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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yolanda Sharpe, "Urban Fragments" + news

Life is all 21st century busy-ness at the moment: an astonishing excess of homework and major projects from the middle school, sports, and many deadlines for me. I am ready for Thanksgiving vacation already. An occasional nap would be handy.

Yesterday Yolanda Sharpe gave me a tour of her encaustics show, Urban Fragments, at Mullen Gallery at SUNY-Oneonta. I was surprised at what a large, generous show it turned out to be, and fascinated by the effects one can get with encaustics. Wax is a strange medium, and the various ways one can embed, imprint, melt, and color are curious. Being Yolanda's show, it was bold and jazzy and bright and full of poetry--literally so, as she had written poems as a kind of accompaniment to many of the paintings. Wish I had jotted down the poem to fit with this rose fenced in by yellow and sky. She's a word-twister as well as a painter, and the woman has a big flaring voice that won't quit when she sings. So many gifts in one package! We toured faculty artwork in another gallery (the artists' books! desire!) and went to lunch afterward and then dipped in the Oneonta art store and--since it was Yolanda--had to pause in a downtown shop to inspect the latest shoes. (Paintings shown: "The Rose" and "White Field.")

This weekend I'm working on my Mercer author questionaire (loonnnngggg) for The Throne of Psyche (spring, 2011) and need to do a final burnish on the extremely odd pieces that I wrote for the 60th birthday retrospective show of Clive Hicks-Jenkins. I'll have some poems in one book in his honor and these strange hybrid pieces in another. As soon as those are done I'll have to start a first-pass read on The Throne of Psyche. I'm also getting a deluge (very pleasant) of new poems that makes me happy despite the sense that there is too much work generally and that my sleepless third child is, between sports and masses of homework, stretched too far.


  1. Sounds busy, but generally, in the right ways. I never heard of encaustics. I assume it has something to do with wax?

  2. If you click on these and make them bigger, you can see that it adds a huge amount of texture and also that you can bury quite large pieces in it and mold thick areas that can contain layers of image. Wild. I've seen some encaustic paintings but never so many at once. Eye-popping.

  3. Neat stuff. I looked at her website a few weeks ago, from a post on your facebook page. I'd love to get to the exhibit, but a bit to far.

  4. Hi Robert,

    Yolanda's a vivid and strong-minded lady--a great person. Wish you could have been along on my personal artist's tour: so pleasant to do! You could have come shoe-shopping too. ;-)

  5. I hope shoe shopping is a more pleasant and rewarding task for you than it is for me. Most of the time it is an exercise in frustration.

  6. Mostly it was just watching Yolanda admire the shoes because it's fun watching shoe fans look at shoes!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.