group show: treme

I am a big fan of the public library system in general, but of the Halifax Public Library system specifically. You can read, listen, and watch just about anything, on any subject. But damn them for having such awesome stuff available that it forces my middle of the winter to-do task list down to make room for the following item line: “spend the entire weekend binge watching the HBO Series Treme“. Sure Season One was only ten episodes but heck ,that was ten hours of other tasks that went straight out the window (nevermind the other hour I spent googling cultural references and names used in the series.) So dear blog readers, because I have Treme {and Hurricane Katrina, and New Orleans, and jazz, and first lines…} on the brain, I pulled together a group show of art referencing the heartbreaking event of Hurricane Katrina.

I love this collection of artworks. Each piece is a great stand alone ‘take’ on an aspect of Hurricane Katrina, but together they really show the jumble of feelings: worry, fear, anguish, frustration, dependence, anger, hope, love… I also love how those feelings are conveyed through such diverse media, some artworks even containing physical remnants found after the disaster. Poignant.

RollandGolden2 RollandGolden SallyHeller-Scraphouse

David Bates TonyFitzpatrick  Swoon-Thalassa2 BenjaminJones-Evacuees BenjaminJones-Katrina  DawnDeDeaux-WaterMarkers2 JanaNapoli-Floodwall VictoNgai StanStrembicki-MemoryLoss

{Rolland Golden, title unknown; Rolland Golden, title unknown; Sally Heller, Scraphouse; David Bates, title unknown; Tony Fitzpatrick, Oh Black Water; Swoon, Thalassa; Benjamin Jones, Evacuees; Benjamin Jones, Katrina; Dawn DeDeaux, Water Markers; Jana Napoli, Floodwall; Victo Ngai, title unknown; Stan Strembickie, from project Memory Loss}

Be sure to check out this short video of Swoon installing Thalassa.

If you haven’t watched Treme yet, here is a trailer for Season One.


solo show: Kathe Fraga

Some days you need a little pretty. I love a good visual and emotional challenge but this week, this gal just wants to get lost in soft pastels, delicate florals with some lovebirds thrown in for good measure. My happy hideaway this week are the gorgeous paintings of Kathe Fraga.


I love Kathe Fraga’s nod to Chinese patterning and printmaking as well as vintage wallpapers mixed with the large and loose colour blocking a la Mark Rothko. Even though she is a current contemporary artist, seeing her work feels like a treasure find of a beautiful dressing screen in a dark corner of an abandoned Chateaux.

KatheFraga-JoyandAbundance KatheFraga-Blush KatheFraga-ChezNous    KatheFraga-MemoriesofParis KatheFraga-GardenDance        KatheFraga-GoyardYellowandSweetParisRoses KatheFraga-MemoriesofParis KatheFraga-LovePoems4DreamingofYou  KatheFraga-IAlwaysKnew  KatheFraga-LesFleursdeL'Illes

Fraga’s gorgeous chinoiserie patterned paintings make me dream of a warm Spring morning with nothing to do but lounge on a garden patio in gorgeous silk with a pot of hot coffee and some fresh croissants.

Kathe Fraga lives and creates in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

group show – summer edition: on the line

I admit that because I am always looking for ways to be economical and ecological, I dry my laundry on the line all year round. But dang, laundry dried in the summer sun and breeze, has a special je ne sais quois about it. It is most likely that I actually enjoy hanging the laundry in the warm sun. I can take my time and enjoy the zen-ness of it all. Plus, it smells so…summery.


 SadlerWalterDendy-TheLittleLaundress KevinSinnott-Cock AlexColville-WomanwithaWashBasket



EdvardMunch-ClothesOnALineinAsgardstrand DanielGarber  BenRotman-SilenceLaundry  AliceNeel-FireEscape



{top to bottom right to left: Jeffery T Larsen, Yellow and Blue; Sadler Walter Dendy, The Little Laundress; Kevin Sinnott, Cock; Alex Colville, Woman with Wash Basket; Alfred Eistenstaedt, A Woman Hanging Out Laundry; David Shevlino, Hanging Laundry; Edvard Munch, Clothes on a Line in Sgardstrand; Daniel Garber, title unknown; Ben Rotman, Silent Laundry; Alice Neel, Fire Escape; Sze Lau, Hanging Up There; Sarah Dougherty, title unknown}

solo show: lisa congdon

A week ago I wrote about an artist I would most like to spend a day with – Frida Khalo. Maybe it is because I hate having to choose just one thing (hey! I am multi-passionate!) but I think that question should be a two parter. Part A: dead artist you would most like to meet and spend the day with, and Part B: alive artist you would most like to meet and spend the day with. I think that’s only fair.

I came across my Part B many years ago. I had been following an early Typepress blog written by her sister who was a Mom and a craft artist. A blog post linked to her sister, Lisa Congdon. And soon, I was following both sisters and their individual journeys in life and art making.



LisaCongdon-IntheClouds LisaCongdon-ThePath

Initially what drew me to Lisa Congdon was the candid way she was exploring her art making. Her blog was an on-going peek at a developing artist. And being an artist and art appreciator myself, I loved watching the progression and reading about her experiences. Simultaneously, the indie art and design world began to sing her praises. And rightly so. Lisa Congdon’s art is beautifully controlled. Her art is soft spoken with every line and colour applied thoughtfully. I love her palette (hurray for electric pink!) and her use of pattern.

LisaCongdon-SamiWoman LisaCongdon-HoodedReindeer LisaCongdon-FolkHausLisaCongdon-NordicFisherman

What makes Lisa an interesting artist to watch is that she is always creating new work / projects derived from self created challenges, like A Collection a Day (which was turned into a book), 365 Days of Hand Lettering, and A Year of Reconstructionists (with writer Maria Popova).

 LisaCongdon-AmeliaErhart LisaCongdon-BillieHoliday

LisaCongdon-MarieCurie LisaCongdon-MayaAngelou

If I was to spend a day with Lisa, I would hope we’d mix walking and exploring her hood in Oakland (which I don’t know at all) or her old stomping grounds of San Francisco (which I love) with some creating time in her studio. And hopefully I would get an tour of her home because I am sure it is thoughtfully displayed with handmade goods from her artistic family and friends. Even though I have heard snippets of interviews with Lisa, I would talk to her about her evolution as an artist and the business of being an artist. I would bring her a present of my homemade blueberry jam because she seems like a gal that would appreciate wild blueberry jam.

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Lisa Congdon lives and works in Oakland, California. (FYI – the sister whom I mentioned at the beginning of my post is Stephanie Congdon Barnes. She is a talented photographer and craftsperson.)