Honoring an Artist’s Wild Spirit

It’s so important that artists & creatives support each other!  Although my long-time friend, Australian artist Lina Eve, & I are literally across the globe from each other we have stayed in touch and supported each other’s work.  Aside from being an amazing painter, Lina is a talented film maker and writer and is now trying to fund a YouTube project that honors a true artist’s wild spirit, Vali Myers (1930-2003).  Lina introduced me to the inspiring and bold work of this way-too-overlooked, unique soul years ago and now she wants to share Vali’s artistic legacy with the world, so please read on about this fascinating project and visit the link for more info and to find out how you can help make Lina’s dream a reality!
Lina Eve:  for my talented and lovely friend, Lauren Curtis
1999: Whilst browsing one of my favorite 2nd hand bookshops, I chanced upon Vali’s beautiful book of paintings and writing titled , “Vali Myers”.  A day or so after this rare and fabulous find, I heard Vali being interviewed on ABC Radio National.  Her unique Aussie accent, her raw and earthy take on life, combined with the amazing artwork in her book, had me toasting her talent and fierce honesty.
Vali and I eventually met in her studio in Melbourne some months later.
We had only exchanged a few letters and chatted on the phone, 
but when we met there was instant rapport. She introduced me to the Turkish spirit Raki, and we got pretty legless on it.  At least I did.  Vali would have been able to drink most people under the table! Spending glorious afternoons with Vali, filling our glasses and talking about everything under the sun became my ritual every time I traveled to Melbourne from then on. “
lina-eve-vali-myers
(Lina, left…Vali, right)
“Vali died in 2003 and although she had a loyal following of fans, her work is largely unknown around the world. Vali’s work is highly personal, and therefore, like other amazing women artists, was not picked up by the media for the truly unique art it is.  Now I’m  trying to raise funds towards a YouTube tribute video about Vali  …..a beautiful friend, who created a whole world of powerful and magical art.”
valis-moby-dick
                                                            “Moby Dick” (c)Vali Myers
Wikipedia:    “Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) 
was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.”
I’m now collecting permission from the photographers  of my favourite portraits of her, and already have permission ( from the Vali Myers Trust) to use all her images for the video
If you can help with a donation, that would be wonderful and if you could also please pass on my Go fund me link, it would be very, very much appreciated!
  “Vali Myers : Wild Spirit”

A Beautiful & Powerful Art Exhibit

“Beautiful and Powerful Statements” is an art exhibit featuring the arts of calligraphy and re-purposed materials.  It opens Saturday, January 28, 2-5pm at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen.  The exhibit includes nearly 70 pieces in many media, from photography and video to fabric, ceramic and glass as well as all manner of re-purposed materials. Work from all over the U.S. and as far away as Israel is included in this show, along with the work of New Jersey artists. The approach to calligraphy was a very broad one and was open to any work that was text-predominant. That has allowed us to include not only work with elegant traditional calligraphy in many diverse languages, but other pieces that are very powerful and direct. “Anatolia” by Woodbridge, NJ artist Gozde Ture includes a quotation from the Orkhon Inscriptions with calligraphy in the Goturk alphabet that speaks about time. Ruth Schreiber’s works, from Israel, while connected to the Hebrew Scriptures, employ a “fantasy writing” using porcelain and other images. And California calligrapher Beverly Womack creates her work using layers of materials and images. The photography-based altered prints of East Orange artist, Onnie Strother, on the other hand, use bold text to speak directly to their viewer, and Georgia-based Craig Wilson’s almost stream-of-consciousness words dance all over the page. The art from “repurposed materials” makes their statements by way of the material itself…employing everything from actual bees and beeswax as Montclair artist Art Paxton does in “Buzz”, to the steampunk-related cast-offs used by NY artist and teacher Seth Apter, and another Steampunk influenced 3D piece by Lauren Curtis, as well as a piece by  Metuchen artist Amy Brooks in her work “Post-Truth Apocalypse”. “We were sought to incorporate in the show work featuring calligraphy or text that made, individually and collectively, a powerful statement. We were also interested that the work accepted using re-purposed materials had an inherent, accessible beauty. We were constantly weighing those two interests as we reviewed the work and decided what would fit well in this show, so that each piece really was appropriately “Beautiful and Powerful, “ noted Gallery Board Member Robert Hopkins. The Opening will be carried by Facebook Live, beginning around 2:30pm. This will be especially helpful for the artists who live great distances. It will allow anyone who wishes to log on to the Nails in the Wall Gallery FB page and interact with the visitors present at the gallery. Nails in the Wall is in the midst of its fifth year presenting international, interfaith exhibits of high-quality fine art. To learn more about the gallery, visit www.nailsinthewall.org or call the Director 732.322.6512.  Link to the Facebook invite:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1765730973753205/

steampunkboxfeb2012

I’ll have this large, 3-D Steampunk style box in the show.

nailsinwallbeautifulpowerjan2017

Yule Blessings, Season’s Greetings & Hope for 2017

Happy Holidays! Blessed Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyful Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  I think that covers it but if I missed anything, then happy merry for that too!  Now more than ever we need to be accepting and appreciative of our own cultures as well as the cultures & traditions of others!  There is beauty in diversity…it would be so dull if we were all the same, wouldn’t it?  (If you don’t think so then that’s your call but really think about it….what foods do you like?  Bet at least some come from other countries….  What movies, books, art, etc. are you interested in?  Doubt they all come from a homogeneous source!)

Sure, times are scary, the unknown can be scary, but what’s the most frightening is hatred for what we don’t understand and what that can lead to!  As an artist I’ve gained so much by studying art & mythology from across the globe…it’s lead me to travel, meeting great, new people, trying delicious foods and to creating unique art.

So I wish for all of you to have a Happy Healthy Holiday, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate…and a diverse, fun, peaceful New Year!  And now I’d like to share some holiday/winter themed photographs I’ve taken recently as well as through the last several years.  Enjoy the slide show!

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all images (c)Lauren Curtis

Myth, Music & Art Collide

Don’t you love it when 3 of your favorite things combine into one, very cool thing? This happened when a new freelance art client contacted me to commission me to create a new CD cover for his Jazz project, based on ancient Greek mythology!  Musician Jim Gailloreto discovered my X-RAYted art series online and messaged me about designing the cover for his PYTHIAD jazz CD & asked me to create a unique x-ray piece for it and do the design work as well. This was an exciting project as I listened to the music and loved it, especially since it is based on the myth of the ancient seer & mystic, the Pythia. Gailloreto’s music, accompanied by vocalist Cheryl Wilson, conveys the mystery of this visionary woman, The Oracle of Delphi,  who could foretell many things to those who dared to ask….

PythiadCDcover3LayersP Apr2016

artwork (c)2016 Lauren Curtis   CD music & concept (c) 2016 Jim Gailloreto

Here’s a bit of what Jim has to say about this fascinating musical project:

“The Pythiad” is a nine-movement vocal work for Jazz String Quintet; an interdisciplinary ensemble that blends improvisations with traditional string quartet.

The music and words combine to weave the stories of nearly a dozen lesser-known Greek heroes and heroines.

Vocalist Cheryl Wilson and the string quartet are exceptional. Coleman Gailloreto (our son) wrote the lyric and the story held within is magical.

Go to this link to listen.

https://jazzstringquintet.bandcamp.com/album/the-pythiad-featuring-cheryl-wilson

Art takes Root in April

What better time than Spring to honor nature through art?  And the Tulpehaking Nature Center in New Jersey is doing just that this month!  One of my x-ray, digital photo collages has been accepted to this show so join us…details below!

Micro/Macrocom Tree (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

Digital photo collage using actual x-ray images.

ROOTED juried art exhibit at Tulpehaking Nature Center
Join us for this nature-centric art exhibit,  focusing on the importance of trees.
Opening Reception:  Fri., April 22, 2016, 6-8pm.  Exhibition on View: April 22, 2016 – September 4, 2016
157 Westscott Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610

http://www.mercercountyparks.org
http://abbottmarshlands.org/

NOYESflyer2016
Another exhibition I’m very excited and proud to be a part of is:
The NOYES MUSEUM FINE ARTS ANNUAL
4/6/16 – 7/8/16  Opening reception Friday 4/8, 5-8pm
I have 2 of my x-ray digital collages in this important exhibit.
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401
artsgarageac.com
The New Jersey Arts Annual is a unique series of exhibitions highlighting the works of visual artists and craftspeople in the state. Chosen for their excellence, these artists present works of drawing, photography, sculpture, painting and mixed media. Their works are compelling evidence of the outstanding talent residing in New Jersey. The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University is pleased to host this prestigious exhibition!
New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

And even if you missed the opening reception there’s still time to view this show:
Woodbridge Artisan Guild
presents”PHOTOGRAPHY”!

Join us for our newest exhibition, which runs thru April! (I have 3 pieces in this show!)
All works in this show have been created by local artists;
themes include landmarks, nature, portraits, travel, & more!
101 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ (732)634-1474

Feast for the Senses & art news

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

You can sense the excitement in the air as spring all too slowly approaches…but it’s on the way!  And as with all new seasons, comes new art events, especially in New Jersey!  While it’s still too cold for outdoor fests and shows, there are plenty of indoor art exhibits to attend and the following I’m involved with this month are all FREE so no excuse not to check them out!  I hope you’ll join me and many other local, talented artists at these exhibitions:

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

FEAST FOR THE SENSES…Group Art Exhibit
Work by local artists (most living, some not) will be on display from March 7 through March 28, 2016, in the library’s community room. Participating artists include: Judy Brodsky, Joan Arbeiter, Lauren Curtis, Ria Glassman, Joyce Browning, Eric Escobar, Virginia Swanagan, Pat Shamy, Sydney Jean Reisen, Nadine Berkowsky, Jackie Baker, Jill Caporlingua. Deceased artists whose work will be displayed include: Jacob Landau, Stanford White, F. J. Adams, John LaFarge.

The Opening Reception for this Art Show (on Thursday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in the Carl T. Valenti Community Room) will provide light refreshments and an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the artists.  I’ll have a few paintings in this show.  Here’s Facebook invite link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1694806214135180/

NOLA Cemetery Path (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

NOLA Cemetery Path (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

SACRED SPACES, HOLY PLACES
There’s still time to see this enlightening exhibit of sculpture & photography with 27 artists / 43 pieces of work / 13 pieces of sculpture / 30 photographs.   Aside from being an exhibit, related spiritual & cultural discussions & events typically take place during the run of the show so check the gallery’s website & Facebook page for info.  Nails in the Wall Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave, Metuchen, New Jersey 08840.
I have 2 photographs in the exhibition which continues until
Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

And a quick question…Do you have a favorite place that you wish you could visit forever?  How about immortalize a beloved home, vacation spot, hang out or historic site in ART?  Commission a pen & ink with watercolor painting of a place you’d like to remember forever!  Contact me for details: forestwalker333@hotmail.com

For more of my work, please visit my newly updated website! http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com

Thanks for reading!

~Lauren

Sacred Spaces, Holy Places

A life-sized Islamic Prayer Niche…a sculpture conveying a Jewish woman’s experience with sacred space…a nearly 5’ ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome…evocative photographs of both outdoor and indoor spaces…an unusual combination?  But all highlights in the upcoming exhibit at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, the Metuchen exhibition space sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Sacred Spaces, Holy Places: an exhibit of sculpture & photography will begin the gallery’s 2016 winter exhibition season with the Opening & Artists’ Reception Saturday, January 30, 2-5pm. The event is free and open to all.

One of our goals at the gallery is always to bring together diverse voices from varied religious traditions around a common theme. In this instance, what makes a space sacred? What does a sacred space look like?  Work representing 27 artists is primarily, but not only, from the tri-state area. The photography includes a wide range of haunting images, some almost abstract, others capturing very specific locations that carry a sense of the sacred for the artist. Notable among those is the over 4’ Ilphachrome color photograph of Bernini’s Canopy in St. Peter’s in Rome by Nancy Ori (Berkeley Heights). Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking pieces, “V’at Alit”, by Miriam Stern (Teaneck) includes a series of photographs and other materials highlighting her experience of sacred space as a Jewish woman. Several very local photographers have work included in the show: Mark Harris (Edison) with his elegant figures and the carefully viewed spaces of Robert Hopkins (Metuchen). Lauren Curtis will have two 35mm black & white photos taken in the famous Louis I Cemetery in New Orleans, LA.  This above ground burial site is one of the most famous cemeteries in the US & the site where supposedly the infamous VooDoo Queen Marie LaVeaus is entombed.

NOLA.Marie's Tomb Flowers (c)2010

The 13 pieces of sculpture are very diverse in scale and materials and include free-standing pieces as well as sculptural wall works. Included in this group is a 6’ sculpture by Christina Saj (Cedar Grove), which has an exhibition history that includes, among others, St. John the Divine, NYC and the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Towering over that piece is Daniel Nelson’s (NYC) “Niche for Maryam.” A life-sized Islamic prayer niche known as an mihrab, the piece was designed as a site-specific installation for the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, NYC, using the proportions of the sculpture of the Virgin Mary by Bela Lyon Pratt in the Church’s Altar of the Annunciation. Nails in the Wall is honored to have it on loan from St. Paul the Apostle    for the duration of the exhibit.

Three mixed-media Mayan masks from Ronald LeMahieu (Princeton), along with a variety of the photographs, remind viewers that the sacred takes many forms beyond Church buildings.

Between 3 and 3:30pm, several artists’ talks will take place.

John Sharp, Gallery Board Member remarks, “I am amazed that despite our limiting the media accepted into this exhibit, we have been able to curate a show of such a diversity of scale and approach. It will truly be exciting to see which sacred space speaks to each visitor.”

Creating a sense of ‘sacred space’ through sound for the Reception itself, pianist, composer, and recording artist, John Bianculli will be performing. Refreshments will be provided by our ‘art partner’ The Metuchen Inn.

The exhibit will continue on view until May 15, 2016. For more information, visit http://www.nailsinthewall.com/ or contact Linda LaStella, Director@nailsinthewall.org.

The Facebook invite link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/159308764435405