Start the New Year Right: Submit Your Work

VoiceCatcher will open for submissions in early 2017, but until then, we encourage you to submit your work to these other journals who support the work of female writers and artists 

Bone Bouquet

Calyx

Cordella Magazine

Damselfly Press

Dying Dahlia Review

Moonsick Magazine

Persimmon Tree

Quaint Magazine

Roar Magazine

Room Magazine

Yew Journal

Did we miss a publication, or have you been published in these journals? Leave a comment and a link below! 

Catch These Voices and Visions!

March 8 2015Several VoiceCatcher authors are among those who will read on International Women’s Day:

Of Course I’m a Feminist!
Hosted by Ellen Goldberg
Sunday, March 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

Featuring: Frances Payne Adler, Judith Arcana, Shawn Aveningo, Gail Barker, Judith Barrington, Emily Carr, Brittney Corrigan, Pam Crow, Linda Ferguson, Andrea Hollander, Tricia Knoll, Elise Kuechle, Carter McKenzie, Penelope Schott, Marilyn Stablein, Ila Suzanne, Carlyn Syvanen, and Sharon Wood-Wortman.

 

"The Way a Woman Knows" by Carolyn MartinBook launch for The Way a Woman Knows, by VoiceCatcher’s Carolyn Martin! Everyone is invited to join in the celebration.

Sunday, March 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

Reading will take place in the dining room on lower level. Light refreshments.

 

 

Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher art editor and contributor Sarah Fagan is teaming up with other artists and businesses in Portland this summer. They will offer budding artists half-day, themed camps in Portland. For more information see: Treasure Island: A Pirate and Explorers Camp, ages 5-7, July 20-24, and Pioneer Camp for Girls, ages 8-11, Aug. 10-14, 2015.

 

Click here for the updated calendar of readings from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Let us know of other offerings VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

Catch These Voices!

February 17, 2015 Reading Features Voicecatcher's  Shawn Aveningo And Dan Raphael

February 17, 2015 Reading Features Voicecatcher’s
Shawn Aveningo And Dan Raphael

A Milepost 5 reading featuring VoiceCatcher’s Shawn Aveningo, and Dan Raphael. An open mic follows.

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015
Doors open at 7:00 p.m, reading begins 7:30 p.m.
850 NE 81st Ave
Portland, Oregon 97213
New venue: The Chapel Theater

Spon­sored by Elohi Gadugi Jour­nal and Artists’ Mile­post. Hosted by Duane Poncy.

 

 

March 8 2015Several VoiceCatcher authors are among those who will read on International Women’s Day:

Of Course I’m a Feminist!
Hosted by Ellen Goldberg
Sunday, March 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, Oregon 97215

Featuring: Frances Payne Adler, Judith Arcana, Shawn Aveningo, Gail Barker, Judith Barrington, Emily Carr, Brittney Corrigan, Pam Crow, Linda Ferguson, Andrea Hollander, Tricia Knoll, Elise Kuechle, Carter McKenzie, Penelope Schott, Marilyn Stablein, Ila Suzanne, Carlyn Syvanen, and Sharon Wood-Wortman.

 

"The Way a Woman Knows" by Carolyn MartinBook launch for The Way a Woman Knows, by VoiceCatcher’s Carolyn Martin! Everyone is invited to join in the celebration.

Sunday, March 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, Oregon 97215

Reading will take place in the dining room on lower level. Light refreshments.

 

Let us know of other offerings VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

Oriana Lewton-Leopold: An Important Conversation

by Yolanda Wysocki

Oriana Lewton-Leopold in her studioOriana Lewton-Leopold is an artist included in the summer 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions. After completing an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College in Massachusetts, Oriana took painting and drawing classes at the New York Studio School and was an exchange student in Germany that same year. She then moved back home to Portland where she married, had a baby in July of 2014, and also completed her Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

Oriana’s art school background weaves its way throughout our conversation and is apparent in the language she uses as well as how she approaches her work. Although she still considers it valuable to think about what and why artists make the choices they do – and she does think there are reasons behind all creative choice – she is finding herself moving away from the rigorous explaining and defending of her work as required in school. “I think the studio practice is far more important than all the thinking and writing and talking we did,” Oriana says. “It influenced our work but now that I think about it, I don’t remember some of what I said about my paintings, so it wasn’t as important as it seemed at the time. But I do think the work is more interesting when artists think and can talk about what they are doing.”

When I Love You Close, by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

When I Love You Close, by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

Oriana explains it further for me. “In school we start out with theories and meanings and fit our work into them, but in my last bodies of work – like the Manet and Rihanna paintings – I began by saying, ‘I love looking at these Manet paintings and love the tradition of artists copying other artists’ work and I love this pop star. What would happen if I juxtapose these images?’ It was only after the work was completed that I saw different meanings, made new connections and saw it differently.”

It seems this process is typical for Oriana. She often begins by perusing different mediums, looking for images that strike an emotional chord with her, and then copies them into her sketchbook. Sometimes she uses a repetitive image in her paintings. Oriana compares it to a musician liking a particular chord and wanting to hear it again in different contexts, maybe next to a saxophone or put in different combinations. She will recreate the image in different sizes; explore how it changes meaning if put next to this image as opposed to a different one, or she will put another image over it.  Can she evoke the same emotion in the painting when it is buried? She would like her audience to ponder similar questions, but likes when others create their own stories. “Putting my paintings out there is about placing my work in the context of a larger conversation about art and life. And I think it’s an important conversation.”

Don't Won't Two, by Oriana Lewton-Leopold 2013

Don’t Won’t Two, by Oriana Lewton-Leopold 2013

Her current work combines the idea of performance (What is real? What is performance and when does one become the other?) with interests in hysteria (her MFA thesis topic), dramatic moments and similarity of gestures in completely different situations. Talking about her Blackfish Gallery show in December 2014, Oriana says, “I want people to find my work challenging, both the content and formal aspects – composition, painterly choices, powerful gestures that evoke emotion, and to make different connections. I like to create questions and a little discomfort in the viewer. But I don’t think my work excludes people without an art school background. Everyone may not have the same ideas about the work that I did but I hope it is visually compelling to draw people in, whether it’s a powerful figure or colors that work well together or something that draws viewers in.”

Yellow Bird by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

Yellow Bird by Oriana Lewton-Leopold

Dilemmas: Our conversation took us to subjects all artists have to address at some time in their creative lives … how to combine what the market wants with their own interests and the ideas they want to explore.

“When I was at Hampshire they encouraged us to do exactly what we were interested in and not pay attention to what consumers want. I found that very valuable but it didn’t leave any room for how to earn money from my work. I look at beautiful, well-executed work – and there is great value in that and that seems to be what most people want to buy. I tried working on realistic portraits for a while thinking they might sell but I had no interest in them so I stopped. It’s a challenge. Eventually I would like to sell my paintings, teach, and have shows in different parts of the world. I would like not to be working in restaurants for the rest of my life, especially now that we have a baby, I think about all of this but I also have a broader perspective. I don’t feel I have to do my best work now; I will improve tremendously over the years and I will be so much better in 20 years than I am now. Looking at life in a larger context takes off some of the pressure.”

Family: Being surrounded by a supportive family allows her time to work, as well as care for infant daughter Anouk, as she prepares for her show. Our conversation was occasionally interspersed with baby Anouk making her own needs known.

“I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without my family’s support. My mom and sister help take care of the baby when my husband and I are working, or dad will pick up our dog, Hux, for some exercise and love. They’re really supportive. My husband is also a really talented artist, and chef too. Nathaniel got his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting.”

When asked about possible collaboration: “We have really different styles; I’m very stream of consciousness and very gestural and he is very detail-oriented. We haven’t collaborated yet, but we’re are intrigued by each other’s way of working so we may collaborate some time in the future.”  She then points to their baby and laughs, “We did collaborate and we created a masterpiece.”

See Oriana Lewton-Leopold’s exhibition, Hushing the Crowd, December 2-27, 2014
at the Blackfish Gallery, 420 W 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97209 | 503-224-2634
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m

Oriana Lewton-LeopoldOriana Lewton-Leopold is a painter based in Portland, Oregon. She received her MFA in Visual Studies from PNCA in 2012. Her work has been exhibited in New York and Portland, most recently at Blackfish Gallery, where she is represented. More of her work can be viewed on her website.

 

Yolanda WysockiYolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for more than 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.

Walking the Talk: Meet Sculptor Carole Murphy

by Yolanda Wysocki

Carole Murphy’s work appears in the 2014 Summer issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions. Carole embodies creativity; she is energetic and evolving, creating and collaborating in many arenas of her life, changing her world, impacting many artists. She is not only a sculptor but also a teacher. She is completing her term as president of Pacific Northwest Sculptors, and is organizing the remodeling of a building in Northwest into 30,000 square feet of artists’ studios, expected to be available in December 2014. Here are snippets from our conversation:

Becoming, 2004

Becoming, 2004

Beginnings 
Looking at her early sculpture, I was amazed when Carole told me she had never taken art classes. When she was 40 she decided to get a degree in psychology, based on the work she had been doing. Later, realizing she didn’t want to keep working in the field, she asked herself what she wanted to do instead. “I always thought I could sculpt, but was afraid to discover I couldn’t.” She decided to work at sculpting for an hour every day. Slowly, while she ignored all resistance, the art eventually started to flow. Going deep into the process, she would sculpt for twelve-hour stretches, ignoring all bodily needs! She has been at it for 23 years now, never imagining her life turning out like this.

Enigmatical, 2013

Enigmatical, 2013

Having started in realism and wax, she was judgmental about abstract until she began to understand it. “Working in abstract gives me much more freedom; realism was a tighter way of working. Before I was trying to represent and duplicate; now I try to show what it feels like, what it’s about, the essence, and hope it speaks to others” She rarely works in realism anymore.

Process
You have a vision and then ask yourself, how are you going to get there?

That is the essence of how Carole works. The starting point may be an idea, image, dream, or simply the look of a piece – she has no shortage of ideas – then she starts to play. “Whatever is going on inside – whether it’s joy or the ecstasy of being, spaciousness, or some detailed introspection – also shows up in the piece,” says Carole.

Her studio has several rooms with numerous shelves full of found nature objects and items that students brought her. It’s not hard to imagine how she manages to have 25-30 pieces developing at the same time. There is plenty of inspiration and possibility to feed her imagination, curiosity and creativity here, and everywhere she goes.

The Dragon Flying

The Dragon Flying

But it’s not just play; she is always learning, researching, stretching, and experimenting. Hearing about aerated cement online, she decided to try it and has been playing with it ever since; or pouring white cement into balloons, painting recycled paper clay, molding it, and seeing what it – and she – can do. When a piece seemed to call for a metal coat, she searched until she found a process that incorporates a metalizing gun that melts steel (at 6,000 degrees), so she could spray it onto her pieces.

“That is what you have to do to keep the sculpture alive and evolving. It’s the process that is so exciting.”

Teaching
Walking around her studio, I see her students’ work takes up at least one wall. Carole expresses as much energy and enthusiasm for her students’ work as she does about her own.

Carole said, “I’m not interested in students going where I want them to go; I start with whatever they bring or are interested in and then I help them into that space beyond where they think they can go. I ask them where they stop liking it, or it feels wrong, and then help them work through it … same thing I do for myself. You have to be tuned into the piece and inside yourself to the place that knows, and everyone knows. Once you go to that place you never forget it. You can always access it again. It’s very important that I listen to what they want.”

A Devastating Turning Point
I wondered about the source of her abundant energy and optimism, her enthusiastic involvement in the art world, and asked her about it. Carole responded:

“I had been going through a really hard time that had lasted for years. The love of my life took his own life. After five years of mourning that encompassed my life, I was grasping for anything that could offer me a way out of it. I thought perhaps a change might offer me an exit door. I moved to Portland, Oregon from Vermont, with no relief.

Holding Preciously, 2014 "Within us all lies the beauty and the dance."

Holding Preciously, 2014 “Within us all lies the beauty and the dance.”

“Emotionally, I fell down once again and decided that I wasn’t going to get up this time, that I wasn’t going to hope for anything, any more. Giving up all hope doesn’t sound like a positive thing to do in this culture. But giving it up was the best thing I could have done. When I stopped hoping for tomorrow, I was left with only today, and my past.

“I found myself looking at who I was in the past. My past was riddled with what I have come to call ‘suffer well’ chips. I had been adding them up and subconsciously calling myself a good person because I had suffered so well. I had acquired quite a mountain.

“Having let go of the future by giving up all hope, I then let go of the past by letting the mountain of ‘suffer well’ chips leave. In response, I started waking up in the morning to ecstasy for no other reason than being alive.”

Finally, Last Words to Artists
“Just Play. Do it and play. Artists often work alone in our studios, but I say collaborate, cooperate, support each other. If you work together there will be more art; if you make more art, then there will be more call for art. Connect to others and make it happen. Art is about changing the world.”

And Carole walks her talk. Her life is art.

Carole MurphyCarole Murphy’s sculptures have been shown nationally in such places as the Maryhill Museum; the Coos Bay Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon; New Mexico Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Robert Paul Gallery in Burlington, Vermont; KGB Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Brueton La in West Hollywood, California. Moving from bronze figurative realism, Murphy’s art has morphed into a more organically fundamental aspect of form using cement, steel and mixed media. Carole also writes poetry and essays and is presently writing a book. Find more at her website.

Yolanda WysockiYolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for more than 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.

Botany by a Natural Talent: Meet Mary McCarty

by Yolanda Wysocki

Mary McCarty was the featured artist in the Winter 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions. Seeing Mary’s drawings, I was delighted by the skill, excellence and the wonderful restraint in use of color. I was curious to learn more about the artist who created them. Although she has taken numerous art classes throughout her life, I was surprised that Mary never went to art school. Meeting in Starbucks one summer afternoon, we chatted about her journey and the well-earned successes she has experienced recently.   –Yolanda Wysocki

Yolanda Wysocki: What got you started in art?
Mary McCarty:  In fourth grade, I had rheumatic fever, and in those days – I am pushing 80 – you were on complete bed rest. I was allowed one visitor a week. I couldn’t even listen to most of my radio programs because they thought excitement was bad for you. My sister-in-law showed me how to draw simple pictures, so mostly I drew dresses for my dolls but that’s how I started. When I was nine, I couldn’t believe it – my parents were very strict – but my mother let me paint this scene on the bathroom wall with swans and water lilies in oils. Then I was always doing something with my hands. I knit, weave, spin; I’ve done pottery … you name it, I’ve done it. As an adult, I was the artist for two tool companies. I taught classes for them and traveled with them; I demonstrated uses for their tools in booths at national shows.

YW: So art has been part of your life for a very long time.
MM: Yes, but I never really made much money at it. I raised four children by myself, so to earn money I became a psychiatric nurse, and later an administrator of a retirement home. I have always done art but mostly for myself.

YW: When did you start doing these detailed drawings?
MM: I signed up for a watercolor class about four years ago, and was told to bring a photo of something I wanted to paint  – I brought a photo of a sunflower  –  and to draw it the size I would paint it. I had never done details in my watercolor painting before, but surprisingly I knew exactly how to make the proportions, every detail, do the shading … it was like magic!  Everyone else had gone on to watercolor but I spent the rest of the six-week class still drawing that sunflower; I was thrilled with the new realization that I could draw!  All my paintings before were nice, nothing exceptional, but this was magical, like a gift that was waiting to be used.

By accident, I discovered a way of shading. All my shading is done with tiny circles … it was natural for me to do it that way. Then, after doing a few drawings, it started feeling like they needed a bit of color so I started adding bits. Every time I put some color in it, I get terrified, afraid I will ruin it. I am working hard to improve.

But I just followed my instincts. It became my signature style but none of this was planned or thought out. Now people recognize my pieces and remember me.

Chinese Lanterns by Mary McCarty

Chinese Lanterns by Mary McCarty

YW: How long does a drawing take?
MM: It takes 40-60 hours. I go to the Portland Nursery or Fred Meyer and buy a plant. I always feel sad because I know this plant is going to give its life for art. I take it apart, looking for all the details. I have learned so much about every plant I have ever drawn. I really enjoy that part of it as well.

YW: What is your favorite drawing you have done?
MM: I did a very large narrow one of Chinese lanterns. It’s the only one I have ever done that I have never felt any need to do anything more to it. I really wish I could have kept it.

YW: You sold that one?
MM: Yes. Early on I decided that everything I did I would sell. Anything I really, really want to keep I put a higher price on it (laughter).  The only three I wouldn’t sell are the sunflower the very first drawing I ever did, and the ones that were chosen for this book, Strokes of Genius.

Double Geranium by Mary McCarty

Double Geranium by Mary McCarty

They accepted two of my drawings including “Geranium” … I’m so excited. When I found out, I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry.

YW: Will you be in the Art of the Pearl coming up?
MM: No I was in a small gallery downtown; the owner loved me and she said to me, “Mary you could really be a hit here in the Pearl if you made your work a little edgy.” (laughter) Now how do you make a botanical drawing edgy? What do you do, make a little skull on it?

 

Zinnias by Mary McCarty

Zinnias by Mary McCarty

YW: You’ve been in numerous shows and the city of Tualatin recently bought one of your drawings, Zinnias. You take your art very seriously. Some people do it for the meditative quality and pleasure it brings them, but you take it more seriously than that.
MM: Yes, I do. For some reason I feel I was meant to do something with this drawing gift. It is such a joy and pleasure. It was like someone handed me a present and said, now do something with it. I want my drawings to be as beautiful and detailed as I can make them.
I am very fortunate. I have found something I love. I have 20/20 eyesight, a very steady hand, and at my age I am very lucky. I am very grateful; it’s such a pleasure and a joy that people like my work. You can always do it for yourself, but there is an added pleasure when you can share it and someone enjoys it almost as much as you did when you were creating it. I love it when they really look at it, and start noticing the little details.

My collectors don’t want me to, but I do want to make a change in my drawings; I don’t know what yet but I’d like to experiment again; it’s been a long time.

(YW: On our way out of the coffee shop, we pass a shop window with antique children’s clothes hanging in the window.)
MM: Those would make great drawings, not everything works in black and white but these would. I wonder if the owner would let me come and draw these.

(YW: I could see the wheels turning )

 

Mary McCartyMary McCarty’s art has been in numerous juried shows including Celebration of Creativity in Beaverton, Oregon; Portland 5; and the Hood River Gallery. She has won many prizes including Art Splash, Best of Show. Her work was chosen for a highly competitive book of drawings, Strokes of Genius, coming out in November 2014. McCarty also juried into the Bush Art show in Salem, honoring the work of David Douglas, the first botanical artist of the Northwest.

Yolanda WysockiYolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for more than 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.

Hurricanes, Bridges and Creativity: A Conversation with Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

by Carolyn Martin

When Cindy Williams Gutiérrez says she lives in the hinterlands of Oregon City, she’s not kidding. Her Hattan Road address takes me around a winding back road bordered by farms, nurseries and grazing land up to a hillside home graced with apple trees, rose gardens and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. It’s “country” at its best as we sit on her back porch to chat about her literary accomplishments in 2014: a new poetry collection, a play in honor of William Stafford’s 100th birthday, and a short story anthologized by Forest Avenue Press.

Cindy tells me, “I grew up in Brownsville, Texas – the land of hurricanes. I believe in lulls – and then comes the storm.” And this year has stirred up a number of creative hurricanes for Cindy, moving past any lulls.

claims of small bonesFirst of all, Arizona State University’s Bilingual Press just released Cindy’s poetry collection, the small claim of bones. Part of the Hispanic Research Center, the press has a mission to promote and preserve Latino/a literature, and Cindy says she is proud that she is now part of that canon.

When I asked about the collection’s title, she introduces me to the word “proem.” “That’s a prologue poem,” Cindy says, and quotes the seminal line: “my past lodges/ in my marrow.”

In the marrow of her past and in the pages of this well-researched, deeply personal book lie her father, mother, Aztec poet-kings and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz – a 17th century poet-nun. Cindy explains that the kings of Mexico (Tenochtitlan) were always poets and Sor Juana, who lived in colonial Mexico (New Spain), was the first feminist of the Americas. Writing 250 years before Virginia Woof ever dreamt of a room of her own, Sor Juana lived and wrote in a convent cell. She entered the religious life precisely because it afforded her an opportunity to write.

Cindy shaped her collection into three sections: “The Gift,” a call/response between Aztec royalty and her father; “The Scattering,” a call/response between Sor Juana and the Mexican matriarchy of her mother’s family; and the “Epilogue” where Cindy’s English poem “If I Were a Nahua Poet” includes Spanish and Nahuatl.

Cindy explains “code switching”: weaving emotionally evocative words from one language with another. “That’s the way people spoke in my Texas hometown which lies on the Mexican border,” she says, so she uses Spanish and Nahuatl words throughout her English poems to enrich them.

Based on Cindy’s MFA thesis at the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine, the small claim of bones will naturally find its place among the prestigious voices of Latina poets. The prayer found in “If I Were a Nahua Poet” is nothing short of prophetic: “Let my voice join the ancients/To swell the sky with a thousand plumes of light.”

From poet to playwright
Words That BurnCindy’s second creative storm produced Words That Burn: A Dramatization of World War II Experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Guy Gabaldón in Their Own Words.

Three years ago, Kim Stafford invited her to be part of the committee planning his father’s 100th birthday celebration. At the time, Cindy said, “I had been going to schools teaching the work of Oregon Poets Laureate William Stafford and Lawson Inada because I am passionate that students learn about Oregon’s literary legacy. The question that kept emerging was, ‘What can we learn about this legacy from two men who spent time in camps during World War II: Stafford for what he believed in; Inada for what others believed about him?’”

That question became central to the creation of Words That Burn. Cindy first presented her idea for a play about Stafford and Inada to Los Porteños, Portland’s Latino writers’ collective. At the time, member Frank Delgado was writing about his own father’s wartime experience and told Cindy about a Marine named Guy Gabaldón, a Chicano from East L.A. where Frank and his father grew up.

Gabaldón lived with a Japanese-American family, joined the marines in World War II, and, ironically, served in the Pacific theater. There he became known as the “Pied Piper of Saipan” because he single-handedly captured – and ultimately saved the lives of – 1,500 Japanese soldiers and civilians.

“As a playwright,” Cindy says, “I was mesmerized by such a compelling character. Gabaldón felt it was his duty to serve his country, but he found a different way of doing it.”

Gabaldón’s choice to serve in the war provided tension with Stafford’s pacifism, but his heroic saving of lives added an almost ideological affinity. And then there was the obvious Japanese connection with Lawson Inada.

"Words That Burn" features (from left to right): Paul Susi as Lawson Inada,  Todd Van Voris as William Stafford, and Anthony Green as Guy Gabaldon. Photography by Russell J. Young.

Words That Burn features (from left to right): Paul Susi as Lawson Inada, Todd Van Voris as William Stafford, and Anthony Green as Guy Gabaldon. Photography by Russell J. Young.

“What ensues,” Cindy describes, “is the powerful clash of wartime experiences of a 4-year-old Japanese-American internee (Inada), an 18-year-old maverick Marine (Gabaldón), and a 28-year-old pacifist in a Civilian Public Service camp (Stafford).”

Cindy’s co–producer, Joaquin Lopez, played the key role in applying for and receiving numerous grants to support the production. As for a director, Cindy says her first choice was easy: Gemma Whelan, the founding Artistic Director of Corrib Theatre, a Portland company dedicated to presenting the very best in contemporary Irish theater. Since Words That Burn is a blend of poetry and monologues, Cindy thought, “No one is better at storytelling than the Irish.”

When I asked Cindy what was most satisfying experience about this project, she didn’t hesitate: “Building bridges in the community. My intent is to focus on generating community dialogue that span politics, cultures, and generations. It’s not just about the show but also the series of community events surrounding it, as well as the relationships we have built with 20 sponsors and five marketing partners.”  Here is a list of performances and free community events.

That’s what I would expect from a woman who grew up in Brownsville, Texas, a town connected to Mexico by bridges; whose father worked on the bridge in Immigration; and who now lives in a city of bridges. Bridges clearly are in her marrow!

From poet and playwright to short story writer
This year Cindy discovered she is also a short story writer. “Tessa’s Drought” just appeared in The Night, and the Rain, and the River, a collection of short stories edited by Liz Prato and published by Laura Stanfill’s Forest Avenue Press. Hers is a tenderly rendered story that’s obviously crafted by a poet. “It’s a beautiful book,” Cindy says, “and I’m thrilled to be in it.”

What’s next for Cindy? Teaching a Delve Seminar in early 2015 called “In Search of Mysticism and Duende: Yeats and Lorca as Poet Dramatists” about her literary guiding lights.

“It’s been a crazy year,” Cindy concedes, laughing her inimitable laugh. And all of us are richer because she has creatively tamed hurricanes and built bridges.

 

Cindy WIlliams Gutierrez poetCindy Williams Gutiérrez is a poet-dramatist who draws inspiration from the silent and silenced voices of history and herstory. Poems and reviews have appeared in many publications including Borderlands, CALYX, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, UNAM’s Periódico de poesía, Portland Review, Rain Taxi and VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She has performed her Aztec-inspired poetry at the AWP conference and at colleges and museums through Humanities Washington. Her verse play A Dialogue of Flower & Song was featured in the 2012 GEMELA Conference. Cindy teaches poetry to adults as well as to K-12 youth through the Portland Art Museum, the Right Brain Initiative, and Writers in the Schools.

Carolyn MartinCarolyn Martin is blissfully retired in the hinterlands of Clackamas County and currently serves as VoiceCatcher’s president of the board of directors.

 

 

Shapes of Place, Shaped by Place: A Conversation with Roya Motamedi

by Yolanda Wysocki

Roya Motamedi, the featured artist in the Summer 2014 Issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions, comes from a rich cultural background. Her Afghani father was an archeologist, her Japanese mother an art historian. Archaeological sites in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan valley — the land of giant Buddhas — were her “playground.” In 1979, before the coup d’état, her family moved to Kamakura, Japan — the town where Zen Buddhism started; her father stayed in Afghanistan.

Yolanda Wysocki: What role do you think art plays in culture?
Roya Motamedi:  It’s very interesting how in some ways art is so insignificant; it doesn’t bring income, but it feeds the soul. Without it we are empty inside. The culture gives birth to art but art turns around and feeds the heart and soul of the culture, of individuals. It becomes part of the rhythm, richness of life, of the earth. On so many levels it wakes you up, alerts you to the moment, and makes you smile. I think of the culture that is not allowed to paint or create; you feel death inside you even though you are alive.

YW: And I assume that is why you paint?
RM: Yes, it definitely feeds me; it’s the only place I make sense. I truly love it. I go to my messy studio and I get really excited. I am never not excited to be there. It’s like a meditation, like a journal, like turning a stone and seeing how the light hits today, within me, within this place. It’s a safe place.

April 19, 2012 by Roya Motamedi

“April 19, 2012” by Roya Motamedi

YW: Would you feel as satisfied if you didn’t show your art?
RM: There is something in me that needs to show it. Sometimes I go to a museum and question my relevance, but because of the way I was raised, I see color differently than a person who has been disciplined in only one culture, so I feel I have a small but valid voice. I know what I had – the country I lost – doesn’t exist anymore, so I have to be strong, and have a voice and show for them.

YW: With such a rich cultural heritage, you state your painting is beyond language and culture. Will you say more about that?
RM: Culture has a boundary, and I don’t fit in any boundaries. Paintings are beyond the restrictions of culture … so people can enter into them; they can communicate beyond cultures. Abstract art is a language, another doorway for a new paradigm.

YW: Yet your art is so much about place.
RM: Yes, like writing letters. I relate to the place where I am now, and write letters from that place. When we lived in Mexico for two years, the light, the life reminded me of my time in Afghanistan. I hope my paintings are like sending letters home, stopping time, capturing moments, the feeling of them.

YW: Do you ever go back to Afghanistan?
RM: No, it would take me years to process all the sadness. What I had doesn’t exist anymore; it would be like going to a burned house. I feel like someday I should write about my life. I know a place that is no longer; I should save it.

YW: What would you write about?
RM: Watching my grandmother cook, the light, the way the door hit the frame whenever I went in, the echo; the quiet of the museum that I walked within with my father, on weekends; the archaeological sites I went to with my mom and brother. The Buddha’s head was my height; I wasn’t sure why I only saw his head. It was beautiful and I related to it as a person, from a child’s perspective.

YW: You have many sense memories.
RM: Yes, because I lost it all, I put it in a box, all these memories.

YW: How does that come through your paintings?
RM: I think it’s emotion. I translate these into the emotion of color: shapes and juxtaposing color. I first started painting blocks of the city and myself in relation to color in New York; they became so ingrained that it became the structure of my paintings: I am feeling this — I may be a red dot — and this is how I feel next to this color.

YW: I imagine you have a specific memory that comes with an emotion and from that you allow a painting to come through.
RM: Yes. For example, if the feeling of walking around Bamiyan is the feeling I bring to my studio, the colors of the murals of Bamiyan are very much in my paintings. When I did the blue and white paintings, it was surprising how Japanese they were, like my grandmother’s kimono. I don’t intentionally do it. It doesn’t work if I try to think it and make it happen; it comes through.

Blue and White Series March 14, 2014 (a) by Roya Motamedi

“Blue and White Series March 14, 2014 (a)” by Roya Motamedi

Blue and White Series March 14, 2014 (b) by Roya Motamedi

“Blue and White Series March 14, 2014 (b)” by Roya Motamedi

In my last show, I was processing the choice my father made to stay in Afghanistan. It’s always been a question, why did he choose to stay? A tear, the rain healing, healing the sadness. It’s like making sense of my life through paintings, but also a kind of letter to him, too.

Painting is a relationship. I have a conversation with my painting, and rather than doing too much, sometimes I go to my studio and just watch the painting. I listen and watch and wait. It takes 6-7 months for a painting to develop from beginning to end. I cannot map out what I’m going to do. If I do too much I am not allowing that other dimension to happen; I’m killing it.

Paul Guston said,

When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you. Your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics … and one by one, if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting, you walk out.

That’s what I want, to be affected by the relationship, to become one with it. I become so much part of it that it influences me.

YW: What is your favorite painting, one you may never sell?
RM: One of Brooklyn, I  felt strong there, I felt myself, like I belonged. I keep it to remind myself.

 

Roya Motamedi with daughter MinaRoya Motamedi has been living in Portland with her husband and daughter Mina for six years, drawn by the Japanese immersion school. She also chose Portland because it is beautiful and more possible to live here than in New York, where they had been living. Roya started taking painting classes at Guilford College, NC, where she earned her BA in oil painting. She won first prize in the student art show in 1992. She is represented by the Blackfish Gallery in Portland.

Yolanda WysockiYolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for over 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.

Portland Artists Capture and Release Words

By Barbara E. Berger

Since 2007, Portland artists Laurel Kurtz and Sandy Sampson have captured the voices of everyday people by collecting words through random interviews with strangers in public places. This month they released new word collections: the off-the-cuff responses to their question, “What is not a museum?” The project is in response to Jen Delos Reyes’, artist in residence at PAM, invitation to the team to participate in her June 2014 project, “Talking About Museums in Public.”

You can still catch the team’s speech re-enactments at the Portland Art Museum (PAM), as well as in a Walmart parking lot. (See schedule below.)

Kurtz and Sampson, PAM June 13, 2014, photo by B. E. BergerTo collect the words, Kurtz and Sampson – collaborators of Parallel University – got their own TriMet day passes and rode local rails and buses. Armed with voice recorders, they approached strangers on MAX trains, at bus stops and in other locales from Gresham, to Beaverton, to Hillsboro, Oregon. They asked random strangers, “What does not happen in a museum?” and “What can you not do in a museum?”

Kurtz explains her joy in the project. “We bring ordinary people’s words into the museum and to the public, and put their voices on the same footing as famous people who usually are the only ones who get quoted, who get heard. We elevate the average person.”

“Transcribing the words, verbatim – putting them on paper – is another way of honoring the speakers, as well,” says Sampson. “I love the transcripts: the content and the physicality of them.”

Passers-by, photo by B. E. Berger, 2014Friday, June 13, was their third of seven re-enactments this month. Kurtz and Sampson set up their podium, microphones and amplifier outside the Portland Art Museum, and re-enacted their vox pop-style interviews to the delight, curiosity or even mild bewilderment of passers-by.Passers-by at PMA, photo by B. E. Berger, 2014

Here are some of the 37 anonymous conversations the team recorded and re-enacted in hour-long segments:

Team: What can you not do in a museum?
Little Boy: You can’t jump around and have fun.

Team: What is not a museum?
Woman on MAX: Anything that doesn’t exhibit, uh, anything that doesn’t exhibit from the past, like dinosaurs, old art, old, you know, things that we don’t have nowadays.
Team: What is a museum not for?
Woman on MAX: When I think of what it’s not for, it’s not a bazaar, you know, you don’t just get to put anything in there  … It’s not something that … it’s not modern day. I’m going to have to stick with that.

Team: What is not a museum?
Girl One at a Bar: If it doesn’t have s— in it.
Girl Two at a Bar: You feel like you’ve improved upon yourself after visiting it, so if you haven’t, then you’re like, no, this isn’t a museum, this like is a fun house ..
Team: What can you not do in a museum?
Girl One at a Bar: “You don’t break s—, you don’t talk about politics.
Girl Two at a Bar: You do not sound smart about art even if you try.
Girl Three at a Bar: You don’t sound awesome when you talk about how cool everything is.

Team:  What is not a museum
Jeff: I don’t know if there’s a spot that could potentially not be a museum.
Team: What does not happen in a museum?
Jeff: The idea that “nothing happens in a museum” – is that thing that should not happen at a museum.

Team: What is not a museum?
Library Worker: An unconfined, organic, manifestation of … stuff.

Team:  What can’t you do in a museum?
Friend: You can’t make art in a museum. If you’re an artist, you can’t walk into a museum, and say, ‘I’ve got this project that I wanna do. I wanna do it.’ You can’t do that. And I think that’s a problem … it’s not a public institution. It’s not an open source public presentation venue.

Team: What is not allowed in a museum?
Woman at Hospital: Um, hosts?

Team at burger joint (not Burgerville): What is not a museum?
Guy 1: Well this Burgerville isn’t no museum.
Guy 2: Well, I guess that really depends on the public view … If a lot of people collect stuff and put it in their areas of the store, or whatever, is that a museum? Or are they just a hoarder?

Team (at Walmart): What is not a museum?
Guy: It’s crazy, because there are certain things you could say are a museum, even though they’re not … Like say for example a store, if you have no money, it’s like walking around a museum looking at all these things, right?

“The diversity is so rich,” says Sampson. “It’s so rewarding. Wherever you are, this diversity of thought is going on all around you in people’s minds. It’s exciting to tap into it, hear it and give it expression. People feel affirmed and gain confidence hearing their words spoken back to them by someone else. It’s a great feeling to give those words a voice.”

You can catch the team at these remaining scheduled speech re-enactments in Portland:

Friday, June 20        3 p.m. – 5 p.m, Walmart, parking lot, 4200 SE 82nd Ave, Portland
Friday, June 27        6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Portland Art Museum, Free Friday
Saturday, June 21    noon – 2 p.m., Portland Art Museum

 

Laurel Kurtz, by Laurel KurtzLaurel Kurtz, of Portland, Oregon, makes social art projects with friends, family, Parallel University, and folks she has met through work. Kurtz pursues a variety of explorations ranging from interview projects, to the occult, to addressing power imbalances through advocacy and program development in her chosen vocation.

 

Sandy Sampson, by Sandy SampsonSandy Sampson is an artist and educator based in Portland. Her public work aims to reveal connections between fellow community members and highlight the value of their experiences. She employs a variety of media, techniques and collaborative partnerships in her process. She is a founding member of Parallel University.

 

Kurtz and Sampson’s past speech re-enactments include:

2008 Proflux Satellite Festival. PUBLIC SPEAKING: Interpretive Irving Park Speech Reenactments; on site at Irving Park and Web-based, Portland, OR

2008 PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival (TBA). Neighborhood Projects; PUBLIC SPEAKING: Museum of the City; on site at Waterfront Park, Portland, OR

2010 Apex Art. The Incidental Person; PUBLIC SPEAKING; Union Square subway station, NY, NY

 

Barbara  E. BergerBarbara E. Berger is a Portland-based writer, editor and photographer. She specializes in government, business and other creative writing. Berger serves as this site’s managing editor.

An Artist in Transition: Interview with Kendall Madden

by Yolanda Wysocki

Kendall Madden is an emerging artist featured in the Winter 2014 edition of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Kendall Madden: I am very much an amateur; I make art for the love of making art. Through middle school I drew and explored various mediums, took art classes in small groups from retired art teachers who taught out of their homes, nothing formal. But in college I studied psychology instead and got a degree in education. I teach middle school English in the gifted program. But I have to make art for my own sanity; I realized that when I finally found my medium.

Yolanda Wysocki: How did that happen?

KM: A few years ago, in California, I took a five-day sculpting workshop with Paul Lucchesi and found I loved the physicality of it, the feel of the clay, so I started sculpting figures. I love working with the human form, especially the female form.

When I moved to Portland I quit my job and was unemployed for two years, so I took another figure sculpting class at PCC for four terms. There, students have to create a sculpture a day, no matter where it ends up. The goal isn’t to capture a likeness — you can’t make clay into skin — but to create a sculpture through line, gesture, strokes and texture of the palette knife, using shadow to create depth and color.

I’m not taking any classes now and that’s a new transition — not having models to work from. I miss seeing the three-dimensionality, and the connection I feel when working with a model that doesn’t come through when working from photos.

I also make whimsical teapots, each with its own personality. Sometimes I start out my session by making a teapot. I have less judgment about it so it’s really easy to start creating from there. They’re very tiny and purely decorative.

"Curly Teapot" by Kendall Madden, 2012

“Curly Teapot” by Kendall Madden, 2012

YW: What is your very favorite sculpture that you made?

KM: I created a small bust, not even 12 inches. There’s something about her look — I didn’t use a model, but she has this very wistful expression I love. My teacher looked at it and said, “I am very disappointed.” I was a bit shocked, but he went on, “I’m disappointed because this is one of my favorite pieces in all my years of teaching and the base of this sculpture doesn’t fit the beauty of it.” It was the best back-handed compliment I’ll never forget.

"Elsewhere" by Kendall Madden, 2012

“Elsewhere” by Kendall Madden, 2012

YW: What do you enjoy most about creating?

KM:  Being in the moment; it’s like a meditation; you’re focused on that process of creation, nowhere else. When I feel in the flow, I know that what I’m creating is good and what I intended; it’s very satisfying.

YW: I love that. So when it’s not working, how do you inspire yourself?

KM: Although my husband and I live in a very small space, we live on 1½ acres and we have sculpture everywhere outside, so I get to enjoy my work all the time. But it’s not always about being inspired. Sometimes, it’s more about doing the work — getting into the studio, and seeing what happens.

We block ourselves. We judge what we do and think oh, that’s not good enough, but it’s totally good enough. Even if it’s awful, it’s good enough because it’s not about mistakes; it’s all about playing and learning in the process.

The greatest part is creating art but it would be great if other people saw it, too.
I created a lot for two years, then started teaching again, but am now on a leave of absence. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One of my healing tools in this cancer journey has been The Artist’s Way. I found a small group and we meet once a week and do different activities.

Although I cannot do as much, I am working on a few sculptures.

"As Is" by Kendall Madden, 2013

“As Is” by Kendall Madden, 2013

YW: How is cancer informing your work?

KM: Usually I celebrate the human form in my sculpture, but for the first time I created a bust that was intentionally ugly; it’s full of rage and fear, the feelings that a cancer patient goes through but people don’t want to discuss. It shows scars, words scrawled into it.

Yet cancer is giving me a whole new appreciation for life that I didn’t have before, so I’m back to making beautiful or whimsical things again. We’ll see how this cancer journey will continue to inform my work.

"Moment of Weakness" by Kendall Madden, 2014

“Moment of Weakness” by Kendall Madden, 2014

YW: Has being a teacher influenced your art?

KM: They seem mutually exclusive. I love working with young people and their energy, but I was most productive artistically when I wasn’t teaching full-time. Part of my future transition is about figuring out how to balance those two. I know I want to grow as an artist, and I hope to be inspired by their enthusiasm.

Being around these young spirits who have their whole life ahead of them with their big dreams is a great energy to be around.

YW: It must be wistful in certain ways to be with that youth, energy and potential, when you are dealing with a life-threatening illness. I wonder if/how the juxtaposition of those impact you.

KM: I think it’s important for young people to have adults who are vulnerable and completely real with them; I wanted to model that. I think watching their teacher battle cancer at a young age will give them a valuable perspective on life. The kids have been so supportive and responsive. I have these amazing eight graders who organized a surprise going-away party for me — all on their own — everything from making decorations to food and individual notes. It was heartbreaking to have to leave them halfway through the year.

YW: So what is it that you would like folks reading this to “get” about you?

KM: I create just for the love of it and for myself. I think it’s a wonderful gift when someone else can feel the energy in a piece. It’s an amazing thing as an artist, to make an impact on someone else.

 

Kendall MaddenKendall Madden is a Vancouver, Washington ceramic sculptor compelled by the human figure in all its manifestations. From empathetic portraits to odes to the feminine form to fanciful teapots, Kendall’s pieces speak in a vibrant visual language, sharing stories of the human condition: longing, uncertainty, rumination, vitality, whimsy and hope. Kendall works from her tiny home studio, inspired by the rippling of Salmon Creek passing just outside her window.

Yolanda WysockiYolanda Wysocki works as a life/transformation coach. Her background has been in counseling and social services for over 25 years. She went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree when she was 51 years old. Seven years and three schools later, she completed her art degree, a lifelong dream.