Elizabeth Knowles – New York, New York

5 Series, 2013, 70 x 62 inches, acrylic on 5 canvas panels

5 Series, 2013, 70 x 62 inches, acrylic on 5 canvas panels

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My work depicts patterns of growth and form in nature and examines these patterns from a variety of perceptual levels. Some of my images show biological patterns on the cellular level of organisms. Others reveal natural patterns of the earth’s landscapes. My painting, sculpture, and site-specific installations, through the media of both painting and sculpture, explore dynamic patterns connecting landscapes and life forms, physiology and physics, death and detritus, light and darkness.

My images integrate simple patterns into a more complex unity on a larger scale.

The work comes out of examining and recreating interactions among different levels of life. A basic component of my process involves discovering a pattern that connects discrete elements and enables the creation of a larger unified whole. This process echoes how living cells grow and aggregate overtime with other cells to enable emergence of complex organisms.Revealing life’s rhythms, the work displays the unfolding and undulation of living energy expanding, contracting, and recycling itself through visual patterns.The images in my work also reveal transitions from chaos to order and life to death, sometimes frozen in time.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I grew up in a family intensely focused on observing the natural world of landscapes, flora, fauna, and human geography. My earliest awareness drew my attention to the rhythms and patterns of nature. My early life in the verdant suburbs of St Louis, Missouri was augmented by weekends in the country exploring the woods and farmlands overlooking the Missouri River. Early explorations outside Missouri involved hiking and skiing in the vast landscapes of the American West. My parents shared with me a deep reverence for the natural world and a fascination with naming and appreciating the mysterious patterns of human existence. As my own life unfolds, the organic patterns of the natural world continue to inspire and inform my work.

Modern Dance, Collaborative Site Specific Installation with William Thielen, wire, surveyors’ tape, 2015,

Modern Dance, Collaborative Site Specific Installation with William Thielen, wire, surveyors’ tape, 2015,

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

Because my work is very detailed and process oriented, it requires long durations of work in the studio. My energy is revived and sustained by going outside the studio as much as possible to walk, observe, and feel the energy of the natural environment around me. Over the years I continue to evolve a contemplative practice that helps me to sense the energy of life around me and later use this experience as a catalyst for creation of patterns of images in the studio.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I have come to realize that my work is beginning to dissolve the boundaries between a spiritual practice –meditation, contemplation, revelation– and artistic creation.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I generally starting mid-morning and work into late afternoon, take a break outside and often return to the studio until darkness falls. The best time to make art is when my mind is filled with images from being outside in the natural world.

Cosmic Concourse, 2013, 48x 42 inches, acrylic on canvas

Cosmic Concourse, 2013, 48x 42 inches, acrylic on canvas

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

The biggest changes in my work have come from collaborations and conversations with friends and other artists. My old friend and fellow artist William Thielen and I collaborate to create outdoor installations that blend together our different approaches and processes. Surprisingly, although our personalities and processes are quite different, we work very well together During the three summers of 2013 through 2015, we have collaborated to make several temporary site-specific out door installations that have expanded my concept of working with nature. While the actual installations are much larger than anything I would construct working alone, the work still springs from a fascination with organic patterns on a variety of scales.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

Both my parents influenced me profoundly through their sense of wonder, appreciation and respect for natural processes, and their delight in how the visual arts can deepen the human experience of the physical world and its underlying patterns. My father, William S. Knowles, was a Nobel Prize winning chemist for his work on the asymmetric synthesis of organic molecules. His wonderful curiosity and nurturing of my own interest in the visual arts helped affirm my identity as an artist. My mother, Lesley C. Knowles, an immensely literate and sensitive person, helped me understand the importance of experimentation and creative risk taking as both a child and an adult. In different ways, my parents both have helped me cultivate the confidence of an adventurous spirit that balances a natural inclination toward introspection with the desire to create visual images.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests

The practice of yoga, meditation, and the study of classical mythology and symbolism via Carl Jung and astrology help enable me to discover a bigger, wilder, and more vibrant place for humans in an unfolding universe. These disciplines and studies help inform my work, and most importantly, blend together to inspire a very personal approach to visual expression.

About

headshotElizabeth Knowles is a visual artist based in New York, NY and Norfolk, CT. Utilizing a variety of media, her paintings and sculpture reveal both static and dynamic patterns in nature recurring on different scales of perception. Born and raised in the river town of St Louis, MO, Elizabeth earned a BA from Pomona College, in Claremont, CA and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. She recently completed a residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA as part of its “Assets for Artists” program.

Elizabeth’s recent outdoor site-specific projects include installations for Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, Old Lyme, CT, The Kingston Biennial, Kingston, NY, “Art in Nature” at the Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ and “Contemporary Sculpture” at the Chesterwood National Trust for Historic Preservation, Stockbridge, MA. Other projects include site-specific installations for Bank of America Plaza’s Green Exhibit, Charlotte, NC, NYU’s Langone Medical Center, Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, the Housatonic Museum, Bridgeport, CT, Artspace, New Haven, CT, for the Fountain Art Fair at the 69th Regiment Armory, NY, NY, and outdoor sculpture for Governor’s Island, NY, NY. She has created several art installations for the windows at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store pairing her work with Donna Karan, Alexander McQueen, and Issey Miyake. Corporate commissions include site-specific paintings for the Galleon Group, NY, NY, and Enclave Capital, NY, NY. Elizabeth has received numerous awards including grants from the Puffin Foundation, Miami Beach Cultural Council, E. D. Foundation, Artist’s Space, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Millay Colony, Yaddo, and the Banff Centre. 

Landscape & Life Form Detail

elizabethknowles.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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Jordan Acker Anderson – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hex Sign: Chapel Mountain 2015 Mixed media on canvas 24" x 18"

Hex Sign: Chapel Mountain
2015
Mixed media on canvas
24″ x 18″

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My artistic practice serves as a way to make sense of our current global culture. Painting becomes an act of meditation or a means to transform unruly information into beautiful states of order and interconnected compositions. My work resides in the category of symbolic abstraction. The compositions are visual records consisting of personal symbols on a single plane that are reminiscent of woven tapestries.

I call myself an image-maker who utilizes painting, drawing and printmaking to explore universal themes of service, soul, life force, breath, instinct, survival, nature, time and ritual. My interdisciplinary interests lead to academic research with science, design and peace studies faculty. I am committed to building community through artistic collaboration.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

My identity as an artist has always been present because I was born into a family of artists. Leading a creative life was a given and I was raised attending museums, galleries, art festivals, operas, symphonies and the like. I am a Midwesterner at the core having lived in Omaha, Laramie, Iowa City and Milwaukee. I am drawn to the open landscape and changing seasons, including the cold and snow. The pattern of the seasons allows my studio practice to have similar stretches of change, studio seasons for hibernation and heavy work versus play and exploration in the world. The periods of play inform the stretches of hibernation.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I collect observations when I travel, read, and learn, which generate the drive to create in the studio. The observations tap me and remind me to be present as I move through daily experiences. Once in the studio, I find it is important to listen to the outside world while creating, so NPR or On Being act as my studio soundtrack. Listening to the research and stories of the guests on the radio helps to distract my attention just enough so I can suspend my literal mode to allow the work to develop on its own.

Hex Sign: Infinite Duration 2015 Mixed media on canvas 24" x 18"

Hex Sign: Infinite Duration
2015
Mixed media on canvas
24″ x 18″

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

As an artist that is also a peacemaker. I am currently in contemplation and searching about the way an isolated studio practice can be an active role in peacemaking and what this pursuit means for my personal studio practice. As an academic, I am involved in the Wisconsin Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, which is an engaging group of faculty from diverse disciplines that meet annually to explore peace education. Teaching my students through artistic collaboration, to encourage direct involvement with one another, is one way that I engage in peacemaking within an academic setting.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

When I am specifically inspired to participate in an exhibit or when I have stumbled upon exciting observations that I want to capture quickly in the memory of my compositions. I am one that might stay up all night to finish something before it gets way from me when the demands of the daytime return.

One in Four: To March Towards 2015 Mixed media on canvas 24" x 18"

One in Four: To March Towards
2015
Mixed media on canvas
24″ x 18″

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

A few years back I needed a new direction. I was bored with what I was doing and I decided to complete the same assignments I was giving to my two-dimensional design students. At the time, they were working on deconstructing and reconstructing black squares on white paper. This prompted me to start drawing with positive shape stencils and it really opened up my compositions, providing new ways of seeing into the work. When I look at my work from the last five years, I can distinctly see the evidence of that decision in the timeline of the work because there is greater transparency, layering, and mixed media present. I have always worked in a controlled, labor-intensive manner within my imagery, but this shift in drawing with stencils allows for faster speed of mark and chance interaction for color or contours.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

People impact my work by creating the content within it. I honor the legacy of others by weaving their presence into my symbolism. For example, I have a series of works subtitled, Hex Signs, which stems from observing the hex signs on barns in the rural Wisconsin landscape. I find it endearing to have the identity of that family speak to me from across a field. The inaugural poem of Elizabeth Alexander, Praise Song for the Day, read for President Barack Obama, was an influential work that I used for awhile in personal work and collaborative work with students.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Only when I was following the false notion that life as an artist would be too large of a burden, so for example, I did not declare a major in college until the end of my junior year. I was avoiding the inevitable. For other career interests, if you put realistic ability, likelihood and talent aside, the two other career choices I would be interested in are goat farming or being an opera singer, though I do not sing, nor do I know much about raising goats, but I connect with both pursuits in an instinctual way.

About

JAA-Marketing Photo (1)Currently, Acker Anderson lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she serves as Associate Professor of Art and Department Chair for Art and Graphic Design at Mount Mary University. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. She did her graduate research at the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing, receiving a Masters of Art in 2006 and a Masters of Fine Arts in 2007. Her award-winning work has been exhibited internationally, with recent venues including John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Anderson Arts Center, Cedarburg Cultural Center and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts.

JAA-Teach-MMU (1)

jordanackeranderson.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

 

 

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Andrea Borsuk – Santa Cruz, California

Continuous Procession, 2015, 24x36” oil on wood panel

Continuous Procession, 2015, 24×36” oil on wood panel

Briefly describe the work you do.

I am a painter and a story teller. My current work touches upon our cultural obsessions with the various rituals and talismans that we subscribe to for protection, good luck and safety in our daily lives. In most of my paintings and drawings, I incorporate signs, symbols and reminders of the precarious nature of life and our need for all kinds of faith — be it good luck charms, daily devotional practices or tarot readings. I create paintings and installations of drawings, objects, and collages that aim to chart the reality that our lifetime is limited. Despite our constant desire and need to predict what is going to happen in the future, the only sure thing we can expect is change.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I grew up in Los Angeles, surrounded by the natural beauty of the canyons and the ocean as well as the superficial beauty of fashion and all things Hollywood. I have lived in some of the most gorgeous cities in the world: Florence, Italy, New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and finally here in Santa Cruz, Ca. I have been blessed by having two daughters and I have spent the last few decades making paintings about images of women, beauty, landscape and culture. The work has always had an ironic, surrealistic tone because I have always been conscious of the seduction and irony of culture, sexy people and places. My roots are in Renaissance painting and feminist art as well all things subversive. I am essentially a frustrated comedian who loves to paint.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I see my role as a cultural sampler— I enjoy visiting the grand ‘smorgasbord of life’. I need equal time walking in nature as well as exploring vibrant cities, absorbing and tasting. Living in Northern California is paradise: Santa Cruz has the best climate for outdoor activity, so I spend a lot of time hiking and being continually inspired by the natural landscape and the shifting light throughout the day. Access to San Francisco allows me to stay in touch with all things urban but mostly art and culture. I teach in Italy every summer, so visual inspiration via travel plays into the work as well. My studio time at home is the place to download and feel the freedom to assess and respond. I have a good balance between work and play and I see how they continually influence each other.

A Life Span 2015, 24x36” , oil on wood panel

A Life Span 2015, 24×36” , oil on wood panel

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

I never had any expectations about role playing or being an artist. I have stayed true to my spirit which affords me the opportunity to engage equally with work and play. I know that being an artist takes fortitude and blind faith. I am a pleasure seeker and I have discovered the secret is finding the sweet balance between the two. I have been teaching art to adults for the past 30 years and this too seems like play to me. I enjoy spreading “the gospel’ about how satisfying and necessary it is to make art– it gives meaning to our life. I always knew I was good at teaching and I knew that I had to paint. What I didn’t know how inextricably linked they would become. For me, making art and teaching are like breathing— I get energized and inspired. I love the people’s stories. I also love the quiet time to reflect on what all the stories about living mean.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

My studio has always been in my home for as long as I have had children (20 years). I have been quite dedicated to being in the studio when I am not teaching or being fully present for my children. Days in the studio are luxurious and I adore the notion that I can just peek at my work at all hours of the day and night. I work when I can and I am very efficient whenI have studio time.

Leap of Faith , 2015, Mixed Media Installation, Riverside Museum of Art, 10’x 26’, all paintings oil on wood panel, collage, gouache on rice paper, found objects

Leap of Faith , 2015, Mixed Media Installation, Riverside Museum of Art, 10’x 26’, all paintings oil on wood panel, collage, gouache on rice paper, found objects

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

My work is in a new phase right now because my children have grown up. They are the ultimate barometers of time. For the past 20 years, my work was about feminine beauty and destiny. I think the theme of women was a direct response to having girls and questioning cultural ideals of representation and beauty. Now that I see them moving on and I am (painfully) aware of my own mortality and how notions of luck and change complicate and determine the course of our lives. My recent work explores different stages in life…the significant and the banal. Using symbols such as barometers, tornados, Lucky 8 balls and rabbit’s feet, I am revealing how little control we have, despite wishes and prayers. I guess this is what middle age is all about.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My family, my daughters in particular, have incited and inspired the work I do. I feel that I have been a strong role model for them by questioning cultural stereotypes and using my work as commentary. I read the NY Times daily and much of my imagery and storytelling comes from those pages as well. Artists who continue to inspire me are painters who use notions of politics as well as interesting formatting devices to tell stories. Some artists who I respond to are Nancy Spero, Ida Applebroog, Marlene Dumas as well as William Kentridge and Shazia Sikkander… many of whom who are exploring notions of installation and fusing drawing with film and animation.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?

I feel so lucky to be able to live this life. If I weren’t a teacher, I would be a therapist. I love people’s stories and I think I am a pretty good listener. I also love to give advice and make people laugh. As an artist though, I fantasize about some aspect of filmmaking— either documentary or fiction. The problem is, I have a nasty habit of painting and I love being home.

About

IMG_8754Andrea Borsuk is a painter whose work explores notions of climate, time and destiny She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from UC Santa Cruz. She is an Art Instructor at Cabrillo College and a Visiting Lecturer at The Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon. She is the 2010/2011 recipient of the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship. Her solo and group exhibitions include: The Riverside Museum of Art, The Nevada Museum of Art, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Monterey Peninsula Community College Art Gallery, and the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art. Her work is in numerous private collections.

IMG_8470

andreaborsuk.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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Xiao Wang – San Francisco, California

Title: Untitled Medium: oil on canvas Size: 72"x50" Year: 2015

Title: Untitled
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 72″x50″
Year: 2015

Briefly describe the work you do.

My practice focuses on realism painting. By taking advantage of oil paint’s great capability of rendering alternative realities, I use mellow colors and thin glaze to create realistic figure, object and space that evoke a sense of sinister. While I am interested in creating cinematic drama and tension, I want the imageries to stay incomprehensible.

The uncanny plays a significant part in my practice. In my paintings, the uncanny-ness is usually presented as an in between: the frozen moment in between one second and the next, the locations between the known and the unknown, the objects that are lifeless yet seem human, the fetishized interiors that are realistic yet feel alien. The in between turns familiarity into something that is unsettling and unfamiliar.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I was born and raised in Beijing, China. Through out my early art study I received traditional academic education, from which I developed an interest in realism work, the trainings has also provided me the technical foundation for my later work. In 2009 I moved to Glasgow, Scotland to pursue a BFA degree in painting, the experience in UK opened my eyes to the larger contemporary art world. I started thinking critically towards my previous practice of figurative painting, I learnt to take a more contemporary approach to my subject while embrace the technique that I had built up. My practice of painting continued after I move to San Francisco, CA in 2012 to study for a MFA degree, where my vision of painting as well as technique was refined.

The life as a traveler and learner has complicated my view on identity. I see me self as a cultural outsider, and I cannot define my own identity simply with my ethnic and nationality backgrounds. As a result, my work has become more about creating a quality and vision instead of sending messages and making statements.

Title: Survivor Medium: oil on canvas Size: 48"x37" Year: 2015

Title: Survivor
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 48″x37″
Year: 2015

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I use my studio both as a working space and a thinking space. While I do spend long hours in studio making work, I also spend almost equal amount of time sitting, looking and thinking. I like having all my work around me so I can read them and see how they have been developed.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

Teaching. I didn’t consider becoming a teacher until 2 years ago when I started working as a teaching assistant.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I consider my studio as a second home, so I try to be there as much as possible. On a working day I usually come in at noon and work till evening, sometimes late at night. Although I find the best time for me to work is morning.

Title: Interior Medium: oil on canvas Size: 42"x42" Year: 2014

Title: Interior
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 42″x42″
Year: 2014

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

My work has changed radically in the past 5 years, in fact if you look at my portfolio back in 2010 you would not believe it is done by the same person, this is mainly due to the fact that I was still a student. But overall I have been shifting my attention from “how to paint” to “what to paint”, over the years my technique has actually become more “conservative”.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

An artist’s work changes when him/herself changes, therefore everyone who has been part of my life has had their impact on my work.

Besides that, Gerhard Richter has been one of my biggest influence within the past 4 years, so has Freud and Bacon(but I’m more interested in listening to Bacon talk about painting). One of the quotes by Freud has been on my studio wall for two and half years, and I still read it when I’m stuck.

Recently I’ve been going back to the old masters such as Vermeer, Caravaggio and Goya, at the same time I’m taking influence from cinema, especially David Lynch’s films

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I have always enjoyed cooking, if I can’t paint anymore maybe I’ll open a restaurant. It’s interesting how much cooking and painting share in common.

About

SONY DSCXiao Wang is a Chinese painter who lives and works in the US. He studied at Glasgow School of Art in Scotland where he received the BFA degree, he continued his study at San Francisco Art Institute and earned his MFA degree in painting. Wang currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Wang’s work has been exhibited in Glasgow, London and California at spaces such as Candid Art Trust, Studio 41, Fort Mason Center, Diego Rivera Gallery, Arc Gallery, Chico Art Center and SOMArts Cultural Center. In 2014 He received Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award from San Francisco Foundation. Recently he was awarded with 1st place for Anne Bremer Memorial Prize, 1st place for “Mind, Spirit & Emotion II” at Art-Competition, and silver award for Art Forward Contests. 

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

xiaowang.co.uk

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Jared Plock – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Title: Change Is Contingency Is Anxiety Medium: A full set of living room furniture Size: 9' wide x 13' tall x 6' deep Year: 2014

Title: Change Is Contingency Is Anxiety
Medium: A full set of living room furniture
Size: 9′ wide x 13′ tall x 6′ deep
Year: 2014

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My practice focuses on the intersection between sculpture and drawing. Through this investigation I examine objects and our experiences of them. The objects that interest me most are the common and mundane. It is these ordinary objects that we rarely invest any thought, that have the greatest potential to incite wonder. In my work sculpture and drawing become interchangeable, feeding into and out of one another. The blurred line between drawing and sculpture creates a liminal space where I explore the cognitive and emotive properties that objects hold, while calling into question the confluence between object and subject. Within this framework perception operates as a filter and memory and language dictate the viewer’s relationship with the work. Through this semiotic engagement representations become loose affiliations. Familiarity, incongruity and absurdity meld into an abstract representation, exposing subjectivity as subject matter while delving into the body / object dynamic.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

Drawing has always been at the root of my practice, even before formal training. During my undergrad, I was attracted to printmaking because of the emphasis on drawing, however, I was also enamored with the process. Many of my early works were collage based, but my approach was that each image or fragment was a line or stroke, by combining these gestures I could create a “drawing” using found ephemera. My approach today is very similar. My practice is still very process oriented and drawing is the foundation for all of my work. Research and inspiration are expressed through drawing, acting as a translator for perception and imagination. Whether the outcome of my work is an installation, a sculpture, a print, a painting, the approach stems from a foundation in drawing and process. Drawing, unlike any other media, can embrace pure imagination; there are no rules or boundaries. 

Title: Caught Between Stations #4 Medium: Archival ink on paper Size: 18” wide x 12” tall Year: 2014

Title: Caught Between Stations #4
Medium: Archival ink on paper
Size: 18” wide x 12” tall
Year: 2014

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I have a traditional studio practice, however, my inspiration and subject matter stems from the happenstance and the ordinary. Therefore, my research is constant. 

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

Early in my academic career I never envisioned becoming an educator myself. Over time I realized that immersion in academia and continuing as an educator meant being permanently engaged in learning and entrenched in the creative process. One of the most rewarding facets of the education, is that as a professor I get to go through the creative process every day with each student.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

There isn’t a time of day that is better than another, I try to get into the studio whenever I can. Even if I only have 30 minutes, I will pop into the studio to think, look over what I’m working on, and figure out what is next.

Title: Still Life #2 (Chair) Medium: Found object, oil, enamel, and polystyrene Size: 36” wide x 48” tall x 4” deep Year: 2015

Title: Still Life #2 (Chair)
Medium: Found object, oil, enamel, and polystyrene
Size: 36” wide x 48” tall x 4” deep
Year: 2015

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

From an aesthetic standpoint, my work is radically different than it was 5 years ago. However, one thing remains constant; the theme of deconstruction. Something that has always fascinated me is pulling things apart, both figuratively and literally. When I was young, about 6 or 7, I had a remote controlled car. The car worked fine. It was a great remote controlled car, however, I grew bored of the monotony of it’s one purpose and decided to dismantle the entire car. I then decided to rebuild a new car. Knowing nothing of how the car functioned, it’s new purpose was solely aesthetic. The original car survived 6 months before obsolescence took hold, the reimagined car became something that I took pride in, it became a trophy of imagination. I like to think that my practice still approaches objects and making with the same sense of wonder.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

I often think about the circumstances that have changed my process and how I think about my work. One book that comes to mind is The Stranger,by Albert Camus. Reading that early in my academic career changed the way I thought about communication and perception. Other artists that I have found influential are: Robert Rauschenberg, John Chamberlain, Mark Bradford, Jessica Jackson Hutchinson, Trudy Benson, Eva Hesse, my mentor – Randy Bolton, and my colleagues from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I have always been focused on visual communication. 

About

head-shotJared Patton Plock is a visual artist based in Milwaukee, WI. He holds a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a MFA in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Jared is currently a faculty member at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin: Parkside.

Focussing on the intersection between the drawn and the sculpted, Jared’s practice utilizes printmaking, drawing, sculpture and installation to investigate the subject/object dynamic. The blurred line between what is a painting, drawing, and sculpture is the niche where Jared’s work resides. 

studio

jaredpattonplock.com

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Xi Zhang – China

MLGS03E13 Hill, 72 x 58", Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

MLGS03E13 Hill, 72 x 58″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

Briefly describe the work you do.

I am a painter. My work explores the way individuals’ minds reshape their physical environment. Contemporary psychological theory allows that our consciousness, emotions, and subconscious can be akin to the “paint” that consistently colors our reality. My investigation incorporates a variety of individual psychological realms, depicting them in fictionalized surroundings that confuse the relationship between perception and reality. I utilize a mixture of expressionist/abstract aesthetics in a subtle, theatrical way to construct the characters’ environments, reflecting on their internal thoughts, struggles, personality, and/or problems.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I was born in Kaifeng, China and I moved to U.S.A around 2004. Both my parents are artists. Since I was 12, I have been always researching on ultimate question, such as “Is there meaning in life”, “Why do we exist”. In the past two decades, Buddhism, Existentialism, and Psychology have major impacts on my work and life.   

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

“Being in the studio” takes major part of my studio practice. A lot of time, I consider my time outside of my studio as my “working job”, and “being in studio” is my vacation. Working on piece of art takes me onto a journey. Quite often, I am not sure where I will be, but that is ok.

MLGS03E08 Room, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 72 inches, 2015

MLGS03E08 Room, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 72 inches, 2015

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

In my current practice, I consider my painting as film making. I never thought I will act as director and actor before.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

When I am fully awake.

MLGS03E10 Sandy and Bob, 58 x 72", Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

MLGS03E10 Sandy and Bob, 58 x 72″, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

My work has changed quite a bit in the past five years. First of all, I finished about 6 new series. Second, in form and content, every series is absolutely different from each other. I think the only thing maintain the same is the material. 

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

The musician Nick Cave, the writer Shi TieSheng, and the Buddhism Master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche had major impact on my work. Their work and research are all dealing with Ultimate questions. At the same time, they have been offering so many new perspectives to view the Truth. I have been adopting their views for many years for my own owrk. My wife Kathryn Wingard has been helping my artistic growth in the past three years. She is an artist and knows so much about Psychology. 

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

I am really not sure what I can be if I am not an artist. I don’t really have many other interests. 

About

Xi Zhang-020 (ZF-5624-31711-1-004)Xi Zhang is a contemporary artist who lives and works in China and the United States. Zhang moved to the United States in 2004 after studying painting at the Beijing Institute of Art and Design. He then studied at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting in 2008. That same year, the Denver Post selected Zhang as the 2008 Emerging Artist of the Year for his “well developed, surprising mature vision.” In 2010 Zhang had a solo exhibition, “Shows Promise,” in the Denver International Airport (Jeppessen Terminal). In 2011, Zhang was commissioned by CNN to do a painting about post 9/11. On CNN website, Zhang’s work received more than four million hits. On October 26, 2011, Zhang was invited to give a Logan Lecture at Denver Art Museum. He earned a Masters of Fine Art in painting at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. That same year he was voted one of the 12 Best Colorado Artists Under 35 by the Denver Post, as well as one of the seven Visual Arts Pathfinders. In 2012, Zhang has been selected to represent the United States in the Biennial of the Americas. On July 18, 2013, a short documentary of Zhang was featured on PBS and KUNC for the Art Distract Program. In 2012 Zhang received his United States citizenship as an “Artist of extraordinary ability,” paving his way forward towards a career as a China and US based artist.In 2014, Zhang was nominated for The Catherine Doctorow Contemporary painting prize.

Xi Zhang-066 (ZF-5624-31711-1-010)

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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Teale Hatheway – Los Angeles, California

Fragmented Realities_mixed media installation_2015Hatheway

Fragmented Realities_mixed media installation_2015Hatheway

Briefly describe the work you do. 

I make mixed media paintings and site specific installations which explore the theory that we remember environments as compilations of elements with which we develop emotional connections. I extract details (such as pattern, color, form and texture) from the urban environment and utilize them to trigger recognition of place. The results are layered, fragmented representations which convey the way we frame, archive, and recall our physical surroundings.

My subject matter is chosen as a means to ground myself in a tangible environment in which an understanding of the whole is made up of an experience of the parts.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

There are a few things that transpired to lead me down this path. Most notably, I’m from a long-standing Los Angeles family. One side settled the Hollywood area as farm land and the other lived and worked for generations between mid-Wilshire and downtown Los Angeles. My interest in older neighborhoods and architecture is my way of tapping into my social and familial history. In addition, I come from a family of creatives, craftsmen and engineers. While the creative side is apparent, the engineering side is obvious when pointed out. My father is a mechanical engineer and from him I inherited the inclination to take things apart and put them back together. That practice is the abstract part of my process. It allows me to break the strident rules of architecture and create paintings and installations which are ambiguous in their representations.

Detour_mixed media on metal leaf_16inches x 8inches_2015

Detour_mixed media on metal leaf_16inches x 8inches_2015

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I might spend too much time in my studio. Ha! The materials I use require studio types of access – water, electricity, walls, tools, therefore plein-air is not a functional sport for my process. That said, I have a patio where I create when I’m using certain materials or techniques. My studio system also requires an investment in maintaining the business. I think a lot of contemporary artists are experiencing an enhanced ability and/or requirement to be on top of their business game. It’s what keeps the wheels greased, so the time investment must be made. Combine those two sides of my studio time and it’s a wonder I ever leave.

My inspiration, of course, comes from being out in the world and exploring nooks of the city. I work from reference photos that I take while on expeditions, and those experiences keep my pretty well in tune with the evolving city.

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

Two things: One, I had zero expectation of mentoring, teaching and lecturing. Academia was something I thought I left behind at graduation, but low and behold, I am regularly asked to contribute to learning environments through presentations and workshops. It has been a wonderful experience. Secondly, I had no idea how much time I would spend learning technology. From web site building to social media to photo editing: I was in denial of how important those skills would become.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

I’m not sure I ever stop working. I keep saying I need to find balance, but, ultimately, I’m so focused on my passion that my work ethic is the balance. I make bodies of work and the creation process usually transpires in waves of production, followed by periods of writing, documenting, exhibiting and socializing. I work by natural light and my studio creation hours are built around that, but my brain cranks until late into the evening and I find concept and contemplation come easiest at the end of a long day making work.

Secure_mixed media on linen_30inches x 60inches_2014_Teale Hatheway

Secure_mixed media on linen_30inches x 60inches_2014

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

It’s an interesting thing when you have produced enough work to be able to look back and see a clear trajectory. Five years ago, I was doubling down my effort to master a specific combination of materials on linen. My color palette was limited and the natural linen color was dominant. These parameters forced me to focus on composition and form without being able to hide behind color. Over the last few years, my scale has been dramatized (larger and smaller), a punchy color palette has emerged and my materials have shifted. I thought at one point that I had made a dramatic departure from my previous work, but seeing pieces from different bodies of work hung together reveals a strong and cohesive voice despite shifting presentations.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

Gaston Bachelard wrote a book entitled “The Poetics of Space.” In it, he discusses his philosophy of how we are psychologically tied to physical places. The most profound passage for me, speaks of our memories of the qualities of the door knob to our childhood home. That image is clear as day to me and it turn out it is vivid for most of us. This awareness pushed me further down the road of knowing that mere parts of things possess the power to prompt recollection of entire chapters of our lives.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Not really. Stage design and interior design have always been a part of my big picture, and they are so intertwined with the subject of place and structure that in my mind, they are indistinguishable from my paintings or installations. I’m also a die-hard nester and place making is the stuff of my dreams. To me, art is more than placing brush to canvas, it’s an all-consuming experience of life.

About

Teale HathewayTeale Hatheway is a Los Angeles-based artist exploring the intersection of observation, recollection and architecture. Her mixed media paintings explore the theory that environments are remembered as compilations of elements with which we develop emotional or intellectual connections. She extracts details (such as pattern, color, form and texture) from the urban environment and utilizes them to trigger recognition of place. The results are layered, fragmented representations which convey the way we frame, archive, and recall our physical surroundings.

Hatheway is self-taught in the practice of architectonic drawing, as well as in many of the techniques and materials she employs in her mixed-media paintings.  She has worked as an artist, muralist, sculptor and scenic painter, as well as a stage, lighting, production and interior designer.  Her commercial work has provided Hatheway the room to play with a great scale of dimensions as well as afforded her the opportunity to study the translation of three dimensional spaces into two dimensional ideas and vice versa. 

InTentCity, Hatheway’s installation commission for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, is a collection of 53 hand painted tipis. For the artist, the development of two dimensional patterns into three dimensional forms to create an immersive environment, was a rewarding inversion of her painting practice. The collection of tipis reflects the artist’s interest in multi-cultural and interdisciplinary design and architecture, and resulted in a cohesive yet diverse installation.

Hatheway approaches the practice of art in an investigative, experimental and research-minded way.  A fourth generation Angeleno and an advocate of historic preservation, she finds Los Angeles to be an ideal source of subject matter for her paintings.  Its history often being dismissed for its future, Hatheway hopes to bring attention to Los Angeles architecture by demonstrating to viewers their often unrealized, but always personal experiences of a city on the cusp of understanding its historical significance.  

Teale Hatheway is an internationally exhibited and collected artist. She earned her BA from Scripps College in Claremont, California, where, along with an education in contemporary art practice, she developed a love of western sociology and history. Hatheway studied figurative painting at the Slade School of Fine Arts, University College London.  While abroad, she began her personal studies of architecture and urban planning.  Upon graduation, Hatheway was awarded for her extensive library featuring readings on spatial theory, architecture, stage design, photography, art, urban planning and the philosophy of the effect of structures on the human condition.  She acquired additional knowledge through studies of photography and architecture at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. 

Teale Hatheway in Studio

tealehatheway.com/

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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Jennifer Clausen – Livingston, Montana

Indeterminate Permanence, oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches, 2015

Indeterminate Permanence, oil on canvas, 16 x 16 inches, 2015

Briefly describe the work you do. 

My work focuses on the transformations of feelings from the intangible into something physical.  In my paintings, I attempt to give my feelings an existence and permanence that is separate from myself.  Ultimately, my works are abstract in nature, reflecting the idea that a feeling is not something concrete or exact.  Through marks and color, I translate these transient experiences into something visible so that I might gain a clearer understanding of their complexity and meaning.

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I grew up near the twin cities in Minnesota and then attended undergraduate school in Wisconsin, an hour away from where I grew up.  It wasn’t until spring of 2014 that I moved out to Montana.  My whole life, I have been a very passive and very sheltered individual and I generally accepted the “boxes” people put me in, or the labels they gave me because I didn’t want to do anything that would draw attention to myself.  But as I get older, I’m realizing that I am no longer content with those labels and boxes because they don’t fit with my idea of who I really am.  I am slowly discovering that I am a closet rebel.  My background has influenced my work because my art, I think, is my way of rebelling against what people want or expect me to do, against those boxes and preconceived notions people had (and have) of me.  I think my background has influenced me as an artist because the way I make work and the way I think about my work is in direct opposition to how I was raised.  While my childhood was static, and safe, and predictable, the way I make art is volatile, destructive (at times), and most of the time, is a real battle.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I try to spend as much time in my studio as I can, but the time I spend in there is not solely devoted to making.  Yes, I do spend lots of time painting there, but I also spend lots of time looking at my work, or ignoring my work altogether, and I think this is where my studio practice differs from the idea of a traditional studio.  When I think of a traditional artist studio, I think of a place where the artist continually works and reworks paintings; I think of a place that is devoted solely to making art.  I also go to my studio because it is a safe place for me.   It is a place that I really enjoy being in, and it is my space.  In this sense, my studio practice is very similar to that of a traditional practice because the space belongs to the artist, and I think studios are spaces where artists do feel comfortable but other people may feel discomfort.

Untitled, oil on panel, 12 x12 inches, 2015

Untitled, oil on panel, 12 x12 inches, 2015

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

When I first decided that I wanted to be an artist, I really didn’t have any specific ideas about what that meant, other than I would get to draw all day.  Even in undergraduate school, I chose a drawing emphasis for my degree.  So I guess the biggest role that I never envisioned playing but ended up doing so anyway is that of painter.  I have always loved looking at paintings, but have despised the actual act of painting.  Then, halfway through my second year in undergrad, something changed and I started loving it, but I still thought of myself as a drawer.  I first realized that maybe I was a painter was in my third year of undergrad when one of my professors introduced me to the chancellor of the school by saying, “she’s a drawing emphasis, but really she’s a painter.”

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

For me, there is no specific time that I think is better to make art.  Instead, it’s when I have inspiration that I think I am most productive, and that inspiration could be as simple as reading a quote, listening to a song, or going for a walk and seeing something that catches my eye.  But also, I need to be in the mood to paint and that is definitely not regulated by specific times of day.  In the past I have tried to set a specific time each day to work in the studio, but I found that I wasn’t productive so I have since abandoned that idea and now go to my studio whenever I want to.  It all comes back to inspiration and being in the mood to paint.

Sehnsucht, oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches, 2015

Sehnsucht, oil on panel, 10 x 8 inches, 2015

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

In order to answer the question of how my work has changed in the past five years, I need to first explain the difference between abstract as a noun and abstract as a verb.  This was a question posed to me by a visiting artist when I was in undergrad.  My response was as follows: abstract as a verb is the process of abstracting; it is starting off with something concrete and transforming it into something abstract.  Abstract as a noun doesn’t have that transformation.  It was never something other than abstract.  So, to go back to the question, five years ago, I was painting concrete objects and transforming them into abstractions (abstract as a verb), but now I am painting pure abstractions (abstract as a noun).  My paintings now never start off as  something recognizable. 

Other than looking at my old paintings and taking colors and marks from them to put in my new ones, the biggest reason that my work is similar to five years ago isn’t so much visual as it is mental.  My paintings five years ago were, as one of my professors put it, “like boxing matches.”  Sometimes I would be winning and the painting would be going somewhere I liked, and sometimes the painting would be winning and I just wouldn’t know what to do with it.  That is the one thing that hasn’t changed throughout my painting career.  Painting is still like a boxing match for me.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

I think the people who have made the biggest impact on the work I do are the people I went to undergraduate school with. They were the people whose work I would see every time I went to the painting studio; they were the people to give me suggestions during critiques.   They were the first people I ever really shared my paintings with, and just being in such an intimate environment allowed me to feed off of them and experiment with ideas, and just really allowed me to find my own voice through paint.  Now that I am out of school, though, I find that, instead of looking to others for inspiration, I am looking inward for that inspiration.  Something that has always impacted my work, though, is music.  Right now the people/bands who most influence, impact, and inspire my work are Led Zeppelin, Trampled By Turtles, and Bob Dylan. More than anything, their music gets me in the mood to paint, and they have also inspired a few paintings.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

When I first started looking for colleges, my family members would try to convince me to major in something like accounting, or science, or math.  They would always tell me that I should consider going into a field where I can make money, and that maybe art would be a better minor, or a hobby.  And for a few months, I considered their suggestions, but no matter what other majors I looked at, art was always the one I would think about.  It was always the one I would go back to.  And it was the only one that every really, really interested me.  So, I guess my answer would be: no, I have never wanted to do anything else.

My other interests include, boxing and martial arts, long-distance bike riding, travel, reading, listening to music, writing, playing violin, and trying to play guitar.

About

ClausenJ_BioPicJennifer Clausen attended the University of Wisconsin – Stout and graduated in May of 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a Studio Art concentration. While at the university, she joined the boxing club, which provided her with inspiration for the beginning of her painting career. Soon after graduation, she moved to Livingston, Montana, where she continues to draw and paint.

ClausenJ_Studio

jenniferclausen.weebly.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

 

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Pascal Pierme – Santa Fe, New Mexico

2301 bloc 228Briefly describe the work you do. 

Wall reliefs in wood and mixed media/freestanding wood sculpture

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

Pierme cites his Grandfather as an early inspiration. He was constantly in his garage creating – an exceptional maker, as well as a painter. In Pierme’s earliest memories he was fascinated by what his Grandfather could do with a simple piece of wood. In a few hours or days he would witness what this wood would become by way of his Grandfather’s hands. “The idea to be 100% responsible for creating something from A to Z amazed me.” Pierme recalls. “The scent of his studio was also a big attraction. The fragrance of multiple woods combined with turpentine and linseed oil created a magical space.”

Pierme himself has since become known as a master of medium. However, if asked what he values in art, he will reply, “THE IDEA. That is it.” Though teasingly nicknamed “Picasso” at a very early age, due to rampant creativity, Pierme has never been comfortable identifying himself as an artist.

That is for others to decide. He is, however, aware that he has prolific creative tendencies. He is a man who does not “feel good” unless he is in his studio.

Hence, the first question this artist explored was his own viability in creating art full-time. The answer came in 1988 after he had given himself one year to become a working artist. Within six months he was well on his way. Pierme elaborates, “In a way, my career has happened in reverse.

In the beginning of my career, choosing to be a sculptor and becoming a young father, happened simultaneously. Being responsible as a father, created an immediate focus and seriousness about my career. In a way, my daughter pushed me to be more professional.”

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

Being in the studio or not is not very important, what matter is to be constantly connected with creative mind process.

2335 rencontre 1- 3-6

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

To be constantly split in half between an introverted and extroverted world.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

Morning, early morning has always been my best time because if the idea is good I have more time to work on it before to stop. I work hard, just to find simplicity. Much like creating a novel in just a few sentences. The base is chemistry. I feel the movement and then freeze that moment in the interaction- a “snapshot” -capturing a split second in the evolution. As such, my work can be experienced as organic. It moves. It’s alive, it comes from somewhere, it is going somewhere, and you feel that by what you see in the snapshot.

2318 generation 5How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

It’s more the way I work has changed then the result. There is less compromise and more risks.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

A big impact, and I translate it in my own language through my work.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

Not since I have been a full time artist for the last 28 years. It’s like it has been a mother to me; it is forever.

About

Pascal_DSC6230b REDUCEDPASCAL PIERME (b. 1962 St. Rafael, France) is a Frenchman who settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA in 1997. Prior to that time, he had gained a European reputation as a promising young sculptor. He accomplished several solo exhibitions in France and Switzerland, and worked on collaborative projects alongside creative giants such as Pierre Cardin.

2221 Les origines 73

pascalpierme.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

 

 

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Amy Bay – Portland, Oregon

Briefly describe the work you do. 

I make small scale, abstract oil paintings on canvas and panel. They skirt the edges of geometric abstraction and more gestural painting. Colors and marks accumulate and the surfaces become topographical. I mix a lot of the colors directly on the surface as they bump into or overlap each other. Much of the work is inspired by built structures, peripheral vision, patterns, cities and textiles. 

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I had a pretty typical trajectory as a young artist – went to art school, moved to NYC after art school and made work, taught and showed there. Then I had kids. It stalled my art making for a while, and my family ended up leaving NY for Portland, Oregon, but ultimately it helped me to find my inner fierce artist. I lost a lot of the fear about making work and just got on with it. 

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.

My work is very studio based at the moment. I bring in some images or objects that I find out in the world but they end up being a starting point and often get obliterated by the time the work is finished. It’s really the materiality of the paint – the physicality of the paint – and navigating color that guides the work. Color is so mysterious to me. I am constantly surprised and engaged by the situations I can get into as I add color. 

I am really drawn to the studio as a way of shutting out the world. Or at least the onslaught of information and chatter from the internet. I guess I am just one of those people who has a hard time balancing it all, so I have to make a conscious effort to extract myself. I do use technology, and am grateful for it, but working in the studio has become a way of separating myself from it and getting back to something more tactile and intuitive.

Bonny

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

Being a blogger was a bit of a surprise. I have a tumblr where I document art around Portland. Initially, I did it because I wanted to keep track of who was showing and to sort of convince myself or remind myself that there was good work to see here. It was hard to make the shift from NY to Portland as an art viewer. There is a surplus of work to see in NY but in Portland you have to seek it out. So it started from this very personal place of recording shows that I liked or thought were interesting. I didn’t know much about how tumblr worked when I started the blog and I didn’t realize how public it was. Now I do it for other people too – so they can see what is happening in Portland. And for the artists who show here. It feels good to celebrate what they are making. It has gotten me more disciplined about getting out to see stuff and helped me to connect with the art community here.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

Mornings are best. I usually try to get a chunk of work done before 1pm or so. Then the afternoon is spent with my kids going on outings and running errands. I sometimes manage to get back in the studio in the evenings, but I don’t push too much for that. I have a hard time concentrating at that point anyway. 

There’s also a natural ebb and flow to my work and I don’t get tooconcerned when I am pulled away for a while. Sometimes life needs more attention than my work and I always know I will get back to it when I can. I have never been able to work full days in the studio. I think it would be pretty lonely for me. And I also balance art making with child rearing and teaching, so I have to be flexible about it.

Poor SashaHow has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

After we moved to Portland in 2009, I had a bit of a break from making work. I was making conceptual, site-specific work that was very outward looking and it just got too hard to maintain. It was too hard to find that balance between working and taking care of two small kids. And I didn’t have much of an art community here so there really wasn’t a support network. It sort of felt pointless to make work at that time. When I resurfaced, I started by making little gouache works on paper – I wasn’t thinking much about concepts or ideas at all – I just wanted to make something again. It was liberating! Now I am an abstract painter.

 How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

My husband, Wade Nacinovich, is the primary person I talk with about work and ideas. He’s a writer and compulsive consumer of culture, so there is much to share and we are always introducing new art/writing/film/music to each other.

I was also part of a studio group in NYC for about 8 years. They are kind enough to keep me in the loop and even include me in visits through Skype so I’m still peripherally involved with them. But they were, and are, hugely influential for me. We consider ourselves the main audience or witnesses to each others work and are always grappling with where (if?) to draw the line between art and life. We call ourselves WAMER (Women Eating Meeting and Reading) and that’s basically what we do together. There has been some reshuffling of the members over the years but WAMER is…Robyn Love, Fran Willing, Paula Lalala, Yolanda Rivera, Anne-Marie McIntyre, Eva Melas, Erika deVries and Sono Kuwayama.

I’ve lately been really into all the amazing women painters: Florine Stettheimer, Agnes Martin, Anne Truitt, Helen Frankenthaler, Mary Heilmann, Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Lisa Yuskavage, Polly Apfelbaum, Amy Sillman, Joanne Greenbaum, Howardina Pindell, Dana Schutz, Bridget Riley, Katherine Bernhardt, Katherine Bradford. I’m sure I’m missing some. They give me the courage to find a space as a woman painter.  The writing, talks, and curating of Connie Butler, Helen Molesworth and Michelle Grabner have been huge for me too. 

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests? 

At one point I thought I wanted to be a textile surface designer. I took a few classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology but it didn’t really stick. I am too interested in process and the idea that the work bubbles out of the making. I couldn’t really see myself churning out textile designs day after day and considering the client’s needs. I like to set up my own parameters. I do still love pattern and working with gouache, so I definitely got something out of that detour. 

I also really got into gardening and the idea of homesteading during my hiatus from art making. I turned most of my yard into a garden of edibles and did a bunch of canning, pickling and fermenting. Since I started painting I have really scaled that back though. 

About

BAY_headshotAmy Bay is a painter living and working out of her home in Portland, OR. Her exhibition history has included shows at The Drawing Center, Printed Matter, Dieu Donne Papermill, Brooklyn Public Library, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Carriage House at The Islip Museum, in NY; Nisus Gallery, Project Grow Gallery and The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society in Portland; and Spaceworks Tacoma. She has been awarded grants and projects from the Lower East Side Printshop, Dieu Donne Papermill and Women’s Studio Workshop. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Winchester School of Art, England and Spain.

Bay also has a blog called Permanent Record which documents art around Portland. And she teaches drawing and gallery education to adults atPortland Community College’s Community Education Program and drawing to homeschooled teens at Village Home in Beaverton, OR.

BAY_studio

amybay.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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