Visiting Kim MacConnel’s artist studio and private residence was always going to be a colorful affair. How hands-on it turned out to be made a few guests step out of their comfort zone: indeed, when confronted with Kim’s painted furniture – in his very own functional living room – you literally want to take a seat and ponder (in the picture below, all chairs, sofas and tables have been painted by Kim MacConnel). Yet we’ve all wanted to get a little too close to touch the art in museums but there was always that little voice (or the museum guard’s voice!) telling you to step back. At Kim’s house, touching the art is allowed and encouraged, making us feel right at home. This house was turned total work of art thanks to the equally touchable art created by his wife Jean Lowe (a blog dedicated to Jean will follow). More than a house, it is a decorative duet and an ode to Color, an entire art history conversation, right there. Two artists putting their artistic visions towards creating their very own make-belief vie de château, in which doors are as tall as in Versailles itself, furniture is adorned with chinoiserie […]
Miriam Cabessa – The Art of BreathingArt Everywhere/Art Therapy/Artist Studio Visits
This is the story of a 100-year old “Living Room” in Williamsburg. An old lady used to live in the apartment but one day, the landlord got the place back, still filled with objects left behind, after life had moved on. Quite good timing for Mr. Landlord, for he had issues at a nearby property he leased to artist Miriam Cabessa. Miriam’s studio was plagued with leaks, requiring more than quick fixing. The landlord suggested she moved temporarily into this nearby apartment so that a plumbing overhaul could be done at her studio. What could have been a big hassle for Miriam turned into an immersive exploration of her art practice. I say practice in the same way one talks of practicing yoga or meditation. Because yoga and meditation are so much more than an exercise class you go to. Miriam settled in her new abode, unpacked her black paint and brushes. Then she paused. She breathed in all the visible remnants from the former tenant: a vintage suitcase, an armchair, a serving tray. Miriam paused, full of breath and started cleaning and tidying, yet unable to erase or let go. So she started to paint over it all, slowly, […]
Frederic Amat: Muralist Extraordinaire in BarcelonaArt Everywhere/Artist Studio Visits
Frédéric Amat is a Barcelona-based artist creating striking murals. It was a real treat to encounter them during my recent trip to Barcelona and I must admit they have been hard to shake off my visual memory. Thanks to my dear friend Natalia, I was able to set up a remote interview with Frédéric to shed more light on his inspiration, processes and projects. Reinventingrid: Let’s start with Mur d’Ulls (2011). You installed 1000 ceramic eyeballs onto the facade of Hotel Ohla and these eyeballs are all directed in many different directions. Is this about our society being under street surveillance and the fact that we are watched in many ways without realizing? Is this a theme you are preoccupied with and trying to fight it with art instead of real surveillance cameras? Frédéric Amat: Your commentary about surveillance is very clever, and it is one of the evocations present in this work but not the only one. Back in the days, this building was a department store, then a police station and today it has been converted, again, into a hotel at the junction of two of the busiest streets in Barcelona. My project was to resolve the skin […]
His trench coat is thrown on a rudimentary bed surrounded by small shelves filled with plaster figurines; an unfinished bust seats in the central pedestal, looking in the distance. He could be back any moment. “He” is Alberto Giacometti, and the space I am taking you to is his atelier in Paris. It might get crowded when he comes back: the space is tiny (only 23m² / less than 250 square feet) but this was where Giacometti felt comfortable. He never moved to a larger space when success came. In a sense, this is no surprise as you look at his stretched thin sculptures. For maybe, from the small confine of his atelier, he stood a chance to recreate the essence of a person using his sculpture, but also countless drawings of the same repeated motifs, as well as paintings of incredible complexity of line. Searching for truth, Giacometti tirelessly fashioned the heads and bodies of his sculptures, constantly reworking, repeating, reusing the same models who sometimes posed on a kitchen chair (see below) for more than 100 hours in the case of Isaku Yanaihara. His permanent fear of failure made him remove – each time more and more of the […]
Meeting Nick Cave – Let Go, Weather or NotArt Everywhere/Art Therapy/Artist Studio Visits
Honoured to travel with the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, I had the opportunity to lunch and look into Nick Cave’s eyes last week. What struck me besides an incredible kindness, was the intensity of those eyes. They translate his double vision of the world perfectly: how intensely he sees and feels the divides plaguing our society and how resolute he is to shake this, with a dance and many Soundsuits.
Christopher Puzio – Studio Visit of a Dream CatcherArt in California/Artist Studio Visits
Visiting Christopher Puzio’s Studio was a real treat: his work plays a lot on the “frame the view” concept, a key sub-line from the beginning of Reinventingrid, back in January 2017. That is how my eye travels: I simply love capturing in pictures how some art installations encapsulate what lies around them. Bringing the world to attention… San Diego is incredibly fortunate to have many Christopher Puzio works around. All have this uncanny versatility of framing a view while opening up space. He is literally, and figuratively, drilling on what an open work can be.
I am thrilled to announce a whole new axis for Reinventingrid: Artist Studio Visits. I hope you will enjoy discovering the visual art of contemporary artists I have had my eyes on for some time. Who knows, you may decide to add their works to your own collection after reading a bit more about their inspiration, style and personality. Starting this new axis for the blog with Monty Montgomery’s striking fractal lines and colorful grids made perfect sense. So let me take you into his world, to see what he sees. Handwritten notes of personal encouragement, a zen quote and Salvador Dalí stuck over past exhibition images of Monty Montgomery works. Washed-out childhood photographs with Mom, Dad and best buddy Jensen at the beach, all neatly pinned next to graduated bright color swatches. It’s all there: the very personal and inspirational nurturing his art. Monty’s studio walls have become a paper tapestry woven straight from the heart. A small shrine filled with mementos echoing back and forth between Monty Montgomery’s native Virginia and his San Diego North Park studio. Miles away from what I expected from looking at Monty’s graphic and hard-edged works of art…
Have you ever wondered how art can affect us all so much in spite of the strange paradox that you can’t touch itt? What seems fair enough for paintings and installations sometimes seems questionable for sculpture, especially bronze sculpture. A gentle touch of skin on bronze would do no harm and go a long way in elevating our perception of the sensuality of the body rendered by a Degas, Rodin or Maillol, amongst so many others. For me, the one sculptor where the “Do Not Touch” sign is irrelevant is Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957). Even though I know I can’t touch a Brancusi sculpture, it does the work for me, it touches ME. But why? and how?