Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Helen Benedict Discusses her Work on the Airwaves

Helen Benedict was recently interviewed by Allan Wolper on his on demand program Conversations With Allan Wolper.

Helen has written extensively about women in the military in both her nonfiction book, The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women in Iraq, which won the attention of the Pentagon and the White House, and her novel, Sand Queenwhich NPR called “one of this year’s [2013] best novels about war. Her exposure of sexual assault in the military inspired the Oscar nominated 2012 documentary, The Invisible War.

A professor of journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Helen was named one of the "21 leaders for the 21st" Century by Womens eNews in 2013. She also won the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism that same year.

Helen was also on Huffpost Live’s #WMN hosted by Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani discussing the high unemployment rate, traumas and lack of services for female veterans.

UVA Architecture Students Re-Imagine VCCA

WG Clark, the Edmund Schureman Campbell Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia and a revered architect has assigned his studio students VCCA as their project this term.

When you think about it, an artists’ community is the perfect subject for architecture students, combining as it does both living and working areas on a large scale. So it’s no surprise that Clark has assigned VCCA before. But this time, he added a twist by moving it to the heart of Philadelphia. This is purely hypothetical; there are no plans to move VCCA into Philadelphia or any urban setting. The board and staff are well aware of the value placed on VCCA’s pastoral setting by its Fellows!

Clark’s view of an urban creative crucible is informed by his love of Philadelphia, the city where he began his career, working for Robert Venturi. In addition to its metropolitan charms, Clark also greatly admires William Penn’s benevolent vision of a city of brotherly love.

At the beginning of term, Clark and his studio travelled to Philadelphia to inspect sites. Since then they have been working hard to realize their ideas of an urban VCCA. Their final designs will be unveiled in December.

At the preliminary review, most students stuck with a unified plan. One student exploded the boundaries, placing individual studios throughout the neighborhood with artists convening for breakfast and dinner at a centralized residence hall. His purpose was to promote artists interacting with the city on their way to and from their studios.

My favorite design had an interesting metal skin covering the façade employed to shade and redirect the light that would flood into the southern facing structure. It sounded plausible, but I wonder how it would work. To me, it looked like it would block the light out completely, but aesthetically it was beautiful with an edgy sculptural effect.

It was interesting observing people’s preconceived notions about art. That all sculptors work with heavy materials in large scale and painters don’t need a lot of space, for instance. Here at VCCA our visual artists’ studios are off by themselves (mostly) with the writers and composers grouped in quietude elsewhere.

VCCA Resident Artist Barbara Bernstein also attended the review and made a number of insightful and interesting points. It certainly aided the students understanding to hear impressions from an artist’s perspective.

Clark's work has been widely published and is the subject of Richard Jensen's book, Clark and Menefee. He was included in "40 under 40" by the Architectural League of New York and twice listed in Time magazine as one of America's best designers. His work has received three National Design awards from the American Institute of Architects: Middleton Inn, Reid House and Croffead House.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Adelbert Heil Restores Morellos

Those arriving at VCCA will notice a welcome addition along San Angelo Drive: two of Lorca Morello's limestone totems has been installed beside the road to join the two others already there. The sculptures had broken a number of years ago and were languishing in the barn waiting for a little TLC. Enter Adelbert Heil a sculptor from Bamberg, Germany who has been in residence since October 3.

Frustrated because the materials he had shipped from Germany were significantly delayed, Adel made the best of it, producing an impressive showing of his work for our fall open studios event using You Tube videos, photographs and a single plaster sculpture he whipped up.

His can-do attitude also came to the fore when overlapping with Lorca for just one night, their conversation over dinner turned to the sad state of her sculptures. Donated to VCCA by Lorca in 1988, The Moon Tree Series comprises four sculptures that were placed in the front field and designed to be also used as scratching posts for the cows that shared the pastures. “For many Fellows, the sight of Lorca's sculpture on the front drive meant that they had arrived at their creative home,” says Director of Artists' Services Sheila Gulley Pleasants. “Over the years, several of the sculptures fell into disrepair. One suffered mightily in a contest with an overzealous bull. Two of the sculptures were removed from the field because they were too damaged.”

After Lorca left, Adel, who in addition to being a sculptor, is a skilled sculpture restorer, approached Sheila about repairing Lorca's sculptures. He located some stone on the Sweet Briar campus and acquired other materials from the hardware store, and voilà, a few days later, the three damaged pieces were restored and the victim of the bull erected once again with the help of Facilities Manager Mike Patterson.

The project actually took a good deal of effort on Adel's part to put the pieces together again. During all this, his delivery from Germany finally arrived, but he stuck with the repairs until they were completed before finally turning to his own work.

All of us at VCCA are so grateful to Adel for taking on this much needed job and bringing Lorca’s wonderful addition to the Mt. San Angelo landscape back to life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Marion Belanger’s Work in Haverford Show

Marion Belanger’s work is included in The Female Gaze: A Survey of Photographs by Women from the 19th to the 21st Centuries at Haverford College’s Atrium Gallery in the Marshall Fine Arts Center.

Women have been involved in the photographic medium’s history almost from the beginning working across photographic genres including portraits, travel, landscape, documentary and conceptual photography. Women photographers have played an important role not only in the making of photographs, but also in the very invention of the medium. The same cannot be said for other visual media.
“The creative impact of women photographers as diverse as Julia Margret Cameron in the 19th century, Bernice Abbott in the 20th century and Carrie Mae Weems in the 21st century have defined the very best that the medium is capable of.”
Marion’s landscape photographs record images where boundaries between one area and another are clearly seen, setting the differences off in high relief. Her work explores both permanence and change in images that are of nature and the world which contains man — how these two conflict and also cooperate. In her Rift /Fault series, Marion photographed the land-based edges of the North American Continental Plate: the San Andreas Fault in California, and the Mid-Atlantic Rift in Iceland. As Marion says: “The images portray moments of quiet anticipation in settings that shift between the wild and the contained, the fertile and the barren, the geologic and the human. The dichotomy creates a visual tension that questions the uneasy relationship between geologic force and the limits of human intervention.”

The photographs on view have been selected from the Haverford College Fine Art Photography Collection and include works by Lady Hawarden, Imogene Cunningham, Claude Cahun, Nan Goldin, Vivian Maier and Tacita Dean. Through November 30.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pamela Booker’s New Works

Pamela Booker’s latest editorial for Village Q is available here: Sex Talk & F-Bombs

In addition to being a writer, Pamela is also a visual artist and educator. Her interdisciplinary works have been published, exhibited and staged in this country and abroad.

Her play SEENS From the Unexpectedness of Love, will be published by Duke University Press in Black/tino: Anthology of Queer Performance (Fall 2015) and her photography was recently seen in the exhibition For Whom it Stands, TOO, at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag Museum in Baltimore.

Pamela is completing her first novel, Fierce! Remains, the fictional biography of a legendary drag queen. Currently, she is Writing Faculty in undergraduate programs at Goddard College and NYU, Her blog is Greens 4 Squares.

Gail Donohue Storey's Third Book Garners Awards

Gail Donohue Storey, who was a VCCA Fellow in 1985, reports that her third book, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail published in 2013 by Mountaineers Books won the National Outdoor Book Award, Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year, Colorado Book Award, Nautilus Silver Award, and Barbara Savage Award. The book’s second printing came out in 2014 with a Readers Guide including an interview between Gail and her editor and Questions and Topics for Group Discussion.

The book recounts her “hilariously harrowing story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with her husband, Porter, a hospice physician.”

The Lord's Motel, Gail's first book, a novel was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as "a tale of unwise judgments and wise humor." Her second novel, God's Country Club, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection.

For more information about Gail and her books:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Daniel B. Meltzer

VCCA has learned the sad news that Daniel B. Meltzer has died in hospice in New York City where he lived.

Primarily known as a playwright, Dan also worked as a film editor and researcher, actor, comedy writer, play doctor, speechwriter, as a newspaper editor and reporter, and as a senior writer and editor for CBS News.

Dan’s plays have been staged in theaters across the U.S. and overseas. He was the author of the popular stage comedies The Square Root of Love, Movie of the Month, Intermission, and A Cable From Gibraltar.

Dan also published hundreds of humorous and serious Op Ed essays in newspapers via the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press syndicates. His short stories won both the O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes. 

Dan taught at NYU, Penn State, and Marymount Manhattan College. He also lectured and entertained widely on topics ranging from Early Greek Theater to writers block to Albert Einstein’s pursuit of a “Theory of Everything.”

Dan was recently honored for his leadership of the Save the Beacon Theatre Committee, a citizens’ movement that prevented the destruction of New York's historic landmark Beacon Theatre, which today thrives as a popular music hall. He was a member of the Pen American Center and the American Academy of Poets.

Dan was a great friend to VCCA and was a very real part of the VCCA family. He was in residence eight times since his first residency in 2000. His final residency was in 2011. He was always such a positive member of the community. 

Dan worked hard while in residence and pushed himself in new directions even making small sculptures in addition to his playwriting.  

A few years ago, Dan bought a painting from the VCCA's collection by VCCA Fellow Ryan Russell — a beautiful Virginia landscape. He wanted that bit of Virginia in his living room — a little bit of VCCA was with him in his daily life.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dan’s family and wide circle of friends.