Blog 5: Poetic Language
This is the fifth and last in a series of blogs about my current exhibit, Sound the Climate Alarm, on display at the Lawrence Arts Center now through Dec. 21, 2020. Here are links to the first four:
Blog 1: Artist Statement: Sound the Climate Alarm
Blog 2: Roots of Sound the Climate Alarm
Blog 4: Making Art in Covid-times
Sound the Climate Alarm is, in broad terms, my response to climate change, animal extinction, barriers, border walls, and the pandemic. I was happy to discover the writer and poet Mathew Zapruderâ€™s description of how he views the language of poetry, because I think it is a helpful way to think about the images in my exhibit, too.
Zapruder talks about poetry as â€œlanguage freed from utility.â€ He says poetry is how we â€œget to the truth that is beyond our ability to articulate.â€ So where, in my drawings, chickadees sing razor wire, thereâ€™s a cardinal honking, or a paper boat is lit on fire, I think these are the kinds of images Zapruder was talking about, intended to â€œproduce an effect in us, rather than to communicate information.â€
So, while I am working with specific themes in my art, my images are intended less to communicate information than to evoke impressions, inspire imagination, and spark concern.
Visit my exhibit in-person at the Lawrence Arts Center, now through Dec. 21, 2020. Original art and artist prints, suitable as gifts, are available for purchase. Hours are M-Th 9am-9pm, F-Sa 9am-7pm, and Su 1:30-7:30 pm. As Covid-19 rages on, the Arts Center is pretty low-key these days and it is likely that during a random visit to my exhibit you may find yourself alone in the space. If you would prefer a virtual tour, scroll down the page at this link, courtesy of the Lawrence Arts Center.
While walking at the Baker Wetlands a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to see a line of more than 50 pelicans making their way across the sky, single file. I’m always amazed when I see pelicans in Kansas, their presence feels so improbable here. I had been making sketchbook-drawings of origami cranes as a kind of meditation during this crazy time. But with pelicans on my mind, I thought it would be fun to fold and draw an origami pelican, too. I made a drawing of the pelican in ballpoint pen first, and then made it again in scratchboard.
New Class at Lawrence Arts Center
I am excited to offer a new drawing class this Fall called Drawing in Black and White — a class that I hope will be both interesting and fun. This introductory-level class is intended to introduce students to drawing techniques using ballpoint pen, ink pens, cut paper, and scratchboard. We’ll draw from observation and imagination, build confidence in our skills, and discover the expressive power of making art in black and white.
During class we’ll doodle and practice with all manner of pens. We’ll draw from observation and “map” areas of light and dark on the page to create the illusion of space. We’ll consider the unique qualities of our various media by practicing techniques specific to each. We’ll practice shading using a ballpoint pen, similar to sketching with a pencil. We’ll create areas of dark and light in a
different way using pen and ink, layering lines and strokes to create different tones. We’ll cut black and white paper into shapes to explore the interaction between positive and negative space, exploring the black-white design principle calledÂ Notan. We’ll discover how different it feels to draw with a white pen on a black background, and we’ll use that knowledge to “cut” a drawing using an old illustrator’s media called scratchboard. All the while we’ll summon the creative process to help us investigate our world through drawing.
The arts center will provide each student with a sketchbook to use in and outside of class and a variety of pens and paper to use during class. I strive to create a supportive environment each session, and this class is appropriate for beginners and anyone else who wants to try something new.Â Contact the Arts Center front desk with questions about senior discounts and financial aid.
Fall registration is going on now. This class will meet on Wednesday evenings for 12 weeks, beginning on September 11, 6:30-8:30pm. Register in person at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire St.,Â Lawrence, KS) or on-line at this link.Â Iâ€™m looking forward to this new class, an introduction to techniques for making expressive drawings in black and white.â€“Lora Jost
Exhibit: Carriage Factory Gallery, Newton, KS
I am excited to have an exhibit of mosaics, scratchboard, and drawings at the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton, Kansas! The exhibit runs July 27 – September 20, and is located at 128 E. 6th St., near downtown Newton. Gallery hours: T-FÂ 12-5pm,Â Sa 10am-5pm.
I am exhibiting my art along with two others, Rachel Epp Buller and Emily Willis Schroeder. The title for our collective exhibit is, Our Lives. Past. Present. Future. My portion of the exhibit is called, “Sound the Climate Alarm,” and my artist statement follows:
Sound the Climate Alarm
In my exhibit of drawings and mosaics, cardinals honk and chickadees sing razor wire. Death chases a prairie chicken with a blaring saxophone. Animals, drawn from memory, reveal the loss we find when we are without them. Origami cranes, an international symbol for peace, fly over walls and meander through chain link fences. And yet, archways that imply the presence of barriers also show a way to pass through them. The cardinalâ€™s song is visually amplified as a message of hope and renewal. A car with loudspeakers on top blasts an unusual wish for the world. With a sense of beauty and compassion, through images that visualize sounds that are both real and imagined, my work â€œsounds the alarmâ€ on climate change, animal extinction, and other urgent concerns, encouraging the viewer to â€œlistenâ€ with an open heart towards creating a future where there is enough to share and compassion for all.
Exhibit announcement in The Newton Kansan
Facebook invitation to exhibit opening
Carriage Factory Gallery website
2018 Benefit Auction for the Lawrence Arts Center
All are invited to the opening reception for the Lawrence Art Center’s 2018 Benefit Art Auction on March 9, 2018, from 7-9pm (940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS.) I contributed Windmill this year, a whimsical little scratchboard piece with a few color highlights. If you’d like to bid on it or another auction-piece, you can do so in person through the auction-event on April 14 (tickets needed), or bid on-line at the arts center’s on-line bidding link.
Visiting Artist at Bethel College
I had a great time talking about scratchboard techniques in this printmaking class at Bethel College in April. I also talked about Heating Up: Artists Respond to Climate ChangeÂ in the Activism, Art and Design class at Bethel, the day before.
Taking On Life, Poetry Reading and Art Show
I am pleased to have this illustration in Lawrence Magazine for a story about the Douglas County Corrections Facility’s writing program, in its current issue (Winter 2016). Tonight, December 5, 2016, there will be a related poetry reading and exhibit at the Lawrence Public Library, 7pm.
Here is a link to Lawrence Magazine on line.Â Find the story “Taking On Life” on p. 73, an artist profile of me on p. 33, and my illustration on pp. 76-77.