Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hoysted and Schön: VCCA Geocaching Project

Roland Schön and Jackie Hoysted are currently collaborating on a Geocaching participatory art project that will entail placing small pieces of artwork hidden along a trail on the VCCA grounds. The trail along with the GPS coordinates of where the hidden artwork is hidden will be uploaded to a geocaching website so that future residents of VCCA can discover who went before them. (Geocaching is like a treasure hunt except the location of items is uploaded to a website

We are hoping for participation from the current fellows to submit a piece of artwork, writing, poem etc so that the trail is a unique path of discovery.   All submitted works will be dipped in wax to protect it from the elements (fading will occur over time).


- submitted works should be less that a half sheet of paper (A4)
- must be delivered to Roland or Jackie by Friday (installation is the weekend)
- don’t forget to include your name and website
- do not write on both sides of the paper as the paper will become translucent when       dipped in wax

Feel free to ask Roland or Jackie any questions. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Craig Pleasants' Octagonal Living Unit Debuts

VCCA’s former Artistic Director Craig Pleasants’ Octagonal Living Unit (OLU) kit is finished and he’s ready to celebrate! As many of you know, Craig has been laboring over his super energy efficient "tiny house" for many years.

I had the idea and designed and engineered the house with these building panels in 2006. Charlottesville architect Alan Scouten introduced me to the panels and helped me engineer the kit using them way back then,” explains Craig.

But the very first OLU, which Craig and Sheila lived in, was built in 1981 using found and salvaged materials for $3,000.

Craig has channeled his considerable background as a highly regarded sculptor focusing on shelter-like constructions, which responded to or incorporated nature into his innovative OLU design.

The house may be only 450-square feet, but it has an unexpected and welcome expansiveness. This is because its octagonal shape, features an open design, with no 90-degree corners, and a spacious cathedral ceiling. Artfully positioned windows flood the interior space with light.

Easy to assemble, the structure is comfortable, livable and aesthetically pleasing. 

Downsizing is a major trend these days and Craig’s OLU is an attractive option for those who prefer cozy, turnkey living. The unit also would make an ideal studio or guesthouse.

Craig and Sheila will be hosting an open house on Saturday, November 1, 4 -7 pm to celebrate this exciting milestone for Craig. Come see the OLU while it is still light!

Check out this: and this: Octagonal Living Unit Project Facebook page for further details.

Tam’s "high reps/low sets" at Connecticut College

Jessica Tam’s high reps/low sets opens at Connecticut College on October 23. Jessica will present a talk about her work at 4:15 followed by an artist’s reception: 5:00 – 6:00 PM.

As many of you know it was Jessica who produced the wonderful murals that adorn VCCA’s pool. 

Whether using oil, charcoal or ink, Jessica employs a palette that is largely back and white with a judicious use of one or two intense colors. Her work is high energy and the black and white allows her to focus on a remarkably diverse language of line, gesture and form. 

Her technique also allows her to achieve such an interesting variety of textures as well as dramatic effects of light and shadow. Many of Jessica's pieces appear abstract, but in others, we detect the presence of the figure. In either case, the works have a considerable brio and strength. Through December 5.

Flick's "Whiskey, Etc" To Be Published, March 2016

Sherrie Flick reports that she recently signed a contract with Queen's Ferry Press to publish her short story collection Whiskey, Etc. in March 2016.
Sherrie describes the collection as mostly “flash fiction with some longer stories throughout and very close to my thumping creative heart.”

Cohen's "Sea of Reeds" to Be Released

Composer Gerald Cohen’s new CD, Sea of Reeds will be released by Navona Records in early November. With a CD release party on November 11 at  Le Poisson Rouge in New York City.

Sea of Reeds is a compilation of Gerald’s recent chamber music for trio, featuring both clarinet and piano.

The collection represents several years of collaboration with such instrumentalists as the Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets, and Alexandra Joan, piano), together with the string players Jennifer Choi and Maria Lambros. The concert on November 11 will feature these musicians playing several of the pieces from the CD.  

According to Gerald, “The music ranges from the jazzy Variously Blue to the meditative Yedid Nefesh, and also includes arrangements for two clarinets and piano of several of my best-known synagogue melodies.”

The CD is now available for pre-order from Amazon and is also available to pre-order in mp3 format from Amazon and iTunes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Osage Orange

It’s fall and Osage oranges (maclura pomifera) litter the ground in certain places including Mt. San Angelo at this time of year. Though some may think they’re a nuisance, especially if that someone’s VCCA’s Artist-in-Residence David Garratt who’s charged with picking them up, others admire their vivid green hue, knobbly surface and pungent aroma.

It is thought that the tree once grew throughout the eastern United States, but its range was significantly reduced (to the Midwest and Texas) before the arrival of the European settlers. Part of the reason for this was human overuse, but it’s also theorized that the large mammal responsible for the plant's seed dispersion, possibly a giant sloth, became extinct. 

Osage oranges aren’t poisonous though nobody seems to want to eat them. The exception being some squirrels and the occasional horse, which has been known to nosh on an orange, hence the name, horse apple. For a plant that relies on seed dispersal this can be tricky, unless you have a helping hand from an outside source. 

And that "hand" came in the form of Meriwether Lewis who famously re-introduced Osage oranges to the eastern United States by sending Thomas Jefferson cuttings of the tree discovered on the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition. Jefferson loved the tree, planting it on the UVA campus and at Monticello. By the mid-19th century the Osage orange had become the most commonly planted plant in America. 

The tree had been discovered much earlier, of course, by Native Americans who highly prized the wood’s suppleness and used if for making bows. This explains why French settlers called it bois d'arc. Bodock and bodark (other names for the tree) are clearly bastardizations of the French. Monkey ball, another name, must be a result of the fruit’s funny appearance. 

On the great plains, Osage oranges, often referred to as hedge apples were planted close together not only to provide windbreaks, but also to fence cattle pastures, the trees’ prodigious thorns deterring even the most eager escapee. The tree remained in use in this fashion until the introduction of barbed wire in the 1880s. 

Before you go slamming the Osage, you should know that it was also used as a very effective tool during the Dust Bowl years to combat soil erosion. FDR’S Great Plains Shelterbelt WPA Project launched in 1934 saw the planting of 30,233 shelterbelts containing 220 million trees many of them Osage oranges. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Slaughter's "Connections" at Les Yeux du Monde

Anne Slaughter enters the realm of figure painting in her latest show Connections at Les Yeux du Monde in Charlottesville, VA.

Anne is known for her heavily worked, almost excavated surfaces and her oeuvre has always had a particular gravitas, as one might expect from someone who experienced war and destruction at an early age. Anne  says she loves the appearance of old walls and admits that the sight of all the destroyed houses on her return to Belgium after the war had a powerful affect on her for years. But this work, referencing “the transiency of our passage in the world” has a distinctive elegiac quality that is particularly raw and moving. In its distressed layers, we see writ large “the traces we make and those we leave and how time and the elements transform them.”

Read more here: