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Ivana Carman
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Ivana Carman (b.1991) is an emerging artist living and working in Philadelphia. Six years ago, she was a psychology major on track toward becoming a psychologist. After taking a few life-painting classes, she realized she couldn’t do anything else, and took a big leap of faith in transferring to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Little did she know how relevant that field of interest would be to the work she makes today.  

Statement

I find inspiration in the obscured, hidden in cabinets, drawers, and old notes, in the parts of my mind that unfold in solitude. As an observational painter, I’m simultaneously looking out at the world while registering my internal responses and desires, observing the overlooked outside of myself and within.

In my recent body of work, I deepen that exploration of interior vs exterior, expressing acute perceptions of my personal world and the psychological attachments underlying ordinary objects/spaces. I often use windows and mirrors as a symbol for a bridge between two worlds, revealing the ambiguities of the domestic space. Painting deeply personal objects and spaces from life requires a detached eye, making the final work evoke both intense vulnerability and emotional distance.

Carl Jung and his concepts of the unconscious mind – the idea that there is a well of fears, desires, and trauma just beyond the surface – inform my explorations. My recent work draws familiar materials from childhood (cut paper, pastel and crayons), which allows me to respond to my own unconscious desires with naïve spontaneity. After years of restricting myself to paint on canvas, I feel a greater openness to experimentation as my practice expands beyond the weight of historical painting traditions.

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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.

David Linneweh

David lives in the greater Chicago Metropolitan area where he works and is the Creator of the Studio Break Podcast. He received his MFA in painting from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in (07′) and his BFA from Illinois State University in (02′). Solo exhibitions include the following: Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio (18'); Blanden Art Museum, Fort Dodge, IA, (15'); Jan Brandt Gallery, Bloomington, IL, (13′); The Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, IL, (12′); and Centraltrak Artist Residency, Dallas, TX, (08′). Group Exhibitions: The Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, (14'); St Peter Art Center, St Peter, MN, (13′); Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery, Davie, FL, (13′); What it is Gallery, Oak Park, IL, (11′); McNamee Gallery,Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, (13′), The Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL, (12′), Brooklyn Artists Gym, Brooklyn, NY, (11′), and Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, (10′). 

He has attended residencies at Art342, Centraltrak, Osage Arts Community, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center (Full Fellowship), and Jentel. His work has been published in New American Paintings four times in (11′,07′, 05′, 03′) and his work has been collected by Richard Holland, Tom Burtonwood, Brian Redban, and Steven T. Zevitas. 

Statement

When walking through my neighborhood my mind is flooded with observations of light as it falls over homes and manicured lawns. Facades glisten with an intensity and variety of color that elicit a dreamlike state that feels nostalgic and prophetic in the same time. These suburban streets transport me in time; I close my eyes and memories of backyard barbeques, bike rides, and birthday parties in the garage fill my head. As the setting sun bathes rooftops in a warm glow, I reflect on the idea of the American Dream and wonder if its tenets are based in illusion or reality. 

My experiences in the landscape are distilled through photography, which begins my process; photos with dynamic formal qualities are then selected as the foundation of a new painting. Digital images are then carefully composed and printed to create image transfers over a wood veneer, resulting in an image that appears old and weathered. 

A layer of graphite is then applied to give definition to the edges of architectural and greenery elements, when the drawing is complete the surface is then sealed with layers of matt medium. The painting process begins by adding shapes of flat color followed by careful reflection of the paints interaction with the implied texture and faded color of the image transfer. The paintings slowly evolve over numerous sessions to create a composition that at a distance looks whole but upon close inspection is defined by flat shapes of color that sit on the surface. 

The finished paintings are formally inviting yet unresolved because they acknowledge their own physicality as paint and object that are connected to this notion of the American Dream. The visual tension in my paintings reflects the current tension within the contemporary world where working families struggle to transform dreams into reality. In this way, the paintings act as mirrors meant to evoke the viewer to meditate on these ideas. Do these works evoke faded memories or ideals, was the dream ever real in the first place, and how will our ideals mutate in the years to come?

Capturing Domestic Life: Interview with Mychaelyn Michalec

Born in 1977, Michalec is an artist who lives and works in Dayton, OH. 

My work focuses on domestic life in a convergence of abstract and the figure. The dichotomy of the family is emotional closeness yet frequently, missed connections. My paintings often show members of my family staring at their devices, huddling together but watching TV, eating dinner around a table but involved in thought. Painting for me is a way of both embracing and resisting domestic life. Motherhood is like a love affair. We fall in love, we fantasize, and it is all so perfect. Then we see the reality, and feel guilty. 

Abstraction and the figure compete for attention in my work just as being an artist and a mother compete for attention in real life. Waiting at the Verizon store, watching TV, eating dinner—what is lasting among seemingly mundane experiences? The memories are intimate yet universal, influential yet forgotten.

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“Love is paying attention”
— Fairfield Porter 
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When did you first begin exploring domestic spaces and modern relationships in your work? 

I stepped back from my studio practice for about 12 years to focus on raising a family.  When I started to make work again, I thought about how I filled that creative void. That is when I started exploring the ideals of home and family life in my work. For me, there has always been a conflict between not having a career and being a parent, because our society is so fixated on what you do as a reflection of your worth. Painting for me is a way of both embracing and resisting domestic life. Motherhood is like a love affair. We fall in love, we fantasize, and it is all so perfect. Then we see the reality, and feel guilty.

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There is something poetic and sentimental about finding beauty in the mundane moments through art. What do you hope the viewer takes away from your current paintings?
 
I don’t think that family dynamics have changed that much, but I do think the way that they are portrayed has changed. In an era of curated Facebook feeds highlighting the best in family life, I hope to show a more realistic depiction of domesticity - though what I do show is still warped and twisted through my own filter and shaky-handed sketches. There is more of a need for the real in this life and less #liveauthentic. The importance of the mundane and the seemingly uninteresting is that - it is wherein most of our life experiences come from. Narrative work is so open to interpretation. Standing back and listening to others' interpretation is often an interesting way to analyze the observer. 

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How has your studio practice challenged the way you think about our homes, relationships and the introduction of technology in your own life? 

I think the cell phone is the television of my parent's generation. My parent's generation fretted over access to it, time spent in front of it, and the content of what was being shown. They thought it would be the ruin of my generation. While it was not, I don't want to be either dismissive or alarmist about technology in our own lives. I think screens are pervasive, an unstoppable force, and yet there has always been a sort of disconnect between families or relationships in general. That is nothing new, nor was it new as I was growing up, though the scapegoat has changed.

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What do you love to do when you are not in the studio?
 
I am a normal person; I do normal things. I run out to pick up a 12 pack of root beer for the boy's student council meeting due this afternoon, or a container of air-dry clay for the girl's landforms projects due in a week. I shop on the internet and take the dog for a walk. I make at least three trips to the grocery store a week. Sometimes I meet friends for coffee.

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Where does the imagery and references for your paintings come from?

The images come from my own life. I frequently sneak out my phone and try to covertly capture what is going on in our own lives. It is important to me that most of these moments are captured without my family being aware. With the advent of the digital camera, it is so easy to edit our lives.  Photos can be disregarded without a second thought; I try to capture what most people would disregard or not even bother to take.

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What are a few of your favorite artists and influences?
 
Three artists whose work I am most interested in are Honoré Sharrer, David Humphrey, and Brian Harte. I love Sharrer's use of color and her complex narratives. I recently fell in love with her paintings, and her color schemes have influenced my work. I find David Humphrey's work interesting. He has a lot to say about the human condition and society. His use of humor and drawing is very engaging. I love the work of Irish artist Brian Harte. He also captures domestic life. I find his male perspective of the subject especially interesting.  Another big influence for me is the short stories of Raymond Carver and Lydia Davis.  Their narratives and the dialogues of their characters are a big influence on my work and how I title things.

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Share a favorite quote or piece of advice. 

"Love is paying attention"- Fairfield Porter 

"We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves"  -John Berger

Interview: Eric Dyer

Painting has the ability to slow time. Every day I take in more but remember less. What did I do last Wednesday night? The week before that? Today, three years ago? So, while trying to make conscious decisions about how to think and what to pay attention to, I paint. I paint buildings I see on my walks around the city. I paint pictures of photos my parents took when I was a kid and portraits of who I may be today. (I’m still unsure.) I paint past art that I made but no longer have. I paint because my paintings can never be perfect. I paint to hold on just a little bit longer.

I currently live and work in San Francisco, California and studied Studio Art at California College of the Arts (MFA) and Painting and Drawing at the University of North Texas (BFA).

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www.eric-dyer.com

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What is your artistic background?

The need to create is embedded in our bones.

That need has led me to study Drawing and Painting at the University of North Texas for my BFA, and a MFA from California College of the Arts.

Now I'm wandering around cities, doing what where I can.

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Your work features images of architecture and buildings. What is the story behind these structures and what inspires you to paint them?

Anywhere can be fascinating, there is usually just too much in the way to see it; usually, not enough time to slow down. Each building carries its own story—you can find them if you look long enough. I paint these buildings in hopes of sharing these stories.

You mention that you use art to retain memories and slow down time. Would you say your current work is meditative? Explain how you approach your studio practice.

My approach to making work is a daily ritual.

After waking up and getting ready for the day, I make sure I have my two Leuchtturm notebooks on me, right now one is pink and the other is teal. I use the pink one for sketching and the teal one is lined for writing. Generally, most of my ideas come while I'm on the go, and I find the physical act of writing helps me remember things and is less distracting than a phone.

Walking is my main mode of transportation in San Francisco. Meandering through the streets allows me to see a lot of the city and learn about its different neighborhoods.

I want to get lost, not knowing the time or day.

After walking around (sketching, writing, and taking photographs), I build up enough material that I just try to find what works in the studio to start a drawing or painting.

For my current series, I use a dip pen with a few nibs, a Winsor & Newton Series 7 brush size 0, and some 300 lb cold press watercolor paper. I’ve recently fallen in love with Dr. Ph. Martins Black Star matte ink.

When starting a piece, I never sketch anything out on the paper before hand. I want the buildings to breathe, and for marks to have a living quality to them. Whenever I make mistakes, I just run with it. That’s life.

What do you hope to communicate through your work?

There is more to living in the moment than just being. The average person will live around 80 years and a lot of that time can seem boring or trivial. Our challenge, as Rory Ferreira says, is to “flourish in the lag time,” that is, to use our unfilled time wisely.

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What are you currently looking at, reading or watching that is fueling your art?

I love reading!

Currently, I’m working on Italio Calvino’s Numbers in the Dark, which is a beautiful book of short stories. I'm also reading a book of Ray Bradbury’s short stories (if you haven't read much Bradbury I'd recommend starting with The Veldt or All Summer in a Day), A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Major Works.

Up next is Citizen by Claudia Rankine and an anthology of   writings connected to the New Narrative movement formed in the late 1970s in San Francisco
(recommended to me by Patrick Marks, owner of Green Arcade Books) Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977–1997.

I can't stress enough how much libraries and bookstores mean to me. I think in part it has to do with my mom raising me to believe in the magic of reading, and many of the people I admire are writers. Some of my favorite book places in San Francisco include City Lights, Green Arcade, Aardvark, Green Apple, and of course the main public library!

As far as movies go… some that have been sitting in my mind are: Diary of a Lost Girl, directed by G.W. Pabst and starring Louise Brooks; Fitzcarraldo directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski; and The Night of the Iguana written by Tennessee Williams and directed by John Huston.

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What is your favorite part about being an artist?

Learning more about the world and sharing ideas with the lovely people in it.

Share a favorite piece of advice or quote.

“When bad things happen, I know you want to believe they are a joke, but sometimes life is scary and dark. That is why we must find the light.” — BMO, Adventure Time

“No matter what happens, even though the world can try to crush you or put you down... you can break up through the concrete and say ‘Damn it all! I’m a blade of grass and I will survive.’” — Ray Bradbury

Never stop learning or reading. Books are where secret lives hide, where places that we could never travel to exist, and where dreams stay alive. Living is difficult, there is no way around it, but we can all be here, for each other, to lend a helping hand.

Erika Stearly

A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, Erika Stearly holds an MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from Kutztown University. She is the recipient of several artist grants, most recently through the Puffin Foundation for her work with Take a Painting. Her works have been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including at Penn State University in 2015, while she served as Artist in Residence. Ms. Stearly is an adjunct professor and leads classes in arts organizations across eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Songnyeo Lyoo

“Although it does not exist, we believe it exists, 

Although you can not reach it, it is something we dream about, 

Although it vanishes identically, we hope that it remains forever” 

We can only endlessly approach utopia. 

A space that can never be reached, a space that does not exist anywhere, but is mutually believed to exist. 

A house is a one of the incarnations of home. 

The home is the aim of a epic odysseys, spirituellen searching and mental transformation. 

The series ´House´ is a continuation of the series ´Paradise´.

www.songnyeolyoo.com

Megan Woodard Johnson
Megan Woodard Johnson earned a BFA in graphic design and traditional printmaking from Shepherd University in 1996, and a continued love of both inform her current mixed media work. For the past ten years, she has built a studio practice and steadily created work shown in midwestern juried shows and art events.

Statement

Her mixed media approach illustrates how an accumulation of moments defines a total experience. The materials used carry the stories of learning, recording, and processing: vintage school books, ledgers, hand-written correspondence. The materials themselves each have a life and history, which is then woven into the stories Johnson tells by adding expressive layers of paint and drawing media.

Her recent work examines the notion of creating private spaces; places, both literal and imagined, that provide a sense of refuge. She is interested in how the creation of a personal space must be unique to each individual, while at the same time the experience of having or claiming these spaces is almost completely universal.

www.meganwoodardjohnson.com