Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Press Release for my Exhibit in Boise

Michael de Meng

October 12 - December 7

The Brumfields first discovered Michael de Meng’s work several years ago while visiting the city of New Orleans. Having been fans of de Meng’s work ever since, they are pleased to announce a show by the artist at Brumfield’s Gallery beginning in October. Primarily a sculpture artist, de Meng’s pieces elevate discarded and commonplace items into darkly beautiful and sacred relics, invested with both humanity and conflict.

A long time assemblage artist, de Meng utilizes discarded items for his shrine-like works and creatures, such as scrap metal, old appliances, or miscellaneous objects that would typically be considered ‘junk’. The idea behinds these works is transformation. He seeks to alter pieces that would normally be rejected into works of art and reverence. By borrowing imagery from shrines and relics around the world, de Meng’s work transforms this ‘junk’ into pieces of beauty and meaning.

 De Meng describes his works as,

a form of rebirth from the ashes into new life and new meaning. These assemblages are metaphors for the evolutions and revolutions of existence...the forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever- changing.”

While de Meng’s initial purpose is to simply find order in a world of chaos, the results are pieces that have taken on a new life, developed from their former selves.

While most artists tend towards privacy and secrecy when discussing their techniques, de Meng couldn’t be more open about his artistic process. The artist is not only unguarded about discussing how and with what he makes his assemblages, he teaches workshops showing the very same processes that he utilizes to create their own works of art from scraps and junk- yard finds.

Indeed, de Meng utilizes teaching to his advantage. Though he admits balancing the two careers can be difficult at times, the demands of each career keep one another in check. De Meng’s career has also taken him along the path of writing. Now the author of two books, ‘Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art’ and ‘Dusty Dia- blos: Folklore, Iconography, Assemblage, Ole!’’. He sees writing, like teaching, as another outlet for his thoughts and creativity.

Michael de Meng’s opening reception will be on Saturday, October 12 at Brumfield’s Gallery in Hyde Park. The event will be open to the public and will run from 7 – 9 p.m. with a no-host bar provided by 13th Street Pub and Grill. The exhibition continues through Sunday, December 7. Brumfield’s Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Petaluma: Last Baba Yaga Birdhouse Workshop of 2013

Baba Yaga BirdHouse

Well this class has been a hoot (get an owl..).  Now is your last chance to take it before I retire it for the year.    Sept. 25-26th is the date at Art is You Petaluma.   It should be fun fun.  So here's the Baba Yaga Birdhouse 

Student Work
To give you an idea of what other students have done in the class...take a peeky:

In Case You Don't Know Who Baba Yaga is...
This is from a blog post I did a while will give you the whole skinny.
Baba Yaga is a witch in slavic folktales.  Sometimes a wise sage, but mostly an evil witch.  She rides in a flying mortar while using her pestle as the rudder.  Her broom is used to brush away her trail.   Here's a comic book version:
art by: Francesco Francavilla
For the most part she is not a nice surrounded by a fence made of bones, capped by skulls.  Cool idea...unless you one of the skulls....
art by Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin
The pretty girl in the above art is not Baba, but the Vasilisa who is sent out to retrieve light fromt the crone...and is taken hostage.  Ultimately, the beautiful girl is set free by Baba Yaga's pets...not very loyal pets, apparently.
Baba Yaga is a hag.  
 I always think of her as the woman in Drag Me to Hell...or
 ..perhaps Sea Hag from Popeye.
The Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's suite Pictures at an Exhibition contains a movement entitled The Hut of Baba Yaga
For me the most interesting thing about her is her house...said to be perched upon chicken legs...or in the Polish version a singular leg, perhaps for mobility.   It seems to me that one leg makes for a bumpy ride.  Two on the other hand...
Art by Yoitisl
It is suspected that this house design was based on an ancient slavic burial structure: 
Art by Nicholas Roerich
On a more contemporary level (though probably not inspired by Baba Yaga) this is from Japan:

Architect Terunobu Fujimori - entitled: Takasugi-an (a teahouse too high).

Now to my version

As usual it is made form various bits and pieces.  Plastic angel wings, cheap little birdhouse, camera lens...which by the how she keeps an eye on you.

You might see something a bit out of place...
A Virgin Mary above the lens.  
What would that be doing on an old crone's doorway? 
The reason for that was because one of the elements that I find interesting about this character is that she is sometimes bad and sometimes...not as bad.    So when you go to her door...if you were to  see a symbol that embodies the positive...does that mean she will help...or is she merely deceiving the visitor into a false sense of security?  Similar to the candy house in Hansel and Gretel.  
To quote Sir Lawrence Olivier in the Marathon Man:
"Is it safe?"
So...beware the Baba Yaga.  After all, she is sometimes said to be cannibalistic.

If she offers you a bowl of might say you've already eaten.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Four Things I Need To Share With You...Pronto!

Hey everyone...
I know, I know it's been a bajillion years since my last post.  It's been one friggin busy summer.  I actually, for the first time for a long time, have a month of studio time...unbelievable and much needed.  
So I've been working and working while I can.

So here's the a nutshell.

1. Brumfield's Gallery
Boise ID
Oct 12 - Dec. 7
I'm getting ready for a solo show that's coming up in Boise Idaho opening Oct 12th at Brumfield's Gallery.  Unfortunately I'm not going to be at the opening, but I have hopes my little creations will keep me abreast of the goings ons.  The gallery looks great and if you like my work I think you'll like some of the other folks represented.  Here's a few of the other artists' work:

                                     Jackie Hurlbert                                        Ego
Needless to say, I sort of fit in.  If you happen to be in the area check out my show...lots of new stuff...including Ganesh and Ironic Reincarnation of Colonel Sanders

2. Day of the Dead in Missoula
Missoula Artist Shop
Oct - Nov
Also on the dance card...I've been busy making a piece for the annual Festival of the Dead exhibit at the Missoula Artists Shop.  The Festival of the Dead is an annual parade through the heart of the University town of Missoula.  About 20 years ago my friend Bev Glueckert and I started this crazy it's one hell of a dead man's party.  If you're in the area check out the show of Dia de los Muertos inspired art at the Artist's Shop and the Parade on the evening of Nov. 2

3. Lemoncholy Studio
Oct 4th-5th  New Jersey
Back to Jersey and scribbling on Kecia's (my host) worktable...and perhaps a martini...or two.  This year at Lemoncholy Studio I'm bring the Patron Saint of Rusty Things to Jersey shore.
Bring lots of rusty and bizarre objects and lets transform them into something divine.  Wanna play?
Shake your hiney 
Let's make a shriney!

4. Art is You 
Petaluma, CA
Sept 25-29
Stamford, CT
Oct. 10 - 14

Last but not least of things I need to chat about: Art is You Petaluma, CA and Stamford CT.   My wife Andrea and I are teaching lots and lots of goodies at both venues.  I've got Baba Yaga Birdhouses and Vehicular Varmints and Good Brushes Gone Bad and more.
Before I go any further, I should mention that the wine label that my wife Andrea designed for Madonna Estates will be viewable and the wine quaffable will we are in the Napa Valley.  
by Andrea Matus deMeng
So those of you heading to Petaluma...not only do you get to make get to drink it too!  Salud!

Okay...I'm blogged out for now...I'll be back soon though...promise