The Economy of Poetic Verse: Interview with Stacey Beach

Stacey Beach is a painter without paint, making two-dimensional works of fabric, both solid and patterned, incorporating hand-drawn and screen-printed elements. Inspired by the economy of poetic verse and the transgressive in fashion, she works with collage, beginning with a pared down vocabulary of shape and form. Beach allows the fabric to make its own moves once it is sewn and stretched on a panel, allowing the wrinkles and pulls in the textile to add to the composition.  The works embrace awkward and uneasy relationships, exploring the concepts of beauty and anti-beauty, construction and decay, form and void.

Stacey Beach lives and works in Berkeley, CA. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts and has exhibited in California and New York, where she worked as a studio assistant to Takashi Murakami.

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Tell me about your creative journey so far. Were you creative as a child? What made you decide to pursue art?

Art making has always been a part of my life, and from my earliest days in school, the art room was where I felt at home and felt that I belonged. My parents were always supportive of any direction I wanted to take, so when I decided that I wanted to pursue art in school, they supported that 100%. I went to both undergrad and grad school for painting and have never looked back. It has always just been what I do. This means I have worked many odd jobs, waitressing, in cafes, galleries, and as an art assistant, but have always had the mentality that these are the job but my work is my artwork. I have had my ups and downs with that balance though, and at times the 9-5 job has defeated my creativity. I feel like I've come to a place where I don't feel like I have any more time to screw around, like this is it, and my drive is stronger than ever to make the work that I see in my head.

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Where did your interest in textiles come from?

Since I was a child, fashion has fascinated me, and I love the idea of decorating one’s self. I love the drama of fashion and pattern, form and proportion. I learned to sew when I was young and it has always been a tool in my home, but never a serious pursuit. Painting was my main interest creatively. But after a few years of creative frustration after working as an art assistant in NY, I started quilting when I was pregnant with my son, and sold quilts for a time when I was feeling that I just wanted to make useful things rather than art. I quickly realized I did not find joy in recreating my quilt designs and what I was making was becoming much less quilt-like and much more like my paintings. I feel I’ve finally found a medium that is much more personally connect to my sense of self than paint.

What is your current body of work about?

I am currently working on a series that focuses on textiles and highlights the medium of fabric as the subject of the work. The craft of construction through sewing is of critical importance, the textiles are joined by a thread, not glue, resulting in pulls and wrinkles when stretched on the final panel support. The pulls create line and texture, imperfections and a tactile closeness. I am currently interested in spaces that are traditionally female like interiors and looking at objects of decoration.

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Talk about your experience working with Takashi Murakami. What were some highlights and important things you took away from it?

Working for Takashi was a once in a lifetime experience, I am super grateful to have had that opportunity. I admire his dedication to work and art, and the team that I worked with was an amazing group of artists. We were really on a crazy ride together. Painting for another artist is something that was hard on me creatively, we worked such long hours there was nothing left outside of work. I kept pulling back my hours until finally, I needed to make a drastic change to reclaim my creative life and moved to New Mexico. I took this time as a time to work with no one looking, to reassess what was important to me in art. I focused on line drawings and collage. I didn’t paint again for years.

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Describe your creative process. How does each work come to life?

It always varies, there may be an image that is stuck in my mind, like the coat in Matisse’s Woman in a Purple Coat and I really wanted to make a piece like that, that had a prominent textile as the composition. Other times there may be a pattern that I’ve designed and screen printed on several yards of fabric and keep playing with until it finds a home. Other times, pieces that didn’t turn out as I wanted are cut up and that edited form is the base for new work. I arrange and rearrange, snapping pictures on my phone like a sketchbook until it is resolved.

What is currently inspiring you?

Matisse, Georgia O’keefe’s biography, textile design, American folk art and the amount of women artists out there right now working like total bosses.

Jiela Rufeh
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Jiela Rufeh was born in Boston, Massachusetts of German and Persian descent. She grew up in the small colonial town of Concord, encompassed by a rich cultural and literary history. The lush New England wilderness has served as inspiration to great thinkers who resided there such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Growing up, Rufeh’s mother was a working artist who started taking she and her brother to all the greatest museums in Europe at a very young age. After years of eye rolling, all the early exposure became a source of inspiration for Rufeh when she fell in love with the work of Georgia O’Keefe after seeing her iconic large-scale paintings of flowers at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Rufeh’s education and professional life have taken her across the country from DC, New York, and Boston to San Diego where she currently lives and works. She first attended American University as a Communications major but transferred to University of Syracuse to study Photography and Sculpture. While there, she was introduced to the work of Irving Penn, whose technical virtuosity with a lens and cutting-edge aesthetic remains her biggest photographic influence. Rufeh then went on to do post-graduate work at the International Center of Photography in New York. She began interning at Harper’s Bazaar, quickly making her way through the ranks of the photography world of NYC with the goal of being a fashion photographer. Penn’s work made her realize that she didn’t have to sacrifice her creative impulses to work in commercial photography.

After a year, Rufeh went to California to studio lighting at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and work in commercial advertising. She was swept up in the digital revolution, learning all the newest digital media tools under one of LA’s hottest commercial photographers. She worked to overcome the obstacles inherent to photographers emerging within the paradigm of new media, not to mention for photographers and photo-assistants that were female. Missing the intrinsic stir she had received from sculpture, the possibilities of new media inspired Rufeh to begin experimenting with incorporating different materials—especially encaustic—into her photography. It was a way of rebelling against her commercial work and pushing the photo to a place where it wasn’t allowed to go in the commercial world.

Aside from working as a commercial photographer for more than 20 years, Rufeh has been exhibited nationally for over a decade with multiple solo exhibitions in Berlin, Germany. The last few years have been the most exciting for Rufeh’s career as an artist. She now devotes all her time to her studio, volunteer work, and meditation practices while maintaining a consistent presence amongst the Southern California art scene, exhibiting most recently at the Museum of Latin American Art and the William D. Cannon Art Gallery. She works to develop new photo techniques that push her work into different genres and hopes that her art will continue to generate discussion regarding new media and environmental issues.

Statement

Visual art is an immediate expression of meaning—a commentary on things personal, societal, or even universal—and it has a unique energy. This unfolding universal energy has been an evolving interest of mine and my work has been influenced by my study of it and its manifestation throughout different cultures. It is a quest that cannot be separated from our daily lives.

Nature to me is an obvious place to start when dealing with these themes. We can see ourselves in the shapes of nature and in the way all its various elements affect one another. There are also man-made structures and landscapes that reflect our nature in a different way; years of layered graffiti reveal an undocumented history of creativity. But the insistent beckoning of nature is the hardest to ignore.

I travel extensively to remote natural locations to take photographs that explore my concepts and to be completely absorbed by the elements around me ‐ the colors, the smells, the silence, the peace, the wind brushing against my skin, the warmth of the sun… all awaken my senses.

When I come back to the studio I never really know where the photograph will take my painting. To be of worth, art must be expressive, sharing an artist’s thoughts and feelings. For me, feelings are paramount. The picture speaks to my gut and my body responds instinctively, emotionally, with color, texture or the absence thereof. My goal is that this visceral approach allows me to communicate something personal that becomes universal.

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Eunmi Mimi Kim
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Each of experiential researches (4.0) are part of the self-experiment series that focus on sensory isolation in order to explore atypical, eccentric, but rather introspective methods that enable me to establish a diverse spectrum within my own comfort zone to get away from a state of the overwhelming external world.

(As people become more and more concerned with the psychological ramification of (an) overwhelming digital world, we may finally be ready to explore /the real benefits of taking-a-vacation from the senses.) — Meehan Crist, Postcards from the edge of consciousness

I am a solitary being who can easily be pushed into ‘sensory overload.’ As such, Me-Time 4.0) aims to align my mind and body back into balance by reducing sensory stimuli. This is a series of self-experiments that use eccentric methods of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) to explore my conditions of hyperthyroidism (a hormone/stress-related disease), hypersensitivity, and meticulousness. Being isolated while experiencing contemplation and self-reflection, but remaining aware of the external world, is for me a form of mindfulness.

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Interview with James Oliver, Artist and Owner of James Oliver Gallery

James Oliver is a painter whose precise visual language pushes the tradition of twentieth century abstraction into a contemporary context. Oliver is a conceptually driven formalist whose work is inspired by his dreams and emotional states, which he abstracts into an undetermined and subjective viewing experience by emphasizing line, color, and form. Even as Oliver turns to a figurative practice in recent series, rendering cultural icons like chopper bikes, Pontiac Firebirds, and his childhood poodle in detailed line drawings, these representations similarly evoke broadly accessible affects abstracted from his mental landscape.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your art.

I'm known as a near-minimalist painter that first got attention working abstractly. Now I'm getting known more as being a painter who delves into representational and figurative works. I have been working on a series of paintings of muscle cars and vintage motorcycles and completely enjoying it. I use minimal color in my works and am known for my line-work.

What inspired you to start your gallery? Give us a little history of the beautiful exhibition space in Philadelphia.

I have been presented a huge space for my studio practice. I quickly realized that the space was bigger than the amount I would really need. Shortly after receiving the keys to the space, I showed it to some close friends and most determined I should open an art gallery; the landlord also mentioned this. I quickly concluded with their input and my own background in the arts, that I can do this! So, long story short, JOG (James Oliver Gallery) was born. We have featured many great artists from the local talent pool to artists from near and far at our gallery that generally showcases works that may be on the minimalist and clean side, both abstract and figurative. All mediums. Over the course of the years, people have mentioned that maybe we should expand within the building at some. An opportunity arose in 2017 to take over the second floor, and we would make this a particularly unique endeavor. This all came about with the partnering through partnering up with our neighbor, Bryan Hoffman, owner of Hoffman Design Group. His company specializes in interior landscape and does business throughout the city. We decided in this partnership to "marry" horticulture with contemporary art. The artwork we feature at Hot-Bed would be a plant, animal, or science-driven exhibitions. So far so good!

Over these years I had the good fortune of working with some great interns and assistants. Most notably, Aubrey Loftus who first interned here for a year and then became staff and now is director of both galleries. She is a very talented artist and curator/director that has helped bring us into our biggest phase.

How has running a gallery influenced your own art making?

As one might imagine, being surrounded by great quality works over these months and years has uniquely inspired and driven me to create and develop my best works to date. My recent series of works was inspired not only by being around the gallery and the art scene but from input by visitors and fellow artists and their encouragement to develop the series. Lovin' it!

Giving up Is Not an Option with Ashley Longshore
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Join Ashley Longshore and Kat on this special episode. We talk about the hard stuff: working through financial difficulty, not giving up, trusting and believing in yourself during times of uncertainty, staying in a positive frequency no matter what and working with high end clients. 

Sarah Ashley Longshore is a Louisiana-based painter, gallery owner, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of the Longshore Studio Gallery, located on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Longshore's art focuses on pop culture, Hollywood glamour, and American consumerism and has been compared to the artwork of Andy Warhol.

www.ashleylongshore.com

www.instagram.com/ashleylongshoreart

Leslie Fry
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Statement

My sculptures and works on paper are inspired by basic human needs: food, shelter, clothing, and love. The intersection of the natural world and the human-made world drives my work.  Images of the projected-upon female body run through my art – based on my own body’s experience of the world and on ways women’s bodies have been controlled throughout history.

I draw, print, model, and cast by combining organic materials such as plants, paper, clay, and fabric with plaster, concrete, metal, and resin. Recent works on paper (submitted to Create! Magazine) have taken on new lives as animations. See the videos at https://www.lesliefry.com/news-media/.

 Diverse influences come from literature, psychology, mythology, and the visual arts, ranging from the body/spirit experience of medieval architecture to the theatrical narratives of William Kentridge.

Bio

My art has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the globe, including Artists Space in New York; Kunsthaus in Hamburg; Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul; Windspiel Galerie in Vienna; Couvent des Cordeliers in Paris; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum near Boston; and Centre des Arts Visuels in Montreal.

Public commissions in New York, South Korea, Montreal, Florida, Wisconsin, and Vermont have been specific responses to architecture, history, and landscape. Public collections include Tufts University, Songchu International Sculpture Park, Kohler Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Fleming Museum, Kent Museum, and St. Petersburg, Florida’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Born in Montreal, I earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont, an M.F.A. from Bard College, and attended the Central School of Art and Design in London. I live in Winooski, Vermont.

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Sacred Geometry: Interview with Phyllis Gorsen and Paula Cahill
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Phyllis Gorsen

I have created a series of multi-canvased paintings that describe how we are all connected together by having elements of everyday life in common. I use symbols in both visual and written language as depictions of these commonalities highlighting the connections created by their universality despite varying perceptions. I use a combination of abstraction and representation in the work.These paintings explore connection in two ways: larger multi-canvased compositions that are broad symbolic illustrations of elements of common human experiences, and smaller “couples” paintings that represent two universal elements symbolically paired together in written language. These works are more specific in nature. 
My paintings are intended to move the eye using energetic patterns, movement and vibrancy. My hope is that viewer is captivated by the visual allure of the surface to allow for a slow unveiling of the meaning of the work – which is that we all connected by sharing many of these human experiences.

-Phyllis Gorsen

Tell me about your creative journey so far. 

I have been painting most of my life, primarily figures.  What I loved most about figurative work is that many times it contains the thing that is most basic to all of us. Race, gender identity, religion, etc. inform our experiences and perspectives and thus there are multitudes of viewpoints stemming from that. But, even with these differences, there are overarching similarities that we are share. That is the place that I want to put the emphasis on. As an artist, my work has always been about connection. I try to portray the human aspects that are intrinsic to all people regardless of our differences.  

When I went back to school and got my MFA in 2014 from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, I studied the figurative painters that I loved so much, mainly the Bay Area Figurative Painters like David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. It was then that I started to concentrate on figurative work that captures the patterns of everyday life, but I never made my work autobiographical. I was always much more interested in those spaces that are common to everyone. And although the figure was a catalyst for my work, between the use of color, collage, and pattern, there has always been a strong abstract component. After I graduated, I started to play around in the studio thinking more about the literal interpretation of patterns of everyday life. That’s when I took the turn into geometric abstract work.

As I delved deeper into the abstract elements, both in subject matter and execution, I began portraying components of everyday life in symbolic terms. I created paintings mimetic of the human experience without the use of figures. Most people don’t realize that my paintings contain symbols, I think mostly because I try not to make them too obvious. I prefer a slow unveiling of the meaning behind the work. I do fuse abstraction and representation within many of my paintings as long as I feel they describe the various facets of our commonalities. Some of these elements are recognizable and others are symbolic interpretations of components such as language, technology, nature, culture, etc. Often, I use lines to bridge these symbols together, illustrating how they connect us together. Linguistically, I am exploring the use of symbolism through my titles. These play a critical role in telling the story of each piece and drive the composition of some paintings. All of my work has a high degree of vibrancy and vibration that is a constant within my practice.

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What inspired you to create the work you are including in the exhibition at James Oliver Gallery?


My works in the show contain pieces that are more complex and have various visual components and meanings, as well as paintings that are more distilled and simplified. In addition to the complex paintings that are attached to multiple canvases, I wanted to include paintings that were separate but related. So I have works that are both interconnected such as “Essence and Pursuit” and outwardly connected such as “Of a Circular Nature…”- which are a set of four paintings? It was an exciting exploration in the idea of connection to depict it internally and externally. All of the work is painted on circular canvases or within circular spaces. The circle to me is beautiful in that there are no defined edges. They feel like complete bodies to me and allow me to investigate the idea of connection in a more fluid way.


What are some ongoing themes or ideas you have been exploring within your paintings?

As I mentioned before, I focus on how the commonality of shared patterns connects people together by using symbolism- both abstract and representational. I personally feel that the most powerful works are the ones that combine visceral sensory experiences with fundamental content underneath. I like making the surfaces of my paintings beautiful with the hope that the viewer is enticed enough to uncover the underlying message of human connection. In “Interweave”, the idea was to illustrate that regardless of our differences, people are internally woven together creating a society. In “Interlink #1-12”, the 12 separate canvases each represents a microcosm of a society that is linked to ones surrounding it. In “Essence and Pursuit”, there are eight canvases representing elements of humanity. From the top left panel going across and down, they are: Connection, Essence (red rings emanating outward), diverse populations of people moving together and apart (top middle), Vegetation, Geography, Technology (bottom middle), Knowledge, and Cities.


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What can visitors expect from this exhibition?  

Sacred Geometry describes the patterns found in nature from the most minuscule particles to the greater cosmos. We obviously took on the title of the show “Sacred Geometry” with some poetic license. The idea behind the show was to exhibit work that had geometric abstract elements that also incorporated the meaning behind it.

When you walk into Hot-Bed Gallery, the viewer is immersed in a room of vibrant pattern and color. It really is visually exciting due to the interplay of color and movement from our work. I was really happy to be exhibiting with Paula Cahill because I am an admirer of her work and I felt that our paintings would fit well together. Hopefully, the audience will be seduced by the luminous surfaces to want to know more about the paintings.

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Paula Cahill

Is it possible to pinpoint when straight and curved lines were invented? The contours of ancient rock paintings give us organic lines and line is evident in the motifs of early Greek vessels and Egyptian Funerary art. Renaissance artists were lauded for their invention of perspective, a system contrived of straight lines that extend to infinity. Modernists isolated and formalized gestural line as subject. I strive to extend this conversation by painstakingly mixing and repeatedly laying down up to 100 gradients of color in my attempts to contemporize line.

- Paula Cahill

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Tell me about your creative journey so far. 

I studied figurative painting for many years before transitioning to complex abstract paintings. While in Graduate School, one of my critics looked at my figurative work and told me that if I wanted to paint flesh better, I should paint a fish. So, I did. When he came back, he said: "That's a pretty good fish, you should paint another one." Apparently, my other critics also thought that I should paint fish and they told me so. I never figured out if they thought I painted great fish or lousy flesh, but I kept painting fish. Pretty soon, I became interested in the way fish were moving in my aquarium and I began tracking their movements with line. I used those lines to make my first linear abstract paintings.

Being an abstract painter was like being a kid in a candy store for me. I wanted to experiment and try every type of abstract painting. I experimented for about six years. When I decided to get serious about showing my work, I asked friends for advice. They basically told me that I was a gallerist's nightmare! I needed to settle down to create a cohesive body of work. That's when I returned to the lines and I’ve been developing this body of work for almost two years. I’m glad that I made this commitment because the work has become more precise and complex. I’ve moved beyond fish and have used a variety of catalysts for the paintings. Art historical reference, movement, music, geometry, and memories have all been sources for my paintings.

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What inspired you to create the work you are including in the exhibition at James Oliver Gallery?

To me line is everything! Line is everywhere and it has been with us forever. I often wonder if we can pinpoint when straight and curved lines were invented. The contours of ancient rock paintings give us organic lines and line is evident in the motifs of early Greek vessels and Egyptian Funerary art.Renaissance artists were lauded for their invention of perspective, a system contrived of straight lines that extend to infinity. Modernists isolated and formalized gestural line as a subject. I strive to extend this conversation by painstakingly mixing and repeatedly laying down up to 100 gradients of color in my attempts to contemporize line.

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What can visitors expect from this exhibition?  

My new 2019 paintings will be exhibited for the first time in Sacred Geometry at Hot Bed. Geometry and historical reference are heavily weighted in this work. I think that viewers will be surprised to see some color shifts and compositional changes.

A Quiet Revolution: Interview with Martin Beck
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I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience.
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Martin Beck is a figurative artist best known for large pastel and mixed media paintings of the nude human form. These drawings often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. 
Beck has exhibited widely with solo shows at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH and the Jersey City Museum, NJ and most recently at ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL. Recent group exhibitions include Mixed Media at Site:Brooklyn, New York, NY and Art Connections 13 at George Segal Gallery, Montclair, NJ. His exhibitions have been reviewed in The New York Times and The Sunday Star Ledger. 

In 2019 Beck’s work will be included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, and the Create Magazine Winter print edition. An interview with the artist is currently live on VoyageChicago.

Martin Beck received two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships (1994, 2000). Beck holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, from State University of New York at Buffalo. In April 2009 Martin Beck participated in the two-week residency MMMart, medana.art pomlad in Medana, Slovenia. 

Martin Beck’s work solo exhibition pal•imp•sest(2): bearing traces of earlier forms is currently on view until March 30, 2019 at MS Rezny Gallery, Lexington, KY.

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What is your creative process like? You tend to work on prepared paper. What do you typically do to prep a sheet of paper?

I’ve recently gotten involved with the process and the nature of materials. My main tools are chalk pastels, brushes, a random orbit sander, sanding blocks, atomizers and sometimes a garden hose. Mark making is an important element as I build up the surface over time through multiple life drawing sessions. I’m interested in creating a visceral experience for the viewer and provide a journey into the art-making process.

There are two methods I use to start a piece. The first begins with a drawing from life on a blank sheet of paper. This could be a sheet of gesture drawing or some other result of a life drawing session. These drawings are often incomplete. So, after the session, I manipulate them – prepare them by applying water or pigment (usually both), or sand them, apply to spray paint and let them dry in the sun on a textured surface. This provides a rich ground to work on.

The second method involves preparing the paper with various media: gouache, dry pigment, graphite, spray paint and acrylics. After either of these two methods, I’ll have a toned piece of paper with arbitrary marks and color that seem like abstract paintings.

I use this paper in life drawing sessions using some of the accidental marks, color, and texture as information to enhance the act of drawing. I respond to the paper almost as much as to the model. A resulting unsuccessful drawing on prepared paper might be further manipulated by obscuring the image with water, medium, and sanding. In those cases, the ground becomes quite thick with layers of color and texture. The final piece is more like a painting than a drawing.

As a result of all the layers, these works on paper often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. Or, as the 4th-century philosopher Augustine of Hippo wrote: “A present of things past, a present of things present and a present of things future.”

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What about the human form inspires you?

I am fascinated by the Neue Sachlichkeit artists of pre-World War II Germany. Their work was informed by the experience of the First World War, the turmoil of Germany society at the time and the dehumanizing aspects of new technology. We are living through a similar time with our own seemingly endless wars and terrorism, climate change and income inequality, gun violence, racism, and bigotry.

We are distracted from our lives through the ubiquity of social media and the hand-held device. We are jaded, selfish, insensitive and addicted to convenience and immediate gratification. It seems like society has a metabolic disease.

So, we are living in a difficult and interesting time. I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience. I want my work to help “express and overcome our humanity” (a quote that I, unfortunately, can’t attribute).

I’ve written elsewhere that our bodies are road maps of our individual experience. Part of that is the model’s self-expression. Hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, body hair or lack of, makeup or lack of are all clues to their identity. My work also then presents an emphatic confirmation of personality and a space to contemplate and celebrate humanity in all its variety.

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How has your style and technique evolved over the years?

I’ve always been a figurative artist because of my fascination with people and how we live in our culture. My work used to consist of large multi-figural paintings with social and political themes, based on photos and invention.

These were demanding pieces to make, made more difficult since I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), an autoimmune arthritic disease. For years I was able to control it using over-the-counter drugs, but when the disease intensified in 2012, I had to make some changes. Standing or sitting at the easel for extended periods is no longer possible. I’m currently focused on drawing and painting from life in two to four hours long sessions with the model. These sessions are challenging, but the level of intense observation and control necessary allows my body to “fall away". It’s like moving meditation. And focusing on another person in this way is uplifting and liberating.

These physical limitations also have me working in a more quick and loose way. The tight control I used to exercise isn’t possible. I’ve had to “let go” and let the cosmos help me draw through accidental mark making. As a result, there is a certain amount of surrealism and abstraction in my work.

I’ve also developed a sense of how ephemeral our experiences are. Working from life is like trying to capture time. The materials I use are fragile. The paper, pastel and water media are supple and vulnerable.

I’ve come to believe that the nude speaks most directly of the human condition. To study another’s face and form is to understand their essential humanity: their frailty and imperfection. My own arthritic condition has allowed me to see more of these qualities in the others. I’ve also found that if you study anyone with the level of intensity my kind of figurative work requires, you see their beauty and strength as well.

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What is your favorite thing to focus on when you are drawing someone?

In a way, I am more concerned with the act of drawing than the finished piece. Just as people are complex the attempt to depict them involves many variables. I try to let the figure emerge from the ground and let the model’s presence inhabit the prepared paper. It is remarkable how palpably present the model is once you begin to draw them.

The model often looks inward as they try to hold a pose. Some of that inwardness is outwardly expressed, not only in their face but also in their body. I’ve come to think of these pieces as portraits, even when the face isn’t visible or there is no likeness.

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How have you overcome setbacks in your career?

There are times when it’s difficult to deal with the career aspects of art-making, especially in a society that prizes money-making above all else. But I recall that the opportunity to make art is a privilege. Having a voice in our society through art even more so, and as such a responsibility. In my practice, the concern is not with the finished piece but the experience of art-making. For me each piece is like a journey – and I feel a responsibility to share that with my audience.

The act of drawing expands outward into other parts of my life. Whatever happens, is part of the larger journey of trying to be in the moment. This attitude is in part informed by my AS, which has forced me to deal with physical limitations. Despite treatment, it’s a disease that waxes and wanes and so the other shoe is always about to drop.

Tessa Miller wrote recently in the New York Times about having a chronic disease that “…your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore and a future version that looks different than you’d planned.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/smarter-living/five-things-i-wish-i-knew-chronic-illness-crohns-disease-ibd.html)

And maybe that’s the source of my current fascination with the nude – to capture the artist and model in such a fleeting moment so that the four-hour session endures. Despite inherent fragility.

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What are you up to in 2019? Anything we should be on the lookout for?

My solo exhibition pal•imp•set(2): bearing traces of earlier forms currently on exhibit at 
MS Rezny Gallery is an exciting event for me as it is my first solo show in my new home town, Lexington, Kentucky. Seventeen recent works will be on display through March 30.

A two-person show at the Lexington Art League tentatively titled The Present of Things Past will be on view July 26 – August 23. This exhibition of figurative work by myself and Brandon C. Smith should have interesting juxtapositions and intersections. Brandon and I both run life drawing sessions here in Lexington. His on Thursday nights at the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts and my Sunday afternoon in my studio.

Two somewhat unusual pieces will be on display at the One Shot exhibition at Manifest Gallery March 8-April 5 in Cincinnati, OH. This show features works done in one sitting and my works on paper generally evolve over time. These two pieces came together in one session.

My work is also included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, available mid-2019.

An interview with images is currently live on http://voyagechicago.com/interview/art-life-martin-beck/

Please visit https://www.spondylitis.org/ for more information about Ankylosing Spondylitis and related chronic arthritic diseases.

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Get noticed on Instagram!
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You may have heard that a lot of galleries, curators and writers now discover new artists that they end up representing, exhibiting or interviewing via Instagram. It’s pretty incredible that social media has created such a simple platform for sharing art worldwide. That being said, there are so many talented artists showing their work on Instagram these days that it can seem like a competition for followers and impossible to get noticed. But neither of these are true. Make sure your feed stands out for all of the right reasons!

  • Quality photography for artwork: We know, we say this all the time! As Instagram is a visual platform, it makes sense that all of your images should be high quality. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours to get a perfectly lit shot of your studio or an artfully messy image of your palette and brushes. Focus on clean, cropped photos of your work that can easily be reposted. Make it easy for others to share your work!

  • Along those lines, while it is fun to mix up the type of images that you share, like detail shots, an installation view and works in progress or even your cat, make sure you regularly show finished pieces (perhaps one of every three to five posts depending on how much work you have and how quickly you create new pieces). I came across a really incredible painting that I wanted to share on Create! Magazine’s Instagram so I went to look up the artist’s profile. I scrolled and scrolled, but could not only not find the painting I wanted - I couldn’t even find one single image of a nicely photographed, completed work cropped to the edges!

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  • Use the right hashtags: We discuss hashtags in more depth in our new book “The Smartist Guide” but the general rule is to be relevant to your work while not being too general or your posts will get lost in the mass of images. So if you make sculptures you could use #sculpture, but that has over 10 million posts and #sculptures has over 1 million. Instead you could try #sculptureart (200,000) or #sculpture_art (9,000).

  • It might be your goal to get reposted by a larger influencer account like an art blog, magazine or curator. DM-ing them to ask for a feature isn’t professional and doesn’t work (nor does random tagging unless they specifically request it!). Often, these accounts will post simple directions like using a specific hashtag on your posts for you to share your artwork with them. We look through #createmagazine regularly and love seeing the great images that the artists in our community share with us! Kat also mentioned recently on an Art & Cocktails podcast episode that Instagram doesn’t allow us to sort through all the messages that are sent to us. With the volume of DM’s we receive, after a day or two it is hard to go back and find specific ones even if it was an artist that we liked.

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  • While I can’t speak on behalf of other publications or curators, I personally don’t care what an artist’s follower count is. If I like the work, I will happy reach out for an interview or repost the work whether they have 50, 500 or 50,000 followers. There’s no need to play games by following a bunch of accounts hoping that some will follow you back and then unfollowing them a few days later. People definitely notice and will remember you in a negative light.

  • Make connections with other artists, curators, galleries and arts publications that you genuinely like. This way you can meaningfully engage with their posts. For example, if you leave a particularly nice or interesting comment on a post, it is likely that they’ll click through to your page. It pays off to be a friendly follower :)

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  • Don’t feel pressured to post new content all of the time! It’s likely that only a fraction of your followers will see any given post so if one has performed particularly well feel free to share it again a while later. Especially as you get more new followers, it is a great idea to keep putting your best work out there - you never know when a new writer or curator will end up on your feed!

  • When you do inevitably get your work shared, you can definitely repost it on your profile to be proud of your accomplishment and it’s also good practice to leave a comment thanking them for the feature. Hopefully one shared work will cause a chain reaction leading to more! That happened to Kat last year with a piece she didn’t expect and early in my career as well with a completely different type of work than what I usually made. Be patient and consistent with your posts and it will happen to you too!

Above all, none of this is important if you aren’t yet happy with your work or don’t have finished pieces to show. Put the time in your studio to get to the point where you have a really strong body of work to post about first and then trust us, the rest will follow.

Happy ‘gramming!

-Alicia

If you’d like to hear more about what writers are looking for on Instagram, you can check out the Art & Cocktails episode Kat did with our other magazine contributor Christina Nafziger at createmagazine.com/podcast.

Looking for additional career tips like these for emerging artists? We’re so excited to share our recently launched book, The Smartist Guide, which discusses topics ranging from perfecting your resume and writing the perfect pitch to a gallery you’d like to represent you to dealing with rejection and finding the best opportunities to show your work! Learn more here.


Michael Reedy
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Michael Reedy currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and teaches drawing at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Art & Design. His work has been included in over 150 national and international exhibitions and can be viewed in numerous private and institutional collections, including Clatsop Community College, Minot State University, Shippensburg University, and the Hoffman Trust National Collection in association with the San Diego Art Institute. Notable recent creative activities include a two-person exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and solo exhibitions at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia and Helikon Gallery in Denver, Colorado. He will also have work featured in Spoke Art’s upcoming publication The Moleskine Project Vol. 2, Manifest Gallery’s 12th International Drawing Annual, and Hi-Fructose Presents: The Art of the Mushroom.

Statement

The majority of my work these days tend to exist within the framework of a Memento mori (Latin: "remember that you have to die"), as I often employ skulls and other objects that serve as a warning or reminder of death. However, these images are often imbued with a degree of sarcastic self-awareness and “woe is me” self-pity. Clip-art Cherubs giving us the bird, vomiting demons, skull babies, floating brains, and organ ghosts become central to the grand spectacle that is called getting older – and not wanting to! When combined with an alien landscape full of hypno-spirals, cascading vortexes, and black holes - we find ourselves transported to another plane that is seriously trying to not take itself too seriously. This point-of-tension between hope and despair, humor and pain, and living and dying is infinitely interesting to me – and represents my mindset every time I look in the mirror and see another grey hair.

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Paradigm Gallery at Art on Paper 2019

For their fourth showing at Art on Paper, Paradigm Gallery will be presenting artwork by Alex Eckman-Lawn, Drew Leshko, Evan Hecox, Hyland Mather, and Seth Clark. The artists have all created their artwork using their own unique methods, but will be coming together for a fair display not to miss. Click on the artist names below to see their collections. The newest pieces by each artist will be added to their linked collection pages on Friday, March 8th. Email sara@paradigm-gallery.com if you would like to see a preview of the collections prior to that date.

Paradigm Gallery | Booth 105 | Featured Artists
Alex Eckman-Lawn
Drew Leshko
Evan Hecox
Hyland Mather
Seth Clark

Fair Dates/Hours/Location
March 7 - 10, 2019 | 299 South Street - Pier 36, Downtown Manhattan

OPENING NIGHT
Art on Paper Preview
Thursday, March 7, 2019 • 6:00pm to 10:00pm

PUBLIC FAIR HOURS
Friday, March 8 • 11:00am to 7:00pm
Saturday, March 9 • 11:00am to 7:00pm
Sunday, March 10 • 12:00pm to 6:00pm 

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

Statement:

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

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

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How to Submit Your Art
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If you are new to the art world and are having trouble figuring out how to submit work to juried shows, publications, art blogs and more, fear not! I have compiled a quick list of tips that I noticed from the curatorial end. I share simple advice to help you increase your chances of getting accepted to that dream opportunity!

For those of you looking to step it up and take the photos yourself, I’m sharing my camera and light studio that I use from Amazon. Keep in mind that you will also need a tripod, but it doesn’t have to be super expensive.

Cheers!

Kat

Fukuko Harris
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Fukuko Harris was born and raised in Tokyo, and she currently lives and works in New York City and Montauk, NY.  She received her MFA from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture after studying at Parsons School of Design and Marymount College. Her paintings, sculpture and works on paper have been exhibited in numerous two-person and group shows around the US, including at The Painting Center, in New York, City; Trestle Gallery and 440 Gallery, in Brooklyn; Marquee Projects Gallery, in Bellport, NY; Gestalt Projects, in Santa Monica, CA; Vivid Space, in San Diego, CA; Chabot Fine Arts in Providence, RI; and The southern Nevada Museum of Fine Arts, in Las Vegas, NV. Harris’s work has been featured and reviewed in a number of publications, such as Art Slant, ArtMaze, Fresh Paint Magazine, Hamptons Art Hub, and Two Coats of Paint, and she has received several prestigious awards, including the New York Studio School’s Hohenberg Travel Grand and. Her works are featured in many private collections, as well as in the permanent collection of The Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Arts.

Statement

Generally non-representational, my works convey something I have witnessed, sensed, or otherwise experienced in my lifetime. I might start from an idea or image of a structure, conceptual or physical, or sometimes from a mood. I begin by working intuitively with a few colors in mind, and then explore compositional or structural possibilities with more forms and colors, or by various arrangements of my preferred marks. Sometimes it's simply the accumulation of materials that leads me along.

 In my paintings and works on paper, I don't start with plans or ideas of what they will look like in the end. My goal is to be able to take a ride into the unknown space. It does not always happen, but when it does, unexpected and accidental things occur along the way, often leaving my artworks looking curious, inexplicable, or awkward.

I prefer organic forms and imperfect lines. I often choose bright and vivid colors along with monotones and various kinds of marks. I like to employ pattern-like elements in my mark making. My lines vary from wide to fine, or from gestural to quite controlled, and they always have a manual aspect. When my marks are gestural, the gestures are calm. When they're controlled, they’re not sharply delineated. I also frequently use collage applications in my smaller paintings on canvas, or in my works on paper. For these, I like to incorporate pieces of patterned textiles, repurposed canvas or paper cutouts. Such pieces break the bounds of the picture plane or provide an overall irregular shape to the whole surface. Often these works become wall sculptures.

In my sculptures, I am still driven by color and shape, but it's predominantly the extra dimension that unites these elements. I make my own objects or use found ones, and materials might include clay, plaster, paper, wire, fabric, yarn, wood or various recyclables. I then cut, paint or modify them. The materials are often small, and at times I like to work on these pieces in relation to each other. I build shapes upon shapes and materials upon materials until the objects seem to attain their own identity in the sculpture. As in my paintings and other works, the colors are often very bright. 

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