Art Week of Solitude

It has literally been years since I’ve been able to spend an art week to concentrate, relax and focus on nothing else but working on some artwork. Seems crazy since some artists have weeks, months, maybe even a year to devote to creating their work. I have no excuses. It is what it is. I just did whatever was possible to take time off work, toddler, relationship, people, freelance–everything. It has been exquisite.

This art week has been enhanced/distracted by the vast amount of storm clouds that have built up here from monsoon season.

Today’s storm. #rioricoaz #thunderstorm #monsoonseason #arizonamonsoon #clouds #stormclouds

A photo posted by Jen Urso (@jenurso) on

#storm #thunderstorm

A video posted by Jen Urso (@jenurso) on

Storm clouds. #clouds #stormclouds #thunderstorm #southernaz #monsoon #arizonasky

A photo posted by Jen Urso (@jenurso) on

Mammatus. @cloudappsoc #clouds #stormclouds #mammatus

A photo posted by Jen Urso (@jenurso) on

Clouds have been part of my work or a long time. I can’t help but obsess over their perpetually-shifting nature. More recently, I’ve been drawing the visual edge of clouds or what I’ve been calling their “horizon.” I’ve also been drawing the horizons of people gathered in a space, a static landscape, or cityscape. Many of those drawings are hanging at The McKinley Club (and will come down next week)

Between listening to anĀ 8-part documentary on Tsarist Russia, listening to the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, running the hilly, deserted streets of this Rio Rico neighborhood and reading Georgio Agamben’s State of Exception, I have been drawing, drawing and cutting with an xacto blade. I’m interested in how the visible horizon combines everything within visible range, regardless of their political or literal connection. I like how the horizon is clearly different in different areas and how this simple line can indicate the place. I’ve become more interested in taking these lines and combining them with contrasting places: a cityscape, people on a train, a cloud edge, a treeline. Now I want to start imposing these edges on physical space, outside the drawing.

One of my challenges during this art week was to take action against my despair in the current state of our society (shootings, police killing black men, a coup in Turkey, a truck running over people in Nice, the Trump presidency). I decided to devote at least an hour a day towards work related to these concerns since remaining in despair gets me nowhere. In my next post (since this one is way too long), I’ll write a little more on that and share the work the I began.

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