Fall 2010 Art & Exhibit Roundup

It will be hard to remember amidst all the upcoming holiday activities but here is the latest roundup of exhibitions to keep your eye on and hopefully attend this fall. These are just three that I’ve parceled out from an ongoing list previously mentioned (still time to catch a couple through Jan 2).

1) Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey — National Building Museum until January 9

  • Featuring many of Palladio’s drawings and pairing them with American examples that used the style of his architecture, like The White House, for instance. In fact there so much of his Classical ideas pervade the great buildings of American Architecture that it’s easy to forget the origin. Thomas Jefferson, among many forward thinkers and builders during his time, brought Palladio’s influence to University of Virginia and Monticello
  • Andrea Palladio’s Influential Architecture, Washington Post article for further explanation
  • I’ve been stuck on Palladio ever since I learned about his work in Art History classes and then was able to tour the actual Italian Villas in the Veneto with my husband during our honeymoon. This exhibit will have special significance to me.

Palladio-Drawings_AIE, via Washington Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

2) Artisphere on Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn, VA — new arts venue with ongoing events. artisphere.com

  • One stop shop for theater, visual arts media, cultural center, and music

AIE_Artisphere on Art Is Everywhere

3) Oklahoma at the newly restructured Arena Stage — Ist play since the new construction playing through December 26.

  • I’m not a big musical fan but this play is one of my favorites. I learned all the songs when I first saw it as a young girl and it still makes me happy. The production is not your usual take on Oklahoma, however, since there is a mixed cultural cast, which might surprise your expectations if you didn’t know in advance. Nothing wrong with mixing it up a bit but this is a classic musical. Some things, like the Wizard of Oz for instance do not well when they are not changed. I’m sure the actors’ talent will make it interesting to see as will the Frichlander Theater in the round.
  • I cannot wait to see this newly constructed venue. I received some of my first experience in decorative painting when I worked as an intern on the set design at the Arena Stage’s Main Avenue location. This is bigger and better and there are three stages included in the Meade Center for American Theater. It’s the largest performance venue in DC since The Kennedy Center. It officially opens to the public on October 23…mark your calendars and click here to plan your visit.
  • Finally, my son Piers’ employer this summer, Clark Construction, built this theater and he’s already been inside. Lucky duck. He said it was pretty breathtaking.
  • The Post did a really great interactive and comprehensive online article on the Arena here.
Arena-Stage_WP, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Arena Stage Overview. Credit Wilson Andrews and Alberto Cuadra / The Washington Post

Here are some pictures for your visual interest but be sure to go to their website and photo tour to view more.

Arena-Stage as seen on Art is Everywhere

Arena-stage-inside, as seen on Art is Everywhere

Arena-snowmaggeddon2010_AIE, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

4) Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the National Museum of Natural History, through April 24, 2011

  • It’s hard to believe that his coral reef is crocheted out of yarn. I’ll have to go see it myself. What an unusual thing, combining soft sculpture, marine biology and mathematical science.
  • Be sure to view the TED lecture by Margaret Wertheim at this link and learn about how she and her sister Christine, with many help of others filled a 3,000 space with crocheted reef creations as tall as five feet. Interestingly enough, the only way to model such real sea creatures and their hyperbolic geometry and amorphous is with crochet, surprisingly. She describes the math correlation very well and I found it pretty fascinating. See for yourself.

Crochet Coral Reef via National Museum of Natural History, seen on Art Is Everywhere

If you’re into Techno and I’m usually not, then you’ll like this choice. I can actually deal with this mix, Hold On with Amber Coffman, but I chose it for the performance. It’s pretty amazing what a following this DJ, Rusko has, coming to America out of UK to a music hall near you. He’ll be in DC on Oct. 24th. It’s a good song to Kick-Start the Weekend, starting early this week. This regular post is moving to Thursdays.

Be Sociable, Share!

A Few Follow Ups

Thinking of last Friday’s post, I thought I’d post links as follow ups.

• I think Eric Maisel’s  blog on Creativity Central is interesting. I particularly liked this post by Beth Barany who describes the Artist Entrepreneurship pretty well. Putting the art first is a wise philosophy.

• Todd Henry of Accidental Creative describes the Paradox of Rejection in how it can provide growth for the artist.

• Since he quotes Michelangelo, this is the latest scientific discovery that “unlocks some of the Mona Lisa magic.” It’s no mystery that Michelangelo used multiple layers of glazes called “sfumato” (softening of contour lines) to create his subtle effect of this painting’s memorable smile, but modern x-ray technology shows the precises layers as they are built up as well as the exact pigments that were used.

• If you want to see some wonderful drawings and artwork by Michelangelo, go here — Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth. Although this exhibit is long since over, you can still tour it through a virtual gallery.

Syracuse University Michelangelo Exhibit on Art Is Everywhere

Syracuse University's Michelangelo Exhibit

• Because my father was a neurosurgeon, I can’t help but be fascinated by science that relates to the brain and this is just in the latest Science News: “Study finds a link between personality traits and the size of certain brain regions.”

Above-average conscientiousness was associated with a larger region of the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and voluntary control of behavior…The only trait without a significant neuroanatomical relationship, according to the report, was openness/intellect, which researchers said reflects imagination, curiosity, and artistic and intellectual interests…genes and the environment play important roles….When it [personality] does, that change is accompanied by changes in the brain.

I’m ready to get my brain scan...

Ending with some strange new music to Kick-Start another heat wave of a weekend, “…And the World Laughs with You,” by Flying Lotus from their Cosmogramma Album. Thom Yorke of my favorite band Radiohead sings the lyrics. Another interesting thing about this musical choice is that my son Jackson has told me about Flying Lotus for over a year. We listened to sound tracks on the long, long roadtrip back home from Sewanee last year. Even though, this is not my favorite song on the album, their other work is very interesting and it’s really nice to share musical interests with your children. On another side note: I have to give high marks to David Cameron, the new prime minister of England, who exchanged art gifts with Obama, during his recent visit to the States, including music by Radiohead and the Smiths….Good taste.

Be Sociable, Share!

Engineering and Art

This post brings several aspects of engineering together with relation to art.

1) Teaching art and creativity can be done through “Reverse Engineering” — thinking backwards from the final product on how the artist created/constructed it and his or her creative process in the making to improve upon, rather than copying the object or artwork.

2) Reading about Tony May’s work on ArtShift SanJosé, made me think of the engineering needed to construct his sculptures, some of which are made with books.

Tony May_good-reading-light_courtesy ArtShiftSanJose, seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_good-reading-light_courtesy ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_third-variable-construction_via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_third-variable-construction_via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_red-branch-books-open_Via ArtShiftSanJose as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_red-branch-books-open_Via ArtShiftSanJose

Tony May_open-red-branch_via ArtShiftSanJose as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Tony May_altco-open-red-branch_via ArtShiftSanJose

3) The late  George Adams was an engineer and a self taught artist, who helped restore many murals in the US Capitol. His engineering skills helped him decipher the best innovative tactics for this important restoration work.

George Adama_via WashingtonPost. Photo by Paul Vignola, seen on Art Is Everywhere

George Adams via Washington Post.

4) Murals entitled, The History of the United States Locomotives, which were painted as part of the 1930′s WPA government program to employ artists, have been returned to the original owners, The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. They are on permanent display at The Standard building in Cleveland, after a circuitous route of finding their way back home.

Train Murals via Cleveland.com as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Train Murals via Cleveland.com

5) I like how in this article, The Art and Science of Innovation, by Jeffrey Phillips on Blogging Innovation describes how the innovation of science requires thinking like an artist. I’ve long believed this! On a side note: I recently introduced my younger son to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to help him “break down / decipher” basic drawing skills and my older son is practicing the art of innovation by solving problems daily as a civil engineer intern with Clark Construction this summer. Great opportunities for both boys.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that ABC News chose Luke Jerram as their Person of the Week last Friday, due to his public art installation, Play Me I’m Yours. Click here to read my previous post on artist,  Luke Jerram‘s technical, artistic and engineering skills to achieve his other interactive and innovative  public artwork.

Some music from this traveling exhibit to Kick-Start your weekend:

Be Sociable, Share!

The Physics of Origami

I’ve already written a post on origami, featuring Dr. Robert Lang, but he was profiled recently in The Washington Post, and Rachel Saslow’s article, When Origami Meets Rocket Science, was so informative, I thought I’d do a follow up. At 49 he’s the quintessential origami master. He quit his career as a laser physicist and semiconductor laser and fiber-optic researcher while working for NASA in their Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As if these professions weren’t “heady” enough and lucrative once going into private technology in Silicon Valley, he decided to give it all up for paper folding. He is doing well, traveling giving lectures, and being the go-to origami guy. His love of physics and mathematical relationships exist in origami when patterns are discovered through paper folding. He used origami concepts to collaborate on a project with The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop a telescope lens for space. The “Eyeglass” lens was designed with correlating panels as the premise, similar to origami. Other science/origami related projects include: folding car airbags and medical stints. As Lang describes, a fun project can have a practical purpose.

The art historical aspect of the article was very intriguing describing the origins to be believed as early as the 1700′s, with cranes and boats in Japan and then was catapulted in to popularity by Akira Yoshizawa in the 20th century. There was a craze that took hold in the 1990′s. Lang published the book., Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art, in 2003. This has become the origami bible of sorts. His artistic origami designs are just phenomenal.

Origami-Dragonfly_Robert-Lang

The article also profiled, Tom Hull, an associate professor of mathematics at Western New England College, who uses origami in his calculus, number theory, geometry and algebra instruction. His book is Project Origami, published in 2006. It demonstrates projects teachers can us in their math classes.

Hyperbolic-Cube_Tom-Hull

Erik Demaine, another origami enthusiast, who was 15 at the time when he was starting a PhD in computer science at the University of Waterloo (!) when he discovered Lang’s work, has paired up with Lang to devise computer software called Treemaker that transforms origami sketches into a crease pattern as a template to follow.

In addition, Dumaine is working on a project that links origami to possibly understanding and maybe even finding cures for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Dumaine also has paper sculptures in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Lang gives lectures at the Waters Art Museum in Baltimore. Both not too far a trek for me to check out.

Demaine-composite_400_Origami

Coincidentally, in the same paper is a blip about visiting several new art exhibits. One being, Veritas Obscura at Flashpoint Gallery. This is showcasing the photographic work of Marc Roman, who creates three dimensional pieces that show the 100-year timeline of the history of the electron. Now, I never did well in chemistry, even though my father (and father-in-law, I’ve discovered) were both chemistry majors, it didn’t seep into the genes. I have every intention however of following in the footsteps of my father and long line of Jackson family members in being pre-med when I showed up on college campus. That quickly changed. Anyway, maybe this visual would have helped me get through chemistry. Funny, I was so scared to take it from the hardest teacher in my high school that I took it as a summer course at Tulane University. What was I thinking? I needed a tutor. Although, I appreciate the sciences, I’m a visual person not a math/ science one. I like math when I do not have to use it.

MarcRoman_Helium3

Be Sociable, Share!

Health Care

“I lived in a time in which there was liberty in America…” This is what I’ll be telling my grand kids. I normally don’t offer political commentary in my blog. There is a time and a place and with the recent Obama health care bill passage, now is the time. If there is one issue that I have felt strongly about (as so many others do), this is it. I can see the writing on the wall of what is to come.

Actually, this post has an art mention. This is the email that I sent out recently to those who care about this health care issue. If you don’t think it won’t affect you, it will eventually and when you need it most.

Dear family and friends,

I saw a report on ABC news the other night regarding a concert master’s brain surgery operation. The atypical thing about this was that he was asked to play his violin during the surgery so the surgeon could pinpoint where to embed an electrode to counteract the electrical pulsations that were causing him to have tremors and not be able to play his music. He can now play his music again.

I’m weepy when it comes to neurosurgery for several reasons. My father was a neurosurgeon and friends who have required brain surgery and in this case, art being saved by medicine. But despite these emotions, what really brought tears to my eyes was simultaneous and contradictory: 1) the innovation of this medical technology and surgery here, in America and 2) the fact that this kind of incredible outcome due to the advances of medicine will disappear as the quality of health care will change as we know it and stifle innovation — once the full effects of this health care overhaul legislation are realized.

Please do not accept the outcome. Work hard as I will to help patriotic members take back The People’s House and repeal this decision and then do the right thing for health care fixes.

Reading this Wall Street Journal editorial, The Obamacare Crossroads, might fire you up!
–Ashley

Since I’ve sent this, this article, Capitalism Gone with a Whimper by Stanislav Mishin in the Pravda Russian paper has come to my attention. I’d say this Russian author knows socialism from personal experience. I have to say that all my fears about Obama becoming President are coming true. We are heading in this “Nanny State” direction as socialists measures slowly, yet with a bang, as in this Health Care case, set in.

More reasonable legislation to control costs with tort reform, portability, affordability and Medisave (Health Care Savings) accounts were offered by the minority but simply disregarded as “incremental” changes. Yes, but they address the major cost issues. Health care is not a problem that can be fixed in one fell swoop. There is no fiscal responsibility with the government to pay for this. They leave it to the taxpayers, who for the majority do not want it.  I think this bill will do the exact opposite of what it has claimed to do: It will further stifle the economy; further increase our national debt; increase health care premiums in order for insurance companies to pay for procedures; businesses will not be able to afford these higher rates for their employees (already Caterpillar, AT&T, Verizon have announced their employees’ health care plans will be reduced); small businesses can’t hire readily; it will lock you in your job because otherwise, you’re put into a pool of those without health care and you’re fined if you don’t purchase it; and it will further disparage and separate the poor from the wealthy in the type of health care they receive. The government will become the same “big bad insurance companies” that they rallied against in passing it. If they now are controlling the funding, they will have the power, rather than the patient, to determine what type of medical procedure to use.

obama-the-great

Charles Krauthammer said it so well when he stated in his article, The Vat Man Cometh:

By introducing universal health care, he [Obama} has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism…Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the governmental beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you, have to reduce government spending. Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed. Taxing consumption [with the VAT / value added tax] makes infinitely more sense than taxing work. VAT must be added on top of the income tax…Ultimately, even that won’t be enough. As the population ages and health care becomes increasingly expensive, the only way to avoid fiscal ruin (as Britain, for example, has discovered) is, heath-care rationing…It will take a while to break the American populace to that idea. In the meantime, get ready for the VAT. Or start fighting it!

I choose the latter!


Be Sociable, Share!

Luke Jerram

I read through a lot of blog entries as a many others who surf the Internet but it’s not everyday that you’re awakened by something so different that ignites every sense as Luke Jerram’s artwork does. He is fascinated with perceptual art and has gone to great pains to explore how art can be perceived on different levels. I first learned about his work on Abduzeedo, a very cool blog in itself. There are a lot of fun things to explore here.

I was fascinated by Luke Jerram’s ability to enable the viewer/participant to experience his artwork as their own intensely personal experience. The artwork that he creates is the vehicle that leads them through spontaneous and pure forms of their own expressions. The artwork is a conduit to the end result of the experience, which becomes an integral part of Luke Jerram’s artwork. He uses such out-of-the-box ideas to inspire this expressive experience from sculpture, acoustics, science, the written word — you name it. He combines these forms to give the most pure form or experience — sometimes even waking people from their sleep so their first hand experience with flying musical balloons, as in his Sky Sculpture, is in a surreal but keenly first-wake awareness in “sleep space.”  If you listen to some of the audio tracks, you would want to be awakened this way. Truly remarkable. Be sure to listen or read excerpts from his Art in Mind book.

Here’s a tactile one we can all relate to that is quite beautiful even though the sculptural glass microbiology represents something as viral and deadly as the swine flu.

Swine Flu Sculpture by Luke Jerram via Abuzeedo blog

Using acoustic engineering he constructed Aeolius “wind harps” using “light pipes.” It is based on wind towers that inspired him while on a trip to Iran. The pipes hum throughout the day conducted by the wind and light they absorb.

Aeolius by Luke Jerram

Play me, I’m Yours is another interactive installation where street pianos appear in parks and cities throughout the world and are for any member of the public to play and enjoy the experience as their own.

Play Me I\'m Yours by Luke Jerram

First Breath is in the development stages for 2010. It celebrates new life with the projection of a searchlight streaming from households with newborn infants. The experience is meant to show that what appears to be mundane is actually what connects us and creates common ground as in life, death and everyday experiences. This is a true definition of Art is Everywhere and in everything.

live-breath-by-luke-jarram-via-abduzeedo-blog

Two things to tie in with this Kick Start Your Weekend with Robert Randolph Family Band’s Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That is 1) it’s a family band to connect with Thanksgiving and 2) the album is Colorblind, as is the artist in this post.

So even it it may be a stressful family oriented weekend, hopefully not,  this song makes you want to dance!

Be Sociable, Share!

Moon Artist

I clipped the story about Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon. Since it’s the 40th anniversary of the first walk on the moon by Apollo 12, I thought it would be fitting to post. He no longer considers himself an astronaut, even though he was there and uses his understanding about the lighting on the moon for accuracy in his paintings, throwing in a little moon dust here and there. I like that he sees himself now as a full time artist.

Alan Bean. Photo by Michael Temchine For The Washington Post

Here he is during in his astronaut days. You can buy this photo for $125 @ Custodians of History.

1690-alan-bean-signed photo from Custodians of History

The Air & Space Museum is featuring his work in an exhibition as well as others for this event, until January 13th.

I’m not sure if he’s the one who painted the huge mural of the astronaut in the lobby of the museum, but it’s wonderful. I’ve always liked that painting and Mr. Bean’s work is equally realistic. I was surprised to find that his work has so much texture in it.

This is a good comic that states a lot about the government run health care. I couldn’t resist the “out of this world” connection. You can even find art in a health care comic.

man-on-moon-cartoon. Comic by Joel Pett. LExington Herald-Leader

Be Sociable, Share!

Convergence

Wow! All I can say is that lecture last Friday by David Stork was phenomenal! I learned so much about the convergence of art and science to prove non-optical methods of master artists. He debunked Hockney’s theory that great painters from the 1430′s on “cheated” by tracing optical reflections in their paintings. I didn’t know how the lecture was going to go. I was happy that I made the 120 person cut by about 30 people in the double line. The room was filled and curators sat directly behind me saying, “This guy is a rock star.” They weren’t sure how it was going to go either. I was introduced to terminology that I never knew existed: occluding contour algorithms used in forensic technology, uniform reflectivity albedo effect, lambertian (diffused lighting), Bayesian integration of estimates (cast shadow probability). He was using complex math and physics equations, something that my 20 year old son, a civil engineer student, would understand and 3D computer graphic modules and vectoring that my 16 year old, math whiz student could get in order to explain the source of lighting. This same light source is also needed in Hockney’s theory and he disproved it by setting up the parameters that would be needed for optical reflection and proved that it couldn’t exist. With all this high-tech lingo, he basically displayed how the great artists had incredible talent to paint with precision and human error exactly what they saw in their mind’s eye. I loved it! He bridged art and science for understanding human artistic ability and put human imperfection as well as talent back into art.

This brings to mind some conversations my husband and I have been having with our son Jackson, who’s been asking us what college do we think would be best for him. We have to start that search second round. He asked about art school, since he is the more creative of our two boys. Peter and I both gave the same answer that although we were not opposed to art school, we felt it would give him only a technical education over a liberal arts one, which we both think offers a more broad foundation. He’s fortunate in that he can take courses at our alma mater right down the road and they will count for both high school and college credit. There were at least three articles related to college in the paper this weekend. However, when I read this article in the Washington Post this Sunday, I was reminded of the practical need for getting a well-rounded, broad based education and then going on to train in a specialized field of interest. It was also interesting to read that Dennis O’Neil, who was my professor for the time I attended the Corcoran School of Art (after receiving my undergraduate degree), is still teaching and he runs the Hand Print Workshop International. Good to know.

Just a follow up to a previous post on Patrick Dougherty, who is a magician when it comes to the artistic possibilities of the meager twig. I’m just now getting to catch up on all my magazines for inspiration and saw that Southern Accents profiled him in their May/June issue. Here’s one of his surreal creations, Na Hale ‘Eo Waiawi (20 x 30 x 20 feet) in Hawaii, made of strawberry guava and rose apple saplings.

twig-art by Patrick Dougherty via Southern Accents, May/June 2009

Be Sociable, Share!

Urban Design Elegance & Science of Light

The Washington DC Design Center’s new Design House has just opened with the theme, Urban Elegance, on view. I hope to get by and see it (April 24 – June 25). It’s usually inspirational and tends to validate decorative ideas that I have been following and or have used.

The DC Design House is another interior design exhibition of sorts. A client of mine tells me it is very worthwhile attending (April 18 – May 10) and proceeds benefit the Children’s Medical Center.

Another exhibition I hope to see before it closes May 3rd, is the Pride of Place, Duch Cityscapes of the Golden Age. I’ve been so busy with managing my work that I just haven’t had the time, so I hope to get on it today. While I’m at the NGA, there is an interesting lecture that I found quite fascinating to read about recently. David Stork will discuss the actual light source in Velasquez, Vermeer and Caravaggio’s paintings by using math and science to reconstruct 3-D models to reveal the light source, and in doing show demystify what the artist may have been trying to depict. I personally like the mysterious elements to these master paintings and feel that is the artist’s prerogative and vehicle for depicting the age old mystery that life’s events cannot be fully explained. Here are the two I particularly like.

Girl with Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1655)

The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio (1599-1600)

It’s Friday and while I don’t have a musical video to post * (seems to be something to try on a regular basis to kick start the weekend), I do have a link to a charitable group called Roots of Music, located in New Orleans. Its primary purpose is to have a free musical program for kids to teach them to play an instrument, boost their self esteem and keep them off the streets. New Orleans needs this type of program. I’m sending them money today. Sounds like my home town’s version of Three Cups of Tea. Changing the cultural dynamic starts with education in youth and what a better way than through music and the arts. Fantastic mission and great way to continue where Jazz Festival week is ending on May 3rd.

* What am I thinking, of course I do have this one — of my favorites, Complicated Life by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and vocals of Clint Maegden of the New Orleans Bingo Show. And, catch them playing in New Orleans this weekend. Perfect! Now the weekend can begin.

Be Sociable, Share!

Model Snowflakes and Hints of Spring

Last week we had a snow dumping, mild in comparison to other areas of the country but the biggest 9″ – 12″ inches we’ve seen in many winters. Had it been sledable it would have been very fun. However, I was working. Coincidentally, a story ran in the Post about how snowflakes can be originated by mathematically designed computer models at The Universities of Wisconsin at Madison and California. Here are the details in Science Daily.  Beautiful but Nature is not meant to be perfect or controlled for that matter.

aMathematically models snowflake. Photo credit University of Wisconsin at Madison

Winter Snow in March 2009. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

And one week later, a mild May, early spring-like day with temperatures in the 70′s. Nature is fickle and mysterious in its ever changing moods.

Early Spring Following March 2009. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Lenten Rose, March 2009. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Garden Crocus in March 2009. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Garden Crocus Radiate Spring 2009. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!