oranje - recent posts from my current home

Friday, January 11, 2008

Moving day

I have been planning to move my blog for a while now. I have been screwing around with the layout, customizing things a bit, yadda yadda.

The only thing that has kept me here this last month is that I was waiting for the close of the Blogger Show and the demise of Digging Pitt Gallery.

Today is the last day for both the show and the gallery, so I'm moving on, in the Blogosphere and in meatspace.

So for all of my cyber visitors, check out my new digs, and don't forget to update your links!

and for all of my meatspace pals, you can find me at the Polish Hill Civic Association and at the brillobox.

God (or somebody with a lot more power than I have) bless John Morris. You're the best.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I worked very closely with Stephanie Lee Jackson over the course of The Blogger Show. From the beginning, I thought her work was beautiful. She is also that rare combination among artists, combining creative drive and pragmatism.

Stephanie Lee Jackson
"Ring," oil on linen, 36"x 48"

As we worked together to bring the Agni Gallery tendril of the Blogger Show to fruition, we both sensed an affinity, not only in our work but in our temperaments. The compatible aspects of our works are overwhelming, which is why I thought collaboration was a possible avenue to explore.

I have never collaborated with another artist. It's not that the subject hasn't come up. I am not sure why the early talks that I had with a very few others didn't bear fruit. The time is right, I think. And so is the artist.

The working title for the project is seeds, which really seems appropriate for this new venture. Stephanie's first packet has arrived and I have been turning them over in my mind's eye for the last couple days.

Please excuse the crappy images. I will be re-shooting these before I start and will replace these images with better ones. These don't do justice to the real things at all.

First seed, Stephanie to Susan
Seed 1, Stephanie to Susan
Pencil on sandpaper, 4" x 6"

Second seed, Stephanie to Susan
Seed 2, Stephanie to Susan
Mixed on paper, 6" x 4"

Third seed, Stephanie to Susan
Seed 3, Stephanie to Susan
Pencil on paper, 6" x 4"

I am intrigued by these, especially the first seed. What has been interesting, even this early on, is the orientation from which to look at the work. I will be posting about the collaboration process here on oranje. Stephanie has already begun to post about seeds on The Brooklyn Days. You can see more of Stephanie's work on her site.

I do want to take a moment to thank John Morris. Without his encouragement and the opportunity that the Blogger Show presented, I wouldn't have met Stephanie or any of the other artists involved in the exhibits.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No snow days

Even though it's expected, this brief respite always surprises. This year, January thaw seems early. After all, it began two days ago. According to the forecast, it will extend another couple days.

While the air temperature is balmy, the days have been dreary and I know that winter is only a breath away. In the meantime, I have shed my monstrosity of a coat and my sensible hat for something a little more frivolous and just a little cute.

As always, every citizen takes to the streets, the youngest among us daring winter by sporting less apparel than they would at the same temperature in a different season. Our neighbors pause to chat on the sidewalk instead of rushing to their warm homes. There is a sense of secret pleasure, like a child that has received an anonymous gift that must be consumed before it is discovered.

I love January thaw, this one week of weather out of place.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Eveline Berkman

Fractal Art contest
From their website -

As part of our continuing efforts to promote fractal and algorithmic art, we are organizing a new exhibition to coincide with the Year of Mathematics and Science. This contest is to select some of the artwork that will be used in the exhibition. (The remaining artwork will be selected directly by the contest selection panel and will include artwork created by panel members.)

Some of these were downright stunning. If you have a minute, go check out the entries for the 2007 contest. Thanks, Tom, for the heads up.

edit January 8, 2008
Went back to the site when I saw that the image had been replaced by this big black box. There is a copyright notice on the page. However, nowhere on the site is there any published contact information. I also found this statement on the About page for their host, where they describe themselves as egalitarian. Go figure.

edit January 17, 2008
Huh. I was puttering around in oranje. Sometime between the first edit and this one, the image was restored. Thank you, Fractal Art.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Friday, December 28, 2007

I can hear the swans singing

For the last two years, I have been working at Digging Pitt Gallery for John Morris. The gallery, and its operations, have been a major part of my life for that time. In two years, Digging Pitt has produced over thirty exhibits, not to mention artist talks, workshops and readings. The most recent exhibit, The Blogger Show, has been a monumental effort. It is also Digging Pitt's swan song.

In just two short weeks, the gallery will be closing its doors. We began handing work back to the artists in mid-December. With nearly two hundred artists represented in the flat file archive, this is proving to be as monumental a task as coordinating The Blogger Show.

Several people have lent their time and energy to the gallery in significant ways over the last two years that I have worked at the gallery. Jean McClung has been a tireless advocate, closely involved with gallery operations. Larry Swiech has, without fail, been available to assist with his presence when we needed an extra hand. When he was still living in Pittsburgh, Robert Franklin made himself available in a number of ways. There are many other people that have played a part in keeping the gallery alive, too many to catalog here. But please know that all of you have my gratitude for your kindness.

And so, we come to the end. But also to the beginning of this fine madness: John Morris.

Dear John,

Your tireless advocacy of Pittsburgh artists on their home ground is very much appreciated by a significant number of the gallery artists. Your vision cast light on a different path for many of them, encouraging many, and especially me, to consider other avenues. Your generosity in supporting and championing the visual arts is humbling.

Thank you, John Morris. You're a hero.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The elephant in the room

A little late to notice, but it seems that the Pittsburgh Post Gazatte has another arts reviewer. Most of the reviews are written by Mary Thomas, who has been writing for the Post for years.

I admit that I rarely look at the Post's art reviews. They are somewhat sporadic and generally buried. Like most regional newspapers, the Post doesn't even have a visual arts link in their menu banner. And it seemed to me that the majority of the coverage was on the museum and institution blockbuster shows.

But I read Terry Young's review of the Mattress Factory's India this morning --

When we look at the intent of the larger exhibition, in relationship to institutional funding in Pittsburgh, we find an ill-informed curator and director who found nothing "New," as the exhibition title suggests, or even contemporary, but instead brought back mediocrity labeled with the exotic misnomer "India."

The title "India" fulfills a multicultural prerequisite for contemporary arts funding, the original intent of which, like that of the Mattress Factory itself, was supportive of cultural and aesthetic change decades ago but now serves as a linguistic barrier excluding actual contemporary ideas of cultural and aesthetic change. Read the article

Oh ouch, I thought. The elephant in the room is finally seen. While I do believe that non-profit funding is a great avenue for promoting work that is unusual, I do tend to agree that "institutional funding" creates a whole other set of aesthetics and influences of what is seen in our non-profit cultural organizations. At any rate, I ran a search and found this Pop City article about an exhibit, Appalachian Spring Summer and Fall, that Mr. Young put together a couple years ago. From the article --

After leaving Pittsburgh for New York, London and Berlin, Young realized that “how it was everywhere” in the art world was much more trend- and commercial-conscious, and much more gallery oriented. While artists in the art-world capitals were opening vast shows, selling pieces, and striving for an ever-looming specter of fame and success, the artists Young grew up around in Pittsburgh were generally just getting on with the business of making art. Read the article

Well, but, what's wrong with selling your work? It's almost like he's saying it's okay for Pittsburgh artists to be left out of the "booming art market" that artists in other cities enjoy. Because that's what makes our region's art so, well, regional. I would also point out that this perception of Pittsburgh artists is also what keeps them from competing in the larger arena and forces so many talented artists to leave the region.

I am here because I sincerely like this city. But I also sincerely believe that art makers should enjoy the same attributes of success as members of any other profession. I don't believe that poverty is an appropriate ground for the seeds of creativity.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Santa, no cookie

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So, I know it has been awhile since I posted about drink & draw. I've just been a little bit busy lately. I missed about three posts for this, I think. Anyway, December 11 was memorable! Our model was Ian Green, who clowns for Zany Umbrella Circus. He was an amazing model, developing an entire character for the evening.

I want to mention, too, that Ian is a painter as well as a clown.

We are taking a brief hiatus from drink & draw, but will be returning on January 8 with Brian Czarniecki. Stay tuned!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Don't Forget

Christmas in Fallujah

Happy Christmas music video by John Lennon

Highway to Hell - Nightmare Before Christmas Music Video