Friday, August 21, 2009

Invoking Duchamp

"With Duchamp, there's no choice but to penetrate about two inches behind the eyeballs into the brain." -Francis Nauman quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article on Duchamp

This week I have been working on art inspired by Marcel Duchamp for a show this October at the Slaughterhouse Space in Healdsburg, CA. The curator, Hanna Regev, drew her exhibition concept from the location of the Slaughterhouse Space which is surrounded by the vineyards of the Duchamp Winery. Owned by artist Pat Lenz and her husband, the winery includes several of Pat's outdoor fiberglass sculptures - including this one pictured here of Marcel Duchamp with a trellis of roses growing from his enormous head - alluding to his pseudonym Rrose Selavy.

It is fitting that Pat chose to depict his head so large - over nine feet tall. Marcel Duchamp has always struck me as being very dry, witty, and conceptual. Like the quote above describes, his best art makes you think. And so I have been thinking a lot about how to fuse his sensibility with my own and create something new. Below is a photo of some things in process - I will share more as the work evolves.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Creating in Chaos

Today I sit in my studio and think about my garden. This year’s vegetables are beset by weeds and critters. Gophers have eaten whole heads of lettuce and bunnies have gnawed down kale and broccoli. As the parent of toddler, I just don’t have the kind of time I used to have to devote to weeding and tending. Yet, things still grow, and this weekend, I harvested fresh lettuce, some broccoli shoots, a couple zucchini, fresh herbs for tea, and three artichokes.

Similarly, my studio is beset by clutter. I have to fight the urge to clean and order and get rid of anything that does not feel current. I simply don’t have time to be organized. I have time only to create. So I am learning a new way of working - quick and fast and focused. Once I get moving, the clutter becomes peripheral. It is just me and the project at hand. And things are growing. I seeded a new series last week that I will share more about soon. I also laid the foundation for my next open studio on October 17-18. In the end parenthood is teaching me a good lesson – being comfortable and creative in the midst of chaos.