March 18, 2010

Today's Feature: Watt & Shand #10

First of all, some exciting news--I was featured in today's edition of the Lancaster Newspaper, in conjunction with the AQS show coming to town next week, and with coverage of my solo show opening tomorrow. There's even a great picture of me in front of Big Root Geranium, which will be at the AQS show. Read all about it here.

Today we've reached the end of the series with Watt & Shand #10, with images from May 2008. This one is about edges and the compartmentalization of space. During most of the construction project, the edge of the original Watt & Shand building on the east side of King St. was a bit of an awkward space. The facade ended abruptly and the corner was not yet visually integrated into the new construction. It did provide tantalizing and incomplete glimpses into the interior.

The new construction, on the other hand, was very straightforward, rising floor by floor in a systematic way, with a grid of future hotel rooms emerging. Added to the visual complexity was the angular scaffolding still supporting the facade.

At this point in the series, having stitched the outlines of the scaffolding and the facade and the new construction numerous times and in great detail, I knew it intimately and was very comfortable working with it. I was also getting a bit too comfortable with my ongoing color scheme, and felt like I had explored it as far as I cared to, so I threw caution to the winds and mixed it up a bit by pushing the Prussian blue tones of the cyanotypes into purple hues. From there it was an easy leap to picking up the bright greens of the tree foliage, and I found a piece of heavy silk twill woven in purple and green that made me very happy. The silk plaid used in the borders echoes the lines of the beams and girders. Here's one of the photos I used for the prints. I especially like that temporary platform in the upper left; it looks a bit like a springboard.
Another photo, with the platform jutting out, a plethora of of small spaces taking shape, and a good clear shot of the ornate "Watt & Shand" legend on the cornice.

It's been an extremely positive experience for me to produce this series of works. I enjoyed the mental preoccupation of thinking about it on some level for over two years and the discipline of physically creating it starting in January of 2009. I am especially appreciate of you, my friends and blog visitors, for keeping me company and for your support and encouragement throughout the process.
I feel like I have said what I needed to say, I have done the work I was driven to do, I have put in all the effort needed to get the series out into the world, and I am at the happy conclusion of this journey. In other words, it's Party Time! I hope to see you at the Arts Hotel Gallery this Friday 3/19 from 6-8, next Thursday 3/25 from 5-8, or on "First Friday", 4/2 from 5-8. If you can't make it in person, I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour, and thanks again for taking this ride with me.


Kimberly said...

I've enjoyed reading about the series Sue. Your discussions of your color choices for the different pieces have been very illuminating. I do have a question about how you've used color in the series. I was wondering when you choose the palette for a piece how much of your color choices are based on intellectual decisions, such as you described here, or whether you work more on instinct and then go back and figure out why and/or how your color choices worked.

I'm hoping I get to attend the Thursday reception if I head to Lancaster for the show that day. But regardless, I have the Art Hotel programmed into my GPS as a planned stop on my trip to Lancaster.

Sue Reno said...

Excellent question, Kimberly. For me the color choices start out as an intellectual process that often morphs once I start pulling the fabrics. There are so many variables of hue and texture with each individual fabric that I need to let my reactions to them individually and in combination rule the construction process. Then when the quilt is done, I look it over and am sometimes surprised by what has happened, and figure it out intellectually again. So it's a circular process.

Thanks for the kind words, and I hope to see you when you come to town.

Terri said...

I saw your exhibit this week-end past. It is truly inspirational.
Thank you.

Jeff in FtL said...

I very much enjoyed looking at your photos of the Watt & Shand building conversion. The old facade very much reminds me of a building on Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia, that was incorporated into the downtown mall. I tried to past the photos in to this box, but it wouldn't let me. Anyhow, I very much enjoyed looking at your photos.

Jeff in Fort Lauderdale, FL, originally from Shamokin, PA.

Sue Reno said...

Thanks, Jeff, I'm glad you found my work and enjoyed it.