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

Statement:

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

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

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Polychromatic Fragmentism: Interview with Riccardo Liotta
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Professionally trained and practicing as an architect, I have also been producing art inspired by physics, mathematics, and geometry, the foundation of my artwork. 

Abstract art is characterized by dynamic, angular geometries, contrasting shapes, overlapping polychromatic polygons, vibrant colors, sharp lines, and graphics elements.

Derived from the application of mathematical formulas and geometric principles, it expresses concepts like speed, movement, and energy, reflecting the changing, unstable characteristics of nature, as well as the fragmentation, uncertainty and undeterminability of life. 

Technically these compositions are influenced by Futurism, Rayonism, Constructivism, and Suprematism, but take inspiration from comics, graphic design, diagrams and photographs of particle collisions and electron microscopy.

Through continuous artistic research and development, and by learning/experimenting with different techniques, methods and tools, the art has evolved, becoming less rigid, less systematic, but more intuitive, gestural, fluid, and it is created by experimenting with figure-ground relationship, proportions, harmony, contrast, overlaps, layers, movement, and by analyzing and altering the behavior of colors, fields, shapes, lines and segments.

All my artwork, despite which diverse approaches it originates from, shares many common stylistic traits and characteristics, and belongs to a broad style I identify as "polychromatic fragmentism".

I find acrylic to be the medium that best expresses my ideas and theories. However, I also work with colored pencils and pastels, pen, markers and collage. I also extensively utilize the computer to generate patterns, shapes and compositions, and to alter/enhance paintings and drawings.

instagram.com/riccardoliotta.art/

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How did your artistic career start?

My career as an artist started in architecture illustration while working on my master in architecture. that is where I started painting and discovered acrylics.for my school projects and my thesis I began producing architectural paintings, but in a very abstract, interpretative way.

From there I transitioned to pure geometric, abstract compositions, gradually abandoning the architecture influence.

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What is your studio practice like?

I am still a practicing architect, so I usually split the day between architecture and art. I typically work on my artwork in the afternoons and evenings. many days, having not much time to devote to an actual canvas or composition, I find myself working on smaller drawings, collages or mixed-media work, or just sketching. quite a bit of time is also spent on just creating and analyzing forms – painted, drawn or cut-out - that will either be used on or as starting points for actual compositions. I also spend a fair amount of time writing about my work process, or to analyze ideas.

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You have such a specific style. How did you develop it?

my architectural thesis project was based on particle physics and quantum mechanics, the concepts of randomness, chance and probability, and the application of these principles to the design methodology. this, along with my interest in mathematics and geometry, led me to develop a series of mathematical/geometrical experiments that generated what I called the “eigencompositions”: analytical, polychromatic abstract compositions consisting of simplified yet very dynamic geometrical shapes, fields, lines and segments, derived from the superposition of different forms generated and arranged systematically by these experiments.

Later on, I started using new mathematical concepts and mechanisms to generate different compositions. I also had different opportunities to learn and experiment with a variety of techniques, methods, and tools that have allowed me - if not forced me - to diversifying my modus operandi and to generate art using new processes, different from the abovementioned systems.

All these approaches, along with continuous artistic research, evolved and developed into what my art is today: less rigid, less systematic, but more intuitive, gestural, fluid, also influenced by comics, graphic design, diagrams and photographs of particle collisions and electron microscopy.

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What has been the most memorable moment of your artistic career thus far?

In recent months, my work is regularly being published in different magazines and catalogs, as well as being recognized by some of the most important art sale and collection sites. being invited by important galleries and art fairs to exhibit with them is also quite rewarding.

What first drew you to working with geometric shapes?

When I started painting, my artwork was related to or influenced by architecture. but my architectural projects were all based on mathematics, geometry and physics. so, directly or indirectly, that is always been the foundation of my work. but I also think it is all simply driven by my innate, genuine interest and fascination with geometry.

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You use such bold colors in your work, how do you choose your palette for each piece?

At the early stages of composition it is very intuitive. typically, I already have a chromatic scheme in mind right from the beginning, derived from magazine clippings, a photograph, comics, graphic design, other artwork, or by simply sketching with color pencils. I then analyze these color combinations as the work progresses, to make sure they are right for the shapes and that they work as a whole, and add smaller amounts of complementary colors as I move along.

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When starting a new piece do you typically have a plan or do you plan as you go?

I always have a plan as the starting point for each work, a way to generate the shapes and the relationships that make the composition.it could be a simple drawing – for example, a sketch of a piece done at a museum – a diagram, or a “spontaneous” assemblage of paper clippings and fragments that form an interesting whole. the main colors are also already loosely established.

As the work develops, through a variety of operations new shapes inevitably appear, some get altered, and others are hidden or eliminated.and so the original plan is constantly being modified until there is only some of it left. it’s a process where I let the composition take its natural course, but still within the parameters of the original plan.

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Elizabeth Jung
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Elizabeth Jung is a visual artist lives and works in Chicago. Elizabeth received BFA and MFA from École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges in France, and she was commissioned to make murals in Public buildings in France and was a part of several group exhibitions and a curatorial project in places such as the Palais Jacques-Cœur and the Musée de l’Hospice Saint-Roc. Before moving to France, Elizabeth briefly studied painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and also showed her paintings at Betty Rymer Gallery, Merchandise Mart, 900 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, and the Supreme Court of Georgia, …etc. Her recent works were shown at Galex 52, the Chicago Public Library and the Studios Midwest Artist Residency Exhibition.

Statement

Having lived in many different places throughout Korea, the United States and France, my temporary homes and their interior spaces became a fascinating subject for my art, which is about constructing imaginary spaces using colors, geometry, and architectural elements. 

My process of painting repeats construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction, which often results in trompe l’oeil and exaggerated perspectives. Each space is constructed with layers of both personal spatial memories and imagination. There is no inhabitant in my art because I want to concentrate on the characteristics of the spaces and on the composition of architectural elements. Guessing who the inhabitants might be for each space is not important to my work because the spaces themselves are the protagonists. Instead, I want to invite the viewers to find themselves experiencing tension, disorientation and confusion by the layers and mazes of the pictorial spaces and their structures.

Renewed Sense of Wonder: Interview with Yuria Okamura

Yuria Okamura's art practice focuses on geometric drawing on both paper and walls. She collects, rearranges and transforms abstract symbols of various cultural and religious traditions. In this way, her work brings together and reinterprets various idealities from across cultures and histories in the hope of invoking a renewed sense of wonder into our contemporary worldview.

She maps and reconfigures geometric patterns and symbols that reference esoteric symbolism, occult diagrams, religious architecture and decoration, and spiritualist abstract painting through the use of diagrammatic aesthetics. By doing so, she examines the implications of harmonic ideals that seem to be universally embedded in the orderliness of geometry, and how such ideas might be reinterpreted in the new interrelated compositions. Yuria also deploys wall drawing to unify the diverse geometric forms and to create immersive drawing installations through the use of architecture and gardens as visual metaphors. By incorporating spatiality in this way, she explores abstract drawings' potential to operate as open-ended contemplative spaces for reimagining possibilities of metaphysical harmony and connectivity. 

Yuria is a Melbourne-based artist whose drawing practice explores harmonic ideals through the use of geometry and diagrammatic aesthetics. She has completed Master of Fine Arts (Research) at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne in 2015, and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 2010 at RMIT University. In 2016, Yuria was selected for Abbotsford Convent Studio Start-up Residency and Bayside City Council Residency. She has received a number of awards and scholarships, including Stuart Black Memorial Travelling Scholarship, Ursula Hoff Institute Drawing Award, Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award, RMIT Honours Travelling Endowment Scholarship, RMIT Siemens Fine Art Scholarship, and Facetnate Visual Art Grant. Yuria has been showing her work in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including C3 Contemporary Art Space(Melbourne), Anna Pappas Gallery(Melbourne), Five Walls (Melbourne), Rubicon ARI (Melbourne), Kunstraum Tapir (Berlin, Germany), Langford 120 (Melbourne), Seventh Gallery (Melbourne), Japan Foundation Gallery (Sydney), and Mølla På Grim (Kristiansand, Norway).

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Tell me about yourself and your creative background.

I am a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia. My drawing practice, which includes works on paper and immersive wall drawings, explores harmonic ideals through the language of geometry and diagrammatic aesthetics. I'm interested in different beliefs and worldviews, and I map these out to try to make sense of it all by a visual means, I suppose, through a kind of aesthetic logic. I bring together and reconfigure geometric patterns and symbols that reference esoteric symbolism, occult diagrams, religious architecture and decoration, and spiritualist abstract painting. I examine the symbolic implications of harmonic ideas that seem to be universally embedded in the orderliness of geometry, and how such ideas might be reinterpreted in the new interrelated compositions. Abstract visual language can be interpreted in so many different ways, and through this quality, I hope my work can operate as open-ended maps or contemplative spaces for reimagining possibilities of metaphysical harmony.

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When did you start integrating the geometric patterns and symbols into your work? What inspired your most recent series?

I started using geometric patterns in my final year of BFA and really focused on it for my MFA, which I completed in 2015. My last body of work resulted from a research trip to Morocco and Southern Spain. I looked at Moorish architecture and ornamentation with a particular focus on mosques, and how geometric structures and designs embody the idea of interconnectedness and harmony in this cultural context.

My inclination to bring together diverse visions in my work from across cultures is, I think, influenced by my own experiences: migrating from Japan to Australia, and also traveling to Indonesia, India, Morocco and all over Europe. Having an appreciation for different cultures, and at the same time finding commonalities amongst the diverse worldviews expressed through visual language, has led me to engage with the universality of geometric forms.

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Your work is beautiful, delicate and extremely detailed. Share a little bit about your process with us. How do you prepare for each work and what goes into making each piece?

It begins with collecting source images. I'm constantly adding to my library of esoteric illustrations, early scientific diagrams, religious architecture and decoration, and abstract artworks. I extract shapes and patterns from these, modify and combine them to create new compositions. First, just with free-hand drawing, and once I'm happy with the composition, I make a proper draft on graph paper. I then trace the outlines through embossing onto the watercolor paper and start drawing lines and adding color. These drawings are often installed together with wall drawing, which is aimed at spatializing the work to create an immersive and contemplative quality. This aspect is inspired by a variety of religious architecture and gardens. The religious architecture provides a space for imagining immaterial possibilities, and gardens across cultures embody the idea of a paradise: an earthly site of harmony. In particular, Japanese gardens together with its architectural structures are intended to be mediating spaces where natural and metaphysical, or material and immaterial elements come together. Similarly, I hope my work can visualize a contemplative space for integrating inner and outer realities.

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What do you do when you feel stuck or frustrated? How do you get out of a creative slump?

If something is not working in the studio and I feel frustrated, I allow myself a short break to go for a walk or do some gardening. But then I usually get straight back into the studio because it's impossible for me to relax or think about anything else until I figure out what to do! Sometimes this means scrapping the work and starting again.

Fortunately, I haven't had a creative slump for a long time. I think it's because I've gotten into the habit of going into the studio every day (unless I have other commitments) even if I don't know what I'm going to do. Even when I feel uninspired, I force myself to get into the studio and at least think about my practice by looking at pictures, sketching, reading or writing. I don't believe in just waiting for inspiration. It does occasionally come to me out of the blue, but for the most part, I consciously search for it through practice.

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What is a typical day like for you and how do you find a balance between art and personal life?

I try to exercise a little and get my errands and admin tasks done in the morning, spend all afternoon in the studio, have a dinner break and back in the studio for an evening session. But in reality, every day is different. Sometimes I have to spend all day running errands, writing applications, or working at a part-time job, and I'd enjoy a relaxing evening with my partner, family, and friends a few times a week.

What I experience in my personal life feeds into my art practice and vice versa in a constant loop, so I like to think of them as one and the same. For example, travel is an integral part of my art practice: every trip inspires a new body of work, and my practice, in turn, drives me to seek a new adventure. I also love being in nature, spending time with family and friends, reading books and listening to podcasts, all of which I used to neglect because I thought I had to focus solely on art. I still tend to overwork, but I'm aware now that my creative energy gets depleted if I lock myself in the studio for too long and it needs to be reinvigorated by experiencing the world.

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What are you currently working on and what should we be on the lookout for?

I'm working on a new body of works on paper inspired by my trip to the U.S last year. It is a continuation of my diagrammatic, geometric drawing practice but it references Native American sand paintings and tapestry. In this series, I considered how a kinship to the natural world can be expressed through geometric patterns and how geometric forms can have a symbolic function within rituals. I'm actually coming back to the U.S in March 2019 for a residency at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which I am very excited about! I'm planning to further develop the spatial component of my practice by examining MASS MoCA's extensive collection of Sol LeWitt's wall drawings.

Jimmy Viera

I am a painter and printmaker currently living and working in Portland, Maine. For years now in my art practice I have been both interested in gesture and object and the relationship they share spatially in my work. Most of my curiosity with gesture and mark making comes from the pleasure of very quickly creating something that resonates with you and wanting to preserve it. This idea of elongating a quick moment in time is carried into the physical process of painting as well. The shape or mark is made, then re-drawn on the masking, and finally the masking is cut. These steps make for a careful examination of why this particular moment is so enticing, this allows for more time with each shape rather than just attempting to create a mark directly on the support. 

The paintings serve as faux spaces in which gestures and shapes sit on the panels the way ephemera, imbued with fond memories, sit in people’s homes. Looking through my sketchbooks for the right gestures, I act as a collector adding items to shelf. Both the collector and I layer items from different times and places. By taking a wobbly line I made today and placing it in a painting with a cylindrical shape I made three months ago, I am able to collage my gestures into a piece with more history than if I had been just painting intuitively.

www.jimmyviera.com 

Mathematics, Connections, and Meditation: Interview with Marisa Green

Marisa Green (American, b. 1978) is a mixed media artist, primarily working in cut paper. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2001. Her work has been shown throughout the Pacific Northwest in galleries such as Disjecta. She has had solo exhibitions at Gallery 135, Duplex Gallery, as well as the Multnomah County Art Center. Her work has also been featured in online publications such as This is Colossal and Strictly Paper

Marisa lives and works in Portland, Oregon. 

Statement 

My work explores mathematics, connections, and meditation through the use of geometric shapes, patterns, and the art of physical repetition. I construct time intensive installations, sculptures, and 2D works out of cut paper, based upon numeric relationships and multiples of a single form—inspired by nature’s exquisite precision. 

Often times, color is used to draw out a form within a form, revealing layered configurations hiding in plain sight. Bright, saturated hues juxtapose neutrals adding additional layers of interlocking shapes. 

Through suspension techniques, weaving, and/or construction, these complex patterns symbolize the life force that molds each of us and our unique experiences. Through focus and introspection, my work attempts to connect us all to a shared awareness of boundless unity.

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What is your artistic background and training? 

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. I primarily studied illustration, but quickly got into graphic design after graduation. I would say that my background informs the type of work I do now, more so than my official training.

I dabbled a lot in photography, installation, 3D illustration, sculpture, bookbinding, and paper craft. The illustration work I did was very exploratory and the jobs I held varied from art teacher, to lamp designer, to working on DreamWorks paper crafts for kids, to brand design. I studied abroad in Viterbo Italy, pleinair painting and writing. It’s the sum of these experiences the led me to paper installation.

I will say that the common thread has always been paper. I’ve always been obsessed—even as a child. I remember moving across the country from California to Massachusetts when I was 5. I didn’t have any toys for weeks because the moving truck hadn’t arrived yet. My mother helped me make various paper dolls to play with. That’s how it all started for me. Minimalism inspires creativity.

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Tell us about your interest in mathematics and when you started applying it to your art practice.

I’ve always been fascinated by the role mathematics plays in nature—the golden ratio, patterns in nature, sacred geometry, etc. My father was a mathematician, an engineer, and a professor. Sadly, I was never a student of his, and so I inherited his love and appreciation of math, but not the technical skill. My artistic interpretation of mathematics comes through via experimentation in color, pattern, and geometric shapes. I love exploring the endless possibilities of pattern creation and hiding patterns within patterns—intersecting shapes, overlapping color families, etc. At times, I’ll literally hide patterns inside paper shapes that can only be seen from below. Nature is incredibly inspiring and surprising, so I like to emulate that feeling of wonder and discovery in my work.

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Describe your process. What inspires you and how do you plan and prepare for each piece?

Most of the time I’ll envision a simple shape—two intersecting triangles, a series of circles, etc. Other times, with site specific work, the space will inform the perimeters of the work. Then there are the times when the viewer will inform the next piece. For instance, with Intersect, some people at the opening wanted to see the installation from below. They spontaneously laid down one-by-one, and then in full on groups, underneath the piece. Usually I’d be worried about people getting too close to the work, having strings get tangled, etc. but I trusted them. Plus, I was really curious to see their reactions. That moment informed my following installation, Expanse. I designed two chairs that sat underneath two adjacent tunnels of suspended triangles and invited viewers to lay back and look up into the work. Each section had different color patterns hidden inside. That said, how I begin a piece can vary.

After the shape/idea is sketched out, I’ll continue to evolve it, bring in color, decide on dimensions, and research what it will actually take to build it. This can also mean figuring out the supporting materials—wood, metal, acrylic, etc.

If I’m working on an installation or a 2D paper piece, I’ll bring it into Illustrator next, and further develop color narratives, patterns, and begin working on the math. I’ve tried doing this is CAD but I’ve found, for me, that using layers in illustrator allows me to break the physical layers up, dissect the overlapping patterns, and work on the math—yes there is actual math involved. Depending on the scale of the piece, I’ll then use Excel to keep track of every single string, how many paper objects are on it, what number is in what row, what the incremental measurements are between paper triangles, which triangles are which colors, etc. It gets extremely technical and if I’m not 100% organized, it can become very confusing. Plus, this is so much easier to communicate when I have people helping me construct the work. The 2D work is just as meticulous, but not nearly as difficult to organize.

When all of the prep is complete, I finally start to work. That’s when I can zone out and meditate. Sometimes it can feel a bit like a factory assembly line and other times, like dissecting an ant. My mind goes back and forth between intense concentration and completely zoning out on the task at hand. It can be a difficult process because I want to jump ahead to the making/hands-on part, but for this type of work it usually ends up being the final 30% of the whole process.

To tie it all together, the meaning behind the work usually comes to me last. The title will jump out at me and I’ll jot down a single word in my sketchbook. A lot of times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for the artist statement. When the work is completed the story will naturally emerge on its own.

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What would you say your work is about and what do you hope the viewer experiences?

If I were to boil it all down, I’d say my work is about Growth and Connection. I can’t thrive if I’m not changing, learning, and growing. It’s a natural part of life and when I feel stuck or stagnant, I suffer. I need to be discovering and evolving, problem solving, and connecting dots.

Growth is closely intertwined with connection. We learn from our experiences with people, nature, spirit, animals, etc. Our relationships with the world shape who we are and who we become. It also helps us work through and carve out our place in the world. It is a cheesy expression, but we are all connected. If you can sit with that idea and truly take it in, you can get passed the superficiality of it and appreciate the sentiment for what it really means. It means that we need to take care of each other and the world around us in order to be our best selves. This concept is what drives my work. It’s the underlying ethos in everything I do artistically, and in life.

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Describe an ideal day. In a perfect world, how would you spend your time?

There are so many ways I could answer this question. I’d describe it more like a recipe. The ingredients would be:

Sunshine (always sunshine), outdoors, a new experience, friends and family, an intimate conversation with one of my heroes, road trip/travel, studio time, incredible food and beverages, live music, adventure, and listening to my daughter’s laughter. 

What artists have influenced your work?

There are so many, but here is a sampling of who I would consider the most influential:
Chuck Close, Tim Nobel & Sue Webster, Irving Harper, Morton C. Bradley Jr., Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few. Sagmeister would not describe himself as an artist, but I am endlessly inspired by his design practice, execution, narratives, and installation work.

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What should we look out for and expect from you this year? 

Great question! I’m having my second child in October, so I’ll mostly be working in the studio until she arrives and then concentrating on motherhood for the remainder of the year. I’m currently working to schedule out more shows for 2019 and introduce new work at that time. Until then, I’m launching a new website (www.marisagreenart.com) in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Exploration of Urban Forms: Interview with Zandra Stratford

Zandra Stratford is a West Coast abstract painter known for bold, semiotic works. Her pieces lay a foundation of elemental earth tones; clay and cement greys and soil blacks, laying strata after strata of contrasting and ambitious colour as a counterpoint to industrial textures, and this overlaid with confident horizontal structures.

Preferring large canvases and panoramic birch panels, her work stands as an exploration of urban forms and our experience with the material of cities. Each interaction, point of surface contact or scuff, whether by design or by circumstance, is at once something removed, something revealed, and something left behind.

Her use of maps speaks to a sense of place, but it is at the same time indistinct, a kind of universal geography, the design of space within pre- existing space, and how our interactions – organic and emotional and spontaneous – collapse and become aggregate, integrated into pre- established patterns of traffic, structure, and flow.

Stratford studied printmaking at the Victoria College of Art, after more than a decade’s experience as an advertising Art Director. This informs her work’s cadence, graphic sensibility and declarative confidence.

Her piece “Gorgeous Filth #01” (2017) was selected for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London, the only resident Canadian to be selected for that show’s 249th year.

Her studio, on Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver, is a bright high-ceilinged space filled with the debris of signal - swatches and typographical elements, vintage textbooks and advertisements, spray- bombs and stencils and the ghosts of what someone, at some point, was trying to convey, like decades-old stray radio signals bouncing off the ionosphere to be captured serendipitously by a car radio at night. 

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Tell us about your creative background. When did you commit to a life in the arts?

I’ve always hand my hand in the arts. I worked as an Art Director in ad agencies for more than a decade before picking up a paint brush again. My kids were small were so I didn’t have a lot of time to move my work forward, but I was dabbling and experimenting. It wasn’t until 2012 that I really dedicated the majority of my time to making art.

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What inspires your current work and the color palette you choose?

I’m interested in the stories of urban spaces–the layers of built up debris, dirt, graffiti, and weathered structures, the convergence of the elements with what people have placed there and how that changes over time, the echos of what is left over and how the story changes. That’s reflected in my work. There is as much paint applied as there is removed and somewhere there is a balance that hopefully tells a compelling story. Because these areas are so worn, dirty, and aged, as a modernist I try to juxtapose a soft palette of neutrals and pastels to make something contemporary.

You mention that you live on an artist-colony island. Tell us a little bit about that and what the experience has been like for you.

I’ve lived on Salt Spring Island for the past 9 years. It’s a small rural community off the coast of Vancouver and is magically filled with people doing cool things. It’s a great place to focus because there isn’t really much else to do. I’ve met the most amazing people here, most of my best friends are creatives so while our work may be different there is a similar vein of experience so we really seem to get each other. There’s a shared understanding that you may be locked away in your studio for weeks on end but you’ll emerge eventually and it will be easy to catch up.

We’re about to change things up and are moving to London in the summer to explore opportunities there.

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What motivates you and helps you to prevent burnout?

I feel like making art is how I make sense of the world and it’s really not an option to not do it. It’s very bad for my mental health if I’m not actively working. I go through periods when I have too much on the go and usually have periods where burnout is inevitable. I haven’t figure out how to prevent it just yet but after it’s happened, my favourite thing to do is to go the city to recharge. It’s very quite here and spending too much time with yourself can feel isolating.

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Describe a typical day in the studio.

My usual practice has me going to studio around 12:30 so I have the morning to work on business stuff, but because I’ve got a couple of shows coming up I’m getting in there earlier. I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my routine so have recently started each studio session trying to clear my mind and invite focus and curiosity into my work. Then I’ll usually paint for about 5 hours. My studio is in my home so I take lots of little breaks to drink tea and contemplate what’s happening on the boards.

What are some challenges you face in your studio practice?

I’m always chasing the light. I live in the Pacific Northwest so its grey here more than half the year which can lead to some frustration. I’ve been in this studio for almost four years and I still haven’t figured out how to light it properly. Isolation can be challenging when I get caught up in my own head and can’t see where I need to go. Fortunately I am part of a large online artist community and can bounce challenges off to other artists.

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Name a few artists that inspire you.

I really love the #5womanartists campaign so I want to focus on women for this answer.

Jillian Evelyn
Katy Ann Gilmore
Carla Tak
Bonnie and Clyde (Steph Burnley) Tracy Emin
Guerilla Girls

Oops, that’s 6!

Huntz Liu

Huntz is a Los Angeles based artist who works with layered cut paper. 

Statement

My work is an excavation of sorts. 

With a straight edge and knife, I cut and layer paper to expose geometric/abstract compositions. The shapes making these compositions sit on different planes, which create literal depth, while the composition itself creates perceived depth. It is this intersection of the literal and perceived that informs the work; where the absence of material reveals forms and the casting of shadows creates lines. And together, they help with finding what’s hidden beneath the surface.

"Vibe Realm" Exhibition: Interview with Michael Kalmbach

Michael Kalmbach received his MFA at the University of Delaware in 2008. Shortly after graduation he accepted a position at the Delaware College of Art & Design, and founded the New Wilmington Art Association, an organization that organized exhibitions of contemporary art in Wilmington’s vacant retail spaces from August 2008 to April 2013. This work led to Michael’s involvement with the Chris White Community Development Corporation, which developed the 23-unit artist live/work space, Shipley Lofts. Kalmbach served the CWCDC as Board Chairman from 2013-2016. In June 2011 he accepted a contract with the State’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to develop and direct an art program in downtown Wilmington. The Creative Vision Factory has been open since December of 2011, and fosters the creative potential of individuals on the behavioral health spectrum in a studio art environment that cultivates integration with the community through a program of exhibitions, workshops, and communal work space. 

Michael lives in Newark, Delaware with his beautiful French Teacher wife Rebecca, his professional Xbox player son Thurman, and his genius 5 year old daughter Maeve.

www.michaelkalmbach.com

Vibe Realm, opens at the Chris White Gallery on April 6th and runs through April 27th.

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Tell us about your academic and artistic background. When did you initially become interested in abstract work? 

I received my MFA in 2008 from the University of Delaware. In 2005, I was in a post-bacc program at Virginia Commonwealth University that proved to be formative. My undergraduate degree is from one of the best party schools in the nation, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where I received a BA in Studio Art in 2003. Bloomsburg is also the alma mater of another Western Pennsylvania native, the famous Rebecca Morgan (check out her work!).

I can’t remember a time where I was not interested in abstraction—there was something magical about the old Art in Americas in Mr. Minnich’s art room at Somerset Area High School. Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly were early favorites, and I continue to mine them to this day.

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What is your new series about and how do you feel your work has evolved over the past few years?

This latest series has me going back to some of the concerns I had when I first started painting at 16. In those early hard-edge works I was obsessed with trying to eliminate evidence of the hand, I remember a brush-stroke, a hair, or a speck of dust had the power to ruin my whole day. In these new works, I have 20 years of experience in my corner, but they are also powered by the small insight that texture is forgiving. Three layers of gesso builds the ground in these paintings and it’s applied with a swirling brushstroke that reminds me of plaster ceilings. I remember being spaced out at my grandmother’s place in town, wondering what it would be like if all the furniture were on the ceiling—the texture in these pieces is somehow communing with that little kid and memories of my grandmother. The forms however are drawn from the Nintendo game, Excitebike. If you’re familiar with the game, imagine hovering over the ramps and getting an aerial view of the racetracks. This form has captured my imagination for a little over a year, and is just now starting to evolve into new forms, all of which give me a structure to think about my primary concern, color.

How do you feel your local community in Wilmington affects your studio practice?

I’ve been working in Wilmington for ten years now, and it has been a distinct pleasure to grow with the community. Most folks leaving the UD MFA program don’t stick around, so the scene here is largely artists who are from Delaware and the practitioners have a diverse range of experience and education. I find this to be incredibly refreshing, at times the MFA-Illuminati can be downright cynical. I’ve also been out of school for a while, so perhaps what I’m experiencing is the freedom of not having to defend every single decision. My job at the Creative Vision Factory also makes it a hell of a lot easier to put things in perspective—life is too tragic and precious to take artmaking too seriously.

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How do you design your schedule and make time for painting, family responsibilities, and your work at the Creative Vision Factory? 

Our whole approach at the CVF is to utilize creative practice as a wellness strategy. Painting has always served that purpose for me, and the maintenance of a daily practice is reinforced by my work at the CVF. The family balance was a lot more difficult when my kids were younger. They are now at the age where they love to spend time with me in the studio. My son is even lobbying for some space in my upcoming show at the Chris White Gallery. My new studio schedule is really the creation of my wife. As a French teacher, she leaves for school at an ungodly hour, and she’s usually asleep by 9:30. I used to then wander down to the studio and work until midnight, but this year it dawned on me that I could get the same amount of time in if I simply got up when she does, so Monday through Friday, I’m moving the needle in the studio from 5:00AM to 7:00AM. I spend a lot of time painting on the weekends, and catastrophic weather always helps—I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for one more snow storm!

What is the best piece of advice you received that has helped you in your art career so far?

I don’t know if I ever received any solid advice for my “art career”—there are times that I wish I had a commanding figure in my life that would have forced me to go to law school, so I would be better situated to enter into politics (a trajectory that I’m actually interested in).  A fellow board member of Shipley Artists’ Lofts once dropped this gem on me, “under promise and over deliver”. At the time, I was definitely promising folks the world as a general organizing strategy—this piece of advice really helped me see and clearly define my own limitations, but at the same time, I’m committed to following through and doing whatever I can to support another artist. In my own experience, I ran into plenty of people who were quick to tell me how impossible a life in the arts was—I always wanted to be the opposite of that—I wanted to be the person who actually encouraged the idea.

Who are your biggest influences and mentors? 

The Founder of AS220, Bert Crenca, is sort of like my spirit animal when it comes to my work in Wilmington. The community that he created in Providence is so genuine and so structural—it amazes me that art programs across the country are not trying to recreate his model all over the country. I also put Rick Lowe of Project Row Houses on a giant pedestal. More of us need to be responsive to structural inequality—the same creativity and innovation that flows in the studio has to make its way into the world—supportive economic and social infrastructures are things that can be made—artists ought to make them!

When it comes to my studio practice, I definitely hope to be a combination of Bob Straight and Peter Williams when I grow up. Those two guys are painters’ painters and I’m continually inspired by their generosity and productivity. Lately I have found myself deeply motivated to please two other local painters whose enthusiasm and energy are contagious, Alim Smith and Rick Hidalgo. Creative Vision Factory artist, Knicoma Frederick is also my daily shot in the arm—he’s the hardest working artist that I know, his vision is so singular and authentic, and his belief in the power and efficacy of art has resurrected me on more than one occasion. 

What's next for you and what should we be on the lookout for?

My solo exhibition, Vibe Realm, opens at the Chris White Gallery on April 6th and runs through April 27th. With four more panels to finish as I write this, nothing else is really on my radar. One thing to keep an eye on though, is that I was nominated for a United States Artist Fellowship this year. United States Artists have funded artists in 49 States plus Puerto Rico, but they have yet to fund an artist from Delaware. I am hoping to break the streak this year, so light a candle for me.

Spiritual Realm: Interview with Lisa Ostapinski

Lisa Ostapinski is a painter and art educator based in Oakland, CA.  She works with unusual materials and processes including metal leaf gilding, encaustic painting (beeswax), sgraffito and oil paint marbling.  Her work juxtaposes archaic media with modern forms producing a fresh, contemporary take on these art historical techniques.  Lisa’s imagery pulls from a diverse array of sources including textile and jewelry design, architecture, modern painting, the natural world, scientific illustration, religious painting and occult symbolism.  She chooses lustrous, visually rich materials such as gold leaf and beeswax for their natural beauty as well as their historical use in European religious painting to evoke the divine.  Lisa’s work is an exploration of the potential for abstract forms and luminous materials to communicate ideas about the spiritual realm.

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Tell us about your journey as a painter. When did you first start using symbolism in your work?

Years ago I started out painting illustrations from vintage science textbooks from the 60’s that I found in thrift stores. I was interested in how cultures interpret and respond to biology and the natural world; how we make sense of the world and our place in it through visual imagery. It was a natural connection to explore the ways in which humanity visually represents ideas about the spiritual realm. I was really drawn to traditions of mystical symbolism from many different cultures and its distillation of form in the service of representing something as abstract as spirit or the idea of God.

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What would you say your current paintings are about?

My current work is about light and form; my images are a culmination of everything I encounter. I get inspiration from everywhere: the shape of a doorway, quilts, the floor on the bus, a flower, something my son drew, the curve of a wall, a design from an old handkerchief or a necklace. I like how these things are completely random and then in another way they’re not, how everything is connected.

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Is there a significance of the materials you use in your work? Explain how you choose what to include in each piece.

I am working with light and so I use gold leaf which is extremely reflective as well as encaustic and oil paint. These three things reflect light in different ways and I have been playing around with figuring out where I want the gold to show, where I want the white paint to cover and absorb light and where I want the soft glow of the beeswax. I choose these materials because they are natural and beautiful. My work has a certain dynamic energy in person because of the aliveness of the materials.

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What are your favorite activities outside of the studio?

I work full time as a teacher and I’m a mother so that doesn’t leave much else. Spending time with my family, hiking, growing food, sleeping if possible

What do you hope the viewer experiences when looking at your work?

I don’t think I hope anything, I make my work for me, because it’s what pleases me and what I think is beautiful. It’s not sophisticated or conceptual but more craft or design oriented, and I’m comfortable with that. I’m older and I’ve been painting my whole life, decades now, I’ve learned not to try to please other people. But it’s always a great feeling to have someone else get it, you know?

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Name a few living artists that inspire you.

There are so many, it’s really hard to just name a few. Kiki Smith, Nick Cave, Eamon Ore- Giron, Anish Kapoor, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Olaffur Eliasson, El Anatsui, Damien Hirst, Kehinde Wiley, Wangechi Mutu, Ai Weiwei, Olga de Amaral, there are so many more

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What are you currently working on and what should we expect from you in the coming year?

I don’t know what to expect from me but right now I’m working on plenty of new pieces, also commissions and collaborations with other artists.

Studio Sundays: Jaime Brett Treadwell

Born and raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, Treadwell studied Painting and Sculpture at the State University of New York at Cortland (1995-99). In 2000 he returned to the Philadelphia area to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania (MFA, 2002). Treadwell’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, South Korea, Vancouver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, and Chicago. Publications, artist features, and interviews include Juxtapoz Magazine, Hi-Fructose Magazine, New Contemporary (Gingko Press), Blue Canvas Magazine, New American Paintings, JPEOPLE Magazine, Carne Magazine, Direct Art Magazine, Bizzarre Magazine, DVYZE Magazine, Artkolik Magazine, WOWxWOW magazine, Good Game Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Miami New Times. Mr. Treadwell lives and works in Philadelphia where he is a full-time Associate Professor of Art at Delaware County Community College.

Statement  

My recent paintings lean toward a series of invented forms, which employ optical deceptions, and often bend the space between ambiguity and certainty. Adopting Op Art tenets, such as shimmering and shifting line and color, and channeling various retro-aesthetics including 80’s nostalgia, sci-fi, futurism, and digital graphics, I experiment by mashing bizarre ingredients together in anticipation of new and unfamiliar interactions. 

www.jaimetreadwell.com

A Metaphor For Our Memories: Interview With Mariu F. Lacayo

“The infinite world of possibilities of elementary particles is the basis of human freedom,” says writer Alicia Montesdeoca. In addition, I follow the course of these particles, building the lines of our lives through the emotions attached to the skin, such as my steel and polymer strings, oil, and acrylic on canvas and/or methacrylate. This is the metaphor for the way we pull off memories; I sand off fragments of the overlaying colors, map of multiple experiences that build the crust of our being plotted in this dimension. Contrary to what we believe – that time moves forward – really everything happens in parallel interdimensions, hence the theory of multiverses that I paint, stitch, scrape, sand and chart, weaving, painting and pasting layer over layer. Similarly, our unconscious keeps our every human experience in its dark memory that suddenly jumps into light as the tones of each layer of color that abruptly appear, bringing into light lines that cross over multiple underlying colors, previous experiences learned and inherited. These are my SUPERSTRING MIRRORS, hybridizations, because of their language and symbolism.

https://www.saatchiart.com/mariu-f-lacayo

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 Briefly tell us about your journey as an artist.

Since I remember, textiles have been an integral part of my life. I started admiring aboriginal textiles when I first got my hands on a Mexican mop. These unbleached cotton fabrics that resist everything and more, and have been part of everyday life in every home in Mesoamerica, symbolize my first contact with textiles and color. So, I started painting them 15 years ago, and then I built an installation with them and then I knitted braids in different fabrics, as models for my paintings and sculptures, before landing into these quantum vibrations that are a hybrid between acrylic painting, spray paint, methacrylate and warps.

The humble swabs were the masters of the weft that I have been retaking with the brush and mixed media these days, introducing myself into the postulates of quantum physics and string theory, which proposes scientifically what the Mayans already said as a motto in their language, IN'LAKESH, meaning "I am you, you are me, we all are One".

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How do you feel your cultural upbringing influenced your art?

My artworks are a proposal to learn to live in tolerance and universal acceptance of the Universal tissue we are in charge, and thus improve the quantum maps of the world in which we live. This is also a tribute to my father, a psychiatrist, who taught me to observe my thoughts and emotions, as a whole, and not as isolated events.

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Tell us about your process. How do you come up with each painting? Do you spend a lot of time planning and sketching, or is the process more intuitive?

I get inspired by my love for the invisible world that is happening in parallel to our surroundings. My artwork can be described as an ongoing abstraction of the mysterious worlds of molecular biology and particle physics. My paintings and sculptures and art cubes explore the complexity and appearance of the invisible and unknown to linear reason. I work intuitively and start painting at 3:00 am, feeling that we all are immersed in a vibrational experience.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

I understand that each day is a chance where we all can choose which warp and in what shapes and colors we can knit to live the world we want. Each day is our chance to leave behind our beliefs about ourselves and begin to recreate new experiences in which the different dimensions I represent in my artworks, are in fact the experience of beauty whose reality allows us to immerse ourselves inside.

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How do you prevent artistic burnout and get inspired again?

I never get burned out because my thoughts create my actions and words and formulate a vibrational environment in myself and around me that reinforces creativity and the best vibes to feel fulfilled every minute.

Share something important about your work that you want the viewer to be aware of.

My artwork has the purpose of elevating the consciousness of each of you my friends, towards personal satisfaction, inner joy and confidence in yourselves so that each time you observe one of my artworks you can elevate your spirit and your quality of life with a positive vibratory frequency.

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What are you currently working on?

I am working on a variety of different textural sensations in every composition. Many of my patterns are abstract in subject matter though they can echo elements of geometry, stripes, or even florals. I love the way the soft movements break up each art piece and bestow visual interest. Washy colors, soft textures, and subtle tone variations are some of the reasons I work poetry with brushes and acrylic on canvas, methacrylate, steel threads and aluminum sculptures.

Discovering Elements of Reality: Interview with Senem Oezdogan

Senem Oezdogan is a Brooklyn based artist and is currently working on paintings and wall-based rope and wood constructions.

Her goal is to make work that is an invitation to observe the world through form and color. To discover elements of reality — depth, flatness, tension, structure, color and time — she uses materials that are accessible and tactile and combines them into an arrangement of shapes and compositions that feel complete and harmonious. Her rope and wood constructions emphasize elements of the work that are not just about pure geometry but also about preserving a textural quality that conveys the softness of fabric or tapestry.

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Tell us about your artistic background. When did you decide to pursue this path?

I always knew that I would work in the creative field and really enjoyed exploring various aspects of it–design, illustration, and painting. Looking at it now, all of the steps in the past have served as a foundation for the work I’m doing today. Prior to studying Design & Illustration at FIT in New York, I have also worked at several galleries in Germany and New York. Those were great opportunities to meet other artists, go on studio visits, work on fairs and just get an overall idea of how the art world works.

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 How do you come up with the shapes and geometry in each piece? What inspires your paintings?

Even though I am not a figurative painter there are a lot of references to figures, nature, and architecture in my work. I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings – the city, my relationships and other interactions I have with people. We move through our days and see so much–people are on the move, objects are moving, moods are changing. 

I’m translating these fragments into extremely simple forms and I’m interested in how primary structures can be visualized. Combining all of these elements into compositions that feel complete is the challenge and beauty of abstract art. It forces me to constantly reevaluate my artistic vocabulary when creating meaningful work that communicates emotional depth. Each piece is an invitation to observe and investigate the choices that have been made. A lot of the work is intuitive but I always ask the same questions: How does one form, relate to another? Does it touch, exclude, or frame it? Where is the visual tension? The shapes on the canvas seem like cutouts – in a way you get the feeling that they can be shuffled around and that the images are not static. 

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How do your rope and wood construction pieces relate to your paintings? How are they different?

Developing the fiber works took a while. I wanted to make wall based fiber art that could be created without having to use a loom. I was looking for ways to approach the pieces more like paintings with the freedom to work from all sides. I started to experiment with paper – when I wanted to go up in scale I needed more durable materials and started to work with wood and rope.

The rope work is more physical and at times it feels like building a sculpture. The wrapping of the rope and the time it takes for the image to emerge gives the work a physical and temporal experience. It’s a slow process and it can take days for a form to take shape whereas on the canvas I can do that quickly and see the results instantly. There is a sense of instant gratification when painting.

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Name a few artists that influenced your work.

The Bauhaus was a huge influence and still is – architecture, product design, textiles there are so many great things. Especially Klee’s theories on art and design – not to imitate nature and objects but to observe the process that shaped/created them. It is a fascinating way to look at our surrounding, study form and shape and a reminder not to be too literal when using visual language. I’m also a huge fan of Sean Scully’s work, Ellsworth Kelly, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Alexander Calder, as well as Friedel Dzubas and Ray Parker.

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Describe your process. How do you prepare for each piece? 

Half of my sketchbooks are filled with text and the other half with drawings. Most of the time I will write out what a painting should look like or how I imagine several shapes next to each other. I also make collages with torn and cutout paper to create relationships in color and form. When the relationship of elements becomes more than the individual parts, and the shapes move across the surface, everything finds its place.
Once I move to the canvas I usually have a clear idea about how I want to place elements and the colors I’m going to use. The sketches and collages are very loose and I leave a lot of room for experimentation. Working on the canvas is the opposite—it is a very controlled environment.
 
What are you currently working on and excited about in your studio practice?

I’m currently working on a new series of gradient paintings. I had previously worked on a gradient series inspired by the dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. The new paintings are a variation of that technique – while the earlier work was a visualization of movement – the new work is about the interaction of light/dark and sound/silence.
This work has been exciting in many ways - finding the right balance in color, refining the technique, and working on a larger scale.
 

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Share a piece of advice that helped you in your artistic journey so far.

Just keep working - there are always ideas that work and some that don't but it is important to work your way through it and see how far you can push your ideas.

Eric Shaw at The Hole, NYC

New York, NY) - The Hole is pleased to announce Trails, an exhibition of new paintings by Eric Shaw, on view October 21 – November 19, 2017. This presentation includes seven fanciful abstract paintings employing high contrast polygons and pathways, geometric shapes and fine lines suggesting trails on a map. This is the artist’s first solo show at the gallery.

Shaw’s paintings are inspired by the diverse commercial graphic design that is ubiquitous throughout New York City. Referencing memories and photographs of logos and signs, he uses a smartphone application and his forefinger to create digital drawings of these motifs, which are then transferred onto canvas with acrylic paint. Once painted onto canvas, Shaw uses thin tape to draw additional lines that form his trail-like lines.

Each day he photographs the painting and uses the mobile application on his cellphone to draw on top of the image, editing the digital copy to form a new layer of the analog painting. This regenerative process continues until the painting is considered complete. Moderated by direct exposure to the urban environment as well as mobile technology, these works are underpinned by the digital-world geometry and program design that structures contemporary life.

About Eric Shaw

Eric Shaw (b. 1983, Enfield, CT) lives and works in Brooklyn. Shaw has exhibited internationally most recently this summer at PRIVATEVIEW in Turin where he was an artist in residence. Other recent exhibitions include Come As You Are at Annarumma Gallery, Naples; Stars & Stripes at Gordon Gallery, Tel Aviv; Highlight: Summer One at Hollis Taggart Gallery, New York; Maker’s Mark at Regina Rex, New York; Some New American Paintings at Ever Gold in San Francisco; and Summer Mixer 2015 at Joshua Liner Gallery, New York.

About The Hole

The Hole is a contemporary art gallery run by Kathy Grayson. Opened July of 2010, the 4000 sq. ft. storefront on the Bowery is a block up from the New Museum, bordering the Lower East Side and NoLIta neighborhoods of Manhattan. The Hole presents monthly solo and group exhibitions with a focus on emerging art and thematic group exhibitions. The gallery represents more than fifteen artists from America and abroad, and has exhibited over 200 more.

Muzae Sesay 

b. 1989 Long Beach, CA

Lives and works in Oakland, CA

www.muzaesesay.com

My current body of work flirts with the feelings that arise from testing the absoluteness of everyday life with the strict, rigid fragments found in architecture and manufactured spaces. Utilizing skewed perspectives of space and shape collapsed into flat two-dimensional planes, I create surreal geometric landscapes and structures. Inspired by ideas of cultural reflection and developed by questioning the validity of memory, my work often depicts worlds I've created in response to social introspection and challenging my own perceptions of reality. This process involves taking imagery from the physical world and reducing them to rudimental forms that then populate fragmented universes compiled by perspectival fallacies and tied together by harmonious color composition. The viewer is compelled to understand the space, question its dimensionality, dive inside and walk around.