Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The BLOG MASTER!
FLOWERS FROM THE STUNNING FIELDS ON THE MOUNTAIN!
We went to the mountain for a second visit. The 30 minute drive up to the top of the first level of the ski lifts was as exhilarating today as it was on Sunday. This is a marvelous event! Visionary! Skiers will enjoy an outdoor sculpture gallery as the descend one of Europe's most developed ski mountains.
Donna chose an especially remarkable site that has a vivid mountain background - right in front of the newly constructed 5 star restaurant. My site has a crisp horizon line to ski, plus several great views as one approaches the restaurant or descends the slopes. Organizer Kiki Thompson has encouraged me to do a sapling sculpture as well as the ferro-cement piece I have planned. It is an exciting addition to my plans here, but will add a lot to the already full schedule. Donna and I have been invited to do a burning sculpture on the closing night party, so we will be WELL featured in all this excitement. We are so happy and proud to be here!
The languages are marvelous to experience. People shift from perfect English to beautifully accented French, or Italian, or German or Swedish with such ease, and no one seems frustrated with my very limited French. Many say No English with no embarrassment at all! Donna has been a hit! Her french has been well exercised, and although the vocabulary is still slow to return (when it began to rains she said it was crying outside...) she has no problem being understood and even very much communicative! THEY ALL LOVE HER here!
Curious thing is all the timers on lights. If you take too long in the bathroom - you get shut up in the dark. (But an observant person will note there is a switch in the stall for
I got in a short day of welding due to our morning mountain visit and then this evening an exciting collector and friends hosted a lovely wine cocktail before dinner... I am making solid progress, but am DYING for a normal 12 hour day of work.. Oh well residencies are as much about the networking as the work produced?!
Donna cut and sheered the foam! She too put in a short day but had GREAT results.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Today we have a GUEST commentary contribution from Donna Dodson. (Be sure to check out her facebook entries for more details and images!)
"Day #6: The glue arrived and the styrofoam blocks are in place. I will begin carving tomorrow. We wandered out side today before lunch to find the cows and fell in love with them up close. They have giant leather collars painted with hearts and huge tin bells that you can hear from a distance. We both made alot of progress today in the studio and it is exciting to see our pieces taking shape."
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
We got up before the sun broke over the mountains and were on site to unlock. I worked on my model and Donna laid out plans for her foam carving. In no time the deliveries began. Foam and plywood were unloaded and the other artists began to work. I got the welder out and started melting steel together. The structure is taking shape. FINALLY! Donna piled up her foam pieces but the glue was not here, she will stick it together tomorrow. What a pile of foam she has ahead of her.
I am still struggling with my imagery. The design is feeling very decorative. It WILL be lovely, but I am not convinced the content will survive. Oh well, I MUST go on. I seriously hope to complete a series of THREE of these structure. The medium is steel rod structure covered by a dense layer of chicken wire (three per side minimum) then finished with glass reinforce cement as thinly as possible to about 1-3 inches thick. At this point the plan is to build the structure here in town and then trailer it up the steep winding roads to the mountaintop sculpture park then apply the cement on site. Cementing will be three or four challenging days doing all the work by hand with very limited access. Donna's piece will likely be flown to site fully finished via helicopter. The final location for all the work is accessible only by foot, bikes, skis and dogsled. A five star mountaintop restaurant shares the road with our sculptures, but access to the working site will be a daily challenge as we finish up our work.
The weather continues to be stunning. Chilly in the morning, hot midday, cools off fast like all high alpine environments. It has been clearer each day and Donna insists on photos constantly. We have a growing collection of portraits with STUNNING landscapes.
Monday, May 23, 2011
This has been a day full of conceptual ruminations. I came to the residency with an image of a wind downed tree and the resulting cavity beneath. There is a lively impression that freshly toppled trees leave that I find evocative. The uplifted boulder, snugly wrapped by roots leaves a shape in soil. Similarly, some stones stay soil bound and leave their imprint on the risen root mass. No windblown tree goes down cleanly, there are always roots that resist the collapse and show an evident tension - connection - to the original tree location. I love the energy revealed, the spaces created, the perforations that happen when trees fall over.
How does this relate to my mark making in the alpine vista? How does the distinct edge of mountains and sky reflect the edge of a windblown stump? How can I include the impressed shapes?
Wind beaten to the extremes of uprooting is a trauma that leaves a scar beyond the individual that is toppled. When a forest titan is blown over and the earth is torn asunder by the tenacity of roots. Even boulders can be hoisted aloft. These vacated stones leave an impression, the uplifted roots draw a shape, the remnant hollow becomes shelter.
Man has marked this earth deeply. We are well rooted. Our presence is seen in the very extremes of our planet.
I am unsure how as an artist, I can respond to the extremes of the Alps. My work is not a triumph over adversity. It is a personal story. I am recording my presence. In the fragile state of today's world I am determined to draw with a mark that lasts. In this Residency I aim to leave a significant trace.