IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative- Josh Dorman

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IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative, curated by Eleana Del Rio

This show features the work of ten Koplin Del Rio artists and completes the series of three IDENTITY exhibitions introducing the gallery’s artists to a Seattle audience. Curator Eleana Del Rio grouped these artists together because they share a common interest in pictorial narrative. They all invite the viewer to interact with the imagery and engage with the work in a manner that allows two narratives—both the artist’s and the viewer’s—to play out over time.

Featuring David Bailin, Eric Beltz, Shay Bredimus, Wes Christensen(1949-2015), Josh Dorman, Tim Lowly, Michelle Muldrow, Len Paschoal, Fred Stonehouse, and Yuriko Yamaguchi

November 3 – December 23, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, November 3, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #55: Josh Dorman

josh-old-studio

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
As a NYC-based artist, I can’t say that I have the ideal environment, but in many ways I’m fortunate. In the city, I have a basement studio with one small window. I’m not eager to work very large these days, so the cave-like space is good for me. I use incandescent clip lights to create pools of warm light on my paintings. Because I use a lot of collage, the panels move from table to wall to floor. I sometimes work lying down on top of the panel. Last year, we bought a little home in the Catskills and I’ve set up a small studio there as well. Looking out the glass doors to see wandering geese and flowers and green is heavenly. But it can also be a distraction. It’s easy to get drawn away from the ineffable world of a painting to the tangible act of picking a flower or a cucumber. I often listen to music or podcasts while working. The more my left brain can be occupied, the less it gets in the way of the creative process. And the less it can bother me with doubts and questions.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Coffee helps. As a part-time teacher and father of twins, I take every moment I can to get to the studio. Summers are sacred time. It also helps to have a looming show as a motivator. And seeing an old friend at the Met or MOMA can inspire me. A wall of Klees or Turners can send me sprinting home to work.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several? Though I’ve experimented with animation in the last several years, the mixture of paint and collage is still inexhaustible for me. I use only antique paper sources—maps, charts, textbook engravings, player piano scrolls. I usually have 5-6 panels of varying size going in the studio simultaneously.

4. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I consider my work to be connected to the painting tradition in a deep way. I believe all great art is conceptual and spiritual. And what is termed “Conceptual Art” holds very little interest for me. I seek to create work that feels current but also outside of time and place. For inspiration, I look to ancient and Modernist sources. From Sienese paintings to Persian Miniatures to Breughel, Redon and Ryder. I try to use collage (appropriated images) in a way that honors the original creator and transforms the meaning. I hope to build worlds that invite the viewer in to figure out what is painted and what is collaged. I hope to generate images that are utterly specific and completely open-ended.

5. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I could discuss “Shipwreck” briefly. It began, as do most of my paintings with a small compositional sketch. I knew I wanted an enclosed body of water. I knew I wanted it to be seen from above, underneath and sideways simultaneously (like Cubism, yet visually not at all). I glued down a base layer of old player piano scroll paper. The dots and perforations generate a rhythm, create a horizontal pattern, akin to waves on a sea, and also remind one of DNA charts and other modern technologies. I then created a nest like border by laying down pine needles and grass, pouring watery inks and letting the liquid evaporate. Similarly, gears and embroidery wheels created ghosty stencils in the pink sky. Once this enclosure and pool was built, the sea creatures, bathers, and detritus of humankind began to fill the pool, while fossils and bones embedded themselves in the border earth. This is all improvisational, based on the piles of old books I surround myself with and on the forms that call to each other, jumping scale and substance. After several weeks of layering collage and paint washes, the actual ship was one of the final additions, giving a central anchor to the piece. What it all means I leave to the viewer. I have ideas and suspicions, but if I were to know the exact narrative beforehand or afterward, I would lose all interest in making art.

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“Have You Seen the Red Village?”, 2012, ink, acrylic & collage on panel, 24″ x 24″

shipwreck_web

“Shipwreck”, 2014, acrylic & collage on panel, 24″ x 24″

Things That Kill- Evelyn Woods

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #9 part 3: Evelyn Woods

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1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
The self portrait “Silence” is a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill” in that if one cannot speak their truth and is forced to stay silent, then that very silence has the ability to kill their spirit which eventually can kill the essence of that individual. Throughout history we have been witness to individuals, groups of people, cultures and even countries who die as a result of forced silence. One has only to remember the Holocaust as an example.

I have done self portraits in the past as an exercise in painting from direct observation never intending them for a show. What better source than your own face. What is revealed in the process of painting can be a surprise even to oneself.

The painting “Twisted #2” was nearly completed before hearing of this show and was in continuation with a series using similar subject material. Its Medusa-­like quality has the effect of something that could kill due to the feelings evoked when looking at the image. After exploring the myth of Medusa, I discovered how she was forced into having a head of writhing snakes as punishment for being a victim of rape. Another example of what happens if one has the courage to speak the truth.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
In approaching the theme I could not help but think of all the ways things could kill with some obvious ones such as cars, cancer, natural disasters etc… But I decided to take a risk using my own personal history in the form of a self portrait. My dilemma was in painting a visually successful image while within a heavily loaded context.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Whether my subject material takes the form of a still life as in previous drawings, or the painting of tree forms as in my latest work, the approach is the same. To paint or draw is a personal exploration of selected subject material. In the end, if successful,the inherent meaning is revealed.

Things That Kill- Dianne Kornberg

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #35 Part 2: Dianne Kornberg

Kornberg Studio

1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
“Madonna Bomb 2” is the second in a series of four pieces that are a response to a poem by Celia Bland. The poem describes a suicide bombing, while referring metaphorically, in the context of the project as a whole, to the “bomb” of childbirth and parenting. It is one of twenty-six images that make up the exhibition and book titled Madonna Comix.

The stylistic elements I employed for this series are unique in my work–I developed them for this particular image/text project.

The subject matter–a pregnant woman wearing a suicide vest, plus the included poetic and comic text, is loaded content, at the very least the shock of a woman surfacing as a militant combatant in a religious cause, a jihad. For me there is an equivalency between the content and the “art” and I believe the art holds its own. But you will decide for yourself if the piece is “front-loaded.”

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
The project began when Celia sent me a selection of poems about the Madonna. I found that they addressed a range of ideas: the physicality of childbearing, self-sacrifice and suffering, ecstasy and adoration. They spoke of fears and choices and of things we take on faith. They spoke to multiple experiences of being a woman.

I considered the “smart-alecky” nature of some of the poetic text. I decided to scan Lulu comic book pages, and partially erase the images to serve as the surface on which to work. The proto-feminist “Little Lulu” comic books were empowering to me as a girl in the 1950’s because Lulu stepped outside gender roles–she went her own way, had opinions, out-witted the boys. I allowed some of the Lulu text to show through to serve as a “down to earth” commentary on Bland’s lyric language. My working process was very experimental. I utilized skills from my background in painting, printmaking, and photography. In addition to the figure, I included in the image the pentimento comic book page, a map of Jerusalem, a selection of text from the poem, and text from Little Lulu.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
When I began working with the poem “Madonna Bomb” I went on-line to learn about suicide bombers. I came across a picture of a 15 year old girl hand-cuffed to a chain-link fence, wearing a suicide vest. At the time I did not realize that girls were being used as suicide bombers. The Lulu text included in Madonna Bomb 4 reads, “A little girl! WHAT?”

Madonna Bomb 1

“Madonna Bomb 1”, 2012, archival pigment print

Madonna Bomb 2 copy

“Madonna Bomb 2″, 2012, archival pigment print, 31″ x 20” image, 32.5 x 21.5” framed (included in “Things That Kill”)

Madonna Bomb 3

“Madonna Bomb 3”, 2012, archival pigment print

Madonna Bomb 4 copy

“Madonna Bomb 4”, 2012, archival pigment print

Things That Kill- Anne Petty

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #15 Part 2: Anne Petty

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1. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
For the past two years my work has been exploring the character of what I have named “the wild woman”—a mishmash of the cultured lady and primitive woman. Within this body of work, I consider her day to day life and existence, of the figure stripped away from society and off on their own in the wild. Among other thoughts, sustenance was something that came up—how and what does she eat to survive? The parallel between animal and human as well as the gradients of civility are interesting to me. To eat she must hunt. She takes on the role of the feral animalistic hunter as well as the more methodical hunter, using tools and traps. I enjoy the blurring between the two—she is clothed giving her some connection to society yet she is crawling about like an animal, perhaps even displaying her prey from her mouth.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
As mentioned in my previous response, I had already been working on subject matter that the theme “Things that Kill” overlapped with. It was a really nice coincidence, and gave me a push to explore that side of my subject matter a bit further.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
Being a vegetarian for many years, this theme is an interesting one for me to work within. In the beginning I felt slightly conflicted depicting these women hunting prey, something I don’t see myself as being able to do, but only initially. I view their hunting as an outward display of their strength and tenacity. While still having its own unique challenges, I appreciate the straightforward simplicity of their existence.

Things That Kill- Riva Lehrer

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

“Consider, for example, such varied assassins as leaded water, pills, red meat, too much sun…. Consider, for a moment more, that of the many things that kill, countless are appealingly beautiful as well as lethal, seducing artist and viewer. How to handle these “killers” in such a way that the intended expressive implications are conveyed, is as formidable an artistic challenge as engaging the more overt content implied by the show’s title.” -Norman Lundin

Including work by: Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #51: Riva Lehrer

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1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I teach figure studies and anatomy.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
When I figured out I wasn’t going to med school…

3. What are your influences?
The artists I feel the closest to use figuration for social justice. There are too many to count, but include Christian Schad, Kathe Kollwitz, Felix Nussbaum and Otto Dix from many decades ago; Leon Golub, Bailey Doogan, Betye Saar, William Kentridge and Kerry James Marshall moving towards our current moment.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
It’s what would be the dining room in a typical apartment in my building. There’s track lighting and an overhead fixture, but not a lot of natural light.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I start work in the mid to late afternoon. I usually have Netflix on; something kind of silly, because anything really good makes me watch, when mostly I just want to listen.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
For the last four years I’ve mostly been drawing, often with collage elements. I started painting again for my recent solo show in Chicago. It felt so good that I want to make sure I never take a long a break from it again.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
Yes – I have physical impairments. I’ve devised quite a number of structures and processes that let me work, while accommodating the impairment’s demands (too complex to go into here).

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I curate, I read, I spend time at the lake, I write and perform my writing at theatrical events. Both my partner and I have busy careers as lecturers/visiting scholars/artists. We often travel together for tandem gigs at universities and conferences.

9. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
My work centers on depicting the vulnerability and resilience of the body. The majority of my studio practice as a portrait artist deals with subjects who live in non-normative bodies. I reserve the darkest images (in regard to literal or metaphoric pain) for my self-portraits. “Adhesion” is personal, though it does not literally depict the nature of the threat.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
I aimed for wry.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
There are many ways to read a woman’s bound yet signaling hands. I’ll leave that open to the viewer’s own signing language.

adhesion_6.21_web

“Adhesion”, 2016, acrylic on panel, 6 x 12″

Things That Kill- Jim Holl

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin
Fred Birchman, Brian Blackham, Marsha Burns, Joe Crookes, John Fadeff, Ellen Garvens, Jim Holl, Michael Howard, Amy Huddleston, Caroline Kapp, Dianne Kornberg, Riva Lehrer, Brian Murphy, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Glenn Rudolph, Graham Shutt, Kathy Vargas and Evelyn Woods

September 1 – October 29, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, September 1, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #50: Jim Holl

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1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I have supported my art making over the years as a graphic designer. Currently I am the coordinator of the Graphic Design Concentration at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I understood to be an artist could be a career freshman at the University of Washington in an art class taught by Norman Lundin.

3. What are your influences?
In the early 70’s my main influences was the “west coast figurative school,” Diebenkorn et al.

The mid 70’s was the apogee of conceptual art.  This influence began with Duchamp.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I have a summer and a winter studio in Catskill, New York and a summer studio in Manchester Washington, and  a storage shed to put it all in, all of them small.

My studio lighting is mixed, mainly tungsten.

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
I wish I had more typical days, when I do I spend the mornings in Catskill, sitting in the screened-in porch working on the computer. In the afternoon I am across the field in the studio, and running errands. I dine early and am in bed by nine! In years past when in NYC I spent the day doing commercial design projects at an office in Manhattan and made artwork in my Williamsburg studio until the wee hours of the night. My music of preference is ambient. Reminds me of nature.

6. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I prefer oil paint on board. I have experimented with many mediums over the years and found it wasn’t the mediums that made my art better. So I settled on a medium that does not call attention to itself.

I work on a few paintings at a time, going back and forth as they call me for attention.

7. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I go to art shows, dinner with friends, nothing unusual, I work all of the time. Life is short.

8. In what way is your work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill”? Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
I was wondering that myself when Norman asked me to be in the show. I have been working on a theme I call “All the Living Things.” I choose plants as the subject matter for their organic and many times simple forms. The images rendered close up can easily cross into abstraction. I think all paintings are still-lifes, lives that have been stilled. The organic forms I have been exploring enliven the compositions. This and the contrasting colors express a vibratory quality that complements the stillness of the paintings. In addition I prefer the work to express an ambiguity, for uncertainty is innate in nature.

All of this was crossing my mind while having lunch with Norman. Norman replied, “Why not poison plants?” I thought, what a great idea!

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Ira Korman

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IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation
Darlene Campbell, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Ira Korman, Judy Nimtz, Sarah Perry, Robert Schultz & Peter Zokosky

July 7 – August 27, 2016
Opening Reception: July 7, 2016: 6 – 8 pm

Method: Degrees of Separation, the second of three IDENTITY exhibitions, highlights the art process with a special appreciation of historical methods within a voice of haptic ways of seeing. The featured artists come from various points of view—conceptually, pictorially, and aesthetically—yet collectively they share a deep dedication to creating artwork by way of a traditional method. In curator Eleana Del Rio’s words “Tradition by way of ‘method’ – stated loosely – is the exhibition’s topic.”

Artist interview #49: Ira Korman

korman studio

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
My ideal working environment would be a large, light, uncluttered studio overlooking the ocean somewhere.  My actual working environment however, is a converted two car garage that can barely contain my work materials, various collections and overflow household miscellany.  I prefer working during daylight hours even though I use artificial light to illuminate works in progress.  I like some type of background sound while working whether it’s music, news, or Mod Squad reruns but I frequently find myself having worked for several hours straight in total silence.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
After many years of varying formulations, it really boils down to 20% inspiration and 80% looming deadline….and lots of strong coffee.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I’ve worked almost exclusively with charcoal on paper for the last 30 years. I work obsessively on one piece at a time until it’s finished. However on occasion I’ve reworked a drawing several years after I first completed it.  I’m definitely not a multi-tasker.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
I read somewhere that people buy more books than they can possibly read as a subconscious way of guaranteeing they’ll live long enough to read them all.  If that’s true, I might live forever.   When I started teaching I began to buy old, obscure drawing manuals, and books on drawing technique.  I especially seek out material from the 19th Century and earlier and even have several drawing manuals from the late 18th century.  Aside from the beautiful engravings and diagrams, the text is the closest we’ll get to hearing the voices of teachers of past centuries.   I also collect vintage drawing supplies and have found several elaborate 19th century French and English sketching boxes complete with all the original materials.  I use these antique items to demonstrate to my students how the concepts, materials and techniques of drawing have remained basically the same for hundreds of years and how they are now traveling the same path with the same tools as previous masters.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My material and technique is influenced by traditional methods of 19th century life drawing using charcoal and stumps to achieve fully tonal drawings.  While I take liberties with the “atmosphere” in my drawings, my aim is to render subjects with a high level of realism and fidelity to nature.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Method- Degrees of Separation, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
I believe that drawing is the foundation of all art-making and take my role as a drawing instructor seriously.   The mannequin in “Disillusion” is one of a core group of objects that I have my students draw.  My goal for them is to see, understand and then render the effects of light and shade on three dimensional form – the essence of observational drawing.