Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ISBP Installment No. 13: Joanne Mattera

I'll consider this post lucky number 13. With Joanne Mattera's images and statement, it feels like this little project has come full circle. Joanne's visit to my studio prompted me to put my thoughts about the ISBP into words. (She was the one walking around snapping pix of my studio while I was thinking what a mess it was.)

Joanne writes:

I shot this picture of my studio, a former auto repair shop, in 2004. I had just finished two large paintings—capstones for two solo shows that would take place shortly—and, still in high gear, prepared a number of smaller panels for the next body of work. As is my wont, after a period of intense activity leading up to a show, I crash for a few days and then clean up the studio. There’s something cathartic about the process. (I wrote about that interim in a post called Post-Partum Abstraction.)

So you’re seeing the space in an unnaturally pristine way. It’s the physical embodiment of a Zen moment. When I’m sitting in this ordered, empty space, I can see the next body of work. It’s not a process I can describe; I just need to start with a clean slate.

You’ll notice that the brushes are not clean, however. I work primarily in encaustic. Wax paint never polymerizes, so when it’s heated, it’s workable again. I can melt off what’s there, wipe the brush clean, and dip it into the new palette—though I keep the brushes within color families. I have hundreds more brushes now, but they all look like this.

I’m not a north light purist. I’m perfectly happy to work with incandescent illumination, but I do like the diffused southern light that comes through the translucent overheads I had installed. I call them my “Gagosian doors.” (They are the only thing Larry and I have in common.)

The studio is in Massachusetts, just north of Boston. I had no intention of relocating my studio from New York, but on a whim while visiting the area, I looked at this building with its open space on the ground floor and a sky lit loft upstairs and a price that was actually affordable. I heard my mouth make an offer. The universe had quite literally delivered me to the doorstep. I also live in New York. It’s a long “commute,” but I do it in chunks, an almost perfect balance of life in the studio and life outside it.

Vicolo 52 2008
encaustic on panel 36 x 36 inches

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Interactive Studio Blog Project Installment No. 12: Nancy Natale

This installation of the ISBP brings us to Nancy Natale's studio and work. She provides us with images of her old studio and bright spanking new studio, as well as one of her encaustic pieces. Nancy has recently launched a blog, Art In the Studio where you can see more pics of her studio and work.
Nancy writes:
My studio is in a big old mill building (formerly a factory for Stanley Home Products) in Easthampton, Mass., in the western side of the state near Northampton and Amherst, almost to the Berkshires. The photo is a shot of the way it looks while I'm working - not neat.

The Maze (below) is a 20 x 32 joined diptych of encaustic and embedded materials on top of sanded acrylic paintings on paper mounted on wooden panels.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Thought this could be helpful for Philly area artists...

LINC Philadelphia is pleased to announce the publication of "An Artist's Guide to Accessing Health Care in the Philadelphia Area" and a series of free information sessions to learn more about your rights and options for health care in the region.

The Artist's Guide is available at www.artistlincphiladelphia.org/insurance
and will be distributed in printed form at the following information

Monday, February 2, 4:00-6:00 pm
at the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, 1608 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 4, 5:30-7:30
Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catherine Street, Philadelphia

Monday, February 9, 6:30-8:30
Main Line Art Center, Lancaster Avenue and Old Buck Lane, Haverford

The sessions are free but registration is required. For more information and to register, go to www.artistlincphiladelphia.org/insurance

Please forward this email to anyone who might benefit from this information.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

ISBP installment no. 11: John Tallman

John Tallman's work makes me smile. And I like his wonderful blog, Color Chunks. And I like this excerpt from his statement:

Here's what I'm interested in:
I’m interested in that point where the illusion breaks down. 
I’m interested in answers that are both true and false. 
I’m interested in lying your way to the truth. 
I’m interested in the fragility of the art object. 
I’m interested in the theoretical possibility of 
creating endless compositions. 
I’m interested in the study of sloppy craft. 
I’m interested in joy.

Here are two of John's pieces with a shot from his studio sandwiched in between:


Thursday, January 8, 2009

ISBP installment no. 10: Mary Klein

Mary Klein is a Minneapolis-based artist--visit her blog still lifes, which records real-time progress of her work, which I find quiet and contemplative. Here is a look at her studio.

Turning 2008
oil on canvas 20 x 16

Saturday, January 3, 2009

ISBP installment no. 9: Steven Alexander

With this installation of the Interactive Studio Blog Project, we get a nice peek into Steven Alexander's studio, which is up in Dalton, PA, somewhere north of Scranton. Steven teaches at my alma mater, Marywood University. Make sure to visit Steven's wonderful Studio Journal blog, where he generously shares his work, process, and impressions and observations of other art and artists, such as the work of Brazilian painter Goncalo Ivo. I highlight this because as you'll see in the post, Steven has included a photo of Ivo's studio. The space is mighty impressive with a huge array of paints and brushes laid out with precision, like a surgeon's tools. This precision is very evident in Ivo's intensely colored geometric abstractions.

Now, back to Stephen and his work. After writing the above, I became aware that there is a real connection between Steven's workspace, which I've had the chance to see through his blog posts, and his work. I see an openness, an expansiveness that is present in both, and experience a sense of place in many of Steven's paintings. Of course, it's not at all that simple. Please see Steven's statement below...

Meteor Beach 2008
96 x 96 acrylic on 4 canvases

My work is an exploration of relations that reside in the constant flux of sensory events. I am interested in the interaction between the painting and the viewer's imagination and experience; in the painting's catalytic potency - it's potential to generate unspecified mobile meaning.

Color operates in this work and in the world as a kind of pure energy, dynamic, capricious, evocative. The surfaces emphasize the sensual rather than analytical nature of the process, and attest to the pervasive presence of time. Within the structure of the paintings, archetypal dualities of male/female, earth/sky, internal/external are inevitably implied; not as opposing forces, but as interdependent aspects of an animate whole. In this sense, these paintings might be regarded as open-ended cosmologies, or as chunks of unencumbered raw reality, or to use John Cage's words, "like Nature in her manner of operation".

I am trying to build, out of color and substance, a place for the viewer's consciousness - where unexpected associations and resonances may occur, where history merges with the present moment, and the stuff of life, love and desire has corporeal presence - states of being, embodied in paint.