So I thought I'd dust off this here old blog and tell any of my remaining readers about the exhibit with Wolf Kahn.
I know it's been ages since I wrote about this, so here is a quick description of the building and how the shows are usually organized within it:
"The Smithy is the oldest building in Cooperstown. It has three floors, each with varying kinds of gallery space. The first floor is at street level and is the original part of the building, it's very rustic; stone walls, forges, anvils, and tools remain from its original use as a blacksmith shop. The second floor is where the member group show is held each summer, in addition to a small room that features a solo show each month. I had a solo there in the summer of 2008. And the third floor is a large open space, which usually features one or two artists and often has a particular theme, often historical. This is the space I will be sharing with Nancy Samstein. The member group show and solo show by Michael Whaling will be on the second floor and Wolf Kahn will be showing on the first floor."
You can read my initial post about all this here.
I was a bit worried about showing in such close proximity to an artist who A. I admire, especially for his amazing longevity and productivity and B. my work has so often been compared to, mostly because of the whole brightly colored landscape barn thing, I think. I was worried about looking like a copy cat I guess;)
I decided to work around B. a little bit, by doing some new work which would include humans and farm animals, though not together, which would put me in an entirely different genre. heh. I was also reading the recent biography of Grant Wood at the time and decided it was time to put some figures and barns together and just so you know for sure, yes, I was COMPLETELY thinking about "American Gothic" when I did this painting:
Sunday, 2011, 60"x40" Oil on Panel
And since the one and only sheep painting I have ever done was the very first piece to sell in a show last spring, I decided to do some more sheep, and go larger too. So I did three that were meant to be together always:
Then I did a large red barn just for old time's sake.....
The rest of the paintings in the show were older paintings that I had on hand, ones that have not
I had two walls of a HUGE room, the whole third floor actually. The light was a bit funky, there is an unfortunately placed stairway, and a lot of windows. Although I specifically requested the walls with the windows because I wanted to make groupings on the smaller wall sections.
So here are images of the exhibit. You can see a bit of Nancy's work in the last picture.
Now about Wolf Kahn. I learned a few days before the opening reception that he would not be able to attend. I was disappointed but I immediately understood that the bright side was that I wouldn't have to worry about prattling on and on in front of him or doing something dorky, like spray cracker crumbs on his shirt while prattling. Despite missing Doug, (he was out of town) I was very pleased that so many of my friends came to the opening and I had a lovely time chatting with everyone, not to mention getting my ego inflated a bit. The farm couple and the sheep received a LOT of positive feedback, yayy!!
However, the ego part didn't really last long enough for me to become unbearable. A few days later when Doug was back home, we went to take pictures of the exhibit and while we were doing that two guys were looking at the show. They were wandering around the room while we were taking pictures and finally stood in front of "Sunday." One of them said, and I quote: "the only thing that missing from this one is a pitchfork" Cue their hysterical laughter. Then he turned and they both spent about 5 minutes checking out every. single. detail. of the really "well built! nice color! sturdy! and it has a drawer!" table sitting near the stairwell.
Doug and I had a good laugh about it after they left and I am quite glad he got a few pictures of them which will serve as a reminder to me that not everyone loves my paintings. Sob.....
Anyway, Wolf Kahn's work was displayed on the first floor. Danielle (the Smithy's gallery director) was the curator and she did a wonderful job of that. The pieces were all pastels and were priced in the 3-5k range. I think Doug was tempted to buy one, but unfortunately those prices are not in any part whatsoever of our budget lately; our income is at the mercy of the current economy, alas. Maybe I should have suggested a trade? bwahahaahaaaaa!!!!!
So of course, it was wonderful to see his pastels in person, to see the marks, the colors, it all has a random and expressive quality yet the space and structure is so descriptive. Also these pastels were far more subdued that the pieces I have seen in the past, probably due to the changes in his eyesight (he has macular degeneration) and that accounted for just a little bit more of a difference in our work. Phew!
So all in all, this was a very exciting event to participate in, especially since it was actually IN our little town here. I am very grateful to Danielle for thinking about me when she got the yes from Wolf Kahn, and I am also extremely impressed that she was able to get that yes! Not sure yet if anything will come of this show for me, however I do have a pile of cards for the show with both our names on it which is pretty dang awesome and constitutes actual proof that I once had an exhibit with Wolf Kahn.....