Event Horizon at Watermark Books.

Mamamamamamamama mad mad mad.
Mamamamamamamama mad mad mad.

A song appears on my horizon. It sticks with me. It chases me down occasionally, reinforcing its stickiness, to where periodically its lazy electronic beat just pops into my head. Its irony comes in multiple doses. The title: “Madness.” The group: Muse. The first line of the lyrics: “I can’t get these memories out of my mind.” It breaks the record for longest stay at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs radio airplay chart. Apparently it sticks with some other people, too.

So, fittingly, I’m still looking at the horizon, that thing that’s stuck in my head. I’m still working at it. It’s comfortingly stuck there for good; imprinted from all of those tractor driving hours-days-weeks-months-years.

Some of this exhibition is building on previous mechanically-built painting concepts. This I love because it’s my history. This is acknowledging that a painting is, indeed, not a 2D object, and thus allowing its physicality to be part of a living breathing experience; the antithesis of a printed image in a coffee table book.

Some of these works are logical progressions with the 105 Horizons project. This I also love, because it’s my future. I’m working my way through an idea, and everyone goes along for the ride. I do not know where this is going, but it has a direction and a life.

There’s a method to this madness, I think. I hope. And I thank you for letting me haul it out into public again for a look.

Mamamamamamamama mad mad mad.
Mamamamamamamama mad mad mad.

Opening reception, Final Friday, September 27, 6-8pm
Continuing through October 22, 2013
Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas, Wichita KS
www.watermarkbooks.com

Mark making.

Roomba Robot Drawing

We all have our definitions of art, but often, art is simply about making one mark after another. On one end of that continuum might be photo-realist painting. On the other, is this.

This is mark-making fueled by process. The purpose is to explore the ways that marks are being created, and influence those marks by using outside forces that have no part of any handheld brush or pen. This is robotics on a very basic level, because I look for ways to alter those marks by using devices of my own creation that are often made from available parts. Usually I am completely focused on the process of experimentation, and in this way art becomes very similar to science. Think of it as a form of scientific inquiry; forming hypotheses, testing, and coming to a conclusion. Then repeating.

Admittedly, this process of experimentation is going to be somewhat influenced by what I see after marks are made. As such, it’s not perfectly on the end of that mark-making continuum. But I hope it is close.

Automatic Art: A Gallery of Robotic Activity
With Remnants by RJ and Patrick Andrew Adams
August 2, 2013, 5-9pm
Department Zero
111 W 20th, Kansas City, MO

Sub-Substrates at Watermark Books.

There is a big part of me that views art as nothing more than evaluating a given set of rules in order to break them, then using that criteria to make…things. One viewer of my experimental paintings on paper remarked that the paper I used wasn’t “archival enough” to purchase. OK, no thing for you, and excuse me while I go make some more like it.

But, much of my work involves commissions, the world of preconceived ideas and opinions. And rules. Reconciling that is a tightrope walk. Part of the walk is connecting experimental processes with individual historical context. Proactively creating the six degrees.

Here we have a variety of substitute substrates…”sub-substrates”…that are interacting with processes a bit outside the norm. Much like the responsibility of the artist to define when art is finished, this experimentation dances around a definition of when art begins, or even if it is art. The surfaces employed include window screen stretched on bicycle rim, corrugated board (cardboard), graph paper, bubble wrap, sandpaper, and unprimed canvas.

As I looked for ways to extend the range of surfaces, I also gave myself permission to experiment with techniques and processes. Paint dripping from bottles begat paint flung from an electric drill. Painting can take the form of mark-making ritual, and these marks are experiments outside the realm of the usual and predictable. Very little paint-on-brush is used – these marks are paintstick, dripped acrylic, latex flung by electric drill, paint sprayed, paint poured, and shreds of paper as substitutes for marks.

For all the shows I have had over the years, the only thing that seems to matter is the inquisitive and problem-solving aspect of working through experimentation. For me it is the ultimate convergence of science and art, and it is the essence of that “six degrees of commission.” Experimentation + Mark Making = Connection.

Sub-Substrates
May 31 – June 25, 2013,
Opening reception Final Friday, May 31, 6-8pm
Watermark Books
4701 E. Douglas, Wichita KS

 

Facebook Event link

 

 

 

Artapalooza 2013

Auction update: Sold for $650 on April 24, 2013.

“Inversion,” 30×48″, acrylic on canvas.

It is not every day I set out to paint an entire painting in two hours. There are very sound reasons to not do this, including the luxury (or necessity) of living with the piece for a while to be sure it sufficiently passes muster.

However, Artapalooza 2013 made a very sound case for doing the exact opposite. This benefit for The Independent School’s Fine Art program included me painting a piece from start to finish during the event. Whatever I gave up in tweakability was offset by being able to exhibit not just work, but the process. This was a very enjoyable evening of explaining techniques, fielding questions about what goes on inside my head, and otherwise just talking with art patrons who truly understand the value of the arts in education.

Pictures of the event are here on my Facebook page.

 

A hazard of introversion.

I’ve seen a handful of things that terrified me. A couple stand out for this purpose: one was that airplane thing that went into space on a test flight that was shown live on TV (name escapes me but it was connected to Richard Branson.) The thing started its descent and tumbled for what seemed like forever before being corrected and landed safely by the pilot. The other was Felix Baumgartner spinning in his free-fall from a balloon in near-space before, again, correcting the spin and landing safely. Tumbling out of control…

815 minutes, 61 Cygni, and 873 minutes.

In preparation for my exhibition at The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs, I was lucky enough to sit down with co-owner Ton Haak to discuss the details. My ulterior motive, though, was to share my concerns that I was stuck in a rut and felt pretty much like Felix in freefall. Except that Felix has nerves of steel and I have nothing of the sort. Ton said simply that I should do what I love and not worry about what people think. Advice I already knew, but it was good to hear it from a professional, from an expert. The tumbling stopped and the show pleases me.

Some of my best work has come from collaborations, and simply just pushing out of introversion. One of the results is this show at Pioneer Bluffs. Visit if you can.

[ Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs website ]

“Round and Round,” at The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs. In conjunction with opening shows by Bill McBride and Gerco de Ruijter. Opening reception Saturday, March 30, 2-5pm (beginning with a talk by Bill McBride at 1pm.) The shows continue through June, 2013. The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs is off the Cassoday Kansas turnpike exit, located between Cottonwood Falls and Matfield Green on the K-177 Scenic Byway.

Full circle.

I began painting seriously in 2002. The details of why it took me so long to get started aren’t relevant to this topic, but the materials are. Lacking money and seeking an alternative to the usual suspects of materials, the first of those pieces were made with reclaimed pallet lumber and painted with latex paint. I painted by dripping paint from paper funnels, and the funnels were attached to strings that were attached to various types of cast-off clocks. The clockworks reeled in the string, moving paint funnels that were suspended from the ceiling. The Automatic series was born.

A set up for making the Times Series paintings.Because of the philosophy behind the process, and because it was essentially where I started, I’ve always wanted to return to that process. I finally gave myself permission to do this recently with two new works in the Timed Series.

Here, the process was not about attempting to make pretty pictures, but mark the passage of time. And true to its origins, the Timed Series uses reclaimed pallet lumber and cast-off latex paint from Lowe’s and Home Depot.

 

Boom. (Day 0)

One thousand one hundred days ago I started a blog focused on a milestone of a birthday. I can’t say I had a clear idea of where it was going, but I expected some benefits along the way and maybe at the end. Mostly those good things were to be artwork-making related, with some other tangential things thrown in for good measure.

Well, the eleven hundred days ended on December 19, 2012. Some of what I learned about the work of making art:

  1. Ideas require execution, or they are worth absolutely nothing.
  2. If you shut up, it’s easier to keep listening and looking.
  3. Teaching art to elementary-age students is about as rewarding as it gets.
  4. Distractions kill productivity.
  5. Avoid negative people.
  6. Wichita is a pretty good place to build a body of work.
  7. Follow a schedule.
  8. Do your best possible work; raise the bar every day.
  9. If you skimp on supplies or effort, it shows.
  10. 60 is the new 40.

That is not all, but it is a start.

A View of My Studio. (Day 42)

Lee Shiney studio

What’s the source of inspiration? Sometimes it’s just having a decent space to work. I’m fortunate to have a studio that encourages a daily workflow. I’m also fortunate to have this space in my basement, so anytime I feel the urge to make something, I can.

If I were to have a signature style, it would involve circles and tools. There is a turntable that measures 2.1 meters in diameter, with a scaffolding over it so I can reach the middle of paintings. It’s mounted on a big base that had a previous life as something that held motorcycles. Yet, it seriously is motorized with 5 volts to one small floppy drive motor. There is a ceiling mounted laser pointed at the exact center of the turntable (and another mounted the same way over the workbench); you get the picture of where the circles might come from. Lots of things are movable with casters like tables and paint carts, even a large trash can.

I work in a basement, so good lighting is critical. I make some light fixtures from Utrecht gallon plastic paint buckets that hold two screw-in fixtures with one each of a bright-white and cool-white CFL, for good color balance. A central workbench is used for building about everything, and painting smaller paintings. Shelves along one wall hold over 100 Boulevard beer boxes repurposed into storage boxes with labels. I have an air hose for tools and staplers. In a far corner is an encaustic area with a fan modified with a charcoal filter.

In the right foreground you see a board with clips to organize my projects and commissions. In the connecting furnace room is a 1×3 meter sink I built with a foot-controlled faucet for washing brushes. In the left foreground you even see a dedicated photo-strobe-softbox for photographing and documenting artwork. This space is still evolving, but it achieves the goal as an inviting place that encourages getting work done. Plenty of tools make work enjoyable, rather than a struggle.

I welcome studio visits. If you’d like one, just get in contact with me. Seriously.

Secret Identities at Tangent Lab. (Day 54)

Authority

“Authority” 13x40in, Montana 94 spray paint and acrylic on corrugated board.

I am dead serious about art making. And sometimes, serious means needing to have fun. A comic book show? Well, sure, I can do this.

“Authority” (>>) is one of three works I researched from comic book illustrations and painted on corrugated board.

Secret Identities is one night only at Tangent Lab, 910 E. Douglas, 6-midnight.

Secret Identities

Fusion at Exploration Place. (Day 60)

Bridging Art and Science at Exploration Place
Featuring
Fusion by Susan de Wit and Lee Shiney
Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 – Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013

Encaustic from "Fusion" at Exploration Place, Wichita, Kansas

Show statements and details from the Exploration Place website:

In this linear exhibit space located on Exploration Place’s indoor bridge, enjoy pieces by local artists that illustrate the intermingling of art and science.

Artists will debut their works three times each year during a family-friendly opening event. The next opening is Friday, Oct. 26 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Admission is free. Light snacks will also be available at no charge.

In this all-new effort, Exploration Place is collaborating with Arts Partners. Two professional artists will be featured — Susan de Wit and Lee Shiney – who work with Arts Partners in its mission to integrate arts into Pre K to 12 curriculum, in collaboration with local institutions like Exploration Place.

You and your family will also get a chance to create your own art pieces with the help of Exploration Place educators. Use similar techniques as those used by the featured artists and take your creation home.

About the Artists

De Wit is a long-time Wichita artist who works in various media. During the past three years she has found a love for felting fibers and specifically creating objects out of wool.

The unidirectional scales on the wool fibers, when softened with water and rolled, bond together and form a dense mat.

As an Arts Partners teaching artist, De Wit uses existing school curriculum of math and science to introduce art and artistic creation to children.

She maintains a private studio and enjoys working with organizations that work for social change through the arts.

Lee Shiney is a full-time painter and kinetic sculptor whose art and “art-making-art” machines are responses to high-art, art accessibility and personal illness.

His current project uses machines and encaustic media – a wax-based pigment that requires heat to fuse the pigment to the canvas. Recycling and repurposing is an ongoing theme, as is constant experimentation with non-traditional painting surfaces.

“My approach to artwork, including these works, is a balance of science and art,” said Shiney. “I work in a problem-solving mode and test ideas in a scientific method-type of process. Examination of physical characteristics of materials is key to my experimentation, and failure is embraced as a key part of the learning and creative processes,” he said.