Visualizing the passage of time. View through the doorway of the 1999 section of the @cincycac retrospective out toward world from 2011 to the present. “Swoon: The Canyon 1999-2017” up at the @cincycac until Feb 25th
As this year comes to a close we would like to say a HUGE thank you everyone who was a part of making the Heliotrope Foundation’s work possible in 2017.
We started off the year with a major triumph, building the last home in a post earthquake rebuilding project in Haiti that has spanned 7 years. We got the chance to work with the incredible architect and engineer team Joanna Torres and Octavio Lopez, and Mike O’toole. The work took place over 3 months, and involved almost everyone in the Cormier community. The home is beautiful, and we are all very proud of it.
The second step for @theheliotropefoundation this year involved the Braddock Tiles project becoming an independent business. In 2016 you all helped us launch Braddock Tiles as a social enterprise, offering work readiness training and skills building opportunities to young adults who are aging out of the Braddock Youth program, while producing beautiful hand made tiles. Ceramicists KT Tierney and Katie Johnson spent the last year and a half honing their craft as well as their working principles, and have become a self sustaining business as of this fall. This couldn’t have happened without you!
In September, Heliotrope’s work was included in a major retrospective at the CAC in Cincinnati. Photos, documents and scale models, tiles from Braddock, crafts from Haiti, and even hand made musical instruments from New Orleans were all part of “Swoon:The Canyon 1999-2017”
As well our print project was hosted in a series of exhibitions, the first curated by @bkstreetart and hosted by @zahrasherzad, the second by @mashondatifrere And Pen and Brush Gallery with @1xrun, and finally the @deancollection at Miami Basel. A huge thanks them, the Heliotrope board, and to the over 100 artists who are part of Heliotrope Prints, one of the backbones of our fund raising efforts.
In 2018 we will continue our work in Haiti to help develop sustainable home plastering methods that are specific to the needs of residents in this part of Haiti. In Braddock we return our attention to the church, and the long range of goal of turning the building into a living work of art. Deepest gratitude for all the help on this journey!
Miniature installation under glass cloche. Mixed media, wood, silk screened mylar, paint, and cut paper.
Making the unconscious conscious. I’ve grown to believe that nothing wastes more of our life’s potential than repressed unconscious material. Nothing misdirects our actions, and confuses our lives like buried pain that we cannot confront. There are many ways that I’m working to shift my life’s energies from unconscious to conscious. Therapy and meditation are two of these. Drawing is another, and by far my oldest form. I’ve found a way in recent years to bring these three processes together and let them push my spiritual and psychological growth in unison. It sometimes happens, as it did with this piece, that a drawing becomes a map to parts of my mind that I did not previously have conscious access to. Fears, memories, life histories of my parents that formed me without ever being spoken - these things have a way of showing up in front of my face fully formed and telling me a story. In these cases, rather than approaching the piece as a storyteller I work more as a seeker, beginning with only a faint instinct of what I’m drawn toward. Symbols will present themselves and I’ve learned not to question them, just to trust what comes up and follow their lead. When I was drawing this piece I let recurring persistent images guide me. I referenced dream material and myths that I was drawn to without having decoded what about them drew me in. I started with an image that my subconscious mind called “tarantula mother” and from there I let my subconscious steer how the piece unfolded. Eventually a story emerged that was so clear it shocked me. I saw that I had drawn the inter generational cycle of abuse as it played out in my own family while also drawing a central figure that was in a state of detached disassociation from the history stored her home and in her body. I drew my fears and in drawing them I became able to look them in the eye and call them by name, to hold them, and to be in tactile relationship with them. Art can be a vessel to carry unconscious truths in the form of symbols until we are ready to see them nakedly. It can also be a tool with which we drag those truths up from the depths so that we might look straight at them and get to know them.
Installation view, Swoon:The Canyon 1999-2017, at @cincycac until February 25th. Pic by @todseelie
Installation view from The Canyon, up at @cincycac until Feb 25th.
I’m wondering what you guys think about this. Compare this image of a collaborative installation created by myself, Polina Soloveichik, and Alison Corrie, (photographed by Tod Seelie), with the next slide of an Amazon Christmas album ad that’s got some some pretty clear design plagiarism going on. As an artist, and between artists, I don’t believe that any material, technique, motif, or arrangement is precious. I’ve long defended any artist that folks might say was “biting my style” as having the freedom to use any medium or style in any way that they see fit. I’ve also been in situations where other artists thought I was biting from them, and, presenting the long history and various uses of that particular style, I again turned to my philosophy that we didn’t invent any of the every day plastic techniques, and we certainly don’t own them. Creativity is freedom, and its raw materials should stay free. This is a belief that I live by. But when I opened up Amazon the other day and saw this image, I instantly recalled all of the artist friends I know who have had things stolen from them by huge multinational corporations seeking only profit, from Starbucks, to Urban Outfitters, to Amazon. My gut feeling when I saw it was that this image represents yet another example in long tradition of multinational corporations using the creativity of individual artists in an entirely exploitative way.
Tonight at @superchiefgallery, NYC!
Quarter size scale model for the Dithyrambalina, a future piece of the The Music Box village in New Orleans, along side block prints of folks playing the musical architecture. Pic from the collaboration room at my retrospective exhibition the @cincycac with @neworleans.airlift
Portrait of Zahra, part of my first solo show in Shanghai, up through January 15th at @magdagallery. Details:
MAGDA DANYSZ 画廊 - 上海
256 BEIJING EAST RD.(JIANGXI ROAD)
8 DEC 2017 TO 15 JAN 2018 / 12月8日至01月15日