Some moments with Highwire Gallery, the Philadelphia Artist Cooperative, John Cage in performance, Digital Voice, fellow artist and friend Paul Curci, and my solo digital exhibition “Sometimes In the Waking the Reality is More Pressing than the Dream.” at Villanova University Art Gallery. The years 1987 through 2001.
Below are links to the original posts that I am using for these variations, rewind and remixes.
For me, the Louvre in Paris, France definitely spells unique. Here is the original photo I took in 1990 with some up to date remixes to give it some color. The museum itself is a unique and wonderful place to visit. Here, the newly designed pyramid, that is also the entrance to the museum, is under construction. It provides a distinctive and contemporary look to the historical structure of the museum. A must visit for anyone looking for that certain unique experience.
A collection of video images from various art exhibits and installations from 1988 – 1993. The video also showcases new images from 2012.
Today I had the pleasure of attending a Mark Rothko exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina. The exhibit was entitled The Decisive Decade | 1940’s. The work was an exploration of his association with myth, and dreams leading up to his more prominent work in abstraction. It was a very informative exhibit. I was fortunate to have seen, years ago, an exhibit of his more well-known work from the 1950’s and beyond at a Philadelphia Museum of Art retrospective. I really like his work, as I do most of the abstract artists of that period. While viewing the exhibit at its conclusion, I felt inspired to perhaps again, start doing some large-scale painting. Something I have neglected to do over the years. His work in abstract painting, as he described it, was to fill his sense of deprivation. Deprivation was the central motivation for his abstract work. Hard to explain, but only the abstract could fill the mystical union of the unconscious and the formality of the outer world. Forming an entity unto itself in abstract terms. As I sat there and pondered the use of this medium and style of painting, I suddenly wanted to find the simplicity to express with my hands–outside the box of the computer. Simplicity being the center of this revelation. Bold flat colors, simple geometric forms in which to speak directly to the viewer. A contrast to my digital work perhaps. Which leads me to this piece “Fading Light with Mark Rothko”. It is a combination of the two worlds. Digital and painting. I often find myself pursuing visually an image of multiple themes and layers; ideas built around my personal experiences. One thing I discovered in this exhibit, was Rothko’s desire. A desire, in his pursuit of the abstract, to leave his personal interpretation behind, allowing the viewer to incorporate their own consciousness into the work. Again in this piece, I am searching for a more direct expression.
As part of this Post Canvas and Paint: Variations series, I will periodically be attempting to post a piece that leans toward a simple form of visual composition. I also will be using these posts as a place to experiment with the various Adobe Photoshop tools. Remember … “Nothing is ever collected in one moment”.
rushing to make
a first friday night
in a distinct
all their own
Sometimes moments in time are like the possession of precious jewels only remembered briefly…..
My latest video entitled “Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)” starts off with clips from previous videos and a multimedia performance before evolving into my most recent ventures of 2012; finding new forms in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My early video work began back in 1988. Of course there were no digital cameras, and we had to use those large, bulky, VHS Cameras. At the time I was fortunate to have some rather unique video editing software, and hardware courtesy of my Amiga 1000 digital suite and the third-party supplier of a video mixer called the Genlock. Now with a HD digital camera, there is much higher resolution, creating a more definitive, sharper image. I recently purchased the Avid Studio Pro video software, and hope that the quality, and versatility will yield several levels of high performance (within a modest price range).
One of the major traits in the processing of my previous video work, has been my ability to layer video sources. So I am looking forward to using this new capability (the latest digital hardware and software) to continue this process. In the end I hope to create thought-provoking video imagery that is abstract, ambient. and minimalistic.
So I hope you enjoy what I think may be a transitional video on the path to new ideas, and processes.
Moments In Time (A Yesterday Video Remix)….
Windows at Highwire Gallery – Island, Water, Bridge exhibit 1993….
What illumination, the light shinning through; creating the perfect ambience for the found art installation.
I took this photo during a 1993 lecture and art exhibit of my latest work at Atlantic Community College in Mays Landing, NJ. The lecture was a demonstration of various digital processing elements for the creation of digital art and video art. It was a great opportunity to talk with the students and introduce them to digital art. In 1993 digital art was just beginning to grow as a valid artist medium to many, and I was happy to share my knowledge, take questions, and inspire these would-be artists.
In the photo a Commodore Amiga 1000 computer, Super Gen video mixer, and a Panasonic camera for scanning photographs. Yes, times have changed, and now artists have access to more sophisticated hardware and software.
This photo goes back to 1990 and the Highwire Gallery’s visit to Deventer, Holland. It was part of an exchange with the artist group of Deventer. We were exhibiting new work in their gallery and staying the summer. While cruising through the small, quaint, artist town, I happened to come across a small shop that had a poster of our exhibit in the window. The poster is just to the left of the woman standing in the doorway. Throughout the town, residents and shop owners, displayed posters announcing the upcoming exhibit. Going to the Netherlands via this exchange of artists and ideas, was a fantastic opportunity, and one I will never forget.
Art for Summer Vacations
It is that time of the year when we vacation or if we have
the opportunity we “Get Out and See”. Summer
is here, and the temperature is rising. We search for that place to cool our
days and excite our senses. If we are lucky we travel to far off places and
discover ourselves anew while basking in the view of a beautiful sunrise or
sunset. We spend our afternoons lazily browsing small vintage shops, historical
sites, museums, gardens of beauty and restaurants of epicurean delights. I have
not travelled much abroad, but I am grateful to have visited both The
Netherlands and France during my 1990 group art exhibition in Deventer Holland.
These locales are wonderful places indeed, and I will never forget the
hospitality and kindness that I received throughout my journey. It is the
people that make a journey abroad so special.
Here in the states, I often carve out a weekend adventure
here or there. I enjoy outdoor activities that test my physical being, and challenge
my sense of adventure. I also like to seek out places that provide emotional
recovery through meditative contemplation and recollection. This is vital for restoration.
I feel a great vacation should always provide moments of excitement and serenity….
What do you think? Where are some of your favorite places to
vacation? What do you seek out most when planning a vacation? Is it to find
adventure or is it to just relax? Do you prefer travels abroad or weekends
close to home? Please share your thoughts.
The art work that I have included in this post, are expressions
of the theme I call “Art for Summer Vacations”. The first piece “Vacation / a
journey without moving” is a collage of photographs I took as I travelled to the
city of Amsterdam, the town of Deventer (both in The Netherlands), the shores
of Cape Cod and Nantucket, and the mountains of North Carolina. The second
image entitled “Summer and its Warm Embrace” is a journey through mountains,
lakes and trails in NC, SC and TN during
personal hikes and an artist residency provided by the South Carolina State
“Sometimes we turn the pages in the Book of Memories and come to remember the children who dream in future tense”…..
The Highwire Gallery production of The Fun House
workshop began in March 1991 at the Sayre Morris Community Center in West
Philadelphia and concluded with a performance in May. Funded by the PA Council
on the Arts, the goal was to bring together a group of children and introduce
them to the arts. Our focus would be on dance, performance, music and the visual
arts. Another important part of the workshop was for it to be a community
service, which merged different ethnic backgrounds and communities. For the
eleven girls who participated in the workshop, the hope was to inspire personal
challenges and the pursuit of their dreams. Everyone involved, the artists of
Highwire Gallery, the kids, Empress our musical director, Sandra Lynn our choreographer,
and “DADA” (Dancers Against Drug Abuse) met the challenge and worked hard to
make the program a huge success.
How do we encourage our children to dream, a dream that
inspires, enriches and motivates them to reach for the sky, and to touch just one of the millions of snowflakes that
can be found in the realm of possibilities? How do we lead them by the hand,
through the garden of hopes and dreams?
I think we do it one child at a time, one school at a time, one
project at a time, and as one community. Children love to discover, and be creative.
I strongly believe that the arts will provide them with the tools they will need for exploring their
imagination and giving birth to their dreams.
What do you feel is our children’s greatest need? What resources in our society would you like to see be provided for the well being and growth of our children? Do you believe that the arts, especially at a young age, is a vital tool for encouraging creative thinking and problem solving?
What do you think?
Select the link below for a dream-like journey into a contemporary child’s lullaby.
Winter Poem by Nikki Giovanni
once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower
— Author and poet Nikki Giovanni
From “The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni”
And last but not least in this journey of dreams…a short animation.
http://youtu.be/rvSKJjCkVx0 Youtube video
In continuing the Post Canvas and Paint series, I am presenting a video piece entitled The Whipping Machine Acid Flex Dance Remix 1989 / 2010. It is a video art abstraction created as a video segment of The Whipping Machine, a multi-media performance of modern dance theatre performed at The Painted Bride Art Center in June of 1989 in Philadelphia. Utilizing the Amiga 1000 computer and multi-layering soft and hardware effects, I explore the pulsating ambient rhythm of marbled abstraction. In this segment the video represents the mesmerizing intoxication and manipulation by the industrial complex on the masses. Today I am posting this piece as a reflection of our current political and economic struggles.
Stay informed and stand up to tyranny and deception.
My first visit to Charleston was in 2005 during my two-person
exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery. It was my first time visiting the
city, and my first major exhibit in the state of South Carolina. The previous
year I had been awarded a week long artist residency at Barnwell State Park via
the South Carolina State Parks’ Artists Fellowship Program. This series created in the year
2010 is a reflection of the timeless and imaginary moments, found in the beauty of
morning, afternoon, and evening. As in my
previous posts, I am attempting to examine the relationship we have with memory
and place. I loved my visit to Charleston. I found it to be a beautiful, warm city
with great food, ambience and culture.
A beautiful day in a new place is always an exciting moment of
exploration and renewal, and of recollection in an artist’s mind. Here as the
bright sun of the afternoon beckoned, there were shops, galleries, music halls, and
restaurants to meander lazily through. The South I found, can joyously bring out the
leisurely feeling in one’s step. But the highlight of
Charleston is the bay. Most of the area is filled with historic monuments. The
bay is expansive and walking next to the waves crashing on the sea wall was
exhilarating. It can be a beautiful afternoon of discovery indeed.
As the afternoon turned to dusk, evening slowly approached. And in
that serene backdrop of the setting sun, there were floating memories of
friends, family and beautiful times gone by. The memories moved through the
color of evening and I found the night full of waking dreams.
Then and now I trust in the mystery of the day.
Where are the places that you visited for the first time
that has left lasting memories? What do you love about exploring new places? Do
you associate certain moments in your life, or loved ones with those places? If
so, please do share.
In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a catalogue of events
When searching for meaning in a catalogue of artistic events,
does one art form influence another?
Looking back through my history of art exhibits, shows, and performances,
I wonder how these events have influenced my art to date. In pondering this rather profound question, I
also must ask how the art of others have influenced my work as well. Can I be,
as well as my art, a product of both a historical and contemporary mindset of various
artistic disciplines? Does art from such masters as Salvador Dali, or Matisse
in painting, or Rodin in sculpture, or performance and visual art from my peers
Lili White, Constance Kocs, or Paul Curci respectively, and the post-modern dance / avant-garde operas of Pina Bausch compel
the creative spark as well as say a musical performance by jazz artist John
Coltrane or minimalist Steve Reich?
As an artist, I’ve always thought it was extremely important
to be both creative and observant. Art
flows through the eyes of the artist, into the interpreting mind, through the reflective
soul and back into world.
I began drawing and painting at an early age while listening
to “Soul” music from such artists as The Temptations, Sam and Dave, Diana Ross and
Marvin Gaye. But in 1970 at age 14 while
browsing through my older cousins’ record collection, I came across two visually
stunning album covers. They were Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and Miles Davis’
Kind of Blue. I had never heard of these musicians, but the combination of the on
stage black background and their psychedelic shirts full of abstract color led
me to investigate. The music was incredible. It was provocative, edgy, exploratory,
and new. Here is a perfect example of how visual stimulation of one kind led to
the discovery of something completely new in the form of sound and improvisational
Yes, with our imagination, one art form can influence the
discovery of another and how it is translated into a new vision.
Over the years, as I moved from painting to digital art, I continued
to maintain a traditional approach to my art while simultaneously embracing and
supplementing it with all things contemporary. I would like to think that my
digital art can and does incorporate the movement of dance in its lines, the conceptualization
of operatic design in its production, the intricate sound and improvisation of minimalism,
and jazz in its syncopated patterns. And color…lots of color, insight, intuition,
and emotion—full of warmth, that when observed closely can be found in the arts
of old and new.
What do you think? As an artist, musician, poet, dancer,
patron, blogger, or lover of creativity, does one form of art influence
For me it is interesting that as I explore this new
expression called blogging, my subliminal intent is to somehow have art
influence how I blog and the tool of blogging become part of the process of
In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a
catalogue of events.
- Towards the Reflection of Art, Digital Artist,
- 19 American Artists, Highwire Gallery, Berkgerk,
- Constance Kocs, Highwire Artist
- Meredith Monk: 1987 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music
- Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
2011 Walter Smith
- Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Gebirge: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Arien: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Philadelphia Artists Cooperative (Highwire
Gallery) founded 1987
- Sometimes in the Waking the Reality is More
Pressing than the Dream, review, City Paper,
- Pina Bausch, Steve Reich, Next Wave Festival,
Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Statements After the Arrest Under the Immorality
Act, Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa
- Louvre, Paris, France 1990
- Lili White, Highwire Artist
- Paul Curci, Highwire Artist, City Paper
Publisher, Philadelphia, Pa
- Steve Reich, minimalist composer
- Miles Davis, jazz composer
- Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
2011 Walter Smith
- The Birth
of the Poet: 1985 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, photo
Beatriz Schiller, Digital Remix 2011, Walter
- Billie Holiday & Dechen Shak-Dagsay
- Stigmata, (Michael Davenport & George
Wolstenholme) electronic music composers
- Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker,
- Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.14.2010.8:07.a.m.
Digital Artist, Walter Smith
What do you expect from art? How does art feel when it is
found? Where do you find art? Can art be here but not there? Is art on the
street? Why is art beautiful? Is art beautiful only when seen? Does art answer philosophical
questions? Does your child make art knowingly? Is art around the corner from
where you live? Do you dine near art? Is art inside your home, but not on your
wall? Can art be lost? Does art have longevity and sustainability? Is art your
religion? Is point A to point B art? Is art in an industrial park or in a
trailer park or in the park? Is art mobile? Is art agile? Is art sensitive unto
itself? Is art fragile? Does art have emotions? Is art dead?
What is modern art? What is post-modern art? What is
impressionism? What is expressionism? What is conceptualism? Is art abstract?
Is art figurative? Is art delineated by isms? Is art an analog tape loop? Is
art a digital sequence? Is art a light reflected? Is art a moment in time? Is
art a movement in contrast? Is art a reality unknown? Can art be more than it appears? Is
art a collection of artists? Is art a contract? Can art be voided, misplaced or
oppressed? Does art need to be more? Does art save the day? Can art save when it
has failed? Will art survive when it is destroyed? Does art breathe? Will art breathe
in us? Is art under water, in the sky, in a mother’s womb, or found bathed in silence?
Does art give birth? Is art alive?
What do you think? Why ask questions about art?
In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences.
- The Whipping Machine, Collective Enterprises
Productions 1989, Painted Bride Art Center
- The Whipping Machine, Michael Davenport, Walter
Smith, Van Grimes 1989
- The Whipping Machine, Painted Bride Art Center, 1989
- Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Molissa Fenley and Dancers, Geologic Moments: Next
Wave Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter
- Critics Pick, Solo Exhibition, Computer Art, Villanova Art Gallery 2001, Walter Smith & First Friday,
Walter Smith, Robert Wulbrecht, Marita Fitzpatrick
- 2 Men 4 Walls 1 Month, Highwire Gallery 1991,
Walter Smith & Mark Stolte
- Eiko & Koma’s New Moon Stories: Next Wave
Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter Smith
- Commodore Amiga Computer, Genesis of Computer Art 1985
- Michael Clark and Company: Next Wave Festival
1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale
- Ash Ra Tempel, The Gatherings Concert Series, St Mary’s Church,
University of Pa.
- Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker: Next Wave Festival
1986, Brooklyn Academy of Music 1986
- Scenes from CIVIL warS, Act v – the Rome
section, by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, original photo Peter Simon, digital
remix Walter Smith
- Steve Roach, Ambient Music, & Relache, Philadelphia Ensemble for Contemporary
- John Cage: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy
of Music 1986, photo Peter Hujar
- Life and Stolen Innocence, Walter Smith, Highwire
Gallery 1992, Philadelphia Pa
- Philip Glass: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music 1986, original photo Lynn Davis, digital remix Walter Smith
- Robert Wilson: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music 1986, original photo Peter Hujar, digital remix Walter Smith
- Impossible Theater Social Amnesia: Next Wave
Festival 1986, original photo by Erik Kvalsvik, digital remix Walter Smith
- Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace with scenery and costumes by Robert
Rauschenberg, original photo by Jack Mitchell, digital remix Walter Smith
- Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.13.2010.6:48.a.m.
Digital Artist, Walter Smith
This post is dedicated to the memory of an artist that I came to know quite well during our stint as members of Highwire Gallery. The digital image I created here is from a photograph taken while several artists were preparing for the exhibit at the Bergkerk Gallery. There were a number of screens (I do believe three) that Robert created. When light was transmitted through the multiple screens they projected the image designed on the screens rather beautifully. One of my fondest memories of Robert was during our show at the Black Banana in downtown Philadelphia, January 7th 1994. Robert and I and fellow artist, Marita Fitzpatrick produced mixed media paintings and drawings. I created a video montage. During the time Robert and I knew one another we talked often about the creative arts, and its meaning and impact on our society.
Robert will be missed. His Spirit infused with love for life and art passed on from this plane of existence a few years back.
19 Amerikaanse Kunstenaars / 19 American Artists in Bergkerk Deventer the Netherlands. Tentoostelling Van Hedendeaagse Belldendekunst / Exhibition of Contemporary Art. 1 Juli T/M 22 Juli 1990.
What a fantastic photograph of some of the members that exhibited in Holland. Thanks Joanna for the photograph. I slightly altered the image to bring out the color and bring it up to date for my 2011 remix series featuring Highwire Artists. This post, and the blog in part, is dedicated to the artists of Highwire. Over the years, the collaborative sense of Highwire has always been the driving force of its creativity and its strength. Let’s stay connected, so please subscribe to this post, and you will get an email when new posts are created and posted. I feel very motivated to pursue this project on the blog, and its success will be in part because of your contributions. So leave comments, send me photographs (via Facebook or email) and bring back memories for us all.