Archives for posts with tag: Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

Article In Atlanta Journal/Constitution

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

A short article ran in The Atlanta Journal/Constitution about my virtual exhibition!

Day One Hundred/Image One Hundred

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

This a story of a prophesy.

The night of my opening, “AFLOAT: An Installation”, it snowed. Not many people came to the reception. Kris, my best friend from Rippowam High School in Stamford Connecticut, came! Big surprise!

We used to cut school together to go into the Village. We wanted to see what the real Village was like, during the week, without all the suburban kids (like us) hanging out. That Kris came to such a wonderful, big event for me, meant so much to me and made up for the scant turn out, due to the weather.

She lives in San Francisco now.

The shadowy installation with its rings and collages scattered over the walls like wreckage from a flood made it more obvious somehow that there were not many people there.

A man walked in. Reminiscing with Kris interrupted, I jumped up to greet him. He was dressed appropriately for a retirement community in Texas. Dark blue cap. Light weight, dark blue wind breaker jacket on.

My guess was, that he was an artist. He spoke with such authority about my work, the way male artists of a certain age do. They tend to barge in and expect you to listen. He went on and on and I asked him what his name was. An occupation? He said it did not matter. Just listen to him.

I glanced over to where Kris was sitting, aware that the next day we would be leaving for two separate cities and that we had little time together.

The man kept barging and talking to me, circling me and gesturing to the work in the room. He said, “As you get more successful, and you will, think of yourself rising up to the top of a pyramid. You are going to lose support from the people you know.” Then he glanced over his shoulder at a non-existent person who was supposed to be sitting at the gallery desk and said, “Be nice to this girl. She is going to need it!”

Who was this guy? His talking to the unmanned desk made me think he was a ghost.

Then I swear to you, he was gone.

Unfortunately his predictions came true. But, happily, I made new friends, more true. Less exploitive. I did feel the lack of support for a short time, but I felt like I was making some progress in the world.

Who was this guy? Where is he now? He could tell me what is coming next. He could be my reader and advisor!

Thank you, everyone, for coming to my virtual show! I really did post one hundred collages. I made a mistake, early on, and I counted two collages with the same number!

Day NInety-Nine/Image Ninety-Nine

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

Installing “AFlOAT: An Installation” was a work in and of itself. Positioning, measuring, art and design skills were involved. (And balancing on a ladder.) An installation is just that. It’s the entire gallery up for review. Not the individual pieces. I had to install the one hundred slightly deflated rings as well as the one hundred collages on the gallery walls. I wanted to convey a feeling of a flood. Of jarred materials bumping up against the shore. Each element had to be positioned just right.

I forget how long it took. I do know my husband and I worked tirelessly, late into the night in the gallery in Chelsea. The gallery is located on the same side of the street, very close to the club of dubious distinction, Scores, a hangout for businessmen and scantily clothed young women.

Scores did not make a difference in the hanging of this show, but I got the key to the gallery one day, and had to have the work installed forty-eight hours later. It was either sleep overnight in the gallery both nights, or leave very late, walk quickly down the street to Eleventh Avenue. Catch a cab and eat out of our hotel’s vending machines for dinner. You know, Snickers and Fritos make for a good dinner at three AM. The other night I remember eating something slightly more nutritious. It was something. But the hour was later, and I don’t know what it was we ate.

I remember that leaving the gallery later was better than leaving at one-thirty. Leaving at two-thirty or three when all the men were catching cabs outside of Scores made us feel safer walking to Eleventh Avenue.

As my friend and collaborator on “Bread In The Sky”, Vince Wiggins would say, paraphrased from David Byrne, you really don’t want to know how the sausage is made, you just want it next to your eggs.

Day Ninety-Eight/Image Ninety-Eight

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

Tonight I am going to a Holiday business dinner. I imagine these types of parties are going on all over the world at this time of year. Probably on this Saturday night.

My husband is in the transportation business.The people who will be at the dinner are truck drivers.

I am looking forward to it.

I went to one of these parties years ago. I have never been to a event before or since, where I was with a group of such self aware people. The drivers were at ease with themselves and calm. We don’t get to experience calm in people or places anymore.

I have a theory about this. The average person today is under assault all the time. If we are not checking emails, texts or answering our phones in traffic, we are on hold while some obnoxious advertisement for the business we are calling is blasting in our ear. Then the screechy music and “We’ll be right back; thanks for holding.” The loop starts all over again about their business. In our ear. While we are waiting to talk to a more “personal” voice mail of the person we called.

The pharmacy like all other buildings has banned silence. Sixties and Seventies music. (I guess it is assumed that the demographic is the boomers getting their laxatives or prescriptions filled!)

The grocery store now has a quota the checkers have to meet: How loud and fast they can squish the cans of chili into the prebagged lettuce. This sort of thing has given me heart palpitations.

What happened to quiet? People have to go to hot yoga to detox from all the noise and anxiety in our society!

Not so with the truck drivers. They have time, free from incessant head banging, being able to think their own thoughts. They can listen to books on tape! They drive deep into the night, with quiet or noise (of their own choosing.) Contained in their pod. Their eighteen wheeler acts as a space where, although they are constantly aware of everything going on around them on the road, they achieve a sense of themselves that is necessary to their job.

I look forward to being with this refreshing group of people tonight!

Day Ninety-Seven/Image Ninety-Seven

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

This is a very small tribute to Vince Wiggins, my friend and collaborator on the video, “Bread In The Sky.”

I came to Vince, while he was working at the Apple Store. I had been inspired by floating projected images in The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The projected images I saw were big shapes on the walls moving across corners and on the ceiling. I thought that I would like to do something like that, based on some collages I had done. In fact, I told Vince, I would like to take pieces of the collages and I would like to make a video about them, with a story. I would display the framed collages separately.

It took a while. We ended up diverting from the floating images and we came up with “Bread In The Sky”, which ended up being quite successful.

It was a lot of fun working with Vince. I had never collaborated with anyone before. He was always very positive. At the time, I had no computer skills at all, but I got to know the technology of this movie making very well. The tedious and long hours spent separating the images from the overall collage and getting the collage pieces to rotate. It ended up being a lot of fun.

Anyway, I could not have done it without Vince.

Click the link below to see an excerpt of “Bread In The Sky.”

Day Ninety-Six/Image Ninety-Six

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

If you look at this image, you see a man carrying a woman out of flames. You may think the man started the fire with a fallen ash from his cigar. That is the subject matter of the collage. I am going to try to explain the reason it is a work of art.

Compositionally, this is how I do a painting, collage or drawing when I work with a square.

I cut out magazine images I like. I never use photoshop or take images from the internet. In this case, I was working with two figures, but the process is the same as if I were working with shapes. I usually linked them together by color. As I did here, making the composition a spiral going counter clockwise. Beginning in the center and following the orange around. I broke it up with the blue/gray sky and the figures in black and white. But then I return to the orange again in the center of the circle.

Most of these one hundred square collages are successful because they are circular in composition. I may have strayed from the spiral format a few times, but I usually try to stick to that design pattern.

I know this is a dry way of looking at the piece, but it is the art part. I also know that some of my subject matter is a little zany, but by sticking to a good composition and adhering to good color relationships, the image “works.”

And then I can afford to think about the man and his cigar ash. And of course that woman is looking like, “Get me out of here!”

Day Ninety-Five/Image Ninety-Five

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

All of you have heard about the disaster on Black Friday, where someone was killed over a parking spot. And there were taser attacks to buy the cheap iPads on that day as well. We have all become so used to (I hate to say this, but,) school shootings, subway bombings and other horrible things, that we live with a certain amount of panic.

I went to the Apple Store the other day to straighten out a computer problem. Since I arrived early, I got a very good parking space. Close to the mall entrance. When I finished my computer work, I walked to my car.

I got there in the rain, schlepping my purse (a nice word for this ten ton bag I carry around), and my seven year old laptop on the other arm. You can imagine how these two heavy bags are wearing grooves in my shoulders. And happy to get to my car, I hoist the stuff in, hoist myself up into my car, and relax. Ah, I can catch up on email and texts while just sitting here for a few minutes, I thought.

That’s when a car pulls up. Understandably so, wanting my choice parking space. I wave him on. But, no. He beeps. Keeps beeping. I am not going to let this guy push me around.

I thought of the shooting on Black Friday. So rather than pull out of the parking space as anyone else would do, I hunker down in my car, still with the phone in my hands. (After all, I am not giving up my only time to check email, am I?) Think about this. I still check email while dodging imaginary bullets! How insane is that?

I come to my senses. Yes, I was going for relaxation, but I don’t think I was getting it. So I get up, grab the ten ton bag. Get out of my car. Lock it. Look this pathetic person right in the eye.

I march back into the mall and buy myself something. Now I have a sweater (and for those of you who know my memory system of linking an event in my life to what I was wearing at the time) that will mark the day this happened.

We all need to be mindful of how terroristic the world in which we live has become, but not to the extent of typing a text while being bullied by road rage. During the Holiday Season!

Day Ninety-Four/Image Ninety-Four

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

It is Christmastime!

I dragged our nine foot Christmas tree, (with the help of three strong men), out of its storage place this year! Oh yes, I thought, this will be good. For the last four years we have not had the big tree. Two mediums and one very small one. All ours. All fake. Stored in our attic. This year, it had to be the big tree!

Why? I guess, because this year has not been the best. Oh, some good stuff. But not the things dreams are made of. The big tree, I thought, will take care of all that.

Until I realized, (and this does break the spell a little) that to decorate it, it would take seven hours. And roughly, although I have never counted them, all of my 1500 ornaments had to be carefully hung. There may be 2000, 2500, 3000! I don’t know. Yep, it did take seven hours.

It looks beautiful. Excessive. Laden. Like Tavern on The Green. Only more so.

If this Christmas tree is a talisman for dreams coming true, a shrine to happiness, never mind exultation, I think I accomplished all that. I think this upcoming year will be spectacular!

Spectacular, I hope, for you too!

Day Ninety-Three/Image Ninety-Three

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

Internet art. I hope this does not turn into a rant, although it might. I hope I can plainly deliver the message without getting wound up.

I have enjoyed my blogging immensely and I was thinking the other day about how much I appreciate seeing other people’s artwork on the internet.

Guess what? There are no politics. There is no sexism, racism, ageism. No concentrating on knowing the right people. Wasting countless hours on that. Maybe my remark about countless hours gives me away. A rant, after all.

Look at the work. What a concept! It’s not that I don’t like getting to know people in the art community. I really do. I like to know how they think, what they like, how they find time to work. Things like that. Where they work. And if they are collectors, I like to find out what makes them tick. How they think. Same stuff, without the artist questions. But…. Look….. At…… The…… Work!

I guess what I don’t like, is all the fluff around the person-to-person stuff. The “gain” that some artists acquire by the talking and smiling.

Art is a non-verbal visual discipline. A work of art does not come with an MP3 player containing banter and schmooze. Or does it? What do you think?

Day Ninety-Two/Image Ninety-Two

“Afloat” Image. Ceres Gallery. New York. Solo Show.

Peter Forakis. Once on vacation in Northern California, my husband, daughter and I had the great pleasure of meeting Peter Forakis. Not that long ago.

We did not meet him in his famous days. We met him selling his galvanized sculpture in his front yard in Petaluma. Upon seeing this rusted stuff in the front yard, we halted the car and did a U turn. We did not know he was Peter Forakis. Artist and founder with Al Held of the cooperative in New York called “Park Place”, a type of minimalism in the 1960s. A rebellion against Abstract Expressionism. More about Peter Forakis here.

He came out, an older man, very expansive and welcoming. He wanted us to be happy. We could tell that. He had a very large personality.

He took us in the house and unveiled his resume along with some very interesting photographs of outdoor sculpture he had done. One of them, the biggest outdoor sculpture in the United States, called “The Gateway”, located on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta. He wanted us to check on it when we got home.

Other things of interest came up. Upon looking at his resume, I saw he exhibited with Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollack, among many other famous artists in a drawing show at The Guggenheim Museum. Many other big museum shows, many other famous artists he was with!

We ended up becoming friends. He and I. We talked on the phone all the time. And one day, I decided to ask him if I could come out to Petaluma and study with him for a few days.

We had quite a time. He was painting cubes then. Made out of cardboard. He would paint them one at a time, by hanging them up with a rope, and hitting them with paint as they swung around. He called this true abstraction. Six sides. So together we painted cubes. He would ramble and talk and get excited and critique my cubes. Continue rambling and getting excited. He loved to work.

The day we painted the cubes outside, his favorite place to work in his studio, he talked to me about so many things: Andy Warhol, (“those wigs!”), his days in New York City, his children. About black and white being the same color, about never, ever wasting paint! He considered swishing your brush in the water after you have worked with a particular color long enough, a sin. “Paint the truck!”, he would say! I would have to take my brush with purple on it (being tired of using the purple), and put the excess paint on the truck. The truck he bought with the Pollack Krasner Award money he had received recently. (It was not an old truck. But it was a colorful one.)

Peter passed away in 2009. There was a very large obituary in The New York Times. I could tell many stories about Peter. But he would want me to impart only one thing here: This was of most importance to him: “Do not doubt yourself!” He would actually get mad at me for ever expressing doubt.

And although he would be pleased I wrote this blog to my artist and writer followers, he would be mad that I wasn’t doing my artwork right now. At this very minute.