Posts in Studio Sundays!
Studio Sunday: Samantha Morris

It’s Sunday and you know what that means - another behind-the-scenes look at one of the artists from our community! This week we’re so excited to be sharing a brief interview with Samantha Morris, who we’ve had the pleasure of working with on our very first exhibition with PxP Contemporary.

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Bio

Samantha Morris was born in 1995 and grew up in Madison, Connecticut; she now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Morris graduated from The University of the Arts in 2017 with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing. In addition, she will begin her graduate studies in the MFA Fine Arts program at Pratt Institute in September 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include:  Kanna Rými, Listhús Gallery in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland; and BFA Thesis Exhibition, The Space Between, The University of the ArtsSelected group exhibitions include Black and White, Site:Brooklyn, Practice: In Progress, NARS Foundation, and Space Invaders, Fountain Street Gallery among others. Morris’ work has been published in FreshPaint Magazine, Opción Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine, and Underground Pool.

Statement

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. The seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life, one light shining through the square of a window frame, or the corner of a plant casting shadow on glass. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. I feel immersed, traveling through such spaces. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?I have been passionate about art for as long as I can remember. I knew that it was what I wanted to pursue, which led me to earn my BFA from University of the Arts. There, I was able to develop my artistic practice that now informs the work I create today.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

Right now I have a studio at NARS (New York Artist Residencies and Studios) in Brooklyn, NY. The most important aspect of my studio is having expansive wall space. I’m currently working on large wooden panels directly on the wall, which gives me the ability to step back and view my paintings from a distance. It’s also very important for me to have reference material surrounding me in the studio. This can range from drawings, collages, photos, and film stills, all of which inform my work.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your paintings.

In my artwork, I focus on the idea of an individual traveling through a space; exploring place through architecture and landscape, abstracted through line, shadow pattern, contrast, and negative space. I am interested in dynamics, what can and can’t be seen. Influenced by photography and film, my work investigates the stillness of night; the frozen moments before something happens. It exists in the “in between”, the time when your eyes adjust to the contrast of natural illuminated light and the depth of darkness. The work is influenced by Scandinavian architecture, from experiences in Iceland and Norway. Each piece has reference to an environment, while existing in its own space.

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What is your process like? Do you do a lot of sketching or make work more intuitively?

All of the work I create comes from places I have experienced first-hand. I start by using photography as documentation and reference, then drawing and collage to explore composition and space, which then translates into paintings on panel. I pay attention to the differences between being in an actual physical space, experiencing a photograph of that place, and then finally creating, and experiencing that space through a form of rendered imagery such as painting or drawing.

Do your works often undergo a lot of changes before you consider them complete? How long does a piece take?

I have found that painting with oil on panel most successfully captures the concept of the work. It allows me to build passages of color through the use of mediums and thin transparent layering. Through this process, a sense of internal light emerges from the work. Changes occur throughout the act of making, and painting in this way can take weeks, working in layers and accounting for drying times. I consider a painting complete when the space is compelling, and asks the viewer to enter into it through the depths of light and dark within the subtle differences in tone and value.

Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I am showing work in the exhibition Collage, at Site:Brooklyn from June 14th - July 13th in Brooklyn, NY, as well as Paperworks, at b.j spoke gallery in Huntington, NY from August 1st - 28th in Huntington, NY. I will also be exhibiting work in the MFA Welcome Back Show at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY from September 16th - October 10th.

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Studio Sunday: Huy Lam
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We hope that you’re enjoying your weekend! Here’s a new Studio Sunday feature with Huy Lam, who was selected for issue 15 and is also one of the invited artists for PxP Contemporary’s first exhibition! Read on to learn more about his work and process, then don’t forget to check out his available sculptures in “Pilot”.

Huy Lam is a multi-disciplinary artist. He was an aspiring painter when he was young but fell in love with photography when he was introduced to the darkroom in high school. After graduating from the Humber College Photography Program, he spent several years working as an assistant and traveled around the world honing his skills while shooting personal projects. Huy then worked as a professional photographer for over a decade in commercial advertising and has recently started to explore other creative outlets along with his photography work. Some of this includes his original love for painting and drawing, but his new passion is working with wood, for its natural, diverse, and malleable qualities. With the focus on employing reclaimed or recycled materials, his work includes custom furniture, lighting, and sculptures.

Statement

Touching the Void

The unexpected intersections of our lives have always fascinated me, how our disparate trajectories collide and create causal shockwaves across time and space. Although linearity exists neither in life nor in nature, the human mind nonetheless attempts to impose perfection upon an imperfect world. This series of wood sculptures with metal inlays explores that paradoxical impulse, as stark lines penetrate the natural flow of wood grain in an attempt to bring order to a random milieu. Just as I have carved out these paths in wood, collectively we strive to make our mark by blazing bright trails in a dark, dynamic universe. 

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

I've been told by grade school friends that I use to draw pictures and give it to them as gifts. We immigrated to Canada when I was 9 years old and because I didn't know any english, I think I did this as a way to communicate and make friends. I've always wanted to be a painter and even took private oil painting classes with a tutor in my early teens but got into photography when my brother bought a camera. My passion for photography eventually led me to a career as a professional photographer, something I still do a little bit of today. But drawing and painting was always close and I've always had an interest in making things with my hands, whether that was diorama models or woodworking. The work I am doing today is a result of wanting to explore other ways to express ideas and using different materials like wood which is such a malleable and fun material to work with.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

Like most major cities in NA where real estate and studio spaces are very expensive, my current studio is in my parents garage about an hours drive outside Toronto. It's working out really nicely because my parents are aging and this allows me to visit them more but most importantly, the act of preparing to go to the studio puts my mind and intentions into a creative space. That intention to create and enjoy the process is so fulfilling and that physical separation from city life means I have very little distractions. The result is usually very productive and when I am back in the city, I get inspired and work on ideas through drawing and doodling.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work.

Besides what I mentioned before, I would also add, in terms of living everyday life, the process of having an idea or goal and going through the process of turning that idea into reality is pretty interesting. It seems like a linear line, a step by step process and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't but most of the time, it's rarely straight forward. It's a weird paradox because we do need some sort of direction but when does the planning become over thinking or procrastination? I think this back and forth is a moving target and we have to adjust our planning for each situation and so my work, the shiny lines are a metaphor of us trying to carve our way into a dynamic shifting world.

What is your process like?

My process is really about trying to bring my inspiration into practice. I do a lot of drawings and doodling and when I have a composition or idea I really like, I want to try and bring it into reality. By the time I get into the studio, I have a general direction as to what I want to create but I leave plenty of room for the process and I really try to enjoy the experience.

What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

This may sound funny because it doesn't really answer the question directly but my advice to my younger self is, when your dentist calls you for a check-up, call them back right away and make an appointment! It's really about dealing with things that needs attending to because avoiding the dentist does not make the situation better over time, ever! In fact it gets exponentially worse in the time spent, money wasted, the pain that could've been avoided and stress. And so I truly believe that by reducing and minimizing these "distractions" our creative juices will inevitably bubble up.

Studio Sunday: Seth Remsnyder

We’re so excited to be bringing you a Studio Sunday feature with Seth Remsnyder!

My current body of work is titled: “Signage”. These are paintings on metal pieces like signs. The paintings are non-representational works focused on color, arrangement and movement. Some are placed on sign posts and installed in the public to play off of the signage that covers our communities. The intent of this body of work is to place serious works of visual art in a public context that deals with the concept of taking notice of the world around us. Signage is intended to grab the attention. So is visual art. The difference is often the context. Why do we so often miss what we are supposed to see when we are out in the world? Is the benefit of visual art in the public space the benefit of helping us remember how to see? I propose that it is. My current work aims to play off of the concept of signage to confront the public with visual art work in the public spaces that we traverse and all too often ignore. Perhaps most important is the basic idea that works such as these hold the possibility of brightening the days of the residents of our communities.

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

I became interested in art when I was about 9 or so? I liked to draw well before that but my Mom stashed a little post Impressionism/Impressionism catalogue in her magazine rack and I saw a painting by Vincent van Gogh called “Stairway at Auvers” and I was blown away. I tried to paint a lot after seeing that. I think I know how to say it better now than I could have when I was younger but I looked at “Stairway at Auvers”, it was unreal, almost cartoonish in a very good way, but also, so real, so tangible, and dense that I felt like I was there with him. I never thought a picture could make me feel as strongly as that one did. I still get chills when I look at it. If you’re reading this, look it up.

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We love that your work is so bold and colorful. Can you tell us about what inspires you and what inspired your series of metal painted signs specifically?

Well, van Gogh absolutely drove me to just go after color and to not be afraid of it so I think that was very formative for my approach to a palette... Perception is such an important part of life... attentiveness to what is going on around us or passing us by, and with my current body of work I am really getting a lot of imagination material from horizons that I see. Sunsets and sunrises and the stuff of life that’s kind of all crammed underneath the skyline is what I imagine most when I’m painting the lines in my work. So, if I see a certain gradient in the sky I try to amplify it a little as a backdrop for the lines I’m painting. I also just tend to think in masses of color so sometimes I just spray down a color and stare at it for a while and see what it reminds me of or what other colors it calls to mind. It never ceases to amaze me the way our minds make connections to certain colors. Another inspiration for the motifs, the lines and the compositions I’m making with them, is a sort of visualization of relationships. We travel along through life with other people, cross paths etc. and so I’m often painting two lines at a time together and then basing the rest of a piece off of those interactions. I think that we think of life in a very linear way... I don’t means straightforward, but rather, the concept in general. I think we all tend to see ourselves going through life in a kind of GPS kind of way. We imagine ourselves going places and we think of life as a path and that concept really interests me. I think lines are really an endlessly interesting motif.

What is your process like?

My process has changed a lot with the current work I’m doing. Spray paint and air brush removes a certain kind of control that I had spent a lot of time developing with a brush and I am really enjoying that. It has helped me forget myself in an important way. I was always very emotionally connected to the brush, the romance of an expressionist stroke runs deep with me so detaching myself from the work with spray has helped me think more clearly about my paintings. I’m more in tune with the formal elements now I think. Process is a strange thing... it always has to start with something metaphysical, as in, what got me working on a given day... and then its a matter of either improvising or trying to fulfill a plan. With my public work I’m really focusing on a certain kind of place to put my work. I want them to be in spaces that are easily visible but neglected. We don’t always see what we’re supposed to see when we’re out and about and we could probably go on all day about why that is but this work is meant to just go straight at a solution to that... namely, putting serious paintings in a signage form and trying to snag the eyes of passers by. I pay more attention to my world when I think I might be missing art along the way.

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Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

My current studio is on the first floor of my house. I love it. It’s fairly well lit and my family is around. I don’t need much space right now but I am really grateful for what I have... right now at least it’s more than enough.  Music is important to me, I kind of like everything. I do sometimes like to paint without it because the background noise of my kids watching Scooby Doo Where Are You or the old Batman TV show is such a happy kind prof background noise to me. Or, they’ll get caught up in such a good little kid jam session just playing some imaginary game together, my seven year old daughter playing with my three year old is the sweetest noise I can think of. They’re pretty hilarious too so I just listen to them and laugh while I work. One thing I definitely need is a pot of coffee. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for too many years now and that’s my need I guess.

What is your favorite thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing about being as artist is the way that it has helped me learn to use my eyes. I’ve been really fortunate to pursue my Masters Degree in painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design over the past few years and I think the most important skill I’m leaving there with is a vastly improved ability to take notice of my world, the ability to really use my eyes and take things in. I’m so glad for that. I think it’s also helped me sharpen my memories too. I can remember colors from my childhood better now. I know that sounds strange but I think it’s true.

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Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

The big things going on for me right now: I graduate on Friday, May 31st!! I’ll be in Savannah to walk and get my degree! Who knows, maybe I’ll leave some signage behind too... My thesis exhibition is in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, June 7 at Gallery Edit on Broad Street and I’m excited to install this show. Last but not least, my wife and I added our fourth child to our family at the end of April!  His name is Hank and he’s the sweetest little guy. Mom and baby are both doing well. Oh yeah, getting picked up by PxP of course. Grateful.

Browse Seth’s available works with PxP Contemporary.

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Studio Sunday: María Guzmán of Austère & Crudo Atelier
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I recently had the chance to speak with Costa Rican fashion & textile designer María Guzmán in her studio, which is housed in a beautifully quaint Victorian-style residence in San Jose that she inherited from her grandmother. She is the brains behind Austère, a women-run and eco-conscious brand of swimwear and elevated basics. Built from her background working in the fashion industry in both Argentina and Europe, María’s company will be celebrating its fifth year in business come October. Having lived abroad for a number of years, she returned to Costa Rica around nine years ago. Not exactly sure of what she would do next, but certain that she was tired of working for companies that didn’t meet her standards for sustainability, she first lived at the beach and dove into painting. María’s creativity eventually led her to design dresses. Then, after a friend helped her connect the idea of incorporating her paintings into her work, she started making colorfully printed swimsuits as well.

It is clear early on in our conversation that art is an integral part of her business. The prints used in María’s bikinis and one-piece bathing suits come from her own sketches and gouache paintings that she then finalizes on the computer. Looking closely at the fabrics, you notice the deliberate choices of her various color palettes. Bright and fun without being too flashy, she explains the inspiration behind each pattern, calling one ‘feminist camouflage’ and saying that others were inspired by contemporary art or the environment. Like mini abstract paintings, each piece that María makes is unique as much as it is comfortable, functional, and sustainable.


Apart from her fashion design work, however, María also runs a second business called Crudo Atelier. From her same spacious studio, she holds weekend workshops in Costa Rica where small groups take classes such as hand lettering, embroidery, or how to make natural dyes. Now three years old, Crudo Atelier was initially a way for María to share her creative skills with others. It has grown since then, with her moving away from teaching and instead inviting new specialists to diversify the offering of classes. One of the aspects of these workshops that she loves most is the idea of creating community. Like-minded creatives meet each other through her platform and have gone on to continue working together afterwards. She also mentions that students have started projects based on the work they first produced at Crudo Atelier.

As focused as she is on her own businesses, she has an equal interest in paving the way for the next generation. Besides Crudo Atelier, María also serves on a council with the local chamber of commerce and the contemporary art and design museum along with ten other representatives. With this group, she seeks to build out more resources for designers of all types in Costa Rica and additional opportunities to show and sell their work. With stores in the area taking high commissions on locally produced items, especially those created by women, she hopes that this task force can put together more fairs or similar events and spaces that allow makers to have direct access to new customers.

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With so many things going on already, it’s hard to imagine María having time to do much else! However, she’s also currently working on an an ecommerce website to make her collections available beyond the few local and international stores where her items are currently sold. In addition, she’s begun the process of designing low-impact handbags made from wood and wool fibers alongside her other pieces. If all goes well, her portfolios will be shown at Satisfactory, a local design popup in San Jose. While she loves her studio space, she’s also in the middle of renovating it to make it more practical for her businesses. Once that is complete, one of her other goals is to eventually utilize it as a gallery for women artists. The space will then be even more of a hub for all of the things that she believes in: building community, creating quality and sustainable designs, and empowering other female artists.

Learn more about Austère by following the brand on Instagram at @austere_atelier or check out Crudo Atelier’s profile at @crudoatelier!

Studio Sunday: Kristen Elizabeth
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We’re bringing back Studio Sundays and this weekend we’re so excited to be introducing you to one of our PxP Contemporary artists, Kristen Elizabeth! Learn more in our interview below and then don’t forget to check our her available works in our premiere exhibition ‘Pilot’, which is currently on view online!

Artist Biography:

Connecticut based artist, Kristen Elizabeth (b.1986) formally educated in Industrial Design, has been developing her unique artistic voice over the past several years. Having grown up on the coast, she is heavily influenced by the sea and the dynamic tension between power and balance that can be observed around us. Her work seeks to draw viewers in through bold movement and a counterbalance of intricate mark making. Her use of a wide variety of materials such as acrylic, graphite, pastel, and more creates a visual statement that can be experienced on multiple levels. In addition to her art, she has been involved in many creative projects including painting a 50ft tall likeness of Lebron James in Harlem's famed Rucker Park, as well as - developed a new logo and fashion illustrations for New York's influential FABB charity event.  Her work has been featured in multiple publications including Create! Magazine, Art Reveal Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.  

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for art. I grew up in a creative family and had practicing artists on both my mother & father’s side. I’ve always had a desire to be creative, but felt I had to be practical. Because of this, I majored in product design and was approaching graduation right at the beginning of the recession in 2008. The career and life I had been envisioning for the past four years all but evaporated, but this allowed me freedom from a traditional path and ultimately set me on the course to where I am today. It’s been quite a ride - with both highs and lows. I hope to express this dynamism that is life through my current and future works.

Describe your current studio or working area. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your creative space?

I currently divide my time between my small home studio and a larger studio space where I run my business, a children's art studio called SplatterBox. My space at home is peaceful, harmonious and filled with the books, art, and music I love. That space allows me to focus on smaller more contained works using mostly watercolors and inks. SplatterBox allows me the room to stretch out and work on larger pieces without worrying about making a mess - hence the name SplatterBox. That said, it can be a challenge! It can often be hectic & stressful but it is also highly rewarding. I was able to not only lead a fulfilling path teaching kids but also re-discover my passion for art amongst all the glitter, unicorns, & beautiful mess.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work.

I really try to absorb my environment. I find the people and places around me to be incredible resources. I’ve found that some series tend to draw from specific experiences, while other inspiration could be found in more ethereal experiences. My ‘Mineral Girl’ series was completely inspired by a trip to the amazing mineral room at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. To contrast that, my ‘Geo Swoosh’ & ‘'The Change’ series took from something much more intuitive and deep within myself. I spent much of my childhood by the sea and observed everything from grey misty mornings to deep dark raging storms. Drawing from these visual memories as well as exploring life experiences I had, helped guide my hand.  You can see this in everything from the large sweeping motions to the tapestry of delicate details and patterns.

What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?

The one piece of advice I would give my younger self is DON’T WAIT. On pessimistic days I might see it as time wasted, but I have had a range of other experiences and challenges that inform my art today. That said, I held back from truly jumping into my art career for many years and wish I had started that path sooner. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, but if you keep delaying and putting it off - you’ll never know what opportunities might come your way.

What are you working on now and for the rest of the year?

Right now I’m coming off of an exciting job working for FABB (The Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball) & can’t seem to stray from creating high contrast fashion illustrations. I’ve found these very cathartic and they allow me to create without the pressure of a series or having any constraints imposed (self or otherwise). I’m happy to say they have enabled me to gain a clear headspace and I now have two new series I’m in the process of designing. Both will be an expansion & evolution of my previous work. As a side note, I have to give a nod to the Podcast - Art & Cocktails - for the invaluable information learned while listening to the episode ‘How To Design A New Series’.

View her collection of available works with PxP Contemporary here!

Studio Sundays: April Zanne Johnson

April Zanne Johnson (b. 1970) is a graduate of Parsons School of Design/The New School for Social Research (1993) and received her M.F.A. at Montclair State University (2013). Her studio is in a rural northwest community in New Jersey.

April's work has been added to the permanent collection of the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center in Brooklyn, NYC. She has work held by several private collectors in Mexico City, New York City, North Carolina, Los Angeles, London and Australia. (Notable collectors including composer Javier Navarrete & actor Perdita Weeks) Honors include; Best of 2013, Saatchi Art, London U.K., curated by Rebecca Wilson, spotlighted in the series: One to Watch.  April was awarded Herhusid Artist Residency in Iceland. She was the Dedalus Foundation Fellowship Nominee as well as the Nominee for Executive Women of New Jersey Graduate Merit Scholarship Award chosen by the Montclair State University graduate faculty (2012,2013). Inka Essenhigh selected April for the Atlantic Center for the Arts Artist Residency in 2015.  In 2016, April was included as an IASAS Founding Member (International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists and Scientists).

Her work has been featured in numerous publications internationally. 

Statement of Artistic Approach

Zanne Johnson is a visual artist who perceives a combination of translucent color fields and patterns with sound and physical sensation. This creates the base for selected color and form development in the work.  The paintings meld neurological phenomena, biomorphic landscape imagery, perceptions in sexuality and a notion of the absurd.  Organic in form, the surfaces are slick and appear wet. 

Select portfolios contain oil paintings on translucent plexiglass and drafting film that deviate from tradition. They are set to stand off from the wall to allow natural light to interact with surface as a sculptural object.  The intention is to engage with the viewer's own neurological predictive coding, provoke questions and generate communication.

Zanne Johnson’s entire body of work revolves around creating multiple parallel planes existing within our own world and plays with fluctuating size and scale.   Reoccurring themes in the work include neurological predictive coding, technology compared to the biological world, and battles in the microscopic landscape. 

Studio photos by Thyra Johnson-Kelly

Studio Sundays: Chloe York

Abstract painter, Chloe York earned her BFA from Memphis College of Art in 2012. She has displayed her work in over 100 group and solo exhibitions throughout the mid-South and her solo exhibit, Decorators was named one of Memphis’s top ten visual art exhibits for 2013. She currently resides in Birmingham with sculptor, Eric Quick and ferocious daughter, Echo in their shared home and studio.

“My work explores identity, outward appearances, and the manner in which we decorate ourselves.”
— Chloe York

Submit to next week's Studio Sundays feature:

Studio Sundays: Emily Filler

Emily Filler's paintings walk the line between the real and the imaginary.  There is a sense of the familiar but also the feeling that you are falling into a dream - flowers act as a departure point to a world that dissolves into abstraction.

She weaves together painting, printmaking and photography in her ‘painterly collages’, bringing together panels of color, meticulous patterning and floral elements. Dense mark-making contrasts with airy clouds of transparent color and screen-printed florals reveal themselves from behind cut and torn paper and canvas. As these processes and elements interlace, they create a hybrid between representation and abstraction, the natural and supernatural.

Living in downtown Toronto, Filler is often influenced by her ritual walk to the studio, where she observes the landscape shift from bustling city life to contemplative residential neighborhoods. Exploring this contrast, the works playfully collate the images and textures from both worlds.

Emily Filler lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

b. 1982. Ottawa, Canada.

Studio Sundays: Lindsay Hall

A West Coast native, Lindsay Hall is an interdisciplinary artist currently making art in Las Vegas, Nevada. She received a MFA in painting from Indiana University in 2016, as well as a BA in painting and drawing (2012) and a BA in journalism and media studies (2010) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her work has been exhibited nationally at venues such as the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, the Janet Kurnatowski Gallery (New York), the New Hampshire Institute of Arts, Kent State University (Ohio), Indiana University, the Target Gallery (Virginia), and Fort Works Art (Texas), and is featured in Volume 38 of Studio Visit magazine and Issue 2 of Hiss Mag. She has co-curated group exhibitions in Indiana and New York. Lindsay received the Ilknur P. Ralston Memorial Award in Visual Arts in 2016. She recently completed the Post-Graduate Residency Program at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia and is currently preparing for a solo exhibition at Hillyer in Washington, D.C. in February 2019.

Statement

I create colorfully titillating works that engage the notions of pleasure, beauty, and the perverse as they relate to the body, sexuality, and the intimacies and vulnerabilities of human interaction. The resulting pieces and installations fantasize these shared human experiences, often sugarcoating shame and disgust with a provocative playfulness.

The works are sensuous in nature, often provoking haptic responses. Desire and temptation play central roles in experience and interaction. The forms are reminiscent of bodily orifices, luscious fleshy lumps, and confections. Superficially, the pieces serve as eroticized eye candy, but further inspection suggests the layered innuendos and the juicy persuasions.

Studio Sundays: Michele Kishita

Michele Kishita is a Philadelphia-based artist who grew up in the vastly different landscapes of rural Central Pennsylvania and the Arizona desert. She uses colors found in nature that are not typically associated with “natural” colors and focuses on water as her primary subject. Kishita lived in Japan and is a Japanese print consultant, authenticating, translating, and appraising woodblock prints for auction houses and collectors. Her paintings are strongly influenced by the graphic, stylized quality of Hiroshige and Hokusai, as well as the compositions of ukiyo-e. Kishita’s paintings are in a number of private/corporate collections, including Toyota and Kaiser Permanente and have been shown extensively on the East Coast. She has been published in Fresh Paint MagazineThe Artist CatalogueCreate Magazine, as well as several literary journals, and was selected to exhibit at the Sharjah Art Museum in the United Arab Emirates. Kishita received both her BFA and MFA in painting from the University of the Arts. 

Studio Sundays: Lisa Denyer

Lisa Denyer graduated from Coventry University in 2009 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. In 2010 she received second prize in the Gilchrist Fisher Award, held at Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. In 2015 she received first prize in the PS Mirabel Open. Solo presentations include Geode at South Square Gallery, Thornton 2014, Paintings as Objects at PS Mirabel, Manchester 2016, and MM Open Studio at Galerie Martin Mertens, Berlin 2017. Other exhibitions include About Painting at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester 2014, Contemporary British Abstraction at SE9 Container Gallery, London 2015, Sobre fragmentos y materia (two person show) at Kir Royal, Madrid 2017, and Contemporary Masters from Britain at Yantai Art Museum, China 2017. Lisa is based in Berlin.

Artist Statement

My practice looks at the contrast between the slow, considered process of painting against the sensory overload of daily life, and how contemporary painting deals with those polarities. The work relates to the body, the physical world, the transient nature of city living, the virtual, and the relationship we have with the spaces we inhabit.

The compositions are developed using collage, with a visual language of simple shape and line. Geometric elements are tested in variations before the composition is intuitively set in a dialogue with spontaneous, painterly brushstrokes.

My choice of supports reflects the solidity of materials and the objecthood of paintings. The surfaces are dense and weighty and often handmade; heavy plywood, panel, and sandpaper. These materials are selected for their textual qualities and their ability to withstand multiple layers of paint. The handling of paint and the interaction between the medium and the raw surface upon which it is applied is a primary consideration in my practice.

Studio Sundays: Vanessa Lam

Mixed media painter Vanessa Lam creates dialogue between collage and expressive gestural painting. While pursuing a career in health care, she maintained an interest in art that began with studies at the University of British Columbia. Progressing this interest, Lam entered into Continuing Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. For the past five years, Vanessa has sold and exhibited her work at artist-run and public galleries both locally and internationally.  She was awarded the Vancouver Regional Award and Grand Prize Award for the 2017 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. Her work was also featured in Create Magazine and Uppercase Magazine. Vanessa Lam was recently an artist-in-residence at Takt Projektraum in Berlin, Germany. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fun Fact: “Rock climbing gave me the foundation to start and sustain my art practice. It helped me develop discipline, persistence and the confidence to push through self-limiting beliefs.”
— Vanessa Lam
Studio Sundays: Jason Bryant

Born in 1976 in Wilson, NC, Jason Bryant now lives and works in New York, City. Bryant graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA and went on to the Maryland Institute College of Art for his MFA in painting.  Bryant moved to New York City soon after and began work with such notable artists as Kehinde Wiley and Bjarne Melgaard.

Heavily influenced by classic film, Bryant begins each painting by researching images from cinematic moments or magazine images of interest to fit various themes exploring loneliness, vulnerability and frailty. Bryant renders each image, at first as a pencil sketch on canvas without the use of projection and then by transforming the image through oil paint into a photo-realistically and beautifully rendered film still. Bryant then incorporates his signature skateboard graphics, a skateboarder himself, or paints in pixilated areas often cropping the eyes or other notable features of each character.

Bryant’s paintings have been exhibited across the United States, Europe and Australia, are represented by galleries in New York, London and the Gold Coast and are collected worldwide. His work has been featured and covered in Juxtapoz Magazine, Thrasher (U.S. and France), NY Arts Magazine, American Artist and Time Out New York.

Statement

A photo, a fingerprint, a signature, and DNA are all methods we use to identify a person, but they are just a means to match a name or face to an individual, not to describe who they are or to translate their identity. For as long as I have been using portraiture as the main focus of my paintings, it is not the identity or recognizable face in which I use to describe my portraits, but more of a blueprint of how I approach portraiture. Many levels go into what makes a person’s portrait. It’s a fabric of many layers, intertwined with a person’s favorite foods, music, and movies. I have used all of these concepts in building my portraits. Stemming from my lifelong love of the cinema, many of the subjects of my paintings are actors and actresses. However, I am not commenting on celebrity or the star system, but I use the celebrity as a hook to bring then viewer in. My work has never focused on the face to describe or examine a portrait. Instead, by cropping or hiding certain features of the face, I add more mystery to the portrait, bringing us to question who we are and what’s beneath the surface.

In my recent series of paintings, I have incorporated my love of skateboarding to explore themes of portraiture. With vibrant visceral iconic skateboard graphics coming from behind or bursting through the elegant black and white images of various actors and actresses, I’ve merged two of the most important parts of my life, skateboarding and art. I use the traditional format of the portrait, to simultaneously, comment on identity and create portraits that mean so much more than just the individual being painted. With most of my paintings, the figure is the focal point, but when all of the elements of the painting come into play, the work really explores the identity of others, not the subject being painted. There is so much to be learned from a person’s portrait, information that goes well beyond the face.

Studio Sundays: Chantal Khoury

Chantal Khoury (b 1986) is originally from New Brunswick, Canada but has been based in Montreal since 2006.  She obtained her BFA with distinction from Concordia University in 2012 and has been developing her practice ever since. Ongoing themes in her work examine the figure within contemporary portraiture, most often through her female characters. In recent years, her interest in memory and group dynamics have lead her work in a narrative direction. Her latest series Home and Haven was exhibited most recently in a solo exhibition at The Belgo Building in Montreal and will travel to Eastern Canada for another solo exhibition in 2018.  She has exhibited widely across Canada, in numerous solo and group exhibitions and her work was part of the 2017 Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed at the Orillia Museum of Art & History. She has worked as an instructor at The Beaverbrook Art Gallery and her work is found in both private and public collections, including the permanent collection of the University of New Brunswick. She is represented by Gallery On Queen in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

My artistic practice works both within and outside the conventional aspects of representational painting and drawing. It is anchored in the realm of figuration and landscape, with an expressionist approach to image-making. During the past several years, an ongoing theme has addressed the female ‘self’, where my characters’ identities are repurposed and re-imagined.

More recently, my interests lie in selective memory as I examine my own childhood, my place in the Lebanese diaspora and my relationship to ‘longing’ within the Canadian landscape; these subjects act as a point of departure.  My work takes on site-specific locations and addresses them through an idyllic lens. My resource material is pulled from found images and family photos while experimentation plays a major role in my process. My current series, Home and Haven explores the effects of selective memory over time by focusing on my own relationship to my childhood in Atlantic Canada. My practice always involves an exploratory approach to colour experimentation and composition, no matter the theme I am working on.

Fun Fact: My resource images are from my father's photos ( he is a photographer) which are already idealized. My works takes the images even further into the ideal and the utopian.