Our rauschenberg residency artists community at dinner in the weeks house tonight. from left to right, dana wheeler-nicholson, alex smith, zarina rimbaud-kadirbaks, sopheap pich, eric mack, robin rimbaud (scanner), andrea parkins, and i am taking the picture. missing from the table were lance gries and tony lewis @_tony_lewis_ on april 3, burkhard beins will arrive from berlin to collaborate with andrea for our final ten days. to read more about these remarkable artists you can go to http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/residency/artists-residence
I went to the studio today and tried to work but i just couldn't do it. last night was another night where i got up at 4:30 am and didn't go back to bed, so i'm a bit exhausted. actually, i think i need a day off. i've only taken one day off in three weeks and i'm due. so now i am in the jungle hearing the birds, feeling the sun dappling my face, and letting my body unwind. it is time for a nap.
Late last night/early this morning i completed this photo collage. it is #4 in this new body of work that i started here at the rauschenberg residency. every element of these collages comes from photographs i have taken since i arrived here at the residency on march 6. i feel very indebted to the iconic american artist bob rauschenberg not only for the privilege of participating in this remarkable six-week artist residency that is his legacy, but for inspiring me to push beyond my habitual ways of thinking. for bob, everything was possible. i'm beginning to think the same. #rauschenbergresidency#rrresidency#bobrauschenbergslegacy@rauschenbergfoundation@dutchgirlinlondon
Today, thursday, matt hall took the 10 of us rauschenberg residency artists on a boat trip on the pine island sound and the gulf of mexico. we were gone from 9 am until 2 pm with time for an eco-tour by matt who also shared some of the history of the indigenous people who had lived in this area, the calusa indians. matt had promised that we would see dolphins and he was right! these graceful creatures - often in pairs of a mother and her baby - danced near our boat both going and coming home. those of us artists who were able also went ashore on north captiva island where matt co-owns a house with an extensive beach that has very few people and lots of beautiful shells. since i had been carried on board and did not have my scooter, i was happy sitting on the boat by myself while the others did their thing on land. actually, matt joined me for awhile and we had another of our good conversations. as it turned out, our timing for this outing was perfect because an hour after we got home, the thunderstorms came! i want to offer special thanks to capt matt for a wonderful day and to jensen's marina on captiva island who supplied the perfect boat for us to use.
Our rauschenberg residency brother from cambodia not only wanted to make art during our six weeks together, but he wanted to fish in the ocean. well, not only did he fish but he caught a mammoth red fish off the fishhouse wharf yesterday which our chef-in-residence @isaaclsaunders cooked tonight in the japanese style, and the fisherman himself, sopheap pich, served my plate for me. it was delicious!
The photo i took on wednesday evening of my rauschenberg residency brother, lance gries, as lance, tony lewis @_tony_lewis_ and i watched the sun set over the gulf of mexico on captiva island, florida.
My previous post showed matt hall and me "shelling" on tuesday morning, a popular activity here on sw florida's captiva island where nine artists and i are participating in this 6-week session of the rauschenberg residency. on wednesday evening i had lance gries, a nyc-based dancer, and tony lewis @_tony_lewis_, a visual artist from chicago, to thank for pushing my rented balloon-tired sand wheelchair onto the beach so i could watch and photograph the sun set over the gulf of mexico. lance took this picture of me, and if you look at my next ig post, you will see the picture i took of him.
Thanks to matt hall of the rauschenberg residency staff, on tuesday morning i was able to get out on the beach for the first time since arriving here on captiva island on march 6. as you can imagine, my mobility scooter does not handle sand well at all, but buddy's rentals on sanibel island has the answer to that in this balloon-tired wheelchair. since this apparently is the finest shelling area in the world, i wanted to give it a try. and matt was the perfect person to show me the ropes. that man really knows his shells and has a fantastic eye for finding the tiniest examples of a multitude of species. it was such fun!
When i talk about working in the main studio, this is the building to which i refer. my studio is on the second floor and is accessible by elevator. the scale of this working space is huge because that was the scale of the work that bob rauschenberg often made. but somehow it also feels quite intimate, light and bright and filled with good energy. it is an absolute privilege to work here and i often feel the presence of bob, as if he is working in the studio next to me. although his body died in 2008, in my opinion that man will never die.
What a glorious way to spend an evening, here in the main studio by myself working on one of my ink drawings while listening to the vijay iyer trio on my iphone. the amazing thing is i could stay here all night if i wanted to. bob rauschenberg used to work through the night regularly. i don't think i'll be doing that, but i could if i wanted. how i love this rauschenberg residency!
The key to navigating a six-week artist residency like the rauschenberg residency is to trust that you can make no mistakes. or put a different way, that every mistake can lead to a new beginning. i can't help but think that is how bob rauschenberg made the art he did, art with no boundaries, no limits and all possibilities.
the image i share today was created in response to what i saw as an absolute disaster last week. i was trying to create a screen print and messed up on every effort. that night i felt pretty low. but today, five days later, i thought, "i can't mess up any more than i already have so why don't i cut these prints up and see what i can do with them." and this is what i ended up with. i can't say that it's great but it is certainly better than what i started with. besides it was fun. and i'm beginning to think having fun is an essential part of making art! update: it is now monday and i have grown to like this collage very much indeed. sometimes i have to sit with my art before i know how i feel about it. this one is now hanging on the wall in my studio, so that tells the tale ;-)
I have our studio assistant, april, to thank for printing my photo collages that i have created using photos i have taken here at the rauschenberg residency over the past two weeks. and i have my artist residency brother, sopheap pich, to thank for hanging the prints in my studio this afternoon. and finally, i have my artist residency sister, zarina rimbaud-kadirbaks, to thank for taking this photograph.
we are all working together even as we pursue our individual artistic projects during our six weeks here in this magnificent place and program. i feel surrounded by the love and support that give me the courage to try new things. these photo collages are an example. i have never before created anything like them. and i have never before seen my photos printed this large. seeing prints of my photographs hanging on the wall makes them feel real in a way that seeing them on a computer monitor never does. i need to be doing this for myself at home as well as here.
For the first time in two weeks, i am taking the day off. of course i will take some photographs but that is not my goal. my intention today is to relax and savor every minute of this glorious day here at the rauschenberg residency.
i had another of my strange middle-of-the-night creative awakenings where i worked on my photos at my computer from 2:30-5:15 am, so i slept in until 11 am this morning. i then took a slow-moving scoot through the jungle where i stopped for timeless time under a tree where yellow and black swallowtail butterflies circled overhead and mating lizards perched on branches and puffed out their semicircular red throat sacks.
back at the curator house that berlin-based sound artist andrea parkins and i share, i sat on the deck, ate granola with yogurt, and read more stories in detroit author desiree cooper's magnificent book, "know the mother." after awhile andrea came back from her studio; we visited and then she offered to do laundry for both of us. i love my housemate!
i then scooted over to the fishhouse and was delighted to hook up with tony and his girlfriend emily who is visiting from chicago. weekends during this artist residency are designated as times when significant others can visit and stay overnight. during the week, it is just us 10 artists and the staff.
i am now at the weeks house sitting on the porch where we eat our meals that are prepared by our chef-in-residence @isaaclsaunders and his assistant, lori. the food has been delicious, and i was deeply touched at wednesday lunch when lori made a veggie burger for me because i had said i like them. we are on our own for meals on the weekends and tonight the gang is going again to doc ford's restaurant where we had gone for dinner and drinks last saturday night.
the book you see open in front of me is the 2004 edition of mary lynn kotz's book, "rauschenberg." the author is working on a new edition and will be here on the land on tuesday. apparently she would like to interview us artists because she wants to include a section on the rauschenberg residency. i want to have a familiarity with her book before my interview. what i have seen thus far is wonderful.
I am taking you on a scooter ride through the jungle on robert rauschenberg's 20 acres of land on captiva island, florida. this is just one of the magnificent parts of the rauschenberg residency that i love so much. i have now been here two weeks and am delighted that i have four weeks to go.