. Another notable influence in Ligon’s exhibition engineering is David Hammons’ Concerto in Black and Blue, an interactive artwork which gave individuals the chance to illuminate a dark room with blue flashlights, which gave Ligon inspiration on how discovery plays a part in the art viewing
PULITZER ARTS FOUNDATION experience. With over 50 works by over 40 artists, these two sometimes distinct, sometimes indistinct colors that are also metaphors and visual phenomena create endless dialogue. Ligon points toward three main distinguishing guide posts for this exhibition through various word combinations of the phrase Blue Black: one in which the distinct qualities of each word are acknowledged yet used simultaneously in conversation (blue black), one in which the individualities of both words are blurred with the intention of creating sameness—whether present or insinuated (blue-black), and one made to mirror an identity, hyphenated as ethnicity is often done (blue-black). These distinctions are communicated by both wording and by where the artworks are situated. Placing a Yoruba fertility sculpture in a central location facing Kara Walker’s Four
Derek Jarman, Blue installation view (photo credit: Richard Reilly) 07 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
Idioms on Negro Art #1 Folk (which is part of a series that implements outsider art styles and techniques like graffiti and primitivism—and in this work, depicts a rather volatile and traumatic scene) can create a reading through an association. The association is a new meaning created by the combination of two art works never before paired up. The composite conception can be read as an African ancestral past viewing its legacy, both placed at a standstill in time. Or it can become a “face-off” between extreme opposites—death and birth. Ligon allows the viewer to make ongoing discoveries through grouped associations of artworks in the context of his many layered theme. Ligon is an artist working as a curator, approaching the group exhibition as he does his own art practice. In the studio, when making artwork, he sets aside time to think as an integral component of his creative process. His curation is the same as he organized Blue Black to engineer viewer contemplation. He also allowed his own thoughts to be swayed by the views of St. Louisans. Those who live in and engage with our regional art community know that St. Louis is quite a dynamic city, ripe for study and contemplation. Our city embodies the negative and positive, the push and pull of racial inequity along with the work to build a healthy community. We live among tensions that mirror the blending, balancing, harkening, contrasting and competing blue and black that Ligon presents to us. Ligon shaped Blue Black in St. Louis, for everyone, but also, very much, for St. Louis. -Lauryn Marshall
David Hammonds, The New Black, (photo credit: Richard Reilly)
Yoruba Fertility Figure (photo credit: Richard Reilly) IN REVIEW
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REIGNING MEN: FASHION IN MENSWEAR 1715-2015
SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM There were so many spectacular implications to be found in Saint Louis Art Museum’s exhibition, Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015, that they almost clouded the vision. From every jacket on every mannequin, questions and possibilities rose up, multiplied and connecting one to another, until the entire room seemed to be in motion, even if nothing stirred an inch. The exhibit opened with a richly outfitted green “macaroni” suit from 1770. Up close, the lime fabric of the jacket and breeches glowed against the red vest underneath, outlined in gold and detailed with hanging gold tassels, a lacy kerchief around the throat, complete with a cutlass. It’s the model of bygone nobility. The very next mannequin was also fit out in a green silk jacket and breeches over a red vest — but this was a Vivienne Westwood creation from 221 years later. A layer of lushly printed flowers run up the lapels and spilled over the collar. It was a brash reinvention of history up against its predecessor, and a fitting introduction to Reigning Men’s most crucial innovation: the collection was not organized chronologically, but thematically.
Elsewhere, three mannequins shared a pedestal: a working class French revolutionary from 1790 known as a Carmagnole, a super-hip 2014 white, red and black ensemble from Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester derived directly from the Carmagnole, and an elaborate Vivienne Westwood/Malcolm McLaren punk getup called Cambridge Rapist from 1976. Next to them, a perfected, ur-punk jacket hangs in the air, carefully pinned and chained and molded to the invisible body of a one-time CBGB regular. The grouping did exactly as intended: freed from any one context, viewers could make connections between individualists across the centuries.
Reigning Men arrived here from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and St. Louis was the only other US city to host it; next stop is Sydney, Australia. Much of the historical clothing was taken from LACMA’s extensive collection and much of the modern material came from the designers’ own collections. It did not attempt to create a survey of practical menswear and it rarely depicted everyday wear: this was a collection of exceptions, dreams, oddities, and more than anything, possibilities for male self-concept and presentation.
The exhibit was divided into five themes: Revolution/Evolution; East/West; Uniformity; Body Consciousness and The Splendid Man. Each ensemble was modeled on a white or ebony mannequin. Each also sported a hairstyle, ingeniously molded from white fabric into pompadour, powdered wig, sideburns or mohawk. This gave each outfit a kind of neutral ground for comparison, while gently inflecting it with its source context. Freed from a timeline and able to mingle with others of its own kind across the ages, the particular styles of each design pulsed with potential. In Revolution/Evolution, the many-layered lapels of the French Revolutionary “incroyable” were no longer mere historical curiosities — they now related directly to the absurdist collars and colors of Walter Van Beirendonck’s “Yellow Submarine”-inspired collection from 2000. Even though the two outfits looked nothing alike, they shared an urge to express a revolutionary sense of freedom in their respective eras.
Johnson Hartig, For Libertine Ensamble detail (image courtesy of Photo © Museus Associates/LACMA) 09 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
The wild variety of material and structure was especially welcome at this cultural moment. As the exhibit shows, male power was once expressed explicitly, in gold brocade, bright colors and flamboyant patterns, buttons and layers. But in today’s mainstream America, male fashion is muted into infinity: Business Insider’s December 2014 article, How to Spot a High-Quality Suit, is almost entirely focused on tiny, nearly invisible details such as hand-made button holes, the ever-so-slight puckering of a hand stitch along a lapel and “surgeon’s cuffs,” in which sleeve buttons can be unbuttoned
even though they are strictly never intended to be unbuttoned. How simultaneously rich and poor we have become in the 21st century!
There have been very few considerations of male fashion, and very few exhibitions that focus on menswear… which is strange, considering how zealously history has focused on men otherwise. Reigning Men was rich in content and could wheel freely from high-collared military uniforms to fashion-house experiments to the first Hawaiian shirts (cut from cloth meant for kimonos), to curiosities like The Thong, the infamously minimal swimsuit that was actually intended by its creator, Rudi Gernreich, as a unisex beach outfit.
So many fantastic pieces competed gracefully for attention, from Jeremy Scott’s winged golden sneakers to various ankle-length at-home robes (called “banyans”) with their velvet smoking caps, to a truly unbelievable specimen of a classic zoot suit. That suit alone was worth the visit, with its cartoonishly ballooned legs and tight cuffs, padded out shoulders, high waist, long hem, and gigantic pockets designed to swing free of the suit while whirling across the dance floor. Hopefully, the advent of Reigning Men will have an immediate creative effect on St. Louis’ own apparel. I know I’ve already found a pair of elaborately floral print slippers at Avalon. Now… what to pair them with? -Evan Sult
Macaroni Ensemble: Suit (image courtesy of Photo © Museus Associates/LACMA)
Keno Etro, for Etro Ensemble, detail (image courtesy of Photo © Museus Associates/LACMA) IN REVIEW
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THE SILENCE IS SHOUTING: EXPRESSIONS IN PARTIAL CONTROL
HOFFMAN LACHANCE CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY On May 12th, Hoffman LaChance buzzed with so much energy that the gallery patrons spilled out onto the sidewalks of downtown Maplewood. It was the opening night of Jacob Elio Berkowitz’s solo exhibit THE SILENCE IS SHOUTING: Expressions in Partial Control. Hoffman La Chance has an intrinsically balanced feel to it. The building stands a few feet above the sidewalk on Sutton Boulevard. Two black lacquered doors sit at the top of the gallery’s steps, nestled between two grand identical picture windows that give passerbys a glimpse of the magic within. The opening reception was loud and filled with vitality. The main space of the gallery was bustling with the heightened chatter of a slew of interesting people. Beyond the groups conversing, more introspective patrons seemed to reflect quietly, taking their time to lean in close to many of the five site specific installation pieces. As new guests entered the gallery, a subtle energy appeared to pull the patrons over to the far left wall where How To Make Them Float Part 1 was installed. How To Make Them Float Part 1, described by the artist as an exploration in dimension and shadow, was comprised from several clear, rectangular plexiglass plates that collectively faced the gallery’s east picture window. Each substrate was hung equidistant from the others from the ceiling of the gallery. The rectangles were meticulously painted with light gesture markings in black. Each mark had delicate, feather-like qualities; each had its own intention. By standing back and viewing the markings and shadows together, one could begin to understand and interpret the symbiotic connection between each gesture. All panels within How To Make Them Float Part I individually cast beautiful, dancing shadows that draped themselves across the wall, onto the floor and out into the street, creating an inviting interactive experience. After examining Hoffman Lachance’s space for the first time, Berkowitz said he immediately determined that his installation for the south wall would face the street. By intentionally placing How To Make Them Float Part I facing away from the crowd, patrons were drawn to it. This was the only element of the installation that was predetermined for the exhibit as Berkowitz creates by allowing each piece to evolve organically. Initially Berkowitz came to the gallery alone. “I stood at this wall waiting 11 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
for what to do and then it just hit me,” he said as he pointed across the gallery at the panels hanging from the ceiling. As a process artist, Berkowitz absorbs the energy and gets to know the gallery space before he designs his installation. “I didn’t know where any of this would go,” Berkowitz said as he stood before the visually dominating How to Make Them Float Part 2, which impressively swept across the full scope of the north gallery wall. In this installation, Berkowitz’s medium of painted acetate film pieces were carefully cut into intricate patterns and uniquely attached into the wall at two or more points, creating a three dimensional effect. Individually these substrates were bent and twisted, and while anchored at the base of each piece of film, the markings would flutter and move when the wind would blow into the gallery from off the street. The final effect was a marvelous singular gestural mark. Each Jacob Elior Berkowitz exhibit is a site specific installation. Early in his career, Berkowitz explored working with different mediums in order to understand and fully develop his own unique creative process and style. As a process driven artist, Berkowitz is less concerned about the end result and focuses his attention on the processes involved in the creation of each piece. This practice of creative control was most apparent in Aiming at Nothing and Hitting Your Mark-P.O.S.
Running the full length of the center gallery wall, Berkowitz attached individually cut clear acetate pieces with singular stroke marks to the wall which lead the viewer to Arena, an installation piece in which two strokes balanced one another. The curling swirl motif that Berkowitz sprinkled throughout Hoffman LaChance inspired him to get playful and cut the peels off the little round oranges he was eating so that they mirrored his black marks. These coils of orange peel were hidden in a space of their own, as a treat to those who peeked around the gallery wall. A bowl of unscathed oranges sat by the door throughout the opening event, so that visitors might emulate the artist or just eat them. Berkowitz’s exploratory gesture marks that collectively create The Silence Is Shouting: Expressions in Partial Control reflect an intimate side of the quiet artist. It is in the quiet simplicity of intention within this body of work that pushes the viewer to seek their own silence. To seek out what their inner voice has to say. -Erin McGrath Rieke
Jacob Berkowitz, How to Make Them Float Part 2, (image courtesy of Hoffman LaChance Contemporary Art Gallery) IN REVIEW
AN INTERVIEW WITH JULIE GANT
In the constantly shifting, multi-disciplinary environment of a research hospital, Julie cited educating others about art therapy as one of her two greatest difficulties on the job. To clarify, the American Art Therapist Association website defines the discipline as “an integrative mental health profession that combines knowledge and understanding of human development and psychological theories and techniques with visual arts and the creative process to provide a unique approach for helping clients improve psychological health, cognitive abilities, and sensory-motor functions. Art therapists use art media, and often the verbal processing of produced imagery, to help people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”
JW: How does art help you to work with your clients? JG: Art in my counseling practice can be a way that a person has an ability to be doing. Instead of traditional talk therapy, patients can have their art be their voice.…Hospitalized individuals they can sometimes feel like they are passive recipients of anything that nursing and doctors are saying that they have to do. Art therapy allows a person to be in control of what they’re making- doing, some problem-solving, gaining mastery, projecting their thoughts and feelings into their artwork. I invite them to share their imagery that they are making. An art therapy degree does not suddenly give me some amazing insight, like dream interpretation; ‘You drew that- This is what it means...’ That is not the case. Consider a symbol like a dragon; A dragon can be a mystical, magical creature or, to another, it could be a very scary creature. [Art therapy happens] between the client and the artwork and the process and the art therapist. I’d miss out on so many pieces of the process if I wasn’t there witnessing it.
to their own life that they can use long-term. Whatever slice of time I have, the ability to make a positive difference through art therapy is the most rewarding thing. JW: What is the most difficult aspect of your job? JG: What may be obvious is that sometimes kids don’t survive their hospitalization, illness or injury. Even when it is their end-of-life, I am honored to be a part of that. We could be making memories, letting the child and siblings and family members do some art making, together. Sometimes there is a product, but not always. I am process-focused as an art therapist. In end-of-life kind of scenarios, that [can be] a focus- making something that the family can take away.
JW: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? JG: The opportunity to join the patient and their family on this journey when they are experiencing the medical situation that they are in. Trying to make a difference and adding tools
Jessica Witte: How did you prepare to be an art therapist? Julie Gant: I already had an undergrad degree [in Health Services Management]. In the United States you have to have a graduate degree to go into art therapy counseling. So, I went through the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) program and earned a Master of Arts in Art Therapy Counseling. I was then able to sit for the national counseling exam, and completed licensure to become a licensed professional counselor. I was specifically hired [at St. Louis Children’s Hospital] as an art therapist.
Garden Art Project (photo credit: Julie Gant) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
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I met art therapist Julie Gant through the Garden Art Project, one of many art enrichment programs she oversees at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The Garden Art Project brings professional artists to lead/teach each month in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) roof garden and adjacent playroom. The activity inspires hospital patients (ages 4-18) and their families to create their own original art. The Horticulture Department at SLCH and a generous donation from a volunteer supporter funds this program. Gant teams with hospital-affiliated psychologists and psychiatrists to identify patients who could most benefit from her expertise. Her primary role is to provide art therapy counsel to the most needy cases. I asked Gant about the preparation, process, rewards and challenges of her art therapy at the hospital.
By Jessica Witte
AN INTERVIEW WITH ILETHIA SHARP Ilethia Sharp is an Independent Curator in St. Louis as well as Communications Specialist at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. All the Art’s Amy Reidel interviewed Sharp about her current curatorial mission of producing temporary, site-specific art exhibitions in otherwise “non-art” spaces. Sharp intends “to re-imagine these spaces and architecture while engaging and bridging local artists with communities in St. Louis.” As Sharp described, An Avoidable Hinder was a pop-up contemporary art exhibition at the Francis Park racquetball courts on Saturday, May 27. The show featured genre-bending paintings and unconventional sculptures by Brandon Daniels, Vaughn Davis, Dan Leifeld, and Catalina Ouyang.
The temporary exhibition featured these four St. Louis contemporary artists who deconstruct canvas, fabric, polystyrene, polyurethane, tarpaulin, wood, and various minerals to create paintings and sculptures. An Avoidable Hinder displayed intimate and bold contemporary art against white walls canonized by art historical perspectives and the open-air natural environment. The second pop-up exhibit, Dimensions of Art and Technology, featured art in conversation with or as a byproduct of technology, and took place at Brick City Makes, a renovated industrial building and innovation hub for growing manufacturers on August 19, 2017. The exhibiting artists and works include: Evan T. Smith’s 3D printed installation, Tunnels, an installation using wood, light, and mirrors by Meghan Grubb, Steve Ingram’s site-specific sculpture, a new sculptural installation by Marina Peng, and collaborative 3D prints by Marissa Dembkoski & Paal Williams.
Amy Reidel: What is your impetus for selecting your sites? So far they are not traditional exhibition spaces, which is innovative and possibly more inclusive. Is this a driving factor for your choices? You mentioned this sentiment as well as re-imagining spaces in your writing, but any clear details would be great! For instance, why do you think this re-imagining is necessary? Ilethia Sharp: I am attempting to create innovative, accessible, and inclusive exhibitions by re-imagining everyday spaces. An Avoidable Hinder took place in a racquetball court. After the event a player could now re-imagine the environment as a place for art and experience delight, relaxation or just feel invigorated. These pop-up exhibitions are not intended to be reactive to the structure of traditional galleries or museums but to offer an alternative and exist as a part of the visual arts scene, institutions, and organizations in St. Louis to form a larger art historical narrative. AR: Why did you choose Francis Park as a venue? IS: I stumbled upon Francis Park. It’s one of the parks I enjoy near my neighborhood - it has a fountain, a collection of sculptures, and Lanai Coffee shop. Although Francis Park has the annual Art in The Park fair on September 24, An Avoidable Hinder offered an additional contemporary show for the art enthusiasts and it encourages the spreading of art happenings throughout the St. Louis. An Avoidable Hinder was made possible with the cooperation of St. Louis County Parks Department, the St. Louis Hills Alderman Tom Oldenburg and the Friends of Francis Park non-profit organization. The An Avoidable Hinder
By Amy Reidel
exhibition situated within two racquetball courts evoked a physicality, a sense of internal intimacies and external truths against “ canonical” white walls and the open air natural environment. AR: How are you selecting St. Louis artists? (Any particular school, organization or genre affiliation?) IS: I have been selecting contemporary artists mostly through online artists websites and Instagram, giving purpose to endless scrolling Artists have the best social media accounts! As the Communications Specialist at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild I am involved with multiple aspects of the organization and I have had the pleasure of working with talented local artists. I received a BA in Communications Media Arts and a minor in Contemporary Art History from Pace University in New York City, so I don't have a school affiliation in St. Louis. Artists from Avoidable Hinder are all local but not necessarily recent graduates: Dan Leifeld (University of Missouri-St. Louis), Catalina Ouyang (Washington University), Brandon Daniels (Washington University), and Vaughn Davis (Webster University). AR: What difficulties are you encountering with these projects? IS: An Avoidable Hinder was caught in a storm but this made for more of a performative experience for the viewers, artists and artworks. The wind activated Vaughn Davis' canvas Tear Works and rain drops added an elemental layer to Dan Leifeld's Sublimation series. The wind swept Brandon Daniels Novum pieces off the wall and Catalina Ouyang’s Blue Boy’s sculptures were sheltered under the covered ceiling, opposite the fenced overhead of the racquetball courts. Overall, I feel very positive about the reception to my projects by artists, property owners and guests. AR: What do you see for the future of this project? More pop-up exhibits? Longer term shows? IS: I am really enjoying the energy, fluidity and experimental nature of these temporary exhibitions and I intend to continue at some capacity. As an emerging curator I would eventually like to create long-term shows although I am currently interested in exploring the contextuality of unconventional spaces and they often come with temporal parameters. I hope to develop more pop-up
An Unavoidable Hinder, installation view (image courtesy of Brandon Daniels) 13 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
exhibits with the support of local arts organizations as an extension of their existing exhibition programming and overall missions to serve the St. Louis community. AR: How do you see these exhibits contributing to the health and wellness of area artists OR the region in which the shows occur?
Catalina Ouyang, Blue Boyz, and Vaughn Davis, Tear Works (image courtesy of Brandon Daniels)
Visibility for the exhibiting artists enhances wellness by supporting career advancement, facilitating future opportunities, and any particular artistic or creative expression goals. Artists that are involved in the project are getting exposure and an opportunity to meet and collaborate.
IS: These pop-up, site-specific exhibitions are arguably a form of public art that creates pleasant and visually aesthetic experiences for the St. Louis community and art enthusiasts. Primarily by re-imagining spaces, creating connections between regional artists, and giving the wider community new experiences.
AN INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE SAMS
By Sarah Hermes Griesbach I shoot in the raw. But I’ve been taking photographs, the great shots didn’t just happen. I’ve been doing it since the early ‘70s. It’s my out to playing music. Photography has always been a part of what I do. I studied it and had my first exhibit in North Beach. In San Francisco, the darkroom was my bathroom. I stored my negative canisters and processing solutions in the medicine cabinet. The important thing is doing the thing over and over until it’s a way of life. I usually get it on the first shot. Because I know how to be still. There’s a fine line between music and noise. You get that camera and you better read about it, maintain it, clean it. Art is like raising a child, you’ve got to be consistent.
I returned to St. Louis in 2013 from a period in New York. My daughter talked me into it. “Just look at [St. Louis] as your laboratory” she told me. For what I have, well, I know I couldn’t afford all of this in New York or San Francisco. And I have history here. And, due to pure luck, I grew up where Miles Davis’ children ran the streets. I once got to spend a day with Jacob Lawrence in the early 90’s. It was just two guys hanging out. Pure luck.
I model my music after the greats - Miles Davis, John Coltrane. I try to reflect photographers I admire with my camera: Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, Gordon Parks. St. Louis really was a great place to come up. I learned as a youngster that stepping on the bandstand is accepting a challenge. There’s no room for fear. How do you put up with stress? You put it behind you, because it’s temporary. Just like being here. Everything is temporary.
St. Louis is not a marketplace for musicians and artists. But I’m active. If you are from St. Louis, you have to be. I have a six state tour coming up. But I’m not in competition with anyone. You don’t have to stand on anybody’s neck because what you’re destined to will come to you. Things come through you, if you’re working and ready. If I’m accepted into a project, it’s because I’m making good music and doing good work. There are some really good people here. I’ve always had my St. Louis rolemodels. Oliver Jackson is a real good friend of mine. He’s an artist who does just about everything and does it all professionally, from painting to carving to making furniture. Being with Oliver Jackson is like being with a university professor nonstop.
George Sams, Untitled (image courtesy of the artist) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
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THE KEY IS TO ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE
I’ve never had a straight job, and you know, it’s been quite rewarding. But I’ve got something moving all the time. The way you manage is to not take all this shit for granted and not take it too seriously. What keeps the frustration down is knowing I can’t control all that… and spending time with my grandson, who’s seven and a good piano player. I took him on tour with me. He’s the next generation.
George Sams is discussed in City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis 1895-1973 by Dennis Owsley
George Sams, Untitled (image courtesy of the artist)
ART AS A WAY OF LIFE ARTIST INTERVIEWS
AN INTERVIEW WITH DACIA POLK By Paulna Valbrun Dacia Polk curated Black Art and the Body: a Live Arts Exhibit as one of the first features for her jewelry company Creations of Copper. Dacia Polk is an artist deeply rooted in the St. Louis art community. Besides making personalized copper jewelry, she is also heavily involved with the spoken word community. She organizes and performs at a monthly spoken word event at Legacy Books and Cafe. She also volunteers for Better Family Life to create a film screening and panel discussion with public school teachers and board members and recently organized a viewing and panel discussion of the documentary Elementary Genocide:School to Prison Pipeline. (interview is condensed for space) Paulna Valbrun: How do you define art? Dacia Polk: I see life as art. Life is so complex, it's ... not necessarily dying, but transforming. And in that transformation comes whole new things, these manifestations. A process that can always be seen as art. And then, to have the experience to create from not even just other stuff but by eliciting emotions in people. It's like a cycle of artwork that is life. PV: When did you decide to call yourself an artist? DP: I started hosting a weekly open mic night at Legacy Books and Cafe about two years ago. I saw myself in this community of creative musicians, singers, writers and poets. But I had 15 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
not quite defined myself as a creator. I knew that I had developed this platform, but it really took getting onstage in front of my peers and performing. PV: What does success look like to you as an artist? DP: I consider success as doing. Being a designer has shown me that more than anything. I have pieces that I've started and haven’t completed. There is a level of completion to something that is unfinished. I might have finished this level or layer of this piece, but who knows, once I graduate on a personal level to another skill I can use that to apply to it and it could take another shape and then another layer can show my growth. The success comes along with the doing, not necessarily the finishing. The process of doing it and bringing it to life and making it happen. Just gaining those experiences. PV: What inspired you to create Copper Creations? DP: It was Kwanzaa, my first year celebrating Kwanzaa. And I learned about the zawadis— that’s swahili for gifts that are specifically handmade. In order to follow the complete tradition, I wanted to find something I could make for my friends. I was working at the Zouka Arts Gallery down on 14th Street. Two copper jewelry designers worked out of that space. I would watch them and I ask them questions. I decided to give it a shot. My significant other at ARTIST INTERVIEWS
the time was an electrician so he would bring home copper. When Kwanzaa came my friends told me I should sell jewelry. PV: What made you decide to have live models wear your jewelry for your Harris Stowe performance exhibition? DP: A year after I started hosting the open mic events, I got to do my first runway show. I got an offer to work as a model with Erykah Badu and Dj Loretto Brown. It was a really great show. That began a series of challenges to come out of my comfort zone. I did another show at the Regional Arts Commission (RAC). I was modeling for designers. One of the designers decided to have the models exhibit body paint. I was modeling handmade crochet. Absorbing all of that, I guess it kind of stuck with me and being in the art scene there's an event every friday. With jewelry design you could go into a space and just have a display and let the mannequins speak for the artwork. I actually didn't make the pieces worn by the women at the Harris Stowe College event until they were in my physical space. I like to be in the presence of the person I'm creating for. Their presence almost tells me how something should look or if I have to make a modification. I have the person right there in front of me to be sure they actually fit what I'm designing. As soon as the models showed up I got them right into chair and designed all of their pieces for them specifically.
TRY NOT TO DIE:
PRACTICAL SHOP SAFETY FOR ARTISTS By Sue Pruchnicki and Tom Peterson
During our day jobs as architects, we work with building codes, inspectors and fire marshals to design compliant buildings. Our nights and weekends are spent in a historic building where we live and work in our combined shop and art studio. The Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA), All the Art and Critical Mass for the Arts recently invited us to talk about safety as part of a Critical Conversation panel discussion. Here are some basic tips from our presentation to help artists, art workers and art participants stay safe in creative spaces. Let’s review the essentials: EXITS Know where they are, including doors and windows. Have several exits at spread-out locations so there’s more than one way to get out.
Make sure exits operate easily. Sometimes older windows may not open at all due to broken cords on the interior mechanisms. Check windows and doors regularly to make sure they can always be easily opened. Don’t block exits or their pathways with stored items. If an exit is locked, store a spare key in an easily accessible spot nearby. Strategically place lights or flash lights along your pathways in case of a power outage. FLAMMABLE MATERIALS Oily rags can spontaneously combust. Store them in a fireproof container away from other materials. Store oils, paints and solvents in a metal cabinet away from flammable supplies. Clear flammable items away from your work area if you may generate sparks. You can also protect the area with sheet metal or noncombustible shields. ELECTRICITY There are never outlets where you need them, so people tend to build a ‘Tetris’ of plugs into the single available outlet, which can often cause sparks and even fires. Remove nearby flammable items.
Do the math on your power cords. Every item with a power cord attached is required to list the amps it draws. Extension cords will also be labelled. Make sure your extension cord is up for the task. Most outlets are designed to only handle 15 to 20 amps, which could likely be just enough for only using one power tool at a time. This goes for power strips, too. Most barely have capacity beyond an extension cord. Be aware of their amp limit. Never use skinny extension cords. They’re fine for charging your phone, but that’s it. Don’t use extension cords while coiled. The electricity will build up heat and cause a fire. Make sure cords are not frayed or have worn insulation. PUTTING OUT FIRES Keep multiple fire extinguishers in strategic separate locations in cleared paths. Know your fire extinguisher’s type, typically labelled as A (for paper, wood and plastic), B (for flammable and combustible liquids), and/or C (electrical equipment). Using the wrong type can make a fire worse. If in doubt, look for the dry chemical type that works for all types of fires, labeled ‘A B C’. Fire extinguishers have a dial near the handle. This indicates if they are still charged. Some types also need to be shaken regularly to stay functional. Read the label on your fire extinguisher, check the charge and shake it once every six months. PERSONAL PROTECTION Invest in a good respirator, not the disposable paper kind. A cartridge respirator with replaceable filters costs less than twenty dollars and is much more comfortable. Protect your most precious tools: your eyes and hands. Use face shields and have a variety of work gloves and safety glasses available. No one expects to be a part of a tragedy, just like those involved in the Ghost Ship fire. But it does happen. So be sure to carry out these simple tips to keep your creative space safe. Try not to die. Don’t make your momma cry!
Craft Emergency Relief Fund http://cerfplu.org
(image courtesy of Sue Pruchnicki and Tom Peterson) COMMUNITY VOICES
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On December 2, 2016, 36 people were killed in a fire at the ‘Ghost Ship’ artists’ warehouse in Oakland, California. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but it begs the question: “Could this have been prevented?” There will never be an easy answer to that question, but maybe, in response, we can take some sensible steps to stay safe.
By Amanda Verbeck
Amanda Verbeck, Collaborative Printer and Publisher at Pele Prints, begins her four part print tutorial with an overview of Relief Printing. When I tell people I'm a printmaker, it's often followed by the question, "What's that?" My short and sweet answer is that I play with big stamps. In truth, it's so much more than that. When you start learning about prints, the jargon, techniques and terms can be overwhelming — photogravure, pochoir, serigraph, mezzotint, collagraph, linocut. And that's just scratching the surface (pun intended, for all you fellow printers). But when you break it down, all of these fancy names and techniques fall into just a few categories.
since been an important part of Chinese and Japanese art history. In around 1400 it migrated to Europe, and by the 16th century, it became a respected art form in Northern Europe with artists like Albrecht Dürer building their careers with the technology. Today many artists continue to create relief prints, pushing the boundaries of the medium by using new materials often in non-traditional ways. At my studio, Pele Prints, we use relief
printing in many of our collaborations with artists. Two of our more recent projects, with Laura Berman and Carly Kurka, use a low-tech cutout relief technique. As one of the most direct forms of printmaking, the process is appealing and put to use in all sorts of contexts, from children’s art classes all the way to world-renowned art museums. Relief prints are simple, versatile and beautiful. www.peleprints.com
There are four main categories for traditional printmaking: relief, intaglio, lithography and screenprint. In this first installation of Print 101, I’ve focused on relief print. Put simply, relief printing is a process where an image is printed from a raised surface. The raised areas of the plate are inked, and the recessed or surrounding areas remain ink free. The plate is most commonly a wood or linoleum block, but it can be made out of any material really. Once the plate is inked, a sheet of paper is placed on top and pressure is applied to transfer the image to the paper.
There are many types of relief prints, including woodcut, linocut, rubber stamp, letterpress, wood engraving, embossments and more. Out of the big four printing techniques, relief printing is the oldest. It made its debut in the 9th century in China. The woodcut has long
(image courtesy of Pele Prints)
CELESTIAL WELLBEING By Bill Kranz
My soul's artistic wellbeing has been nurtured and amplified by the journey I have taken with the Celestial Theatre over many decades of production. I hear a jingle while I work: “The project is the mission and the mission is the project.” That dynamic keeps my happiness index alive and well. The Celestial Theatre engages in performance art we relate to Dadaism, the avant-garde and psychedelic silliness. For our inaugural production in 1970, we sacrificed a waterbed at midnight in my backyard. It was the last free 17 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
Saturday night before high school began. Only a small cadre of close friends saw this bizarre production. Since then we have cut open nine other waterbeds in three other shows. For our 50th year anniversary, in 2020, I plan to do away with five in one night. Side story: I have since learned that waterbeds can be overtly dangerous. At a four waterbed sacrifice several years ago, we planned to do a variant of The Princess and the Pea. During the stacking and filling of just the second waterbed I was having problems getting that bed to stay COMMUNITY VOICES
on top of the one below. Please note, if the ground below your stacked waterbeds slopes even slightly, water will pool to one side and cause the slick vinyl of the heavy top beds to slide off of the underlying waterbed. I encourage you to be careful when setting up waterbeds for sacrifice. The active troupe of the Celestial Theatre is currently composed of Angie O'Dell, Donny Blake, Charles Heuvelman, Mike Ketcher and Phil Shaw. Our props crew consist of Clye Verde and Tim Beam. Our image recording
crew is Mike Berger and Larry (Max) Maxeiner. Max is also our “Spiritual Adviser” and has witnessed more shows than anyone else. Marian Amies provides studio use and support. Our performances follow many different formats, as called for by venue. Among them are what we refer to as Lightbenders, think air
guitar but using props and actions relative to the lyrics of our favorite songs. We participate in parades, forming the Boat of Dreams during St. Louis’s Artica and for the People's Joy Parade preceding the Cinco De Mayo Festival on Cherokee Street. When we join poetry readings, Chalkman is our poet.
Some performances follow storylines where Joey Jones of Bonkersburg and the Avant-garde, Sandi the Dragon, the Trinket Queen and the Souvenir Princess are our key characters. I built a new prop called a Simulacur for the most recent Celestial Theatre production held in the International Space Development Conference in St. Louis. Our troupe performed four new skits featuring two space poems from LC Lewis. In one, we tossed black plastic film balls that represented meteors at an Earth globe while two of us defended the Earth and one of us read the poem, The Meteorite. I used this event to flesh out a new character, "Old Crocky." He is a large wooden headdress that is part crocodile, lizard and dragon. The plot line calls for a Blue Earth Egg Crystal to be ripped from Old Crocky’s mouth and planted, resulting in the creation of a new home world compatible to Crocky’s water loving species. Our theatrical creed is: Controlled Chaos Geometric Abstractions Creative Destruction Playful Pandemonium
Celestial Theatre Performance (image courtesy of Bill Krauz)
SHEDDING STONES By Lindsey Dunnagan
In preparation, I made hundreds of rock-like forms for visitors to claim and transform with their own words. My sculpted stones begin in a state of potential. They are earthen lumps lying in wait for participants to identify their own troubles and set an intention to rid themselves of the trouble. My creation then became their creation and we became collaborators in an effort toward reaching a certain sort of freedom.
Participants could further modify their stones by using a black polish to cover part or all of their writings, performatively washing away the pain described in the words written. The stones act as a metaphor for the weight of negative emotions, as they are solid and heavy. Releasing them in nature is a way of symbolically letting go. After the initial event in August, I collected the stones and moved them to a gallery space where visitors could sift through them and leave burdens of their own. With this project, I aim to provide a doorway to conscious healing and to help people dealing with difficult issues, to help them feel less alone in their personal hardships. The first gallery showing of Shedding Stones opened at Truman State in Kirksville, MO. It remains open through October 6. The second exhibition will be held at Sculpture Works in Ferguson, MO in December 2017. COMMENTARY
Lindsey Dunnagan, Shedding Stones, (image courtesy of the artist)
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Letting go and forgiveness is the theme of my interactive project, Shedding Stones. I invited visitors to become part of the artwork last August by writing something symbolic of their unwanted negative emotions on “stones” and leaving them in the forest. The date of the first phase of the project, August 6, coincided with International Forgiveness Day. Surrounded by leafy trees, dense vines, and wildflowers, Shedding Stones took place at Paul Artspace in Florissant, Missouri while I was a visiting resident artist there.
A PLACE FOR ARTISTS By Keaton Treece
Keaton Treece describes his effort to further interdisciplinary artists’ well-being with a new space structured for networking and support. “An artist colony in Greenwich Village, circa the 1970’s,” is how Pete Nicolazzi describes a new art incubator that is percolating on what is widely known in St. Louis as The Hill. No, not that Art Hill, the home of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. This Art Hill happens to be at what surveyors have determined is the highest point in the predominantly Italian enclave located between Kingshighway and Hampton Avenue, just south of Highway 44.
conveniently transform into a black box theatre or a film/video/photography studio, with specially designed rotating walls. Inside the gallery, those in the know will step through an oversized canvas painting cleverly camouflaged among the various other paintings on the gallery walls. The commissioned painting will serve as a door to the hidden greenroom and costume shop for local actors. Already a film/video start-up, DV8 Entertainment, is currently producing a streaming network bound television pilot
entitled After Midnight with Ethan Steele out of the multi-use space that showcases the talents of over thirty metropolitan area actors spanning the ages of 17 to 72, along with highly successful locally established filmmakers, up-and-coming fashion designers, published writers, burgeoning musical acts and recording artists. In a real case of art imitating life, Limelight Magazine, a new local theatre oriented digital magazine will also occupy the space and is preparing its own YouTube-ish talk show
Amidst a mecca of popular pasta houses and dispensers of fine wines, our “artist colony” is anchored by a quaint and comfortable coffee shop, Café Milano, which will serve a light menu of organic gourmet cuisine, a culinary art in and of itself. The gathering spot is at the crossroads of Southwest Avenue and Macklind. Locals will recall the space as the former home of Hannake Hardware store, built in 1906.. An art gallery will showcase local painters, sculptors, photographers and the like and house a program to empower and provide youth and emerging artists with vital opportunities to showcase their work, have access to arts education and network with established mentors. The gallery is designed to
Interior Construction View of Art Incubator (image courtesy of Keaton Treece)
COMMENTARY Interior Construction View of Art Incubator (image courtesy of Keaton Treece) 19 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM FALL 2017
entitled Living In The Limelight that shines the spotlight on the art and artists of theatre in the area in all of its facets and at every level. The plethora of community, educational and professional theatre throughout the region will take center stage in the show which will present talent interviews, performance clips, reviews and more. Our art colony operation will also warehouse the many unique costumes, props, and small to medium sized set pieces in which theatre companies invest their time, effort, talent and design aesthetics, along with much of their profit. These items are rarely used again. Because of the existing docking stations in the
back of the complex and a drive-through warehouse complete with a lift to the basement, theatre companies will now be able to store items in a safe, dry and centrally located place. Then through an online service any company around the world will be able to rent these stored artifacts for their productions at a budget friendly rate. This will generate a virtually effortless profit center for theatre companies that didn’t exist before. Since the heart of this interdisciplinary art venue is a tech-savvy coffee house and bistro, artists of every ilk can hang out and possibly gain employment simply by being in the right place at the right time. Think of the famous
Formosa Café, “where the stars are,” in Hollywood. This is the subtext of our overall concept. The goal of the artist colony is to be a resource for artists seeking artists, and a comfortable, inviting and affordable place for artists to network. It is a dynamic that not only celebrates artists in the St. Louis metropolitan area, but gives them a home they will be proud to call their own.
ART IS A VERB
By Holly Schroeder
Art is the one constant that's been in my life since I could hold a crayon in my tiny chubby hand. I'm the child of an artist, an oil painter, and the idea that art is part of everyday life was woven into the fabric of my life early. If I pause for just a second I can bring forth into consciousness the smell of turpentine and recall memories of exploring the bristles of my mom’s paint brushes with my finger tips. I was a curious child with a never-ending list of questions and puzzles to answer. It wasn’t until much later I realized that to quiet my busy mind I would need to actively and consistently practice self-care. However, my mom already knew this about herself and when she needed a break from the daily inquisition she would send me to the basement studio to “draw myself.” I
would run down the stairs and drag the gaint roll of newsprint to the middle of the room, grab a crayon, and unroll enough paper to trace the outline of my body. I would wiggle my body until I was centered on the paper and begin by tracing at the hip, then my legs and feet going clockwise. Next, I would lay down a trace counter clockwise with my right hand, reaching over my head and trying to follow the curves of my body as close as I could. Switching hands because my arm wouldn’t bend any further, I finished the piece with my left hand. I didn’t realize then that this small task began to solidify the notion the art was a way to get quiet and find peace. I stumbled on to the idea of mindfulness meditation about twenty years ago and the discussion of self-care started to emerge in my circle. I recall reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, Peace is Every Step, and in it he talks about eating a tangerine mindfully -- focusing on exploring the texture, smell, and taste, mindfully engaging in the process of the totally pedestrian act of eating a piece of fruit. I started to connect the dots to my love of art -my need to art. It’s active, not static, and much more a verb than a noun for me. It’s my self-care and my side hustle . Photography was my first true love in art. I always enjoyed drawing and painting, but somehow felt like those things belonged to my mom and wanted to find my own path. Camera in hand, I could explore anywhere and find treasures along the way by isolating a scene with my lens and looking for texture, color, and pattern. Photography was and still is a way for me to experience the world around me in a way that feels special and a little COMMENTARY
separate from the rest in its own unique realm as the observer. I rarely lug out my equipment anymore, but I do regularly use smartphone camera and have a clip on macro lens that makes for extra fun. Time went by and I have tried lots of different mediums and recently fell in love all over again, but this time with watercolor. In tandem with my newfound love, I became much more intentional in my pursuit of self-care through art as a verb. In January of 2016, I decided instead of making a resolution, I would commit to a theme - art every day. Since then I have spent countless hours doodling, painting, drawing, experimenting, and playing. Some things have evolved into work I would sell, but most what I produced is a collection of visual journals and practice exercises. Everywhere I go I take a small stash of art supplies: black micron pens in various sizes, a mechanical pencil or two, a white eraser, a spiral bound tablet of mixed media paper, and if I think there’s a time, I’ll bring a travel palette of watercolors and water brushes. The pursuit of self-care through art has become more than something to check off a list, it’s become part of my personal philosophy for healthy and happy living. It’s taken me many years to learn how to quiet this busy mind. In addition to daily arting wherever I am, I regularly take “forest bathing” trips by myself to recharge and refresh. Immersed in nature and the sounds of the forest brings immeasurable peace I never knew I needed or even wanted. Self-care always sounded like a luxury good I couldn’t afford. I know now I can’t afford to live without it.
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For me, art is as much a verb as it is a noun. Self-care was once a radical notion, but it’s an idea gaining momentum in our tech-heavy existence. As an artist I need time to look inward and to "art” — just because. It's my mindful meditation and my self-care. When I put pencil to paper and focus on making shapes and lines, getting quiet is easy. I focus on the sound of the lead scratching and gliding across the paper. The feeling of the texture of the paper against the side of my palm, the way the pencil feels cool resting against my skin. I feel pressure in my fingers as I push to move the pencil, and the swoosh swoosh sounds when I erase a mark. The process creates a space that feels safe and completely in the moment. I immerse myself in exploration and play for the sake of doing it. I don’t worry about whether or not it is good or if an observer would understand. It's for me; it’s my therapy.
Amy Reidel, Tumor Storm, (image courtesy of the artist)
Amy Reidel, Supercell, (image courtesy of the artist)
Amy Reidel, Love Tumor, (image courtesy of the artist)
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