Archive for the ‘thoughts on art’ Category

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September 14th, 2008 Blueberry Fields SUNDAY BRUNCH

September 13, 2008

Blueberry fields forever. This SUNDAY BRUNCH September 14th, 2008 will feature a blueberry theme and a documentary about the harvest of blueberry fields by Kali. Please join us from 10am – 12pm for creative conversations and dialog.

Blueberry Field in Bloom, East Machias Alana Rahney Copyright - used with permission

"Blueberry Field in Bloom, East Machias" Alana Ranney Copyright 2008 - used with permission

Menu
Blueberry cobbler
Pork tenderloin
Please bring a side dish or juice to share.

Details of location and contact information to let us know you are coming is here.

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SUNDAY BRUNCH, Clouds & Produce…

August 23, 2008

SUNDAY BRUNCH

Join us for some vegetable inspired food, music and creative conversations at our weekly SUNDAY BRUNCH tomorrow August 24th, 2008. We are making an egg fritata with fresh herbs and fresh vegetables with dips (and coffee). Bring something else to the mix to share and let us know if you are coming! We thought that you might like to see an interesting use of vegetables as a musical instrument in this amazing concert of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. Feel free to bring a musical instrument. We are going to try and make a carrot recorder.

Hope Carrot Shannon White 2007

“Hope Carrot” Shannon White 2007

Cloud recap

Last night we had a great time at the percolator for the “clouds are easy to love” opening reception. We jammed to Karl Ramberg’s unique music which I would consider a blend between experimental keyboard, electronic sounds of chaos, and off tempo/ miss-beats, with a little bit of ambient thrown in for good measure. I absolutely loved the sound. It takes an artist to keep a good sound going while doing so much. Karl happens to be an excellent stone carver as well. He has helped with Myles Mountain stone carve on numerous occasions. We unfortunately missed the poetry last night, but were glad to see some interesting and thought provoking cloud inspired artwork. One piece that stuck out as interesting (at least to a three dimensional artists) was an installation by Anne Bruce. It’s materials was cloth, gold fishing hooks, sugar and flour. The material was hung with fishing hooks on the end of fishing line suspending the varying heights of expanded cloth, SIFTING loads of flour and sugar. Some of the flour and sugar drifted below the fabric on the ground. Another piece that engaged everyone with interest and laughter was the paper mache cloud, on which a childlike face was painted, and below a group of simple paper cutout flowers that were attached to a crank that when turned made the flowers dance up and down. We enjoyed seeing many artists including Spencer Art Museum Director Sara Lynn Reece Hardy. Our kids while disappointed not to find the cloud themed inspired smores that they were looking forward to, enjoyed producing more cloud art for the ceiling of the art space. Add to this some cloud themed snacks, and other drinks, with a fanciful hop-scotch-esque spray painting on the concrete in front of the gallery by David Lowenstien to top off the cooler than normal artistic evening.

Dot Dot Dot ArtSpace Opening “Overcoming the Fears that Overcome Us”

Join us tonight at Dot Dot Dot ArtSpace (a Fresh Produce Collective Event) for a Show Opening called “Overcoming the Fears that Overcome Us” with artist Whit Bone. According to artist Ostaf Heller, this is Whit’s first solo show. Dot Dot Dot ArtSpace is located at 1910 Haskell, Lawrence, KS in a new gallery that was converted from a liquor stores back stock room. The space is simplistic and unassuming, but the art is as the name of the founding group suggests “fresh”. Here is hoping for some “fresh” art and creative characters tonight at the ArtSpace.

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frameless? invitation

July 27, 2008

b.a.l.m is gathering steam in august just like this kansas weather!  which means…if you are creative, or if you appreciate art and artists of any type; b.a.l.m invites you to an evening of artistic exploration- discover creative people while building a vocabulary of beauty.  august 9th, 2008 from 7:00pm -10:00pm at 2121 Vermont.  the gathering theme is frameless?  we would like to discuss this general concept with you all in terms of creativity, art and life.  please bring an example of your artistic medium & style that might relate to this concept (framed, unframed, with our without an apparent framework, or n/a).  please also bring some food or drink that would conceptually fit this idea (hmmm).  IF you bring your “junky” old frames, we will swap or use them for a group project.  request further details or let us know if you will be coming by contacting us.   we have missed our gatherings and look forward to the time.  we thought about meeting in a junk yard, but it is too warm, so maybe later in the fall… 

In the meantime be sure to check out Jane Flanders work in the rivermarket regional exibition: july 11th-august 15, 2008 at the KCAC Gallery.

Images & Text Copyright 2008 D&S White
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Confessions of a Garage, Hospital, Studio Artist

May 12, 2008

My former studio space has a new tenant!

Artist’s like to share their work with people, but sharing can take on multiple meanings in the day to day life and space an artist inhabits.  Does your garage double as your studio and share space with bicycles, cars, and household necessities like mine does?  I organize a garage sale each year to militantly protect my precious territory from ever encroaching outgrown children’s equipment that threatens my art space.  My husband has graciously offered to make me movable walls for my studio to make my space seem separate and serene.  May they expand and not contract.  My former studio, which is now inhabited by my son now doubles as a guestroom complete with bunkbeds and CARS comforters.  Guests must love children.  I have also enjoyed participating in an open studio painting class at the Lawrence Arts Center from Louis Copt to stay connected with other artists while motivating myself toward deadlines.  I must function in multiple working capacities to maintain my artistic life, but I am not willing to “let it go”.  Give it up for the right reason or for a short time, maybe, but not just let it go…  This creative life is something worth keeping and sharing.  Sharing in a variety of ways, as mentioned above.

PRAYER CHAIN papercuts by Shannon White 2008

MAHATMA CADEN leftover tempera on construction paper by Shannon White 2007

Last year my son was in the hospital for a third of the year, so I had to be satisfied with sketching in my sketchbook, using his leftover tempera paint on construction paper to paint his portrait off of his palette during hospital craft time, scavenging and drawing on the backs of slightly used disposable hospital gowns, and finally letting Henri Matisse’s and Peter Callesen’s paper cuts inspire me to make my first small scale installation work out of construction paper.  The theme and title for this installation was SIMPLE MEDIUM, and it already had its first showing.  I am still transferring the year’s small sketches into large paintings and bodies of work, into finished drawings, multiple completed series, and finally beginning to show them.  These challenges have inspired me to innovate, to expand my visual vocabulary to reflect recent experiences, to keep creating, expressing and sharing.  I have three group shows in the next few months (KS, CO & Bleeker Street, NY), work in an Oklahoma gallery, a portrait I am finishing and am hoping to have some solo shows, soon.   The past year was worth its weight in paint and relationships, shared time and space.  In tight spaces and seemingly hopeless places, vision can thrive.  The intensity of emotion, the condensation of concept, the urgency of expression can increase in these pressurized environments.  Capsules of life emerge.  Records of personal culture, inner turmoil, everyday life, the hope we hold onto surface and vitrify to be kept and read like cuneiform tablets preserved through fires.  This very difficult process is how we determine what is truly worth keeping and sharing.  May you all keep creating, living and sharing from whatever environment is available to us at the time.

FOUR FIGURES IN THE FIRE papercuts by Shannon White 2008

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New Gathering?

September 28, 2007

We need your assistance.  We are looking for suggestions for a new Gathering in October.

GOT IDEAS?

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Backstory Biography and All That KC Jazz

September 16, 2007

                                               by Shannon White                 

                  

                 Shannon revisiting her familial jazz roots at the KC Museum of 
                 Jazz – Sept 2007

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                   KC Jazz sculpture outside of museum 18th & Vine

    

     High school year book entry for Ralph C Wentz, 
     Shannon’s Grandfather & Jazz Pianist

Two sides of the room sang bebop rhythms back and forth, repeated, then overlapping each other.  The groups waited while vocal and instrumental solos gave their spontaneous variations, then let the chorus respond.  We sang and listened through several sets, awaiting our turn to scat or hear to another soloist.  I reconnnected with my slightly unfamiliar familial jazz roots last June 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at a an Artists Gathering called Via Affirmativa.  Dr. Kyle Gregory, a family man who works as a professional jazz musician in Italy — an amazing jazz musician, teacher and person — gave the multi-disciplinary group of artists brief history of jazz with improvisational performances,  an education on jazz scale construction, rhythm emphasis, and best of all scatting bebop group improvs with instrumental solos.  We were all involved no matter what our artistic background.  It was interactive and exciting, and made me want to try jazz piano or flute for the first time since I started learning in grade school through high school and beyond — I said “try”.  I was also inspired to sketch the trumpeter with the energetic marks traveling up his arched spine, through the bell of his horn, then activating the space around him as I have seen so many other artists do, not to mimic, but because that was simply what I envisioned.  The creative experience in Minneapolis also made me want to discover more about this personal and local history with jazz than I had for my eighth grade speech class on my grandfather and his jazz career years ago. I began to wonder why he chose jazz, what it was like to have his career during his lifetime and later carry it on with a family, how his piano playing was integrated into the American jazz scene altogether and the regional KC scene as well.  This quest involved online research, interviewing my father and thinking about what made jazz spread from America throughout the world as a truly American art form.

               

           Bix Beiderbecke and his gang, which often changed players

Apparently, jazz began in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century, as a culmination of African, Spanish, Italian, South American and French cultures.  The blues and marching band style combination with spontaneous music with syncopated “rag time” rhythms traveled up from the seaport town.  The Mississippi River carried African American and Caucasian musicians looking for better futures in Chicago, Illinois, making it the new center for jazz by 1920.   Jazz had always been in my grandfather’s blood.  My grandfather, Ralph C Wentz was born in Ottawa, Illinois, not too far from Chicago in July 7,1909.  He took piano lessons as a child paid for by his grandmother, and took his first piano job playing for silent movies in his father’s silent movie house in Geneseo, Illinois, which is where he grew up.  He then played ragtime in the band his father, Ralph Sr. and Uncle Harry Wentz formed and played in the area.  He studied piano at the Sheridan Institute of Music in Chicago in the early 1930s and then was hired by a piano company in Chicago.  America was in a great period of prosperity at this time, and the country was celebrating with jazz.  No doubt my grandfather was caught up in this progressive American sound and couldn’t resist the proximity or the excitement.  His Uncle Harry was the a pianist for one of the first caucasian jazz bands, Bix Biederbecke , in the quad cities on bordering Illinois and Iowa.  My grandfather ended up filling in for Uncle Harry occasionally at the stool, and ended up playing for Al Capone and at a nunnery, inadvertantly, at one point.  When he realized Capone was actually hiring him, he politely bowed out of these assignments.  I believe an ailing grandmother was mentioned.

                         

                           Where Wentz performed and met his bride-to-be

Chicago hosted the World Fair 1933-34 to showcase an age of progress and technical achievement, while it drew from the past achievements as well.  One of the exhibits at this fair was a jazz pianist playing his newest spontaneous styles of American jazz on a crystal piano turning on a pedestal.  My grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Alleman, visited the world’s fair and began to fall in love with the man playing the piano at the time.  He was to become my grandfather when they would meet again eleven years later in Junction City, KS, where she taught and he was stationed for the war.  He played with many bands during the “big band” or “swing” era in the USO, country clubs and VFW around World War ll, bands like Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, and Les Brown’s Band of Renown in the 1940s.  These bands made records, named after the famous trumpet, clarinet or vocal soloist they featured.    My grandfather moved close to Kansas City along with the jazz migration with a severe stomach ulcer from dealing with snipers and leading raids in the war.  He was sent to a Colorado hospital and then home to Lansing to die with his wife and children, when his ulcer perforated, speeding up the process.  Fortunately, a young country doctor stopped the bleeding with a new procedure and saved his life.  He already had one child by 1949, when my father came along and made two, and there would be two more. 

         

   Tommy Dorsey’s big band, whom my grandfather played with occasionally

KC it was the next big town to be known for “swing” and then “bebop”.  In 1948, my grandfather had his own band in KC and played with other bands as well.  The war draft caused the “big bands” to form these more intimate bebop groups featuring group improvisations, as band members were sent overseas.  He played in the Charlie “Bird” Parker band a little, although my grandfather preferred the rhythm driven and amplified “big band” or “swing” sound to the bebop style.  The music style would travel to New York, but my grandfather moved his family to Leavenworth and stayed in the Midwest.  This was where he remained for the duration of his life.

                                   

                   He played with Charlie “Bird” Parker a few times

My father, a part-time clarinetist, teacher and musician, remembers hearing his father practicing hours into the night after his latest gig.  My grandmother played piano, cello and coronet, and was musical as well.  I remember hearing my grandfather practice or play at dining establishments long after his career was largely over due to failing health.  Around 1948 he had started a piano tuning business, becoming the Piano Tuners’ Guild President in Kansas City in 1952.  During this year, my grandmother was sick with what was initially thought to be leukemia, and grandfather prayed at the chapel each day for her to recover, which she did.  He also appraised property in his small business and continued learning piano at the KC Conservatory of Music, where he shared some classes with Jay McShann. 

My grandmother would “deedle-dee-dee” around their historic house and dance with her finger to jazz on the radio, smiling at bygone memories and enjoying the moment, as she swept the floor after the hungry relatives, dog, two cats.  I was one of the silent grandkids who looked on amusedly, knowing that my grandmother did not like to clean.  After all those years, she still found joy in reliving those moments she spent with my grandfather while participating in the jazz culture firsthand.  She was always a progressive and people-oriented person herself.  Grandpa managed to live as a stable, loving husband and family man, father of four children, and maintain his jazz career through most of his life.  My grandmother always loved him and adored his music while she continued her teaching.

There was one other time I felt especially close to my grandfather after he was gone. As I sat in KC’s famous Jardine’s during a live jazz set with my husband and some friends, I turned my head towards the piano player almost expecting to see Grandpa Wentz sitting at the bench but seeing Joe Cartwright, instead.  His piano playing sounded just like my grandfather’s as I remembered hearing it.  His “bossa nova” La Luna Negra CD is my closest memento to a recording of my grandfather.  I found from my father that my grandfather tutored and mentored Joe Cartwright, a contemporary KC jazz legend, when he was young in a time when many parents discouraged their children from learning the jazz style over the classical styles.  At least one of my grandfather’s later students worked in lessons with my grandfather against the better judgement of their parents.  Maybe the newness, ethnic diversity, and working class roots of the music instilled fear in some people, as many creative, progressive movements do, that it would somehow make them less respectable or taint their morals merely by association.  Another student of my grandfather’s who is still playing the jazz circuit successfully all over the world is Gary Foster, who my grandfather introduced to his Leavenworth jazz trio, after gaining permission from his Gary’s parents to include him.  Gary Foster played at the Topeka Jazz Workshop Sunday, September 16th, and I would have liked to attend.  People say the Grandpa Wentz also sounds a lot like Oscar Peterson, one of his contemporaries in Canada.  I will have to give him a listen, now that I am on the jazz trail.

That innovation and collaborative combination of backgrounds which formed jazz are what make it so exciting to perform and listen to still, and are possibly the reason the rest of the world still listens to it, today.  Besides, Thomas More might say that a county’s character is defined by its everyday “rustics”, as they perform tasks, and as they celebrate life.  Jazz may have seen infamous moments, but it inspires me to collaborate with other artists, be a part in the fabric of life in my local community,  to let my art be an extension of my life experiences and past and present surroundings,  to be bold in my creativity,  to celebrate life expressively, to teach my children to always be innovative, to encourage others in their artistic pursuits, to spend more time enjoying the still organic KC jazz scene, to sing while I clean and to share this wonderful short classic cartoon called I LOVE TO SINGA produced by WB Merrie Melodies in 1936.  The film captures the tension between jazz and classical music in its emergence, resistance to new underground styles and a little human nature.  I love the happy ending.

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Hope – The Theme of Now

September 9, 2007

                                                           Harvest of Hope

Hope is such a powerful word and amazing thing to grasp.  We have been dealing with this theme lately with the ongoing battle with cancer that our son Caden is fighting.  Shannon produced a painting called Harvest of Hope based on events surround his stem cell harvest.  She is also working on a series of finding Hope in Hopeless Places that is ongoing.  Darin is working on a sculpture about the events surrounding his illness and the hope that we have.  There is an event that some balm friends are putting on coming up in October that relates to Art and Hope, that will benifit an AIDS charity and we would encourage you to be involved if there is any way that you are able.  Hope Lawrence describes itself as: 

“Hope Lawrence exists to give hope to those in need by connecting the arts community of Lawrence, KS to the plight of those ravished by the AIDS epidemic as well as other social concerns.  It is our belief that the arts can play an important role in bringing attention to problems that have been overlooked for far to long.  Everyone has something unique they can offer, and as artists we can lend our voice and talents in order to bring some relief to those who are suffering.

Our first Hope Lawrence event will take place on October 6th and 13th from 3:30-5:30pm in the basement of the Lawrence Community Center.  For two hours on these two Saturdays we will come together to paint, sculpt, and draw around the theme of Hope.  This will be a communinal creative experience where each person will work on their own piece but in a collective setting where we can get to know one another and see each others works in progress.  In addition to our individual pieces we will also have the opportunity to work on a collective mural.  The event will culminate on October 20 when we will hold an auction/street sale where we will sell the pieces in order to raise money for a charity addressing the issue of AIDS in Africa.  We will announce which charity here at this blog in the coming weeks.”  See Original Post

Without hope it is impossible to really live life.  So for this end we would say give hope to those who do not have it, so that they to can live a full life.  Do whatever part you can to make someone’s life a little better. 

Even though we have physically not been able to have a gathering for balm recently, we want to encourage you to keep creating.  We want to thank those in the art community that have reached out and encouraged us in many ways.  We would love to see what you are working on.  Send us your updates of what is going on in your life.  If you have an upcoming show, a spoken word reading, a short film, a new design, a painting, a print, a new musical piece, a sculpture, a weaving, a thought, new writings, or anything else you would deem creative, let us know about it.  Keep creating…hope.

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