Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Penny Berens In The Middle Of The World

Whispering Cairns
plant dyes on silk, wool, cotton, linen
 hand stitched  35 x 49 inches 2019

Chasing the Moon
plant dyes on damask, silk, cotton
hand stitched 40 x 50 inches 2020

Penny's artist statement for this new body of work begins with these words:  "For many years now I have taken to heart the words of Peter London in his book ‘Drawing Closer to Nature"

Resting Between Tides
  plant dyes and discharge on silk, wool, cotton, linen
hand stitched  43 x 42.5 inches 2019

“Find a portion of the world that is close at hand and adopt it. Become acquainted with it. Draw closer to it by staying with it over a long course of time. In all seasons, all times of the day, all weathers, all circumstances of your own life. The more often you return to this chosen portion of Nature, the more finely you will be able to perceive its more delicate features, as well the slow-to-emerge pattern and rhythms.”    Peter London

Resting Between Night and Day
plant dyes and discharge on silk, cotton, linen, wool,
hand stitched 2019 43 x 49 inches

Holding Deep Memory
hand stitch and shibori on reclaimed denim dress and old table linen
 44.5 x 39.5 inches 2021

Woodland Berries
plant dyes on silk, wool, cotton 
hand stitched 43 x 42 inches 2019

My process starts with daily wanderings in the wooded coastal landscape of Nova Scotia,  slowly becoming more and more familiar with those seasonal rhythms and changing patterns.  Penny Berens

from left to right 
A Stream Runs Through It, The Edge of the Woods, Woodpeckers Live Here
Plant dyes on cotton, silk, wool, hand stitched.
various sizes, approximately 21 x 15 or 20 inches 2015

When Autumn Leaves Fall 
plant dyes on silk, linen, cotton
hand stitched,  30 x 24 inches 2017

During the warmer months these walks become foraging expeditions for dye stuff with which to colour the fabrics I use. This plant dyed cloth is then hand stitched and embroidered in response to these walks.
Penny Berens

Walking on Stoney Ground
plant dye and rust on linen, cotton, silk, wool
hand stitched 29.9 x 24 inches 2019

Stoney Island Memories 
plant dye on linen, cotton, silk, wool
hand stitched  42.9 x 31.5 inches 2019

Working by hand is a slow and tactile practice spread over long periods of time which deepens and clarifies my understanding of the story the piece wishes to tell.   Penny Berens

Beaver Moon Dreaming
plant dye and discharge on cotton and linen
hand stitched  43.3 x 43.3 inches 2020

I would hope that my process and the final embroideries inspire others to slow down and become inspired by daily observations in their own chosen landscapes. (Penny Berens)

Chasing The Moon
hand stitch on silk, cotton, damask
40 x 50 inches 2020

Dancing In The Wind 
plant dyes on linen, silk velvet, cotton, wool
hand stitched 41.5 x 31 inches  2020

Walking With Dogs
plant dyes on silk, cotton, wool
hand stitched 53 x 12 inches x 2 panels, 2021

Currently on display until December 18, 2021, the venue for this exhibition is a unique heritage building.  The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum used to be a woolen mill, located in the small Ontario town of Almonte and the waterfall that powered the old mill still flows through this town.  Please note that the walls behind many of Penny's wall pieces are original to this mill.   Like most textile art, it is nice to see details.  Please visit oPenny's Tanglewoods Thread blog or instagram to see close ups of Penny's work.  

In The Middle Of The World is a two person exhibition with Judy Martin, guest curated by our dedicated young freelance curator, Miranda Bouchard.    A post about Judy's work in the exhibition is on Judy's Updates, click here

Monday, March 1, 2021

Lawrence Carroll

1985-86 oil, canvas, wood, wax, staples
 13" x 10.5" x 6" 

 1985 oil,, wax, canvas on wood
18" x 10" 

1987-88   oil, wax, canvas, staples on wood 
 9" x 9" x 7.6"
I was painting thin pieces of paper with black house paint that I would place on the white canvas.  I used staples because it allowed me to remove the painted lines and shapes if I was not satisfied, altering the composition as needed.
Breathing In
1988 89 oil, wax and paper collage on canvas on wood
  12" x  11" x 10"
Yes, like Matisse at the end of his beautiful life.  This was before I started cutting my paintings apart and using wax and other things.  

I was looking at Donald Judd. I was interested in the way that his wall and floor sculptures would come out of the wall and into the space.

1990   oil wax, staples, canvas, wood
33" x 15" x 10"
This physical relationship between the work and the viewer started to influence how I started to think about my painting.

It slowed down the viewer.

Heaven Picasso 
1994-95 oil wax house paint newspaper, canvas on wood
55" x 42" x 3"
You could not see the painting entirely in one view.  

You could not grasp it.

2017 oil, wax, staples, canvas on wood
19" x 1/2" x 11"
It added psychology to looking.  It opened up a world to me.

I looked at Carl Andre too - How and where to place the painting and how the placement changes the psychology of an entire room.

I felt I had everything.

installation at museo vincenzo vela in 2017
I thought of the canvas as a skin and wax as an ointment

and that there was a body of memory under the skin where things were buried for years and then for some reason they reappeared.

Lawrence Carroll 
I Have Longed to Move Away  works 1985-2017
edited by Gianna A. Mina
I started to think about cutting a painting completely apart.

And then about the futility of trying to put something that was once whole back together again, exposing all its imperfections. 

There was the revelation.   Painting does not have to be perfect

untitled  2017 
house paint and wax on canvas
19" x 19" 16"

Paintings can be flawed and vulnerable and imperfect and human.

Maybe my paintings are about my broken life.

2016 - 17  stain, house paint, wood pieces, canvas on wood 
67.7" x 108" x 1.5"
And that I'm trying to piece my life back together.

At certain times in your life, things appear.  Things come.

You look back on your life and examine it.

Last night I thought of different possibilities of what some of my paintings could be about and it shook me.

stain, house paint, wood pieces, canvas on wood
118" x 75" x 1.5"
It's impossible for me to always know and understand exactly what I'm doing.

I need time and distance.

The gift that I have been given is to be able to explore these things and to give comfort to myself in knowing that I have a place to express things that some people may bury inside themselves and carry away with them all through their lives.

oil, wax, house paint ,staples, canvas on wood
114" x 85" x 4" 
I like the idea that the painting can convey some of life's weight.

We all carry the weight of an imperfect life, some far greater than others.

Lawrence Carroll
I Have Longed To Move Away
Installation in Museo Vincenzo Vela, Switzerland

So what do you expose?  You have to risk.   You can't hide.   Lawrence Carroll  1954 - 2019

All text is from a Lawrence Carroll's interview with Barbara Catoir, entitled "Carry On the Light" .  

It is in the catalogue of the exhibition  I Have Longed to Move Away which was curated by Roberto Borghi for the Museo Vincenzo Vela in Switzerland during the spring of 2017.