Help, Heal, Soothe
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio on Zoom we had spectacular session with Teaching Artist Vera Tineo who presented Water: A Healing Element in which we explored the concept of how water helps, heals and soothes.
Vera’s excellent presentation included works by David Hockney, Zaria Forman, Katsushika Hokuasi, Margarethe Vanderpas, and Samantha French. (shown in that order below)
Vera summarizes: “I found it really interesting to explore our understanding of water as the collective of ART YARD Artists, equally so looking through the eyes of the group at water as a resource. I was surprised that a lot of people expressed their fear surrounding bodies of water! So different than my own experience with water, this was truly eye opening.
Using very different materials to Illustrate the power of water and it’s rhythmic force Pat used a new brush and watercolor (more details and images further down), Madison oil paint on board and Karla depicted the ocean as seen through a window in a collage of envelope windows and lining graphics and other cut paper on handmade paper.
Madison Mack, Water I & II
I loved seeing the work which explored water’s function in our lives as in work by Meridith, painting a Roman fountain, Robin recollecting hot childhood days in the public pool, and Abby envisioning the view above while peacefully floating in a family pool, all of whom honor the beauty and journey water can provide.
Several artists took a very personal approach -- Zeke recalling his ferry commute to ART YARD Summer Session 2019, Ashleigh illustrating her daughter drinking from the tap, Delphine further exploring her hand/gesture series, Naya reflecting upon her name taken from a type of water and Sarah depicting a verse from the Koran which she translates for us "We are made from water, every living thing.".
Vera concludes: "Protecting water and taking a stance to do so is another theme I was very glad to see in work created by Jacob, Nayarit and Marilyn.”
Jacob explains the backstory on his Morandi-reminiscent painting: "Over the summer I attended a water protector camp to protest the construction of Line 3. My painting is of the jugs of water in the shared kitchen tent of the camp base."
Nayarit expounds upon her trio of art works: "One of my pieces that consist of the New York City skyline is based on the sea levels prediction of 2100 If sea levels continue to rise based on climate change. People don’t realize that most major city are at a coast region and we can potentially lose our home, our city.
The second piece is about hydrophytes in thinking about growing plants and food only on the bases of water considering that fertile soils are being exploited in many ways and we have to rethink what it will be for agriculture. Both in term of GMO plants to irrigation and the use of water.
The last one is just sharing a charity that promotes and helps create clean water wells around the world, in effort to give clean water access to people as it should be a human right."
Nayarit Tineo, Water l, ll & lll
Marilyn shares her concept: “Living in California for many years, I am accustomed to the frequent droughts when water conservation is required and local water restrictions are implemented. For Vera’s wonderful and thought-provoking lesson, I focused on my daily routine of trying to conserve every drop of water possible. I have bottles and buckets lined up that are filled with rinse water from dishes. This water is essential for the garden, especially during the summer, as well as for my indoor orchids. The lesson was a good reminder for how critical water is to our lives.”
In a conceptually layered response to Vera’s session, Maraya explains: “I was inspired to work in collage for this piece after reading a recent interview written in Art Forum about the late Romare Bearden. I was playing and trying to convey a sense of destruction by cutting up images. Then, I added a layer of waves, drawn in sharpie marker to evoke a meditative quality. Lastly, my hand was traced in to question my place in the world and responsibility as a human being.”
Continuing to work over the week, Kevin completed two water pieces. He explains: "The first piece is of the water cycle. I used pastels to complete each part, and decided to place them in a circle to show that the cycle is endless, always moving."
Ed tells us about his collage: "Growing up in Minnesota, The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, boating and canoeing was a rite of passage. My collage depicts a young man rowing a small craft in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a pristine waterway of over 200 miles of rivers and lakes on the Minnesota/Canadian border. After portaging into the inner lakes, the water was so clean you could drink it without boiling it. We boy-scouts canoed and camped for a full week in August, swimming and fishing in the rivers and lakes surrounded by black granite islands, pine forests and clear, ice cold water. The serenity at twilight was breathtaking as you lost yourself in the bliss of nature's perfection, until the sonic boom smack of a beaver's tail on the glassy water jolted you back to your senses."
Jane worked quickly and intuitively on a watery watercolor water triptych. (Channeling Reg on that description! 😸)
Jane Huntington, Water l, ll & lll
After quite a busy day Pat sent this text about her work for Vera's session: "I was interested in exploring water as a medium with my new big watercolor brush. There really is something healing for me in brushing pigmented water across the surface of the paper and watching it flow. Water is powerful. Some of the other pieces this week show the power, even sometimes threatening, of water. Watercolors can have a mind of their own, and my pieces for this week were a way for me to surrender control and (literally) go with the flow. "
Pat Larash, Water I & II
Vera had us spiritedly discussing not only the work created in the session but the question she posited to us: "What have or will YOU do for water?". I think this bears ruminating by all of us.
Dennis compliments: “I loved Vera's Advanced Studio lesson this week - extremely well presented and it gave participants a wide variety of ideas. It made me think of the fantastic 2017 Guillermo del Toro film, The Shape of Water, romance/fantasy, somewhat sci-fi, which is about a silent maintenance person at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured humanoid-ish amphibian creature. Sounds crazy, huh? It's really quite beautiful - story-wise, cinematography-wise and the soundtrack is gorgeous.
It has sort of an old Hollywood horror film feel which lets the viewer empathize with the creature - think of The Creature From The Black Lagoon (who doesn't love that creature?).... and also think of that iconic image of Marilyn Monroe with her white dress blowing up from the breeze from the subway below her where she (her character in The Seven Year Itch) had just come from seeing The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and comments that the creature "just wanted to be loved".
Somehow, I think it would have been differently more appealing to me had it been filmed in black and white - but then that's just me - altho, the final color version is truly dazzling.
So ... what IS the shape of water? That could have been the subtext of Vera's lesson. The title of the film has something to do with Plato's idea that in its purest form, water takes the shape of an icosahedron, a 20-sided something-or-other, evoking the idea that beauty, and humanity, has many faces. OK - yes, of course, I had to look that up .... but I'll bet Ed Rath can tell us ALL about that!
On that note (titles involving water - its shape and color), a lovely book called The Color of Water is a memoir by James McBride, a black man's tribute to his white mother. It also came to mind during Vera's lesson. That book is pretty high on my hit parade.
I think everyone who participated in Vera's Advanced Studio lesson will enjoy both.”
Not only did Vera create a compelling lesson, filled with terrific examples, spur on an wonderful dialogue about her theme, but she created a stellar piece during the session!
Vera Tineo, The Healing Power of Water
The next day ART YARD Advanced Studio in person met at Figureworks Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We were floored by the fantastic two-person exhibition of work by Jay Moses and Ana Busto.
Figureworks Director Randall Harris describes the exhibition and the work on view: “Ana has built upon her Raku and wood fired ceramic portraits with wooden bases to create fully formed entities. Jay has developed provocative digital collages from his paintings and photography with images from magazines, advertisements and social media. Both artists, deriving inspiration from very different sources, create spectacular dialogue and a unique harmony with each other. The additional strength in this work lies in the artist’s ability to evoke a wide range of emotional responses.”
Randall has done a splendid job curating! The works are placed in such a way that there is a wonderful active dialogue between works. The viewer can follow many threads – materials, form, content and emotional response to the work. Robin made an apt and interesting comparison from Jay’s work to the layered content of work by Jean Michel Basquait. Surrounded by and inspired in part by the work on view we all created collages.