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“Watermarks” at CONNERSMITH

Posted: February 5th, 2013

February 9 – March 30, recipe 2013

CONNERSMITH. is pleased to present Coble/Riley Projects’ second exhibition with the gallery. Since 2009, treatment Mary Coble (USA/DK) and Blithe Riley (USA) have collaborated on performance-based videos that explore tensions between site-specificity, gesture, narrative, and endurance. In February 2012, Coble/Riley Projects was invited to participate in a month-long Iaspis Residency in Umeå, Sweden. Working on a frozen stretch of sea, Coble and Riley fused video, performance and land art to create “Watermarks.” Dense snow conceals the frozen seascape underneath, acting as a canvas on which the artists make marks and draw. Opaqueness and transparency arise from the simple actions of an unknown figure, who repeatedly uncovers layers of snow, ice, and water to reveal surfaces with varied properties of reflection.

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“Moving Pictures”: March 24th at PS122

Posted: March 17th, 2012

We’re pleased to announce our involvment in “Moving Pictures” a video screening taking place at PS122 Gallery.

We will be screening our video “Corridor”.

Moving Picture, a video screening at PS122 Gallery

March 24, 2012

We are pleased to present Moving Picture at PS122 Gallery, a one-night only screening of fourteen works of contemporary video art. The selected artists explore a broad spectrum of content while exercising parallellisms in tone and approach. Each video uses a unique multi-dimensional language, simultaneously evoking sensation while guiding the viewer through a sequence of imagery and inquiry. As the genre is deconstructed, character, narrative, sound and setting reconfigure and synchronize as complex textures. The resulting works find affinity through visual and musical rhythm, a beat set to all things noncrystalline.

Moving Picture is organized by Lisa Iglesias, Jeffrey Kurosaki and Tara Pelletier. PS122 Gallery, Saturday, March 24th, 6:00pm-8:00pm at 150 1st Ave (entrance is on 9th street between 1st Ave and Ave A). For more information or to RSVP, please follow this link. Participating artists: Megan Biddle, Ben Bigelow & Terry Powers, Audra Brandt, Mary Coble & Blithe Riley, Madeline Djerejian, Lisa Iglesias, Avi Krispin, Jeffrey Kurosaki & Tara Pelletier, Sujin Lee, Jason Mitcham, Rosemarie Padovano, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Ann Oren, Nathaniel Sullivan, and Richard Walker.

This screening is made possible by the PS122 Short-term Gallery Residency program, partially funded by members of Painting Space 122, located at 150 1st Avenue, ground floor entrance on 9th st.

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“I Love That Ice-It Feels Like a Gift!”…

Posted: February 20th, 2012

Is what Blithe exclaimed after our 5 hrs on the ice today in Holmsund.  We’re fighting against time; both the melting of the ice and our residency ending but we’re both very excited about the video we’re working on.

Here are some images and thoughts from today:

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A Different Kind of Work: Ice Fishing Competition

Posted: February 19th, 2012

We took a break from shooting to go to an ice fishing competition in Holmsund today, no rx hosted by our new friends at Blixt Sports.  Mary fished while Blithe documented the event. The kuling (gale force winds) and snow unexpectedly joined in as well to add a higher degree of difficulty to the entire process.

There were around 50 or more people who made their way onto the ice.  The designated area spanned quite a large distance so many people walked over 30 minutes to choose a spot.  We were told the “big fish” were further away but Mary chose a spot close to the entrance of the inlet hoping to win with quantity over size.  The competition was judged by the weight of all the fish caught over the 2 hr time limit.

As the gun signaled the start everyone drilled their holes and began fishing.  The snow covered ice was littered with little dots of people sitting hunched over their freshly drilled ice holes.  The wind was blowing so hard it was difficult to see through the snow but most people seemed to remain resolute.

Mary is proud to report that she felt a fish nibble at her maggot (the bait used) yet she was unable to actually catch that or any fish.  With frozen fingers and wind burned cheeks she eventually made it back inside excited to have at least tried (and to get a hot cup of coffee).

As the other fishermen and women filed  from the ice they gathered inside to  weigh their catch.  Some coming in with a small bag of minnows while others brought in a surprisingly large amount.  It was really nice to see how after the fishing ended people stay around talking having coffee, lunch and of course waiting to see who had won.   The sport has the potential to be social while on the ice with two or more fishermen/women sitting together although it seemed to be mostly a solitary endeavor.  The social aspects mostly takes place before and after the actual fishing.  We got to experience a  very special community today.

Most people did not take the fish they caught home instead throwing it in a large bag for disposal.  To our relief, occasion someone would ask to take that bag home to cook or freeze the fish.  We snagged two large fish that became a great dinner after a cold day out on the ice.

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Conquered by the Kuling!

Posted: February 16th, 2012

The day started off with yet another example of how generous people in Umeå have been to us.  We needed to find an isborr (ice drill) before we could continue test shooting.  Our first thought to was visit Blixt Sport , cialis sale where we went a few days ago to ask about the ice fishing competition.  When we presented the problem of being artists who were working on an “art project” and were in need of an isborr to rent or buy they immediately said no problem that we could just borrow one.  A huge shout out to Olaf and Søren for supporting us like this.

We headed out to Holmsund with the sun shining and upon our arrival we got a sms from Helena who said that it was a bit windy by the water today.  It seemed mild as we got off the bus but as we moved closer to the water we could tell we were in for a day like we had yet to experience.


Today we had the new element of intense wind.

Helena told us that in Swedish there are different words for variations of wind and this one could be considered a “Kuling”, viagra which we think can be translated into gale force winds.

Along with the wind it started to snow.  This all converged into snow being blowing sideways by a wind that could almost knock you over.  The horizon line was barely visably most of the time we were out and by the time we made it inside there was a full white out on the ice.

Before deciding we had to get inside we tried to record a few shots that we test yesterday without having the isborr including one from Helena’s porch which overlooks the bay and provides the opportinity of a much higher camer position.  Mary’s job was to transverse the ice while stopping to sweep clear three large spots in the snow and then to drill a hole in each spot.  The snow was blowing so hard that none of the actions read the way we had anticipated.  Meanwhile Blithe is freezing while trying to stand quietly and keep the camera from being blown over.


It was a quite unique and special experience being in such extreme conditions but we finally had to admit to being conquered by the kuling and dragged ourselves inside for a warm cup of tea.

Tomorrow is a new day and if kuling free we will pick up where we left off.

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Thank god that’s over!

Posted: February 13th, 2012

Today we conquered several obstacles. We are now set up perfectly for heading out to Holmsund tomorrow to begin shooting.

We began the day by strategizing how to lug all of our objects we needed to spray paint to the Fine Arts Academy, where there is a ventilation system. We transformed our $10 sleds into transport wonder machines! This allowed us to pull our buoys, ropes and balls through the snow with ease.  We will never go sledless again!

We made a stop at the paint store and found the stuff to cover the plastic and foam surfaces of our buoys.  However when we arrived at the academy, we  faced new obstacles. The spray booth we planned to use had not been set up yet, and that the air pump we needed to inflate the buoys did not have the attachment. (The Fine Arts building is brand new, and so many of the facilities are not yet operational.)

In response, we constructed our own spray booth out of foam. We opened a door, but it did not stop the fumes permeating the entire school. Mary also traipsed around town in search of an inflation device, and finally found a cycle shop willing to help inflate our buoys.  (Shout out to Gustave at Cykel and Mopedhandlaren i Umeå for his help! You guys are the best!)

The first spray job was unsuccessful. The small balls did not hold the paint, and immediately chipped. At this point the frustration level was high, but was shortly relieved when the foam and plastic buoys received the paint well.   After 4 rigorous hours of getting high on paint fumes our buoys were bright, colorful and buoyant.

As Mary’s reward (she did all the spray painting) we stopped by the local fishing store– Blix Sports to ask about the ice fishing competition on Saturday. Helena turned us onto this place, she said if we were interested in ice fishing, this was the place to go. She was right. It’s confirmed, we’re entered for the ice fishing competition this Saturday!  Okay to be honest, Mary is in since she is the one interested in actually fishing.  Blithe will cheer, laugh and interview the other ice fishermen/women.

Tomorrow… more gearing up, sleds and lugging. It’s alright though, we know there is ice at the end of the tunnel.

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IASPIS Seminar & buoys

Posted: February 10th, 2012

Yesterday Coble/Riley Projects spoke at the iaspis seminar.   The day long seminar was full of interesting insight into various formulations of collaboration in the arts.

We ate lunch at Sävargården, which serves traditional Nordic food and is in a beautiful historic mansion.  There and at dinner and drink afterwards we had the great opportunity to talk with the other seminar participants and our iaspis hosts

Today we planned to see the ship and fishing museum however they are closed for the winter so we longingly looked at the displays through the windows.

We spent time brainstorming and came to the conclusion that we could not fight the pull of Holmsund and the frozen sea.  We are now in search of buoys (or “boj” in swedish) and are considering constructing them ourselves if we cannot find what we need.

A night stroll in the forest finished off the day. Tomorrow more searching and deciding…..


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Talk & Studio Visits at the Academy

Posted: February 7th, 2012

We presented both our solo and collaborative work to the students at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, who in turn engaged us with many of good questions.  This talk also gave us the opportunity to look back upon and discuss our collaboration in a way that got us excited about both our past and current projects.

Studio visits filled the afternoon. We talked about topics that ranged from pushing your own comfort zone and taking risks, to the exploration of narrative, art & activism and performance.

Studio Visit #3


Views from student’s studios… not too shabby.


Tomorrow we are going to the sea, where we will follow a guide to a spot where we can walk on the river.

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Artist talk at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts

Posted: February 6th, 2012

We are looking forward to giving an artist talk tomorrow (Tues. Feb. 7th) at 10:00 at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts followed by an afternoon of studio visits.

Umea Academy of Fine Arts

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We arrived in Umeå!

Posted: February 2nd, 2012

We had a great welcome at the airport by Brita (a curator from the BildMuseet) and Micael (a professor at the Umeå Art Academy), both whom are representatives from the IASPIS Residency Program who invited us to Umeå.

Today we got a tour of the newly constructed Umeå Art Academy, where we were introduced to a few students and staff and were shown to the office that we’ll be able to work in while here.  The academy sits directly on the banks of the Ume River which immediatly caught our attention as it’s totally covered in snow and has the potential to freeze solidly enough to be walked across.

Then we walked around the city center where we discovered how incredible cold it is here as Mary slid down a slide made of ice which was part of a huge snow castle and Blithe’s eyelashes became tiny frozen icicles.  We also noted that walking a lot in snowboots is difficult.








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