“Contexts” – a duo show at Edward’s Airforce Base Library

As an enthusiastic (sometimes) exaggerator, I like to make a whole new page on my CV for every new item I add. 🙂 I am adding a new page this week for a new show going up at Edward’s Airforce Base Library.

“Contexts” – a duo show at Edward’s Airforce Base Library

I’d like to thank Edwin Vasquez for arranging the show and I’d like to invite anyone in the area to stop in a take a look. New pieces from the DISTANT RELATIVES series are on display(!) as well as works by Eric Martin, who insists on calling himself my protege just to score brownie points. (He doesn’t know I lost track of how many points he had a long, long time ago…)

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A Narrative Accent – A Small Question on Narrative Visual Art

Thinking on virtual paper: This is what’s showing now in the cafe’s gallery space. (I’m one of the owners of Sagebrush Cafe: Coffee & Art House, where we show (and sell) art work gallery style.)

The thing I’d like to note about this work, by Michael Clark Davis, is the water droplets on the leaves of the flower.

You see, there are droplets on the leaves and it is exactly – and maybe only – that special touch that creates a sense of narrative in this piece. That, to me, is sort of fascinating.

All it takes to create a narrative element is a detail. Those droplets of water are the narrative detail, in this case. With them, the work has a narrative accent. There is a situation outside of the frame or somewhat beyond the image. There is a story. A context.

*

In my own work, I think about story a lot. Sometimes people ask me (in the most random places and at the most random times) if I am a writer. I don’t like to say no. It’s true that I don’t often write stories or essays in the traditional sense. (And I am not a blogger pushing toward my 1,000th post…)

But I am a storyteller.

Narrative is at the heart of what I am most interested in creating. And there are lots of ways to tell a story.

That is my point here. I’m impressed by the effect of the water droplets on the petals in Michael Clark Davis chalk drawing (and impressed by the skill and quality of the drawing too!) because it points to the idea that there are many ways to make art that is narrative.

It’s easy to see. From the paintings of de Goya to collage artists using ephemeral pieces of history to depict a narrative, the world is ripe with examples of visual art that tells a story.

One question people might ask is, “does a work have to be “focused on narrative” to qualify as narrative art?”

I think a few droplets of water might answer that question.

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A Picture in a Painting in a Magazine

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Faffie is the name written on the photo used in a collage piece of mine that appears in the latest edition of the Antelope Valley arts publication, SATURATION, which came out recently. Seeing the piece in the magazine, I’ve been thinking about Faffie again.

She is an evocative figure, full of story, looking up at the camera in a nearly candid pose. But I have to stress the “nearly” since this photo was taken, I don’t know, a hundred years ago or roundabouts. Candid photographs were not so common. There were no iPhones, not even Polaroids. It’s a studio photograph, but she still seems very natural and maybe a little surprised…

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Faffie. A little blond girl, maybe six or seven years old or a little  younger. She’s not so different from me when I was her age. She’s not so different from a lot of people. But she grew up to live her own life.

After that picture was taken, the rest of her life story played out.

That is part of what is so fascinating about working with old photographs. There is resemblance and, so, connection, but there is also the sure knowledge of autonomy. The person in that photo is real, or was real, and has/had a fully real life outside of that photograph.

The question is – What was that life like?

And that is the story that Faffie hides in her semi-candid pose, the story of what came before that photograph and what came after. Whatever happened to Faffie, she is not a seven year old anymore.

She’s not even a young seventy. She was seven in 1927 (or something like that).

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This piece sold at a show in 2011, so I don’t see Faffie so much anymore. It was nice to revisit her in print in SATURATION. It’s nice to be reminded of old friends and their stories, even if I’m still kind of trying to figure out what those stories are. That’s the Thing though, that’s the Project. Creating spaces for stories to be told (or remain untold) (or something like that).

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Map Your Secret Place

Recently, I came across a fun idea online.

It goes like this:

  • Pick a place, a geographical area.
  • Invite friends/people you know to draw a map pointing to a certain specific, interesting place.
  • Have friends/people you know exchange maps.
  • People go to the places on the maps and take a photograph.

Fun, huh? Well, I think it is. More fun that a bullet list makes it seem, anyway, by far.

I found this idea on SPRK. (more photos and examples AHOY.)

Most of the examples on the site seem to focus on really interesting and personal places that are hidden away in an urban space. How this might translate to the Lancaster/Palmdale desert city-scape, I don’t know. Any ideas?

Where would you direct people, picking your secret spot in your town?

I have a few ideas for mine…

This may just be a local project in the coming months. Come into the cafe (Sagebrush Cafe) or write in for details or to share your ideas.

Even if we don’t do this ourselves, it’s a fun idea.

🙂

 

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Distant Relatives by (me) June Marie Milham – “Kiss”

“Kiss”

16 x 20  –  $110

Send in a comment with your email address if you’re interested in this piece. Shipping can be arranged.

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Distant Relatives by (me) June Marie Milham – “Blood”

“Blood”

20×20 – $150

Send in a comment with your email address if you’re interested in this piece. Shipping can be arranged.

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Picturing the Future & Acting on the Plan of Action

As a side project to the Distant Relatives series (and because I’ve been asked about the process behind the finished pieces), I am taking some “process photos” to make a visual timeline of the development of the pieces in this series. 

Saying that I’m definitely going to get photos of every new piece at every step along the way would be promising more than I am actually likely to do. It’s enough sometimes just to get going on the work on any given day and once I get started I tend to go go go…so I can’t promise that I will always remember to stop and take pictures as I go (go) (go).  Hopefully though there will be a broad answer in these process photos to the question of how the Distant Relatives pieces develop and how they change as they go (go) (go).

Today, there are almost a half-dozen new pieces in the works and many of those didn’t get photographed in their primary incarnations…but if we start now, I figure there is still a good chance to see how a piece can change as it moves through the process, from formative to formed, inchoate to coated with light glaze.

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Consider this a first step in the process of documenting a process focused on reclaiming time. This is the first signpost. The stake that makes the claim. 🙂

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Collage Cache collage making kits are in!

We’ve done it.

The kits, after a little work and a lot of self-restraint on my part, are available at the cafe.

I had to really hold back and not take all the good/great/super materials from the Collage Cache kits for my own use.

Oh! Those Addition Cards!

How could I let them out of my hands…?

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Collage Kits are in the works…

Not long ago I mentioned collage kits.

I meant it.

Here is a sample piece made by a protege of mine. Yes, protege. Well. Ok. Not really. I just nudged him once. Then nudged him again.

Images, paper, book parts, shapes and more (color) and more (black and white) and more (text) and stuff and things will stuff the collage kits. This piece uses an image from a bird book, two pages from a Spanish language book on the German composer Wagner, masking tape, craft paper and number stickers.

Put it together and you’ve got a quick collage to use as decoration or to seed new ideas for your work in other media. What do you think?

The kits should be ready for release at Sagebrush Cafe and on etsy around Thanksgiving-time.

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Speaking of Distant Relatives…

You can read a review of the Distant Relatives series here in an essay by Eric Martin. He tries to get at the experience of viewing the works in this series by looking at two pieces, Kiss and Blood.

Article/Essay. (Go ahead, read it.)

You can leave a comment about the article/essay on Eric’s page or you can come back here and let me know if you read it and what you think.

Distant Relatives and some fun 555He and I talked about the essay before he posted it.  I told him that I was surprised he didn’t discuss certain details of color in these pieces and the general viewing experience. I would have thought that color would naturally come up in any discussion about Distant Relatives, probably because color is so primary to me when I look at art and create.

But two people will always see the same thing differently.

In one way, that is what is interesting about this essay. In another way, that’s what can make essays like these difficult to write. Explaining and translating an aesthetic experience can be a hard thing to do.

Don’t worry. He already got his hug and his thanks for writing the essay and helping me spread the word about my art and my new website-blog (the one you’re on right now!). Though he pushed for wine and kisses.

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