Monday, April 27, 2009

Approaching Biocenology: Meditations on the Wild and the Sacred

A Statement

We have some technologies for aiding our quest toward consciousness, toward life-death-life cycle affirmation. These are the technologies of symbol making, experiencing community as spirit, infusing wildness with cultivation, blending the natural and the cultural with conscience. These technologies make each of us everyday artists.

I like to explore different landscape representations to express my personal experiences and cultural interactions with geography. I am interested in the conflicts which arise from our expectations about land use, expectations shaped by idealized art and design images and our vernacular urban setting. By employing the approach of pattern and decoration, I would like to create a different language referring to many traditions including maps, Roman and Byzantine mosaics, Japanese decorative art, textile design, indigenous Australian paintings and shrine technologies of many cultures. I like to use the term biocenology in this interface of cultural and natural systems because it is the study of communities and member interactions in nature; it is an exploration of systems, part of the science of ecology.

Much of my work over the past twenty years expresses the theme–Land Use: An Alchemical Treatise to explore the connections between our belief systems about society and how we treat the planet, each other.

Currently I work with acrylic, encaustic, mixed media and printmaking approaches. Some paintings feature topographic maps which I photocopy onto handmade paper. Others incorporate images or formal structures. Upon this layer, I lay acrylic or encaustic washes; sometimes more than one to build luminosity and relate to the landscape. Then I add stamped images of animals such as fish, birds and eggs and seeds, using brilliantly colored and iridescent pigments derived from mica. With these techniques, I am trying to express the complexity of overlapping multiplicity and the tendency of natural processes to pursue cycles of life.

In its relentless desire for control, the Western landscape tradition distances the viewer from the outdoors and people. Visual traditions and themes create a kind of language that exerts a powerful effect on social consciousness. Artists choose particular traditions and themes to explore and alter these ranges of expression. I want to create new narratives that reaffirm our ties to where we live, the planet, nature and its cycles.

Alice Dubiel January 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Penelope’s Web

A Statement

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, Book 5, ll. 315-35

A great wave drove at him with toppling crest
spinning him round, in one tremendous blow,
and he went plunging overboard, the oar-haft
wrenched from his grip. A gust that came on howling
at the same instant broke his mast in two,
hurling his yard and sail far out to leeward.
Now the big wave a long time kept him under,
helpless to surface, held by tons of water,
tangled, too, by the seacloak of Kalypso.
Long, long, until he came up spouting brine,
with streamlets gushing from his head and beard;
but still bethought him, half-drowned as he was,
to flounder for the boat and get a handhold into the bilge--to crouch there, foiling death.
Across the foaming water, to and fro,
the boat careered like a ball of tumbleweed
blown on autumn plains, but intact still.
So the winds drove this wreck over the deep,
East Wind and North Wind, then South Wind and West,
coursing each in turn to the brutal harry.

Penelope was the wife of the ancient Greek warrior, Odysseus, who fought ten years in the Trojan War and journeyed for ten more years before returning home. Penelope waited for Odysseus’s return: during this wait, her son grew to maturity; her mother-in-law, with whom she lived, died of grief, suiciding; and many suitors courted Ithaca’s queen. Her father-in-law retired to the hills, living among the herders: she, alone, managed the household. As was the custom, the suitors came to her home, exploiting her hospitality, screwing her servants, insulting her son, insisting Odysseus was dead and would never return. She developed a stratagem to delay them against his return: every day she wove the shroud for her father-in-law’s eventual burial, and each night she unraveled nearly all the day’s work. For years, she kept the suitors away until they found out about the unraveling from a servant. They confronted her, and still she declined their posturing, seeking the goddess’s protection until Odysseus, in disguise, drew near.

Penelope’s power is self-contained and not contingent upon Odysseus’s presence.
The series, Penelope’s web, is about power: the power of personal integrity amid the complexity of domesticity. The web is a symbol of protection. It is about connections to the dead and the living, about hope’s secret struggle against despair. It is about connections and threads, which may unravel but remain connected to the true heart. It is about sending messages across the wine-dark sea, never knowing whether they will be heard. It is about protecting oneself, one’s household in the face of insults, adversity, transgression and abandonment.

Penelope’s web of protection can be a metaphor to explore our stewardship of the planet. We cannot neglect our duty, especially to our urban environment; we can use our creative skills to devise new strategies to protect our earth household, neither to exploit nor abandon it. Nor can we await someone else to complete it. Rather, we are the caretakers whose struggle retains the inheritance for posterity and dignity for the honored guest.

Alice Dubiel October 1999

From The Women’s Dictionary of Myth and Symbols by Barbara Walker

“Penelope’s web is an interesting pattern of ten small pentacles ranged around a central wheel of ten spokes. All the pentacles together are composed of only two lines, as can be seen by following their interlaced patterns with the eye. This is a sign of protection like the simple pentacle, made even more suggestively defensive by the ring of twenty outward facing points, and the lines of connection drawing all sections together in the center, as a unifying cause or concept draws people together for the preservation of all.

“The mythological figure of Penelope is especially associated with preservation and protection because it was she, with her constant refusal to cut the thread of like, who preserved the life of her husband Odysseus through his many adventures, even after a death curse had been laid on him by the Trojan Queen and High Priestess of Hecate. Penelope, whose name means ‘veiled one,’ was really a title of the Fate-goddess who could determine men’s destinies by the treatment of her woven threads. When she cut, the man would die. According to Homer, Penelope unwove her web each night rather than cut the thread that represented Odysseus; and so he escaped all dangers and eventually returned to his home.”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Curriculum Vitae

M.A. Art (painting), San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, August 1982.
A.B. English literature, University of California, Santa Cruz, June 1972.
University of California, Irvine, 1987-1989. Graduate study in English literature, critical theory emphasis.
California State University, Long Beach, 1986. Graduate study in English Literature, ESL.
Bryn Mawr College, 1973. Graduate study in English literature.
The Woman’s Building (Los Angeles), 1981. Feminist studio workshop, letterpress and feminist theory.

2008 The Hazel Tree Mother, Sev Shoon Arts Center/Ballard Works, Seattle WA
2007 Planet Art: The Realm of Imagination and Everyday Artists, Janovec Studio Gallery, Portland OR
2004 Resilient Topography, Bon Macy’s Gallery, Seattle
2003 The Topography of Resistance, Gallery One, Ellensberg WA
Land Use: Maps of Least Resistance, Pioneer Square Healing Arts Gallery, Seattle
2002 Salmon Resistance/Resilience, Auburn City Hall Gallery, Auburn WA
2001 Contested Terrain, Pioneer Square Healing Arts Gallery, Seattle
2000 The Biocenological Net: An Alchemical Treatise, Ohlone College, Fremont, California
–––– Penelope’s Web and other Tales of Gaia, University Unitarian Church, Seattle
1993-4 The Landscape Tale, 911 media arts center, Seattle
1988 Apocalyptic Visions: Scrolls Surviving a Fearful Age, Ohlone College, Fremont, California
1987 Apocalyptic Visions, University of Wisconsin, Marshfield
1985 A Journey Within-An Environmental Codex Installation, Intersection Gallery, San Francisco, California
1981 A Journey Within, Art Department, SJSU (master’s)
1979 Demythifying the Creative Process, Art Department, SJSU
Mural Studies and process, President’s Office, SJSU

2007 Syndicalism: The Art of Tend & Befriend, curating exhibition, Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle WA
2004 City of Ladies and Pleyn Delite, installation/performance with Medieval Women’s Choir, Seattle
2002 Flowing Salmon Shrine, installation, Piper’s Creek Watershed Celebration, Carkeek Park, Seattle
2001 Approaching Biocenology: Meditations on the Wild, installation, White Sturgeon Gallery, City of Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, Vancouver, WA
1999 Re: Seeding Gaia--Paintings in Flow, City of Vancouver Water Resource Education Center, Vancouver
1997 Flowing Salmon Shrine, Piper’s Creek, Carkeek Park, Seattle
Watershrine: We all live in the Watershed, installation, Edmonds Community College, Edmonds, Washington
1996 Watershrine..., installation, Arbor Day & Resource Fair, Carkeek Park
1994 Endangered Species, Metro bus shed in collaboration with students from Lake Forest Park School, Lake Forest Park, Washington
Speculations: Urban Sustenance from Agriculture: An Alchemical Treatise, for the Seattle Tilth Symposium, “Sustaining the City,” Seattle Central Community College
Watershrine..., Salmon Homecoming, Seattle Aquarium
1991 Whispers in the Dark in “Illuminations,” Museum of History and Industry, Seattle

4Culture Special Projects Award, King County, Washington, 2007
Artist-in-residence, North Cascades National Park, Washington, 2006
Kathe Kollwitz Award, Northwest Women’s Caucus for Art, 2001
Finalist, Salmon in the City, Seattle, 2000
Public funds, METRO, Seattle, 1994.
Public and private funds, Museum of History and Industry, 1991.
Public and corporate funding, Bumbershoot, 1990.
NEH funding for research in art history, 1985-87.
Private Commissions 1982-85, Los Angeles.
Mural: Lay Women Healers in Medieval Europe, SJSU Student Health Center 1979
Mural for the Nursing Faculty, SJSU, 1980
Kathryn Ull Carr Scholarship, SJSU, 1979, 1980, 1981

[forthcoming August, 2010] “Her Presence in Colours XI,” Littman Gallery, Portland State University, Portland, OR
2009 “Korean and American Women Artists: Cultural Sensibilities IV,” Littman Gallery, Portland State University
“Feminist Art Exhibition,” Tacoma Community College, Tacoma WA
2008 “Feminist Ecology: Women and the Earth,” Koehnline Museum of Art, Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, IL
“Above and Below,” University House, Seattle, curator Charlotte Beall
“Seattle Print Artists,” University House, Issaquah , curator Charlotte Beall
2007 “Tribute to Tee A. Corinne,” Janovec Studio/Gallery, Portland
2006 “Through Women’s Eyes,” New Kyungbook Art Museum, Kyungbook University, Daegu, Korea
“Going to Daegu Korea,” Janovec Studio/Gallery, Portland
“Paper Politics,” 5+5 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2005 “Paper Politics,” Phinney Neighborhood Center, Seattle WA
2003 “Home-Land” Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, Port Angeles WA
2002 “One Year Later: Artists Respond to World Events,” Hunter Art Gallery, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle
2002 “Natural Processes,” Dorothy O’Brien Cancer Lifeline Center, Seattle
2001 Sev Shoon Arts Center, (Ballard) Seattle
Seattle Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery, Seattle
1998-9 “The View from Here: One Hundred Artists on the Centennial of Mt. Rainier National Park,” Seafirst Gallery, Yakima Valley Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, Mt. Fuji, Japan
1996 “From Here to There,” Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Seattle
1995 “Agents of Change: New Views by Northwest Women,” Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle
1993 “Con-texts: Identities and Environments,” OK Hotel, Seattle
“Flyways,” traveling exhibition, Cunningham Gallery, University of Washington; Monterey; Hawaii
1991-3 “cross currents”, traveling exhibition, Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; Oregon School of Arts and Crafts; University Art Gallery, California State U, Hayward
1991 “Collaborators,” Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington
1990 “Pacific Rim Bookworks,” University of California, Santa Barbara
“Dreaming the Earth Whole,” collaborative installation, Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Seattle Center
1989 “A Book in Hand,” Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, Colorado
1987 “Reflections on Survival,” The Woman’s Building, Los Angeles
“Bookworks: Art From the Page,” Salem Art Center, Salem, Oregon
“Undercover: Women’s Books” (Passages: Survey of Women Artists 1945-present), Fresno Arts Museum, Fresno, California
1986 “Experimental Books,” Works, San Jose
1985 “Imagine There’s a Future,” Thinking Eye Gallery, Los Angeles
“Nuclear Free Zone,” Massachusetts State House, Boston
“Many Voices/Many Visions,” Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California
1984 “Personal Visions,” SOMAR Center Gallery, San Francisco
“Artists Look at US Politics in the 1980’s,” Southwestern College, Chula Vista, California
“From History to Action,” Woman’s Building, Los Angeles
1983 “Target L.A.,” Pasadena, CA
1982 “Other Species,” Gallery 1:16, Los Angeles
1981 “Our Connecting Link,” Works, San Jose

[forthcoming] Cover art to illustrate compact disc recording, Laude Novella, Medieval Women’s Choir, 2009.
Cover art to illustrate compact disc recording, O Rubor Sanguinis, Medieval Women’s Choir, 2006.
Art [about the artist’s work]
Ressler, Susan,Women Artists of the American West, McFarland Press, 2003.
Ressler, Susan, “Activist Practice,” It’s All About the Apple, or is it? Text for Women Artists of the American West and , 1999.
“Implode the Dome: A Modest Speculation” in Art Papers (Atlanta Georgia), May/June 1997, volume 21, number 3.
Art History [written by the artist]
Women Artists in the United States: a selective research and resource guide on the fine and decorative arts, 1750-1986, edited by Paula Chiarmonte, Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990. I researched the history of women’s performance in the US.
The Amazing Decade: Women’s Performance Art in America, 1970-1980, edited by Moira Roth, Los Angeles: Astro Artz, 1983. I contributed to the chronology and the bibliography.

"Patterning and Biocenology: A residency in North Cascades National Park," SevShoon/Ballard Artworks, Seattle, WA , 2008
“Feeding Trees: Working in the Envrionmentalist and Social Activist Traditions,” Janovec Gallery, Portland, OR 2007
“The Relevance of Art to Diversity: An Artist’s Approach to Rethinking History” and mural rededication, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 2007
“Working in the Environmentalist Tradition,” Sedro Woolley, Concrete, Washington, 2006
“Patterning and Biocenology: Situating My Work in the Tradition of Environmentalist Visual Art, University of Washington, Tacoma, 2005
“The City of Ladies,” Medieval Women’s Choir, Seattle WA, 2002
Northwest WCA, Seattle, WA, 2001
Smith Art Center Ohlone College, Fremont, CA, 2000 (videotaped)
WCA National Conference, Seattle, 1993 (Panel moderator)
Women Painters of Washington, Mercer Island, WA, 1991
SWCA and NW Women’s Studies Ass’n. Conference, Pullman WA, 1991 (panel)
Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine, 1988, 1989
Ohlone College, Fremont, CA, 1988
Art Department University of Wisconsin, Marshfield, 1987
Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA, 1981
Department of Social Sciences, Womyn’s Week, SJSU, 1981
Woman’s Building, LA, 1981

North Cascades National Park, Washington
Feminist Women's Health Center, Renton, Washington
Lou Harrison Collection, Aptos, California
Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
Student Health Center, San Jose State University, San Jose
University of Washington Medical Center Art Collection, Seattle
Women’s Museum of Art, Washington, DC
private collections

College Art Association 1981-present
Women’s Caucus for Art 1980-present (chapter president, Seattle WCA, 1995-6)
Seattle Print Arts 2001-present
Washington State Arts Alliance 1999-present
California Confederation of the Arts 1981-1987
Art Associations of the South Bay 1980-81; Non-Profit Gallery Association (N. California) 1980-81

Instructor, Art, Feminist Theory and Criticism, Art History, Women’s Art History, Computer-Aided Design, several Washington and California locations, 1982-96
Instructor, English, Art History, Seattle Central Community College, 1999
Instructor, English, Shoreline Community College, 1999
Instructor, English, University of California Irvine, 1987-1989
Instructor, Art History, Santa Monica College, 1983-4
Instructor, English, Santa Monica College, 1982-1987
Gallery Coordinator, Curator, Instructor, El Camino College, Torrance, California, 1981-2
Gallery Coordinator, Preparator, Montalvo Center for the Arts, 1979-1981
Preparator and Interpretor, Sempervirens Fund, Big Basin State Park, 1980
Conference Coordinator, Women’s Center San Jose State University, 1979-1980
Graphics & Publicity Consultant, University Services Agency, Santa Cruz, California
Pastry and cake maker, Staff of Life Bakery, Santa Cruz
Parent of (currently) 20 year old person

Alice Dubiel directly commented on “wilderness” designation itself as a mask for our destruction of the earth. Her Views and Reviews: A Wilderness Tale exposed the exploitation of nature with pithy quotes and kitsch images.
-Susan Platt, Art Papers, May-June 1999
There’s a new look at the old in Alice Dubiel’s complex and poetic piece Views and Reviews: A Wilderness Tale,... [which] alludes to the conflict between civilization and nature.
-Ron Glowen, The Herald [Everett WA], January 8, 1999
Alice Dubiel is clever: in her installation at 911 Media Arts, she wrapped what was really a polemic in engaging dress. Her five window panels, like so many holiday window displays, drew in curious passers-by.... Dubiel used the panels to present visually her thesis that our view of the landscape, and of nature, is inevitably colored by the same desires for control and order that drive our relationship with the urban realm.
-Christopher Hawthorne, Seattle Weekly, January 26, 1994
Alice Dubiel addresses the issue of nuclear threat and environmental toxicity with a series of exquisite watercolors that combine the fluid delicacy of Persian miniatures with the format of medieval illuminations.
—Claire Accomando, Artweek, November 3, 1984
Alice Dubiel, using the scroll format of traditional Eastern painting in Apocalyptic Visions, connects the “ancient burning terror” of volcanic eruption to nuclear holocaust.
—Judith Margolis, Artweek, January 9, 1988.
A positive historical note is sounded by Alice Dubiel’s painting, Lay Women Healers in Medieval Europe, which calls to mind the fact that women have also been able to heal and have often been sisters to one another.
—Louise Moore, Artweek, June 9, 1984

Friday, April 24, 2009

O Rubor Sanguinis A Statement

O rubor sanguinis
antiphon to St. Ursula
O rubor sanguinis,
qui de excelso illo fluxisti,
quo Divinitas tetigit,
tu flos es,
quem hiems de flatu serpentis numquam laesit.
Hildegard von Bingen

This series of paintings came about through experiment with coloring the backgrounds of the seed series. However, the formal element of the red opaque matte pigment revealed a not completely conscious interpretation very much related to profound changes in my physical and emotional cycles.

As a member of a women’s choir dedicated to performing medieval repetoire, I am constantly learning works by Hildegard von Bingen. One of the recurring images in her work is “O Rubor Sanguinis” the river of blood. This river sometimes appears as the blood flowing from Christ’s death wound, and sometimes as the Rhine in homage to the martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions, the 11,000 virgins whose blood flowed in the river. Moreover, for Hildegard, moisture and high contrast melody are metaphors for life, for salvation. It is difficult for me to separate the power of these images as the result of religious vision from the fact that Hildegard’s visions began during her forties, when many of us physically experience rivers of blood. At a time when my reproductive system altered my capacity for procreation, I became very much aware of the multiplicity of possible children, possible lives which would not mature. Since we have our ovae from birth, which cycle each month during menses, which are left? Amazed at the variety and potentiality, I am grateful for the one who has matured and the environment which has nurtured him.

Alice Dubiel October 1999

In 2006 O Rubor Sanguinis: Tu Flos Es became the cover image for River of Red, the first compact disk recording of the Medieval Women’s Choir.

Alice Dubiel January 2009

this work is currently exhibited at the LIttman Gallery, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon


starting this because my on-line gallery seems to have gone belly up with the coordinator's approaching wedding. Hope I can get the layout htmls for all the Landscape Tale.