Posts in Issue XIII
Soojin Choi
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Collage is very similar to poetry. Images are used like words of a poem that transcend their original usage and form creative, imaginative, but not universal mediums of interpretation. Poets sculpt words and structure them into a poem. I choose images and arrange them into artwork. Where and how images get placed is the way to create the relationship that entails unique expressions.

Space can be used as a setting and also as an object by utilizing the interaction of images within the composition on both two and three-dimensions of my sculptures. Space consists of two-dimensional surface, three-dimensional structure, and negative spaces. In my artwork, there is perspective on surfaces, there are flat images on voluptuous structures, and silhouettes exist between the surfaces and structures. Spatial recognitions are made when they multiply and coexist within relationships of each other. By repeatedly layering flat and structural components I bring images and enumerate them into existence. I assemble space and parade them into a poem in the name of art.

Soojin Choi

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Young Shin
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Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Young grew up loving art, spending hours at end drawing and painting, and making and sewing her own dolls and clothes.  After receiving a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Studio/Visual Arts focusing on oil painting, she proceeded to studying law and graduating with a J.D.  However, it was only a matter of time that she returned to her love of art and design, eventually receiving her degree in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design.  After a stint in a career as a fashion designer in NYC and Chicago, Young spent several years making and selling handmade, hand-painted, and silk-screened clothing and accessory line through her own label. 

 In her body of work, melding her past experiences and passion together, Young combines elements from art, design, and craft.  The distorted and abstracted geometric shapes and layered and uneven textures in her paintings encompass such idea.  Stylistically, applying paper as her main medium and adopting simple geometric shapes as her main form of expression – empirically giving the impression of respite and airiness – Young’s studio practice strives to achieve neo-minimalist aesthetics.  She appreciates the balance between unornamented austerity in the physical form with complex and nuanced nature of the craftsmanship involving layering, molding and sanding paper by hands.  Young resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she works as a full-time painter.

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Sarah Flood-Baumann
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Sarah Flood-Baumann is from the place that races horses every first Saturday in May. She recently snagged her MFA degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Graphic Design program and she lives a semi-nomadic military-spouse lifestyle in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Currently operating as a one-woman design shop, she freelances and wears many design hats that include everything from branding to book design.

Statement

In the book Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal, author Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen wrote,

“As light represents the archetype of masculine energy, darkness suggests the power of the feminine, and it makes an intuitive sense that the experience of healing may be associated with darkness. Darkness is a condition of the beginning. The body first comes into being in darkness. It is nurtured, as a seed, in darkness.”

These charcoal and water prints were the result of the battle with chronic migraines and literally living my days in darkness. I did not trust my body or my self to heal or to be whole. After a strange grounding exercise that went bust, I discovered the beauty of charcoal mixing with water in my tiny apartment bathroom sink. Noticing that this mixture wasn’t innately beautiful or considered traditional graphic design, I still felt connected to the movement, darkness, and moodiness of the the mixture. It felt right and of my own. Beautiful. I pulled out my camera and began photographing what I saw. I finally trusted myself that even if something isn’t traditionally beautiful, it can be. I trusted the process of making, exploring and finally felt some light in my darkness.

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Jackie Leishman
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Leishman grew up in Georgia, moving to the Los Angeles area after completing her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Originally trained as a photographer, she now works in collage.  Her work investigates the interrelationship between painting, drawing, and collage. 

 She has shown her work nationally, won awards, and taught photography and fine art at universities in Utah and California. She has participated in art residencies at The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN and PressWorks in Claremont, CA. She was most recently commissioned by Emily Henderson Designs, and was exhibited in the Downtown LA Arts District, had a solo show in Utah, “If We Ever Wake At All”, and continues to participate in the ever-evolving art collaboration, “The Fourth Artist.” 

Statement

The world is collage to me. What happens at the edges and among the layers, where two different materials or ideas meet — that’s where I’m drawn. I have bins and bins of paper and scraps in my studio. It is important to my process that I not use virgin working materials but rather fragments of older work and found materials. Something from something. Beauty from ashes. It’s also important for me to show the sometimes-raw joints, the roughness of their coming together, to be candid about the process of layering and to leave the hand of the artist apparent. 

The push and pull between two ideas intrigues me most: the animating tensions between destruction and creation, expansion and contraction, and explosion and implosion. These ideas are embodied in the wilderness. The only constant in the wild is that it will change, that an element can and will be both violent and passive, opposites held in a balance. In a world that is increasingly contentious, the need to feel peace within the chaos becomes more desperate. By drawing, painting and collaging, I seek to find an equivalent to the peace found in wild places. 

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Erin Holscher Almazan
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Erin Holscher Almazan is an Associate Professor of Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH.  Erin is a native of North Dakota. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her MFA in Printmaking from Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York. She has completed two printmaking residencies at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium. Erin’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been included in exhibitions in connection with the Southern Graphics Printmaking Council and the Mid-America Print Council. Erin is also an active member of the Dayton art and printmaking community.  She resides in Dayton with her husband and two sons. 

Statement

My work is a direct and emotional response to identity; I am continually fascinated and perplexed by my roles and relationships. Through my work, I reflect on a malleable identity shaped not only by our own shifting environments, but also by nature, nurture, inheritance, and history. I draw, print and paint to fluidly move with and investigate form and edge and to achieve a range of gestural lines and marks. I strive to communicate acceptance, ambivalence, struggle, empathy, and connectivity, and to convey the duality embedded within our identity.

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Hidden Nature: Interview with Darko Vuckovic
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Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

Vuckovic was born in Podgorica, Montenegro and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje in 2001, in the class of professor Dragan Karadzic, painting department.

From 1999 to 2000, he attended L’ecole Superrieure d’Art du Grenoble, France, where he started to experiment in computer-generated imagery, photography and experimental sound.

In 2012, he completed specialized studies, painting department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Zoran Vukovic. He has been a member of ULUCG (Association of visual artists of Montenegro) since 2002.

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The Heraldry of Nature (Imprints and Traces)

Every shape in the visible nature, the smallest as well as the biggest, is revealed as harmony. 

The Māori from Polynesia had the word “mana” for expressing the unity of things, the strong feeling that life is a unity in which not only gods, people and all living things partake, but also things that to us seem dead. “Mana” thus represents an immediate experience of the “sacred force that permeates life”. All of their art is filled with spirals as visual displays of the force. They were engraved into wood and stone, painted, or even tattooed on the body. One can find identical spiral motives in many other parts of the world, some originating from prehistoric times.

In nature we find the spiral movement in the structure of the DNA molecule, as well as in the spiral galaxies. The “murmur” of the cosmos is expressed through shape, just as fine sand placed on a string instrument makes precise geometric shapes when one plays a tone.

György Doczi, a Hungarian architect from the early 20th century, discovered the same mathematical laws at the basis of architecture, the elements of landscape, the anatomy of humans, animals and plants, the tone scale, the rhythm in poetry, prompting him to introduce the concept of a dynergic pattern“.

The displayed works have a common thread. They represent different imprints of the universal energy flow, which is visible just partly. This energy weaves tirelessly behind the curtain of the material world, maintaining it and driving it. The idea once obsessed J. W. Goethe (Essay on the plant), and later Rudolf Steiner when he speaks about the active spiritual reality, deeming it the cause of what we perceive with our outer senses. The wide field of his work and his views had a profound impact on art: the works of Kandinsky, and later Joseph Beuys, among others.

Occasionally, the hidden, dynamical and changeable nature finds its artistic expression and displays itself in physical form. That is why I consider myself only as a formal author of these works.

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When and how were you first introduced to working with ceramics?

I started doing ceramics about ten years ago. Considering I received a degree in painting, the main techniques of my artistic expression were drawing, painting, photo collages. A set of circumstance led to my sharing a studio with some sculptors. This was a decisive factor for my gradual shift to ceramics and getting to know its secrets. Ceramics enabled me to add a third dimension to the visual images I created. I was and still am fascinated by the possibilities it offers, which are practically inexhaustible.

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What inspires your work?

Inspiration is something that is in my case spontaneous, which arrives the moment I start communicating with the material, in this case with clay.

There are certain conditions that have a positive effect on achieving a required state of sensitivity when creativity can be expressed in the proper way.

Frequent trips to nature contribute to this state. The rhythms of nature and its changes are somewhat similar to the rhythms of the forms I create. My forms are organic and changeable, almost natural.

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What is your process like when you start a new sculpture?

In most cases, I don’t have a clear idea and plan about what I wish to accomplish because I want to leave open the possibility of a surprise.

I allow the forms to change by their own inner rhythm and impulse. This is probably the main reasons why the technique has been holding my interest for so long. Later, after the first round of baking clay, some additional effects are made with texture and glaze, making it even more interesting. Sculptures are often baked multiple times in a row until the desired effect is achieved.

Below is the link for my short film on clay and an ancient method of sculpture making. The film was screened at the AVI Fest - Short Film Festival 2017, where it won the first prize.

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Who are some artists that inspire you?

It used to be Hieronymus Bosch and Flemish painters. Afterward, surrealists like Max Ernst, the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, but also M.C. Escher.

As for sculptures, I am most fascinated by the sculptures by Joan Miro and some works by Joseph Beuys.

These are the artists whose work always leaves an impression on me.

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What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far? How did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge is persisting in doing what one loves. It isn’t always easy. It means not compromising what one considers truly worthy of doing. Like the moment I left my steady office job as a graphic designer so I would have more time for my artwork. It often means entering a zone of economic instability. These decisions bring many questions, doubts, and dwellings, and one needs to learn how to cope with that. It becomes easier as time goes by.

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What would you say your greatest strength is as an artist?

For me, art is something that gives meaning even at times when we cannot find it in our surrounding, in the outer world. The fact itself is encouraging and gives strength and motivation. For me, that is enough.

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Do you have a piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with our readers?

There is good advice in the tale about Aladdin. It says that if you rub the lamp long enough, a genie will appear. The lamp represents us and our unnurtured talents. This means that if we are persistent and focused, results are inevitable. Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.

Jiela Rufeh
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Jiela Rufeh was born in Boston, Massachusetts of German and Persian descent. She grew up in the small colonial town of Concord, encompassed by a rich cultural and literary history. The lush New England wilderness has served as inspiration to great thinkers who resided there such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Growing up, Rufeh’s mother was a working artist who started taking she and her brother to all the greatest museums in Europe at a very young age. After years of eye rolling, all the early exposure became a source of inspiration for Rufeh when she fell in love with the work of Georgia O’Keefe after seeing her iconic large-scale paintings of flowers at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Rufeh’s education and professional life have taken her across the country from DC, New York, and Boston to San Diego where she currently lives and works. She first attended American University as a Communications major but transferred to University of Syracuse to study Photography and Sculpture. While there, she was introduced to the work of Irving Penn, whose technical virtuosity with a lens and cutting-edge aesthetic remains her biggest photographic influence. Rufeh then went on to do post-graduate work at the International Center of Photography in New York. She began interning at Harper’s Bazaar, quickly making her way through the ranks of the photography world of NYC with the goal of being a fashion photographer. Penn’s work made her realize that she didn’t have to sacrifice her creative impulses to work in commercial photography.

After a year, Rufeh went to California to studio lighting at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and work in commercial advertising. She was swept up in the digital revolution, learning all the newest digital media tools under one of LA’s hottest commercial photographers. She worked to overcome the obstacles inherent to photographers emerging within the paradigm of new media, not to mention for photographers and photo-assistants that were female. Missing the intrinsic stir she had received from sculpture, the possibilities of new media inspired Rufeh to begin experimenting with incorporating different materials—especially encaustic—into her photography. It was a way of rebelling against her commercial work and pushing the photo to a place where it wasn’t allowed to go in the commercial world.

Aside from working as a commercial photographer for more than 20 years, Rufeh has been exhibited nationally for over a decade with multiple solo exhibitions in Berlin, Germany. The last few years have been the most exciting for Rufeh’s career as an artist. She now devotes all her time to her studio, volunteer work, and meditation practices while maintaining a consistent presence amongst the Southern California art scene, exhibiting most recently at the Museum of Latin American Art and the William D. Cannon Art Gallery. She works to develop new photo techniques that push her work into different genres and hopes that her art will continue to generate discussion regarding new media and environmental issues.

Statement

Visual art is an immediate expression of meaning—a commentary on things personal, societal, or even universal—and it has a unique energy. This unfolding universal energy has been an evolving interest of mine and my work has been influenced by my study of it and its manifestation throughout different cultures. It is a quest that cannot be separated from our daily lives.

Nature to me is an obvious place to start when dealing with these themes. We can see ourselves in the shapes of nature and in the way all its various elements affect one another. There are also man-made structures and landscapes that reflect our nature in a different way; years of layered graffiti reveal an undocumented history of creativity. But the insistent beckoning of nature is the hardest to ignore.

I travel extensively to remote natural locations to take photographs that explore my concepts and to be completely absorbed by the elements around me ‐ the colors, the smells, the silence, the peace, the wind brushing against my skin, the warmth of the sun… all awaken my senses.

When I come back to the studio I never really know where the photograph will take my painting. To be of worth, art must be expressive, sharing an artist’s thoughts and feelings. For me, feelings are paramount. The picture speaks to my gut and my body responds instinctively, emotionally, with color, texture or the absence thereof. My goal is that this visceral approach allows me to communicate something personal that becomes universal.

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Eunmi Mimi Kim
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Each of experiential researches (4.0) are part of the self-experiment series that focus on sensory isolation in order to explore atypical, eccentric, but rather introspective methods that enable me to establish a diverse spectrum within my own comfort zone to get away from a state of the overwhelming external world.

(As people become more and more concerned with the psychological ramification of (an) overwhelming digital world, we may finally be ready to explore /the real benefits of taking-a-vacation from the senses.) — Meehan Crist, Postcards from the edge of consciousness

I am a solitary being who can easily be pushed into ‘sensory overload.’ As such, Me-Time 4.0) aims to align my mind and body back into balance by reducing sensory stimuli. This is a series of self-experiments that use eccentric methods of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) to explore my conditions of hyperthyroidism (a hormone/stress-related disease), hypersensitivity, and meticulousness. Being isolated while experiencing contemplation and self-reflection, but remaining aware of the external world, is for me a form of mindfulness.

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Leslie Fry
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Statement

My sculptures and works on paper are inspired by basic human needs: food, shelter, clothing, and love. The intersection of the natural world and the human-made world drives my work.  Images of the projected-upon female body run through my art – based on my own body’s experience of the world and on ways women’s bodies have been controlled throughout history.

I draw, print, model, and cast by combining organic materials such as plants, paper, clay, and fabric with plaster, concrete, metal, and resin. Recent works on paper (submitted to Create! Magazine) have taken on new lives as animations. See the videos at https://www.lesliefry.com/news-media/.

 Diverse influences come from literature, psychology, mythology, and the visual arts, ranging from the body/spirit experience of medieval architecture to the theatrical narratives of William Kentridge.

Bio

My art has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the globe, including Artists Space in New York; Kunsthaus in Hamburg; Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul; Windspiel Galerie in Vienna; Couvent des Cordeliers in Paris; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum near Boston; and Centre des Arts Visuels in Montreal.

Public commissions in New York, South Korea, Montreal, Florida, Wisconsin, and Vermont have been specific responses to architecture, history, and landscape. Public collections include Tufts University, Songchu International Sculpture Park, Kohler Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Fleming Museum, Kent Museum, and St. Petersburg, Florida’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Born in Montreal, I earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont, an M.F.A. from Bard College, and attended the Central School of Art and Design in London. I live in Winooski, Vermont.

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A Quiet Revolution: Interview with Martin Beck
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I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience.
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Martin Beck is a figurative artist best known for large pastel and mixed media paintings of the nude human form. These drawings often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. 
Beck has exhibited widely with solo shows at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH and the Jersey City Museum, NJ and most recently at ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL. Recent group exhibitions include Mixed Media at Site:Brooklyn, New York, NY and Art Connections 13 at George Segal Gallery, Montclair, NJ. His exhibitions have been reviewed in The New York Times and The Sunday Star Ledger. 

In 2019 Beck’s work will be included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, and the Create Magazine Winter print edition. An interview with the artist is currently live on VoyageChicago.

Martin Beck received two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships (1994, 2000). Beck holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, from State University of New York at Buffalo. In April 2009 Martin Beck participated in the two-week residency MMMart, medana.art pomlad in Medana, Slovenia. 

Martin Beck’s work solo exhibition pal•imp•sest(2): bearing traces of earlier forms is currently on view until March 30, 2019 at MS Rezny Gallery, Lexington, KY.

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What is your creative process like? You tend to work on prepared paper. What do you typically do to prep a sheet of paper?

I’ve recently gotten involved with the process and the nature of materials. My main tools are chalk pastels, brushes, a random orbit sander, sanding blocks, atomizers and sometimes a garden hose. Mark making is an important element as I build up the surface over time through multiple life drawing sessions. I’m interested in creating a visceral experience for the viewer and provide a journey into the art-making process.

There are two methods I use to start a piece. The first begins with a drawing from life on a blank sheet of paper. This could be a sheet of gesture drawing or some other result of a life drawing session. These drawings are often incomplete. So, after the session, I manipulate them – prepare them by applying water or pigment (usually both), or sand them, apply to spray paint and let them dry in the sun on a textured surface. This provides a rich ground to work on.

The second method involves preparing the paper with various media: gouache, dry pigment, graphite, spray paint and acrylics. After either of these two methods, I’ll have a toned piece of paper with arbitrary marks and color that seem like abstract paintings.

I use this paper in life drawing sessions using some of the accidental marks, color, and texture as information to enhance the act of drawing. I respond to the paper almost as much as to the model. A resulting unsuccessful drawing on prepared paper might be further manipulated by obscuring the image with water, medium, and sanding. In those cases, the ground becomes quite thick with layers of color and texture. The final piece is more like a painting than a drawing.

As a result of all the layers, these works on paper often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. Or, as the 4th-century philosopher Augustine of Hippo wrote: “A present of things past, a present of things present and a present of things future.”

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What about the human form inspires you?

I am fascinated by the Neue Sachlichkeit artists of pre-World War II Germany. Their work was informed by the experience of the First World War, the turmoil of Germany society at the time and the dehumanizing aspects of new technology. We are living through a similar time with our own seemingly endless wars and terrorism, climate change and income inequality, gun violence, racism, and bigotry.

We are distracted from our lives through the ubiquity of social media and the hand-held device. We are jaded, selfish, insensitive and addicted to convenience and immediate gratification. It seems like society has a metabolic disease.

So, we are living in a difficult and interesting time. I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience. I want my work to help “express and overcome our humanity” (a quote that I, unfortunately, can’t attribute).

I’ve written elsewhere that our bodies are road maps of our individual experience. Part of that is the model’s self-expression. Hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, body hair or lack of, makeup or lack of are all clues to their identity. My work also then presents an emphatic confirmation of personality and a space to contemplate and celebrate humanity in all its variety.

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How has your style and technique evolved over the years?

I’ve always been a figurative artist because of my fascination with people and how we live in our culture. My work used to consist of large multi-figural paintings with social and political themes, based on photos and invention.

These were demanding pieces to make, made more difficult since I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), an autoimmune arthritic disease. For years I was able to control it using over-the-counter drugs, but when the disease intensified in 2012, I had to make some changes. Standing or sitting at the easel for extended periods is no longer possible. I’m currently focused on drawing and painting from life in two to four hours long sessions with the model. These sessions are challenging, but the level of intense observation and control necessary allows my body to “fall away". It’s like moving meditation. And focusing on another person in this way is uplifting and liberating.

These physical limitations also have me working in a more quick and loose way. The tight control I used to exercise isn’t possible. I’ve had to “let go” and let the cosmos help me draw through accidental mark making. As a result, there is a certain amount of surrealism and abstraction in my work.

I’ve also developed a sense of how ephemeral our experiences are. Working from life is like trying to capture time. The materials I use are fragile. The paper, pastel and water media are supple and vulnerable.

I’ve come to believe that the nude speaks most directly of the human condition. To study another’s face and form is to understand their essential humanity: their frailty and imperfection. My own arthritic condition has allowed me to see more of these qualities in the others. I’ve also found that if you study anyone with the level of intensity my kind of figurative work requires, you see their beauty and strength as well.

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What is your favorite thing to focus on when you are drawing someone?

In a way, I am more concerned with the act of drawing than the finished piece. Just as people are complex the attempt to depict them involves many variables. I try to let the figure emerge from the ground and let the model’s presence inhabit the prepared paper. It is remarkable how palpably present the model is once you begin to draw them.

The model often looks inward as they try to hold a pose. Some of that inwardness is outwardly expressed, not only in their face but also in their body. I’ve come to think of these pieces as portraits, even when the face isn’t visible or there is no likeness.

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How have you overcome setbacks in your career?

There are times when it’s difficult to deal with the career aspects of art-making, especially in a society that prizes money-making above all else. But I recall that the opportunity to make art is a privilege. Having a voice in our society through art even more so, and as such a responsibility. In my practice, the concern is not with the finished piece but the experience of art-making. For me each piece is like a journey – and I feel a responsibility to share that with my audience.

The act of drawing expands outward into other parts of my life. Whatever happens, is part of the larger journey of trying to be in the moment. This attitude is in part informed by my AS, which has forced me to deal with physical limitations. Despite treatment, it’s a disease that waxes and wanes and so the other shoe is always about to drop.

Tessa Miller wrote recently in the New York Times about having a chronic disease that “…your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore and a future version that looks different than you’d planned.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/smarter-living/five-things-i-wish-i-knew-chronic-illness-crohns-disease-ibd.html)

And maybe that’s the source of my current fascination with the nude – to capture the artist and model in such a fleeting moment so that the four-hour session endures. Despite inherent fragility.

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What are you up to in 2019? Anything we should be on the lookout for?

My solo exhibition pal•imp•set(2): bearing traces of earlier forms currently on exhibit at 
MS Rezny Gallery is an exciting event for me as it is my first solo show in my new home town, Lexington, Kentucky. Seventeen recent works will be on display through March 30.

A two-person show at the Lexington Art League tentatively titled The Present of Things Past will be on view July 26 – August 23. This exhibition of figurative work by myself and Brandon C. Smith should have interesting juxtapositions and intersections. Brandon and I both run life drawing sessions here in Lexington. His on Thursday nights at the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts and my Sunday afternoon in my studio.

Two somewhat unusual pieces will be on display at the One Shot exhibition at Manifest Gallery March 8-April 5 in Cincinnati, OH. This show features works done in one sitting and my works on paper generally evolve over time. These two pieces came together in one session.

My work is also included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, available mid-2019.

An interview with images is currently live on http://voyagechicago.com/interview/art-life-martin-beck/

Please visit https://www.spondylitis.org/ for more information about Ankylosing Spondylitis and related chronic arthritic diseases.

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Michael Reedy
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Michael Reedy currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and teaches drawing at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Art & Design. His work has been included in over 150 national and international exhibitions and can be viewed in numerous private and institutional collections, including Clatsop Community College, Minot State University, Shippensburg University, and the Hoffman Trust National Collection in association with the San Diego Art Institute. Notable recent creative activities include a two-person exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and solo exhibitions at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia and Helikon Gallery in Denver, Colorado. He will also have work featured in Spoke Art’s upcoming publication The Moleskine Project Vol. 2, Manifest Gallery’s 12th International Drawing Annual, and Hi-Fructose Presents: The Art of the Mushroom.

Statement

The majority of my work these days tend to exist within the framework of a Memento mori (Latin: "remember that you have to die"), as I often employ skulls and other objects that serve as a warning or reminder of death. However, these images are often imbued with a degree of sarcastic self-awareness and “woe is me” self-pity. Clip-art Cherubs giving us the bird, vomiting demons, skull babies, floating brains, and organ ghosts become central to the grand spectacle that is called getting older – and not wanting to! When combined with an alien landscape full of hypno-spirals, cascading vortexes, and black holes - we find ourselves transported to another plane that is seriously trying to not take itself too seriously. This point-of-tension between hope and despair, humor and pain, and living and dying is infinitely interesting to me – and represents my mindset every time I look in the mirror and see another grey hair.

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Lael Burns
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Artist Statement

Drawing from my personal spiritual experiences and daily life as a mother, my work investigates the way playful craft materials such as glitter, fabric, and pompoms can be manipulated with other fine art components as a means of exploring connections between the visceral, graphic, sublime, and carnal. The organic forms I describe are synthetically adorned organs, wombs, and hearts that display the external evidence of internal rebirth and are a physical manifestation of things intangible and infinite.  

I utilize material and sensory experience as a means to explore meaning. Material is worked until there is a shift into another realm: fabric becomes flesh, a sack, or an embryo, pins become candy, paint becomes a skin of strawberry ice-cream or bubblegum, a pom-pom becomes a microorganism or disease. My work strives to have a visceral presence by virtue of formal aesthetics, often riding the line between what is beautiful, grotesque and delicious.  This speaks to various dichotomies I often reference in my work, such as light and dark, spirit and flesh.

 Bio

Lael earned her BFA from Southern Methodist University and her MFA from the University of Iowa, both with a concentration in painting and minor concentrations in printmaking and sculpture. She exhibits of her work extensively both locally and nationally. Her work has been written about in Peripheral Vision Arts Salon 2017, Studio Visit Magazine, Art Habens Contemporary Review, and on the International Fine Arts Fund and Create! Magazine blog. Lael has taught at the secondary and college level and currently lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband and children.

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Jenniffer Omaitz
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Jenniffer Omaitz (b. 1979, Cleveland, OH) lives in Kent, OH and works in Kent and Cleveland. She holds an M.F.A. in painting from Kent State University and a B.F.A. in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Sculpture Center, Cleveland; Sandy Carson Gallery, Denver; and Kent State University, Hinterland, Denver, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Her work was also featured at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver, Fresh Paint at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati (2017), CAN Triennial in Cleveland 2018 and recently was awarded a fellowship residency with the Akron Soul Train. 

Statement:

Our urban and geographic environment is in a constant state of transformation. My work explores states of change between order and chaos that relate to the visual experience of environmental shift. Painting and Installation Art are modes of communicating our sensitivity to environmental factors; these practices provide me with a cadence and context through which to express ideas. My installations explore order/chaos theory by invoking abstraction through the juxtaposition of technology, architecture, and nature colliding. Paintings are a meditation on movement, color, permutation, and gesture; boundary coordinates operating between space and color.

My paintings explore ideas of Fold, Gesture and Movement. These are approached in two ongoing series: Solid Movement and Folding Gesture. Solid Movement is an investigation into gesture and its ability to encapsulate time and psyche, fuse internal and external, and record conceptual state changes in solidified form. Folding Gesture explores changes in spatial order that appear fractured or fragmented. These states can remain calm or reconfigure coherence in the painting. I am interested in the connection between a fold as it relates to architecture or design and gesture as it relates to aspects of drawing and 20th century painting. This series struggles to define beauty, exploring abstraction as incident and artifact of the process in which paint is applied, exposing interior and exterior spaces that may not coexist. There is a constant struggle between surface and ground, between paint and the boundaries within the painting. This series of work attempts to unify my sculptural endeavors with my interests in painting.

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Fukuko Harris
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Fukuko Harris was born and raised in Tokyo, and she currently lives and works in New York City and Montauk, NY.  She received her MFA from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture after studying at Parsons School of Design and Marymount College. Her paintings, sculpture and works on paper have been exhibited in numerous two-person and group shows around the US, including at The Painting Center, in New York, City; Trestle Gallery and 440 Gallery, in Brooklyn; Marquee Projects Gallery, in Bellport, NY; Gestalt Projects, in Santa Monica, CA; Vivid Space, in San Diego, CA; Chabot Fine Arts in Providence, RI; and The southern Nevada Museum of Fine Arts, in Las Vegas, NV. Harris’s work has been featured and reviewed in a number of publications, such as Art Slant, ArtMaze, Fresh Paint Magazine, Hamptons Art Hub, and Two Coats of Paint, and she has received several prestigious awards, including the New York Studio School’s Hohenberg Travel Grand and. Her works are featured in many private collections, as well as in the permanent collection of The Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Arts.

Statement

Generally non-representational, my works convey something I have witnessed, sensed, or otherwise experienced in my lifetime. I might start from an idea or image of a structure, conceptual or physical, or sometimes from a mood. I begin by working intuitively with a few colors in mind, and then explore compositional or structural possibilities with more forms and colors, or by various arrangements of my preferred marks. Sometimes it's simply the accumulation of materials that leads me along.

 In my paintings and works on paper, I don't start with plans or ideas of what they will look like in the end. My goal is to be able to take a ride into the unknown space. It does not always happen, but when it does, unexpected and accidental things occur along the way, often leaving my artworks looking curious, inexplicable, or awkward.

I prefer organic forms and imperfect lines. I often choose bright and vivid colors along with monotones and various kinds of marks. I like to employ pattern-like elements in my mark making. My lines vary from wide to fine, or from gestural to quite controlled, and they always have a manual aspect. When my marks are gestural, the gestures are calm. When they're controlled, they’re not sharply delineated. I also frequently use collage applications in my smaller paintings on canvas, or in my works on paper. For these, I like to incorporate pieces of patterned textiles, repurposed canvas or paper cutouts. Such pieces break the bounds of the picture plane or provide an overall irregular shape to the whole surface. Often these works become wall sculptures.

In my sculptures, I am still driven by color and shape, but it's predominantly the extra dimension that unites these elements. I make my own objects or use found ones, and materials might include clay, plaster, paper, wire, fabric, yarn, wood or various recyclables. I then cut, paint or modify them. The materials are often small, and at times I like to work on these pieces in relation to each other. I build shapes upon shapes and materials upon materials until the objects seem to attain their own identity in the sculpture. As in my paintings and other works, the colors are often very bright. 

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Jihyun Ra
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Artist Statement

Most of my artwork subjects (and my favorite artwork subjects) are artifacts: tree trunks, rocky mountains, and elephants, all things with rough texture. So I thought I just liked texture, simple. But the more I painted, the more I recognized the meaning of what I wanted to capture in my artwork. I discovered I was painting the Earth. The Earth I think is the most essential material of my nostalgic childhood past, the present, and the future.

When I was young, the earth was my toy and the medium of my creations like dollhouses and pottery. While others saw just rocks and dirt, I saw the wonderful possibilities to explore. The earth had so much texture and endless amounts of color. I get that same childhood delight when I’m getting ready to paint, specifically when I pour and mix colors and put lace on the canvas. It is such a joyful experience even though it may look uninteresting. It gives me that warm feeling that I have added the needed bedrock for my painting.

In the present, it is the world we live in. Life can get hard and can become a real struggle, but from that emerges a kind of harmony. For the past eight years, I’ve made the US my home and have noted the wide range of lifestyles, cultures, religions, and ethnicities. It really is a multicultural country yet there exists a glimpse of harmonious balance. This harmony is not born from taking the easy path. Expressing that through painting of objects assembled with quilt-like patches of patterned fabric is also not easy and requires a lot patience and perseverance.

www.rajihyun.com

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