Jack Metzger is on of the 5 artists who will be showing his work at “From the Everyday to Art” in the Pig Barn Gallery on June 4th and 5th (see my appearances page for all the details). Jack has been collecting and selling antiques, whole and in pieces for over 20 years. About 6 years ago he started taking photos of some of the broken pieces he had been saving for years. Then he began making sculptures. You can see all of Jacks work on his new website or in his gallery and antique shop “Jack’s Out Back” in Cambridge NY. Jack has a story and a love for everything in his shop down to the smallest piece of broken pottery.
Archive for May, 2011
This is my first attempt at a quilt since coming home from NYC. I’ll have to look at it again tomorrow and see if it makes any sense. It’s good to be home. Somehow standing on the earth and knowing there is just more earth under me feels better than standing on a floor 15 stories above the ground with tunnels and trains below that is unsettling.
I didn’t always feel this way, I grew up close enough to NYC to know it pretty well, but since moving upstate, going back always surprises me. We spent a lot of time walking around and sitting in parks just looking and watching. There’s so much to see, sometimes too much. I found myself fascinated with peoples shoes. I know it sounds like a stereotype, but the styles were so varied, I couldn’t help staring. You just don’t get that in Washington County.
So I’m glad to be home, even if the shoes aren’t as interesting. It’s quiet and it smells good and even when I’m in the house, I know the earth is not so far below me.
Jon and I were walking up Broadway when Jimmy called out to us to take his picture. He sang a little tune and was hard to resist. I gave him a handful of change from my pocket and Jon took his picture.
I began carrying change in my pockets on the second day in NYC. I’ve spent enough time in New York to be aware of the homeless there, but this visit I noticed something different.
One morning I watched a woman with a suitcase on wheels check out a hooded sweatshirt that lay on top of a garbage pail. She held it up and inspected it then put it back on the garbage. I also began noticing bags of food next to the garbage pails on street corners. I watched a woman in a small encampment of homeless people sniff at what looked like a full vegetarian lunch in a styrofoam container, deciding whether or not to eat it. One friend told me how she had 2 bags of potato chips left over from an office lunch and offered it to a homeless man who told her he didn’t eat potato chips.
So what I was seeing that was different was the idea of choice.
You hear many ideas about what to give and what not to give to the homeless. Some say not to give money because it will only go to alcohol or drugs, that you should support organizations that help the homeless instead. Other people will give them only what they think is appropriate, like food or clothes. But I remember reading a story once about a woman who met a homeless woman whose shoes where falling apart. It was the winter the woman offered to buy the homeless woman a pair of winter boots and not wanting to just give her the money took her to a shoe store. But the homeless woman didn’t want a pair of winter boots, she wanted a pair of red high heal red lace up boots. I don’t remember if she got the red boots or not, but I remember thinking that the real connection came not in one person trying to help another, but in the human desire for personal choice. That as long as a person has choice, she has dignity. And choice isn’t always about things, but often about how one decides to behave in a situation where there is no choice.
I walked by a lot of people begging on the street and some who were passed out on the sidewalk. Some of them looked scary or dangerous, and I would look the other way. But some, like Jimmy, called out to me. He seemed safe and interesting. After talking to him a while I noticed he was wearing a bright white tee shirt and clean pants. I don’t even know if he was homeless or just begging. And I don’t know what he did with the money I gave him.
I guess I chose to give him money because of who he is and I guess he gets to chose what he wants to do with that money.
So it’s getting close to June 4th and 5th, the weekend of “From the Everyday to Art” the first exhibit in the Pig Barn Gallery. Jon and I have both gotten some email regarding the show and we just wanted to be clear about somethings to assure the show has a smooth run.
If you have any questions about the show, please just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit the contact me button at the top of this page. I will answer your questions.
Bedlam Farm is our home as well as the site of the Pig Barn Gallery, so please respect our privacy by not wandering the farm or house or barns other than the Gallery.
Please don’t feed or pet the donkeys or sheep or enter the pastures. Some of the fences are electrified so please don’t touch them.
The show in the Pig Barn Gallery is about the art and artists exhibiting their work. The only dog that will be at the show is Rose who will herd the sheep on both days at 3pm. We don’t want you to be disappointed if your coming to see the dogs.
Please don’t bring gifts for us or the dogs. If you have the urge to bring something make a donation to a favorite charity instead.
And please don’t bring your dogs. People only are invited to the Pig Barn Gallery.
When I was on the book tour in Seattle with Jon I met a young man who was teaching himself watercolors and he gave me some hints on how to start. He said to do a drawing in pencil then fill it in. I kept thinking that watercolor was about form not line which was really hanging me up since I think in line.
In our hotel hallway in NYC there is a red phone and I kinda fell in love with it. I took a picture then did a drawing. But the drawing didn’t work, because the phone was so much about being red. So I thought of Brandon from Seattle and took out the Koi watercolor set that I have been avoiding for months.
I must say, I found it kind of liberating to push that color around in a somewhat bounded area with my brush. I used 3 different reds, black, green and mustard. And if I wasn’t somewhat happy with it, it wouldn’t be on my blog.
A while back the artists who are in the first show at the Pig Barn Gallery got together for lunch and talked about the show. Here’s a glimpse of that afternoon, Serena was the only one who couldn’t make it, and I’m behind the camera, you can see Diane Swanson, Jack Metzer, Mary Kellogg and Jon. Click here for the video: From the Everyday to Art
Because he was behind us and we couldn’t see him, I first thought the man yelling at all the passengers on the train was a crazy person. He was warning us to have manners and not take up the seats next to us with our luggage. Then I thought maybe it was an art performance. When I realized it was the conductor, I got a little scared, and felt sorry for him at the same time. He seemed like he was on the edge.
So why did I think it might be an artist’s performance? About 10 years ago I read and article in the Village Voice. I don’t remember who the artist was, but he said one of the things he loved about being an artist, is that he can bring a plate with feces on it to his gallery director and the director would actually have to consider it and hear what he had to say, before rejecting it as not being art.
So what if the guy on the train was an artist and not a conductor. Seeing him as an artist made me consider the whole incident in ways I may not have otherwise thought about it. I was still thinking about him long after he left the car. I think that is one of the powerful things that art can do, make us think and open our minds to new ideas and possibilities instead of just casually dismissing them.
It was a sweet reception at the Orange Cat Cafe. People came in holding maps which lead them from one art show to another. There was even an art trolly that went to a few destinations too far to walk.
I met a little girl who was shy about being called and artist although her mother was very encouraging. I met 2 women who thought my potholders would be great art for a kids room. One said when her friends son had out grown it, his mother could use it as a potholder.
Jon, Serena and I had a delicious dinner at the cafe and were then joined by some other friends. We sat in the cozy gallery area and talked with Andy, musician and co owner of the cafe, till closing.
I used to be terrified of my own art receptions. I’m sure at some of my first ones, I stood around looking like the angry artist, trying to scare people off before they could get close enough to actually speak to me. It was for my MFA opening at Albany University that I came up with the idea of making a dress with carpet tacks sticking out of it. I didn’t actually make the dress till 5 years later when I exhibited it in a show in which I spent the reception sitting on a barn beam 15 feet above the gallery unraveling a crocheted blanket onto the crowd below me.
I’m thrilled and relieved to say I now actually enjoy my opening receptions. I love to meet new people and get feedback on my work. I especially like when my work evokes a reaction. And I like to know that I can handle the silences that to me, always feel like rejection. It feels good to know I have become a person who is dedicated and determined to do my work no matter what others think. I cherish the support from friends and family who come even though they may have already seen my work. And I like believing that I may be touching people who I will never meet and I will never know my work made a difference.
So please join me at the Orange Cat Cafe on Elm Street in Glens Falls NY tomorrow night from 5-8 pm. You can pick up a map of all the other businesses in town that will be exhibiting artists works at Red Fox Books and the Shirt Factory. I’m going to sneak out at around 6pm to check out the Lion Dance at Art in the Public Eye’s new Vantage Gallery (it’s just across the parking lot). And don’t forget to have one of the chocolate cherry cookies from the Orange Cat Cafe’s bakery.