The esteemed Santa Fe poet, Miriam Sagan, saw the Harnessing Light exhibition and wrote this poem about my art that was inspired by the dark light of Iceland. Sagan had been to and referred me to the Gullkistan Artist Residency in Iceland so we had the same experience to relate to—one as a poet and myself a visual artist. Please read her lovely poem HERE.
The Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, NM will be presenting my work in the exhibition Harnessing Light:
Where: Harwood Museum of Art, Taos
Opening Reception: Saturday August 4, 3-5pm
Dates: Saturday August 4-Sunday October 7
Artists: Marietta Patricia Leis, Debbie Long & Mary Shaffer
Curator: J. Matthew Thomas
Roundtable Panel: Aurthur Bell Auditorium, Tuesday, August 7, 7pm
New Mexico based artist Marietta Patricia Leis will be exhibiting her multimedia works with artists Debbie Long and Mary Shaffer in the exhibition Harnessing Light. Curator J. Matthew Thomas selected these 3 artists who by different paths converge on a common focus: light on surface. Leis’ art contributes a contrast to the other artists as she captures light’s tenebrous illumination of darkness in her graphite acrylic pieces, prints on metal, small sculptures and oil paintings on wood. Her approach to this marriage of two extremes presents us with a duality of lightness and dark, for without one there cannot be the other. Becoming immersed in the soft nebulous incandescence of the arctic, Leis’ eyes forgot the programming of modern artificial lighting and she began to see the nuances and elegant shades of darkness more clear. Leis’ intention is to present unique visions of the natural world. Through her art, she hopes to make viewers more acutely aware of the fragile beauty and tenuous future of our planet so that we may seek ways to preserve it for generations. Taos was Leis’ first home in New Mexico after she migrated from Los Angeles in 1982. She considers her time in Taos as decompressing and centering after years of working in the endlessly illuminated cityscapes of New York and LA. Leis is honored to be exhibiting at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, and feels a deep gratitude for the place that gave her such peace and serenity.
Because of my upcoming exhibit at the Museo Italo Americano, San Francisco, I thought I’d initiate you about my background and Italian heritage. First, a little family tree history because my last name (provided by my German-derived Father) has perhaps led you astray. I was born in Newark, NJ and grew up in the neighboring East Orange. My mother, Marietta Roma Napoliello (her mother was a Fiore) was a first generation American and I am thus a second generation thoroughly Italian-American girl.
For those of you not in-the-know let me explain if your mother had an Italian family you were subsumed into that family totally, wholly regardless of your father’s ancestry.
So now that we’ve cleared that up we can move on to my relationship with the Museo Italo Americano in San Francisco because as an Italian American I am eligible to exhibit my art there. I have a great fondness for this institution as it helps me assert my Italian-ness to which I attribute a lot of things, and which balances my Germanic-ness which keeps me very organized.
The Museo www.museoitaloamericano.org established in 1978, is a touchstone for me. I started my dialogue with them in 1984. The first time I walked into the Museo in Fort Mason was in the early 90s when I met the then director, Robert Whyte.
Since that time I have admired their mission, the programs they offer, their community outreach and their support of Italian and Italian American artists.
Whyte asked me to exhibit first in 1994 for the Mostra ’94 or six artists he wanted to introduce to the Museo audience. He curated 5 paintings from my Illumination series into that beautiful exhibition.
In 1998 Whyte again contacted me because he was curating with Valentina Fogher an exhibit entitled Artists Who Look Back: Spirituality in Modern and Contemporary Art, and thought my new work inspired by Venice of the 1600s would enhance the exhibit nicely. This was a large and extravagant exhibit with a wonderful catalog.
In 2007 I met with the Museo’s esteemed Director, Paola Bagnatori and Committee of Art Chair, Professor Angela Little to discuss an exhibition for 2008. It was decided that it would be a dual exhibition with a wonderful abstract San Francisco painter, Paulette Long. The Museo’s expansive gallery held more than 30 of my minimalist paintings largely from my Blue Series of sea and sky. This was another good experience artistically, but beyond that there is a pride of my Italian roots that the Museo honors.
During 2007 and before the 2008 exhibit Professor Angela Little contacted me to participate in an exhibit of paintings at the Museo that would be based on Dante’s Inferno. I created a painting, Igniting Despair, that I paired with Dante’s Inferno passage, “Through me the way into the suffering city…..”
This trajectory of diverse exhibitions that I participated in at the Museo shows that the Museo provides a selective and varied platform of exhibit experiences for its audience.
Now we jump another decade to 2017, and Mary Servanti Steiner, the art curator at the Museo. After some dialogue and a committee meeting I was once again selected to exhibit. This time it would be a 3-person exhibition for 2018. Besides myself there would be 2 artists from San Francisco, Gianluca Franzese and Giuseppe Palumba. Planning went on during 2017 and the exhibit crystallized to become Perspectives. Which opens January 18th with a reception from 5:30-7:30. The exhibit closes on April 29th.
Currently a very exciting new development in my relationship to the Museo has evolved, as they are adding 5 of my paintings from my Marietta Robusti Tintoretto Series (1994-6) to their permanent collection. Some of these will be shown in November 2018 in an exhibition of their permanent collection.
This is a perfect home for this work, as it tells the story of an incredible Italian woman artist of the 16th Century. As the daughter of a Venetian master, her work had been subsumed into her father’s and her brother’s oeuvre. However, my research and resulting exhibition has, in the words of Lucy Lippard, made her visible again. The exhibition toured for several years under the funding of the ED Foundation (the research is held in the archival library of Seton Hall University, NJ). It is so fitting that the remaining pieces of that body of work be at the Museo and I know that Robusti Tintoretto’s story and my work will have an audience there for years to come.
So this is my little story and homage to the Museo Italo Americano. Perhaps you will see Perspectives in 2018 or the Robusti Tintoretto Story in the fall of 2018. I’d love for you to become acquainted with this wonderful institution that holds a very dear place in my personal and artistic life.
Marietta Patricia Leis
2018: A Preview of Coming Events:
Summer is zipping by lending itself to my reflections of what has happened this year and what we can look forward to in 2018. Please watch for my winter NEWS when I will be announcing more about the exciting exhibitions and events coming up. A sampling includes:
- January- Visible Poetry Connecting the World- An international group art exhibit at the Hanam Culture and Art Center in Hanam-si, South Korea. I have been fortunate for several years to participate in many international art organization exhibits that foster global peace and sustainable environments.
- January 18-April 29- Museo ItaloAmericano, San Francisco. A return to this wonderful venue and to my Italian roots in a 3-person exhibit. Many of my current works will be exhibited at the wonderful Fort Mason complex.
- May 8-June 17- Dairy Arts Center, Boulder is a solo exhibition. The large lobby galleries offer an opportunity to show my larger scale installations in this wonderfully active community gallery.
New Art in the Works: Here is a sneak preview (right) of my new work in progress that pays homage to the world’s trees—those that have been, those that are still with us and those that are hopefully yet to be.
2017: Highlights of Events Past:
Winter Blues and Seasonal Hues, Lincoln Art Center, Fort Collins, CO. Curated, Jeanne Shoaff.
This was a holiday season extravaganza. Three wonderful artists sharing a beautifully-installed exhibit with a community ready to celebrate the joy of Christmas and into the New Year. A wonderful opportunity for the inaugural exhibit of my paintings, Ascensions inspired by Iceland’s Northern Lights.
Pausing: A Book of Reflections in Art and Poetry
What fun this was: the first reading of my book. I didn’t know how it would be received, but my 15-minute allocation spread to 2 hours with poems and discussion. Everyone was eager to talk about about pausing in today’s chaotic environment. It was also nice to have a couple of the original artworks from the book there for people to see in person.
Please visit Amazon.com if you would like to purchase a copy of Pausing.
Lost and Found in Iceland, Michael Warren Contemporary, Denver, CO.
The premiere of my Iceland paintings was perfect in this beautiful gallery where they showed dramatically. The curved birch wood formats painted and burnished with graphite looked just as I remembered Iceland’s landscape. With no trees to obstruct the views the volcanic island shone for miles all the way to the curvature of Earth.
Illuminexus, April Price Projects Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
April Price and I conjured up the idea to invite Santa Fe artists to participate in an exhibit with me in Albuquerque. It worked out beautifully with installations and paintings intertwined in one gallery space and another gallery room showed my Ascension paintings. The coupling was very successful and was attested to by a terrific review: click here to read it!
Landscapes of Life and Death: Photography, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM.
516 Arts is the premiere showcase in Albuquerque. Between a museum and gallery, it shows some of the most exciting art globally, so it is a great privilege to exhibit my art there. This exhibit, part of the NM photography month had Mary Anne Redding, a superb curator, selecting my series of 8 photos on glass, Heartspace. These were taken looking out of my cabin window at a storm raging in the Drake passage and a sound piece of that storm accompanies the photos.
Spectrum, bG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.
Such fun to revisit my old stomping grounds. Having lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, I can appreciate how vast the art scene has become. This invitational group exhibit was in the infamous Bergmont Station group of galleries. The art was hung salon-style in groupings of hues, creating a dynamic spectrum of color. Oh, and being there for July 4th enabled me to see a local parade and look over the Santa Monica pier at fireworks.
Our Fukushima, Home of Culture, Kavadarci, Republic of Macedonia
Always pleased to exhibit to a new audience and this group show of international artists was certainly that. But more then that it brought attention to the continuing plight of Japan’s suffering Fukushima.
Now I am looking forward to my fall events, which I have posted in my MailChimp. You can sign up for my MailChimp announcements on my Contact page. If you have any questions regarding these upcoming happenings, please don’t hesitate to email me and I will be happy to send you more information. Hoping to see you at one or more of these upcoming events!
NOTE: My previous NEWS post about my Iceland adventure described my unforgettable time at the wonderful Gullistan Residency. The post below tells of the work that evolved afterwards inspired by Iceland in my home studio, which is going to debut at Michael Warren Contemporary, Denver from April 18 – May 27
Rehash: Why an Iceland Artist Residency in winter?
- I wanted to continue my exploration of darkness and its associated fear: “Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”— Sarah Williams, from “The Old Astronomer to His Pupil” in Best Loved Poems of the American People
- Someone in Finland’s Arctic Circle told me that 24-hour winter darkness made the world appear upside down. Dark in the sky, light on the ground.
- Same someone told me that there was time in that darkness when just enough light glimmered to turn sky and ground a seamless monochromatic navy blue.
- To give myself the opportunity to experience that which is greater than…as in AWE.
- A longing to dip into Isolation—void—quiet.
- To experience what can be seen in the dark.
- A black and white world!
- Wanting to ‘see’ the climate change impact in the far North.
The Reality and the Ensuing Art
Having been to the Alaskan and Scandinavian Arctic Circle and the Antarctic the next logical place for me to experience ‘The Great Alone’ was the far North Island of Iceland. The previous 3 travels were done in their summer light so I felt the winter extremes calling me. It wasn’t the cold, which I would have gladly forfeited, but the 24 hour darkness that both appalled and appealed to me. The idea of darkness in a little populated place far away at the end of the Earth called to me.
Darkness is a place of my long-held childhood fears and also a magnet for my wanting to know what mysteries and beauty it holds. I was fortunate because Iceland being a volcanic Island held blackness in its land mass and its winter skies and seas.
I woke in darkness, went to my studio in darkness and returned home in darkness. It was seamless, monochromatic and after a while knowing and soothing. The clear nights with overhead stars and eventually Northern Lights gave me a deep appreciation of cosmic beauty that is unseen in lit skies of city life.
Seeing and hearing people and especially children in the small village where I resided go about their ordinary days in the dark gave me a perspective of the cycle’s normalcy. It is always important to note that I experienced my immersion in Iceland as an outsider not from the perspective of the people who live that landscape from generational knowledge and deep, fond attachment. The Edenesk shadowed by the menacing perspective that I have is that of someone finding themselves in unknown territory without the intuited preparation.
After a few days of vast landscape views it occurred to me that being able to experience that vastness was because there were no trees obstructing the land’s lines. This never failed to astound me in a profound way. I could actually sometimes see the curvature of the Earth that made me feel astronaut-like.
The phenomena of volcanic bumps and fissures and the North American and European plates slippage causing the Island to separate and subsequently fill-in gave my graphite acrylic and wood paintings their vocabulary reflected in their structure and titles.
There are many layers of primer and paint on these pieces and they are sanded and burnished many times with a slow zen-like sensibility. This makes me feel like I am participating in the process of creating and refining a millennium of nature and weather. When completed they are as smooth as nature’s river rocks resonating the depth of maturity, timelessness and ancientness of the land.
The seeming redundancy of the repeated dark forms of my pieces is how the endless Iceland landscape revealed itself to me. It goes on and on and on opening to more variations of patterns but consistent, restrained and heart-wrenchingly beautiful absolutely owning AWE.
Of course in Iceland there was always ice under foot and tires—the dichotomy of glistening beauty and lurking danger. Blizzards of whiteout graced us with sky and earth becoming one. The various shades and nuances of the white defied the myth of white not being a color.
Slowly but surely the whiteness would yield sparingly to the underlying black volcanic rock armature as white and black married into a compatible marble cake co-existence. Thus my dark landscape paintings called out for their counterpart and my white acrylic paintings complied while letting the black show through enough out of deference. These were done with a squeegee in an improvised calligraphy.
I am hoping to seduce viewers with beautiful art reflecting my impressions of the land I experienced and the perhaps they will contemplate the planet’s wonders and want to preserve that. Further to think of the fragile future of our nether regions melting causing our oceans to swell and overtake our shores. Earth’s heartrending beauty could be changed and forever subsumed.
My intention in this work besides reflecting Iceland is to help us all understand our own role in halting the otherwise inevitable and preserving the exceptionalism of our planet for generations to come.(browse the artworks that were inspired by Iceland here.To purchase the catalog, click here)
My mornings are my afternoons and evenings now
As I live in the silence of my hermit white winter —mpl
Available at amazon.com
In the cold and rainy month of March 2011, I was an Artist in Residence at the Morris Graves Foundation: The Lake, in Northern California. It is a place of grace, peace and beauty that encouraged me to press my life’s pause button. Living and working in this setting inspired me to think in verse. These poems reflect my state of being or my observations as I passed through my days painting there in tranquility. The simple passing of my days resulted in this work. I hope you sense the simplicity in this volume. —MPL
Pausing is quite remarkable and beautiful. Some poems tug at me as works of art. What is evident in these pages are poems that are fun, moving and insightful. Engaging poems that feel right at home with the quality and brilliance of Marietta’s visual art.
—Dale Biron, author, Why We Do Our Daily Practices
Elegant in its simplicity, Pausing is a collection of art and poetry that responds to experience in a deeply aesthetic way. Leis gives us the peace of how light strikes water, shades of color, the emergence of blue. It is an unusually beautiful book-we are fortunate to share its vision.
—Miriam Sagan, author of Seven Places in America: A Poetic Sojourn
Marietta’s poems are full of quietness, stillness and the calmness of a lake. I love the book’s simplicity of words and art and am especially thankful for the poem Japan’s Havoc. Pausing is a treasure.
—Taro Aizu, author of My Fukushima
Saturday, Feb. 25th from 1-3 pm
2935-D Louisiana NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Stay tuned for more readings!
We were so happy to be in North Carolina’s beautiful Appalachian Mountains in July exhibiting our multimedia exhibition, “Melting: Marietta Patricia Leis + David Vogel”. Escaping the New Mexico three-digit heat wave was wonderful but so was our appreciation for the lush greenery of the trees and rain forests that greeted us. The almost daily spurts and pours of rain hydrated us as we enjoyed the towns of Ashland, Boone and Blowing Rock. Boone, named for Daniel Boone who blazed a trail over the Mountains into Tennessee, is the home of Appalachian State University and their Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The Turchin is an elegant renovated church with 5 current gallery spaces, auditorium and offices for a great staff. Mary Anne Redding is the Assistant Director and distinguished curator whom I have luckily worked with 3 incredibly rewarding times previously.
Mary Anne curated “Melting”. This exhibition is a reflection on our expedition to the Antarctic. The exhibition that ended August 6 melded David’s photographs and my art into a cohesive presentation of our experience. During both the reception and our artist talk, David and I met many people from Boone’s supportive and interested community.
Our statement for “Melting” and photos of the exhibition follow:
On our third day we awakened at three in the morning to the most magnificent sunrise reflecting on icebergs and the snowy peninsular. There were soft yellow, magenta and apricot colors with an incredible luminosity because of the non-polluted almost translucent skies. In the first days of of our excursion we saw nature at polar (pun intended) opposite extremes first dark and violent and then delicate and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
We felt so grateful that we were to have this experience in a region so special, so little touched, so regal in its natural beauty. It did not disappoint. In fact it excelled all our expectations. The magnificence of the glaciers and mountains and yes even the crevices were beyond anything we had seen largely because they were raw, untouched. It was like being on a different planet-seeing things for the first time.
We experienced the animal life like that as well. They were so uninhibited and unafraid of us. Whales slept in the waters like logs undisturbed by us, penguins walked over us as we sat on the stony beaches, leopard seals went about their business of feasting on prey- we felt that we had been dropped into the Jurastic period and we could just observe natural life as they truly exist.
There were strict rules that we gladly adhered to such as going through a foot wash with our boots each time we returned from shore and not ever touching or relating to the wildlife no matter how cuddly the Penguins were and more obvious things like never picking up and taking anything. The expedition was fierce in their commitment to protect this pristine place.
When our expedition leader was asked why with his concern and love of nature was he bringing people to this primal place he replied, ‘if people see it and experience it they will work harder to protect it”. That resonated with us. Our art expresses the ‘feeling’ of place, the impressions—if people are drawn to beauty in our work they might be also drawn to contemplate the underlying issues of climate change and how to preserve the beauty of the Antarctic and our planet for generations to come.
Two Exhibit Announcements:
Two groupings of my shaped paintings shown in “Melting” are going to be exhibited October 25-December 3 at my Denver gallery, Michael Warren Contemporary. These will be part of a three-person exhibition with Jenene Nagy and Ramon Bonilla. I will be present at this terrific gallery Thursday November 17 at 5:30 to talk about the art and our Antarctic expedition. In my talk I will also be addressing our endangered planet that prompted the work.
2. WINTER BLUES AND SEASONAL HUES
I will be present when the exhibit opens Friday November 18. There will an artist-guided gallery stroll 5-6:30 pm followed by a reception from 6:30-8 pm. If you’re in the vicinity of either of these galleries when I am there, I hope you come by!
2016 International Exhibits
- “Sea(s),” Ionion Center for the Arts, Kefalonia, Greece
- “5 Years Fukushima,” d’Oude Winkel, Oostburg, Netherlands.
- “Our Fukushima,” Museum of Kumanovo & House of Culture, Skopje, Macedonia.
- “People and East Art,” Contemporary Art Museum of Ahvaz & Cultural Complex of Dezful, Iran.
- “East Meets West,” Suwon Arts Center, South Korea.
- “Park Fine Art International,” Galerie AM Park, Frankfurt, Germany.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Now I am looking forward to a sojourn to the colonial cities and art communities of Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico. Stay tuned for my report.
NOTE: It is a bit presumptious to write about Iceland when announcing an exhibit inspired by the Antarctic but my Iceland Artist Residency happened most recently and I do want to share my impressions. You can also read about my excursion to Antarctica that inspired my work in the “Melting” exhibition here.
Iceland is a magical place. It is totally understandable to me that early settlers believed in elves in this otherworldly gorgeous place. Its beauty has an ethereal quality. ‘Thin Places’ are thought to be where earth and heaven meet—then surely Iceland is such a ‘thin place’.
I chose to be in Iceland in the winter because I wanted to further explore darkness. My fear of the dark as a child gave me a family nickname of ‘Fraidy Cat’. My adulthood didn’t help me grow out of that fear until just a few years ago when I set about making black paintings. As so often happens in my art practice my issues are addressed even before I understand that intention.
But as I painted black I came to love all the possibilities of the color, all the beauty of nights and darkness and to look squarely at my fears. I recently read that if we didn’t have so much artificial light sources we would see into the darkness and recognize sources of nature that are now unseen, forgotten and unknown. I believe this as my life has become richer for the beautiful revelations of darkness.
“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night”.
~ Sarah Williams, from The Old Astronomer to His Pupil
So that was my original intention of living in 21 hours of darkness each day in Iceland. A Finn living in the Arctic Circle told me one time that winters turn the world upside down—the darkness is above and the light is below. As a believer in having new experiences, turning my world upside down seemed to be a great choice. Also having been told that the low horizon light shrouded environments in a blue monotone, how could I not apply to an Artist Residency for Dec-Jan. Gullkistan,in Laugarvatn, Iceland turned out to be a perfect place. It is only 1 hour from Reykjavik but remote with a population of only 250. It is also on Iceland’s Golden Circle of remarkable nature.
One of the aspects of traveling that keeps me on my toes is always the unexpected no matter the time and effort made in planning. So it was that there was a blizzard the week before we arrived in Iceland and driving to Laugarvatn introduced us to interesting road conditions as we thanked our rental car for the spiked tires that hugged the icy roads.It was also a blessing that David instinctively remembered all his icy weather years of driving in Wisconsin. After a week in Laugarvatn we had what I would call a blizzard. It snowed for 3 days and banks grew to 36”. The plows were out day and night and crews worked relentlessly to clear the roads. This was well choreographed as they had done it many, many times.
Then there was the cold infection I came down with the second day at Gullkistan that sent me to a health clinic with swollen glands and subsequently into Selfoss, the largest Southern town, for penicillin. Even with coughing and low energy I set up my studio at the residency with a wonderful view of the Laugarvatn Lake and the surrounding mountains where the weather and color palettes were constantly changing. Frankly the views distracted me often from painting but I did photograph the views that would inspire my work back in my home studio.
Surprisingly there was more light then I anticipated starting around 11AM and retiring around 3:30. This changed to expand by 5 minutes each day after the Winter Solstice December 21st. So the first work I did was 40 small panels with several coats of black, gray and finally graphite that was sanded and buffed several times and for me held the allure of the volcanic stone and the vast lava fields resulting from the volcanic Island and its now 30 active volcanoes. This work, Winter Lyrics, will be buffed further to a luster and installed on wall ledges.
Routines soon became apparent after a couple of weeks of acclimating to not ‘sensing’ the time with dark skies. So like the natives we woke in the dark and I set off to the studio with cleats on my shoes to navigate the prevailing ice. In the studio I worked until it had been dark a couple of hours (around 4-5pm) and then back to our apartment for dinner, mail, Icelandic and Scottish BBC TV and bed again under warm comforters.
I soon acquired heavy wool fisherman knitted mittens which kept my hands warmer than gloves and a knitted cap. In Iceland I learned to dress warmly and was rarely uncomfortable unless it was 1AM watching Northern Lights or the wind was gusting. At home in winter in New Mexico with our sunny days I run out with few outer clothes and then complain about being cold. You never forget the cold in Iceland which many days was no colder than in Albuquerque.
So the sights—but to clarify everything was a sight to these unschooled eyes but we did venture further on a windy day to Gullfoss Falls which is a Niagara Falls comparison. A huge, loud, beautiful and in January icy wonder. To arrive there we had to pass through Geysir Hot Springs which has blowholes that became active about 1000 years ago. All over Iceland you see steam bubbling upwards but in Geysir they are more concentrated.
The drive was marvelous as we passed many small Icelandic multi-colored horse herds. Beautiful animals weathering the storm as their sheep buddies were kenneled in barns. The brave horses were captivating as they sometimes would be huddled together against the wind forming a predominately brown hill.
Then a 20 minute ride in the other direction from Laugarvatn was Pingvellir National Park located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. It was the original parliament meeting place of the early chieftains. I walked through Almannagia’s deep cliff gully where the North American and the European plates drift apart at 1” a year. It is an odd but impressive feeling to walk where Iceland is literally splitting apart.
Toward the last week of our stay we were alerted that there would be Northern Lights and we did see them softly over the mountains but the third night we drove further away from town into the darkness and had an unbelievable light show. That the Universe could give us such a visual feast brought tears to our eyes in gratitude. It is choreographed to an unheard musical piece as the light dances to changing rhythms, intensities and patterns. It is NOT a cliché—it is a phenomenon of great beauty.
And so went our days and weeks of work and soaking up our experience. At the end of our 4+week tenure we decided to drive along the East coast’s fishing villages toward the airport. Knowing that the Blue Lagoon was closed for renovations gave us a sigh of relief as we didn’t have to go to what is clearly a crowded tourist haven. However we did stay within sight of it and saw some futuristic hydro-energy plants that were huge and spewing thick fog and clouds. These provide the electricity and heat for Iceland.
On our last day before boarding our plane for the US we drove around the Reykjanes Peninsula which gave us a clear picture of isolated fishing villages situated on the rough North Seas with turf houses and churches. Seeing these remote places reinforced for us the resilience and can-do spirit of Icelanders with their fierce Viking origins.
We left the next day vowing to return soon when we could be tourists and when the roads would be more navigable. The West Coast and the North are calling to us and we are anxious to respond knowing as we do now the ongoing wonders of Iceland.
I’m writing this as I’m preparing for my fall exhibitions and thinking about my Artist Residency in Iceland December-January. Do we always just have the perception that the summer passes quickly or does it in reality? I’m like a kid that thinks I’ll have lazy down time in the summer months and then when the good part should begin—boom, zoom the summer is over.
The hot weather for me started in May on a trip to Havana, Cuba for their 12th Art Biennial. The trip was a packed 8 days of art, artists and revelations! Colorful, chaotic, musical, multi-layered, with a background of romantic buildings in decay and new friends! The biggest thrill was to find out that culture is an economic engine of Cuba.
In June I worked on my Antarctic pieces inspired by my expedition last year. I’m excited that Mary Anne Redding will be curating this 4 month exhibit of “Antarctic Inspirations” with David Vogel and myself at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone, NC spring 2016. I’ll keep you posted.
Art Aspen at the Aspen Ice Garden was jumping in August and my Denver gallery—Michael Warren Contemporary showed work from my blue paintings.
September 11th begins my 6-week exhibition at Michael Warren Contemporary, Denver. I’m thrilled to be working with Mike McClung and Warren Campbell, both of whom are knowledgeable and appreciative of my art—an artist’s ultimate affirmation. I really look forward to this exhibit that was curated with their exceptional eyes. Hope you get to the Mile High to see this! I’ll be there at the opening September 11.
In August I gratefully participated in a group exhibit of over 100 international artists at the Haegeumgang Theme Museum in South Korea. This extraordinary exhibition resonates the poetry of Taro Aizu bringing attention to Japan’s nuclear accident at Fukushima after the earthquake. The tragedy there is far from over—we can’t forget.
In November I will have a solo exhibit at the esteemed Delaplaine Visual Art Center in Frederick, MD overlooking the historic Carroll Creek Park. “Water + Water” will display work on paper inspired by water! The opening is November 7 closing December 20.
Besides the busy buzz of preparing and shipping work to these various exhibits I have just begun also to plan and schedule a commissioned triptych of BLUES—excited about that! And the editing and planning for a book of my poems written during an Artist Residency at the Morris Graves Foundation is in the works to be available on Amazon.
In 2016 I’m planning (we know how that goes) to do tidying of house, studio and life as outlined by Marie Kondo in her immensely popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. This will hopefully include a studio sale of some of my inventory!
Can’t wait to be in the quiet winter time of Iceland… mpl