Selfie photoshopped by kiddies

Fifth Graders in the House!

I had a great time this morning with my studio and gallery mate Martina Nitsche giving a talk about our respective work and in the end, doing a drawing work shop for Bella's 5th grade class. The exercise is called Blind Contour in which you are drawing one continuous line around every detail possible of your subject (fellow classmate) without looking at your paper and without picking up your drawing tool. It was wonderful to see them enjoying the exercise that is not about how it looks, but the process and skill of observation. They all did such a great job and had fun while doing it. I think we're ready to start some classes!



Detail for installation drawing as part of "Stitching the Seam". Graphite, acrylic, medium and thread on paper.

Orlando: Here I Come!

Isabel Manalo: Stitching the Seam

Isabel Manalo: Stitching the Seam

March 6 – April 27, 2014

“Perhaps it’s a change in geography, a reflection on time passing as aging overcomes me, or maybe it’s simply a deeper understanding and desire to comprehend the profundity of motherhood, parenthood, and spouse hood. I’m interested in the sensation of awkwardness and transition and how this has been the underlying theme of my work for many years.”

Isabel Manalo’s work has become more about the hand and less about the image. The work seen in Stitching the Seam is less about the abstraction of space but rather the abstraction of language and image as manifest in collage on paper. Manalo uses the pre-colonial alphabet from the Philippines (called the Baybayin) as a way to communicate her deepest thoughts in a script that is not used anymore. For her it is visual. She stitches the calligraphic lines as if she were stitching a wound. The process of sewing reminds her of her mother and the endless hours she spent sewing dresses for herself and her sisters. It was a large part of her mother’s identity and by including the sewing, it makes her mother present in this body of work almost akin to painting a narrative portrait of her. Paint becomes blisters; photographs are cut and glued like pretty Band-Aids we see at the local drug stores. It resolves into a tactile discomfort of thread, knots, paint boils and cut paper that evokes a life that is uncontrolled, but hoping to be beautiful, somehow. Stitching the Seam refers to the multitude of feelings that connect Manalo to the minutiae of everyday life, to the tragic and spectacular of the bigger planet we endeavor to call home.

Sticking it to the Tiger Mom

I'm so psyched to see this growing movement in China as reported by Photo Booth in the New Yorker yesterday. The full article is here in the Feb. 3, 2014 issue, by Ian Johnson.

I'm tired of parents who just robotically push and stress out their children to be over achievers -- for what? To attend the 'right' schools, the 'right' universities? And then to end up in a career they are completely unhappy with not even addressing the damage it does to ones sense of self. As an artist, parent of two school age girls, I am realizing more and more everyday the importance of hands on creativity that has nothing to do with electronics (although I am a huge supporter of using electronics as well). Finding a balance in anything is key. Understanding what your school offers and lacks, then enhancing it at home is my approach. Although my kids' school is not so academically rigorous, it still is a traditional western, international school that, in the end, expects the kids to choose the college track and hence pedagocially is considered still 'academic'. I support this route for my kids, but writing as an Asian American, and commenting directly about the New Yorker article, it is refreshing to know about the Waldorf education and Steiner's philosophy as a growing movement in China. It's a cultural shift away from the Asian Tiger Mom approach, and that is a good trend in any country.


Image from the New Yorker reporting on the growing movement of Waldorf education in China.

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