This proposal from 2011 followed a series of collaborations between Michael Hettich and Tom Virgin. After working together in the SWEAT Broadsheet Project, Hettich and Virgin with contributions from Jay Bellicchi and Evan Robarts, worked on creating a series of billboards that merged poetry, visual art, the iconography of Miami, and their mutual concerns about education. The challenge was to create something that could be “read” billboard style, at 65+ mph. Using a metaphor of fish and schools, these works were designed for use on billboards and bus backs in urban Miami neighborhoods.
As always, I am grateful for opportunities to propose for various institutions. The work in this gallery was created fully on paper and in a digital world, however it was not funded for completion in physical reality. I am quite fond of these pieces, and some came close to being realized. Continue reading
Stilts and Cranes three watercut sculptures in cypress frame elements, benches, slate black board element, Stiltsville structure with roof 2007
This work was commissioned by Schools of Choice/Magnet Schools for an interior courtyard of one of the oldest schools in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Using the original blueprints from the school district and site visits, I designed an outdoor classroom for approximately 30 students that included seating, a blackboard and sculpture elements. At three of four compass points I placed images of things that could be found at the corresponding compass point: To the East, I made a relief print (watercut aluminum/powdercoated) of Stiltsville and Biscayne Bay that was supported in a structure reminiscent of the Stiltsville houses out on the Bay, incorporating a large natural slate chalkboard; To the West, I made a relief print (watercut aluminum/ powdercoated) of a Sand Hill Crane in the Everglades, a resident of the Everglades’ ecosystem; To the South, in a nod to the rampant construction in the early 2000’s, I made an image of the Construction Cranes that were seemingly everywhere in the sky. Seating was provided near each image on three 12 ft x 12 ft square concrete slabs using concrete pillars (stamped with both Sand Hill and Construction Cranes) and native Cypress plank seats.
A landscape plan with native plants and wildlife attracting, flowering shrubs through the generosity of Rick Yasko, Landscape Architect and Visual Artist. Both the landscape plan and my original design were created to supply an ongoing conversation between this classic 1920’s Spanish Courtyard, the vanishing community of Stiltsville, the Everglades with its indigenous species of wildlife, and the rapid changes to the urban Brickell corridor.
INDU Banner mesh banner 60 ft x 16 ft 2007-2008
In 2007 during the frenzy leading up to Art Basel/Miami Beach, Chris Ingalls of Ingalls & Associates offered me a wall. Delighted, I asked “where”? She pointed at the 60 ft x 16 ft wall on the west side of her gallery space. I was sorting and processing the images that were to become the book, INDU: Commensalists and Hand Me Downs, and welcomed the opportunity to create something that would use the space. As is often the case, my projects take a significant amount of time to complete, and evolve as I work on them. This banner preceded the small installation I created for Oregon College of Art and Craft’s 2008 Artist in Residence Exhibition following my residency there in summer 2007.
The echo of the environment surrounding Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INDU), was evident in the not quite gentrified atmosphere of Wynwood. During installation I saw the inhabitants of Wynwood without the art loving crowds in place. It was a significantly different place. As different as the urban corridor in Northern Indiana between Gary, Indiana and Michigan City, Michigan was from the National Park located just North of I-94. Different struggles with similar attributes made this odd billboard fit right in.
He Said, She Said 9 ft x 12 ft x 6 in 2008
This work came from a very old drawing, carefully preserved in my wallet for almost 20 years. The works both small and large are watercut PVC with fabric collage. It now resides in Gainesville, Florida in a private collection. The smaller work with more intricate collage is approximately 3 ft x 4 ft.
This installation was the product of an artist’s residency at the Glen Arbor Art Associaton in 2005 and ArtCenter South Florida in 2006. The work combined all the elements that eventually became the award winning artist’s book, “Right There” (Winner of the 2006 Florida Artist Book Prize).
It combined drawings, prints, an essay, objects and ephemera from the residency, as well as my childhood in Michigan. This window installation was the laboratory for “Right There.” I am grateful to Claire Bruekel for her support and encouragement with this installation. The piece with the yellow background was one of several other spin offs from this original. The extra pieces wound up in “Right There” or other installations.
In 2005, in the middle of the real estate boom in South Florida, I began taking photographs of of buildings that fell victim to the need for more land to build on. One of these buildings was a humble apartment building, no more than 15 units, at most. Latin music, parties, children’s voices, the smell of barbeque grills and more vanished literally overnight. Knowing that my apartment of over 15 years may well have been the next complex to go led me to do this series of prints of the semi-demolished building. This was 3029 S.W. 27th Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida. As I write this, it is a large condominium building with several vacant units.
Each of the prints in this series is 16 inches by 20 inches, in an edition of 20, black ink on Japanese paper.
These books are collaborations with Leila Leder Kremer, studying the dismantling of aging Downtown Miami’s down at the heels former icons: the Burdine Quartermine Building (the Pink Building), Dupont Plaza, and the Everglades Hotel. All were fashionable in their day, but as times changed and profit displaced value in the housing markets, the buildings were leveled and replaced. Mujo-Mujeni Phase I and Phase II have two parts each, one by Leder Kremer and one by Virgin, each taking a distinctive view of the process of destruction…and what remains.
Mujo-Mujeni, Phase I artist’s book 6” x 9” x 1” 2005
This is a two sided artist’s book (dos a dos) with photographs and haiku on one side by Virgin, and the same on the other side by Leder Kremer. Both sides depict a short period of time in Downtown Miami in which major physical changes occurred. The book is printed on a HP DesignJet500 using Rives BFK and Arches 88 in an edition of twenty.
Mujo-Mujeni, Phase II artist’s book 6” x 9” x 2” 2006.
Two separate books are bound together in interlocking covers in this volume, printed on a HP DesignJet500 using Rives BFK and Arches 88 in an edition of twenty. The books uses a serpentine structure to show digital imaging, collage, relief printing and haiku by Leder Kremer and Virgin.
“Every Lid Finds a Pot” in an artist’s book in an edition of one. Drawn and painted on one side, with hand lettering and collage on a full sheet of Okawara (36 inches by 72 inches) the book is folded into sixteen panels and cut to create a serpentine book. The covers are ink dyed mango paper over book board with cotton ribbon ties. The book is mixed media: charcoal, ink, and gesso. The back side of the book is collaged with white paper maps of South Florida and Baltimore on the natural colored Okawara paper. When displayed backlit, hung vertically, both the images and maps are visible.
“Ganko,” is an observation of overlapping cultures, housed in a multiple quire binding. After a class in single/complex quire bindings by Julia Miller at Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2007, I couldn’t wait to put the knowledge to work. During my residency there during summer 2007 this book came together with letterpress printed covers (thanks to Moe Snyder), digital imaging on sheets of Mohawk Superfine Text, and end sheets of kimono fabrics from the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Akiko Watamori, my friend (and my bird Ashlynn’s Veterinarian) gave me a window on Japanese culture. I gave her a tour of Miami. The result, including some random images of Portland, Oregon, became “Ganko” in an edition of three.