Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 5000s Ogle Some Art

One of my birthday presents from Mrs.5000 this year was a pass to Portland Open Studios, a yearly event where artists around Portland open their studios (hence the name) so you can come, watch them work, ask questions, and ideally hand them suitcases full of money in exchange for their art. It's a hoot.

We must have gone to more than twenty studios all told. Among the most fabulous of the art on offer was that by the Honorable Vice Dork Emeritus Fingerstothebone and by regular L&TM5K reader Margaret, but they are both pretty shy and I wouldn't want to embarass them by gushing about their work.

So instead, I'll just mention two of our other favorites on the tour.

Erin Leichty

Highly textured, layered pieces with bits of ambiguous text sometimes visible in fragments, Erin Leichty's work was arresting, evocative, and lovely.

"Three Point Landing" 36" x 48" mixed media

The process of creating these involves lots of layering, applying media and then scraping a lot of media off. As we were watching a demo, she scrubbed vigorously at the piece she was working on, saying that after you apply a certain substance you have to "burnish it off." I misheard, and asked what she was referring to when she said you had to "burn the shit off." The little group watching busted up laughing, but I'm pretty sure that they were laughing at me, not with me.

"Meaning from Mayhem" 30" x 15" acrylic/oil pastel/transfer

It's kind of hard to show you just how cool these are in little blog pictures, because you lose a lot of the detail and a lot of the texture. But I guess that's true of all art photography.

"Buoyant Reflections" (4 panels) 16" x 16" x 4 acrylic/oil pastel

I took these images off of the "Erin Leichty Modern Art" website,, with my usual bad manners about asking or anything.

Maggie Casey

Maggie Casey makes really cool things, mostly out of string. Her studio was filled with fascinating, delicate, wistful little constructions and mobiles, some so subtle as to be almost invisible until inspected closely.

Among these smaller works were a few large, solid-seeming, and fascinating examples of what she calls "boxes."

"Hanging Angle" is just cool. Just cool, cool, cool. It takes the kind of geometries I associate will Sol LeWitt, but realizes them with a precise craftsmanship using folklike materials. You could stare at this sucker for hours, I'll tell you what.

Maggie Casey's website,, is pretty damn fine as well. I got these images from it, except I actually asked permission this time!

Oh, fine....

Here's what Fingers' latest piece, Martha, looks like. It's the first of what will hopefully be a long series based on her work with seniors with dementia.

...and here's a random sample of the output from Ma Nao Books, Margaret's bookarts studio.

Aren't they awesome?


fingerstothebone said...

What are you ever talking about!? I'm not the least bit shy about people gushing about my work. I'm not even shy gushing about my own work.

Glad you're gushing about Erin's work though, they're really beautiful. Did you sign up to be on her mailing list? She's about to have a show at the Daily Cafe in the Pearl. Stop by sometime.

And why did you ask Maggie for her permission? Doesn't that violate the Michael5000 Internet Code of Conduct, or something?

And I can't believe you rather be feeling up Bruno than Teresa. I'm not sure exactly what that does say about you.

OK, gotta go.

Michael5000 said...

@fingers: touche'

margaret said...

aw, gee, gush, blush ...

Jennifer said...

Ooh, awesome! "Hanging Cloud" looks amazing--must be even more mind-bendy in real life (I can't distinguish the different elements on "Hanging Angle" as well as I'd like--what a surprise with a 3D piece, right?), and the books make me want to open them. . . (I'd be more articulate if I knew anything about art. But this post had a great Ooh, Ahh factor for me!)