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

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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?
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.

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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- Riva Lehrer

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Things That Kill curated by Norman Lundin

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

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

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

Artist Interview #51: Riva Lehrer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things That Kill- Jim Holl

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

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

Artist Interview #50: Jim Holl

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

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

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

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

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

My studio lighting is mixed, mainly tungsten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

IDENTITY Method: Degrees of Separation- Ira Korman

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

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

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

Artist interview #49: Ira Korman

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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- 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- Robert Schultz

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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 #46: Robert Schultz

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1. What is your ideal working environment? – space, music, lighting, etc.
My ideal working environment is my studio. I’ve been up there for 35 years. It’s very Spartan but has just what I need. It’s has great outdoor and interior light. When I’m working on ideas I don’t listen to anything. But once I’m working on a drawing I listen to classical music but I mainly listen to books on tape. A great way to discover new writers.
My studio is located on the hip street in Madison Wisconsin. State Street. It is all the funky shops and restaurants between the university in the state capital. Every time I walk up and get to my studio it feels as if I’ve gone into my “tree fort”

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio? – after morning news? coffee? after family is asleep at night?
I have always been very motivated and disciplined. I get to the studio anywhere between 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock in the morning. I try to put in at least eight hours at the drawing board each day. That way I still have time to go home, workout spend time with my kids and family. I always try to shoot for 35 to 40 hours a week in the studio.

By the end of each day I can hardly wait to get up and draw the next day. But, when I wake up that motivation has vanished and that’s when the discipline takes over. Once I’m in the studio, looking at the drawing, sharpening my first pencil I’m back into it for the next eight hours -happy and lucky to be there

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
My preferred medium is graphite pencil. All my finished drawings are graphite pencil – I use a Faber Castell 9000 series. I find it the most consistent pencil out there.
I do all my preliminary drawings, with the model, using the prisma color very thin Tuscan red or dark Umbra pencil.

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Over the last two years I have been doing primarily silverpoint drawings on gessoed hardboard. It’s a bit of a diversion from what I’ve been doing and I feel like it fits me very well.

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I only work on one piece at a time. I may keep my mind open for the next piece but I really try to focus on it until it is done. Usually the last week or two before I finish a drawing my mind is already looking towards that next image.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
My activities outside the studio really revolve around my wife and our twins. We have a great time together! With my wife owning a floral business and me being an artist we put a lot of our creativity into our home.

Both our kids are very creative, one is a gifted young artist and writer and the other is a future filmmaker.One more year of high school and then – off to college:-(.
We love traveling, good food, movies and theater. Each summer we go out to Cape Cod for a few weeks.

We’re very active family, we spent a lot of time working out in our home gym, walking out in the countryside and playing racquetball.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I guess I work in a very traditional way, but yet, handle it in a very personal and unique way after 40 years of continually working at my art. I’ve learned from some excellent masters and have then developed a working method and style that is all mine.

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 try to give the viewer an insight to the person I’m drawing, catching a moment in time. I spend a lot of time trying to create a strong composition with good abstract shapes and a lot of movement. When working in black-and-white you’re basically designing and balancing the page in value.

My work is narrative but the narrative is not specific. I want to bring the viewer in and let them create their own narrative.

I really love to draw. When I’m drawing the world always feels “right”! It always makes me feel very fortunate to have this talent and career.

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.