Greetings friends & family of SAW,
Check in on the latest at Salem Art Works to see what artists and musicians are working on this fall!
JAMES TRISTRAM LANDSDOWNE
Tristram Lansdowne was born and raised in Victoria, a small city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the coast of British Columbia. He grew up within sight of the Olympic mountain range in Washington state, and started painting landscapes when he was in high school. He relocated to Toronto to complete his undergraduate studies and began making work about the post-industrial urban environment he found there. He lived and made work in Toronto for ten years before moving to Providence, Rhode Island to pursue an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, which he completed this past June. After his residency at SAW he’s planning on relocating with his RISD classmates to New York.
Tristram has a multidisciplinary practice, which includes watercolour, sculpture, installation and print, and is focused on themes related to landscape and architecture. His current focus is on the histories of Modernist architecture and design. He currently has an exhibition up at Wil Kucey Gallery in Toronto based on Le Corbusier’s house projects from the 20s, 30s and 40s, and is composed of a series of paintings and an installation that has transformed the gallery into a living room-time machine complete with talking houseplants. In addition, his work has also recently been exhibited at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Boston Centre for the Arts, Microscope Gallery and Nancy Margolis Gallery. He was a semi-finalist in the 2011 RBC Painting Competition and in 2013 his work was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada. He is represented in Toronto by Wil Kucey Gallery.
“Right now I’m working with images of contemporary Modernist home design. A lot of it comes from publications like Architectural Digest and Dwell Magazine. While I’m at SAW I’m making watercolours that reconfigure this imagery in various ways. I’m experimenting with perspectival manipulations, colour distortions, collaging, and looking for other ways to deconstruct it. Many of the images are 3D renderings, even though they look like photos at first. One of the reasons I’m working with this subject is that I’m interested in how the implications of Modernist design have changed over the past century. What does it mean in terms of taste and value now? How has digital imaging affected or been affected by these aesthetics? I came to SAW so that I could work intensively in a quiet place to develop this work as much as possible, and to get out of the city for a while. I thought it might be a good place to sort through my ideas and make work post-school.
I really love the atmosphere at SAW. It’s provided an amazing combination of a focused DIY work environment and a generous, laid back community. Its rare to walk into a place and be told, “feel free to set up and work anywhere you want to, and use whatever tools and equipment you need.” As the most recent addition to the place I really appreciate how welcoming everyone has been. Plus the day I arrived the "SAW Olympics” were held, which consisted of nine grueling events all over the property, such as log toss and karaoke race. It was a great way to start off the residency.”
Alyce Barr lives and works in Brooklyn, New York as an artist and a public educator. After studying sculpture, ceramics, and metalsmithing at Rhode Island College, Alyce was awarded a Robert Smithson Sculpture Fellowship to for graduate study at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Shortly thereafter she became involved in education, working as a teacher and then as founding head of a public secondary school. Most of her recent work is in ceramic: sculpture and functional ware. Prior work includes photography, drawing, and painting.
Alyce is building a Cairn, composed of rocklike wood-fired ceramic heart forms. The cairn is a real and metaphoric boundary marker, located at the beginning of a path into the wood and away from the top of one of SAW’s hill pastures. Metaphorically, the cairn marks several boundaries and events in her life, the passing of her mother, a major change in her work, and the border of time past and time not yet recorded.
For four decades Alyce has been exploring and working with the heart shape. Originally inspired by the work of Jim Dine, she chose hearts for their universality in both nature, e.g. leaves, flowers as well as popular and historic iconography. As forms, She is attracted to hearts because they have a line of symmetry and have varied viewer expectations that she works with and against, for example altering or disturbing the symmetry or creating a rough surface where one might expect a smooth one. Sharing some of the properties of stone, they will react slowly to the forces of erosion. Unlike stones, they are hollow - often a deception to the viewer, and another irony she considers as she makes and builds with these units.
Alyce explains: clay comes from the ground; it is changed by fire. Left long enough, fired clay will erode like stone. She attempts to further interact with the land and the weather, for her work to change over time, potentially to be reshaped by the heaving ground or passing humans or animals. Reminded by the stonewalls she walked along since as a small girl. She expects passers by might take some of the pieces. This will change the overall shape and size of the cairn. While periodically returning for a visit to record these changes in a series of photos. She remains open to the possibility of engaging in a traditional cairn building practice of adding to or rebuilding the cairn as it shrinks or disassembles.
“Over a period of two years, I make the hearts from stoneware and porcelain clays. They were fired at SAW and in other wood kilns in NY and California. To build the cairn, I fill my backpack with hearts, again and again, hike up the steep hill and lay them out. I sort, resort and pile – imagining their future in these woods. As a sculpture park, SAW offered me the ideal setting to complete and install a piece that has lived in my mind for the past two years. During my residency, I also worked on a two other series: A series of large scale (15-22” in diameter) hand-built wood-fired bowls intended to collect and serve large community meals, bowls that reflect the bounty of a harvest and celebrate bringing groups of people together for shared meals. Forms were designed for specific kinds of food: cooked and uncooked, hot or cold, liquid or hold dry. A new collection of punctured hearts - exploring the properties of deflation and impalement. These will be displayed as wall pieces that include forged iron hardware.
I spent my childhood in a small town in the southern Catskill Mountains. My imagination formed while playing on big rocks in the woods behind my house or under the open sky where light was never blocked by buildings. I remember walking, looking up, and asking big questions about how people came to be or what it was like in China. Though I’ve spent my entire adult life in urban settings, most of it in Brooklyn, I still look to rural settings to open and stretch me, to grow my sense of the possible and to ground my thinking. SAW has that same big open sky, that upstate tree, field and mountain light and the broad space that inspires possibility and wonder.
The ceramics studio at SAW is big and open. The facilities are simple: tables, shelves, a couple of wheels, an electric kiln and of course, two wood kilns. What appeals to me most (other than the wood kilns) is this simplicity – the bare bones and the wide open nature of the room, without crowdedness and the many gadgets and tools of many modern ceramics studios. What I’m looking for is a place where I can spread out, make my biggest pieces and most extended series, where I can lay many pieces side by side to truly see a full series develop.
While at SAW I had the opportunity to create wax models for cast iron hearts to later incorporate in a Cairn. Adding iron units will change the weathering and erosion process, and will make the piece evolve differently. While wax and clay are both plastic materials, they behave differently and pose distinct challenges and demands to a maker. I was reminded how important it is for me to have my finished pieces reveal something about their formation and express the properties of their material(s). I very much appreciate the instruction and support that enabled me to do this work in such a short time.
Salem Art Works is a place where artists with greatly varied skills, experiences, and ideas come together to do their own work in varied media. At the same time they produce an energy that expands outside that individual and private process to push and inspire each other, to offer technical expertise and artistic criticism, to ask questions and to support each other’s artistic exploration.
I left SAW with ideas for new pieces, extensions of series in progress, and a better sense of my potential to execute this work. It was important for me to write the Cairn sculpture proposal. I’d been thinking about this piece for over a year, hoping to find a place to where I could build and display it. The sculpture park border seemed ideal – and writing about the piece helped me move it beyond the idea stage. When I arrived at SAW, I needed to select a location for the piece and that made me consider further how it could relate to other sculptors’ work. Ultimately, I decided to relate my sculpture to the tiny house – making mine viewable from the door, calling to a path into the forest. This possible element of placement hadn’t been one I had considered as deeply before my time at SAW.”
Bill Graziano is a retired high school art teacher with time and energy now to creating his own art. Sculpture has always been his greatest interest with enjoyment of working with a variety of materials and techniques. For the past five years, he has been working with metal, employing traditional artist/blacksmith techniques and attempting to express poetic ideas sculpturally about nature. Bill was born in Newark, New Jersey. He first studied watercolor painting at age 10 with the noted architect and artist, Frederick Griffin. He attended Arts High School in Newark, studied Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and received an MA in teaching from Montclair State University, and did graduate work in sculpture at the University of New Mexico and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Bill taught at Pascack Valley High School for 40 years teaching Art. In addition, he worked as a Studio Assistant to the sculptor, Paul Suttman, working with bronze casting. Currently, a member of the Art Students League and working with James Garvey in his Art Metal Forging class. Bill displays his sculpture in the Hudson Valley of New York, recently having a two person show at the Pomona Cultural Center in Pomona, New York and exhibiting in group shows, SUNY Orange Community College and the Art Society of Kingston, in Kingston, New York. The director of the Pomona Cultural Center, Tjok Gde Artha in a statement about Bill’s show, said, “…he opens the way to creating an expressive abstraction of patterns, imitating life rhythms and motions in nature. His work is not the prevailing conventional wisdom of environmental conditions, but rather a convergence of artistic personality.”
“I have been interested in art communities and art residences for some time and had never had the opportunity to participate. When I first heard about Salem Art Works, I wanted to visit and see if there might be a possibility to do some work here. Last Fall, I visited and was impressed with the staff, the facilities and the “spirit of the place.” Surrounded by nature, a beautiful landscape, an amazing sculpture park, it seemed anything was possible. I hoped to enlarge the scale of my sculpture and thought I might be able to accomplish this here.
I have enjoyed the people, the place and the community of a diverse, creative and talented group of artists. The opportunity to learn, be inspired and work without interruption has been terrific. I feel that I found new possibilities for my work and have had a great time doing it. In addition to making a large sculpture, I’ve discovered the possibility of incorporating glass into my work by way of the glass shop here at SAW. SAW is a unique place. It is all about realizing “dreams,” sharing experience and being surrounded by beauty.”
Presently living in New York City Joel spent many years immersed within the rocky mountains of Montana and was raised along the coast of New Hampshire. He spends his time equally at home sailing in the salt air, climbing ten thousand foot peaks and navigating the urban environment in the city. He received a BFA in ceramics from Montana State University in 2008 and an MFA from Syracuse University in 2013. Not limited to the confines of the gallery, much of Joel’s work exists in the public sphere, occupying liminal spaces within the postindustrial ruinated urban-scape. Utilizing specificities of context to access more universal ideas, his work is concerned with, memory, identity, authority and place. Truly an interdisciplinary artist his projects span and blend together street art, video, photography, cast iron, digital fabrication and ceramics. As an artist and educator Joel has taught at Oxbow School of Art in Saugatuck Michigan, Syracuse University in upstate New York and currently is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Ramapo College of New Jersey.
“During his time at SAW Joel will be working on a large scale sculpture of a specific mountain in Montana, to be cast in Iron. As part of his larger project "In another life," the mountain terrain was generated using google earth to get actual elevation data, then manipulated in 3-D modeling software. Utilizing digital fabrication techniques on the CNC router the master pattern will be carved in foam, then used to make sand molds which the molten Iron will be poured into.
One of the things I enjoy most about SAW is the creative energy within the community. When everyone is working and talking about art together a certain fervor is created, that is stimulating and energizing. I imagine a sailboat metaphor, Salem Art works becomes the wind pushing along the artists. If you can harness and direct this collective energy great things happen.”
Let's Be Leonard
Let’s Be Leonard is a rock ‘n roll jazzy style band out of Upstate NY with a daredevilish, looney jam band quality reminiscent of Phish. On stage you might see the trading of instruments from one member to another. A full-fledged caravan, all five band members quit their jobs invested what money they had into equipment and a pink school bus, and have been living together in a music-centric collective lifestyle since late 2015. They are the darlings of their hometown, Saratoga Springs, NY, where local radio station WEQX 102.7 FM has kept the singles from their debut album COW.
The Leonard's goofy and expressive playing of catchy, original music has grabbed attention from around the nation when they made their first national tour this past spring. The group has been sticking largely in the Northeast this past summer and have been working to make their second album this Fall at Salem Art Works. Later in the fall they will be touring out west to California and back, visiting some family and seeing some new land in between shows.
Let’s Be Leonard was a musical sensation performing at Salem’s Music on the Hill event early this summer. They decided to take up an offer to spend time in the community of Salem Art Works in order to facilitate their new recording of an album. Intrigued by the open spaces, an organic quality has influenced their new album with a different sound than the Leonards are used to. Accommodating and relinquishing the natural echoes of barns, open air, background cricket noise and the everyday work noise of tractors and sporty people and by letting things happen.
Let’s Be Leonard was a musical sensation performing at Salem’s Music on the Hill event early this summer. They decided to take up an offer to spend time in the community of Salem Art Works in order to facilitate their new recording of an album. Intrigued by the open spaces, an organic quality has influenced their new album with a different sound than the Leonard group is used to with the ability to make music outside from a studio and their typical live performance style of recording. Working through all the hours of the day and night, accommodating and relinquishing the natural echoes of barns, open air, background cricket noise and the everyday work noise of tractors and nearby people at work, the Let's Be Leonard group was able to record their songs by allowing the fusing of noise and by letting things happen.
Salem Art Works promoted unintentional collaboration for the Leonards during discussions about sound and music and sharing in the artistic process. They found living on the site to be inspiring and the people empowering mentioning the communal aspect and vibrancy is a reflection of how the artists works together.