Monday, March 29, 2010

...Speaking of Stereocards, I found this interesting example while visiting Texas earlier in the month. It was too bizarre to not take home.

T.W. Ingersoll, 1899


What has such an old fashioned, out of date nonentity as a ghost to do with these three young women, children of the world, devoted to fashion and up to date in everything? Let that spook beware! After the first surprise is over, the girls will rally and will throw things at "it," whatever "it" may be, and if the things do not fly through the ghost, the girls will grow bolder and pull that sheet off him, to see what's inside.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just wanted to share another exhibition Update, unfortunately it has already closed though.

I was thankful enough to be included in the "Water Rights" Exhibition at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
This exhibition:
"...investigates our relationship to water and the political, natural, and personal forces that influence it. MCAD is one of a dozen organizations and galleries working with the University of Minnesota Department of Art in support of its Women and Water Rights exhibition and related programming. Diane Katsiaficas, professor of art at the University of Minnesota and co-organizer of Women and Water Rights, is the juror for the MCAD Water Rights exhibition."

Here is a (horrible) install shot of the piece, I took it while the show was still being set up, so there weren't even labels yet. I was lucky enough to be next to
Noelle again, her piece "Flood" was also featured.

The piece included was my Stereograph set "Off the Cliff..." made in 2007.

Off the cliff she jumped and fell...

Into the water she wished to dwell...

Deeper and deeper into the abyss...

She started to feel a weightlessness...

Sinking down straight through to the sky...

Had she fallen so far she began to fly?

Noelle McCleaf,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Exhibition Update.

Once every 10 years the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Arts) makes an open call for work, everyone who submits is guaranteed a spot, the only limitation is that the work is less than or equal to 12 inches squared.

This fantastic show is aptly titled "Foot in the Door!" Chris Atkins and the MAEP (Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program) portion of the MIA facilitated everything and it was all such an incredible experience. They processed over 4500 pieces of work!
To submit was an adventure in itself, people experienced 3 hour waits as thousands of people coiled around the museum eager to have a place in one of the most prominent museums in Minnesota. I was one of those eager people, though thankfully only spent about an hour and a half in line. The mood was not pushy or angry, everyone was happy to be there. It was like a big block party!

The opening was another unique event, jam packed 100% full. Just imagine, if less than half of the submitters showed up, we would still have 2000 people in attendance!
Admittedly, though I opted to wait until it was quiet to visit the show.

The show is as exciting as you could imagine, works of ALL different levels and types next to each other creating this beautiful dialogue and cross section of working artists in Minnesota.
Check out some images here!

You can even view every single piece submitted via their Foot in the Door home page.

The whole thing was an incredible experience, and I am honored to have been a part of it.

The piece I submitted was a sculpture. Not so much a sculpture I made, but one that I was given.

I don't want to divulge too many details, but the title is "Exorcised Spirit, Sauk Centre, 1988." I got this strange bottle in 2007 while in a city about 100 miles outsides of the Twin Cities. The person that gave it to me believed that there was a spirit inside this object. With her own eyes she had seen it "bottled," this was in 1988 and she was able to recall the story as if it just happened.

From what I can tell, the bottle had been dipped or painted with Pitch or heavy black paint. It appears to have twine wrapped around the top, with red wax on top of that. There are remnants of writing with white paint around the bottle, but nothing is legible.

What is most interesting is that there seems to be a repair in the one of the bottom corners. I can't be sure, but it looks like a newer modification with contact cement (or similar) and then paint on top of that.
What drives me crazy, is that as far you can tell there is nothing in the bottle, maybe a bit of dirt or grains of sand. Did the bottle get broken, and whatever inhabited it released? Maybe that's why she wasn't too concerned to loose it when she gave it to me.
I really don't know what it is, but it's a nice idea.

The MIA also has a great history of being haunted, so I figured another ghost wouldn't hurt! Read more here.

Here is a shot of the piece "installed."

Noelle also submitted a piece, and she was very lucky to have it be featured on the entrance, they must've thought it was that good. This is the first time a work from this series had been exhibited, so it was great to see it on a wall! Too see more of her work follow the links to the Right.


The pictures dont do the exhibit Justice, it's so overwhelming and inspiring.
Thanks to all the hard worker at the MIA and MAEP.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update: They posted pictures from the Rayko Photo International Plastic Camera show in San Francisco, CA. I was fortunate enough to get my piece "In Between" in.
Robert Holmgren documented everything and you can see them all by clicking his link.

Robert Holmgren, Plastic Camera Show Documentation

Nathan Lewis, In Between, 2009

(As you can tell it's a re-cropped and edited version of a similar photo)

Thanks to Rayko and Mr. Holmgren!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Owatonna, MN

"I am hoping it is my ex-fiance"

This was the response a homeowner gave as I asked him who he thought may be present and responsible for the paranormal activity that he had been experiencing for some time.

I never asked him clarify, simply nodded and kept snapping photographs and baselines.

It was later in the evening that I learned his ex-fiance had committed suicide, sadly as a result of an overdose. Understandably he was still very distraught, and never had the answers he needed as to why; Was it accidental or intentional?

I wondered though, was it maybe him, the homeowner who kept calling the deceased in fruition? Was it perhaps his sense of loss and confusion that trapped her? Did she have no choice but to remain because he wished her there so bad.

Do we have the power to hold on to people, even after death?

Is Memory the Entity?

To me this gets at the route of almost every religion, if you believe hard enough, it will come true.
It is absolutely identical to prayer, do something enough times and eventually God will listen.

Without a doubt it calls to mind the "Philip Experiment" carried out by a Toronto based Psychical Research Society.

Drawing of "Philip"

To paraphrase the article:

The true story of ‘Philip’ is actually a remarkable experiment that was conducted in the early 1970’s by The Toronto Society Of Psychical Research. The purpose of the experiment was to see if a wholly fictious historical character - ghost could in fact manifest itself through the groups efforts of concentration on the bogus data....

The group would sit around a table and merely concentrate - much like the spiritualists of the 19th century. And then one day it just happened. There was a knock on the table, which at first was felt more than heard....

In conclusion the experimenters succeeded far beyond their wildest expectations. However, in the end they were never able to prove the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind Philip’s manifestation.Was Philip a direct result of the group’s collective subconscious or perhaps did they conjure an actual entity that simply latched onto the story?...

I have chosen to quote one source for this, but there are many other accounts and similar experiments that can be found here, here, here, and The Skippy Experiment.

To me parallels are obvious. Someone wanted something to happen, and with enough focus and commitment, forced it to. Again this not dissimilar to EVERY Ritual act. To sit and Concentrate is equal to meditation, prayer, chanting, singing, dancing, and more. It's all about giving energy and requesting energy in return.

It is not at all difficult for me to believe that a person who is so confused and hurt by their loss could have the power to call someone back from behind the veil.

The Memory Is the Entity.

Owatonna, MN