gan in friendship,
narrowing the spaces between
in methodic madness–
shared creations expanding from
working in parallel–
threaded layered multiplied back
more to explore–
branching like trees and scattering
to inspire each
other, to our surprise
we found ourselves weaving a web–
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”
(this quote is the first thing I posted)
Nina and I began our blog on May 6, 2014, as a way to show each other the art we were doing. We had both let our creativity languish and were hoping to inspire each other to produce more. We made the above two combined logos–the top one merging art from each of us in the center, and our avatar which contained a drawing each of us had done of the other from the 1970s, when we met, working as designers in a textile company.
the news is full of sorrow
not should have been–two years
On May 7, I received my firsts “likes” for the above post. I didn’t have a clue…where did that come from? When Nina told me we had acquired followers I was mystified. Two of those first likes came from blogs I still interact with–Robert Okaji, and Outside Authority.
In the beginning I mostly posted drawings and old art, with the occasional 17 syllable poem. I got my first comment from someone other than Nina on May 30, for my first Beach I Ching post. I started writing more poetry in 2016. For the first few years Nina and I posted almost every day, and we did a number of collaborations.
Above is one of our collaborations with the Oracle.
Life has tossed us around a bit in the past few years. I’m posting less and doing some of my art/poetry at Kblog now, but you can still find me here for my monthly circle/grid, Draw a Bird Day, and Thursday Doors, with The Kick-About, and a few other things thrown in from time to time. Nina and I hope to get back to collaborations too.
I would not be doing the art or writing I’m doing today without this community. I’ve learned and been given so much–thank you, thank you, thank you! for your continued support .
I have 3 pieces in The Ekphrastic Review Anthology.
Here it is, at last! Our first anthology!
Our goal is to make The Ekphrastic Review and this ebook anthology of talent go viral. Will you help? Please share this free book with your holiday list, on your Facebook pages, on Twitter, Youtube, in your writing groups, with your students, on your website, everywhere!
This anthology celebrates five years of The Ekphrastic Review. Thank you to all of our writers and readers for making this amazing journal and community possible!
When I saw these paintings by William Villalongo, I immediately thought of Nina and her explorations into medical art. An African-American artist based in Brooklyn, he says his goal is to “orchestrate a conversation between history and art”.
The Sepia Eye Gallery had a number of interesting works, but I was really taken with Neal Oshima, a Japanese-American photographer who has lived in Manila for 40 years. His photograms of traditional Philippine garments are really stunning.
This was one gallery where the woman (and they were almost all women) minding the store was both friendly and helpful.
Another photographer featured here was Indian artist Vivan Sundaram. He has done a lot of work in many media, which often includes social commentary. A wonderful sense of the absurd shows through in these photos which have been drawn and written on. I was not surprised to read that he has been influenced by Dada and the Surrealists.
The Luise Ross Gallery has a wonderful show of works by Leo Rabkin, whose work I was not familiar with, although he is both a well-known artist (president of the American Abstract Artists group in the 1960s and 70s), and also, along with his wife Dorothea, a well-known collector of folk art. He just died earlier this year.
He used found objects in his own art, and did many boxes, including this one with nails that also reminded me of Nina and her nail sculpture.
I also liked this painted collage.
Tucked in the back of the gallery was some work by Gaileen Aiken, a self-taught artist from Vermont. I loved these large jointed paper dolls.
And the sketchbooks were delightful.
Gregory Hayes, another Brooklyn based artist, is showing pointillistic mandalas at the Nancy Margolis Gallery.
And at the Joanne Artman Gallery I discovered another interesting artist that is evidently somewhat well-known. America Martin definitely shows a graffiti influence, and had a lot of paintings of boxers on display. She claims Henry Moore as a big inspiration, but she really reminds me more of Fernand Leger.
I looked at lots and lots of other work in other galleries, but this is what I liked best. It certainly gives me plenty of new ideas.
My daughter and I went to see Kehinde Wiley’s show at the Brooklyn Museum in May.
When he was a newly minted MFA, working for The Studio Museum in Harlem, he conducted an after-school bookmaking workshop for students and their parents/caregivers at my daughter’s elementary school. We enjoyed it, and remembered him, and when a positive review of his paintings appeared in the newspaper a few years later, we were pleasantly surprised.
Wiley is known for his huge paintings that riff on the work of European Old masters by placing African-Americans in street clothes in a similar setting. There were plenty of these in the show, and they are impressive.
But the first paintings we encountered were small luminous reflections on Icons–work we hadn’t seen before.
The artist also works in stained glass and sculpture, continuing the theme of commenting on the classical canon of Art History while using contemporary people of color as models.
One criticism leveled at Kehinde Wiley in reviews of his show at the Brooklyn Museum was that he uses assistants to paint his backgrounds. Considering the fact that the “classic” painters he’s riffing on in his work did then same thing, and then just the sheer size of many of the paintings…well, I disagree. It’s only recently in history that the cult of the individual artist as a god-like figure has appeared. The identity of much of the world’s most beautiful and moving artistic creations is either unknown, or known to be collaborative in origin, even when attributed to a single artist.
The other criticism I’ve heard frequently is that Wiley keeps repeating himself. Yes and no. I was surprised by much of what I saw, at both the variety and the visible changes. The work is continuous, but also evolving.
And if you’ve stayed with me this long, you may want to know: yes, I did save the book from that workshop.
Here are some of the references for Kehinde Wiley’s work pictured above: