CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, October 25
4 – 8 pm • 25th Annual CHAIRITY Art Auction, 12 Gates Street, Utica
April 22 (Earth Day)
Works in Progress Reception
Works in Progress Reception
HIGHLIGHTS: Monika Burczyk, Executive Director
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: Olivia Valentine
ALUMNI: Kim Carr Valdez & Paul Valdez
DONOR: 25 years, 25 chairs!
PUBLIC ART: THE SEASON OF SCULPTURE:
NANO at the Marcy Nanocenter at SUNYIT
THE SEASON OF SCULPTURE:
Persephone at Griffiss International Sculpture Garden
Monika Burczyk, Executive Director
The easiest way to describe the happenings at Sculpture Space over the past few months is the following equation: JUNE fire – AUGUST design + SEPTEMBER x reconstruction = OCTOBER CHAIRity!
On October 25th, we will celebrate the Silver Anniversary of our signature fundraiser and showcase for local, regional, national and international artistic talent. We are dedicating our celebration to Rosalind Diamond (who recently passed away), a long-time Board member and a founder, with Nancy Robinson (current Treasurer), of this amazingly successful event. We are also very excited to unveil the transformative renovations to 12 Gates following the studio fire on June 10th. While the cause of the blaze was not immediately clear (most likely a faulty box fan) what was obvious was how to proceed. After quickly relocating our Artists in Residence with the assistance and generosity of our community of alums, Board and staff brainstormed as to what enhancements might be made to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. By improving our facility (based on AIR feedback gathered over the years), we hope to ensure that our programs remain vital and vibrant for decades to come.
In addition to galvanizing friends from the past 38 years, the fire has also highlighted the talents and expertise of our neighborhood partners. As a Made in Utica/Built in Utica initiative, we have partnered or sought advice from dozens of local suppliers, fabricators and service professionals, including Adjusters International, Gaetano Construction, Meyda Lighting, GreenIgnite, the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, BGM Supply, ECR International, Big Apple Music, Cobblestone Construction, Winterton Painting, JGA of Utica, Fred Collis & Sons, Morehouse Appliances, McQuade & Bannigan, JayK Lumber and others. Now that the rebuilding is complete and our roof has been restored, we are raising funds to replace our aging furnace with a green, high-efficiency gas boiler system that will complete our vision. Other CHAIRity sponsors – both old and new – have helped us immeasurably through their generosity and support. And, as always, our family of artists have provided a wonderful array of art; in addition to Wrapped Fountain (yet another stellar Christo piece), we have the singularly delightful E’s Drawing (a sculpture by John von Bergen) and will also be raffling off Double Chai, a painting generously donated by our past president Sheila Smith.
Of course, this revolutionary year has created a heightened sense of our upcoming 40th anniversary in 2016. As we look ahead to what will be, we have also been reflecting on the past. Reminiscing with Sylvia de Swaan and Jonathan Kirk, the first leaders of Sculpture Space, they spoke about never narrowly defining sculpture. By making a home for artists with diverse and emergent practices from the start, Sculpture Space has been able to avoid fixed notions or academic limitations that might have constrained its vision. Almost 40 years later, I am proud to say we maintain this tradition of the untraditional.
If you — like us at Sculpture Space – believe in the special, the unexpected, the new, the surprising and the innovative, we urge you to stay involved. As we continue to recover from the fire, smoke, soot and water, our list of needs is long. The first of our annual Friends letters will be sent in November. As always, your contribution allows us to present exceptional events and extraordinary artists that enliven our lives and enrich our community, that distinguish Utica as a place which values its rich cultural past while fueling its creative future.
MONIKA: Last year you were at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as a Fountainhead Fellow in the Department of Craft and Material Studies. The year before you were on a Fulbright in Turkey. What were some of your projects?
OLIVIA: In Turkey, I worked on several projects. My research was on Oya, the name for the specific lace that is on the edge of the headscarves that some women in Turkey wear. I did two site-specific installations, one in Istanbul called Panorama and one called Walking Oya that documented walks in Cappadocia around the tops of the iconic Table Mountains. While it seems like there were many walkers, if you look closely at the photographs, they are all me! In addition to those, along with my husband Firat Erdim (a Turkish-American artist and architect), we ran a project space in the Karsıyaka neighborhood of Izmir. The project, called Flash Atölye, took place in a commercial arcade. We produced ten exhibitions over the course of the year, that featured Turkish and international artists collaborating with the merchants – a barbershop, a nail salon, a butcher, a clothes seller. (For photos, go to: http://flashatolye.tumblr.com)
MB: Why Turkey?
OV: Lots of reasons! Intellectually, I am interested in the relationship between architecture and textile, as well as in ornamentation. The Turkish word “nakıs” (pronounced: nakoosh) actually captures this dynamic. While it generally refers to ornamentation, this word is most often used for embroidery. But in Cappadocia, it is also often used to talk about decorative stonework. Cappadocia is a place that, for me, is about edges, which is where my interest in textiles is located. To be honest, Turkey itself is a transitional, interstitial place: politically, socially, culturally, historically. Getting to learn Oya from the community of women in the village I worked in was fantastic and craft is very much appreciated in Turkey.
MB: I looked up Oya, it has a fascinating history.
OV: Yes, it dates back to the Ottoman Empire. The designs often come from plants and flowers and there is a tradition of attaching expressive meaning to the strands, which I see as similar to the language of flowers that the Victorians so loved.
MB: The piece you are working on at Sculpture Space was begun at VCU, is that right?
OV: Yes, it is based on the architecture of the Wilton House Museum in Richmond and will be featured in a show there called Anywhere But Now that opens in November. Then I will be in Rome for six months or so.
MB: So, how are you able to do your work – which demands so much space, time and concentration – while being so peripatetic at the same? Is this how you imagined your career and studio practice?
OV: While I certainly didn’t plan it this way, I don’t mind being completely itinerant right now. I am a bit tired at the moment – I am going into my third year of moving around! But I am really excited to go to Rome, because of the relationship between drawing and construction in the historical cityscape. A nice thing about textiles is that they fold up! I can usually put work in the mail or pack it into the back of my car even if it is very large. I have run into some interesting challenges in terms of my drawings, as I tend to draw full-scale architectural renderings to begin.
MB: Can you tell me more about these drawings?
OV: Sure, they are related to the same feminist sensibility that drew me to textiles. With lace you have a very gendered history, right? Think of the Vermeer painting The Lacemaker, with the image of a woman bent over working on a lace pillow. I also work on a sloped table top, but think of it more like an architect’s drafting table. I am always trying to draw relationships between these different scales and modes of working. Most of my recent work starts with a full-scale architectural drawing, which, in itself is a bit of an anomaly, which I then go through a painstaking process of translating these large drawings into lace.
MB: Can you tell me a bit about bobbin lace?
OV: European lace-making has two general types, needle and bobbin. Needle lace started in Italy and moved north. Bobbin lace started in Belgium and moved south. Over time, they overlapped and intersected, so there are many variations of both of them. While needle lace is linked to embroidery, bobbin lace’s origins are murkier, with ancestors in plaiting (braiding) and passementerie (decorative tassels). I used to start my pieces with knitting or crocheting, and then I would add the drawing element. After discovering bobbin lace, I realized I could draw first and then build the lace – so it allows me to make drawings in a way that I had not imagined before. I see my work as spatial drawing, whether on paper, photographs, or lace. As my graduate school professor once said, this kind of work exists in “2-1/2 dimensions!”
MB: If you could do a piece based on any famous building or architect, who would that be?
OV: As an undergraduate studying architecture at Cooper Union, I was very interested in the houses of Adolf Loos. I would love to do a project in one of his houses: there is such a stark contrast between exterior and interior space in them. A lot of my research looks at the divisions between these spaces and the windows that occupy the space of both inside and outside. I also love Gaudi, and particularly
his modeling techniques: he used string and gravity to model the curves that he used. I often use sandbags in my work that are a direct quote from Gaudi’s models.
MB: I’ve learned that many of our AIRs whose work is very detailed — requiring hours of intense concentration — tend to watch TV or movies as they construct their pieces. Is there a favorite show that comes to mind for your practice?
OV: Ha! I often refer to TV as my “butt glue” and have had extensive conversations with colleagues about which TV shows are best to watch while working – the requirements are extensive. Law and Order is a great one, as there are so many episodes, and it is also not a highly visual show.
MB: The piece you are working on at Sculpture Space is one of your largest yet. Just how many hours and how many miles of thread do you think you will use by the time you’ve finished?
OV: Oh I don’t count, precisely, though I have acquired about 8 pounds of thread. I guess a better measure might be how many seasons of a TV show it takes!
MONIKA: You both share — in addition to a marriage, child and house — a studio. And you both create exquisitely crafted objects. At Sculpture Space, AIRs often comment on the experience of “working alone together,” and the unconscious and conscious dialogues that occur as they share studio space. Can you talk a bit about your respective creative processes: how and when do you collide, inspire, challenge, or connect with one another?
PAUL: Our processes collide whenever we talk about our work to each other. I am much more formal and organized in my ideas and work ethic. I must try, fail or succeed in a linear progression. Kim is more likely to proceed in circular or lateral way. Rarely do we cross paths. We connect by sharing our failures in the process and the success of making the materials work to our needs.
KIM: Our creative process often meets when one of us is exploring a new process, especially in metal. We both work with metals and identify as metalsmiths, but in very different ways. So having someone to bounce technical problems off is very helpful. Paul has always taken care of most studio needs: building tables, sourcing tools, maintaining equipment, making my time in the studio much easier to manage! Over the years, we’ve tried to maintain an honest dialogue when it comes to critiquing work; we always push one another in order to maintain high standards of both craft and design.
MB: Where do you see your work going in the next few years? What ideas and forms are most compelling to you right now?
KCV: I am working on developing a jewelry line and hope to be able to have a casting setup soon, that will allow me to set up a business. I have a few prototypes worked out inspired from the Canal Street series. I was given a gift of beads that I plan to use to create jewelry, decorative objects and sculptures with. It’s a different direction for me but one that I am excited to be going in. I am also very interested in continuing to investigate the use of metallic acrylic paint – a kind of counterfeit instead of the real metal — in found object molds. I am intrigued by what is real and artificial and how the transformation of any object into a false material creates meaning. I would like to reintroduce found objects that are recreated in paint as I develop this technique.
PV: For the past three years I have not had a studio to work in. As I gear up to get back to work, I am reviving my study of pouring vessels (or watering cans) as well as just pounding out copper sheet into sculptural forms as a progression of the Artifacts. I see the watering cans are a study in formal skill, basically the planning and execution of a traditional craft form. My Artifacts (a term I use for my sculpture) are more a study of my hand at work. They come out in more of an unplanned, spontaneous way as my hands manipulate the material and the hammer. With a new body of work I hope to be able to support my studio work by participating in select craft shows and pursuing gallery representation.
MB: Both of you have a bit of the magpie in you, sometimes I think all artists – especially sculptors – are collectors at heart. Paul, you showed me a bucket of hammers that you “rescued,” transformed and made new. Can you tell me about these?
PV: I alter the face of a ball peen hammer to achieve different patterns on the surface of my raised vessel forms, that’s why I began to collect and restore them. The hammers are not really a body of work but more a hobby, I see it as a mission to help bring life back to a tool that I have a connection with.
MB: Kim, I am drawn to the rules you created for yourself for the Canal Street series as much as the objects themselves.
KCV: I started collecting objects I found on the streets when I was working on Canal Street in NYC, where there were a lot of black market goods. I noticed these small metal objects on the sidewalks because I was trying to avoid eye contact with the vendors and was looking down. At first, I only picked up watch links. I made up this rule that whatever I collected had to come directly from the sidewalk or street and within a few blocks of Canal. I used a new Ziploc bag every day and I would note the date and location of everything I found. Well, soon that became entirely impractical! So then I came up with a system where I would put what I had found in a wristlet that I would empty out at the end of the week and then label. Special items I would date by the day. The watch links I began to organize like a puzzle at the end of each month. Other works vary widely but most have some chronological structure. The chronology is important to me because I feel that it is like a record of trade as well as a diary.
MB: Are either of you eyeing anything special now to start a new collection with?
PV: Not at the moment.
KCV: I generally collect decorative objects related to fashion and the beauty industry, or mechanical parts and pieces of hardware. I have been collecting Orbit gum wrappers for about five years now; my son and I have plans for these that involve a dump truck and a rocket ship… After moving my household and studio every couple of years, I have become very selective with what I collect in regard to scale, but now that we seem to be settling in Utica for awhile, this may be changing!
MB: What’s it like being artists in Utica?
KCV: Both of us are fairly slow to change from being Brooklyn artists to Uticans even though we lived upstate in the past. There is potential here. It is a small and supportive community of people, some with great talent, who aspire for more for than what the current art scene has to offer. Sculpture Space and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute have been our primary cultural connection here and we try to support these organizations as they are vital to the future arts community.
MB: How about any potential for collaborations between the two of you?
BOTH: We have always worked autonomously. We just bought a house and can finally unify our studio after years of compromises and separate circumstances. What comes from that remains to be seen!
MB: Any best quotes from your son about art: his, yours or others?
BOTH: Jackson says: “I am a messy painter and I only like BIG paper.” Need he say more?
MONIKA: How long have you been doing public art projects?
OSMAN: Over eight years now.
MB: In that time, what has been your most challenging site and/or piece?
OA: Each site has its own challenges, but if I have to pick I would say Fragmenta installed in Anchorage, Alaska. The temperatures can drop to – 30F and there are Arctic winds that blow up to category 2 hurricane, in addition to seismic activity similar to that of California. Making a glass sculpture that can withstand those conditions, as well as installing it under those conditions was quite a feat!
MB: How long have you been a sculptor?
OA: I have been working professionally since 2002, prior to that was studying mostly. I would say I am more of a designer/artist than a typical sculptor. To me the difference is that I respond primarily to the parameters that come from the site where an artwork is to be placed. Artists such as Robert Irwin and James Turrell do this very well I think. I am also interested in light and artists that use it for outdoor pieces; in addition to Turrell, I would say I am drawn to artists like Dan Flavin, Robert Smithson and Heinz Mack.
MB: Tell me about the process of creating NANO.
OA: I have been working with filters that reflect light along different frequencies for a long time, I always strive for my sculptures to react to its surroundings through its surface. I like when you see an artwork from different angles, or from different perspectives, or in different light. And you see it as if for the first time. For a sculpture to interact with the sky, the landscape or the seasons, one has to consider the viewer first and foremost. As the surface reflects the changes around it on a daily basis, it has a fuller resonance that reinforces both the form and the site on which it stands. Obviously, the form can vary depending on the observer’s point of view, but the surface can also be dynamic and contemplative by embodying constant change and stillness at the same time.
MB: Any other factors that have fueled this responsiveness and interest in reflection for your sculptures?
OA: Yes — I come from an immigrant Background, I have always seen in multiple perspectives.
MB: I noticed that there is definitely an inside and an outside to NANO, can you explain this part of the design?
OA: It is quite intentional on my part, not there just because of the way the piece is made. The natural world plays between convex and concave surfaces — like breathing — I see it almost like a text, a collage where the opposites meet. In a way an artwork can embody several states in one form; it is a part of my process and I always like to keep these decisions transparent. Crystals work like this: there is interplay between surfaces, the depths that the angles manifest. Sort of like a kaleidoscope or juxtaposed mirrors that multiply images. Since nanotechnology is primarily about scale — an important topic of sculpture as well — I wanted to bring the notion of scale into the work. I find it curious that the reduction of complex organic matter to nanoscale results in basic geometric forms such as hexagons. I had already studied carbon nanotubes and their structure, so I wanted to generate a form that brought these nanoscale structures to the level of regular human perception: to use sculpture as an apparatus to enlarge and enable. Another aspect of NANO is that the structure and the surface are both the same; the entire artwork is cut out of steel sheets and the angles within hexagonal forms are those that give it strength. The modeling for NANO was done in 3D Max, which I use extensively. Parametric generation of the piece was done with Grasshopper software. The rest of the piece was cut, welded and then painted. I used Tnemec paint, which is the best available (and also incorporates nanotechnology itself!) chosen because of its durability.
MONIKA: How did you begin doing public art?
HOWARD: About 25 years ago I decided I was interested in having work installed publically. I knew in order to get commissions, I needed a piece to show clients, however my studio was really not large enough. However, I proceeded to make the biggest sculpture I could in that space, measuring 10’ x 10’ x 8’ — even though I knew there would be no way to get it out of there! When I was lucky enough to sell that sculpture (I had to take down a wall and cut the piece up to remove it), I bought the studio I am still in, with 24’ ceilings. After moving in, I again made the biggest sculpture I could manage (about 18’ high). That piece ended up being exhibited at the Pier Walk in Chicago, transported and installed at my own expense, and subsequently sold. From that point, with a two-piece portfolio, I was on my way.
MB: Is there a piece or site that stands out as most challenging or compelling?
HK: Always the one I am working on currently! But if I had to choose one, I would say Plexus, now at Florida International University in Miami, because of the complexity of its construction: it was very heavy, had many parts and required special engineering. Needless to say, there is a big difference between a 24” model and a 10’ sculpture. Plexus is spherical, made of bronze rods welded together with a lot of openings. An engineer looked at the model and we thought it was solid and strong. But when the actual sculpture was welded it had a certain amount of flex; because of the weight it was also egg-shaped, slightly shorter than it was wide. I consulted the engineer and all his solutions to correct that would have made the design worse. In the end, I left it as is, and it is still on the campus of Florida International University. I doubt if anybody has noticed its not-quite-roundness, even after all these years, but it made me much more aware of these alterations from model to real-world in subsequent projects.
MB: How long have you been making art?
HK: I have been an artist for as long as I can remember, I have been a sculptor exclusively for the last 35 years.
MB: What inspires you? Do you have any favorite artists or artworks?
HK: My first and most important inspiration was my older brother, who is an artist; then came comic books, then Picasso, then Matisse, then the Abstract Expressionists, who made me aware of art before the 20th century. My favorite sculptor of all time (if I had to pick one, which isn’t really possible) is Donatello, especially because some of his work was polychrome, which interests me. For painters, Breughel, especially The Seasons (of which there are five!).
MB: Can you talk a bit about Persephone?
HK: I wanted to make a colorful sculpture that appeared to be reaching upward. I had to devise a design that could be unassembled for powder coating, which was done after numerous drawings and a few models. I call it Persephone because it reminds me of a female figure but also a tree, and Persephone is the goddess of the regeneration of plant life every spring. It is made out of steel with green at the base/ground changing to yellow at the top/sun.
MB: What is your favorite part of the artistic process?
HK: Brainstorming and making the model.
MB: Its interesting that as a sculptor who makes public art, you prefer the phase that seems more solitary and individual?
HK: I wouldn’t say “solitary.” The creative process can be collaborative, models are usually modified after discussion. But I prefer the creative part of the process. Once the model is approved making the large sculpture is a more question of fabrication. Not that the process of executing a design as a large sculpture doesn’t have creative aspects, but I prefer the beginning.
MB: Do you have any advice to young artists, looking to enjoy a long and fulfilling career, such as you have had?
HK: If you are lucky enough to have an idea or inspiration of your own, follow it and don’t be diverted, no matter how it difficult or irrational or silly it may seem at the time.
♦ Roberley Bell’s (1994) The Shape of the Afternoon, that transformed a gallery and rooftop terrace into a faux sculpture garden, was on view at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. Through October 6, 2014.
♦ Ishmael Randall Weeks (2008) is included in Beyond the Supersquare at the Bronx Museum for the Arts. Exploring the influence of Latin America and Caribbean modernist architecture on contemporary art, the group exhibition features over 30 artists and more than 60 artworks. Through January 11, 2015.
♦ Vojtech Mica (1998) was recently highlighted in his solo exhibition Format, at the Gallery House (Galerie Dum) in the Broumov Monastery in Prague.
♦ Eve Bailey (2008) was awarded a residency and commission from the Verbier 3-D Foundation, Switzerland. The commission, Our Impermanent Walk is on view at La Place Blanche until July 2015 and will be subsequently installed at the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park through July 2016.
♦ Incoming AIR Ronald van der Meijs’s installation A Time Capsule of Life was featured at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing as part of the International Triennial of New Media Art 2014. His work is also currently featured in exhibitions at CBK Gallery and Zone2Source in Amsterdam.
♦ Benjamin Entner (2007) was awarded a commission by the Soap Factory for Minneapolis’s Northern Spark Festival. The commissioned 48’ inflatable sculpture as well as other pieces were shown this past summer at the Gallery at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center of the Arts, Olympia, WA.
♦ Incoming AIR Paul Kaptein received the $25,000 Main Prize by the 2014 Australian Mandorla Art Awards.
♦ Michael Clyde Johnson (2011) received a commission from the SPACE Gallery and The Friends of Congress Square Park to create Untitled Patio with Benches and Planter in collaboration with Youthbuild, a teen development program in Portland, ME.
♦ William Tucker (1980), Willard Boepple (1976-79), John Monti (1993), Lee Tribe (1979-84, 1987-88), Marsh Pels (1980-81) and James Wolfe (1978) are featured in Art in Nature: A Collaboration of Greenwood Gardens and Studio Montclair at the Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, New Jersey. Through November 2nd.
♦ Ann Reichlin (1998) is currently featured in a group show at Central Booking in New York City. Through November 2nd.
♦ Zaq Landsberg (2012) and Meredith James (2006) are featured in Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition. Through March 22nd.
♦ Jarrod Beck’s (2014) Uplift opened in September at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in New York, created the sculpture for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation as a recipient of the 2014 Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award. Through August 2015.
♦ Abigail Anne Newbold (2011) solo exhibition, Borderlander’s Outfitter, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Oregon is on view through October 24th. Abigail will be an Artist-in-Residence at the MacDowell Colony beginning in October.
♦ Brian McCutcheon (2008) has been commissioned to create a new work for the Autumn Equinox Event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. Water Mining is an interactive work designed to collect and amplify the underwater sounds of the Park’s lake.
♦ Jessica Segall (2011) is featured in a group exhibition at Wave Hill in the Bronx. Recapturing the Scenic Wilds, this “in-progress” piece is a review of a field study of the invasive bird species of New York. Through December 7th.
♦ Lee Boroson’s (1993) solo exhibition, Plastic Fantastic opened at MassMOCA on October 11th. Boroson currently teaches at Rhode Island School of Design.
Hand Tools (new or in good condition)
Gardening Hand Tools
(4) Double Beds with Frames
Flat screen TV