abigail adams + grace munakata

happy monday. how is everyone?

i'm going to shoot pics of my SFSU show on wed, so i'll talk a little bit about it then....

in the meantime.... did anyone catch the john adams mini-series last night on HBO? how cool is abigail adams? laura linney just shines. i'm not usually that into histo-dramas, but since my husband is from boston he really wanted to see this. i think when you grow up in boston with the access to the real sites you go on lots of field trips as a kid and "see" history first hand. i'm totally hooked, though. and abigail - she's a powerhouse. smart, witty, strong. i think i want to read the letters between her and john now....

grace munakata

on saturday i went to the opening of my friend and colleague grace munakata at braunstein/quay gallery [more info here . i'm not quite sure how she managed to get so much work done - her academic demands are fierce.

it was really inspiring to walk through this show. grace is a nisei [2nd generation japanese] and her mother was really interested in sewing. she's also a huge animal lover [just got a new tibetan terrier pup], and an avid gardener. all of this is evident in the work. you don't need to know her to decipher this information.... and i love that. it's hard to pinpoint exactly - but you just can feel that the work is honest and comes from a place of exploration and personal intent.

i think what ultimately made the work really compelling for me was that they were architectural in nature. i'm sure it's hard to decipher from the flat images, but most of the larger pieces were like giant collages. panels individually made that eventually found their home together. the idea of "building" your painting - literally - is one that's interesting. with all collage there is a push and pull - the meandering of the eye - a reaction of color, form, shape and style and things sit next to one another. if one small panel were to change the overall meaning of the work could shift drastically. like putting a puzzle together i was deeply humbled by grace's editing and compositional skills.

finally - there was a pure joy to the paint handling. i have seen grace when she works mostly abstractly - with hints of flora and fauna buried or peeking out. but in these the gesture of her hand is so evident. the textural quality of the materials hits you in the face - and i literally smiled at the cats, the dressmaking patterns, the feet.... grace shows you that she can be as "realistic" as she wants to be, but then allows the materials to do their magic. the rhythm, and the tactile nature of a painted contour are things that i will never tire of. and there are moments of rest - flat areas of color that allow me as a viewer to breathe and enter this very personal world.

made me want to paint - and if that's not a indication of success, i don't know what is.

hope you had a great weekend. see you wed!

Comments

wendy said…
what a beautiful description of her show, her works, and a little about the woman behind it.
thanks for sharing.
happy monday.
risa said…
it sounds like a great show.
and i too loooove your descriptions.
bugheart said…
so excited
to see
grace's work...
as i have
said before...
i love hearing
your
impressions
of artwork.
xo
PaMdora said…
Beautiful show. Loved John Adams too -- can't wait for the next one.
Sally Rhodes said…
I love your explanation of "building a painting"; it really makes one think. People do not often discuss the philosophy behind art, or the actual artist. People forget that a work is not separate from its artist, but an extension. Very interesting post :-)
Andrea said…
Hi Lisa. Can't wait to see the photos of your show. I really enjoyed your description of Graces' work. Helped me to get a better feel for it.
By the way, we live 25 miles outside of Boston and my husband grew up right outside the city! I hope we get to catch the John Adams documentary, sounds good.
Take Care :)
gracia said…
Anything that makes you want to paint or to do something different can only be a good thing. Certain films make me wish I could compose film scores.

Looking froward to seeing photographs from your exhibition...

take care, g xx
hrsj said…
I always admire and appreciate work that is honest and comes from a place of true meaning. Thank you for introducing her. I liked reading your description, I'm sure you are a great instructor Lisa.
Julie said…
By the looks and sounds of it, that's one great show! Do you review shows somewhere? For a paper maybe? Because you should.
Esti said…
Awesome way of talking of a friend. I'd be very proud. It made me want to see more of her work. Very, very suggestive words.
nosheen said…
what a great gallery show! i wish i could have seen it in person. i love the way she mixed all the elements together to form something so cohesive and wonderfully aesthetic.
if you keep looking there is always something that you missed the first time!
shari said…
the show sounds fantastic. i love to hear you "talk art". ;) xoxo
babelfish said…
I love how you critique art, so very thorough (from the artist's background to the brush strokes, every single thing is inscribed in a painting). What does your art say about you?
anne said…
that sounds like a show i'd like to see. from the pictures and your descriptions it sounds really wonderful. it's so nice how you write about other peoples art.

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