Sunday, December 9, 2012

Art and Process

On November 14th, I went to Urban ReThink to hear artists Brian Phillips, Dina Mack and Tory Tepp talk about their Art and Process. Dina Mack lead off showing her work from inception to today. She worked in the beginning by doing collages. Her work later matured and become austere in its simplicity and abstraction. She did an instillation in which she froze written documents in ice and then let them melt in the gallery. For the Corridor Project, she had a series of cloth napkins which she used to blot her lipstick. She vividly remembers her grandmothers perfume, so she scented the fabric. The lipstick stained napkins were an autobiographical look back at memories she had of her mother and grandmother.  Her grandmother used to give her a butterscotch candy if she sat still in church. The sound of the wrapper still brings back the memory, so she filled a vintage purse with butterscotch wrappers. The ephemeral installation was installed on the lawn of the Mennello Museum for only a few days. The sense of smell is only now being researched. Apparently all the Marriott hotels in the country use the same perfumed cleaning products. A scent can trigger many vivid memories. Much of Dina's work speaks in a whisper, implied, like a scent on a breeze.

Tory Tepp is now a resident artist at the Atlantic Center of the Arts in Daytona Beach. He began his career as an artist doing traditional paintings. He hit a wall where he felt painting didn't have any meaningful place in today's society. He stagnated, not knowing where to go as an artist. Then he started planting seeds and growing a garden outside his Los Angeles studio. This garden helped him feel more connected to the people in his neighborhood. He started using abandoned shopping carts as planters. This evolved into Urban art with a taste of nature. An installation at a college consisted of a series of grass covered dirt mounds that acted as a natural place to meet, lie back relax and mingle. He is now working on a similar installation as part of his Atlantic Center of the Arts residency. With any luck, I'll get out there to sketch the work in progress.

Brian Phillips showed his illustrative work. He has a whole series of paintings of house fires illuminating the night sky. He has some of his paintings hanging at Urban ReThink now. One piece in particular caught my eye. It was a painting of a stone arrowhead with a bold flat backdrop. This simple image implies much about the violence of survival. That image lingers. Brian didn't claim any deep rooted underlying themes to his work. For the people intent on finding hidden meanings, he did a painting of a house fire and diagrammatically circled some embers. The diagram pointed to a bird, leaf and phone. It was pure nonsense. He paints because he loves the process.

I'll be giving a talk on my art and process this Wednesday December 12th from 7PM to 9PM at Urban Rethink, (625 E Central Blvd  Orlando, FL, 32801). Rick Jones will be presenting, discussing and displaying his works on the ReThink wall, along with photographer Hannah Glogower. Stop by and say hi.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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