As if I didn't already have too much to do, preparing for my first time on the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour this Saturday (11-5) and Sunday (noon-5), I volunteered to help friend Ann Huey hang her solo show, The Texan Book of the Dead at the Bath House, opening October 23, through November 13.
Despite the setback in my home studio cleaning schedule, I'm glad I did.
It was fun and very much a community effort, with Bath House Visual Arts Coordinator Enrique Fernández Cervantes helping both us and the several artists engaged in setting up their work for next weekend's annual Day of the Dead show in the main gallery.
Besides, it's probably a good idea to keep up with the tech for hanging shows — not to mention extending my critic understanding of what goes on behind art exhibitions.
Enrique had found a marvelous little laser/level that he'd got a bargain on at Lowe's for $14. I wanted one soon as I saw it. It would have greatly helped me level and even up a whole wall of photographs on my wall in the Truckstop.
Big time. As it is, my gallery is more, ah ... human.
Ann had a much better idea of where everything went in her show than I did for arting up my home, so most of our work at the Bath House was actualizing her plans and interfacing them with the space's realities — concrete and sheet rock walls, windows and available vertical and horizontal space. Simple enough, but not always easy or direct.
Hers was almost a mathematical certainty, complete with nail-hole templates. Mine is still wish, hope and pray.
After about four hours of climbing ladders, nailing pieces to walls and lots of careful measuring, leveling and aesthetic balancing, we had all the major pieces up.
As I was splitting to catch up on the home front, two more Ann friends arrived to help — Rita Barnard, who was setting up her Dead Day piece in the next room, and Janet Powell, who Ann reports did an amazing job on the "poodling" (that's pooling and puddling combined) the drapes.
It will be interesting to see how they finish off the plan. I expect significant changes in most directions, up, down and sideways. Lots of sheer material, draping, floor-painting and careful, double-loop, twist-twist lily-hanging will be involved in that task.
Of course, I visited the main gallery to check up on the annual Day of the Dead exhibition, although none of the I.Ds were up yet, so I couldn't identify most of the pieces. Yet.
One of the pieces I liked immediately was a short collection of skulls made of multi-national newspapers. I also liked the sentiment for Rita Barnard's flag-waving miniature wall listing deaths in the Iraqi war. Another piece to catch my attention was a luridly vivid skeleton whose artist I should know.