Thursday, November 26, 2009

Feed Yourself With Art

Where Were You When the Moon Was Full? 72.72" x 117.25" - collage on Okarawa paper Aldwyth

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

I'm preparing to finish preparations for a small Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends. It will be a modest but tasty feast topped off with good chatter, hugs and a glass or two of wine.

I was fortunate enough this week to be able to enjoy two other "feasts": a beach weekend with my husband and some friends and a visit to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art on the Campus of the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. to see a new showing of work by an artists who uses a single name, Aldwyth.

The show is entitled: ALDWYTH work v./work n. Collages and Assemblage 1901-2009 and it is a feast for the eyes, the mind and the soul. I do not have permission to show images of the work so I can only describe what I saw and what I felt.****Since posting this article yesterday, I learned that as we entered the gallery my husband was told he could take pictures and could share them with 'everybody', so I have added two pictures.

The work included 2-D works on paper, free standing mixed media sculpture and one installation. On Dec. 1 the artist will be in the gallery to do a site specific installation.

I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the obsessive nature of the work. The collages were large (roughly 8' x 8' or more) and composed with beautifully cut images sorted and arranged and telling a story. Some were in black and white and some were in full color. She uses the history of art and artists often reproducing images of famous works. She does not shy away from the beauty of negative space. I could not help but compare these works with some of the work I see of digital images on fabric composed into 'art quilts'. This artists answers the question of the validity of the process despite the fact that she is using paper. I hope anyone who uses digital prints on fabric will look this artist up. There is a nice video on the link that I have made with her name.

Taking it all in.

There is a full set of cigar boxes representing each letter of the alphabet in which images and objects interact to tell the story of a letter. Each of the boxes is accompanied by a 'formal' listing of the items in the boxes written in her hand on the lid of another cigar box. The lids are matted and framed.

The body of work is personal and universal and strange and totally magnetic. According to the information in the catalog (a nice catalog which I am sure you can get from the gallery) she has been working somewhat under the radar for some time. This means she has been collecting and cutting and sorting and assembling and thinking....lots of thinking....and reading and studying and making her art without so much of the business of presenting yourself to the art world that we think is so important. The results seems to be a very strong and resolved body of work. I will be thinking about this show and this work for a long time. Thank you Aldwyth. PS...Did I mention Aldwyth is now in her 70s......

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