Sunday, September 30, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Nancy E. F. Halbert

I am a kinetic learner.  I was sent to dance classes for most of my childhood.  My next-door neighbor who had two daughters was a graduate in Dance from Ohio State University.  My father had never heard of such a major. When I was a junior in high school, my father had found my neighbor inside her car in her locked garage, dead, an unfortunate suicide leaving her girls and me lost and confused.  She was my first mentor.  I studied dance from her.  I was determined to go to Ohio State University to study dance as she had.  My father still did not understand the point, but let me go in spite of the odds of never landing a job upon graduation.

As it turns out, I did not complete the dance program. I had my first back incident when I fell on stage and ruptured a disc. I needed surgery and when I returned to school, I found myself in the Art Department knowing I could never study anything, but the arts.  I did not think of myself as a drawer or painter, I was a choreographer.  I used line, form, time, and shape to develop a unified composition as tools to create dances.  It was then that I discovered how similar the principles and elements were in creating a painting or a dance, except a dance is gone in a moment, a flash of a camera’s shutter remains with videos only seen by relatives.  A painting can last a very long time, and may be appreciated by a much larger audience.  I ended up staying in the Fine Arts Department creating a major that OSU did not yet have, an Arts Administration Degree.  My father, of course, understood that.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Barbara Schaff

The Pink Dress
As a child, I grew up admiring images of Goya, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Chinese calligraphy. The then new abstractions of Franz Klein, DeKooning, and Jackson Pollock resonated with me as a teenager.

Since the beginning of my creative career in the Early 70’s, I have been following one basic thread of an idea: the search for moving line.  

Forty years ago, I began this search as a self taught potter: first finding that line in three dimensions with the raising of a spinning mass on the potters wheel. Later as I worked with porcelain on two dimensional murals with color and brush , the avenues for line exploration multiplied (Tao).
I transitioned to painting ,earning a Certificate from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1994. There, under the mentorship of Seymour Remenick, I learned to work intuitively, trusting in the gesture, the color and the line to discover the unknown. I also received a firm grounding in the singular importance of drawing. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Marissa Georgiou

Detail image of Four Hour Drawing
My piece in Woodmere's 71st Annual Juried Exhibition is from a series of works called Endurance Drawings. Rather than being images of a subject, these drawings are documentation of the effort that went into their existence.  For these works, I prick the paper with a pushpin for varying durations of time. 

The holes are placed as closely as can be accomplished without destroying the fiber of the paper. Through concentrated effort, these objects illustrate a level of closeness that is just at the edge of mutual destruction. 

For me, Endurance Drawings are meditations on the idea of intimacy, a common theme in many of my projects.  

The piece on view at Woodmere can be seen as a drawing, or as documentation of a performance. Similarly, my recent projects Device for Social Climbing and Intimacy Training Device I have dual functionality as sculptures and objects for physical interaction.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Michael Bartmann

Structure, Process, Time
My process begins long before any paint hits the canvas. I begin by exploring an inspirational location and visit many times before starting. I am drawn to non-designed, left-over places. When I was young, I spent a greater amount of time playing in and exploring the vacant lots rather than the professionally designed playgrounds. 

As an artist, I am still drawn to those abandoned, derelict spaces where the imagination is free to roam. It's the lack of obvious beauty and not knowing where these spaces will lead me artistically that draws me to them. After visiting several times I paint on site and explore the site through the lens of a camera. I also research the history of the site and look for any old photographs. I do all of this "getting to know the site" in order to allow a more personal artistic vision to develop rather than just capturing it's essence. After getting to know the site, I than move the ideas into the studio to further remove myself from it's innate meaning. I like the idea of the painting being "site-specific", but I want it to evolve into something more personal with a new "sense of place." 

Monday, September 24, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Richard Forrest

Time Remembered
I attended the Philadelphia Museum School, now the University of the Arts, in the early 1950s graduating in 1956. We had very good teachers, and I still remember the benefit from some of their suggestions and advice. Watercolor seemed an easy fit for me although there were many efforts that fell far short.  However, that’s what school is for; my learning continues on even now.
To back up a bit, I should give credit to my Lower Merion High school art teacher, William Bahmermann, who encouraged me early on. Without his encouragement, It would not have occurred to me to try for art school. Again, the teacher.  How important they can be.
Philadelphia was, and still is, a very walkable city. Things seemed on a much smaller scale back then.  There were numerous side streets rife with subject matter for our class outings.  Manayunk, too, was another viable spot.

Monday, September 17, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Patrick Crofton

Alex, oil on three copper panels, 6 x 6 inches
I trained originally in South Africa as a graphic designer, and a lot of the restrictions of the adverising industry - extremely small scale, random cropping and folding, translation of color images into monochrome - I've tended to retain in my work. Much of my painting is done on metal panels, which I like not only for their contemporary feeling, but also for the historical association: the Romans made exquisite miniature portraits painted on gold and covered with glass, and Dutch artists prized copper as a smooth surface impervious to damp or warping.

After working in advertising for many years, first in Cape Town then New York,  I moved to Philadelphia to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. I'm now represented here by Artists' House Gallery in Old City.

Most of the panels I use for painting are zinc and copper etching plates, although I've also used steel. I sometimes treat the plates with acid for a textured, corroded surface but usually I sand for a slight key for retention, and then use either a transparent lacquer or an opaque aerosol metal primer depending on whether I want the metal exposed. The plates are cut to size on a jump shear and reassembled for the image to be transferred. My portraits are always based on my own photographs which I've either then redrawn or manipulated in Photoshop. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Beth Shapiro Prusky

Playing with materials is an integral part of the beginning of some of my work. The delicious looseness of the acrylic paint as the it mixes with water. I know the formulas. They are old friends to me. 

Wonderfully, each time there is a freshness for me in how the brush carries the paint. Decisions about Mars black or Panye's grey give me deep satisfaction in the choosing. The mediums when added to the paint all have a signature like a finger print, it becomes an intensely personal adventure.

As I begin to explore a new idea I don't categorize a work as a drawing or painting. The final pieces are all drawings/paintings to me. My intention to create a painting on any particular day in the studio becomes subservient as the form emerges. 

The drawing comes in as needed, at the right time. Sometimes the emotion of subject as the form emerges dictates where I move next. This more than anything helps to move the process.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Mikel Elam

Labyrinth by Mikel Elam
The basis of my work is about identity, perception, race, and gender contrast. This narrative began for me as I evolved into adulthood and began to place myself within the spectrum of the world. Asking the question: Just how do I fit into this complex society?

I try to implement language and varying degrees of structure and deconstruction into my work and use the figure as a way of communicating information. I like to think of my work as a painted collage--a mirage of mixed emotions wrapped into some representation of the figurative world.

I don't always have the opportunity to work with a model so I use myself, photographs, and collected images that resonate with my thought process. The process is like making music or writing poetry. Sometimes I think several combinations of pigment and tools will work only to find an altered solution later. A lot occurs between the technical and my mind's eye.

I start with an idea that speaks to me. Sometimes I will draw out the concept on paper but I prefer going directly to canvas or board with brush and paint, allowing this action to be my working sketch. I am looking for spontaneity between the paint and other elements and like to incorporated different materials such as drawing tools, spray paint, oil, acrylic, enamels, and more. I also use tracings and incorporate images from previous renderings. The experimental occurs often. Everything comes together and the painting becomes a dreamscape to me.