Welcome to CatRutgers4art

Welcome to CatRutgers4art © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Pause here for visual refreshment. CatRutgers4art is an essence: far less than everything, much more than a fragment, all original art. Inspired by my boundless fascination with natural phenomena in an urban environment, commonly leading to window-view sky watching and a lot of digging in the dirt to make things grow, I present this free-floating waltz of an undefined tempo with relish. All love from the possibilities zone, Cat

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‘O’ Is for Outtake

12th Street © Cat Rutgers 2016

2nd Avenue © Cat Rutgers 2016

The ones that aren’t used in the first go-round often simmer in the background, then bubble up sparkling on a brand-new tip. Once upon a time, yet still within this century, I created a mural design for a big-box retailer’s two street-facing walls, planning to enter their contest. My art in this case was all about Brooklyn: love and pride, day and night, scaled to be huge, listing the name of every single neighborhood. Excellent project.

But my hardware and programs of twelve years ago didn’t have enough capacity to save really large files. They crashed all the time. I missed the deadline. Kept the images, however, and have often used the backgrounds since then. I like them, they’re simple and clean and lend themselves to variations. Here’s nine transformations circa February 2016, plus the tone-poem hoods in all their glory.
 Night Street v3 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v01 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v8 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v07 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v9 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v10 © Cat Rutgers 2016

 Night Street v4 © Cat Rutgers 2016

Night Street v5 © Cat Rutgers 2016

Night Street v03 © Cat Rutgers 2016

All the Neighborhoods of Brooklyn © Cat Rutgers 2016
Images and text by Catherine Rutgers © 2016

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Beautiful Traveler: JoAnne Lobotsky’s Mixed Media

JoAnne Lobotsky’s “Compass,” textiles and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches, 2016

JoAnne Lobotsky’s “Compass,” textiles and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches, 2016

There’s something amazing about witnessing an artist’s turn in her path, and if you traverse the bodies of work in JoAnne Lobotsky’s portfolios, such a moment will be revealed. After more than a decade of fascinating, frequently complex, and often slightly surreal oil paintings, her work takes a turn, concentrating on smaller, mixed-media pieces that are “driven by a need to create works without illusory space.”Close-up of textile in “Compass,” by JoAnne Lobotsky, 2016 I needed to know more about that statement, and was especially curious about Compass, the opening artwork for this Guest Spot! My queries generated the following explanation from the artist:

“I want to make things that exist on the same plane and in the same world as we do. Not some illusory space that you drift into, like a window you are looking through.

“My work has bumps and textures and pieces of things glued to it – I’m offering up bits of the real world. The less the elements I used in these pieces coalesce into something beyond what they are, the more I like it. Maybe it is a response to an increasingly digital world. It definitely feels like a response or a declaration.

Printed fabric and acrylic paint, detail of “Compass,” 2016“What was I thinking about Compass? I had just received that textile with the horses and was excited to include an image that wasn’t abstract. This is a textile that most would think of as kitsch or just in bad taste. So I was excited about that as well.

“I had also recently received the fabric with people in traditional Asian clothing. So, basically, the West meets the East … I was looking to put things together that do not usually belong together. Similarly, the black cloud and the white clouds are very, very thick, in contrast to the flatness elsewhere.

Textile and painted cloud, in “Compass,” 2016“My frame of mind was that there was nothing to lose and I had no attachment to seeing any particular outcome. I grew up on a farm, and the land was primary to my childhood. Many of my pieces reference landscape somehow, and I see this piece as a landscape. I turned it upside down and prefer it this way as it becomes even more surprising, adding the north and south part to the East and West, hence the title.

Compass excites me – it’s one of those pieces that is showing me the way forward, and I want to do more with the ideas there, and with representational imagery.” Here’s a virtual voyage through ten other recent works. How can art be raw and exquisite at the same time? I don’t know but feel that Ms. Lobotsky creates that effect. They strike me as maps to my daily-life soul, that if I can just stare at each one long enough, I will understand who I am and exactly where to go next.

 “Wanderlust,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (fabric and acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 inches)

“Wanderlust,” fabric and acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 inches, 2015

“Later that Night,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (acrylic and modeling paste on panel, 16 x 12 inches)

“Later that Night,” acrylic and modeling paste on panel, 16 x 12 inches, 2015

“Some Birds of the Tropics,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (acrylic, faux fur, newspaper, cloth and tape on canvas, 24 x 18 inches)

“Some Birds of the Tropics,” acrylic, faux fur, newspaper, cloth and tape on canvas, 24 x 18 inches, 2015

“Some Birds of the Northeast,“ JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (vintage fabric, linen and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches)

“Some Birds of the Northeast,“ vintage fabric, linen and acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2015

“Before They Knew,“ JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (acrylic, ink, burlap and other threads, wax paper bag, feathers, corn husk and handmade paper on canvas, 14 x 11 inches)

“Before They Knew,“ acrylic, ink, burlap and other threads, wax paper bag, feathers, corn husk and handmade paper on canvas, 14 x 11 inches, 2015

“Beginner,“ JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (acrylic, paper, fabric, cardboard, plastic and wood on panel, 24 x 36 inches)

“Beginner,“ acrylic, paper, fabric, cardboard, plastic and wood on panel, 24 x 36 inches, 2015

“Detour,“ JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (fabric, faux fur, felt, silk, paper, sticks and cheesecloth on canvas, 16 x 24 inches, including support)

“Detour,“ fabric, faux fur, felt, silk, paper, sticks and cheesecloth on canvas, 16 x 24 inches, including support, 2015

“Overland to the River,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2016 (acrylic, modeling paste, faux fur, cheesecloth, burlap, textiles, glitter and wood veneer paper on panel, 30 x 24 inches)

“Overland to the River,” acrylic, modeling paste, faux fur, cheesecloth, burlap, textiles, glitter and wood veneer paper on panel, 30 x 24 inches, 2016

“Messenger,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2016 (acrylic, cheesecloth, paper, newspaper and plastic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches)

“Messenger,” acrylic, cheesecloth, paper, newspaper and plastic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, 2016

“Crossing,” JoAnne Lobotsky, 2015 (acrylic, silk, modeling paste and paper on canvas, 12 x 9 inches)

“Crossing,” acrylic, silk, modeling paste and paper on canvas, 12 x 9 inches, 2015

All images in this Guest Spot are © JoAnne Lobotsky 2016.

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OMG Blue

Blue with Orange Edge © Cat Rutgers 2016This is a blue beyond blue like the primal oh-my-gosh what a beautiful color blue and I’m not the only one who said so blue. Super fine amazing quality paint, dropped off at my doorstep the other day by my très groovy neighbor. As soon as I opened the can, something had to be found to be painted with it.

Voilà! A big old flat file, used for drying silk-screened T-shirts a long time ago, heavy as heck and it holds a lot of stuff. Major corner of my newly laid out studio, a place where I like to look at the fresh prints. Should have taken a ‘before’ photo – it was gun-metal gray inside and I had painted the top aluminum, which looked kind of cool but was way hard to clean and smeary on your hands, paper too. Now it shimmers.

So, snapshots, snapshots, some with a flash, then without but adding more ambient light, then I notice an accidental shadow, then try some intentionally and that, my friends, was yet another OMG moment. Forthwith: the flat file in situ, five silhouettes, and one shadow play highly altered. The ‘newly laid out’ studio, by the way, is more like rebuilt. I took everything apart, scrubbed it all, moved it around, and reinstalled the equipment. Now there’s wide-open space in the center, where you can spread your arms wide and twirl.

Studio Corner (Prototype 3398) © Cat Rutgers 2016Shadow 3399 © Cat Rutgers 2016Shadow 3400 © Cat Rutgers 2016Shadow 3402 © Cat Rutgers 2016Shadow 3403 © Cat Rutgers 2016Shadow 3404 © Cat Rutgers 2016Corner Stone © Cat Rutgers 2016Secret tip for painting flat-surface metal: after using a brush for the first coat, try a roller for the second. Glorious.

© Cat Rutgers 2016

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Riding the Culver Line Dream

This is the core lineup of proposed art for the subway, with a few deviations. Would love to see them transformed into windows and windscreens. And, hey, you never know.

Blue Motion © Cat Rutgers 2016 Orange Delicious © Cat Rutgers 2016 Midnight Glow © Cat Rutgers 2016 Just Around the Corner © Cat Rutgers 2016 Exquisitely Arched © Cat Rutgers 2016 Bridge to the Island © Cat Rutgers 2016 New Moon Pathway © Cat Rutgers 2016. Swift Spring © Cat Rutgers 2016 Inexplicably Mine © Cat Rutgers 2016 Tangerine Dream © Cat Rutgers 2016 Summer Breeze © Cat Rutgers 2016 City Lights © Cat Rutgers 2016 Radiant Heat © Cat Rutgers 2016 Heartbeat © Cat Rutgers 2016 Within and Without © Cat Rutgers 2016 Bird's Eye View © Cat Rutgers 2016 The Pulse of Music © Cat Rutgers 2016 Solarized Song © Cat Rutgers 2016

© Cat Rutgers 2016

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Colorfields and Folds (Ever More Art for Music)

December's Geology © Catherine Rutgers 2016Lately, I’ve been working on proposals, a process that is both demanding and inspiring. It begins with reading the instructions on exactly what to include and how to include it, and I often find it tricky to make the necessary switches between examining the application forms to the wild inventiveness of creating and curating the art I would like to exhibit. In balance, the discipline fuels my creativity, leading to fresh discoveries and stronger work.

The plan for a Colorfields and Folds exhibit is inspired by the percussion-electronics ensemble Loop 2.4.3. This show would feature ten new prints that are based on nearly two hundred images created for large-screen projections during their performances. For those images, I worked with three ideas: botanical matter, stripes, and colorfields. In making the prints, I uncovered and developed new themes – from the metamorphosis of minerals taking millions of years to accomplish, to the fleeting moments of connection and wonder we experience as humans on earth.

Loop 2.4.3 performance. Photo by Tom Burnett.

Scene from the performance at Alma College, in Michigan, with Loop 2.4.3 and the Alma College Percussion Ensemble, December 4, 2015. Photo by Tom Burnett.

As a multimedia option, Thomas Kozumplik, composer-performer and co-founder of Loop 2.4.3 and the recording label Music Starts from Silence would perform during an opening event, with Tom Burnett, director-performer-musician, creating video projections. An audio soundscape could also be recorded for Colorfields and Folds and installed using simple technology.

It’s exciting to be part of Loop 2.4.3’s forward-thinking tradition of working with visual artists, including David Derickson (Fist Fight Films), Stephen Gilewski, and Jon Waldo. You can listen to the haunting and melodious Zodiac Dust at www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7lqw3pmOsk and watch a full Loop ensemble in rhythmic action for So Strong at www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNhQOE92u30.

What is a ‘colorfield’? According to About.com’s Art Glossary, “A color-field painting is one in which color is the subject, characterized by large areas of single color. The color is what dominates, not texture nor brushwork. The paintings are generally very large, so that when you’re viewing it from up close your entire field of vision is filled with the color.” Technically, these prints diverge from the painterly model in many ways. But I think of colorfields as sweeping intensities, and color is most certainly the primary subject, building into a multi-faceted view, as if you were watching the sky through a window, lodged deep inside a rock formation, or recording the landscape via satellite.

The pic at the top of this post, by the way, is December’s Geology. Here below you’ll see Electric Gemstone, Echoes Echoed, Whorling Trace, Tropical Compression, If You See the Full Moon, Faster than Air, Strike and Dip, We Visit Again, and Curtain Call. The names make me happy, too.

Electric Gemstone © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Echoes Echoed © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Whorling Trace © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Tropical Compression © Catherine Rutgers 2016

If You See the Full Moon © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Faster than Air © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Strike and Dip © Catherine Rutgers 2016

We Visit Again © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Curtain Call © Catherine Rutgers 2016

 The images and text are original work by Catherine Rutgers © 2016

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Double Vision circa 1893-1905

Stereopticon Scanned by Cat Rutgers 2016They’re really beautiful devices, these old and once wildly popular stereopticons. Wood, and metal, and yet not heavy at all. And as simple as the technology appears, the effect really works, creating a view with a depth that surprises me every time.

This one belonged to my great aunts, Miss Ann (Anna Marie) Rutgers (1895-1964) and Miss Gertrude Rutgers (1891-1985). They lived in a wonderful brick house, built by my grandfather Stephen (1893-1970), in the Redford section of Detroit. There was an arbor of concord grapes in the back yard, and I can still picture them making preserves – peeling back the purple-black skins, the sweet-tart pale green fruit inside, the knotty and plentiful seeds, the steaming heat in their kitchen, and row upon row of sparkling clean glass jars waiting to be filled with the gorgeous gem-like results of their work.

The double-image cards are beautiful, too, and became colorful as the century turned. They trumpet the wonders of nature, simply or with an ‘uplifting’ message, share the news of the day, allow travel to far-flung places, and tell stories … crazy, wonderful stories that I can only imagine with just the few pieces in hand.

I have only a small collection, saved from Auntie Gertrude’s basement after she moved into an apartment in the 1970s. Though there’s no date on the stereopticon, the Rutgers sisters were just kids when these cards were published, and they must have been a family treasure to have been saved for so many years.
Full Moon 1899 The Half Dome in Yosemite 1897 Niagrara Falls (Undated) Consider the Lilies 1895 The White House, Washington 1905 President McKinley and His Cabinet 1900 The River Dan-Palestine 1899 Picturesque Thatched Houses of Filipinos-Philippine Islands 1905 Athens-Theatre of Herodes Atticus (Undated) Don't You Dare 1893 You May Have-Just One 1893 And Nicodemus Was Fed by the Wayside 1899

Text by Catherine Rutgers © 2016

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