Archive for the ‘New Work’ Category

Revisiting old work… “Unexpected Journey”

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

I just returned from a trip that came on by surprise. During my midnight drive I was thinking about this piece that I made back in 2008 titled “Unexpected Journey.” The title was inspired by an old book I have of the same title about the incredible surrealist painter Remedios Varo.

I haven’t looked at this piece in awhile but am happy that it resurfaced in my consciousness. It still says what I needed it to say. With art making, that is not always the case.

Click image to see larger.

"Unexpected Journey," 2008, 20x20.5" (mixed media on paper)

an ambitious plan.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

"an ambitious plan." 42x45" Mixed Media on Paper, 2011.

something new.

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

(click on above post title to see images sized properly.)

“the future as I see it.” 2011. 11×58″ Ink, Graphite, Pastel on Japanese Kozo Rice paper.

This is a piece that doesn’t translate as well to pixels… hopefully you all will get to see it in person one day. I’ve been experimenting with transparent layers of drawings…where traces of the ground layers remain visible in part. The piece is quite light and airy due to the Kozo and the work itself seems to have a life of its own… edges curl and valleys form as a result of my process (the camera doesn’t capture it). I like that it looks like it may take off and float away if it catches the wind just right.

On my mind: loss. memory. fortune telling. Japanese woodblock printing and scroll work. storytelling/narrative. landscape. an overwhelming amount of dark news.

detail 1 (left side)

detail 2 (middle)

detail 3 (right side)

under dust.

Monday, September 20th, 2010


"Black Eye" in progress.


The show is up. I’m in the honeymoon phase with the work… I think it looks really beautiful. I don’t feel this way all the time, I admit. My perception will shift over time for better or worse… but for now, I have produced a body of work I can stand behind. I’ve never worked harder on a show. I realize that now. It has taken its toll… I’m exhausted on a level that’s deeper than usual. Weary in many ways. 

And so it hangs. Framed beautifully (Thank you Susan, Tom, and Percy at Chandler). It has light and space and air… all the things it didn’t have in my studio when I made it. If you know anything about my studio, you know it’s cramped, packed dense with supplies, beloved artifacts, and work. These things envelop me as I work … and as this series progressed my workspace literally closed in around me. I ran out of room and painted myself into a 4×4′ square. It was awesomely claustrophobic and intimate …and a tad bit self indulgent. An art cave built of layers of my own vision and will. A questionable place to objectively view the work, but ideally suited to view my relationship to the work.

But, as I said, now it hangs… and so begins the process of detachment. I can now stand 10 — even 20 feet away to view the piece. The pieces are now upright (I work down on a table) … perspective. A revelation. I’m separating… adjusting from living within the piece to simply being an observer of it, behind glass. There is beauty and loss in this.

In this post I will share images of how I experienced the work on my studio table. Under layers of pastel dust, surrounded by debris… at the moment of creation. In the next entry I will post pics of the same work installed in the gallery. The sum of these parts tells the complete story of the series.

Under dust:

"Dreamsicle" in progress.


"The Art of Levitation" in progress.


"Memorial Burn" in progress.


"True Love Machine" detail. Pastel dust on surface.


"True Love Machine" detail. Pastel dust on surface.


Painted into a corner. Completed works before delivery to the gallery.


"True Love Machine" in progress.

“Stuff Your Sorries in a Sack.”

Sunday, July 18th, 2010




Last year I participated in a wonderful show hosted by Art House Co-Op (formerly in Atlanta Georgia, now in Brooklyn, New York). The show was called “Stuff Your Sorries in a Sack.” The directions to participating artists were to fill a little sack with anything “that you need to get off your chest” and once received, Art House would “put your sacks filled with your old baggage out in the open and let people experience what you have moved on from. As we didn’t receive the pieces back, it was indeed an exercise in letting go.I made a small accordion book filled with collage, found art, and handwritten text in Walnut Ink. The paper is French Larroque. Art House provided the burlap sack which I modified to fit the book, hand stitched a personal label with my initials, and tied with my studio’s signature red twine.








the sketchbook project.

Monday, April 6th, 2009


Last month I participated in a great show hosted by Art House Co-op called “The Sketchbook Project.” Art House asked artists all over the world to complete a small Moleskine sketchbook to the theme “Everyone we know…” The result was an amazing series of shows in Atlanta, D.C, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis that gave the audience an intimate viewing experience where they could handle and examine any of the sketchbooks… no gloves required. I instantly loved this format for it’s ability to break through the traditional sterility of the gallery experience. The viewer is encouraged to actually touch the art– what a concept! True, this format does not work well for most exhibits (most of my work would not respond well to handling unfortunately), but there’s nothing I like better than a well worn, worked, and yes, handled sketchbook. There is one show left if you happen to be in Chicago at Chicago Art Source Gallery on May 8 (through June 20th). Otherwise, you can check out photos from the events at:

Here are a few images of the book that I submitted:


cover/back cover







Listed below are the tour stops for the show:

Art House Gallery

Museum of Contemporary Art DC
Chris’ Jazz Cafe
Laconia Gallery
Antena Gallery
Soulard Art Market
3rd Ward
Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
Chicago Art Source Gallery

Exhibition Photos: Chandler Fine Art, SF 2008

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

So, the work has made the transition from my studio table…


…to the gallery walls…









It’s always a bit of a shock to see the work framed, hung, and ready for the public… it’s a happy shock, but one nonetheless. I spend so much time working on it in my studio that I grow accustomed to the way it looks on my studio table surrounded by debris…and available for one more mark. I’m used to seeing it fragile and vulnerable with piles of dusty pastel and pools of ink on the surface. There’s an obvious finality to them under glass in the gallery that is bittersweet for me. The “bitter” part is the intimacy of the artist/painting relationship has been breached and made public which is a sort of loss. The “sweet” is by inviting others to be a part of the work, the work takes on a life of it’s own which is far more exciting in many ways.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Susan and the staff at Chandler Fine Art for doing such an incredible job presenting the paintings and for continuing to support my work. Thank you as well to all of you who made it out to the gallery to see the show!

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Lots of things in the mix for the new year… I’ll be participating in some great shows all over the country as well as here in San Francisco so check back for upcoming dates and openings or sign up on my mailing list to have invites mailed to you.

Lately I’ve been working on many small works created for specific shows. It’s a lot of fun and often a challenge to have to work with someone else’s predetermined constraints rather than the free for all that I enjoy in my studio every day. But they’re great creative exercises… and they often lead to unexpected surprises that might turn out to be the beginnings of something more.

This past month has been all about small scale works… much smaller than I usually work with. Here’s a glimpse at what I’ve recently made and sent out to various shows:
Nest, 2007magic_1_web.gifheart_web.gifcrush_web.gifhelium_web.gifburn_web.gifhole_web.gifscribble_web.gifyellowonion_web.gifuntitled_lab_small_web.gifuntitled_lab_web.gif

The works above were from a small series I made for The Lab’s Post-Postcard 11 annual show in San Francisco. I titled the series “these small things…” and considered them studies or warm-up drawings for a large body of work I’m about to begin. They’re all roughly postcard size or smaller. I’m particularly fond of “nest” and “magic”. I did a larger version of “magic” for Artist’s Space Night of 1000 Drawings in NYC last month.

The following little piece was created for a show called “Sustaining our Environment” coming up at the WCA (Women’s Caucus for Art) conference in Fort Worth Texas this year. The theme of the show is postcards made out of recycled materials. They will be auctioned off to benefit the UN. My work is a collage made entirely of used coffee filters, old tea bags, and discarded tea bag string. I fell in love with this little piece and had a hard time parting with it as so often happens with art. I couldn’t help but embed my initials with stitching in the lower left corner of the work.

All images and content © 2004 - 2011 Alexis K. Manheim

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