Posts Tagged ‘Oregon City’

Jaipur cover_bogHello, everyone, I’m not dead. I’ve been… well, that’s a long story for another post. Right now I want to tell you that The Theory and I have put together three new books about Oregon sculptor Lee Kelly. Who is, coincidentally, my father.

Observatory at Jaipur
Catalog accompanying Lee’s show in October 2015 at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Full color, 86 pages. Get it here: Observatory at Jaipur

One through Nine_cover_blogLee Kelly: One through Nine
In 2013, Lee Kelly created a significant body of new work, a series of paintings entitled “One through Nine.” These nine paintings are oil on canvas, a medium the artist had largely abandoned in 1963. However, these new paintings do not represent a return to Kelly’s Abstract Expressionist past but emerged from his sculptural work of the last ten to 15 years. Full color, 68 pages. Get it here: Lee Kelly: One through Nine

A bog cover_blogBook of Gardens
A Book of Gardens was first published by Lee Kelly and Bonnie Bronson in 1987 as a study of garden designs from India, ancient Egypt and Japan. Hand-printed and illustrated by Lee Kelly, designed and spiral bound by Bonnie Bronson, this small book had a single release of fewer than fifty copies. This 2015 edition includes a facsimile reproduction of the original book and photographs from Lee’s sculptures as installed at his home in Oregon City. Get it here: A Book of Gardens

For the next week or so, I’ll send free pdfs to anyone interested in taking a look at the books. Leave me comment below and I’ll get back to you.

What’s next?
With these books in mind, I’m considering doing some posts about the process of putting together print-on-demand books for artists. In a world where exhibition catalogs can be expensive to produce, print-on-demand might be something for artists to consider. So more on that later. And hopefully another year doesn’t pass before I do these posts!

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When we last spoke (regrettably, almost a year ago), my studio needed a new roof and our bee hive had died.

So let’s catch up. The roof was replaced, but not without further adventures in dry rot, wet rot, basically all sorts of rot. The Theory and I had to lie down with warm compresses on our foreheads and whiskey in our coffee cups after writing that check. The good news is that the roof doesn’t leak anymore.

On a beautiful day in early May, we welcomed a new box of bees to the hive. We learned so much after last year, such as don’t let paper wasps set up shop anywhere near your girls. Don’t let your hive get wet and moldy (see paragraph above for rot). And keep feeding those girls into the fall months. We had favorable weather through November, and even when winter set in, it hasn’t been cold or rainy for long. We have our fingers and toes crossed.

The summer months were taken up with a new project. My father built an archive building to house and preserve his and my stepmother’s artwork. When I say build, let’s keep in mind that professionals (Meng-Hannan Ltd) were involved. Check this: the archive building is the first new structure on the property since 1923 and the only one that is up to code. I just get shivers.

And no year of ups and downs would be complete without someone losing their job. And that would be me. After 19 years and 11 months, my stint as a kept woman came to an end. I know about doors closing and windows opening (people say the darnedest things…over and over again). But what I came away with, along with my wheelie chair and a box of binder clips, was admiration for the people I worked with for all those years.

What will I do next? I believe a nap is in order. But I have one interesting factoid from the land of the unemployed: there is just as little time in the day when you don’t have a job as when you do. And here I thought I would get so much done!

The Theory has some encaustic research goodies to pass on, which I will do in a couple of days. In the meantime, happy new creativity, everyone!

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I’m back at work. Look at this hot mess:

Shnake, 2012. Mixed media.

Shnake, 2012. Mixed media.

My first mistake was to say to myself, “Self, Jasper Johns did all that great art by embedding bits of newspaper in wax. Since you don’t have any other ideas, why don’t you do that?”

And maybe I started out okay, But I’m just not a minimal person. Soon I was thinking about a beautiful Buddhist statue I saw in Thailand once upon a time that was covered with bits of gold leaf. The gold leaf squares were loosely attached and little corners would shiver with the least breeze, making the stature look like a mirage. And before I knew it, I was leaving corners and bits of paper sticking up, just like that.

And what did I have? A shaggy old mess. I ironed it pretty relentlessly to de-shaggify it, and I’m thinking about adding a final layer of clear medium. The image has a bit of glare on it, so the colors aren’t quite right. Pretty good photo for my old LG phone!

The good news is that although I didn’t have any ideas when I started out, I immediately distracted myself. Up close, the bits of paper look interesting. And for the last few days I’ve enjoyed looking at it. But I need a real idea–and soon.

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On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, a ragtag crew of sculptors, welders and students installed a public art project in downtown Oregon City. Created by Oregon sculptor, Lee Kelly, and called moontrap (lowercase m is intentional), this sculpture was commissioned by the Rotary Club of Oregon City and gifted to the citizens of Oregon City, past present and future.

Lee, father of this blog’s author, has lived in Oregon City since 1963. And despite his lengthy residency, moontrap is his first piece of public art  in his home town. Go anywhere else in the state and you’ll see quite a bit of Lee’s work.

Moontrap is located on Railroad Avenue and Eighth Street, anchored to the large concrete wall that separates the railroad tracks from the city.

Initial sketch of moontrap on a cocktail napkin. Winestock, Oregon City, February 2011.

The idea for moontrap was sketched on a paper napkin one evening at Winestock, our local wine stop, almost a year ago. The idea was to make a connection between the natural world of the basalt bluffs and Singer Creek above, and the human built world of industry and commerce. The title of the sculpture comes from Moontrap by Don Berry about the rowdy, raucus early days of Oregon City, and the compromises that had to be made in order to live with civilization.

At the dedication a few days later, Railroad Avenue was filled with citizens of Oregon City, members of the Rotary Club, Winestock folks, and friends from distant Portland, all celebrating a new work of public art in Oregon’s first city. Art and the rain—two good reasons to take shelter and create fellowship in this funny old town.

Here are some photos taken by The Theory on November 1, 2011:

Moontrap is made from type 304 stainless steel. It is 39' in length and 8' 9" in height.

Lee Kelly and D'Nita Carbone (at center) with moontrap installation crew, November 1, 2011.

Moontrap, looking north on Railroad Avenue, Oregon City.

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Here are scans of two new encaustic pieces done over the weekend. The text (which is visible despite my best efforts) is from my journal last summer. I did eight pieces like this. The one with pink chalk is slightly more successful. The other has a yellowish chalk that doesn’t scan well, but has kind of a nice opacity in real life. I have two or three pieces that don’t have any chalk and look good.

Kassandra Kelly. Distance. 2011. Mixed media on prepared board. 9" x 12"

Kassandra Kelly. Through Sleeping Air. 2011. Mixed media on prepared board. 9" x 11"

I think I’ll try this technique again and see what happens. I’m still not sure about the value of scraping off the wax–there’s something like revision in the process but the tool I’m using (lino cutter with a square chisel thing, I’m sure there’s a word for it) looks so much like whittling. Which it is, generally. Oh, well. Maybe I don’t always have to know why. Wow, there’s a concept!

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I’ve never been a huge fan of green. As Dad says, “Green is what happens when you’re doing something else.” I presume he means doing something else with blue and yellow.

Verdigris "rust" on some kind of copper or bronze fixture.

The green pigments I’ve been able to afford are quiet earth colors just a step or two away from gray. In other words, boring. But I was listening to the incredibly diverting At Home, Bill Bryson’s newest and learned something about how to make green pigment. Do yourself a flavor and get the audio book. Bill is a perfect reader—soft-spoken and funny. No one delivers a line like “…and he died, obscure and penniless, a broken man,” with more vaudevillian regret. In this text, Bill describes how the ancients made verdigris, the basis of green.

It’s simple. Take some copper and suspend it over a vat of horse dung and vinegar. The copper will corrode, like it does on your arm when you wear a copper bracelet. Scrape the green “rust” off and there is it. A Google search reveals that horse dung is just the beginning. Lots of people prefer using their own urine, and in fact there was some discussion at Winestock the other night about how common this is. Mind you, the discussion was among men, and I was faintly disgusted.

Here’s an image of a work in a series by Andy Warhol from 1978 called Oxidation. The Theory tells me this series was created in just this way, with urine:

Andy Warhol, Oxidation Paintings. 1978. Acrylic ground, copper metalic paint, urine on canvas.

Here is a lovely description of the final result:

“For all the conjecture surrounding why Warhol made these somewhat perverse works, one is left, in the final analysis, with objects of extraordinary beauty. The present example is one of the largest Warhol ever ‘made’, possessing the same qualities one finds in Oriental screens. Indeed, a Zen-like serenity pervades the surface, quite at odds, one can imagine, with their creation One can see the paintings as ethereal landscapes, or portraits of micro-organisms, wildly amplified Whichever way one looks at them, the Oxidation Paintings remain Warhol’s most economic works and some of his most elegant compositions.”

I found this text on a restricted area of the Georgetown University web site (it came up in a Google keyword search, so how restricted could it be?) and there was no author given. Go here to read the entire the article which also includes some entertaining notes on who did what.

Addendum: The Theory used his mad skills to glean more information about the article quoted above: “The author is Martin Irvine of Georgetown U.  Teaches contemporary art theory and visual culture. He is quoting an exhibition catalog from Piss & Sex Paintings and Drawings, from Gagosian (NYC, Madison Avenue).  Catalog essay was by Bruce Hainley.  Exhibition dates September/November, 2002.  Catalog is out of print.”

(While this not a proper citation, I express my thanks to both Georgetown University and the Gagosian Gallery for the link.)

While I really hope NOT to use my or anyone else’s bodily products, verdigris seems like a worthy Hive experiment. The Theory checked pH levels of various household compounds and discovered that very close to the top, just after battery acid (1.0 pH), was lime juice (1.8 to 2.0), followed by lemon juice (2.2 to 2.4) and vinegar (2.2). Go here to check pH values of other interesting household items.

Bits of copper salvaged from other projects.

I took some bits and pieces of copper and put half in white vinegar and half in concentrated lemon juice. Both solutions were warmed and soaked in paper towels with the copper bits arranged on top. The lime juice I set aside for my gin and tonic constitutional. Check back later to see how my verdigris experiment is progressing.

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Sniplits is featuring my short story The Blesser this week for free! It’s a podcast read aloud for you by the lovely and seductive voice of Rebecca Gallagher. Go and bathe your eardrums with the story of Ronnie and Nick. And check back–Sniplits has much more excellent content including free stories every week.

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