Sunday, December 20, 2015

MAR - Ance Mair I Hail Thee (Thou Gloomy December!)

There is always something so satisfying about stretching new canvases. I adore the whole process - from squaring the stretcher bars to adjusting the tension of the canvas to mixing the perfect ratio of water and gesso... As romantic a notion as it is, I always feel a little more connected to my art historical saints on the days when I am preparing new surfaces. 

We're at about the halfway point of this Manifest Residency. I feel like I finally have my bearings in Cincinnati, and the studio really feels like my own now. I'm trying not to worry too much about the culminating show in May. It shouldn't be too difficult to curate it from what I've made so far (plus the next five or six pieces that are taking root inside my brain). Looking forward to getting those ideas down on canvas soon!

December always calls to mind my favorite Robert Burns poem. You can listen to a lovely reading of "Thou Gloomy December" here: 
Much love to you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MAR - Tapped 6 Reception, Open Studio Night

This was a particularly special reception. I'm so happy to be in this year's Tapped exhibit with one of my former students from NIU, Sheena Daugherty. I'm a big fan of her lovely photographs and I can't wait to see her next series in person. Congratulations Sheena!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

MAR - Myopia

Myopia   2015   chalk pastel on paper   13x13"

Myopia (n) - a lack of foresight or discernment; a narrow view of something (

This piece began as an experiment in point-of-view. I was curious to see what would happen to the space if I stood next to the wall and looked straight down at the baseboard. An intriguing reversal of forms occurred, where the floor became flat ("wall-like") while the wall suddenly described depth in a rather "floor-like" manner.

Chalk pastel has long been my favorite drawing medium. I find it to be the most painterly of the drawing options, and I repeatedly fall in love with its versatility. It can be a charmingly seductive material, once you get used to the inevitable clouds of dust and fine layer of chalk covering everything in sight.

The title of this piece, "Myopia," relates to its point of view as well as the tight composition. Most of the work in this "residue" series has been in square format. The square conjures associations of discrete units, pixels, or modules that can be stacked and combined in myriad ways. Each square, each pixel if you will, is but a part of a larger whole. Just as the viewer can only see a small section of the studio in each piece, so too does myopia infect our lives outside the studio. Perspective is a hard thing to find and harder still to cling to... but it is an essential part of finding balance. Finding beauty in this mundane studio detritus is one way of getting back to a more essential mindset and eliminating distractions within my own life.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

MAR - What is Art For?

"We cannot ask artists to do the work of presidents, ministers, social workers or private wealth. We can ask artists to be present and to speak truthfully from their core. This is the beginning of change." - Theaster Gates

No studio visit this week. Just one word, upon which I will meditate until I know what I can do to be present and speak truthfully from my core as an artist. 

Aştî. Paix. Peace. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

MAR - "Perennial"

 Perennial   2015   oil on canvas   30" x 24"

Perennial (adj): continuing without interruption; persisting for a long period of time; unending

Like last week's "Provisional," there is a touch of irony in the title. Post-its are in some ways the least "perennial" studio objects - they are temporary by design, a colorful reminder that quickly outlives its usefulness. Yet, like the paint residue on the studio wall that only continues to accumulate, post-its are omnipresent.

Formally, I am enamored with the little colored squares - big surprise, considering my unwavering love for all things Albers. Conceptually, I am intrigued by the overlap between the temporary and the permanent, the fleetingly ephemeral and the reassuringly solid. They are reminders of things left unfinished and a hopeful meditation on the future unknown.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MAR - "Provisional"

"Provisional"  2015  oil on canvas  30" x 24"

Provisional (adj): existing for the present time but likely to be changed; temporary

The duality of representation and abstraction is still tumbling around in my brain. Finding a place of peaceful coexistence for the two seems to be a recurring theme. Being an "observational painter" is so intrinsically a part of my identity; I don't think I could change that if I tried. The challenge in moving forward has been finding ways to creatively break the (arbitrary) rules I have laid out for myself as an artist. Painting this studio ephemera - recreating the random marks on the walls and floor - has, in part, allowed me to make abstract paintings that still follow my "rules." 

I crave the freedom in color and mark-making that this process affords me. Yet I could never be a "provisional painter." The desire to make an image that is thoroughly and recognizably grounded in reality is too strong to ever be completely overcome. At the same time, I can't honestly call myself a strict "realist" - my deep and abiding love for the materiality of paint is, also, too strong to ever be erased.

Balance. Elusive as ever. 
Perhaps the answer lies in the next piece. Or the one after that...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

MAR - Fresh Paint Biennial and Open Studio #3

This Friday was the reception for the Fresh Paint Biennial at Manifest Gallery. I was thrilled to have two new pieces accepted into this show - one chalk pastel and one oil painting, both created in my MAR studio in the past couple months. It was a great night; as always, I met lots of interesting people and had some really good conversations. Also, I'm very happy to say that the drawing sold to a lovely couple during the reception! 
It's a great show; if you're in the area between now and October 23rd, be sure to stop by!

Lots of process work is happening in the studio at the moment. I'm testing out some new compositions and ideas. Draw, erase, redraw, crumple paper, repeat. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

MAR - Sketchbook

study, after Uglow's "Curled Nude on a Stool"

preparing for anatomy lectures

Sunday, September 13, 2015

MAR - Studio, September

recent figure drawings and color studies

testing out new color combinations... playing with chromatic neutrals... 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

MAR - Recent Press and Studio Updates

I'm honored to be featured as an Emerging Artist in the inaugural issue of Art & Cultural Strategies, a new magazine founded by Renee LaVerne Rose. Be sure to check out the complete issue on her blog!

In case you missed it last week, the lovely and talented Laura Pearce wrote a great piece about Manifest and the artist residency. Check it out above, or visit the Express Cincinnati website.

Kate Cunningham, the Drawing Center coordinator, took some great photos during last week's workshop with Shane Wolf. Check out more on the Drawing Center Facebook page!