Monthly Archives: May 2011

Beaux and Arrow Product Launch at the Museum Store

By Sally Struever
Manager of the Museum Store

On First Friday, June 3, the Museum Store will be hosting a product launch event for Beaux & Arrow, a men’s and women’s line of jewelry and accessories stemming from a collaboration between local artists/designers Kris Johnsen of Emblem Studio and Hannah Tarkinson of Ponomo. The two artists have spent the last month working together on this new collaborative body of work entitled Beaux & Arrow, inspired by images of carnivals and a 1920s style. In the process, they are learning each others’ trade and merging Johnsen’s screen printing techniques with Tarkinson’s fashion/leather experience. The outcome is a striking and unique jewelry and accessories collection for men and women. Each product is derived from a slice of a bigger picture, making them truly one of a kind. Once the individual pieces find a home, the initial imagery that the pair created and then applied to leather will be scattered, never to be seen whole again.

The launching of this project is not to be missed. We hope you will join us!


By Alicia Eggert
2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial Artist

Kinetic art is a very new field for me, and I have actually found the medium to be at once exhilarating and frustrating. Like anything that moves, such as your car, its fabrication requires a lot of precision. I received an immense amount of help with its assembly from a man named Robert Stevens, a colleague of mine at Bowdoin College. Bob is a supremely humble and helpful machinist, and he assisted me with the project’s planning and problem solving when I first approached him with my idea. After I had mapped out the coordinates for each motor’s location on the 48 x 48 inch panel, Bob used a CNC router to drill mounting holes in those exact positions. He also fabricated many small plastic parts, such as the black arms that are attached to each of the 54 motors. Without Bob’s help, I would never have been able to make this sculpture function. Many artists make work alone in their studios. Other artists, like me, sometimes require teams of people with different skill sets to help make their dreams a reality.

In addition to precise fabrication, kinetic art also requires constant maintenance and repair. Since installing this sculpture at the Portland Museum of Art, I have had to replace eight different motors that have broken for one reason or another. It is running so many hours per day, responding with movement to each and every person that walks by. Because of that, I check on the work at least once a week to make sure it is functioning properly. But I often wonder (no pun intended) about its lifespan. I definitely think of it as being alive. But the question is for how long?

Click here to see a video I made of people interacting with my sculpture.


By Rachel Katz
2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial Artist

It has been a pleasure to be part of the 2011 Biennial. To see the show come together during installation was a lot of fun. The process of creating the piece and installing it in the gallery, however, does not end once the last nail is tapped in and the label affixed below the work. I was reminded of this again on a recent visit back the gallery. I became aware of THE GAP. This is the space between what I think I made and installed and what is actually hanging on the wall. I think this happens for every artist many times throughout the process of making and showing work. Something inspires the work; it comes into being through various processes and is presented. Then, it takes on a voice of its own, related to but separated from the artist’s voice.  As much as I think I know what I am doing and why, the work on the wall often tells me something else is happening, something I could not have seen or known while making it. Even though I anticipate this process it is always a surprise for me. Preparing for an artist talk and writing about the piece becomes a bit daunting as I pass through the phase of feeling somewhat unnerved by my own work, feeling as if the work is somehow ahead of me.  Different artists must find different ways forward from this point; I try to keep other projects going in the studio to keep me working. But as I navigate my way back to the piece hanging in the Biennial, I try to be aware of the questions that the Rosette Nebula piece brings forward. Those questions get brought back to the studio, back to other work in process, and lead more questions and hopefully many answers to one of the big gap questions…WHAT NEXT?

Image credit: Rachel Katz (United States, born 1973), Rosette Nebula and Star Cluster No. 1 and 2, 2010, cut paper, 36 x 36 inches (each), 74 x 108 inches (overall). Lent by the artist.