I'm pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting my work in two solo shows this fall. First up will be "Fantastic Foliage" at the Jonal Gallery in Columbia, PA, showcasing my botanical work and including "Sycamore", above. The exhibit statement:
"Fiber artist Sue Reno takes a closer look at the incredible variety of foliage shapes and forms that surround us in the lush environs of Lancaster County. From plants cultivated in her organic garden to the wild vegetation of the woods, she uses a variety of textile surface design techniques to record and interpret the leafy wonders of our world."
It's worth stopping by the gallery just to see the care and attention to detail that the owners used throughout in renovating the building. The hardwood floor in the Labyrinth Gallery has been painstaking embossed and stained in a complex pattern--hence the name--and I'm excited to be able to hang my work in such an aesthetically pleasing space.
Next up in October is my "Flora and Fauna" exhibit at the Arts Orientation center of the PA Arts Experience on 114 N. Prince St., Lancaster, PA, including "Groundhog and Green Bean" (detail above). The exhibit statement:
"Fiber artist Sue Reno debuts work from her new series, Flora and Fauna, where she examines in detail animals and plants commonly encountered in Lancaster County. Using digital images of animal skulls combined with cyanotypes, monoprints and vintage textiles, her work explores our relationships with the life forms that share our environment. "
I'll be posting more details about the works included in both shows as they draw closer, including dates and times for the receptions. And now it's back to work in the studio to prepare.
I am so enjoying working on the Flora and Fauna series. I've now printed all the images I need, both of the animal bones and the associated plants. I've got ten of them in the works, all very different aside from the common premise, but I also envision this as an ongoing series. I find the details of the skulls so interesting; the way the teeth differ according to the diet, and how large the eye sockets are, and way the sinus cavities are arranged. I like the way the cyanotypes abstract the images just enough to keep them from (hopefully) being off putting to those who imagine themselves squeamish about such things, without losing the essential character of the animal.
I've just finished designing and stitching together the top for "Groundhog and Green Bean". The photo above is looking down on the inside of the top part of the skull. There are the two large incisors at the front, then a gap, then a set of molars. Looks a bit like an alien life form in this view, doesn't it?
Anyone with a garden will appreciate my choice of green bean for the associated flora. My green beans are now fenced in with chicken wire, so they are safe. The key is to keep the fencing a bit loose, not taut; they could climb over it if they really wanted to, but the instability is off putting. The only veggies that are not fenced off are the tomatoes, and after several years of crop failure they are looking good this season; tonight I saw a young adult whistle pig checking them out....we haven't had one in residence, as it were, for a few years, but apparently the battle for supremacy, and tomatoes, is about to begin anew.
Here's a side view of the upper and lower skull and jaw. Those teeth are one of the reasons--the claws are another--that you don't want to mess around with a cornered and defensive groundhog. We once had a dog, a German Shepard mix, who had the knack of digging them out of their hole and dispatching them with a single shake, but an inexperienced or dim-witted dog (not to suggest that YOUR dog could possibly be dimwitted) can get seriously injured. I have a farming neighbor who kept track of the groundhogs his dog killed, and over a ten year span she was at something like 87. She was a sweet Shepard, good with children, but took her job of protecting the corn fields and her family's livelihood very seriously.
Personally I prefer to co-exist whenever possible with the wildlife that fits into this niche where the suburbs and woods and fields converge; I have that luxury. I won't trap or shoot or set the dogs on my the latest groundhog, should he/she take up permanent residence. I will curse it roundly, distract it with corn cobs and melon rinds on the compost pile, and hopefully get to work and fence off the tomatoes.
All of the fabrics in this top are ones I've printed or painted myself, with the exception of that gorgeous gray speckled one in the last photo. That's a "sugar dye" from the studio of the talented Deb Lacativa, who dyes them for her own use but parts with a few on occasion.
A quick reminder to anyone attending the Arts Fest at Penn State this week--my "White Mulberry" and "Plume Poppy" are on display at the Robeson Gallery in Images 2010 until the 11th.