Art Galleries and Museums. Why go?

Art from around the world can be viewed while sitting on the sofa at home. Digital images are very close to the real thing. So what could a gallery or museum offer that makes it worth going out? This is especially true of block buster exhibits where we stand in line to buy tickets just to look at the backs of heads stretching to see a work of art. Why go to a gallery or museum when we can tap a glowing screen and get up close to art without a security guard breathing down our necks?

There are many reasons to GO to galleries and museums.

Think of it this way…Look at an image of a plate of exquisitely prepared food. The food image might prompt us to imagine complex flavors, textures and aromas but we do not taste anything. We might salivate upon seeing that screen of food. In a similar way, viewing a screen of art cannot feed a part of us which must experience a work of art in person. (We might even salivate when seeing a screen glow with art. But I’ll never admit if I do or not). Even on the largest screen, a digital image of art doesn’t replace being in front of a work of art.  Usually it is worth dealing with crowds and jockeying for position to get up to the art.

The physical setting where we see art creates an impression. If the energy at an exhibit opening isn’t for you then go when the setting is quiet. An exhibition space can be a contemplative encounter with art. Maybe this personal experience will let you see art in a way which is impossible even from the largest HD screen on the market. But watch out. An encounter with art could make you wish to live around the real thing. And then you’ll bring art into the place you live and discover how it enhances daily life. But how it changes daily life is hard to explain. Even PhD Art Historians cannot explain away the mysteries of art.

The Internet is undoubtedly a good way to discover art and artists. But a screen view of art is usually an inadequate substitution for an actual work of art (unless the art is digitally based).  The Internet is a tool artists use to help others find our art. I certainly depend on it…my website is ZeorlinArt.com and my art is represented by Mod.Artists Gallery which is located in the Dallas Design District. Use the web for the arts. But then…Get up! Get out! Go see it! Bring art into your world.

Zeorlin Veil 75 1920

Veil 75. Mixed media + digital media on paper.

“Veil 826″

This painting titled “Veil 826″ initially seems quiet and relates to a post I made about semi-quiet art (read it). The foreground of “Veil 826″ is predominately white with traces of faint gray, gold and silver. But behind this veil you’ll see chaos, order, mystery and logic mixing together. It’s interesting to find out what others see when looking at any work of art. Each of us has point of view that’s continually being formed by the confounding moments in life that make us human.

Veil 826. Mixed media + digital media on canvas.

Veil 826. Mixed media + digital media on canvas.

“Veil 826″ is a 28″ x 22″ mixed media and digital media painting on canvas completed in 2014. The number assigned after the main title is only for identification purposes. The number is not a date of completion or order in a series. The painting is from my ongoing “Veil Series” project. Please contact me if you have any questions or want more information about “Veil 826″ or any of the art you see on my ZeorlinArt website.

Thanks for reading this blog. Please let friends know about it and reblog it if you wish.

Visiting Summer Studios Art Academy

I was  a visiting artist at the Summer Studios Art Academy in Lomita, CA for three weeks (summer 2014). Now don’t let the name of the school make you assume it’s a seasonal program. The school is open year round with hours that accommodate people’s work, school and family schedules. The school is named after the director’s dog “Summer” who graced the studios for many years. The school has offered classes and studio space for almost ten years. Lomita CA is in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, California. And Summer Studios Art Academy is 3 miles from the beach.

Summer Studios Art Academy offers classes taught by artist/founder/director David Parsons as well as several other accomplished artists. The school offers painting, drawing, sculpture and ceramics classes. Visit the SSAA website for information on classes and the artists who teach there.

Drawing and painting studios

Drawing and painting studios

I primarily make mixed media art , sculpture, photography and write poetry in my Texas studio (ZeorlinArt.com). But I decided to make pottery and photographs during my time as a visiting artist at SSAA. I have worked with clay in the past so I didn’t need a class. But ceramic classes are offered for wheel throwing and hand building with both high and low temperature firing options. And artists seeking a place to work independently can pay a monthly fee and have a great place to make art at the school.

Ceramic Studio

Ceramic Studio

Summer Studios Art Academy Gas Kiln

Gas fired kiln

It was a good to take a short break from my painting and work in a different studio for part of the summer. And it was great to be around many talented artists and students. The school offers an inviting environment to explore a variety of visual arts. The school has so much to offer that a new comer might initially feel overwhelmed by all that’s inside and around the school. Paintings hang on all the walls. Wooden and metal sculptures suspend from the ceilings. Even the aquariums hold small sculptures that goldfish have turned into underwater homes. Two large bird cages keep white plumed birds that sing, screech and talk to visitors.  Outside in the school parking lot, there are all sorts of materials that could mistakenly be called junk. But artists see the potential in such stuff…all those sculptures waiting to be made by those with vision. You’ll be hard pressed to find an art school that has the soul of an art studio run by a gifted artist.  You never know whats happening next at the Summer Studios Arts Academy and that is why students keep showing up. You see, Summer Studios Arts Academy isn’t your typical institutional operation with layers of administrative bureaucracy. It’s a place that is quite freeing.

Back home at my Texas studio, I miss the engaging collective spirit of Summer Studios along with the mild climate. If I can swing it, I hope to go there again someday. Perhaps I’ll even meet up with a couple of kiln gods named Jake and Jayleen who watched over my pottery as it fired up to 2300 degrees in a kiln fueled by natural gas. And those two kiln gods didn’t mind the heat as long as they could sit close together. I miss them, too.

Jake and Jayleen are kiln gods and hot lovers protecting  a kiln firing.

Jake and Jayleen are kiln gods and hot lovers protecting a kiln firing.

Those who live in the South Bay area should visit this very special place in your community. It’s an opportunity to enrich life by making artThe way you see the world changes once you start making art…And it’s never too late to start.

Semi-Quiet Art

The current paintings in my “Veil Series” began as thoughts on how I might reduce the distractions in and around me. The challenge begins with learning restraint. I have a tendency to crowd my physical and mental space with visual and audible distraction. My questions about reduction are not about wanting absolute silence. I think of absolute silence as a blank canvas in a room without light. Silence taken to such an extreme becomes a lifeless setting. My thoughts about being a little more quiet are in pursuit of enriching life. A life with fewer distractions becomes one with more discovery. Art can distill the chaos and mystery present in everyday life. Isn’t this why people seek out the arts? Most are not longing to become artists, they want the sense of discovery art brings to our existence.

Most of the paintings I’ve made over the past year confirm using restraint is a challenge. The power of understatement eludes most of my paintings. I have accomplished it in a few out of the group. So I will continue learning how to say just enough with the thoughtful application of  line and color. There’s not a formula as every painting requires a different way of completion. But the painting (below) titled “Veil 184″ is semi-quiet and says just enough for my eyes.

Veil 184. 2014. Mixed + digital media on paper. 14"x11".

Veil 184. 2014. Mixed + digital media on paper. 14″x 11″. Gregory Zeorlin

So how much quietness can I allow in my art? I don’t know at this point as there is much work to do. But if this becomes a mental exercise in the studio I should stop working now. Such a reductionist exercise eventually leads to a blank canvas. I’ve seen blank minimalist canvases in esteemed art museums and have not been moved. When I watched others view such paintings, most barely pause. A quiet work of art  is not created to go unnoticed. A quiet piece of art may challenge our sense of timing and patience. An understated piece of art shouldn’t be consumed in a single 15 second glance. And what happens if the viewing leads to contemplation? Could we allow ourselves enough time to pause? “Looking at art has potentially unexpected side effects.” Should this statement be posted at every art museum and gallery entry?

I’ll return to the challenge of making semi-quiet paintings after making sketches, photographs and writing poetry for a month. After sorting this new information I’ll see what happens to the next group of mixed media paintings in the “Veil Series.” Maybe the next ones will even convey the quest of semi-quiet that I’m writing about now.

After all these thoughts about being quiet, I still have to make noise so others notice my semi-quiet work. I’ll post images of finished paintings on my studio website while seeking opportunities to exhibit them in galleries and museums. I don’t want my art to end up in a dark room.

Thank you for reading this blog. Please forward this post to friends, art lovers and art gallery/museum professionals.

Artists Emerging From Dirt

The term “emerging artist” is a perplexing and amusing one to me. It generally indicates an artist is rising to the surface. As if, before making it to the surface, an artist is in the dark. They are like an organism in the dirt that slowly takes on form until it mutates into a real walking artist complete with a cover letter, bio, image list and artist statement. Emerging artists who are deep underground can only see a faint light from up on the surface.  So we squirm around in our dim dirt piles wondering about that light up there coming from the art world.  When an artist starts to emerge, does their head push out of the dirt so their face can follow the light? I wonder about such things.

Of course, sometimes I wonder if I’m more of a pre-emerging artist and not an emerging one. Then my mind races to all those galleries I contact that respond as if I’m just another weed to spray. So they ignore my wildflower blooms and unfamiliar perfume or tell me I cannot become part of their carefully arranged bouquet.  I return to my dirty studio to continue working and mutating. I’m slowly becoming a stronger, vibrant wildflower/weed with a variety of unusual blooms. Those blooms are fade resistant and able to tolerate heavy doses of weed spray. Could I be like a plant in the desert that knows it will bloom in the light when the time is right? Sure. Yeah, that’s me.

Plus think about this…Hothouse flowers shrivel up soon after being cut and arranged. And many hybrid blooms are only arranged a certain way.  Sometimes those flowers start to look like plastic. It’s a good thing there many vibrant weeds out here with ample roots. Even when transplanted into a variety of pots you know they will bloom where they’re placed.

Being a pre-emerging or emerging artist is OK. I do long for a bit more of the bright light. And when the bright art world light beams on my uncommon selection of wildflower blooms, I’ll keep the roots in moist soil.

Thanks for reading this bit of playful sarcasm. I’ll keep working. You can see my artwork by clicking here.

 

Veil 126

Veil 126

“Veil 710″ (studio shot)

Here’s a mixed media painting I just finished titled “Veil 710.” It is from my ongoing “Veil Series” paintings you can view on my studio website (ZeorlinArt.com). “Veil 710″ is 28″ x 22″ on canvas. The image on this blog is a quick studio shot. I will photograph it again with even lighting and post on my website.  I still need to attach it to a canvas stretcher.  If you have comments or questions about this painting please let me know. Thanks.

"Veil 710"

“Veil 710″