words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Highwire Gallery

In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a catalogue of events

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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
composition.

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
another?

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
creating art.

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,
    Walter Smith
  • 19 American Artists, Highwire Gallery, Berkgerk,
    Deventer 1990
  • 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,
    2000
  • 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
    Smith
  • Billie Holiday & Dechen Shak-Dagsay
  • Stigmata, (Michael Davenport & George
    Wolstenholme) electronic music composers
  • Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker,
    jazz composers
  • Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.14.2010.8:07.a.m.
    Digital Artist, Walter Smith

Maybe Tomorrow a Better Dream a Better Life

2011 remix of Life and Stolen Innocence, Recovery and The Spark that Ignites Our Dream of Love Soon Fades Away

Millions of children, throughout the world, are abused in one form on another.  It is heartbreaking that they must live with the sharp pain of an unkind word, neglect, shame, or physical torment. It shatters their hopes and dreams. As a society we cannot lose sight of what a young girl or boy experiences when their trust in those who should protect them is betrayed. We as a community, a village, must extend love and compassion, hope and inspiration that tomorrow’s dreams and life itself can and will be beautiful, safe and fulfilling.  There is a lot of space in the hearts of  all children to find that warm embrace, the story that leaves a smile, and a relationship that is love.


In memory of Robert Wulbrecht / a distinguished Highwire Artist

Robert working on translucent screens in preparation for the 19 American Artist exhibit in Berkgerk, Deventer in the Netherlands.

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.

An alternative look at Robert in the process of creating the piece


19 Amerikaanse Kunstenaars / 19 American Artists / Bergkerk, Deventer 1990

Jessie Lyle, Constance kocs, kimberly Hunter, Pat Sprott, Joanna Hartell, Mary Clark, Robert Phillips, Roni Chernin, Mark Stolte

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.


Reconnecting with members of Highwire Gallery

Found art exhibit from the "Island" on the Delaware River

It has been an interesting past few days. Via Facebook, I have been able to start reconnecting with members of Highwire Gallery.  In the late 1980’s a group of artists joined together to create the Philadelphia Artists Cooperative which later became Highwire Gallery Inc. An innovative and cutting edge group of artists began finding unique places to exhibit their work in downtown Philadelphia. Some shows were in abandoned lumber yards and cathedrals, market places like the Reading Terminal, and various galleries, historical locales and even a found art exhibit on an island on the Delaware River. During this period, a bond among the artists, and a direction for the cooperative was formed. A permanent locale was founded in 1990 at the 2nd Street Art Building. The 2nd Street Art Building was a distinct hub of creativity with its housing of four galleries in Old City Philadelphia. Throughout the years and to this day Highwire, with its ever-changing host of artists, remains a vibrant and fresh creative force in Philadelphia.

I hope through this blog to connect with my fellow Highwire artists and invite them to talk about our experience together and their own creative pursuits since leaving the group. I am also interested in the thoughts and ideas of the artists that have sustained and promoted the co-op to this present day.  As time evolves, it remains vitally important that our connection to our past is remembered, and that the ideas of those who hold the future of Highwire past through us all. In doing so we bring together as one, the words, vision, and thoughts that sustain us and the legacy of the Philadelphia Artist Cooperative.