Things That Kill- Ellen Garvens

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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 #52: Ellen Garvens

eg studio

1. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I am a professor of Art at the University of Washington. That is how I make my living.

2. When did you consider yourself an artist?
I remember students calling themselves artists in College and I felt like I hadn’t earned the title yet. However, I did know at the time that I had found a commitment that was likely to be for life. So in reality, though it sounded pretentious at the time, I did see myself as fitting the label of an artist in my early 20’s in college.

3. What are your influences?
It depends on the series. I find myself looking at other work in Painting, Drawing and in Sculpture perhaps more than in photography for many of my series. I am interested in materials, process and accumulation in a way that fits those mediums. For the recent video work I am noticing things around me, specifically how things move in new ways. Mundane things in my immediate environment have become my inspiration.

4. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?
I moved my studio from our basement to an empty bedroom with natural light several years ago. I was about to paint the walls white but instead started the series I am still doing now using the overly push pinned, fingerprinted walls. The aftermath of childhood activity in this room for 18 years forms the backdrop and inspiration for this series. It is tiny – only 10 x 10 feet square!

5. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?
My activity is pretty quiet. I am lost in thought, moving things around, setting up different cameras and points of view. I also spend time on the computer processing images and then going back to the set ups with different ideas to try. With the video work I can lose a whole day trying to get an effect to happen with the sequence because I am a novice and learning the video editing software as I go.

6. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I go back and forth between the stills and the videos often getting inspiration from one that leads to the other.

7. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?
No, but I do find that the best work is often “found” not created. That is, while I am trying to do one arrangement, another inadvertent juxtaposition happens. The aftermath of props from one idea can insinuate itself into the next set-up and add the unexpected. I am also drawn to “stupid” materials. Materials that look awkward, like a failed science experiment, but become about process, resourcefulness and humility.

8. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?
I have a family. Those three things, family, job and art, are more than I can handle already!

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?
I have chosen to include objects that can kill somewhere in my still lives. I wouldn’t have normally incorporated these things but enjoyed their potential to blend with the other materials.

10. How did you approach the subject matter?
It was a fun challenge. I made a list of things that I wanted to consider. I did some internet research too. The flypaper I thought would be interesting for its dangling shape and golden color. (I also found out that there is a case where someone used the arsenic in flypaper to kill someone!) The drapery cords were something I only became aware of as a new mother. Filled with warnings about strangulation, I cut my cords so short I needed a stool to reach them afterwards. With the image called Poison I was noticing how beautiful hydrangeas are, wanting to photograph them and finding out that they are one of the most poisonous plants to consume.

11. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
I was able to borrow a room at the University of Washington larger than my studio to shoot these images. With it I had access to a huge ladder and towering perspective I couldn’t achieve in my small studio. That additional height allowed an extended sense of space in the Flypaper image I am continuing to experiment with.

 

Things That Kill- Graham Shutt

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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 #24 Part 2: Graham Shutt

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1. In what way is you work a reflection of the theme “Things That Kill?”
If my photograph, The New / Oxford / Annotated / Bible // with the / Apocrypha // Expanded / Edition // Revised / Standard / Version // An Ecumenical / Study Bible // Oxford (2016), reflects the theme “Things That Kill,” it does so indirectly as I’ll attempt to explain below.

2. Is your work for this show in line with or an exception to your usual way of working?
Norman Lundin remarks in his curator’s comment for the current exhibition, “In our last thematic show, Observing Observing (a white cup), the content . . . was essentially emotionally neutral, devoid of psychological associations. . . . In Things That Kill, because of all the psychological associations, the content is the polar opposite of the ‘white cup.’ It is this red button content that is challenging.”

Because my photographs tend to be about processes rather than representations of identifiable subject matter with which one associates specific emotions, I found it helpful to interpret the prompts for both the previous exhibition and the current one in a slightly different manner. Rather than focusing on the emotional valence of the subject matter, I found I could think of Observing Observing as being about form and Things That Kill as being about content. My task, then, was to represent form in the case of Observing Observing and to represent content in the case of Things That Kill.

3. How did you approach the subject matter?
For Things That Kill I had thought to begin by photographing the text of the passage in Plato’s dialogue Apology of Socrates in which Socrates recounts the accusations brought against him by Meletus, that he is “guilty of corrupting the minds of the young, and of believing in supernatural things of his own invention instead of the gods recognized by the State” (24b – c). As we know, the jury finds Socrates guilty of all three charges and, in a separate vote, sentences him to death. As I worked I became interested in the books I was photographing. I decided to make a book rather than a text my subject.

4. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in Things That Kill ?
Even though I use a DSLR, a raster graphics editor, and an inkjet printer to make photographs, I nevertheless do as much work as I can in the camera. The principles of “straight” photography, first expounded by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and the other members of Group f.64, still hold true today.

shutt_new-oxford_2016_archival-inkjet-print_18x12_web

“The New Oxford Annotated Bible / With the Apocrypha / Expanded Edition / Revised Standard Version / An Ecumenical Study Bible / Oxford”, 2016, archival inkjet print, 18 x 12″

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- Caroline Kapp

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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 #29 Part 2: Caroline Kapp

Kapp_Photo_In_Studio-1

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?
Working within a theme is a natural way of working for me, whether it’s a single image idea or larger concept for a series. I generally start everything with sketches, but looking back at the initial concept work for this show, I started with written words and scenarios. Things like ‘ways to be killed’ and ‘things that can die’. This led to more words, ‘suffocation’ ‘buried’ ‘canned’ then concepts like what we find ourselves living up to, or what can break us down, air and breath. Those led to more ideas about what doesn’t kill, what lives and thrives. The sketched images emerged out of those words and concepts. So the process for creating the ideas for this theme was a little different because of the words and scenarios I considered before the sketches that dissected ideas surrounding ‘things’ and ‘kill’ independently of each other as well as together.

Kapp_KillSketches

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
The subject matter came directly from the sketch concepts, so all of it had to be gathered and staged in different ways, and that’s not unusual in my approach. Some of the objects I worked with for this show required some unusual manipulation or arrangement though, like ‘Consumed’ with the empty cellulose capsules that had to be melted layer by layer with warm water around a straw to form the shape. It took about 6 days to fully dry, and by then it had started decomposing which was fascinating to watch. This theme pushed the need to transform the subject matter more than usual. There was a lot of waiting and gritting of teeth waiting for something to collapse, wilt, pop or explode before actually capturing the imagery or even setting things up.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work in “Things that Kill”?
The title struck me as menacing when I first heard it, and the show theme really made its way into my subconscious. I think that’s a good thing to happen in any theme or series-based work, but it surprised me; for a while, every article and book I read, every site I looked at, every commute and trip to the grocery store began to relate to killing or surviving – food, work situations, basic needs, power struggles, medicine, health and physical deterioration of all types. This theme definitely led to working with a few new materials and techniques to explore different ways to realize the ideas in relation to the theme – materials that are impermanent, techniques that are not lightfast, things that are really fragile and can break up, fog or deteriorate easily.

 

Things That Kill- Fred Birchman

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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 #6 Part 3: Fred Birchman

FB_Studio_0816

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?
All of the objects are quite literally and obviously, “Things That Kill”. This was definitely not a stretch for me or outside my usual way of working in that I started with a kernel of an idea and riffed on it. It is a bit unusual for me to work thematically, but not too much of a stretch.

2. How did you approach the subject matter?
I took the theme (or the “objects” of the theme) and used them as a basis for the work. For “Overture”, I took the trappings of targets and target shooting and used those elements as an abstraction of sorts, hopefully subjugating the loaded (no pun intended) content. Same for “Hatchet Job”. An axe handle and blade are quite beautiful as objects by themselves and by detaching the pieces, that is a bit more evident. It’s probably no accident that a person could read certain things into the separated objects, such as the detachment of the head from the “heart”, but I view that as an ok subliminal response. Icing on the cake, if you will.

3. Are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight to a new viewer about your work  in “Things that Kill”?
I used to work as an illustrator for my day job and working with themes and content were a given. Conversely, I usually resist narrative or story telling with my studio (fine art) work. That’s hard to do when working with such charged content.

One thing I should admit is that, “Witness” was really Norman’s idea. He was responding to the wrecking balls that I have in many of my current drawings and he suggested I use that. My normal response is to immediately reject that kind of advice, but somehow it stuck and I like what turned out.

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

Riva-3

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

jholl.studio (1)

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.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- F. Scott Hess

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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 #48: F. Scott Hess

PaintnWave

1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
At various times in my career I’ve had some quite ridiculous studio spaces, like a flat in Vienna where I shared the hall toilet with the old lady next door, or small shacks at two different residences once I moved to Los Angeles. Now I paint in the garage, which seems quite spacious. I get studio envy easily because I’ve never put much effort into where I paint. I see some other artists with spectacular spaces and wish I had that, but have never found it necessary in the creation of my work. I think that is because when painting my head just goes into that image space, and I don’t pay any attention to my surroundings. The lighting has to be good, however I don’t require natural light, just bright and neither too cool or too warm. I also listen to music or books while I work. It is a good time to catch up with the classics of both.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I don’t need motivation to get into the studio. I’ve been quite prolific over the course of my career. Painting is what I want to do to most, so there is no special effort required. When I was younger I painted from about 9AM into the night, but once I had kids I usually knocked-off at 6PM. Even though the kids are now grown I still stop at six unless I’m under a deadline or just really pushing to finish something.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
Oil paint is the medium I am most at ease with. In college, and a couple of years after, I was just doing drawings and etchings, When I learned to paint (it took at least two years to do it adequately well) I loved the speed of application, the intense color, the variety of brush strokes, and the surface of the paint. I continue to do sketches and life drawing as important means of study, and I do finished drawings when someone asks me to take part in a drawing exhibition, but otherwise my energies are directed towards oil painting. Usually I work on only one piece at a time because I find that most efficient. In my Paternal Suit project I often had ten or more pieces going at once, and that slowed down progress on the whole series.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Except for art related interests, I’m probably a very boring person. I’d rather be painting than socializing, going out to eat, or seeing a movie. I enjoy hanging out with fellow representational painters the most, as we all have a common interest that consumes us. I have enjoyed traveling with my family, preferring places where we can spend an extended amount of time, like five-weeks north of Rome, a couple of summers in a small village in Greece, or a year in Iran. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in museums all over the world, especially when I was younger, and still enjoy seeing great painting as much as anything out of the studio. My wife and I have always enjoyed hiking in nature, and take two or three long walks a week in our local Griffith Park.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
With all of our screen devices that cascade thousands of images before one’s eyeballs everyday, there isn’t a more traditional method of creation than that of applying colored mud to a woven surface and producing an image meant to be stared at for hours if not years. Mankind has been painting for 40,000 years, so I come from a long history of mud daubers.

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?
Transfiguration grew out of a decision my wife made to have the giant rubber tree in our front yard cut down. She was sick of the continuous rain of brown leaves and a root system that invaded the whole neighborhood, but I saw the tree as the most beautiful thing on our property (it sure wasn’t the house). When it came down it felt like a violation ecologically, aesthetically, and personally. Of course, there are wonderful Freudian implications there as well, and so I painted an image with the two of us, a tree coming down behind the houses, and my arms out-stretched in Christ-like identification with its truncated form.

Studio Drama has two sides of the artist at work, the expressive and the critical. You need both of these to make art that is any good. You start in an inspired state, expressing a vision you have as best you can, fluidly and ‘in the zone,’ as they say. But this is a good way to churn out crap as well, so your inner critic has to step-in, take a look at what has been done, and say, “This shirt is the wrong color, that gal’s nose is off-center, this figure has big hands, and the whole composition has to move left three inches.” It is a back-and-forth collaboration between two diametrically opposed individuals. It sort of resembles the US Congress. I’m amazed I ever get anything done.