Thursday, 27 February 2014

Preparing for the "Optimaler Schnitt" Exhibition

Soon after completing my masters and moving back to Leipzig, Germany , I was fortunate to stumble across an amazing event one evening in the summer of 2001.  It was a GallerieRieRiemann 24-Hour-Exhibition titled "Sieben" (Seven) due to it being the seventh event.  Artists were invited to exhibit artwork that explored the topic "Sieben."  There were so many people and different types of art.  A collection of video projections, paintings, installations, films, and performances were on display in and around an empty building, that was formally a printing company, from 0:00 to 23:59.  I was so excited that I could not wait to find out if there would be another one and how I could take part.

Last Sunday I attended the introductory meeting of the  16th edition of the 24-Hour-Exhibition.  I was so excited to hear there was another one planned because the last one was 4 years ago and I was not able to take part.  While at the meeting, which was actually sort of a pot luck breakfast that went from noon to evening, I was asked by one of the organizers how many times I participated in the exhibitions.  I was surprised to recall that I was actually in 6 of the 8 that I could have possibly signed up for.

The title of the next exhibition is "Optimaler Schnitt" (Optimal Cut).  I must propose my idea for work to exhibit.  It should be new work that goes along with the titling theme.  I have had several discussions with my students in gr.11, my family, and friends about how I could interpret this theme.  It is amazing how some things just come together.  I immediately felt that the current transition of art teacher to artist-teacher and establishing myself as an artist was metaphor that truly expressed the theme.  This blog and the series of posts since October seemed to be screaming "Optimaler Schnitt!"  Therefore this 24 hour exhibition should become the first exhibition of new work produced under this new mindset.  It will be the first exhibition since attending the Artist-Teacher Workshop in Pisa.  It has given me a deadline.  April 12th at 0:00 a collection of work needs to be completed and on display!

The  "Optimaler Schnitt" seems to be a break or a change in the flow of a normal event; where a surprise or something unexpected takes place.  The paintings that I am planning are of frozen moments where the viewer is visually invited to become part of the scene or situation.

I am trying to set the elements in the paintings' compositions in a series of three.  The paintings should have one main narrative but three possible separate parts.  Each part represents a different perspective in the events taking place.  Some paintings will allow the viewer to experience the third point of perspective, encouraging the viewer to then become an integral part of the narrative and forced to not only view a set of optimal cuts, but be forced to contemplate their own.

All five canvases have a maximum length of 160 cm.
All five are stretched with canvas and primed with gesso.

Here two of the five with similar colours have been completed with the first coat of oil paint.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Joining Art Classes

One day a month ago, I decided to check out if there were any evening art classes that I could join.  I was really not wanting to be taught something but to have the opportunity to attend a class where I could just create, with a group, at a set time.  It seemed to be a good idea to schedule some time where I would make art.  I am finding it difficult to start making art on a regular basis.  Although I have produced more work in the past few months than I have over the past few years, I will not get a serious body of work without dedicating more time on a steady basis.  So I searched for print making classes, drawing circles, and nude model sessions.

Leipzig has several options that sounded interesting.  Two of my grade 12 students were interested in working from a model and so we tried an hour and a half drawing circle at the Kreative-Spinner in Halle 14 at the Leipziger Spinnerei.  We had a good time and made drawings of each other with coloured pencils.  Although we had expected to have a model, we enjoyed the session.

During the following two weeks a student and I tried a two hour figure drawing class at MÜHLSTRASSE 14 e.V..  It was great!  It was the first time drawing a nude model for my student.  I told her of my experience having a nude model at a summer arts camp when I was 14 years old.  I had not drawn from a model since being in graduate school 15 years ago.  It was such a fun challenge.  I am really looking forward to next weeks' session.

Attending these two sessions just happened to precede the drawing trip we had planned before Christmas.  We took the three grade 7 classes to Leipzig's natural history museum.  My colleague and I took the students to do drawings of the stuffed wildlife.  It was so nice to sit among the seventh graders and sketch the images of different animal types.  The task of recording form, pattern, and texture was so rewarding and having the drawings to use as demonstrations for the students worked really well.  It was a very relaxing hour with the students and a good time to get some practice in myself.