Photos of my Artomatic 2012 Piece

My Artomatic 2012 installation is the first step of a new series using 16mm film, in which I’m exploring my struggle to make sense of the passage of time, and aging.

As this idea is in the early stages of getting worked out, constructive feedback is most welcome.

About the author: A sculptor living and working in Northern Virginia, Alex is fascinated by mummies, volcanoes, continental drift and the concept of zombies. She spends her days doing social media and reference work at the public library, and is a fiercely geeky proponent of all things informational. You can find her online at Photos of my Artomatic 2012 Piece was first published on May 19. 
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Fantastic artist’s date: Anna Barriball

Those of you who are Artist’s Way followers may have realised recently that I haven’t been talking much about Artist’s Way-related things on the blog recently. That’s because I rather fell off the wagon. My intention to do Walking in this World didn’t even last a week, my morning pages have been more sporadic than I’d like, and, most of all, I’ve been terrible at getting round to making proper time for my artist’s date.

However, I finally did it this week. I was meeting a friend and her daughter for coffee in Edinburgh and I thought: Right! I need to go in a couple of hours early and have an artist’s date!

I did manage very successfully to get into what I think of as the artist’s date mindset – chilled out, hyper-observant in an artistic/visual way (Woah! look at the metalwork on the end of that wall! I never saw that before! Look! A really great ghost sign!), not over-thinking things.

I wandered down to the Poetry Library to change my books (trying not to be too analytical about what I ended up with), spent much longer than I expected at the Fruitmarket looking at the Anna Barriball exhibition, then had a first quick look at the Red Chalk exhibition at the National Gallery.

The Anna Barriball exhibition was rather typical of the Fruitmarket exhibitions that I’ve seen – something that initially seems a bit weird but had a few pieces that I really liked. I like that the Fruitmarket tends to stretch the boundaries of the art I enjoy. Here’s a video showing some of the pieces:

The work was described as something of an intersection between drawing and sculpture. Many of the works are effectively ‘rubbings’ of doors, walls etc, done with a regular pencil, which must be massively time-consuming! This results in the paper taking on the shape of the object, which produces quite a curious effect. It definitely grew on me. I was amazed that it had actually all done by hand.

Other works are ‘found’ photographs that have been altered. I wasn’t wild on the ones with ink, such as the first one shown in the video. However, I was fascinated by the row of pictures in which only a tiny window was revealed (a picture of an actual window, I’m not being metaphorical!). I liked the similarity yet variety of the windows. And it made you wonder what else was behind the mount – what was the original context?

My favourite work was the video piece of the fireplace which is also shown briefly in the video. Barriball had put tracing paper over the fireplace to do a rubbing, but found that when she opened a door she got the fantastic ‘breathing’ effect where the tracing paper conforms to the shape of the grate and tiles. It also sounds a bit like breathing. Watching it was rather hypnotic. Every ‘breath’ is a bit different so you see a bit more or a bit less of what’s behind the paper. Lovely and serendipitous.

I think I’ll be trying to catch this exhibition again before it leaves. Strangely compelling.

About the author: Kate lives in Fife, Scotland and is currently re-learning creative writing after 15 poetryless and fictionless years. She blogs at Fantastic artist’s date: Anna Barriball was first published on March 16.

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52 Prompts: Page 52, Line 17

Close up of an open book

Week 22 Prompt: Take the nearest book to you, turn to page 52, line 17 and use the first complete sentence as the start of your piece.

More about 52 Prompts: Each week we’ll have a new writing prompt for your creative writing pleasure. If you are an altdotlife forum member, join us on the dedicated 52 Prompts writing blog (forum member login info).*

What’s it like?

…definitely mixed product.  I think I’d often do a vignette or a character sketch, but if I had a real-life experience, maybe just a memoir. Or heck, a book review if that’s what the prompt leads me to. Whatever you’re inspired to do–the point is to overcome the butt-in-chair hurdle that is so big.

Week 1: Worst. Meal. Ever.

Week 2: Where I’m From.

Week 3: Bulwer-Lytton’s Lyttony

Week 4: Fabric

Week 5: Pick a part of your body

Week 6: The worst thing that happened to you as a child

Week 7: Did it turn out how you expected?

Week 8: A moment of silence

Week 9 prompt: Henchman! (Or sidekick)

Week 10 prompt: “Clare Middleton I love you will u marry me”

Week 11 prompt: Tell an outrageous lie

Week 12 prompt: Stranded

Week 13 prompt: Self Portrait Early in the Morning

Week 14 prompt: Life happens in the kitchen

Week 15 prompt: Where are your ghosts?

Week 16 prompt: Wrong number

Week 17 prompt: Clouds

Week 18 Prompt: Angel of the North

Week 19 Prompt: Teeth

Week 20 Prompt: Relationships

Week 21 Prompt: Ice or Snow

*Not a member? Feel free to join us on your own blog. Don’t forget to send us a link to your work if you’d like (tweet to: @altdotlife#52prompts). (Or you can always join the altdotlife forum.)

Image credit: Close up of an open book by ryanmerritt

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A Conspiracy of Fishes

This is possibly the most-difficult-to-photograph piece I have ever put up – the space is amazing, but also full of architecture, books and uncontrolled lighting.

I had originally planned to hang my pieces close to the walls, using the lip of the wall as the place to anchor them. But when I arrived, I saw that the library staff had hung winter decorations in the open space between the floors – which, of course, got me thinking about installing in the middle of the space. And as it turns out, Urbana is such a recent building that the framing is all aluminum studs, and the lip was impossible to hang from.

So I built a grid out of string, and anchored it to a bit of 1×4 decorative molding – which also happened to be the most solid thing on the walls. And once the Urbana librarians saw where we planned to hang the work, they decided to move the decorations that had been hanging at the first floor level, up to the second floor level.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the installation – there’s an alien, flighty, floaty, sea animal sense to the pieces, which I feel is worth pursuing. The title for the piece – A Conspiracy of Fishes – came to me after I was done putting it up, and is definitely a result of those alien, animal shapes.

The two things I’m not happy about are:

The uncontrolled lighting – After everything was hung, we discovered that the lights on the walls can not be adjusted, so I lost the element of shadows.

Hanging apparatus – After I’d hung the whole thing, I realized the string – which disappears when viewed from below – is very obvious when the piece is viewed from above.

Installed Friday at the Urbana Regional Library in Frederick MD, and curated by the Delaplaine.

Materials: Staples; Black and white 16mm films withdrawn from the Gettysburg College Library: a short biology film titled “Cell Division,” a 2-reel documentary on Mt Athos, and short film about football,  narrated by John Madden.

About the author: A sculptor living and working in Northern Virginia, Alex is fascinated by mummies, volcanoes, continental drift and the concept of zombies. She spends her days doing social media and reference work at the public library, and is a fiercely geeky proponent of all things informational. You can find her online at  A Conspiracy of Fishes was first published on December 5.

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