Tag Archives: artist statement

ANNOTHER SUNNY DAY AT CAFE PASSE

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ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN THE DESERT | MARCH 3 – APRIL 30 | CAFE PASSE | 85705

I owe the title of this series to my sex-same partner, who often opens the shade of a morning and exclaims, “It’s another sunny day in the desert.”  The phrase can be understood as a point of fact, irony, or wonder.  In a state that votes discrimination into law with such Senate bills as the federally-disputed SB 1070, and that narrowly vetoed SB 1062, which would have legalized a faith-based right to refuse service to assumed members of the LGBTQ community, it doesn’t always feel like a sunny day.

So much behavior comes from, and makes for, heavy hearts. To oppose fear and hatred, I am compelled to expose and explore with light-heartedness and whimsy.  It is important to me to bring heavy subjects to “light.”

The master images for ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN THE DESERT exist as light.  Reading about David Hockney’s use of iPhone technology to make art led me to explore the drawing applications available on my iPhone. I settled on Green Gar’s Whiteboard app.  I began making digital paintings in 2012 at local businesses, and outdoors at home of an evening or afternoon.

My use of color was greatly expanded by working with a digital palate.  It was a delight to match colors in encaustic and acrylic with the digital colors.  Each encaustic or acrylic corresponds to a digital fingerpainting and is one of a kind. Translating digital images into encaustic art required me to use tools in new ways. Previously I relied on incising, using paintbrushes to fill incisions, but with these pieces, I also used the brushes to paint.  Next, I used a heat gun to move and to fuse the layers that I’d painted on. The process of moving back and forth between ultra-contemporary and ancient techniques is liberating.

The prints are produced in a range of sizes, with a maximum of 5 images per size and a maximum of 25 prints per image.

All works are discounted for purchase during the exhibit. If you would like to take a piece home today, Café Passe will accept cash on my behalf. If you would like to pay with a credit card ($5.00 processing fee on purchases of $100 or less) via PayPal, please contact me.

Thank you to Betts Printing and Fred’s Custom Stretching.

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EKPHRASIS – at Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea

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SHOWING July 17 – AUGUST 14  At 1730 East Speedway Blvd. Tucson M – SA 7AM to 4PM SU 8AM to 4PM 520.795.0338
The primary iconography for this show, single-line figures, comes from Autopoiesis, a series I began in 1997. Elements in an autopoietic system are producer and product simultaneously. To live in an autonomous way, living systems need to obtain resources from their environment. Forms in art, because of their symbolic nature, are dependent upon a relationship with viewers, who are themselves producers and consumers. Ekphrasis, the use of one work of art to tell the story of another, is also an example of autopoiesis. In this exhibit, the figures represent spirits and living beings.

I began painting Divine Comedy a few years ago. In the process of finishing it for this show, the painting began to look religious to me as I built up the fore- and background colors and the black figures primarily with triangulation. I thought, I’m an atheist, what am I making here? Dante’s epic poem the Divine Comedy came to mind; I recalled how much I enjoyed reading parts of Mandelbaum’s Commedia and Pinsky’s translation of the Inferno. Dante’s form and subject matter, especially the humor and humanity with which he depicts both sinners and saints, became the guiding principle for the show.

I painted Francesca and Paolo, Dante’s adulterers, swaying in a sea of flames. Francesca and Paolo’s story is a precursor to the gothic novel, which combines elements of horror, supernatural evil, and romance. Gothic architecture offers another context in which to consider these works, with its castles and cathedrals, especially the statues and decorative schemes that address peoples’ fascination with, and fear of, supernatural power. My use of a pitchfork symbol is inspired by Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

Sympathy for the Devil (also the title of a Rolling Stones’ song) recalls for me the most stirring moment in Mandelbaum’s translation, his depiction of a devil weeping as he is forced to gnash an infinity of sinners. It hadn’t occurred to me that a devil might be anything but malevolent.

I love terza rima, a rhyme scheme invented by Dante. Composed of tercets, each stanza’s first and third lines rhyme, while the center line ignites the rhyme of the following tercet. My triptych Terza Rima represents types of couples (in the past, I have titled similar triptychs American Marriage, No On Prop 8 and Date Night). By placing the heteros in the middle, I’m attempting a metonym for Dante’s rhyme scheme.

As one element of an autopoietic system, I continue to reference and reuse my own art. The intaglio print My Pager is in My Other Pants mimics an early sketch I made for Autopoiesis. I etched the plate Kandinsky Coffin in 2010, using non-toxic methods. Working the print in encaustic with the Divine Comedy on my mind, it occurred to me that a coffin, paradise, and purgatory are three inventions created to accommodate the same event — the cessation of life.

To view these and other works online go to valyntinagrenier.com.