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  • Developing "Secret Beach" performance for "A Tussle with the Genius Loci"

    Dancemaker Ann Glaviano (with whom I've collaborated in the past via her dancing for my work and me dancing in her Known Mass: St Maurice piece) agreed to develop a score called "Secret Beach" for the opening of my installation "A Tussle with the Genius Loci."

    Glaviano is collaborating with dancers Rebecca Allen and Deuwan Frances using the tools of experimental choreographer Deborah Hay as a foundation for a score that interacts with the installation. 

    Hay's framework generates improvisational choreography based on what each dancer sees.  In a state of constant motion (with prompts like "here and gone" and "I am not fixed"), dancers pass from frame to frame of visual information and respond to each with the physical vocabulary unique to each dancer's body and history.  Glaviano responded to the work I'm developing and generated additional prompts for the dancers ("what if I create the space," etc.) including the exciting and vulnerable introduction of dancers' vocals.

    The visual artwork the show interacts with was born out of a process of looking around at the water's edge and wondering if I really was home after moving back to Louisiana after 13 years away.  I think in that process I discovered that "home" is not fixed, and that it requires me to look anew at every moment and redefine it.  Collaborating with these dancers and Deborah's tools opens up the here and now in a vivid and specific way, and the opportunity to build this show with three women originally from Louisiana makes for a rich and informed "Tussle with the Genius Loci."

  • "Night Crawler" experimental installation Book Club Gallery

    In the inaugural show at Book Club, I exhibited alongside Margaret Parsons, Kate Skakel and April Bachtel.  It presented a unique opportunity to experiment with the installation of the massive collection of small objects I have generated since going back to school.

    Made of steel "drawings" welded at the Music Box Village over the summer, papier mache cypress knees, a touchable piece meant to collect the oil of fingers, pinned monotype prints and small sketchbook drawings made while traveling, and direct wall painting and charcoal drawing, this installation represents an initial attempt to bring my drawn worlds to human scale.  I'm looking forward to continuing this thread of multi-material wall drawing/collage.

    Conceptually, the large shape in the background was generated using a meditative technique that focuses intensely on the pencil tip to prevent predictive drawing.  The raw materials (source photos and physical materials) involved in the piece are largely recycled or gathered from the landscape around New Orleans.

  • Table of Contents opens Feburary 2!

    The unofficial collective loosely referred to as Book Club is putting on an exhibition at Art Egg this Friday to debut fresh drawings by 4 of its members: Catherine Nelson, Kate Skakel, Margaret Parsons and April Bachtel.  The group represents a diverse spray of style and experience, including one animator/educator finalist in this year's New Orleans Art Prize competition, this year's resident artist at the St. Roch Community Church (and former visual arts faculty at the University of Alabama), one public sculptor & furniture builder, and a master of business student.  Techniques include lyrical linework fascinated by the body, oversized monotype moments, multi-material wall "drawings", and conceptualizations of time through drawing. The work, made by each of the artists over the last year, introduces each artist for a series of forthcoming solo exhibitions in the same space.

    Opening Reception: Table of Contents
  • Illuminate with Miro Hoffman at Courtyard Brewery

    Miro and I shared an interest in using analog projectors and painting/drawing/manipulating light, so we built an installation together at Courtyard Brewery to experiment.

    A 16mm projector running direct animations (painted onto clear film) and an overhead projector covered in my handmade photo films, paper cuts,glitter glue and feathers and steel stencils were both aimed at a screen that hung from the ceiling.  Pegboard installed on the back side split the projected light into dots of color that bathed the back wall.  There was also a light table with overflow transparencies, plus glass drawings and paintings.  The show ran through Mardi Gras and evolved as people played with the films.  More photos on the way.

  • Installing Illuminate: Light Painting Collab with Miro Hoffman at Courtyard Brewery

    Installing "Illuminate" - an experimental projection project with painter Miro Hoffman.  We will be lighting up at Courtyard Brewery (Magazine and Erato) nightly through Mardi Gras with regular changes to the projected compositions.

  • March: Resident Artist at the Women's Studio Workshop

    This month I am one of 4 artists in residence at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.  They host residents, interns, classes and beautiful studios for paper-based arts and ceramics.  I'll be working in their light-filled printmaking studio.  This residency is an opportunity to unplug from daily responsibilities in order to dig into a project, and it will also give me access to a printing press for the first time since moving back to Louisiana.  

    In my time here, I'll be reconciling old and new work.  In my oldest published portfolio, I created monotypes from scenes of Louisiana pageants (mardi gras, debutante balls, etc).  In contrast, my newest portfolios contain colorful silkscreen books and abstract cyanotype images.  My goal in my month at Women's Studio Workshop is to reconcile the concepts and techniques that created both.  

    The original work was motivated by a raw frustration and resistance, while the zines were created out of a sense of hope, curiosity and possibility.  I'll be experimenting with combining color and black-and-white, political and joyful, tradition and evolution, 2-D print and 3-D shape.  Wish me luck!  I'll post updates weekly.

    Also, I've been known to send drawings to people who write me letters:

    Women’s Studio Workshop
    P.O. Box 489
    Rosendale, NY 12472

  • "The days and nights are about the same now" - Puncture Zine Issue # 8 is here!

    In its first 7 issues, Puncture has folded, flipped and cut its way to tiny, touchable interactive experiences.  The series continues on fabric with issue #8, offering the chance to sew it, fold it or use it how you see fit.   The experiment is in your hands now!  Head to the zine store to pick up your very own.

    Title from a journal entry by crew member George Wardwell on an expedition to the North Pole and back in 1908. (Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum)  

  • Puncture Zine's 7th issue is here! And it's a hexaflexagon!

    It took many months longer than anticipated, but it was totally worth it for this paper, ink and storytelling experiment to come into being.  Enjoy!

    "mind like a paper trap (or) tell me a story from when you were 7"

    8-color screenprinted zine/book monster made in collaboration with Milissa Orzolek.  Get a copy here or barter (use the contact link).

  • Puncture's back with a new collaborator! Puppeteer and storyteller Milissa Orzolek joins us for an interview.

    Issue 7 of Puncture is the result of a collaboration with storyteller and puppeteer Milissa Orzolek. 
    She has a fascination with memory. How does a memory work when you're telling it for the first time? For the 15th time? Does the story change? She likes to ask people questions that dig up "pristine" memories - those that haven't been retold yet. 

    To begin our collaboration, she asked me to tell her several stories, and the one we worked with was from when I was 7. My family relocated to southern France for a Rotary convention for several weeks.  
    One day we toured the Fragonard perfume factory, and my sister and I were inspired to make some fragrance of our own. We plucked the petals from roses in our yard and put them into little jars with water, sealing them and leaving them for a week to soak up the rosy smell. When we returned to our bottles to check our work, we found that instead of perfume we had created a smelly collection of mold colonies.

    The zine's shape was inspired by ViHart's Hexaflexagon YouTube video. The opening and revealing motion felt right for this collaboration about storytelling and memory. 
    A conversation with Milissa:
    What's your favorite snowball flavor so far in life? (warmup question)
    M: too hard. how about spearmint is my favorite toothpaste flavor?
    What's the worst road to ride your bike down in New Orleans? (other warmup question)
    M: Galvez between Elysian Fields and Franklin
    Can you tell us a bit about your craft? What kind of creative work do you make?
    M: I'm a puppeteer, but I like to make lots of stuff, from screen prints to audio stories. I've been lucky in life to surround myself with incredibly talented friends who work with food, fabrics, electronics, wood, puppets, words, etc. They have been my school, my inspiration and my collaborators. 

    Do you collect any consistent type of inspiration when you're developing a show?  If so, how do you collect it?

    M: That's a practice that I should start. But I do love listening to stories. Stories about life are always a source of inspiration.

    I hear you love when people go on tangents...true?

    M: True. Tangents are the brain's spotlights. They lead you to places you didn't realize were important. 

    I also hear you really like Spongebob...also true?

    M: I'm not sure if I'd say I really like Spongebob Squarepants. I do absolutely love one episode that depicts Spongebob's brain has a giant office with file cabinets full of memories. Sometimes cartoons are genius. (Spongebob episode in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRHL5drAkOE)

    How did you and Cat get to know each other?

    M: We met while working on Wayne White's giant puppet parade in Shreveport, Louisiana last summer.

    Did you have a structure for the collaboration or a seed idea?

    M: I wanted Cat to tell me a story. I guess, for me, everything really starts with a story. Even if it is only the story of how someone started using a certain material.

    What do you think your creative processes have in common?  What do you think differs?

    M: I think we're both open to seeing what happens. This is important because flexibility and openness to possibility is so important to collaborations. We both get excited about playing with new materials and processes.  I think Cat has a lot of confidence in the skills she has and the methods she uses and it's great to see that confidence play out in her creative process. I'm still working on that.

    Did the collaboration inspire anything new for you?

    M: Cat loves to play as part of the creative process and I want to incorporate that into my work! 
    What's your favorite part about the zine?
    M: My favorite part of the zine is how it brings up so many questions: how is it made? what's a hexaflexigon? what's the story behind the zine? how did you meet? etc. 
  • Wolfbat interlude

    This past May, in order to add more skills to my studio practice,  I worked for Wolfbat Studios (artist Dennis McNett) and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council on a project in my hometown of Shreveport, LA.   We built an interactive steamboat installation Wolfbat style.  The paddlewheel even spun thanks to a ceiling fan motor (and Josh Porter at SRAC who makes everything work better).  A few photos for ye: