by YONA C. RIEL

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Journey to the Inside; day five... more older work..

    Before I came back to Eugene in 2002 I had been using found objects in my collage.   Everything from scrap metal found on Point Isabel to repurposing my own canvases and seaglass.  When I moved back here my first home was a warehouse in the Whitetaker just a block off the railroad tracks.  Soon walking the tracks looking for odd metal things to use in my art became a regular way to pass the time. 
   One day, I walked the other way and discovered a place called MECCA.  At that time it was located in a funky building on Railroad Blvd and a woman, Jennifer FG was MECCA's new director.  She too had just moved from the bay area and was interested in making art from castaways (which is why she took the MECCA job).  We became fast friends.  I remember spending a lot of time there rummaging through donated bottle caps, tiles and strange plastic doodads for artistic inspiration. 
    I am not really sure how or why I challenged myself to make a piece from cigarette butts.  I had tried a few times before I left the bay area with disastrous results.  But one day after making a piece from used tea-bags that my friend Alice promptly bought I became re-inspired to try again. 

     This isn't a very good picture of the piece I called "Old Bags".  Once the tea bags were opened up they looked like dresses to me.  Each bag had it's own unique hue depending on how long it had been steeped and how much it had dried out after being used.  I thought of the tags as heads and the strings attaching the tags as arms, although in this picture you can't really make out the strings.         
     Sometime while I was making this piece I got the idea to use the paper from cigarettes that did not have filters.  Just like with the teabags, after I unrolled each butt the tiny pieces of paper had their own unique qualities.
    The dress is made entirely from the papers of over a hundred cigarette butts; the burnt edges reminding me of ruffles.  For the head I used a cut out from an old Monopoly box.  The collage was made onto a patina-ed door that I nailed tacks down the left side and across the bottom.  Then I added an old Mexican metal piece I had hanging around.  The breasts were made using white plastic beads and tacked into place.  Yes I painted the tips of the tacks red to match not only her 'eyes' but the red 'donut' in her necklace. 
   Thanks for reading friends and as always your comments are greatly appreciated.  I may or may not have another teabag piece made by the time this show goes up but the Lady made from cigarette butts will definitely be at the show.  She doesn't even smell like old cigs anymore....  :) yona c. riel

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Journey to the Inside; day four... older work..

     Last night as I reviewed thousands of digital photographs it felt very much like going through a photo album with my Aunt Pauline back in April when I last visited her.  The big difference was instead of weddings, funerals and 90th birthday party photos there were dyke march photos from 2005,  Amsterdam photos from 2002 and random art shots taken all over the bay area.   I was plunged into the past.  Some photos brought up good memories, some not so much.  Once I get the pictures framed and photographed I will include them here.  Only my favorites,  promise.
    Today I am going back to the not too distant past (2003).  I was infatuated with Golden's new Quinacridone colors and abstraction.  The first piece was entered into the Mayor's art show in 2003.  I did not get in but when the Salon de Refuse' show was reviewed by the Eugene Weekly,  Molly Templeton did make mention of it. 
     There are five or six layers of collage work including strips of text from old books, tissue paper from sewing patterns, several washes of acrylic paint, and oil based pastels accentuating certain areas.  I wanted the piece to land somewhere in-between total abstraction and a hint of a story-line.  There are two figures, one large and centered with the letter 'B'.  The figure looks as though it may step upon a smaller figure appearing in the lower right hand corner.  The blue lines made to look like dressmaker's chalk served to connect the figures energetically and visually. 
    What I like about the piece is the texture made by the the patterned tissue paper, that whatever story line there is leaves a lot of room for interpretation and the way the print comes through in various areas.  I can dig deeper each time I look at this piece and extract a different story. 
    The next piece is also done during the same period (2003) and by the looks of it I am again smitten with Quinacridone Gold.   Judging by the look and content my guess is it is a practice piece that allowed me to experiment with the color pallet in the piece above.
     Instead of embedding the words under tissue paper I wrote a poem onto the piece in oil pastels after layering and texturing it with several washes of colors.   The poem is about 'Art' and says, "In the beginning there was Desire.  Once Desire discovered Movement the two fell in love giving birth to Color.  A cacophony ensued... and then there was Art".
    It is framed and is approximately 21" across and 25" long.   Thanks for reading.  Yona C. Riel