I never heard of Jóhann Jóhannsson until his music caught my ear when it played on a Spotify. Maybe it was the mood I was in, or maybe it was its feeling of calmness in its repeating, catchy, and captivating sound effects. Or maybe it was the beauty of the piano. Whatever the it was, I knew to portray this music all I needed were the first four measures. For me, that was a breakthrough in a problem that I realized at a gallery hanging.
The slide show below includes snapshots of three artworks, Martha My Dear, Beethoven 5th, and Crazy at Gallery 1802 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, after the hanging. The dangling power chords and brick I saw as an issue. I understand people would put whatever in front of the artwork. To solve, and maybe retrofit pass works, this current artwork will have a lithium battery as its primary source of power. This removes the need for a nearby plug and the clutter of a power brick and cords. Another issue was the size of my artworks compared to everything else in the gallery.
My artworks are big. In the gallery only the Beethoven 5th work (with an actual couch in front) is under six feet. In its setting it looked good to everyone that day. Like my other two artworks, they all dominated their wall space and their area, certainly standing out from the rest of the gallery artists.
This slide show includes three artworks and three Gallery 1802 other images:
Gallery 1802 in La Crosse is the first showing of three of the seven artists in our art group, EmptyWallsArt. Because this group is aggressively searching and applying in the Midwest for more shows, this first group showing is a preview of what’s coming. Because of the size of my artworks, to travel they all needed to be broken down into smaller pieces, packaged and loaded carefully for traveling to the gallery. That was followed by the time consuming putting them back together, and their hanging that took over an hour with the help.
Creating big works is what this art has always been comfortable with. My question to myself is, are these large gallery works practical for display for group shows? Even though Gallery 1802 is a large gallery, my available wall space was for three works. I had brought four. The rest of the empty walls were for the two other artists.
My big works need big spaces to set them off. That got me thinking that if I could produce somewhat smaller music boxes, that might benefit my display options. Right now, my current available works range from 6 to 10 feet. If we have a group show of all seven of us, spare wall space may be a difficult to find for my larger works. That is when I thought of Theo’s wife marketing Vincent Van Gogh.
My group display plan came into focus when I recalled Johanna van Gogh-Bonger and how she marketed Vincent Van Gogh. To keep it short, she would exhibit a major work, not for sale, and then, alongside would be lesser works that were for sale. The galleries did not like that, but she knew the impact of a major artwork’s unavailability would create more interest in smaller works. I am going to follow that same concept by displaying one major large artwork alongside smaller, more affordable works that would require less wall space. That is where Flight of the City comes in as I move toward a new line of shorter music boxes. I know even these smaller works are still going to be kinda big. At less the side works won’t be huge, which helps empty wall chances and may benefit collectors who have their own wall limits.
Roger’s poem: My younger Brother Roger passed away a year ago this last August. In a tribute to him I wrote this story poem that at his celebration of life, this last June 4th, I read. I believe this poem contains universal relatable moments and meanings about the difficulties of losing someone close to you. It is a story poem offering the choice of moving ahead in life with them.
(This poem is in fifteen parts or sections and with each new blog post, there will be added one additional part. I am currently posting sections 1-12)
Roger’s poem The sun in winter is all too short. Who knew as you move through our lives, that yours would follow the winter sun. Winter arrests time for thought and reflection that February afternoon. Dressed for warmth we venture out, Into the soft light, surrounded by stillness, not an oak leaf stirring. The cold of that yesterday is heard in the crackling crunch of fresh fallen snow, as I straddled previous steps along a well-worn path, deep into the woods. Although I think we are alone, Zelda knows better, her actions are telling. Life and the deer are about. Stopping with her tail up, head sharply flipping, to-and-fro sensing something_, curious, I also pause, feeling a stirring in the air. With her nose to the snow, Zelda looks to turn off the known path, to explore another trail, far less traveled. Her interest, I cannot foresee, or know where it leads. Before I can call her back to the safe way forward, Winter freezes my momentum, with a stinging breeze across my cheeks, breaking the silence, awakening concerns. Had I dressed warm enough? I feel and pat my coat, all was there. Then it came to me, that it was not the cold, but the wind, returning to me moments once set quietly away. I wondered why on a cold Winter’s Day on this made-up path, at this crossroad in these common woods, this walk halted, by an unforeseen breeze sending a shiver tumbling inside, then out into the light. Why over all my many memories, did I find this one exposed from beneath Winter’s blanket_, a consciousness, an awareness, that once_, was you? But time was fleeting. I had let pass the diminishing forest light and our late start. Fearing the coming darkness will hide this path, I call Zelda back to the safe way home. For Home is where we want to be. What choice have I, but to be on our way. We had to turn back, for time does not. I could only turn away. Those moments have passed this another Winter’s Day, although the cold is harder to ignore, our routine beckons. Although she cares less, I dressed Zelda in a purple coat and I in my heaviest hooded jacket, thankful that each new walk the sun grows nearer, and longer, and the return less concerning. Along the way Zelda repeats her many stops, on our well-walked path. And for a distance all seems as it should, until the quiet is interrupted by a strong gust pressing against my coat, pausing our step. I feel this air’s warmth, as I look to see Zelda stopped ahead, her ears pushed back by the wind, standing at that barely a crossroad from yesterday. Her brown nose twitching in this comforting air. Although surprised to see her at this divide, I have a smile of déjà vu, brought-to-mind by a long-ago line, from a well-used book of poetry now gathering dust, from the poet Robert Frost__, “Two roads diverged in a wood…” Two roads, diverged, in a wood. However, that is all I recalled. With a sigh and interest I pursue this other trail upwards, to see it following the rush of rolling clouds, knowing soon these winter paths will turn to mud, preventing our return, until the frozen has left. Thus beginning the awakening, ending Winter’s parsing of time, with days merging all too quickly. We will lose ourselves to work to be done, and unforeseen tasks, demands and bills to pay, that surely will come. Though today Winter still decides, in the fast blanketing approach of low clouds bursting with snow and ice pellets, pirouetting down to us, if in an effort to hide our way, on this favored path. But wait! Where is Zelda? I see her brown eyes turned away as she slow trots along the untrampled path. Concerned I call her back when from behind I am shoved stepping forward, by a distant hum that becomes a gusting woosh, shaking the treetops, that then fads slowly to a murmuring sound, all so astonishingly familiar, awakening a time thought placed away_, when I held your hand, my eyes focus on your whispered breath, not knowing what would be your last_. Until now. For Winter’s calmness has returned. And I am hearing only my own breathing. And although I know that this air we can no longer share, as if to awaken Winter’s silence, I inhale deeply in, then out that which gives me life, in a last hope, it may find you, and I may again hear a whisper of you_, still here. But that time and faith has passed by me, leaving now only the understanding, that I was meant to be a part of your irreplaceable story, a witness to your bravest moment of unselfish courage, that enveloped everyone in the room not of your choice, that became your last unforeseen loving gift__, the fearlessness of letting go__. That it was alright__, to let go. I see that now, what other choice have I, other than to love you_, and so I, let your hand, fall away, from mine. Sections 1-12 of fifteen.....to be continued. Scott Von Holzen