Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm actually finally on vacation from New York!
I'll post photos and thoughts, ideas, etc. shortly...enjoying the beautiful countryside of Sonoma, CA.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm hoping if I upload again you will be able to click on the image and see the detials.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Settling into what you believe in

Congratulations- I'm thinking you are at the residency?
Pulling yourself out of a familiar context and settling into what is really you is always good.
I wish you a healthy stay (I know going up the West coast might not be in the plan but we would love to see you.) and will be joining you in this concept of arriving next month in Vermont.
I have just completed the above scroll- as it wraps around my studio. It was done as an homage to Amzie- whose casket was decorated with bumper stickers that stood for what she believed in- the visuals are all from last July's National Geographic, each image is about the size of a bumper sticker and of course there were many images that spoke of this beautiful woman. The scroll will be sent from Vermont to her daughter. I'm thinking of flying it like a kite's tail- as well as displaying it, like above, wrapping around an intimate space.


just arrived to san francisco.
listening to new music and really tired.
can't wait to start making art again in the country...

Monday, June 23, 2008

my biggest fear

I have been in love with the work of Kathe Kollwitz for a long time- back to undergrad years, almost ten years ago. The intensity in her work is overwhelming.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I have always been moved by this image.
Kathe Kollwitz self portrait.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

relating to Andy Goldsworthy

You never shake someone’s hand with a gloves on

All that effort is ultimatelly going into to trying to make something that is effortless

The very thing that brings the works to life is the very thing that will cause it’s death

Total control can be the death of a work

The real work is the change

A river is not dependent on water to be the river, it is many things, it is the flow

I do not think the Earth needs me at all but I do need it

When I make my work I take it the the very edge of it’s collapse- it’s a beautiful balance

Oh damn, that was close

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stand up straight
Brush your teeth
Wash your face
Look at me when I'm talking to you
Make your bed
Don't get smart with me, young lady!
Finish your plate
I'll wash your mouth out with soap
Finish your chores
Why can't you wear something more attractive?
Don't talk back
I'm not being critical I'm just making an observation

I sure am going to miss Florent...
Goodbye Florent, hello Ralph Lauren store.

Why don't we just pack up and move to Berlin?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008


One thing that makes all the difference is how each and every structure has been built. THAT is the heart and soul of a city. Then of course there is the question of how much one needs therefore leaving space to share- not of course just with people but the ants, the birds etc. It is a question again of how- one cohabitates.

On both of those fronts I would put you in the top category- you have done an impeccable job building- with more love than I would presume most NY homes. Now for the part of cohabitation you will have to live this on a day to day basis, but my guess is this will come naturally to you as it already does- do you not share a space already with a few family members? I would not get distracted from the important things you and Turu are doing- keep the focus, others will see in time. Do you know what I mean?

It is Sunday.

Will left for a business trip for the next three days, which for some reason feels like an eternity right now. I'm tempted to add the hours so that the numbers can pass more quickly. I held myself together until the evening, then Ali and I cried together missing daddy. It makes me think I need to appreciate and show this affection in his presence more.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It's Sunday.

This morning at brunch with friends, we happened on a NYT article about gentrification in New York City.

I had mixed feelings about the article, and about my role in the changing landscape of this city.
On the same page of the print edition, there was an article about a group of protestors demonstrating in front of a bar co-owned by Bruce Willis on the Bowery. They were standing in front of a large development that houses Whole Foods. I felt the number of protesters (about 100) were too little too late.

Why weren't they at community board meetings 5 years ago stopping major developments?

It's so easy to criticize until one is in another's shoes.

One friend today said that many people would group me in with these larger developers who have razed historic buildings and have "destroyed" the heart and soul of New York City. He said they wouldn't care if the property has been in my family, and that we have chosen to build it healthy, etc. I found that viewpoint limited, fixed.

I countered by admitting that, if seen from one point of view, then yes I was part of the "problem"...but on the other hand I asked the question: what better place to build something for myself than in the city I was born and raised? What better way to contribute to my city than to invest time, money, and energy into a project that stands for alternative ways of thinking?

It's an interesting position to have grown up with sentiments of being a "have -not" and then transform a space (in my example) into a major asset. Why would that be looked down upon? Why is there conflict surrounding that choice?

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Good for you!
I love it that we are applying to our heart's desires for the things that we want.
I'm very excited to see what becomes of your letter of interest.
What made you write to this specific location?

Be careful, though, about looking at the context too literally.
I'm a little worried about the literal translations of "healing" that make the artist a therapist rather than an instrument of transformation through their work. The movie "Awakenings" comes to mind...
Especially in a hospital context.

But looking at it in another way, your work has tremendous potential to influence and transform the hospital by asking very interesting questions about caring for oneself, caring for others, care of one's culture, society, the world, etc.
Macro to micro possibilities.
I see the egg series being very relevant there,
as well as your interaction with (patients, doctors, family members, etc)...

Brava Tereza!

Harborview Hospital public art comission, with great gratitude for the help of Anitra and Alan

Letter of interest

5813 155th AVE NE
Redmond, WA 98052
June 10, 2008

4Culture, NJB Project
101 Prefontaine Pl S.
Seattle, WA 98104

Dear Madam or Sir:

After reading Fernanda D’Agostino’s art plan for Harborview, I was deeply touched by the important potential a hospital can attain as a space of healing. D’Agostino takes into account all forms of healing with which to surround patients—an extraordinary approach given the condition of many contemporary hospitals. Her inclusion of gardens, light, art, visual- and performance-based science, along with people’s stories—all in order to promote a space for healing—resonated with me and is the reason for my application. I would like to participate as an artist in this powerful task.

Since the birth of my daughter I have been researching color as a healing element, using as a guide D’Herbois’s Light, Darkness and Colour in Painting Therapy. By directly addressing personal wounds and processing them through paint, pain is able to shift. Wounds and trauma can heal if one has the space to process them. (Please see my Wounds Healing Series.) Through a Harborview commission I would be interested in meeting and collaborating with interested patients, family members, and staff. I would like their finished paintings to incorporate the actual hands, either metaphorically or directly, of folks who pass through the hospital. (Please see my Trust Fall.)

I have collaborated in this way on many fronts: team-teaching undergraduate painting students, attending workshops in Italy with a half a dozen artists from all over the world, and participating in a cultural exchange program in South Africa where I was given the space for my healing. My most recent collaboration occurred in Salem, Oregon where I brought a blank canvas to the gallery, and through my encounters with people over a three-day period completed We Meet.

Thank you for doing this important work and for your consideration,
Tereza Swanda

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It seems like every day I get to studio, I receive another invitation to an art opening, open studios, or group show announcement.
I love it.
I think my last few posts were affected by the unbearably hot weather here in New York.
Now that I can breathe again, I can think more clearly.
Finishing up framing work today for show on Saturday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bushwick Open Studios

Blessings to Ryann's and Anitra's open studio this past weekend
presentation, application comments to follow

Monday, June 9, 2008


Why is it so difficult sometimes to find simple ways to present one's work?
What am I overlooking?
Am I over-thinking things?
What is the most simple solution?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday list

Remember client appointments for tomorrow
Plumbing inspection tomorrow
Follow up with expeditor
Pick up jacket left at engineer's office
Parasol - remember to take home tonight
Bring purse home and remember to transfer contents to correct wallet in red purse
Frame pieces for show tomorrow at the latest
Mail DVD to Eric
Mail DVD to Sandra
Send great thoughts to Headlands application!
Email drawings
Insurance information
Buy bread
Plants to Berry street Friday?
Check in with builder
Remove all rubbish from site
Follow up with B.F.
Make at least one mirror mirror this week
Plan another Meaning Cleaning with Hayley
Burn all images to CDs in case of computer crash
Work out Tuesday
Clients again Wednesday
Work out Thursday
Make sure clothes are clean for the week
Diane trade
Maya trade
Jessica inquiry
Bring all finished work to gallery Tuesday!
Opening Saturday - remember to invite people
Shipping reimbursement to SF
Amey inquiry
Buy more coffee
One more month of storage unit
Pay all CC bills?
Green roof components

Little Pieces exhibition

Little Pieces
Opening reception: Saturday June 14, 4-7 pm

June 14 - July 11, 2008
Art Spa NYC
241 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

heat wave

It's Sunday and the city is melting in the heat.
Yesterday I didn't leave the house at all.
Today I'm in studio getting ready for a group show at the Art Spa in Brooklyn.
Trying to turn the proverbial lemon into lemonade.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama wins Democratic nomination

Very important moment in US history yesterday: Democratic nomination of Barack Obama for President.
I'm glad I am here to witness this
(even though I'm not sure we can get out of the mess we are in, regardless of who wins the next election)...


What I love about our writings is that I get the sense they are written with care.
Other blogs that are written as though the author is speaking to the viewer seem careless to me and not well thought out.

I visited the Whitney for the last day of the Biennale, and it was interesting how un-captivated I felt to stand in front of, question, or marvel at any of the pieces in the show.

Similarly, many blogs I visit online repel me in a way that is hard to explain, either with content that I find uninteresting, inappropriate use of grammar and bad spelling, or visual choices in postings that are obvious and jarring. However, many others I visit I find extremely interesting and very helpful (I know there are many on both ends of this spectrum..)

Thank you for sharing the tones of the other blog..I want to re-look at the work you posted and ask questions about it shortly.

women's work part II

so this morning I got stirred to posted on a friend's blog, the tone is very different from this one (and usually I just read the events)- I thought I would share it- it just speaks to my mothering at the moment which I need to include in my [art]work

tereza June 3rd, 2008 at 1:29 pm
Oh Boy,Where do I begin to chime in on this one?
What things to say and to what end?
pausing.. a child needs attention- let’s begin where it ended; stealing fifteen minutes. Hmm, with a child (just one in my case) who does not nap anymore but does require help, play, cuddling, tending to, wiping butt, talking to, cooking for, driving here and there… where would I get 15 uninterrupted minutes? Then multiply by three. I would be surprised if SilliGirl found five minutes to herself- for you see the little ones like to check in even on the toilet.
pausing.. to help get the doll out of the stroller, kiss a bonk, and pick up a dress on the floor…the next slide remark- it happened when you became a mom. Your darned right- it sure does, doesn’t it. Wow moms and dads, how do you describe it? It’s quite a shift, you awake (or 20 hours after labor) with a child in arms and the whole perspetive of looking out into the world is completely different. Everything is not in relation to you, as the one, but you as a unit- you’ve branched out.
pausing to help my daughter through our weaning process… the closest thing i can relate it to is splitting yourself- take your leg or better yet your heart take it out of your body- now look out, the perspective completely changes. Do you see? (Again here multiply - or split in this case- by three) Of course you are not the same person- one will never be. You have gone from a twig to being a tree.
and with all the metaphors this means you grow to being more than you have ever been and at the same time you grow in the round- with all the paranoia, lunacy, fears and anger- all the undesirable qualities are there as well.
can’t get into canning for I unfortunately do not have much experience in this process- can only imagine it is no picnic.
pausing.. to give my child more crackers, which were spilled, then to vacuum, set her up with some water colors…Mamma, all I know is that you can and do breathe through the moments. I enjoy reading about it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Applycations and Woman's Work

Need to write a statement for the above images (they will be viewed in this duet form with two projectors) for a grant due in a couple of weeks. I feel like the applycation process has to become second nature to us although I get weird about the writing before I actualy do it. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Been reading Art Sinnce 1945 and this work reminded me highly of your Through the Eyes of Strangers work- I have had the privelage of seeing this work up front and personal and what a powerful statement- the artist lost ten pound over the course of the documentation to carve her body into the desirable shape (Carving the Traditional Sculpture)- the mug shot element comments on the perspective of the onlooker. Even though the piece is almost 40 years old it still rings true does it not?

Monday, June 2, 2008

application process, continued

Finishing up Headlands application today
working on image selection tomorrow
sending it out on Wednesday to arrive in Northern California by Friday's deadline.

I have to admit I don't dislike this application process -
in the past, I have always been weary about it and have never felt confident about writing about my work or explaining it in a concise and at the same time general way to strangers.

thinking about my work in new ways with help from other artists is incredibly useful.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Art in Odd Places application for Meaning Cleaning

For the upcoming Art In Odd Places slated for October 2008, Hayley Severns and Angela Rose Voulgarelis Illgen propose a collaborative cleaning performance (“Meaning Cleaning”) in the Meatpacking District on 14th street.

Dressed in professional business attire, we would begin sweeping the sidewalks together from one end of the district to the other. Supplied with simple push brooms and a large portable garbage can, our aim would be to push the debris from the street in one continuous pile until it reaches the desired end location, and then cart the debris away. We would not block the sidewalk or street, but rather subtly re-direct foot traffic with our performance as we swept.

As we activate the space, we welcome interaction with the public. We play with some of the expected roles and unsaid rules that come along with the sectioning off of "high brow" and "low brow" sections of public spaces. And, speaking frankly, it is unusual for two white women dressed in suits to be sweeping the streets of New York City.

The performance can exist on one day, or can be repeated over the course of the month. The Meatpacking district is not a strict perimeter; however, we are interested in performing in that area because it has transformed from an actual meat packing district into one of the more expensive neighborhoods in New York. Regardless of how many times Meaning Cleaning is performed, the professional “uniform” will remain the same.

Meaning Cleaning not only brings “women’s work” back into the public sphere, but also plays with notions of acceptable public behavior and social “norms”. In addition, our work maintains the lineage of Feminist and Conceptual artists before us, primarily Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Marina Abronovic, Joseph Beuys, and countless others.

Our performances take responsibility for our shared urban environment, which is why we feel strongly that Meaning Cleaning is pertinent to submit to A.I.O.P. In addition, in light of the upcoming closing of Florent, we feel Meaning Cleaning is especially relevant for this year’s cycle.

To bring to light what we as a community discard is to bring to light the human condition. Our actions provide a fundamentally different approach to the perceived lack of care for the immediate environment; our focus as artists is on the foundation beneath our feet, to be reminded of our interconnection. As independent artists, we began working together in 2005, and have since cleaned public spaces together in Europe and the US.

Our collaborative cleaning performance would be graciously removing the refuse and at the same time taking responsibility for our community. Without breaking any local laws, and dressed in a way that plays with social codes and acceptable public behavior, our performance also hopes to bring some much needed conscientious irony and humor to the streets of New York.

It would be a pleasure to bring our performance to A.I.O.P "Pedestrian" this October 2008.

Headlands residency application

I am working on my application for the Headlands Center for the Arts in northern California.
Inspired by the Art in Odd Places application I finished on Friday, it seemed logical to continue with another application today.
With generous help, here is the updated version:

My work is about discovering new ways to question social “norms” as they relate to marginal positions women have held in society, as well as how women have been depicted in art. Even today, women are referred to and portrayed in ways that are unconsciously inherited from antiquity, and remain largely gender-biased. I question this modern acceptance by peeling back the layers of commonly recognized ideas, words and images, and bring to light the process by which they have been originally accepted.
The use and re-interpretation of iconic female imagery, repetitious performances of actions and ideas, and working with text have been predominant choices in my work. This has been to validate the seemingly mundane actions that are typically associated with “women’s work” and venerate them in a more public way. From cleaning performances where I methodically scrub floors in public spaces, to employing Morse code to translate famous texts into highly ornamental necklaces, I am interested in re-thinking notions of the feminine in an attempt to understand how it exists in relation to the male gaze.
I am part of the collaborative Meaning Cleaning, which performs public cleanings as a way to take responsibility for shared environments; in addition, we play with social codes and notions of acceptable public behavior. Our actions provide a fundamentally different approach to the perceived lack of care for the immediate surroundings; our focus as artists is on the foundation beneath our feet, to be reminded of our interconnection.
Similarly, Conscious Object necklaces are conceptual drawings that are realized in three dimensions. In line with counting and prayer beads, which have existed for centuries in almost every culture, the necklaces are actual Morse code translations of text that can be read with one’s hand and worn around one’s neck. The meaning of each piece is also echoed in the choice of its material; to combine beauty and substance offers an alternative to the historically reinforced divide between the two.
Through experiences of travel, I have been able to process more extensively how my work can comment on and question the inherited stains of the past. Being outside of known structures has afforded me the space to become more open to a greater scope of things. The fundamental elements of Meaning Cleaning were literally laid out on the studio floor at a residency in Tuscany, Italy; in a cultural exchange workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, I was able to recognize my own marginal ways of thinking, and reflect on the choice to transform personal trauma into a more universal compassion against the inequalities of human justice.
I am very interested to work again in a way in an environment that has undergone its own transformation- in the case of the Headlands Center for the Arts, from military base with a destructive past to an Artists’ colony with an innovative future. I would like to examine how that environment and its history could lend itself to the themes of my work by providing a space for self-reflection, inquiry, and dedicated studio time. It would be enriching to work in such a unique location, with its torrid and transformed history, as well as its geographic specificity and beauty.