Posts tagged Mixed Media
Mixed-Media Sculptures by Emma Vidal
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Born in Marseille (France) in 1992 and trained at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, Emma Vidal works and lives between France and the USA. She is currently a resident at the Intersect Arts Center in St. Louis, MO.

Vidal has been exhibiting in prestigious institutions including Volta Art Basel, the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Wellcome Collection Museum London, Museum Blue in St. Louis and the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Her ceramic and mixed media sculptures, as well as her monochromic large charcoal pieces, are included in collections worldwide.

Statement  

Nourished by in-depth research and largely influenced by religious anthropology, Vidal explores a hybrid myth focusing on the beginning of collective human history and the future of societies.

Taking the form of charcoal drawings and sculptures, her practice re-imagines a future world as a place whose inhabitants consist only of feral children and where Mother Nature is claiming back her territory. The "Fetish sculptures" or totemic three-dimensional works reference a range of historical, cultural and visual objects, from primitive art with their shamanic and ancestral aspects to contemporary shiny fetishes. Mixing styles from disparate places and periods, the series embodies new symbols of belief.

 www.emmavidal.com

Paintings-Sculptures inspired by Korean Landscapes, Artist Haevan Lee
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Haevan Lee (b.1990, Republic of Korea) expresses the regional context of specific places through various forms including painting, installation, video, and collaborations in other media. DMZ Landscape Series turns restricted or photography-prohibited areas into paintings. The artist has created painting-sculptures by superimposing the layers of landscapes that she experienced while staying at Peace Culture Bunker, an anti-tank defense shelter built after armed North Korean guerillas invaded Seoul, South Korea in January 1968, and presented the works in the exhibition Goliaths, Tanks (2018, Seoul). She is planning and producing DOPA, a collaborative project with contemporary artists, and currently contributes to various exhibitions including those at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art and SeMA storage, and her work is in the collection of MMCA((National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea)Government Art Bank.

Haevan Lee has arranged indications, situations, and apparatus for guessing the aftermath inside peaceful-looking sceneries to reveal a reality of psychological anxieties in the divided Korean peninsula. The artist, who was born in Dongsong area in Cheorwon, Gangwon-do near the DMZ and has always had a curiosity for unknown, unnamed spaces, explores them by either keeping a distance from the view as an observer or mingling within the distances in fantasy.

‘Goliaths, Tanks’ by Haevan Lee is an amalgamation of her paintings and objects weaved together in her site-specific installations and multi-media projections, accompanied by performance pieces. The movement in each object resonating with the sound of ticking clocks serenely draws out the muted anxiety underlying the division of Korean peninsula following the war in the 1950s. The ensemble takes place at the Peace Culture Bunker at the Northern end of Seoul, which was originally built in the late 1960s as a barricade to cut off North Korean ground forces, recently transformed into an art space. The artist embodies the remnants and residues of the space into her entire exhibition, deliberately placing objects along the artillery halls looking out to grass yards where rusty old tanks sit as gravestones.

www.haevanlee.com 

Brandon C. Smith
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Brandon C. Smith is an artist who works in a variety of media and subject matter including recent political paintings and sculpture depicting the outrage of contemporary American society.

Smith has presented work in over 70 solo and group exhibitions nationwide.  Solo exhibitions include Illinois Central College in Peoria (IL), Chadron State College in Chadron (NE),  Heike Pickett Gallery (KY), University of Redlands (CA), Southern Oregon University (OR), Berea College (KY), Pittsburg State University (KS), Perry Nicole Fine Art (TN), Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center (KY), Tennessee Tech University (TN), Georgetown College, Georgetown (KY), Pedro Moncayo Foundation (Ibarra Ecuador) with upcoming shows in Frostburg State University, Frostburg (MD) and Fontbonne University in St. Louis (MO).

Smith has been included in two-person and group exhibitions nationwide, most recently at the UK Art Museum’s exhibition “Frankensteinian,” “Contemporary Sculpture” exhibition at Site: Brooklyn and “A Contemporary Drawing Show” in Kokomo Indiana.  Group exhibition include San Joaquin Delta College (CA), Perry Nicole Fine Art (TN), Seminole Community College (FL), the Chazen Museum of Art (WI), Heike Pickett Gallery (KY), Perry Nicole Fine Art (KY), Bennett St. Gallery (GA), Amy Baber Fine Art (LA), The State University of New York (NY) among others.   

As part of the Smith Townsend Collaborative, Smith has presented exhibitions at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland (OH), Murray State University (KY), Miami University (OH), New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art (IN) Pellissippi State College Knoxville (TN) and most recently a Merit award recipient at Art Fields in Lake City S.C.

Brandon C. Smith earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University (KY) in 2000, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati (OH) in 2004. He was a recipient of the Al Smith Kentucky Individual Artist Grant and two-time recipient of a Great Meadows Individual Artist Grant. Smith is a Senior Lecturer of Art at the University of Kentucky and lives on a farm in Salvisa KY.   

Statement 

These works speak directly to the current political/social climate in the United States. Somewhere between elation and despair, our country seems to be moving toward tribal bifurcation. Passionate participation manifests as outrage and tumultuous emotional expression. The yelling and screaming figures found in these works have references in recent political rallies, concert attendees and moments of boiling anxiety. 

These works are also about painting and the language of paint. The space is simultaneously rendered and flat, while the paint runs and drips in layers of thin and thick paint. Through these works, I explore the space between beauty and the expectations of beauty with the unsettling transition into visual chaos. Sometimes beautiful and sometimes grotesque, these works speak to the emotional state of political and social extremism through the physicality of paint.

www.brandoncsmith.com

Solo Exhibition by Artist Danielle Krysa at Mayberry Fine Art
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By Ekaterina Popova

Artist Danielle Krysa has been busy in the studio this year, and it shows. I have always been a fan of her collage work, but most recently she took her studio practice on a whole other level and released a solo exhibition filled with large scale paintings and mixed media pieces that will inspire you, take your breath away and even make you laugh.

Danielle's work is on view at Mayberry Fine Art from June 1 - June 28, 2019. To purchase or inquire about available work visit www.mayberryfineart.com or email toronto@mayberryfineart.com

Danielle's Statement:

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There are, and always have been, a ridiculous number of stories in my head - stories I tell myself, stories I share out loud, and stories that become my mixed media collages. My most recent work takes those narratives a little further, inviting the viewer into my mind. There are messes and moments of pure joy that exist in an ‘artist’s chaotic and abstract world. There are also quiet white spaces – completely void of ideas – but then somehow, someway the creative machine starts churning again. A juicy stroke of paint in the perfect hue, or just the right found image and, voila, joy is restored! These artworks are a glimpse into the never-ending treasure hunt that goes on in my head – a combination of humor, personal thoughts, rich textures, found images and vibrant color.
— Danielle Krysa

Danielle is the writer behind the contemporary art site, The Jealous Curator, and the author of "Creative Block", "Collage", "Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk" and "A Big Important Art Book". Her work is in private collections in Canada, The United States and Europe. She has a BFA in Visual Arts, and a post-grad in graphic design and lives with her family in British Columbia.

Sarah Detweiler
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Sarah Detweiler is a Philadelphia-area based, mixed media painter whose most recent works incorporate embroidery with watercolor, gouache, and oil. Sarah has a BFA from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has exhibited in group and solo shows in various locations including New York City, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania.

My work explores narratives around themes of feminism, female empowerment, and the human experience through figurative, mixed media paintings. I integrate the traditionally feminine craft of embroidery to challenge the boundaries of feminism. The embroidery allows my work to be revealed in stages and acts as a visual invitation to take a closer look. My art reflects the feminine experience through personal and global issues because, in many ways, a woman's experience is universal.  Whether it acts as a mirror to the viewer or as a window into another person's narrative, ultimately, my art is about making connections.

www.sarahdetweiler.com

Bianca Romero
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The work of contemporary mixed media artist Bianca Romero is a study in fusion and contrasts. Blending together a vibrant potpourri of wheatpaste, acrylics, typography, and miscellaneous textures, the NYC-based creative conceptualizes each of her painterly collages as a literal metaphor for personal identity, speaking to the idea that all individuals are a byproduct of our singular lived experiences, relationships, and environments. Bianca is also heavily influenced by her biracial heritage, being half Korean and half Spanish. Raised by a graphic designer and fashion designer, artistic expression always played an integral role in her life, beginning at a very young age. With an extensive background in experiential marketing and event production, she is passionate about creating opportunities for fellow multi-disciplinary artists through the development of unusual curatorial projects and brand activations.

Throughout the month of June, Bianca is partnering with Effen Vodka onArt Ambush” , a pop-up event series featuring a rotating roster of New York City's most influential street artists including Crash, Sen 2 Figueroa, Vers718, Eric Inkala, Keli Lucas, Lexi Bella, Cern, OG Millie, Turtle Caps, and Bianca herself. Recently Bianca completed work on two new mural installations for the William Vale Hotel rooftop and the Legion Lighting Factory.

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Dolls Exploring the Experience of Motherhood: Interview with Nicole Havekost
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By Alicia Puig

Nicole Havekost is an artist living in Rochester, Minnesota. Her own work is varied in media and technique but linked by her interest in material and process. Recently, Nicole was both a 2018 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient and Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council Advancing Artist Grant recipient. She has recently exhibited work in New Orleans, Dallas, and Tasmania, Australia. Nicole earned her BFA in Printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA in Printmaking from the University of New Mexico. 

I make figures that are doll-like in form. I began making these figures when my son was small. I expected these figures would teach my son about my world, but instead, this work has been a way to teach me about his. These figures are observers, thoughtful participants in the process of discovery. They nurture and protect, yet they are neither beast nor human. These animals are my evolving experience of motherhood; the profound change of body, heart, and desire I never expected and couldn’t control in a new world rich with possibility.

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

I've always loved to draw. I didn't know a person could be an artist, and the only art form I was familiar with was the newspaper comics. So I wanted to be a cartoonist. That interest later turned to fashion design, but after my foundation year at RISD, I realized there were so many other possibilities. I graduated as a printmaker but began making sculptural objects during my senior year. I haven't stopped since.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind your artwork or a specific series that you're currently working on.

I currently have two different bodies of work in progress, but they both come from the same place. I am deeply interested in exploring what it feels like to be in a body. The animal dolls that are published in Create! Magazine reference my transition to motherhood and how it felt to nurture another soul in this world. The other work includes mixed media sculpture exploring my bodily experience of sickness, pregnancy, aging, and recently, perimenopause.

Can you talk about some of your favorite works, and what makes them special to you?

My favorite works are often the ones I make at the beginning of a series. I don't yet know what the work will look like, but I can tell we will be the best of friends once it is complete. Often as the work progresses, there are stronger pieces, but that first one always holds a special place. It was there before I saw it, and then I made it. I love creating doll-like forms; my "Candy Lady" series of figures with candy innards are some of my favorites.

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

I work intuitively. Mostly I keep a list of descriptors related to the series I am working on. I am terrible at planning at planning my work; I get too tight. I like to have to problem solve my way through the process. Natural consequences make the work pretty interesting.

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

My work does change as I make it, but that's because I am responding to the process as I work instead of altering original plans. Because I do so much hand stitching in my work, progress is slower than I would like. But the process is deeply meditative and brings me much joy while I am doing it. I haven't paid attention to actual hours, but I can account for the time in episodic television. Some works take the length of several seasons of a Netflix binge, while other processes are a couple of stand up specials. I can't watch anything I really have to pay attention to when I am stitching, but I can keep track of large narratives. It is the best way to work.

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

I am excited to be shipping work to the Southbend Museum of Art Biennial 30 next month as well as the exhibition "Modern Archetypes" at Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City, Michigan. I will be participating in RISDCraft 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island in October and teaching the workshop "The Doll as Storyteller" at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in November.

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Natalie Ciccoricco
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Natalie Ciccoricco is a Dutch collage artist, living in California. After moving to the United States in 2012, Natalie started making mixed media collages and illustrations inspired by her new surroundings. Her work is characterized by her use of embroidery thread in combination with other materials, such as old photographs, magazines, books, and other ephemera.

Statement

In my work I weave together new narratives on paper, using embroidery thread and found images. By re-using old materials, it is my hope to give them a new life and meaning. I am inspired by the American landscape, my dreams, nature, arts, literature, and my travels.

My latest series ‘Down the Color Hole’ is an exploration into color and the concept of multiple dimensions. I use embroidery thread on images of old books and magazines to create the visual illusion of a new vantage point - a glitch in space and time from which the image seems to explode or implode, depending on how you look at it.

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Dalila Pasotti
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NYC-based sculptress & fine jewelry designer Dalila Pasotti just wrapped up her powerful debut solo exhibition 'Infinitas |X| Incognita' curated by Stacie Lucas at East Williamsburg-based gallery, Lucas Lucas. Working in white alabaster, ceramics, & hydrocal mixed media, her mystical sculptures are inspired by the interconnected nature of our universe & the secret link between art & science. Think goddesses, sphinxes, cryptic symbolism & extraterrestrials!

The otherwordly element is key to all Dalila's creations. Having studied Natural Sciences at the University of Turin, she loves combining unseen ideas with scientific theory & research data -- and the end result is nothing short of dazzling. Pairing traditional Old Masters stone-carving technique with an experimental mix of media, each handcrafted piece represents an idealogical vector or scientific theory without a standard metaphorical component. Within a universe of infinite possibilities, she muses on hypothetical life-forms scattered across galaxies.

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Julie Liger-Belair
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Julie Liger-Belair lives in Toronto, where she attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University). For the past 20 years, she has participated in group and solo shows in Canada, the United States and Europe.  When not doing her artwork she likes to go camping with her partner, their three creative kids, and little black dog, Frida.

Statement

Fairy tales, legends, dreams and the surreal worlds they evoke have always been a part of the human experience, a way to make sense of our surroundings and explain our fears.  As a child these captured my imagination and wove themselves into the fabric of my personality.  Because of this, I am today a collector at heart, constantly collecting fragments of ideas and objects, each with their own little stories to tell.  Combining them in different ways in my work, they form new narratives and meanings.

I create mixed-media works using acrylic paint, wood, metal, Japanese paper, and found photographs.  I use Victorian era photographs I’ve collected over the years, finding that these evoke imagined histories and feelings of nostalgia.  Their serious and stern faces provide an ironic counterpoint to the humour and levity I try to inject into the work.  Alternatively, my pieces make evident a playful fascination with all forms of iconography, creating alter-pieces for everyday life, making sacred of the mundane.

In my latest work I’ve been attempting to combine these vernaculars – the ironic and the sacred – to tell a story about the disconnect between our private and public selves.  That is, who we are is often at odds with what we project to others.  What do we choose to reveal, conceal or fabricate?  More importantly, I explore the toll exacted by this ‘duplicity:’ specifically the feelings of sorrow, resentment, anxiety, and martyrdom it engenders.

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Jackie Leishman
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Leishman grew up in Georgia, moving to the Los Angeles area after completing her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Originally trained as a photographer, she now works in collage.  Her work investigates the interrelationship between painting, drawing, and collage. 

 She has shown her work nationally, won awards, and taught photography and fine art at universities in Utah and California. She has participated in art residencies at The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN and PressWorks in Claremont, CA. She was most recently commissioned by Emily Henderson Designs, and was exhibited in the Downtown LA Arts District, had a solo show in Utah, “If We Ever Wake At All”, and continues to participate in the ever-evolving art collaboration, “The Fourth Artist.” 

Statement

The world is collage to me. What happens at the edges and among the layers, where two different materials or ideas meet — that’s where I’m drawn. I have bins and bins of paper and scraps in my studio. It is important to my process that I not use virgin working materials but rather fragments of older work and found materials. Something from something. Beauty from ashes. It’s also important for me to show the sometimes-raw joints, the roughness of their coming together, to be candid about the process of layering and to leave the hand of the artist apparent. 

The push and pull between two ideas intrigues me most: the animating tensions between destruction and creation, expansion and contraction, and explosion and implosion. These ideas are embodied in the wilderness. The only constant in the wild is that it will change, that an element can and will be both violent and passive, opposites held in a balance. In a world that is increasingly contentious, the need to feel peace within the chaos becomes more desperate. By drawing, painting and collaging, I seek to find an equivalent to the peace found in wild places. 

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Lael Burns
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Artist Statement

Drawing from my personal spiritual experiences and daily life as a mother, my work investigates the way playful craft materials such as glitter, fabric, and pompoms can be manipulated with other fine art components as a means of exploring connections between the visceral, graphic, sublime, and carnal. The organic forms I describe are synthetically adorned organs, wombs, and hearts that display the external evidence of internal rebirth and are a physical manifestation of things intangible and infinite.  

I utilize material and sensory experience as a means to explore meaning. Material is worked until there is a shift into another realm: fabric becomes flesh, a sack, or an embryo, pins become candy, paint becomes a skin of strawberry ice-cream or bubblegum, a pom-pom becomes a microorganism or disease. My work strives to have a visceral presence by virtue of formal aesthetics, often riding the line between what is beautiful, grotesque and delicious.  This speaks to various dichotomies I often reference in my work, such as light and dark, spirit and flesh.

 Bio

Lael earned her BFA from Southern Methodist University and her MFA from the University of Iowa, both with a concentration in painting and minor concentrations in printmaking and sculpture. She exhibits of her work extensively both locally and nationally. Her work has been written about in Peripheral Vision Arts Salon 2017, Studio Visit Magazine, Art Habens Contemporary Review, and on the International Fine Arts Fund and Create! Magazine blog. Lael has taught at the secondary and college level and currently lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband and children.

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Stories of Love and Loss: Interview with Nanci Hersh
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The overarching theme of my work is a personal narrative about home and family. Stories of love and loss; both letting go and losing, are interwoven and explored with mixed media. This newest body of work is a return to printmaking as a centering prayer and meditation on process. Lines, fragmented patterns and assorted textures are part of my visual vocabulary to honor the ephemeral and make space for the tangible and intangible to coexist. 

Nanci is a professional mixed media artist, illustrator, educator, arts advocate and administrator as Executive Director of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education. 

Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States including “Eons Beyond the Rib,” at Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, “Navigation Puzzle,” at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, “Paper Work”, at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie and “The Demoiselles Revisited” at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, NYC, along with solo exhibitions in PA, NJ, DE, and Hawaii. Nanci has received numerous honors including three purchase awards from the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, Hawaii and three Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grants. Her work is included in the Public Collections of Johnson & Johnson, Herspace Breast Imaging, Leland Portland Cement, and OSI Pharmaceuticals to name a few

With her cousin and author, Ellen McVicker, Nanci illustrated and co-created the children’s book Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings: When someone you love has cancer… a hopeful, helpful book for kids. Having sold over 10,000 copies in English and now with a Spanish edition, Nanci and Ellen were invited in 2015 to participate in 798 ICAF, International Children’s Art Festival in Beijing, China in 2016.

www.nancihersh.com

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Initially, my work was influenced by the tropical beauty of the landscape, but I began to find my voice as an artist as the work became more personal.
— Nanci Hersh
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In your artist statement, you reflect on the idea that your work is a personal narrative about home and family. Can you tell us about your experience creating work that is so deeply personal?

From my first pale pink padded diary at age 11, complete with lock and key, to my current expressive mixed media paintings, collages and sculptures, my compulsion has been to chronicle, gain understanding and find the magic and connection in the everyday.

In 1985, I moved to Hawaii, far from family and friends on the East Coast. What was to be a six-week vacation led to a 12-year journey of living the dream; making art, surfing, managing an art gallery, studying, teaching and traveling. Initially, my work was influenced by the tropical beauty of the landscape, but I began to find my voice as an artist as the work became more personal. Through subsequent series that both examined and celebrated relationships at home and in my rural plantation neighborhood on the North Shore of Oahu, I began to feel a deep connection to the people, the place, and my work that felt more authentic. It also became cathartic and healing in many ways.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a new series of monotypes and mixed media prints. This is a return to my undergraduate and graduate work in printmaking. Following the passing this summer of my mother, I am finding comfort in the rituals and process of working with a limited palette, my love of an expressive line and layered textures. Primarily black and white, with limited color, some encaustic and collage, they are a meditation on the transitory nature of life and death and the fine line between the two states of being.

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How has your creative process changed throughout your career?

It has evolved more than changed. A new series seems to dictate a particular medium or material that I am either practiced in or need to learn. For example, years ago, I had a dream about butterfly nets. Shortly after, I came upon some children’s butterfly nets at a gift shop at the beach which I purchased and began to manipulate by dipping them in the overly beaten paper pulp that dried like a skin, freezing them in time. This led to creating my own net forms from chicken wire, pulp, encaustic, pantyhose, and collage. Then I began finding and collecting different types of nets and netting which I use as stencils on my paintings and drawings. Often I circle back and incorporate elements of a prior series. The process builds upon itself more than changes.

What is your favorite part about creating mixed media works?

I love discovering found or repurposed objects or materials, seeing beauty in the juxtaposition of the elements and the surprises in how they speak to each other. I have always found peace walking along the beach and appreciate the flotsam and jetsam that wash ashore entangled, each part originating from somewhere else with a different unknown history coming together and shaped by the journey it has taken.

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What do you view as your greatest strength as an artist?

One of my greatest strengths as an artist is my perseverance. I keep making art, through raising my family, teaching, well-being or challenges, sales or not, recognition or not, just keep making it because it is who I am and how I find a deeper connection to nature, to others, to myself and a Higher Power. I also appreciate how I am able to see beauty and possibility in everything- and everyone.

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Along with your two-dimensional mixed media work you create three-dimensional sculptures, how does your studio practice accommodate both mediums?

The work informs each other. It is an ongoing conversation. There are times when what I need to explore is two-dimensional, other times it is three dimensional. This can be determined by a subject, a found object, a dream, a beautiful vine found on my walks with my dogs, or a cast shadow. Most often, there is a piece of one in the other or one is the jumping off point for the other. It is a fluid process that meanders with intention, to see how I can look at something in a new way and see where that takes me.

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What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?

It has to be now. I am able to look at the scope of the work that I have created and see how the work has been an expression and an extension of my life experiences. I also appreciate how the work has led me to people, to conversations and experiences that deepen our connection and appreciation of the richness of this life.

Interview with Megan Magill: Venus with Folds 
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Megan Magill is an artist based in Chicago and Maine. She received her Masters from Northwestern University and her MFA from Maine Media College. Her work has been exhibited in group and joint shows nationally and she was recently a semi-finalist in the Print Center's International Competition. My Business is Circumference was featured at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography and The Habit of Winning was featured in F-Stop Magazine’s portfolio issue with an interview by William Cox and in a print publication with LDOC . In the fall of 2017 her was published in American: Authors, Interpreters, and Composers a book series created by Patricio Binaghi of Paripe Books and designed by Matt Wiley of the New York Times Magazine. 

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Statement: Venus with Folds 

I begin each piece with a xerox copy of a woman's painted portrait. Most of the paintings are well known, and others were found through a google search for 'famous portrait paintings' which I then narrowed down to paintings of women. So far all have been painted by men and folded by a woman but this is not a requirement...it's just what predominates when you search for 'famous.' I don't have a preconceived idea of how each piece will look...I just start folding and re-folding until I've made something that feels right to me. The process is in part a visual exercise is seeing something new in something that already exists. A way of keeping my options open and my optimism up. Photographing them after I've folded them extends the process. 

How did your artistic career begin?

I started making art in 2009 after taking a class on the history of photography at my local art center. I realized pretty quickly that art was a long lost friend that I had lost touch with years earlier for reasons of ‘practicality.’ Photography was my entry into art and remains an integral part of my practice as the majority of my work springs from found imagery.

In your artist statement, you mention that you begin most of your work with existing imagery, where do you tend to find this imagery? Do you have any criteria that you look for?

For about 2 years I collected imagery somewhat obsessively. I bought crumpled up old photos primarily at antique stores, huge lots of old Kodachrome slides through eBay and also a number of old college yearbooks from the ’40s and ’50s. I am still amazed at some of the images I was able to find. I am drawn to collect images that speak to our shared humanity from a somewhat demented point of view.

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What is the first thing you do when you start a new piece?

At the moment my entry into a piece is to draw over an existing image digitally. I start on my iPad and just see where it goes.

What is your favorite part of your creative process?

The excitement I get when something that I have created surprises me and makes me gasp just a little.

In a few statements describing your different bodies of work you reflect on the idea of not having control over every aspect of your work, how does this mindset affect the way you work?

I think this mindset helps me keep an open mind to where a piece might want to go. I spent a good portion of my life (before I started out as an artist) trying to control my life to the nth degree. What I realized is that not only did this suck the joy out of living but often I would end up in places that I no longer wanted to be and would wonder how in the hell I got there. Staying open to the process keeps me in the moment of making and lets a piece evolve like a collaboration. This doesn’t mean that every piece will work out but they do have a better chance of surprising me and taking me to places that my logical brain might not have mapped out ahead of time.

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What has been the most challenging part of your artistic career?

Hmmm. I went to a school that was primarily for photographers and filmmakers to get my MFA. It was a great education but I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t really a photographer and so finding my place in the art world has maybe been more challenging because I’ve had to forge new relationships outside of the ones that I made in school in addition to teaching myself new processes. But this is also part of the fun…so challenge=fun.

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What should we be on the lookout for in 2019?

I am SUPER excited about some of the things I am working on. I have a series of sketches I am calling ‘you me and everyone we know.’ I have plans to turn these into hook rugs (I have one already started) and oil paintings. I hope to have the first hook rug completed this month.

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Andrew Wapinski "Transmutation" at Callan Contemporary

Born in Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, Andrew Wapinski is a visual artist whose current practice is rooted in the memories of interacting with the environment of the historic coal mining town in which he grew up. His work places great importance on the physicality of material and its relationship to artistic process. Melting blocks of pigmented ice, hand-ground anthracite coal and the collection of dust from his reductive painting processes lay the foundation for Wapinski to investigate interwoven themes of liminal space, reclamation and material significance as they relate to shifting environments and sense of place.

He will be presenting a solo exhibition entitled "Transmutation" at Callan Contemporary in New Orleans from September 1 - 30. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 1 from 6 - 9 pm.

TRANSMUTATION

Fluidity and change—the waxing, waning duet between human beings and nature—are the subjects of Andrew Wapinski’s formally elegant, conceptually rich mixed-media paintings on linen-mounted panel.  In his debut exhibition with Callan Contemporary, Wapinski presents a suite of evocative abstract works, which project a contemplative, Zen-like serenity while encapsulating personal and anthropological narratives.  The paintings flow from a time-intensive process that Wapinski first developed in 2013, in which ink- and pigment-infused ice melts onto canvas in controlled fashion, imprinting organic forms.  “This establishes a foundation to open a dialogue between natural process and personal interaction,” the artist observes.  “For me, the melting ice is symbolic of geological process and a metaphor for the passage of time.”  Wapinski adds and excavates thin layers of gesso, responding intuitively to the shapes.  A hard dividing line, or scission, emerges along with the forms through myriad additive and subtractive strata.  This creates a texture differential reminiscent of the strip-mined hills he grew up around in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, and evokes the moment of potentiality when natural environment and human interaction, in cycles of construction and deconstruction, evolve together into something new.  Organic gesture and geometry become interwoven in a mélange of personal memory and socio-geological critique.

Wapinski earned a B.F.A. in painting from Kutztown University (Pennsylvania) and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Delaware.  His work has been reviewed in publications such as The Washington Post, New American Paintings, and Artline and has been exhibited recently at Elmhurst Art Museum (Illinois), as well as galleries in New York, Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati.  The paintings are included in significant private and corporate collections throughout the United States.

Influenced by minimalists Agnes Martin, Richard Serra, and Donald Judd, Wapinski’s sensibility also evokes the Land Art movement of the 1960s and 70s.  In materiality and technique, the paintings allude to the primal call-and-response of man and nature, the shaper and the shaped, each altering the other’s trajectory from prehistory through the present day.  In poetical greyscale tones and washes they speak to the dialectics of permanence and impermanence, the local and the global.  The artist sees the works not only as metaphors for geologic processes, but also as embodying “a kind of alchemy:  the idea of transmutation; the forms changing from one state to another; the shaping of material with intent.”

                                                                                                                          by Richard Speer

All images courtesy of the artist.