As part of connecting with the artistic community, past and present, I've been making efforts to meet up with fellow artists. It's important to not only network, but develop relationships with artists you admire in order to gain feedback, new perspective on your work, and camaraderie. Being an artist is often a lonely endeavor and though I like to paint and work privately, I feed off personal interactions. This is something I miss about running my gallery in Newton.
Since closing the gallery, these personal interactions and connections are frequently very difficult to make happen now between family obligations and my teaching schedule. I've had to cancel numerous studio visits with artists due to changes in my schedule with sick kids, my husband's travel schedule or my own work deadlines.
Last month, with not much notice and schedules miraculously aligning, I visited West Orange artist, Sarah Canfield's studio. She and I have bumped into one another on numerous occasions and have been in a few local shows together. I admire and respect both her work and her dedication. Sarah is not only a remarkable artist, but also a dedicated volunteer for Studio Montclair and the West Orange Arts Council. Her studio is on the first floor of her bright and airy split level home. It's not a gigantic studio, but she's able to do some pretty big things in such a small space!
She comes from a photorealist oil painting tradition, but with a technological bent, creating almost hyperrealistic abstractions from electronic / computer elements, even "freezing time" as she describes in her artist statement by depicting circuit boards that have literally been frozen in her freezer! Despite the amount of detail and precision in the works, the scale and alteration of the subject matter distorts and becomes something almost organic. It is the tension between the "timeless and transient" that drives Sarah's work.
She recently has been taking a break from painting and experimenting with new multimedia and multidimensional works. I had the privilege of seeing them in progress and learning about her ideas, concepts, and processes. We spoke for a few hours about art-making, involvement in local arts organizations, studio practices, teaching and the balance of making art in a home studio.
Hopefully we'll get to see the results of her newest works soon; she's very protective of them due to their shift in direction, so I won't be sharing any pics. In the meantime, you can explore her portfolio at sarahcanfield.com. Hope to bump into you soon Sarah!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post with an exciting announcement!
Sunday was the well-regarded SOMA Studio Tour held in South Orange and Maplewood, NJ, sponsored by 1978 Arts Center and the Baird, along with many supporters. I exhibited in a beautiful space at JESPY House, a non-profit which aims to house and educate learning and developmentally disabled adults to provide them an opportunity to live independently.
As you can see from the photos, the space was stunning, the light terrific, and weather sublime. Well over 100 people came by to check out my work, along with artists, Bill Billec and Liz Demaree. I enjoyed meeting so many new people: chatting with students, sharing stories about my work, and talking about the topics of decluttering and collecting with several guests.
Since closing my gallery space in Newton, I've found it very difficult to get my work in front of people, not for lack of opportunity but time with my kids. This gave me the fix I needed! Plus, I'm pleased that I sold my first set of ARTaments to a woman who will be gifting them for Christmas to relatives that cycle together. Another new customer happened upon one of my giclées of an older Appliance Portrait who came over with such a big smile and told me though she was out of space, this made her so happy she had to buy it! I was over the moon. That makes my art-making worthwhile; touching someone in that way. And, I was able to also to sell one of my favorite Appliance Portraits: Chrome Fabricator of Pasta.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by and graced me with your compliments and purchases, or stopped by to say hello! Thank you to the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the 1978 Maplewood Art Center for providing this remarkable opportunity! I couldn't have done this show with my fractured foot, without the support of several friends and family, including: friends Meghan and Jeremy for schlepping, friends Sonia and Brooke for taking my kids, and, most importantly, thank you to my husband, Lee, who spent time taking care of the kids, lugging boxes and art from the 3rd floor to the car, to JESPY House, and installing the show.
I attended and spoke at the Maplewood Library this past Sunday for the opening of the 11 x 14 Exhibit by Studio Tour Artists. 29 works are currently on exhibit through May 30th by artists participating in this year's Studio Tour SOMA, set for Sunday, July 7th. There are so many more works to see, so stop by the library or visit me on June 7th during the Tour at JESPY House at 111 Milligan Pl, South Orange, NJ. A special thank you to artist, Louis Toledo, for the great shots during the opening! Learn more about the upcoming tour at traillworks.com/upcoming-exhibits.html.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching.
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