Saturday, September 17, 2011

The One With Wolf Kahn

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 sold found their people yet. I spent quite a bit of time choosing pieces that worked together and that also looked right with the new paintings. Doug helped me a lot with this since I tend to want to include everything I have ever done and he tends towards sparse.

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.....


Casey Klahn said...

Well done. You bring the hilarious to this post with the 2 dudes and the table. LMFAOROTF.

Your exhibit looks GREAT!!!

I am jazzed to be giving a workshop at a guy's studio who once took a workshop from WK. Brushes with greatness abound - but yours is better.

Rolina said...

I am so glad to see you posting again - I had missed you!

Your new paintings are fabulous and I love what you have done with the found photos (guessing?) incorporating them into your lovely barn paintings.

The sheep are fabulous too (I think every painting should have one sheep at least)!

Martha C. Hall said...

Very nice exhibit and you were smart to get those window walls. The groupings in the smaller spaces is perfect. I really like the 3 sheep paintings - they are larger than I thought from your first picture. Seeing them in the context of the whole gallery space is helpful for getting the scale of them.
Too bad about those 2 guys - funny story though! Figures they'd go all gaga over a table!

Almira Hill Grammer said...

Loved your comments about the guys checking out the table; there's always some of those around at a show. It's pretty cool to be sharing the billing with Wolf Kahn. I was so happy to see you post again on your blog. Almira

SamArtDog said...

So happy to see another post from you. Now we can proceed with this next season.

Glad the show at the Smithy went well. Your paintings made the place look like it was built just for your sheeps n barns. Nice of you to include Wolf. ;o]

That musta been a wicked cool table.

Making A Mark said...

Keep posting Tracy - we miss you!

Did you notice how he did a big red barn just like yours! ;)

Love the sheep and the big size of your new people painting

Don't forget to frame that invite.

Carol said...

Yay! Another post from Tracy! I check in here periodically and read your facebook page from time to time... but I really like you longer, sardonic blog posts...

Congrats on your show... it looks great!

Gabrielle said...

Hi Tracy, I'm new to your blog and have been enjoying catching up on your posts and looking at your work. Congratulations on your show!

I had to leave a comment after your story about the two guys. There seems to be at least one of those types at every show, doesn't there? I also seem to always get the art know-it-all/wannabe critic who talks my ear off. A Buddhist friend of mine would call them our "precious teachers". And maybe they do serve as our ego-checks, but they also provide some humorous stories!

Denise Rose said...

Joining in here, I have missed your posts also! Sooooo glad to see all the photos you took of the exhibit! It looks like a fabulous show and to be in the same building with Wolf Kahn's paintings is MOST IMPRESSIVE to me! Thanks for the great tour of the show!

Jala Pfaff said...

How much fun this was to read! :)

I would have the same trepidations if I were to have a show in the same building as Rothko (of course, no fear of actually meeting him!).