Friday, April 1, 2011

Cigar Box Assemblages

I'm working on something new, while I stretch and gesso some canvases for paintings. This new work will be completed in cigar boxes Michael got for me at a smoke shop, where he buys lottery tickets. Inside the boxes will be scenes somewhat like those Joseph Cornell made, but they'll be much more like narrative tableaux. Below are pictures of the first one, which is still in progress.

Work in Progress: "Aunt Anne Does the Dishes"
Who's the lady with the gun, you ask? My husband's aunt, a twin whom we all called "Aunt Anne" passed away in February. She is very much missed because she was a warm spirit, always willing to help people. While her niece and twin were keeping vigil at her bedside in the hospital, my husband went to visit. They pulled out pictures of Anne in her thirties. One of the pictures showed her shooting a target with a handgun. This was a side of Aunt Anne I had never before seen. To me, she had always been reserved, artistic (she made beautiful quilts), and spiritual.

After seeing the picture, I absolutely had to do something with it, and so I scanned it, enlarged it, printed it, and begun using it as the principal part of this work. I'll follow with additional pictures as it progresses. The other photos below are of the collaged images on the outside of the box (the source of which are stacks of 20s, 30s, and 40s sheet music I got at auction). Eventually, I'll epoxy .22 bullet casings around the box sides, like rays of light.

In the patch of the Guz land, where Michael and I  hill and harvest 50lbs of potatoes every year, we regularly find broken pottery shards, flow blue, oxidized glass, sometimes broken milk glass canning lids (once, we even found a rusty iron stove door, likely from the late 19th century). Our potato patch happens to be in a 19th-century homesteader's garbage pile--the homesteaders who owned the land before Dziadek (pronounced: Juh-jie, Polish for grandfather) and Babcia (pronounced, at least in the Guz family: Bub-she, for grandmother) purchased the land in the late 19-teens/early 1920s . I plan to use these pottery shards, too.  Using the shards was Michael's excellent idea. Pics to to come....
"Aunt Anne Does the Dishes" (outside front)

"Aunt Anne Does the Dishes" (outside front)

Last night, Michael and I met with a very dear friend of mine from high school, Sheldon Yeager, who has begun his own business, working with Brooklyn artists (but in the summers, he also manages Skipper Dipper with his husband Dave, who edits the show "Say yes to the Dress." Sheldon's Christmas letter was really inspiring, since it described his new adventures after leaving MTV, where he managed the big MTV screen that appears in Times Square. He's had a really exciting life, and it's getting even more so with his new ventures. It's fantastic hearing his stories, which, as a bonus, boosts my creative energy, too. I also got to meet his wonderful friend Julie Simon, who works in New York City's urban planning department. She and Sheldon are taking a roadtrip through the 'Rustbelt' to look at the cities and take in some of the local art scene. More to come on Sheldon's new project, Municipal Print Company, when his new site goes live!  

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