Imagine standing in a landscape. Look at your feet. Look out into the distance. Can you smell the ground and feel the air? Are you struck by the immensity of the land? Entering one of Dganit Zauberman’s thickly painted, imagined vistas and landscapes, evokes visceral sensations and psychological moods typically elicited by an epic journey into the outdoors.
Dganit’s paintings are constructed with dried scraps of paint interspersed with traditional painting techniques, creating a dense physicality that simultaneously builds surface and mood. The paintings are a world of their own, exuding a tension between surface and tacit viscerality unrelated to size or scale. For example, her painting, Eventide, oil on canvas, 10 x 10 inches, 2019, on exhibit at 440 Gallery this summer, provokes a tremendous, deeply felt response disproportionate to its size.
Eventide is an imagined landscape that packs a monumental view and a host of strong sensations into its small surface. The thick, dense foreground, constructed of scrap paint, is reminiscent of earth or soil. Standing in front of this dark, abstract surface, one can smell parched soil and feel the land beneath their feet. This gives way to a far-off middle ground that is accessed from the left, lower corner. Here, we are confronted with green and gray spaces that in all of their ambiguity harken a moist, more fertile expanse of valley situated in this barren landscape. The middle ground gives way to a mountainous, charcoal-colored horizon line that meets a glowing yellow light reminiscent of daybreak. The physical nature of this painting leaves one with a real sense of how these spaces and the air not only look, but feel and smell. We are reminded of places real and imagined
Torrent, oil on canvas, 22 x 60 inches, 2019 is featured in the spring edition of Philadelphia Stories. Torrent intimately pulls us into the sensorial nature of water as it moves over and relates to earth. A heavy, densely filled sky meets an area of rushing water that cascades into a reservoir or lake and trickles into the thickly painted foreground. Moving forward and backward in the painting, we feel the water move as it interacts with rock, mountain, and basin before finally coming to rest in the damp foreground. We can feel the coolness of the water and a chill in the air. From a distance we see water, rock, land, and sky that dissolves into chunks, dabs, and strokes of paint as we move in closer to the painting. This uncanny force between physicality, sensation, and abstraction is linked to a long, historical tradition that includes artists such as Joseph Mallord William Turner, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Claude Monet, and Anselm Kiefer.
Dganit’s interest in the land spans back to her childhood upbringing on a Kibbutz in her native Israel. Her paintings are built from her interactions with the land, its history, emotion, and memory as she responds to the process of painting itself. She is a multi-disciplinary artist who also works with drawing, sculpture, photography, and sewing. Dganit moved to the United States in 1992.
Dganit Zauberman studied art at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with Honors from the University of the Arts in 2008 and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from PAFA in 2011. This summer you can see Dganit’s paintings at 440 Gallery in New York City. Dganit exhibits her paintings throughout the United States and works in her studio at Erector Square in New Haven, Connecticut. You can read Dganit’s feature in Philadelphia Stories and learn more about her work at dganitzauberman.com or Inliquid.com.
I’m thrilled to announce that paintings from my “Current Series” will be on exhibit in “The Universe, How Vast, How Small.” Please join us for the opening reception tomorrow night. For more information, press release and information from Greenpoint Gallery Night is printed below.
Greenpoint Gallery Night
April 19th, 2019 • 6-9pm
Free & open to the public: The 14th edition of Greenpoint Gallery Night, a twice-a-year gallery crawl highlighting exhibition spaces throughout Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Select neighborhood galleries and businesses that feature art will be participating on Friday, April 19th, from 6-9pm. Come join us in celebrating the diverse and unique art scene in this corner of Brooklyn.
Some highlights include:
"The Universe, How Vast, How Small", a group exhibition at Areté featuring Caroline Blum, Paula Cahill, Goldie Gross, Jeong Hur, Joe Piscopia and Katrina Slavik, & curated by Fay Ku; recent mixed media works by Upstate-based artist Gail Peachin at Dandelion Wine; G-Spot Presents: "What Time Is It?", a group show celebrating 4/20 at Brooklyn Safehouse; Calico has new works by featured artist, Steph Becker; Plexus Projects presents "Vitrine", the first in a series of video projections in its storefront window viewed from the street - curated by artist Laura Splan; Opening reception at Yashar Gallery for "Crochet Luminaries", a solo exhibition of recent works by Taryn Urushido inspired by a mix of Japanese lanterns and paper bag luminaries ...and more!
Visit www.greenpointgalleries.org for more information.
Participating locations for 4/19 include:
Areté Venue and Gallery - 67 West St suite 103
Brouwerij Lane - 78 Greenpoint Ave
Calico Brooklyn - 67 West St suite 203
Dandelion Wine - 153 Franklin St
Dusty Rose - 67 West St suite 216
G-Spot popup @ Brooklyn Safehouse - 120 Franklin St
Imagic Studio - 937 Manhattan Ave
Plexus Projects - 198 Greenpoint Ave
Yashar Gallery - 276 Greenpoint Ave
Afterparty at The Diamond (43 Franklin St) beginning at 9pm with happy hour specials extended 9pm-11pm!
Click map below to open a custom Google Map of participating locations:
See you then!
Scott Chasse, Organizer
Andrea Caldarise’s paintings, difficult to categorize, exist at an intersection between collective memory and public space, an intersection that negates any sort of clear-cut autobiographical narrative or interpretation as a specific landscape. Instead, one traverses the paintings as if moving through an irresolute and uncanny situation, the experience taking on something larger than the destination or the painting itself. This experience moves us closer to an accumulation of historical events and points of view that can’t quite be defined, but are universally and collectively sensed. Andrea chooses to paint spaces she has visited repeatedly, revising her memories and interpretations of the location through time. Things get really interesting when Andrea begins to research a public space and incorporate memories of things that she has heard or failed to hear about each location.
For example, Andrea’s painting, After Sargent, at the Luxembourg gardens, is a compilation of experiences of walking through the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France, alongside childhood memories of studying John Singer Sargent’s painting, In The Luxembourg Gardens (1879), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She thoughtfully combined Sargent’s painted commentary with historical research about proposed plans for the gardens, including the placement of garden architecture and plants to curate a manicured environment and the designers’ intentions to circulate people and air throughout the city’s public space. In fact, energy and movement through a historied public park are a paramount theme in After Sargent, at the Luxembourg gardens, along with Andrea’s feeling of simultaneously experiencing the gardens as both a memory and a new place. Andrea also took note of what Sargent didn’t say in his painting, specifically leaving out a building to effectively move us through the painting again and again.
We sense movement in Sargent’s painting through the figures walking along a promenade set against the horizon of the park’s landscape. In After Sargent, at the Luxembourg gardens, Andrea encapsulates the memory and history ofwandering as the subject. Any sense of horizon has been removed. Land, water, and botanical forms gesture as we walk through the painting and sense air circulating along with energy, stirring a familiar feeling.
Next, Andrea pointed to a painting she titled If you are qualified to assist, tell them, a gritty piece with an empty, charred trash can in the lower right corner and a small, dark tree near the center. A black trail runs through the painting diagonally, and a large tree looms with black leaves while orange, fire-like brush strokes punctuate the left side. The ground swirls around these forms in shades of green and yellow. This piece takes on a sublime mood as it references the history of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park along with Andrea’s diverse experiences there, including the discovery of mysterious contents in a trash can at the park. Police were summoned and the area was caution-taped off, creating quite a scene that was never resolved, nothing in the news - just another disturbing and peculiar moment passing through the city. Andrea announced, “I think the world is a tragic place. Uncanny and disturbing things happen all the time.” Indeed, If you are qualified to assist, tell them transforms Andrea’s experience and knowledge of Prospect Park into a jumping-off point that conveys a collective sense of unease, the feeling that our world is an unknown and bizarre environment with places that we believe to understand holding many untold stories.
If you are qualified to assist, tell them and After Sargent, at the Luxembourg gardens exemplify Andrea’s personalized use of public locales and memory in painting. The intersection between space and memory acts as a catalyst for the expression of collective and historical experience. In this way, the paintings become a compilation of multiple viewpoints and past experiences to be traversed psychologically, bringing one closer to a personal, yet universally shared moment.
Andrea Caldarise lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA in Art History and Painting from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Andrea has received numerous honors including a recent residency at Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY and Painting Fellowships at the Contemporary Artist Center, Troy, NY. Andrea’s paintings will be available at The Other Art Fair, an international fair where you can meet and talk with artists directly about their practice, hosted May 2 through May 5, 2019 in Brooklyn, NY. You can see Andrea’s paintings and learn more about her work at andreacaldarise.com.
Please join us for “The Universe, How Vast, How Small” during Greenpoint Gallery Night. The press release written by Fay Ku follows:
A group exhibition featuring six artists from Areté Venue and Gallery Flat File Program: Caroline Blum, Paula Cahill, Goldie Gross, Jeong Hur, Joe Piscopia and Katrina Slavik. Curated by Fay Ku.
April 19-May 12, 2019
Opening reception Friday, April 19, 6-9pm
How do we recreate the universe within ourselves? What are its building blocks? “The Universe, How Vast, How Small” group exhibition brings together six artists from Areté Venue and Gallery’s Flat File Program whose intimate works on paper, paintings and photographs construct worlds in microcosm, their small scale concentrating largeness of vision, like light intensifying as its focus narrows to a laser beam.
Caroline Blum’s two paintings resemble the hypnotic abstract designs found in Paleolithic cave paintings. Both Seed Book and Winter’s End were inspired by works of art themselves (Musa Mayer’s Night Studio and George Braques, respectively); Blum’s seed-like marks are alphabetic, her own composed sentences, testament to the germinative powers of art.
Paula Cahill’s Current I and Current II are kinesthetic charts, the translation of ephemeral phenomenon onto a two-dimensional surface. Cahill’s works on paper are lyrical attempts to penetrate the inscrutable logic underlying the movements of the nature.
Goldie Gross’s Dingle, Ireland is romantic, harkens to an earlier era, of traditions long disappeared. The uninhabited rural landscape, the watercolor media and even the scale seems to belong to another era. It seems to belong altogether to another era, where the travel, history, and experience can be literally held in the palm of one’s hand.
Jeong Hur’s photographs of celestial bodies are representatives of the non anthropomorphic view of the universe. There is nothing familiar or comforting with this view of the universe. Mysterious, pitiless, Hur’s Boston to NYC 8-2 fills the viewer with cosmological, primal awe.
So meticulously, compulsively crafted, Joe Piscopia’s works seems to erase the human hand. And yet, his work is the recording of an intensely personal inner process, intuitively built, to express the fleeting emotional states of the artist.
Katrina Slavik’s whimsical, mytho-historic worlds are constructed landscapes that slip between different times and dichotomy, her “landscape pieces explore themes of displacement, migration, and co- habitation between people, animals, and plants.”
These six artists attempt to transcend history or time, and limits of personal knowledge, and created intimate-scaled works that capture the grandiose.
“The Universe, How Vast, How Small” will be on view April 19-May 12, 2019. Opening reception will be Friday, April 19, 2019, 6-9pm and a participating venue during Greenpoint Gallery Night.
Please join us for the closing reception and artist talks for “Sacred Geometry” by Phyllis Gorsen and me at Hot Bed with custom horticultural designs by Bryan Hoffman on April 6, 2019 from 6-9 pm. Our new, 2019 paintings are featured in this exhibition along with Bryan’s designs. The exhibit is curated by Bryan Hoffman and James Oliver Gallery. James Oliver Gallery will also host the closing reception for “Reconstruct” with works by Mike Tanis and Benjamin Weaver that evening. Hot Bed and James Oliver Gallery are located at 723 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. You can learn more here, view opening hours, or schedule a private visit.
Phyllis Anderson’s paintings create a tumultuous sense of movement as they present viewers with the energy, degradation, and beauty inherent in the landscape. She achieves this by straddling the line between abstraction and representation with a myriad of energetic mark making and rich, jewel-like color. Phyllis describes herself as “sometimes ambushed by the postcard beauty of the landscape” as she strives to communicate the dark side of the western US terrain. Perhaps, her occasional failure to resist that beauty is what draws us in and communicates the landscape more accurately, in all of its splendor and foreboding.
Splendor, foreboding, and energy characterize the recent series of mountain paintings that depict Phyllis’ experiences of the western landscape as she divides her time between Philadelphia and her Colorado mountain home. For example, Rockies (40 x 30 inches, acrylic) pulls us in with a blue, grey sky and snow-capped mountains, twilight lit in shades of pink and white. Dark painterly areas indicate trees, foliage, exposed ground, and mountain ridges. Perhaps this is a ski slope situated on a cliff with mountains in the near distance. One of the most striking aspects of this painting is that the entire scene is set on a diagonal axis, creating a dizzying sense of downward movement. It’s hard not to imagine careening down this slope or falling off of a cliff despite being drawn into the beauty of this painting.
Mountain Lake (24 x 30 inches, acrylic) seduces us with marks in beautiful shades of blue that are sun lit with green tones, depicting a lake in the foreground. We move back into an intermediate space of mountains demarcated by grey tones of energetic brush strokes, or scribbles, as Phyllis calls them. This mountainous space gives way to a gorgeous sky built of blue and green brush strokes looming above and moving forward with urgency. That sense of urgency is paramount in this painting and reminds one of the urgent, global climate crisis.
Fire, a consequence of climate change, is depicted in Sugar Loaf Fire (19 x 24 inches, pastel on paper). Again, we are drawn in by a foreground of beautiful blue and green marks. This time, the foreground quickly gives way to a cataclysmic buildup of marks and smudged pastels in grey tones punctuated with hot orange and yellow. A forest fire blocks our view of any background or horizon and keeps us trapped in a shallow space very close to the burning: beauty and danger all wrapped up in a single image.
Sugar Loaf Fire, Mountain Lake, and Rockies exemplify Phyllis’ extensive vocabulary of drawing and paint strokes derived from the nuances and rhythms of classical music played almost constantly in the Anderson home. Through music, rhythms and movements are recorded and they begin to represent the feeling of a place. Her intent to portray the sheer energy, degradation, and immensity of the landscape is accomplished with an exuberant array of “scribbles” and color that climax into a mixture of splendor and foreboding.
Phyllis Anderson lives with her husband, Allen Anderson, an accomplished pianist. Phyllis graduated from the University of Texas, Austin with a BFA in painting. She is a recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant and her work has been exhibited regionally as well as in Texas and Colorado. Her paintings and drawings are currently on exhibit at the InLiquid Gallery, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, and the Noyes Museum at Stockton University, Hammonton, NJ. Phyllis is a member of 22 Gallery in Philadelphia. You can learn more about Phyllis’ art at phyllisanderson.com.
Please join me this Saturday, October 27 at the Abington Art Center when I discuss my transition from figure painting to abstraction and address the underlying catalysts for my current paintings. firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Please join me when I open my studio Saturday, Oct. 13 from Noon to 6pm. This is my fifth year at the Crane Old School and in honor of this milestone, for the first time ever, I'm offering a discount of 30% on all paintings in my studio through October 14. This includes my very affordable works on paper. If you can't make it to POST, you're welcome to schedule a private studio visit and shipping is available. Adult refreshments and beverages will be available. Many studios and galleries will be open at the Crane Old School and Crane Arts. I hope to see you there! For more information:
paulacahill.com and https://www.philaopenstudios.org/post/neighborhood/northeast
To define memory, think about waiting at the airport after your last vacation to a faraway place. Fleeting memories splice together like thin planes and layers washing over one another, changing, receding, and repeating as the memory is compressed and removed from its original moment until it becomes an event in and of itself. The longer I try to define memory, the more I’m reminded of a Tim McFarlane painting. Many sculptors and painters use visual memory to call forth form and subject matter is often a product of personal memories. Tim’s paintings traverse both categories as a structural embodiment of the elusive concept and fabric of memory itself.
On a quest to understand Tim’s work, I visited his Philadelphia studio. There, one finds paintings laden with abstract symbolism and a visual language that is repeated in a same, but different manner, receding, advancing, and sometimes completely wiped out. I was eager to discuss Tim’s current exhibition, installed on the ceiling in Terminal A at the Philadelphia Airport, but when Tim began to discuss his early years as an artist, it was clear that he had a different agenda and something important to say. The Airport project didn’t just show up one day. Rather, it is a step in a long, ongoing inquiry into painting shaped by Tim’s early memories and studies as well as his quest to express something deeper: something existing in the thin spaces between thoughts and memories.
Tim’s early memories include frequent visits to Philadelphia museums and galleries as well as the opportunity to participate in art classes at the Barnes Foundation under the tutelage of Richard Segal, who was also his high school art teacher. Tim, interested in impressionism, explored realistic landscapes and still-lifes during his high school and early college years at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, but life wasn’t always easy. His father passed away while he was in high school, and his mother was occupied with all that accompanied her life during that time. Eventually, Tim put his college education on hold for financial reasons, but he never stopped painting. He continued to soak in as much art as possible by visiting galleries and museums - his interests now turning to abstract painting as he studied modernists, including Franz Kline, Richard Diebenkorn, and Sean Scully.
Tim’s 48 by 48 inch acrylic painting, Double Back (2003) was influenced by Sean Scully. There are indeed similarities with the work of Scully. Plank-like rectangles are arranged vertically on the surface of Double Back, but the painting diverges from Scully’s work particularly with regard to surface and space. While Scully’s paintings exert an all-out effort to keep the eye on the surface, Tim’s attention to the spaces between allows the viewer access into the painting and the process. Departing from Scully’s color palette, cerulean blue, white, and grey rectangles are arranged in front of a rust background. This creates a layer of space behind Tim’s foreground and upsets Scully’s preference for a flat surface with small incidents and gaps in the paint application that allow the viewer to move deeper into the painting. Tim describes Double Back as one of his first attempts to develop a personal visual language and “figure things out.”
As our attention turns to the current paintings on the wall, it’s clear that Tim has figured things out and continues to do so as he moves forward. From painting to painting, history is evident in the repetition of symbols and forms that gradually change ever so slightly through what Tim refers to as “Incidents” that he alternately sets up or allows to occur. A small painting, Transmission (Cosmos), 2016, acrylic on panel, 20 x 16 inches, advances forward in layers painted in shades of silver, gray, and black. Tim describes the slight spaces between layers as metaphors for the spaces between our thoughts and memories. A rectangle with diagonally crisscrossed plank-like forms sits on the surface, presenting an illusion of deeper space. Similar configurations are prominent in other paintings. At first glance, one is reminded of geometric abstraction, but Tim points out a shift in symmetry and the “Incidents” where paint is allowed to seep and negate the possibility of a hard edge. The resulting subversion of the strict order of traditional geometric abstraction is further pushed into our contemporary realm with the introduction of micaceous iron oxide, a shimmering pigment of the twenty-first century.
Tim’s current Philadelphia Airport project, I Wrote Some Poems That You Could See, is a 112 foot square ceiling installation that he has been working on since February of this year, or should I say the 1980s? Here we come full circle with forms that set up overlapping, shallow and deep figure/ground relationships informed by early experiences with landscape and still-life painting. The airport project is comprised of twenty-eight, 24 x 24 inch ceiling tiles. Layers and the diagonal crisscrossing described in Transmission (Cosmos) are prominent in a portion of the paintings while asemic, curvilinear characters similar to written language dominate others. These language-like forms, in development since the 1980s, are layered in various sizes and colors, creating deep space through relationships of scale. Tim uses paint markers, loaded with vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, and pinks, to create them moving from left to right and top to bottom in much the same way that we scan written materials in the Western world. They change ever so slightly from form to form as would writing or memory. Occasionally, they are layered so heavily they begin to transform into something removed from their original source, like travelers’ fleeting memories morphing through their minds as they take in Tim’s energetic, ever-changing poems that they can see: trying to define memory.
“I Wrote Some Poems That You Can See” is on view in Terminal A East at the Philadelphia Airport through summer 2019. Tim is a graduate of Tyler School of Art Temple University and he is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Works are also available at Gray Contemporary in Houston, TX, and Philip Slein Gallery in St. Louis, MO. His paintings are currently on view at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and at the Curtis Center in Philadelphia. Tim is a recipient of the Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Grant, and his work is held in public and private collections throughout the United States. You can learn more about Tim by visiting timmcfarlane.com and following him on Instagram: @timmcfarlaneart.
JOIN US at THE YARD
Join Seraphin Gallery for our four new exhibitions at The Yard, a co-working space in the heart of Center City Philadelphia.
Thursday, July 19th starting at 6:00 PM
For each level Seraphin has curated a collection by four of our selected artists including works by Michael Morrill, Paula Cahill, Hiro Sakaguchi, and Nancy Sophy. These artists bring unique abstract and narrative languages to the workspaces at The Yard. We hope you will be able to join us for this event!
For more details and to RSVP, click https://artintheyardjuly.splashthat.com/
I met Mat Tomezsko in a vacant area that could easily house a tourist bus, at the Painted Bride in Old City, Philadelphia. Mat has temporarily taken up studio space there to paint a mural that will be installed in the Fifth Street Vehicular Tunnel underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge. Waiting for Mat, I couldn’t help but notice a large abstract painting on parachute cloth, measuring 14 by 33 feet, spread out on the floor from one end of the room to the other. It was composed of rhythmic diagonal panels in various shades of blue and turquoise that sometimes intersected to create a classic X, punctuated with diagonal swaths of texture, color, and imagery referencing the landscape. Mat enters and quickly explains that this is only one panel of the mural. The completed mural, titled Flowering Axes, will measure 14 x 120 feet. From there, we went on to discuss the concept and process behind the Delaware River Port Authority’s (DRPA) Fifth Street Vehicular Tunnel Project, awarded to Mat this past spring.
With a clear concept that resonated with the surrounding space as well as the viewpoint of drivers, riders, and the DRPA, Mat’s proposal was selected from a competitive roster of finalists. “I considered the experience of drivers and riders, in a car or on a bike, in this strange subterranean tunnel in the middle of the city,” he explained. “It goes by really fast, like two seconds; it has to be easily intelligible, but not boring. Every time one moves through the space they will notice something new. It appears simple, but as you drive through, the perspective changes and the composition expands vastly. Subtle, beautiful details unfold as it opens up and becomes a landscape before it quickly recedes in your rear view mirror and turns back into simple shapes.”
With shapes and colors reflecting the surrounding area, diagonal blue panels intersect at various points, symbolizing the X formations that make up the Ben Franklin Bridge. In shades of blue and turquoise, these panels mirror the surrounding sky and water. The blue alternates with textured and stenciled diagonal panels that remind us of the architecture, landscape, sky, flora, and horizon line of the surrounding area. This past June, Mat began painting this magnificent, mesmerizing experience, which viewers’ eyes and minds will process in two-second intervals as they pass under the Ben Franklin Bridge. Installation is planned for August of this year.
The installation, to be implemented by a team from Mural Arts Philadelphia, will be led by Mat and requires complete shutdown of the tunnel during night hours for approximately two weeks. The process can best be described as a massive, industrial-strength wallpapering job. Instead of wheat paste, the team will apply acrylic gel medium to the walls. Next, the mural panels, made of acrylic paint on durable parachute cloth, will be adhered to the concrete walls of the tunnel. Finally, a layer of glossy, acrylic, gel medium will be applied to the entire painting to protect it and assure that we will enjoy Flowering Axes for decades.
By the time installation is completed and Flowering Axes is celebrated with a dedication ceremony in October, Mat will have returned to his private studio to make paintings. Mat contrasts work in the studio with his public projects: “The standard way of operating is to be in the studio, in total control, working on a pre-stretched canvas or surface that I’ve prepared. What I like about public art is that it’s a 50/50 give and take. When I walk into a public project, I have to listen and react to the organizers, viewers, and space to design a project that balances my new concept with an actual artwork that resonates with the people and surrounding community.” As I listen and reflect, it becomes clear to me that Mat is equally adept and accomplished whether painting privately in the studio or creating consensus around a public artwork such as Flowering Axes. Those interested are welcome to follow Mat’s progress and events surrounding Flowering Axes on Instagram.
Mat Tomezsko is a graduate of Tyler School of Art / Temple University. In 2017, Mat’s public art project, 14 Movements: A Symphony Of Color And Words, was recognized by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review for outstanding public art. Mat was also awarded the Art and Art Education Achievement Award In Painting and the Faculty Award In Art/Art Education for Strong Studio Work by Tyler School of Art in 2009. His paintings have been exhibited in museums and prestigious galleries across the United States. Learn more about Mat’s paintings and public art projects at https://www.mattomezsko.com.
Cheryl McGinnis surprised me with this review of my work on smART stART live from New York City. Cheryl is the founder of Cheddar, Cheryl McGinnis Projects, and smART stART, Watch the video to learn more about my paintings and the work's historical references. Thank you Cheryl!
Art as Advocacy: Maria Maneos on Incarceration and the Opioid Crisis
By Paula Cahill
Stepping into Maria Maneos’ North Wales, PA studio, one immediately notices a large oil painting in progress: a tree, with bare limbs painted in sombre tones, and strategically placed graphite marks indicating an unknown, eerie distance. Maria is quick to share her viewpoint: “Art isn’t only about being pretty. It’s about bringing people together and recognizing what it means to be human. I want my art to make you feel emotion and have relevance to larger issues.” Maria takes on those larger subjects by seeking and finding meaningful projects in the community to bring together people of diverse backgrounds. A common thread runs through these projects and Maria’s widely exhibited paintings. Exactly as she intends, all of these endeavors are personal, thought provoking, and deeply emotional while addressing immense social issues.
As the founder of Brush With The Law (BWTL), Maria often tells her students, reticent to participate, “I don’t care if you make stick figures. I want to see your stick figures and what they’re doing with the other stick figures. I want to see the humanness, not a pretty or perfect picture.” That’s when healing begins through art projects designed to inspire self realization and reflection. For a recent paper-making project, old probation records, divorce papers, and anything reminiscent of old hurts were shredded into pulp and pressed into new paper artworks. Maria has an image of one of her students proudly holding her pressed paper project, embedded with flowers she found on the state hospital grounds in Norristown - her new artwork symbolizing beauty and new beginnings.
BWTL is a nonprofit organization that implements community-based art projects and programs in Montgomery County and the surrounding tri-state area. Maria seeks and identifies meaningful projects, and then guides individuals from various walks of life to create public art that benefits disadvantaged communities and homeless shelters. Project participants have included local college students assigned by their professors, lawbreakers assigned community service hours by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, and socially marginalized groups including: the incarcerated, parolees/probation, at-risk youth, the homeless, and those struggling with addiction, mental health, or behavioral issues.
Maria shares images of her daughter, Arianna, local student volunteers assigned by their professors, and community service participants creating a mural in honor of the late Lieutenant Patty Simons alongside police officers at the Norristown Police Headquarters. “Everyone was mixing, talking, and working together. They didn’t care if you were a community service person, a volunteer, or a police officer,” Maria explained. They saw each other in a new, positive light through BWTL.
Before BWTL, art, for the most part, was unavailable in the local county jail. Maria spent many months filling out forms, speaking with the warden, and securing grants to fund Brush With the Law. Some may wonder why a mom, artist, and proverbial “nice lady” would work so tirelessly to establish an art program for people accused of breaking the law. Maria is intimately aware of the real goodness and hurt inside of each person struggling with incarceration. Her son Johnny, a bright young man destined for success, unscrupulously became addicted to opioids, then heroin in high school. Eventually, Johnny was incarcerated for an addiction-related, nonviolent offense. Maria, shocked and frightened to visit the county jail, went anyway. When she looked into the eyes of her son and his fellow inmates, Maria saw their goodness, hurt, and potential. When she asked what they did all day and the answer was “nothing,” Maria decided to launch BWTL.
Once BWTL was up and running at the facility, she went on to address the opioid epidemic. Her deep interest in educating the public about the opioid and heroin epidemic ravishing our nation stems from her first husband, who became addicted to opioids that were prescribed to him after a car accident in the 1990s, and died of an overdose. The opportunity to advocate for those afflicted with opioid and heroin addiction arrived when Maneos met Patrick Rodgers, Gallery Director of the Montgomery County Community College Art Gallery.
Maria and Patrick collaborated to create a collectively produced exhibition titled “Art of Recovery” that was on display during the Fall of 2017 at the Montco West Campus gallery in Pottstown. They addressed the opioid/heroin epidemic head on by personifying its 2016 Pennsylvania death toll with 4,642 small baggies, traditionally used for encasing and selling heroin, to represent each opioid / heroin-related death in Pennsylvania that year. Each bag contains a shining crystal that stands for the goodness and beauty of the person, the soul inside of every victim. The sublime installation, entitled 4642, was immense, beautiful, and horrific all at once. It sparkled and filled the gallery’s 25-foot-tall, two-story mezzanine. Maria notes, “Just hearing a number doesn’t impact you the same way as actually seeing it.”
A second version, 5535, represents the 2017 opioid / heroin death toll in PA. It was selected for Pennsylvania Art of the State 2018 and will be exhibited at the State Museum in Harrisburg from June 24 to September 9, 2018. As 5535 and 4642 demonstrate, Maria represents the opposing attributes of beauty and the horrific simultaneously. In so doing, she enlightens us as to the immensity and horror of the opioid and heroin epidemic, along with the goodness inside of those who struggle. Maria’s installations, work with BWTL, and widely exhibited paintings offer the gift of feeling, thinking, and seeing the complexity of the human condition anew.
Maria is the 2017 recipient of Kutztown University’s Outstanding Mentor in Alternative Settings Award. Brush With The Law is funded by prestigious grants awarded to Maria including a 2018 Pollination Project Visionary Grant, multiple Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants, and a Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant. To learn more about Maria and Brush With The Law, click here to watch her TEDx talk and visit MariaManeos.com or BrushwiththeLaw.org.
I'm honored to announce that my painting, Progression, was selected for "Art of the State 2018" at the State Museum in Harrisburg, PA. You can read more about the opening reception and events at: https://ethosting.s3.amazonaws.com/artofthestatepa/events.html
An Interview with Brooke Lanier By Paula Cahill
PC: I’m excited to see your upcoming exhibition, Unintended Consequences. Can you explain how the images in Unintended Consequences relate to the landscape historically?
BL: I see these paintings and photographs as part of a larger art historical lineage that began in the mid-1800’s and is still very relevant today. For instance, the Impressionists made paintings that are now seen as merely pretty, colorful, and imbued with beautiful light, but if you look at their subtext, the diffused light and color were caused by extreme air pollution from the industrial revolution. Likewise, the landscapes in the show are quite beautiful and serene on the surface, but they depict the continuing aftermath of industrialization and human impact on the environment.
PC: How are the artists addressing climate change in Unintended Consequences?
BL: Jennifer Manzella’s prints of abandoned industrial building facades along the Delaware and Hudson Rivers are the first images viewers see when they walk into the show. They imply the environmental impact of industrialization. Diane Burko’s photographs from the Arctic Svalbard as well as Greenland’s Ilulissat Glacier and Ekaterina Popova’s watercolors of Skagaströnd, Iceland depict melting ice caps in the polar regions. Moving south, Geoffrey Agron’s photographs and my own watercolors depict shorelines destroyed by hurricanes and tropical storms. These are increasingly impactful, intersecting phenomena for densely populated coastal areas that are being developed at the same time that melting polar ice is causing sea levels to rise.
PC: How has climate change impacted your own work?
BL: I was making theoretical and abstract work until this past January when I visited my grandmother in south Georgia. I had the opportunity to explore the coastline and marshes from southern Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida. Exploring eroded dunes in terrifyingly disorienting fog and tromping as close to the edge of the salt marshes as I could get without sinking in, I witnessed the destruction, change, and extreme erosion that hurricanes and tropical storms have wreaked onto the landscape during recent years. I began to focus on the environmental impact of these events and the interaction between human destruction of the wetlands and the development of desirable beachfront communities. To accommodate mass development of coastlines, flood plains and wetland areas were paved over, decimating an important source of natural flood control. An ever increasing coastal population means that the impact of the storms on humans is much greater since so many people lose their homes and businesses. After seeing the immense impact of the hurricanes, I came back to Philadelphia and completely changed what I was making.
PC: It sounds like you had a deeply moving response to this experience and that your work became more personal as well as more focused on social and environmental change.
PC: What would you like people to take away from Unintended Consequences?
BL: These images deal with the beauty in the details, but they evoke the sublime: a feeling of being very small in the face of something very immense and powerful like a storm, the climate, or how tiny one is compared to a glacier. I hope the viewers will think about their place in the universe.
Unintended Consequences, May 5 through June 5, 2018
Opening Reception, Saturday, May 5, Noon to 3:00pm
Artist Talk, Tuesday, May 15, 6pm
201 South Camac Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia, PA
I'm honored to announce that Arrangement and Insomnia were selected by Michael Kalmbach for "Strong Lines" at the Delaware Contemporary with esteemed, regional artists Brian Conaty, Phyllis Gorsen, Suzy Kopf, and Gregg Morris. Please join us for the opening reception May 4, 5-9pm. Exhibition continues through July 28, 2018. You can read the press release and learn more about the Delaware Contemporary here: https://www.decontemporary.org/strong-lines/
This is an installation shot of my small works on paper. These paintings are based on my experiences as a scuba diver. They will be available for purchase at the Crane Open Studios on Saturday, April 21, 2018 from noon to 6pm. Over 30 artists and nine galleriests will open their doors to the public for this event. That's a lot of great art! Please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
Christopher T Wood creates a drawing a day, a ritual he has maintained since January 1, 2016. During a recent conversation, Wood noted that Daydrawing is in its third year and the drawings now number over 820. With a deep knowledge of pataphysics, Wood seems to conceptualize the drawings as coalescing into one large hyperobject as opposed to individual segments that make up a finite body of work. As is typical of hyperobjects, Daydrawing’s immensity precludes our ability to view it in it’s entirety or to establish perceived, finite boarders of its existence; Hence, Daydrawing’s endpoint eludes us.
Following Wood’s work, one travels through time as Daydrawing moves from space to space, sometimes existing in multiple locations at once, while it is constantly reconfigured to accommodate its own expansion and transience. Daydrawing presents a destabilized reality, one in which abstract objects take on the properties of real entities as they create a fictitious sense of real depth. While some remain abstract, others include figurative shapes and ambiguous objects with a reality of their own existing inside of Wood’s masterful graphite surfaces, simultaneously exuding beauty and anxiety. Somehow, it all begins to mirror a shifting contemporary identity until I can’t quite put my finger on it and I’m reminded of Edouard Manet’s dark seascapes that dissolve into abstract dashes and dabs, signalling immensity and stirring a collective sense of foreboding. The more I look at Daydrawing, the deeper I’m drawn into a heady discussion that questions life, history, art, and perception.
Christopher Wood’s Daydrawing is currently on view through April 21, 2018 in "International Variety" at James Oliver Gallery and Hot Bed in Philadelphia, PA. You can learn more about Christopher and Daydrawing at christophertwood.com or daydrawing.com. Follow the daily additions to Daydrawing on instagram @christophertwood.