Thursday, April 29, 2010

seeing red/little red squares

Today's color: RED

OK...I'm a copy cat, and happily so.
This post was inspired, in part, by (everyone's favorite angry hillbilly) Joanne Mattera's blog post on Spring Greens  and her recent post on "Red"  as well as Kate Beck's post on Orange. There are others, such as the annual Red exhibit at Cheryl Hazan...
I love the idea and look forward to offering up my version of Seeing Red/Little Red Squares.
Thanks to the artists who sent their splendid red!

I'm happy to expand this as I find other pieces. 
I'll add to the top...

Ian MacLeod
Composition #194 (detail)
acrylic on canvas

Stephanie Clayton
Outside Break
acrylic on panel 
16 x 16 x 2"

Catherine Carter
acrylic on canvas
16 x 16

Gwen Plunkett
el grande rouge (cropped)
encaustic on panel

Michelle Marcuse
Far Sight
image transfer print to wax, oil on luan
36" x 48"

Harold Venable
18 x 18"
acrylic on panel

Diane McGregor 
Suma (detail)

Lisa Pressman 
red painting 
46 x 46 
oil on canvas 

Tamar Zinn
Arabesque 47
18 x 18
oil on paper

Paul Behnke
Poets' Mouths
30 x 30
acrylic on canvas

Joanne Mattera
Uttar 238

Kate Beck 
Constant (Red.White) 
46 x 46 oil on canvas (poured)
 Sue Katz
Dumpster Red 16 Square
found object

Rebecca Crowell
Stripes #2 e

Tremain Smith
Seeing Red
oil, wax & collage on panel

Steven Alexander 
acrylic on panel

Cora Jane Glasser
Query in Red and White

Nancy Natale 
Sticky Situation
oil, cold wax & oil stick on panel
24 x 24

Deborah Barlow
Dar Jeele
30 x 30”
Mixed media on canvas

David Foss 
Black Cross
Acrylic on Canvas

Pam Farrell 
Red Ophelia 
36 x 36 
encaustic on panel 

Tim Mcfarlane 
Image 2567: macro photo of the red side
of the fuzzy top of one of our cat scratching toys

Charyl Weissbach 
Botanical Red 
10 x 10"  
evergreen and encaustic mixed media on linen over panel 

Ken Weathersby
LRS color study 3
digital image study

 ...and because it's my party, I get to have 2 images. 
This is a detail from 
"My Favorite Flavor, Cherry Red" 
8 x 10 
oil on paper 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hanging on Nam June Paik

As I entered the New Jersey News building in Trenton for their open house "A Night for the Arts," it was with mixed feelings I saw my three paintings, the central pieces from my current series, All Things Flow, hanging on Nam June Paik's commissioned piece, PBS.

photo by Randy Carone

The installation, commissioned by the state of New Jersey in 1978, has been non-functional for some years and in need of extensive restoration. The neon gas long gone, and the various components for the monitors no longer active, the work nonetheless makes a statement, perhaps one that extends beyond the artist's intent. Quantum leaps in the development of technology and (planned?) obsolescence leave what once was considered a bold work of art using advanced technology sitting sadly dormant on the outside-facing wall of the NJN building.

nam june paik
This is a low-res image of the Paik installation from

Instead of serving as a beacon to greet the public and to look to the future of technology to build community, the ghostlike appearance of Paik's installation perhaps augurs a different future for NJN. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's proposed plan to privatize NJN is sure to bring change to public broadcasting in NJ.

This series of mine, All Things Flow, began as a means of reconciling the anxiety that comes with a growing awareness of the passage of time. More time behind me than ahead; time seeming to speed by faster and faster as I grow older; much uncertainty about what all this means. Since there is no controlling it (time) I needed to find a way to roll with it, so to speak. These pieces reference water flowing, spring colors, and the idea that maybe there is a constancy to all this. 

These paintings are about the present, not the past or the future. So perhaps the placement of All Things Flow is fitting, hanging on Nam June Paik, whose work here now seems to address the past and the (once) future.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Opening a gallery during a recession? Intrepid.

From the far periphery, through the grapevine, and with updates from some little birdies, I've been following Luella Tripp's journey from the closing of Gallery Siano, to the opening of LGTripp Gallery in Old City Philadelphia on March 28. I first met Luella at the opening reception for the final show at Siano Gallery a couple of years ago, which I wrote about in one of my first posts on this blog. The gallery's closing produced a void in the Old City gallery scene, but I was introduced to someone in the business who seemed truly focused on art and the artists.

With each update, and then finally, a real date for an opening, I started to get curious about the kind of person who opens a gallery in the middle of a recession and post-art market bubble. (I know, I know, according to some of the leading economic indicators, the recession is over. Just tell that to all the folks who have lost jobs, houses, etc.) But the idea of a brand new gallery opening in the spring seemed a harbinger of hope. I decided to ask Luella a few questions and invite her to be "interviewed" to talk about her journey, and she was up for it.

How did you get started in the gallery business? Art history background? Curatorial studies?

There are professionally trained gallery directors and then there are self-taught directors. I’m in the latter category.  
This journey began about nine years ago. After working for many years in office management I became increasingly restless, wanting to explore ‘something’ (not sure what) that tapped into my creative energy. This combined with an appreciation for the visual arts; introduction to the local art community and relationships with artists prompted a rather spontaneous decision to open a small gallery in Old City. In retrospect, I’m rather stunned at the boldness of my decision, but in reality felt compelled to follow my passion. I had to give it a try.

In the months preceding the opening of PARALLELS gallery, I became aware that the art that ‘spoke’ to me, often drawing me in like a magnet was abstract and non-objective work. Looking at art without clearly recognizable images catapulted my imagination to another place…one unknown, unexplored, and that transcended my present moment and reality. It was euphoric. The vocabulary of shapes or lack of, layering of colors, unfamiliar textures, the harmony of balance, the energy of expressionist work, the calming nature of color fields, the beauty of lines intersecting or looping, the unexpected punctuation of a marking, all at the impulse of the artist’s hand and imagination…this captivated my spirit. 

As abstraction became my passion it only made sense that this should be the focus of the gallery.  After all, in order to successfully represent and sell a product I had to believe in it and be passionate about it, so abstraction became my niche, the identity of the gallery.  In the summer of 2001, in a small gallery space, I installed my first exhibition at PARALLELS Gallery and opened the doors on First Friday.

My education as a gallery director took place in this little gallery. It was intense, exciting and terrifying all at once. However, I loved it and absorbed all the information I could find on twentieth century art and the role of a gallery director. Two years later, following 9/11, an impending war and their impact on the art world and specifically art sales, I made the very difficult decision to close the gallery.  
Six months later in January 2004, I became director of Gallery Siano, another gallery in Old City.  The following four years I had the pleasure of working with about 100 artists, both young and mid career, local, national and international artists, collaborated on a couple national exhibitions at the gallery, was curator of exhibitions at two local museums, placed art in both personal and corporate collections, was curator of a retrospective exhibition and a Master of Fine Arts senior thesis exhibition, sold work through interior designers, placed art in MTV’S REAL WORLD Philadelphia house and organized exhibitions at alternative art venues. After four wonderfully exhilarating years, I was informed our lease had quadrupled and I would have to close the gallery.

But miracles continued to happen. Before closing Gallery Siano I was offered gallery space in a building soon to be renovated in Old City. Now, two years later, LGTripp Gallery will open its doors and have the privilege of once again promoting artists from the Philadelphia area.  The gallery will represent fourteen artists I have worked with and whose works I respect and admire. Whether it be paintings, works on paper, sculpture, photography or installations, my passion for the abstract and non-objective will be apparent and at the heart of LGTripp Gallery. [As you will read below, the opening reception for LGTripp Gallery took place, as scheduled, on March 28.]

Opening Luella Tripp Contemporary has been quite a journey. Can you talk about how you maintained the vision despite some major challenges, like the economy tanking and construction/architectural issues?
The one constant factor that gave me impetus to persevere after closing both PARALLELS and Gallery Siano is the artists. At times when the future was uncertain or I didn't see any possible space for a gallery, I just had to think of the incredible artists I had worked with for 4 - 8 years, their commitment and dedication to creating art and I would pick myself up and keep searching.  They (the artists) were my motivation!

How would you describe the program for the gallery?
Of course I will continue to be a strong proponent of abstraction.  At the hands of a skilled artist, abstraction is dramatic, powerful and inspiring.  My goal is to exhibit paintings, photography, sculpture and installations. Fourteen artists will be represented by the gallery, with regularly scheduled solo exhibitions. At Gallery Siano I loved offering exhibitions to new artists, so I plan to continue that tradition once a year.  Abstract photography is also a passion of mine so December is reserved for photography shows.  About four times a year I plan to dedicate one of the galleries to an installation.

Considering that quite a bit of time has passed since Siano closed and LGTripp Gallery came into fruition, how did you manage to maintain your relationship with your roster of artists? 
Mainly through emails.  I would send periodic updates of what was happening with the construction of the gallery.  Most of the time it was to announce delays with the opening which became discouraging. The delays were legitimate but nevertheless it seemed to be endless. At one point I felt it necessary to release my artists to pursue other representation because I couldn't in good conscience ask them to hang on any longer. I also continued to make studio visits when the artists had new work to show me.  This really propelled me to keep looking for another space or option to promote their work.  I was very excited with the progress they were making. Then there were also occasional opportunities to sell some of their work.
It was an amazing opening. Although I anticipated a decent attendance, I never expected the several hundred that dropped in to see the gallery, the expressions of congratulations and best wishes from so many friends and acquaintances... some I hadn't seen for a couple of years. The response to the space, the exhibition as a whole and the artists' work was extremely positive.   
 When I initially spoke to the artists regarding this exhibition, I asked them to create new work, their very best work to date, and if possible never previously shown. This group show wasn't about selecting existing work that would be appropriate for the exhibition. This was truly a PREMIERE, an opening, presenting some of their best work to date. It was all about the artists and their 'in the moment' place in the evolution of their creativity.  I was very pleased with the results and thought the exhibition clearly demonstrated each artist's distinct style and skill along with the significant development of his/her work. Although the last two years were uneventful in regards to gallery involvement, the artists were in their studios, inspired, energized, clearly focused on the next creative direction.

Any thoughts on the whole journey, about following your passion, having faith that you were making the right decisions, having it feel like it's real and yours, etc.? 

The journey has been a learning experience, one requiring patience, perseverance,"trying" not to lose sight of a vision or a goal in the midst of obstacles and the unpredictable, believing there is a season for everything and everything in its right time and place, faith borne out of deep belief in the intangible, observing what seemed like the impossible become reality one little step at a time, each time giving impetus to continue on this trajectory.   

The first day the gallery was open, it felt surreal...two years had come and gone, I felt as though I had just completed a marathon, the space looked spectacular, more stunning than I had ever imagined and the art that I loved had taken its rightful place. It was an extraordinary if I had come full circle and it felt terrific to be back in business! Nine years ago I took the plunge and opened a little gallery at 321 Arch Street. In my wildest dreams I never would have anticipated this awesome space and opportunity would be mine at this time. Now the real work begins!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

NJ Public Network Public Television & Radio presents A Night For The Arts

All Things Flow (Pink)  36 x 36  oil on canvas  2010

I am pleased to be included in an invitational exhibit of work by New Jersey artists, hosted by New Jersey Network Public 
Television & Radio in Trenton, NJ.

Hope to see you at the reception!