Melissa Webb shares some highlights from this year’s Lotta Art auction
For twenty-two years, members of Baltimore’s supportive arts community and beyond have been donating the fruits of their creative labors to School 33 Art Center for its annual Lotta Art fundraiser and celebration. This event has been an opportune moment for artists to exhibit their work, and for viewers to identify and own the works of new favorite artists. So many of my friends and colleagues over the years have confided to me that they want to collect more original artworks, and that, even though artists absolutely deserve the prices they normally charge for their work, the investment in collecting can be daunting from a financial perspective. Lotta Art is the opportunity you have been waiting for- either all of your life, or all year long- to purchase an original work of art by an artist you love, knowing that they have generously donated it to a place you love… School 33 Art Center.
For a ticket price of $175.00 ($150.00 for members), you can live this dream, put on something cute and (semi) fancy, and go to a glamorous party with wine, hors d’ovevres, music, friends, and of course, lots and lots of art. Every guest is guaranteed to take home a work of art by participating in a lottery-style drawing, all in support of School 33.
Support for School 33 is important to me, not only in my new position as Exhibitions Manager for School 33 and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, but because School 33 (big shout out to my predecessor, René Treviño) has been incredibly supportive of my work since 2010, offering me two of the most meaningful, career-building, process-honing exhibitions I have enjoyed to date. Since 1979, School 33 has been such a valuable resource for so many local and regional artists, providing them with opportunities to exhibit works in a variety of media, with a freedom that commercially driven galleries are often unable to offer.
When we were hanging the show, I started to feel covetous of several pieces, all of which I would place upon my walls with pride if given the chance. Everyone has different tastes, but here are my picks- ten specific, and terrific reasons to come to Lotta Art!
Diane Getty: Wondering Woman; 2014; stitched and painted fabric; 16” x 16”
Part of the text on Diane Getty’s Wondering Woman piece reads: “ I wonder where I put my keys, coffee cup* I wonder if I should count calories or carbs * I wonder if I should change my hair * I wonder if I left the oven on”… This lovingly crafted, alternately hilarious and yet relatable piece speaks to the balance women strike in their daily lives, between their internal analytical dialogue and the ways they present themselves to the world.
Mike McConnell: Cascade; 2014; acrylic on wood panel; 18” x 18”
The floating world of blue-green in Mike McConnell’s Cascade pleases my eye to no end… the textures, the composition, the colors and shapes that have a random quality, yet an identifiable and well-considered presence as an abstract landscape. Painted on an aged wood panel, it somehow satisfies me as an object, as well as a two-dimensional work.
Michelle Dickson: Gestations; 2013; plaster, oil, image transfer, and wax; 7” x 3.5” x 4”
Michelle Dickson is one of our own here at School 33. A current resident artist, she has been busily plugging away in her studio in preparation for her upcoming solo exhibition, “Our Life and its Forgetting”, which opens in our Members Gallery on November 14. Dickson is also a Lotta Art contributing artist, with her piece, Gestations. This intimate, precious-feeling sculpture feels like a naturally occurring object- it carries with it a sense that there is a hidden life or story in its creation, and it fits so nicely in the palm of ones hand…so wonderfully smooth to the touch… (just don’t touch ‘til you get it home!)
Howard Ehrenfeld: 2014; Other Things on my Mind; inkjet print mounted on wood; 21” x 9”
Howard Ehrenfeld has made my week with his piece, Other Things on my Mind, a work of photography that is both stunningly composed and mind-bogglingly well timed… Just LOOK at that wingspan! The expressions on the human subject’s faces are priceless… one would think that seeing such a majestic and potentially dangerous creature of nature would be enough to make faces twist in that way, but the couple seems to be (not so blissfully) unaware of the bird of prey sweeping down upon them. Perhaps there is something on their collective minds, or perhaps they just HATE the rain… Either way, in this frozen moment, we as viewers seem to know something the subjects do not.
Cathy Leaycraft: Claymont Moon; digital photographic print on canvas; 2007; 30” x 20”
There is a sense of movement and mystery in Cathy Leaycraft’s work Claymont Moon- a feeling that, as the viewer, it is your eyes, your own distorted vision causing the image to stretch and blur… like you are lying in the street in front of that house, looking up at the moon, suspended in blue gelatin.
Xander Dumas and Elliot Mittens: Maria Spelterini
According to Wikipedia, Maria Spelterina (sometimes spelled Spelterina and occasionally referred to as Marie, 1853-1912) was an Italian tightrope walker who was the only woman to cross the Niagara gorge on a tightrope, which she did on July 8, 1876. Four days later, she went on to cross again wearing peach baskets on her feet, and seven days after that with a blindfold… finally, just a few days hence, she crossed with her ankles and wrists manacled. She was described as a “buxom, beautiful woman” and was famous for wearing outrageous costumes. Xander Dumas and Elliot Mittens, also known as the Baltimore-based acro-balancing duo, Dandy Vagabonds, have illustrated a striking series of carefully crafted posters of innovative female performers who defied the gender stereotypes of their times. This one is admittedly personal, as I have long been a big fan of their multi-genre, multi-media collaborations.
Lonnie Ingram: Ethnic Battle; 2012; galvanized steel wire; 12” x 11” x 10”
I had the pleasure of visiting Lonnie Ingram’s studio during my epic, chock-full, city-wide-traveling weekend of Open Studio Tour this year, and his was one of my favorite stops- also, as it turns out, he lives right in my neighborhood. He showed me how he bunches lengths of steel wire together, wrapping each piece with additional wire to add strength and texture. He obsessively builds his wire sculptures day and night, creating expressive characters, animals, and illustrative scenarios such as that of his donation, Ethnic Battle. Lonnie, you really “dropped the mic” with this one!
Bridget Sullivan: Sycamore; pigment print, encaustic paint, pastel on panel; 2012; 14” x 18”
I love work that demonstrates multiple processes and mixing of multiple mediums, so Bridget Sullivan’s Sycamore is a very appealing piece from my perspective. Her ethereal use of encaustic wax blends seamlessly with the image of the towering tree, and creates a tactile, textural effect with a lot of depth.
Madeleine Cutrona; Campus Map; 2014; digital print; 16” x 16”
Madeleine Cutrona’s work, Campus Map tells us to ‘FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS’ and lets us know that ‘WE CAN DO IT’. This type of reassurance is just what I would like to see on my dorm room wall in the am, along with a rickety wooden rainbow bridge, which will lead me to my very own ‘YOUR FUTURE’. This ‘BARGAIN BASEMENT UNIVERSITY CAMPUS MAP’ directs us to such locals as the ‘REAL WORLD ATHLETIC COMPLEX’, the ‘STUDENT LOANING LIBRARY’, and the ‘CENTER FOR HIGH-PAYING JOBS AND SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE SUCCESS’, all surrounded by a perilously pointy snow-capped mountain range. I see it as a tongue and cheek jab at the competitive and capitalistic system of higher education, and the often empty guarantee that graduates will easily achieve the ‘American dream’.
Anita Schreibman: I Went to a Garden Party; 2014; hand-dyed and printed textile on Japanese paper; 28” x 30”
Anita Schreibman’s I Went to a Garden Party appeals to my fiber art sensibilities, and where those intersect with the use of garment and decorative textile, in this case- doily imagery. It is also just such a nice looking, large, well-framed piece of artwork, with a subtle use of color and beautiful integration of paper as a hand-made, crafted material that goes way beyond its normal function as a surface upon which to make a mark.
I hope I have piqued your interest, or at the very least talked you into coming to an amazing party! Please visit our website to learn more about this exciting event!
Click here to see all 77 works of art in the show:
And buy tickets here: https://boparegistrations.wufoo.com/forms/lotta-art-2014-ticket-form/
School 33 Art Center is located at 1427 Light Street in Federal Hill, Baltimore Md. 21230.