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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Notes from the Holiday

A few days in beautiful Utah. Cold! lots of snow.
Back here some nice sunny days. Good time - lots of cooking!

Avatar - photo 20th Century Fox

"The Princess and the Frog" for the kids, "Avatar" for me (both movies 83% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes!). I loved it. I found it visually really beautiful, at times mesmerizing, especially the way the light is rendered all along, and I regret that the children cannot see it yet...

Ready to go!

I sent - at last - (I could not find the time since I took some pictures of the show) the documents for "Here not There" at the MCASD. There are still a few more days left before the deadline. It's always very interesting to put together documents for something like that, although I do not do it very often!

We are heading to Death Valley National Park tomorrow morning for a family trip. We went there several times during winter, we love that place! We'll celebrate the new year in the desert around the campfire!

Happy New Year to Everyone!
Carpe Diem!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lucy, Darwin and Me in The San Diego City Beat

"Artifacts", display case and video
photo Janine Free

In "Around the Corner", in the art section of the San Diego City Beat, I had the nice surprise to read an article by Seth Combs about the show.

From vintage jewelry to modern industrial masterpieces, our takes on five current art shows

Baudelaire Shepherd, Sarah Nardi, Seth Combs

Michael McAlister @ Andrews Gallery
Susan Hauptman @ Lux Art Institute
Tara Donovan @ MCASD
Lucy, Darwin and Me @ Art Produce Gallery
Calder Jewelry @ SDMA

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alfusainey Suso, Kora player

Alfusainey playing the Kora
at the opening
of "Lucy, Darwin and Me"
photos Janine Free

with Anna Stump

This show gave me the opportunity to meet very interesting people, and Alfusainey Suso is one of them. My idea was to find a Kora player and ask him to play at the opening of my show because it was such an important - and beautiful - instrument I was listening to when I was living in Senegal. The task was not super easy. I posted something on Craig's list in "talents gigs" (like I did to find the story teller) . I simply said I was looking for a Kora player. I got some responses asking "what exactly is a Kora player?".

Then eventually Alfusainey called me. We talked on the phone and then I met him at Art Produce Gallery to show him the space. I explained the project to him: playing at the opening the show and I talked about the show.

He said he's never been to Senegal or Gambia, the country his father comes from. He talked about his uncle who taught him how to play the Kora, how he likes that instrument. And how he would like to play more often for the public. His father plays professionally the Kora in the United States and teaches it.

I invited Alfusainey to my house the same night I invited Marian Williams, the story teller, and we had a great time talking about Senegal, Gambia, the perception we have of West Africa and plenty other things.

At the opening of the show, Alfusainey played beautifully and made the evening very special. I thank him a lot for that! It really reminded me the poetic music I was listening to when I was leaving in Senegal.

I hope to have the opportunity to work on another project with Alfusainey, he is very talented and truly loves the music he plays.

Lucy, Darwin and Me
Art Produce Gallery

December 12, 2009 / January 24, 2010

Biodiversity Series


Biodiversity Series - the first twenty ones.

2009 - ink on paper mounted on wood panel, 6"x6"




















Lucy, Darwin and Me

Art Produce Gallery

December 12, 2009 / January 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucy, Darwin and Me / photos of the show

The first room - Lucy

And so it is done! I really like the fact that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted inside the gallery and that I had no commercial pressure to sell anything. In fact there is not a lot of items for sale in the show: only the series of small inks on paper. Otherwise things will either disappear at the end of the show or I will keep them, like the personal objects in the display case.

The window from inside the gallery

From outside the gallery

Some things I wanted to do, like using decals, are pretty expensive if you do not own the machine. Recently, I was talking to a friend artist and she was saying "we leave in this country where so many amazing techniques exist and we cannot use them because they are too expensive." Of course we are not obliged to use all those new machines and materials to make a good work but experiencing new things has always been something I was interested in, even if I enjoy very much "making things with what I have." For example, for this show I wanted to face-mount the prints in the second room with Plexiglas and not having any kind of frame. But after I got the estimates I decided that I had to go back to earth and make something really less expensive. And different. But that's ok.

I love the fact that I worked for the very special space of Art Produce Gallery. I wanted something viewable from the sidewalk, something people could enjoy even if the gallery is closed. I wanted to play with the transparency of the window, which matches the length of the wall.

I wanted people to enjoy details when they are inside and so there is this series of very small inks. But nothing is really hanged at a "normal" height. The first day someone made one of the inks hanged very low on the wall fall on the floor, I think it will happen again and I am fine with it. It is unusual to have to pay attention to things hanged very low - or very high!

Detail of the series "Biodiversity", 2009,
inks on paper mounted on wood panels

There is also the series of tiny square photos on the mural. They are a light bridge between then (Mauritania 1975) and now (my attachment for the deserts, and the fact that with my family today, we spend time in the desert together).

I wanted to put together different medium, each of them being a part of the big picture. Decals, mural, photos, inks, mini-photos, mini-book, video and display case with objects... I enjoyed very much finding a way to make them flow together. Although it was sometimes a little bit overwhelming trying not to forget anything (I made lists...), the making of was really interesting.

"Mauritania, Sahara Desert, between 1972 and 1975"
- a series of 7 photos
taken by my parents,
Denise and Gerard Guieu

Text which goes with the series:
Areas of Nouakchott, Atar, Akjoujt, Amokjar, Chinguetti and Ouadane.
photos by my mother and my father, Denise and Gerard Guieu

Between 1972 and 1975 I lived in Dakar, Senegal, with my family. My father was a geologist and my mother was a biologist. Each vacation, we would explore some place, either in Senegal or in Mauritania, which shares a border with Senegal.

Taking the old Land Rover loaded with water, gas and food (mostly oranges, pasta, rice and tomato sauce - all heat resistant), we would go to the Saharan desert, discovering amazing landscapes scorched by the sun, meeting Tuareg people and their salt caravans, watching the jackals, marveling at the ancient human artifacts laying on the ground, stopping in remote oasis, drinking mint tea and sleeping under the stars.

This is a tribute to the things I discovered with my parents, the discussions we had about the history of Earth --which, in the Saharan desert was unfolding under our eyes -- the continental drift, the origins of humanity and biodiversity.

"Artifacts": video and display case

My father's field notebook
. The video was made
in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California.

The windows outside the gallery
(photo, video, kettle and wood)
(photo Janine Free)

Lucy, Darwin and Me

Art Produce Gallery

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Keli Dailey (San Diego Union Tribune) about Lucy, Darwin and Me

'Lucy, Darwin and Me' and an Afrocentric Darwin party at Art Produce Gallery

By Keli Dailey, Content Producer
Friday, December 11, 2009 at 6:29 p.m.

Michele Guieu and Lucy, at her solo exhibit at Art Produce Gallery in North Park.
Michele Guieu and Lucy, at her solo exhibit
at Art Produce Gallery in North Park

By Keli Dailey

Michele Guieu and Lucy, at her solo exhibit at Art Produce Gallery in North Park.

To celebrate how right Charles Darwin was about where human life blasted off (answer: Africa), from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, during North Park Nights, Art Produce Gallery will throw an Afrocentric Darwin party, with folktales and a fair trade market, and later, free booze (hopefully) for mixed-media artist Michele Guieu’s opening reception.

Guieu’s solo exhibit, “Lucy, Darwin, and Me,” transforms the two-roomed gallery into what feels like a friendly graphic designer leading a fift- period physical science class. Guieu knows it’s after lunch and even though she prepared this whole lecture on how 2009 is Darwin’s 200th birthday year, the 150th anniversary of his “On the Origin of Species,” our focus is flagging. So she uses personal artifacts, paintings of invented species, family photos and video to share how she was a teenager, in Africa, following her geologist father out into the field right around the time the famous Lucy the Hominid fossil fixed humankind birthplace to one place.


And Listen here to the podcast of the program "These Days": Week-end Preview
With Keli Dailey from the Union Tribune about Lucy, Darwin and me.
Seth Combs from the San Diego City Beat talks about Matt Stallings show "After the bomb drops" at Subtext.
Anchor/Producer(s): Angela Carone, Maureen Cavanaugh
December 10, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Installation at Art produce - Day five and Six - We are done! Opening tonight!

We are done! We did a fantastic job together, I am super happy! Thank you to all of you, it was a fun, intense, amazing week.
I hope a lot of people will come to the opening but it looks like it will rain... We'll see.

We had a "not so happy" viewer who told John he was going to hell. Referring to what she read on the window when she was passing by. I guess the words "Darwin" and "Evolution" are enough for some people to get angry. Hope everything will go smoothly though.

John Belfiore in action
(Beau Vue Window Cleaning (619) 507 9064)

John Belfiore, Claudia and my mom Denise

Me, John and Claudia

Lori Lipsman, touching up!

My mom, touching up too!

Kyle Forbes in the second room

Pause-cafe and photo in the Caffe Carpe Diem (from left to right):
Marie (Caffe Carpe Diem), Lori Lipsman, Sema (Caffe Carpe Diem),
Keli Dailey (Union Tribune), me and Kyle!

Claudia and me sifting the sand in the display box

Kyle and Lori

Kyle leveling the tiny photos

Claudia and the very last words!

Art Produce Gallery TODAY:
Noon- 4:00pm
--Art Produce is hosting a fair trade market of African art and imports to benefit Womens' Empowerment STAR Center.
-- Marian Williams tells African children's tales.
6:00 – 9:00pm
--Opening Reception, meet the Artist.
-- Alfusainey Suso plays the traditional West African kora.