IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Melissa Cooke

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As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist Interview #40 Melissa Cooke

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 2011, Artist in Residence

1. What is your ideal working environment?

I love working at an in-home studio. I currently work from our second bedroom; it is so convenient and comfortable! The ground is covered with anti-fatigue flooring to protect the wood from my graphite, and my feet from getting tired.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio?

I work best in the afternoon. I usually grab a cup of coffee, put on some music or a podcast, and get to work conquering deadlines and goals.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

My favorite medium is powdered graphite. My drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details and textures. No pencils are used in the work, allowing the surface to glow without the shine of heavy pencil marks. Illusion dissolves into brush work and the honesty of the material.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

Here are a few of my favorites:

Visiting museums and galleries, and connecting with other artists and creatives
Growing veggies in my garden
Biking and running on trails
Swimming and/or floating in lakes
Drinking local craft beers, preferably on a sunny day on an outdoor patio

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

My most recent series, “No Place Like Home” fuses elements of realism with the language of contemporary art and street culture. Fragments of paper and posters are depicted, referencing the flatness of drawing, while simultaneously alluding to the history of realism and tromp l’oeil. The works explore the language of drawing by superimposing traditional portraiture with a wide variety of seemingly spontaneous and ephemeral-style marks. Suggestions of spray paint, stencils, and drips are illustrated in the drawings. Illusionistic representation of graffiti dissolves into my brush work and the materiality of graphite.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

“Eyes” was inspired by scenes I found in my daily life while walking the streets of Brooklyn. It draws from marks people have left on the city: discarded objects, wheatpaste posters, and graffiti. In the ever changing, gritty landscape of New York, one moment in time is captured. Like a collaboration with the city, my voice joins the layered conversation of street art and culture.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Sandow Birk

Featured

As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist interview #38: Sandow Birk

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

I don’t know what my ideal environment would be, but my studio working came about by necessity. Ever since I got out of art school I’ve lived in a studio. First it was because it was more affordable in Los Angeles, but it came to suit my way of working, which is sort of a picking away at stuff in spurts. Now I live in a loft with two small kids that run around and make a lot of noise. I try to find a few blocks of hours in the day at the beginning of a painting or drawing to get it going, and then I pick away at it for several days or weeks in moments of time I can steal from family life.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I usually spend the early part of the morning getting the kids out to school and then get an hour surf in at the beach. I can then find a few hours in the middle of the day to work and I usually listen to the radio while working. I can work another couple of hours in the evening when everyone is asleep at home. So I usually work from about 11am to 3pm, and then from 8pm to 11pm, which adds up to 5 our 6 hours a day in the studio.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I generally paint with acrylic, since I’m working in our home – to avoid fumes and having toxic stuff out where the kids might get to it. And I do big drawings on paper lately. I prefer to work on one thing at a time but I usually have a couple of things going at once.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

I’ve been a lifelong surfer since I was a kid and I still surf about 4 or 5 days a week. Usually my schedule revolves around what days the waves might be good. I have a personal motto of trying to never schedule anything to do before noon, just to be free to get in the water. I used to spend a lot of time chasing waves up and down the coast, but now with a family I just surf whenever I can get in the water.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

Nearly all the works I do are about contemporary social issues and events of our time, or things that I’m thinking about. I want to make works that say something and have a point of view and meaning behind them, that convey something, that are relevant to our times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact: Laurie Hogin

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studio-2

As of January 2016, KDR has joined its affiliate PROGRAPHICA Gallery in Seattle, WA, where Eleana Del Rio and Norman Lundin will curate exhibitions jointly as well as independently within its new enitity: Prographica / KDR.

Koplin Del Rio (formerly of Culver City, CA) is pleased to present its debut exhibition in Seattle: IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact features gallery artists: Sandow Birk, Melissa Cooke, Einar & Jamex de la Torre, Laurie Hogin, Zhi Lin, Kerry James Marshall and Robert Pruitt, curated by Eleana Del Rio.

IDENTITY- A Visual Artifact is the first of a series of three exhibitions, each featuring a select group of long-time Koplin Del Rio (KDR) gallery artists. As KDR transitions its footprint to the Pacific Northwest, the exhibitions will unveil the gallery’s distinct identity and unique visual program through the artists it represents. These artists produce work that taps into the pulse of our current point in history in order to examine identity on multiple levels—self, community and nation.

Artist interview #37: Laurie Hogin

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.

I love large, open, light-filled spaces, of the kind historically used for every kind of material production or activity, including studio art—lofts, barns, garrets. This is not hip or politically correct, because it can be seen as romantic or sentimental, but it is the truth. I love the poetics of space. My studio is a pole-barn type structure attached to the home I share with my husband, son and our two pets, Rocky, an Australian Cattle Dog and Fiona, a dove-gray Domestic Long Hair cat. It is located in a rural area of unincorporated Champaign County, in Central Illinois. It is surrounded by prairie weeds, industrial corn and soy fields, and some woods along the Sangamon River. My work is solitary, and my space is conducive to productive solitude. I love the aesthetics of how my labor fits into it—my easel, my drafting table, my stacks of books and my reading couch, my desk and computer for writing, my shelves with collections of models, rocks and minerals, feathers, bones, toys, clippings from ads and other scraps of information—sketches, notes, downloaded images. I don’t really like music, although I understand that it can be an expression of genius, and I am interested in it intellectually. I grew up with a parent who was a stunningly talented pianist, so I have an oddly developed ear for someone who is otherwise sort of indifferent. When I do crave music, it is usually David Bowie, from his most popular songs to his more experimental, atmospheric work. I also have a taste for what many of my friends and colleagues would consider unsophisticated pop songs, but I don’t care—I listen in the car! I do like to sing. Light—the more, the broader the spectrum, the better for making art and for writing; for reading, I like a pool of warm light in the gloom—a clip lamp on the back of my couch.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?

I am motivated to be here by all that I keep and do here, which is pretty much whenever I am not needed elsewhere, or engaged with students, colleagues, friends or family. I am very social and outgoing, but have a great need and desire for solitude.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Painting is, for me, the most plastic, the most comprehensive, and the most resonant way to make art—to bring to conscious perception things that would not otherwise exist. After that, it is writing, for the same reasons. After that, drawing. I work on many years’ worth of projects at a time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?

My husband, son and I have great conversations! We love to read and consume media, including movies, video games and many popular cable television shows, and discuss politics, culture, media, art and history as well as personal stuff. I love mountain biking, and there is a 600-acre park, filled with steep little moraines, woods and prairie just three miles down the county road that runs past our house. Granted, it’s not the Sierra Nevadas or Moab, but it’ll do!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of this point in history?

Every artist channels the sum total of their biology and experience, a unique subjecthood at a specific point in history. I am certainly conscious of and interested in this phenomenon, and think my best work synthesizes my favorite aesthetic histories and languages with my thoughts and experiences as a contemporary person.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY: A Visual Artifact, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?

I suppose these two paragraphs, copied below from a recent “Artist’s Statement”, might be a good descriptive introduction: My work of the past 20 years has consisted primarily of allegorical paintings of mutant plants and animals in languishing, overgrown landscape settings or posed as though for classical still life or portraiture. My current interests include examining human impulses, desires, and needs, including pleasure, intoxication, addiction, the erotic, totem, violence, greed, grief, and love. These aspects of human experience and identity, resultant of the interplay of evolutionary biology and culture, find expression in the history of visual culture as well as in the nearly schizoid array of cultural material and commodity in contemporary consumer capital. I combine various tropes from the history of painting, natural history and scientific display, pornography, fashion photography and retail display with narrative allegory, often describing political, social, economic, and emotional phenomena. As a painter, I value the visual, tactile and poetic pleasures of what paint can do and what it’s for: It’s formal and material qualities, its plasticity, and its usefulness in appropriating languages from the history of its use to certain semiotic purposes. My color palette has acquired the Day-Glo intensity of contemporary media landscapes; I revel in its visuality and vulgar seductiveness as much as cast a critical eye. My animals remain allegories of culture as much as avatars of my own psyche, whose expressions engage with the emotionality of daily fears, joys, pleasures, desires and outrages, and whose furs and skins are both tactile and toxic.

 

 

Philip Govedare: Sky Paintings

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

Sky Paintings, a solo show of new work by Philip Govedare opening November 7 and continuing through December 19, 2015.
There will be a conversation with the artist followed by a reception on Saturday November 14 from 2-4 pm.

Artist interview #33: Philip Govedare

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1) How is your process different in the studio compared to when you are out in the landscape?

I spend a lot of time in nature doing a variety of things, always looking for my subject matter and observing qualities of light, form etc. I do drawings from observation on site as a way of understanding and internalizing what I am seeing. My paintings are completed entirely in the studio and are a combination of imagination and memory, but also informed by drawing and the time that I spend in the landscape.

2) In a discussion with students about painting clouds, you asked: “You can’t capture it, so how do you capture the essence of what it is?” How have you approached this in your study, not only of clouds, but also of the fleeting nature of light in the landscape?

Light in the landscape is both fugitive and transformative. It is the essence of spirit and vitality, sets a mood, and in my paintings, is created in large part through color relationships. Through an exhaustive process of testing possibilities with moving paint around on canvas with a brush and palette knife, I arrive at a form or quality of light that is “found” rather than reproduced directly from observation. It is an inefficient process of trial and error, but it relies on knowledge and memory, imagination, and to some degree “the happy accident”.

3) What is the importance of observation, memory and imagination in your practice?

Drawing through observation is a process of selection, and a means to simplify and understand an infinitely complex world. What is left out is as important as that which is recorded, and the imagination plays a role in filling in gaps and making it whole. People sometimes ask me where I get my images, or if I copy photographs (I do not). The assumption is that painting is simply a matter of depicting an established or preconceived idea. My images are found through a seemingly endless process of revision and reconfiguration. A painting comes to life when I make a discovery, and encounter a situation that resonates, and is fresh, visually potent, and provocative.

4) You have mentioned: “skies set the emotional tone” would you expand on that thought?

As a species, I think we are biologically programed to respond to different conditions of weather and light. It is part of human evolution to be sensitive to these qualities since climate and weather have implication for basic survival. A brooding winter sky elicits a very different response than a summer sky with benign puffy white clouds. In my work, skies are less about a literal depiction of an observed phenomenon or place, but are a metaphor and a mirror to an interior landscape of individual consciousness. Serenity or tumult, stasis or upheaval, these are expressed through the transformative qualities of light and atmosphere, the suggestion of precipitation, wind and temperature. They embody the full range of the human emotion that includes hope and foreboding, joy and despair, bravado and frailty, and elicit questions of purpose, mortality and the eternal.

5) In your painting, what does it mean for a given work to succeed?

Matisse said that a painting is finished when anything that the artist adds to the painting detracts from it. In a larger sense, for me a painting should be revelatory, and contain a mystery or reveal some hidden truth. It must have a compelling presence that cannot be reduced to a simple formula or explanation. It should feed the imagination, and provoke a sense of wonder by presenting the familiar in a way that is fresh, challenging and somehow exhilarating.

6) How do you understand form in relation to expression?

I think that painting is all about paying attention, noticing things, and becoming sensitized to the world around us. There is the cliché that learning to paint is learning to see, and I have no doubt that I see the world differently as a consequence of painting. How things are constructed through the manner in which paint is handled (edges, brush work and surface quality, opacity and transparency) lends itself to expression. A particular technique adapts to the demand for expression, and finds a way to translate an experience in the most direct, subtle and complex terms. Ultimately, there is no formula for expression. The mystery of painting is that it is a deeply subjective enterprise, intuitive for both the artist and the spectator.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Sarah Bixler”

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #31: Sarah Bixler”

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I’ve always enjoyed paintings of white objects, in white environments. I was excited to have an excuse to paint one. I also rarely paint from still life, so the change of pace and logistics was a welcome challenge.

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2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I support myself through teaching and odd jobs.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I am still struggling with that identity I think.

4. What are your influences?

I am influenced by so many things, what I am reading, what I am doing… looking at. I think I became an artist (or at least wound up at art school) because it synthesizes so many different disciplines and gives me an excuse to be endlessly curious and to spend my time learning about lots of different things. Some painters I go back to again and again are Edwin Dickinson, Alberto Giacometti, Antonio Lopez Garcia, Anne Gale, Euan Uglow, Frank Auerbach, Villhelm Hammershoi, Seurat’s drawings, Gwen John… Any list feels incomplete. My list is always expanding, and evolving based on whatever problem I am working on.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have converted my dining room into a studio, or accommodated my studio to my dining room… It is not very big… maybe 150 sq ft, the light is South facing from large pane windows. I only belatedly realized how little wall space I have, but I love all the window space. Natural lighting is important to me. The walls are deep burgundy, which I became more and more aware of as I painted my white cup, on its white stand, with all the bounced light.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

My schedule is really unpredictable right now. So, a typical “day” in my studio… I’m not sure I’ve experienced that in a while. I do my best work in the morning so I try to get started early. I am often unsure of what to do first and I find that walking or running can help me sort through my priorities for the day. Once I’m back in my studio I’ll often start by looking at images I’ve collected relating to my project, or by just putting myself in the space, looking at my painting, tidying things up. I almost always listen to music or NPR or podcasts. Lately I’ve spent most of my time on small landscape paintings and studies outside.

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7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I am always working on something. I’ve been doing small gouache paintings and drawings of buildings and scenes outdoors. I think having many things going at once can helps me avoid overworking any one painting and also keeps the process new and exciting. I can try new things and experiment.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Not really… Just paint, and stuff to paint with. I’ve been into edges, I really like having the contrast of a straight edge, so I’ve been fond of tape.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like running, biking and exploring. I enjoy working with my hands, so I’m always falling into new projects. I just took apart my cellphone to install a new screen, which was more involved than I anticipated. I enjoy reading and do a lot of ‘research’ reading, I’d like to read for pleasure more often.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Joe Crookes”

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With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #27: Joe Crookes

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

A good lesson. My first attempt involved a lot of photoshop doodadding. And believe me there is a whole lot of doodads to be had there. But then this was about a white cup not psychedelic concave flying through space… So I went toward cupness until I got an image that felt more interesting and realistic.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I started working on houses just to temporarily support my art habit; thirty years ago. The art mags spread delusions about big money in the field but even those fortunate enough to have a gallery RARELY make it on their work alone. Chihuly is the only one that comes to mind.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It’s a loaded word. One can work as a artist without ever producing art. To say; “I am an artist,” sounds presumptuous. But I guess I first got an inkling at The University while taking graduate level creative writing classes. Certain published teachers recognized a talent in me.

4. What are your influences?

I traded carpentry to Greg Kucera for his commission on a Frank Okada painting hanging in my living room that informs my abstract work. I draw inspiration from different artists for different projects. When I photographed the ironwork erection for both stadiums in Seattle I THOUGHT OF Lewis Hine. When I shot architecture details I might harken to Paul Strand.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have a printer set up overlooking my back yard in Wallingford. Lately I’ve been shooting in South Lake Union because of all the expensive construction and nice building details. I do wish that they used more imagination in their overall designs, but so be it. So outside is my main studio.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I labor without nerd finesse at my photo printer and computer. I am convinced that they make the process more difficult then need be. I personally know a code writer at a start up that did not participate in a revolt against the boss that the other nerds launched by further obfuscating the work so he could not micro manage them. It really does not need to be so difficult to print a good image.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Photography. I am now printing inkjet enlargements of a my long body of fine art work.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Did you know that photo papers are created in a dazzling array? There are dozens of companies that create different papers with unique high quality papers and all they cost is money.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like hanging out with my wife and cat in our little house. We listen to music all day. We particularly enjoy John Galbraith in the morning on KBCS. We have also traveled so far to 25 countries. I’ve been going to art galleries for decades. Anybody remember The Don Scott Gallery or when Gordon Woodside was on Capital Hill? Or The Seattle Art Museum Pavillion that I managed in The Seattle Center. Thinking about memory, remember the perpetual drinking bird popular in the late Fifties? A gimmick bird that would dip his beak up and down into a tiny wet cup until the water dried. Everyone marveled: how does that work! That’s us folks.

"White Cup", 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“White Cup”, 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Brian Blackham”

Featured

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #25: Brian Blackham

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

With interest, I love this idea for a show.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

Yes.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I’m still chasing down the meaning of “Artist”.

4. What are your influences?

This question is so big it brings my brain to a screeching halt. So many things, to sum it up I guess it would be the purity of the result from others.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

340 square feet with high ceilings. I use spot lights and diffused natural light from windows, no skylights.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Bankers hours, speed chess at lunch, tie things up around 6 pm to get home for dinner with my wife and kids. I do listen to music, no tv. I also love silence, maybe half the day.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Preferred medium is oil paint. I go back and forth from working on one at a time to several.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

No, not really, pretty straight forward.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

Spend time with my wife and two kids, lots of walks with them, Church, Chess.

“A Cup”, 2015, oil on panel, 16 x 12″

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Graham Shutt”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #24: Graham Shutt

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How did you respond to the white cup?

I’ve been enthusiastic about Observing Observing since Michael Howard first mentioned the idea for the exhibition to me. I am particularly interested in the transformation an object undergoes during the process of observation. It could be the transformation a cup undergoes as an artist looks at and represents it, but it could also be the transformation a picture of a cup undergoes as an observer looks at the representation of the cup. The transformation is where the making occurs.

Are you a full-time artist? If not how do you support your art?

I’ve worked as a bookseller for the past 15 years. There are benefits to having a day job. The structure it provides helps me focus on my work when I am in the studio.

When did you consider yourself an artist?

I began to consider myself an artist when artists whose opinions I respect began to refer to me as an artist.

What are your influences?

My undergraduate and graduate education in literature undoubtedly continues to influence my work. One way it does so is that the study of literature is, fundamentally, the study of the history and theory of representation. This includes both symbolic and visual representation. I read widely and I look at images from many different periods.

The movements that have been most influential for me are from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They range from Impressionism to Bauhaus. They’re modernist movements. I am particularly interested in the break with pictorial tradition and the rise of abstraction during this period.

Amongst photographers born during the postwar period, Hiroshi Sugimoto has been a big influence. His photographs of conceptual forms, in particular those of mathematical models, showed me that it was possible to make photographs of the kind I imagined.

How big is your studio? What kind of lighting do you have?

I work at home where I am fortunate to have windows which face south. I make good use of the indirect — and, at the right time of the year, the direct — sunlight on my west-facing walls. Natural light functions as a kind of conceptual constraint in my work.

What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio, or TV in your studio?

My day depends upon the task at hand. Because I make use of natural light, I pay attention to the sun’s position in the sky and to the way the sun lights objects in my studio. If I’m making photographs I work when the light is right. Earlier this summer I found myself getting up at 5:30 in the morning to make photographs because there was nice light in one of my rooms. For much of the year late afternoon is my most productive time. If I’m developing photographs I work whenever I can. The same holds true for making prints. In general I prefer quiet.

What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I make photographs with a digital 35mm camera and an inkjet printer. I would like to work with a large format camera and develop film and make prints in a traditional darkroom but that is not an option at the moment. However, there are advantages to working in a digital medium. Doing so allows me to experiment in ways working with film would make difficult. I tend to work on one series of photographs at a time.

Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or processes that you use in your art making?

Observation is, of course, central to my work, but my process also involves reading and writing, drawing, making paper constructions and, because I’m interested in combinations, permutations, and production systems, writing computer programs.

What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I go for long walks whenever I can.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Kathy Liao”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #23: Kathy Liao

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1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

Charles Hawthrone, on the subject of Still Life, quoted “There is nothing in the world so helpful to a young painter as a study of white, if he will but be honest.” I was very excited when I found out the theme was “the white cup.” One of the assignments I gave to my painting students was to paint a white cup or object. The parameter was to only paint with neutral tones mixed out of primary colors

Kathy Liao Demo for "Color for Painters" class at Gage Academy, Seattle, WA

Kathy Liao Demo for “Color for Painters” class at Gage Academy, Seattle, WA

The exercise was always a challenge for the students, and they either loved it or hated it. However, this assignment was usually an eye opener for the students. It not only demanded the students to discern warm and cool temperatures of color, but also challenged them to really see the infinite colors perceived within a deceivingly simple white object against a white background. Observation is KEY. When I started out to tackle this theme, I was drunk off of an art-viewing high from having visited the In the Studio exhibition, curated by John Elderfield at the Gagosian in New York. The exhibit highlighted works by the pantheon of masters, including Thomas Eakins, Jean-Leon Gerome, Matisse, Braque, Picasso, Giacometti, using their studio as a point of departure for their work. I marveled at the incredible daylight commanding its way into Matisse little attic studio in L’Atelier sous les toits and the colors that were teased out of the shadows of the dark studio. In Diebenkorn’s, Untitled (Studio Interior), with his detached but brutally honest observation of the observed composition in front of him, Diebenkorn painted a folding chair in front of a wall with his own works on paper. I loved the playfulness and the scrutiny in which painters responded to their inspirations and the legacy it implied. In Larry River’s The Wall, the viewers could tease out Vuillard, Picasso, and an upside-down Matisse poster. Braque’s Atelier VIII is a lyrical composite of the cornucopia of objects in his studio. The artists’ works were honest and direct responses to their environment.

Using the white cup as the protagonist, I completed a series of studies and paintings during my residency at the Brushcreek Ranch Art Foundation. The white cup, very much like the artist (myself), was influenced by and altered in response to its surrounding. The nature of the white porcelain picked up and distorted the color, the light and shadow, and the geometry of its surrounding. The name of the game was to record its brilliant mirage and, in turn, how it transformed the space in which it occupied. I had a lot of fun taking the cup for a “walk” around the studio. I was allowed to observe my studio environment from a new perspective, through the scale and the reflection of the little white cup.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I am currently teaching at Missouri Western State University as an Assistant Professor. I am lucky because I absolutely love teaching.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

When I realized most of the decisions I make in life, from taking up that first part-time jobs out of school, the teaching gigs, the places I travel and move to, the books and objects I buy, to every whim and curiosity I follow and pursue, are all for that next ten thousand works I’ll be making. Everything I do, I realized, is to allow me to continue to make work, to never stop doing what I’m doing now.

4. What are your influences?

Most recently, see 1. Otherwise countless to name.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I was fortunate to have a studio/office provided by the university. Tall ceiling and a window view. I could always use a bigger studio, but I’m making this home now.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Music, audiobooks, NPR. I need background noises to get me going. I teach a lot so time management is key. If I were lucky, I could squeeze in 6-8 hours in the studio on a busy week. Of course, there are the burst of productivity and sleep deprived weeks before a show deadline. But honestly, I am most productive at artist residency, with an uninterrupted period of time to work.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Yes, I work on several paintings at the same time. I also like to work in different mediums. I would often start with a painting or a drawing, hash out ideas and variations through printmaking, which might branch off to completely new projects.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I love working with and thinking through collage. It allows me to focus on shapes, colors, texture, and the existing but unexpected marks of found and pre-made materials. The process removes me from “painting” the named object, and allow me to simply observe and record what is in front me, one shaped piece at a time.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I will admit, between teaching and studio practice, this last year (my first year at a full-time teaching position), I had no life whatsoever. I hope this next will be better. I recently moved to Kansas City and I’m hoping to dive into the art scene there. Other than that, I do travel a lot, for work and for pleasure.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Bill Sharp”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #22: Bill Sharp

Bill Sharp in studio 8-15

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

I took the idea of painting a white cup as an opportunity to explore different approaches to the subject. I did several paintings and drawings using different media and methods of image making.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I was a full time artist until my wife and I had children. I’ve worked at several jobs to support my family, over the years. For most of my life, I’ve really considered myself to be working two full time jobs, with painting as one of them. My daughters are grown and on their own now and my wife passed away a couple of years ago so I’ve been thinking of returning to full time painting. I currently work for a High Tech firm to support myself but will be retiring in the next couple of months and focus on painting.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

I have always drawn and made things and have struggled some with defining myself as an artist because I’ve had to work to support my family. I didn’t like feeling like I was dabbling in painting so I made an effort to stop making art altogether, at one point. However I couldn’t stop thinking about painting and began carrying a sketchbook to doodle in. My sketching addiction drew me back into oil painting. Through all of this, I’ve always felt that I’m an artist at my core but I’ve tried to avoid getting caught up in definitions and just focus on making art.

4. What are your influences?

My influences have changed a lot, over time. Among my current inspirations are Edward Seago, Edwin Dickinson, Fred Cuming, George Innes, George Bellows. Manet, Van Gogh, Vuillard have also been influences. In my college years, I loved Francis Bacon, Nathan Oliviera and still admire Lucien Freud and, of course, Richard Diebenkorn. Contemporary painters I admire include Jenny Saville, Ann Gale, Jordan Wolfson and a group of painters who are associated with PAFA, including Alex Kanevsky, Christine LaFuente, Stuart Shils, Jon Redmond. There are many more I could list. I spent a month, last summer, studying at the Jerusalem Studio School in Civita Castellana, Italy which also had a strong impact on how I paint and think about painting.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

My studio is in a converted 2 car garage. It’s slightly less than 400 sq feet. I have 2 skylights and also use track lighting and clip-ons with color corrected compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

Since I work from home, I have my work computer in the studio. As I have free time from my day job, I sneak some painting time in. On a typical day, I get up, feed my dogs and take them out to the garden while coffee brews. I pour a cup and the dogs and I then go to the studio and spend most days there, whether I’m actively painting or not. I spend a lot more time looking and thinking than applying paint. I often listen to music but never watch TV. Since my day job requires that I have a laptop on all the time, I have a computer in the studio, which can be a distraction but is very valuable for playing with source material, email, etc. Once I retire, I may remove internet access from the studio.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

I prefer to paint in oil but also use watercolor, graphite, gouache and whatever else my hand finds. I try to have a few paintings in progress at a time. Since I often paint indirectly, I want to have something to work on while a paint layer dries on other pieces.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

I’m interested in mark making and experiment a lot with different tools. I will try anything I find that I think might make a different kind of mark. Although I enjoy painting plein air, I don’t think of the work I do outside as finished pieces. I usually bring them back into the studio to use as references or starting points for studio work.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I love music and, although I don’t play well, I keep a guitar in the studio. I like to hike and bike and travel with watercolors and sketchbooks. As I suspect is true for many artists, I’ve made a living in many interesting ways including cooking in restaurants and working as a landscape contractor. I still enjoy cooking and have a big garden. Although I don’t currently volunteer, I have done volunteer work for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Nature Conservancy and Children’s Healing Art Project. I hope to include volunteering in my life again soon.