Pokate Update

August 29, 2011 - Leave a Response

After a long time blogging and even longer working in technology I’ve been convinced to move my blog from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org. While this affords me all sorts of cool things like better design and more tracking it also means I’m going to be getting the site up and running for a bit. It’s been about 10 days since we started and myself along with a web designer and some of my co-workers are still negotiating some elements of it. It should be pretty great when it’s done, still recognizable and with all the content moved over but more professional and fun.

I can’t wait to show it to everyone, thanks for your patience! Fingers crossed it’s done soon after Labor Day!

Jill Townsley

August 16, 2011 - Leave a Response

Another artist I learned of via the Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive show was Jill Townsley. At first on her site I was thinking, where is her work that puts her into this category but then I decided to get in the “way back” machine and see what she was up to in 1992.

The above piece is called, “Mathematics of the Eye” – it’s made of stiffened muslin and cord and the size of the person next to the piece can give you a sense of scale! These pieces are huge. I like that they look like teepees.

The above and the below two are from 1993, while Jill seemed to still be pretty into stiffened muslin. I’m not sure what she uses as her fabric stiffener – I usually use spray start in large quantities but it is probably something more serious given the structural things she’s got going on. The above is called, “One Line and a Diagonal.”

Amazing, “White Form” also from 1993.

Appropriately enough, the above is called, “Bucky” – it too is stiffened muslin and dowels and is big enough to walk right through.

Here’s where we get into the weird stuff, 1996. “At What Level” is made of perspex tubing (no idea, will need to Google later), fishing line and liquid plastic casing, which I think I may need to invest in. My weekend projects this weekend included finishing a bar cart for our apartment, making a lamp out of a tortoise shell and sewing several gifts for various friends / thank yous – none of these involved liquid plastic and I feel like that’s a miss.

These don’t have a human next to them for scale – but they’re 9 feet high, which is really impressive especially as the casing appears to be unbroken – I have no concept of how these are crafted or is they’re hard or soft but I imagine they’re soft / hanging in some way.

“Telescopium” is made of monofilament as well – it looks like a snake’s shedding to me…a huge snake.

She has a series of these pieces made of fishing line over several years. They look like growths either on trees or walls that clearly don’t belong. Maybe it’s all the space-related movies out right now but these remind me of prosthetics onto things around them.

That is just wire – and while it reminds me of Tara Donovan’s cube pieces made out of a single material this one is much larger, over six feet!

The blue pieces you see are broom bristles and the connectors are just common balls – it’s like K’Nex for adults to me!

Of all her pieces, the above from 2005 resonates the strongest with what I like. The freeform, underwater quality of the above is awesome. These are made of polystyrene beads and PVA – even the way they are lit accentuates how amorphous they are.

I couldn’t not include a piece of her more recent work from 2008 – I bet you can’t guess what those are! Plastic spoons and rubber bands. So cool!

Kohei Nawa

August 9, 2011 - Leave a Response

I went back down the rabbit hole after a homemade dinner tonight and stumbled upon Tokyo artists, Kohei Nawa. I forget how I found him but it was on someone’s Facebook tonight! I was drawn to his pieces for a few reasons – scale, material, shape.

The above is from his Scum series, which is mixed media but the shape itself is born out of polyurethane foam sprayed onto an existing frame. Nawa’s works all take specific items and then augment their surfaces somehow – foam is just one of his chosen methods but it’s the most visually appealing to me.

As you can tell from the pictures these pieces are quite large. I’m curious as to their weight and the difficulty with which they are created. I’ve never worked with this kind of foam so don’t have a lot of context regarding its density.

I like the above both for its title, “Black Yarn” and its technique – just glue from a glue gun. According to Kohei, “I draw on a wall directly using a glue-gun. As the bond melted and liquefied with heat gets cold, it becomes hard. The grains stand up and the lines hang down from the wall. The images are connected to each other and grow like an ivy. It is a picture and is also a sculpture.” I love that thought that it’s a picture and is also a sculpture – I feel as though that applies to a lot of works on this blog.

Another way that Kohei morphs the surface of elements is by adhering many clear glass beads. It takes a real-life object and makes it look pixelated in a way – he calls these PixCells. His process of time consuming, repetitive activities to make something look digital / technological is an interesting juxtaposition. I would have shared more pics but his site has small thumnails – I highly recommend taking a look for yourself though!

Nathalie Miebach

August 2, 2011 - Leave a Response

In looking for more continuing education opportunities for myself around Boston I came upon MassArt’s upcoming Fiber Arts class on Sculptural Knitting, which would be one way to describe my yurt project. In the course description, there was a link to artist Nathalie Miebach, I assume because her work is some kind of awesome.

This piece is called Arctic Dun – Solar Exploration Device for the Arctic and is made of reed, wood, plastic, steel and data. Data? Oh yeah, Nathalie uses her work to represent how art an science collide. Her pieces are the physical representations of data gleaned from scientific observations.

A little closer to home the above is called Boston Tides and as Nathalie describes it, “Using a base of 24 hours, this piece converts various layers of data (Jan-Dec 2005) related to the gravitational influence of both Sun and Moon on tides recorded at Boston Harbor. The inner structure converts sunrise/set and moonrise/set data into the woven structure, with every weave representing one hour. Additional data translated include tide readings, moon phases and the solar path in relation to the horizon.”

It’s hard to decide what to value first, the art or the science behind Nathalie’s pieces. I feel like I love the knitting and weaving she’s doing slightly more than the science of the works but I do respect those qualities as well. It seems like they dictate some of the colors as well as the shapes that the pieces take on. I wonder if it’s easier or harder to create within those constraints or if they’re not constraints at all.

Aesthetically they’re so beautiful and quite large, several feet (like 6 or more). The thing that I think is really admirable is how polished they look. I’ve never seen her works in person but the photos look so sharp that they must be fairly perfectly constructed.

The above is from her series, Changing Waters, which looked at the meteorological and oceanic interactions within the Gulf of Maine. 33 Feet wide this pieces is! So incredible!

Allison Patrick

July 29, 2011 - Leave a Response

Normally I hope to find artists under little hidden rocks or from link digging so deep I don’t know how I got there but today I came upon Allison Patrick in one of my usual and very public haunts, Etsy! I love looking at things for our apartment on Etsy and a lot of our artwork and furniture has come from the sellers and artists on the site. Allison started a design firm after graduating from architecture school. She also makes fabulous lamps!

Allison lives and works in NYC and her studio space looks really neat. She spun off her lamp business into Zipper8Lighting as the collection expanded.

I like how repetitive her pieces are, and meticulous!

Allison was a Featured Seller today on the homepage, which is a great thing for her business. I just think her pieces are so spectacular. This one is of fortune tellers like you play with as a child. She uses existing lamp frames so the pieces end up being about 12 inches across.

Can’t wait to see what she makes next!

Ah Haa School for the Arts

July 24, 2011 - Leave a Response

A mini-lifetime ago I lived in Telluride, CO and worked at an art school called Ah Haa. Annually they have an art auction, which is a huge fundraiser for the school. Local and nationally recognized artists donate works that are sold in both a silent and live auction format, and some of the pieces are just phenomenal. After I left CO, I went back for a week for a few years and donated time to the auction often leaving with a few pieces as well, which are some of my favorites in our home.

James Moore’s work above was included in this year’s silent auction, which was held this past Friday night. I obviously wasn’t at the event this year but I put in an absentee bid (fingers crossed) for two pieces which are below. I love this buffalo but the value was out of my price point.

Kathy Hirsh’s radishes were a bit more reasonable so I put a bid in for those – I love the big brushstrokes and the pink and green colors as well.

The last year I went out there I bought an encaustic by Judy Kohin, which currently resides in my kitchen. Judy was an integral part of the school when I was there and it appears she still is there, and contributing works to the auction. I also absentee bid on this one so that I could have a set. The one I have currently is teal and yellow, it looks like bees.

George Kernan’s town above reminds me of many of the pictures that my mom collects these days, the colors are similar. This one too was a bit too pricey to bid on but I love it and maybe someday can hope to recreate it. I encourage everyone to support their local arts school as it’s a great resource for kids, especially as so many schools are forced to cut arts programming! I should find out tomorrow if either of these pieces will be on their way here to Boston!

Kirk Goetchius

July 8, 2011 - Leave a Response

We’ve spent the last week here on Nantucket and being on the water everyday has reminded me of a lot of things. One being a picture that my parents have in their house in Back Bay. The artist, a teacher of mine from middle school at BB&N in Cambridge, Kirk Goetchius, is someone who I lament I haven’t thought about all too often since graduating 8th grade. However, his work has always been a favorite piece of my parents. I believe it’s pastel on copper (maybe bronze or brass) sheets in a shadow box frame. I got on Google tonight and low and behold Mr. Goetchius has his own site now of course!

His work is so much greater than I remembered though to be fair as a 13 year old student I wasn’t paying too much attention to anyone but myself and Mr. Goetchius was teaching us – not showing off 😉

As he says in his own artist statement, “my paintings are sometimes representational and sometimes abstract and often fall somewhere in between.” I think the above two pieces represent that self-definition quite well.

We spent this afternoon at the Artists Association of Nantucket and found some amazing pieces for our home. While Mr. Goetchius works on the Cape a lot and now Maine as well it sounds like, many of his pieces would fit right in at the show they opened at the association’s gallery today, “Shady Lanes, Sandy Roads.”

This one in particular would have fit right in at today’s opening (though I’m fairly certain it’s an inlet, not a road). We found four pieces though that I’ll share soon that we are hoping will remind us of this amazing vacation, the beach and sand, animals and architecture here on the island.

Susie MacMurray

June 30, 2011 - Leave a Response

A show is opening on Friday in England that I would give an arm to go see. It’s called Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive and it’s going to be at Towner. There are some awesome artists in the show I’ve heard about like Claire Morgan and some I have never heard about before. One in particular was amazing when I searched around – Susie MacMurray, I’m always blown away by the kind of artists out there doing things I love that I don’t know about…I know that’s naive, but it’s true!

I mean give me a break, fish hooks and wax – how cool is that!

So cool!


They are so great looking, amoebic and a little creepy. They give me the same feeling as Michelle Lougee’s work. Slight discomfort but totally interesting too.

 Close up – I wonder if she dips them or if she has clumps of wax that she balls up and puts on the ends of the spines.

Susie doesn’t just do amazing wax sculptures she also creates pieces like the one above, which is out of household gloves – 1400 of them to be exact. They are terrific.

These rubber dairy hoses turned sculptures make up her piece, Oracle. I think they’re beautiful.

Bet you can’t guess what those are! Saran wrap, in droplet shapes around cotton threads. Ridiculously neat the things she makes out of simple household items. I remember feeling similarly when I went to the Tara Donavan show long ago.

Susie is a graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University in both Sculpture and Fine Art. The above is so great. Knit cylinder with rope…it reminds me of what the Yurt will look like, only vertical.

And this? Balloons, mesh, very neat. Everything looks like it could be found underwater, growing…awesome find for today! Good luck to everyone at the show – if you live nearby, go see it!

Ingrid Stout

June 22, 2011 - Leave a Response

Writing this blog has allowed me to meet some very cool people. Sometimes I find them and in some lucky cases, they find me. That is the case of Ingrid Stout. Think that website of hers is sparse? Perhaps it’s because Ingrid is just beginning her art career – she’s about to graduate from Gray’s School of Art, which I believe is part of the Robert Gordon University in Scotland.

Ingrid wrote to me and noted that she’d been looking at my blog to help research artists as my interests seemed aligned with hers – then I visited her site, she was right! Ingrid seems to find inspiration in the sea and all the weird and wonderful shapes and images it can make – shells, barnacles you name it.

I have NO idea how she made the above sculpture but I love it. I’m honestly not even sure what it’s made out of.

She wanted these pieces to look like they could have just drifted ashore and I think she accomplished that look.

This is knit! How fabulous? So many piece of Ingrid’s I wish I could make her watch because I just don’t get it. In time I imagine her blog will detail more of her process and materials – I hope!

I love them all. Keep your eye on this girl and if you’re an artist out there and you think I’d dig your stuff please share your wonderful works with me!

Sean Boyce

June 9, 2011 - Leave a Response

Since we moved in together in the Back Bay, R and I have been exploring more and more together. Even though I’ve lived here all my life (our apartment is 5 blocks from my childhood home) and Ross has been here for a few years, it’s fun to get to go to familiar spots together. Since the weather has turned nice, one of those spots is Newbury Street where there are a few plein air painters including Sean Boyce.

Not only does Sean paint out and about in Boston, he paints Boston itself in what he calls an “arbitrary realism” style.

I love the way his pieces look – the bright colors and the sort of balanced, unbalance – when I look at them I feel a little wobbly and I like it. He also has several pieces up in local Bolocos, which I thought was the case and didn’t know for sure until I went to his website – pretty cool!

The above, Copley Square, is just around the corner from us. We were thinking that we would get one of his pieces for our apartment but they are too rich for our blood right now. Maybe someday!