postcards from the edge

Exhibition: Art+Text 2017

Art+Text 2017 opened this week at 44AD artspace in Bath, co-curated by Sveta Antonova and myself. We had a nice pool of submissions to choose from, ending up with a collection of work by artists from all over the UK, as well as the US, Europe and Australia.

The work spans a range of mediums - video, print, sculpture, installation, performance, painting - and even spills into the surrounding city. It's been so inspiring to see the innovative ways that artists are using text in art!

I'm pleased with the response my own installation is getting, Postcards from the Edge. As an American living in the UK during the 2016 Brexit vote, and then the US Presidential election, I've watched in dismay as events have unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic. For the installation, I created four different postcard designs and printed them as monotypes, with messages to President Trump and Prime Minister May respectively. At the end of the exhibition, I'll collect all completed postcards and mail them to the respective heads of state.

Art+Text 2017 is open through February 26, daily 12 to 6 pm and Sunday 1 to 4 pm. There's a closing reception on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3pm at 44AD artspace, 44 Abbey Street, Bath, BA1 1NN.

 

This Sunday at Bath Artisan Market: Hard Tryers and more!

Beginning this Sunday, I am pleased to be part of the Bath Artisan Market, a curated monthly event featuring Bath's talented artist makers, gourmet food booths and local live music.

For this first market, I'm bringing small, original Hard Tryer work and Postcards. The latter are high-quality reproductions of my original mixed media prints, in the form of lovely Moo.com blank greeting cards and postcards. The original prints are happily sold out, save for a couple that are still in Germany on exhibition at grassgrün in Frankfurt.

The market is held under cover at Green Park Station, a glass-roofed former train station in downtown Bath. I'll be there most months 10am to 4pm on the second Sunday, so please come visit!

Details and directions:

Bath Artisan Market | Sunday, August 9, 10am to 4pm | Green Park Station (map) | Bath, BA1 1JB

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: She Decides to Shine

"She Decides to Shine" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

She Decides to Shine is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Our local forest is scattered with beautiful mushrooms and fungi. Germany has some 5,000 mushroom species, including many that are considered delicacies.

We have not, however, been brave enough to collect and consume them – something the locals enthusiastically do from early September to mid-October. Apparently, there's even a Mushroom Mafia.

This lovely specimen was literally glowing, not to be missed.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: freu dich, trau dich

"freu dich, trau dich" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Freu dich, trau dich is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Frankfurt is surrounded by small towns within a short drive of the city. The contrast between Frankfurt's post-war architecture and the undamaged, well-preserved medieval structures in the Taunus is a stark reminder of Germany's past – recent and distant. Bad Camberg is one such village full of cobbled streets and charming squares.

I regret not noting the name of the artist who sculpted this beguiling bronze goat. Does the awning behind her say “freu dich,” “trau dich” or both? Freu dich means rejoice. Trau dich has several meanings, including trust yourself. Either way, I like that you can rejoice in trusting yourself.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Good Energy

"Good Energy" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Good Energy is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

On the first drive across Germany from Frankfurt to Berlin with my husband, I couldn't get enough of the giant wind turbines scattered across the countryside. Many you see from a distance, marching over hills and through valleys. Others are right along the highway, towering over you like otherworldly sentinels.

Curious about them, I did a little research. Did you know that as of the end of 2013, there are over 23,500 wind turbines in Germany, supplying 8 percent of all power to the country? The transition to renewable energy is a hot topic in Germany – not without controversy – with focused federal support and what appears to be a determined can-do attitude about making the switch from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. 

Back to these turbines...like my travel companion, there was something about the wind turbines' scale, unison and quiet presence that I found reassuring.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

short stories from the taunus

"Leave Breadcrumbs" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'll be sharing brief backstories about the work in a series of blog posts.

The stories are all from a series of mixed media prints, Postcards from the Taunus. The Taunus is the region where I live, just outside of Frankfurt.

The first set of Postcards were from Scotland. I was on an artist retreat to loosen up my work, take risks, and experiment with new techniques.

Postcard series made during Women's Studio Workshop Printing on the Edge retreat at Rua Reidh Lighthouse in northwestern Scotland. Trace monoprint, chine colle and monoprint on color photograph.

Postcard series made during Women's Studio Workshop Printing on the Edge retreat at Rua Reidh Lighthouse in northwestern Scotland. Trace monoprint, chine colle and monoprint on color photograph.

Printmaking can be full of surprises, perfect for these goals. Thus, the Postcards were born, and seem to be taking on a life of their own. They're becoming a way to document not only where I travel, but also particular moments, relationships, and identity.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

solo exhibition: it takes a village

The past few weeks I've been preparing furiously for a solo exhibition that I have in February here in Germany. I'm very excited to have this opportunity, and am particularly delighted that it's at Galerie Uhn, a lovely gallery owned by Jimin Leyer here in my "hometown" of Königstein.

In addition to the satisfaction of preparing a new body of work for its gallery debut, it's a real pleasure to work closely with other local artists, makers, and design professionals who are involved in the process of creating the work and producing an exhibition.

Astrid Blasberg

Astrid Blasberg shared her studio and etching press with me last week, where I worked on a new batch of Postcards from the Edge. The new larger-format series will be in the exhibition, reflecting scenes of the Taunus (this rural region where we live just outside of Frankfurt).

Astrid Blasberg in her studio at the Fabrik in Roedelheim (Image: courtesy of Astrid Blasberg)

Astrid Blasberg in her studio at the Fabrik in Roedelheim (Image: courtesy of Astrid Blasberg)

Astrid is a painter with a great eye for color! Working along side her – even though we were each focused on our own work – was real inspiration.

Working on a fresh batch of "Postcards from the Edge" in Astrid Blasberg's studio

Working on a fresh batch of "Postcards from the Edge" in Astrid Blasberg's studio

Heinz Pflug

Heinz Pflug is a fine art photographer and digital printmaker who helped produce the base prints for the Postcards. His expertise and high standards helped me get crisp, beautifully-saturated prints of my photographs.

Heinz Pflug, photographer and large format digital print expert, with his massive Epson

Heinz Pflug, photographer and large format digital print expert, with his massive Epson

Heinz inspecting the work!

Heinz inspecting the work!

Julia Schwager

Julia Schwager is helping me photograph the work for an exhibition catalog. After trying to shoot the work myself with disappointing results, I'm learning it pays to bring in the experts! Her methodical approach is teaching me that there's a lot to getting good images. Plus, Julia's great fun to work with.

Julia Schwager photographing my work for the exhibition catalog

Julia Schwager photographing my work for the exhibition catalog

Katja von Ruville

Katja von Ruville is designing and producing the exhibition catalog. I adore Katja's esthetic (and her gorgeous handmade jewelry), so I'm very happy to tap her talents for this project.

Katja von Ruville (and studio assistant Anouk) is designing the exhibition catalog (Image: Sven Ehlers)

Katja von Ruville (and studio assistant Anouk) is designing the exhibition catalog (Image: Sven Ehlers)

Merja Herzog Hellsten

My local teacher, Merja Herzog Hellsten, has been a catalyst for the direction of this work since I started classes with her last Spring. Not only is Merja a productive, successful working artist, but a highly effective teacher with a gift for honing in on just the right feedback when it's needed.

Merja Herzon Hellsten in action during a group crit in our Staedelschule Adult Education class

Merja Herzon Hellsten in action during a group crit in our Staedelschule Adult Education class

Lisa Kokin

Last, but definitely not least, is my mentor Lisa Kokin. Lisa deserves her own blog post, which I will do. For now, suffice it to say that there would not be a village without Lisa's gentle tough love and steady presence since Fall 2011. I sought her out as an art coach when we moved overseas, knowing that not only did I need a wise guide to help me transition to fulltime working artist, but also someone to help me find the courage to put myself out there in a new town. The fact that Lisa's based in California hasn't stopped us and proves that one's "village" can be global as well as local.

Lisa Kokin, mixed media artist, teaching Bindi how to sew (Image: Lia Roozendaal)

Lisa Kokin, mixed media artist, teaching Bindi how to sew (Image: Lia Roozendaal)

One of my desires in moving overseas was to become immersed in local, everyday life. It's surprisingly easy as an expat not to integrate. You've got to put yourself out there in small ways that can easily become obstacles if you don't face them down: making phone calls in German, working all day through technical details with someone who speaks no English, deciphering a proposal in German (Google Translate does a lousy job), hunting down local resources and suppliers in German, preparing catalog text in two languages. I could go on!

None of this is a complaint, but it is an added layer of challenge. Which is why I'm grateful to everyone involved. They are collaborators, mentors, professionals, and friends. I wasn't sure that I could have this outside the comfort zone of my longtime hometown in the US. This experience is teaching me that, yes – it takes a village to pull off a "solo" exhibition – but that village can be anywhere if you're willing to put down the fear and just connect with people.

new online shop!

Just in time for back-to-school shopping (and holiday early birds): you can now purchase some of my work online through the world's largest online marketplace for handmade goods, Etsy.com.

I'm starting small, with a few Hard Tryer pieces...small watercolors, hand-pulled one-of-a-kind prints, and high-quality reproductions of my original Postcards from the Edge series as postcards and blank cards.

Get yourself a little something! Whether it's affordable original art, or a stash of cards to dash off quick notes to friends, clients, students, your kids...or anyone who'd enjoy celebrating life's everyday victories.

postcards from the edge

One of the surprises that emerged from my retreat in Scotland was a series of small mixed-media prints, Postcards from the Edge. And while my life story has had its moments, Carrie Fisher's 1987 autobiography of the same title is not my reference.

They are, however, a response to a series of experiences this year: Printing on the Edge with Women's Workshop Studio, embracing my inner hard tryer, and seeing what happens when I stop, well, trying so hard.