Lynn Foskett, Artist

It is not what you see that is art. Art is the gap. – Marcel Duchamp

To Do

About every four weeks or so, I need to step back and look at: what has progressed; what has not; why; plus, reorganize and/or clean up the studio (maintaining the ☯️ between calm and confusion). So, here is where I’m at:

Solo Show To Do List

Timeline :✔️ (End date – January 5, 2018; Show dates – January 9-19)
Show Title: ✔️ “The Empty Chair: Here/There, Lost/Found, Known/Unknown”
Promotional Materials: 🔜
Resume Updated: ✔️
Website Updated: ✔️ and continuing…
New Business Cards:✔️

“About the Artist” Notebook: Think about and compile in Fall

5 Small Luaun Chairs: 2 – ✔️; 1- in progress; 1- in prep stage; 1- ideas?

1 Large Chair Grouping: Scaled Drawing: ✔️; 4 x 4’ Luaun – purchased

(Aside: Of course, the plywood is an inch too wide to slide into my car…
Me to Lowes guy: “I need an inch cut off.”
Lowes Guy: “Can’t cut an inch, there’s a minimum we can cut.”
Me to Lowes Guy: “How about 2 inches?”
Lowes Guy: “How about 6?”
Solution: Lowes Guy: I guarantee you, I can get it into the car!”
Me: (uh huh), To Lowes Guy: Go for it!
Result: Tied to the roof rack… 😉        Note to self: purchase bungee net ✔️

8 – 12 x 12”s: 3 – ✔️; 1 – in progress; 3 – in prep stage; 1 – in the ether somewhere

12 – 6 x 6,” “In the Garden” series: 2 – ✔️; 2 – under consideration; Remaining – procrastinating

Graphite Piece: In progress

Small Collages: 1 – ✔️; 1 – in progress; Several – idea stage

3 Small Sculptures: 2 – in progress; 1 – idea stage; Note – All needing materials ordered or picked up to complete

Anything else?: I’m sure there will be…

 

Stay tuned.

               Lynn

Advertisements

MkngItN10 – As the saying goes, “Life has a habit of getting in the way…”

2016 was meant to be totally focused on studio work – well, that didn’t happen. My last blog was at the end of 2014 and, in the two years since, there have been a lot of changes. The events which followed covered the gamut, between a difficult loss and amazing positive change.

In terms of my work, the greatest change, and gift, is a whole new studio. I am forever grateful to my husband, who worked his heart out to make sure I got my dream space. Not only do I have a fully functional, designated work area, but amazing storage and even a sitting and display space.  I-AM-IN-HEAVEN!

And so, now, my work has really begun. I’ve a whole new focus (you can keep tabs on what I’m doing on my Facebook page: @lynnfoskettartist, and website: http://www.lynnfoskett.com. And, I have recently been invited to have a solo show at the Pasco Fine Arts Center in New Port Richey, FL in January 2018.

I’ll be chronicling my progress in future blogs – stay tuned.

MkngItN10: You Can’t Do It Alone

What with my job responsibilities over the last few months, which meant my schedule was all over the place, I had allowed my blog to languish. Things have settled down finally and so I got busy writing, and then something happened…

My step-mother of 52 years passed away just ten days ago. While her health was fragile, it was unexpected; Maggie always made it through her various health challenges.

To say she influenced me is a grand understatement. While our relationship wasn’t always easy it was, throughout, one that nurtured me and my work in ways that will continue to unfold to the end of my days.  Maggie is at my side as I explore new ideas, critique my work, struggle with being the artist I hope to be. She is prodding me, challenging me, cheering me on, always. Even in the last few days when she would slip in and out of lucid moments, she thought about my work, what I had been doing. “Lynn,” she said, “your last artist’s statement is beautiful, describing your intent and your work perfectly.”

What I learned from Maggie, in a nutshell, is that you can’t do it alone. And for that, and her love, I will be forever grateful.

Below is the obituary for Maggie Foskett, written by my younger brother, her son. He has captured her life as the strong, passionate woman and exceptional artist that she was. Her work will live on and her spirit with it:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The artist Maggie Foskett died Dec. 1 in hospice care near her winter home in Sanibel, Fla., after a brief hospitalization, surrounded by her husband, son and daughter. She was 95.

Foskett, a summer resident of Camden, Maine, transformed bits of nature into brilliantly colored and spare, sometimes haunting shapes through a pioneering photographic technique known as cliché verre, the direct exposure of compositions onto photographic paper through an enlarger. She was among the first American artists to use cliché verre in photography and is credited with helping establish thetechnique as a photographic art form in the United States.

She exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the East Coast and her works are included in the permanent collections of the National Museum for Women in the Arts and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., the Farnsworth Museum of Art in Rockland, Maine, and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

She had more than 25 one-woman shows over her lifetime and in 2000, Foskett was included in “Photographing Maine 1840-2000,” a published compendium of Maine’s most significant photographers. In 2013, she was included in “Maine Women Pioneers III,” a collection of Maine’s best women artists.

“A sensitive and exacting observer, Maggie Foskett reveals nature’s incredible variety in new and surprising ways as she penetrates the internal structure of birds, plants, insects and reptiles,” a curator wrote of her 1998 exhibit at the National Academy of Sciences.

Born Margaret Edna Hughes in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 15, 1919, Foskett was the first child of Edna and Reynold King Hughes, an American couple who relocated from the United States to South America for Hughes’ cattle ranching business.

Foskett completed her early education at the Sao Paulo Graded School, founded by her father, and matriculated to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1939, majoring in English.

Bryn Mawr College remained an important touchstone throughout her life, and she credited its faculty for instilling the belief that she could pursue her own interests at a time when women were expected to adopt traditional roles.

Foskett’s first marriage ended in divorce and she married her second husband, John D. Foskett, a Chicago businessman, in 1962, ultimately residing in the Chicago suburb of Geneva, Ill.

Foskett began her artistic career working with stained glass. At the age of 57, she enrolled in a community college course in photography and began shooting and developing black and white film.

But she became enthralled by the brilliant colors made possible by Cibachrome photography, and started working exclusively in color even though the medium had not yet been embraced by critics as a legitimate photographic art form alongside black and white photography.

At her second home on Sanibel Island, Foskett photographed tropical plants and sea shells, always at close range, and developed the images into 18 x 24 inch Cibachrome prints, magnifying small objects into larger than life works of art.

“A rag picker of small cosmologies in nature,” she sometimes called herself.

In 1984, Foskett moved from Illinois to Camden, Maine, and her career blossomed when she found a community of artists associated with Maine Photographic Workshops in the nearby town of Rockport.

Foskett studied photography with many of the best American photographers, including Ansel Adams, Sam Abell, Marie Cosindas, Ernst Haas and Jerry Uelsmann.

She discovered cliché verre by accident when, working in her darkroom in Florida, she turned on her enlarger and saw the translucent outline of a spider magnified on the photographic paper below.

Maggie Foskett

She began experimenting with what she saw. She took tiny bits of plants and insects, created an arrangement between two glass slides, and exposed the slides through the enlarger directly onto photographic paper.

The resulting images revealed intricate details and variations of color unseen by the naked eye. The idea of unmasking the hidden beauty and mysteries of tiny pieces of nature fascinated her for the rest of her life.

In dragonfly wings, she found honeycombs. In plant stamen, she found snowfalls of pollen. In flower petals, she found rainbows of color.

She discovered that even rocks, cut thinly, could be shot through with the bright light of her enlarger to create extraterrestrial landscapes.

Through her many years of work, Foskett noticed the patterns of life’s building blocks repeated themselves in nearly every object she photographed. She remarked that she also came to understand the fragility of nature; some compositions of flowers or insects might fade so quickly she had time for only one or two images.

Foskett told one interviewer that her goal was to “show how delicate our balance with mortality is.”

She stopped using her camera completely in 1995, devoting all her energy to cliché verre prints made from her enlarger. In her most productive years, Foskett worked 10 to 12 hours a day in her darkroom, shredding images that failed to deliver their promise and sometimes emerging with only one good print for the day.

Late in her career, she became fascinated with x-rays of injured birds and animals, and composed images that superimposed natural objects onto the skeletal traces revealed on the x-rays.

She experimented with human x-rays, too, usually her own. One of her most memorable images shows blades of grass layered over an x-ray of her thigh, with the caption, “and then my bones will hold the seeds of summer grass.”

Foskett took one detour from cliché verre. In 2004, she created an exhibit out of a series of old black and white photographs she shot in 1979 at a shuttered institution for “wayward girls” in Geneva, Ill., dating to the late 19th century.

The photos included images of marked and unmarked graves on the grounds of the institution, known as the Illinois State Training School for Delinquent Girls, and the abandoned buildings that housed thousands of young women, many of whom died in childbirth while incarcerated.

The simple headstone of one 20-year-old girl, Sadie Cooksey, captivated Foskett and became the title of the resulting exhibition, “Who was Sadie Cooksey?”

She dedicated the show to “all the Sadies, past and present, who walk alone, sadly troubled.”

Physical limitations prevented Foskett from creating new artwork in the last decade of her life, but she found other interests to feed her creative mind and love of nature.

In Florida, she raised zebra longwing butterflies in her screened porch, tending the delicate chrysalises and delighting when the new life emerged. In Maine, she enjoyed feeding chipmunks from the palm of her hand on her back deck.

“She never really stopped,” said her husband, John Foskett.

Foskett remained an inspiration to dozens of artists and photographers, including her niece, the Vermont artist Sally Linder, and her stepdaughter, the Florida artist Lynn Foskett Pierson, and her unique body of work continued to be featured at galleries and museums. The Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, Maine, represented the artist and her work.

Foskett’s last exhibition was at the Boston Children’s Museum in Boston in 2012-2013, and was titled, “For We Are All Sprung From Earth And Water.”

After cremation, Foskett’s ashes will be spread at her cemetery plot in Camden, Maine, at a time to be determined by her husband and children.

Foskett is survived by her husband, John Foskett; her daughter, Kate O’Neill; her son, Kenneth Hughes Foskett; her stepdaughter, Lynn Foskett Pierson; stepson, John Ferguson Foskett; and five grandchildren: Liam W. Foskett, Robert W. Foskett, John F. Foskett III, Elizabeth Ann Mayers and Laura Kathryn Adams.

Foskett’s only sister, Dorothy Conklin, predeceased her in 2013.

In lieu of flowers, a charitable contribution in Foskett’s name may be made to: CROW, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Sanibel, Fla., www.crowclinic.org/support-us/memorial-gifts.

MkngItN10 – An Artist’s Goal

Playing...

Playing/Putzing

Putzing:

At the time I posted my first blog piece, I was notified that two of my drawings had been juried into a highly regarded statewide show, at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Whoo-hoo!

Now what…          Now I have to produce.

I tend to get bored very quickly with set patterns and routines. While I realize that’s ok, I know I need enough of a routine to jump start the inspiration synapses when I walk into the studio. I’ve a plethora of actions that I’ve taken to do so – everything from having a piece of chocolate with my coffee, while writing in my journal or reading, to 10 minutes of calisthenics to walking through my garden, pruning here and there. As is often the case, some actions are more successful than others and the others are probably subtle efforts at procrastination rather than inspiration.

There is another routine of mine, a cycle really, which I have felt almost always falls into the procrastination corner. Lately,  I’ve begun to see it’s something quite different. I must explain first and foremost that I’m a card carrying putzer. Did you know that the definition of putz is “fool” or “jerk” (I just looked it up)? Well, that puts it in a different perspective! To “putz around” is to diddle and dawdle, to waste time. Hmm. The fact is, that diddling and dawdling can be a highly creative time. As artists, our brains are wired to make connections between differing (often wildly so) visual stimuli, actions, experiences, thoughts, etc. And all that putzing brings us into contact with all sorts of stimuli, squirreling away in the back of our brains, just waiting to link up one way or another.

Second, I produce in cycles. How long or short a cycle is often in response to the vagaries of life and the needs of my day job. As the manager and buyer of a small museum store, there are seasonal or event demands that dictate my time. But I also find, after a particularly productive cycle in the studio, that my head feels too filled up and I have to decompress or go nuts. So, when I’m in the decompression mode, I putz.

Putzing serves a larger purpose by giving me the gift of time to fill as I will. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve taken a workshop with the theme of “clarity” (led by two exceptional life coaches), updated my website and started writing this blog (both with the able help of my webmaster daughter), entered three shows, traveled, and read voraciously (generally art related but also the occasional spiritual or science topic). My reading list has included: Lucy Lippard’s biography, Eva Hesse (Hesse was, artistically, a late bloomer within a short life); Frank Stella’s 1980 book, Working Space, which explores issues of the pictorial field; and a variety of articles and interviews in “Art News” and the quarterly “Bomb” magazines (I particularly enjoyed the latter’s double interview between Kara Walker and her father, abstract expressionist artist Larry Walker). And there are books and articles on techniques and processes to explore.

This cycle also offers me an opportunity to go through my portfolios, destroying sub-standard work and/or revisiting unfinished pieces that, with a fresh eye, I am able to either move to the next logical stage or complete (a few pieces have been in the works for several years now). I find the exercise invaluable, allowing me to apply the understanding and knowledge gained from the previous producing cycle. Sometimes, I find an old direction that speaks to me anew.

Though my putzing is far more focused than its meaning implies, it does express the variety of activities this cycle encompasses. While I may diddle and dawdle, playing, in essence, this is a time of discovery, of learning, of ah-ha moments, a time of finding myself again. And I’m always thinking, cogitating, really, in the back of my mind, on the direction my work will take next.

Of course, there comes a point when one must move on. I’m feeling antsy, as if I’m waiting for the pop of the starting gun. I’ve definitely come to the end of this putz cycle and now it’s time to get back to work. It’s time for that piece of chocolate…
BTW, my juried drawings are “Stepladder” and “Folding Chair.”

 

 

MkngItN10 – An Artist’s Goal

As I was approaching my last birthday (I’m a New Year’s Eve babe), it occurred to me that I’m coming up to the short end of the stick. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve a lot of good years still ahead, all things being equal, but am definitely over the cusp of life’s arc. I’ve been taking my art more seriously over the last 20 years. By that I mean, there came a point when I asked the question if I was serious about my work or if my studio was just taking up space. At the time, I decided I needed to see where I could go with it and began to be specific and intentional about it. Periodically, I would ask myself that question again and each time the answer has been clear – I cannot not do my work.

This past birthday I realized something pretty cool – over the last few years I’ve been setting more specific goals, keeping them tucked in the back of my head. Goals like joining an artists organization, entering into member shows, attending a critique group, creating a body of work, building a website, etc. Looking back, I found that I actually accomplished them and then some, if not specifically, at least close enough. And so I’ve decided that now’s the time to look at the big picture and set a broader goal, then work backwards to determine what I need to do to get there.

The big picture? In 20 years I hope to be alive and lively, of course, but just as important, I hope I’m still creating. The hard part, for me, is to acknowledge out loud that I want my work to be valued. Not necessarily valuable, though I wouldn’t turn my nose up at that, but valued in the sense that it has something worthwhile to contribute, has a quality that sets it apart. Only time and hard work will tell how that turns out so the next question is, what do I do to get there?

MkngItN10 (Making It In 10), is my new mantra. In ten years, there are certain things I expect to have accomplished in my art career. The most important for me, is submitting work to and getting accepted in regionally and nationally recognized shows. To do so requires that I do the work, putting in the time knowing that it’s going to take time, and a lot of bad work, in order to have something that juries and judges take interest in. It also requires that I get myself out there to as many people as possible. And that’s where this blog comes in…

I recently read a great little book called Show Your Work! By Austin Kleon. In it, he acknowledges that the hardest thing for many of us is to believe that others might find something interesting about our work, and so, marketing ourselves is often the most difficult thing to do. But, if I want people to take my work seriously then I have to take it seriously which means talking about what interests me, how I think about it, what my process is, etc. This blog is my attempt to articulate what it is that I’m doing, what’s working and what isn’t. In the process, I’m interested in your response to that and your own struggles, successes, and ideas about developing a unique voice. I plan to share what’s on my mind and what’s sitting on my work table. I hope you’ll find it worthwhile and, if you do, that you will share your own endeavors. This is meant to be a constructive and, hopefully, an engaging and fun dialogue.

In that spirit, let the blog begin…