Author: Val Allen

Posted 20 March 2020

Curator’s Clipboard: Interview with Bonnie Lalley, Artist/Illustrator

 #Understory #BonnieLalley #MichiganArtist

Hi! It’s Val, curator of Studio 23! It is a true pleasure to introduce artist Bonnie Lalley and her exhibit titled Understory. Bonnie has created 47 artworks for this exhibit. The mixed media pieces range in size from approximately 12″x18″ framed to well over 8 feet. Some are exquisitely framed in custom and handmade hardwood frames by Timothy Lalley, a known artisan in the Thumb area and Bonnie’s husband. Others are installed as if they are vintage tapestries, without a glazing treatment and inviting the atmosphere to age them naturally over time. Such a great concept! I had a chance to ask Bonnie questions regarding her life, her creative process and philosophies and here is the content. I hope you enjoy reading!

Interview with Artist Bonnie Lalley

  1. Please describe the logistics of your exhibit.

Understory is comprised of 47 pieces of paintings on paper. The title describes the vegetative layer that lies beneath the canopy of trees. This title was chosen by Elizabeth Lalley, who, as well as being my daughter, is a curator of contemporary art in Chicago. This title is apt and poetically describes the source of much of my imagery. It is used loosely, as Elizabeth describes it, for I am “under water as much as under bushes looking at things…”

  1. Which is the most autobiographical artwork?

I would have to say Beasts and a Ladyis the most autobiographical piece for reasons only I would know. The “lady” is not me, but, the imagery, the colors—everything—are redolent of childhood imaginings for me.

  1. How do you describe your process? Is it collage? Is it mixed media? Is it painting?

My process is difficult to describe because I feel I have found my voice. I don’t follow any system. The way I work—by painting and drawing images and then cutting and arranging them on a larger paper ground—is very free and unplanned. I am able to move things, change background colors, layer, stencil, etc., in a manner that is fluid, like music. If I call them “collages” it suggests that I use appropriated imagery, which I don’t. I draw and paint everything. So not being able to give them a tidy category has kept me out of a lot of juried shows! (Ha ha!)

  1. You talk about your art being inspired by flora and fauna. Can you tell us more about that and also about your gardens?

My family culture was always centered around nature, whether we were living in Detroit or on my grandfather’s farm. Botany and beauty were important topics of discussion: “Did you see the sunset? Did you hear that bird? Someone saw a patch of Blue Fringed Gentian…” My mother had beautiful flower gardens, and I try to emulate that, but I find it much harder than she made it look! I have English roses that I cherish, but my gardening skills are not so great. I find I would rather be in my studio painting flowers than digging in the dirt. However, hope springs eternal, and I make new promises every year to have the best garden ever! This year is no different (a double ha ha!).

   

  1. I’ve seen your studio space—small, intimate, and, in my mind, an artist’s hideaway. Why does that setting work so well for you?

Because it is near a teapot and toaster. Actually, somedays I kind of long for a few more square feet for really large pieces.  Having said that, I make it work. I love my little studio…

  1. You and your husband are both artist and artisan. Do you often talk about the creative process? Do you inspire each other with ideas and, if so, can you be specific about your collaborations?

Regarding his cabinetmaking and my art, we tend to both be internal. Regarding our house and garden restoration, though, we collaborate on all levels. This we both enjoy, and we recognize each other’s talents and have equal input. The other important collaboration that happens is the framing of my work with his spectacular handmade frames.

  1. If you were to invite an artist to your beautiful home for dinner, who would you invite and what would you serve?

Can I invite three? Or a combination of the three and two of them dead? If I could do that, it would be Mary Delaney, who was an 18th-century English aristocrat who in her 70s developed the style of painting, cutting, and assembling pieces into beautiful botanical compositions. Her work inspired the first piece I did, which was the beginning of this body of work. Next, I would have Maria Sibylla Merian. Born 350 years ago, she left her husband and Holland and with two young daughters travelled by ship to distant tropical countries. She painted some of the most beautiful and best-regarded botanical and reptile/animal illustrations. She was one of the first to understand and illustrate the life cycle of moths and butterflies. I would love to talk to her about her travels and the natural world she witnessed. Finally, I would invite Cornelia O’Donovan, who is a young contemporary British artist whose work I admire. We both have a love of early textiles, so we could talk about that. Her imagery is so freely composed—I really love that.

Oh, and I would serve shrimp and grits with a side of greens cooked in a little bacon fat, a garlicky salad, and gingerbread with orange curd and whipped cream. This is because I just made this for friends and the cooking gods were with me.

  1. What is your art teaching philosophy in a nutshell?

To teach skills and philosophy; i.e., “methods and materials” and “art is important.”

  1. If you were not a visual artist, what would you be?

Hmmmmmmmmmmm—a grower of cardoons in France.

Thank you, Bonnie for sharing your thoughts with us during this time of sheltering! You gave us much food for thought on living your best life as an artist. This exhibit will unfold virtually over the next few days on our website and Facebook page.

The exhibit is generously sponsored by Chemical Bank. 

Thank you for your support of the visual arts in the Great Lake Bay Region.

Stay safe and keep well, Studio 23 family!

Kind regards,

Valerie Allen

Curator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted 21 February 2020

Curator’s Clipboard: Artists as collaborators!

 #Collaboration

Hi! It’s Val, curator of Studio 23! The artist Robert Rauschenberg has been a major influence in my life since art school. He lived between 1925–2008 and was very prolific in mixed media artwork involving printmaking, painting, photography, and performance art. He led the charge for many collaborations between visual artists, scientists, musicians, dancers and social activists and he strived to promote world peace and understanding. “There is no reason not to think of the world as one gigantic painting,” stated Rauschenberg in 1971. Not only does that quote speak to me of all the possible materials we can use in our artwork but also the big picture of defining collaboration as a complete creative process. Here are just a few of the collaborations we initiated at Studio 23 so far in 2020.

On January 25, Studio 23 collaborated with City Market Bay City for “A Taste of Art” held during the market’s Sample Saturday. Faculty members from our education department demonstrated drawing, painting, printmaking and offered a station for market-goers to do their own mini paintings. I’m happy to announce that this community event was successful and our collaboration will now be scheduled four times a year with the next “A Taste of Art” being on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Below you will see artists from left to right,  Amy Gibas, Julie Tyslicky, Ruth Howell, Deb LaRocque, Misty Coss, all instructors at Studio 23.

              

Studio 23 is collaborating with Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy to present Land to River, an exhibit that features artists in the role of communicators, explorers and environmentalists. Artists include: Mark Bleshenski, Zachary Branigan, Frits Hoendervanger, Erwin Lewandowski, Alan Maciag, and John Sabraw. This exhibit will open on May 14, 2020 at 5:00pm. The topics of conservation, restoration, education, utilization and activation as it relates to over 6000 acres of land in our region will be addressed through the message of visual art with the opportunity for our community members to participate in workshops and environmental events. This exhibit is sponsored by Waste Management.

The Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and Studio 23 presented Where Art and Music Unite, a collaboration that featured artist Valerie Allen painting to the music of Haydn, Torke, and Copland performed by the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and led by Conductor Fouad FakhouriThe painting was then auctioned at the afterglow for the evening. The collaboration also included a food drive for Hidden Harvest, a regional organization that strives to alleviate hunger and food waste in the counties of Bay, Midland and Saginaw. 

       

Kind regards,

Valerie Allen

Curator

Current Exhibit:

Teenworks & Kids’ Kreations continues until March 7, 2020

Don’t miss this popular exhibit featuring the young artists of Bay County. The exhibit features over 375 creations by elementary, middle school and high school art students. We have a family-fun scavenger hunt for this exhibit and if you correctly answer the questions you will receive a label. Collect a label from each exhibit in 2020 and you will receive a prize in December. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. We are closed Sunday and Monday.

Upcoming Exhibit:

Understory: Bonnie Lalley, artist and illustrator

March 19 – May 2, 2020

Bonnie Lalley is a full-time artist/illustrator and art professor at Delta College. She lives in the countryside by choice, as flora and fauna are the motifs she loves best. Her 100-year-old home and studio in the Thumb reflect her aesthetic with vintage colors and patinas. There will be large scale collages as well as mixed media works custom framed by artisan Timothy Lalley. 

Artist’s reception: Friday, March 20, 2020, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 

A Conversation with Artist Bonnie Lalley: Saturday, April 11, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted 15 January 2020

Curator’s Clipboard: Happenings in our galleries and beyond!

 #Curatorslife

Hi! It’s Val, curator of Studio 23! January is our time to refresh and renew our gallery space and plan new opportunities for artists of the region. Last year we organized the Studio 23 Artists Collective and we are thrilled at the response from our artist members of Studio 23. We hosted three plein air events, an info session on the 50 Artists of the Great Lakes Bay Region, a talk on abstraction for the realist artist and a private curator’s VIP tour of the 50 Artists exhibit.

This year we kick off with The 100 Day Project that actually was visualized and started by our Artists Collective. The 100 Day Project is designed to jump start your creative process for the new year as well as promote the habits that can enhance your artistic productivity. It is beneficial for all creatives including visual artists, performing artists, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Bring your questions, your project ideas and your notebooks to our check-ins that are scheduled every 25 days. Here is a link to our first check-in. This event will be held on January 22, 2020 starting at 5:30 pm at Studio 23. Studio 23 is one of several art organizations across the nation that start on January 22, 2020! The national site is The 100 Day Project and the concept originated in Marquette, Michigan. It is now international!  You can register your project in advance at this international link for The 100 Day Project.

 

 

Our next exhibit will open on February 6, 2020. Teenworks and Kids Kreations celebrates the artwork created by young artists from Bay County. The age range is elementary through high school and the variety of images and depth of talent is incredible. Please join us for the opening public reception on February 6, 2020, 4:00pm – 7:00 pm. In addition, we will have a Sunday Open House on February 9, 2020, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This event corresponds with the Indulge  Day in Downtown Bay City!

This image is our publication winner for the exhibit.The artist is Riley Larkin, an art student from John Glenn High School. Her teacher is Amy Pobanz. Congratulations, Riley!  

Finally, we are happy to announce that Studio 23 is now placing art in our Regional Artists in Public Spaces program. The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is now our new neighbor on Water Street so it is very natural that we would place the beautiful abstract art by Sheri Moore into their busy boardroom. Sheri Moore is a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University. Her inspiration comes from human interaction and personal experience, especially travel. “I paint by feel, by trusting my gut, exactly the same way I have operated my whole life. I trust my instincts,” Sheri says.

                 

Feel This by Sheri Moore                                          Sheri Moore                                         Boardroom installation

 

Kind regards and remember #collectartbuylocal,

Valerie Allen

Curator

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

WHATS NEXT BAY CITY – Bay Arts Council , Bay City Players , Bay Concert Band , Studio 23 , The Bay County Historical Society , Bay County Library System, Bay Sail, The State Theatre and Delta College Planetarium Presents:
Comedy Night with Rob Little
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 7pm
State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave. Bay City, MI 48708
Box Office: 989-892-2660 x2
Tickets: $27 Reserved Seating
All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

Don’t let the “Little” name fool you. Little is BIG! But that has never slowed him down. “Yeah, I’m big, and all my relatives are too. Heck, we just got our family portrait done by aerial photography. And there are only three of us.” The truth is, Rob is big in more ways than one. With a grin on his face, a gleam in his eye, and a passion for comedy that is larger than life, he’s the biggest thing to happen to comedy in a long, long time. www.roblittle.com

January 22, 2020 @ 5:30pm

This event is designed to introduce new Studio 23 member artists and welcome back returning members to The100DayProject! Bring your questions, your project ideas and your notebooks. Studio 23 is one of several art organizations across the nation that start on this day! Attending this session will check off one of your 100 days as well as set you up for success through April 30, 2020. You can register your project in advance at this link. http://the100dayproject.com/registration-form/

January 25, 2020 @ 11:00am–3:00pm 

 

 

 

 

 

Event at City Market Bay City! Saturday, Samples and Art, a fun collaboration between Studio 23 and City Market on Saturday January 25, 2020 gives you “a taste of art” from 11am – 3pm. Artists and Studio 23 instructors will be stationed throughout the market creating their artwork and ready to discuss their process as well as classes they teach and programs such as the 100 Day Project at Studio 23. There will also be an art station where you can create your own Paint n Take for $10.  Our new class schedule and a registration station will also be available at this event for your convenience and classes will begin the week of February 3, 2020.

January 28, 2020 @ 6pm

Join Studio 23 as we guide you in personalizing ‘Night Route’ during our Out on the Town Sip ‘N Swirl at Courtyard by Marriott!

$35 gets you all your instruction and supplies. While painting, you’re encouraged to grab some food. Marriott has a great menu to order dinner and drinks from and will be offering specials on both exclusively for our Sip ‘N Swirl painters.

Dinner, drinks, and painting… what a fun way to spend an evening.

You MUST register in advance for this class either online or by calling 989-894-2323!

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