Archive | February, 2011

Kitchen Time

20 Feb

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO
This week your friends at Catalysis Projects introduce the second in our series of new columns – brief notes  from the “lost and found” desks of our Core and Resident Artists. In these posts, our artists offer a glimpse into one of their interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, including artifacts from the flotsam and jetsum that litter their creative spaces. This week features our Core Artist composer Veronika Krausas’s musing about TIME.

Composers are constantly trying to evade the unstoppable regularity of time. We think about how to make time seem to slow or to go backwards or speed up, how to regroup time into different beats and meters or avoid those entirely. It’s interesting that on a personal level this has infiltrated my daily life.

No two clocks or time-keeping mechanisms that I own are ever set to the same time. My digital radio-alarm clock was purchased when I was a teenager – it’s brown and huge and has followed me from house to house over the years because, although it’s quite ugly, it always works. I set it 5 minutes faster so that I can accommodate the early morning snooze button ritual. The back-up, battery-powered little Radio Shack travel clock, that long ago lost its cover, is also not set at the precise time – usually 6 minutes faster so that the radio alarm clock can slowly let me wake up before the really annoying beeping starts.

My car clock I usually set about 5 minutes faster to make sure I’m on time for appointments. But it seems to slowly but progressively get one minute faster every few months. Maybe this is my car trying to help keep my brain agile so I have to continually calculate the proper time each time I’m driving. Venturing into the kitchen, on the wall is a 15-year-old-kitchen wall clock from Ikea. In the last few years it started to have its own mind. Towards the end of ‘its life’ it was mostly stopped, but sometimes it started clicking forward at a normal pace and once I even saw it click backwards. Basically, the time was never correct and the time on the clock became officially known as kitchen time. Venturing into the kitchen for many months, I always had the feeling I can only liken to jetlag. Unlike the car clock, where complicated mathematical calculations can be made based on the prior day to determine the actual time, such constants were never present in the kitchen. The kitchen clock had its own chaotic system. The last time I came back from Europe and was really physiologically jet-lagged, the added effect of kitchen time started to really screw with my mind and the perpetual time jet-lag that I was now continually experiencing was becoming a bit much.

So, I reset the car clock back to 5 minutes faster, the archaic radio-alarm clock is now set 3 minutes faster and the back-up travel, battery-powered travel alarm clock is 4 minutes faster (can’t give up my one minute snooze with the radio before the beeping), and I ordered a new kitchen clock on Amazon.com so now I don’t have that jet-lagged feeling when I go into the kitchen. The era of kitchen time has passed … for now.

PS:  Just noticed that since I’ve had the kitchen clock showing ‘kitchen time’ for so long, I still never quite trust the time I see on the new clock!

Advertisements

The Salton Sea History Museum

17 Feb

by Deborah Martin

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO
This week your friends at Catalysis Projects introduce the second in our series of new columns – brief notes  from the “lost and found” desks of our Core and Resident Artists. In these posts, our artists offer a glimpse into one of their interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, including artifacts from the flotsam and jetsum that litter their creative spaces
This week features our Core Artist Deborah Martin, who works in photography and painting.

I’m immersed in producing an inaugural exhibition for the Salton Sea History Museum. The Museum is located inside the newly renovated Historical North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. If your first reaction is whut? That was my initial reaction too. The last time I visited there were a whole lot of pigeons held up inside there. Here’s an image of the North Shore Yacht Club back in the day.

The building was designed by famed mid-century architect Albert Frey.

Jennie Kelly, Director of the Salton Sea History Museum and Commissioner with the Riverside County Historical Commission, began her journey into ‘history’ with a heroic effort to save the threatened Rancho Dos Palmas in North Shore. During that intense two-year effort, Kelly requested and received cooperation from then Riverside County Supervisor, Roy Wilson.

Through this collaboration, space for a museum was offered to Kelly in the renovated Albert Frey-designed North Shore Beach & Yacht Club. Although Kelly received small grants from Supervisors Benoit & Ashley and the Imperial Irrigation District to get the museum open, it remains otherwise self-funded through memberships and sales.

The inaugural exhibition: Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea is curated by Deborah Martin with Historical works and Memorabilia by Jennie Kelly.

The Exhibit runs April 1-30, 2011 with a reception on April 3, 3-7pm. For those of you who are open for an adventure and a drive out to the Salton Sea, I hope you will Join us!

The Museum is open daily 10-4pm Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays.

Catalysis Projects is publishing a catalog for the exhibition with text by Ann Japenga. Ann is a Palm Springs writer specializing in stories about the California deserts and the West. As a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, she developed a love for tales tied to the Western landscape. After moving to Palm Springs more than a decade ago, she zeroed in on “deserata”–the natural and human history of the California deserts from the San Gorgonio Pass to the Colorado River.

Here is the list of Artist’s with a preview of  some of the work I have chosen for the exhibition and catalog.

BILL LEIGH BREWER
CRISTOPHER CICHOCKI
ANDREW DICKSON
JOE FORKAN
MARY – AUSTIN KLEIN
CHRISTOPHER LANDIS
DEBORAH MARTIN
ERIC MERRELL
JOAN MYERS
KIM STRINGFELLOW

Joan Myers’ photographs span the last quarter of the twentieth century and several locales. She is known for her platinum-palladium prints, a hand-coating process where the image becomes part of the drawing paper on which it is printed. Myers’ work is in the Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the George Eastman House, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Myers is the photographer of Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California, written by William deBuys Winner of the 1999 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction and the William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America.

Above Image: Joan Myers Salton Sea Building,  19″x15″, platinum-palladium print with watercolor. Edition of 12 with 3 artist’s proofs

A photographer and historian, Christopher Landis combines art and historic documentation in his visual record of the Salton Sea, begun in 1990. Landis’ dramatic Iris prints focus not on the human presence at the Sea but on the human relics in this desert landscape. The marks left by humans bear testimony to their dreams, enterprise, folly, greed, and that perennial battle for control of the environment. Christopher is the author and photographer of In Search for Eldorado: The Salton Sea published by the Palm Springs Desert Museum in 2007.

Image Left: Christopher Landis, Salton Bay Yacht Club, 1990.

Kim Stringfellow’s projects have been commissioned and funded by leading organizations including the California Council for the Humanities, Creative Work Fund, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Seattle Arts Commission. Her work has been exhibited at the International Center for Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions among others.

Her photographs are included in the permanent collection at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Miami. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, SF Camerawork Quarterly, Sculpture, Photo Metro, Leonardo, and Artweek.

Her first book, Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905–2005 was published by the Center for American Places in 2005. The website for Greetings from the Salton Sea was featured in Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video in New York City in 2006/07.

Above Image: Kim Stringfellow, Abandoned Trailer, Bombay Beach, CA, 2000, 38″ x 30.5″ Lightjet digital c-print, edition of 10 prints.

I shot a Polaroid in 2006 of the Yacht Club when it had Aces & Spades painted on the outside of it from a previous film shoot. At the time I had no idea this was once a popular Yacht Club. I thought perhaps it had been a bar. Here is an image of the painting I created to document this building. Above Image: Deborah Martin Aces & Spades, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36″ (2009) The North Shore beach & Yacht Club as it appeared in 2006.

Lying in a Ditch on a Stormy Day: Quintan Ana Wikswo’s Notes from the Studio

10 Feb

by Quintan Ana Wikswo

This NOTES FROM THE STUDIO column features CP Core Artist Quintan Ana Wikswo, who creates work in text, photography, video, installation and performance.  Visit her work online here and here.

When I was a teenager, some fortuitous creature slid me a copy of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.”

Since then, I’ve been mesmerized by the indefatigable pursuit for a practical space for private creation and cogitation, with a door that locks. My first studio was the lower limb of an apple tree – when I got older and heavier I graduated to a maple tree – then a steamer trunk, a closet, a semi-abandoned sweatshop, my lap, the bathtub, the kitchen table.

A studio is a great place for scraps.  It’s like the manure pile of art: mostly shit, but very rich in nutrients.

Nowadays my studio is located on an upper floor in a 1920s building in downtown Los Angeles, with huge chickenwired windows peeking into the bleached out well of a courtyard. I have always considered chickens to be my muses, and perhaps it is the chicken wire windows that draws me into this vista with fantasies of transcendence.

My view is all soot stains and articulated smog, the cool hues of concrete and charcoal asphalt, and a monochrome obstructed light. All the chemicals are in flux: every visible surface is oxidizing, peeling, rusting, dissolving. Somehow, I find this galvanic activity very exciting.

It’s because of Virginia. Her command for studio is unconventional:

“Lying in a ditch on a stormy day, when it has been raining, then enormous clouds come marching over the sky, tattered clouds, wisps of cloud. What delights me then is the confusion, the height, the indifference and the fury. Great clouds always changing, and movement; something sulphurous and sinister, bowled up, helter-skelter; towering, trailing, broken off, lost, and I forgotten, minute, in a ditch.”

Required qualities in a studio: confusion. Height. Fury and indifference. Great clouds ever-changing. The smell of sulphur. Everything sinister and lost. Broken off. Bowled up.

And I forgotten. Perhaps that is the most important part – the humility of beginning with scraps and growing shoots from the muck.

Next to me on my workdesk today is a glorious bit of deliciousness sent my way from a musician friend. It’s a rejection letter sent to Gertrude Stein by a publisher.

I think it’s very much appropriate this week, when VIDA released its new report about the shameful, bigoted disparities in “the publishing world” between female and male writers. As the Guardian writes, “The gender imbalance at the heart of the British and American literary establishment has been laid bare by a new study confirming that leading literary magazines focus their review coverage on books written by men, and commission more men than women to write about them.”

In essence, women are writing, but their work is not seeing the light of day in major magazines, including Tin House, where my own work has been published. Then again, many people think the name Quintan could only be attached to a man.

One argument – made by a rather smug and odious editor Peter Stothard of the Times Literary Supplement, suggested that women don’t read and furthermore don’t know how to read quality literature, so why allow them to review quality books?

I offer him a sulphurous and sinister “screw you.”

Guardian books editor Claire Armitstead writes: “My own feeling is that there is an issue of confidence among women writers.” Hm.

So must we believe that women don’t submit our work to publishers, but rather keep it locked away in our hope chests with our tampons, barbie dolls and cooking aprons?

These are hardly credible alibis in any editor’s quest for misanthropic absolution – publishing is still a segregated industry, with women writers consigned to women readers, and the male writer deemed best at representing the literary expression of humanity.

But as long as we’re on the topic, it’s important to “submit” work. Without being submissive. Gertrude Stein didn’t get where she got by listening to fools like Arthur C. Fifield, whose role in advancing literature is surely as pathetic as the creature at the Times Literary Supplement.

Shortly after I read A Room of One’s Own, someone gave me Alice Walker’s retort, with her call for all women (not only wealthy white women) to have studio space. Today is her birthday, and her consistent efforts to get all women to the table is especially resonant.

Let’s have all the chickens in studios.

From within the fury and bowled up sulphurous confusion of the studio, it’s good to be forgotten, but only while mucking around in the manure pile. Afterwards, let’s send all the chickens out into the street, squawking.

I love the ridicule of this rejection letter, sent in derisive rebuke of Ms. Stein, who shouted her poems into the streets of Paris unabashed, furious and sinister and helter-skelter. And look where it propelled us.

Studios should be locked and then unlocked. When the work is done, send it out, ladies and gentlemen.

Send those chickens out beyond the wire and let them spread their icky little feathers everywhere.

And to catch up on the hoo-hah about the VIDA report, check out these articles: