Posts tagged Figure
Nadia Waheed: Wearing Your Braid as a Badge
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Wearing Your Braid as a Badge: Challenging Expectations and Finding Your Place

By Christina Nafziger

Through the female body and cultural iconography, Nadia Waheed’s paintings explore dichotomies present in her own life as well as those that affect the female experience, one that forces women to navigate through the unrealistic, and often contradictory, expectations from others. Originally from Pakistan, and now based in Austin, Texas, the artist has lives all over the world, with her artistic practice being the space where she can claim agency and be her true self, away from judgment. The blue, pink, and orange women in her paintings often sport henna on their skin and long braids, both strong and beautiful, nodding at her cultural roots. Recently represented by the London-based gallery BEERS, Waheed shares honest advice on how to stay focused on what is truly important as an artist. Join me as Waheed opens up about her struggles overcoming personal obstacles, and discusses the challenge of balancing the two sides of East and West in her work and life. 

www.nadiawaheed.com

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Have you always considered yourself an artist? When did you first feel like you had found your voice artist voice? 

I haven’t always considered myself an artist, actually. I hold that word and title in very high regard and I don’t think that everyone who makes “art” is an artist. Artist to me implies a very high level of commitment to a certain type of work and practice. Mentally, it is not a “part time” relationship; the thinking about the work becomes something that’s always there, processing in the background of everything you do. It’s everything. I wasn’t comfortable calling myself an artist until I realized that this really was my only purpose in life. I could’ve taken another route after graduating with my BFA, but I felt so empty without my work, it was a clear sign that making paintings is an inherent part of my identity and that I could never be a functional version of myself without it. 

I grew up drawing and that was my primary method for communicating myself artistically. When I moved to paint in 2013, I didn’t at all have the same fluidity or finesse as I did with line. I believe I found my artistic voice many years ago when I was young, but it’s been a years long process of honing it. When my mentor Kevin Wolff passed away in early 2018, his death rattled and pushed me to the brink emotionally—it was like a rebirth. I lost my apprehension and stopped thinking about painting and just did it. Everything clicked into place and this body of work is what came out; Blue Portrait (Sisyphus’s Boulder) is the painting that started it all.

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Originally from Pakistan (born in Saudi, but from Karachi), how has your cultural background affected your artistic practice? Are there aspects of your work that are influenced by cultural elements or iconography?

I think it’s affected everything - it has always been something that I’ve responded to. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, so my sketchbook was always my sanctuary. I could be my unadulterated myself, outside the sphere of judgment from Western or Eastern culture. My practice was born from a need to belong and be understood as myself, and my studio became the space for me to do it. I am heavily influenced by the styles and themes I see back in Pakistan, and am so in love with miniature painting and Islamic architecture, but I only draw from the pieces that feel mine. The things that I’m most excited by, or scared of, are the things that you’ll see in my paintings. The weight that I see carried by women, the different weight of expectation that I see carried by others and myself. Iconography aside, I’m interested in the social dynamics of the East and West - what’s “societally appropriate,” primarily in regards to the development of young women. The difference is incredible, and balancing the two has been a challenge for me. 

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There seems to be an emphasis on hair, specifically on the braid, in your work. Can you speak a bit to this?

The braid has become a metaphor for so many things. Connection, worth, beauty, vulnerability... but maybe the simplest answer would begin with me saying that I wore a long braid similar to the women in my paintings for many years. I felt it was a tangible connection to my culture, a badge I could wear that said, “This is where I come from.” Long braids are symbols of traditional beauty in Pakistan and I pay homage to that tradition in my paintings. It’s a heavily layered symbol, a liberation and simultaneously a huge weight. It can be your pride and your greatest vulnerability; the interdependence of opposites is something I think about all the time. My grandmother’s nurse in Karachi has an incredibly long braid, down to the back of her thighs. She says she keeps her hair wound away and hidden when she’s in public because she’s afraid that her hair is going to be cut off by a jealous woman or a man who thinks she’s being shameless about her appearance. She says it’s happened before to others. I don’t think I’ve fully unpacked it, but to me, the braid says, “I’m trying to be a good Pakistani girl.” It’s totally contradicted by the nudity, but that’s my point - we can have both and still be good.  

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Can you tell me about the presence of the female in your work? Are the scenes in your paintings allegories or are they perhaps reflections on your own thoughts or experiences?

I’d say a combination of both. I love women. I love men too (I love all humans!) but I’m amazed by women every day. So much is put onto us, and for generations women have persevered, raised families under constant abuse, broken countless glass ceilings and fought for respect in society and from our male counterparts. In my paintings, all my imagery is very personal; a lot of it is a surrendering, the resignation and the waving of a white flag. Someone looked at my paintings and said that none of my figures were empowered, that this work doesn’t empower women. I still grapple with that today, but I don’t disagree. Some of these figures are not empowered. It’s because sometimes I don’t feel empowered. There is an idea of “conditional” love that I see everywhere in my world which panics me - why is our worth and value as an entity dependent on our appearance or our paycheck or our marital status? I paint women because I am a woman, and mitigating the endless layers of complexity surrounding femininity and vulnerability and whatever ideas are thrust onto us, hoops we need to jump through to be given “worth”... these are all questions I’m painting through. At this point I have no definitive answers, rather I’m more interested in the question and the idea.

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Congratulations on your gallery recent representation with BEERS London! Do you have any advice for artists seeking gallery representation?

Thank you! It was an incredibly serendipitous occurrence and I couldn’t be happier about it, BEERS has been one of my all time favorite galleries for years and I’m so thrilled to join the team. 

Advice wise, there is only one thing that matters: making a good painting. We all know it’s a very difficult thing to do, so that honestly should be the only thing on your radar. If you try to curate your authentic voice towards a particular gallery or type of gallery, you are doing yourself and your work a massive disservice. The only thing an artist needs to be doing is making the work the best and most authentically that they conceivably can. There is no timeline. There is no falling behind. The only thing that matters is the quality of the work. If you can proudly stand next to your art and say, “This is me, this is mine,” then that’s all that matters. Everything else will come. Any young artists out there who are feeling anxiety, take charge and tell yourself this, “as long as it’s not impossible to do, it can be done”. Even a 1% chance is still a chance. Commitment is key.

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Do you listen to anything (podcasts, music, etc.) while you paint?

I used to listen to music when I worked, but I’ve switched to NPR and podcasts in October 2018. I’ve placed really stringent restrictions on the music I listen to because I’m just so overwhelmed by it now. Commercials make my heart race and make me cry, any music that’s too emotive takes me too deep inside myself and my vision warps. It’s almost funny how strongly I react to it! Pretty much the only music I can tolerate without weeping is lo-fi hiphop, very calm music with few words, and nothing too emotionally charged. I’ve become a really big fan of On Point and Fresh Air on NPR, and the podcasts Philosophize This! by Stephen West and Making Sense (formerly Waking Up) by Sam Harris, and also, The Adam Buxton Podcast. I highly recommend all three of those. I deal primarily in ideas, so these are great podcasts that explore a particular idea or person in each episode, a deep dive into the nuances of a certain topic. Nothing in this world is black and white; I love being exposed to shades of grey I hadn’t thought of before. 

Can you tell me about a time where you had to overcome an obstacle, either in your art career or during your painting process? 

Things in my personal life during 2018 overwhelmed me to the point that, at the tail end of the year, being alone with myself in the studio became dangerous. I prefer working without natural light so that I don’t see the passage of time and I can just get lost in the flow of the work, but things in my life were happening one after the other and I was drowning. Going into my studio and being alone in a windowless room for 10 -14 hours a day was so isolating. My studio was slowly becoming this echo chamber for all my terrifying thoughts and feelings: of failure, of worthlessness, of hopelessness - but I couldn’t stop working. More than being alone with myself, I was afraid of not painting, I couldn’t stop. If I stopped I was afraid that one day would become two, that two would become three, and that I’d wake up one day and it had been a year and I hadn’t painted. Even thinking about it now is terrifying. My practice is about communing with myself and my deepest thoughts about different ideas, if my mind is full of fear and anxiety, it becomes intensely amplified in the studio. Learning how to mitigate the part of me that is compelled to paint and the part of me that was terrified of being alone with myself is something I consider to be one of my biggest accomplishments.

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Do you have anything coming up this year that you’d like to share?

At this point in time nothing in particular besides a group show in Toronto and my two-person show in May with BEERS! I’m very excited to make a whole new body of work for that show and to see what comes out. I’ve got some really good ideas rattling around in my noggin and while they’re very labor intensive I think they’re going to look super good. If you want to keep up with my work or get more insight into my process, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @nadiakwd.

(And thanks so much for reading!)

Tracy Murrell
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Tracy Murrell is an Atlanta-based artist and curator.  A graduate of Centenary College, she has been a fixture in the growth and development of Atlanta's arts community.  Murrell assisted Louis Delsarte in the creation of the 125-foot mural “Dreams, Visions & Change” honoring Martin Luther King Jr., and studied under the direction of renowned artist Michael David as a member of Fine Arts Atelier (FAWS). 

Murrell has shown in numerous group, solo, and juried exhibitions.  Her work is currently on view at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport through January 2019.  Her work has been featured in ArtVoices Magazine and Studio Visit Magazine Issues 29, 35, 38, and 41.

Murrell is a board member for Burnaway, Atlanta-based digital magazine and advisory board member for ChopArt, a non-profit serving middle and high school youth experiencing homelessness through multidisciplinary arts immersion and mentorship.

Murrell served as the curator for Hammonds House Museum (2012-2017), the President of African Americans for the Arts (AAFTA) for two years and is currently the visual arts consultant with the National Black Arts Festival.

Statement

As an artist, I am drawn to the lines of the feminine form and source images to create figures personifying grace and strength.  I explore the use of silhouettes by re-contextualizing images from popular culture to use as entry points for deeper conversations on gender, race, and the perceptions of beauty. 

In my current body of work, I am focusing on the themes of identity, migration, and displacement in the human narrative by incorporating hand cut patterns and specialty papers with the silhouettes.  Painted in high key color, my paintings are reminiscent of Pop and post-pop Masters such as Lichtenstein, Katz, and Hume, prompting the viewer to question their own beliefs about race and gender.

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The First Love: Interview with Jenni Stringleman
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Interview by Sarah Mills


After twenty years of working in graphic design and animation, Jenni Stringleman has returned to her first love - working in oils.
 
Based in Auckland, New Zealand, she paints contemporary, bright expressionist florals, fresh, abstracted nudes and portraits.
 
“For me, painting is an expression of joy. I simply love the act of applying oils to canvas, and this has lead me to explore a heady mix of thick oils, and semi transparent washes of colour, high detail combined with gestural strokes.”

Jenni's recent pieces focus on the figure drawn from life in charcoal, erased, rotated, and attacked with brayers and solvents with slabs of flat colour finally applied to obscure and reveal. 

Jenni sells and exhibits at Gallery De Novo and Endemic World Gallery in New Zealand, as well as shipping pieces to international collectors.

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You came back to painting after 20 years of working in graphic design and animation, what drew you back to oils?

I painted almost religiously at high school, partly to get out of PhysEd but mainly because I was obsessed with art! At our school, we had hessian or paper stapled to walls and never-ending acrylic paint, and it was heaven. I wanted to be a full-time artist but decided to go for something practical - graphic design. I assumed I’d paint in my own time after work, but I never did! Instead, I worked on a bungee jump for years, in New Zealand and the UK, then painted murals and eventually ended up in graphic design in the City in London. I was having too much fun to remember to paint (or practice the flute, but that’s another story)!

Eventually, after 11 years in London, I returned to New Zealand, got married and retrained in animation which I adored, but after falling pregnant with my eldest daughter, I decided to give up work for a while. I played a domestic goddess for some years, then sadly a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a year to live. It was absolutely tragic as she was a mum of two, and it made me reassess my life choices. I felt it was too late to retrain as a brain surgeon so instead I decided to jump back into painting to leave a legacy for my two young daughters. It was one of the bravest things I ever did, walking into a painting class under the tutelage of artist Robert Campion, however, he was nurturing and kind and downloaded his years of education and experience into my brain, and from there I had a new career!

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You work with such a wide variety of subjects ranging from florals to portraits to abstract work. What do you see as the connecting factor between all your work?

Yes, I do! I am probably like that as a person. I want to be trying new things, learning, stretching myself. Most people call me a colorist, and I do love color, it’s hugely instinctual for me, I feel what goes where and get great joy from the marks and drips and combinations. My first love in painting is the figure... life drawing, nudes, faces. But my mum asked me to paint hydrangeas for her, and they were my first sales to friends and locals.

The nudes were put on the backburner for a while. The galleries who approached me, came to me for my semi-abstracted florals, so that’s where most of my energy went. I painted a portrait of my daughter just for fun then ended up getting commissioned to paint other kids. I love the opportunity they afford me to sit down for once! I like being challenged to capture the real essence of this child, in a more classic way that will stand the test of time. They take ages, and they give me a break from the physical effort of the large pieces. Last year I studied under Martin Campos, and he inspired me to combine my love of color and paint with my charcoal sketches of the figure. A new aspect to my work developed, and now I think of myself as working happily across these three strands.

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Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

Definitely nature, usually in the small details of plants and the effects of light. Also all of human life. I store away images from magazines and TV, fashion shows, of people on the street. There’s not enough time in my day to paint the things I want to. I screengrab so much of Instagram. Today my art hero Andrew Salgado posted a shot of himself in an orange raincoat against an orange wall, and now that’s all I want to paint! As well as the pieces I sell through galleries, I paint on A3 size Arches paper and that’s where I experiment, and they’re all stacked up in a cupboard! I need to have a sale.

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What is the first thing you do when you sit down to start a new oil painting?

So this depends a little on which one of my themes I’m working on. For the big textured botanical pieces, I almost always start with a fast, loose acrylic underpainting. I stand, listen to podcasts or music, move around and go on instinct. I may use a ref photo but often don’t. I start from a position of wanting to use certain colors or shapes, and this informs what I’m working towards. For the portraits and nudes, I tend to sit at the table and use a desktop easel. The nudes are from life or ref photos, I sketch multiple times in charcoal, rubbing out marks and rotating the support. Eventually, I will introduce a limited palette of oils. With the portraits, I dive in from a ref photo. I don’t grid up or anything. I paint the whole face at once and gradually refine.

Your paintings have a beautiful textural quality to them. What is your process like to achieve that texture?

Thank you! That came about mainly through laziness. I use so much saturated oil color that washing out my brushes each night was doing my head in. I tried a painting knife one day and got hooked! I rarely use a brush now except for the portraits. It helped me simplify, and I love the geometric quality.

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What is your favorite part about working with fluid paints?

Oh, it’s just so fun, it’s exciting. It’s a proper thrill to squeeze paint from a tube, mix it with the knife. With the washy underpainting, I love the unexpected blends. With my oils, I enjoy the thick texture and sheer glazes. The only thing I don’t like is how messy I am. Each tube is lidless, covered in paint, etc.

What advice do you have for our readers who are struggling to change their artistic paths?

My week with Martin Campos did genuinely change my life. I’d say if you can afford it, seek out artists you love and admire and try and study with them. Even a weekend will help! Give yourself permission to play, don’t feel the need to show everything. Expect changes to take time. Your audience may take time to catch up to your new style. Imagine you had a year left, what would you do with it? What is your true passion? But be practical! You need to survive, and there’s no shame in working for money to allow yourself the luxury of time to explore.

Monica Ikegwu
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Monica Ikegwu is a 20-year-old Baltimore based figure painter. She has been awarded as a first place winner in the XL Catlin Art prize (2018), a Young Arts Finalist (2017), a Gold medal winner in the NAACP ACT-SO National competition (2016), and as a Scholastic silver medal portfolio winner (2016). Her work was recently displayed and exhibited at the Reginald F. Lewis museum, as well as at Ida B’s Table in a joint show early in 2018. She now attends and studies at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) as a Junior.

Statement

Monica Ikegwu’s work is structured upon the portraiture and depiction of African Americans. She displays figures rendered in the three dimension while accompanied with two dimensional design elements. Her work brings to focus subtleties that she notices in the black community, as well as her personal life. Living in Baltimore and the way that she experiences it plays a big role in the ideas that she develops for the work. Taking feelings and aspects from her surroundings, she presents them in a way that is not only captivating but also unconventional. The figures presented in her work are often times her siblings and family from whom she draws most of her inspiration from as she watches them progress through life.

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Andrea Castro
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Andrea Castro is a visual artist from Spain with a thing for odd and unusual stories. She began taking art lessons when she was 14. Later she studied Fashion Design and discovered she would never befriend the sewing machine, so she ditched it and committed herself to full-time painting in 2015. In her recent series of work, Andrea paints all those strangers we spot at the street but never pay closer attention to, asking herself the most bizarre questions about those people. "How many times did I walk past a killer in my life?" Questions that lead to even more peculiar stories she makes up in her artwork. Her paintings are featured in several online and printed magazines and owned by collectors from all over the world.

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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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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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Beth Solin
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OUT ME IN ME OUT ©, my new Five-Part Installation Series in progress, is an extensive group of solid clear Lucite sculptures that will consist of sixteen life-size figures, all of them animals, eight of them human, eight of them not. When finished, floating in each of their bodies will be sub-sculptures: metaphors for the vascular system, unconscious thought, and all that bridges our inner and outer worlds. In this installation, I will be addressing specific concerns about where humans as a species are headed, with respect to the increasingly isolated and insulated position, of the individual within “the pack.”  

As this series unfolds, each of the five parts will conceptually build upon the next in an effort to express my personal experience in "the pack". This will be done through re-contextualizing a persistent sensation that has been with me my entire life; a profound outsiderness I felt during my youth, which morphed into feeling like a voyeur, and finally a stranger onto myself, the ultimate voyeur on the outside of my own body looking in. What struck me with great force and caused the sizable shift in my work was the realization that humans, as an animal group, seemed to be headed down a similar path. While I ultimately have faith in our desire and ability to connect, in the age of rapid fire imagery, cyber communication, and an obsession with “the self,” I am left with an unrelenting thought: No longer are we an interdependent roaming herd searching for the greater whole. Instead, we have become millions of lone wolves disoriented and roaming, forced by lack of space to stand close, with no greater whole in sight.

Clearly, these sentiments have evolved over a lifetime. The concept of time greatly factors into formulating this series by considering the way in which the human brain and body sense, process, and remember things. No one idea or feeling ever exists in its own time frame. Whether one believes time is linear or something convoluted, it doesn't detract from the fact that humans have an inner life that is lived in the past, present, and future, simultaneously. Further, the sequences by which memories or thoughts of the future flow, are directly influenced by the experiences that have been the most impactful, and those which are anticipated to be impactful in the future. 

Time and memory also factor into the idea of transparency regarding Lucite. No one figure will be seen, without seeing the viewers and the other Lucite figures through it, or reflected in it. Everything in the installation space will become one site-specific entity. More interestingly, the installation will also become time-specific in that all of the movement in the space will be reflected or trapped within the figures as well. This is not so different from the parameters of memory recall. Memories are always experienced within the reflections of memories that preceded or proceeded them. Two people, (or individual human bodies), form different memories from the same event. One could even say that memories are body-specific, a compressed and live form of site-specificity.

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Anna Teiche

Working in large-scale oil painting, Anna Teiche’s work centers around explorations of human and cultural relationships through use of vivid color, light, and pattern. A graduate of the BFA Art & Design program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Teiche has recently relocated to Seattle, Washington, her hometown. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Teiche was always fascinated by color and pattern, especially influenced by her grandmother’s stories of her Scandinavian heritage, and the many Renaissance and Medieval paintings she saw at the Seattle Art Museum as a child. Recently, Teiche completed a public wall-hanging sculpture commission for Cal Poly, which is now on display as part of the permanent collection.

Using bright patterns and vintage fabrics Anna Teiche creates large scale oil paintings and fiber sculptures that feel inviting and friendly at a glance, but allow for more ambiguous, uncomfortable revelations upon further investigation. Through color, pattern, and light Teiche analyzes how bodies interact with each other and the spaces they inhabit, creating narratives that reveal how body language can suggest the underlying psychology of a scene. The work fluctuates between abstraction and figuration, forcing the viewer to find a coherent image in the saturated combinations of fabrics. Using combinations of plaids, stripes, and vintage floral prints, patterns are combined based on color relationships, creating environments that feel pulsating with warm light and pattern, pushing the compositions more towards abstract fragments than real spaces. Referencing the figurative poses found in Medieval and Renaissance painting, Teiche intertwines fabric, color, and seemingly severed limbs to create compositions that are reminiscent of historical paintings, but quickly disintegrate into chaotic scenes of fragmented bodies and dislocated pieces.

Laura Berger : Sentient at Hashimoto Contemporary

Hashimoto Contemporary is pleased to present Sentient - the inaugural solo exhibition by Chicago-based artist Laura Berger. Utilizing her signature glyphic style, she explores connectivity and community in her new body of work.

Concise female figures commune, dance and support one another in Berger’s acrylic on panel paintings. Each character is at once an individual totem and an integral piece of a larger composition upholding the communities created within each of Berger’s paintings.

Shadowy echos of figures mirror their more vivid counterparts, evoking a sense of history and unity as in Next Life, pictured above. These ghostly apparitions seem to lend their support and serve as a reminder of past generations.

The new paintings created for Sentient are energized with more vivid and fiery tones, eliciting a sense of power and energy. Berger’s minimalist paintings are imbued with a deep reverence for community and togetherness paired with a perceptive sensitivity that emanates hope.

Please join us for Sentient, opening Saturday, December 1st with an evening reception from 6pm-9pm, where the artist will be in attendance.

This exhibition is on view December 2 through 24. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email us at sf@hashimotocontemporary.com

Lisa Von Hoffner

Lisa Von Hoffner is a contemporary figurative painter from Philadelphia. She received a BFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in painting at Arizona State University. In 2015 she was selected to partake in an artist-in-residence program in Joutsa, Finland where she invoked the richness of contemporary Finnish art to edify her work. Lisa has exhibited extensively in the States and abroad and was selected as one of only 40 artists out of nearly 1,000 applicants to be published in the New American Paintings MFA Annual. In 2017 she was on the Phoenix New Times list of “100 Creatives You Need to Know” and had her art featured on the show Good Morning AZ 3TV. Lisa is an educator at Arizona State University and continues to work on solo projects and collaborative efforts throughout the valley. 

Statement

My work brings to light the paradoxical state of women’s sexuality in a distinctly patriarchal society, literally and figuratively. Laced with bright lights and a near hallucinatory fanfare of color, the immediate tenor of my most recent work is a carousel of revelry and excitement, similar to the buzzing allure of Vegas. This sparkling veneer is sarcastically subverted by the realities that are being addressed ─ objectification, commodification, and the disfigurement and misuse of women’s sexuality in society. Through the hallowed reiteration of circles and a hyper-spectacle of art objects, these pieces enter the realm of devotion ─ devout objects to be revered, objects that pay homage to the sanctity of womanhood. This sentiment is punctuated by ever expanding upon the materiality of the work with complexly loaded ingredients, such as neon and LED lights. By elevating my paintings off of the wall, wrapping them in neon and slathering them with puddles of resin, I defy their two-dimensionality. In doing so, these paintings are transformed into art objects themselves, echoing the normative objectification of women.


Daria Aksenova

Daria Aksenova is best known for her suspended paper dreamscape-like narrative compositions in ink. In the heart of Houston’s newly renovated creative studios, she displays a unique treasure of imagination. The current focus of her work takes on the creation of dynamic movement in a static medium, as a self-taught artist, drawing from her past experience with the fashion and film industries. It is her intent that cinematographic storytelling arises from the layers and complexity of the composition. These pull in both the eye and mind, presenting a space and opportunity for the imagination to wander into a deep narrative that can only be experienced first-hand.

Daria Aksenova uses ink, as it is an unforgiving medium that precludes editing and demands precision. Individual elements are then hand-cut with a scalpel and suspended against each other until the desired depth is achieved. Her technique demands a steady hand and unfailing commitment, often requiring over a hundred hours of dedication and intimacy with each piece.

The subject matter is chosen by a fascination with mythology and folklore. Her pieces evoke a dreamscape-like narrative to serve as a vehicle to transport the viewer back to past, more carefree times, outside the limitations of the everyday world.

Tomas Harker

Tomas Harker is a painter who renders his subjects with a refinement and brevity of gesture. He paints both classical and contemporary imagery, originally found online; the backgrounds are sparse, and the palette conservative.

The seemingly unconnected nature of his subject matter speaks of the way he encounters and collects it via the vast chasm of social media. This boundless vacuousness of the ocean of information we are barraged with online daily obscures significance through its sheer size, blinding us with information. Heterogeneous found contemporary imagery is appropriated and repositioned, and thus given new meaning, whilst more classical themes are explored in the inverse - by obscuring their historical and cardinal significance. He is an iconoclast who deifies the banal and degrades the iconic, in a statement of critique upon where and how we place value. His juxtaposition of highbrow with lowbrow reconfigures and ultimately destroys the hierarchical paradigms of accepted artistic subject matter, and is a considered attempt to embrace our fallibility.

Often, these juxtapositions suggest some rather piquant parallel - like the painting of the Stanford Prison Experiment placed next to the sixteen paintings of his tutors. This correlation is not serendipitous, but nor is it asserted.

The images are often distorted, obscuring their intrinsic significance whilst simultaneously engendering them with a more contemporary relevance. His mark-making is at times naive, at others precise, displaying a perennial interest in the often absurd contradictions inherent in one’s own self. Harker embraces these idiosyncrasies, and uses these to mirror those he sees in society, and the art world, in general.

By Benjamin Murphy, artist and writer

Ambera Wellmann Exhibition Opening at Projet Pangée

Artist: Ambera Wellmann

Exhibition title: (Wo)man and Beast in the Round of Their Need 

Opening: Thursday, October 11, 2018, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Exhibition: October 11 to November 17, 2018             

Ambera Wellmann is a Canadian artist working in painting, assemblage, photography and video. Wellmann graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2011) and earned her MFA from the University of Guelph, Ontario (2016). She is the recipient of the Joseph Plaskett award (2016) and the recipient of the RBC Canadian Painting Award (2017). Her works have been exhibited at the Power Plant, Toronto, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the National Gallery of Canada. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Wellmann gratefully acknowledges the support from the Canada Council of the Arts. In this recent series of paintings, Wellmann continues her investigation of porcelain as a bodily substitute and a vehicle for perversion, manipulating the sensuality of painted surfaces to blur the distinctions between material and flesh. Wellmann’s paintings hybridize a range of canonical motifs, transposing the grandiosity of historical figuration into intimately realized, darkly humorous works.

projetpangee.com

Ekaterina Vanovskaya

Ekaterina Vanovskaya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2015. Ekaterina has exhibited nationally including New York City and Chicago. She completed the Artist in the Marketplace Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently participated in the Governors Island Art Fair, New York and the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ekaterina has received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2017. Ekaterina teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ and Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

Statement

Pale, distressed figures inhabit my large-scale oil paintings. There are several repeating themes in the paintings: loneliness, nostalgia, longing, melancholia and a search for a sense of place. There are often figures depicted doing mundane tasks, or caught in a state of hesitation or fear, in forlorn atmospheres. A specific emotional longing translates into a painting.

I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and memorable childhood experiences frame the core of my work. These memories symbolize isolated experiences and therefore have a strong emotional impact. The physical places I no longer occupy and they do not exist in the same state, as when I knew them, all is imagined.

How does our past impact our emotions, responses and ways of being? These perceptions of our childhood inevitably define the way we live our lives today. Painting starts to serve as reconciliation with the self. It is as if I am painting about a secret that nobody else knows.