This is our last weekly recap for the season, and it is hard to sum up all that has happened. Eight artists held residency here over four-and-a-half weeks, and they all ended up contributing not only their specific projects to the space, but a sense of the studio being well-used. With classes, events, and residencies, our summer has really activated the studio and set a precedent for future greatness. Thank you to all involved.
As we said goodbye to Amy, the two remaining residents, Paul and Mary, finished or extended their projects in graceful manner. Paul's audio book, recordings of The Gardener of the Dunes by Swift Lathers, took form in a trio of handsomely executed CD cases. He gifted one to the Pentwater Library and one to Shared Space. I can't think of a better soundtrack to working in the studio than poems and musings reflecting on the Silver Lake Dunes by our local hero.
Mary constructed a new hoping machine on the meadow homestead, this one built with foraged branches to remain onsite, settling under the winter snow. This A-frame construction acts as a meditative space and an entryway into the homestead, around which Mary piled walls of the same sticks. The installation to be left behind is a functional space; with twin trails to camping platforms, a fire pit, and a picnic table to work at, eat at, or lay on top of and watch the clouds.
Mary and Paul left the residency mid-week, went on an upstate kite-flying adventure, and Paul returned to New York. We were happy to welcome Mary back for one last Sunday, and she and I attended "A Pleasant Afternoon" at the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society. We were greeted by a rainbow of pies and Mears community elders, and made sure to pick up several copies of Swift Lathers' Mears Newz.
An image of participants quilting for Quilt Stories.
For our last talk of the summer season, I stepped in as a visiting artist and gave a presentation on my traveling project Quilt Stories. I shared the fabric collages, patchworks, and storytelling projects that led up to this ongoing body of work. Quilt Stories began as a quilted tent, to collect stories in, and now exists as installation, video, songs, ceramics, and a white quilt covered with stitches from people across the country.
Our second speaker of the evening was the amazing Larry Krone. Larry is from St Luis, now resides in New York, but has spent every summer of his life in a cabin with his family in Pentwater. He opened his presentation with one of his signature country songs, played on ukulele, and led us through a progression of his sculptural works. Utilizing and honoring folk art techniques, Larry has made latch-hook rugs, wisdom tooth dolls, sequined embroideries, and text art with his own hair. He incorporates his meticulously crafted objects and costumes into performances of his personal country-western song repertoire. The crowd was happy to watch Larry strip from his ruffled baby costume down to his underpants of many colors, and connect his wide-ranging body of work to his personal experiences in Pentwater.
Reeling from the success of our first residency season, we are looking forward to next year with new artists and new plans. I am closing this series of posts with this serene photograph Mary and Paul made of their geography lesson in the meadow. If all of the residents have taken one common sentiment away from their time here, it is a reverence for and infatuation with our beautiful state.
Eliza Fernand went to pre-school in Pentwater, graduated with honors from Interlochen Arts Academy, and received her BFA in sculpture from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland OR. Her sculpture, installation and performance works revolve around the combination of sensual and familiar materials, the interaction between bodies and objects in space, and the transformation of materials and ideas. Eliza has exhibited in and curated shows on both coasts and in between, and she has lived and worked at artist's residencies in New Jersey, Normandy, California, North Carolina, New Mexico, Quebec, Idaho, Washington, and Minnesota. Partnered with her mother, Diana Hooyman, she co-founded and co-directs Pentwater's Shared Space Studio, and manages the visiting artists program.
Eliza will speak at Shared Space this Sunday at 7pm, presenting her recent projects:
"Quilt Stories is a nomadic installation and participatory performance: From place to place, viewers are invited inside of a quilted tent to share their stories and anecdotes about quilts; while outside, a collaborative quilt, pieced in a white circle, creates a space for people to gather and contribute their own stitches in this ritual of skill.
Last summer and fall, I recorded over 100 quilt stories in twenty-five cities and towns; from Washington, to Massachusetts, to Texas, and back to Boise. I documented my route by photographing the tent in the varying landscapes I traveled through.
This project is part of an ongoing body of work that investigates the themes and history of quilt-making, as applied to a contemporary practice. Through fieldwork and examination, I am learning the social and aesthetic traditions of the craft, and conceptualizing my findings into an ongoing series of works. Working in a continuum of installation, performance, and sound, this project allows me to employ a wide range of methods, while researching a rich central theme. The project expresses many of my intentions as an artist and teacher; reusing discarded materials for art, empowering communities through teaching self-sustaining skills, creating socially engaging projects that demystify the practice of artists, and encouraging cross-media collaboration."
Larry Krone grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and now lives and works in New York City’s East Village. He has been exhibiting his drawings, sculptures, installations and videos since the early 1990s at galleries and museums including The Contemporary Baltimore, The Museum of Contemporary Craft in collaboration with Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, OR), The Whitney Museum of American Art Philip Morris Branch (New York), The New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Drawing Center (New York), and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis who, in 2006 presented “Larry Krone: Artist/Entertainer,” a ten-year retrospective of Larry Krone’s visual and performance work.
Larry has incorporated performance in his work since 1996, performing his own brand of homespun country & western musical revues at music and art venues in New York and beyond. Larry’s intensely detailed, hand sewn and embroidered stage costumes have led to his creation of the House of Larréon, his line of custom gowns and stage costumes, outfitting many of Larry’s dynamic performing friends and collaborators including his fiancé, Jim Andralis. Larry is a 2011 and 2012 MacDowell Colony fellow and New York Foundation for the Arts 2009 fellow.
Larry’s relationship with Pentwater has been lifelong, as he has been vacationing there with his family at the end of every summer since 1970, the year he was born. Pentwater has been the site of the creation of many important pieces in Larry’s body of work, including his trio of “Love Can Build a Bridge” costumes, his “Then and Now (Latch Hook Hay Bales),” some of his “Wisdom Tooth Fool Dolls,” and many of his songs including “Take me Back,” “(I Couldn’t) Miss you More,” and “Never Afraid”. While vacationing, Larry spends most of his time with his family in their rented cottage and on the beach, but can also be found thrift shopping in Ludington, singing karaoke at the Boathouse, and attending the Thursday night band concerts in the gazebo. Once, when Larry was about 14, Larry brought his saxophone to the sidewalk in front of the gazebo and tried to make some money playing jazz standards for change, but we don’t like to talk about that.
Larry will present his work and sing songs for us this Sunday, at 7pm, for our weekly artist slide talk season finale!
We started another great week with our two new residents, Emily and Amy. Amy Johnquest, our final resident to arrive, joined us for dinner on Monday and the following day set herself up to paint. Amy's paintings are often portraits or tributes to everyday people, places, and things, depicted as oddities or novelties in the style of a carnival banner. For her recent banners, she paints on found tablecloths and tapestries and incorporates the pre-existing embroidered motifs into the painting. She set up a painting studio for herself with a tack board of homasote, and began sketches for two banners: A tribute to her late dog Olivia, and a portrait of The Great Log of Pentwater, a local mystery that Amy has appreciated while visiting Pentwater over the last twenty years.
Emily + Eliza's hand dance.
Emily Harris used her week in residence to read, write, and experiment with new ideas. She began a new project in which she measured and photographs the other resident's hands. After seeing Emily's artist talk on Sunday, local Pentwater musician Frank Galante offered to collaborative in a movement/music jam. Frank set up his guitars and pedals at the studio to play while Emily made drawings and movements in response. She set up a video camera pointing out of the sliding glass door towards the meadow, and filmed us hand-dancing to the sounds. She played with space, perspective, and illusion as she moved closer or further from the door, entered the frame from all sides, and made contact with the glass.
Paul painting birds.
Paul and Mary proved to be a power-team in the studio this week, with many late nights and early mornings. Paul learned how to use a sewing machine as he and Mary made patchworks from tents, and divided them into pairs of kites that will fly with lights at night to make sky drawings. The two had independently wanted to make a kite at some point in the past, and this was the opportunity for them to collaborate and make their kite dreams come true. For the first pair of kites, they made patchworks from old tents, cut them up, mixed them up, and assembled two diamond-shaped kites, each as tall as they are (a height difference of 14 inches). They then made one square patchwork together, and cut it in half to make two triangular kites. This process was also a way for the two to communicate by working together, as they had until now only had contact through mail correspondence. Outfitted with scalloped fringe and yarn tassels, when the kites were finally airborne in the meadow, it was a triumphant moment for us all.
As Mary finishes patch-worked wind socks to bring to her next Cabin Time residency on Rabbit Island, Paul continues to catalog the birds in the meadow with drawings and paintings. His guide to the meadow birds will be accompanied in our library with Mary's Adventure Guide to outings in the Pentwater area; filling in future residents on all of the local places to go and see. The two made yet another trip to the former home of Swift Lathers, at the Oceana Historical Park, so Paul may have the chance to record himself reading The Yearning Years, Swift's book of poetry that stays in the museum's archives. Paul plans to put together his readings of Swift's writings on an audio CD, and gift it to the Pentwater Library.
The team at 8am.
Pentwater's annual Homecoming celebration was this weekend, and the four resident artists really bonded as a team when we entered the esteemed sand sculpture contest. In a brainstorming session we agreed the key to building with sand was to keep it wet, and we were dubbed Team Keep It Wet. After I crafted team spirit shirts, we were on the beach early, with shovel and spray bottles, to carve out and build up our take on the contest's theme "Year-Round Fun in Pentwater." Our design was a quilt draped over a trio of friends in a bed: Each square on the quilt depicted a fun Pentwater past-time. We had the most fun possible, and won a sweet little trophy to show off at the studio.
We were sad to see Emily go back to New York on Saturday, but continued the Homecoming festivities by enjoying a parade, fireworks, karaoke, and a stellar meteor shower. On Sunday, we welcomed another compelling artist to the space to give a talk with Amy. Laura Milkins is a native of Pentwater, who has traveled extensively and now lives in Tucson Arizona, working as an artist and teacher. She presented video and audio documents of two of her projects that involve walking and asking the people she encounters to talk with her and tell her stories. For her project "Walking Home," Laura walked from her home in Tucson, 2000 miles to her mother's home in Grand Rapids. She was a very interesting visiting artist, speaking on the idea of what can qualify as artwork, when you are not making objects, images, or performances.
Amy finished the evening by presenting a history of her paintings, from her early days through her transformation into The Banner Queen. She showed classic side-show banners that influenced her, personal works, and humorous and clever commissions. Diana really outdid herself on the reception snacks, and we had a great turnout with an engaged audience. With only a few days left of the residency season, and the last talk in our lecture series this Sunday, we are feeling satiated with all of the experiences of this season, and already hungry for next year!
Laura Milkins is a multimedia, interactive performance artist, living in Tucson and teaching at Pima CC. In 2008, she received an MFA at University of Arizona. Since 1993, Laura has been organizing art shows, performances and festivals, and has received grants, awards and international recognition for her work. Her performances focus on community and social interactions, and the role that technology plays in both.
For her most recent performance, “Walking Home: stories from the desert to the Great Lakes”, Laura walked 2,007 miles from Tucson to Michigan wearing a live webcam:
"I am a small town girl. I believe in community, family and the connections that draw us together. This project is about trust, community and social networks. I am interested in the ways that technology connects and disconnects us from the people in our lives. I am interested in how a lone woman can cross the country but never truly be alone. Technology will allow me to bring friends and family on this journey home."
We are very excited to have Laura present her work this Sunday at our visiting artists' talk, at 7pm. She will speak on her projects and share images and video, all are welcome to join in her dialog.
Known as the BannerQueen, much of Amy Johnquest's art is rooted in historical advertising for sideshows and traveling carnivals. She has created commissioned art work for notables such as; Bruce Springstien and the E Street Band, Disney Magazine, major corporations, and for private collections worldwide. In addition to her sideshow banner art, she creates site specific installations, theatrical set designs, and is director of the Taber Art Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College in western Massachusetts. Recent accomplishments this year include creating the set designs for the debut of the folk opera TRUTH, an installation based on Facebook IDs called 455 Friends, a solo exhibition/installation at University of Massachusetts called My Potential Dates, a joint exhibition Art of the Side Show, at Dunedin Fine Arts Center, Dunedin, FL. and X Marks The Spot, a site specific installation in collaboration with Sally Curcio and Anne LaPrade Sueth, DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY. A frequent lecturer, curator, and friend to creatures great and small, Amy paints and resides in Holyoke Massachusetts. She has many fond memories of vacationing in Pentwater since the early 80s. Amy is an artist-in-residence at Shared Space August 6th-13th. She is painting a banner for Pentwater, featuring The Log displayed in front of the water tower downtown. Amy will present her work at the weekly Sunday slide talk August 12th, and after her presentation she will be teach a free mini-workshop: Design Your Own Sideshow Banner!
We started out our third week of the residency with a great beach day. We said goodbye to our visiting artist, Michelle Murphy, after participating in her Second Skin video project, and suited up for the lake. We put Elodie's epic knitted blanket to use, filling the knit-in koozie pockets with a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime, and by the end of sunset we were billowing the blanket in the air in a good-old game of parachute.
Amanda Matles left us mid-week, but not before she finished putting our new compost system in place. She refaced two 5-gallon buckets that we will fill with our food scraps to be picked up by a local farm each week. The brightly-colored buckets read: COMPOST FOR CHICKENS. In the process she crafted herself an apron to paint in. She also finished several small ceramic pieces to take back to Detroit and fire. Her compost project is one of many that are giving directly to the studio and our residents. As new systems are put in place we become more organized and solid, even as people continue to come and go.
Paul Richardson joined us Tuesday, on his first visit to Michigan, from a lifetime in Baltimore. He has been Mary's diligent pen-pal for the last two years, and since they reside on opposite sides of the country, until now their interactions have been only through correspondence. For the next two weeks, the pair will be collaborating together, finding a way to maintain the ritual of sending a letter everyday, while living in tents 20 feet away from each other.
Paul began working with Mary on the homestead, rearranging the space she has constructed with found twigs and logs. His past drawing series suggest catalogs, so it is fitting that he is now drawing a guide to the wildlife in the meadow. We are also looking forward to his narration of Swift Lathers' The Gardener of the Dunes, the audiobook edition.
With a little help from Paul, Mary erected her new Hoping Machine in the meadow. Her last hoping machine sculptures were four-sided pyramids, based on the energy-gathering premise of Pyramid Power, a key text in her studies at Mystic Homeschool. This new construction is an open-ended A-frame, a space that one may pass through or dwell in with an awareness of the outside. She is also hoping that a meadow creature or two may spend time in the patch-worked meditative space.
Elodie also set up a private space near the homestead. A forklift palette provided a base for her knitted tent, affixed to three trees with a system of buttons and button holes. This space gave Elodie some woodland solace to take coffee breaks in, and reflect on her past three weeks in residence here, before heading home to San Francisco on Sunday.
Another highlight of the week was a visit to our neighboring town of Hart's Historic District. The town has rescued and relocated several historically significant buildings to a single site, and some of them house a curious collection of collections. We had no idea that we would encounter a six-room journey of old-timey animatronics, doll houses, and toys. The fun didn't stop there, as the museum also offers two rooms entirely filled with furs and taxidermy animals anthropomorphized in open dioramas. Moving on, you will find a couple-hundred tiny pianos, dozens of hand-cranked cherry pitters, a needlepoint farmhouse and barn, and other collections that have been donated in the name of historical preservation and education. Our next stop was the Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society Research & Library Headquarters. Here we furthered our research on Swift Lathers, and found that hundreds of copies of his weekly newspaper, Mears Newz, are available to read or purchase. The research librarian spent about an hour talking to us, and a visit to the local taqueria finished off another fruitful field trip.
As Elodie left, our newest resident Emily Harris arrived, just in time to give a talk on her work at our weekly Sunday evening slide lecture. She used John Cage's method of random chance to present her work and the work she admires: As the audience called out a number, she read a text, played a video, or showed a slide that correlated to this random number system. After four summers at Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art's low-residency MFA program, Emily's work has evolved from product to process. The rituals she was reciting while making objects became performance works in themselves, influenced by minimalist choreographers such as Yvonne Rainer.
Mary & Paul teamed up on their slide talk, presenting past work individually and talking about the projects they have and will make together. Paul was presenting his work to an audience for the first time, and explained his process of drawing with repetitive marks, leading into repetitive drawings, leading into series with repeated themes. Mary shared her site-responsive projects; noting several projects that involved a period of significant research, leading to a large-scale sculptural construction, that housed an interactive and extremely social element. Both artists charmed the crowd with their humorous and straightforward work, and although their shared language of correspondence was difficult to translate for us, the story of how they got here was enough for one night.
We feature residents artists and long-time pen-pals Mary & Paul together this week. Although Mary has been in residence since July 15th, Paul and she are working together as a collaborative team for the rest of their stay, through August 15th. Their artist talk last night wowed us all, and they have been hard at work homesteading the meadow with a hoping machine and cataloging the wildlife that thrives there.
Mary Rothlisberger is a thinker, writer, conversationalist, and relationalist situated in the hinterland of North America. Mary has served as a Collaborative Director of LOOK AROUND, a pop-up artspace and creative playground intentionally located in the small town of Palouse, Washington. She is the founder and facilitator of multiple micro-residency programs, including the Upper Bunk in Palouse, Washington and Outbuilding Discourses in Grand Rapids, Michigan; she has also developed a model for collaborative mobile road-residencies that criss-cross the North American landscape. She serves as the Executive Archivist for the Bureau of Public Recollection, a mnemonic research-based institution and an Editor and Producer for Palouse Palouse Press, an editorial and independent publishing collective specializing in localized production of zines and artist books. She collaborates as a producer and catalyst for Camp Little Hope and Cabin-Time. Mary Rothlisberger earned a BA in Religion from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and an MFA in Sculpture from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Her experimental academic degrees include Honors in Mystic Homeschool Correspondence Courses with James and Janie Washington in Seattle, Washington, and a Masters of Philosophy in Mistakes with a BA (Hons) in Avant Garde from the University of Incidental Knowledge in Leeds, England.
Her creative work is community-specific and socially responsive and thusly takes many different forms. Projects have included building a neighborhood radio station, facilitating a social center on a frozen lake, developing creative living systems within a former thrift store, exploring microcosmic cultural production within interstitial spaces, mystic homeschool correspondence courses, and living intentionally in a small town. She believes in a rational optimism, a compassionate intellect, and unconditional love. She has recently discovered the wonders of Michigan, where everything is on the way to the beach.
Paul Richardson, born and bred in Baltimore County, Maryland, works with a skewed ratio of accident and intention, and has only recently begun to understand how the former begets the latter. He rides a bicycle, walks the railroad, and rambles, sometimes, in his run-on thinking. His creative practice involves writing letters, reading out-loud, swimming every day, being considerate, and making small marks, one at a time. These things take time. His pace and method makes for many ongoing projects, which at present include an in-depth survey of the fifty state flags, an illustrative homage series to his favorite musicians, and a neverending penpalship that's part plainspeak and mostly metaphor. He is also entering the thirteenth hour recording a Ulysses audiobook and very willing to accept any suggestions on how to manage that upcoming middle portion that's written as a play. He is happiest in, underneath, or adrift on an oceanwave. It is all, and will be, afterall, swell. The tides are tugging at Michigan more than anywhere else that isn't an ocean. In engendering an inner finality, you buoy the boat you're afloat in.
Paul earned a BA in Communications & Philosophy at Fordham University in the New York Bronx, and went on to study in Mary's Mystic Homeschool. He has participated in collaborative projects and exhibited work in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Washington, California, Nebraska, and now Michigan.
Emily Harris, originally from Minneapolis, MN, is a Queens-based artist and a current MFA Candidate at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has exhibited her work in venues in New York; Ai Gallery and Bridge Art Fair, Chicago, IL; and internationally at 2B Gallery in Hungary; Bratislava, Slovak Republic and The Museum of Arts & Crafts, Itami-shi, Japan. She most recently participated in an exhibition at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY titled Musicircus II, an experimental multi-media event celebrating John Cage's centennial. She teamed with Paul Sadowski, an assistant of John Cage to recreate Cage's composition 47 Waltzes for 5 Boroughs. The completed piece will be presented at Cooper Union in New York City on September 8th, 2012.
Emily will be a Shared Space resident artist from August 5th through 11th, and will be speaking about her work at the Sunday evening slide talk this weekend, August 5th
Shared Space offers visiting artists and artists-in-residence facilities and support in a secluded and beautiful setting with the chance to meet and exchange with other artists as well as the responsibility of engaging the local community.