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

Terry Kihara

Normally, artists speak in their own words on this blog. Today’s post is unusual in that I will be writing about the work of another artist, my dear friend, Terry Kihara.

I first met Terry in 1996, shortly after I started teaching art history, and since that time have been fortunate to see a fair amount of her work, a difficult thing given her modesty.

In a day when so much art screams “look at me,” striving for grand and often obvious effect, Terry’s stands out for its subtlety, elegance, and reserve.
Only last month, she sent me two drawings–watercolors with graphite–and a soft, small stone, which are reproduced above. At first I didn’t see the connection, but with her explanation that the images reinterpret the rock, everything began to click. The key is to put the rock in your hand and turn it around, feeling its surfaces and watching the light flit across it in ever-varying patterns. Seen in this way, the drawings transport an otherwise ordinary stone to another dimension, letting us read its inherent beauty and, at the same time, showing how thoroughly art can transform an object of nature. My guess is that the process of creating the art is slow and meditative. Her work says “look at me,” not with a scream but a whisper. That may also be why we take it in our hands, linger over it, and let it work its magic.

It’s difficult to imagine this sensation online, but maybe that’s the point; her art has a tactile quality and an intimacy that defy the mechanical nature of the internet. Her work wants to be picked up, looked at closely, and pondered. The details that follow, of no more than a square inch, show her working out subtle textures and light effects.
If, as I suspect, a Zen attitude helped create these works, we need a similar, deliberate slowness to read them.

You don’t just dash off a poem. To give it a lightness of touch and depth takes time and experience. I think that is what we find in Terry’s work. A special alchemy has transformed a stone, one of the dullest and heaviest of substances, into its opposite, a body at once weightless and evanescent.
Terry passed away on April 30th, two weeks after I received this beautiful gift from her, and since she didn’t, as far as I know, write about her own art, I have taken it upon myself to do so, hoping that I have not distorted her intent.
I wish she could have written this herself. Her friends will miss her greatly, but I feel her art will live on, expressing in its own graceful and contemplative way the gentle soul who created it.

-Bill Travis

Madelon Jones: Internal Landscapes

When I was seven years old my mother, learning that a neighbor of ours was giving her daughter art lessons, decided that I should have them too. So it was that Miriam Duel came into my life. Every Saturday morning at 9AM she would visit my house for an art lesson. My first lesson was particularly memorable. It was a cloudy day, we were seated at a worktable, and she asked me to describe the color of bark on the Lilac bush outside the basement window. “It’s mauve,” I replied. Her pleasure at my “sophisticated” color sense was enough to have me up and dressed by 7AM every Saturday waiting for her arrival. I loved Ms. Duel and spent six wonderful years under her tutelage. We explored just about every medium: oil, watercolor, inks, pastels, charcoal and pencil; and when I became an art major at UCLA my diverse background held me in good stead.

Because I was lucky enough to live in New York, my passion for art often led me to the Museum of Modern Art. I quickly learned about the side stairs that enabled one to avoid the crowds. One day, I was viewing an exhibit by an artist named Nathan Olivera, a figurative painter whose characters emerged out of ghostly, foggy backgrounds. I fell in love with his style.

In later years I moved to California and majored in painting at UCLA. Shortly after I enrolled, the Art Department instituted a guest professorship program, and who was the first to be announced but my idol, Nathan Olivera! Needless to say I signed up immediately. He was into movement, figurative gestures and ten second poses. What I learned from him has carried me through my entire career as an artist. Gesture, movement, color and the essence of a moment captured through action all play a vital role in what I attempt to accomplish.

During my tenure at UCLA I developed an affinity for the one discipline Ms. Duel had never taught. Etching. There was something about working on copper and zinc, and the tactile pleasure of inking and rubbing the plates, that, combined with the mechanical finality of an enormous etching press, that fascinated me. And the most exciting part — the moment you pulled your paper up off the plate to discover the image.

After graduating from UCLA I returned to NYC with my husband and I decided to take a class at the School of Visual Arts in viscosity color etching. Up to this point I had only worked in black and white. But color! I have always loved color, and the idea that one could learn to use it in a three dimensional way due to the depth of the bite in the etching plate was right up my alley. The class was being taught by the famed printmaker, Robert Blackburn. It enabled me to use up to four colors in one shot without having to overprint. A fantastic technique. Again I fell in love, this time with texture, and colors, and the ability to abstract an endless variety of colorful images from a single etched plate through different inkings. I was able to reproduce the textures of granite and other stone, and the work I began producing reminded me of abstract landscapes which I have always referred to as “Internal Landscapes.”

Madelon Jones has been making art her whole adult life and a large part of her youth. She has two shows coming up in September this year, one at Ceres Gallery in NYC and the other at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY. Another show is slated for 2013.


www.madelonjones.com