Here's the spring show lineup thus far, and now with an exciting twist! I'M A HOST STUDIO FOR CHESTER COUNTY STUDIO TOURS!
Check out the website for all the details below:
And here's the backstory:
In August, Nat and I returned to Iceland and drove up to the Westfjords, with the goal of reaching Isafjordur. The weather was so kind to us, and we were able to photograph some incredible vistas, with long, colorful sunsets that stretched across an endless sky. He returned home and I was able to stay on at 1x6 and work on the start to this series. I burned screens using the sun's light, taught a workshop at Bokasafn Reykjanesbaer, and painted a refrigerator and a headboard in the Guesthouse. Those paintings formed the foundation for these works. In them, I am reflecting on the places I photographed and the stories behind each of these abandoned farmhouses. I think of the conversations that inform these works and the emotive effect each place had on me. I think of the music that accompanied each piece and the kindness of the people surrounding and supporting the making of these pieces. And I'm humbled and grateful.
While I'm at it, I might as well tell you about the other works, too
When my college roommate and very close friend suggested that the two of us should go to Europe during my spring break, neither of us really believed it could happen, until the right airfare, the right connections, and the right dates all lined up beautifully. And, blink, blink, there we were, landing in Paris. Our trip took us to Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Genoa, then to France to experience Nice and St. Remy and Provence. In a glorious whirlwind, we experienced some of the most gorgeous cities Europe has to offer, and needless to say I came home with more photographs and inspiration than I can fit in a brief paragraph. It wasn't until summer that I was finally able to start to work through some of the ideas I had, as school in spring is a whirlwind itself. Here are some of the pieces I created, and as time goes on I'm sure I'll revisit this imagery again.
Home Sweet Home
Photographic inspiration is everywhere. My morning commute to school, a trip to the grocery store, a quick errand downtown...every day I encounter the perfect compositions that lead to new work. Sometimes I'll drive past a building for weeks, plotting the moment when I could come back, when the light is right, and there's not too much traffic, to get the right shot. Sometimes, the moment is just right. Sometimes I'm a tourist in my own town, or I'll get word about a particular place that has a history that needs to be documented. In any way, there are moments that need to be part of my artwork and so they are. Southeastern PA, in all its seasonal forms, is a beautiful area in which to live and work.
What you're actually looking at:
My work starts with my photographs. I take photos of places that are abandoned and forgotten, because I'm fascinated by the stories those structures tell. Behind each of those photos are levels of stories. The ones I choose to I develop as silkscreens are those images that at once are distinctive of their place of origin, but can also be anonymous and at once be a symbolic shorthand for any place. I print those images over my paintings and then paint back into them, using acrylics or encaustic paints. Each piece I create is made as an original. It's not part of an edition, nor is it reproduced by mechanical means. I think of these pieces as the meeting place between printmaking, photography, and fine art.
All images (c) Gillian Pokalo, 2018
This autumn is a whirlwind of wonder and I'm looking forward to the foliage and the changing light in this most colorful of seasons. There are so many community events I'm grateful to be a part of, that help me savor these autumnal moments in all their glory and hopefully I'll see you at a few of them!
I'm absolutely thrilled to be showing with my colleague and inspiring artist sharon-bartmann.squarespace.com/ at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem - the show consists of imagery Sharon and I took of Steel Stacks and the area around Bethlehem, when we taught our Claytography class last year. Don't worry if you missed it last time - there are still spaces available for it in December! In that weekend, we go on a photographic expedition around Bethlehem, take our photos into photoshop, develop them as photo silkscreens, and print them onto clay!
I was just sent this image of our work on the walls and I couldn't be happier! Go see it in person. There will be a First Friday reception in November.
I'm also thrilled that I'll be showing at Exhibit B Gallery in Souderton! My solo show opens on October 19 with a reception from 5-9pm, and is up through November 11! Please come out and enjoy this gem of a gallery in downtown Souderton!
Also, check out the markets that I'm a part of this season - each with its own flair, incredible artist vendors, and locations that will take you down some lovely tree lined roadways on your way there, so that you can enjoy all that the season has to offer!
Phoenixville Green Earth Festival
County Studio Tours - Chris Macan Studio, #3 on the Studio Tour map
Clover Market in Bryn Mawr
A Bit of the Arts at the Twentieth Century Club in Lansdowne PA
Main Line Art Center Holiday Craft Market in Haverford PA
Go West Craft Fest : April 28: gowestcraftfest.wixsite.com/home
From July 8 through July 22nd, it was my great joy to return to Iceland. My sister, husband, and I arrived early in the morning of the 9th and picked up our rental car at SADCars (they always have taken such good care of me!). That afternoon I was to give an artist talk at the Duus Museum in Reykjanesbaer for the closing of my show, "That Which Remains: Views of Rural Iceland".
The work on display reflected the pieces I'd made at Guesthouse 1x6 as well as a body of work I'd created in my home studio starting in January 2017 through March and brought with me when I was an artist in residence at 1x6 in March. It was such an honor to share my work with an audience in Iceland!
The next day happened to be my birthday, so my sister, husband, and I went to Gamla Laugin, the Secret Lagoon in Flúðir following a glorious breakfast at 1x6. It was such a joy to spend time with my dear friends, Andi and Yukiyo, who, because their kindness and hospitality are seemingly endless, brought me the most incredible cake I've ever had the privilege of eating! I hold that day in my heart as one of my very favorite days, with some of my very favorite people.
The next day, we three said bye to Andi and Yukiyo and headed in our separate ways; my sister went to Portugal and my husband and I started our journey north along the west coast of Iceland in the direction of the Westfjords. Along the way to our first destination, we stopped in Reykjavik at Eyðibýli á Íslandi which is the organization that has extensively documented and catalogued the abandoned farmhouses of Iceland and has provided an incredible resource for my research. At my husband's urging, I showed them my work, and was given some fodder for discovery for later in our journey. We also stopped at 12 Tonar for the soundtrack to our journey, which was Moses Hightower's newest release, Fjallaloft.
Our first stop was Esjan, which is the creation of Daniel and Linda, former owners of 1x6. Daniel's master woodworking is on display in each of the unique and artisan apartments at the base of Mount Esja. It is a deeply spiritual place and is absolutely stunning.
The next morning we continued northward(ish), traveling around Snaefellsnes, of course visiting the hauntingly beautiful Dagverdera, and eventually landing in Stykkisholmer for our first night of camping.
The next day, the landscape began to change dramatically as we got into the Westfjords. After the most harrowing road experience of my life (we thought we'd take a shortcut along a road along Rt 60 near Flokalundur which was a big ol' NOPE road once a pea-soup thick fog rolled in), we landed in Patreksfjordur for our second night of camping. The Wesfjords are heart-wrenchingly gorgeous but the roads are not for the faint of heart. At moments you are hugging cliffs on narrow gravel roads that wind up steep mountains. Then, as you pass over a mountain, the landscape opens up into a valley and you feel like you are the only person in the world.
Our initial plan had been to travel up to Isafjordur via Rt 60, which for part of the way was going to be one of those gravel, cliff-hugging roads. After my experience the previous day, and knowing that there was going to be inclement weather, we had to change our plans. Iceland is one of those places where you are always exactly where you are meant to be. What she doesn't want to show you, you won't see. The weather truly does dictate what you'll be able to experience and it's truly humbling. I'm constantly checking vedur.is to get the road conditions, which can change, moment by moment.
The main reason I wanted to go into the Westfjords was to see Samuel Jonsson's Art Farm in Arnarfjörður, which is located on the tip of the fjord in the remote Selárdalur, beyond Bíldudalur. Samuel Jonsson's story is a fascinating one - when the altarpiece he created for the local church was rejected, Samuel built himself a church and several concrete sculptures inspired by those found in Spain and Italy. He never left Iceland, and it's hard to believe that he created his work in solitude. After his death in the 60's, the farm fell into disrepair, but conservation efforts have been able to preserve these treasures. The road to the farm is again, a cliff-hugging, narrow, pot-holed, gravel road, and thankfully the rain held off until we could see the gate to the town of Bildudalur. We hung out at the Sea Monster Museum until the most intense rain had passed and learned about the sea monster sightings in the Westfjords.
Without the urgency to travel up to Isafjordur, we took our time going through the southern Westfjords, stopping off at Tálknafjörður to visit the Villimey skin care products factory (and of left there with a bunch of goodies). We landed in Flokalundur for our last night of camping before we had to start making our way back. Near the campground at Flokalundur, there is a gorgeous natural hot pool, which overlooks a bay. I neglected to photograph it, but it was a wonderful way to unwind.
In the morning, we made our way slowly, and with many stops for photographs, to Borgarnes, where we were destined to stay at a lovely homestay/coffeeshop/gift/floral shop for the night. Blomasetrid is a truly lovely place. Their waffles, drizzled with whipped cream, jam, and chocolate are quite decadent.
The following day we left for Reykjavik, and enjoyed all of our favorite places in my favorite city: the flea market down by the harbor, which is open during the weekends, Eymundsson bookstore, The Laundromat Cafe (where we drank good beer, coffee, and did our laundry), had a hot dog from Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (a requirement if you are going to be in Reykjavik), and enjoyed soup in a bread bowl for dinner at Svarta Kaffid. We stayed at the affordable and comfortable 101 Guesthouse for my husband's last night in Iceland. He flew out, my sister flew in from Portugal, and I unpacked my life at my second home: Guesthouse 1x6 where I got to spend a wonderful week with my good friends Andi and Yukiyo again.
That second week in Iceland, for me, offered a chance to unwind and create my artwork on the walls of 1x6. I took several of my photos, edited them, and had them made into transparencies by a local printshop in Reykjavik and burned my silkscreens using the sun's rays. One of the evenings that week, my sister and I attended a lovely dinner and cultural learning class at the Tin Can Factory, where we learned about and ate our way through the history of Iceland, and even got the chance to make Icelandic pancakes. It was an absolutely delightful evening to "meet the natives".
My sister left for the US, and I stayed behind to continue my work and to teach a workshop at Bokasafn Reykjanesbaer.
Each time I've taught a workshop, I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to meet beautiful people and share myself and my art with them. While we don't speak the same language, art IS the international language. Workshop participants made prints from my silkscreens and then turned their prints into their own unique works of art, which they then took with them.
The day after the workshop, it was time to leave, and I sadly said my byes (for now) to Andi and Yukiyo.
Andi and Yukiyo, I am so grateful for your kindness, patronage, and amazing friendship.
Now that I'm home, I've been listening to Asgeir's "Afterglow" and Moses Hightower's "Fjallaloft" while I make the new work in my studio, reflecting on my time in Iceland, eagerly awaiting the day I can return.
I'm showing my work at Duus Museum in Keflavik right now. The show concludes this Sunday with an artist talk by me at 2pm. Follow the links for the details and, if you're in Iceland this weekend, stop by and say go∂an daginn! Takk!
Goings on from the ink-splattered mind of Gillian Pokalo