Ana Zanic: Reflections

Ana Zanic, Moon Descending, acrylic/charcoal/graphite on canvas, 12"x16"

Ana Zanic, Moon Descending, acrylic/charcoal/graphite on canvas, 12″x16″

For me, making art has always been a search that allowed me to explore formal visual elements, as well as personal feelings, through an intuitive, spontaneous process.

My abstract paintings are executed in media of watercolor and acrylic. Watercolors are built with layers of washes, intermixed with dynamic lines, scribbles and marks of ink drawing. There is often a quiet tension between the watercolor’s fluidity, softness and calm, vs. the dynamic, rhythm and energy of drawing.

Ana Zanic, "Lightness," acrylic on canvas, 20"x24"

Ana Zanic, “Lightness,” acrylic on canvas, 20″x24″

With acrylics, the physicality of the process plays an important role – the paint is layered, sometimes removed or wiped, then covered up again, resulting in a rich texture.

Ana Zanic, "Into the Unknown/Within," acrylic on canvas, 36"x48"

Ana Zanic, “Into the Unknown/Within,” acrylic on canvas, 36″x48″

While painting with watercolor evokes in me a feeling of quiet contemplation and intimacy, working with acrylic paint, on the other hand, gives me a sense of vitality through building and changing the work over a longer course of time.

Ana Zanic, "Whisper," acrylic on canvas, 30"x30"

Ana Zanic, “Whisper,” acrylic on canvas, 30″x30″

Since earning her MFA at the University of Zagreb in 2002, Ana Zanic has had over a dozen solo shows and fifty-plus group shows, in just ten years, in Croatia and the United States. She has won several awards for her painting and was published four years in a row in American Art Collector (Alcove Books, Berkeley).

www.anazanic.com

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James Teschner: Landscapes

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I paint outdoors near my home in remote farmlands of central France.

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The direct experience of being in the landscape, often standing in the same field for months on end, is crucial to my creative process.

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My work in recent years has focused primarily on the setting sun and those moments leading towards nightfall,

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whereby the landscape is either being obliterated, almost devoured by the sun’s all consuming luminosity

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or being dissolved by the receding, diminishing light.

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Since obtaining his MFA in painting at Yale University in 1984, James Teschner has had numerous exhibitions in the United States, Italy, and France, where he now lives. He has taught at Parsons and Yale and received numerous honors and awards, including residencies in Co. Kerry, Ireland, and Venice, Italy. He currently has a one-man show at OK Harris Gallery, in New York City, which runs from April 20th through May 25th.

www.jamesteschner.com

Bryan Christie: Women

Bryan Christie, "Vanessa," silk and encaustic, 6 X 6 in., 2012

Bryan Christie, “Vanessa,” silk and encaustic, 6 X 6 in., 2012

I started this series of women in July 2012 after returning from a two-month sabbatical in Arizona. With these pieces I’m hoping to express the sense of mystery and wonder I have about our corporeal existence.

In 1996 I took a job as an assistant art director at the magazine Scientific American. I immediately fell in love with science and began to see the connection it had with art. The two attempt to explain or give meaning to our world. Science does it using logic, whereas art does it using intuition and emotion. Of course the methods overlap. There is a logic to art, and scientific discovery certainly relies on intuition. At Scientific American I began making medical and anatomical drawings. The deeper I got into the body the more I was in awe of how it functions and is put together. I couldn’t begin to fathom nature’s intelligence.

Bryan Christie, "Tanya," silk and encaustic, 20 X 16 in., 2013

Bryan Christie, “Tanya,” silk and encaustic, 20 X 16 in., 2013

Physicists and mystics tell us we are made of limitless energy. Yet we experience the world as hard-edged, concrete, full of boundaries and constraints. The play of the energetic, limitless, divine nature that is housed in this spacesuit we call our body, that lives in this material world with its limits of time and space, is what I am interested in conveying.

Bryan Christie, "Alexis," silk and encaustic, 10 X 8 in., 2012

Bryan Christie, “Alexis,” silk and encaustic, 10 X 8 in., 2012

In the early 2000’s my wife and I went to Italy. While we were in Rome we went to the Vatican. It was there that I witnessed Michelangelo’s Pietà, a meditation on a mother’s sorrow for her executed son, where the marble is transmuted into flesh, and that flesh into emotion. It was a spiritual experience that galvanized my desire to make art.

Bryan Christie, "Zoe," silk and encaustic, 20 X 16 in., 2012

Bryan Christie, “Zoe,” silk and encaustic, 20 X 16 in., 2012

These pieces are made of multiple layers of silk bound together with encaustic mounted on wooden panels. Most of the figures’ poses are derived from ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and Italian Renaissance painting. I find inspiration from these older works because within them there is an interplay between our flesh-and-blood existence and something less tangible: a spirit or soul.

Bryan Christie, "Evelyn," silk and encaustic, 20 X16 in., 2012

Bryan Christie, “Evelyn,” silk and encaustic, 20 X16 in., 2012

Bryan Christie was born in 1973 in New York City. He lives in Maplewood, N.J., with his wife and two children. He has been exhibiting his work internationally since 2009.

www.bryanchristie.com

Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens: Nocturnes

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 2, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Our Nocturnes series began as an experiment, an adventure, a collaboration. A pinhole camera-maker and a wet-plate collodion artist collaborated to produce mammoth plate tintypes, echoing the work and process of the early survey photographers. Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, and Timothy O’Sullivan, surveying the expansive landscape of the western US, found themselves at the mercy of nature.

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 1, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

James McNeill Whistler, inspired by the visual melody he found in dark skies and seas, titled many of his paintings nocturnes. In turn, these paintings provided inspiration for the orchestral nocturnes written by Debussy, musical impressions which ebb and flow.

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 24, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Inspired by these artists and the waters of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi we too found ourselves at the mercy of the tides, our images determined by the capriciousness of the water before us. 

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 3, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

Because of its infinite depth of field, the pinhole camera conveys the vast expanse of the sea while the collodion-silver emulsion flows across the plate like the waves across the sand. The plates delivered an unexpected serendipity – a daytime nighttime, a sunny moonscape.

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 11, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

There is ebb and flow between night and day, dark and light, as silent sentinels watch waves writing verse in the sand. This push and pull of tides, this melody of the waves, this lyric creates a visual dialogue that is the inspiration for Nocturnes, a little night music.

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Judy F. Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens, Nocturnes 21, wet plate collodion pinhole tintype, 20 in x 20 in., 2012

One year ago, Judy Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens embarked on a new adventure, a collaboration entitled Nocturnes, born of the gulf in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Stevens, a wet plate collodion artist, and Sherrod, a pinhole camera maker, joined together to create something not done before: mammoth plate pinhole wet plate tintypes. They have been very successful at it. Their collaboration has resulted in such publications as South by Southeast magazine and Lenscratch, and will be included in the next edition of Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Exhibitions include: Alternative Processes at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, where they were awarded both the Director’s and the Juror’s Honorable Mention, Beheld at Homespace Gallery, Call and Response at New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, Center Forward, V at Homespace, Currents 2012 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and Sun to Moon Gallery, among others. Over the course of a year, the duet shot forty-nine twenty-by-twenty inch pinhole tintypes of the gulf.

www.sgaylestevens.com

Alexandre Farto: Scratching the Surface

Alexandre Farto, Torres Vedras, Portugal, 2009

This series was started by Vhils (Alexandre Farto) in 2007, first presented at the Visual Street Performance collective exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal, and first presented to an international audience at the Cans Festival in London, UK, in 2008. Since then, it has been developed in many surfaces around the world.

The project consists of a series of pieces, mostly based on human portraits and images of urbanity, that have been carved onto the surfaces of walls in chiselled simple contrasts, revealing the rough layers that lie beneath.

Alexandre Farto, Moscow, 2010

The fundamental premise behind this series is the act of working with the city as the prime material, using part of the urban environment itself, incorporating it into the piece and making the piece a part of the city at the same time. With this series Vhils is trying to express the notion that behind the monotone brick and concrete surfaces that make up the cities we live in, defining the nature of who we are, lies a human dimension which is dwarfed by the immensity of what they stand for. “Scratching the Surface” is an act of creation taken from lifeless forms, by subverting and rearranging the purpose for which they were built in the first place. The intention is to engrave the idea of life on a wall, creating an iconographic piece of symbolism that will endure – bringing to life the idea of life on a lifeless surface. In the un-organic and grey landscapes of the urban world it is easy to lose track of what our nature really is and where we came from – these portraits are a symbolic representation of life and nature, of people.

Alexandre Farto, Shanghai, 2012

With this series Vhils has been exploring the notion of creating by means of destruction – a notion he first encountered in his practice of illegal graffiti. The main tool is based on the inverted use of the technique of stencilling – by forming compositions through the removal of different layers of matter to create sharp contrasts, instead of creating by the overlapping of layers. It is in essence an art of removal. The brutalist procedure involves first the projection of an image on the wall, which is then traced in paint and afterwards chiselled away, removing bits and pieces with recourse to hammers, chisels, pneumatic drills and other unconventional tools. Both the act and the process aim at creating contrasts as much as the final result of the piece. Everything is devised to help people consider and question the reality of urban life and their place within it. The pieces themselves aim to reach out to people and communicate, by reclaiming the use of that same public space and imprinting a symbolic portrait of humanity – to encourage ordinary people to have their own say and their own right to embellish and interact with the urban environment. To render it more human.

Alexandre Farto, Wynwood Walls, Miami, 2011

By highlighting the poetic value of decay, as he commonly works with dilapidated and derelict surfaces, Vhils aims to explore the randomness of what results from the destructive processes he resorts to, as well as the ephemeral nature that underlies all things. The patterns that are brought to the surface lie beyond his control, and this randomness can be found beneath the surface of all things – reflecting the growth process of the material and the passage of time, like the rings in a tree. This is a key concept in Vhils’s work – that everyone and everything is formed, in a symbolic way, by many different layers. By removing some of these layers, in the very same way as an archaeologist, Vhils delves into the past and brings to light something which might have been forgotten along the way of development: a notion of purity, a more human dimension of life.

The violence of the methods aims to create a sharp contrast with the poetics and beauty of the results.

– Text submitted by Alexandre Farto

Alexandre Farto, Milan, 2011

Alexandre Farto (b. 1987) has been expressing his visual poetry under the name of Vhils since the early 2000s. He moved to London from Portugal in 2007 to study Fine Arts at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and currently works with Lazarides Gallery in London and the Vera Cortês Art Agency in Lisbon. His first solo show for Lazarides took place in July 2009, and since then he has been travelling and creating site-specific pieces and participating in exhibitions around the world.

www.alexandrefarto.com

Rob McDonald: Native Ground

As between clear blue and cloud,
Between haystack and sunset sky,
Between oak and slated roof,

I had my existence. I was there.
Me in place and the place in me.

—Seamus Heaney, “A Herbal”

Rob McDonald, “Home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek, Florida,” 10 1/2 X 10 1/2 in.

For the past twenty years, I have made a career as a teacher of American literature. For the last thirteen, I have worked also, with equal seriousness and passion, as a photographer.

My new series, Native Ground (2008-present), unites these pursuits in an exploration of the role place plays in shaping the literary imagination: the notion that writers compose out of a peculiar understanding and depth of connection to physical space, remembered or immediate.

Rob McDonald, “Mothers Roses, Erskine Caldwell’s Birthplace,” 10 1/2 X 10 1/2 in.

Personal and professional interests have led me to focus on writers who have lived and worked in the Southern region of the United States. After all, if convention has it right, these are writers who bear something close to a genetic predisposition to produce a literature suffused with place. Any definition of what makes Southern literature Southern includes the phrase “sense of place.”

In her famous essay on the topic, “Place in Fiction,” here is what Eudora Welty says about the significance of place:

“It is by knowing where you stand that you grow able to judge where you are. Place absorbs our earliest notice and attention, it bestows on us our original awareness; and our critical powers spring up from the study of it and the growth of experience inside it. It perseveres in bringing us back to earth when we fly too high. It never really stops informing us, for it is forever astir, alive, changing, reflecting, like the mind of man itself. One place comprehended can make us understand other places better. Sense of place gives equilibrium; extended, it is sense of direction too. Carried off we might be in spirit, and should be, when we are reading or writing something good; but it is the sense of place going with us still that is the ball of golden thread to carry us there and back and in every sense of the word to bring us home.”

Rob McDonald, “Home of Eudora Welty, Jackson, Mississippi,” 10 1/2 X 10 1/2 in.

I don’t believe that Southern writers have a monopoly on an interest in place—in fact, Welty describes it as a universal of all good fiction, especially the novel (for reasons you should read the essay to discover). But in Southern writing, there is a discernible reliance on physical space, on landscape, on atmosphere, on customs, on language, all of which figure strongly in whatever meaning we are able to derive from the words on the page. That degree of interest is what inspired me to try to track the work back, in my own photographic musings, to the places where their creators lived and worked.

Rob McDonald, “Larry Brown’s Farm, Tula, Mississippi,” 10 1/2 X 10 1/2 in.

Using a primitive hand-held film camera and available light, for this series I am making images that depict points of origin—meditating on personal spaces and landscapes in light of my familiarity with and curiosity about selected writers’ works and biographies.   They are particularly intimate photographs that propose narratives of connection in the development of vision and voice.

Rob McDonald, “Home of Ernest Gaines, New Roads, Louisiana,” 10 1/2 X 10 1/2 in.

In this regard, the photographs in Native Ground are themselves a kind of supreme fiction: my imagination of how physical spaces, lives lived, and art converge.

Rob McDonald  lives in Lexington, Virginia, where he is a Professor of English and Fine Arts and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Virginia Military Institute. His most recent book is Cy’s Rollei (Nazraeli), published with Sally Mann and Even Rogers.

www.robmcdonaldphotography.com

David Beck: MVSEVM

Take a tour through David Beck’s wonderfully imaginative MVSEVM in this video, posted here with the artist’s kind permission.

Since obtaining his BFA at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1976, David Beck has exhibited extensively, from New York City to Washington DC, Chicago, Dresden, Barcelona, and elsewhere. MVSEVM, of 2006, was commissioned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, where it is on permanent exhibition.

www.davidbeckartworks.com