Monday, December 28, 2015

Art in Washington DC



Wonder
An Exhibit at the Renwick Gallery



 
My family and I decided to visit the recently renovated Renwick Gallery located in Washington, DC. It is about an hour from our home in West Virginia. Although we enjoy our life in the country, it is nice to visit the city.


  
Nine leading contemporary artists—Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Patrick Dougherty, Janet Echelman, John Grade, Maya Lin, and Leo Villareal—each display their art in different galleries. 



WONDER was organized by Nicholas R. Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Senior Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art. 



While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results. 




Wonder what you'll see? 

Jennifer Angus covers gallery walls in spiraling, geometric designs reminiscent of wallpaper or textiles—but made using specimens of different species of shimmering, brightly-colored insects.







Chakaia Booker splices and weaves hundreds of discarded rubber tires into an enormous, complex labyrinth.





 





Gabriel Dawe hangs thousands of strands of cotton embroidery thread to create what appear to be waves of color and light sweeping from floor to ceiling. 







Patrick Dougherty weaves monumental structures from countless tree saplings.
 



Tara Donovan constructs looming spires from hundreds of thousands of individually-stacked index cards. 





Janet Echelman explores volumetric form without solid mass, overtaking the museum's famed Grand Salon with a suspended, hand-woven net surging across its hundred foot length. 




Using hundreds of thousands of pieces of reclaimed, old-growth cedar, John Grade builds an intricate structure based on plaster casts taken of a massive, old-grown hemlock tree in the Cascade Mountains.






Maya Lin's deluge of green marbles flows across the floor and up walls, recalling the tides of the Chesapeake Bay.




With 23,000 LEDs—programmed by Leo Villareal to display a code manipulated into endless variations—flash above the Grand Staircase.






I really enjoyed the different mediums and well I am inspired to create some wonder myself! 



“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
― Socrates

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Albert Einstein



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Guest Book Review: Tales from the Graveyard by Susan Shultz



Tales from the Graveyard by Susan Shultz

Guest Book Review by Yawatta Hosby



I'd like to thank Ginger for allowing me to be a guest today. I've loved reading ever since I was a little girl. Today I'm sharing my thoughts on "Tales from the Graveyard: The Complete Collection" by Susan Shultz.

In a pleasant little New England town, there is a house on a hill. Its garden is decorated with gravestones.

The house has stood for ages now, and occupants have come and gone.

But those who died there never leave.

They just watch...and wait.

Susan Shultz's haunting Tales from the Graveyard series is now available in one complete digital collection.





Read Tales From the Graveyard: The Complete Collection today, and you'll see.

Our ghosts never leave us.

I really enjoyed this collection of four stories. It was a pleasant surprise that each book was longer than a short story. Each dark story connected with Book One. Even though the collection was dark, I was never scared. I did feel bad for the characters though. Each had a sad backstory.


The Blacksmith (Book One)

The opening line of "A baby bird feel" gave me chills. The way the main character Ainsley described this made me aware she was depressed and lost. This story was written in her first person point of view. It felt like Ainsley was talking directly to me, which added to the creepy factor. 

All the chapters were written in very simple sentences, but it fit the story because Ainsley sounded depressed and unmotivated, being divorced, and having a boring life, working at a library. The character just told it like it was, instead of bringing personality into her interactions.

The author did a great job of foreshadowing that Ainsley had a dark past...was keeping a dark secret. Eventually, readers found out that she's obsessed with her high school sweetheart Sam. It seemed like he wanted to date her, but she kept pushing him away. I would tell you why, but you have to read to find out...

My favorite lines: 1) I am a monster in disguise. 2) Oh, Sam. My heart isn't beautiful. It's dead.

The ending is tragic. Poor Ainsley. Poor Sam. Poor Blacksmith.


Jessie (Book Two)

This story was full of suspense. The main character Jessie lived with her abusive husband and wicked step-mother. Her husband was a violent man, threatening to kill her with an ax if she tried to leave. Jessie found comfort with the lonely neighbor Blacksmith.

I really couldn't get into this book because most of the paragraphs were one or two sentences each. This read more like a poem instead of a story. Plus, the scenes were too repetitive. Jessie's family were horrible to her. The Blacksmith watched over her. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

However, I did like how the author described trees as though they were human--like watching people and keeping secrets. I also liked how the story mentioned Lizzie Borden, a daughter who killed her parents with an ax. Jessie sympathized with her.

This book tied in nicely to Book One. Readers found out how Blacksmith died and the horrific reason that would keep Jessie tied to the house. In Book One, Ainsley talked to ghosts, which Jessie was one of them. The ending sent chills down my spine.

Dirt (Book Three)

This was my favorite story in the collection, probably because I could relate to the main character Lila, who was a journalist for the local paper. Finally there were a variety of sentence structures instead of everything sounding simple.

The opening "Cannibal Queen kills dozens; looney librarian hated men; police: garden graveyards gruesome" captured my attention right away. Lila was reading headlines of the local paper that described the haunted house on the hill--Ainsley's house. 

Wanting to advance in her writing career, Lila became obsessed with Ainsley's story. You'll have to read the books to figure out what it was. I don't want to spoil it for you. Investigating, Lila found Ainsley's diary (a tie in to Book One--readers find out Book One was her diary word for word). I respected Lila's curiosity, especially when she met Blacksmith's ghost. I felt bad what happened to her. I thought her heart to heart with Sam was cute.

My favorite lines: 1) It was anyone's nightmare, and therefore, a reporter's dream. 2) Others will tell a story. I'm going to find the truth. 3) Just don't ask why. Because, here, the wind will answer. And you might not like what it has to say.


Sam (Book Four)

Sam, still grieving over Ainsley, decided to buy her house and move his pregnant girlfriend in with him. The house whispered and taunted Claudia because it didn't like her there. Ainsley and Jessie haunted her, even Sam.

This book was full of suspense and dread. However, it provided closure to Sam and Ainsley's love story, which I respected the ending. My favorite line was "He realizes: all he can bring to the women he loves is destruction. Death. Horror. Misery. Pain. Nothing."

I would RECOMMEND this book collection to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby





Yawatta Hosby enjoys connecting with other writers through blogging. With a desire to escape everyday life, she creates novels, novellas, and short stories. She's always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner-struggles within her characters. Yawatta is also an avid reader, favorite genres: mystery, thriller, horror, and women's fiction.

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