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Sharing a few photos from the opening of the exhibit at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell New Jersey. Such a great night and turnout. My thanks to all who were able to stop by. The show is up through October 16.

Deborah Barlow
Ayami Aoyama
Morpeth Contemporary
43 West Broad Street
Hopewell New Jersey
609 333 9393

For more about the exhibit:
Morpeth Contemporary

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Thanks to David Wilcox for photos of the opening.

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Carl Belz

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Carl Belz, 1937-2016 (Photo: Darryl Hughto)

So many artists have warm and heartening stories to share about Carl Belz. He was, after all, a larger than life figure in the Boston area. Some studied or worked with him at Brandeis University when he was the director of the Rose Museum. Others were championed by him in that solid, authentic way that he wrote about art he respected, art that he loved to look at and live with.

My friendship with Carl began in 2010. We struck up a writing exchange and discovered a slew of common interests. I have hundreds and hundreds of pages of our explorations in the visual arts, art criticism, contemporary culture, music, sports, our families. During that time we did a book proposal project and worked on getting all of his art writing digitized and catalogued. There were the intermittent visits to his aerie in New Hampshire, but our connection was primarily through written words.

He was an artist’s kind of writer, someone whose sensibilities were so tuned in to the interior experience of art making. He could listen rather than pronounce, soften into a work rather than bristle against it. I could always count on him to find the very words my artist sensibilities would have liked to have found but so often fell short of finding. He spoke eloquently for so many of us who were unwilling to give sway to the drift towards art that was cool, detached and ironic. His passing this week has left me bereft. There will never be a replacement for this man.

Paintings I really like I think about living with, like the paintings of Ronnie Landfield and Sandi Slone and Darryl Hughto. The worlds they take me to are generous and accommodating, pleasured by art that is meaningful in and of itself, art that is justified simply by being, like nature. I like to think there’s room in my own lived world—even in the lived world at large—for that kind of experience. I share Matisse’s dream of “an art filled with balance, purity and calmness…a spiritual remedy…for the businessman as well as the artist”—even though I’m no businessman or artist myself.

Carl Belz

To read my previous posts about Carl:
The Carl Belz Archive on Slow Muse

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Shattuckcard

The opening reception for the show at Dedee Shattuck Gallery is two weeks from today. I hope you will stop by if you are anywhere nearby—Fall River, New Bedford, the Cape, Providence, Newport—over Labor Day weekend.

Details:

DEBORAH BARLOW
YIZHAK ELYASHIV

AUGUST 31 – SEPTEMBER 25

Reception: Saturday, September 3, 5 – 7pm

DEDEE SHATTUCK GALLERY
1 Partners Lane, Westport MA 02790
Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12 – 5pm
dedeeshattuckgallery.com | 508-636-4177

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Remaya2
Remaya 2, mixed media on wood panel, 36 x 36″

A year ago I had a conversation with Jerry Beck, good friend and founder of the well known Revolving Museum (in Jerry’s nomenclature, a “nomadic nonprofit cultural organization”). We shared an interest in exploring the linkages between art and science, and we agreed that New England is a rich environment for that kind of dialogue. A new exhibit, In Water, is the result of that conversation.

We chose a ubiquitous topic since every day we each have a personal encounter with water. And while it is fundamental to life, it also possesses a high capacity to transform–it can flow, freeze, vaporize, dropletize, bubble, flood, evaporate, absorb, eviscerate. Its many variations and forms inspire expression.

This exhibit includes works that are diverse in form and intention, from the abstract to the political and ecological. Many of the artists are good friends of mine, so assembling this show has been particularly satisfying. The artists include Kay Canavino, Rachael Eastman, Barbara Gagel, Susan Quateman, George Wingate and myself.

In Water is the first of a series that will be part of the Revolving Museum’s Art and Science Partnership. Working with the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry and Beyond Benign, an advocacy organization for green chemistry education, we hope to explore themes that speak to both aesthetic and scientific touch points.

I hope you will have a chance to stop by.

Show details:
June 25 – October 25, 2016
Artist Reception: Saturday, June 25, 2-5PM
Warner Babcock Institute and Beyond Benign
100 Research Drive
Wilmington MA 01887

Beyond Benign Gallery hours:
Thursdays, 1-4pm
By appointment at 978.229.5400

For more information:

In Water exhibit

Warner Babcock Institute

Beyond Benign

The Revolving Museum

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Italy last year, in the company of experts (who are now new parents as well)

I am out of range for several weeks. I will be back to musing, both fast and slow, on June 1.

For updates in the interim:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

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Hindu temple in Matale, Sri Lanka

These last few weeks were spent in Oman, UAE and Sri Lanka. The ancient traditions—Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist—are deep and leave me feeling humbly outside a true understanding of these profound songlines. The eyes take it in, but they are just the first step in truly seeing.

Here are just a few images from this most recent journey.

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Buddha in the caves at Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Gal Vihara Buddha, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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Sita Eliya Temple, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. According to legend, this temple marks the spot where Sita (from the Ramayana) was held captive by her abductor, King Ravana. Some claim this is the only Sita temple in the world.

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Cave sanctuary at Dambulla

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Wall paintings, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Reclining Buddha, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Buddha’s feet, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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Botantically-inspired columns, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

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Monks at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

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Ancient hilltop settlement, Oman

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Smuggler’s Cove, Oman

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On Break

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Votive candles along a roadside, India

Some seasons are more afoot than others, and this is one of those. I’m in Asia again, returning on February 22.

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Rudeau, 24 x 24″, from a recent painting series

Compendium, now on view at the Islip Art Museum (running through December 27), explores the interchangeable qualities of both art and science. Curators Lorrie Fredette and Beth Giacummo included this quote by Albert Einstein in their show commentary:

The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.

That quote, so provocative to me personally, has also been a way to stay centered during a time when grief and loss are ambient everywhere. It is also a useful mantra to carry along over the next few weeks while I am traveling in Asia and Africa.

I will return to Slow Muse in mid-December.

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Thank you to everyone who joined in at the opening reception of my show, “The Light Within”, at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery last Thursday, September 17. The paintings were beautifully echoed in the ceramic work by Amani Ansari. It was a great night.

Special thanks to the amazing BWG team—Martine Bisagni, Amani Ansari and Iviva Olenick, and a host of gifted musicians—Michael Irwin and his trio, plus the dulcet tonalities of Graham Haynes. In the company of celebrants and friends, I had an unforgettable evening.

I will be at the gallery for two more events. Please stop by if you are in town.

Saturday, September 26
“Meet and greet”
Noon to 5pm

Sunday, October 11
Closing celebration
Noon to 6pm

Brooklyn Workshop Gallery
393 Hoyt Street
(Carroll Gardens)
Brooklyn NY
(F/G to Carroll Street)

Gallery hours:
Fridays, 1-8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 12-7pm
Tuesday through Thursday, by appointment
718.797.9428

A selection of photos by friends Iviva Olenick, Paula Overbay, Amber Gaia and Arthur Steuer:

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With Amani Ansari (right) and Iviva Olenick (left)

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Martine Bisagni

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Garden jazz with Michael Irwin and friends

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Love those Indian sweets!

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One corner in my new show, “The Light Within”, at Brooklyn Workshop Gallery (September 5 – October 11.) The combination of metallic surfaces on the series to the right (“Silma 1-4”) and the chalky intensity of “Kannakam” on the gorgeously textured wall on the left pleases my eye.

How to talk about the visual without short shrifting its power has been a question I have danced in and around for most of my life as an artist. Certainly that theme has played out in these nine years’ worth of posts on Slow Muse. How to successfully language the visual remains an ongoing mystery and challenge. I don’t know if I am any better at verbalizing a useful construct for my work than I was when I began so many years ago. I may just be better at bobbing and weaving.

Having been part of a large community of artists on Facebook for many years now, I have encountered artists who are in fact much better at this than I am. Read Altoon Sultan‘s posts about her own work and the work of others on her blog, Studio and Garden, and you will find a clear, informed but non-authoritarian voice.

I’m more in the mist than Altoon (although she is good at mist as well.) I get engaged and enchanted—perhaps too much so—by what can’t quite be described or what is just beyond my language skill set. But I have come to know that being in that unknown zone feels comfortable to me since that is a state of mind I am in when I am in the studio every day. The direction my work is taking, the way a piece comes to completion—every day is full of 90 degree turns and surprise appearances. The basket is found by my door, day after day, laden with alimentation.

Friend and artist Miriam Louisa Simons reposted a piece about Vija Celmins that provoked me to dig back into the Slow Muse archive for some related material.

Here’s one, featuring the ever engaging Dave Hickey:

Between Artists: Twelve Contemporary Artists, Interview Twelve Contemporary Artists is a simple idea but so valuable. Reading the conversations between artists (who are, in most cases, already good friends) is a bit like listening to really good mechanics talk shop with other really good mechanics—a lot of under the hood chatter, sharing quick tips and an undefended discussion of the practical as well as the intuitive.

A few lines from the introduction, written by the inveterate trickster king Dave Hickey:

“The speakers in these interviews are saddled with the tragi-comic injunction to talk about that which they cannot: their art—to discuss that practice, which, were it explicable, they should not be pursuing, to explain those objects which, had they known what they were making, they almost certainly should not have made. Thus, Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between the hedgehog and the fox is applicable here. “The fox knows many little things,” Berlin explains, “the hedgehog knows one big thing,” and artists, as artists, are almost always hedgehogs. They know one big thing, the thing that drives the engine, that perpetually eludes articulation. So what we have here, between these covers, is the conversation of hedgehogs playing at being foxes. We do not get that one big thing, nor could we expect it. But we do get the atmosphere, the filigree of little things, of accident and incident, of nuance and desire, that surrounds the enormous absence that the work of art must, necessarily, fill in our lived experience.”

And this memorable quote, from Vija Celmins in conversation with Ken Price:

I remember Brancusi said, “Art should be like a well planned crime.” Which is to say that you don’t discuss it before, and you don’t talk much about it afterwards either.

Literary variations of this theme also exist. Currently under the spell of the exquisite Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (pen name for someone who wants a life rather than the fishbowl self consciousness of celebritism), I loved encountering this line in James Wood‘s New Yorker article about the books and their mysterious author:

Ferrante holds that “books, once they are written, have no need of their authors.”

In the end, the painting does stand alone.

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