My good friend Eric Scott invited me to speak a little bit about art and creativity with him on his excellent Artistic Accomplices podcast. Check it out HERE!
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Sunday, June 9, 2019
*above: statement for Vital Force exhibit (click image to enlarge)
Recently I visited the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to see their latest art exhibits, including the Vital Force show, featuring work from a dozen artists whose paintings and sculptures will be added to the fairly young museum's growing permanent collection. This place is a favorite destination for both my wife and I, and a constant source of inspiration. This post is just a sneak peek at this truly "vital" collection of work, and the show is a must-see for all art lovers. Here's a statement about the show from the MSV site:
"Vital Force, is a new exhibition featuring the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley’s growing collection of twentieth and twenty-first century art. The MSV contemporary art collection is composed of works by artists who are from the Shenandoah Valley, working in the region, or depicting scenes and subjects of the Valley in their art. Representing 12 artists, Vital Force displays 11 paintings and four mixed-media works that range in date from the 1942 painting Down in Shenandoah by renowned artist Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses to three works completed as recently as 2018. Several paintings in Vital Force are on public display for the first time, including Sally Veach’s Harvest Ghost, a poignant interpretation of the Valley’s changing landscape, Ren Crawford’s vibrant abstract Wild Horse, and Michael T. Davis’s Modern Day Presidential, an oil painting inspired by the atmosphere surrounding the 2016 presidential election."
*above: An Interlude of Peace, by Terry Ward
*above and below: Wild Horse, by Ren Crawford
*above and below: work by Neil Stavely, including a detail of "Roadhouse Siren"
*above: Ice Got the Pines This A.M., by Jim Costello
above: Harvest Ghost, by Sally Veach
*above and below: Shenandoah #3, by Forrest Lee Moses
*above and below: Coctail Hour, Star Gables Motor Court, by Barry Vance
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Since I started focusing on abstract painting about ten months ago, I’ve reworked nearly a dozen earlier paintings considerably. There were things about them that weren’t quite finished or simply needed some changing. Some, like this one, retained the original title, while others were given new titles. The layers of paint and varnish beneath the new coats of paint seemed to further enhance the reworked surfaces. I’ve since learned this foray into abstraction could not be a linear process, where a painting was made and done each week and on to the next one. Hanging them on the walls of my basement studio space gave me a chance to see them on a consistent basis and think about them more, and decide if something else was needed or not. Overall, I’m a lot happier with the final results of these reworked paintings that I want to be more than pictures on a flat surface, but instead something more akin to living, tactile objects of art - documents of human thought, emotion and energy. More to come soon.
Friday, June 7, 2019
As a big fan and collector of music media in physical formats, it made me happy to have some of my recent artwork chosen to be included as the cover art for the upcoming Aleutian Arc CD EP "The Berlin Tapestry Tapes" (Growroom Productions). I feel like it's an excellent match for the music by this band, who have a beautiful, hazy, colorful neo-psych pop sound going on in their songs. Here's a little bit about how the band got together, from their site:
"Growroom Productions is proud to present Aleutian Arc, an American indie/world rock band formed in 2016 by musician/singer/songwriter KOVES, multi-instrumentalist and sound mixologist HearHERE, and percussionist/band spirit animal Akna.
After traveling through Europe, train hopping with his cat, Mutton, HearHERE decided to head back to the U.S to do some traveling. After touring the Pacific north west, he decided to continue north and head to Haida Gwai (an archipelago off the coast of BC) where he subsequently met KOVES who was playing an acoustic set at a small music festival in town. KOVES had been living there for a short period doing some mycological research in the forests and back packing across the island. The two became fast friends when they realized their mutual love of sound and travel and decided to explore Alaska together and do some recording with portable recording gear HearHERE had brought along with him.
Three days into the trip on a train ride to Anchorage, they overheard a beautiful story coming from the back of the train about how Irving Berlin took a trip to Alaska in 1937 to gather inspiration to write music for a film. KOVES and HearHEAR quickly headed to the back of the train where they met the story-teller, Akna, the future third member of Aleutian Arc. Akna is an Alaskan native, a musician and grew up in a nomadic family originally from Ketchikan. After the story was over, the three friends realized they were all nomadic musicians and decided to start a band. From there the story of Aleutian Arc began.
Aleutian Arc is now releasing their first EP entitled 'The Berlin Tapestry Tapes', aptly named after Akna’s story that brought the band together on that afternoon train to Anchorage. The EP is continually magnificent and imaginative, asking, "To what ends of the earth will the mind travel to cure itself of the common heartbreak?" Aleutian Arc carries us through the beautifully desolate landscapes of the aching heart, and leaves us mystified and hopeful under the wispy aurora of the healing soul.
In 'Drifting Night', the hypnotic guitar mixes with refrains to take you to the windswept desert dunes, to arouse introspection and reflection in its mirage. 'Al U Brava' builds from deep within the icy cave where crystals and glowworms echo the question “what happened to it?” 'Stolen Flowers' might take you to the blinking skyscraping peak of the metropolis, to lose old accusations and denials into the mist. The plaintive 'Low Tide' pushes the mind, body and soul to the seaside cliffs, to cast old beliefs and closely guarded pain into the tossing waves and start anew. And in 'Walk', vibraphone plays with synths and vocal trickery to recreate a pensive stroll through the firefly-illuminated forest seeking answers. The rich harmonies and soothing rhythms of 'The Berlin Tapestry Tapes' compel the listener to create their own dreamy world where discordant emotions can safely blend their colors and resolve.
There is talk of a full length album in the works where the three friends have reportedly been writing and recording music for Aleutian Arc in rain forests, various remote islands and underground cave systems. This is but the beginning."
releases June 14, 2019
All songs written by Aleutian Arc
KOVES : Vocals, Guitars
HearHERE : Keys, Beats, Bass
Akna : Percussion
Recorded Various Remote Locations 2016-2018
Art Direction : Mylie Durham IV
Front Cover : Chromesthesia 1 by Steve Loya
Back Cover : Hannah Dean
A Growroom Production 2019
all rights reserved
You can preorder the album HERE!
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Recently I completed a weekly sub-series of ten 10" x 8" abstract acrylic paintings called Chromesthesia 1-10. Continuing in the vein of music-inspired work, and much like the sub-series of ten ( Micro-portals) 7" x 5" paintings, these were made on canvas board, all of which are in a vertical (portrait) format. Contrary to what some might say, not all abstract art can be shown at different, multiple angles, and as with all of my abstract paintings, there's an intended and specific way to display and view these. It's kind of ironic that I began using a squeegee starting with my smallest works (all the previous paintings were done with palette knives, rulers and cardboard), and I'm most satisfied with the results, especially with this particular grouping. I decided to purchase simple yet classy silver frames that don't detract from the work in any way, and in some ways actually enhance their visual aesthetic.
I've been asked how these were done, and sometimes I think that people assume it's kind of like the popular pouring style of painting. While there is a lot of spontaneity and chance involved in the process, there is also some deliberate thought with regards to choice of color, initial placement and mark-making. Some of the paintings I will come back to and rework many times, while others don't take too much time and effort at all. Layers and texture, in addition to color have been a priority as well, and these things -these particular elements relate directly to music. I see each painting as something akin to a snippet of a song or a track - a captured moment in time, in a musical composition, as colors represent musical textures - harmonies and melodies and rhythmic passages moving along a plane, in this case from left to right, from a westerner's perspective of seeing things. These paintings have much more in common with electronic and ambient musics, more than say a short, sharp pop or rock song, as they attempt to capture and express a dense atmosphere and tonal mood. Looking back at some of my earlier abstracts, I went back and reworked a few, while retaining their initial titles, and they're all the better for it. Stay tuned to see some posts featuring those reworked paintings soon.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
I've been to Pittsburgh, PA's esteemed Mattress Factory Museum on the city's Northside more times than I can count, and it's always exciting to see what new installations they have in store. Hosting the work of the Brazilian duo of twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, better known simply as OSGEMEOS as part of a year-long artists-in-residency program came as a pleasant and unexpected surprise, considering the dynamic duo are known primarily for their elaborate and colorful street-art murals, often monumental in scale. Most Mattress Factory exhibits, as far as I can recall, have always been somewhat more academic in nature.
While the art of OSGEMEOS might not have spawned from MFA or PHD degrees, their work is deceptively rich, informed by the school of life, and their spectacular exhibit at the Mattress Factory, titled "Lyrical" has a story to tell, from the perspective of the brothers Pandolfo. In the spirit of many great artists before them, including Haring, Basquiat, and Hambleton, their work is inspired by the streets and pop culture, fun to look at on the surface, but informed by something much deeper.
The Mattress Factory has always consistently hosted excellent exhibits, but I think the OSGEMEOS show has taken things to a whole new level, bluring the lines between high and lowbrow, street and installation art, perhaps making such terms irrelevant to begin with. "Lyrical" will be on view until August 4th, 2019.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Opening night at Artists & Makers Studios was a success! Met lots of super kind people and sold lots of art. A big thanks goes out to friends who came out from near and far, and braved the rain, and to Judith Olivia HeartSong for having me aboard! If you missed the opening last night, today and tomorrow Artists & Makers Studios will be hosting their open studios from noon until 5pm. I’ll be there at the Parklawn location with Kris today from 12-3. Hope you can make it out!
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Just finished installing the “Not So Scary Monsters” exhibit today, with the invaluable help of the always amazing Kris Loya. The opening reception will take place at Artists & Makers Studios (Parklawn location), on Friday, April 5 from 6-9pm, in conjunction with their First Friday festivities. Come see all forty-one works in person, as well as so much more excellent art at this fine establishment. Hope to see you there!