In ART YARD Advanced Studio on zoom this week Teaching Artist Golnar Adili introduced us a hysterical body of Christopher Niemann drawings in which he works with everyday objects to create visual puns.
Christoph Niemann, Sunday Sketches
Golnar explains further: “Inspired by Christoph Niemann’s Sunday Sketches, participating artists were challenged to find objects in their surroundings which could become a stand in for an element of a drawing.
Nayarit, zooming in from the bank after work, made many quick sketches animating what they could find in their work space. I particularly loved the earphone creatures! I also loved that the mouse of the computer became a mouse - a simple and postmodern gesture.
Nayarit Tineo, Monday Sketches (Headphones, Ring, Earbuds, Scissors, Gluestick, Glasses, Lock, Chips, Mouse)
Zeke made a wonderful balloon out of a zip tie and painted a person holding it- very much reminiscent of Niemann's drawings and captured its essence so beautifully.
Zeke Brokaw, Monday Sketches (Zip Tie, Screw)
Marilyn August, Monday Sketches (Toys, Peppers, Lemon, Veggies)
Alison Guinet, Monday Sketches (Mask, Scissors, Pencil Sharpener, Glue Bottle)
Critique was filled with laughter and surprise as we shared our work from the session!”
We were Seeing Poetry as the Sun Set Orange this week as Diana Rickard read her poems for ART YARD Advanced Studio in person at BWAC as we create art inspired by her words. (Diana is a poet and sociologist, and an Associate Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY. Her poems have recently appeared in a number of journals and magazines including The Brooklyn Rail, and her book on documentaries about wrongful conviction is forthcoming from New York University Press.)
I started the session sharing several examples of approaches to poetry inspired artwork:
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Lady of Shalott
And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
Hero and Leander
On Hellespont, guilty of true love’s blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood…
Antarah ibn Shaddad (525-608AD)
My heart is at rest: it is recovered from its intoxication. Sleep has calmed my eyelids, and relieved them.
Fortune has aided me, and my prosperity cleaves the veil of night, and the seven orders of heaven.
I am Waiting
I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
The artistic approach and materials were up to each artist. Perched on the edge of the stage in our studio, Diana first read her poem December and then reread a second time as we absorbed her words.
I discern, distinguish, enumerate decades between lyrics can gleam everything I ignore worry needlessly about what I would take if I had to go all the objects I care about and paid for rendered null and moot in a shift, a flick, a blink This sweet soul of mine stinks a little under scar tissue the era always one of backlash I can’t describe it with this scratchy finished pen I swear they make them with less ink these days but won’t concede I’m a paranoid curmudgeon Just because I never saw Soylent Green doesn’t mean I can’t put it in a poem or doesn’t mean I don’t know the history of my doughy skin ancient parts of the globe peasants suffering for centuries pulling tubers from the earth As 2021 draws to a close here I am rich and full with anticipation of all the content I can’t wait to consume I’ll tell you about it on the other side of my cluttered email after I dust and boil eggs and change the mattress topper For a long time it seemed my nose was always running Was it years? months? And then somehow, I realize now it stopped some time ago, I don’t know when I hear the sirens of ghost traffic The pandemic echoes an ugly, crass, utilitarian word I’d like to find someone behind rows of chairs and munch licorice and drink blueberry Mash which I’ve said before It seems we’ve been talking about looking back on this time for years and years like we’re trapped in Westworld compressed looped scenes over and over and again asking is this now?
Ed’s piece depicts empty chairs floating behind a portrait of Kirk Douglas, eating his bowl of Soylent Green.
I honed in on the boiling eggs, and in the second reading on mod-patterned sheets and small valise.
Meridith McNeal, Seeing Poetry
As we drew and painted the floor was open to questions, comments and intellectual exchange. Next we embarked on a reading of second poem with the same process.
On the last day of the year I did laundry and Betty White died. I found my psychedelic childhood sheets on eBay and the small, similar valise. My corner of the metropolis was tinsel-lit. My spirit had a liverish glow. I was alienated from real world conditions but not in a bad way. I wanted health but didn’t have the discipline to achieve it. What I tended to do was scan my surroundings and would change something if something pricked. Our attempts at risk calculation are a delusion, I thought, drowsy in Omicron’s cacophony and the book I was reading required small, pleasurable sips. Its cerebral imaginary elevated my consciousness for a little bit. I also read about “body envelope violations” and thought I saw real anguish concealed in an animal print. The animals are strapped to machines, I knew, across the country and a week later would learn, from Stephen Colbert, more of this horror: virtual reality goggles on caged milk cows to make them happier believing they are on grass and under sky, their Matrix. But then my day was a series of trivial dilemmas such as questions about when and if a next coffee and I napped in a list of Holzer truisms I never bothered to read. I was here and not here when the year ended, the one during which Texas froze and people died in Washington State’s extreme heat and we abandoned a nation leaving millions to face certain famine, the year like so many years my screens screamed and screamed and they even announced a sequel to Scream. That day I thought about the separation of what matters from matter, improved my life with a new shoe rack, organizer cart and hamper. On the last day of the year I ordered meatball sliders and watched Andy Cohen get drunk, and toast, of course, to Betty White.
During our art making Diana engaged with participating artists in a lively dialogue.
Robin, who worked in black and white acrylic, shared her insight that Diana’s poetry seemed to be comparable to abstract painting. Robin adds: "Tuesday night Advanced Studio was very rewarding! I was very intrigued by Diana’s poetry! I appreciated her use of stylized language! She is a truly a talented writer. I enjoyed the art and poetry integration experience."
Alison found herself so deeply engaged in the words that she was flummoxed as to visual imagery.
Delphine responded with a surrealistic amalgam of some of her signature well-drawn figurative bits and pieces, which included a text snippet.
Interestingly Nayarit's mishearing of the word "seated" as "seeded" resulted in a wonderful series of paintings and a fruitful discussion of the nuance of language.
Nayarit Tineo, Seeing Poetry
Jacob Levenson sums up: “It was such a rare treat to gather as visual artists and writers at ART YARD Advanced Studio on Tuesday and explore where we overlap in ideas, experience and the origin of our creative energy”
This was week 3 of our lesson on stained-glass-inspired collages in ART YARD Art Matters at BNS. Galvanized by examples from art history, students are designing and executing collages on black paper using simplified shapes like those used to compose images in stained glass.