Monday, June 23, 2008

Chris Jordan, Photographer

Every once in awhile I hear about something that makes me so very proud to be an artist.  Proud to be part of something bigger than myself.  Because I like the idea that I am part of an ongoing commentary that has existed for thousands of years.  It is my belief that artists, when performing at their highest levels, offer a mirror to society, through their art.  

Of course I don't do it all the time, but with my Common Denominator series, I have tried to explore something deeper.  Sure, the work is light and funny, but there is more beneath the surface.  It's fundamentally about people and how we are all more the same than different.  People of different times and circumstances, the same, just people.  

And my trash work is a commentary.  An attempt to forge beauty out of trash.  To challenge myself to re-use material, take every day objects, the discards of life - and view them through different eyes. 

Sorry I digressed for a moment there, talking about my own work.  I mainly want to share this amazing video clip with you.  Because here is an artist who is doing it.  Someone who is making art that offers social commentary and allows us to all take a look at where we are.  His work is absolutely amazing and thought provoking.  It's an 11 minute video and is well worth your time.  It made me think.  And think.  And think.  
To watch, CLICK HERE.  

Weirder than weird

I have set up Google alerts for my name (MB Shaw and Mary Beth Shaw) so I know every time someone "talks" about me on the Internet.  It is actually pretty cool cause then I know when I am mentioned in other blogs, etc.  I've made some interesting contacts and have been able to acknowledge and thank folks for mentioning me.  
Yesterday, then again today, I got the weirdest ones ever.  Both were blog mentions from two young people - I have no idea their age or location - who are at summer camp.  They had participated in an evening of scary activity, campfire, stories,  ghost walk, etc.  Remember that kind of stuff from camp, where the counselors try to scare the piss out of the youngsters?  
At any rate, the "ghost" was named......yes, you guessed it......Mary Beth Shaw.
Yee gads.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Princess (that would be me) rarely puts gas in her own car.  Yes, it's true.  My sweet husband anticipates the need and somehow always has my car tanked up and ready.  Just like he always has a wallet full of money and serves as my personal ATM machine.  
But anyhoo, we had been out of town (at shows, duh) and the car needed gas.  I drove it on Monday and saw that it was low.  Tuesday it was still low and the gas price had dropped down a bit, but I thought I would wait.  
Wednesday I definitely needed gas and so I filled up the tank at $4.15 per gallon (I use the middle grade).  It cost $57.  Yikes, I couldn't believe it.  
Thursday we were driving to Ian's t-ball game and the price had gone down 2 cents.  Now why do they even bother to patronize us with that!??!?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last week when I was working round the clock, it occurred to me what a very strange life I lead. I had barely slept at all when I awoke quite early and stumbled into the studio wearing my nightie.  I find that viewing my art very first thing in the morning helps me find a fresh approach.  After one look at the painting, I knew what I needed to do.  I grabbed a paintbrush out of the filthy water (yeah I know, leaving them in water is not recommended) and peeled a used Tootsie pop stick off the tarp to mix my colors.  Seemingly minutes later (really more than an hour) I had fixed it. Of course I also had paint on yet another item of clothing and on top of my toenail polish.  

That last 40x30 sold in Nashville by the way.  It's all about big abstracts lately.  Which is fine with me as I love to paint them.  

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm a celebrity in my own mind

John and I are in Nashville, TN this weekend, at the American Artisan show. There are 4 of us from the St. Louis area and we all ate Cuban food last night, yum, yum. The restaurant, Calypso Cafe, is one block from our hotel and I swear I'm just going to eat there all weekend.
We are so wiped out from recent shows that we both crashed at 10 pm last night; the room cooled to meat locker temp and the puffy bed provided perfect sleep conditions. Now I am energized and back in action, ready to roll!

So, I got an early phone call advising that I have been featured in the local paper. OMG. Who knew!??! John ran downstairs to find a copy for me.....geez, Louise, it rocks. I think I love Nashville!

So, if you are here, check the Tennessean - the Weekend section. And come see me at the show in Centennial Park -Friday, Saturday, Sunday. If you want to check out the article online, here's a link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicago rocked, despite the unbelievable winds and rain.  Needless to say, I got to witness the integrity of my tent first hand as John and I huddled inside during the onslaught.  

We are headed to Nashville this week, see the sidebar for details.  The show is in Centennial Park. I am really looking forward to it; I'll be able to catch up with my friend Rhonda and another friend, Jeane Vogel, will also be there.  That makes it so nice, to hook up with other artists.  Chicago was like that too, lots of people I knew.  John and I had the opportunity to be with Mary Smith and her hubby Gary.  They are lots of fun and easy to hang out with.  We had many laughs; some of the "misery loves company" type regarding the weather.    
Here are some booth shots from recent shows - I've been changing the layout slightly each week, hanging the art differently.  I enjoy switching it around.  It is also interesting for me to see how the abstracts blend in with the rest of my work.  You can see I am still playing around with this green/yellow palette.  All the diptychs shown have already sold - in fact, everything on the back wall (in the first picture) sold this past weekend, yikes!  Needless to say I'm at work on some more abstracts but it's questionable whether any of them will be done before we leave.  I may have to varnish on the fly.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Patterns & Pixels at Art Saint Louis/57th Street

Finally, here is the triptych that is in the Art St. Louis show.  The Preview party was terrific tonight, extremely well attended.  I thought the show was quite nice and the new gallery is fantastic, a huge upgrade with amazing high ceilings.  Just beautiful.  I felt proud to be part of the show.

The piece is 30x30, each section is 10" wide by 30" tall, on claybord.  They are acrylic, collage, molding paste, ink, spray paint.  The title is "Wondering and Wandering on the Lunar Path."  We were invited to submit a brief artist statement if so desired and here is what I said about my work.  

"I have a nearly obsessive interest in cycles, repetitions enacted and observed daily.  marks on canvas - intentional, intuitive - what is random?"

If you happen to be in Chicago this weekend, come see me at the 57th Street Art Fair.  A link can be found at my sidebar.  If you happen to be in St. Louis this weekend, go support Art Saint Louis with their official gallery opening on Saturday, link also on the sidebar.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Diptych

If you've been paying attention, you will see similarities between this one and the recent one I sold at 4 Bridges.
I wanted to work with the same colors.  I'm still trying to make a piece for our family room, so one of these days I may get to keep one.  I have to say I really dig these colors plus this hieroglyphic marking thing I have going on right now.  I just can't.stop.
Go figure.
Each piece is 24x24 on canvas.  It's acrylic, collage, molding paste, ink, marker, spray paint.
It needs a name.  Ideas?  I was thinking about patterns and pixels as I painted, not as the name, but as the subject matter, you know what I mean.  That was the theme of the last show I painted for and I can't get it out of my head.  The one where I delivered it to the gallery and forgot to shoot it first. With a camera, not a gun.  But you knew that.  A photo will be forthcoming after Thursday night.  Which reminds me.....I need to tell you about the Patterns & Pixels opening and the brand new Art Saint Louis Gallery.....  

There's a Preview Party this Thursday night between 5-8pm.  I will be attending it if you care to stop by.  I need to photograph my piece, ha, but seriously, I also want to see the show and especially the new digs!  If you think you might go on Thurs, please rsvp to 
And don't forget the real opening Saturday night from 6-9pm.  I'm sure it will be great fun but I'll be in Chicago at 57th Street.  Also having great fun, at least I hope.  

Patterns and Pixels
555 Washington Blvd, Suite 150

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'll have whatever she's having

I don't venture into the political arena on my blog, but I need to say something about Hillary Clinton.  
And it's probably not what you are expecting.    
I want to know what she's ON?????  
And what kind of make up she wears.    
Geez Louise, after campaigning like a maniac for God only knows how many months, she looks better than ever before, perfect make up at all times.  Plus she has some other-worldly energizer bunny thing going on.  Which strikes me as so unusual for a woman who must certainly be menopausal or peri-menopausal.   

OK, rant over.

Check out my Calendar of events in the right-hand sidebar.  LOTS of new events have been added, yikes, I need to get busy, huh?  What am I doing writing this blog anyway!??!      

Monday, June 02, 2008

Inside Out

There are times I wish I still lived in The City.  That being San Francisco of course, the only city I've ever really known.  But New York would suffice.  Or possibly Chicago or LA.  My desire is primarily about availability of stuff that adds to an interesting life experience.  Stuff like Art - Movies - More diversity in Ethnic Food - New Theater - A wider range of Incredibly Fresh Fish.  Things that don't make it to my part of the country, that being the Midwest, a place where coastal types (possibly) imagine we are all naive and so un-hip we wouldn't know what to do with a leading edge lifestyle.  Hmmm, I guess maybe I hang with a different group, but I know lots of us who would enjoy such a lifestyle.   

But I digress.  

We subscribe to the NY Times so I can read about all this stuff I'm missing.  Like a new exhibition at MOMA (NY, not SF) called "Glossolalia: Languages of Drawing."  It is described as a mix of drawings by "outsider" artists and "insider" artists - professionals who have been conventionally trained.  There are no such labels on the art nor is it segregated in any such way.  The link-up for the show is the simple premise that all the exhibiting artists work from internal inspiration and that each artist "has created a unique language with which to express his or her own experience."  

I am interested in seeing the show because this is how I work.  It all comes from inside, sometimes with little rhyme of reason.  I am still working on my "language" as I find it develops more and more  each year.  I have never called myself an outsider per se, although I supposed I am on the cusp since I lack conventional training such as an MFA.  But I have sought foundational training such as the drawing classes I took at UC Berkeley, plus I have taken workshops here and there.  My painting, though, is largely self taught - kind of "girl let loose with art supplies."  

An interesting distinction about "outsiders" (at least per the article - here is a LINK if you want to read it) is that "outsiders seem not to worry too much about how their creations will appear to others..."  I find this fascinating and it also distinguishes me from outsiders as I do tend to care how my work is perceived.  

I have seen a lot of outsider art during my last 2 years exhibiting at Kentuck.  The art I have observed there (at Kentuck) is all so completely raw.  I admire the artist's ability to reach deep within and to express themselves with no apparent edit function.  Personally, I love this loose approach, but I know there are folks, such as my husband, who simply don't get it.  They prefer their art to be more easily accessible.  

I think I admire the raw and loose so much because I have this insane tendency to work and overwork and even, perish the though, think about my work.  I finished (perhaps) a new diptych yesterday and displayed it for friends last night at dinner.  I talked to my friend Bud about whether it was finished and he said yes.  I said I wasn't sure.  He probed for my reasons and I admitted somewhat sheepishly that I hadn't bled on it enough.  I felt I should have struggled more and messed it up, then salvaged it before pronouncing it done.  He just shook his head.   

Something a little twisted about that, eh?