Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where Did The Year Go?
Annual Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction
Psychologists argue that once you are over 50, you think of yourself as a decade younger than your actual age. Don't look in the mirror - that's my solution! However, I believe what is more telling is that the older you get, the more time flies. When you're 12 years old, to get to the first year of your teenage years takes a lifetime! By the time you get to my age (which is a dark, deep and murky secret) within a blink of an eyelid - the year has gone! I hope that next year will slow up a little so that I can stop and taste my life in small doses, rather than see it flash by as if I am viewing it from a window of a shinkansen (bullet train).

I started this blog three years ago, on the 26th August 2010 - in part as art therapy and moreover, to inform, aspire and inspire others to get on with their own art. Convincing yourself that you will have more time to devote to your art next year rather than now, creates the illusion of what might have been rather than - what is!

At the outset my commitment was simple: I would blog approximately 50 posts a year, including a summary of each year. For your convenience I have listed these summaries below:
It's Been An Exciting Year (2010/2011)
Another Cheer - Another Year (2011/2012)
The Year Of The Horse (2013/2014)
Cold and Windy - But on the Dawn of Renewal (2014/2015)
A Time To Reflect - A Time To Select (2015/2016)

I have positioned this blog on my twin passions: prints on cloth and prints on paper. However, I have tempered my passions by including reviews, articles and opinions about art. Therefore I created the following categories: (i) Art Reviews; (ii) Resource Reviews; (iii) Art Essays; (iv) Technical Articles; (v) Art Exhibitions/Installations/Talks; (vi) My Prints On Paper; (vii) My ArtCloth; (viii) My Students Outputs (Workshops and Master Classes); (ix) Guest Editor; (x) Guest Artist; (xi) Art Resources; (xii) Wearable Art.

I have never been guided by popularity, since if I was so inclined I would not have tackled a lot of art projects that I did (some of which I have showcased on this blogspot). Some of my exhibited art pieces have been damaged by art viewers, indicating an outrage of what they have experienced. My Post Graffiti work on cloth, in particular, is often considered to be outrageous by art viewers, who genuinely hate urban graffiti marks on walls. I have always maintained that bringing it to cloth is a much smarter approach than splashing it on doors, trains and walls. However, in doing so I am clearly choosing to opt out of that underground urban warfare.

Although I have my favourite posts, I am always shocked by what the democratic process throws up. Naturally the statistics are always worse for those posts that are near in time to the annual review (i.e. number of page views, visitors, length of stay etc.) As for those posts in the various categories, some I would have predicted would be popular, but others are a complete surprise. The surprises always resides with my artwork, since we all believe that we know our artwork the best and so we assert we know what works and what doesn’t work with the public. Think again!

Vine-Glow-ed by Marie-Therese Wisniowski (as a Fat Quarter - 21" wide x 18" long).
Design Concept: After years of unrelenting drought the rains came. "Vine Glow-ed" tries to capture the variation in light and shade that is so necessary for a continuance of the diversity of plant life. The return of the rain will ensure that our rain forest plants will continue to glow.
Technique: From the artist's signature MutliSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique artwork employing native Australian flora. Reformatted for digital print production.
Available Fabrics: The design can be purchased on the following printed fabrics: basic combed cotton; kona® cotton; cotton poplin; cotton voile; cotton silk; linen-cotton canvas; organic cotton interlock knit; organic cotton sateen; heavy cotton twill; silk crepe de chine.
Other Uses: It is also available in other various media for use as a self adhesive wallpaper, gift paper wrapping and peel & stick wall decals.
Availability: The design can be purchased from "Spoonflower" in any of the above media.


(i) Art Reviews (2012 - 2013)
There were seven posts in this category competing for the limelight. The two that were well ahead of the pack statistically, namely - Some Textiles@The Powerhouse Museum and Hallstatt Textiles - were separated by only 150 visitors, with the former post taking the mantle. It is interesting to note that the Powerhouse Museum is in Sydney and that the post was mostly viewed by Australian visitors, who one would assume could access the Museum readily, even if they lived interstate.

Collected by the Powerhouse Museum.
Australian Tapestry, Woven in France (1960).
Designer: Jean Lurcat (1992-1965).
Weavers: Suzanne Coubely-Gatien, Aubusson, France.
Materials: Wool and Cotton.
Size: 687.5 (width) x 348 cm (height).


(ii) Resource Reviews (2012 - 2013)
This is a new category that I needed to create in 2013. It mainly encompasses resources such as museums, galleries and workshop collectives, where the mission and services are at the forefront of the post, rather than focussing on a particular exhibition or collection or workshop etc. For example, in this category there would be an article about an institution such as the Louvre rather than on a particular exhibition that the Louvre may be displaying (such as a costume of the Ballets Russes etc.)

There were in fact three posts in the first year of this category. The most read post in this category was the most recently posted, namely: Fibre Arts@Ballarat. It was mostly viewed by Australian visitors to the blogspot, with a heavy sprinkling of visitors from Germany and a lighter sprinkling from the rest of Europe.

Beautifully crafted sculptural forms created from books appeared on a daily basis, which evolved into new works on the following days. These inspiring artworks were created by the very talented book artist Deb McArdle. This image shows a side view.

This image shows a view taken from above of the same piece – see previous photograph.


(iii) Art Essays (2012 - 2013)
This year I have penned half as many art essays than in the previous year. In general, I don't write book reviews but this year I have written one about Mary Schoeser's Book - Textiles: The Art of Mankind. I have included this review in this category.

What is surprising is that the most read art essay by a country mile was Print Making in the 1970s and in the New Millenium. It is surprising for a number of reasons. First of all, this blogspot is mostly concerned with prints on cloth and not on paper and this essay is solely about prints on paper. Hence, most people who visit my blogspot have the former expectation in mind rather than the latter. Secondly, the essay is mainly concerned with Australian printmakers' collectives and cooperatives but most of the visitors viewing this post were from the USA and Europe. Thirdly, it was more concerned with the genre's of the past than with what is happening in the present. Perhaps, it was the lack of knowledge of the Australian printmaking scene of the past that made it a must view for so many people.

Toni Robertson – History I (1977).
Earthworks Poster Collective.

Toni Robertson – History II (1977).
Earthworks Poster Collective.


(iv) Technical Articles (2012 - 2013)
There are a number of posts that center on "how to do" articles that I have penned for various magazines on such techniques as MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) to Talc Powder prints on cloth etc.

The most read post in this category by far was IMPRINT Printmaking - An Ever Expanding Artistic Universe. The article centered on my MSDS technique. This technique has been heavily published over the past three years. Nevertheless, people apparently can't get enough of it.

March / Autumn Issue: IMPRINT Vol. 48 No. 1, 2013.
Cover image by Eleanor Gates-Stuart.
MAGICal B, 2012.
Cover: Eleanor Gates-Stuart is a CSIRO Science Art Fellow. MAGICal B was created for StellrScope: the Centenary of Canberra’s Science Art Commission — www.stellrscope.com. The image is a reference to CSIRO Multi-parent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) research into the identification of genes in the parenting of plants.
Technique and Size: Inkjet on paper, 90 x 60 cm.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.


(v) Art Exhibitions/Installations/Talks (2012 - 2013)
I have been involved in a number of group art exhibitions this year (e.g. "Center for Book Art: An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street", New York, USA; "An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street", The Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; "An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street", The John Rylands Library, Manchester, United Kingdom; "9 x 5" 2012, Walker Street Gallery, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia etc.) - none of which were documented on this blogspot. I blame it on the speed of this year - too fast to capture all of my activities. Hence, this category although substantial in my life, was thin on the ground with respect to this blogspot in my third year. Nevertheless, this blogspot did record an international talk I gave about some of my previous installations and exhibitions to an audience at Zijdelings in Tilburg (The Netherlands).

My ArtCloth Continuum.


(vi) My Prints On Paper (2012 - 2013)
There were only a couple of posts this year that featured my prints on paper, with the most popular being "The Star" series. Now I don't know what it is about Marilyn Monroe, but even today people all over the world are googling her name and image - so eventually they will drop in and view this post. Traffic for this image has come from the four corners of the world. She is better known than most - to the rest of the world!

Print on Paper entitled: Fame and Fortune - A Star Quality.
Technique: Silkscreened employing oil based inks on stonehenge.
Size: 56 cm wide x 76 cm high.
Limited edition prints on paper


(vii) My ArtCloth (2012 - 2013)
There are a number of posts carrying my ArtCloth on this blog spot. The statistics show that the most popular in terms of page views, visitors and length of duration was Entropy. You can think of entropy as a measure of chaos or the amount of disorder in a system. That is, the more chaotic or disordered a system is, the greater amount of entropy it possesses.

In order to create this work I needed to give fragments of rationality or self-organization embedded in a field of chaos or disorder.

Entropy - Full View.
My Artist Statement: From chaos (entropy) self-reorganization suddenly emerges. The ArtCloth “ENTROPY” examines the explosion of painterly images that arose from a fragmented societal framework during the renaissance to the recent explosion of contemporary wall art within a similar societal framework.
Techniques and Media: Multiple discharge processes, silkscreened, stenciled and mono printed employing gels, transparent, opaque and metallic paints on rayon.
Size of Work: 1.1 (width) x 3.2 (height) meters.


(viii) My Students Outputs (Workshops and Master Classes) (2012 - 2013)
I love my student’s outputs. They teach me so much about art and their individual attitudes and experiences that they bring to their artistic table. It is a pleasure to be a part of their camaraderie and laughter. I believe these are the most important ingredients in order to engender a learning atmosphere.

In this category are one, two and five day workshops as well as a university course and so although this is a popularity contest it is not a fair one in that it depends largely on when it is posted, how large the class sizes were and the duration of the workshops/courses.

With all these flaws to be considered the most popular viewed workshop was the Visual Communication and Design, a university semester course using multi-media

Robert Barnard. Painted, stenciled and printed disperse dyes and pigment on satin. The African inspired wall hanging was based on his experiences growing up and living in Africa.


(ix) Guest Editor (2012 - 2013)
There was only one Guest Editor post this year and its was written by Michael Florrimell - Travelling Solander Project, London Print Studio. It was widely read being the second most read post in the year. It was mainly concerned with prints on paper and multi-media. In fact, the only ArtCloth piece was my own. Nevertheless, its popularity sheets home the point that a post that is well written and gives wide coverage to many artists' work is a successful formula.

Artist: Deb Williams.
Title: Sense of Self.
Medium: Unique State – Etching.
Size: 56 cm x 76 cm.


(x) Guest Artist (2012 - 2013)
There is also only one Guest Artist featured this year and that was Lesley Turner who penned - An Artistic Dialogue With My Immediate Environment. Her post was exceptionally well received being in the top 10 popular posts of the year. Many readers came from USA, Canada, UK and Australia to view her work. New Zealand has a smallish population nevertheless there was dedicated traffic from that country as well.

Lesley Turner, Title of Artwork - Succession.
Materials: Cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, wood.
Size: 96” (high) x 60” (wide) x 36” (deep).


(xi) Art Resources (2012 - 2013)
The Art Resource series is posted in the first week of every month and so there are twelve posts in this category this year. Nevertheless, the Glossary of Terms and Fabrics which was posted in 2011-2012 season still outstrips all other posts on this blogspot. In this year, it therefore still dominated this series in popularity.

The most popularly read post in this series penned during the 2012-2013 season is - Color Schemes. It is not a lengthy (in words) post - nor is it complex in structure. The "Color Schemes" post contains simple principles that are easily invoked in most settings - from fine-art to ArtCloth to prints on paper to art wearables to architecture.

Complementary Color Scheme

The complementary color scheme consists of two colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel; that is, they are opposed optically such as red-green, yellow-violet and blue-orange (see figure below).

This scheme looks best when you place a warm color against a cool color; for example, a red versus green-blue. This scheme is intrinsically high-contrast. Note: Placing a red near a green makes the colors at the shared edge appear more intense; that is, the red appears redder and the green appears greener at the shared edge. This is termed a simultaneous contrast.


(xii) Wearable Art (2012 - 2013)
This year saw five posts focussing on wearable art. All of them did well in terms of visitors who stayed on the site long enough to read them. The post that was the most popular by far was Costumes of the Ballets Russes. It is a stunning collection of wearables that are often not seen by the rest of the world. Perhaps the National Gallery of Australia should loan its collection to overseas galleries more often, since interest appeared from all parts of the world for this post and that was most surprising.

Costume of the Ballets Russes - Tunic for Blue God (1912).
Worn by Nijinsky as blue god in "Le Dieu Bleu" (1912).
Designer: Leon Bakst.


Conclusion
In this review of 2012-2013 posts, let me add I always like to receive comments, whether they are critical or singing praises – how else can one learn? Moreover, gremlins will continue to appear in my posts and so I am always grateful to my readers who correct these deficiencies. Thanks!

So where did the year go? It went all too fast. Have fun blogging your art - remain passionate!
Cheers,
Marie-Therese.

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