Artists Questioned? What are you listening to as you work?

Phillip J. Mellen, "as yellow as certain days" 12" x 12" acrylic and house paint on canvas 2014.

Phillip J. Mellen, “as yellow as certain days” 12″ x 12″ acrylic and house paint on canvas 2014.

All artists have questions they seek answers to. Sometimes they ask themselves the same questions over and over again, and sometimes they seek out friends and mentors who provide answers to their questions. If you ask the same question to several people you will most likely get several different answers, and then it is up to you to select the answer that is best for you. So the question is…What are you listening to as you work?

Ruth Marsh: “Lately I’ve been listening to Head Hunters – Herbie Hancock, and Brian Eno & David Byrne My Life in the Bush of GhostsAnd also the CBC, as always! Q and Ideas! Oh, and of course As it Happens. Sometimes it’s necessary to have silence. I find if I don’t have any outside distraction I can handle silence; the radio and music are great for focussing attention away from multiple sources onto one thing.”RM

Phillip J. Mellen:  “I have recently made a music mix, titled: Songs for Rockwell Kent. Maybe it’s the romance in it all? Some of these songs span over a decade. While listening, I am reminded of the prettier side of the painting struggle. Some of these songs are timeless. I am doing something timeless, no? Painting.

I often change the lyrics in my head. Sometimes I sing along. Some of this music makes me show my teeth as I sing. No so much anymore. These new/old songs are prettier. More smiles and more, well, more prettiness. It’s a poetic experience listening to this music. It enhances my experience while painting. It makes it’s way in. My mind and my paintings. The surrounding environment is important to me as I paint. The mind is important and is just as much an environment. The studio is a mess, but not inside myself. It helps me clear things and preps me for painting.

I’m after the same things in my paintings. It pushes me, and also can slow me down. Making music is a creative process, too. It’s all about process. For me, music is a big part of it. I conduct my work. This may be a collaboration.

Some of the musical artists on the mix are: Joanna Newsom, Dirty Three, Anni Rossi (early), MW Ensemble, Zoe Keating, Rachel’s, and Mountain Man.  Thank you!” PJM

The previous question was, and the next question is…

If you have a question you’d like answered please let me know. If it is interesting maybe I’ll use it.



Have you met…Ruth Marsh?

An introduction can be a wonderful thing. You can meet interesting people, and make new friends. You can be introduced to your new favorite foods, books, music, or artist.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. Some of whom I’ve been familiar with for years, and other I’ve only recently been introduced to.

The person I’d like to introduce is the Halifax, Nova Scotia artist Ruth Marsh.

Bee Taxidermy.

Bee Taxidermy.

Artist Statement

“In recent years my work has dealt with loss, absence and longing in the context of living creatures and the natural world. Bees in particular have held prominence, first as a symbol of warning and mediation and later as a representation of the magical/spiritual transformation from living creature to holy relic. Fulfilling all of these roles, bees have formed the thematic “connective tissue” of my work, giving my practice its united direction; this manifests most specifically in the poetic narratives surrounding their disappearance.

The recent, ongoing series, Bee Taxidermy is both a monument to missing bees and an artist’s attempt to put humpty dumpty back together again. A call has been sent out across Canada for members of the public to mail found dead bees to the project. Once requested, a participant will receive a “bee kit” in the mail which includes a small container for the bee, a set of instructions, a brief questionnaire and a small, original drawing in exchange for their efforts. So far hundreds of bees have been received and it is an ongoing effort to repair and preserve each one.”

Bee Taxidermy

Bee Taxidermy

“A viewer might be attracted to the bees by their diminutive scale and lean in for a closer look only to notice that the bees have not only been preserved but also meticulously and lovingly repaired. What the viewer finds instead is an unfaithful copy, a simulacrum; parts that were missing have been replaced with objects of a similar scale. Sections of legs have been carefully replaced with electrical resistors, jewelry parts and wire. Missing sections have been resurfaced with soft velvet and rabbit fur. Discarded and reused materials make up for what is missing. The result is what Jean Baudrillard might consider “a perversion of reality”. After completing this process the bees are representative of, yet no longer members of, the natural order of things and what is felt is not so much that something has been preserved but more that it has been irrevocably lost.”

“The Bee Taxidermy series has also incorporated video and performance to further encourage community involvement. The Instructional video “Bee Taxidermy: A How To Guide” is presented to the public to encourage them to take on bee preservation. In the performance “Bee Warning and Memorialization Walking Tours” participants were encouraged to identify areas hazardous to bees and leave small printed warning signs for them. If a dead bee was found on a tour, a small memorial sign was left. In all aspects the Bee Taxidermy series attempts to use humor and community engagement to open up a dialogue about ecological disaster.”

Corpus Melliferus

Corpus Melliferus

More material realting to Ruth Marsh:

Blogspot: Ruth Marsh.

Confederation Centre of the Arts: Ruth Marsh.

If you liked this introduction check out the Previous and Next.

Assembly Lines: Stephen B. MacInnis, Ruth Marsh, Sarah Saunders, Aaron Weldon October 22 – March 4

Confederation Centre of the Arts. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Confederation Centre of the Arts. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Well things are under way with the preparation of Assembly Lines, and it’s probably being hung tomorrow. The show I’m in at the Confederation Centre of the Arts is a four person show, and the other artists are, Ruth Marsh, Sarah Saunders, and Aaron Weldon. My section of the gallery is in the photo below, and what you see is the previous exhibition being taken down.

 Confederation Centre of the Arts. Gallery.

My section of the gallery at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Confederation Centre Art Gallery fall gala is this weekend, and below is a press release from the Centre.

October 17, 2011

The Fall Gala Opening at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery takes place Saturday, October 22 beginning at 7 p.m. The opening of five new exhibitions and a book launch will be the highlights of the evening.

“We have a local theme to this slate of shows, with the added theme of the changing landscape. The exhibitions include PEI painters engaged with the natural world, a historical PEI architect, plus Nova Scotia sculptor Kim Morgan’s full-scale latex cast of the Borden-Carleton lighthouse, as well as a PEI museum show on navigation,” says Kevin Rice, director of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. “It is the most local and regional group of exhibitions we have had for awhile.”

Assembly Lines: Stephen B. MacInnis, Ruth Marsh, Sarah Saunders, Aaron Weldon, curated by Pan Wendt, includes two well-known PEI artists, MacInnis and Saunders, and two emerging Halifax artists, Marsh and Weldon. For MacInnis, this is his first-ever showing of an extensive body of work at the Centre. All four artists will be present at the opening, available to answer questions about their work.

Elaine Harrison: I Am An Island That Dreams, is co-curated by George Arsenault and Kevin Rice. This opening is also a book launch for a new book on Elaine Harrison co-published by Acorn Press and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

Minding the Light: the Gentle Island’s Dangerous Coastline is curated by Boyde Beck and organized by the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation. This exhibition combines objects from the PEI Museum and Gallery collections and focuses on the history of marine navigation on PEI.

Kim Morgan: Range Light, is organized and circulated by Mount St. Vincent University Art Gallery and curated by Ingrid Jenkner. The Halifax artist’s latest large-scale project is a life-sized latex cast of a decommissioned lighthouse in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I. This piece is touring the country and ending up at the Oh, Canada survey of contemporary Canadian art at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art next summer.

Damien Worth: Painted Space is curated by Pan Wendt and introduces the work of an emerging P.E.I. painter who explores the tension between various ways of articulating space in pictures that contain both representational and abstract elements. Worth will also be at the gala opening.

Works of the Heart: The Architectural Legacy of James Harris in PEI is curated by Darin MacKinnon. It is a survey of the work of P.E.I. architect James Harris (1886-1954), whose work has been overshadowed by that of his more famous uncles, William Critchlow Harris and Robert Harris. The exhibition includes architectural drawings and plans and photographs of buildings.

The gala opening is open to the public and starts at 7:00 p.m. There will be refreshments and entertainment.