Friday, July 29, 2016


A row of cells at Eastern State Penitentiary

While in Pennsylvania we made a stop at Eastern State Penitentiary.  The prison is open to the public and has been left to deteriorate on its own.  There have been structural repairs made and they are working on making the medical wing safe for visitors to see.

My interest in deteriorating buildings along with art installations throughout made this a must see.

Door rollers on top of a cell door

Almost all of the door rollers were of differing design

Wall and paint deterioration

Interior of a cell

The movie "12 Monkeys" with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis was filmed there.

Here are a few of the art installations that peaked my interest:

"Other Absences" by Cindy Stockton Moore.  

This was the most moving piece for me.  The artist created portraits of victims which were hung from the ceiling and, to me, seemed as if they had made their way to heaven.  She did research on these victims leading to:

A booklet with victim portraits, names, how they died and the consequences their murderer faced. There are very few installations dealing with the victims and reading about their deaths was an experience I will never forget.

"Apokaluptein 16389067:II"  by Jesse Krimes.  

Krimes was incarcerated in a federal prison and during his time created various works on prison bed sheets.  He sent each section home from prison and has reassembled and altered sections to fit in a cell space at Eastern State.  The work is surreal with pages from the New York Times mixed with artwork of floating or dancing women across the "collage" of work.  I found myself wondering why he chose the subjects he did and what they meant to him.

"No Trace Without Resistance" by Ruth Scott Blackson

Blackson's work entailed placing gold leaf on paint chips and adhering them to the prison walls. For me this showed the beauty of deterioration.  If one looks closely there is more to a deteriorating building than rubble and dust.  An old building always leads me to wondering what it originally looked like, what happened there and who inhabited the space. 

A visit to the prison is well worth the trip.  There are changing art installations throughout the year offering various perspectives on the prison's history and allowing one to question their own perspectives on prisons and on art.  To read more go to Eastern State Penitentiary website

As a treat, here's Al Capone's cell while he was there:

A bit more luxurious than other cells.

Art exercise:  

Take note of deteriorating buildings in your area and think about how you could use your thoughts or research on them to create art.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


"Directions" in progress, each panel 10" X 10"  Lori LaBerge  2016

The orange and blue panels for "Directions" were hooked this past week.  Each panel will have metal added.  They will then be whipped, mounted, framed and hung in the order shown above.  I am contemplating changing the value on the far right of the bottom blue section.  It is lacking the contrast the other panels have.  Love that color, but it may have to go.  A darker color will give that corner some needed weight. 

As yet untitled,  approx. 18" X 18" Lori LaBerge  2016

A new work involving road cones was started yesterday.  I changed this up a bit from the original design below:

This drawing has perfectly shaped squares around it.  When transferring to linen, I decided to make the edges less perfect, giving them some movement.  This fits with the idea of roads being broken up when under construction.

"Curve Ahead" in design process

Also working on a new piece to bring on vacation with me.  It deals with curve signs on roads and will consist of 5 pieces of descending size.

Art Exercise:

Try experimenting with different types of line.  Vertical, horizontal, straight, wavy, broken, etc.

Note that Green Mountain Rug Hooking School is now accepting registrations:

I will be teaching "The Art of Plein Air" at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking School during June of 2017.  It will include the realism plein air is known for as well as how to use outdoor sketches to create abstract and surreal work.  All styles are welcome and experimentation will be encouraged.  Plein Air is a great way to add to one's knowledge of the basic skills of art.  You can sign up at the plein air page.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Show title on wall with work by each artist

This week was spent setting up our landscape exhibit.  Artists include, in order of work above, myself, Kat Turczyn, Simona Rosasco, Teresa Pietsch.  The exhibit will run from July 16 -Aug 13 at TRAC Gallery (link goes to exhibit write-up) in Spruce Pine, NC.  The reception will be from 5-7 pm on July 21.  Hope to see some of you there!

Here are some photos of what went into setting everything up:

Artwork and tools were unloaded from cars and brought into the gallery

The gallery walls had been prepped for us with new paint and holes from the previous show filled in with wall putty.  Work was placed along walls and arrangement decisions were made.

Spacing between works was decided on with a variation under quotes we placed on the wall.

 A self-standing center area was designated with sections to show pieces representing each of the four seasons

Ladders were placed while installing lettering on the walls, a time-consuming process

A view of one of the quotes with work installed.  Work by myself, Kat Turczyn and Simona Rosasco.  We chose nature quotes with references to different seasons.

 Set up completed - left side view

Right side view

After three days of work and a great time together we were glad to hear the gallery was thrilled with our results.  It amazed me how well all of our pieces looked together as we had not consulted each other about the work we were creating (other than being landscape related).  Some things are just meant to be.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Susquehanna Art Museum "The City" exhibit

We made a trip to Pennsylvania to see my work in "The City" exhibit at Susquehanna Art Museum this week.  In the above photo "Red Light in the City" is to the right on the far wall. There was a wonderful variety of mediums included.  Here are photos of some of the other works in the show.  Links are included where available.

"Kids" painting by Shane Patrick Gallup

"Euston Road 1" and Euston Road 2"  paper collage by Kevin Brady

"A Time to Build and a Time to Tear Down"  oil on panels by Laura Shambough

"Unions Squared"  cotton lycra fabric tubes on board by Sooo-z Mastropietro

"Intrepid"  mixed media by Greg Jaskot

"Nature for Sale"  oil, mixed media on transparent plastic lids by Inguna Gremzde

"Selective Consciousness NYC"  oil on board by Jong-un Choi

"Cityscape (Philadelphia)"  acrylic on canvas by Elaina Posey

"Together I"  bronze by Susan Stamm Evans

It is an honor to be included among this talented group of artists.  A special thank you to all at the museum for their talents and time.  Museums can be supported by joining membership, volunteering or simply taking time to visit and enjoy the works they exhibit in their venue.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Section 1 of "Directions" unfinished,  10" x 10"   Lori LaBerge  2016

It feels great to get back to my geometric work.  Though I love the landscapes and sculptures I've been working on, my heart belongs to geometrics.  Shape, color and line are my main interests.  

While working on this piece, it suddenly hit me where the design derived from.  It has been a stressful time lately.  Funerals, my mother's Alzheimers, exhibits to ready for, and learning new technology among other things life throws at us.  The piece really signifies not just the physical directions of roadways, but the various directions life pulls us in.

Section 2 of "Directions" unfinished,  10" x 10"  Lori LaBerge  2016

Two of the sections have completed the hooking phase and still need metal added along with edges finished.  The final work will be a quadriptych (four pieces placed together to form one artwork).

One of the last two sections in progress

I am also working on putting a class together for Green Mountain Rug School.  The class will be "The Art of Plein Air" held from June 17-20, 2017.

In class, we will discuss how working outdoors through sketching, note taking and photography can help improve our studio work.  Color, lighting and composition will be looked at through exercises.  We will also learn how to translate what we see outdoors into realistic, abstract and surreal works.  Experimentation will be encouraged.  All styles are welcome. 

 "Surrealism" put out by Phaidon books

Since the term Plein Air was brought to us by the French, we will experience wine, Perrier and French cookies while we begin creating our own works.  I can hardly wait!

I would love to have you join me at this wonderful venue.  You can register for class here.

I also took a ride over to Little Switzerland and stopped at Charlies Quilts and Sew Much More shop.  A warm welcoming atmosphere and great baskets from Ghana.  I loved the bright contemporary colors. Here's mine:

Art exercise:

Search the web for artwork made up of separate pieces (dyptychs, triptychs, quadriptychs, etc) and think about how you might create your own.