Thursday, May 8, 2014



Conceptual art is just that, it is based on a concept or idea. For many years I was not sure how to define myself or my art until I read about conceptual art. I have always been a teacher and a researcher.  I have loved both and often one generates the other.  I love thinking about how to relay an idea or concept to others.  Though much of my art is done intuitively that only happens when I get to the actual act of putting the material together.

Rene Magritte, Surrealist  
 Actually much research and thought goes into my art, as if I were writing a paper to present, or a class to teach.  I love learning and sharing what I have learned.  Being an art teacher for 37 years I do a good bit of both.  I learned early on the more I researched a lesson or a unit to teach students the more excited I was and the more the enthusiasm carried over to the students.  My research and my act of learning excited them and made them want to investigate and create.  
Ai Weiwei   Chinese Conceptual Artist
 from google image for  educational purposes
For all the years I taught I was an artist before and after, it was essential to me to always do art and share what I made. Working with conceptual art let me go back and forth between my world of teaching and my world of being an artist.  So I learned what I was doing was called Conceptual art and the realm I was working in was Surrealism.  These two areas gave me the path to doing intellect based art.  I could never be nor want to be a representational artist.  
Below are pictures form the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The architectural firm that designed the new Dali museum incorporated his interest in the double helix that is often found in his paintings. But the building design only allowed for one helix though.  

Of the last three conceptual art pieces I have done, one was 2 dimensional and two were  3 dimensional assemblage.  Both were created working from a theme for art membership shows at the Morean art center and one for the Dali Museum for a benefit. The piece for the Dali was done with Dali's complete history of Surrealism and his different periods in mind.  The theme was "Liquid Desires" working off many levels of meaning.  I responded with a piece named "Wet Dreams".  Freud's psychological theories were very prominent in the work of the surrealists. And in the piece I entered I included many symbols that would trigger unconscious meaning in the viewers mind. 

details of  assemblage "Wet Dreams"

The present piece I am working on will be conceptual and have multiple levels of meaning as well.  I am beginning with an African head and headdress base and then moving into universal themes and present day issues.  At least that is where my mind is now.  I am working with a sub theme of aphasia in on a personal level and on a universal level of the challenges of communication. The head itself lends one to think of speaking, communication, and reasoning.  African headdress often convey additional meaning in the details of what is woven or sewn or sculpted into the headdress.    Bits and parts of pieces of everyday life, a bit of a metal tag, a piece of cloth, a watch band, bullet casings, and what ever seems of value or to be honored.  It is a part of the celebration of life in the African culture where art is not a separate entity unto itself.  
I have been very interested in the concept of the brain, its function and how the separate parts of the brain can work independently when damaged.  My Mother had a stroke at 90 and had been having small TIA's for a few years before, my Grandmother also had a stroke and had brain damage.  In both cases I was and am intimately involved.  In addition half my career dealt with teaching special education with multiple handicaps and levels of thinking.  How the human brain functions is of great interest to me and I am in awe of how complex an organ it is.  
The piece I am working on now will at some level respond to all of  these issues.  It is still forming in my mind until it begins to form a shape and gel.  How will I work in all the ideas I have in mind and on all the varying levels at this point is still a mystery to me.  I would would like to incorporate a video loop somehow and/or layers of transparencies of images. The pieces below are the beginning of the collection of items I have collected or bought that I will be working with.

Head for designing hats
Antique Gas Mask

Ship building molds

*all highlighted areas are to click for more information

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