Monday, September 7, 2015

Morphoverse; an appreciation

There is a Glencoe of mountains and animals, Scotch, Harry Potter and James Bond and as it turns out very dramatic scenery.  The Glencoe of the AIR gallery may not be as dramatic as its much older cousin, it will however be the scene for some startling imagery. AIR once nestled by the Glencoe Woman's Society it is now literally overshadowed by the new Writer's Theater.
I do a fair amount of writing but I don't think writers need all that much room. Me, I have a basement. Whatever.

Glencoe, Scotland. I didn't know it was such a good looking country.

In this Glencoe, our Glencoe, at this very moment in her history could be the break through of two artists. Diverse, yet united in their insider/outsider relationship with the community. Not totally Mavericks. Hippies, maybe. Artistic souls who love to create.

The “MORPHOVERSE" opening event will take place September 12, 2015 from 4-9 pm at A.I.R. Gallery at 348 Tudor Court in Glencoe. From 5-7 pm flautist Julie Koidin will perform improvisations inspired by the artwork.

I personally love these artists and their work but they are weirdos. The 'Basement' has these exclusive interviews with the artists, Peggy Schutze Shearn and JW Lambert.

Don's Basement: What does the name of the show mean to you?

James Lambert: Morphoverse was conceived as a groovy sounding (and looking) word meant to suggest the world, as we know it, coming to an end and becoming something unrecognizable.

“Shadow Cell” 2014. J.W. Lambert Private Collection

Peggy Schutze Shearn: James came up with “Morphoverse” as a playful reference to the way we each make paintings. He starts with crowd scenes from stock images and transforms them into subtle, liquidy abstractions that seem to be just barely obscuring images from the collective unconscious – something elusive and a little unsettling glimpsed from corner of your eye. So you have the everyday visual universe morphing into something deeper and more mysterious. James is what you might call an “artists’ artist;” he’s a trained, sophisticated painter who's been creating these gorgeous large canvases in the studio, but very few people have seen them until this show.

ELSEWHERE, 42"x48" acrylic on canvas, Peggy Schutze Shearn
I always begin with a word or a phrase drawn or written onto the canvas, and that graphic form becomes the structure of the composition. Of course the word “verse” refers to writing in a rhythmic pattern. There is a visual rhythm to my paintings that I think is obvious even in a photograph, but only in person can you really get a sense of the topography of this work and how light plays across each stroke of the paint. When I choose words to paint I try to stay away from anything too specific in meaning in order to leave space for the work and the viewer to have a conversation with each other, a conversation that flows back and forth between the verbal and the visual. It’s interesting that “morphology” refers to various fields of study dealing with form and structure, coming from the Greek meaning the "study of shape.” Okay, I’ll stop. I think my recent binge-listening of Lexicon Valley podcast is getting to me. (Wait, does that make me sound like a nerd?)

DB: Who is your favorite painter (who isn't a personal friend) and what is your favorite painting?

JL: Eugene Delacroix is my favorite painter. "Skeletons fighting over a pickled herring" by James Ensor is my favorite right now.

"Skeletons fighting over a pickled herring." James Ensor. His parents ran a souvenir shop.
PSS: That’s a terrible question. Just FYI.

DB: What is your earliest memory of painting, drawing or otherwise creating art?

JL: My teachers told my parents I was displaying an aptitude for art so they arranged private oil painting  lessons. I will never forget the smell of that small, basement studio. It is an exotic and mysterious quality that always transports me back to that first lesson. I was eight years old.

PSS: The seductive smell of Crayolas. Being unhappy with my mother when I complained of having nothing to do and she suggested painting. I was about 6 or 7. It pissed me off because I didn’t know what to paint. Yup, sensory delight and frustration, that about sums it up.

DB: If your paintings were a song, which song would it be?

JL: Is there a song that begins with a Gregorian chant, proceeds through some chamber music, an electric guitar solo, and ends with an electrocardiogram flatline? Either that or '99 Luftballons'.

PSS: John Cage’s Suite for Toy Piano is pretty perfect, but if anyone could come up with an alternative that is less irritating to listen to, and/or written in this century, I’d really appreciate hearing from them. 

DB: Anything else you would like share with my readership?

JL: "Art is for everyone but some people should just be house painters".

PSS: Come to the opening, it’s going to be a great party!

Below is what happens when Don is in the basement and James and Peggy are hanging the show.


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