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!

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

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

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.

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

Origami

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? If you didn’t have a card for your loved one or if you didn’t receive one, maybe you can make up for it with some origami. I think there is a real art to paper folding. These videos prove that what may appear to be simple, is in fact quiet complicated and mathematically oriented as well.

The science of origami with Dr. Robert Lang. Interview by Jacqueline London. Learn what airbags and origami have in common.

Here’s some incredible paper art by Robert Sweeney as found on Shauna Lee Lang’s Art Advisory blog:

Paper art by Richard Sweeney from Shauna Lee Lang blog

Finally, this is an a cool trailer for the movie, Between the Folds — all about origami and what paper folding can do — quite beyond the ordinary.

Spring Arts Preview

The Washington Post just published their Spring Arts Preview Guide. There is so much to see and enjoy but  here are the ones I think are most interesting:

Pride of Place: Dutch Citycsapes of the Golden Age, National Gallery of Art, through May 3.

Dutch Landscapes from the Golden Age. National Gallery of Art

Bookends: Book as Art, Torpedo Factory, through Feb 22.

Bookends: Book as Art at the Torpedo Factory

Detour: Architecture and Design Along 18 National Tourist Routes in Norway, National Building Museum, through Oct 10.

Photo by Vegar Moen. National Tourist Routes Project. Norway, National Building Museum

On the Origin of Species (After Darwin) — celebrating the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, National Academy of Sciences, through April 23. As a postscript, this is a fascinating article about happenstance, a purchase of a cabinet (of curiosities) by Robert Heggestad that led to Alfred Russell Wallace, contemporary of Darwin and may have been on the forefront of his theory. Well, I can’t help be reminded of our casart coverings logo…What a find this was.

Specimens belonging to Alfred Russell Wallace. Photo by Lois Raimondo

Space Unlimited. Work by artists whose photography, painting, video and sculptural installation incorporate space as the central component. Art Museum of the Americas, February 20 – April 12.

1934: A New Deal for Artists — fifty-six paintings from the federal Public Works of Art Program. Smithsonian American Art Museum, February 27 – Jan 3, 2010.

New Deal Artists. Smithsonian American Art Museum

Treasures from the Gallery’s Attic — vintage 19th century – 20th century photographs from Paris, Rome, Pompeii, Venice, Scotland, and New Orleans and more, at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery. March 6 – April 30th.

Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes. New works by the artist and architect of the Vietnam Memorial, Corcoran Gallery of Art, March 14 –  July 12

landscape by Maya Lin. Corcoran Gallery of Art

Finally, here are two exhibits/events, not on the preview list, that I thought might be worthwhile:

1) S-Curve by Anish Kapoor in entrance of the Sackler Museum, Perspectives exhibit on view through March 1. I really like the reflective quality of this piece. It’s happy like the hall of mirrors in a fair as one’s image is warped in the reflection and it also reminds me of sophisticated jewelry.

S-Curve by Anish Kapoor in Perspectives Exhibit @ Sackler Museum

2) Engineering Family Day, February 21 at the National Building Museum. Although I have much older kids, I am intrigued by the engineering aspect of this event, because I think my 20 year old college student owes his engineering studies to legos. The Building Museum is one of my favorite spaces, so the two in combination really seems appealing for young families — especially the chance do the Atlas rope ascender in the Great Hall, as featured in the Bouncing off Walls article in the Washington Post.

Engineering Family Day. Photo by Dayna Smith/Washington Post

Magnetic Movie

This is a follow up to a previous post that I wrote about the Magnetic Movie in September on exhibits regarding the “faux” documentary about magnetic fields and how they relate to real scientists’ discoveries regarding the Semiconductor. It can be seen in the “Black Box” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden through December 14th.

Magnetic Movie by Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gherhardt

I’ll have to not only check out this movie before it leaves but also the After Hours at the Hirshhorn, which I had on my list but completely missed this year. The last one was November 7th.

after-hours-hirshhorn-museum. Photo by Colin S. Johnson

I can’t mention this without adding that After Hours, the movie is hilarious and still ranks as one of my favorites. I first saw it in Paris, when I was studying at Parsons and my American friends and I got the jokes but for some reason the French did not — making it all the more funny at the time — even though it was a very “French-like” movie, kinda artsy and very quirky.

Crystal Ball

There was a lot of valuable and artistic information in the health section of today’s Washington Post, go figure. This photo of Susana Soares, a Portuguese artist, blowing into a glass bubble/device that she designed with bees was a bit bizarre but a valuable thing. Her scientific experiment helps track diseases and monitor fertility cycles through pheromones. Who didn’t think artists were scientific and smart?

Susana Soares uses a Crystal \

Now coincidentally, this photo reminded me of this one….Don’t blow too hard!

Marepe. Courtesy Gallery Luisa Strina. Photo in Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

A little mid-week humor for a another stir crazy week…

The other article of interest to me was, Being Difficult — For Some Patients, It’s a Coping Mechanism, by Sandra G. Boodman. I can relate to this because I was a difficult patient just as I try to be a thorough artist. But being difficult or “assertive,” as the author explains, is a way to maintain some sense of control when there seems to be none — by being your own advocate — and asking a lot of questions. Many doctors don’t like this and don’t even have the time to answer, but it is the doctors who respect this assertiveness who, as the author puts it, are “the most supportive” and give the most compassionate care. I know from experience that it’s these type of assertive patients who tend to live longer than expected because they are not complacent. However, I have also learned that acceptance of the inevitable brings tremendous peace — even when you are healthy. Both acceptance and assertiveness can occur simultaneously. What is hard on the caregiver is when the patient denies this process. It’s hard on everyone.

Speaking of crystal balls, which started this post, there was another article regarding the everyday jitters and voter anxiety that Americans are feeling regarding the election. How nice it would be to have a crystal ball to peer into the future on election day, but then again, I might not want to know ahead of time. I’ll just be happy when the anxiety ends.

Surgery

I notice art in a lot of places, but I also recognize when something is so innovative that it is art in the mere doing. This is the case with this new type of surgery called natural orifice — using the body’s natural openings as entry and exit areas for conducting surgery, which minimizes scarring and potential risk. This is a no brainer but at the same time so out of the box that it wasn’t thought of until now.

Warning: this video at this article link contains some graphic visuals of the actual gallbladder removal and surgery, so it may be disturbing to some viewers, but I grew up with this stuff.

At one time, I thought I’d go into premed — that was before I realized how I’d have to sacrifice my sleep, sanity and health and my predominant creative side would be neglected. I’ve always been fascinated by medicine, however, probably due to the fact that my father was a neurosurgeon and comes from a long family line of doctors. It was not unusual for us to review some of his taped surgeries, even at the dinner table. Heck, when I even had some subclavicular surgery done, I asked to watch. It would only have been natural for me or one of my siblings to go into medicine. We did not and were the first ones to break the chain in generations. Instead, we each took different, multi-faceted, creative paths. I think my father would have been proud because it was always more important to him that we be our own people and “do what we love.”

Speaking of surgery, I feel like I’ve been through brain surgery this week — on many levels. So, I think it’s important to end the week with a laugh. He’s funny story about Cholla, the horse that paints.

horse-topper by Scott Sady/AP Photo

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