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Showing posts from November, 2014

Visit to an Artist's Studio: Rita Grendze

Rita Grendze has a studio at Water Street Studios in Batavia, Illinois. It's in a beautiful sandstone building near the Fox River, in an area of similar buildings that have been converted into studios and spaces for artists, designers, small contemporary businesses, and so on. Rita's space is on the small side, but it's full of light and has everything an artist needs, such as a comfortable chair.

Her work is object-based, mainly involving the transformation of found objects or pre-existing materials into new configurations, the better to bring out their semantic relations to one another, or perhaps to stumble upon new meanings.


The work in progress that was attached to the wall when I visited was made up of old music scores, rolled up and tied together to make a structure that looks like a giant molecular diagram. The age of the paper means that it has a pleasant ivory colour, which makes the sculpture/piece seem more solid and marble-like.


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Talking about Vincent Van Gogh

A few nights ago I finished reading the mammoth 900 page biography of Vincent Van Gogh from 2011, written by Stephen Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. It took about two weeks, and in the middle of that period I was invited to talk about VVG to a group of students at the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan. Jeff Wescott, a friend who teaches there, runs a biography class, and they are due to read and discuss Van Gogh's letters soon.

Sidenote: Jeff got Misty Copeland, the amazing ballet dancer, to talk to the same class a few weeks earlier about her recently published autobiography. As the following photo shows, she is also jaw-droppingly gorgeous, so I felt sorry that the same students had to endure my mug after spending time with this:


Be that as it may, it was fun to reflect on how Van Gogh has affected me as an artist, going all the way back to me teenage years. I was fourteen when an art teacher introduced me to his work. For years I had a reproduction of one of VVG…