Memory Landscapes: Going to Brooklyn
(Cross-posted on dreamwidth as laurieopal)

It looks like I'm writing a lot more often about my Memory Landscape project.

I posted recently about shadow photos for my Memory Landscape project. Check out the whole project here.

"These photos are images that may be part of the aesthetic of memory, where rather than have your mind go from one associative memory to another, instead it goes very briefly to a space that is not about remembering but simply about being. I’m in a place where I am considering things rather than making decisions."

For myself, I think of it as my mind going to Brooklyn. And Emma Humphries, who is working with me on the tech for this, is simply calling these images Brooklyn.

Guerrero Tree Shadowsfinal
Tree branches on Guerrero St, where I live now.


While the project has a very strong intellectual framework, I'm fundamentally thinking about it visually. Seeing extended patterns of memory images, some times partially changing, sometimes not. When Emma was talking to me about the code, she drew some it out for me in pictures (we both think in pictures in different ways). Then I realized that the html code and the hyperlinks were very much my memory visualization, and just how well suited this language is for a non-linear memoir. A non-linear memoir feels much realer to me than the usual narrative forms that we use to reframe and remake our stories in. So there seems to be a deep harmony between Emma's use of code language and the visual language of my art.

Shadows Roxburytrees final 3
Trees and sky in Roxbury in upstate New York, where I lived along time ago.

Guerrero wires Shadowsfinal
Lamp post and wires on Guerrero St.


If you look at these images and the ones in the previous blog, you can see the harmony between them. At the moment that feels very right to me, and may have ways of developing that I've just realized while writing this post.

I'm still considering the kinds of images I want for the brief state of simply being, but these will be part of the work in progress. As the new associative memory images and paths develop, I'll be posting about them.

Ocean Opal
Cross-posted on dreamwidth...I always forget to say this

I'm taking time away from working on designs for Boskone to post tonight. I have 2 brilliant Ethiopian opal pendants, one delicate and one held by large jelly fish, a gorgeous large muticolored moss agate and a lovely complex serpentine. They are all in process. Will put up some photos of them next week,

This is a stunning opal in an ocean reef setting. The stone really spoke ocean to be and it was a joy to work with. From the collection of Barbara Erickson. Pendant is sterling silver about 1.75 inches.

I love cephalopods!

Memory Landscapes: Shadow Pictures
I'm setting stones and polishing work for Boskone... staying up late.

This is about my work in progress Memory Landscapes. It's cross posted from Body Impolitic.

My current digital project is called “Memory Landscapes", a feminist visual memoir. Below is a brief description of the project. The gallery is here and a much fuller description of the project is here.

Memory is a form of time travel through your own time line. A visual memoir takes you into the artist's time line and lets you choose your paths through their lives. I started thinking about memory, and how what is remarkable is not how much we forget, but how much we remember. I realized that my memories are not linear – because ‘inside the head everything happens at once.’ (Penelope Lively) Linear narrative is a useful construct, but it's not how we actually remember.

I want to re-engage with the memories of my life, to create an autobiographical visual memoir, to express the poetics of non-linear time. Memories are filtered, by who we are now, who we were then, and what has happened in between. We view our past through layers of memories, and the past is everything that happened except this moment. It will eventually be on iPad app that creates an aesthetic of memory.

The iPad's technical possibilities allow me to create an aesthetic of memory, reflecting the way that memories in the brain are a series of contingent associations. If you tap an image within the picture, it can link to another image, voice, or text, and these links can continue on. So you can have an aesthetic of memory, associations, connections and layers. Like our memories, the associations and connections can change. I'm creating an experience modeled on the way we live in our memories.

One of the major photos with the associative memory threads is here.

These photos are images that may be part of the aesthetic of memory, where rather than have your mind go from one associative memory to another, instead it goes very briefly to a space that is not about remembering but simply about being. I'm in a place where I am considering things rather than making decisions.

These are 3 of the photos I'm considering. Now that I'm thinking about this I'm finding images as I walk around in the world.

Shadows Roxbury 3finalweb

This one is from some of the photos I took in Roxbury in upstate New York.

Pavement Shadowsfinalweb

These shadows are from a bare plum tree in front of my building.

Guerrero Church Shadows finalweb

The sky view is from the Mission in San Francisco.

I'm going to be very interested in how these resonate for people. And I expect I'll be putting up more of them as I continue to think about this.

Ecce Homo: Pictures at the Exhibition
I've been meaning to put this post about my photo on the museum poster up.  I've been carving too many waxes and lost track a bit.

I blogged before about a group of my photographs appearing in the National Museum of Art Osaka exhibition "Ecce Homo: Behold the Contemporary Human Image."

The modern expression of the human form grew increasingly varied in the 19th century with the advent of photography and the rise of painters’ attempts to capture the inner life of their models. In the 20th century, artists imbued images of people with their own sense of introspection, resulting in a variety of new developments. In this exhibition, drawn primarily from the museum collection, we present over 100 works dealing with the human image from the late 20th century by approximately 50 artists, including everyone from Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet to Yasumasa Morimura and the duo of Sun Yuan & Peng Yu.
The exhibition started January 16th (today here, but yesterday in Japan). I've been sent a picture of the poster (below). The web site features 9 pictures from the exhibition (including my photograph of Tracy Blackstone and Debbie Notkin in this poster).

Ecce Homo poster

Yuki Onodera is a Japanese-born photographer who lives and works in Paris. "She acquired the second-hand clothes at Christian Boltanski’s 1993 Paris exhibition “Dispersion”. Boltanski had created a large heap of used clothing, and visitors to the exhibition were allowed to take a bag of clothes home for the fee of ten francs. Onodera did just that, and then mounted each of the pieces of clothing, symbolic of death in Boltanski’s work, thereby symbolically restoring them to individual life and capturing them as bodiless portraits."

Portrait of Second-Hand Clothing No. 52

Portrait of Second-Hand Clothing No. 52

This sculpture by Marc Quinn is made of polymer and freeze-dried animal blood: "the co-existence of innocence and corruption in the world." Quinn has used not only conventional sculpture material, but also blood, ice and faeces; his work sometimes refers to scientific developments. Quinn's oeuvre displays a preoccupation with the mutability of the body and the dualisms that define human life—spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual. (Wickipedia)

Beauty and the Beast

Ken Kitano's image superimposes 38 photographs of Indonesian women, as part of his "Our Face" series. Kitano, who lives in Tokyo has been working on the series since 1999. The project is profoundly influenced by August Sander, who is an influence on my work as well.

38 Muslim Women Attending the Service at the End of Ramadan, Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia

Kikuji Yamashita served in the Japanese Army in China. "Memories of what he saw and did as a soldier there, including killing a Chinese prisoner, pervaded his ferocious postwar artistic vision and output." "The Tale of Akebono Village" is a famous surreal oil painting depicting a struggle between Japanese peasants and a greedy landlord.

The Tale of Akebono Village
The Tale of Akebono Village

I'll post more about the whole exhibition when I receive the catalogue and have a fuller sense of the show. What I've seen so far is really interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing all of it and reading the curators' discussions.

Hyalite and Opal Ring
I think I've written previously about the challenge of making these 2 stones work aesthetically together in a ring. It was challenging but I'm extremely pleased with the design. It would not have been challenging in a pendant but a ring is a very confined space.

As the title says stones are hyalite (white and clear stone) which is a kind of opal and an opal cabochon.

Ring is sterling about 1.5" high from the collection of Barb Moermond.

Spent most of yesterday doing the preliminary polishing on an group of pendants. Will be working on them more tomorrow. And it wax I'm carving a standing bird with a flaring muticolored pearl wing.

Opal, Collawood, and Lava and Moonstone
I'm back on LJ after a long period of working very intensely in wax. I have a group of designs finished and will be posting their photos after the folks who commissioned them receive them.

Designs include a stunning collawood with blue topaz, a lava and moonstone pendant in 14kt, and a large beautiful tear drop opal and 14kt with an especially interesting back. I always make sure that the backs of my work are also art but this one is special.

This is and opal and sterling pendant from the collection of Nancy Cobb.  Opal is more brilliant then the photo.  Opals are always hard to photograph. White near the top of the stone is a light reflection.

Woman in Shadows
(cross posted on Body Impolitic)

I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend (who does not want to be identified) and I was watching her as we talked. I was fascinated by the aesthetic of the intricate way the shadows played through the window and on her face and clothing.

I told her about it, but obviously she couldn't see it. I realized that, of course, I could take an iphone photo and show it to her. So I took a black and white photo of her and her surroundings. I'm not the kind of photographer who carries her camera with her looking for opportunities. My work has always been planned in some way. The landscape work I've done has always been on specific photography trips.

When I got home and looked at the image again I saw that there was potentially good art there and I did the appropriate work to make that happen. The work was relatively simple and made some subtle changes in the background but neither the woman nor the shadows were touched. There is an authenticity that is always important to me.

It's the first fine art portrait I've done in a long time.

woman in shadows1
woman n shadowsclose"

Interestingly the more expansive version my preference in the photographic print. But on the web I prefer the closer portrait. The shadow details work better on the web in the closer image. In the photograph they work beautifully in the larger image. The medium matters.

Spike Tailed Art Nouveau Woman and Gargoyles
(cross-posted on dreamwidth)

I was delighted to get a commission from Rebecca Burgess to do a gargolye setting in 14kt gold for this faux wedgewood. The cabuchon is a vintage art nouveau piece of a spiked tailed, graceful nymph in bas relief.

I spent a lot of time looking at images from Hieronymus Bosch paintings like this. You'll notice that one of my gargoyle heads is very closely related to one in the painting.

And I looked at a lot of images of gargoyles especially like some of the ones from Notre Dame. I spent a lot of time looking at them when I was in Paris.

The design went through several versions and required both research work and a great deal of fine detail carving.  I had the faux wedgwood for years and to have the perfect way to set it with gargoyles made me very happy.

Ecce Homo: Behold the Contemporary Human Image
My photography is having a very good year.

I was contacted recently and told that that four of my photographs will be in the exhibition "Ecce Homo" at the National Museum of Art in Osaka. That's the museum that had my solo show "Meditations on the Body" a while ago. The concept of the exhibition is fascinating and I'll be excited to see the catalogue to see how it's expressed.

My photo of Debbie Notkin and Tracy Blackstone is being featured in the publicity material of the show. They are going to send me the materials with my images, so I'll be able to see them myself.


Tracy Blackstone and Debbie Notkin

The show opens on January 16th and since I'll be sent a catalogue I'll really have a sense of the show. I'll be writing more about the exhibition and my photos in relationship to the show as a whole as it comes closer.

From the museum materials:

The modern expression of the human form grew increasingly varied in the 19th century with the advent of photography and the rise of painters’ attempts to capture the inner life of their models. In the 20th century, artists imbued images of people with their own sense of introspection, resulting in a variety of new developments. In this exhibition, drawn primarily from the museum collection, we present over 100 works dealing with the human image from the late 20th century by approximately 50 artists, including everyone from Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet to Yasumasa Morimura and the duo of Sun Yuan & Peng Yu.


nude from Women En Large
Debbie Notkin

...The Latin term ecce homo means “behold the man.” Derived from a scene in the New Testament, the words are directed at Jesus Christ, who is being tried for a crime. He is clad in a purple robe and a crown of thorns. After being whipped and covered with blood, his fate is in the hands of the ignorant masses. Concerned with Jesus’ ordeal (ultimately he is crucified), ecce homo scenes have frequently been depicted in art.

Depictions of human beings which contain not only a religious but also a moral lesson indicate an ideal human state. Such portrayals, including but not limited to ecce homo, have been repeated through the history of Western art. Or to be more precise, the awareness of how to depict human beings and capture their essence has been a central theme in art of every age and country. But today, after two world wars, there are virtually no human depictions that are directly linked to a moral message. At a time when so much uncertainty exists in regard to the ideal human form, contemporary artists are instead faced with the task of reexamining the fundamental human condition.


Tracy Blackstone

The human image in contemporary art has arisen out of confrontations with a variety of social contradictions and irrational situations. In this exhibition, drawing primarily on the museum’s holdings and a number of masterpieces from other domestic collections, we trace developments in the depiction of human beings since World War II. Sometimes focusing on corpses and crime, other times on torn skin and the inner organs that are concealed underneath, and still other times on obscure apparitions without definite contours, contemporary human images do not permit easy empathy. Contemporary artists stop short of drawing morals and by simply apprehending an image (nothing more, nothing less), they embark on an inquiry into human existence. Behold the contemporary human image.

1. The Tragedy of Everyday Life
Depicting human beings in art became a serious problem in the wake of World War II. Our knowledge of war crimes and genocide made it necessary to search for new human images, including those related to crime, death, and other difficult realities. What does it mean when human beings are no longer able to return to concepts like reason, sympathy, and benevolence? In the first section, we search for possibilities in human depictions, which portray evil and death in a completely unaffected manner and avoid moralistic instruction.

2. The Reality of the Flesh
In the late 20th century, as the distinction between truth and fiction grew increasingly ambiguous, the notion of a self existing in the here and now lost all sense of reality. Perhaps one was not really connected to this world at all. A variety of approaches were taken to erase this anxiety and regain the reality of the flesh. In this section, we focus on artistic expressions that explore identity as a means of removing obstacles and confronting the empty self as it is. We also present works that deal with the subject of the skin, which gives form to the self, and the inner organs and body fluids that are concealed within it.

3. Portraits of Absence
In the contemporary era, it is difficult to grasp humans who attempt to depict (subjects), and those who are depicted (objects). In the late 20th century, many doubts arose regarding the relationship between subject and object. It was also an era in which many attempts were made to transcend such doubts. This took the form of presenting unfinished or fragmentary images, and encouraging the viewer to imagine a potential or ideal human form. In the final section, we introduce human depictions that function as a portent of a future beyond subject and object.


Baker Beach
Debbie Notkin, April Miller, Carol S, Queen T'hisha, Robyn Brooks

The museum exhibition has a lot of concepts that resonate for me and with the original inspirations for Women En Large. I'll wait for the catalogue to see the other photographs they're showing, so that I have a better idea of the exhibition and what it is about. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say.

Back From World Fantasy and a Visit to a Long Ago Home
I'm back from World Fantasy and various travels. I went out to dinner with friends I rarely see, have some fascinating commissions including one in a new dark bronze I've just started working with recently. I came home to a Body Opression Workshop with photographs that I did with Deb in Sonoma. I've had some recovery and caught up on the necessary post show paper work etc, etc. and am finishing up the post show metal work. Then I'll be happily back at work carving waxes.

After World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, I was close enough to visit to a small town in the extremely beautiful upper Catskills in upstate New York. I lived there a long time ago, for over a year that included two freezing winters, a beautiful summer and a stunning fall. I traveled through there on a dark and intermittently rainy day that felt perfect for photographs.

This was the stream behind the school that was across the street. When I lived there it was filled with trout

But in spite of the fact the fall colors are remarkable, the most beautiful time for me was winter. You could clearly see the shapes of the mountains, covered with the light purple haze of the bare trees.
rox-dark trees5"_0593

Trees and shadows of mountains behind the town.

It was mostly past peak fall color when I was there and I had clear views of the mountains.


A few maples still had strong color.

Roxbury is a two street town with some farm land in a very narrow valley surrounded by mountain tops. I saw my old house, somewhat the worse for wear. The school across the street that my daughter attended was the same except of an extension and the laundromat is now a library. It was (for a Californian) surprisingly unchanged.

The mountains are full of creeks and streams. Coming from the California drought it seems almost miraculous.

Seeing Roxbury and the mountains for the first time in 40 years, with my vivid memories confirmed, was a joy.


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