Richard Serra – RIP

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

I was fortunate to have met Richard Serra on several occasions. The first time, Judy Chicago called Sidney Felsen and arranged for me and Suzanne Lacy to visit Gemini Studio late one night. Mark Stock was assisting Richard at the press. Suzanne and I honored the creative process, knowing well not to interrupt; but observing the artist at work was a singular and rewarding experience. Decades later I viewed the work from the night at his retrospective at SFMOMA with my son and grandson. The next time we met he was in Bellingham considering the site for his piece on the campus of Western Washington University. It was an honor to sit next to him at the dinner the university hosted celebrating him. And it was exhilarating to hear him talk about art history, the importance of artists like Picasso and Pollock. When he returned for the installation of Wright’s Triangle he allowed me to shadow him for several days while he worked with the installation crew. He took an interest in my old German camera, a Leica IIf which was unobtrusive, except for an accessory viewfinder (Vidom) which piqued his curiosity. The morning following the installation and site clean-up I found Richard in deep concentration, observing his newly completed work, looking at the site with pathways to be redesigned. As with any change, and especially something new and bold, it took a while before people learned to love it.

The last time I saw him was in Seattle in Belltown, near what would eventually become the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. We spoke that day about an exhibition curated by the late Gene Baro, of Black and White Drawings which included works by both of us. A few years later our works hung side by side at an exhibition at the former Seattle Art Museum Pavilion in a selection of art from Seattle’s Portable Art Collection.
As of this writing, I am preparing to move to a live workspace very close to where we last spoke, and like Wright’s Triangle that I experienced daily over many years, I look forward to many visits to Wake. edit: we have returned to Seattle and are within walking distance to the sculpture park. I’ve included recent photographs of Richard Serra’s beautiful sculpture; it gets better with each viewing.


Fred A. Bernstein writing in the Washington Post offers a moving obituary

Richard Serra – Reverse Curve

Seattle Art Museum – Olympic Sculpture Park

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Griffin Lithography Press

Griffin Lithography Press

I’m happy to report that the Griffin Litho Press is moving to Westport on the Washington coast.

I’m happy to see this beauty continue the legacy of stone printmaking.

An early 32” x 60” non-motorized Griffin, serial #0040. Original paint.
Includes false bed, scraper bars, tympan, covered shelf, and lower shelving/support for hydraulic lift for moving press in the studio.
A couple of nice stones, small, c. 16″ x 20″. One is a beautiful blue stone.
A leather hand roller; custom made by Craig Cornwall. It was barely broken in and has been wrapped for a number of years. It has rosewood handles.
Several ball-grained aluminum plates, c. 26×36” a good number photo- positive working aluminum plates and chemistry, unopened.

This press is located near Olympia, Washington and is fully functional and is a joy to use for stone and aluminum plate lithography, monotype, and relief printmaking.

It will be active in the print community and no doubt inspire others in practice of lithography.


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Joe Feddersen

Joe Feddersen

I went to the opening of Joe Feddersen’s current show Extended Family at Adams and Ollman in Portland. The main gallery space features Charmed, Canoe Journey, a fused glass installation comprised of individual symbols that we have seen him develop over the many decades we’ve followed his work. Visual symbols culled from his vocabulary of traditional Plateau designs  and layered with signifiers from contemporary living, images that we all experience daily. A variety of signs often overlooked but brought to the forefront by the artist: parking lot lines, electrical transmission lines, radioactive signs, railroad crossings, various animals, and signs for peace. This fused glass installation floats in front of the wall, gently moving as the air in the gallery changes, as visitors move in the space; simultaneously, the light dances on the individual elements casting a maze of delicate shadows. The subtlety and delicacy of this work is rewarding, with cross cultural references to graffiti culture and marks found in the distant past on rock cliffs and underground walls.

I’m reminded of the first Charmed installation I saw about ten years ago at the Gorman Gallery of Native American Art. The gallery is named in honor of emeritus faculty member Carl Nelson Gorman, at the University of California at Davis. That exhibition titled “Together Again” featured four artists, Rick Bartow, Joe Feddersen, Lillian Pitt, and Gail Tremblay.

Joe Feddersen is a highly respected artist, colleague, collaborator, friend and member of a community to all who know him. At first, I was aware of Feddersen as primarily a studio artist, and as I became more knowledgeable about his entire oeuvre, I learned of his involvement in a far-reaching community, and the importance to him of contributing to and sharing with that community. Around 25 years ago, Joe gave a presentation to a university seminar and was accompanied to the lecture by friend and collaborator Elizabeth Woody. During that era, they were both faculty members at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. They had recently been featured in a show in Atlanta; the slide show featured a collaborative work where text was etched on glass shelves; because of the height of the shelves, it would have been difficult “to read” the text. In this case the objects, the shelves, weren’t as important as the content. When illuminated, the text was revealed, ephemerally, on the wall below as the light passed through the glass shelves.

For the current exhibition in Portland, in addition to another glass artwork that uses illumination symbolically as well as physically, Joe has created many intimate scaled collages, abstract in nature, loaded with personal meaning that reaches out to touch all of us. These collages speak to the importance of family and community and were created from his collection of papers amassed over decades of working in print media. Several are reproduced in Shannon Lieberman’s excellent review in Oregon Artswatch. In the smaller gallery are a sampling of symbol laden basket forms, in glass or hand-woven linen.

The exhibition continues through November 25th.

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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Larry Bell, Little Red Riding Hood, 1962 Untitled, c. 1980

Larry Bell:  Little Red Riding Hood, 1962;   Untitled, c. 1980

A recent visit to La Jolla gave me the opportunity to see the newly remodeled Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego by Annebelle Selfdorf and her architectural team. The visit caused me to reflect on the many visits I have made to this museum over several decades and the role it has played in my development as an artist.  Continue reading →

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