Saturday, September 18, 2010

Solo Exhibition @ VaC

My new show

"Works of Fiction"

Visual Arts Collective,
3638 Osage St., Garden City, Idaho
Regular gallery hours are:
noon - 6pm
Wednesday through Saturday

The show has been extended through January 28th

Please Join Me Friday Dec. 3rd at 7pm
to celebrate (again) this new body of work!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Works of Fiction" Artist Statement

This body of work which incorporates the photographic image along with various sculptural and recycled materials to create 3-dimensional tableaus is a response to the notion that everything an artist creates is somehow born out of some deep dark life experience. I've heard it said and I've said myself that all artwork is in some way a "self-portrait". I spent many years operating from this premise, telling my own story, working through the timeline of my life from adolescent angst, through the trauma of being female, to my new experience of adolescent angst in my own children. My artistic production laid bare the story of my life...and then I was tired of me. But I had learned some things along the way, about myself, about art, about materials and process, but most significant are the things I learned about storytelling. A well-told story can be very seductive, it can evoke excitement, sadness, or even absolute repulsion whether it's a memoir or complete fiction. I also learned that I have a capacity for storytelling. It's amazing the world of possibility that opened up for me once I realized that I could tell any story it didn't have to be my own. When I discovered that I could create "Works of Fiction".

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Artist Interview

Does this happen to you? You get an e-mail from a friend / acquaintance / complete stranger, that says, "I'm doing a paper / article / research project, would you be willing to answer a few questions?" It happens to me...not a lot, but often enough, a couple times a year maybe. And generally this is how I respond..."oh fuck, now I have to do a homework assignment and I'm not even in a class!" (Yes, that really is how my brain works and very often the first thing I say)...Well that happened again and after I said "Oh Fuck!" I thought this time I'm going to write it once and for all and then anytime somebody is doing a paper / article / research project I can just send them to this entry on the blog and my part is done. Good idea, right?!?!

So here is the latest list of questions: (from a friend)

What is your educational background?

How long have you been using this material?

Can you tell me more about this medium? And why you are using this?

What was the biggest learning curve working with this material?

Do you have ideas for what medium you might try next?

What artist inspires you and or your work?

And here are some other questions I've been asked...or maybe these are the questions I would ask if I were interviewing me:

How long have you been an artist?

Why did you choose to be an artist?

Are you a full-time artist?

What other materials have you worked with?

If you were to do something else, what would it be?

I guess that's it, I'm sure I've been asked other questions over the years but I can't think of them now...and really these are the important ones.

I'm going to start with my questions in case you have a short attention span... ;o)

How long...well truth be told I was probably born with it. My favorite toys were the wood blocks, lincoln logs and legos. I was very serious about my legos this was before they came with a map to tell you what to make, none of that...back in my day (hehehe) we had to use our imagination. I also built interesting things for my Barbies. A butcher shop store front complete with hanging meat, all made out of aluminum foil, wheel chairs made out of paper plates for their recovery after the car wreck, etc...But I didn't put a name to this disorder until I went to college. I started as a psychology major (and some days I wonder "what if?" I might be a doctor right now), then I took that first photography class...during one particular critique the instructor said about my work "This is a photographer's photograph." That was it, hook, line and ego jumped up and said yep that was me, I did that, look what I did!!! I went and changed my major...I think that was 1984.

Why did I choose this...if you read the last paragraph you know that I didn't choose it I was born with it. It's kind of like being gay; it's not something you's something that you just can't not do.

Full-time...If by "full-time" you mean do I pay all my bills from selling art, no. I have had moments of that; I think there was about a year when I had no other job. Right now I have two other jobs. If by "full-time" you mean does it take over every waking moment of my life, then the answer is yes. I'm a maker it plays out in everything I do...I can't help it.

Other materials...I was a photographer, an industrial sewer, a steel sculptor, a visual merchandiser, a house painter, I've insulated, drywalled, caulked, I've framed rooms (and some pictures), I've built fences and a deck and a waterfall and terraced flowerbeds and furniture, I've carved stone and wood and plastic, I've cast paper, bronze, aluminum, resin and jello ;o). Right now I believe that given the right tools and some instruction (or not) I could just about make anything out of anything...and if you ask my wife she would tell you that too (I'm pretty sure I have her convinced).

What else...I've often thought that if I had picked a vocation that actually had a paycheck with it I would have become a structural engineer or something like that. My brain works that way, figuring out the structure of a thing or the way things are put together are my favorite parts of the making process.

OK now for the official questions:

Education...I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in photography. I attended the University of Nevada Reno, University of Montana and graduated from Boise State University. I have a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in sculpture from Boise State. And I have years and years of self-taught, hard-way, wouldn't ask for help if my life depended on it, mistakes and failure...there is just no better education than that.

Current material...polyurethane resin...hmmm...I know that it's plastic ;o) I know that now after five years of working with it, it will most of the time do what I tell it to and I think I've seen most of the possibilities of what it does when it's not obeying. I have used it in almost all the ways that the manufacturer recommended against...I think?! Really the hardest thing about working with it, besides having to be a freak about dust, is that it is unpredictable. But then again sometimes that's good because I have made some pretty cool discoveries. It has also done some things that I just can't get it to repeat.

What next...well I'm not finished with what I'm doing now so I'm not moving on any time soon, but I have thought that next I might get on the "green" bandwagon and start making art out of garbage...??? I might even be able to fool you into believing that it's not garbage?!

What artist...Well I have a list: Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Tim Hawkinson, Robert Gober, Doris Salcedo, Tara Donovan, Anselm Kiefer, Robert name just a few. But those names don't really cover the things that inspire me. I'm also inspired by numerous other artists whose names I don't remember or never knew in the first place. I'm inspired by cracks in the sidewalk, broken things, decay of any sort and things that have been taken over by nature; I'm also inspired by objects that have been really well designed and really smart song writing. Or like I tell my students, "Everything you see, everything you hear, everything you read and everything you experience."

OK there you have it "The Artist Interview" does that about cover it? Sorry it got so long but now my homework is done and with any luck I will never have to do this again (unless of course someone comes up with a new question%).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Love Rocks and so does Art!

I set a goal to to finish four pieces for the fundraiser and art event "Valentine for AIDS" and the exhibition "Love Rocks" that is being held in conjunction with VFA. I think I may actually make it. And with that comes the realization that, if I set my mind to it, I can bust out some art! I guess it's not just the words that have been stuck...oh yea, I already knew that. The good news is that I actually even like the pieces that I have worked my ass off trying to finish in this short deadline. I envy those people that can put a canvas on the easel and have it finished that evening for the opening of the show (that actually happened). I have often said, "I wish I were a painter." But no, I had to be a sculptor, big, heavy, hard to store, lots of tools and materials, blah blah blah...hard work. And to think I used to be a photographer, instant gratification there baby (no offense to any photographers out here)!! So anyway, the point is that I AM GOING TO MAKE IT! And you should definitely attend both of those events ;o) Valentine for AIDS opens February 4 @ the Flying M, and Love Rocks opens February 5 @ VaC...Hope to see you there!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm supposed to be writing a bio but that sounds too much like homework, I'm having an urge to tell a story instead. I'm big I can do what I want, right?!

It began on January 18, 1998. One year and one day after I moved into this house, which really means after I left my husband. The phone rang. It was probably one of those phones that was attached to the wall...a very familiar voice on the other end said, "Sometimes you have to take chances in order to have a great life." I really didn't know it then but as I get older I realize that a truer statement was never spoken. The voice went on to say, "I love you." I said "I love you too." You should know that this exchange had happened hundreds of times before between the caller and myself but this time was different. This time would change my life forever.

How does it happen, how does I love you turn into I LOVE YOU? What changed along the way to make that happen? I don't know the answer to that, I do know what happened after that conversation, some crazy hormonal overload rushed through my whole body! Wow, that's what they write all those songs about...and poems and books and movies and... I get it now, why wars are fought and fortunes lost, why lovers are willing to kill and die for one another...and that was just a telephone conversation!?!

That telephone conversation lasted for four months. I have never thought about sex so much in my whole life. You know there really is nothing like having a conversation as a way to start a relationship. I think too often we get the hormone rush and then skip over the conversation and get right to the sex and never give ourself a chance to figure out that we don't even like this person (speaking from personal experience). Why can a person be sexually attracted to someone they don't even like?...oh but that's a question for another day.

So yes, a four month conversation, flirtation, temptation, get the idea. As you may have guessed I had embarked on a long-distance relationship, a life changing long-distance relationship. Now it was April I am getting on an airplane at the other end of my journey the object of my affection awaits. It was surreal. Being the instant gratification girl that I am this experience was truly a test of my will. I was worried, what if I get there, live and in person and we, one or the other or both of us, don't feel it anymore? Could such a big thing just go away when faced with the reality of it? I got off the didn't go away...phew! But we had to play it cool because that's what you do in the airport, I guess?! After what seemed like a very long drive we arrived at our destination, it was basically one room with a closet and a bathroom, books, white linoleum and a bed...a virtual love nest. This was where I was to spend the next 11 days, alone in the same room with my beloved.

I should back up here for a moment and tell you that this person had been my friend for many years while I was married...and...this is a big one, neither one of us had ever been with a woman before. Let me just say that the transition from friends to lovers was a little bit bumpy and scary and hypertitilating (I'm sure that's not a real word)!!! It took nine days to get from the first kiss to...

How often in life do we get a chance for a re-do? I got that chance. At 31 years old I got to lose my virginity again for the first time. On my terms, the way it's supposed to be...a couple of virgins (albeit educated virgins) finding their way, exploring the possibilities, charting new ground together. It was the most amazing sexual experience I have ever had. Never before and really never since. It kind of makes my heart race just thinking about it and it makes me smile. Who says sex isn't all in your head..?!

That relationship ultimately didn't work out, other things in life got in the way of our being able to love each other that way and as it turns out the love of my life was still out there finding her way to me. But this is written in loving memory of the one who changed my story and changed my life forever...You are gone from this world now and I can't say it to you but I have to say it, Thank you and I still love you!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


A friend of mine read my last post and asked, "Was your graduate school experience really that stultifying?" First I laughed and thought, "Oh she's been to graduate school" using big words that nobody knows what they mean. I think she was trying to be worked. Then I went and looked it up. You know when you think you know what a word means just by the way that it sounds? Do you have that? Anyway stultifying is one of those words that really sounds like what it means :

1 archaic : to allege or prove to be of unsound mind and hence not responsible
2 : to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical
3 a : to impair, invalidate, or make ineffective : negate b : to have a dulling or inhibiting effect on

I like this word a lot...Did I mention that I love words, which makes this not writing thing really suck for me!

Now my intent is not for this blog to become one big run-on sentence about my graduate school experience, and don't worry it won't be but I did feel some compulsion to answer this question. The answer is YES!! I had surrounded myself with scholars and intellectuals (I'm surrounded by them right now) and it made me feel "stupid and dull and inhibited." My words were never going to be as smart as the ones I had read. I stopped trusting my own ideas...that's bad. I didn't believe I had anything worthwhile to say and I even convinced myself that all my friends were really only still my friends because they like my wife (she is really cool, but the real truth is that my brain borders on neurotic.) And... I didn't, I guess I should say, couldn't make art for almost a year, and that is not for a lack of trying. That's the longest period of non-productivity that I have ever had and I was really worried that it may never come back, whatever "it" is...

The answer is also NO!! The fact is that the work I made in graduate school is some of the best work I've ever made and this new "post graduate" work seems to have the promise to be even better. And I am going to find my voice and I am interesting and dogonit people like me...tehehe...My friends still love me and I think they would if I had anything interesting to say or not, if I made art or not...because they're my friends, duh!

So there you have it LeeAnn a long answer to a short question. I guess graduate school is one of those things that, if you pour yourself into it like I did, can suck the life out of you and at the same time breathe new life into you. Stultifying, no, at least not permanently, but definitely something that I've had to recover from.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The reason for being?

I used to fancy myself something of a writer. I even shared the things I wrote with others. I carried on epistolary relationships. I wrote poetry and love letters, observations and editorials, I wrote smut, uh I mean lurid detailed accounts of carnal activity and sometimes I wrote full on rants. Then I would send them out for all the world to see... I loved it, other people loved it, I even had something of an audience! Then I made one fatal mistake...I went to graduate school. I'm sure you've heard it before, they stole my voice. All that "academic writing" blah blah..."don't be too familar" blah blah... make it as confusing and "smart" sounding as possible while not really saying anything...blah blah blah! And then it was gone. My voice was gone. The one I liked, the one that other people liked, gone...POOF!! I resorted to sending out quotes, you know smart things that other people said, and while they were interesting they certainly weren't in my voice. Then I just gave up, I stopped sending things out altogether. Now anytime I have to write something I agonize and struggle over every word, I procrastinate, and avoid anything that requires me to write. Me, the one who started the poem of the month club just so I had an excuse to write at least one poem a month. Basically my writing has dwindled down to random one-liners on facebook and sometimes I even agonize over that...uggh! That's it? That's all I get? I just give up and scurry away? I don't f----n' think so!!! (I'm leaving the profanity out for now, but I'm sure it will creep it's way back in...fair warning) So here I am at midnight on a Friday night taking the first step to finding my voice...