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. email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
One Eyed Fiona, Oil and Graphite on Linen, 60 x 48 in, 2014
I'm happy to announce that "One Eyed Fiona" will be exhibited in "Dig" at the Hamilton Street Gallery in Bound Brook, New Jersey from March 18 to April 26. "One Eyed Fiona" was awarded an honorable mention by Lydia Panas in the GoggleWorks 2016 Annual Juried Exhibition. It is a part of the "Darkness Project" and it represents some of my earlier explorations in abstraction.
System, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, 2018
"System" is my most recent painting. In fact, I just finished it on Tuesday. I set up a challenge to create a conversation between foreground and background as a tool for balancing the composition. The lines on each layer ebb and flow to accommodate one another. Although the painting is monochromatic, the dominant line is set up in gradations of warm white and light cerulean. The paint is laid down one brush stroke at a time with a goal to make certain that warm hues overlap cooler tones at intersecting junctions and turns of the line.
Havana to Key West, Oil on Linen, 36 x 24 inches, 2017
I'm excited to announce that juror, Leroy Johnson, selected "Havana to Key West" and "0078" to be a part of "Transforming Jazz - A Visual Journey" in the gallery at Philadelphia City Hall to celebrate Jazz Week. The exhibit will be open March 28 to May 4, 2018.
In "Havana to Key West," I strive to simultaneously subvert the seascape and linear abstraction. The catalyst for this piece was digital music composed by musician and art theorist, Janet Brooks. Janet's digital compositions include jazz and latin components that I visualized and transformed into line for "Havana to Key West." While Janet's song is titled, "Havana to New York," my painting is informed by my childhood experiences of visiting relatives in the Florida Keys and hearing tales of travel to Cuba prior to the travel restrictions imposed by the United States Government in 1963.
Installation shot on 23 foot wall space - Left to right - Insomnia, Stowaway, and Arrangement
Insomnia, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 inches, 2017
I traveled to Italy in 2017. When I saw Michelangelo's favorite sculpture, "The Sleeping Ariadne," 6AD, at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, I knew that I wanted to make this painting. "Ariadne's Sleep" was a popular motif in Roman statuary and early Greek vessels. While controversy exists among scholars as to Ariadne's true identity, most agree that the Uffizi's sculpture depicts a restless and oppressive sleep. I referenced antiquity and strove to contemporize line and the ancient theme of "Ariadne's Sleep" by studying the angles, contours, divisions, and folds of the fabric in Michelangelo's favorite piece. Through this approach, "The Sleeping Ariadne" became the catalyst for "Insomnia." The painting is comprised of a single luminous line that changes color, moves forward and backward, then seamlessly connects back to itself. To make these paintings, I mix up to 100 gradients or color and lay them down one brush stroke at a time as I gauge where the line is headed to assure that adjacent lines and perpendicular junctions are of varied colors to make them pop.
"Variable" is my most recent, 48 x 48 inch, oil painting on canvas. "Variable" is comprised of a single, continuous line that changes color and connects back to itself. Variable is concerned with the divisions of the canvas and variations within them. To make these paintings, I mix 80+ colors that I arrange in close gradations on my palette. Next, I lay the colors down next to each other, on the canvas, one brush stroke or line segment at a time, carefully judging where the colors are going. The objective is to line the colors up strategically on the canvas so that the hues alternate, pop, and eventually connect back to the same color.
"Variable," Oil on Canvas, 48 x 48 Inches, 2017
You still have time to see my solo show, "Progression" at Crane Arts. Contact me for a private appointment.