Tuesday, December 15, 2009

m i d d l e s t a t e s

i just received an email from an artist friend that i have been curated into a group exhibition that will run during the first months of 2011. the show is called m i d d l e s t a t e s and is at Drake University's Anderson Gallery. here is the PDF of the exhibition, divided up into two jpgs for you (click on images to see a larger view).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Amelia and Chloe

this past weekend, the village of east davenport had an event where all the small business owners kept their shops open late for a shin-dig that included santa, reindeer, carolers, free food samples, hot chocolate, fire pits, and artists working on their work in storefront windows. it sounds campy, but it was actually quite fun. steve banks and i were hosted by the Village Corner Deli. we each had a 5-hour stint in "the studio" (rare these days) and they hooked us up with a very delicious dinner for taking residence with them for the night. a win-win situation. during the night, i finished up the painting i've been working on, as well as another one of the Josephine drawings. the drawing is incredibly difficult to photograph, so i've given up on putting it on the site. however, here's the finished painting:


Amelia and Chloe
acrylic on canvas
46 x 34 inches
© matt pulford

by the way, if you have the time, go see Marta Currier's show at the Catich Gallery (at Saint Ambrose University). steve and i left our post for a quick moment and checked it out; it's very good.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

a little further along...

the large canvas is moving along decently well:

the small paintings on paper are slower:

i recently received an order of that 20 x 32 inch drawing paper i love, so there will be more "josephine" drawings soon
here are some from the earlier lot:
i've already started working on one, and it's a lot more dense, and kind of "wind-blown."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

solo show next spring

i recently received word that i will be having a solo show next spring, probably spanning the months of april and may. the gallery is the midcoast space a bucktown — the nice raw-ish, exposed brick gallery on the second floor. i haven't had a solo show in my hometown since my moves around the midwest started back in the late 90s, so this should be very fun. the space is large, and i have decided the show will consist of the pieces from Amelia and Josephine, along with several floor pieces from a few years back, and whatever new work i make between now and then.

and speaking of that, here are some new pieces that i've just barely begun...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grant App

i've had a nice break from things during the last month and a half, while Amelia and Josephine has been up on view at the MCAC. but now i think it's time to get back to work, and i figure i'll do something i haven't done yet - apply for individual artist grant funding. i used to work on arts programming grants back in the day, for a former employer. that process was more involved than this, so i'm crossing my fingers that i score well and receive funding. i'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best. i should be starting the application within the next month or so.

some other things going on lately...

- i was asked to do some printmaking programming/demonstrations at the Figge Art Museum's Family Day this past weekend. it went very well, and was a ton of fun.
- i was laid off the day before the opening of Amelia and Josephine. it is not going well, and is not a ton of fun.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

opening reception at MCAC

last weekend we travelled to bloomington, IL for the opening reception of my show. we were pleasantly surprised at how packed it was. we knew that a combo of my work and Gary Justis' show in the adjacent gallery would bring out the ISU peeps, but there were also an awful lot of visitors who didn't have ties to the university. and to top it all off, the Rev Horton Heat had an outdoor concert right across the street from the arts center, so there was a lot of spillover foot traffic from that too.

here are some images from my show:

and some images of Gary Justis' installation, Head On: ReDux

Thursday, August 6, 2009

studio sale

i recently put up a hidden page on my web site, and it contains old work i have for sale for cheap. there is a lot of studio storage downstairs that is being taken up with old paintings, old framed drawings, and boxes of old works on paper, and i have to make room for new work. if anyone is interested in some inexpensive purchases of work from about 8 to 12 years ago, go here:


i'll sign off by placing a random assortment of images from the page...

Monday, July 13, 2009

the fall lineup

after about 10 months of on and off time in the studio, i have finally finished all of the work for my upcoming solo show. as usual, i'm feeling here and there with these new pieces — i'm quite pleased with some, yet still questioning things with others. but it is what it is - a grouping of paintings, drawings, and prints that i made because... well... because i make art. here are the details for the show:

Amelia and Josephine
Recent work by Matt Pulford

August 21 - October 10, 2009
Armstrong Gallery @ The McLean County Arts Center
Bloomington, IL

my usual short and to the point artist's statement will be posted:

There is not a more dominant force behind my work than the open prairie of the Midwestern landscape. It has become an aggrandized mother figure of sorts, a place whose calmness and emptiness is a welcome escape from the everyday. My yearning for this solitude manifests itself in two distinct bodies of work — serene, minimal reflections on the landscape itself, and darker explorations tied to the longing for it.

but a more in-depth explanation will accompany the work via a printed hand out:

This past fall, my wife and I became parents of our first child – a beautiful little girl named Amelia Blue. During the first few months of our lives together, I'd watch her dream as she'd take many mini-naps throughout the day. There would be rapid movement beneath her eyelids, she'd give a little kick here and there, and I would smile as I'd wonder what such a young child could possibly be visualizing in her mind's eye. It wasn't long until doodles of mine began to incorporate fragments of Amelia's quilted blankets — a signifier of her tranquility, comfort, and contentment. As spring awoke from a long winter, these little sketches developed into large paintings that were unlike my minimal landscape works. The bright colors of our flower garden and my peculiar fondness of the rabbits in our backyard (the latter heightened by my re-reading of Watership Down for the nth time) started to make their way into thoughts on new pieces to create. I was in full fantastical, whimsical art-making mode — a place where I imagined my daughter dreaming of flying around on her magic blanket with the neighborhood rabbits as her copilots, laughing it up as they explored the sky.

It was during this same time of birth and growth that my paternal grandmother Josephine's health began to slip away. Out of all my grandparents, Josephine is the one who woke me up and fed me before school, watched me after school, and cared for me when I stayed home sick. She is dear to me, and watching her liveliness fade has been heartbreaking. If the emotions related to Amelia's first months are simple and direct in that they are forever tied to the verdancy of Spring, thoughts related to my grandmother's impending passing are more complex, for they traverse back and forth from warm remembrances of cherry tree blossoms falling to the ground, to the dark days of a bleak, desolate winterscape where nothing grows.

here you go - all the work that will hang on the walls:

acrylic on canvas
27 x 27 inches

acrylic paint & relief print on paper
30 x 22 inches

Amelia and Fiver
acrylic on canvas
20 x 20 inches

Amelia and Hrair-roo
acrylic on canvas
48 x 30 inches

josephine (three)
pencil, colored pencil on paper
32 x 20 inches

pencil, colored pencil on paper
24 x 16 inches

oil on canvas
44 x 44 inches

oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches

josephine (one)
pencil, colored pencil on paper
32 x 20 inches

josephine (two)
pencil, colored pencil on paper
32 x 20 inches

gold staying (1)
oil on canvas
36 x 36 inches


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

long time coming

first off, here's a new print/painting hybrid i finished this week. even though it's part of a larger body of work that i'm close to being happy with, but not totally "there" yet, i am pleased with where i'm taking things:

acrylic paint & relief print on paper
30 x 22 inches
© matt pulford

next, after several months of having it on my mind and working on it here and there, i finally finished the piece i mentioned in the latter parts of this post.

it's funny to me because i can see it in two distinct readings. one take never really goes into that ridiculously "evil" realm i once thought it might; rather, it comes about as one of the more dark-yet-respectable pieces (as in, here is someone's ashes — a loved one?... a family member?...). but in another more honest light, it definitely does stem from an intense abhorrence (as in, a title that cues viewers into the act of standing over someone that was purposely incinerated), even if it is a minimal, pulled-back piece. at this point in time, i'm decently happy with it.

your cold death ash
2008 - 2009
painted sawdust, plywood
variable dimensions
© matt pulford


Sunday, June 14, 2009

MLB Baseball Park #6 - Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City

i usually don't share many personal photos on the site, and i'm not sure i've ever included one of myself or family before, but whatever - here you go. (this will be a long post).

The tally:

#1 Wrigley Field, Chicago
#2 (old) Busch Stadium, Saint Louis
#3 Miller Park, Milwaukee
#4 Chase Field, Phoenix*
#5 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

and now,
#6 Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Royals vs Reds

*toured stadium but did not watch game

the latest stop on our ongoing "MLB ballparks of America" project unfortunately could not be attended by the usual suspects of coach, chad, kevin, and (sometimes) tim. yes, this time around it was just kelly and i, but no worries - we of course had a blast on our own. and besides, the best part of the trip was that kel's sister "Prez" (short for P.O.T.M.P.F.C. — don't ask) lives in downtown kansas city, which meant we had one of our favorite people on the planet to hang out with for 72 hours.

we started off by getting a tour of her downtown apartment building. she lives right in the thick of it, which is something neither kelly nor i did when we lived in chicago. her place is gorgeous — exposed brick, 15 foot high ceilings, a full workout room and lounge in the basement, and access to the rooftop patio. as always, click on any image for a larger view. check it out...

after a general introduction to her neighborhood, we decided it was time for food. of course if you're in kansas city, you have to get bbq at least once during your visit. the last time we were in town, we ate at Jack Stack , which is friggin great, but we wanted to do something less... "structured." not less classy or anything like that, just something more down-home. Prez suggested Gates. she told us to beware that we had better know what we wanted before we stepped inside, because the place was famous for wait staff that yelled at you, or just kind of yelled in general. we weren't sure if we should be expecting the rude-on-purpose style that some famous chicago eateries employ, but we were game, and we headed that way for dinner.

so... for the "review" portion of this entry, i'll just say, holy crap. i'm not especially well-versed when it comes to describing BBQ — dry vs sticky; sweet/tangy/spicy, but it was the best i have ever eaten. damn straight. the place is actually filled by really sweet — not rude — staff, and the yelling is more because of the madness that forms when the line gets up to the place where you order. in other words, it's not rudeness; it's just general loudness and mayhem. but we did well, and they seemed thankful that we paid attention to them and to what they needed to know from us (in contrast of the two folks in front of us). kel and i split a whole rack of ribs, some slaw, and some potato salad. Prez got the chicken dinner with a side of slaw. we all shared a mini sweet potato pie and a pitcher of beer. here are some pics:

Prez and i place our order

the plate my wife and i ordered up

Prez's plate

kel getting into it. messy stuff.

sweet potato pie

it was damn good. one of the staff came over to chat us up, and she was sweet. yes it sounds cheesy, but i love it when food brings people of different backgrounds together.

that took care of the first night in town. saturday was filled with a walk down to the kansas city open-air market. it's filled with vendors on weekend mornings, where you can find everything from fresh, local fruits and veggies, to spices and meats unique to foreign lands. there was also a very packed dog park right next door, so i wandered around saying hi to some dogs and owners while my two cohorts grabbed our breakfast. there was a well-known dog rescue setting up shop in the park, which meant they were showing off three awesome little pups to potential adoptive families. a big "awwwww" moment for me because i have a huge soft spot for dogs.

before i share the pictures, i forgot to mention that we stopped at a downtown antique shop on our way to the market, and i bought an effing amazing find. coach, kev, and tim - you might be into this - i found an old ball glove from the 1940s at the latest (my guess), and a home-made looking catcher's mask from probably the same era. both were very reasonably priced. anyways... some pics of the market and dog park:

now onto the baseball...

Kauffman stadium is gorgeous. the additions to the park really make things nicer. no, i had not visited before they extended the outfield part of the stadium (allowing folks to walk around behind the waterfalls), but when you're there in person, you can't imagine the park without the additions. it was a really nice place. we arrived an hour before first pitch, so this gave us a lot of time to walk around the entire stadium while drinking some beers. the fountains are nice, there is a nice sculptural piece featuring a rendition of George Brett, there is a mini ballpark for kids to play at before the game, and there are plenty of modern bathrooms everywhere.

we took our seats in the 3rd row of the upper deck, and the view was excellent. after one half inning, i noticed that i was sitting next to a father and son duo who were donning Cincinnati ballcaps. i asked if they were from ohio or just local fans of the reds, and they said they drove in from ohio for the entire weekend series. i replied by saying we were from eastern iowa, and although technically neutral for the night's game, i had to root for the home team because we are cubs fans and we need to Reds to lose right now. he was a good sport, and we talked the rest of the night about the beauty of watching a game live versus on television — the nuances that you see going on while runners are on base, the way signs are relayed in via several steps, and other things like that. the gentleman told me he approached Dusty Baker before the game, and actually got Dusty to sign his baseball.

the seventh inning stretch portion of the game is not unlike most parks — they sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." between other innings, they do other fun things like the "kiss cam," a race of three lucky contestants that get to dress up in ketchup, mustard, and relish suits, and a fisheye "woooah, crazy big head" camera that warps the noggins of unsuspecting visitors and flashes their likeness on the jumbo-tron. none of us know why, but the latter item had us cracking up, wiping laughter tears off of our faces. it was probably the booze.

some pics of the park:

kel and Prez outside the main entrance to the park

the George Brett statue that resides beyond right-center field

the famous outfield fountains

the special mini field just for little tykes

the following photos are a general assortment showing the park from several views, a few of which are from our seats

it was awesome. we were sitting in PRIME foul ball territory, and although we saw 4 come our way, none were within reach of me. the furthest was about 30 seats away, and the closest was about 20 seats away. ah well.

i could go on about many other things we did while in town, and share many more photos of food and landmarks, but i'm exhausted and i need to hit the sack.

there you have it. i loves me some baseball more than most anything else in the world.