Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!
home baseIt's been just over ten years since I've shown in my home community of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. My work has changed a lot since 2004--here is an installation shot of the exhibit held at the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library in December of that year.
At the time, almost all of my work was made up of multiple panels, bolted together. I had been working exclusively in abstraction, using cold wax medium on panel, for about three years at this point. In retrospect, while I still appreciate this work, I see that it was created mostly with my head more so than with my heart. I did not invest much emotion or meaning in the work--it came more from a fascination with the medium I was just starting to explore, and the structural possibilities of bolting panels together . But these interesting arrangements of color and texture were an early and important step on the road to true personal voice.
A little over a week ago, my current exhibit opened in the same exhibition space. There have been many changes in a decade. My 2015 exhibit, A Gift of Days: Memories of Ireland, is thematic in a way that my earlier exhibits never were. Back then, I was far less specific in my intentions for the work. Now, everything I make in some way relates to personal experiences and memories both visual and emotional. Most of my paintings have to do with specific places in Ireland, where I have spent so much time in the past few years. Also,I have mostly abandoned multiple panel arrangements, as my images have become stronger and expressive as individual compositions. The photo below shows the same exhibition space, just taken a bit closer in than the 2004 photo.
The adjacent wall in the gallery at LE Phillips Memorial Public Library, below:
Here is the statement I wrote for this exhibit; you may click here to read the John O'Donohue poem referenced (which I posted beside my statement.)
writer and philosopher John O'Donohue's poem, For the Traveler, describes the awakening of mind and soul that
comes with a certain kind of focused travel in an unfamiliar place. He speaks of travel as a pilgrimage, a
journey--words that imply much more than a sight-seeing trip or holiday. His poem is about a kind of travel that opens
a channel between inner and outward experience, and one that involves
intention, intuition and being aware of each day's offerings. This kind of travel invites creative
response, and is at the heart of the experience of an artist-in-residence
residency and fellowship programs are found all over the world-- providing
selected artists with the opportunity to pursue their work for weeks or even
months at a time, away from daily concerns. An artist's residency is a gift of
time, of space, and of place--and of these, place is what most motivates me to
seek these opportunities. During each of
the seven artist residencies I have experienced, the surroundings have given
rise to new thoughts and changes in my work. This has never more so than on my
last two fellowships, which took place at Ballinglen Arts Foundation in County
Mayo, Ireland in the fall of 2013 and 2014.
Both times I was able to stay for six weeks and to immerse myself in the
daily life of the small Irish village of Ballycastle, and in the stimulating
and congenial atmosphere of the Foundation where artists come together from
various parts of the world.
At the root of my
memories and sensory impressions of the West of Ireland are the dramatic
coastal cliffs, richly textured boglands,
patinas of old boats and buildings, Neolithic
ruins, and the dramatic skies that characterize the region. I was moved every day by Mayo’s beauty and
long history. As an abstract painter, the imagery I work with is filtered through
these emotional responses, in ways that I hope convey some essence of this
¶ 1:36 PM
I really love your new work. Hope to study with you and lear more about oil and cold wax.
Have been attempting to signe in to the coldwax website and keep getting a message that says something like "this site is over subscribed"... At one time I had register for this site and have tried to use this registration informationi whichh doens't work.
Any assistance that you may give me would greatly be appreciated.
BJ, if you will email me through my website and give me your full name I will try and sort this out for you. People join the Ning site every day so there should be no "over-subscribed" problem, that is strange!--R.