Liz Conces Spencer: The Show Goes On
Becky Soria and I are hopeful about the Juried Show this year. We have been growing this big healthy baby, now a preteen, with the help of the artists in the community for more than a few years now. With the pandemic and its effect on all of us, we have hit the boll weevil, the pothole, the tear in the fabric, the muddy patch, the _________(fill in your own metaphor).
Artists, being the resilient weeds in the pavement that they are, continue to enter despite hiccups with the online entry system. Neither Bec nor I are especially fond of, or literate in, these technologies but we are soldiering on. To the rescue have come John Slaby, Joel Anderson, Harold Joiner, and Christie Coker, helping artists get their entries in and processed.
We certainly miss the good old days of the past 9 – 10 years when we have had the juror select the show from actual works of art. Although we realize the front-loaded hassle for artists to bring works in to be judged, it is also the most authentic way to select a show; art needs to be experienced in person, when possible, in order for its impact to be felt. Minus that, with digital entries we can judge dimension, scale, texture, and other qualities solely by the quality of the images submitted. Cameras have come a long way, but there is no experience like the physical one, and we long for the good old days.
I hope that artists will persevere and enter the show. Our juror this year, Wayne Gilbert, is a friend to artists. He is an artist himself, a man of soul and conscience. He will choose wisely and well.
Our charity partner Houston Junior Forum has deep fingers kneading the bread of the community. It funds many small organizations and is kept afloat through donations and a guild shop, paying forward friendship and opportunity.
Bec and I, and the other Archway artists, will miss the big public reception that awards prizes and recognizes the selected works but the gallery will honor them at 6:30 p.m. on July 5 when our announcement video drops and reveals the show and winners; I hope you will all tune in. The show will be hung physically in the front gallery, to be viewed by appointment and during the gallery’s new open hours on weekends. As you may know, 50% of the sales benefit the selected artists, and 50% goes to the charity partner. All selected works will be featured on the gallery website and we will make every effort to connect them to new homes.
I thank everyone for their support of this event.
Liz Conces Spencer
Hello Archway Fans!
My show has been up close to a month and I hope you have time to look at it online, at the gallery by appointment, or at the gallery on weekends during our new limited hours. I hate to blow my own horn, but I got to admit this is some of my best work to date. I think there are some special pieces in this show and if you have had time to check it out, I hope you think so too.
A few pieces have already sold and, hopefully, there will be a few a more. I was incredibly pleased when the artwork installed as it looked even better with the gallery spotlights shining on each piece. I was worried that the show might look disconnected and somewhat disjointed because I do so many different processes but Harold Joiner, one of our resident gallery curators, pulled it all together. It turned into a show that I could only hope for after all the years of artmaking.
My art does not tell stories, make political points, or any other kind of statements. What I want is for you to enjoy the colors and movement of each piece. I want you to be uplifted and happy when you look at my art, and I want you to never tire of looking at pieces once hanging on your wall.
The show is mostly glass and steel but there are a few stand-alone wood pieces. I especially enjoy the wood pieces because it reminds me of my many years of making foundry patterns; I am pleased that I still have the skills I acquired some 50 years ago and still have the thought process to do the job.
Turning a doodle in my sketchbook into a 3-D piece of art is something I have always enjoyed. Doing the engineering and the machine work, as well as the finishing, is always a fun challenge! Sometimes it is a pleasure and other times it is just a great disappointment which goes on the shelf under the table for another day.
My mind is never at rest! I am constantly thinking about new projects regardless of whatever else I may be doing. I am a maker and always have been. My whole life I planned to have a place where I could work and have the equipment to make any project imaginable. After much work, my studio is just that kind of place.
I attend workshops and am constantly learning a new process. In my opinion, to be great in art you must keep learning and growing daily. You must challenge your skills on every project you create so every new piece is different and better than the last piece. I am always looking forward to my next creation and, hopefully, my collectors feel the same way by continuing to collect and enjoy the fruits of my artistic labors. Creating is a way of life; I plan to be creating until the very end.
There is Another Garden combines two of my life-long loves: art and gardening; art came first and, seemingly, naturally.
Trained as an architect, I saw garden design as an essential part of fashioning a holistic environment - the inside and the outside, the built and the natural, the planned and the organically evolved. It wasn’t until I reached my adult years that I found myself really wanting to garden. The art side of it inspires me; the science side of it challenges me. In the beginning I found it is easy, but only if I could get the plants to do exactly what I want them to do! Deciding that Dollar Pennyroyals are a good-looking ground cover was a comforting acceptance. Ah, but the challenge was part of the fun. After I decided that it was all going to be just one big experiment anyway, everything was good.
Seeing butterfly caterpillars decimating milkweeds, discovering chrysalises in the most unlikely places, releasing ladybugs, sighting a green anole puffing up his red throat, finding a broken blue egg shell of a robin on the ground, studying the curlicues of mushrooms sprouting from a cut tree stump, and observing the very fine veins of a staghorn fern shield (Staghorn Fern Series), are just a few of myriad delights and yes, also pain, that my garden offers me.
In one corner of my yard, under a second-floor deck,there is a rain garden. Enclosed by a wall on one side and fences on two sides, bordered by a compost area with a cairn (where a beloved cat is buried) to one side of it, a pile of twigs provides refuge to small critters. An Eastern Redbud next to this garden has had conks (polypores) growing on the trunk so I know it is in distress and it is slowly showing its decline. Hanging Ball Mosses from the structure of the deck above drape down and gives an air of a mysterious garden. It inspired me to create Rain Garden Rhapsody series.
I find solace in the stately tree trunks. Musing on them gave me the idea to create the Tree Bark series, using pages from books as a tie between the idea of trees and the passage of time, the making of books with the exchange of ideas, and so on.
My garden is a living canvas for me and a place where I can go to refill my creative well.
It is rather lovely to note that there has been an increase in people doing jigsaw puzzles during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously puzzles have not lost their power to entertain people either singly or in groups. Even the ‘rich and famous’ are secret puzzlers. Amie Tsang in her New York Times article said, “Patrick Stewart once called the world of jigsaw puzzles a “secret society.” She even mentioned that the Australian Prime Minister has announced that jigsaw puzzles are an ‘essential item’ during ‘lockdown’ and that people are allowed to leave their homes in order to procure them. Images of puzzle pieces being laid out methodically across nations, possibly first the edge pieces and then working with groups of colors or patterns come to mind. There are strategies to consider!
Why are people drawn to jigsaws? There is something soothing about taking a box of jumbled pieces and making order out of them, thereby creating a wonderful image. Why do I work with jigsaw pieces? I think it is something about the jigsaw pieces themselves. The shapes are so interesting and familiar and fit so nicely in the hand. I work with puzzle pieces because their shapes remind me of people. With these miniature people, I tell stories about human foibles and how humans interact with one another. My work is not so much about creating order as I make sculptures. As I place one puzzle piece against another I am reflecting on the human condition and how our attitudes to one another today are pivotal to society’s success.
Archway Gallery had a fantastic and successful 2013, thanks to all our friends and patrons. 2014 greets us with an exciting show in our front gallery, featuring works from Harold Joiner and Judy Elias: Fifty Shades of Green.
Fifty Shades of Green is a perfect art exhibition to be held during the winter months. Imagine sunshine and warmth. Nothing enriches a viewer more than the radiance of sunlight in beautifully painted canvases. And Providence has brought together Judy Elias and Harold Joiner to make it happen. Both paint outdoor environments, and this show chronicles their achievements.
Judy Elias is a plein air painter who travels the world to find the subjects of her inspiration. Because she works on site, her paintings are usually completed in one sitting. The canvases are small and precious. They facilitate armchair travelers, and beckon the viewer to come close to appreciate them. The paintings are framed in gold, and are hung as if they are in a fine old home.
Harold Joiner finds much of his subject matter in the nature preserves and state parks of south and central Texas. The flora and fauna of a locale are his focal point, and he is drawn to include bodies of water within his imagery. He uses sketches and photographs record the scene, but the paintings are created in his studio. The end result are exquisite landscapes that capture the beauty of Mother Nature. Joiner's iconography is refreshing. His treatment of the interplay of vegetation against the water's surface are visual delights.
Inappropriate for Public Space