Cuts Make You. Review: "Cuts Like A Knife" by Gabrielle Gopinath

Cuts Make You. at the Morris Graves Museum



An eventful reception last weekend at the Morris Graves Art Museum in Eureka.  Following are a few views from the evening.  The exhibit will be up through July 3, 2016.




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My statement read:

"Artist, Brooke Holve contemplates the poetics of seeing in Cuts Make You., an exhibition of mixed media constructions, installations and an artist book. Her work reflects an exploration of 'cutting' as process and form as she cuts to see and cuts to make. She is interested in how to apply process to a material and arrive to a form that refers back to its making.  The work is informed by the changing role of the book as the world moves to primarily digital delivery systems.  Discarded book remnants are the dominant material of this work."

Cuts Make You. at the Morris Graves Museum

I am honored to present a solo exhibition of my work,

Cuts Make You.

at the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka, California.

It will feature installations, constructions and artist books

 with a soundscape by musician, Paul Lamb.


Please join me at the opening reception on 

June 4,  6-9 pm

During First Saturday Night Arts Alive

in the Anderson Gallery


The exhibit runs from

May 28th through to July 3, 2016.


Morris Graves Museum of Art

636 F Street, Eureka, CA 95501

Gallery Hours: Wed - Sun, Noon - 5 pm

For more information: (707) 442-0278

cuts make you for blog

"A Bed of Verbs" debuts at Codex V

 'Bed' is a charged word; its root, bhedh, means to dig.

A Bed of Verbs, 2014.  A collaboration with artist, Elizabeth Sher. To be shown for its first time at Codex V at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, February 8th - 12th.



 A Bed of Verbs, 2014.  Artist Book with Clamshell: digital prints on Moab Entrada 190 and metal coated papers.  5.25 x 9.75 x 1 inches (closed clamshell box)

 I travelled to Iceland with artist, Elizabeth Sher for an artist residency during the summer of 2012. We were awed by what we saw; the geologic wonders and phantasmal forms gave us a glimpse of what the earth might have been like in its beginnings. Iceland was a "land of the verb" with underground rumblings randomly spewing out steam, lava and rocks through pockets in the earth.


A land of forces not seen with verbs to describe it: bhedh, burns, chills, churns, coils, cracks, crusts,  cuts, erupts, oozes, pads, posts, roots, scalds, scrape, spews, sprays, steams










PRESENCE at C-14 Contemporary Arts


 at the Barlow, a new gallery

C-14 Contemporary Arts

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I am pleased to be one of the nine featured artists. We are:

Teresa Camozzi, Martha Channer, DebraLea Comstock, Dave Gordon,

 Brooke Holve, Colin Lambert, Craig Mitchell, Fred Vedder,  and  Martha Wade


The exhibit, curated by Satri Pencak,  runs from May 1st through June 15th.

There will be an opening reception on Saturday, May 10th from 5 - 8pm.

I hope that you will be able to join us, meet the artists and hear about what we will be doing.


C14 At the Barlow | 6780 Depot Street, suite 100 | Sebastopol, CA 95472 | 707.827.3020

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 - 6, Sunday, 11 - 5,  Closed Mondays

More cuts: walks and poetry

mtlaugwalkcuts_1-7 installation at RiskPress Gallery  

The installation, mtlaugwalkcuts was inspired by a walk that I took to the summit of Mt. Laugarvatn in Iceland.  I recorded the shapes of the walk with a GPS device and then printed out into 23 sections. The line sections influenced the contours of the constructions. More images of the individual works can be found on my website on the third page of  mixed media/ constructions.



During the exhibition at RiskPress,  I hosted poetry walks in and outside of the gallery and recorded their shapes with a GPS device. We chanted the words, "walking like reading like cutting like..." while looking at the artwork on the walls. Words appeared and found their place on the concrete floor of the gallery.  These words and more may find another place as I continue this work with cuttings.

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Other words that surfaced but didn't appear on the floors  but may appear elsewhere in the future are:

multiple lines, icey undulations, cold empty, sequential, serial striations, slivers and slices, shafts and shifts, gray-day shuns, uninterrupted, light of rain, shimmering ground, curves, edges, distillation, energy, music, enigmatic void, an architecture of color, meandering texts, gun metal striations, white ice open, the architecture of a cut, cuts squared, grounded sticks and stones, graphite lines go by, waves, piano keys, subtle shifts, tracking, folding, bird perches,....



A cut: 'the'

Twenty-four 'thes' covered the front display wall at RiskPress during the month of October.  Six additional black textural 'thes' were displayed elsewhere in the gallery.  I loved watching people walk through, look at the work and discover the 'the'.  Many comments and discussions followed about this ubiquitous word in the English language.  And there were many who asked "Why the 'the'?"  Rather than answer the question I preferred to talk about the word. 1) 'The' can be pronounced with a long or short 'e' sound depending on its usage.

2) 'The' is the most commonly used word in the English language.

3) As an adjective or adverb, it is a part of speech; it is also needed to mark a noun.

4) As an article, it is a determiner that makes the indefinite definite.  So 'the' matters a lot!

5) In the English language, it matters a lot.  However, many Asian languages* do not have articles.

'the' series

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the black the_s

*And other languages of the world, not mentioned here.



Art in Iceland

  While in Reykjavik, I toured some of its art galleries and museums.   Some highlights:

Hanging in the entry at Hafnarhus was The Icelandic Love Corporation's "Sokkabuxnavehur"/Tights-web.

An inventive use of panty hose!


There was also a wonderful installation "Knitting House" by Elin Ruin and the New Beauty Council.

"Knitting House" recreated the most common type of apartment in Husby, a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. The apartments were a standardized prefab housing project built  in 1974. Women knitted an exact replica of the apartments at 75% scale.  Visitors can walk inside, stepping over a steel support structure to enter all of the rooms.  Wonderful details and textures that include stains, wallpaper patterns, tiles, knobs, fixtures, all in muted hues.


On Viðey Island,  I visited Richard Serra's "Milestones". I felt like I was on a pilgrimage as I walked from station to station, once again tracking the walk using my GPS.

"Milestones" also called "Áfangar",  spans the entire western part of  Viðey, an island in Reykjavik's bay. The piece comprises nine pairs of basalt columns, a reference to the geology of the island.

The columns are placed at the same elevation on the periphery of the island: one column of each pair stands nine metres above sea level, the other at ten metres. One pillar of each pair is four metres in height and the other three metres, so that the tops of the pillars are at 13 metres above sea level. The distance between each pair of pillars depends upon the gradient of the ground.  All the pillars are visible from the highest point on west Viðey, at 18 metres above sea level.


Also on the island is Yoko Ono's "The Imagine Peace Tower" conceived as a beacon to world peace. The work is in the form of a wishing well on which the words "Imagine Peace" are inscribed in 24 world languages.  Out of the well emerges a strong, tall tower of light.

On Oct 9, 2007 the work was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, on his 67th birthday. Every year the Imagine Peace Tower is lit from October 9 (Lennon's birthday) to December 8 (the day of his death). In addition the tower is lit from the winter solstice to New Year's Day and during the first week of spring. The electricity for the light comes entirely from Reykjavik Energy and is generated from geothermal power.


On the Snaefellsnes peninsula, I visited Roni Horn's installation, "Library of Water" in the coastal town of Stykkisholmur. It is located in a former library building that stands on a promontory overlooking the town and ocean.

The "Library of Water" is a constellation of 24 glass columns that contain water collected from ice of some major glaciers around Iceland. The glass columns reflect and refract light onto a rubber floor embedded with Icelandic and English words that relate to weather.


And finally back in Reykjavik, the i8 gallery (my favorite gallery in Reykjavik)  featured the work of artist, Egill Sæbjörnsson who experiments with elements of sculpture, animation and sound that interact in a playful and inventive way.

Considerations when Making


I am attracted to the worn and weathered.  So when I find an object with markings of use, I often pick it up and take it home.  My studio is filled with these artifacts, and each one once had a life of its own.  I love to look closely at their markings and patterns which often offer clues to a life of a particular action or way.  In this sense an artifact is a manifestation of a process shaped by it own history.

Artifacts often enter into my work. For the last few years, I have collected old hard covered books.  My studio is filled with piles of their extracted covers, often arranged by color.

Recently I have revisited an old favorite, some rusty bedsprings that I discovered years ago in our barn.  I incorporated them in an installation at SMOVA (the former Sonoma Museum of Visual Art) back in the year 2000.  The space in which I installed the piece was a hallway with doors and rather than fight what was there, named the installation "oR x do x Or".

An installation at SMOVA, Santa Rosa, CA














When I took it down, I installed it on my property, next to a spring which was our water source. There the installation weathered with the wind, rain and sun, and finally fell apart. Three years ago, I moved to higher ground in Sebastopol and took the rusty bedsprings with me. Recently, they have become a focus for new work (a story for another time).

Installation in Sebastopol















Artifacts are a source material that begin a process. When one enters my studio, I look at it. I can't recall who said "the thing seen is the thing seen" but this phrase, every time I read it, has a way of stopping me and reminds me to spend some time to look and contemplate what is before me. What is its "thingness"?  What is its shape?  How was it made?  What is its condition?  What did it go through before it arrived here?  How can its history inform my process of working?   And finally how can this object of the past move me to the present and forward to the future?  No answers, just passing thoughts.  And somehow these thoughts engage me to begin a process of working.

Back to the Bedsprings:

A rectilinear grid with coils protruding from its base and like an artifact, is also a source.










"Bed" from the root, "bhedh" means to dig. "Springs" from "spergh" means to move, hasten, leap; it also means to sprinkle and scatter.  Not only does this artifact  define itself; it also offers a clue. "Dig to move".  Look to a source for a direction or way. So where does one look?

"Bed" is a charged word full of associations:  sleep, rest, dreams, relationships, birth, death, desires, geology, gardening, base of a body of water, foundation, support, a press.

"Springs" too, has many associations: water, action, shift, release, emerge, season, wires and coils.

And with rust describing them, other associations arise: memory, ancestry, passing time, aging, a museum, an era, an atmosphere and environment.

Many associations suggest many possibilities.  Does it matter where or how I begin? Probably not.  No matter where I start, I hope to release the object from its charge of associations.  And with it will come a renewal, I hope.