Monday, November 5, 2012

A studio visit

Last weekend the always magnificent Alex Clausen and I drove out to Davis, CA. There we met a local artist, Charlie Schneider. He received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While there he was chosen by the Evanston Arts Council for a show next year in their gallery. Our board president, Angela Valavanis, who is amazing in ways that boggle the mind, is on the EAC board. She loved his work and emailed me, suggesting Charlie might be an excellent EbM artist candidate.

Well, holy mackerel, was she right. Alex (with some bastardization by me), sums up our visit beautifully,
"We started at his home where he first showed us documentation of his project The Divided Line in the Form of a Square (the practice of memory)The project involved trying to sail a ship in the ocean on a path that exactly traces out a square.

Charlie then showed us documentation of a series of installations that were created using a clay slip stencil.  The temporary stencils, often resembling wallpaper, were put up on bridges and a dam located near Davis.  All of the stencils wash away over time.  Most of the installations involve repelling and really tall ladders.  There is a good amount of documentation and writing about the stencils that were done in the US and in Australia. There is also documentation of a vertical dance performance on one of his clay slips that is on its way to the web.

After viewing the documentation, Charlie took us on a tour of sites in Davis and nearby.  There wasn't much left of the stencils, but there is still some residue

Lee and I found Charlie engaging and very dedicated to his work.  Charlie's thoroughness of concept, research and sensitivity to his ideas is wonderful."
Yup, Alex and I are both casting votes for Charlie as one of our future commissions.
In case you didn't know, we vote between the six members on as much as possible. It is more an ideal than a reality, the group is decidedly not democratic. That is why we go by the term collaborative, as opposed to collective. There is no consensus, no majority wins on most stuff. But, we find that the more we discuss things in trying to find a consensus, the better the project. It was by voting that we chose Nova and Jessica's submissions to EbM and ISEA this past year. Honestly, neither was even on my short list. But each proposal had a member  who loved it, and made a strong case that convinced the rest of us.

As we move forward, EbM is encountering more and more artists who we want to commission. Unfortunately, we only install two or three works a year. This blog, and a new section of the website we're building, one to highlight artists we would like to commission someday, at least allow us to share these amazing artists with you.

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