Friday, February 17, 2006

Evolution and Circularity

Miller's Pond in Winter, 2005, Oil on Panel, 8x8

When I was an art student in Minneapolis and then later in Philadelphia, the instructors often urged and sometimes required us to attend opening receptions at the school's gallery or out in the city's galleries. We'd go, usually in packs, dressed in black, with purple or red or blue hair and body piercings, and smelling of patchouli and probably pot. We'd make a beeline for the free food, ignore the artist (we were way to cool to actually discuss art with the artist), look briefly at the art, and have a fierce discussion about it's relevancy. Then we'd leave and go get drunk/and or stoned at someone's apartment or at a bar. After I had finished school and met Doug in 1988, he and I often went to openings at various galleries in Philly. We usually went with his father who was an artist and graphic designer and he usually knew the artist and many people at the event so we'd spend hours talking and socializing with them. We'd have dinner first, skip the free food and drink wine. Then we'd go home, discuss the show and well, we were newly in love, so I'll just leave it at that...Later on we lived in Utah for a number of years and by that time we were parents. We were deeply involved in the local art scene and still enjoyed attending show openings. We knew everyone and they were a lot of fun. However, since we didn't use sitters much when our kids were babies, we usually carried them along. You just haven't lived until you've tried to discuss the meaning of art with spit up on your shoulder and leaking breasts. We'd be home by 9pm and in bed sleeping by 10pm.

Fast forward a few years and we have a whole new thing going on! We have been lucky enough to find a fabulous sitter, Mary Jo and her miniature schnauzer, Pepper Ann. She is a teacher and a chef and always brings projects for the kids. The kids love her and we are so happy to be able to go away once in awhile. So now that I am showing my work, Doug and I have been able to take short trips to attend my gallery openings. Often we stay overnight, we had a nice stay in Cape Cod last fall and another nice trip to Northampton, MA in December. It's interesting to be on the other side of an opening. I don't drink alcohol anymore so I have a glass of ice water, I don't eat in case I get anything stuck in my teeth or spray food while talking, and I make sure that I have breath mints in my purse. Some things haven't changed-I do still usually wear black, my hair is still red, though a bit toned down, and I still have my nose ring. Doug gets into all kinds of interesting conversations with people about the current quality of art in today's world, while I am usually answering questions like how long does it take to do a painting and where do I get my ideas. What's really fascinating now though, is that at my openings, I see myself at every opening I have ever been to, I am there in the college kids who won't look at me, the earnest young artists and art lovers who want to talk about painting all night and the frazzled parents trying have a night out.

So, tomorrow, Mary Jo is coming and we are off to the Enderlin Gallery in Roxbury, NY. I have a few pieces in a group show called "Snowscapes". I am new to this gallery, the director called me after having seen my work in a show at the Roxbury Arts Group. They have been really enthusiastic about my paintings, and I will be in several exhibitions there this year. I am looking forward to this opening-Roxbury has a really hopping little art scene and there are always very interesting people at the openings. "Miller's Pond in Winter" is in this show-it is a loose interpretation of the pond on our property.

By the way, the opening reception is at the Enderlin Gallery (, Main Street, Roxbury, NY, Saturday, February 18, 2-5pm.


Anonymous said...

....smelling like pot?....geting stoned and/or drunk? hmmmm.... maybe I shouldn't have read this entry! :)
..your Mother

Tracy Helgeson said...

It wasn't me. It was my friends. Honest. I swear. Really.