The Secret Laws of Art: Portfolio Project Four artworks by four artists, in order of appearance: Desiree Alvarez, Tamara Gayer, Hope Sandrow and Sally Apfelbaum. For sale as a group of four works. Limited Edition of 10, 2016. Desiree Alvarez, Melville's Telescope, 11"x11", Woodcut on Japanese Paper Sally Apfelbaum, Mille Fiori, study for the series, 'Jewelry for Buildings', 11"x14" Acrylic on Paper Tamara Gayer, Throat Chakra, 11"x14" Vinyl on Paper Hope Sandrow, Observational Findings, May 28 12:35:11pm, Drawn in Dirt by Anonymous member of Shinnecock Family Flock spacetime, Open Air Studio, Shinnecock Hills, 11"x14" Archival Pigment Print.
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The Secret Laws of Art: Portfolio Project
Desiree Alvarez, ‘Melville’s Telescope’
11”x11” Woodblock Print on Japanese Paper
Sally Apfelbaum, ‘Mille Fiori’
14”x11” Acrylic on Gessoed Paper
Tamara Gayer, ‘Throat Chakra’
11”x14” Vinyl on Fine Art Paper
Hope Sandrow, ‘Observational Findings May 28 12:35:11PM, Drawn in Dirt by Anonymous Member of the Shinnecock Family Flock open studio spacetime’
14”x11” Archival Pigment Print
“I think I surrendered obediently to the secret laws which led me to form, as best I could, and, following my dream, the things into which I put my entire being.”
Odilon Redon, the 19th century French Symbolist painter, wrote these words in his autobiography, ‘To Myself’. Playing on his example of meshing visible forces with the invisible, real perceptions with imaginary boundaries, I conceived of this portfolio project. I invited three of my favorite artists: Desiree Alvarez, Tamara Gayer and Hope Sandrow, to participate in the project alongside myself. Each artist produced an original artwork; each artwork is beautiful in diverse ways. It’s been exciting to work with these everyone; to learn about their processes, interests and concerns, and to see the new works each created for this portfolio.
About each piece:
One day while walking in the woods in Shinnecock Hills nearby the home/studio of plein air painter William Merritt Chase, conceptual artist and environmental activist, Hope Sandrow’s path crossed with a white bird. He followed her home, which she interpreted as a sign to follow him. Their adventures resulted in her onsite installation “open air studio’ where the white bird, a Padua Rooster named Shinnecock, (for where they live) and his progeny have shelter and are cared for by Hope and her artist musician husband Ulf Skogsbergh. Her photograph, ‘Observational Findings May 28 12:35:11PM, Drawn in Dirt by Anonymous Member of the Shinnecock Family Flock open studio spacetime’ (http://hopesandrow.com/live/ABOUT_open_air_studio.html), is one in the series from this on-going collaboration and installation. Most likely a rooster drew this minimalist form that resembles a parallelogram. Hope is currently in the islands of Flores and Komodo Indonesia, at the invitation of the United States Embassy, revisiting her 1999 multi-disciplinary project “timespace” (http://hopesandrow.com/then/timespace.html
An installation artist, painter, printmaker, and poet, Desiree Alvarez has examined the relationship between humanity and nature, the hunter and his prey; the implications and consequences of manifest destiny, and the tenuous divide between our consciousness and state of being, and that of the natural world. ‘Melville’s Telescope’ is a woodblock on Japanese paper that exemplifies this work, apprehending forces beyond our control, and momentous events unscrolling around us. www.desireealvarez.com
Sally Apfelbaum lives in one of the largest apartment complexes in New York City. While the interior park between the buildings softens the institutional character, the scope of the complex makes it hard to overlook the expanse of 110 identical 14 storey brick buildings spanning 80 acres. As she walks through the complex, Sally imagines ways to intervene. These musings spawned a series of studies and designs for imagined interventions: ‘Jewelry for Buildings’, where she envisioned windows draped with bead necklaces; butterfly brooches for the sides of buildings, jewel encrusted dragonfly roof adornments. Her work for this project, entitled, ‘Mille Fiori’ - a thousand flowers - is a painting showing designs for beads loosely based on antique Venetian glass jewelry.
Tamara Gayer plunges the viewer into a world of clashing systems – ancient labyrinth patterns; anatomical, scientific and spiritual orders - that combine and blossom into new forms. Though she often works in color, making vibrant, expansive site-specific installations, Tamara created a black and white vinyl on paper work for this portfolio. ‘Throat Chakra’ evokes the intertwined realities of interior and exterior space in ways I believe would Redon would recognize.
All images copyright Sally Apfelbaum, 2023