Sunday, February 11, 2018

Couple Considering 2017

My relationship paintings almost always portray the woman as being the larger figure, and this painting is no exception.  The woman is from an older photograph of my younger self, and the man, as well, a younger version of my husband. My shoes are red(appropriate), and his green(appropriate but I'm not sure why).  Like the relationship, the making of the image was complicated, involving, but not limited to: many layers of acrylic paint, oil paint, crackle medium, transfers, and direct gluing(not necessarily in that order). The text is Japanese, from what is, I think, a Japanese textbook, but there is no way to know for sure since I don't speak Japanese and don't have any friends that do.  I don't know what is being said, and even if someone were to read the text it would be backwards since it has been transferred.  I simply love the visual look of the letters, and the way they exist and politely enhance but don't intrude. I've found my husband several times pausing in front of the painting and nodding his head in approval. I liked it to begin with, but, with every nod of his head, I find myself liking it a little bit more.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

33 Years: Holly Roberts at the Griffin Museum 2018

On Jan.16 my husband and I flew to Boston for the opening of my retrospective at the Griffin Museum of Photography.  I don't think that Paula Tognarelli(the director of the museum)and I ever exactly planned it as a retrospective, but then, all of a sudden, there it was:  33 years of my work, stretching from 1984 to 2017. It turns out Paula and I are on the same wave length, twins from different mothers. She choose tough images, but also found and underscored the darkly funny ones, like "Sperm and Ovum" and "Snake Truck"(seen above). She ended up selecting over 60 images, filling the beautiful space beautifully, grouping the work following a rough time table of 1984-2003, 2005-2014, and 2015-2017.

 I was there on the opening night to give a walk through to a full gallery, probably 45-50 people.  I went through the gallery selecting images that were especially important or timely for me to talk about, and discussed as well my techniques and processes.  People asked questions so that I could fill in what I do, what I think about, and what I react to when I work.  It was a truly wonderful evening for me, seeing all my children, lined up on the wall, patiently waiting to be appreciated.  I felt proud, a little overwhelmed, and extremely grateful.

There are people like Paula Tognarelli in the art world, but they are few and far between.  She is one of those unique people who love art and artists and have the means and the where-with-all to support us on the rough and tumble journey that we have chosen to take as creative people. It was a night like no other for me, and I can only give thanks to the art gods(and Paula)for having made it happen.

*To see and read about some of the work in the show you can follow this link 
http://hollyrobertsstudio.blogspot.com/2018/01/holly-roberts-33-years-presented-by.html 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Man with Flute 2014

On Christmas Eve of this year, I received a phone call from a friend who had invited my mother to Christmas Eve dinner. My mother hadn't been home when they went to pick her up and it was beginning to get dark. Her car and dog were missing as  well.  I knew that, most probably, she had gone out and then gotten lost trying to return home.  She has no short term memory, and her cognitive functions are getting weaker and weaker. I called the sheriff's office and spoke to a deputy, reporting her missing.  After gathering the pertinent information,the deputy went to work, finally issuing an APB for Mom.  Meanwhile, my husband and I gathered our dogs and headed up to Santa Fe(from Corrales where we live) to look for her, knowing we would probably be spending the night there.

By the next day, from credit card receipts which my sister had access to, we were able to track her voyage, from 2:30 in the afternoon in Santa Fe, to the last place she stopped for gas at 4:00 a.m. in Roswell, New Mexico, 200 miles to the south.  In the meantime, a "Silver Alert" had been issued for her describing an 88 year old gray haired Hispanic woman driving a brown Honda CRV with a brown Aussie mix dog in the back(she isn't Hispanic).  The alert scrolled across the bottom of the screen during the late news and then again in the morning.  About 9:00 a.m., as we were getting ready to head back to Albuquerque(60 miles away), we heard a knock at the door.  It was my mother.  She had almost no memory of where she had gone or what she had done, just that she knew not to let the gas run out, and that she had made it back on her own. I took the car and drove it over to a neighbors so that she wouldn't have access to it, and was accused having always wanted to get her car away from her. We have no idea where she went(other than the credit card receipts), or what was calling to her that would cause her to drive for over 19 hours, in the dead of night, refusing to ask for help. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Woman Dancing(with Purple)2017

Chance
Noun:  a possibility of something happening;
            the occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design
Adjective:  fortuitous; accidental;
Verb:   do something by accident or without design;
           do (something) despite its being dangerous or of uncertain outcome

Recently,  I've found myself only interested in creating things that happen by mistake.  It's very "listen to the sound of one hand clapping" because I can want it, and want it desperately, but I can't make it happen. Woman Dancing(with Purple) was formed when I pulled the tape off of the hard edged line I was trying to make. The paint on top came up in a big chunk, revealing the purple and black painting underneath.  Revealed, it  was, of course, the body of the purple woman.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Family Trouble 2017

Two friends of mine, an aunt and her niece, come from a very large family--11 brothers and sisters.  Recently, when I asked them about their Thanksgiving plans, they told me that over 50 people would be coming, and that they would be cooking two large turkeys.  When I asked them if everyone got along, they looked at each other, then smiled, and the aunt said, "Mostly. We do fine."

I don't know how they do it. Our parents are fading, fragile, and under the constant decay of dementia, which is eroding away what little memory they have left.  Once they are gone, I'm not sure what will tie us siblings together. Taking the responsibility of their care has already caused large riffs between us, and as we've aged, the things that bothered us slightly 40 years ago are now huge issues that we can't talk about. There is anger, resentment, and in some cases, because of the current political climate, horrible exchanges on social media. And even within the close circle of our immediate family we have altercations that seem absurd, small things that blow up out of all proportion. I wish I knew the answers to making a family work, but I don't, and I worry that if we can't even work out our familial issues, then what hope do we have for running a country or a world.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Old Cowboy

"Old Cowboy" is very loosely based on my husband's grandfather, Irby Downey, who, as a young man, was a ranch hand, first in Texas, and then in Albuquerque on the West Mesa back in the 40's. He was a dashing, handsome man(he looked like Richard Boone ), as well being charming and personable.  And of course, the real deal: the quiet, rugged, western man with a drinking problem.  But then, to make a living  and support his wife and three children, he became a masonry contractor in Albuquerque leaving most of his cowboy life behind.  I fabricated the rope from a coiled hose, and his belt buckle from a bird's nest, his "bones" made of tree branches.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Jealous 2009

             Jealous:  hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage  Merriam Webster 

One of the seven deadly sins is envy, not jealousy, but close enough(Envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage  Merriam Webster).  The two cross over in my mind, and lay on top of each other, like dead, smelly fish.  I am burdened, a lot, by the combo.  I'm jealous of people I know, people I've never seen, dead people from history.  I'm envious of friends and family members, even people that I feel sorry for. The duo sit on my shoulder and whisper mean crappy things in my ear, mostly about how worthless I am.  To make myself feel better, I like to watch one of my dogs stack all the dog pillows on top of each other and then lay on them so that the other dog can't use them. It turns out it's not just me after all.