a growing force in international art

The Caribbean region is known for calypso rhythm, white sand beaches and spicy cuisine.  However, the richness of the region’s cultural assets are not as well-known. The Caribbean Fine Art Fair – Barbados (Cafa Fair) aims to remedy that lack of knowledge by becoming an annual exposition for the appreciation of Caribbean Art.

Bill GraceOpen #9, Bill Grace

With his mandala artwork, artist Bill Grace is easily my favorite participant in Cafa Fair 2012. His artwork takes many forms, and he works in coral, stone, glass, and clay. His works have been commissioned by religious institutions, the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, and have also been given by the Barbados Government as gifts to U.S. Heads of State.

“Open #9” is a beautiful, meditative piece that brings to mind the tracings of wind, or birds, on fine white sand, with polished ocean treasure at the center.

Bill GraceIcon Obelisk Maquette Obsverse, Icon Obelisk Maquette Obsverse #1, and Brothers, Bill Grace

2012 will be the second year for the Cafa Fair, and over 35 exhibitors will be displaying paintings, sculptures, photography, and new media at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Two Mile Hill, Barbados, West Indies, opening on March 7, 2012.

Bill GraceWearable Prints by Bill Grace

See more of Grace’s work on his website, “Ocean Meditations”:  www.billgraceart.com  You can find more information on the Caribbean Fine Art Fair on their site: www.cafafair.com


dreaming of flotsam and jetsam

Flotsam are items floating as a consequence of the action of the sea.  Jetsam are items which have been jettisoned by a ship’s crew. So technically, I guess I would be dreaming of flotsam, since my subject today is driftwood art.

LeRon CarvingEternity, Gary Cronk

Cronk is among a group of artists who carve driftwood using the LuRon Technique. LuRon is actually a trademarked name for a method of developing finished wood sculptures from found wood. Artists learn specific techniques for cleaning, design development, and finishing and displaying completed sculptures. See the website for the Northwest Driftwood Artists for a gallery of beautifully carved pieces, and more information about this carving technique.

Dave PetranekArtist Dave Petranek

I have some of my glasswork in a wonderful gallery in the historic downtown area of Janesville Wisconsin.  I was dropping off some of my pieces, and browsing through the new things when I saw the driftwood birds created by Petranek.  According to Raven’s Wish Gallery owner, Alicia Reid, Dave’s garage was filling up with found wood until he simply had to do something to justify building his collection. He fits pieces together into these crazy bird forms, using a light touch to impart a subtle color quality and richness to the piece. Petranek doesn’t have a website, but he does have a Facebook page with a couple more photos.

John DahlsenDriftwood Assemblage by John Dahlsen

Dahlsen is an environmental artist who scours Australian beaches for materials to use in his assemblage pieces. Along with his driftwood pieces, he also creates many items from found debris.  (That would be jetsam!) By making this art, he hopes to share the message for the need to care for our environment. See  more of his work on his website: www.johndahlsen.com

Linda OefflingTurtle Mandala with Driftwood, Linda Oeffling

I can’t resist the lure of collecting these twisted, water-carved pieces of wood.  This is one of my smaller mandala pieces, the glass is about 3.5″ wide. Something to hang, to catch the light, turning some flotsam into a little piece of art.

time for a virtual vacation

It’s almost March.  We are still shoveling snow.  It’s true, all throughout the winter season I ask for snow, and enjoy it, but it is time for a turning of the seasons. So this week, we are taking a little virtual vacation, where balmy breezes waft softly through ocean-scented air, and the sound of waves on the sand provides the heartbeat to your days…

Antoine ChaponRendez-Vous Bay, Antoine Chapon

Chapon is an artist living on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Born in France, he sailed to the islands in 1981 and settled in the tiny village of Colombier.

Antoine ChaponReflection, Antoine Chapon

In December of 2010 Chapon opened his own gallery at the Marina Royale in the town of Marigot. This little island is a bit unusual, in that it is split into a French side, St. Martin, and a Dutch side, Sint Maarten.  Marigot is the capitol city on the French side.

Antoine ChaponTurquoise at Cap Juluca, Antoine Chapon

Here in the Midwest, surrounded by deep green forests, deep blue lakes, and deep brown earth tones, my palette gravitates to these familiar colors.  When I go on vacation to some tropical destination, suddenly I want to redecorate, using clean white, turquoise, and the pinks and purples of a sunset sky.

suspended paper jewels

They are faceted like precious stones, but they are made of paper (and some other things).

Kirsten HassenfeldDans la Lune, Kirsten Hassenfeld

“Some friends were visiting from France, and one described speaking with her doctor about a medication. She had inquired if it would make her “dans la lune.” When I asked her what that meant, she said, “dopey, drugged.” Later I looked up the French idiom and found that it referenced daydreaming. “Il est dans la lune” can be translated as “He’s got his head in the clouds,” or “He’s on another planet.” Dans la Lune is a perfect title because in my work I try to create an imaginary place that relates to our longings for a better, grander existence.Hassenfeld describes her work as “a three-dimensional daydream”.  -Kirsten Hassenfeld

Kirsten HassenfeldUntitled (Star) detail, Kirsten Hassenfeld

She expresses her ambivalence toward materials wealth, power and privilege by creating images of precious objects using paper as a primary material. Her installations are dreamlike, and I would love to wander through her fantastic, created worlds.

Kristen HassenfeldDollar Dreams, Kristen Hassenfeld

The artist finds inspiration in her collection of auction catalogues and books on decoration.  Her research involves experimenting with new types of paper and methods, and it takes many hours of work hand-cutting, coiling, folding and gluing the various types of archival papers that she uses. See her website: www.kirstenhassenfeld.com.   There is also a nice photo selection of her installations at Bellwether Gallery:  www.bellwethergallery.com

whirling kaleidescope of color

Hadieh Shafie finds inspiration in the Sufi whirling dervishes,  Islamic ascetics who whirl around in a dizzying attempt to get closer to Allah. Google “Whirling Dervish” and select “images” to get a page full of colorful, spinning costumes.

Hadieh Shafie20871 Pages
Hadieh Shafie
Ink/ acrylic and Paper with printed & hand written Farsi Text Esheghe
48″ x 48″ x 3.5″

Shafie titles her pieces according to the number of tiny strips of paper that are tightly scrolled and set into the frame. Inside the scrolls are written one word:  “Eshghe”, or “Love” in the Farsi language.

Hadieh Shafie21680 Pages Detail
Hadieh Shafie
Ink/ acrylic and Paper with printed & hand written Farsi Text Esheghe
48″ x 48″ x 3.5″ / 121.92 x 121.9 x 9 cm

She is very interested in process-oriented work, with repetition and patterns that find their roots in traditional Iranian art. As she performs the methodical, repetitious work, she loses herself in a meditation of memories and thoughts and inspirations.

ShafieImage from Morton Fine Art

Some weeks ago, looking at my friend’s pictures from Turkey, we noted that the flowing brushwork Arabic lettering is like an art form in itself.  Seeing it here on Hafie’s pieces, I love the way it forms patterns as it scrolls around her wheels of color.  She has wonderful, huge images on her website that display the details and colors beautifully:  hadiehshafie.com

bring on the rainbow

I was browsing through the artists that are being honored with the The Catlin Art Prize 2012, an annual exhibition that features the most promising art grads in the UK. Julia Vogl caught my eye with her rainbows of color.

Julia Vogl
£ 1 000 000 | 1 000 opinions ( where would you allocate £ 1 000 000 of public spending?), Julia Vogl

Vogl is an installation artist who works to challenge social issues through public art.

“…I started to understand the role that public art can have in a community. It can make neighbourhoods safer, it can lead to positive engagement with strangers and generally it can beautify an otherwise neglected area.” – Julia Vogl from an interview with Aesthetica Magazine Blog

Julia VoglColouring the Invisible, Julia Vogl

In “Colouring the Invisible”, Vogl covers 150 windows of an interior atrium at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies.  Her artistic aim is to reflect on the languages spoken there.

Julia VoglPreferences Overview, Julia Vogl

Her rainbow bursts of color grab your attention.  I like the interactive aspect of “Preferences Overview”, based off the childhood game of hopscotch.  Did you know that game has ancient Roman origins?

Color and pattern are essential elements of Vogl’s work.  See more on her website:  www.juliavogl.com

speaking of cement

Yesterday’s post was on a new form of lighted, translucent concrete. This led to an investigation of some concrete art . . .

Casa do ContoCasa do Conto Hotel, Portugal

Not sure how comfortable I would be with a massive, concrete ceiling over my head.  It is pretty cool, though.

Andrew GossLeaning, Andrew Goss

Andrew Goss is a concrete artist who writes a blog about his work and other interesting ideas.  He is a Canadian jewelry designer, who works in concrete as well as metals.  I wanted to feature this piece because I think of concrete sculpture being blocky and heavy, and I love the “twiggy” feel of this one. Visit his blog: artconcrete.blogspot.com

He also creates some beautiful wall mounted pieces.  See the David Kaye Gallery in Toronto, “Lift – Some Ideas about Concrete”.

GaspersSculpture, Rachel Josepher Gaspers

Gaspers is an artist working out of Port Townsend, Washington.  She creates sculptures that are created from  kiln-cast glass and concrete.

“Since I often think of glass as transparent stone or rocks, the “themes” of the pieces are in reference to fossils, or ancient walls that are carved with a story.” Rachel Josepher Gaspers

She also produces oil paintings, fiber art, and pastel paintings, in addition to the concrete & glass work. Visit her website here: www.rachelgaspers.com