31Mar/120

Obstacles. New piece and new technique

Posted by Sermarr

Today I'm working on jute...not a jute rug but jute fabric. It's kind of like needlepoint mesh. I've painted it so that it talks about obstacles in the images. Now I'm trying to show how obstacles we live with and try to overcome eventually become part of us. And the obstacles can get fixed in place and more immovable the more we cannot get over or under or around them. So I've hit upon using thread and cord to signify how we're tied to them. Here are some pictures of the stitching

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30Mar/120

Fire In The Hole. A new piece about Sou

Posted by Sermarr

One of the most moving thing in South Africa was seeing Nelson Mandela's cell on Robbin Island. A very small space barely larger than my arms can reach spread out. In all, he was kept in prisons for 26 years. I was so impressed by how righteously he could have emerged very angry and vengeful and chose not to. I think we can have terrible things happen in our lives that keep us feeling like we're in a box or we can make prisons for ourselves and burn in anger at how unfair things are. Everyone has enough bad times to struggle through if they live for a while. The bad thing about all that pent up anger that we're not able to do anything about is that it is very difficult to get free from (the crooked broken ladder) because a lot of out life has been centered around it and we carry it with us to the next stage of life. Mandela was remarkable in freeing himself and many others who were stuck in anger and fear for a very long time. Apartheid lasted fifty years

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30Mar/120

Divided. A new piece about boundaries

Posted by Sermarr

Having seen in south africa how zealously our animal and bug ancestors mark and enforce their territories, I thought I'd make a piece about our own tendencies to mark off space, physically and emotionally And legally with yard lots, blocks, towns, cities, counties,nations. The piece has all separate parts that are barely connected and people and activities parsed out to all the different spaces. We are divided. By our own hand and from time in the phylogenetic tree it is doing what comes naturally... for good and ill.

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23Mar/120

Home! Learned a lot about “guerilla” art idea

Posted by Sermarr

I've been gone a month on my south africa trip. I did "guerilla " art there improvising and working in a bare concrete alcove of a building. It was hands and knees work. I had thought about doing "guerilla" art on a junket around the world;this would allow me to reflect the impressions of these so varied and distant lands in art. What I found is that the impressions are there to be had but the "guerilla" part does not yield the best art I have to give. Working with paint requires lots of material such as drop cloths, buckets for water, brushes, wipe rags, and the paint itself. If working outside or in someone else's space, it has to be cleaned up and put away every day The surfaces have to be movable or left where they are to dry, usually meaning smaller. If there's no table then I'm on my hands and knees which works great for a short, very short while. And it's hard to reach all of the surface well and precisely. So I'm still working on this concept but I now believe it has to be done with less material intensive media or in a longer stay in a commercial/industrial space where the clean up factor is less. I'm inclined to think its the less material intensive route such as charcoal/graphite/colored pens/water color. Or collage. But each of these has it's own drawbacks for expression and use. So I'll just have to see.

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23Mar/120

Fire Inside!

Posted by Sermarr

While in south africa I read a story about a young man who burned to death in his shack. His friend burned himself trying to get in to save him. But he couldn't get in because he couldn't break open the door with the lock that the man had bought to keep himself safe in his shack. This was so poignant and reminded me of how sometimes we barricade ourselves off emotionally to protect ourselves from getting hurt. And sometimes that protection becomes a barrier that threatens our life. We become our own jailers and no one can get in without some singeing.

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15Mar/120

Guerilla art in stellenbosch,South Africa

Posted by Sermarr

In south Africa I stayed in stellenbosch, which is about thirty minutes outside cape town. It looks and feels like the napa valley, full of vineyards, tasting rooms, and elegant casual restaurants I was able to "camp out" in a motorcycle parking alcove on the ground floor of my friend's apartment building where I was staying. I had assembled all the supplies and clothes and paint from various stores in stellenbosch. I wanted to see if I was going to be able to make art on the road in a "guerilla" format where I would assemble a minimum disposable group of art/hardware items and find a spot and go to work. If I could do this I could begin to travel and make art wherever I went. On site with new insights from traveling outside my familiar surroundings I could record these experiences while fresh. Usually what happens when I travel is I am impacted by wherever I am. I store the impressions and go home to my studio to disgorge them in a frantic stream of pieces. This was an attempt to try it a different way. Portable art making. What I've learned is that it can be done successfully but is very hard if paint is used as the medium. It requires special equipment which is bulky -clothes,brushes,drop cloths to keep things clean, tape, jars,rollers, objects, boards/canvas/paper -and a place where you can be messy and spread everything out and where you can leave it so it can dry. So this medium is not very portable. However you do meet people who are passing by and interested in what you're doing. More on that on the next post. I include photos of my work alcove with a smaller work than the original canvas work I posted earlier

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15Mar/120

“Old Man’s Last Flight”

Posted by Sermarr

I'm in south africa. And having travelled for two weeks in big cities and the bush, back and forth between them, I've come to cape town for one last week and only have a few days for making art but I've done one that is multi part so I can take it home. Here it is. Called "Old Man's Last Flight'". It's about a story I read in the South African newspaper about an 83 year old man who met on the internet a 56 year old woman who lived on a goat farm. He told his 76 year old wife he was going to meet her,bought a one way airline ticket, a Viagra prescription and flew off. The other woman said after he got there they had supper at a restaurant and she told him it wouldn't work. He was 83 but had told her he was 72. He hasn't been heard from since. His wife is worried because large sums of money are being withdrawn from his account.
There is something so true to me in this story about how we all want to reclaim our past glories in our current life. He bought a one way ticket out of this life. The picture shows him in a vice like structure. A silver haired last trap. And he tried to jump out of its grip. Yet he can't quite leap out because he carries his main issue with him on the road: he's 83

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15Mar/120

“The View From Here next to you in Africa “

Posted by Sermarr

I spent time in South Africa going from cities which are still mostly run like large cities all over the world: organized in square blocks with square buildings and straight streets/light poles/signs etc. a place of right angles. And then I would go to the bush where there are no fences (the cattle graze on the side of the road), round houses, chickens roaming everywhere. Much as rural tribal cultures all over the world. And I was so struck by the things that European/large scale civilizations take for granted in the geometry of their topography and way of thinking. Huge fields of sugar cane or grapevines. Square houses with square plots which are individually owned Straight paved roads. Large governmental buildings and museums. And in the bush I learned that the chiefdom structure is much more local-communal
So this piece has depicted these two different views side by side. In South Africa the land also holds mineral wealth as well as agrarian opportunities. For bush/tribal societies it means deep roots of trafitions, ancestors and rituals that distinguish their group from another close by So each side shows the different proportions of earth, plants, and sky.

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