Birthday cake shaped like an attache case. For my nephew Mikey’s 6th birthday he wanted a spy-themed party, so my hilarious sister got him this cake. Everything is edible except the magnifying glass.
5872 by David Sollie, 2013. If you are in Minneapolis tomorrow (Saturday, March 1st, 2014) there is going to be a special event at Bockley Gallery. The current exhibition is a show of my most recent work (inspired by time spent in Armenia and the Southern Caucasus). The big news is that tomorrow evening from 6:30 until 8:30 pm an eclectic band from North Dakota called “Yer Lips are Blue” will be playing a few sets of acoustic music at the gallery, so please visit if you have a chance. Bockley Gallery is located at 2123 W 21st Street, very close to Lake of the Isles and on the same block as Birchbark Books and The Kenwood restaurant.
2631. Archival pigment print and colored pencil on paper. 2013, by David Sollie.
This plant is a species of astragalus that can be found in the southern Caucasus mountains in Armenia, not far from Gyumri. This example is about 13” tall and probably about 40 years old. Astragalus are actually related to legumes, though they have a funny way of showing it.
In 2012 and again in 2014 I took a lot of pictures of astragalus in Armenia. There are estimated to be 2,000 or 3,000 species of astragalus to be found around the world and perhaps 150 to be found in Armenia. It is hard to really know for sure because they adapt themselves to microclimates, so that some species can be found on a only a single hillside within an altitude range of maybe 100 meters and that hill will be the only place where you will will find that particular variation in all of the world.
Astragalus expresses itself in different ways. Some species are particularly thorny because they are vulnerable to grazing animals. Others (like variations of Astragalus Tragacantha) are softer to the touch and remain very close to the ground.
I spent most of last winter trying different printing approaches that would make these pieces look genuinely old because they are part of a story that is set in Armenia about 40 years ago, when it was still a Soviet Republic.
Printing is language and one problem with how easy it is to print things nowadays is that so much stuff ends up looking the same. I welcome technology (the image above is a scan of a digital print I made on an Epson 11880) but I agree with lots of other people who think the machines can be should be used to do things they were not designed to do. A perfect digital print is not the correct answer for every project but most printers seem to be open to new ideas, as long as you don’t get too crazy.
That is, I’m really happy with the prints I have been able to make but I never want to end up feeling like i did a bunch of Jello shots with my printer and we woke up next to each other in a motel room in Grand Island, Nebraska, with a hefty extra charge on my Visa bill to pay for the ink-stained sheets. I see us heading west: Del Norte, Colorado, Las Vegas NV, Vacaville CA; each night a new motel room and long nights of me whispering false promises into a USB cable. ”You are the one. You are the one.” Finally we get to LA and I meet the glamorous 11990. The second to last shot is one of the newer Epson 11990 wearing a bridal veil and something like a bridal gown. The camera pulls back to me dressed as a groom, with someone on the other side helping me lift the 11990 onto the roof of a limousine. The 11880 is shown abandoned in a parking lot for a sad moment, but then being taken in by a group of art students, maybe clarify this by panning out to an art school, with a second of some empath lovingly braiding all of the cables in back. Over this, the new tag line: “So many ways to love an Epson.” Hopefully the narrator will have a very scratchy voice and maybe even a barely noticeable accent.
I try to make things I care about because it has to be done, but sometimes I feel like I should have taken on a practical side job. Sometimes I think it would be great to be in advertising and to try to get a Clio award, because as an object the award itself is a thin thing with outstretched arms holding an oblong globelike thing that if turned upside down is perfectly designed for stirring old cans of paint. A Clio award would be so convenient in the utility closet whenever you wanted to grab an old can of paint and retouch a wall or some cabinets. If you have a Clio award you can stir the paint, rinse it off, and then the Clio award will be ready for the next time you need it. I can see why some people (especially visually sensitive people) covet it. It is way better than a simple wooden stirring stick because it does a better job of grabbing and mixing in the things that have fallen to the bottom of the can.
Train Bridge. Archival pigment print with colored pencil. 2013, by David Sollie.
This image is currently on view at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis in an exhibition called Hollow Stone: The Life and Disappearance of Narek Grigoryan. The show runs through March 15th. More information available at www.bockleygallery.com
Exhibition Invitation: David Sollie at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, opening Friday, February 7th from 6:00 to 8:00. If you happen to be in Minneapolis I hope you will visit. Bockley Gallery is located at 2123 W. 21st street (a few block west of Lake of the Isles, near Franklin, a few doors down from The Kenwood restaurant.
Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, Noon to 5 pm. The show runs through March 15, 2014.
Abandoned greenhouse, Yerevan Botanical Garden. This building was put up near the end of Soviet times. It was intended to house rare species from around the world, but after the dissolution of the USSR there was no funding. It was not possible to heat and maintain this place, so it was never used. Now some of the windows are broken and the only plants inside are those whose seeds have found their way in through the damaged parts.
Communist-Era Artist’s Studio, Yerevan This space is in a building near central Yerevan that was built as live-in artist studios near the end of the Soviet era. Last year my friend Vahag purchased this place and moved his studio here. It is pretty amazing: northern light and a good sized outdoor space, and the inside is glasnost personified.
Hoppity Rosebud, by David Sollie. Mixed media on canvas, 2011-12, and Rosebud herself, after coming back from a run.
I made Hoppity Rosebud in an earnest attempt to capture the joy our dog takes in running. I think there is so much stuff made that seems to have not much to do with the way people actually live, so sometimes I try to make things that are rooted in what seems to be mundane or commonplace. Artistically speaking, I’m not sure that a bulky theoretical apparatus is necessary for the enjoyment of ice cream.
If you are curious, Rosebud is a mix of boxer, pug, Jack Russell and Boston terrier, and she’s a smart little sweetie pie. She can sit, speak, shake, roll over, dance in circles on her hind legs, walk on her hind legs, and she jumps into my arms when I come home. Good girl, Rosebud!
Multitask? Sure you can!
Every once in a while as I continue investigations into the history and culture of the Shackway Corporation, I come across another of their motivational posters. I’m pretty fond of this one because it features a young sophisticate getting cardio exercise and cleaning the floor while enjoying the best part of an exploding cigar.