Musings…

It’s hard to believe my time as resident artist at The Bascom (thebascom.org) is half completed.  With my solo exhibition, The Life of Trees, behind me, I am looking forward to the continuation of my photographic activity.  I have a general sense of how/where/why to proceed: I want to pursue the direction I had started with Trees, but further emphasize the spiritual nature of the human-tree connection.

I envision an ethereal movement of some kind, perhaps manifest in wind-blown fabric draped in or around the trees.  Here’s an example of my first step in this direction.

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Indian Trail Marker Tree

I’m interested in feedback.  What do you think?  Any suggestions on possible avenues from this starting point? I look forward to your comments.

Thanks!

vickiprovostphotgraphs.com

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Spring Break and Refreshing Youth

Spring is a time of refreshment, and that includes the youth participating in the Spring Break Photography at The Bascom class thebascom.org.  For three consecutive afternoons, these enthusiastic youngsters, ages 12-15 years, undertook the basics of digital photography – dslr camera operation, composition and photo editing techniques.  They took real interest in the subject matter and were a delight to work with.  Rumor has it they’ll return for more photography classes this summer.  I look forward to it!

vickiprovostphotographs.com

In a Dimly Lit Studio…

I have found that many of the educational activities at The Bascom take place in an informal and entertaining setting.  At the March Bascom Photography Club meeting, Bernie Coulson, architectural and real estate photographer, shared his recent foray into studio portraiture with the group.

His presentation included a demonstration of lighting techniques, set up in the darkened photo studio, and a sampling of his dry wit (A horse walked into a bar – the bartender asked, “why the long face?”).   I came away with a better understanding of portrait photography, and a slight chuckle.

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Photographing at The Bascom

The activities and opportunities provided for me at The Bascom thebascom.org are unique and diverse.  One of the more pleasurable of these is documenting the ongoing progress of the after-school art education program, namely, the Gordon Center class.  For several consecutive weeks, I have observed these lively children dive into imaginative art activities, taught by Community Outreach Artist in Residence, Grant Benoit.  One result is that the Children’s Education Gallery has come alive with color and form.  A visit to the gallery is definitely worth your while!

vickiprovostphotographs.com

Thanks to all who attended the reception for Paper View, Scenes from a Noon-Day Land, and my exhibition, The Life of Trees.  Also, special thanks to The Bascom for giving me the opportunity to learn, create, and thrive artistically in a supportive and energizing environment.

The Life of Trees

Organizing an International Portfolio or 9 months, 460 prints, and 20 artists later.

Y’all… I have been busy. With teaching, creating work for exhibitions both at the Bascom and beyond I took on the opportunity to curate an international portfolio. To back track a bit, I am a member of SGC International, which is *the* major organization internationally connected to Printmaking. Each year, a conference is held which highlights major advances in printmaking, exhibitions, panels, and demonstrations. Part of the exhibition components are the portfolios. Back in May of 2017, I submitted a proposal to be considered for conference’s line up, but also to be considered for the SGCI’s permanent collection at The Zuckerman Museum of Art.

The proposed portfolio was as followed:

Quilts are born from the endless scraps and pieces of a life lived. Compiled through countless geometric shapes, this varied landscape appears. It is one of the first landscapes we notice, as children we drive toy cars over its cotton hills or as an adult notice the rumpled topography after sleep. We record our memories and travels in quilts picking out a long, lost aunt’s sundress on a worn, sunlight quilt top; these objects become an abstracted landscape. This portfolio merges the traditions of piecing and printing in creating a quilt square that reflects the journey of both art forms   Participants will be asked to consider their memories present and past, as they work within both crafts.
The unique aspect of this portfolio is how the print is dealt with and abstracted (or revealed). Participants will create a print on fabric or cloth substrates. Participants will then piece it using a solid or other printed paper or cloth in traditional or non traditional quilt squares. Prints may be machine or hand pieced. These squares will be exhibited in a grid, creating the illusion of a quilt  from the pieced prints. In addition to exhibiting at SGCI, the portfolio will be exhibited at The Bascom: A Center for Visual Arts in Highlands, NC. Participants will be notified about exhibition details.
*Size of prints: 12”x12” , each edition contains 23 (slight variation expected) pieced quilt squares.One edition will go to SGC International Archives at the Zuckerman Museum of Art and one Edition will go to the host institution, University of Nevada.  
*Participants may chose to print on either paper or cloth substrates. Other materials should be discussed with organizer. Squares should be shipped with glassine between each square.

So after being accepted, I set forth with fingers crossed. I had several artists that I wanted to participate, and I would cull the rest from the open call. Between June and July, I received over 80 submissions for the 20 slots in the portfolio. I had a couple of criteria when curating the portfolio:

  1. I wanted a good cross-section of Professional (Academic), Professional ( Non academic), Emerging( Post MFA or MFA), and Emerging (Post BFA or BFA). I didn’t necessarily want a ‘Who’s Who’ of Printmaking, but create an opportunity as others had for me in the past.
  2. A good handling of similar work–This was a pretty challenging portfolio–Not only are you handling printed material, but also piecework–so working in tandem with that and creating an edition of 23 prints. The portfolio, for me at least, is a printmaking coming out for me–as an interdisciplinary printmaker, I wanted to use my momentum from Arrowmont and the upswing of interest in interdisciplinary printmaking at the conference to create an opportunity to printmakers like myself. I wasn’t looking for one off projects, but for artists that have some sort of sustained practice in working with print in unconventional ways.

After the selection process, It was really just a lot of emailing for nine months. And nail-biting. And swearing at my computer. But…fast forward to March and I found myself in Printmaking Christmas. Editions were rolling in, and were even better than I expected. Especially with portfolios, it is hard to predict what you will get–there are so many different variables in the process.

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The participants are as followed:

Kelsey Reiman, Catherine Reinhart, Luca Cruzat, Grant Benoit, Hannah March Sanders, Erich and Barb Nietzke, Evgenia Kim, Ani Volkan, Barbara Westman, Jess Hill, Henry Gepher, HC Ying, Kerri Cushman, Laura Koch, Landa King, Kelly Sullivan, Lauren Medford, Kelly Sullivan, and Lara Fairbanks.

Currently, I am in the administration part of the process. All the prints–over 460 squares need to be collated into individual portfolios for the participants and for the Permanent Collections. I just installed an edition at The Bascom’s Education Gallery that will be on display until April 29th. The portfolio will then be on display during the conference 3-6th of April in Las Vegas. After that, two portfolios will go to permanent collections–the SGCI permanent collection at The Zuckerman Museum of Art and The University of Nevada.

Art Box at the Wiregrass Museum of Art

Recently, I found myself down in Dothan, AL for the first time. And while I’m familiar with coastal Alabama, Dothan and The Wiregrass were a great discovery. Why was I down there? I was invited, along with four other regional artists ( Claire Lewis of Tuscaloosa, Jacob Phillips of Birmingham, Melinda Kellenberger of Dothan and RC Hagans of Opelika to be mentors for an Annual tri-state competition at the museum during Youth Art Month (which is held every March, nationwide). High school art groups from Georgia, Florida and Alabama sent in miniature sculptures to be judged and were narrowed down to five groups. These five groups would spend two days creating an installation to an unknown prompt with unknown materials. The prize? $500.00 donated to the winning school’s art program.

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Day One: Mentors, Teams, and locations were pulled at random during orientation. After orientation, My high school group, Enterprise High School were assigned one of the Permanent Collection Galleries with the theme ‘Power’. I spent an hour with the group and then I rotated with the other mentors for most of the day, giving the students different perspectives and trade secrets the rest of the day. While I offered up many thoughts and suggestions–think of me as the Tim Gunn of the Art Box competition, I wanted my students to consider their needs and wants. What are the absolute essentials needed to convey the idea of power in the work. Can you do this with three elements? Two? My students, with the very timely idea of power and being all female, liked this idea of taking power–that it can be strong, but can vary in intent. They made packing tape molds of their hands and worked on creating a three dimensional globe that would be suspended from the ceiling. The day ended with the mentors going group by group and offering an in progress critique.

 

Day Two: The second day was the race to 3pm, when the spaces needed to be cleaned and ready for judging. The day before ended with me wondering how the group, which had three less than most of the other competing groups, would be able to complete in time. After painting the packing tape hands and arranging them in a reaching cluster, the students really focused on problem solving the globe. The inside was collaged with newspapers was then covered in sections with chicken wire so that cut outs of the continents floated over the collaged interior. While the mayhem was happening, Wiregrass was conducting student video interviews to document the progress and thought process. The Students wrapped up without much incident and the judging began. The forty so students all travelled from installation site to installation site with the judge received critique and answered questions on their process and statement.

 

The awards were announced during the reception for the youth art exhibition, and I was really happy to hear that my students received the winning award. They really worked hard and challenged themselves to create the installation–I know their teachers and principal will be happy with the award and donation!

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I always love going to new art centers and see how programs and exhibitions are handled. If you ever find yourself in Dothan, check out The Wiregrass–The spaces and work are really great and they always have some sort of programming happening. Thanks again to Amanda Holcomb and Dana Marie Lemmer for letting me participate as a mentor!