Monday, March 31, 2008

Magic with a Flatbed Scanner - and winner of FREE ART!

MAGGIE TAYLOR’s work defies easy labels.

Trained as a photographer, she has largely abandoned the camera for another “light-sensitive recording device,” the flatbed scanner, with which she enters a menagerie of found objects into her computer. Though she may start with a photograph— one of her own or a rummaged tintype—she transforms it digitally, layering
and manipulating her palette of collected visual information in a meticulous process that pushes the limits of her medium, her computer’s memory, and the genre sometimes described as altered or fabricated photography.

The resulting concoction is a surrealistic, often painterly montage dis-tinguished by vibrant color and a rich symbolism. Although Taylor’s work is autobiographical, informed by childhood memories, anxieties, and television consumption, it also defies easy interpretation:

“I work very spontaneously and
intuitively, trying to come up with images that have a resonance and a some- what mysterious narrative content,”
Taylor says.

“There is no one meaning for any of the images; rather, they exist as a kind of visual riddle or open-ended poem, meant to be both playful and provocative.”

Taylor began taking traditional photographs while pursuing a BA in philosophy at Yale University, altering her process ever more radically during and after her years in the MFA photography program at the University of Florida.

She has had solo exhibitions throughout the United States.

For a fascinating expose of Maggie Taylor’s work, please CLICK HERE


Congratulations, Melissa Toomey! Melissa is the winner of the March, "Listen to my Art Beat" monthly art giveaway. Melissa, your art will be on its way to you by the end of the day today.

Subscribe to receive these blog entries in your inbox each day and automatically be entered into a drawing to win free art each month!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stephanie Metz – Never Felt Better!

Stephanie Metz

I have only recently become interested in felting…and I don’t know why it has taken this long, because everyone I know seems to already know how to do it. I have seen some very cool results of this wool process…but none so cool as those created by University of Oregon grad, Stephanie Metz. Stephanie has chosen to sculpt in wool in order to explore and exploit its unique physical and conceptual possibilities and quite successfully, I might add. She creates some outstanding, albeit sometimes disturbing, soft sculptures.

About her process, Stephanie writes:
“To make wool into felt I begin with cleaned, brushed wool that has been prepared to be spun into yarn. I interlock the fibers densely together by stabbing the mass repeatedly with a felting needle (approximately four inches long, very sharp, and studded with barbs). “
Private Sphere


In order to shape a piece I stab the wool all over or in particular directions, compressing the surface and making the felt increasingly dense. The process is extremely time- and labor-intensive, as every centimeter of the piece is stabbed to fasten down parts, add mass, and tighten the surface.


"I choose my subject matter in response to the wool itself, in a way. Working with wool has led me to explore concepts of hard and soft, starting within the confines of traditional sculpture subjects.”


“For me the appeal of wool lies both in pushing its physical possibilities as a sculpting medium and in its suitability for the subject matter that interests me.”

Cat Skull - left angle

“ Felted wool is organic, soft, and pliable, yet strong and hardy—perfect for realistic studies of humans and animals that exemplify those qualities. A firm grounding in realism and an understanding of the form and physiology of living things is the starting point in my sculpture.”

Chicken Legs

"In my recent work two branches of investigation have grown out of my thinking about how human beings affect and interpret the natural world. The first is a series of animals that display the results of selective breeding taken to a ridiculous extreme. The attributes that make them useful, marketable, and convenient for human use are blissfully short-sighted and human-centric."
Lap Dog

Milk Cow

"Part of my wicked delight in creating such creatures is the awareness that these are not pure science fiction—for example, the proliferation of dog breeds specifically bred for a variety of uses and aesthetics is testimony to the way people very pointedly direct the evolution of species by determining which individuals will pass on their genes."

Study in Black

"My other investigation is a pseudo-scientific study of the morphology of skulls: the form and structures that differentiate one breed from another and give a sense of the story of the individual. My approach is to research, document, present, and interpret evidence in a formal manner. My subject species is the teddy bear: a creature made by humans (and made ‘alive’ by imagination) whose morphological history is tied to social trends."

Teddy Bear Skull - front

"My idea of ‘logical’ evidence (a stuffed animal would have a skull made of felt) becomes an emotionally loaded image that brings up a wide range of responses and proves to be ripe for further exploration."

Teddy Bear Skull - side

"As I continue to experiment with wool I find that the material itself fuels my ideas and my approach to sculpting. Using an uncommon medium draws attention to the qualities of that medium, and feeds into the subjects I choose, the process for realizing the forms, and the messages embodied in the work."

Marble Portrait Bust

CLICK HERE to see Stephanie’s web site where you will find many other felt sculptures. Posters of her work is for sale on Etsy CLICK HERE

Stephanie is represented by Hosfelt Gallery

415-495-5454 for San Francisco or 212-563-5454 for New York.

For further inquiries, please email:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Carol Hummel – Embellishing Nature

“The focus of my work in recent years has been on personal awareness, potential and choice as well as the forces and situations that attempt to demean, control, manipulate and destroy.

Contradictions -- comfort vs. confinement, pain vs. pleasure, freedom vs. restriction – dwell within my pieces as reminders that things are not always as they appear to be and making choices independently of external determining forces is essential to living.”

I chose the term, “embellishing nature” to describe Carol Hummel’s work because she not only uses nature in the sense of wrapping trees and utilizing the landscape as her canvas, she also embellishes human nature with food for thought. Carol puts a new twist on what is thought of traditionally as a women’s craft (knitting) and moves it onto a grand scale of nature itself to illustrate the juxtaposition between the ease and imprisonment that is life .

When she isn’t teaching sculpture at Kent State University, Carol is working on fascinating projects that give pause and challenge the mind. She told me that most recently, she was very excited about being selected for a residency at the the Colorado Art Ranch during their Artposium, a two-day event exploring the intersection of writing, art and land use.. She said, “I’m going to build upon the work I did in Wendover (the viruses in the mountains and on buildings, doilies, etc.. plus have a couple new ideas...”

Tree Cozy

Tree Cozy is a tree – a natural object representing masculinity and strength –covered with a crocheted cozy – an emphatically handmade blanket representing femininity and comfort. On the most obvious level, it is a piece of clothing, personifying the tree and keeping it cozy and colorful throughout the year, enhancing the beauty of nature.

On another, the brightly colored crocheted cozy wraps the tree in personal and cultural nostalgia evoking memories of bygone times and places when life was good. On yet another level, the cozy softens the strong tree form while also emphasizing it. It simultaneously caresses and encases the tree. The cozy covering the tree fluctuates between comforting blanket and suffocating cover-up; it conceals as much as it protects; it hides as much as it reveals. Tree Cozy was on display from 2005 through 2008 in Cleveland Heights, OH in front of Cleveland Heights City Hall.

Down Under

Down Under(s) 1
Tree, Underwear

“Dirt Divers” are a series of work that personifies trees highlighting human intrusion on natural objects.
Down Under 2

Instead of protection and care, this intrusion has the human element burying its head in the sand in denial of its impact. It raises questions about where human intrusion is appropriate when inflicted on our environment.

Project Schnee

Project Schnee
Site specific

In 2007, I worked with students at Schnee Learning Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. The project introduced the students to conceptual art and allowed them to participate in the thought and experimental processes involved in the planning and execution of works of art. Each student had the opportunity to work on a week-long project developed by the class as a whole. They created a maze that symbolized the challenges of life that utilized 72,735 feet of yarn. In addition, groups of 5-6 student artists completed two-hour conceptual artworks that represented a variety of concepts using 300 crocheted "cells" which I provided.

Confined Comforts

Confined Comforts (detail)

Confined Comforts
Size Not Specified
Confined Comforts, Kent State University/Stark Campus, Cantonk, OH - 2005

Confined Comforts is an installation by Carol Hummel, completed in conjunction with Kent State University/Stark’s “Women Cross Boundaries” yearlong series. Confined Comforts takes women’s craft (knitting, crocheting) out of the domestic realm and into the public environment. It addresses the tug-of-war between comfort and confinement. While each strand of colorful yarn is beautiful, it also binds the trees, the environment, space itself. It serves as an analogy about life. From the moment we are born, we are wrapped by influences imposed upon us by family, environment, and culture. We are continually transformed by these threads of influence, but are we freed or bound by them? It’s important to remember that although our cultural wrapping can be very comfortable, it is also confining, and it’s the choice of each individual to either accept or reject the influences that encase her or him. On a formal level, Confined Comforts is a visual discussion of line, light, texture, color, space, scale, and form. The installation was completed with the assistance of student and faculty volunteers. It took 500 hours to complete and includes 820,000 feet of yarn.

72"h x 180"w x 3"d
2003 Student Annual Exhibition, School of Art Gallery, Kent Stte University, Kent, OH (juried) - 2003

Unraveling” utilizes an afghan with colors and patterns that are bright and bold – evocative of a particular era and social class, which I put in middle-class America in the Sixties and Seventies… basically my background. The material – yarn – is a feminine material and the piece is, in my mind, very much about females in the home. To me, the unraveling yarn is like some cryptic writing in a private diary or paint dripping from a melting canvass that is taking on new life and reforming into a new story… or a new masterpiece. In this piece, one strand of yarn is heading out on its own, searching. “Unraveling” is about something that is simultaneously ending and beginning… one of the basic processes of life and one of my favorite sculptural themes.

I wanted to include this last piece in this entry because it resonates so strongly with me, especially when I read Carol’s commentary. I felt empowered by its message of a personal declaration of independence from the demeaning negativity, control and manipulation of others. Brava, Carol!
You Are Ugly


You Are Ugly
Rice Paper, Wax
300"h x 8.5"w x .5"d
2003 You Are Ugly, Sculpture Gallery, School of Art Gallery, Kent State University, Kent, OH (solo)

You are ugly is about personal worth and freedom. To me, it is about the resilience and strength of the human spirit to cope with people and situations that attempt to demean, control, manipulate, or destroy. But it is also about freedom. Just as the scroll ends, so does the ability to reach the soul with negativity and hate. You are ugly is a declaration of independence, a realization that personal beauty and freedom cannot be destroyed.

You can see more of Carol’s work and commentary at her web site.

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