One Ear Society

The Blog of the One Ear Society


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five minutes of Fame

Guest contributor Monique Lassooji
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has a Wednesday Evening Program called “MOCA by Moonlight”. This is a program aimed to make people acquainted with contemporary art through lectures, hands-on activities inspired by contemporary artists and also through the “5 minutes of Fame”.
It allows local artists to explain how and why they create their art.

In January of this year I went to MOCA, signed up and was told I was up for April the 14th. I felt excited and at the same time nervous because I don’t have a lot of experience doing presentations in front of a large group.

Over the following two months I finished the paintings I wanted to include in my presentation, painted another one for the Show “Circus, Circus” at the Windisch Hunt Gallery and then it became time to work at the presentation itself.
Hoops - oils - 24" x 24"
I put together the presentation and visualize what I want to tell about my work. My partner kept asking me when I was going to write down my presentation and I kept telling him that I would on the day itself. I was still in the stage of deciding which paintings to show, what to tell about them and in what order.

Now it all sounds very calm and collected, but it was not. The mere thought of having to talk in public gave me the jitters and whenever friends would tell me I would do just fine, I thought: “Sure, but I am the one who has to do it.”

On April 14th, I was the first to do a presentation. I had seen a little of the other 3 artists’ work and I was happy about the diversity. I had written down a few words to guide me and I knew exactly the order of the slides. I started by telling them a little about Holland and how I started as an abstract painter. Then I showed my first paintings here – all nudes – and how the difference between Holland and Miami inspired me to do nudes. I described my move to Miami as “moving from the fridge into the microwave”.

My next set of slides was about my series “Fresh from the Fridge” where the content of my fridge inspired me to paint fruits and vegetables for a showing in the Focaccia, Coconut Grove.

While I was talking about this series, I calmed down, especially when I heard a whisper that sounded like “Wow, look at that.” I told the audience a little anecdote about how my partner, by mistake, took a bite out of one of my models.

I closed the presentation with my last 3 paintings called “Transitions” which are really personal paintings. With these paintings I picture my feelings about my transition from Holland to Miami: to start again with nothing and to find my place here. They are not gloomy paintings but painted with bright “sunny” colors. I live in the Sunshine State in a beautiful city and even when it is not always easy, I do not regret it.

After answering some really interesting questions from the audience, Lark Keeler, the assistant curator of the MOCA asked me what I would do next.
“Less fruits, more nudes” was my reply.

Then I enjoyed the presentation and work of the German painter Jutta Rakoniewski, the whimsical robots by Mike Rivamonte and Gerry Stecca’s clothespins installations. A week later Lark Keeler told me that I was the audience choice recipient and that MOCA will show one of my paintings on their website.

This is a wonderful opportunity for artists created by MOCA and a really nice way for people to interact with the artists about the why and how behind their work.

Just a part of life

Left but not forgotten
I've been missing in action for several weeks but did not miss documenting the art happenings. I've just had very little time to post.
We are two days away from our Opening Reception of the Anti-Show. Windisch-Hunt Fine Art is featuring street art. While waiting for the artists to arrive with their pieces, I continue to move the other work out. We will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. I should be caught up by then. The one thing I must get used while updating is to work backwards, but that's just not going to happen!

Ok, here is one for the books.... We were asked to make an appearance for the Miami Herald via the public relations group hired by the Peacock Tour people. Wow, what artists would not want to be in a major metropolitan newspaper. We went to the studio where most of the peacocks are kept - This is the first of many publicity opportunities. We were not the only artists invited, while we were there, the only other artist LEBO who's peacock was finished, did not even show. Fred Hunt is not a verbal artist, however, he and the photographer got along quite well. They have photography in common. Fred used to do the covers for Atlanta Magazine. I can see right away that this is not the easiest photo to shoot because the Peacock is large and dominates. I kept my mouth shut while the photographer set up some shots that I knew would not work as I used to work for United Press Int'l.
We were looking forward to seeing the photo and story in the paper but it didn't make the following day. When it finally hit the paper it was The Peacock with LEBO. Like I said it's part of life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deering Estate Affair en Plein Air Diary

Chance of Showers, 12" x 16"
Guest writer Linda Apriletti
This past weekend I participated in the "Deering Estate Affair en Plein Air" held on April 17-18. We had from 9 am to 4 pm to paint on Saturday and from 9-3 on Sunday so I decided to do a morning painting. My best bet would be to let the weather inspire me to paint something catching the mood of the Deering estate that weekend. Maybe something moody looking over the water and mangroves if the weather turned out to be as predicted. Leading up to the event I was checking the weekend weather report which was rapidly deteriorating to scattered showers on Saturday and 60% chance of rain on Sunday.

Saturday morning started out with slivers of sun here and there but overall very cloudy overcast skies. I drew a small value sketch of the shapes and values of the sky, water and mangroves to figure out my composition, then blocked in the values on my canvas with paint and got started. It was so windy. Not so bad near the house, but by the water it was almost a gale force constant 25+ mph and very frustrating. I anchored down my easel with bungees attached to weighted objects and then tried to use a royal palm trunk to block some wind but it didn't do much good and I often had to hold onto canvas to steady it when the worst gusts came.
The annual Baynanza cleanup was held on Saturday morning and one of the gathering locations was the Deering Estate along with a smorgasbord of tents, festivities and music all morning down by the royal palms. The boyscouts were having a very hard time paddling their canoes out to collect trash from the mangroves and they eventually tied up their canoes by the water where I was painting and came ashore. They did a great job of cleaning up the mangroves based on the trash count in the canoes.
More clouds accumulated as I painted and an hour in it looked like we could have rain any time. That's when I came up with the name for my painting, "Chance of Showers". I often have a hard time with titles but this one was easy. There was a pretty constant light over everything so painting past the morning didn't cause confusion with chasing the light. I wrapped up my painting around 2:30 and turned it to the overnight wet paint room.

Sunday morning I awoke to drizzle and pale gray skies. It just turned into harder rain as the day progressed. We were allowed to paint from the porch if it was raining but I didn't feel inspired by the wet gray day and decided not to try a second painting. Instead I waited and arrived at Deering around 2, made a few minor finishing touches to my painting and turned it in. The sunshine actually came out when I arrived and I found Perri Cox on the porch working on a new palm painting while she was sheltered from the wind behind some shutters. Mr Sheldon, the president of Northern Trust Bank was invited by the Grovehouse Artists to be the juror this year in appreciation for his generosity in funding the entire plein air event. Just as Mr Sheldon finished with his judging and Barbara Tejada announced the award places, we heard the first crack of thunder and everyone quickly departed. It poured the rest of the day. My painting didn't place in this event but I felt I came up with a good painting. I felt like I was successful in expressing and keeping the mood in my painting, and it feels like it's going to rain.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Performance Art vs Entertainment

Choreographer Monica Craun
Developing non-commercial yet attractive performance art in Miami has proved to be a challenging process in a city that is a thriving tourist destination with a booming nightclub and "entertainment" dance industry. I moved here hoping to encounter a richly diverse dance scene that reflects the diversity of the Miami population. I was excited to experience this fusion of cultures and continue to develop my dance and choreography. I have found Miami to have only a handful of dance companies and not much representation of the folkloric dances from the Americas considering the cultural diversity.
The focus is in the entertainment dance industry, but not necessarily the type of dance I was looking for. It has been hard to find contexts or venues that view the dancing body as art rather than just as entertainment. Art can and should be entertaining but I believe it should also be respected with the same integrity that the artist put into it. The majority of the jobs that I have been offered here in Miami have involved dancing in nightclubs or casinos, body painted or semi-nude to an intoxicated crowd as a background diversion. As an aspiring choreographer it is hard to imagine myself dancing in such venues without compromising my artistic and social integrity. Not to say that that is all there is in Miami, but there is definitely a gravitational pull in that direction due to the money for "entertainment". I shudder to think at how many talented young dancers have lost their focus due to the lack of opportunities. Instead I have been doing shows at art galleries, Haiti Benefits, alternative music videos and film projects. Most of which involve no compensation and a lot of work . But no complaints, it is fulfilling work that I seek that leaves one with an invaluable feeling of heart and purpose for which one must pay the consequences of zero compensation. In a city that has abundant resources, crowds and venues, dance is not the only victim. Is there something to be said about a society that views the body more as entertainment than art? Perhaps due to the constant influx of travelers and pleasure seekers the market for more substantial or intellectual pieces has not been fully addressed.
Maybe people are lulled by the turquoise oceans of Miami, that create this oh so seductive serenity. Miami has seduced me, but I don't want to loose my integrity or edge for creating meaningful pieces. It is hard to stay fiery in a city surrounded by water. The water element seems to diffuse energy, focus and resistance into this harmonious happy feeling. Happy is good, happy is great, but so is depth and so is substance. A composer friend of mine said that Miami is "fertile ground" for the arts, and I have yet to find it.