Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I spent yesterday installing my exhibit at the Bolinas Museum with the help of my husband, Jon (pictured here) and my friend and curator of this show, Nora Kabat Dolan. It is so rewarding to see the work on the wall since it has been in my head for so many, many months. Now my new pieces from Evocations and Sanctuary can also be seen in my web site’s gallery.

Here are a couple of installation views. There are only a few minor details to finalize before the opening reception this Saturday, March 3 from 3-5pm. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Seeing Photographs

Last night, I was part of an informal panel at the Robert Tat Gallery in San Francisco - an event sponsored by SFMOMA’s Foto Forum. There were three of us - an artist, a collector, and myself playing the role of photo historian. Prior to the event, we had selected eleven images from Rob’s inventory to discuss, highlighting various aspects of his gallery’s specialties – pictorialism, classic modernism, vernacular, and contemporary.

The image here is a lovely photograph by Petr Helbich. The fact that he studied with Josef Sudek is apparent in his use of light and quiet subject matter. I was drawn to this photograph, because as a photo historian, my area of deep fascination is Surrealism. Although this is a contemporary Czech photograph, I couldn’t help but think of the French poet Lautreamont’s phrase so embraced by the Surrealists - “beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table." This scene is not quite that macabre, but the umbrella opened inside and infused with supernatural light lends this image an air of mystery akin to Surrealism. I read each element in the photograph as a clue in a puzzle that can never quite truly be deciphered. This sense of mystery thrills me.

In the end, what I took away from this evening was an affirmation that each of us as unique individuals bring a distinct set of knowledge and experience to looking at photographs. My co-panelists illustrated this well. The artist spoke of reading images by thinking about how she, as a photographer, might have approached this subject, and what she might learn about picture taking from the work. The collector was very open in his discussion of the importance of market value and seeing the photograph as a collectible object. I, as an artist/historian, respond emotionally and viscerally to photographs, but also simultaneously feel as if there is a sliding scale of history in my brain against which I measure the image – tracking its author, date, and location in order to place it within the larger framework of photographic history and practice. Each of the thirty or so audience members also had their own visions – one man spoke of always looking closely at the quality light in images. I love this sense that photographs are more than a record - they become a mirror of our own sensibilities and values.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


A huge sense of relief flooded me after leaving Trillium the other day. Located in Brisbane, CA, Trillium (aka The Land of Yes) specializes in fine art printing - everything from lithography to digital media. I have been experimenting with the latter with the excellent help of imaging specialist Kris Shapiro. She is a whiz with Photoshop, and although my knowledge of PS is expanding, it was nice to be able to have Kris make edits quickly for me that would have taken much trial and error for me to figure out. Sometimes it’s just really nice to have someone hold your hand, especially with a deadline fast approaching.

My Bolinas Museum show will be installed in two weeks, and I am happy to say with a huge sigh that the work is almost complete. I have a dozen new pieces from Bottle Dreams, and digital prints from two new series, Evocations and Sanctuary. Pictured here are some of my prints, all curly from coming straight off the press. I owe much gratitude to the Epson printer in the back left, named Scratch, and, of course, to Kris.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Work in Progress

I have been so busy making art that there has been little time to stop and blog. Here is a photo of some works in progress. Last week, I added a dozen more pieces to the series Bottle Dreams. I feel at times a like a mad scientist bottling photographs, maps and handwritten texts in mineral oil – concocting new metaphors for memory.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Brian Taylor’s Open Books

I first saw Brian Taylor’s Open Book series last July at Photo San Francisco at the booth for Modern Book, where his work was hanging side by side with my collages. I was truly delighted to be in such good company. His Open Books are wonderfully tactile, poetic, and mysterious. I can’t make up my mind which one is my favorite, but I am quite fond of The Good Wife (pictured above), because I am married to a passionate fisherman. Others from the series that particularly touch me are Lake, Boy, Indian and Somewhere A Man’s Shoes Are Wet.

So it was particularly exciting for me when Brian agreed to visit my class at
JFK University last week. He gave a generous artist talk, covering his beginnings through to his most recent work - richly textured gum bichromate landscapes. I loved learning more about the labor intensive process of creating the Open Books - they do have multiple pages in them, but are meant to be displayed so that you can see only the center spread. Each holds hidden mysteries.

Brian's presence also sparked good conversation among my students about the meaning of art. I jotted down two quotes he shared. The first was by
Henry Miller, who said “Paint as you like and die happy.” The second was a story from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel in which a chess player loses his winning luck because “he stopped moving the pieces with love.” Brian explained how in collage and mixed media work, what really matters is that you "move the pieces with love." He admitted that can sound schmaltzy, but whether you use the word love or creativity, passion, excitement, or energy – it all boils down to the artwork benefiting from that kind of enlivening force. And his Open Books are certainly a testament to the power of that force.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Support of Friends

A week ago today, I was in Tucson for my reception at the Etherton Gallery. As I think back about that experience, one of the things that rises to the surface is the tremendous support of my friends, fellow photographers Candace Gaudiani and Ken Rosenthal (pictured above). Candace flew in from the Bay Area to be there and Ken, who lives in Tucson, put us up at his house. From the moment I arrived, they took such good care of me – picking me up at the airport, taking me out for dinner, photographing the reception for me, and helping me celebrate an exhibit that is a highpoint in my art life. I am so grateful for their friendship.

The show was beautifully hung by Terry Etherton and his gallery staff. They created lovely groupings of images that punctuate the cozy brown walls. The reception was packed with people, but still afforded the ability to have intimate conversations about my work. It was one of those nights when I felt like a “real artist.”