Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sublime Environment: Materials and Applications workshop led by Judy Chicago


Housed in a newly constructed shopping center, Judy Chicago's 1968 collaborative installation, Disappearing Environments, consisted of 9 dry ice ziggurats and red road flares. Chicago's goals were "anti-monumentality, anti-consumerism, to transform and soften the environment." Each ziggurat contained 91 blocks of dry ice, weighing roughly 60 pounds each. That is nearly 25 tons of dry ice. Sublime Environment will be a reinterpretation of Disappearing Environments.

Volunteers met last Saturday for a meet and greet at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hanger. Judy Chicago and her husband, Donald Woodman, along with Materials and Applications' directors Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess, introduced us to the project. Ethereal projected images captivated our attention, but the real magic happened when Woodman pulled out a block of dry ice and began to experiment. 

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Sublimation occurs when material transforms from a solid to gas, or vice versus, without becoming liquid. The process is sublime.

Clad in coats and gloves, we stepped out to the parking lot to play with blocks of dry ice, modifying their precise cube forms with tools, testing construction hypothesis and baring the weight of moving these forms. The foggy air caused thick gas to roll off the blocks, blurring the precise edges, transforming the light of the red road flares to a soft pink.

Each team will get 91 blocks of dry ice and 36 road flares. Concept, design and approach will be finalized during December's meeting.


Sublime Environment will take place on January 19, 2012, as part of Pacific Standard Time's Public Art and Performance Festival.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

smART Day

The CSUN Art Department in collaboration with the California Art Education Association (Southern) held smART Day on Saturday, October 15. The morning began with a keynote address by Theresa Sotto, the education specialist at the Getty museum, followed by art workshops for art educators.

My workshop covered relief printmaking approaches for all ages, with assistance by CSUN undergraduate student Miles.

Set up for printing foam relief print and cardboard relief print.

Printing materials and tools, including non-toxic inks for K-12 students.

Discussing linoleum and woodcut approaches, including color registration. Photograph by Miles.

Foam relief print, with the foam blocks pictured below and resulting prints above. Tools are used to press down on insulation foam, creating lowered and raised surfaces. The color block was inked with a brayer and brush, and stencils were applied before printing to create the white circle spaces. The prints were created using non-toxic ink on bond paper, printed with a wooden spoon.

Cardboard relief print, with the cardboard block pictured above and resulting prints below. Layers of mat board are peeled away to create raised and lowered surfaces. Blades are used to create hard-edge shapes. The middle left image is the block inked fully, the middle right image is the ghost impression, the bottom image is the ghost impression for the sky and fully inked block for the ground.

Collagraph relief print, with the Sintra collagraph block to the left and resulting print to the right. Woodcut tools were used for the white line, and paper, fabric and tape were collaged on with gloss medium to create a variety of textural marks.
Workshop participants creating relief prints. Photograph by Miles.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wave Hill: Hive Culture

Check out Wave Hill's Hive Culture website to see the artists in the exhibition and read a little about their work. Artists include Jennifer Angus, Anonda Bell, Deborah Davidovits, Anda Dubinskis, Cara Enteles, Rose-Lynn Fisher, Sally Gall, Hope Ginsburg, Talia Greene, Judi HarvestRob Keller, Andrea Lilienthal, Holly Lynton, Lenore Malen, Julia Oldham, Michelle Rozic, Jeanne Silverthorne and Draga Šušanj. The website has links to artist pages as well as a download of the exhibition catalogue.
Image of the Hive Culture website.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Be Still My Heart

Xenia Fedorchenko organized Be Still My Heart!, a themed portfolio for the 2011 SGC International conference.

Early this year thousands of blackbirds fell from the sky in Arkansas, with lightening the suspected cause. In For the Birds, blackbirds perch on heart rot and feed on damselflies, with a canary looking on.

Below are process photos showing how the print was made.

For the Birds, 2011

Studio set-up for working on soft ground drawing. The t-square acts as a bridge over the sensitive soft ground plate.

Complete soft ground drawing on tracing paper. The wood strips to the left and bottom act as registration and support for the bottom corner of the plate, while the mat board squares at the top keep the plate from shifting to the right.

Soft ground drawing in progress, with soft ground removed from the plate to expose the copper, transferred to the back of the tracing paper.

Detail of the complete soft ground drawing on the copper plate.

Soft ground state proof.

White ground painting.

White ground state proof.

To add more contrast, stiff litho ink is relief rolled onto the plate to stop out the light values for additional etching.

Several passes of litho ink add enough resist. The ink is allowed to dry overnight, with several areas stopped out before etching.