Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Hi. I’m Bianca Spriggs. I’m the Visitor and Events Coordinator for the Lexington Art League and resident LAL blogger. When you walk into the gorgeous front doors of the historic Loudoun House, I’m probably the first person you’re going to see. Or if you come around to the back door, odds are, I’ll be the one to let you in. My desk is under the little staircase nook in front where I have a first look at all the seasons changing and strays that live in the North End (by strays I mean cats and people).

Working in an art gallery/historic home is kind of a dream job, you know? I’m surrounded by art most of the time, I talk to artists on the phone and in person every day, I get to know all walks of life from the community, and part of my job is throwing fabulous parties ten months out of the year. What more could a girl want? Oh, yeah. You to come visit!

So here’s what’s going to happen in these blogs. I’m going to tell you about all the sweet activities we have going on at LAL and you get to start salivating over all the artsy goings on you could be a part of. Hopefully you’ll do more than salivate and hot foot it over here, because in my opinion, art works best as a shared experience.

And you won’t believe the exhibit we have going on through December. It’s called “Generously Odd: Craft Now.” And this is some of the unrealest work I’ve ever seen. The exhibit is all about avant-garde crafting. In other words, taking unusual materials or usual materials and creating something...well...even more unusual out of them. Our visitors so far have just been wandering around like they just walked through the looking glass and shoulda brought friends.

Some of this stuff you’re just going to have to see to believe. You know how in grade school there was that one kid who sat in the corner and was forever making like, embroidery string bracelets, or those beaded friendship pins, or miles of paperclip chains at their desk or eraser castles and occasionally stared dreamily out the window? Well that kid grew up and became a generously odd artist, folks.

We’ve got gold leaf covered peanuts, we’ve got glass pomegranate seeds that were clearly made for giants, we’ve got dozens of tiny clay steepled churches now living in our fireplace, a yarn grass rug complete with roots and soil, upside down wooden chickens, and a little clay creature with other little creatures for arms and a fur skirt on upstairs. Someone’s drawn all over the walls and there are like ten white cloth arms complete with ghostly hands hanging down from the ceiling in our main gallery. Like I said: Un. Real.

As if all that and more isn’t enough, our current installation artist, Catherine Forster, just put her work up in the LAL Project Space. It’s called, “They Call Me Theirs,” and all I’m going to say is this, I will never look at hunter green extension cords as though they were supposed to do anything but create indoor hanging vines ever again. It’s really a little miracle with all four seasons living down there for the next couple of months complete with sonic ambiance.

So, this was just to whet your appetite. You’ll be hearing from me again soon. We’re constantly engaging the community with programming like our Teen Master Class where gifted students from all over Central Kentucky can work with and learn from our guest curator, Travis Townsend. We had Girl Scouts over just last week for their activities (they didn’t bring cookies but we were still glad they were here) and we have classes meeting regularly in our upstairs classroom. Our travelling show, “Witness” that combines professional artists with the stories and experiences from survivors of domestic abuse, will debut at J.Allen Studio and Spa on November 20 for Gallery Hop, and the Nude International Exhibit: 2010 goes up in January.

Want to know more about our upcoming programs and events/how to become a volunteer/get on our mailing list/become a supporter/get directions/bring us treats?

Know a good band or restaurant I should sample and possibly book for next year’s lineup of Fifth Third Fourth Friday events?

Call or email me!
859-254-7024 ext. 30

And don’t forget to check out artist opportunities and read all about our current and upcoming exhibits here:

If you’re truly curious, just mosey on over. We’re located at 209 Castlewood Drive, 40505. Our gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 10-4 PM and I’m here on Saturdays 1-4 PM.

I’ll be seeing you, good art willing and the creek don’t rise.

(Above artist: Elizabeth Perkins: $1,000 Peanuts)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

KY7 Artist Perspective - Mia Capodilupo

Having lived in Chicago years ago and then on both coasts before returning here 4 years ago, I realize how the urban landscape of Chicago and other Midwestern cities has informed my recent work. Working out of both an old industrial building in the meatpacking district just west of downtown (my sculpture studio) and a former gear factory on a preserved industrial corridor (the art center where I am a director and work in the studios) I am confronted by a landscape of brick, concrete, broken glass, trash and automobiles with small patches of nature here and there. This is one of the inspirations for my “Hybrid” series of wall constructions and sculptures, this idea of creating and tending nature in a human-made environment, or of creating your own nature-like objects with human made materials in the middle of an urban area.

Another inspiration is the trend of old industrial buildings being turned over to artists as industry has moved out of the Midwest over the past 30 years. Chicago has been luckier than many Midwestern cities in terms of development and business moving into and embracing industrial areas, but many industrial buildings still sit empty, not as useful in general society as they once were. The long trend of arts and cultural organizations and individuals taking over these buildings has always intrigued me. It is part of the history of artists' ability to see beauty, utility and fresh ideas in that which mainstream American society has discarded. My installation work deals with, in part, imaginary worlds created with ordinary materials and the urban landscape, where I attempt to transform empty storefronts and abandoned buildings into transcendent kingdoms populated by familiar and unfamiliar creatures. Empty lots and rooms become both utopian and distopian sites populated by synthetic and real plant life, recycled and discarded items from everyday life, and tactile surfaces with human and animal qualities. I also try to interject human qualities into these starkly industrial landscapes, introducing elements of the human body and the natural environment in a visceral, seductive and playful manner. The idea of drawing the viewer into a fantasy world inhabited by sexuality, nature, fun, danger and disappointment and also pushing him/her away is central to my work.

I am fascinated by what are called “outsider” or “visionary” artists and the environments they create, often in their homes, using everyday objects or recyclables. I am attempting to translate this practice from a rural to an urban area but the idea of creating an imaginary world out of what I find around me is central to my recent installation work.

Monday, October 27, 2008

KY7 Artist Perspective - David R. Burns with Josh Gumiela

David R. Burns on: KY7 working and living in the region

"KY7 is a wonderful opportunity for digital media artists in the region to connect and exhibit newer forms of media artwork. Back home in NYC, there were many digital media arts communities to interface with. When I first arrived to the greater southern-Midwest region, I thought that interfacing with other digital media artists would present a greater challenge to me. After living in the region for several years, I have found many digital media artists that have a thriving, diverse practice; many of these artists are also well know internationally. The digital media arts community in this region might be smaller, but the community here is also much more closely knit and accessible. The support that I have received for my digital media artwork has made the last several years living in Carbondale rewarding and an extremely productive time for me. I believe this is only the beginning of a longer trend with a greater influence on the arts by digital media artists working and living in this region. In the future, I envision many more exhibitions similar to the KY7 biennial to gain in popularity and demand.

Artist’s Statement

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to art, my work explores the spatial relationships between color and sound. My artwork empowers participants to create their own unique audio-visual compositions with easy-to-use computer-aided technology. With motion, color, form and sound, I create interactive installations that can be experienced cross-culturally in a variety of public spaces.

There are two central themes that I explore in my work: one, the use of technology as a participant-friendly interface for creating audio-visual compositions and two, the spatial relationships between color and sound. I am also interested in representing color and form as sound and visualizing audio in my work.

Cubey 1.0, my most recent artwork, is an interactive digital art installation that enables users to create real-time interactive audio-visual compositions. Cubey 1.0 grew out of my fondness for Oscar Fischinger’s animations, my interest in synesthesia and my desire to enable people to create dynamic audio-visual compositions with an easy-to-use interface. The interface for Cubey is a simple, physical cube that offers users an exciting opportunity to explore interactive audio-visual and spatial relationships.


Cubey 1.0 is an interactive digital art installation that explores audio-visual and spatial relationships. With its embedded sensors, Cubey 1.0 enables users to compose dynamic audio-visual compositions in real time. The Cubey 1.0 incorporates both a physical cubic sculpture and a digital 3D virtual model of this sculpture that is projected onto a wall. This virtual model provides audio and visual feedback of users’ interaction with Cubey 1.0’s physical cubic sculpture. Both the audio and visual feedback from the Cubey 1.0 are linked; as users interact with the physical cubic sculpture, the projection of the 3D virtual cube changes shape, color and scale while simultaneously generating ambient digital sounds from Cubey 1.0’s speakers. Cubey 1.0’s simple and easy-to-use interface offers users an exciting opportunity to explore interactive audio-visual and spatial relationships."

Above: Cubey 1.0, David R. Burns with Josh Gumiela (Carbondale, IL)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KY7 Artist Perspective - Krista Birnbaum

On Landscape

"The impact of landscape on people and culture was demonstrated to me at an early age. My family moved from a small farm in Northeast Ohio to Akron during my formative years. I saw that we both construct and are constructed by our surroundings, and wondered which force has more impact. These relationships have been the central question in my work.

During 2006-07, my husband and I lived in Roswell, NM, at the Roswell-Artist-in-Residence program. A stark contrast to mid-western living both in landscape and culture, we were both inspired to explore the southwest in myth and reality. My husband, David Politzer, was drawn to the myth of the cowboy. I was drawn to the open range itself. At times, harsh winds blew tumbleweeds past our house, placing us back into the stories of the Old West. Then a Doritos bag chased after the tumbleweed and we would snap back into the present day. Fences, built years ago to keep cattle in and trespassers out, now served to collect and display human artifacts blown by the wind.

The prints in this show are designs inspired by the landscape of Roswell: both its natural beauty and the additions humans have made. I consider them both drawings and designs. I make them in Illustrator, drawing them with digital tools, but the trace of human hand associated with drawing is removed with this process. Instead, these digital tools result in the clean lines and coordinated colors of design work. I want this aesthetic to speak to the contemporary vision of the landscape, and the relationship our culture has to nature.

I am back in Ohio now, living in Youngstown, OH. When I tell people I live in Youngstown, their faces cringe slightly and then ask, “And how is that?” I know Youngstown has a reputation as an economically depressed city, but I love these small, post-industrial towns. The incredible architecture, the history and the sad, unrealized potential are the stuff of rich stories, past and present. I drive each day from the city out to Amish country in western PA, where I teach art at a liberal arts college. The transitions from urban to rural, the campaign signs, the SUVs for sale in front yards; these all tell stories of our relationships between culture and landscape.

I’m easily finding subject matter for a new series of images. "

Krista Birnbaum

Above: Trash Pile with Weeds & Cleaning, Krista Birnbaum (Youngstown, OH)

Friday, October 17, 2008

KY7 Artist Perspective - Christopher Hauck

"I am a product, in the General Mills or Procter & Gamble sense, of the first generation hyper-consumers. We are the post-boomer tweeners, nourished on a sugary diet of Saturday morning cartoons, Pink Floyd album covers, iron-on Tees, and Shit Happens bumper stickers. We took the Pepsi Challenge, drank the be all you can be Kool-Aid, and clicked through the nation’s first 24 cable channels at infrared light speed. Not asking why anyone would watch music on a television but asking why the eight D batteries in our luggage-sized boom boxes wouldn’t play our Devo and Bon Jovi cassette tapes longer. We found our identities on MTV, on billboards, in McDonald’s Happy Meals, and at the Chuck E Cheese video arcade in the pea-sized 5 acre suburban malls. We were the lab rats for corporate logos, branding strategies, and target marketing...and we loved it, we wanted to give the world a Coke and share “instant” Polaroid shots of ourselves in our new tanning-bed-bronze skin.

And then we passed the Mountain Dew to Generation X, Hip-Hop urban settlers, and mall rats now on digital tilt consuming the aisles and aisles of magazine racks at the local Barnes & Noble while blogging over a cup of joe at the Starbucks inside. They are the mediators of multi-media, streaming through their social networks and broadcasting themselves to remote corners of the world forming, consuming, and disposing of the Fruedian Id in a world wide way. A generation constructing their multiple, and often virtual, identities as a composite of Big Boi wanna-bees, DKNY brandishers, and Juicy Couture (self-imposed) celebs.

Considering these influences, the Identity Crisis series explores the commoditization of identity, the person as product, the branding of me. Appropriately enough I believe, through a mixed media of paint, marker, and collage, I investigate the mutually non-exclusive blurring of consumer and consumption, the “we are what we eat” materialization of identity in contemporary culture. The topic of the series came first and pointed me immediately to an advertising aesthetic in executing paintings of this narrative.

The pieces are created in the same fashion as early graphic advertising...drawing, producing a layout, masking the layout, coloring, masking other areas, coloring again and so on until a built-up but flattened image is composed. The work is intended to remove many of the traces of the artist’s hand (metaphorically, the individual), advancing the Warhol Pop Art aesthetic of mass production but in technical opposition as an individual, unique painting. Perhaps juxtaposition to the series topic one might conclude. The UPC’d figure is recurring in the work, speaking blatantly to the body, and our identity, as an article of commerce. And the restricted palette purposefully narrows the attention to the figure in its composition, leaving the pieces to resemble advertisements themselves."

Christopher Hauck

Above: Googling, Christopher Hauck (Atlanta, GA)

KY7 Artist Perspective - Catherine Forster

Reflections on "Golden Oldies", my piece in the Biennial.

"I have always been interested in observation, exposure, and cause and effect. My first format for exploration was through a microscope as a microbiologist. I began my artistic practice as a painter, which influences my current work in media arts. I choose to work in new media, because of its assessability and presentness. In addition, I find the third eye (camera lens) a very compelling observational tool.

"Golden Oldies” is painterly in a formal context and enacts a social commentary. "Golden Oldies" is a response to media overload and "group" orchestrated experience. The iPOD is the primary "personal medium" in use today, young people particularly, use the iPOD to separate themselves: becoming one within their universe by plugging in to their iPOD, and plugging everything else off. The piece is a humorous take-off on this hypnotic entreat.

Music is generally considered the most powerful conduit for movement and emotional suggestion. In “Golden Oldies”, light and movement are used to create 4 "visual scores". I wanted to create a visual counterpart to music, which would operate much like music on an iPOD. The installation includes 4 iPODs; each iPOD plays a silent video inspired by a pop hit from the mid sixties - early seventies: "Tiny Bubbles" (Don Ho, 1966), 'Under the Boardwalk" (Drifters, 1964), "Spinning Wheel" (Blood Sweat and Tears, 1969), and "Starry Starry Night" (Don McLean, 1971). All piece have an international appeal; they are global Karaoke hits. The pieces are the length of their title song and loop like a repeat setting on the iPOD.

Golden Oldies is an on-going project, new videos will be added from the 60s-90s."

Catherine Forster

Images top to bottom: "Golden Oldies" Installation View and "Starry Starry Night" Screenshot, Catherine Forster (Crystal Lake, IL)

Monday, October 13, 2008

KY7 Artist Perspective - Don Ament

"It's been really cool over the past few days having my studio here at the Loudoun House. I've been able to watch Mike unpack and begin to install the work. This show is already blowing me away, it is so NOT your basic "stuff on walls and pedestals"! An early favorite is a very spiffy overstuffed Easy Chair, except, may I just say, you would have to be a VERY small person to fit in the thing. Mike is also installing several video projectors all over the building, I have no idea what the videos are going to be, but they will be projected HUGE onto some of the walls around here. Then there is the series of military tanks made out of candy, can't wait to read the artist statement on that.

I think it is going to be a challenging show, a serious show, something where a viewer is going to have to spend some time with some of these pieces to "get it", and not all of it is going to be "pretty". It makes me feel very good to see regional artists producing this kind of work, it is the kind of work that makes you think, and moves society forward. And it makes me proud that the Lexington Art League has the verve and cojones to put this kind of show together."


Above: Infinity Stroll, Don Ament (Lexington, KY)