Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Pick: Stephen Dinsmore

Lobster Traps, 2011, 16 x 20

City at Night, 2009, 14 x 14

Desk in Maine, 2008, 30 x 30

Oyster Bay Still Life, 2011, 16 x 20

Flowers, Seven Vases, 2011, 48 x 60

Porch Repose #3, 2008, 20 x 20

 I love these paintings by Stephen Dinsmore.  I have been trying to explain (and failing most of the time) to new drawing/painting students the importance of the abstract qualities to a work.  The color, composition etc are all what make for a good painting, subject matter is the smallest of components in that.  When I was looking at Stephen's work I was thinking he is a perfect example of this.  He can paint anything but there is always an understanding of the armature of the painting.  

I was somewhat freaked out to then read his 'about' page :

"For me painting means being always on the lookout for an image/idea that excites.
Sounds straightforward but it's nothing like a straight line. So many things count: the creamy light of late afternoon on landscape; the abstract beauty of marks on the side of a train car; new snow that reshapes all it touches; an interior filled with color and reverie; the riveting beauty of a vase of flowers; a fly fisherman in shadow; a disregarded corner of town; a found image...
I try to make a painting that has in it at least something of the magic and mystery of the thing; the alchemy; the thing that excites."

Of course I shouldn't have been because I know he is thinking about looking through formal to express content.  But the examples he gives are just so spot on. I'm going to take his work and words into class Monday.

Stephen Dinsmore is a painter living and working in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Much more of his work can be viewed at his website, here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Pick: Ahtcast with Julie Torres and Brian Edmonds

This week an art friend said she enjoyed listening to the above conversation on Ahtcast.  Ahtcast is a podcast hosted by painter Phillip J Mellen which interviews artists about various aspects of working in the studio, process etc.  So I listened while painting on Friday and it was a really nice discussion.

This interview is with artists Julie Torres and Brian Edmonds.  They are painters whose work I like quite a bit.  But the conversation is about another component of their studio practice: curating.  It discusses the role today of artist as curator and also the new ways of connecting with artists thanks to the internet.

They explain my sentiments on these things in a more eloquent way than I can.  The overarching idea being that outlets like blogging, curating shows online and in person, virtually and physically introducing different artists are all things they genuinely enjoy doing, things that might first seem like a great extension of themselves but things that end up feeding their studio practice and creating great momentum and energy.

Perfect accompaniment for a casual painting Sunday.  Plus they both have great voices for this type of program.  Enjoy.

Brian Edmonds, Granddaddy Ghost, 2013 36 x 36 inches, Acrylic, Pastel and Oil Stick on Board

Julie Torres

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gross McCleaf Show: Cards Are In!

So, so excited to share this!  Cards for my two person show are in!  This is of course the digital version but I am so pleased with it, this way and in person.  It is reversible with an image from each of us.  Lauren is a great friend and wonderful painter so I couldn't be more thrilled to be showing with her.

We have worked on the show for a couple months, visiting each others' studios a few times, discussing the themes over coffee and emailing a ton.  Its amazing the work and worry that can go in behind the scenes. 

 Just deciding on a title was such a process (enjoyable but long).  We sent each other about twenty options.  Finding What Was Not was one of Lauren's and I thought it was so fitting for what unites our work.  We both look at the everyday and find interest in things commonly passed over.  And as a sort of second meaning, we are both painters who through filtering our own realities and process, end up making paintings that don't really factually quote from life but paint things a way they were not. 

Lauren is amazing that way.  She has a real ability to put her finger on the pulse, but in the most unpretentious and economical way.  She never overfluffs (that should be a word) things and as a result I find so much of what she says poignant.  Her paintings work in just that way too.  SO -- you must come to the show to see!

Opens October 4th 5-7!  I will post pictures of the show and other related things.  Right now we are in the frantic stage of mailing cards, wiring work and packing it up to get to the gallery.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Pick: Guy Warren

Huddle, 2012, Acrylic on Canvas
Shadows, 2012, Oil on Canvas
Forgotten Singers, Forgotten Songs, 2011, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
Dusty Road, 2012, Acrylic on Canvas

Silent Echoes, 2012, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas 

Memories (Fowler's Gap) 2011, Gouache on Paper 

Guy Warren is an Australian painter.  He is 92 years old and has been painting for decades with no plan of stopping (as the below clip shows).  When I first saw his work I immediately thought Australia, not because of what I have pictured in my mind of this far away exotic locale but because of the painting I see coming out of there.  Painters like Elisabeth Cummings and Idris Murphy tie into the same sensitivity of mark and brilliance in color mixing.  In fact, my vision of Australia before seeing these painters was a much less interesting one.  Now I am quite captivated by my imagination as to just what the sense of light and shapes of the environment there 'in the bush' look like.

The clip below is quite wonderful.  It is odd in that the newscaster who visits Warren's studio seems to know nothing of what it is to be a painter.  But that strange conversation and Warren's jovial attitude stir up some really nice phrases from him about what it means to be a painter and the process and history of his painting career.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In the Studio: Jasper Johns

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Pick: Leon Benn's Monoprints

Monoprints, monotype and dye on paper. 11 x 14in. 2013 

I really enjoy the monoprints of artist Leon Benn.  A recent graduate of UCLA's MFA, he makes quite nice paintings too, but I think the monoprints deserve their own look.

  I would love to see them in person, but through these well shot photographs, a real sense of the materials still comes through.  The delicacy of the paper, the richness of its color and the plate's indentation all aid a considered final print.  The mark and color of each feel like deliberate decisions with just enough room for  process to guide the whole thing.  Beautifully done.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Megan Whitmarsh's Soft Sculptures

Color Work Station (installation detail), 2010
fabric, cardboard, luan, wood, embroidery, marker, vinyl, wire, stuffing, paint

How fantastic is this sewn world of paraphernalia by Megan Whitmarsh?  I would love to own even one of these objects and paint from it.  There is something about the soft, clumsy, overstuffed aesthetic that counters the expected hard edges of a wall outlet or clock or radio.  

This image feels like if two of my favorite things to look at; Oldenburg's store and Jonas Woods' plant paintings were mashed together.  So great.  And she has a ton more, be sure to check out her website here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Pick: Daniel Heidkamp

I think Daniel Heidkamp is the perfect artist to bid adieu to the carefree and joyful season of summer.  His paintings possess those qualities along with a beautiful sense of light.  His work touches on some of my personal favorite painters from Porter to Hockney to Guston, while feeling very much his own and of this particular time in painting.

As for summer, I am sorry to see it go with Labor Day each year, but this year as things are changing for me (new jobs, new studio...) I am looking forward to fall and the different landscape and shape of things it brings:

Daniel Heidkamp is an artist who works in Brooklyn, New York, more of his work and info on shows etc can be found at his website here.