Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Puny Protest

I get odd things in the mail from time to time. Old cookie tins of buttons, bags of feathers, a bag full of shimmering pieces of mica originally meant for making 1970's chandeliers, you get the idea. Several months ago a box full of small, bisque-fired ceramic, stylized skulls arrived from a friend. She had won a very large quantity of them in some sort of giveaway and offered them to anyone who wanted them. I put up my digital hand and so they appeared on my doorstep. I had no idea what to do with them but had faith that when the opportunity arose, they would find their purpose.
That purpose was revealed mid-January.
They became the bases for my puny protests.

Each is transformed with a bit of orange paint, a tuft of fake-fur, a permanent marker, and a desire to make a small but persistent protest. I began placing them around my local area, always on public property. Three weeks later I began to document them.
Last week I began to take one with me when I go outside of my neighborhood.

                                           Here is one awaiting its tuft of hair.

They have evolved a bit visually. The slogans on the back vary but the basic sentiment is to love the USA and resist Trump.

You can follow my puny protest on Instagram @artwordstea
Love the USA, resist Trump.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go.

When we make plans, the gods laugh.

Of the two holiday markets I planned to participate in- (and to mop up at, ah the hubris;) -One was very poorly attended. The other was cancelled due to a winter storm. I was all prepared for it to be one of those non-events where the promised snow never arrives, but this time the forecast was accurate. We got slammed with snow. It would have been foolish if not down-right perilous to go out.

However, that left me with a bunch of my Mail-Order Bride pieces; all dressed up and no where to go. I have dispatched a number of them to Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY.  Several more to Graficas Gallery on Nantucket. The remainder have been posted to my recently resurrected Etsy shop, "Loose Ends." Click the new button in the sidebar-

Also, the run of my exhibit, "Means of Attachment" at HERE Arts Center, has been extended for a few weeks until January 15th.

So, talking of loose ends- this is where I find myself. But I am slowly finding my way through a new project that is a bit out in left field. More to come on that. And starting to sort out my live/work space preparatory to a move back to the country. More to come on that, too.

So, lots of future, not so much present... and hopefully, not much for the gods to laugh at.

No matter what days are holidays for you- I wish you joy on the days and all the days of the coming year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Helps- a Bit

My world has been upended, how can I make sense of it?
The day after the most disastrous election in the history of our country, I had to load my car and drive in the rain down to NYC to hang my the exhibit of my work that I had been dedicating all of my creative energies to for the past year. I did all this with half-a-heart. But I got it done.

The next day, I returned to the city for the opening. A few friends showed up who said kind things about the work. I was pretty hollowed out with exhaustion and shock. We went to supper at a very noisy restaurant- inside I was screaming for quiet and surcease, outside I was putting one foot in front of the other. I spent the night with friends in Riverdale and then the next day took the bus back home to Kingston after a walk to Wave Hill and a much-needed reminder that nature and friendship abide and heal. And tea, lots of cups of tea.

I went back to work at the nursery to help close it up for the season. Closing up despite weather that implied that there was no need for this effort- the seasons had been suspended. Each of us would stop our tasks and try to talk through our disbelief and sadness with our friends, then coming to no conclusions, we went back to our labors. I would come home and collapse, sleep came fitfully and never seemed to help.

The nursery was finally put to bed. I woke up the next day with no schedule and sort of drifted for a few days. Read a lot, saw a movie (Arrival- highly recommended,) napped, puttered, petted my cat, drank lots of tea.

In the past, after big events, my creative well had run dry for a while- sometimes for a distressingly long while. I was expecting the pattern to hold and to have no drive or desire to go back into my workroom for a bit. But then I got an idea. This would be the second time I have been so smacked by my muse and I know better than to ignore it. I had signed up for a holiday market and been planning to have copies of the book and some pieces of original art from it and that would be that. But this idea hit me between the eyes and I have been making small pieces with a singlemindedness that surprises me. I am finding the process to be an anodyne and respite. They will go with me to the market, and then, I hope, to new homes.

I am using postage stamps from a "small" box lot I won in an auction several years ago. An 18" -on all sides- box filled with stamps for 5$. One day, I was bored so I started sorting them by color, filling small plastic bags with stamps. (That task is not anywhere near complete, but I did fill many bags.) These sat on the shelf for another year or 2. Then suddenly my muse came and dope-slapped me, directing my attention to these colored bits of printed paper. "Do something with these!" was the command- so that is what I am doing.

The series is "Mail-Order Brides" They will go for $100 each- there is a history attached to that amount that I will retell next time. Nine done so far, I have 19 days to go.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Up in the Air

Today has been a study in handling disappointment, nothing major but just enough to gnaw away at some of the confidence I need approaching the installation and opening of my solo exhibit at HERE Arts Center in NYC in 8 days.
I know I don't handle endings well and even though we still have a lot of work to do putting the nursery to bed for the year, today was our last official open day. From now until the end of November, the days will get shorter and quieter and grimmer- an object lesson in entropy. So I am a bit down about that. Then I got the notice that I did not get a residency I had applied for. It was a long shot- a very prestigious residency, and I am not a high-flier in the art scene.
And then there is my deep, abiding anxiety about the upcoming election, the building I rent in is on the market (reliving the foreclosure of 8 years ago...), I feel that there is little solid beneath my feet.
Then I remind myself of the solidity I have found in these years- the astounding knowledge that I have friends; my successful Kickstarter campaign and subsequent publication of my book: "The Word Project: Odd & Obscure Words- Illustrated; my month as AIR at Grand Canyon National Park; the growth of my work- including representation in 3 galleries, the upcoming show at HERE; the possibility- just a possibility as yet- that I may be able to rent a cottage in the countryside with quiet, dark skies at night, room to work, and room for a garden. I am blessed.
The only curse appears to be my own fears. And fears are not facts.

"Tempest VIII," bricolage, MMXVI, ©PMLaw

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Framing continues apace. The upcoming show consumes many of my waking thoughts and energies. So much so that I am recycling an old image and not writing about art.
You may not know that my second life is that of native-plant nursery manager. A year ago I was walking through Central Park on a day-trip to the city, and I spotted an absolutely spectacular Actaea pachypoda, common name- Doll's Eyes. This plant is one of those that takes a few years to make its statement and this lovely example has obviously been around for many years. Based on the seedlings we sell at the nursery, I did not know why anyone would go out of their way to grow this plant. After being bowled over by this stand with its fruit clusters larger than my fist with their signature cherry red pedicles and pristine white berries, I have added it to my list of plants I want to grow if and when I have a garden again.

Actaea pachypoda v. alba, White Doll's Eyes.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Art & Words- a shotgun wedding.

Art & Words: Today I had to spend some time writing materials for the public relations person at HERE Arts to use to promote my upcoming solo exhibit, "Means of Attachment." I had to write about myself/my work. I would rather have been asked to write about the effect of Brexit on the economy of Lichtenstein- I know equally as much about these two subjects; and I have no personal stake in the latter. I have a difficult time thinking about my own work much less writing about it. In my view, writing about my work is dissecting it, and to dissect something you have to kill it first.

When I am working, I am not thinking beyond a few simple rules I learned in school about composition or color- and I usually break them anyway. Mostly I am trying to make the thread that thrums between my gut and my brain vibrate pleasantly. When a piece is working, I feel happy- and I am not thinking. When I have to solve a problem, I am looking for that thrum- and I am not thinking. My brain is abuzz with inchoate hums and fizzes, colors and textures- I am not thinking. Occasionally, my upper brain will chime in- "you could use the stencil with the branch texture, it's over there in the folder." "Mmmmm, ya, ya, ya," the thread vibrates back, "color, color, nice, nice, happy..." and so it goes until all the vibration is happy enough and the piece is done.

I have a dear artist friend, Christie Scheele, who writes extensively and speaks about her work- and the work of others- with great insight, grace, and thoughtfulness. Another friend, Clive Hicks-Jenkins, also writes deeply, poetically, about his art. Their art is very different one from the other but I read their lovely, erudite words with bafflement and a bit of envy. How can they write so well about their work and still do their work so prolifically and beautifully? Why do I feel so tongue-tied about one of the most important things in my life? Is my silence really necessary? Time for a brooding, non-verbal cup of Tea...

"Storm Tossed," MMXVI, ©PMLaw

Monday, October 10, 2016

Post or Die

A good friend has told me that there is little on the web sadder and more reputation smudging than a neglected blog. She suggested I either post on a regular basis or just pull the plug on this blog. I have opted to breathe some life into this space. So...

Art: I am currently preparing for a solo exhibit at HERE Arts Center. The exhibit opens in exactly one month. I have stopped making new images and have started building frames. This is the most tedious part of my process and you may think it is merely a utilitarian chore, best left to framers. I see building the frames as the coda to my art making. I can look at the framed piece and know I built it all, it matters to me. I also have to admit that I began building frames as purely a way to save a lot of money when I was preparing for my first exhibit of the art from my Word Project 7 years ago. I had over 100 pieces to frame and it was impossible for me to afford custom box frames for that much art. Purchasing a router and a chop saw, lumber and glass were the only options left to me. So I made a virtue out of necessity and got to work. 
Along the way, I extended the connection between the handmade/craft aspects of my work to embrace frame making.
More about the art itself and the new directions it is taking soon.

                                              "Tempest VII," ©PMlaw/MMXVI

"Means of Attachment"
New art by Polly M. Law
HERE Arts Center
145 6th Ave, NYC
Nov 10-December 29, 2016

Words: New words for the second volume of "The Word Project: Odd & Obscure Words- Illustrated" have been politely tapping on the edge of my 'bran pie' for a while now. Once the exhibit is up and the opening is over, I expect that tapping to escalate to a more insistent knock. My seasonal day-job will be over for the year and the next few months will be there to be filled with art making. I have been promising a second volume for a while.

The first volume is available through me directly or at amazon

Tea: Gallons of iced tea with lemon, sweetened with stevia, drunk this summer. Now, with the advent of cooler weather, I have begun to drink decaf Lady Grey tea with or without milk during the day. Also, for the occasional treat- chai sweetened with stevia and a good slug of milk. I recently found my uber-tea mug. I will post a picture of it soon.

Okay, there is life in the old blog yet. So, are you happy now Michele?