Eleanor Coen. Ox-Bow Lagoon, 1940s. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery.
So many thrilling things are happening in the next few months! Starting on Sunday, I'm off to Ox-Bow for a week (thanks in part to an Ox-Bow scholarship and to a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency). I'll be taking my first lithography course (with one of my favorite people, Mark Pascale), hanging out with some pretty awesome people, and unwinding in cabins and on the lake in Saugatuck, Michigan. I've never had the Ox-Bow experience, and I'm so excited to finally see what it's all about (and also taste some of Eric May's cooking - yum!).
Miyoko Ito. My Room at Ox-Bow, 1949, lithograph on paper. Courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery.
Part of the reason for going to Ox-Bow is to make a lithograph that will become the cover for a chapbook of poetry I'm releasing in mid-August (also partially CAAP-funded). Over the last year and a half I've been working on this group of poems, honing ways to express myself as a writer that I was never able to do before. My writing has evolved, and with the help of some very kind editors (and your readership), I've had the courage and the inspiration to want to make a book: Grow No Moss. The always generous Chad Kouri is helping with the design of the book, and it will be printed on the new offset press at Spudnik Press, with the help of Angee Lennard and Aaron Smith. Salsedo Press (where the offset Ork Posters are printed in Chicago) has offered to do the binding and trimming.
The turnaround for the book has got to be quick (and precise!), because ten days after I arrive back in Chicago, I'm going to be releasing Grow No Moss at my first-ever poetry reading. Save the date, kids! On the afternoon of Saturday, August 25th, come find me at Andrew Rafacz Gallery (835 W. Washington, Chicago) and see what I'm all about. It's nerve-wracking but wonderful, and I'm making a book so I wouldn't have it any other way. (Sneak previews to come soon!).
Christopher Meerdo in his studio in East Garfield Park, with his dog, Indiana. June 2011, photograph by JVH.
Down the line, keep an eye out for a new Printeresting project, too! The guys (Amze, RL, and Jason) have been putting together a take-over of a journal called the California Printmaker. I've been helping out a little, and just finished a really exciting interview on the intersections of print and the internet with Chicago artist Christopher Meerdo. The Printeresting California Printmaker should go to print in the next month or so, with a September release date, I believe. I was so happy to be able to interview Chris, he's an amazingly talented and intelligent artist, and I continue to be inspired by our conversation.
Joe Zucker, Joe's Painting #125G, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 72" x 72".
At the gallery I've been toiling away (lovingly) on an amazing catalog for our September exhibition, Joe Zucker: The Grid Paintings, a survey of the grid series of works that is also focused mainly on the years during his undergraduate and postgraduate days at the School of the Art Institute (c.1964-68). I love being immersed in book production, and I'm learning so much about it with the help of John, Jim, and Sonnenzimmer (the book designers--check them out as they live-print at the MCA this week as part of the We Are Here project). The Joe Zucker show opens September 17th, and then a few days later a whole new life begins as I fly off to London to start grad school at the Courtauld. I'm in the midst of a beautiful whirlwind, friends, and I hope to share more with you in the coming weeks. Hope to see you around the spaceways!