Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beholding the Ephemeral, An Exhibition

Well, it's high time I got back to you all with a report and some photos of the exhibition that Johntimothy and I have up in the John A. Day Gallery at the University of South Dakota here in Vermillion! We've both been hard at work on the show since January, each with our own daily practice of making new pieces for the exhibition and also collaborating on new possibilities for shared works. It was an intense several months, but we are both very happy with how it all came together in the end. It is very satisfying to say that the exhibition installation ended up looking just how we envisioned it! First the photos, then I'll share a bit about the intent of the exhibition and the work itself.

The top photo shows my daily drawings, made from January 1st through April 30th, hung by the month, calendar style. That image shows the drawings made from February through April....those are big walls! The two parallel lines of works seen in the distance on some of the other photos are Johntimothy's prints, engraved and printed each day from January 1st through most of March, I think. In the center of the gallery, we used the moveable walls to create an intimate interior space that represents our studio space at home, where the inspiration and the work of making takes place. We have transported tables, shelves, pinboards and various other items from the studio to this mock studio space that forms the heart of the exhibition. On the outside of the moveable walls are hung a series of 14 collaborative mixed media works....all a combination of screenprinting and drawing. 

Below are two truly ephemeral pieces...made with pastel directly on the wall on a square and a circle of chalkboard paint. Johntimothy's piece is on the left and mine is on the right. Tomorrow, part way through the exhibition we will alter the pieces....I'll work on his and he will work on mine and they will slowly morph, perhaps disappearing entirely by the end. Of course, after the show is over they really will disappear as we return the wall the white. 

I just realized that maybe the way to tell you about the ideas that went into creating the exhibition is through the artist statements themselves that were hung on the wall. I'll start with mine, then the statement about the collaborative works, the mock studio set-up and then Johntimothy's statement to round things out. Probably isn't a better way to sum it all up....

Patti Roberts-Pizzuto

On the daily drawings from January through April
As a life-long maker of art, I have come to view my work in the studio as a spiritual practice. I find that my creative process through drawing, painting or sewing, is one that allows me to distill my experiences, coming to a richer understanding of what it means to move through life in connection and conversation with a larger whole.

We all live out our busy lives in a particular span of time, following our ancestors and paving the way for future generations. Our days are fleeting, the years passing quickly by as we immerse ourselves in life unfolding moment by moment. In the overflowing fullness of life, so much is lost….we forget over time and we lament that which escapes our grasp.

I am haunted by time, its current inescapable, carrying me far too swiftly down the river. This, in part, is what calls me to be a maker. The creative practice provides a way to slow down the current, to leave a trace, a marker of the moment and a record of the day, which is captured ever so briefly in the process of making.

I began the drawings in the exhibition, one each day, on the 1st of January and ended with the last day of April. The idea was not too make “Art”, but to let whatever artfulness was possible, emerge from the discipline of a daily practice. The drawings are entirely intuitive, and were made in the space of time carved out for their creation each day. I fought the urge to belabor them, as the goal was to be present in the moment and not to have them become precious. Hanging the drawings in a calendar format provides a visual reminder of their origin in a meditative daily practice. One drawing leads to the next….the unfolding of time, an accumulation of days.


COLLABORATIONS—Johntimothy and Patti

Conversations no. 1-14
We collaborated on the body of mixed media works hung on the interior walls of the exhibition. While this is not our first collaborative experience, it may be the most rewarding. This conversation was carried on between the layers of overlapping screen print patterns that Johntimothy created and responses made through ink and pencil by Patti. The pieces evoke a kind of yearning, as if memories had been rekindled or lost moments recovered from the abyss. The pieces represent a kind of call and response based on our shared explorations of time, memory, the lost and found.

Objects from The Studio
The studio itself forms the core or center of the exhibition, as well as the heart of our ongoing collaborative spirit. This is a reflection of our home studio, where the reflections and conversation take place, as we share ideas, feedback and inspiration.  In our studios, we surround ourselves with the objects and ephemera that hold meaning….they become the keepers of memory and silent partners in the collaborations that unfold. Our home studio is a source of sanctuary for us, as well as a place of discovery….what you see in the exhibition is a small sampling brought out into the world to be shared with results of our daily practice and our ongoing conversations.

ARTIST STATEMENT -- Beholding the Ephemeral 
Johntimothy Pizzuto

“Contemplation on Logic and Intuition” consists of 62, 4” circular and 62, 4” square intaglio prints. This series represents two ways of creating prints in order to explore my understanding of western and eastern modes of making art. The square reflects the “western” rational way of being and the circle reflects the “eastern” intuitive path, also described as wabi-sabi.

Dürer’s “Melancholia”, references a western perspective of the artist’s struggle for enlightenment and level of attainment, a logical approach. The circle embraces the Japanese wabi-sabi aspect of encompassing the random and unusual, and hence a more directly abstract type of imagery. Beginning with a blank set of copper plates, one square and one circle, and engraving into both each day, the objective was to work each image toward total black and then deconstruct each plate and image back to a blank state or white. Thus, the viewer has a glimpse into the process of building, destroying and reconstructing an image over the course of time. Questions and reflections during the course of work focused on how not to make art at the same time as making art. How to let go of preconceived notions of what defines and makes a print a work of art, while maintaining a clear focus on solid craft. The square plate obviously started with a composed image, while the circular plate was built upon chance.

The ephemeral nature of the work was addressed through the process of engraving into the plates each day, focusing on the changes being made and the practice of letting go of the preciousness of the image or marks on any particular day. Engraving and mezzotint were chosen for their qualities of deliberate mark making which requires the artist to slow down to really observe and listen. During the time it took to create this work, I had to remind myself that it was an exercise in discovery on many levels. It was an exploration into the two ways of working, a western/rational and an eastern/ intuitive path, while simultaneously holding these two very seemingly disparate ways of creating art in equal measure.

We are grateful to Alison Erazmus, the amazing Gallery Director at USD, for the opportunity to have such an exhibition, as well as for her encouragement along with way! We had a wonderful reception and are happy so many folks attended, even though the semester was over. At this point, we are still working on new collaborative works and I will share those with you, once we have some photos of the pieces. We are both excited about the direction these new works are taking us and look forward to the possibilities. 

In the meantime, I will be listing individual daily drawings from January and February (I started out during the first two months of the year making 2 drawings a day...a square and a circle, but only showed one set for each month) in my Etsy shop. I'll start photographing this week and will let you know when I begin listing them!

Well, this is a rather long post....thanks for hanging in there, if you've gotten to this point. I have other exciting news to share, but I'll save that for a few days from now when I'll be back to tell you about a new path I am taking!

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