Saturday, April 30, 2011

twists and turns- two

The first print is on window cling with lovely colors, fantastic to see it all in one (rather than fragmented paper pieces!)
However, after speaking with the gallery and there not being any glass surface, I realized these have to attach directly to wall. And therefore there will be two versions, an indoor one with the lighting/transparent effect and an outdoor one, where the colors are more pale rather than yellow and where the transparency is not seen. These two versions is what one sees on a sliding glass door and how the paper itself acts in this configuration. I loved understanding light and how it acts through this process. Above should be how they hang on the gallery on wall. Title: "Indoor Mother Whore, Outdoor Whore Mother, Sliding Glass Doors."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

off to the printers

-All figures scanned and digitally manipulated for transparency effect of background lighting.
-Currently standing at 12 inches by 5 feet
-Will play with various backgrounds in the morning including paper, vinyl, etc.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Congratulations Tereza,
I'm so happy for you!
Thank you for sharing this with me - wishing you all the best with the upcoming show.
Great work,

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2011

Dear Tereza Swanda,
Congratulations! Your artwork, Whore Mother Totem Pole, was chosen by this year’s jury to be included in The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2011 at the SoFA Gallery (which will be renamed the Grunwald Gallery of Art mid-way through the exhibits run).
Please see the details below for shipping information. Your shipment should also include a completed copy of the attached loan agreement and a prepaid return shipping label for your artworks return shipment. Congratulations again, and we will be sending additional emails to keep you updated on opening reception and promotional details. In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact us at
Details for Shipments
Artwork should be scheduled to arrive Thursday, May 5 - Wednesday, May 11. Hand-deliveries will be accepted May 10-11, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. As stated in the brochure, shipping of artwork to and from the exhibit is the responsibility of the artist. All shipping must be prepaid. Ship artworks to:
The SoFA Gallery
Kinsey Institute Juried Show
1201 E 7th St.
Fine Arts 123
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
The artwork must be framed and ready for installation. Late or damaged work will not be exhibited. In the past we have had problems with fragile pieces arriving damaged. Please take all precautions to protect your artwork during shipping.
Artworks must also be prepared for return shipment. Shipping cartons and materials must be reusable for return shipping, and a prepaid return shipping label must be included unless prearrangements have been made with Garry Milius (
Exhibited hand-delivered work must be picked up Tuesday, August 2-Wednesday, August 3, 12-4p.m. Shipped works will be crated and ready for return by August 9. It is the responsibility of the artist to provide postage and insurance to and from the exhibit. Nothing may be shipped COD. Any work that has been left after August 30, 2011 will become the property of The Kinsey Institute unless other arrangements have been made.
Again, congratulations, and please let us know if you have any questions.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I am so happy for your realization! I'm also excited to pick up Krishnamurti as well. (I just sent the first article from the 1st workshop to the same students I wrote about last night.)

Yes, the lessons are finally being realized! It is all so significant, if only we stop and look.

I have not taken my work all the way to the source- at the root I am sure the themes are mother/father, masculine/feminine and now they are the mix of the two, from the act of rubbing two egg portraits together in a gesture of two meditation balls, one of a man and one of a woman in 1998 to the overlapping figures on glass today. I have just considered the bodies but the gesture is the same.

Much more recently I've realized the architecture standing behind victims/perpetrators, mothers/fathers and how the architecture (space created by mental constructs,) affect the bodies that perform in that space.

For me the process has been shifting the mental space to create space- I reread your passage as there is so much to dialogue with. I really enjoy this sentence: "I have always been interested in transforming something I understand in my mind into something I can feel, understand, and communicate through my body." I resonate strongly with "I've understood how to express vulnerability and compassion in my work by allowing those aspects of myself to be exposed, softened, transformed...It's the knowing without getting caught up in the concept of knowing."

It is a huge understanding of yes there is famine, disease, war, and at the same time there is healing, compassion, empathy. There is the knowing without judgement and blame, without a label.

I have this concrete lesson currently within my body, a dull reminder in my sacrum. I tried to stuff my vulnerability, afraid to expose myself and voila- the energy had to go somewhere.

Thank you for the post and the lesson. I am eager to read "Education and the Significance of Life."

A more balanced outlook

I am glad you found your daughter and that all was not lost.
I too have come to a much different understanding of things since my last entry.

Re-reading Krishnamurti's "Education and the Significance of Life", and finding endless inspiration from it. Feeling the growing life inside me and getting filled with anticipation and love. Can it be that after winter's slumber I have renewed unbridled energy?

Synchronicity abounds...all judgement dissolves. Tensions leave me. Creative thoughts begin to connect with previous work and projects yet to be undertaken. I am so excited. The middle of the night is now an excellent time to work! I have never been awake this consistently between 3-6AM, but for whatever reason, canvases are still getting worked on, and ideas are being consolidated that have been dormant in my mind. Seeing the black sky slowly turn blue each morning is uplifting, even though there is still terrible unrest in the world and many people are dealing with homelessness, radiation fallout, famine, disease, and war.

I had tea with an artist friend yesterday.
It was a lovely afternoon, and we talked about many things. She is currently participating in NYFA's MARK program, and has had a very positive experience so far. She mentioned that the program has helped her in terms of presenting her work to groups of people who don't know her or her work. She spoke clearly, articulately, and confidently in a way I have not witnessed before. A huge weight seemed to have left her. I was happy for her, and was encouraged by her this change.

As the afternoon wore on, there seemed to be a mutual sense of relief of knowing what we are both doing with our work, and now never running out of ideas to work with. As both of us have had the tendency to take things a little too seriously and to become very hard on ourselves, we have recently realized there is no sense of having to recreate the wheel every time we step in front of our work. Better yet, I felt like there is more space to get out of the way of our work!

I told her about my most recent revelation, while installing my most recent piece at a gallery in Rosendale. Something that hit me in a very profound way was that I have really been working with the same thing my entire life. I have always been interested in transforming something I understand in my mind into something I can feel, understand, and communicate through my body. Since 1996 this has taken the form of painting, mixed media work, and performance.

It all connects: in 1996/7 I remember loving small text pieces I began 'on the side' that didn't have anything to do with my painting (typed words on handmade organza baskets); the methodical process of stringing beads to cover texts I found offensive to women; intervening on The Scarlet Letter by making a 500-page necklace out of it; salting another version of it and hanging it in a grid; the mediational and repetitious actions of embroidery in Airing Dirty Laundry, the endless counting and meditation of the Morse code all has a lineage I just realized for the first time.

In performance work as well, Meaning Cleaning takes the concept of 'doing public service' and actually realizes it through often grueling outdoor manual labor: sweeping, scrubbing, packing, sorting. It is actual participation rather than an idea of participation.

Finally, In painting: I've understood how to express vulnerability and compassion in my work by allowing those aspects of myself to be exposed, softened, transformed. In 2007, I overcame my deepest obstacles. Because of that decision, I have been able to understand what universal empathy can feel like in a painting. I am beginning to understand why the Hanging Meat painting from Rembrandt is so important; I see Fran Angelico in a much different way now. It's the knowing without getting caught up in the concept of knowing - it's the realization through one's body of what is truth.

In 1996 I began painting the back of the head, neck, and torso as a way to highlight this investigation; paintings of fragmented body parts followed, fragmented undergarments, slips (with words either painted on them or behind them), shoes, and a lot of angry process work. Concepts of death and rebirth were investigated through paintings of black cats, ravens, and jackels. I kept things separate - there was not an awareness that everything was the same. The anger I felt in my body scared me, and I didn't want to work with it. What I presented through my paintings were removed from the series before it. It is really in the last month that I have understood that everything is the same. Everything has equal space. Everything is connected and is in relation.

As you know, I stopped painting for five years, from 2004-2009. Since I have returned to it there is such a deeper investigation of how to articulate my questions of how the body understands one's experience of this world. Even at my most critical, this question comes up in my mind. I understand as I work, I understand through the work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rain Season

Of Good and Bad:

We had an incredible week on the Oregon Coast. What beauty! (God lives at Cannon Beach.) And after all the glory a few moments stripped it all away. For a second I thought I lost Al which sent me into complete panic followed by a panic attack, insomnia and a pinched nerve in my sacrum. All previous beauty dissolved! How ridiculous! (It did help me enjoy homecoming.)

In response to your post, this is what I wrote to my students tonight:

All in all, I wanted to discuss this notion of 'not loving what you are painting.' It is a very important concept to observe and I'm glad it came up last week. We seem to be in the mindset of likes and dislikes most of our day. (Like, I really don't like this pain in my back.) What this does is it sets up binary opposites- things that relate but are on opposite sides. This is still within our mental constructs which sometime block creativity. We think we know. We label the plat. (I know it is green, it lives in the soil, etc.) But all these words stop us from really seeing the plant. (Seeing that entity in front of you stripped of all the labels.)

The still-life which wasn't still at all is a living entity- that changes, is form and color, is in relation to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Good Day

It's interesting to notice attachments to either feeling "good" or feeling "bad".

During this last week (week 37 of pregnancy), there was a lot of feeling emotional, weepy, feeling hopeless, feeling useless, feeling lethargic, despondent, and physically sick. I perceived this as "difficult" to get through, and did very little to resonate with these feelings. Rather, I fought against them, judged them, judged myself. I contributed to my own feelings of misery.

Today, on the other hand, I began to feel wonderful.
I received encouraging and uplifting news from many people, which helped in my tying up a lot of loose ends.
Suddenly, seemingly tons of pounds were lifted from my shoulders; I felt relieved, happy, optimistic, lighter, bright-eyed and focused. Small but profound connections were made between people, places, and energy...I noticed the subtleties of the world around me and felt comforted by being alive in this moment.

Why is it easier to feel more aware when perceived 'good things' happen than when 'bad' things do? Where does judgment come from, and why?

Is any of this part of the practice of non-attachment?
What part is noticing?
What part is being aware?

Tonight I have insomnia again, and am continuing to work on a beaded Morse code piece based on the John Donne poem Death Be Not Proud. When I took a short break an hour ago, I found an email from a friend who forwarded me the announcement for Liza Lou's most recent exhibition at L&M Arts in Los Angeles.

As I only have the thumbnail images on my computer screen to base this observation on, it was a pleasant surprise to see such a shift in Lou's beaded work. There appeared to be so much more transparency and weightlessness to the pieces: a transformation from earlier work. I felt myself exhaling more deeply after seeing the exhibition highlights online. It had such a more quiet atmosphere around it. A stillness and a breath that I haven't felt from her work before.
Chance occurance

I will continue to work until I get tired