Sunday, May 3, 2015

Art Binge on WGA

1141AD, Mosaic, Santi Maria e Donato, Murano
Quick note to say if you haven't seen it, this is a good website for an art binge: WGA.  Its actually not a good looking website, feels a little dated, but it has a solid image database to get lost in.  

I initially directed students to it for a place to browse for work they found interesting (rather than the terrifying things they find on google images) and I found a lot of weird and good images myself. 

 I like the way it suggests genres and artists, and the image quality is pretty high...you can also browse around in different cathedrals and palaces which is cool.  I never thought I would miss seeing the inside of a church while I was studying abroad and practically felt like I was living in them, but now its been a while and it scratches the itch for finding obscure, weird, beautiful, forgotten things...

Mirror in the form of a mask
1590s
Turquoise, diamomds, and gilt and enameled silver
Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Henry Taylor and the Studio Visit

Henry Taylor, The Sweet William Rorex, Jr., 2010

Henry Taylor, Diana Sofia, is this you? Feeling brown is not blue, 2012, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 16
I've admired the work of LA based painter Henry Taylor for quite a while now.  He is able to capture an intimate narrative in his portraiture in a way few can.  So a recent video interview in his studio was a nice thing to see, as I haven't seen or read much directly from him before.  

I also really appreciate the honest way he moves through his space and makes funny anecdotal remarks about certain projects or pieces.  It is generous to allow a glimpse of such a private space,  I sort of can't help but enjoy the voyeuristic thrill of looking at his paints sitting with cologne bottles, paintings hiding behind chairs -- things he may be so used to that they seem the only way it could be but as the viewer they are hints at a unique process and practice.

 Here is the link: Henry Taylor Studio Visit


I've been thinking about the 'studio visit' a bit myself recently, having had a couple of different visits in the last month or so.  The studio is usually so private that it feels really weird to suddenly be performing social interactions within the space. 

 Most of the time, being in the studio it is a place I am barely aware of my human needs, I just do what I want.  I eat when I'm hungry, drink coffee when I'm tired, get up when I need to look from a distance, go on the computer when a painting is sucking, sigh when I feel like it, rinse, repeat. 

 There is something about other people being introduced into the space that makes me painfully aware of myself and this implied thing of seeing the artist in their 'natural habitat' that puts me into neutral mode --  I feel myself purposefully not doing anything strange, playing host and trying to appease a guest which makes the space even more foreign to both of us.  

A lot of times studio visits end up being a positive thing-- good conversation develops, a general ease back into painting mind and a new way to look at my own work.  But anyway, all that to say, this video is great and I love being on the other side of a studio visit interaction.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Philly Shows Not to be Missed...

Neysa Grassi, Untitled (Florence), 2003, gouache on paper, 9 x 7 1/2 inches 

There are so many shows up right now in Philly that I really want to see or saw and really liked.  It doesn't hurt that they are all really good people in addition to being great painters/photographers.  Sometimes that feels like a rare combo but this list proves otherwise.  

Above is Neysa Grassi, who is having a solo show at Locks Gallery titled Foreign Language.  It is works on paper done while traveling and looks to be really beautiful.  There is also a show of Jane Irish's work at Locks which closes mid-April.

Bettina Nelson, "As far as I can tell she's happy" - Mac Demarco, mixed media, 11.5 x 16.5 inches
Leigh Werrell, Bus Stop, gouache and graphite on paper, 10.5 x 11 inches

Opening Friday the 10th at Gross McCleaf is the two person exhibition, A Likely Story, of Leigh Werrell and Bettina Nelson.  Somewhere between color and shape, familiar narratives of city living are woven into both these artists' work.


Bill Scott, Car Windows, oil on canvas, 12" x 16"
 At Cerulean Gallery, Fictitious Pleasures just opened.  A two person exhibition of well known Philadelphia painters Bill Scott and Alex Kanevsky.  It is a nice, edited pairing which considers the space.  Each piece held its own and felt like a world in itself, but it was not overwhelming to take in the whole show slowly.  Harmonious color and good, solid painting make for a sort of restrained but chaotic joy.   There is an artist talk on Sunday April 19th at 2pm.



Eileen Neff, Talamanca Ridge, 2015, Archival Pigment on Dibond, 13 x 13 3/4 inches
Another show I need to see is Eileen Neff at Bridgette Mayer Gallery.  I have been hearing great things and believe it because Eileen (a former graduate critic of mine) never seems to do anything without intention and complete awareness of her work.  Traveling into View is a show of photographs taken while on a residency in Costa Rica.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Pick: Angelina Gualdoni

Opal Hours, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 52" x 48", 2013

I'm hugely enjoying these paintings by Angelina Gualdoni.  The three particular pieces here are part of a series or section of her website called 'held in place.'  That definitive title in contrast with the ethereal titles of the individual paintings like 'Without a Net to Catch the Days' creates the same great tension that the paintings have.  They seem absolutely rooted in a particular moment, a particular time of day or point of view but slip through your fingers (eyes, really) and dissolve into abstract color and line.  They are specific and deeply personal which, in turn, makes them feel universal.  That all too familiar feeling of Sunday afternoon sun slipping away...

Without a Net to Catch the Days, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 38" x 34", 2013

Glorious color relationships and compositions of space.  Looking at them makes me believe I might not have to face Monday morning tomorrow if I stay right here and keep looking for long enough.


Screens, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 34" x 28", 2014

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pool Days are Coming

Michael Childers' portrait of David Hockney at Rising Glen, Hollywood, 1978
Only three days until spring.  Cannot wait.  Somehow in the last few years everything seems to be getting faster except winter.  The years are rolling by at an alarming rate but the winters drag on and on.  I felt the warmth of the sun yesterday and the vision of a day at the pool floated into my subconscious.  I feel like I know what it must have been like for Hockney to arrive in California with its pool and palm trees from dreary, gray London.  Warm weather, please come soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Interview with Rebekah Callaghan



I did an interview with Philly painter Rebekah Callaghan that was just published on Title here.  She's a great painter and a really nice person.  Plus, her answer to "What is one unshakeable truth you believe when you are in your studio and making work?"  was "snacks—bananas, almonds, dark chocolate."  So how could you not trust her thoughts on process, beauty and heroic painting?  Please click the link to check out the full interview.