Archive for September, 2009

Found art and what I am thinking about

Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

When I am in the Boundary Waters I try to keep my mind blank, but open.  A terrifically hard thing for me personally.  But art will out.  We were having “rock time” and I started pushing “stuff” around with a little stick.  The time floated by as the little stick worked its magic in finding and arranging things found on the rock.  I wonder what the next person who arrives on these campsite rocks will think of this found-object collage.

I’m always looking, looking, looking from the canoe, on the portage, and in camp.  Here are some of the themes I am, once again, contemplating with these new images as inspiration:

The juxtaposition of hard and soft; the timelessness of nature, the ephemeral nature of humans.

The beauty of decay, the cycling of all things in life from life to death.

The abundance of everything in nature, even spawn upon the shore.

The power of water; the mystery of reflection.


09 2009

Back from Inspiration Central!

The Beginning of Pink

June’s Trip #13 to the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness was pretty much a disaster, but it was compensated 1000 times over by this delightful journey.  We had an adventure-packed ten days of portaging, paddling, and appreciating nature.  Every other day we would “gear up” and paddle forth.  We portaged over 13.5 miles total, but were always done fairly early in the day.  The weather was phenomenal.  Our only disappointment was seeing only one moose (rut hadn’t started yet – very late), but he had only one antler!

Highlights included a concert from a pack of wolves camped out in our neighborhood and four beavers doing a ritual of some sort involving an all-nighter of tail slapping.  Of course, stunning as always were the eagles, the stars, the tall pines, and the strong teamwork of the Sister System required by the Boundary Waters.

That Sinking Feeling
Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosma

One of our great adventures was beaver dams!  (I am not even going to start on impassable rapids with no portages and very little water – another whole story.) We would run the boat up as close as possible and I would jump out.  Sounds easy.  But you are climbing up/standing on a shifting mass of sticks – – some dried and easily broken, some loose, some firmly wedged in mud.  The water rushes between and over your feet and in the back of your mind in this little false alert going off, “I’m sinking, I’m sinking.”

Sister Nancy would jump out, we would take out one pack and lay it on the dam and then heave Beauty, our 17.5 foot Kevlar canoe, with the other two 50 lb. packs over the mass of sticks. Nancy would fling the pack back in and then take the fully-loaded boat out, swing it around and I would jump in.  Off to the next one.  Of course, coming back with the current was a different story (and actually easier).  The photo is the from the first and smallest dam (we did 3 out and 3 back) which compensated by being built on boot-sucking mud.

More later this week on things that inspired me on this journey, but here is one of the huge variety of mushrooms we photographed :



09 2009

Sightlines invitational artists announced


I am pleased to announce the invited SAQA artists for A Sense of Direction: Sightlines.  It was a difficult decision with 166 Requests For Consideration received, but it was also a complete joy to spend time with so much remarkable artwork.

The fourteen artists are:

Britta Ankenbauer
Regina Benson
Shelley Brenner Baird
Yael David- Cohen
Linda Colsh
Sue Dennis
Anne Helmericks-Louder
Fulvia Luciano
Wendy Lugg
Kathy Nida
Pat Owoc
Mirjam Pet-Jacobs
Jayne Willoughby Scott
Leni Wiener

The most important task of a curator, I believe, is to have a vision for a particular exhibit.  My vision for Sightlines is an exhibit that transcends any thoughts of the continuous sightline as a “gimmick” and instead focuses on the sightline as a unique invitation to a conversation between and among the artists.  The conversation will also include viewers who will engage with each artwork in turn and then follow the thread of conversation through the exhibit.

I looked at every jpeg, blog and website three times before making any decisions.  I took a quick glance upon submission, then studied all Requests twice with several days between each complete survey.  I then made a shortlist of 40 artists I wanted to consider for invitation.  I looked at their Requests and artwork two additional times, leaving several days between surveys so my eye would be fresh.

The Sightlines artwork will be created without me or, probably at this point, the artist knowing what it will look like.  I wanted art that would undoubtedly be powerful at its premier in the distant date of November 2011 and continue to be so as it toured.  This requires art that is About Something.  Not necessarily something momentous or earthshaking, but it has to be about something that motivates the artist to create artwork that is of the highest standards both in its materiality and its meaning.

The best conversationalists bring to the table knowledge, wit, passion, maturity, and a point of view. So, too, do the invited artists to the Sightlines exhibition. It should be quite a conversation.

It was an extremely strong pool of artists and I thank each artist who submitted a Request.  I also thank Peg Keeney for her mentorship and the exhibition committee for the opportunity to serve SAQA as curator for this unique exhibit.

Note about Sightlines:  This innovative exhibit will feature 14 invited artists who will create five to eight artworks on the theme of their choice. There are specific specs for some of the artworks, but each artist will have a ten foot wide by 7 foot high panel for his/her artwork. It is an innovative concept inspired by this exhibition by tACTile, an Australian group of textile artists.

The exhibition premiers at International Quilt Festival in Houston in 2011 and travels to the International Quilt Festivals in Chicago and Long Beach. A Sense of Direction: Sightlines will also be available for travel; visit the SAQA website for more information if you would like this innovative exhibit to be shown at your venue.


09 2009