Back in February I was invited to participate in Cabin-Time, a roaming art residency that brought myself and 11 other creatives to Wilderness State Park, at the very northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula. From Feb 2nd-8th, we made work, explored snow-logged forest trails and shared stories in a 1920s built bunkhouse. I developed a heavy fascination with the array of fantastic ice crystal forms throughout the park, unique to the extreme and uniformly cold conditions of northern Michigan winter. These sprawling, delicate patterns and structures lead me to create a series of frost drawings, several of which became editioned as Risograph prints through Issue Press.
An exhibition of our group’s work opened March 22nd at Craft House in Grand Rapids, featuring photos, artifacts, drawings and other documentation from this incredible project. Michigan based filmmaker Carson Davis Brown was along for the trip as well, and created a gorgeous mini-documentary of our Cabin-Time: Wilderness trip. The Cabin-Time show at Craft House runs through April 4th, and features work by Carson Davis Brown, Sarah Burwash, Kristen Degree, Amy Flaherty Todd Freeman, Ryan Greaves, Geoff Holstad, Martyna Szczesna, Ali Reid, Mary Rothlisberger, Zach See, and Nick Stockton.
Here’s a sneak peek of a new drawing from Wildlands, my upcoming solo exhibition at Illinois Wesleyan’s Ames School of Art. The show opens on September 6th, and will feature a mix of old and new prints and drawings. This hunting blind is the first in a new series of watercolor drawings covering the architecture and craft of the backwoods. I love how many of these makeshift spaces use materials from their environment in an attempt to blend in– but instead create a rather foreign and jarring manmade presence in the landscape.
Gather is my first collection of drawings, and was published by Issue Press in May 2011. I often find myself making tiny, repetitive marks in my sketchbook, and soon those exercises became drawings of nets. With minimal research, I quickly discovered the fascinating array of nets that existed across many different cultures, industries and applications. Gather contains 19 different net drawings, created from my original Moleskine sketchbook pages in crisp, Risograph reproductions.
You can pick up a copy direct from Issue-Press, or any of these other fine stockists:
The Owlmen of Mawnan
Handcolored copper etching on paper
From the group exhibition ‘As It Was Before’, now on display at Gallery Hijinks
A being seen near Cornwall in Great Britain in the 1970s, the Owlman was described as a grey winged humanoid with red glowing eyes. Two girls camping by the Mawnan Church were the first to describe the beast, which was said to cry out in a hissing call before flying straight up and into the night sky. The being appeared in and around Cornwall a handful of times over the following years, each time leaving witnesses struggling to comprehend what they had seen. Some maintained the strange creature could only have come from another dimension, a supernatural angle supported by the supposed existance of powerful Ley Lines in the region.
I’ve wanted to do a print about this story for a long time, as I’ve always had this juvenile need to see stuff like this for myself. Something about this story and the similar Mothman legend from the US always terrified me growing up. The eyewitness descriptions were so specific, yet told of something horrifying and unreal, and simply couldn’t be anything but what the witnesses described.
‘The Ley Lines’, preview from ‘As It Was Before’
Graphite on book page.
‘As It Was Before’
Todd Freeman, Martin Machado and Aleksandra Zee
Opens January 8th at Gallery Hijinks, 2309 Bryant, San Francisco, CA
A selection of 18th century engravings from Nozeman’s Nederlandsche Vogelen. Like so many other European naturalists of the era, Nozeman’s prints are difficult to see reproduced as a proper volume, and are instead relegated to antique dealers and auction houses. Cornelius Nozeman’s documentation of European birds pre-dated Audobon’s efforts by about 50 years, but share Audobon’s masterful detail, control and design. After his death in 1786, Nozeman’s work was then continued on by Martinus Houttuyn. A comprehensive guide to the birds of the Netherlands was completed around 1829. The prints here date roughly from 1770 to 1829.
â€œEverything has been created out of sea-mucous, for love arises from the foamâ€- Lorenz Oken
Lorenz Oken (1779–1851) has long been one of my single favorite imagemakers. A dedicated scientist of natural history and medicine, Oken also produced hundreds, if not thousands of immaculately rendered engravings. While many subjects were faithful to their reallife counterparts, many were created only from descriptions and second-hand memory, allowing for lots of charismatic reinterpretations. His five tiers of lifeforms:
1. Dermatozoa, or invertebrates
2. Glossozoa, or fish, those animals in which a true tongue makes, for the first time, its appearance
3. Rhinozoa, or reptiles, in which the nose opens for the first time into the mouth and inhales air
4. Otozoa, or birds, in which the ear for the first time opens externally
5. Ophthalmozoa, or mammals, in which all the organs of sense are present and complete
Although some of Oken’s categorical groupings got pretty wild, many of his ideas on natural history taxonomy were incredibly solid and were precursors to modern biological theories– notably his insistence on a ‘simple polyp’ being a base-form for all life. I haven’t been able to find a lot of information about his seven volume work “Allgemeine Naturgeschichte fÃ¼r alle StÃ¤nde”, but given the scope of that project I think there were probably several unnamed engravers working on it. The images here are all credited to ‘Oken’ or ‘Okenfuss’ (his actual name), and are very in keeping with the tight style of the time. Hopefully, some powerhouse publisher like Taschen can make a gorgeous coffee table book someday, until then I’m left scouring European print dealer listings on ebay.