From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Posts Tagged ‘led art

Studio in the Time of Covid

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Moroccan Desert from Mary March on Vimeo.

Creatives with materials have a bit of an edge in this isolation situation- while we may miss some things we bring our own world with us.  Also, my CFS/ME disability has taught me to appreciate the little things like my life depends on it, and this has served me well in these strange times.  In a way I am treasuring this time of focus.

While my house/studio is under construction (delayed now of course) I have been using the garage in our temporary house, not to mention exploding my Identity Tapestry yarn and other things around the house as usual.  I’m lucky the space works for me.  I am also profoundly lucky in my husband and kiddo.  We’ve all done very well together the past six weeks, despite being under the strictest possible isolation since I’m immune compromised.

garage studioI’ve been busy delving into the new series of encaustic paintings using dynamically programmed LEDs in collaboration with programmer Mark Kreigsman. The first piece was “Beneath these waves lies light”.  The second in the series (shown) is based on the Moroccan desert, and ones based on light through leaves and the northern lights are in in the final stage of programming. Thankfully I got materials for another six after that before the stores closed down.

These are especially interesting and challenging.  Rather than just the surface of the paint, or even light bouncing through layers of paint, now I have to get each stroke right from the base upwards.  The light coming through the piece shows every mark.  Also, different pigments filter light different ways, perhaps reflecting yellow but filtering orange, so in low light it looks orange and in bright light yellow. I have scraped off and repainted the last three two/three times each as I work through the unique properties of each set of pigments and work for just the right texture. Another step is finding the correct colors of light to program by their RGB numbers and seeing how they play through the paint, trying and tweaking, shifting combinations.  I paint in different lighting conditions over the first pass of basic light programming I can do myself, while tuning both the paint and light colors.  Then I work with Mark to get much more sophisticated layers of motion and mapping correct for the feel and goal of the painting.

These are incredibly engaging and fascinating for me despite their seeming simplicity and I haven’t seen anyone else do anything like them.  One thing though, they are very tricky to faithfully photograph or video and look significantly better in person.

In the meantime we’ve been locked down like everyone.   I was working on a new Identity Tapestry installation as well until that show got postponed.  I do what I can with the remaining energy I have to make masks which the lovely folks at Dames Do Care (ladies on motorcycles) deliver to places that need them.  Now with the 3D printer free of Identity Tapestry stuff  I can put the it to use on other PPE, which is gratifying.  We use our skills to do what we can in these strange and disturbing times.

Shows everywhere are understandably being canceled and postponed.  My upcoming installation at the Palo Alto Art Center is being postponed for a new show at a later date, with the June show canceled.  Another event out of state with an installation piece has been canceled, and there were two larger profile shows that were meant to be in China this fall, but are also likely to be canceled or postponed.  I absolutely don’t begrudge this and want people to stay safe and healthy.  I just hope our wonderful art institutions weather this storm with all the support we can give them.

 

 

Written by Mary Corey March

April 23, 2020 at 1:36 am

I’ve lost my dear friend and collaborator

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Dan at my wedding

taken by John Adams at my wedding in 2007

Today I am reeling from a terrible loss.  My friend and collaborator, Dan Garcia was one of those lost on the Conception diving boat this labor day weekend.  He and his partner Yulia were among my nearest and dearest friends for the past twenty years.

Since this is my art blog I will tell you especially about Dan, my most frequent and closest collaborator.  Dan documented and helped with so much of my work over the years.  He was incredible to brainstorm anything with, but his specialties were photography and tech. In particular he collaborated with me on Cultural Fabric Breathes Still and Access by working with me to design the tech aspects, and building the code and hardware to make the artworks happen. There are other people I have collaborated on tech with, but he and I made fireworks when we worked.

He was himself a talented photographer and light sculpture artist- making the movement and shifting of LED lighting look more organic and natural than anything I’ve seen.  He created an open source LED lighting platform (FAST LED) that anyone can use- from Disney and Cirque du Soleil , Artists, Burning Man projects, to everyday hobbyists.

He was so passionate about art, especially interactive art.  So passionate about supporting art and making it happen.  He worked on various Burning Man projects including Syzygryd, which was an interactive sound, light and fire piece he did with Ardent Artists (formerly Interpretive Arson and Ardent Heavy Industries). He was just that person always looking to see how he could help, and his enthusiasm and smile were infectious.  For his professional career, he was a masterful programmer and code ninja, and he worked with my husband, following him to two different companies so they could work together.  The two of them were also a fantastic team.

For the last two years he was recovering from the loss of another dear friend, and had only just been starting to do art again beginning with Access a few months ago.  Last weekend I was over for dinner and he showed me the first art piece he had made on his own since her death.  He told me working with me helped him break through to making art again.   It’s hard to imagine never working together again.

It’s hard to believe he’s gone. He and Yulia were the sort of people who touch and light up so many lives, who welcomed and supported such a large community.  We are all absolutely shattered by this.

Another reminder to appreciate the people you love, not put off brilliant ideas for building things together for some future date, and to make time for those extra moments with them.

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Syzygryd (taken by me in 2010)

Written by Mary Corey March

September 5, 2019 at 12:03 am