Friday, June 12, 2015

Gregory Crewdson's Neighborhood

Douglas Street - L Reynolds 2015
I've been thinking a lot about Gregory Crewdson lately. Probably because, in these early days of summer, sitting on my front porch, at twilight, with the birds singing their evening song and the distant drone of highway 151 penetrating my head- The atmosphere in Dodgeville, feels so surreal.  Maybe it's the campers parked in front yards, or the  blue bottle trees, or old '77 Cutlass Supreme, the croaking tree frogs, white boy who thinks his all gansta long-boarding on the sidewalk headed to the bar downtown. Maybe its the stop signs mounted onto electric poles or sweet pink geraniums planted in Harley Davidson milk cans, black silhouetted cowboys or kissing dutch boy and girl lawn ornaments. I don't know. Most probably it is the combination of all these elements that, at this time of day, as the sun is sinking into the horizon, that I feel like I am trapped in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. That sitting here on my porch, watching the worlds around me, that I might just amount to a single layer, that is layer upon another and another and another, that creates a complicated, point of view about Middle-America,

If you have not seen Brief Encounters, I recommend it. It is an amazing documentary about a very passionate and driven contemporary American artist. Gregory Crewdson. Crewdon works tirelessly to produce stunning photographs of middle class American, that blend fact and fiction. His desire is to produce an perfect moment and his photographs are flawless. They capture the imperfection of normal life with beauty and grace. (Interesting, right,  flawless photos that capture imperfection.)

Since I have moved to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, I have felt like I have landed in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. So while Crewdson fabricates environments, Dodgeville, unwittingly reflects the artist, in ways he will probably never come to know or appreciate, And I am certain, that if you live in a small rural town like DV, you might understand what I mean. In the twilight, there is something, so beautiful and sublime that it is extremely hard to pin down or identify, It is there in the stillness and the brief moments of activity. It is something intangible- recognizable, yet escapes description. (At least from me,I am too close to it,)

Corner -L Reynolds 2015
So, I sit here, listening to the birds, watch this light change and the cars go by, the occasional owner walking their tiny dog, the wind rustle the leaves in the tree and I am reminded of Gregory Crewdson's photographs and the beauty found in the ordinary and the everyday.

Frontier- L Reynolds 2015
I am thinking about how to capture what I see and feel in this town, A tentative, insecure beauty, It lays in the saturated greens of  almost-perfect lawns and the tinge of blue that lingers on simple turn-of-the century white houses that have been removed of any character and completely re-sided with vinyl. It is a history mining that lingers, quietly, in the tiny stone cottages that once belonged to miners. It is a main street that struggles to stay a-float while a new super Walmart takes root up by the new 4 lane highway. It is the mourning dove that calls out to it's mate that it is time to settle down for the night.

These photos are just sketches of something bigger that I am try to arrive at, Not sure how I will get there. Not sure what it will be...but there is something there, in Gregory Crewdson's Neighborhood.

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Work: 'o Danny Boy

There's something about titles that can tend to be difficult. Sometimes the name came be so elusive. You don't want the title to give away too much, but you don't want to waste the meaning either.

This piece might have spawned out of one too many nights in the studio watching Outlander. Although not Scottish,the tune has been stuck in my head for weeks now. I even tried watching old 27th Lancers videos to get passed it. As the work began to come together on the table there was no second guessing it. 'o Danny Boy it would be.

Whatever the influence, this box assemblage come together rather quickly.There's something different and new about the work that have been coming out of my studio the past few weeks. I'm excited about how things are coming together. More photos (and more work) to come- I promise.

New Work
'o Danny Boy
Assemblage from found objects
Game board, old Victorian scrap, chess piece, gilded picture frame, transparency, rusty metal.

Contact me for purchase or more information-

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Two Donnas

There's a tiny little town just west of Dodgeville. Last census has the total inhabitants at 173. There's really not much to it- sort of the place if you blink, you might drive past it. Lucky for me, I didn't blink as I was driving through on my way to Prairie du Chien. I stumbled upon the most wonderful junk shop- called the Two Donnas. I'm actually not sure if that is really still the name. The wonderland of thrift is now owned by two men from Madison. who periodically open their doors to peddle their curiosities and vintage items.

This shop has a flea market, yard sale vibe. We some super cheap prices to boot. The kind of shop that might be featured in Mary Randolph Carter's book American Junk. Carter's book, is an fantastic survey of year's of collecting. She's been doing the "shabby chic" and "flea market decorating" long before it was mainstream and cool. This is one of my favorite books about collecting.

The Two Donnas are only open every third week of the month. Or on the off occasion, the "guys" feel like trekking 50 minute out of the capital.

No matter, I'll be there next time they open their doors, I had great fun digging through it all, spent $13 and came home with a bounty of "stuff" to make more art with.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wandering..Prairie Farm

     We discovered a  land preserve not far from our house, that we have started to explore on the weekend when we take the dog out for his run. There is a small creek that runs along the property, lined with low brush. The red-wing black birds sing their familiar songs and remind me of the marshy-wet land spaces we left behind in Vermont.

     The colors here are so different though- the spring slowly awaking, not yet green. So, now the raw umber contrasts against the clear blue sky. But as the clouds move  overhead the light can shift rather quickly. 

 The monochromatic, dry vegetation inspiring and lovely, I am left thinking about how the sound of the wind in the grass reminds me of the ocean. There is a calmness that comes over me. I need that replenishing force of nature.It leads me to think about a book I read in my final semester at VCFA, Wanderlust, A history of walking, by Rebecca Solnit.   There is a lot to be learned from the land.

Monday, April 13, 2015

the light here

the light here - has a certain quality at the end of the day- when the sun is going down. maybe it is the way it stretches out over the horizon. even a drive home from shopping can be magical.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Something left behind

Over a year ago- I put this old chair in the back woods of our house in Williston. I wanted to see what time and nature would do. The elements slowly took the color down from vibrant red to this dusty rose. The grass that grew up high around it, pulled down by the snow.  Temporality.  Nothing lasts forever. Alas, this installation went the way of the dumpster when we rented our house in March. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Settling in

I can't believe the weather here in Wisconsin this week. The temperatures have gone from 17 degrees 10 days ago, to a balmy 65 degrees today. I've swept the front porch, opened the windows and have been basking in the warm sunlight drinking my morning coffee. 

As I still here, dog at my feet, listening to the birds, the wind and the occasional passerby.  I am thinking about what it means to be here. As in here in Wisconsin. Little by little the boxes have been unpacked. Our home in Vermont rented, our new lives in the Midwest starting to take root.  

Getting back into the studio after the whirlwind of graduating from VCFA and moving has been challenging, to say the least. There are still plenty of boxes that need to be unpacked. Lots of materials that need to be purged. Things that need to find their right space. My new studio is up on the 3rd floor of this old 4-square we've made home. I'm not crazy about the old paneling, but the finished attic looks out on the neighborhood and offers a quiet place to be by myself and work on my art. 

Opening boxes and shifting through all "the Stuff" has definitely been inspiring. I've finished a few new pieces and mended a few that were damaged in the move. There's new work on the table. My old style mixed with a new sensibility informed by 2 1/2 years of grad school. This is something I just cannot escape-the resonance of crits and reviews by my peers and faculty. The endless defense of the work you make and the "why's" associate with it. It took a long time for me to open a jar of gel medium and start working on assemblage again.  

Finally, I feel like I am getting my mojo back. It's not as if it really left me. More like it was taking a long nap. Winter finally breaking into Spring, has opened a mental door for me. I am excited about the months to come. 

So, readers, if you will allow me, I am back to provide you further musings on Art, Life and Making. I hope you have been well. It feels like it has been an eternity.  I know it sounds cliche, but a new chapter has started. 2015 is going to be a fantastic year!