Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Drawing Closer: Ink and Wood at Vanderbilt University

                              Drawing Closer: Ink and Wood
Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Ellen Wiener, and LB Thompson
Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University, Sept. 1- Oct 2 2015
Vanderbilt University’s  Sarratt Gallery will host a dynamic drawing and written word collaborative installation by New York artist Ellen Wiener, LB Thompson poet , and Knoxville, Tennessee artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria. Wiener’s pen and ink 7.5’ x 24’ panoramic drawing Longhand Forest, and the corresponding dramatic poem sequence, Fibonacci Monstrosity, by Thompson, will be housed with the full-scale figurative plywood drawings by Stewart-Sanabria.
Wiener’s Longhand Forest is a story wall drawing of dense and detailed woodland, designed to be inhabited by the creatures of a vast classical bestiary described in Thompson’s poem. The line counts in Fibonacci Monstrosity are based on the mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. The Brooklyn Rail described their installation saying, “Chaos and mystery flow through both of these worlds where rivers of science, legend, archeology, myth, and divine comedy converge.” The text and forest interplay is intended to launch the viewer off the densely inked edge into imagined space. Contemplating this space along with the viewers will be Stewart-Sanabria’s full-scale, virtual reality plywood people.
Stewart-Sanabria’s life sized charcoal drawings on plywood depict people in various conceptual situations. They are placed within an environment in both observational and interactive groupings. Many of them emerge or partially disappear into walls, as if the surrounding architecture is Quantum Theory multi-verse portals. The human presence is intended to show an attempted civilizing of the bestial, natural world of which humans are often reluctant to acknowledge they are a part of.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flood Averted in Studio-what I learned and what I did right

 Hopefully Helpful Educational Post
I had the water line from the street main to the house fail for the third time in 25 years yesterday. It happened 6 years ago to the day, Thank you Hiller Happy Face Plumbing, for not replacing ALL the parts that time. The original connector from the 1st geyser was still there and blew off. My main studio is a 900 foot basement through the block wall where it blew. This is the 1st time water leaked in.
Drying out corner under storage, and 2 big Ampersands. Got unused canvases and other stuff up on 2" x 2''s now!

What I did right: I trust nothing and am always checking things. This comes in handy. I was due to leave the house in 30 minutes to drive 3 hours to Nashville to meet with the gallery, clients, and to install work at Vanderbilt University's Sarratt Gallery. I went down to the studio to look around, and listen to see if my amazing dehumidifier had shut off so I could empty it. I didn't hear the dehumidifier but heard a noise like running water-right where the water enters the house on the studio wall. I walked over and stepped in a puddle. Water was gathering in a large corner. I know what that means.

I own a main valve turn key tool (bought after the geyser)- the only thing you can turn off your street main with. (it's cheap to buy) I turned it off with one yank- and called the utility.

When we 1st bought the house, I applied water-proof sealant to every inch of those walls before I sheet rocked them over. I'm sure this has protected us. I also have tough industrial tile on the floor. Ironically, where I installed at Vanderbilt was a spot deep underwater during the Nashville Flood. They USED to have hardwood. Now they have tile.

I ran back down in the studio to salvage. A huge pile of finished work was in the leak corner- all unharmed because it was stored up on 2" x 2" wood scraps. I always store finished and in-process paintings on the wall or up on easels. All large plywood work and stored work is on blocks and smaller is up in boxes on shelves. A mixed media commission was flat on the floor, but not near the water. I slid sheets of extra lumber and blocks under it. Unplugged electrical outlets.

What I did wrong: New canvases and panels I store on the floor, still wrapped in plastic packaging. I moved them out of the water, thinking they were fine before I took off. All but one did leak, I found out the next day. Manufacturer packaging leaks. I'm hoping once the edges that got wet dry they will be ok. The Ampersands look iffy and lumpy.The ones I left in the store bag were fine, though. I will now: Keep all new stuff in the store bags, AND put up on blocks. I put the small ones in a box, and will drop that box in a big bag. Also lost- huge box of mat board and archival foam core. In the trash. Should have kept in the big bags Jerrys slide them in. My nice mat cutter didn't seem to soak up any water-good thing. Not sure what it's made of.

If you've lived through hurricanes stuff like this is familiar, but how often do you think you'll get flooded for no apparent reason? This is the 1st time water got in from the street connection incidents. I did have a toilet connection fail right over a storage area once that I caught when there was already one inch of water on the floor. It was leaking right over it, BUT I cover the storage bins with plastic sheeting to keep out sawdust. That was luck.

All this happens in a random house built in 1990. I thought I was an anomaly, but other people I know have had the same thing happen with the same frequency. I know others whose house was attacked by washing machines. I also know Katrina victims, but there was no turning that one off.

SO! Stand in your studio and look around- especially if it is under ground floor. You can store stuff better, probably. Be paranoid and go for it. That one guy from Hiller might have installed YOUR main line, too.