16×16″ oil on panel. (click to expand)
If you ever wanted hear me blab about the music industry, art, Joan Crawford, my awesome husband, and why after everything I’ve been through medically I just suck it up (despite a cat sitting on my catheter bag), well then, you are in luck! I was invited to co-host on motivational talk show LoLoKnows earlier this week. Fair warning, I swear a lot! I guess you could say my version of motivational talk is to tell people to get on with it, and just deal. Otherwise, you are wasting your own time.
Want to know more about the painting series we are talking about? Grab a copy of this baby and get their bios as well…
Speaking of this series, I saw my primary care doctor for the first time in a while — just for a cold — and he mentioned seeing this exhibit in Cleveland by accident. He did full on hand flail EW jestures as he said, “it was interesting….so did you sell any of those?” When I told him I have almost sold it out and the first pieces to go were on skin diseases, he said, “yuck! eeeeeeewwwww”. Then, he proceeded to look deep into my blood clogged nose. I’m so confused right now. I guess this is why he never became a surgeon?
I have to say I think that was the most packed art reception I ever had! I didn’t think so many people would come out (all the way to the westside) let alone in the rain, but there we had it! My pals K&G even flew in all the way from San Francisco and we had a fun little weekend out of it. So, thank you all who came and supported me, you know I don’t get mushy about stuff but it meant a lot on light of the events that happened this month! Honestly, at one point I was considered cancelling the show or putting it off until next year — I’m glad I didn’t.
The art talk went pretty well considering I have only done one carefully timed Pecha Kucha talk before. I think I meandered a bit in the beginning and I remember using the words “whore” a lot, but that’s why I said it was NC-17, after all! The really nice thing about the talk were the current/former Cleveland Clinic employees and those married to them all wondering why the Cleveland Clinic didn’t sponsor this show, but mainly, why haven’t I been invited to speak there? I think it wasn’t just because of the medical history points, but the fact that I am a patient there and some of the later works reflected my state of mind why regard to that whole process. Stay tuned!
Anyway, here is a mishmash of photos myself and others were able to get in the flurry of activity. I was just excited to wear high heels for the first time in a year…
The show is up until April 25th at BAYarts, minus one painting I let be taken off the wall because it was a time sensitive birthday gift. I’ll be posting all the work and the new stories eventually here and on my website.
I’m pleased to announce my next solo show is April 4th at BAYarts! I have been teaching kids classes at the beautiful BAYarts campus in Bay Village for several years now, so I’m really excited to be exhibiting there. This exhibit will depict fun stuff like amputees, ocular prosthesis, virgin goddesses, and maybe a nude or two. The irony is that I’ve been having health problems, again, and I’m due for another surgery as I’m trying to get work done for this exhibition — so it might not have as many pieces as I had planned originally. However, this is my first big solo show in Ohio since 2009, so I hope you’ll join me. Facebook invite here.
“Ephemeral Antidotes: Revisited”
April 4th – 25th, 2014
Sullivan Family Gallery @ BAYarts, Bay Village, Ohio
Opening Reception: Friday, April 4th 7pm – 9pm
In 2010 Arabella Proffer was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, and in the process of being treated, she discovered a 16th century painting of Saints Cosmas and Damian where it appeared the “cure” for her particular ailment had changed little. The result of the traumatic experience of having a section of her leg removed gave way to a new fervent interest in medical history, and is chronicled in the afflictions of her fictional female portraits.
After discovering the Dittrick Museum of Medical History was located in Cleveland she spent time doing research, and attending lectures there, that would help fuel inspiration for ways to combine this new fascination with her art. “This series was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I’m going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. My art and interests were in the way society lived in the past, but with emphasis on the defiant, glamorous, and eccentric. You could have been rich, important, or beautiful, but if sick you would still receive brutal or worthless treatment,” says Proffer, “but I also fell in love with old medical illustrations; they somehow made gorgeous artwork even though it depicts amputation and syphilis.”
“Ephemeral Antidotes: Revisited” explores the medical superstitions and practices of centuries past with a touch of magic realism. Continuing the theme from her 2012 solo show that took place at Loved to Death, in San Francisco, the subjects in her paintings are accompanied by a biography — all written by Proffer — highlighting the fascinating and misguided aspects of old medicine. Proffer takes inspiration from old world mannerist portraiture and medical illustrations of the 14th and 15th centuries while weaving in her own contemporary punk and goth sensibility. Done in oil on linen, her stylized subjects are bold and colorful, yet reveal a hint of the sinister.
Described as everything from neorealism to pop surrealism, her work touches on themes of identity, history, rebellion, and refinement. Earning her BFA from California Institute of the Arts, Arabella Proffer has participated in group and solo exhibitions throughout North America, Europe, parts of the Middle East, and Australia. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she has taken up residence in Laguna Beach (she went to high school there, thankfully, before the reality show), Boston, Los Angeles, and currently works from her studio in Lakewood, Ohio.
Gallery talk Wednesday, April 9th 6:30pm – 7:30pm
My friend passed on last night. It was an ongoing struggle the past year, but I’m glad we had some fun in these last months and he’s finally at peace. One of the smartest men I ever knew.
Many people are familiar with his song that he wrote, performed, and initially had done vocals on: “Goodbye Horses”.
Us at my 30th birthday party.
His prints I bought when we first met. We later did a small two-person show together.
After moving from Los Angeles to Cleveland how funny was it to randomly meet him at a bar and of course, his introduction to me was that he wrote and performed that song. Trust me, he’d tell anyone and everyone that was his song, but at the time not many people cared as much as they would later thanks to various covers and Grand Theft Auto. But, oh how excited I was! He explained to me why the song wasn’t on the soundtrack — I mentioned I had tried to find it when the film came out — and how he had plans for other music projects now that he could release anything he wanted online. I wasn’t from Ohio and only at this point knew a small group of people. I had fled Los Angeles in almost the same manner he had fled both and NYC Los Angeles (he lasted one year and could not stand that there were no seasons, and going back to NYC under the George W. Bush administration he said everything that made NYC great was “dead dead dead”). Although he loved living in London for a time, he felt a duty to return home to take care of his mother. Like mother like son; she was neighbors with Eric Carmen of The Raspberries and would always throw shade at him anytime they crossed paths that “my Billy had a song in the movie that won a best picture Oscar” and that Dirty Dancing did not, “oh Eric, didn’t you have something in a movie nominated too? Well there’s always next year.” (That song was Hungry Eyes btw).
We bonded over every fashion, film, art, literature subject you could think of and he said he was glad to meet someone who could talk as fast as him. Over the years we became close. He collected my art, we’d talk for hours, drink and see movies together. He’d photograph me a lot because he thought I looked like Isabella Rosellini (I have no idea why). Even when he was in hospice — which he beat — we’d have “Karl Lagerfeld dance parties” in his room to the amazement of the nursing staff. Things got even better after that when he moved in down the street from me.
Since he left us, his best friend Veronica, who also recorded with him under the name Skin, has now become one of my dearest friends. I’m thankful for that in the wake of his passing. There are early 1980s demos that will be released at some point I’m sure. Veronica still has the original synth that “Goodbye Horses” was made with. To be honest, it’s really hard for me to hear that song, now.