IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative- Tim Lowly

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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 #57: Tim Lowly

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Tim Lowly, photograph by Ben Scott-Brandt (2016)

1. What is your ideal working environment?
I like to work in a meditative space. Ironically, that space might be a public space: as artist-in-residence at North Park University I have on occasion worked in public contexts such as the gallery or the library. I love to listen to music while I’m working: usually of the contemplative sort (a favorite being Arvo Pärt’s “Alina). Light from over the left shoulder.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio?
An upcoming exhibition. Nothing is more motivating.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I primarily work with Golden’s matte acrylics. After many years of working with egg-oil emulsion tempera I moved to matte acrylic as a medium I could handle more aggressively and adventurously.
I often have multiple projects en route conceptually, but usually focus on making them one at time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Teaching and curating (primarily as a professor at North Park University) are more than my primary sources of income: they are a great joy. Writing and performing music is a serious secondary pursuit.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I’m very interested in art as a way of deeply engaging the great community of artists, both present and past. Most of my works are in conversation with another artist’s work.

6. 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?
“Study for Shore” is a study for a large work (imagine it being ten feet tall). In preparing this work I invited Chicago artist Maya Durham into a conversation about what the work might be. Her contribution–the upper portions of the piece, depicting fossilized shells–could be a shore or the sky. In the lower half my daughter Temma is seen from above, partially in shadow, looking off to the right. The overwhelming tactility of her hair suggests our intimate presence, but the shadow and her gaze elsewhere questions that relationship. The fossilized shells unmoor the idea of time and scale within the work.
(In developing this work I found particular inspiration in Antonio Lopez Garcia’s, “Woman on the Beach”.)

“Trying to Get a Sense of Scale” – This painting appears to depict a painting or photograph leaning against the wall of a room. The size of the work within a work is unclear. The picture within depicts a woman leaning over an unseen figure on a couch. In the foreground is a wheelchair.

The woman is my wife Sherrie and she is assessing how to pick up our daughter Temma (which is not a light matter!). The reflection on this action / event and it’s depiction as a picture (of indeterminate size) in a picture is intended to function as a metaphor for the task of assessing the scale of a life.

(Art I was thinking about in conversation with this work: Robert Gober’s leaning door in his 1988 installation at the ICA in Boston and the image construction strategies of Michaël Borremans.)

“Tilt / Iron” (currently in progress) is another study for a large painting. The subtle trapezoidal shape of the work alludes to a rectangular work leaning against a wall (as in “Trying to Get a Sense of Scale”). As the title suggests the color / texture of the work intentionally references rusty iron plate, pointing specifically to the large-scale iron works of Richard Serra. Again the subject of the work is my daughter Temma who in reality exists in utter contrast to the grand scaled machismo of Serra’s works. In the painting Temma lies in bed, with her back to the viewer as she faces a window. The possibility of a portal within the painting is complicated by the window’s overwhelming light: suggesting, perhaps, that this woman has access to something beyond our comprehension or power.

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“Study for Shore”, Tim Lowly with Maya Durham, 2016, mixed process drawing, 37″ x 29″

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“Trying to Get a Sense of Scale”, 2012, acrylic on panel, 21″ x 18″

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

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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″

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“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- 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- 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- Judy Nimtz

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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 #47: Judy Nimtz- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
I work best in a clean, organized studio.  I prefer natural, indirect light but I don’t only work during the day so I’ve figured out how to position my studio lighting to augment and replicate natural light enough for me to work when it’s dark.  Unless I’m painting plein-air I almost always have music playing — it serves two purposes and is very important – 1) if there is a certain mood I’m trying to convey or that I want to be in while I’m working I’ll make sure I listen to the appropriate music or audio books, and 2) when it’s silent my mind wanders too much to things not pertaining to art such as paying bills.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I’m most productive in the mornings and daytime.  I try to end my painting work day by dinner, but when necessary I’ll paint anytime really.  Whenever I do a new photo shoot I’m reinvigorated and can’t wait to get into the studio.

3. What is your preferred medium?  Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I primarily work in oils.  I’m usually working on more than one painting at a time and also smaller studies in preparation for future paintings.  Because of this I make extensive notes on each painting to help me keep track of what I’m doing on the different paintings.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Spend time with my husband, who is also an artist.  Physical fitness and health is important to me in general and painting can be fairly physical at times so I try to keep myself strong.  I love watching movies and discussing them, reading, cooking, having a glass of wine with friends, spending time in the yard.  My husband and I travel quite a bit, usually turning each trip into a painting adventure!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I consider myself a fairly traditional oil painter and my methods traditional too.  I’ve actively sought out historical pigments (lead tin yellow, vermillion, lead white) but am also not a slave to the idea of using only them — one of the main pigments for my figures is cobalt violet.  I build up my flesh colors in indirect, transparent layers, which is a method used for centuries.

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?
As I’m answering this question I’m thinking about through lines connecting early influences with my current work.  I’m a hapa haole (half Asian and half Caucasian) raised in Hawai’i by my Chinese mother.  I am of two cultures—I grew up with Chinese art at home and fell in love with Victorian literature.  I find there is a similarity between the sacrifices in Chinese heroic stories and the sacrifices of the social norms of Victorian society. The stories of Jane Austen and Emily Brontë influenced me as a youth, evoking the windy, stormy, grey moors of England.  I’m drawn to these themes of heart-crushing personal sacrifice and loss–quiet, unseen strength–in all art forms: music, literature, film, art.

Though my work is not narrative, these underlying ideas of contemplative resilience swirl around me as I work.  I let them infuse my mindset while composing and executing my paintings.

I do my photo shoots on bright sunny days, with my figures on lava rock in Hawai’i or on rocks here in Southern California.  The nature of Hawaiian lava rock, which is both very hard and a viscous liquid, parallels how I think of the figures in my paintings.  Often dancers, they are graceful and fleshy but also strong and marblesque.  Above all else, I love painting the figure.  I love the feeling of my brush sculpting the forms on the panel, the drag of the paint revealing the muscles and flesh.

Compositionally the environments have been stripped down to simply a figure on bare rock.  This distils the image to the essentials of the moment.  I now see the early influence of the Chinese calligraphy and landscapes scrolls in my childhood house.  These spare compositions meld with my love of the tight vertical framing of Byzantine altarpieces and the 19th century Victorian painters such as Albert Moore.

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Kenny Harris

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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 #45: Kenny Harris- Part 2

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
Ideal? An overcast day in an ancient interior with tall windows and interesting shapes. In Europe. With a cafe downstairs. And etherial music drifting through the plaster passages. That would be ideal.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
Two strong coffees, they help me get motivated. Ever since living in Italy I associate coffee with art. I’m afraid I’m stuck with it. Sometimes I’ll listen to NPR but that gets pretty depressing these days. Podcasts are preferable. Electronic music can keep me floating along too.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I work in oils, alternating between panel and canvas depending on my current investigations. I usually have several paintings going at once, but at some point I’ll focus in to finish individual works as the last push often takes a lot of effort.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Well, travel is very important, so my wife Judy and I do that a lot—gathering inspiration. I like to play beach volleyball in Venice and Santa Monica, and jump in the ocean when I can!

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
My method is to work up compositions from studies and sketches based on observation and photography. The tradition of doing oil sketches is something I have always loved, and I’m enthralled when I look at small Tiepolo or Rubens oil sketches—visual thinking playing out in front of your eyes. So, I use this in my work to figure out my path forward.

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?
The small still lives are part of an ongoing series of still lives playing with local color to set off the objects, bringing a graphic formality to picture plane. I love the reflective quality of spaces, and I’m bringing that into these objects, playing up the ambiguity between the object and background. The large cityscape is a slight departure for me in two ways: One, I’m embracing the panoramic qualities of the iPhone—not hiding the fascinating distortion that is a telltale artifact of the ‘Panorama’ setting. Two, I’ve begun playing with wiping and squeegeeing paint to emulate atmospheric conditions, like rain. I am enjoying this investigation very much.