Friday, February 27, 2015

First Sign of Spring!

I opened the back door this morning . . . and what did I hear? A cardinal singing from the top of the trees!

Nancy Teague, Wintry Cardinal Wheeeee!
from Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: Winter Splendor

Still, piles and piles of snow . . .  but spring is on the way!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Carrie Jacobson: I Do

Carrie Jacobson, I Do.

The more I look at this painting by Carrie Jacobson, the more I love it. The color, the texture. The strong light, the strong shadow. I can feel the warm air, the coolness of the shade...the significance of the moment.

Jacobson's painting is currently showing in Still Point Art Gallery's exhibition: Chasing the Light (Finding the Shadow).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Who Am I?

I knocked quietly on the door, and a voice from within roared, “Is that the Canadian High Commissioner?” I opened the door to find him seated cross-legged on the floor —an erect, commanding presence clad in a white robe, with a generous topping of white hair and a long white bear, “Well, Swami,” I began, “that is just what I do, not what I am.” “Then come and sit with me,” he laughed uproariously.  (from James George, "Who Am I?" Parabola, Fall 2014.)  

Before becoming a publisher and photographer and a few other things, I was a data analyst. I worked at a small New England liberal arts college analyzing enrollment and retention data, financial data, and course opinion data. I studied course-taking patterns and changes in students’ attitudes over time. I developed and administered surveys and analyzed the mountain of data that came out of those activities. I shared data with other colleges and studied how we differed from or were the same as our peers and competitors. I enjoyed finding patterns and trends and blips, finding meaning in a vast collection of numbers.

I was the director of institutional research, but my colleagues had given me a few other titles. I was the czarina of data, the queen of the database, the one who worked magic with numbers. When people needed answers, they came to me. The college’s data were referred to as my data.

I liked my job...most of the time. I liked what I did. I liked my position. I liked the prestige of sitting on the college’s hugely important pile of zeroes and ones. Information is power, and buried within my data was all the information worth knowing. No one knew the data better than me.

But if there’s one thing worth learning in life, it’s that nothing stays the same. Following a series of leadership changes in the college, my throne crumbled. As that fact sunk in, my entire world slowly started to crumble. Then there was a mid-life crisis and attempts to let go...but it wasn’t always clear what I needed to let go of. Change? Criticism? Fear?

Eventually, though, it became clear to me that I needed to let go of my sense of myself as the czarina of data, the resident number cruncher, the all knowing one. And that was when I realized that whatever journey I was on had only just begun. I needed to plunge much deeper within myself to find out who I was. I needed to untangle the nasty mess that had come from equating my identity and my self-worth with my job. I needed to let go of a self-identity that was based on what I did. I needed to figure out who I am.

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

Eventually, I left the college and left that type of work entirely. It was painful; there is no denying that fact. But I had the opportunity to do some other things, start my own business, work for myself, do what I wanted to do and not what I was told to do. It was a big change. A positive change in most every way.

Four years later – just this past week – I found myself driving back from Portland with a friend. She was going through the next few years of her life—3 more years of teaching and being department chair, then a 1-year sabbatical, then teaching for a couple of years and retiring. And she said to me, “When are you retiring?”

Retiring? I kind of already did that...been there...done that. I retired from my job at the college and started a business that now takes up a good sixty hours of my time every week, but I’m quite happy. Why would I even think about retiring...again?

Then I said, “Gosh, I’m not sure I could be happy without projects to do, deadlines to meet, emails to answer, etc.”

What did I say? I paused to listen to what I had just said. Have I repeated the cycle? Am I now wrapped up with myself as a publisher, photographer, editor...and several other things?

Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

And so I consider these questions.

I am not what I do. I have many roles—publisher, editor, photographer...and also wife, friend, neighbor, cook—but my roles cannot define me. We all walk around within a role...within many roles. These roles make our lives easy because we fit within their comfortable grooves. Life becomes very predictable. But there is a danger within that groove. Roles can be limiting, both to ourselves and others with whom we interact. Connecting our identity so tightly with what we do limits our thinking. It shrinks our viewpoint. It can be like wearing blinders. We stop stretching and taking risks into unknown territory.

A role is not a bad thing. We all have them...many of them. The problem arises when we get stuck and attached to our roles.

We are not what we do, be it a data analyst, lawyer, teacher, housekeeper, artist. We must think about the roles we adopt...be mindful of the reasons they work for us as well as the reasons they limit us. And that includes the role of artist.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Miracles: Jacqueline Guidry

The spring 2015 issue of Stone Voices features a piece by writer Jacqueline Guidry, titled "Miracles."

I wait for an answer; as always, none comes. This statue offers no more forgiveness than I offer myself. I’m engulfed in silence and no matter the miles I’ve traveled, receive no reply. Haven’t I earned a response, some measure of understanding from Mary, if not from God?

Jacqueline Guidry's short works have appeared most recently in the Arkansas Review, Broad River Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Rosebud, and Southampton Review. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a three-time finalist for a Faulkner Society gold medal. After practicing Social Security disability law for many years, she now focuses on her writing and indulges her addictions to chocolate, sparkling water, KenKen, and Sudoku. Guidry lives in Kansas City with her husband, Michael; they have two daughters, Alison and Anne, both young adults.

Photography for this article by Ralph Hassenpflug.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kathryn Oliver Drawn to Visual Storytelling

Kathryn Oliver discovered a passion for visual storytelling as a small child. Over time that passion has inspired her to venture into whatever media stir her imagination. Over the past decade, Oliver founded and served as artistic director and playwright for Terra Diddle Collective, a group of artists, actors, dancers, and musicians whose collaborative work produced original stage productions of archetypal storytelling through large puppetry, theater, and dance. She co-developed the concept and created the imagery for a multimedia performance called LEAP that combined projected images and dance with the poetry of the Sufi mystic, Rumi, and the Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. Now, after ten years of collaborative and often large-scale ventures, she has found her way back to activities more focused on solitude and inner exploration.

Drawn to the symbolic language of myth and archetypes, I am forever on a quest, seeking a visual narrative that evokes an internal recognition of nature — something in exile, lost, or hidden — yet leaves an impression inwardly known. 

Kathryn Oliver's work is featured in the spring 2015 issue of Stone Voices

Friday, February 13, 2015

40 Years in Soho: Ross Neher

Famed New York City artist, writer, and teacher Ross Neher writes about his forty years living in Soho in the spring 2015 Still Point Arts Quarterly. From its manufacturing days to its celebrated lofts, art galleries to high fashion boutiques, Neher has seen it all in Soho.

Galleries multiplied like tenth graders with calculators; by 1988 there were over 250. Everyone with a trust fund seemed to open one, regardless of whether they could tell a Rembrandt from a rutabaga. Jerry Joseph, who had a frame shop in Soho, opened Jerry’s, a hip restaurant in what was formerly a greasy spoon. It quickly became known as the place for “power” lunches. Now it’s a Michael Kors outlet.

Ross Neher is a New York artist whose shows have been reviewed byThe New York Times, Artforum, and Art in America. His essays on art have been published in Artforum, Arts Magazine, Art Criticism, andAcademic Questions. He is the author of Blindfolding the Muse: The Plight of Painting in the Age of Conceptual Art and is an adjunct professor in the M.F.A. program at Pratt Institute where he has taught for thirty-three years. Currently, Neher is writing a book on the confluence of art and business and working on video projects.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Louis Ebarb Doesn't Take Himself Too Seriously

I paint the commonplace and the often overlooked.
I paint my version of the sacred. 
I learned to paint realistically through Abstraction. 
I learned to paint abstractly though Realism.


The paintings of Louis Ebarb are featured in the upcoming spring 2015 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly

Ebarb was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is a member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, Louisiana. He draws on his complex mix of cultures to create his images. Working as an abstract expressionist in the 1960s, he studied painting at Pratt Institute where his style reflected the emerging minimalist movement. In 1988, Ebarb incorporated his training in abstract art with the concepts of the American realists of the early twentieth century and began to paint the people and places that he encountered using video, photography, and computers to establish his vision. 


I create better worlds on all of my canvasses.
I make this world more beautiful. 
I begin each painting I knowing it will be my best.
I don’t take myself too seriously.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

God is Hidden - Part I

M. K. Ciurlionis, Creation of the World V, before 1911.

The death motif is always present
at the beginning of change and appears
in order to make way for transformation.
The creative force kills as it produces
the new. The flower withers around
the swelling pod. The snake sheds its skin.

~James Hillman

The following is an excerpt from Peter Azrak's column in the spring 2015 issue of Stone Voices. These are important words for the artist in each of us.

Hillman tells us that the creative force kills the one truth we do not want to hear. Kills? Yes, the creative force kills the false hope that a piece of transformative art can simply emerge out of good intention. Often the desire to make art comes from this naive sense that any scribble we pen ”will make it to the refrigerator door and hang there forever.” In this naive state of mind, we assume art asks very little of us. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the creative force kills off this youthful impression and asks us to go deep within to discover more of what we need to bring forth.

Enter one’s experience of the divine, what we call God. If God is hidden to our ordinary senses and is awakened in us through artistic expression, then we must assume that in some way we have been asleep. Indeed, we become dulled by ordinary life, but when art enters our being, we wake up to that spark. We see, we feel, we sense, we intuit in new ways not yet clear to us. We come to know a place central to our core that emerges when it is ”found” by our creative urges. In other words, the artwork reflects back to us the core sense that we are in part divine, and as a result, we become aligned with our true center. Suddenly, we are given another chance to remember the truth about life; we are called to wake up to what is hidden but alive within each of us.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Stone Voices is on Magzter

Stone Voices is on Magzter!

Magzter is a distributor of digital magazines and books. They sell subscriptions and single issues.

We are always looking for additional ways to promote and distribute our magazines and books. We're delighted to be part of Magzter.