work table : Landgrabbing series

I spent much of last week finalizing a foreclosure quilt (pics soon!) and experimenting with ideas for the landgrabbing series. My studio is about to become a temporary hotel for family so I'm trying to get as much work done as possible before next Wednesday.

I've been thinking about how to best depict global landgrabbing, which is when other nations and corporations purchase or lease vast hectaires of land inside other countries to grow food for their own people. There are so many things that are wrong with this scenario that's rapidly unfolding.

This new evolution of massive food production is estimated to cause up to 50% of global emissions. The small farmers are being forcibly removed from their land to allow the better soil to go to the large farming corporations. The vast majority of these farming projects are a monoculture, which depletes the soil as well as the surrounding natural resources. There are so many other global impacts this is causing which I delve deeper into as the story unfolds.

At the moment, I'm exploring an idea to use national flags to depict the countries where landgrabbing is occuring. This could be the new Australian flag. As land is sold off to other countries, the flag will evolve to incorporate those new land owners.

Australia has twenty-two large scale farming investments from other countries. I've integrated their flags onto a land map of Australia which will be appliqued on top of Australia's national flag. My next step is to piece all of these random flag bits together (I can't tell you how many pins are up there!) and reveal the land map.

I listened to this program while I worked and just realized I need to just start making, even if this isn't the solution to the series. It also doesn't hurt to get some good feedback from another artist, who said "Just start cutting!" So I did. At least I'm taking a step forward. Who knows if this will be the ultimate solution. In the meantime, look here and here to learn more about global landgrabbing.


Artist : Richard Tuttle

He's at it again, Richard Tuttle. If you all must know, he's right on up there at the top of my list of favorite artists. And of course, I left him out of this list (and Eva Hesse! what was I thinking?!) I've been an admirer of Tuttle's work for years. He says in an interview, "about 1 in 10 people get my work". But, if you give yourself over to it, you'll be hooked. Watch this clip from Art21 about his practice. You can see the entire episode here.

Now here's the catch. He has new work that I would LOVE to share with you but those NY galleries have some express rights to sharing Tuttle's images. I'm wary to get myself into trouble as it doesn't look like anyone else has shared these images with the public but ... head over to Joni Moisant Weyl to check out his latest tile pieces. Here's something that seemed 'safe' to share.

W-Shaped Yellow Canvas, 1967 by Richard Tuttle. Collection of SFMOMA
There's a certain whimsy to Tuttle's work yet he is so serious about what he does. He lives that life that I aspire to live. He's grounded about his practice and just gets on with it.

If you have the chance, you must get hold of a copy of the video about him. It's on Netflix or just buy the darn thing so you can watch it countless times, like myself.


Artist : Altoon Sultan

Ah, life has been busy my friends! It's always like this when I'm developing a new series, I have to focus my mind on the matter at hand, which means my blog has been neglected lately! But no more! I couldn't wait to share this artist's work with you. Altoon Sultan. What a beautiful name and what beautiful work.

Triangles and Bar, 2011 by Altoon Sultan. 10" x 10"
My friend, artist Bernadette Frank, a gifted artist in her own right, mentioned that I should acquant myself with her friend's textiles.

 Three of the Empty Center series, by Altoon Sultan.
Altoon lives in Vermont which happens to be my favorite state in the US. An artist who lives in Vermont has a certain aura about them, I think. An appreciation for beauty and nature yet a toughness to survive those harsh and isolating winters.

Nestled in Snow, 2012 by Altoon Sultan.
After a few moments of pouring through her textiles, paintings and photographs, I realized that Altoon has this appreciation in spades.

Black and White, 2012 by Altoon Sultan. 6 1/4" x 6 1/4" egg tempura
I first fell in love with her textiles but then I began to read her blog and discovered she was creative in so many ways. Her egg tempera paintings remind me of Charles Sheeler's work but with a softer, more elegant approach.

Six spider lines, window 2012 by Altoon Sultan.
She is one of those people who can see the beauty in the ordinary. Many people have this ability but there are far fewer who can capture it for the less inclined.

Resting, 2010 by Altoon Sultan. 10" x 15"
Hooked Rug 02 by Altoon Sultan.
Altoon has made many works, please go and marvel through her website and her blog. You won't be disappointed!


work table : landgrabbing series

I've had a few days between deadlines and thought I'd work on developing my new series a bit more. I like to spend a few hard core days working on a new idea, put it down for a week and then pick it up again once I figure out how to resolve certain issues.

This series will be on global landgrabbing. I won't get into the story behind it just now except to say that we are heading towards a global environmental disaster if we don't start regulating this now. The pieces will be larger in scale compared to the foreclosure quilts. Don't worry, I'm still making the quilts! But, there are some other issues popping up in the world that I can't ignore any longer.

There's a lot of research I've been doing on the series. Someone mentioned today that I seem to like to torture myself with all the data that I pour through. I was reading a sixty page data set just published by Grain, listing all of the land deals that have occurred since 2006. What a resource! I could hug them! I also spent some time reading through my books on fabric manipulation.

I spent some of the day researching and then some of it experimenting. I'm so glad I've saved even the tiniest scraps from my projects, they came in use today.

I had a few breakthroughs over the past few days that make me think I'm not wasting my time heading in the completely wrong direction.

I can't wait to get back into the studio tomorrow!


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