Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log

"A Winter Memory"
Oh, these hot, humid days of Summer! Mmmm, we can complain, can’t we? I thought I’d remind us all of what we left behind us only a few months ago. But I’ve not chosen a photo showing the freezing furies of Winter. Instead I have chosen one reminding us of the gentle beauties of our Valley in Winter.

This shot was taken at the corner of Oak Hill and Stage Roads when I was wandering about after our last snow storm. How beautiful the skies were. How serene and bright were the buildings and land with their thick dusting of pure white snow .

I remember being so happy with the soft skies and the delicate sunlight day, yet anticipating that soon the land would be a carpet of green grasses and wild and cultivated flowers, the fields thick and lush with growing crops of wheat, corn, strawberries, tomatoes, soy beans, timothy. Oh, I was longing for the penetrating warmth and brightness of the sunshine to come. At that time (oh how frail our human memories) I did not remember the sweltering heat which also accompanies the Summer months.

So, today I went in search of memories of Winter and found this painting-like photograph in my archives. It refreshes me...and reminds me all the seasons have their beauties and hardships. I pray you and yours are keeping cool and well on these hottest days.
Until next week....

-June Mohan

Photos: (Copyright Mohan 2007) To contact the artist, please send email to: junemohan@hotmail.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


There will be a preview of the posthumous work by Hannah Wilke at "The Incubator" (Varak Park, 15W Main Street- in the main entrance of the large brick factory building...follow signs) in Cambridge, NY, Sunday July 29, 2007, before it travels to SoHo in New York City, this fall. The Incubator will be open from 1 to 5 PM and again from 7-9 PM .

The IntraVenus Tapes is a world class artwork dealing with the personal and communal experience of living and dying. Although it is not an easy piece- joy and pain exist simultaneously- IntraVenus is hugely compelling and transformative work of art.

The piece runs about 2 hours. It is not necessary to see all of it or to see it chronologically. Viewers are invited to come and go as they please.

Don and Helen Goddard will be at the gallery on the 29th as well. Don was Hannah's husband and producer/participant of/in IntraVenus. They are delightful, articulate people, and more than willing to talk about the work, Hannah's work, feminism and art… life.

For more information email:jdcarlson2001@yahoo.com.

The IntraVenus Tapes opens along with other works by Hannah at the Ronald Feldman Gallery, 31 Mercer Street, New York, NY on September 8, 2007 and runs through October 13, 2007. Please spread the word. --John Carlson and Katy Schonbeck.

Don Goddard on the making of the piece:
"The IntraVenus Tapes of Hannah Wilke is a video grid of 16 monitors, each of them showing almost two hours of video (cumulatively about 30 hours transferred to DVD) shot during the last two and a half years of Hannah Wilke's life. She died of lymphoma on January 28, 1993 in Houston, Texas, and the tapes record parts of her life from summer 1990 until her death.

I did much of the shooting, Hannah did a lot, and other friends and relatives joined in. The tapes begin in Easthampton, Long Island, and end in Houston. Hannah lived with her illness throughout this time, and its presence becomes more and more evident in the later tapes. There are times with friends, swimming, eating, talking, Hannah working, me working, Hannah's show in Boston, flowers, trees, birds, ocean surf, trips to my parents in Arizona and Hannah's sister in Los Angeles, listening to music, Hannah in our loft, Hannah in the hospital, chemotherapy, radiation, bone-marrow transplant, our wedding, treatment and final days in Houston. Some of it is funny because Hannah was. Some is not funny at all.

About halfway through the shooting of these last tapes, she began to think of them as a video installation, and she and I often discussed how it should be done. Several times on these tapes she talks about her ideas for the installation

The installation uses all 30 hours of tape, almost two hours on each monitor, so that, chronologically, the first two hours are in the upper left-hand corner of the monitor grid and the last two hours in the lower right-hand corner. The simultaneous showing of all sixteen tapes creates a compression and an overlapping of time and space.

All tapes begin at the same time and end near the same time, in a closely staggered finish. No editing of the visual material has been done except to eliminate some of the blank spots. Sound has been edited so that tracks from all 16 tapes are not heard at the same time but are structured in a comprehensible and evocative way. At any given moment one source may be heard, or none, or three, or even as many as six, if appropriate, the sounds of Hannah talking, others talking, conversations, waves crashing, birds singing, opera singers singing, cars, laughter, crowds, weeping, television, wind, etc. The sound comes not from a single source but from the appropriate monitors. In a way that I think conforms to Hannah's ideas and the nature of the piece, the monitor screens are hung in a grid on a plain white wall, at a level that can be intimately or comprehensively viewed both standing up and sitting down.

The sixteen videotapes were originally shot as 8mm on a Sony camcorder. I had Beta and VHS copies made of these with timecode in 1995 so that I could begin the viewing and timing process. The IntraVenus Tapes were transferred to DVDs which are shown on flat-screen monitors. Digital masters were made from all the existing original tapes and a graded log of all the soundtracks was created to provide the structure for the final master matrix control system."


Hannah Wilke: Venus and IntraVenus

Hannah Wilke was born Arlene Hannah Butter on March 7, 1940, in New York City, a month before Nazi Germany invaded Denmark and began their conquest of Western Europe. Hannah’s only sibling, her sister Marsie, had been born 15½ months earlier, just days after Kristallnacht, when the persecution and destruction of the Jewish population in Germany had begun in earnest.

Hannah Wilke at Westbeth, NY, with one-fold gestural ceramic sculptures before firing, 1973 (Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York)

“As an American girl born with the name Butter in 1940, I was often confused when I heard what it was like to be used, to be spread, to feel soft, to melt in your mouth. To also remember that as a Jew, during the war, I would have been branded and buried had I not been born in America. Starification-Scarification . . . Jew, Black, Christian, Muslim …Claes, Richard, Donald . . . Labeling people instead of listening to them . . . Judging according to primitive prejudices. Marxism and Art. Fascistic feelings, internal wounds, made from external situations. Sticks and stones, break our bones, but names more often hurt us . . . Yet to name a thing wherein I caught the consciences of the King as well as the Queen . . . to keep on naming a thing . . . to wear my hat, the memory of all that, until that thing is really something. To exist instead of being an existentialist, to make objects instead of being one. The way my smile just gleams, the way I sip my tea. To be a sugar giver instead of a salt cellar, to not sell out . . . The memory of all that, now that’s really something . . . Oh, no they can’t take that away from me . . . No, they can’t take that away from me.” --Hannah Wilke, (statement used in her video performance at the London Art Gallery, London, Ont., Can., 1977, originally part of her application for a Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation grant.)

There have always been grave markers, it seems, fields of them in the ground and under the sky, repeating the ancient forms of monuments that mark human conscience as well as death, presence as well as absence. They were important to Hannah, perhaps because of the Holocaust, and her father’s death when she was 20. She played among them and, in defiance, or continuity, created her own life markers, in sculpture, painting, drawing, performance, photographs, and moving images, insisting on herself and on every form that came out of her. It is the nature of her feminism, a question of original will (and interaction). Everything she did is assertion and evidence of self, her gestures in shaping clay and chewing gum, the posing and movement of her body, her relationships to those around her and in her life.

Beginning with her earliest work, Hannah’s imagery is generative. Fiberglass pieces she did during and after art school in Philadelphia have such titles as The Sun, Fountain, and Anthropofaunic Form. Her drawings and ceramic sculptures of the 1960s are amazingly direct in the abstract energy of their vaginal, occasionally, phallic, and always sexual imagery. Increasingly in the late 1960s and into the ‘70s, her work in ceramics, then latex, kneaded eraser, and chewing gum, is the immediate expression of gesture, of how she shaped the materials with her hands, and by extension her body, rather than by carving or modeling. There were also new contexts, a pictorial proliferation, for the shapes—grids (for the chewing gum pieces) and landscapes (the floor for groups of ceramics, postcards, and abstract extensions thereof for the kneaded erasers).

Hannah did the latex wall pieces, which became great blossomings of sensual and sexual feeling, only through 1976, but she continued to make glazed and painted ceramic sculpture for the rest of her life. The last one, a floor piece finished in 1992, is a grouping of black-painted shapes on a square eight-by-eight-foot grid of 25 black-painted boards—a memorial, like all her work.

Untitled, 1987-92 (Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York)

But in the early‘70s Hannah also began to use photographic images of herself, and this too was to continue until her death. In her first video, Gestures of 1974, she pushed and pulled at her face as though to feel her emotions after hearing of her former brother-in-law’s death. Hannah Wilke Super-T-Art, also 1974, is a five-by-four grid of black-and-white images in which Hannah cloaks her naked body in a white sheet, assuming poses familiar from the history of Christian art, from supplication to Crucifixion. In the same year, she posed outrageously, and nakedly, as a fashion model adorned by various significant hats, vests, sunglasses, and patterns of chewing-gum sculptures as wounds in S.O.S. Starification Object Series.

Among other things, she then did a striptease, Through the Large Glass, for a German movie about Marcel Duchamp; an installation called So Help Me Hannah: Snatch Shots with Rayguns involving 46 black-and-white photos, 100 quotes about society by (mostly) male artists, politicians, philosophers, etc., and omnipresent gun objects; hundreds of photos of her mother as she lived with terminal breast cancer; and finally, of course, the watercolors, drawings, photos, and videos that accompanied her own battle with cancer from 1986 through 1993.

WILKE--So Help Me Hannah, 1978 (Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York)

I worked with Hannah on several projects, including the last one, and I always felt, as I held the camera, that she was looking at herself, the coordinates of space around her, and the world in general from her eyes through my eyes. The grid of The IntraVenus Tapes collapses time and space, as the grid always did in her work, to contain the simultaneity of life. I hope it turned out the way she would have wanted it, but then she had as much faith in others as she had in herself. Hannah is still present, as we all are. And all of us can still see from her eyes. --Donald Goddard

Don Goddard views “IntraVenus” for the first time at "The Incubator" at Varak Park, Cambridge, NY (Photograph: John Carlson 2007)

IntraVenus will be opening Sept. 8, 6-8pm shown at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 31 Mercer St., New York, NY, and shown through Oct. 13, 2007.

The piece will be previewed here in Cambridge, NY, Sunday July 29th at The Incubator in Varak Park, 15 W Main Street from 1 pm – 5 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm.

For information contact jdcarlson2001@yahoo.com.

(Note on IntraVenus Installation) ”The installation was made possible in part by the Franklin Furnace for Performance Art, supported by the Jerome Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.”

Garlic Harvest Garlic Harvest

We harvested our garlic yesterday. I love garlic. Everything about it; the process of planting it in the fall, anticipating it's lush green shoots in the early spring, watching it grow, enjoying the mild garlic taste of the scapes in late spring, and (usually) harvesting it early in July. Of course, no story about garlic would be complete without mentioning months of culinary enjoyment flavored by it's distinct, aromatic bite!

Got news that made me sad yesterday. Hilary and Roger (both contributors to CambridgeBuzz) had to put their dog Merlin to sleep after weeks of seizures, and another good friend, lost her Mom quite unexpectedly over the weekend.

Thank goodness for garlic, and the harvest. Reminded me as I empathized with the grief of my friends losses, that the cycle of life brings us many pains and joys, and the simple acts like touching the earth yesterday, and extracting it's flavor and food, are what for me makes being alive valuable.

I hope today, I can remember to smell the flowers.

Cambridge Life 7/25/07 Cambridge Life 7/25/07

Summer is half over and I've still so much I want to do. My summer has been zipping by. I've had weddings to attend, trees to plant, tomato plants to tend, and weekend get aways. One weekend to remember started with a trip down to Baltimore to visit my sister.

My sister Robin is an amazing person, but when she calls and says that she needs to do some serious chilling out, and if I visit she'll treat me to a day at the spa...I hear spa and you don't have to ask me twice, I'm there!

So have you ever heard of a Vichy Shower? I hadn't either, but being it's a spa treatment, I figured it had something to do with fancy water from France. Well, water yes, from France I don't know. What I do know is this....I now know what it feels like to be detailed (you know, like a car!).

First you go into this lovely room with soft music, candles and wonderfully relaxing smells. I believe lavender and green mint was used. You're totally undressed and wrapped in a luxurious terry towel. You hop onto a soft table, laying down on your back. The "treatment specialist" comes into the room, wraps your hair in another towel and places a warm compress over your eyes. As you lay in the candlelit room, she begins to anoint you with warm scented oil. Then they take these sea salts (which felt like huge crystals of salt) and scrub your arms, legs, and torso. You turn over and they do the same to your back. Just when you think you can't get any cleaner, you begin to hear the sound of a powerful shower. The room begins to fill with steam, warm water drops down from the ceiling giving you a spinal massage. You begin to breath-in the essence of lavender and eucalyptus and then...they turn the power washer around and spend a half hour washing you off. It was the best shower massage you can imagine. I was finished off with a warm wax (sort of like simonize for humans). It took one hour and I could hardly walk afterward I was so relaxed.

Vichy Shower led to "ladies lunch" at the spa complete with cucumber water. Lunch was followed by a one hour relaxation massage.

That was one fantastic treat! I'm going back down to my sister's this weekend. We'll hang-out at her pool, probably see a good movie, but if I can talk her into another trip to the spa....

How will you enjoy your summer in Cambridge, NY. To contribute to the CAMBRIDGEBUZZ, send an email to Debra Pearlman Tell me what your summer is like, send photos of what you're doing, and see it posted to the Cambridgebuzz.

Have a great time this summer!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log

"At Rest"

July 2007 - visiting my favorite beaver pond in the Valley. My dearest friend, Cheryl, was with me. We had not been together on a photo shoot since early Autumn and were overjoyed to be together. Stopping at the pond we offered a prayer up that we might have something to photograph. Immediately dragonflies began swirling around the pond and dive-bombing our car. Then colonies of polliwog and frogs began stirring around atop and beneath the shallow waters, the frogs croaking back and forth to one another, perhaps discussing the huge white frog that was now sitting on the bank of the pond making strange clicking, whirring, “ooh-ing” “ahh-ing” sounds, rather than croaks. (I often wonder just how creatures would describe me in their own languages, if they could ,when they hear and view me in my car as I stalk and photograph them.)

Suddenly red-wing blackbirds took flight right towards us, their brilliant red-orange shoulders glowing in the sunlight as I unsuccessfully tried to capture the colors in flight. Cheryl suddenly whispered, “look, look!” pointing to the corn field just behind the pond. There were two deer gamboling through the shoulder-high stalks of corn, stopping for a nibble now and then, but continuing to progress towards the forest’s edge in cautious alarm of our presence.

Cheryl and I were just thrilled by the beautiful creatures we were being given the opportunity to observe and photograph when, out of the corner of my eye, movement darting then going still attracted me. There on a blade of grass next to the car a dragonfly had just alighted, wings shining like newly cleaned window panes, contrasting arctic whites and mahogany browns and rose-blue violets alive with more glistening points of sunlight. As I watched him I could see him turning his head and craning to watch me also. Was I a danger or just a curiosity? Since he sat there for three minutes I believe I had been deemed no danger. Having caught his second wind he took off as quickly as he had set down, apparently eager to continue the “catch-me-if-you-can” flight games he and his friends had been playing all around the pond.

Filled to the brim with the joy of so much nature being offered to us just out the window of our car in ten minutes’ time, we drove on to find more beautiful and interesting things to photograph, so grateful for answered prayer. What a day we had. I am hoping we can go out shooting again soon. -June Mohan

Photos: (Copyright Mohan 2007) To contact the artist, please send email to: junemohan@hotmail.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Hope to see many of you touring the studios and meeting some of the amazing creative talents found in our area!
Click on the below link for more information and a site map of the tour.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log


July 2007 - Whenever I visit any of the many wetlands in our Cambridge Valley area I always leave with a sense of peace. That is what this photo represents. Long shadows of evening were everywhere on the land. In the water the setting sun created flawless reflections. As I absorbed the beauty and peace of this place I noticed this little water plant standing allalone in a large expanse of water. As the minutes passed I began to see the last rays of the sun suddenly lighting upon its tip then flowing down it’s stem. The image was very profound in its Asian-like simplicity. It was going to become a pure moment to be captured in a photo. As I focused on the little plant God decided to add one last impeccable embellishment. A little fish touched the water’s surface at the plant’s stem, creating a perfect ripple. “Click”. A picture of God’s peace to end my day’s work.
-June Mohan

Photos: (Copyright Mohan 2007) To contact the artist, please send email to: junemohan@hotmail.com