Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Food and Art

This year I decided to try something different. I started going to a writing group! I felt like an interloper since I don't feel like a writer and have never aspired to be a writer. As it is turning out I am find myself writing more and more to help further my painting. The group is very inviting even though I feel a little backward surrounded by many fine writers. I first published this post on johnholdway.com but since I decided to move blog posts here. I think this post was inspired in part by being a part of two food art exhibits this summer and meeting Mary of oneperfectbite.blogspot.com at the writers group.

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Michelle wrote about food in literature while getting her Masters degree from Johns Hopkins. We lived in Baltimore and spent many evenings drinking wine and talking about books, food, movies, ideas and art. Listening to her talk about how everything is affected by our relationship with food opened my eyes to how food is a tangle of the ordinary, spiritual, political and cultural. Michelle is my muse but I haven't done a pile of portraits of her. She is not a sit still kind of girl. She feeds my mind. The ideas make their way into my art.
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I eventually started a series of paintings of food. I exhibited those paintings in many exhibitions including two solo shows, Shelf Life at Opus6ix Gallery and Fresh at David Joyce Gallery. Just recently I am included in two group exhibitions that question the role of food in culture. Farm to Table:Table at David Joyce Gallery in Eugene, Oregon and Culture and Agriculture at New Visions Gallery in Marshfield, Wisconsin both deal with the disconnection between the food we eat and its production. I heard Tony Shalhoub interviewed on the radio yesterday and that made me think of Big Night. Michelle and I saw that movie at The Charles Theater when it came out in 1996. The cultural enthusiasm over food was buzzing in the zeitgeist. When we moved to Eugene in 1997 The slow food movement and Community Supported Agriculture were taking off. Eugene already had well established farmers markets and community garden programs. We got a community garden plot and began growing our own vegetables. My series of still life food paintings began with squash grown from our community garden. Here is something I wrote for the Farm to Table:Table exhibit-
 visit my web pageFarm to Table: Table Since the industrialization of our food supply we have begun to develop a vision of a romantic farm. We romanticize agriculture of the past. This is not so helpful in describing the past but instead tells us more about our own desire. Industrialization has many benefits and we cannot go backward. Industrialized agriculture also has costs. One of these is our connection to the food. We seem to need its connection: we want a beautiful vision of where our food comes from. Our food has never come from the Garden of Eden. It is doubtful the truth of food production will ever live up to that idea, but I see that we crave that vision. In that way food is important beyond it’s physical nourishment. In the painting of still life the subject takes on a new importance. The image is similar to a shrine. We are allowed the time to observe and contemplate. I feel that this exhibit is a connection to my own personal work. It seeks to question our own connection to the food we eat. How can we reconcile our physical needs with our spiritual needs?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Back to Blogspot


I am switching back to blogspot for studio news. I just don't have time to fiddle with the security issues of having a blog on my webpage. This is a picture of some works in progress on the shelf where I keep my paintings as they dry.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Exhibits Spring 2014


I have two shows happening now. A group show at the David Joyce Gallery and a solo show at the Stellaria Gallery.

David Joyce Gallery

There  are two of my paintings in a show at the David Joyce Gallery at Lane Community Gallery. The show is titled Farm to Table / Table. It is the last part of a three part exhibit. There will be an opening reception on Wednesday April 23, 2014 from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm. Here is a link to great directions.

David Joyce Gallery
Center for Meeting and Learning
Lane Community College
Main Campus
2nd Floor
4000 E 30th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97405

Stellaria Gallery

I have a number of my still life paintings on display at the Stellaria Building in Eugene. They will be on display from March 2014 through the end of April. There will be a closing reception on Friday April 25, 2014. 6pm-9pm.

The Stellaria Building
2nd Floor
150 Shelton-McMurphey Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97401
541-686-0921
Here is a map to Stellaria

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Big Flood


Big Flood by John Holdway

I am starting a series on floods. The idea is to draw figures moving through the water in the rain. The idea came from my sketchbook. I was drawing my son while he was playing in the river last summer. It is wonderful to live in a place where a kid can swim in clean water in nature. It is inspiring for my work just to be here. Later I was looking at my sketchbook and the drawing had a melencholy feeling. I saw it differently. The figures are in the midst of a disaster but are past despiration and now just trying to make their way through. I don't want to nail the metaphor down too much but these are the feelings that I have been working through in the studio for the last few years.

If this image stirs up a story for you, please share it in the comments.