Posts tagged painting
Studio Sunday: Ekaterina Vanovskaya

This Studio Sunday meet Ekaterina Vanovskaya, a Russian born and Philadelphia based painter. She is one of the 14 international artists participating in PxP Contemporary’s exhibition ‘Faces & Figures’ and we’re pleased to be presenting two of her stunning figurative works in the show!


Bio

Ekaterina Vanovskaya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2015. Ekaterina has exhibited nationally, which includes shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, among others. She completed the Artist in the Marketplace Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently participated in the Governors Island Art Fair in New York and the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ekaterina received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2017 and 2018.

Statement

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

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

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

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When did you first become interested in art?

I started painting when I was fifteen years old, by accident really. Then during my senior year of high school I saw a poster on the wall for Portfolio Day in New York. (An event where you can show up with art work and get accepted into art school.) Completely on a whim, I gathered all my paintings into black garbage bags and made my mother take me to Portfolio Day. That’s how I ended up at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I did all sorts of things there, including painting, and generally had an amazing time. My last year there I already knew I wanted to go to graduate school for painting and I went to grad school a few years later. I think the School of The Art Institute of Chicago really opened my eyes to the world of art making and that’s where I realized that I can and want to pursue art seriously.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your work and what your creative process is like.

All my paintings start with a feeling. I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and a lot of my paintings are about memories of my childhood, my family and friends. I can think about a painting for months and years before actually painting it. There is usually a faint picture or idea in my head and the more I think about it the clearer it gets. I used to make a lot of drawings for my paintings - of each person, object, tree, room and so on. Now I don’t have to do that as much - and I try not to draw anything besides my composition sketches. I am afraid that making too many drawings will take away from the impulse of making the painting. I always have a sketchbook and I write down ideas for future work and notes about each painting as I am making it. Sometimes when I am trying to figure things out, I will write in my sketchbook something like, “Is the window in the painting blue?” And then the answer, “No.” It’s really funny. I usually have four or five paintings in my head and four or five different paintings that I am physically working on in the studio.

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What do you hope your viewers take away from seeing your paintings?

I hope they take away an experience of looking that is memorable. I want to share something about my life and say, “This is how I am in this world, come with me”.


What is one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

I would say, don’t worry so much and do more stuff. Enjoy college even more, for example. But maybe it was good to be so stuck on one thing - painting, who knows. I was always too worried about how things are. Someone said to me once, in painting class, “Whatever gets you through the day is fine.” I still think about that phrase, especially in terms of painting, and I think it's good advice.


How do you overcome creative blocks?

I don’t. I have creative blocks all the time actually and until fairly recently I would think, “Oh no, I have a creative block again, but I must paint!” But I hate doing something just to do it and I think it’s a waste of paint, energy and time to work on a painting “just to keep going”. I only paint in service to the idea I have and if I don’t want to paint, I don’t paint. I used to be really regimented in the way I work and now I am trying to be more loose and instinctive because I am always trying to make my paintings more personal, more diaristic, different from the previous work. So that’s a strange demand to make while at the same time saying, “but you must paint continuously for this many hours just like you did in grad school" and so on. I want to be free to follow my pattern of thoughts in painting form. In my experience a creative block comes before there is a change of direction or approach in the paintings. I would say trust that change and go on in whatever way possible for the time being.

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

I was just invited to participate in a group exhibition at Mercer County Community College, October 28th - December 19th, 2019. There is also POST - Philadelphia Open Studio Tours in October, where artists open their studios to the public. I enjoy it every year and I am really looking forward to it.

Emily White Uses Drawings to Reflect on the Human Relationship with Nature
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I am drawn to the relationship between the animal and its changing environment. The rise of industry and technology have altered our native landscapes and redefined the relationships forged between humans and animals. My paintings are paired with objects that are distinctly human, illustrating the bond of the animal’s life with our own. I invite audiences to reflect on the consequences of human industry and innovation on our natural world, and our relationship to it.  

Emily White is a sculptor, painter, and muralist from Brockton, MA.  She received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 2011 with a focus in sculpture. White has received awards including the Wind Challenge (Fleisher Art Memorial), the Helen Blair Crosbie Sculpture Award (Massachusetts College of Art and Design), she was nominated for an Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (International Sculpture Center) for two consecutive years, and she is a Visual Arts Fellowship Finalist (Center for Emerging Visual Artists).  Her artwork has been exhibited in public spaces such as the Philadelphia Zoo, the Entrance Garden of the Philadelphia Flower Show and in the Philadelphia International Airport.  White has had solo exhibitions at Hotbed (Philadelphia, PA), View Art Center (Old Forge, NY) and Penn State Altoona (Altoona, PA).  Her 2D and 3D work has been in group exhibitions in the US and abroad including shows at Harvard’s Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA), The Philadelphia Art Alliance, Fleisher Art Memorial, James Oliver Gallery, and The Royal Castle (Warsaw, Poland). Emily White lives in Philadelphia and works for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

www.emilyrwhite.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 

Cate Inglis
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Cate Inglis is a contemporary Scottish landscape painter based in Glasgow, whose detailed paintings explore the transience of the built environment.  Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art, she has won numerous awards and is a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.  She exhibits with highly regarded galleries in the UK and Ireland, and her work hangs in both public and private collections.

Statement

My practice is concerned with the layers and structures of the urban landscape, the transience of the built environment in a relentless process of change.  I retain an element of drawing in my paintings - underpinning the structures with an emphasis on draughtsmanship.  I search for overgrown, derelict subjects - places where disappearing buildings leave gap sites and wasteland.  Undertaking urban explorations is a key part of my practice, and recent work has involved exploring the edges of urban areas.  Bleak, industrial sites that have fallen out of use, structures left to deteriorate, overrun by plant life, I paint the cumulative layers of habitation use and disuse.

www.cateinglis.co.uk

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

Anne Buckwalter

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Anne Buckwalter is a painter exploring female identity and the coexistence of contradictory 
elements. Inspired by the historic tradition of allegorical painting, her work arranges disparate objects and mysterious figures in ambiguous spaces. By imagining obscure narratives and embracing paradoxes, her practice examines how gender-related expectations are defined and disrupted. Anne has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Hewnoaks Artist Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2016. Her work has been exhibited in Boston, Montréal, Toronto, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and Rome, among other cities. She lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

www.annebuckwalter.com

Max Cole 'Crosswinds" at Larry Becker Contemporary Art
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If you find yourself in Philadelphia before the end of the year, we highly suggest stopping by Larry Becker Contemporary Art to see their current exhibition. To be honest, it wasn’t yet on my radar when I decided to go gallery hopping on a Saturday in November. I happened to begin chatting with an artist sitting a co-op space nearby and he urged me to go over and take a look. ‘Crosswinds’ presents paintings and works on paper by American artist Max Cole. I won’t give away too much here since the owners are more than happy to tell you about this incredible artist and her work - so go see some great art and say hi to their adorable gallery cat!

Max Cole
’Crosswinds’
On view Nov 10 - Dec 29, 2018

You can follow the gallery on Facebook & Instagram.

Max Cole’s paintings suggest an approach to infinity through the use of vertical repetitive lines, a record of intense focus that is said to contain energy as embedded content. The artist describes this process, which she has worked in for over 50 years, as meditative. Though sometimes compared to the work of Agnes Martin, the similarities between the practices are superficial. “There is no other way to produce the work except for a depth of engagement requiring the abandonment of self," Cole has explained, "and this process opens the door to infinity enabling reach outside the physical. For me art must transcend the material.” Born in 1937 in Hodgeman County, KS, she received her BFA from Fort Hays State University in Kansas and her MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Influenced by the Suprematist works of Kazimir Malevich during the late 1950s, she began producing paintings which reflected on time with simple forms. The artist lives and works in California. Today, Cole’s works are held the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.

Artist biography adapted from Artnet.

Supernatural Aura: Interview with Dana Oldfather

These works celebrate paint while examining roles of motherhood and femininity. Images of family, friends, and the female figure drive composition. Sometimes scenes are recalled from memory and sometimes I use my camera roll for loose reference. Fantasy and obligation charge and bind domestic environments, giving recent memories new form. The space is similar to that of a hallucination, where one is unsure what is real and what is not. Objects bleed into and become one another. Paint veils, drips, splashes, airbrush passages, and wet into wet oil marks add to the tension and supernatural aura of the scene. Figure, object, and landscape spin out and smear together as the paintings shudder with a pulsing, nervous energy. I use anxious, frenetic mark making to mirror a rushing world distorted by apprehension. These paintings underscore the inherent emotional conflict of parenting young children, and the fragility of comfort and happiness in America today. 

www.danaoldfather.com

by Sarah Mills

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You have an extremely unique and interesting style, how did you develop it?

Thank you so much! Previously, I made mixed media, non-objective abstract paintings. Eliminating recognizable subjects helped me concentrate on how I instinctively handle paint. I noticed the difference between what my brush did when it hit the palette and what it did when it hit the canvas. I liked what my hand was doing was I wasn’t trying to make a mark better than what it did when I was trying. I wanted to figure out how to bring that force and confidence to my canvases. In 2017, after developing this mark making for over five years, I decided it was time to bring the figure back in. I’m enjoying using a variety of media, real and abstract objects and reconciling them within the work.

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How do you go about starting a new piece?

I sketch ideas - funny or odd things I’ve seen recently or memories that leave a taste in my mouth. Many sketches don’t turn into paintings, but it is a valuable part of my editing process. The paintings take longer to make than they have in the past so I need to be sure the idea can sustain me through to the end.

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What is your favorite part of your creative process?

The newest addition to my mixed media arsenal is the airbrush and I’ve really been enjoying it lately. Developmentally, the middle stage of these paintings is an absolute mess. I start using the airbrush near the end of the middle stage when all the discordant bits start to tune in. The airbrush has a magical feel, as though every unexpected mark it makes fits my need exactly. I like the way it’s fuzzy, hinky line establishes pictorial depth. The airbrush also contrasts well with the atmospheric acrylic washes and splashes of the early layers, and the heavy wet into wet oil marks of the later layers of the painting.

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Can you tell us more about your subject matter and where you draw inspiration from?

The strangeness of the human condition, predominantly in relationships of motherhood and family, fuels this work. The scenes are domestic but dreamlike and hallucinatory. Figures are tied up and bound together. They are propped up by each other but they are imprisoned by each other as well. Color harmonies and clumsy, endearing forms create joyful moments while frenetic marks remind us of the effort and strain it takes to bring those moments about. In these scenes, happiness is earned at a price.

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What are you currently working on?

I’m working on canvases for two out of town solo shows and a two-person show in Cleveland next year. The galleries out of town hold inventory from the exhibitions so I make new work for each show. As I mentioned earlier, the paintings develop slowly now. I finally understand that I can’t get too worried about my schedule. I’m making work for the pleasure of making it.

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Your work is so layered and has so many beautiful moments in it, how do you decide when a piece is finished?

Thank you very much!! I appreciate that. What I’ve wanted to see in a finished painting has evolved with my experience for sure. I expect more from the work now. I want to see a certain fullness in each part of the surface before I can stop adding (or removing and adding) more. Even areas that look like big empty spaces have activity. They vibrate with layered texture and color. Once the painting hums I know it’s done.

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What is one piece of advice you would share with our readers?

I enjoy reading books about writing. The good ones are full of helpful advice that, in my opinion, can apply to most art forms. I recently finished “Draft No 4” by John McPhee, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and pioneer of creative nonfiction. In a chapter titled ‘Omission’, he discusses the importance of leaving things out of one's writing. As an additive painter, it’s given me a lot to chew on. He advises that “Writing (insert painting) is a selection. If something interests you, it goes in - if not, it stays out. Forget market research. Never market research your writing (painting).” And my favorite from McPhee later in that chapter: that one ought to “Give elbow room to the creative reader (viewer). In other words, to the extent that this is all about you, leave that out.”

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.

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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.

Ida Ivanka Kubler at Salena Gallery, LIU Brooklyn

Artist Ida Ivanka Kubler will be presenting a solo exhibition of paintings entitled "Birth of an Idea" at Salena Gallery, LIU Brooklyn. The show will run from September 4 - October 26 with an opening reception on Wednesday, September 12 between 6 and 8pm. 

LIU Brookyn
Salena Gallery

First Floor, Library Learning Center
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm
Travel: B, Q, R to DeKalb Avenue; 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street; A, C, F to Jay Street
For more information please contact Nancy Grove at 718-488-1198 or nancy.grove@liu.edu

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Ida Ivanka Kubler (born January 3, 1978, Bulgaria) is an international artist based in New York.

“Up to my 7th year, I lived with my grandparents in a small village in South Bulgaria, almost at the border to Greece. The village was well known for its silkworm sericulture. I often was sitting under the mulberry trees, painting silk cocoons with reddish paint I made from crushed red bricks. The silk cocoons became the initial material for my artwork.” (2012)

Organic in appearance and abstract in presence, Kubler's Birth of an Idea series features simple circle settings consisting of an abundance of painted and sculptured silk cocoons positioned on large canvases. Using what she calls “imaginative touch”, Kubler transforms cocoons left behind by the silk moth from their original identity into transcendent assemblages of colors and shapes reminiscent of Indian Mandalas or ancient Greek mosaics.

Ms. Kubler’s Birth of an Idea series has been recognized by the Behring Institute for Medical Research as having a positive influence on public health. She has worked worldwide, including in Germany, France,  Bulgaria, Norway, USA and the UK and has a wide base of international collectors. Ms. Kubler attended the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria; the University of Applied Arts, Bielefeld, Germany; and the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK. 

Ida Ivanka Kubler is fiscally sponsored by The Solo Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax exempt organization providing artists and not-for-profit organizations with operational and programmatic assistance.

Artist Statement

Capturing the beauty of transformation, the empty cocoon represents the completed process of change and its success. The brightness of the colors celebrates the transition from one state of being to another and honors its glorious unfoldment. The arrangement of the cocoons within the circular shape represents unity and connection. The contrast in colors creates a center point on which to focus the mind.  It is within the cocoon, in isolation and in silence, that the metamorphosis happens. This is true for the human mind as well. Similar to a mandala and its incredible potential to assist in the practice of meditation, the Birth of an Idea series expands on this tool by incorporating nature into its structure. As such, the viewer enters and experiences the artwork, be it consciously or in a trance-like state, and is encouraged to pause and remember the healing power of stillness and silence that resides within each of us.

Stephan Dobosh

Stephan Dobosh is a Philadelphia painter and installation artist whose studio practice employs a careful consideration of Symbolist literary devices, automatic writing, and visual free association. He uses art-making as a physical documentation of his own past experiences and state of mind. Through the subconscious psychological connections between color, sound, text, and implied imagery, he wants to provide an entrance for the viewer to be able to free associate, transforming these elements from static objects to dynamic associations. Dobosh has been selected to exhibit at Goldilocks Gallery and Kitchen Table Gallery, is a member of the Plastic Club, and holds a BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Art from The University of the Arts.

Statement

Symbolist methods of engaging in the “derangement of the senses” and making the unseen seen is at the core of my practice. I investigate “escapist” themes within American culture and the identity of the Artist. Using the vernacular of painting, I blur the distinction between sculpture, installation, painting, and performance by employing domestic objects, spray paint, glitter, and fabric to compose “extended paintings” and construct spaces. My work reflects my personal and artistic identity, eliciting a sensual experience that acts as an escape while making social and artistic critique.

Pierrette Marisa Komarek

Pierrette Marisa Komarek is a watercolorist with a passion for creating richly colored and skillfully rendered still life paintings. Read on to hear her story and to see additional works, you can follow her on Instagram!

I was born in Miami, FL but our family migrated to the northeast near Lancaster, PA when I was very young. Very early in life I discovered that I loved to paint. It seemed that I was born to paint from the first moment I touched a paint brush to color and transferred it to a piece of paper. I was captivated by color and light and I would be so involved in my work I often forgot to eat. Time stood still or flew by - I was oblivious to it when I was painting - it's all I wanted to do.

I read everything on art and painting I could find over the years and through practice and study I continuously evolved as a self taught painter. I married very young. By the time I was thirty, I was a single mom with three kids to take care of. The next 20 years left little time for painting. Now with my children grown, I can put more time into my painting and it feels like someone has opened the curtains and flooded the room with light and color again.

Some of the painters that appeal to me are Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Janet Fish - all bold painters. I work in watercolors and have always been fascinated by them and the effects that are possible through the process of layering. I love the process of being a still life painter. The difficulty of the medium challenges me and the effects available with transparent layering cannot be replicated in any other media to the extent it can in watercolors.

My goal is to make the ordinary extraordinary and present the viewer with a visual interpretation that is imbued with a unique character of light and color that reveals the intrinsic beauty hidden within the ordinary. I want to draw the viewer into an experience of light and color that will linger in the heart long past the experience of viewing the painting.

Paradigm Gallery: Scott Albrecht at Scope Miami Beach

Scott Albrecht was born in 1983 in New Brunswick, NJ, and raised in Bethlehem Township, NJ. In 2003, he received a degree in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Scott is currently based in Brooklyn, NY and a member of The Gowanus Studio Space. His work incorporates elements of woodworking, hand-drawn typography, geometric collage using vintage printed ephemera and found objects and has been published and exhibited both domestically and internationally.  

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What inspired your recent work?

A large part of my work is directly inspired by daily experiences or relationships that I have and I wind up using my work as a way to get a deeper understanding of what’s happening. I think this past year I’ve been influenced by a lot of situations that overlap on one another, and I’m more and more trying to understand my relationships and take stock in what is important. 

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How do you come up with the geometry and color palette in each piece?

All the works in this collection, in one way or another, stem from abstracted typography, so the base of each piece builds up from an underlying message. Since the words themselves are abstracted, the color palettes do a lot of the initial work in terms of setting the mood and tone of a piece. I spend a lot of time trying to think about how that idea can be translated with color.

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Tell us about the work that will be on display at Scope during this year’s Art Basel Week in Miami. What is this year's focus?

I’ll have a collection of new woodworks on view with Paradigm Gallery that are stemming from a few different series’ that I’ve been working on and evolving. Each work is comprised of several dozen (if not 100+) individually cut pieces of wood that are then sanded, painted and re-assembled.

Conceptually a bigger theme for me this past year has been the idea of acceptance and understanding and learning to embrace a situation as-is. I think the works in the collection that I have been meditating on the most are a triptych stemming from the Wabi Sabi philosophy that all things are imperfect, incomplete and impermanent.

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What is a day in a life like for you? How do you find a balance between your studio practice and other commitments?

Each day varies depending on what I’m working on or what my focus is, but I try to keep a pretty large pool of projects and pieces going that I can work on so that if I get burned out or just need to switch gears I can do that and come back to whatever it is with a fresh perspective. One day I might be in the wood shop working on some pieces, the next I might be getting proposals together or making a zine… it really varies day-to-day and I like that flexibility to keep the days from being monotonous. In terms of other commitments, I’ve learned that giving myself a set schedule in the studio is really important. I generally work from 10-7 and having that cut-off forces me to really focus on what I need to get done that day, otherwise I’ll totally just work all day and all night.

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What is an important element in your work that you want viewers to be aware of?

I don’t know that I want viewers to be aware of anything in particular. Because the work is more abstract, there’s something really nice in that someone may see something that I may not see, or that they can form their own relationship to a piece.

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Share a piece of advice with other artists that helped you along the way.

Always keep going. The harder you work, the better luck you have.

Also don’t compare yourself to other people. Everyone is at a different time and place in their journey.

Interview: Jeanette Morrow

Jeanette Morrow earned her B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. After college, she worked in public relations for a number of years before eventually returning to her roots as a fine artist. She formally launched Morrow Studio in November 2016 and has been working out of her studio in Manhattan ever since. Her abstract paintings are hallmarked by larger scale color stories that are loose, gestural and emotional. 

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What inspired you to become an artist? Can you tell me about your background in art? 

I was born with a draw to the arts, but it was my high school art teacher who was the first to nudge me towards exploring my work further. He, and an accumulation of other voices collected in my head saying, “Yes. This. Do this.” fueled my desire to become an artist. As a rising senior, I went to a summer art camp (nerd alert!) and decided to apply to an art college. By the fall I was accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design.

How was it to break away from art for a period of time in your early career? What urged you to return to it? 

Honestly, I was finding a lot of fulfillment in my career in the digital arts that I didn’t really miss the fine arts for the first few years of my corporate career. Once I had a family and knew I didn’t want to do the travel my job required, I decided to stay at-home with my daughter and freelance. It was then that it became less and less of a joy and more and more apparent that I missed painting and ceramics. At the time we were living on a small farm outside of Atlanta and converted our barn into a studio. The very early official works of Morrow Studio were born there!

Are you now painting full-time? What is your studio like? 

I split my time in the studio between painting and ceramics. I thought to get traction or exposure, I had to choose one or the other, but the perk of being my own boss is that I can do whatever I want! I’ve had to wrestle with preconceived notions of what “success” was going to look like for me. Exposure is important to the survival of an art career, but so is genuineness.

We have the very rare luxury of space in Manhattan and have converted a spare room in our townhouse into my current studio. When I’m not in there, I’m hanging with my two toddlers.

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How do you plan a day in your studio? Are there certain tasks that you always do? 

Time management is crucial to my time in the studio, as I only get a few hours a day to create (thanks to the aforementioned toddlers). A gift I am thankful for is my ability to work quickly. It doesn’t help with my patience in day-to-day tasks, but I sure do appreciate it when I have to focus on a commission deadline! Studio must-haves are a huge cup of black coffee, my favorite music playing (playlists change depending on the mood of the piece) and bodega blooms.

Use a few words you think best describe the aesthetic of your abstract paintings. Is there a specific feeling or idea you wish to convey through your work? 

Layered, moody, dramatic, loose. My favorite pieces are the ones that capture a feeling of movement and emotion. I have respect for the medium and let that play heavily in the process. I can’t control when the paint bleeds or how it sprays. As hokey as it may sound, it feels like a collaborative creation between myself and the medium.

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Why don't you title your works? 

Each piece most definitely has an intention or inspiration behind it, but I shy away from overtly sharing that with the observer. I don’t want to rob them of their imagination and thoughts of the piece by bulldozing over them with mine. Kind of like when a book gets turned into a movie.

What media do you use? 

I use a variety of materials, but primarily acrylic paint and prisma colors. Since acrylic is water-based, I can achieve the fluidity and texture that I desire.

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What is your painting process like? What do you do to generate new ideas?

To the disappointment of many art teachers, I have found the more methodical and planned I try to be before actually putting paint on the canvas, the unhappier I am with the end result. I can easily overthink and overwork and feel the first mark is the scariest, so I rip the bandaid off. If it’s a commission, then of course I’ll make sure the palette is correct and keep inspiration photos and notes nearby.

I find my environment the most fruitful to generating new ideas. I seek beauty in interiors and nature and when I’m immersed there, it’s the easiest to be inspired.

Which other artists interest you? In what ways do you find inspiration from their work?

Robert Rauschenberg was the artist who first lit the fire in me to create. I remember learning about his career in high school and couldn’t shake the urge to get my hands dirty after that. Currently, there’s so much talent out there that I find those who are unapologetic about their work to be the most interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good, safe and pretty floral piece, and have many in my home, but artists who seemingly don’t care what others think is the most appealing. Southern folk art has always inspired me in this way. Artists in that genre usually have little formal training, but cannot stop themselves from creating and their love and passion just pours out into their work.

How has your practice developed or changed since you first launched your studio? 

I’ve learned so much in the infancy of studio. First, that comparison truly is the thief of joy. I check-in with myself often and if feelings of doubt outweigh my feelings of creativity then it’s time to log out of my social media and sit with myself so I don’t lose sight of my intentions. From a business perspective, I realized quickly that getting a thick skin was going to be as important as a good brush.

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Recent Gallery Exhibitions in Amsterdam

This past weekend, several galleries in Amsterdam opened their doors on Saturday evening to celebrate the opening or closing of new and recent exhibitions. My first stop was to visit Ornis A. Gallery’s presentation of paintings by Bart Kok. His solo exhibition The Ideology of Pipe Smoking features works in intense, saturated tones that are often figural, but with a touch of humor and surrealism.

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Walking along the same street, the photographs in the window of Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen immediately caught my attention so I went in to inquire about the artist. Inside, not only did I find a beautiful show of Steve Fitch’s images capturing nostalgic and quintessentially ‘American’ landscapes, but also an impeccably curated collection of photographs from artists the gallery represents - including pieces from Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression series.

Steve Fitch:

Michael Wolf:

Also nearby is Stigter van Doesburg, which is currently featuring a solo show by Amie Dicke. According to the gallery press release: “The Liver Must Go To The Images brings together new works, which deploy printed matter as a sculptural material. Pictures pulled from various sources – including newspaper clippings, fashion magazines and art monographs – are broken down and built up into new image-objects wherein the partial obliteration of pictorial content becomes another mode of inscription.” Of particular interest were two smaller works tucked away in the back corner entitled My split self and My split self II, 2016.

Prelude: Forever Someone Else at GRIMM gallery’s Keizersgracht location (they also have a second outpost in Amsterdam and another space in New York) features a selection of works by Desiree Dolron. Their press release explains:

“The exhibition is a prelude to a larger body of work that will be the subject of a new monograph, scheduled for publication in 2020.

The title ‘Forever Someone Else’ refers to a book of selected poems by Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), a writer, philosopher, mystic and astrologer. Pessoa employed as many as 75 alter egos, referred to as heteronyms, which he deployed at will to disseminate various philosophical and theoretical views.

This exhibition reveals a body of work from Dolron never previously exhibited. Included are various self-portraits in such distinct environments that each becomes an alter ego of the artist, functioning much like Pessoa’s heteronyms. The viewer witnesses the artist adapting, changing and evolving with each situation.”

Highlights in the exhibition included a striking self-portrait of the artist as well as a triptych of photographs.

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“Starting with works from 1991, the exhibition presents photographs taken in Pakistan and India, depicting Romani, the world’s oldest roaming nomad tribe. The earliest self-portrait in the exhibition features Dolron when she returned to the site in 1997, standing with an AK-47 amidst Taliban child soldiers.”

“Three individual images are shown on another wall; a speeding car, symbolizing the American dream, taken in Cuba (2002), a portrait of a beautiful girl from the Dominican Republic gazing melancholically into the camera (2001) [image], and a desert landscape shot at night in California (1990); the blacks intense, the light subdued. Together, these three images promote ideas of power and status.”

All images courtesy of the artists and their respective galleries.