Each to Each
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
~ T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
We first encountered mermaids this week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom when ART YARD Artist Jane Huntington presented Reflection on the Meaning of Water.
Jane summarizes: “We began the lesson with discussing the works of three artists working in a variety of mediums.
The first I showed illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook for the NY Times using what looked like wood cuts/silkscreen method. What made this work unique was that as you scrolled down the page, the illustration was animated with its foregrounds, backgrounds and key objects shifted creating a camera like movement.
The second artist was Raymond Pettibon, who usually uses what looks like pen and ink, and perhaps Sharpie, in his journalistic drawings of surfers and waves which incorporate text. Pettibon lives in Hermosa Beach, CA a coastal area where surfing is part of some residents daily lives.
The third were photographic works by multi-media artist Roni Horn, an artist who returns to water, and it’s environment, time and again, often in Iceland, but not always. The first series was Still Water (the River Thames), a series of photographs of the murky waters of the Thames with footnotes about things that happened there. The next was Pooling Waters, taken during trips to Iceland, where she was greatly affected by its surreal landscape. The third series was You Are the Weather, where during a period of a month, she traveled with her friend Margrét, and from that, created 100 portraits of her taken over the course of the month in the thermal pools/hot springs that abound on the island.”
Maraya did a short video on her iPhone rephotographing an old family video from when they visited the Statue of Liberty featuring her brother, who died a few years ago. In the video, which was taken from a computer screen, her brother is shown in silhouette-unrecognizable except by those whom he was extremely close. Over the video, Mayara reads a passage from a book that took place in Galvaston (one of her brother’s favorite places). The passage, selected at random, begins with the line “surrendering to the inevitable.”
Maraya Lopez, Reflection on the Meaning of Water
Abby learned to swim in 2019, and is super excited to see Halle Berry as the new Ariel in the upcoming version of the little mermaid echoing the delight that little girls everywhere seeing a heroine that looks like them. There was much discussion on whether the dress material looks like water or fish skin-what do you think?
Doing a different take on the mermaid Ariel after binge watching cartoons from Gibley, a favorite Japanese animation studio, Eden’s piece features Ponyo (2008, dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli), the little mermaid as a five year old girl who becomes a fish and then eats a bowl of ramen with a five year old little boy. As usual, Eden makes use of her digital imaging skills to great effect.
Ed, greatly affected by water and its innate qualities, did a collage of black and white strips with blue curly swirls laid on top to mimic the water’s motion.
Like Maraya, Kevin’s work in progress focused on family. Drawn from the viewpoint of his standing in water, he sees his reflection along with the reflection of two other family members, whose identity is intentionally ambiguous.
Meridith painted a watercolor of water dripping from a pot of ferns in her garden. We loved the interplay of light on this delightful, everyday activity.
Inspired by the work of Veja Clemins, Jane’s piece is of the waters of the East River, her old haunt back in her days living in the East Village.
In ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at our studios at BWAC on Tuesday we had an All Girl Band of artists. While people were arriving Candy took the time to bring everyone over to the adjacent gallery to see her work as well as an installation of new work by Marie!
Candy Heiland with her work on display, and installations of paintings by Marie Roberts at BWAC
We then embarked in the first of a three-part series of sessions taught by ART YARD Teaching Artist Golnar Adili who introduced the session telling us that “this series will entail healing by delving into our past, self, and dreams. We will use different methods of letting the unconscious flow such as automotive drawing, finger painting, using both hands a plan drawing of our childhood home, and rolling a dice. In the first session we will use our fingers to paint as a way to start.”
Golnar showed us work by surrealists Meret Oppenheim and Leonora Carrington as inspiration.
Our All Girl Band finger painting!
Golnar says of the session: “Going into fingerprinting our dreams seemed a bit daunting. Initially hesitant to get their hands all covered in paint, I encouraged the participating artists to give it a try. Abby even pointed out that her beautifully manicured nails would actually provide her with a unique drawing tool. I am so glad everyone rose to the challenge because in the end we made magic!
The natural flow of conversation and ease amongst the group lent itself to deep introspection and heartfelt sharing. My own dream image collided with someone else’s recollected dreams, and on to another. We found connections emotionally, narratively, thematically and imagistically. In doing so we all had SO so much fun!”
As usual, the majestic view of the evening sky brought us additional joy.
Managing Director Dennis Buonagura shares an important behind the scenes aspect of how we operate at ART YARD BKLYN: “When teaching artists put together ideas for lessons, whether in the school system or in Advanced Studio, they rely on vitally needed 'prep time' - time prior to the class to create a sample piece to show students, develop a lesson plan, experiment with supplies to determine what 'works', double check our supply inventory, create and test timing schedules (remember - our class times are often limited so this is vital), and overall PREPARE.
Fatima selects dozens (possibly hundreds) of images to show students as inspiration and explanation. She creates sample pieces (such as the owl for PS 6, seen here), or a draft for a musical production backdrop (also seen here). Her lesson plans are perfectly timed - especially for classes in schools with lower grades - we need to keep students focused and on target, working step by step.
Prep work by Fatima Traore
I (or the teachers) generally create a PowerPoint presentation of images and art making processes - depending on the availability of a smart board in the school. This requires time - mapping the presentation out to be in proper order of steps, where to include time for questions and discussion, how to make it concise yet informative (and fun!), what images are appropriate for viewing, and sometimes sending to classroom teachers in advance to have students ready for action when we meet them in class.
Evelyn has completed a great amount of prep work for her classes at PS 17. Last week, she made a drawing/draft for the creation of a prop of Baby Simba for the school's production of The Lion King, and executed it in class using wire and plaster wrap. This week, Evelyn created a prototype at home for a cap like foam mask - we listed the supplies needed together, I ordered them and had them delivered to Evelyn's home, and she took photos of each step along the way, which were sent to the show's production team for agreement. Additionally, for current classes at PS 6, she started a piece pertaining to the mer-people lesson.
Prep work by Evelyn Beliveau
Prep time is very important as classes, whether long or short, seem to never be enough time. Our teaching artists need to arrive in class - ready to teach - therefore, time to develop, construct, create, plan, think, devise, and PREPARE is crucial.”
This week, at our partnership school in Brooklyn, The East New York High School of Arts and Civics, Dennis reports: “students advanced in their collage making techniques by going thru many magazines and other types of printed papers to find the right colors, textures, and sometimes shapes.