Calendar Grid--1999 (August 1 to September 4)
1999, mixed media, 32 x 25", by Jenny Badger Sultan
The Calendar Grids and Scrolls come from a 3 1/2 year period from January, l999, to June, 2002, where I made an image every day. (I had done a year of calendar grid drawings previously in 1981-82.) It seemed significant to begin this work on New Year's Day of the year before the turn of the century. I was on sabbatical from my teaching job and had more time to devote to my art.
I worked first with the grid, within a 3 1/2 inch format. Each day reflected either an inner or an outer event or a feeling or came out of the work I was doing on a painting. I chose whatever medium appealed to me--watercolor, acrylic, collage, monoprint, colored pencil, caran d'ache, etc. Examples: July and August 1999, January and April 2000.
After a while, the grid structure began to feel very constricting, so I moved to the vertical scroll, where the amount of space I used could vary both horizontally and vertically. Images could also begin to overlap. This whole process gave me an opportunity to draw a lot, explore my range, work in many different materials and do a lot of experimentation. It stands as a visual journal of this time period. Examples: August-September 2000, February and September 2001.
Several years after I had ended the scrolls, I found myself embarking on a series of paintings based on different grid structures--such as the hexagon, the eight-pointed star, the ogee [spindle shape], the pentagon. I had designed many repeated patterns years ago when I silk-screened fabrics. This time I felt that working with these different grids put me into relationship with the art of Islam and the Middle East, an area of the world we have become so very involved with in recent years. Each structure has called forth a different way of working, different imagery, a different feeling. I did not preconceive them but let the process unfold as I went along.
I haven't annotated individual calendar entries, but here are a few samples enlarged and identified:
- August 13--The Huge Ovoid Shape
dreamed Monday, August 9, 1999
- I am in a city, on a crowded street--people and traffic. I look up above us and see a huge ovoid shape that seems to be formed of something white and insubstantial--reminds me of the vapors of dry ice. I am very alarmed--this seems incredibly dangerous--like it could suddenly blow up. There seem to be ropes and pulleys attached to it--holding it in place? It seems to have come from somewhere else.
Alarm and danger.
Then somehow I am with a bunch of people inside this thing. It is a whole complex of rooms and equipment inside--slightly wrecked and seemingly deserted. We are going from room to room, space to space, trying to see evidence of life activity, or what might have gone wrong. It is very dim. A person behind me is wearing an outfit (white) very much like a storm trooper from Star Wars. He and I go behind a room into a narrow kind of wrecked area. Still no sign of life. I wake up before anything is revealed.
- August 18--Sketch of Ray
- The guy with the beard is Ray Holbert, a colleague and my office mate at City College, San Francisco. I did the drawing at a faculty meeting.
- Sept. 2--Oval
- Just an abstract collage with a paint-print.
- Sept. 3--Kale
- Two leaves of purple kale.