Friday, February 27, 2009

Fata Morgana Exhibition

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 14th, 2009 from 8-11pm, with complimentary absinthe, courtesy of La Fée

On view March 14th-April 12th, 2009

Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 12-5pm (March 15th-April 12th)

Dabora Gallery and Phantasmaphile's Pam Grossman are proud to usher in the spring season with the group show "Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists," on view from March 14th through April 12th, 2009. It features fourteen of the most vital and visionary women artists working in the US today.

In literal terms, a fata morgana is a mirage or illusion, a waking reverie, a shimmering of the mind. Named for the enchantress Morgan le Fay, these tricks of perception conjure up a sense of glimpsing into another world, whether it be the expanses of an ethereal terrain, or the twilit depths of the psyche. The artists of "Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists" deftly utilize the semiotics of mysticism, fantasy, and the subconscious in their work, thereby guiding the viewer through heretofore uncharted realms - alternately shadowy or luminous, but always inventive.

Participating Artists:
Carrie Ann Baade
Lori Field
Katy Horan
Tina Imel
Susan Jamison
Karena Karras
Fay Ku
Adela Leibowitz
Rene Lynch
Alexis Mackenzie
Lynda Mahan
Amy Ross
Judith Schaechter
Madeline von Foerster

About the Curator:
Pam Grossman is the creator and editor of Phantasmaphile, the premiere online destination for art aficionados with a passion for the surreal and the fantastical. An internationally beloved art and culture web log, it features daily spotlights on artists and events, as well as interviews with such visual luminaries as Thomas Woodruff, Nils Karsten, and Richard A. Kirk. Phantasmaphile was written up two years in a row on the Manhattan User's Guide Top 400 New York Sites list, and has also fostered rich relationships between Pam and numerous artists who have been promoted on the site. "Fata Morgana" is Pam's first curatorial effort.

About the Gallery:
Dabora Gallery is a unique and luxurious gothic art salon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, replete with taxidermy, velvet curtains, and Victorian furniture. It is located at 1080 Manhattan Ave between Eagle and Dupont, and open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm - 5pm. Take G train to Greenpoint Ave. Phone: 718-609-9629 The opening reception for "Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists" will be on Saturday, March 14th from 8pm-11pm, and will feature complimentary absinthe courtesy of La Fée Absinthe.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Question: (these are from Tara in comments a while ago)
Is mentally allowing and accepting the multitude of true and real challenges of this art, stained glass, a more or less learned discovery? (Dewey was the master of changing the teaching world into allowing learned discovery to operate in the students' favor in public education.)

Hmmmm...I have only done things MY WAY (cue Frank) so I can’t make any comparative claims...

read more.

I think My Way was informed by what more ignorant types refer to as “learning disabilities” but what are IN REALITY a cluster of major advantages for a visual artist and object maker.... Attention Deficit Disorder, mild Dyslexia, a minor auditory processing issue, perhaps a tendency towards obsession, and a major wiring problem when it comes to lateralization have all made it clear that I test poorly (very, very poorly!) but make some decent art things. I guess with these gifts one is able to make some unexpected connections, creatively speaking!

I can learn only via demos...not written instructions and most CERTAINLY NEVER, ever, ever spoken instructions...forget it.......and even in live demos, I can barely bring myself to pay attention as I drift off to some happy place full of gumdrop trees and fluffy bunnies!
So I’ve been adapting in one way or another since forever.

But what Tara is saying, I think, is about mastering a medium: “is flexibility preferable to control?” or maybe “Is adaptability a better strategy than following a set procedure?” Tara, correct me if I am totally losing it here! I think if your goal is to make art the answer is emphatically yes to both. But if you just wanna be a cog in a factory, then by all means, learn according to a rigid protocol! My ADD demands I be delighted and surprised at every turn or I trash it. This is de facto predicated on going somewhere previously unknown, with materials, process and concepts (laugh if you will...I know my work all looks like a coherent set). The unknown is, of course, where creativity is. Repeating what you know, no matter how much of a fantastic virtuoso is re-creating...or recreating....recreation is what we refer to as light amusement, and I may be funny but I am dead serious about being a decent artist! I’m no amateur.

Being open to the possibilities of the medium and process is akin to listening. You can “have an idea” and you can then “make it” but so much is going to be lost in the translation, even more so if one is forcing physical matter, glass, to conform to what is basically smoke and mirrors. “Having and idea and then making it” strikes me as a bottom-down fait accompli, where the resultant object is only an illustration of the inspiration not an embodiment. ‘Tis a far, far better thing to have an idea when the piece is finished! At the opening!!! Ten years later! Just not before one makes it. Personally, I start with a sketch and allow EVERYTHING to change as I go...I am constantly starting over again because my results are often disappointingly predictable—but I have come to terms with that, not as a waste of time and money but a launch platform. The next step is total surrender to not having a clue. This is good. Then a process can begin where one is open enough to allow for the magic to happen.
Basically, if it comes out how I imagined, then I trash it and start over. I want better than that. Plus Ultra!! (Latin for “Further Beyond” or perhaps, a condom brand?)
My experience tells me that the second I try to MANIFEST something, the glass cuts me off and starts in on its incessant blabby input and if I don’t listen with a hugely open heart its going to be tough luck for me. So its a collaboration of sorts and I don’t mean that in some kind of occult way.

Mentally speaking what is still so difficult today after years of studio experience and how do you learn to see and anticipate invisible pot holes?

My neural pathways seem set in concrete!!! The more ground I’ve covered the less I can innovate....I think I am at a stage where refining is more interesting than discovery...this is something you gotta earn, IMHO....besides that...I find it very difficult to do the Plus Ultra thing...since its entirely unknown, none of my experience, knowledge, or assumptions about glass, art, or even my fine self will get me there...its pure faith! One must set aside EVERYTHING and reinvent the wheel every time but you must also somehow forget that you invented the wheel yesterday....its cwazee!
It occurs to me that art is the polar opposite of empirical thinking. If its tests true: then it must be rejected!

Please ask questions if you want—I love talking about this type of stuff...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Late Breaking News from Noose!

THIS is where I will be Saturday!
Museum of Arts and Design

Open Studio with Judith Schaechter
Saturday February 14, 2009
MAD Open Studios, 6th floor Education Department
Free with admission

"Glass artist Judith Schaechter will illustrate with her studio materials the creative processes behind her stained glass artwork." says the press release and I, Judith Schaechter, approve this message!
More info here
Be there or yer fish food!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I call them PONGS. Why? Because of “pogs” which, due to a generational lapse, I thought were called “Pongs”...

And! I’ve done many over the years and they are all done differently. I will exhaust myself if I try to explain all the different ways I have done them. The simplest way is to cut a ton of glass, sandblast radial patterns onto them, mix and match and see what sort of magic you conjure up.

But here’s a basic way in detail.

First of all, they’re made in layers—usually two. Two layers of glass=four working surfaces. My experience is that three manipulated surfaces are optimal. After that information starts to get lost in darkness or murk.

Start by cutting out a whole ton of shapes, circles; flash glass (a combination of r/c (red/clear) and bl/cl (blue/clear) will net you the following colors when layered and combined with yellow silver stain and black paint: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purplish, sometimes almost black, “white”--meaning clear)

Decide how may points the pong will have. (Obviously, actual snowflakes have six. D’OH! But this is your world and if you want 7 pointed snow; well, it’s not a jailable offense. But it works better to pair 7 points with 7 points, five with five etc. Of course, you can also do halvsies: a five pointed star will pair nicely with a ten pointed all comes down to the mathematical rhythms of the universe and if you expect me to understand that, you've come to the wrong blog!

After cutting your shapes, you need a stencil. I have made stencils for pongs mostly handcut out of clear frosted contact paper and also photo stencils.
I have noticed some general trends for good results: one layer should have more solid color and one should be really lacy. The lacy ones I tend to do with Rayzist photo mask.

To generate the patterns I use Photoshop.
1. Draw a shape that is sort of petal like. Draw ANYthing... (preferably on its own layer.) The shape can be as simple as a solid petal shape or you can get complex but remember if you are hand cutting it can get complicated fast. If it’s for a photo resist, there are some limitations on how detailed and fine it can be but you really have to experiment to discern this.
2. Duplicate the shape and rotate it. (It’s 60 degrees for a six-pointed pong, 72 for a five pointed one. For any other number: its 360 ÷ that number= the number of degrees of rotation. See? I finally learned some only took 48 years.) Place the second petal radiating out from the center...
3. Keep duplicating and rotating and moving your shapes until you’ve made a “snowflake”.
For the pongs cut by hand out of contact paper you can trace the Photoshop images or just make the image by hand. Making photo stencils is another demo but they must be black and white only and nice and crispy line art. Then you can print a negative on acetate using your printer’s “best photo” setting.

Tip: make sure that your pongs are centered. If not, they will look wonky when you layer them.

Once the stencil is applied, then sandblast. I sandblast in two stages. Once to blast off all the color around the pattern and then I remove the resist and lightly blast the color. This is because I am preparing it for further manipulation.

Regarding “further manipulation”—I go into it with a flex shaft engrave to add more detail. I also use the diamond files as per the demo below. I also paint in he black parts. There are no rules or planning...I just diddle around...experiment and see where it goes.
The main thing is to make a bunch of material and then to mate the layers later. No preplanning! It’s way more fun to be surprised.
Check out the images....

...and feel free to ask questions!

Picutres--top to bottom:

1. These are various images made in Photoshop. The lacier ones I have done both by drawing directly in Photoshop or scanning a drawing.

2.This shows the stages of making the radial pattern plus several variations on the stencil.

3. This image shows, on top: five pongs I gave as gifts. On the bottom are the separated layers. The yellow and the pink are cold paint (TRANSPARENT oil paint in this case.) Use silverstain if its going to get sunlight. And if you need pink, make a third layer out of gp/cl (goldpink/clear) flash.

4 and 5. These images are pongs from the window I made for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. On average, my pongs range from ½” to about 5”. In this case they went from ½” to 18”. The ones depicted here are all about 8”.

6. MAD window “Seeing Is Believing” 2008

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New print

I'm real happy with this one....
It was "painted" in photoshop.  The figure was painted on top of a photo (which was posted previously on Noose)
I'm gonna have it printed BIG...because I CAN!! and because there's lots of tiny details. (Title: "The Cold Genius")