Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, opening April 17

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I’m very happy to be a part of this group show curated by Dan Halm for the Here Arts Center. I’m also happy to be featured on the postcard! If you’re in the NYC metro area, please join us for the opening reception on April 17, 2014.

Here’s the press release:


HERE PROUDLY PRESENTS
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
A HEREART EXHIBITION

Curated by Dan Halm
Sugar-coated art with a sinister center

April 17 – May 24, 2014
Opening Reception, April 17, 5:00-7:00pm


HERE proudly presents Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, at HERE (145 Sixth Avenue) from April 17th – May 24th, Tuesday – Saturday 2:00-7:00pm. Curated by Dan Halm, the artists selected for this exhibition on the surface present cheery, candy-colored images but look a bit deeper and you’ll notice they are tackling darker, and in some cases sad themes of love, family, and self doubt. Whether it is Matt Bucy’s re-edit of the Wizard of Oz so that the film’s dialog comes out alphabetically, Gregg Louis’ wig sculptures, Richard Stauffacher’s cotton candy nests or Colleen Ford’s golden carrot hung just out of hand’s reach – these works are meant to delight and bring a smile to the viewer’s face and then after spending some time observing them, notice how dark they truly are.

“The show takes its title from the beloved song that first appeared in the Walt Disney version of Cinderella,” says Halm, “But the phrase Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo also has a darker origin, as the name of the devil’s daughter in the story of “Bubnoff and the Devil” by Ivan Turgenev. I love how something as sweet as the song can be rooted into something much bleaker, very much like the art selected for this exhibition; things aren’t as cheerful as they might first appear.”

The show includes the work of Matt Bucy, Brandon Davey, Colleen Ford, Katya Grokhovsky, Scooter LaForge, LJ Lindhurst, Gregg Louis, Tawnie Silva and Richard Stauffacher.

Since 1993, the award-winning HERE, Kristin Marting, Artistic Director and Kim Whitener, Producing Director, has been one of New York’s premier arts organizations and a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid art from a variety of artistic disciplines— media, visual art, installation, theater, dance, music and opera, puppetry, spoken word and performance art. HERE’s work is challenging and alternative and offers audiences the opportunity to feel that they are part of something new and fresh.

In response to the growing number of artists interested in creating work that fully integrates visual and performing art forms, HERE provides visual artists with residencies through HARP, creating more opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange while supporting a wide range of artistic disciplines and encouraging artists to work beyond a single art form. Additionally, HEREart provides emerging and early career visual artists and curators access to a dynamic space within HERE’s active, multi-arts center, with a focus on exhibitions that creatively work within its unique spaces. The program provides some artists with their first show in Manhattan, while for others the challenge of HERE’s specific public setting offers the opportunity to engage with a new audience in a bold new environment. Through HEREart, and notably its 8-10 annual exhibits, HERE is invested in supporting artworks of all media (painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, video). HEREart exhibits are open to the public free of charge Tuesday – Saturday from 2:00 – 7:00pm.

The HEREart exhibit of Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo runs April 17th to May 24th
Tuesday – Saturday, 2:00-7:00pm
Wine reception and opening on Thursday, April 17th from 5pm-7pm.

HERE is located at 145 Sixth Avenue, one block below Spring Street. For more, visit www.here.org.

Foils


Foils (Silver, Orange, Red)
Acrylic on 6 canvases
24″ x 24″ each
See Details/Photos on my web site

I started working on this series last April when I moved my studio. In the midst of the mental chaos involved with learning to work and live in a new environment, I needed to work on something small(ish) and colorful, with a little bit of freedom to play around. I casually thought of these as a “vacation” series; I gave myself no pressure to finish them (after all, it’s been 9 months), and I allowed myself to leisurely re-work the colors and design long after I had officially stopped working on each piece.

I also wanted to explore the idea of creating realist paintings that were so macro, so detail-oriented that they were verging on abstraction. These paintings are based on a series of macro photos I took of aluminum foil. I photographed this foil under bright, close lighting, and held various pieces of colored cloth up above the camera. These colors reflected vividly in the foil, and as a result, I got brilliant blue, green, orange, yellow, and red throughout the photos.

Here’s one of the source photos I worked from:

Original photo: Foil (Orange #2)

Original photo: Foil (Orange #2)

And here’s the resulting painting:
foil-orange2

I really like this idea of abstract realism (for lack of a better expression), and have a ton of great photos to work from, so I will surely do a couple more of these down the line.

December 14: Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, God at Littlefield

Show coming up!

Starting on December 3rd, I’ll be showing the above triptych, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, God and several other paintings at Littlefield, here in Brooklyn. The opening reception will be December 14, from 6-9pm.

My extremely effective manager, the one and only Alex Battles spent several hours listening to Neil Young and curating the paintings in this show. By the time he was finished, we had a very tight suite of paintings that tend to veer between threat and nostalgia (truly my favorite combination). They not only look good together, but I also get to showcase the recently-finished Magenta Sweet Soaker:

(This is the painting that caused me so much grief. Stupid painting.)

Littlefield is located at 622 DeGraw Street, between 3rd and 4th Aves. in Gowanus (N,R trains to Union Street).

I Lose at The Realism Olympics (And No One Even Notices)

Over the summer I started a whole new series of paintings. I’ve been really excited about these new pieces, and it feels like I’m going in a totally different direction. I couldn’t wait to get them going, and have all eight canvases planned and ready to go. They are pure pleasure to work on, and I have taken my time with them, allowing the work to proceed at a solid but leisurely pace.

The only thing I needed to do before I could fully immerse myself in this series was finish off another Gun painting that was nearly complete. But wouldn’t it figure: This painting—Magenta Sweet Soaker—proved to one of the most difficult and frustrating pieces I’ve ever attempted. I just couldn’t finish this painting, and the work got miserable and seemed never-ending.

Here’s the finished painting:

I took 2 original photographs of this particular gun to use as source material—one with an ingredients label across the top, and one with that label removed. The version with the label was what I originally set out to paint:

I worked on this lettering for months. I tried everything—super fine brushes, calligraphy pens, even Sharpie—and although I got close, I was never pleased with the final work. Unless I could replicate machine lettering exactly, it would distract from the overall realism of the piece. After a lot of anguish (and hand cramps), I finally threw in the towel and replaced it with the label-free version.

The fact that I couldn’t pull off this lettering and just move on to my new work was a little bit depressing, and more than a little bit annoying. I spent countless hours working on it. On two separate occasions, I even painted over it and started again from scratch. I just couldn’t get it right. It got to the point where I could barely stand the sight of that painting sitting in my studio, nagging at me like an unpaid bill.

But the fact of the matter is, if I had never written this blog post, no one would have even noticed. A few years ago I was having a conversation with another realist painter, and we were joking about how disappointed we felt when people liked our less technically-challenging pieces more than the ones we labored over. “Don’t they know we are trying to win the Realism Olympics?” he said. And that’s just the thing about so many artists (myself included)–it’s like we are in some kind of fucked-up imaginary challenge with ourselves and other artists, when DUH, GET OVER YOURSELF, no one is going to notice that shit but you. Few people care about how long it took you to get those colors right, the highlights just so, the tiny details all in place; all they care about is the finished product.

So yeah, maybe I didn’t even get bronze at the Imaginary Realism Olympics this time, but like everything else that is difficult, it was a learning opportunity. It’s good to know your technical limitations, and I certainly got a lot better at fine lines and lettering. But I suppose the most important lesson of all was that really, I needed to quit torturing myself and just wrap the damned thing up. It’s a painting. Of a squirtgun. Move on.

ArtFile Magazine Interview

ArtFile Magazine has a nice profile of me in their latest issue. I sat down and spoke at length with realist painter Johnny Thornton about all kinds of VERY IMPORTANT ART WORLD TOPICS. Well, not really–we mostly just sat around and complained a lot, but eventually we did get on-topic! You can read the full article here.

Goodbye, 9th Street


I recently moved, which also meant moving out of my painting studio which I’d happily occupied for the past seven years. This was a big deal for me–I had a fantastic space with 2 large windows, a sweeping view of South Brooklyn, and a fair amount of space that even included storage. I was also afforded a great deal of privacy and quiet, as my studio was located in the rear of the building, tucked down a hallway behind 2 locked doors. Needless to say, I loved it there, and it was kind of a Fortress of Solitude for me.

Me in my former studio

All this was great, but it was also expensive. Much too expensive for me, anyway–even with my full-time day job, I was always stretched thin financially. And there were other negative aspects to the space as well: 9th Street would often flood during hard rains, and it would be impossible to get to (or escape from) my studio at times; it was freezing cold in the winter and scorching hot in the summer; and the whole place was filthy, especially the sinks/bathroom I shared with twenty other artists.

Perhaps the most infuriating development, though, was when the landlord began shutting down the infamously unreliable elevator at 5pm every day because he was tired of rescuing people who got trapped in it after hours. This may not sound like a big deal, but it made life extremely difficult for the artists and musicians in the building. If you had to transport paintings, heavy gear, or a bicycle to/from the studio, you had to carry it up 4 flights of stairs. The stairs were long and steep, and usually engulfed in total darkness because the electricity in the building had been screwy ever since Hurrican Sandy. Towards the end, there were several times when I had paintings in a show, and ended up having to make 5 separate trips up and down the stairs to get everything in the car (and let’s not forget leaving it unattended while I made trips up/down).

So when we had an opportunity to rent an apartment in South Park Slope that had a perfect built-in studio space, I jumped at the idea. I now work in a space that is a little bit smaller– but it is in my air-conditioned home, it’s clean and tidy, I have my own bathroom, and I can work any time I want without having to walk or bike the mile and a half to Gowanus in the rain, snow, heat, traffic, etc.

Moving day at the old studio. My buddy Alex was sad about it, too. Or maybe he was just hung over.

I won’t lie–it took me some time to adjust to working in the new space, and I still have moments of doubt. I was accustomed to working my day job from my home in Red Hook, then walking over to Gowanus to paint in the afternoon/evenings. I had a schedule, I was regimented. I was also getting in a good deal of exercise and head-clearing with the walks to/from Gowanus. I quickly realized how important that part of my day was. I now make sure to get out of the house and take a stroll every afternoon, just to separate those 2 parts of my work day.

Another adjustment has been privacy. My husband was used to having the whole apartment to himself just about every evening and weekend. Now I am home all the time. This is hard for him and hard for me–it’s not that we don’t want to be around each other, it’s just that we were both used to having our alone time. He likes to play loud video games and music…I have bright studio lights and listen to PodCasts. We are both aggravating in ways that were never a factor before, but it was nothing a curtain and some headphones couldn’t fix.

I thought it would only be a matter of days, but it actually took nearly 2 months for me to get used to working from home. And sure, I do miss my old studio, and I will definitely miss the sense of community (and the yearly studio tour), but in the end, I’m pretty sure I’ve traded up.

New studio.

Squirtguns

Two new paintings, just finished:


Orange Sweet Soaker
Acrylic on canvas
30″ x 30″
2013

Clear Squirtgun
Acrylic on canvas
24″ x 36″
2013

Both of these paintings will be featured in Color Corrupted, a group show at Calico, opening March 15.

Color Corrupted, opening March 15


I’ll be showing these two NEW paintings (so new they aren’t even finished yet) next month in Greenpoint. Come watch the paint dry:


Color Corrupted
featuring works by Hyun Jong Cho, Alicia DeBrincat, LJ Lindhurst, Wilson Parry

March 15-April 5, 2013
Opening reception: March 15, 7-9pm

at
Calico
67 West Street, #206
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

colorcorrupted.tumblr.com

Bubba Blackwell

First new painting of 2013:

Bubba Blackwell
18″ x 36″
Acrylic on canvas
Details

A Couple of Wee Bunnies

Felt like doing some small canvases over the past couple of weeks, so I knocked these little fellas out. And gosh, I’ve been in such a bad mood lately…

Collapsible Bunny #1
Collapsible Bunny #2
12″ x 12″
Acrylic on canvas

And just for the sake of reference, here’s the model I was working from:

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