Posts in Issue XVII
Metaphorical Landscapes by Madeline Peckenpaugh
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Madeline Peckenpaugh was born in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island. She has had two solo shows with Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, and has exhibited with Avery Galleries, PA, Gross McCleaf Gallery, PA, Schmidt/ Dean Gallery, PA, Sol Koffler Gallery, and Gelman Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. She has work in the permanent collection of the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA, along with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Peckenpaugh received her BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2015, and is currently an MFA painting candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design.


My paintings are depictions of metaphorical landscapes, created through the force and tension of nature and material. The illusion of space within each painting is interrupted by the materials being used, and the narrative of the image is found through the process of that exploration. The landscape is felt through various forces of nature, such as: life-cycles, transitional states of weather, and gravity.

The mind’s depiction of form and reality unfold through the various mark making, in an attempt to create an engaging space. This space is being constructed by echoes of former representations that might suggest or feel like an experience of nature. It is important for me to be conscious of  the physical object of the painting itself, and the removed space within the painting, it's here and not here.

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Inner Worlds: Interview with Tanner Mothershead
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Tanner Mothershead is a midwestern born artist. He attended undergraduate school at the Northwest Missouri State University before going on to attain his MFA at the University of Iowa with an emphasis in ceramics and minors in painting and sculpture. He has exhibited work at NCECA and published in New American Paintings

A driving force in the creation of his work is a desire to make sense of both people and place. The work stems from a fascination with the human mind's ability to interpret, transform, and create the world around it. Much of the work formed acts as an apparatus for viewing and experiencing a conceptualized inner world in relationship to tangible reality.  His research delves into the functions and meanings of symbolism, spatial relations, and degrees of abstraction. Elements of Jungian psychology, philosophy, and architecture are woven together in these biomorphic surreal narratives.  

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Briefly tell us about your current work.

My current work focuses on the relationship between physical and perceived reality, with an emphasis on the inner worlds people create either for idle pleasure or to escape traumatic experiences. Everyday in the news we hear about mass shootings and are bombarded with senseless acts of violence. I think about events that have happened to the people closest to me as well as a deeply traumatic event in my own life, the dots and lines of happenings and how they connect. The work I make becomes objects of connection. They appear outwardly as fun fantasy worlds with bright color, enticing one to look deeper. Neon doors, steps, and pathways act in contrast to darker, more sinister, elements buried further in.


At first glance your work looks very material based. Can you give us some insight about your use of materials?

I suspend layers of paint and other materials in transparent resin in order to form sculptural paintings. This drive stems from my compulsive desire to give physical form and depth to these imagined spaces; I wish to make more concrete the fact that the mental landscape is just as real as the one we all share. They take the shape of geoded doorways or shards, reminiscent of transitional spaces, as well as how our perceptions of reality build up over time and pressure. Most recently I have begun making them in the form of the midbrain and visual cortexes, the parts of human anatomy linking the eye to the brain. They remain as fragmentary images of places alien to outsiders and have a shallow, ghostly, topographical map stamped on its surface.

Spiritually, I work to embody elements from two notable psychotherapists, who also dabbled in creative practice: Carl Jung, who was a leading pioneer in the understanding of the inner human, and Herman Rorschach, who utilized a delicate balance of pure abstraction to that of recognizable objectivity.


Who in the art community inspires you?

Currently the artists I have found inspiring, and thoroughly enjoyed following their practice, have been Lauren Clay, Michael Reeder, Alex Eckman-Lawn, and Donté K. Hayes.

Floral Ceramics by Liying Zhang

 I am an artist who was born and raised in Beijing, China, now living and working in Chicago and New York, United State. I earned the BFA degree from Beijing University of Technology in 2015. In the same year, I transferred to New York State College of Ceramic in Alfred University, and got the second BFA degree in 2017. I earned MFA degree at School of the Art institute of Chicago in 2019.

My art practice mainly involves ceramics, printmedia, and fiber. In the early time, my subject of art was mainly based on the experiences and feelings from childhood. I have been explaining how the artworks came as confrontation with the past while achieving self-knowledge of the present. Found objects from antique store were used into my works a lot. In my created world, half-memory and half-imagination, everything could happen and change below their surfaces.  

My work also addresses universal emotions. In the recent years, the topic of ritual and making art in healing come to the fist view. I want my artwork could provides the strong atmosphere that can address all of audience relate to the works in one way or another.

 For me ceramics is a magical material allow me to create the ideal 3D from based on  my drawings. Shelter is the latest series of works in my art practice. I aim to create an habitat-like sculpture that have never been seen, also shows a sense of insecurity that I always have toward the surrounding and society around me. The Sculptures also can be seen as an ideal surrealistic miniature construction of hiding place or safe place in my imagination, and help me to chase away anxieties.

Three Dimensional Sculpture by Ling-lin Ku

Ling-lin receive her MFA from University of Texas at Austin in 2019 and BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016. In addition to being an artist Ling-lin has a background in music and law. She has a degree in Law at Taiwan. Ling-lin has been exhibited her work in cities ranging from New York, to Austin and LA, and selected into residencies including International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in Brooklyn and Haystack Open Studio, Maine. In 2019 Ling-lin is one of the four recipients of Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts awarded by the American Austrian Foundation. 


Double life, double play. My work is animistic and uncanny in the same time. I grew up in a culture that celebrates animism; influenced by the Dao belief that every object has a kind of unseen life and energy. Yet In the process of coming into life, uncanny things happen. While combining an enlarged egg-shaped dome with rigid, black raven legs, a narrative of death and birth appears. The tensions and nuance between strange and familiar create an eeriness.

By playing with the expectations of context and collaging parts into hybrids, I create objects that beyond our conventional understandings of the physical world, where seemingly familiar things can have alternate identities. Employing digital scanning and modeling is a way to jump into my own three-dimensional rabbit hole where I can precisely distort recognizable forms to re-assign their identities through hybridizing, recomposing, altering materials and hyperbolic scale shifts.

Illusionistic Environments by Katie Neece

Katie Neece (b. 1989) is an artist and educator living and working in South Bend, Indiana. Katie is a third year MFA candidate in Painting at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She graduated with her undergraduate degree in drawing and painting and a minor in art history from Indiana University, South Bend. She also works at the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame as program coordinator for summer high school educational programs for aspiring art students.


Using traditional oil painting techniques that rely on nuanced physical touch and demanding material execution, my work incorporates imagery from computer graphics software programs and related digital ephemera. I create an artificial pictorial space using gradients, drop shadows, and flat areas to construct an illusionistic environment­ within the conventions of the screen and digital manifestations of space. Choosing to paint the digital constructions draws attention to both advancements in technology and the advancements in the historical trajectory of painting.

I use the pictorial language of geometric abstraction among the early 20th century European avant-garde, while simultaneously focusing on 90’s American mall aesthetic as a site to incorporate these forms as a reference to an inherent optimism in a utopian future that has continually failed to materialize. This re-contextualization is an attempt to illustrate that the past continually reminds us of the future’s failure in the form of haunting.

Gina DeCagna
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Originally from the New York metro area, Gina DeCagna is a London-based cultural producer, creating interdisciplinary installations inspired by architecture, language and literature, semiotics, and philosophy to engage with time, space, and consciousness. Through research-driven methodologies and cultural investigations, she creates and curates cross-genre writing, intertextual media, and interdisciplinary publications or exhibitions in and beyond gallery spaces.  

She is pursuing her MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London and is a 2019 Venice Biennale Fellow under the British Council. DeCagna has shown in solo and group exhibitions in London, New York, Philadelphia, and forthcoming Venice. She studied English, Creative Writing and Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, where she founded, edited, and directed a publication and community of over four hundred collaborating artists and writers known as Symbiosis (2012–2016).


Humble in construction, cardboard pleats yield an unexpected sense of architectural strength. The corrugation — its dips, folds, and contracted, undulating wrinkles in time — arouse a precarious sense of empowerment for the public citizen, enabling our usage to become the most commonplace consumerism within late capitalist society. On regular recycling collection days in London — and likewise in many metropolitan depos across the western world — one frequently encounters the neighbourhood’s accumulated cardboard stacks sprawled in bundles on curbs, bagged with other rubbish, or deposited within large metal cages ready for collection. Cardboard is the medium used by the disempowered, the homeless, and the suffering for fickle protection and shelter; historically, ‘shanty towns’ have disquieted us with the ramifications of gross income inequality. Have things changed so much today in the age of neoliberalism, or have the inequalities simply been made less visible due to the shuffling of waste? How much are we obscuring the excesses of our consumption? These installations demonstrate the capaciousness of waste.

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Paintings of Daily Life by Hiejin Yoo
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Los Angeles-based Hiejin Yoo’s (b. 1987) work will be exhibited at Half Gallery, NY; Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, FL and she has exhibited at ltd Los Angeles, CA; Smart Objects, CA and Nicodim Gallery, CA. Her work is recently included in Hort Family Collection in New York.Yoo earned an M.F.A. at University of California Los Angeles (2018) and a B.A from Seoul Women’s University, and a Post Baccalaureate/B.F.A from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

My paintings are an  intimate  journal  and  meditations  on  self-discovery.  They grow from journal entries and the world around me. I keep a brief diary of daily life, and it is  the  everyday,  mundane  things  that  inspire  me  most.  Each painting contains things that remind me of my personal experience and has a story that I want to tell, so I zoom in to the focal point and crop the parts that I don’t need. The traces of my memories show that I have enjoyed a remarkable life. I strive to make each of my paintings a reflection of my perception of the moment.  Since these ordinary moments  have  been  so  strongly etched  on  my  consciousness,  each  moment  of  my  life  becomes  an  event  and  a  personal history  as  soon  as  I  express  my  daily  life  as  a  painting.  The memories are  telling me something about what I remember in my life when I work and interact with them.

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Eccentric Drawings and Textiles by Hilary Hubanks
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Hilary Hubanks is an Illustrator and Textile Artist who creates bright, eccentric drawings and textiles. Originally from the Midwest, she takes much of her inspiration from her open-minded upbringing and her close relationship to nature. She now lives and works in New York City, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. The work she is currently producing in her studio focuses on extraterrestrial life and the impact it may have on humanity.


Growing up in rural Southern Wisconsin without any formal organized religion, I became interested in nature, fantasy, magical creatures, and the supernatural as a means of explaining the world around me. I would invent stories about fairies, monsters, ghosts, and aliens to explain why the world was the way it was. These stories became my own personal religion. As I got older and learned more about science and the universe, I began to imagine how the Earth and its inhabitants came to be, and what kind of aliens may have influenced our beginnings. This blossomed into an obsession with extraterrestrial life, including how it would look, behave, and think.

 Visions of Indigo is a body of work that explores my infatuation with outer space, extraterrestrial life, and the influence that aliens may have had on ancient cultures and the cultivation of human society. After experiencing Machu Picchu in 2015 and seeing the ruins there I was convinced that ancient people had in fact interacted with these beings long ago, and felt it was my calling to create art based on what that alien culture might look like if we found remnants of it today. Created using collaged paper on wood panels, I arranged the pieces in Visions of Indigo to look like a shrine, acting as devotional art to this fabricated alien culture.  

Aesthetically, Visions of Indigo has a maximalist look, combining many different colors, textures, and patterns into each piece. This reflects my background in print design and my love of mixing different patterns in my apparel work and my own wardrobe. The mixed media aesthetic also reflects my cultural inspirations. I have studied ancient tribal art to help gain an understanding of how these societies that could have interacted with a possible alien race. I have implemented a combination of visual aspects from these cultures including color palettes, figure shapes, ornamentation, and symbols to create a culture that is all my own.

 Bringing my fascination with aliens and outer space to life through Visions of Indigo has been a difficult but rewarding process, and acts as a finale to the fantastical stories that I began creating more than a decade ago. It has given me a stronger idea of who I am, what I value, and has opened a portal to the kind of art that I want to create well into the future.

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Monochromatic Sculptural Assemblages by Iren Tete
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Iren Tete is Visiting Faculty and Artist in Residence at Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, Canada. She graduated in May 2019 with an MFA in Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska). Iren attended the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA) where she received a BS in Kinesiology and Health Sciences. She equally calls Sofia, Bulgaria and Washington, D.C. home.

Iren has received multiple grants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that have supported her practice and research. During the summer of 2017 she was able to further her study of Brutalist theory and architecture through a residency at the Zentrum fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany. Iren has also completed residencies at the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) and the Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis, MN).


Bridging language and poetic suggestion, my work functions as visual poems of communication. Each element -
                                               a sculptural skein drawing
                                               a precariously balanced structure
                                               a lattice serving as a screen 
– is a stanza, a necessary part to understanding the full sculptural poem. These compositions of repeated elements are driven by my desire to address visual and emotional notions of memory, time, and fragility.

I utilize a primarily monochromatic color palette in my sculptural assemblages. I have established my own peculiar theory of colors that affects my conceptual and formal decisions.

White is emptiness.
        It is a beginning, waiting patiently to uncover the endless possibilities that await it.
Black is strength.
        It’s the end of the day, a journey fulfilled.
Desaturated pinks and yellows suggest the memory of a feeling or thought.
        Bleached by the sun’s rays, the vibrancy of their color is now a memory.

The clay’s color is prominent in compositional elements such as the sculptural knots that I refer to as skeins. The skeins are pink, yellow, black, and white moments that fill the lattices. Their amorphous silhouettes introduce a nonlinear element that challenges the visual cadence of the structured groupings. They are three-dimensional drawings. Drawings of memory. Drawings of time. Their forms are curving, folding, stretching and retreating. I place the skeins one by one in the lattice structures. Although seemingly intuitive, the arrangement is controlled. My specificity when composing elements stems from my desire to control a moment, thought, or memory while accepting the inevitable loss of control that defines existence.

My work is an exploration of possibility and the transformative power of time. My fascination with the malleable nature of memory is translated into vignettes that reside in the liminal space between solidity and fragility. Their rigidity, structure, and stillness is directly linked to my desire to create monolithic forms that seem solid and lasting but that are as susceptible to changing understanding and interpretation as the cultural monuments that mark my upbringing.

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Mixed Media Portraits by Gary Miller
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Raised by parents to never be wasteful and always resourceful, Gary was taught to repurpose and reuse materials to give everything a second life. Taught as a child by my grandmother who was a seamstress in a couturier in London about fabrics, pattern cutting, hand sewing, and embroidery techniques, he practiced endlessly sewing by hand wanting to learn her craft. Gary’s fondness of textiles and artistic skills lead him to art school at 16 and throughout his professional career he has attended weekly life drawing classes in NYC and SF. This has mostly been self-guided life drawing, where he experimented with various pens, inks, pastels, paints, and collage, again making use of what was around him.  Gary is on schedule to graduate with a MFA in Fine Art, painting and Drawing from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.


Gary is influenced predominantly by three things – first are people’s emotions, he finds a person’s face, posture or body that has character more interesting especially when they are expressing their true selves. Secondly color and color theories/combinations have a strong impact on the way a person feels or is perceived and as seasonal color palettes are a part of my everyday life. Lastly, he is drawn to different styles and techniques – this covers all dry and wet medium as well as textile and experimental processes.

Gary is working on a series of colorful mixed-media exaggerated and dynamically composed portraits using regular and camera distorted images. The images he creates as inspiration are derived from the feeling of the everyday confrontational portraiture, power, dominance, submissive, perception, arrogance or condescending attitudes.  Each of his paintings would consist of a combination of a tape, line drawing, acrylic and oil painting techniques, found objects, wire, flat surfaces, and textiles all combined in a dynamic portrait that has emotion and character. A dominant Analogous color story will used with washes and saturated areas of high key tints and mutes balanced with a foundation of neutral.  He combines wet and dry mixed media techniques to create an image that is part drawing, painting and surface textile application.

The textiles and techniques applied complement the colors used in the portrait. All appliques, are treated and applied to the canvas using archival techniques. Gary has always collected beaded and sequin appliques and fabric that are used to bring an unexpected quality to a portrait. He sees this not only as source of inspiration but also as re purposing a beautifully crafted piece of work and valuing the craft and knowledge that it took to make these works.

Gary’s paintings are on wood panels and canvas and very in scale from life size to oversized with the idea that in a gallery setting you look up or down on a piece or that the work is looking up or down at you engaging the viewer in a meaningful way.   These initial works are the beginning of a series of figurative/portraits that will develop and take on more subversive subject matter.  What is pretty on the outside is founded in an analysis of self-exploration.

Ceramics Questioning Contemporary Expectations of Clay by Elyse Grams
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Elyse Grams is a ceramic artist based in Portland, Maine. Hand building earthenware coil vessels in the style of Victorian era Wedgewood pottery she is questioning contemporary expectations of clay by remixing histories, old and new. Elyse was recently a fellow at the Artist Campaign School, a conference dedicated to involving more artists directly in the political process. She has shown work in group and solo shows in Texas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Maine. Elyse is a current MFA candidate at the Maine College of Art.


Ceramic history stretches out behind me like the line of a coil, plastic and uneven. The clay rolls beneath my fingertips and here and now the coils begin to build. I look to the specific shapes of Wedgewood pottery to ground myself but the coil, one of the most basic building blocks of a pot, always calls me back. I am a vessel building a vessel. I am plastic and uneven.

Wedgewood pottery fascinates me both as  objects that are a Frankenstein mish-mash of culturally appropriated signifers and as historically fetishized domestic heirlooms passed down from mother to daughter. Through the re-creation of these pots using red clay and coils I am questioning long held expectations of ceramic material worth, process, and form. I am challenging the value judgements made on earthenware vessels and their traditional place in the hierarchy of fine art. What is “technically wrong” becomes an open dialogue through time between myself and the ceramic histories I draw from.

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Colorful and Textured Paintings Claire Whitehurst
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Claire Whitehurst is an artist living and working in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is teaching and pursuing her MFA in Painting at the University of Iowa. She was born in Louisiana and raised in Mississippi, earning her BFA at the University of Mississippi, and a Post Baccalaureate degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, PA. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States, and abroad in France and Germany. She has permanent public commissioned installations in Jackson, Mississippi, and in St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She received the Stanley Foundation Grant for International Research to study the formal and sculptural qualities of cave paintings in the Dordogne region of France. Her work explores the liminality between physical and psychological relationships of sense and emotion, the characteristics within the surface of objects as a mythology, and the possibility of narrative through an object’s formal qualities.



Suspended in a state between representation and abstraction, my pictures rely on the surfaces from which they appear for context inside of a structure of color, texture, and symbol. The surfaces often dictate the images that are produced – leaving some room for a sense of autonomy. I’m interested in the boundaries of clarity and misunderstanding, and how those boundaries react to our reliance on the arrangements of symbols and characteristics inside of our own of logic and sense-making. The psychic distance between a viewer and an object can change and pivot depending on what associations their environments provide at any point in time. The tertiary space that follows where logic and idea manipulate is where I’m most interested and engaged. The possibility for an image to confuse and describe simultaneously is what I want out of the images I make.

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Textured Paintings by Caoimhe Diamond
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Caoimhe Diamond is a visual artist from Northern Ireland who specializes in painting. She graduated from Bachelors of Fine Art at University of Ulster, Belfast in 2017 and went on to complete her MFA also at University of Ulster in 2019. 

I see Painting as a platform for decoration and the layered application of paint itself becomes a vital accessory to my surface. Areas of My Paintings have been brushed on, sprayed on, pipped on or exist as a premade paint texture. The impulse to decorate or embellish and find pleasure in materials when it comes to space-filling is something I relate to in my painting process and compositions. I use references from the media, aspects of myself and of people I know to reflect personal aesthetic. It is the emotional response to the materiality of paint that I find interesting and understand what it is like to hoard in everyday life. I find it compelling that recreations of paint forms can gain added value based of personal labour and through its unique qualities as I sometimes “personalize mass produced objects”.  I see knick-knack accessories, clothing, lucky numbers and common phrases as an extension of someone.

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