Friday, April 8, 2016

The Muse - an invitational group show

Woking in collections, archives and museums plays a huge part in my artistic practice. Collections are important aspects of understanding how we got here and where we need to go. Since culture is embedded with deep patterns, contemporary North American humanity attempts to deal with grief through the memorial institution often by collecting cultural property. These objects can be used for their narrative properties or their ability to filter memory, shame and support a structure of violence. Objectifying the universe is an attempt to find a kind of order by making the emotional grief visible through intellectual means. Often at large consequences to minority cultures, there practices looted cultural and environmental property. Actions of violence, dehumanization and continuing avoidance practices and colonization created by many "Collectors" is embedded in the contemporary museum interpretation practices.

In 2011, I conceptualized and curated The Hunt Show, which showed at the Hoffman Gallery, Portland, OR. I selected, organized and guided 25 artists and three archivist through a facilitated scavenger hunt in the OHSU medical archives. This engaged the artists, medical professionals and the public in a mediated dialogue about health practices through contemporary and historical reference.

Recently, I was asked by my beloved friend and fabulous curator, Moe Williams, if she could use "The Hunt" show as inspiration for The Muse.  And then she told me her wonderful and exciting new plan! I told her not only would I love that and I want to participate!

The Muse exhibition is a collaboration between Liberty Arts and The Siskiyou County Museum of Yreka. This invitational group show consists of over 20 local and regional artist who will visit with a specific piece at the museum and will then utilize the artifact as inspiration for one awesome new creation of artwork to be shown at the Liberty Arts Gallery and then displayed at the Siskiyou County Museum. 

This will be a great opportunity for artists and viewers to reflect on the importance of the unique collections of Siskiyou County. Within this exhibition, The Muse, will play homage to and awaken history through contemporary eyes and new interest for the rich stories and artifacts collected by our predecessors. The Siskiyou County Museum is full of hidden gems, unknown tales of triumphs, hardships and unlikely heroes. Their sacrifices, way of life, stories and everyday materials were important enough to be preserved and now we respectfully breathe new and interesting life into them.

The Muse runs from April 1 thru May 6th.
Opening Reception, April 1 5:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.

108 W. Miner Street
Yreka, CA 96097

Gallery Hours:
Wed - Sat: 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Monday & Tuesday Closed

Phone: 530 - 842 - 0222

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March: A Long and Winding Road

Many folks often ask me about my creative practice and how I continue to advocate for mourning well. A lot of the time, I am not literally "making" artwork, I am "filling the well" for when I do "make." Largely, my artwork records expressions of grief and loss. While my part time mediations and facilitations help to companion people through the issues conflict and loss cause. I take these experiences in comparison with my own, lots of visual and written research, walking my dogs and the simple day to day of being a human. This includes a lot of lemon, honey and hot water. Often there are deep talks or silly nonsense with my friends, things that happen while working part time at an art museum, or sarcasm with my NJ pedigree husband and family. Also, I am pretty terrible at caring for myself and try to put in place lots of reminders. Even with parts of reconciliation, being a griever continues, it just changes. People are forever changed by loss, therefore, it becomes the new reality.

A reoccurring theme this month was people asking what I thought about the "long stages of grief."

First, I define:

Grief as the internal normal & natural reaction to loss.
Grief as the internal conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. While mourning is the external expression of loss.

This can be very complex.

A problem for many people is that even though grief is the normal & natural reaction to a loss the vast majority of what we learn in our society about dealing with loss is not normal, not natural or helpful. We learn more about how to mend a broken arm, then we do about how to support people grieving.

Stages of grief:

The "stages" of grief originate from an incredible lady named Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. As a Swiss psychiatrist, she revolutionized the way people treat terminally ill patients while promoting compassion and more empathic care methods. In 1969, she introduced the 5 stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Unfortunately, her theory has been largely misunderstood. Her model was created while working with people dying of cancer. Therefore, "the stages" refer to the phases of grief a DYING person goes through, not a guide for grieving the death of another person. Even Dr. Kubler-Ross later stated she "never meant the 5 stages to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages." 

I want to acknowledge that if you are grieving, your relationship with your loss is unique and individual therefore your process of grief will also be. For one example, the relationship with the person you lost might not have been a positive one.

"Sailing Home"

I think of my grief as waves, at times, closer together or further apart. Sometimes big or small. These waves work their way into my artwork a lot. I am fascinated by large ships moving across large bodies of water, sunken ships and objects. Not to mention, "hold tight." 

Taking the time to acknowledge it by naming the grief, I feel helps to record and then process bereavement. Grievers are navigating between two circle, one prior to the loss and the new one beside it, the one with the loss. "Long stages of grief," for me refer to unresolved grief. Grief is like a game of dominoes. Each loss can fall one on top of another back to the behavior you learned at your very first experience. This can create a very complex mixture of different events you're grieving. Remember, grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior. This can include death, illness, divorce, job changes, moves and many more. Yet, death provides a no questions reality of change.

Unresolved grief is often about the things we wish we'd said or done differently, better or more. It is also about unrealized hopes, dreams, and experiences we had for the relationship after a loss. Even in the best relationships, we are often left with plans that never got to happen. In negative relationships, the death or loss robs of the possibility of repair, therefore, preventing the relationship from becoming positive.

Unresolved grief then becomes about undelivered communications of an emotional nature and how to work through the process of grief. These can become projections into your current course or you may keep wanting to redo this relationship within other relationships or reenact the responsibilities and frustrations. It is great to acknowledge this, name it to be able to change it and then, if possible, take action to make it better even if it is a hard decision to move unresolved grief forward. I can tell you how I do my own process and know you each have your own unique path to take. I hope that through your own grief work you will find a process that supports you completely while being able to reconcile well.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February - creative alternative

Don't Kill Song Birds

I have noticed I never really evaluate the past year until February. I guess it is because Christmas is just really busy, also it is one of the few holidays not attached to a death for me. February marks the beginning of the year because it begins the cycle of the death anniversaries for me and my family. My father's mother and mother's father died only a couple of hours apart on Feb. 1. Then within a five year period, we lost another ten family members. Uncomfortable situations with grief and mourning lead me to my current body of artwork as well as becoming a mediator.

These anniversaries are used as a guide me for the next year, the missing pieces and parts where I need to understand my emotional intelligence better, provide support or buttresses, sketches are created during this reflection, and the continued collecting and collaging often rages. It is also a memorial that reminds me to tell those I care about they are loved, alive or dead. Valentines Day has a dark origin and has grown sweeter over the years while becoming more commercialized, that is true. And who knows, what all that red flocking is doing. This time reminds me that "peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflicts" - Dorothy Thompson. 

Wishing you a creative alternative this Feb. 14 th!

Also, at the Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum be sure to stop by and see:

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New YEAR!

Wishing you every last thing I can think of that's good!

All the Best,
Robin Press Studio

Not to mention a whole lot of laughter!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Portland: a Mediators & Artists weekend

Since graduating I have begun to combine my artist and mediation skills...

Lucky, in November I was able to attend both the


The First Night:

I celebrated my 46th birthday with some of my dearest friends.

Thank you to Brianna, Taylor, Katie & Cyan

Who knew so many candles could fit on one cake

The Invitational:

What a gala evening with my dear friend Marilyn Joyce!

The Sitka Center's mission is to expand the 
relationships between art, nature and humanity.

This spectacular exhibit and sale brings together more than 140 artists.
It was a great way to celebrate so many amazing artist.

Very much like my own mission I am trying to expand the 
relationships between art, conflict resolution and peace building.

While in Portland I hung out with one of my 
favorite fellas, Little Jack.

The keynote speaker was, Maria R. Volpe, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice - City University of New York, and Director of the CUNY Dispute Resolution Center, a university-wide center focusing on dispute resolution research and innovative program development.

This year's conference also had an incredible panel of national, state and local leaders facilitated by 

Dr. Maria R. Volpe, Ph.D

The panel included:

Ronault (Polo) LS Catalani - Attorney & Consultant, NWCommunities Counsel, Program Coordinator of New Portlander Program, the City of Portland' Immigrant and Refugee program.

Mdme. Therese Lugano - aka "Mamma Therese" works as a Community Organizer and Community health Worker, with refugees and immigrants from Central Africa at IRCO/Africa House in Pdx.

John Inglish - Education Program Specialist with the Oregon Department of Education.  John also served as a research associate and director of Technical Assistance and Consulting Services -- an outreach unit housed in the University of Oregon' College of Education.

Carol Zamora- Russo, serves as the Regional Director for the Northwest Region (Oregon, Washington, Idaho & Alaska) of the Community Relations Service (CRD), USDOJ. The Community Relations Service, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, is the federal government's "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

Their conversation and thoughts on mediation, facilitation, dispute resolution and the direction for conflict specialist was hopeful, thoughtful and empowering.

My friends Dulce and Wesley 

My mentor Louise Neilson honored with an award

OU Duck Cres Cohort mates new and old

On my way out of Portland I stopped at one of my favorite ephemera stops:

Thanks again for stopping by!