Monday, February 13, 2012

The Situation(s) with Gosia and Longin

As the dust settles on the first BoxoHOUSE project, the impact of the week is sinking in. For Gosia Wlodarczak, drawing is an imperative, perhaps a way of feeling connected or alive. After a midnight arrival in Joshua Tree following a solo show and residency in Bellingham, WA, she and Longin Sarnecki were over at BoxoHOUSE bright and early and insistent on preparing the canvases and starting the work immediately. The arc of the project was to create a dozen or more "situations" during which a canvas would be drawn on for exactly one hour, as well as to undertake the FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE performance over 3 four hour-long sessions.

When I proposed a cup of coffee to energize us and to undertake some planning for the week ahead, this became the first situation and Gosia got straight into drawing.


Situation #1, BoxoHOUSE, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki

Once the planning was done and the glass for the drawing performance surveyed, it was time to get out and about. First stop Ricochet Cafe where Situation #2 was drawn over lunch and Situation #3 begun over coffee and something sweet. Interactions with curious onlookers cafe were fun and carried the energy out into the world. After a quick test cleaning of the glass at BoxoHOUSE, it was down to the Palm Springs Museum where Situation #3 was completed and the marvelous Swimming Pool exhibition taken in.

Situation #2, Ricochet, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki



Situation #3, Ricochet & Palm Springs Museum, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki


Then on for a late night beverage (hot toddies without the brandy) at Birba and yes, that was Situation #4. Then back up the hill and home - phew, a big first day.


Situation #4, Birba, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki

Friday Feb 3 dawned bright (is it the desert after all) and it was time to prep for the performances. Gosia and Longin strolled over from Rattler Ranch with, yup, a drawing in hand - Situation #5 Diane's Mustang Cabin. Prep aka cleaning the glass proceeded, al fresco lunch consumed and refreshments laid out before the performance began at 1pm. Over the next four hours, Gosia began to record non-stop the images that came into her line of vision. Never drawing from imagination or memory, never interpreting, just drawing line after line, a glimpse of an object or a person or the landscape or a critter. Some curious folks came by, admired the work, questioned Gosia, and entered into the drawing. At 5pm, the remaining audience sat down around the table with Gosia and we chatted on for a while.


FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE, 2012
pigment marker on glass;
Images by Bernard Leibov and Longin Sarnecki



FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE, 2012
pigment marker on glass;
Image by Longin Sarnecki



Situation #5, Diane's Mustang Cabin, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki

As tiring as the day had been, Gosia was straight into the next situation over a meal at Crossroads Cafe. I dropped them off after the meal, realizing that Longin's work of documenting the day and mailing key images to a select list internationally, was only just beginning.



Situation #6, Crossroads Cafe, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki

Day 2 of the performances started with a surprise - Gosia had taken an early morning walk and made a canvas using a rock as her easel. This work is akin to a dust cover and really captured it's natural inspirations. nevertheless, Gosia was keen for yet another situation, so back to Ricochet where the coffee was judged by both Gosia and Longin to be excellent. No room inside? Gosia rolled with the situation and we sat on the back patio - a lively canvas emerged from this session.


Situation #7, Dust Cover Rock, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Gosia Wlodarczak


Situation #8, Ricochet Back Porch, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki

The second day of the performances brought the community out in force. Writers, musicians, artists, local business folk, the curious all came through. Even a friend from NYC on his way to a workshop at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. And Gosia drew on and on, taking in the changing shapes both from within and through the glass. She got into conversations, sipped on hot water and just kept on drawing. At this point, I noticed that the drawing had moved onto new frontiers of glass and not those I had originally planned on using.

Gosia was responding to the situation, both the broad sweep of landscape and the energy of the audience which grew and was very focused in the main living room area. I tussled with this encroachment on the view for a while, and still am, and realized that this was very much an outcome of the project - the situation was such that I had invited an artist to make an artwork in a private space and invited the public to witness and participate. Attempting to assert control was not the right response - this was what I had signed on for, not an exercising in decorating my rooms.


FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE, 2012
pigment marker on glass;
Image by Bernard Leibov


FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE, 2012
pigment marker on glass;
Image by Longin Sarnecki

After what was becoming the customary post-performance drink and chat, we headed off for another situation - a meal at Yokozuna. Exhausted as she was, Gosia kept drawing and had a conversation with the waitress on the subject. Once again, I dropped off Gosia and Longin - them to complete the work and me to sleep.


Situation #9, Yokozuna, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki

Sunday February 5, the third day of the performance, was another sunny beaut. Off for the morning ritual - coffee situation at Ricochet. This time we were back inside and got to chat with more interested folks. We were now in Situation #10, with two drawing performances behind us, and I really got to appreciate Gosia's commitment and focused process. I found my mind wandering during the session, and made some calls and texts to keep spreading the word about the final day of the Frost Drawing. I checked email. The table fell quiet and I felt odd - what was my role here? Would this effect the outcome? Was I lessening any form of support for Gosia? By tuning out, I removed myself from the situation and was in a different space. I simply was not present and felt it. Yet, Gosia just kept drawing.

After the hour, a jaunt onto the mesa to see a new museum of local art being opened by Regina and Dimitri Kirolov. Gosia and Longin were fascinated.


Situation #10, Ricochet, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki


Visit to Joshua Tree Museum
Image by Longin Sarnecki


Then from 1pm - 5pm, the final leg of the performance. A steady stream of folks came by, right up to the close. Some appreciative collectors from Ohio also stopped by and were "drawn in" to the work. Gosia continued to draw in the same steady mode and made a switch to a large glass door in the bedroom. The audience followed naturally and some stood out on the patio as the final stretch came to a close.


Images by Bernard Leibov

Frost Drawing complete, it was time to celebrate in local fashion. Up to Pappy and Harriets with Diane Best and Christopher for live music, barbecue, a drop of wine and yes, more drawing.


Situation #11, Pappy & Harriets, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki

The last full day of the project was largely devoted to exploring the Joshua Tree National Park, the payoff for Longin who has a passion for travel and nature photography. Fist off, the final coffee situation at Ma Cafe Rouge where the latte was judged good enough for seconds.


Situation #12, Ma Cafe Rouge, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki

Properly fueled, we rocketed into the park with many stops for Longin for take it all in. Then a picnic in Hidden Valley, followed by a nature walk which included yet another situation - a dust cover for a Joshua Tree!


Situation #13, Dust Cover Joshua Tree, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Images by Longin Sarnecki



Gosia and Longin in Joshua Tree National Park
Images by Bernard Leibov


On the way back from the Park, we stopped at Harrison House for a tour with Eva Soltes. This remarkable structure was built by Lou Harrison and is now owned by Eva who welcomes artists and musicians for residencies. Eva's documentary on Lou Harrison premieres in San Francisco on March 6.

After a stop at BoxoHOUSE for final documentation of the FROST DRAWING, it was time for the final drawing session. Down to the Joshua Tree Saloon for a taste of local flavor and an excellent last supper in the company of these dedicated artists. That was the situation.


Situation #14, Joshua Tree Saloon, 2012
pigment marker on canvas; 12” x 12”
Image by Longin Sarnecki

FROST DRAWING FOR JOSHUA TREE and the Situation canvases are on view at BoxoHOUSE through Spring 2012. The canvases will also be exhibited at BoxoOFFICE in New York in the Fall.

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