Wednesday, June 30, 2010

celebrating the best of friendships after over twenty years....

Yesterday we celebrated with two dear friends who have blessed our lives for over 20 years...Jimmy Acord and Susi Shie's 20th wedding anniversary! Jimmy had just arrived home from Michigan for a fishing expedition with some of his fly fishing clients and a week of camping in the best of Nature. He may have been tired but we tried to ease him into relaxation and pure celebration. Susie had worked all week on her healing quilt for our beloved and besieged Gulf of Mexico for her political call to arms for the next Quilt National in 2011. They arrived around six pm and we headed out for a steak and lobster feast at our Ruby Tuesday restaurant. This is a very rare extravagance for our budget but the night was young and we had not had intimate time to just sit, laugh, chat and share our lives together ...well for a very long time. Why is it that we often put our friendships on the back burner and forget to include them in nourishing our lives with time to just be together? I realize health, careers, families, economies and well Life just gets in the way and we all ended in the promise to make time for each other...because time is all we really have to give. We came home and had a dining room table counsel about our dreams and new journeys...teaching abroad in England...further travel with the incredible fly fishing committee...Ken's return to teaching the gifted program in the fall ... and me moving my studio downtown back in the middle of the art world here in Licking county. We were all safe and surrounded by love in an environment where we could risk sharing our dreams and ask for advice in the next couple of months. A wonderful bottle of delicious Merlot and hours of laughter with Natalie Merchant's melodic voice flowing through the room in the back ground. I hope you can feel the magic I held in my heart with these loving friends...the night was cool magic with magic moments to cherish as we move forward in our lives. Our inspirations, devotions, inspirations and affirmations for our and oh so fragile exposure in a night of dreams.

I am watching Bravo's "Works of Art" tonight where the individuals are asked to create their own shocking works...Andres Serrano had a gallery exhibit of his most controversial images to provoke the minds of the artists to widen their lenses and stretch their individual comfort zones. Serrano believes his works should evoke a strong reaction... a shock...vs. our society's indifference in their responses to seeing Art. Photo shoots with nudity and exposure and the male gaze following her every move, sexual abuse against children, the Catholic church's shame and perversion with pedophile priests, amputations phobias, perversion in sexual diversions, contour line drawing of Disney's mouse with inappropriate genitalia, twins in a dark herpes and syphilis advertisements and contradictions and a structure created by insects and possible aliens ...we will have to wait to see how the program develops in a very provocative inspirations.
The questions remain to what direction each individual is taking in their lives journey as a contemporary artist in the new century... what will be their personal limits they raise for their mark making and what technologies will be employed as their design elements in these controversial works of Art. Religions and spiritual beliefs are frequent themes and sexual gratifications have risen and a confusing alien performance art in a discovery process...there do not seem to be any evident clues to this artist conclusion of her hypothesis . Now they have been told that two people will be eliminated in this particular competition. Competition is a very tricky experience when an individual is given a time limit to perform an assigned yet difficult task. The time passes quickly and this exhibit is definitely questionable...I am questioning my artistic ethics and prejudices...maybe that was Serrano's whole objective? Black men as sculptural live bombs...who will come out a winner??? Is this the right word? I do not know. Iconography for some of the youngest artists is an eye opener for me and my personal experiences. Inferences, misunderstandings, vandalism, revelations, cosmic explorations and confusing explanations but disturbing uncomfortable recognitions of metaphors for really seeing violence and possible homelessness as aliens. Ritualistic approaches and uncomfortable feelings with social complaints and last supper compositions...the competition is thought provoking and confusing simultaneously for my personal interpretations of this project. I I know I am grateful to not be in this type of Art competition. What does that say about my prejudices and my ideas about making Art? Abdi's blackman bomb sculptures won the competition and two other taboos were just not up to par...Naomi and John were eliminated this week. (John won last week's challenge and Naomi's failure was accepted as part of the artist's life process.)

Tomorrow I need to make a few errands and deliveries early in the day and do a couple of loads of laundry so we will be equipped and ready to share our home with our next guests. In the evening there is opening night for Weathervane's Theater production of "The Producers" and the opening evening get together with the audience and cast after the show. I have begun to write my thank yous for the people who came to my opening and luncheon gallery talk. I feel I have been generously supported in my vision and have so much work to do...well to say this is an exciting time in my heart's openly my life as an artist. This community is embracing my vision and I feel hopeful in taking this step into the unknown.

I am hoping you will enjoy my days are busy selecting supplies, furnishings, and work on a small work for an exhibit Kindred Spirits. My mind is processing but my body is just tired and needs to make up for a too busy couple of days. Have a great week. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


  1. Hi!
    Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. I very much enjoyed reading about the Bravo "art competition" show on yours. I don't watch television all that much. Yet, I saw an advertisement for the program and wondered about how this would unfold for both artists and viewing audience. Your description has renewed my interest....not so much about the art but about thought-provoking images and the experience of witnessing "art under pressure". I'm sure most artists would find the stress unbearable but the intellectual assignment would undoubtedly stretch ones abilities to
    "think outside the box" and try new conceptual approaches. Very, very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.
    PS I'm from Columbia.....a graduate of The Ohio State University in 1980 with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. I also loved seeing Susan Shie's quilt in your post. I was able to see one of her pieces at the Wayne Art Center when attending Art Quilt Elements 2010. My piece in that show actually sold! Being new to the world of art quilts, it was another eye-opening experience!

  2. Sounds like a lovely evening. I very rarely watch television but that sounds like an interesting program. Having a studio in an area where it would be possible to interact with other artists sounds like a dream.

  3. What a beautiful celebration! Wow, you have been blessed! I do not know Susan personally but know people who do and I very much admire her work.
    I share your thoughts on the Work of Art Show...I almost turned it off! How do you sign up for this???
    I think there is some very real talent there, it will be interesting to follow!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Oh, it looks and sounds like you had an absolutely wonderful time of celebrating and sharing! How precious to have such wonderful friends. That show sounds fascinating! I will have to see if it is available online as we don't subscribe to a tv service. Your thoughts are so - well, real! Thank you very much for sharing them!

  5. Hi!
    Thanks for the new comment on my Nick Cave post. Unfortunately, I don't have an email for I'm responding here! There was no exhibition catalog....only the one book, "Meet me at the Center of the Earth" which is available through Amazon for less than the $50 that was the asking price at the Halsey Institute! The work was over-the-top GREAT!