Posts in Issue I
Stella Diming Zhong
Stella Diming Zhong is a multimedia artist based in New York. Originally from Southern China, she has lived in Beijing, the UK and most recently the US. She received a BFA in Glass from Rhode Island School of Design in 2015. Having grown up internationally, distance and detachment lie at the core of her work. She discovers and constructs peculiar spaces in which the architecture and objects within induce remote and unfamiliar feelings. Zhong’s work has been exhibited and published internationally. Her first solo show night was held in Peninsula Art Space, NY in March 2016. She was included in the 10 Emerging Chinese Artists to Watch on Sina Contemporary.

Statement

One night, I was taking a walk after dinner in a small town in Nepal. The sky was strikingly clear after a day of rain. I looked up, and I was amazed: the sky was covered with stars all the way down to the skyline, and they seemed extremely close. I stopped to enjoy it. But after a while I realized what I was looking at were not stars, but lights from the houses that spread over the mountains that were so high that blocked half of the sky.

A couple of days later, I was on the top of one of those mountains. Clouds hovered below the peaks, and as it got dark, I was astonished again: beneath the porch, there was nothing but endless stars…

I believe in my eyes. And they believe in wonders.

www.stellazhong.com

All images courtesy of Stella Diming Zhong

Yuria Okamura
Yuria Okamura is a Melbourne-based artist who has recently completed Master of Fine Arts (Research) at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne. She has previously graduated from Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 2010 at RMIT University, Melbourne. In 2016, she was selected for Abbotsford Convent Studio Start-up Residency and Bayside City Council Residency. Yuria has received a number of awards and scholarships, including Stuart Black Memorial Travelling Scholarship, Ursula Hoff Institute Drawing Award, Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award, RMIT Honours Travelling Endowment Scholarship, RMIT SiemensFine Art Scholarship, and Facetnate Visual Art Grant. Yuria has been showing her work in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including Five Walls Projects (Melbourne), Rubicon ARI (Melbourne), Kunstraum Tapir (Berlin, Germany), John Buckley Gallery (Melbourne), Langford 120 (Melbourne), Seventh Gallery (Melbourne), Japan Foundation Gallery (Sydney), and Mølla På Grim (Kristiansand, Norway). Her artwork has also been featured in the 12th issue of the Berlin-based Fukt: a magazine for contemporary drawing.

Statement

Building on the utopian language of geometry, Yuria's practice explores abstract drawing's potential to construct a holistic and expansive worldview. The geometric forms that appear in her work derive from visual elements seen in various systems of knowledge and belief across cultures including scientific illustration, esoteric symbolism, religious architecture and decoration, and also reference the history of abstract painting. Conflating these through deploying cartography, architecture, and gardens as unifying visual metaphors and motifs, her drawings seek to operate as connective and open-ended contemplative spaces. In this way, Yuria invites viewers to harmoniously integrate diverse translations of the world around us.

www.yuriaokamura.com

All images courtesy of Yuria Okamura

Virginia Chiang
Virginia Chiang was born in Virginia and grew up in California. She lived in Los Angeles where she attended the Art Center College of Design and CalArts for fine art and later went on to work various corporate jobs in art and design for the next decade. In 2016, Virginia started making art again. She lives in New York City.

Statement

My work is, at the root of it all, a fascination with material objects. It is gathering tangible goods--the functional and accessible objects around me--and dissecting them, messing with them, rendering them dysfunctional or sometimes even more useful...but just in a different way. The viewer is welcomed and invited to examine the results of these experiments by touching, playing, and INTERACTING with them.

I convert objects. I pervert them. I transform them. I imbue them with a renewed purpose that I hope tickles the viewer. Or confuses them. Either way, I hope they’re unable to look at the object the same way again. If so, it is at that moment, the viewer and I are on the same wavelength, crossing space and time to occupy the same point on this earth.

www.virginiachiang.com

All images courtesy of Virginia Chiang

Sid Daniels
Sid Daniels was born in 1951, in Toronto, Canada. He drew stick figures of women in dresses from an early age.

He majored in Painting and Design and Fashion Illustration at The Ontario College of Art from 1970 to 1974, and also during this period he experimented with geometric architectural paintings, formatting his hard-edge technique style. His progression to larger works always glorified the female figure as his central character. The influence of nostalgia, fashion from the 1940s, Big Band Swing music, and MGM technicolor movie musicals was so important to Sid as influential catalysts that impacted his creative imagination. Shoes were always included in his paintings, hence his part time job working in his family’s shoe store and doodling shoes on sales receipts all of the time, so shoes became a trademark to his style.

Growing restless in Toronto, he made his way to New York City, and in 1979, at the hight and euphoria of the Disco Era, Sid immediately immersed himself into the community, joining forces with trendy Fiorucci, bringing his life-size women to life on wooden in-store display fixtures, that landed him a cover on Look Magazine. The Ann Taylor Department Store shopping bag and a greeting card line for Rockshots, also in 1979, led to his working for a series of hotel and restaurant mural assignments that included “Las Paras” in Yokohama, The Zanzibar Nightclub, The Holiday Inn, Marshall Fields’ Olympics-themed store window paintings and Bloomingdales.

His flair for fashion made a statement with album cover art for Arista, CBS, JVC, and GRP record labels. And in 1984, his “La Mode” painting became a permanent fixture on the set of the motion picture “Tootsie” with Dustin Hoffman. He contributed to fundraising institutions, with commemorative posters for The Design Industries Fights Aids and partnering with their sponsor, Absolute Vodka for the front and back covers of the program at the New York State Theater “A Demand Performance”. In 1991 Sid Daniels’ “Brazilian Follies” calendar included 12 paintings published by Landmark Calendars.

Group shows during the early to late 1990s, “New Artists at Madison Square Gardens, “New Yorkers in Barcelona”, Studio 54, Zorah Gallery, and The Dyansen Galleries all showcased his new transitional works of large scaled women in high heeled shoes and in 1997, Sid relocated to Miami Beach, where he now lives and creates. Inspirations for his new work came from Miami Beach Art Deco, and by the Latin/Cuban retro electricity all around him, hence coining his work ’Latin Deco’.

Nescafe Coffee Canada commissioned Sid to create an original artwork for a national campaign that appeared on the jar, on subways and posters for their Brazilian Brand coffee. The animated Palm Tree Lady became the symbol for his 2004 Miami Beach Festival of the Arts Poster, followed by an original work and poster in 2007 created for The Goldcoast Ballroom, and the United States Ballroom Championships poster.

In 2010 Sid’s collage collection for his one-man show “Phobias, Fantasies and Flavors” at Sol Gallery in Miami Beach, were statements on the human condition in our society. This show somehow sparked a new vision, as he transitioned to working on multiple images, paving the way to more contemporary paintings and an opportunity to show off his range of technique, emphasizing his trademark shoes, umbrellas, and statements on fashion. In 2013, his successful Parasol Series, of 14 unique interpretations of the same image, led the way to his mirrored duet paintings and in 2015 he created a collection of architectural geometric paintings for a show at De Marquez Gallery in Coral Gables, together with ‘Now or Neverland’ a show hosted by MUCE, Miami Urban Contemporary Experiment during Art Basel Miami Beach.

Statement

I am obsessed with MGM movie musicals from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Fashion, Art Deco, Brazilian Bossa Nova, jazz, dance, burlesque, and theater, are the catalysts that inspire my works on canvas. I think like a choreographer, so capturing movement, and interpreting that mood artistically is very important to me. I do this with sharp linear and textural design applications applied with a hard-edge technique and limited airbrush, a signature to my style. I create paintings in a sequential order, resembling a runway collection. I thrive on expressing my ideas with geometric flair and style, and I am continuously in a state of reinvention.

www.siddaniels.com

All images courtesy of Sid Daniels

Shannon Fannin
Shannon was born in Long Beach, California. She earned a college scholarship to pursue an art teaching degree for teaching special needs children. However, life had other plans. She put becoming an artist on hold for marriage, a career in marketing, and raising a family. Using her portfolio for a resume, she taught elementary school art for two years through a private academy.

After a 25 year hiatus from an art career, Shannon returned to school to refresh her abilities. She took a handful of courses to reacquaint herself with mediums and started to build on her expressionistic style. Being a great fan of color, Shannon prefers working largely in many media including pastel, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, ink, and acrylic and usually combines many of them in mixed media pieces. She enjoys bringing chrome and carbon fiber alive through her vehicle paintings, conveying the human form and imagined still lifes. Her eclectic nature allows her to create work that simply makes her happy. She lives in Austin with her husband of 26 years and their college student son.

Statement

Who are we when nobody is looking? Most of us go about our lives often concealing our inner selves from the world. One indication of our true personality is the car we drive or even dream of someday owning. Similar to the abstracted images visible in chrome or carbon fiber, outside influences manipulate and form our character.

My works reveal the distorted reflections within us all.

Cars are more than appliances to get us from Point A to B – they are mobile sculptures that reflect the journeys of their travelers in both reality and dream. Just as we focus on the curvaceous figure of a beautiful model, we admire cars for their initial appearance – drawn in by beauty but captivated by the depth of character. My art reveals the hidden stories and nuances of each automotive personality to the viewer, connecting them with the unknown world of the car and their memories.

To truly connect with the physical realm of each vehicle so that I may better understand their stories, I manipulate the canvas with brush, fingers, and hands. Every abstract line, smudge and dull shadow is a hint into the vastness of the story unfolding. From a distance, the viewer believes one perception, upon approach, more is revealed – the lie their eyes have told them becomes a reality. Incomplete visage is manipulated by the observer’s imagination – tree becomes smear, human becomes segmented shapes, the story something new with each step.

I live for the moment that the optical illusion is realized by the viewer, with a smile or a laugh – success! My paintings marry nostalgia for cars with the love of art. My art is a collision of the human components of imagination and fantasy garnering a visual and emotional response from both car and art lovers alike.

www.shanfannin.com

All images courtesy of Shannon Fannin

Rachel Strum
Rachel Strum is a contemporary artist based in Taos, New Mexico. While her earlier works were heavily grounded through the mediums of installation and sculpture, Rachel is currently revisiting painting as her medium of choice. Through the manipulation of space and color as her visual language, she investigates the relations of abstract and representational, elusive vs. tangible, and the realms that exist in between. On the cusp of vivid landscapes, Rachel's Colorscapes series is inspired by the universal constants; transition, growth, and adaptation.

Rachel is originally from New York and studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where she received a BFA in Fine Arts in 2007.

www.rachelstrum.com

All images courtesy of Rachel Strum

Rebecca Rutstein

A Philadelphia-based artist whose work spans painting, installation, and sculpture, Rebecca Rutstein explores geometric abstraction with a vision inspired by science and scientific data. Rutstein has been an Artist-in-Residence in geologically dynamic locations including Iceland, Hawaii, the Canadian Rockies and Vermont. Most recently, she completed two "Artist at Sea" Residencies aboard science research ships where she collaborated with scientists mapping out never-before-seen seafloor topography from the Galápagos Islands to California and exploring uncharted territory from Vietnam to Guam.

Rutstein has exhibited widely in galleries, museums, and institutions, and has received numerous awards including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Pew Professional Development Grant, Ocean Exploration Trust Fellowship, Independence Foundation Fellowship and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants. She has garnered recent attention through radio interviews on NPR and Hawaii Public Radio, and with features in Vice Magazine, Huffington Post, Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Artblog, Fresh Paint Magazine and New American Paintings. Her work can be found in public collections including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Nordstrom, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Temple University where recently completed her first permanent, outdoor public art commission.

Rebecca Rutstein holds a BFA (Magna Cum Laude) from Cornell University (with abroad study in Rome, Italy) and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania. She has been a visiting artist at Universities across the country and conducted ship-to-shore outreach with museums world-wide. Rutstein is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia and Zane Bennett Contemporary/Form & Concept in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Statement

My work expands upon my interest in geology, biology and the undercurrents that continually shape and reshape our world. These forces – from gradual erosion to violent upheaval – are powerful metaphors for life experiences and the ebbs and flows of relationships. My paintings and installations become mappings where scale is shifted and obscured. I construct spaces through juxtapositions: micro and macro, graphic and atmospheric, organic and geometric, positive and negative, manual and mechanical, linear and solid. I am continually challenged by creating environments that bridge these polarities.

www.rebeccarutstein.com

All images courtesy of Rebecca Rutstein

NERS Neonlumberjack
NERS Neonlumberjack bikes suburban neighborhoods and city streets collecting detritus, visits museums, and galleries, enjoys landscaping and art making, yet... NERS Neonlumberjack would enjoy nothing more than to hike or canoe deep into the wilderness to camp for months at a time; learning, exploring, and admiring the natural world ecstatic at the glimpse of a majestic deer, bear, magnificent tree, crystal encrusted geode or fluorescent dinosaur while living off of chocolate and roasted marshmallows.

Statement

Ners is an impulsive, embodied practice. Ners aims for small pleasures; does not strive for great substantiality; values expendable details; prizes invention and imagination, delights in risk-taking for its own sake; values personal vision and peculiarity; is unselfconscious; shows the signs of eager, industrious activity; and often results in becoming precious. Ners has caste-off beauty; encourages innovation; and repurposes associations. Ners likes to start an argument by being focused or maybe even one-sided; is low-tech, modest in scale without being modest in thought, made with found objects and materials. Ners maintains involvement in a small area without point or aim; concentrates on pinning down one moment without glamorizing it, but using a whisper; forgets accomplishments and moves on as soon as it has passed; feeling that most is superfluous.

www.neonlumberjack.com

All images courtesy of Ners Neonlumberjack

Molly Catherine Scannell
I love making art in every capacity - whatever time allows. I love people, so much. In fact, that might be a secret of mine, don't tell anyone. It’s the uniqueness and individualism we all poses as humans, and we are so fragile and so intellectually beautiful all at the same time.

I’ll take an excerpt from a previous article because I feel so strongly about it:

“I am reminded of the moment that I decided I truly liked what I was making/creating/doing. It felt natural and like ‘home.' It’s important in life to embrace the moments that you have; they are all unique and will never present themselves in the same light again. Pause, take note, be inspired and apply yourself.”

The reality of my work is that I ‘make’ for myself. I think most artists do, whats the real point then? Perhaps that is selfish, perhaps its self-preservation - I’m not sure how to comment other than its incredibly satisfying and activates endorphins in my brain like running 5 miles or rowing 10 miles. It's working my emotional/creative being hard. I do enjoy the benefits of other people enjoying my art and finding the use for it. That is a huge bonus!

Marshall Arisman, whom I met my freshman year in collage as an illustration major, said it best: “You either lead the work you do, or you follow it. And if you follow it, it will take you somewhere.” It's not about what that somewhere is but the road you take to that somewhere.

I’m on a journey and so excited to see where I am headed each day, week, month, year!

www.a-collage.com

All images courtesy of Molly Catherine Scannell

Michael Drumond
Michael Drumond (b.1993) is a Brazilian-born artist currently living in New York City. He is set to finish his Fine Arts education at the School of Visual Arts this Fall.

Statement

I work with the idea of undeniable beauty. I believe that there are various things in the world we, as humans, can all agree are beautiful. Beginning from this idea I then explore aesthetics though juxtapositions such as past/present, dark/light, sad/happy and so on. Anything considered ugly can be transformed into beauty.

www.michaeldrumondart.com

Mathew Tucker

Mathew was born In Harpenden, United Kingdom where he lived with his sister and parents until the age of two. He was then brought up, and Educated in U.A.E (Abu Dhabi), Qatar, Bahrain, St. Lucia and England as his family moved around due to the nature of his father's work. Mathew first studied Art and Design at West Surrey College of Art and Design and later at London College of Printing (London Institute). He then lived and worked in London for ten years before moving to Ireland in 2006 to teach surfing and to study for a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art at Sligo Institute of Technology. In 2014 Mathew moved to New York City to study an MFA at Hunter College as a painter, graduating in May 2016. He now lives and works in New York, and his studio is located on the waterfront in RedHook, Brooklyn.

Statement

As a painter, I am interested in the built environment and the forms, shapes and perimeters of the spaces, places and non-places we define. There are numerous formal, material and compositional elements that inform my work but mostly it is an attempt to unearth some kind of understanding of myself and my sense of place. As someone who travelled extensively as a child my sense of home has always been very fixed to an internal sense of familiarity and never to a physical location as defined on a map. As such, my paintings are a way for me to question my surroundings and the definition of space that we collectively impose on ourselves. I am most interested in spaces that might be considered non-places or that are fairly utilitarian like subway stations or gateways and barriers that divide space and either refuse or control access. These spaces are often transient in nature and may serve either as connecting blocks or conversely as barriers to other places. My work is deeply rooted in the conversation between photography and painting and I use my own photographic images as a framework from which to build each painting. The resulting paintings are a departure from the source image that dismisses the illusion of the photograph and highlights the structure, materiality and building process of the painting itself.

Shop on Saatchi Art

www.mathewtucker.net

All images courtesy of Mathew Tucker

Ling Chun
Ling Chun (b. 1990) born in Hong Kong, a society that built upon a hybrid system of western and eastern. A foreign exchange program brought her to the United States at the age of seventeen. She then earned her BFA in visual communication design and ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 and her MFA in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design in 2016. Chun has been focusing on the physicality of materials separating from their stereotype and cultural reference by questioning their authentic use and redefining them in her language. She has been an artist in residence 2012-13 at Seward Park Clay Studio in Seattle, Washington, a summer artist resident at Arquetopia in Puebla, Mexico in 2015 and c.r.e.t.a.rome, Italy in 2016.

She is now a current long-term resident 2016-17 of Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana, where she continuous her studio practice.

Statement

As an object maker, my acts of making are driven by spontaneous gesture and expression and informed by the multifaceted nature of both my cultural identity and my studio practice—ceramics, color, painting, and hair. Ultimately, my intention is to activate my chosen materials in such a way that they become conductors of new meaning.

www.whoisherry.com

Lee Musgrave
Lee Musgrave is the recipient of an American National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and his work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He specializes in abstract painting and photography. His paintings were featured in a major exhibit at the Museum of Northwest Art last year, and he recently received several international awards for his abstract photography which was featured in the Berlin Foto Biennale in Berlin, Germany and in Novus Conceptum at the Hannah Burch Gallery, Houston, TX. Lee lives in High Prairie, Washington.

Statement

It is my habit to crush or cut up waste materials before discarding them and often I throw some of it onto a light pad in search for serendipitous “visual” surprises. If what I see holds my attention I photograph it. By chance among the objects on the pad the day the Fiddle Diddle Series was photographed were a rubber gasket, three different gauges of wire and several bits of plastic wrappers (including the red bean image). Seven days later, when I shot the Joyous Misbehavin’ images on the pad were parts of a child’s pinwheel, several broken objects including flower shaped hair clips, hors d’oeuvres picks, a bubble wand, plastic shot classes, spoons, and a knife as well as the rubber gasket and some of the assorted wrappers.

The light passing through and around these odd assortments of objects held them together in an engaging way and created a wonderful array of color tints and tones. I photographed each random grouping then shook the pad to see if the effect held in a new arrangement. It did, so I photographed them again and repeated that process several times… occasionally adding and or discarding objects as I proceeded… ending with these two enchanting series whose visual appeal transcends their social statement about our consumer-centric society and concentrates instead on the elegance found within the chaos.

The resulting photographs provide an opportunity for viewers to embrace unpredictability within an approach that values intuition and expressionism… where serendipitous encounters channel risk in the experience of observing and honoring the historic art principle of ‘taking advantage of chance.'

Cropping the photographs is my way of featuring their individual charisma and creating dynamic compositions of visual aesthetics. Further, I prefer a visual language that explores and refines the shallow picture plane and cropping accentuates that preference.

My objective is to place the viewer at the moment with each image; to suspend them between imagination and reality thereby suggesting the unseen: those elemental phenomena we live by like vim, verve, and oomph.

By selecting and isolating settings from their context, I pull images from reality into vernacular abstraction. In this way, the photographs explore the relationship between impartial objects and personal perception, focusing on the subtleties that produce multiple layers of experience.

Though my photography is considered abstract, it is completely realistic. I use realism as a medium – as a means to record my personal non-verbal responses to what I see before me and how immersion in it makes me feel whole. I am primarily a romantic who through selective cropping of realistic images reveals my personal inner world of mystical experiences.

The only computer processes applied to my photographs is the cleaning or cloning over of small distractive spots.

While chance runs counter to most people’s conceptions of art, it has been a vital component of it since its very beginning, and the images I capture are evocative of that history.

To me, the inescapable appeal of these images is immediate and expressive of spontaneous gestures that are based on insights gained from my many years of creating abstract work.

Most contemporary photography has been occupied with recurrent narrative, political and gender-based themes… and probably always will be. When it turns inward to express beauty and visual aesthetic pleasure it usually drifts toward surrealism and fantasy, but still well within the representational genre. At the root of those creative processes is the sixth sense of instinctive intellectual drive. It flashes before our eyes, holds us and pulls us in and says ‘don’t miss this.' That trice is what abstract photography is all about. It goes directly toward one's inner thoughts, makes us pause and takes us beyond provocation and coincidence to a visual epistle that transcends our fundamental understanding of life.

www.leemusgrave.com

Kirini Kopcke
Kirini Kopcke is an artist and educator living and working in New York City. Before that, she studied and lived in Oxford, UK for seven years. She holds a combined BA and MA in History and Politics from Oxford University (Christ Church) as well as a Master's in Contemporary Arts from Oxford Brookes.

Statement

Kirini’s practice explores materialism and plenty. Simultaneously compelling and repulsing, her works depict a heightened reality dripping with excess and full of fantastically shiny things scaled to improbable sizes. She is particularly interested in the emptiness of these dazzling objects: how an object - a rhinestone, a plastic pearl - can mimic preciousness so keenly but be essentially worthless, tacky. Her work necessarily places femininity - girlhood and womanhood - at the center of this exploration of materialism, addressing questions about what we value, collect, and wear from a feminist perspective.

Using found digital images, often blurry screenshots, she layers image over image in Photoshop before painting the final work onto canvas or board. This process brings to her painted a pronounced digital quality: pixels are sometimes visible, edges are jaggedly cut, and stock gradients are frequently incorporated. This embrace of the digital places her work firmly in the now and raises questions about what is real and what is manipulated or created. In painting these digital - and thus ephemeral - images, she seeks to re-evaluate that which is false, tacky, and feminine.

www.kirinikopcke.com

Ken Wood
Ken Wood’s recent solo exhibitions include 'Snakes and Ladders' at the Sidney Larson Gallery in Columbia, MO (2016), 'Each to Other' at Fort Gondo in St Louis (2015), and 'Scripta Volant (Written Words Fly)' at the Print Center, Philadelphia (2014). He has shown his work at the International Print Center New York, the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, Normal Editions Workshop in Normal, IL, the Luminary in St Louis, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Big Medium Gallery in Austin, Flatbed Press and Gallery in Austin, Wonder Fair Gallery in Lawrence, KS, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City, and the Aqua Art Fair in Miami. His work has been published in Art in Print, Graphic Impressions, The HAND Magazine, and Fresh Paint Magazine, and his paintings and prints have been included in the collections of Twitter, STL Venture Works, Rice University, and the cruise line The Norwegian. He lives in St Louis, MO.

Statement

In recent prints, I have explored the relationship of line to line and color to color using big, simple gestures. In the ‘Writ Large’ series I used a set number of plates and printed them in different combinations and orientations (and with different colors and levels of opacity), trying to play up contrasts of saturation, color, and gesture while creating structure and space on the page. Each plate consists of a single gesture painted on with large brush tools that I make myself. These marks are applied using a thick mixture of carborundum and acrylic medium, thus maximizing their texture. The large scale of the line and the detail of the texture invite scrutiny; I'm trying to get people to stop and pay attention to what three simple, distilled lines can convey.

www.kenwoodstudio.com