Current Influences

As I prepare for a few up-coming exhibitions I think it’s important to state plainly what has been stuck in my aesthetic craw for a while.

Certainly my experience of working with Joel T. Dugan the last 4 years has been huge. He has definitely been a catalyst for a number of important changes and new foci in my work. But for an even longer time, the following artists have been steadily putting pressure on me. One is dead. A number are around my own age. I’m going to list them in alphabetical order – I encourage you to research them. I’ll link to a decent page on their work, but poke around the web on your own. Really good stuff.

Marcelo Bonevardi – Bonevardi, along with Diebenkorn and Manuel Neri, has been a massive influence on my sense of plasticity, composition, haptic maneuvering, and surface. Do yourself a favor and get the major book on his work here.Sharon Butler – An important artist and writer, Butler has been a wonderful champion of abstraction during her career. She’s also a part of a traveling exhibition that I’ve curated (I’ll post separately about that, but here’s a link to the blurb about its first incarnation at the University of Missouri).

Sharon Butler – Good Morning Drawings. Digital work. Dimensions variable. 2016.

Nicholas Byrne – Byrne’s dynamic surfaces, use of a kind of template system, and expansion beyond the rectilinear format of painting have all been inspirational to me. I particularly love his works on copper. Wonderful stuff. This piece. WOW.

Gianna Commito – Commito’s dense surfaces – taped off, gritty, solid, vibrant – are like jewels. I have had the great privilege of handling her works as she is also in the traveling exhibition I’ve organized, set to open at The University of Missouri at the end of this month. These paintings, while mostly small, do not shrink from the viewer’s eye. They are sharp, palpable, and fierce. I love them.

Gianna Commito – Plas. Casein and marble dust on panel. 2015.

Vincent Fecteau – I have mentioned Fecteau to people for nearly a decade. His work is mysterious, shapely, and finely-fitted, yet organic. It is strange to behold. See it in person if you can.

Magalie Guerin – Guerin is a staple of the Chicago art landscape these days. Her modest-sized works defy their scale, becoming means to mine the distance between observational notation and suggestive shape. I love their interlocking, colliding parts.

Julian Hoeber – Julian Hoeber’s slathered-on paintings are, in all of their scummy, impasto glory, treatises to precision and formal rigor. They GLOW. They are illuminated with some kind of Cherenkov light. Epic and weird. See an example below:

Emil Robinson – A powerhouse operating in Ohio currently, Robinson has been working on a series of works that is at once confusing and inspirational. He is a huge influence on a number of artists, especially in terms of his pastel-based figure studies. See his latest work on his website; a few are below. Ecstatic Spaces 1, 2, and 3. Oil on panel, 41×29, 2017.

For each of these there are a half dozen contemporary artists who are important to me as well (like Brian Guidry, Catherine Kehoe, Sangram Majumdar, Hanneline Røgeberg, and Linnea Spransy. As I continue to live and make art, I find that so many people touch me, transform me, make me what I am.

Keep your eyes open for news of new publications, exhibitions, and work. All are coming SOON.

~

PS: I love being floored by seeing a fresh work by an artist new to me. Here’s something that really caught my eye this past week: Amy Sinbondit‘s Section Break. Red eartheneware, engobe, terra sigillata glaze. 14.5 x 18 x 11.5 inches, 2011.

Dream of Light

I attended the opening of Antonio Lopez Garcia‘s retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts – Boston back in April of 2008. It was a wonderful trip. I was thinking about it today. How momentous it felt to be there. Seeing so many friends from all over the US who were there for it – even Rackstraw Downes was there that day! Tim Lowly was there. Tim Kennedy and Eve Mansdorf were there. David Gracie was there. Sangram Majundar was there. A few low-quality photo pictures are below.

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The best part for me was at an early point in the day before the crowds arrived. I found myself standing next to the master, looking together at one of his paintings. It was nice to see him looking closely, finding a contemplative moment in a masterwork he’d painted many years before. There was a leveling there, an equanimity – the master must look, just as the audience must. We both see and take in what is before us. In that space and time of perception we try to understand. In those wavelengths of light we dream of a unity and order and meaning beyond ourselves. We dream of light.

Beginning Painters, Spring 2010

I have a pretty good crew of beginning painters this semester at the University of Missouri. I’ve been teaching the course a little differently this year, jumping into making stretchers and stretching canvases, working directly with color from the start, and assigning many, many more preparatory works than I usually do. I’ve been showing them Diebenkorn, Tim Kennedy, Sangram Majumdar, Catherine Murphy, and Uglow. The students seem to be responding.

We’ve been talking a lot about the color and direction of light, focusing intensely on how value shifts over forms and through spaces. I’m enjoying a lot of what they’ve done. Here are a few of the current project (all are oil on canvas, each approximately 14 by 14 inches):

Sarah Burch

Arin Hennessey

Dannah Moore

Jesus Roman

Katie Westhusing

Alyssandra Wilkey