RIPE: Faculty Exhibition at Palomar College

There are only a few days to see RIPE, the Annual Faculty Exhibition at Palomar College in San Marcos, California.

Poster announcement of art exhibition
RIPE Faculty Exhibition at Palomar College . 

My installation/wall piece, Duende, will be on view until next Tuesday. I’ll be there Monday,December 12th at 11:30AM. Join me for a guided tour of the exhibition.

Duende
Duende, by Lee Puffer. Installation view.

I’ve donated a couple of sculptures to the silent auction that supports the art department’s visiting artist program, including this small work (below).

image of snake/hand sculpture by Lee Puffer
Snake/Hand, by Lee Puffer 2016 Ceramic Sculpture

 

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Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture at PLNU

Exhibition Announcement. Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture at Point Loma Nazarene University Keller Art Gallery
Exhibition Announcement. Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture at Point Loma Nazarene University Keller Art Gallery

I am pleased to have my installation, Duende, included in this survey exhibition of contemporary sculptors. The work is on view at the Point Loma Nazarene University Keller Art Gallery through September 30, 2016.

Click here for more information on Duende. And let me know what you think.

Detail of Duende, by Lee Puffer
Detail of Duende, by Lee Puffer
Duende, by Lee Puffer. Installation view.
Duende, by Lee Puffer. Installation view.

 

 

The Human Eye

I took the theme of Eyes literally for the exhibition, Through the Eyes of an Artist, on view at The Studio Door Gallery until June 29th, 2016. As it happens, my most recent sculpture and painting feature an abundance of oddly placed human eyes. The human eye, in absence of the face and body, appears throughout art history in a variety movements and traditions. Here are a few.

False-mirror
False Mirror by Rene Magritte

The eye is ubiquitous in Surrealism, an art movement of the 20th century that concerns itself with depicting dream states, desire, nightmares, and the bizarre world of the human imagination and subconscious. False Mirror (1928),above, one of the most famous paintings by Rene Magritte, seems to imply that human vision is limited, a mirror of our subconscious and a symbol of selective and subjective personal view. The eye in this painting has multiple functions, looking, looked at, looked through.

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The Apology by Mark Ryden

Contemporary Lowbrow or Pop-Surrealist painter Mark Ryden’s The Apology (2006) features a human eye in the center of a cut tree trunk. With themes borrowed from surrealism and painted in old masters style, Ryden’s paintings both defy and define the categorization of lowbrow art.

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Obscura by Tony Oursler

Eye imagery proliferates in the work of contemporary international art star Tony Oursler. Here in Obscura, a multimedia installation 2014, video of human eyes are projected onto sculptural orbs suspended in the darkened gallery. Eerily subverting the art experience of looking at art in a gallery, Oursler’s installation is looking at you.

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Tears of Joy,  by Alex Grey

The human eye is a common feature of folk art, mysticism, and psychedelic art as a symbol of higher power and consciousness. In Alex Grey’s Tears of Joy, the eye image is repeated until it becomes a pattern.

current exhibition of new sculpture by Lee Puffer
Through the Eyes of An Artist, and exhibition featuring Lee Puffer at The Studio Door, North Park, San Diego

New Work at Art Produce – Looking Back/Forward

Tomorrow, May 21st  is the North Park Festival of Arts. During the festival, the Art Produce Gallery will be open with the Looking Back/Forward; An Art Produce Retrospective on display. Here’s some information about the exhibition:

Lee Puffer at Art Produce Gallery Anniversary Exhibition
Invitation to Looking Forward Back at Art Produce Gallery. Lee Puffer at Art Produce Gallery Anniversary Exhibition.

Join Art Produce for a 2-month celebration of the past 15 years of exhibits and the launch of new cultural activities and engagement opportunities for the neighborhood of North Park in San Diego, CA. Looking Back/Forward is a retrospective group exhibition of 25  artists who have previously had solo exhibits at Art Produce. This rotating exhibit will include site-specifici nstallations, and performance based/participatory interactive pieces in the Art Produce Gallery, the Community Room and the Art Produce Garden. Additional weekend activities in May and June include all ages art workshops, artist talks/salons, pop-up dinners, social dance in the beer garden, and the community wide North Park Festival of Arts on Saturday, May21 st 10am-10pm.

ceramic scuplture
Dream of Snakes by Lee Puffer. At Art Produce Gallery in North Park for Looking Forwar/Back. Ceramic Sculpture by Lee Puffer. 2016. The exhibition is open to the public from May 14 to July 3, 2016

 

 

 

 

The Exhibition is open to the public from May 14th through July 3, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 11 th 6-9pm

Gallery Hours: 11am-6pm, daily. Entry through Tostadas and by appointment.                   Art Produce  3139 University Ave. 619.584.4448  San Diego, CA 92104          www.artproduce.org

 

 

Push Into Your Certainty

Do not avoid conversations about your artwork. When you are asked to explain your work to others it helps you to clarify and distill your ideas. you benefit from these interactions, especially when the people asking are truly interested in the work. When you are asked to defend your ideas, you define them, hone them, and invest in them. You may state your thoughts and opinions, but you wont truly know where you stand until you are asked to defend your position. This is why presidential debates, and debates in general are important. It’s great exercise to defend oneself. It makes you stronger. In art you will be asked to explain your choices, be it material, subject matter, or style. Embrace the opportunity to have conversations where you are asked to defend your position, or to justify your choices. See this not as criticism or evidence that your choices are wrong or invalid, but as an opportunity to be pushed further into your certainty.

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BlowTorch by Lee Puffer. 2016. Watercolor and collage on paper.
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Wisdom or Fear? by Lee Puffer. 2016. Watercolor and collage on paper.
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Attachment by Lee Puffer. 2016. Watercolor and collage on paper.
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Dream of Snakes by Lee Puffer. 2016. Watercolor and collage on paper.

Art is an Open Country

 

Red Brainstorm by Lee Puffer 2016. Mixed media on paper.
Red Brainstorm by Lee Puffer 2016. Mixed media on paper.

Art is an open country. Everyone can stay. In a creative environment where everyone is welcome, there are bound to be differences of opinion, differences in modes of expression, and delivery systems.

Sometimes there is chaos in my classroom. I see it as controlled chaos, but some may see it as out of control. I am aware of that. It is ok. Some may think that I am lazy and that is why I do not take control of my class. Or perhaps I am inexperienced and lack the ability to deal with the disorder. It may be that I don’t notice it.

I assure you, none of those things is true. I see who gets annoyed, who sighs and judges and shakes their heads. I see you. I value your comfort, I do. But I value the chaos more. No one is getting hurt. No one feels threatened either physically or emotionally. It’s all ok.

Blue Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.
Blue Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.

Art is an open country. Everyone can stay.

Even the noisy ones. Even the ones who mutter to themselves. Even the ones who ask the same question over and over again. Even the ones who need a ton of extra help just to get through the day.

All opinions are valid. You get to have yours, I get to have mine. That guy who is going to vote for Donald Trump gets to have his. We all get to express ourselves in art class. That is why we are here. We may not love the chaos. We may prefer a more serene environment in which to practice our art. Sometimes I prefer that too.

If you want silence, go to a library. If you want an open forum for self-expression, come to my art class.

Blonde Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.
Blonde Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.

Music, theatre, literature, and visual art can all represent the highest form of human expression. In fact, entire ancient cultures are evaluated based solely on their artistic output. Perhaps art is not valued so much these days, but that’s a topic for another time. Art matters and always will, despite current fashion.

Human expression needs an open forum to grow. An open forum can, at times, be chaotic. Controlling that chaos could limit the potential for human expression to grow. I’m not willing to risk that.

Green Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.

So what if we are uncomfortable? Art thrives in discomfort. If it doesn’t, it should. Sustaining an artistic practice demands we be resilient. There will be many things in life that to try to distract us form our practice. Partners, kids, and jobs come to mind.

If we can learn to create within the chaos, we will be better artists. If we can accept and appreciate a variety of opinions, diverse manners of expression and different temperaments, we will be better spokespersons for our culture.

Brown Brainstorm by Lee Puffer, 2016. Mixed media on paper.

Benefit Auction Tonight a Bread and Salt Gallery

Tension, by Lee Puffer. Ceramic and rope.
Tension, by Lee Puffer. Ceramic and rope.
Compression, by Lee Puffer. Ceramic and rope.
Compression, by Lee Puffer. Ceramic and rope.
Poster for the A Ship in The Woods Benefit Auction.
Poster for the A Ship in The Woods Benefit Auction.

A SHIP IN THE WOODS will be hosting a Silent Auction / Indiegogo Launch Party on Saturday June 27th @ Bread & Salt in San Diego. As you may know, the A SHIP IN THE WOODS gallery is currently seeking a new location to house its innovative contemporary programming. Come show your support for this groundbreaking cultural institution. Get yourself a sculpture or two while you’re there. I donated the above works, Compression and Tension, to the cause.

Shades of Grey

from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat's Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.
from the Cat’s Cradle series, by Lee Puffer. Unglazed high fired porcelain, wood, rope.

There was a time when a colonial hunter would keep fragments of the animals he killed mounted on wooden plaques and displayed in his trophy room. These mounted porcelain double-hand sculptures allude to that practice. There are six sets of severed female hands, bound by rope. Coupled with the series of photographs (one seen here) this body of work is about desire; the base, human desire to own, dominate, and control.

This series, entitled Cat’s Cradle, is rife with contrast. The hands are bound, yet they interact with the rope, complicit in their bondage. The thick, rough black rope juxtaposes the delicate, ghostly white porcelain of the hands. There are elements of femininity and masculinity, beauty and ugliness, attraction and repulsion.

It is not unusual for me to reference popular culture in my work, and the title of this blog post is a nod to that. As we are steeped in popular culture through our constant access to media, there is no denying its impact. I see pop culture references as an entry point into the artwork, adding to its accessibility. Using relevant and sometimes controversial imagery might compel someone to look at the artwork. It is my hope that the quality and resonance of the work compels them to linger and contemplate deeper meanings.