Painting

Vignette: Shawn Marshall

"Cabin View 1" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x40in, 2018, POR

"Cabin View 1" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x40in, 2018, POR

When Shawn Marshall was inspired to paint the view from an airplane window, we might assume that it was a rainy flight, with hopefully not too much turbulence, because Marshall’s balance between abstract and representational might suggest an overhead perspective on landscape through a rain-smeared pane of glass: the details are blurred, and the contours defining the roads and fields below are elusive, hard to pin down.

Abstraction makes you look harder at things. The central question in the viewer’s mind becomes - what do I see? The more cynical might phrase the question differently: what am I looking at? Yet one might offer that to be demand that art explain itself to you is actually the lazy approach. Marshall challenges the viewer, enticing them with just enough discernible representation, but layering a veneer of abstract expressionism between them and her subject, built with a heavily textured impasto that forces an immediate visceral relationship with the surface. Paint is always seductive.

"Listless" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 24x24in, 2018, POR

"Listless" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 24x24in, 2018, POR

“I create a three-dimensional surface on the canvas; always striving for balance between the layers of impasto and the underlying landscape beyond.” – Shawn Marshall

The bisected compositional structure, normally recognizing the natural horizon line encountered in the open, rural landscape, remains in these airborne point-of-view, Marshall’s eye always finding a road or river that cuts through the quadrants of fields and developments below.

Marshall was awarded First Place in the 2017 MAZIN Juried Art Exhibition that just closed at The Patio Gallery at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Kentucky, and she is about to open a solo show at Craft(s) Gallery & Mercantile in Louisville that will run from March 2 through 31, with an Opening Reception March 2 from 6:00-10:00pm.

Her work is in numerous private collections including PNC Bank, Pittsburgh, PA, Commonwealth Bank, Louisville, KY, and the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, KY.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: 1992, Bachelor of Architecture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY; 1996, Master of Architecture, Minor Fine Arts, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; 2009, Master of Art in Teaching, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY
Website: www.shawnlmarshall.com
Gallery Representation: Pyro Gallery (Louisville),  New Editions Gallery (Lexington), Yust Gallery (Cincinnati)

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"Cabin View 2" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x40in, 2018, POR

"Cabin View 2" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x40in, 2018, POR

"The Passage" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x48in, 2017, POR

"The Passage" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 30x48in, 2017, POR

"Bleeding Rock" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 20x24in, 2017, POR

"Bleeding Rock" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 20x24in, 2017, POR

"Winter Field" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 36x48in, 2018

"Winter Field" by Shawn Marshall, Oil on Canvas, 36x48in, 2018


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Special

Legacy: Anna Huddleston (1913-1999)

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art will present WIlma Bethel with the Art Educator Award, in memory of Anna Huddleston. Former LVA director John Begley remembers the influential artist and educator.

“. . . (African American artists) run around, do good things and then disappear.” - Fred Bond, a Louisville Black artist, colleague, and friend of Anna Huddleston

Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Anna Huddleston was a force for art education in Louisville for many years.  Beginning as a elementary art teacher in what were, in that period of segregation, referred to as Louisville’s "colored" schools, then as a middle school teacher at DuVall in the integrated Louisville Board of Education, and finally as the Resource Art Teacher for the Jefferson County Public School system, she mentored and encouraged many students, beginning instructors, and emerging artists.  She was also president of the Kentucky Art Education Association.

After retirement, she continued her community engagement in many ways, working to establish the Louisville Art Workshop with fellow Louisville artists G.C. Coxe, Fred Bond, and Ed Hamilton, and serving on various boards including the Bourgard College of Art and Music, and the Art Center Association (now the LVA) where she was deeply involved in expanding the free Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC) into new neighborhood venues, including the West End.

Generally working behind the scenes, she received deserved recognition in Black Kentucky artists: an exhibition of work by black artists living in Kentucky that was organized for the Kentucky Arts Commission and toured by them from June 1979 through January 1981, and shortly after when she was the first African American artist to be awarded the Kentucky Arts Council’s highest honor, the Milner Award, at that time the only Governor’s Award in the Arts in Kentucky.

Ed Hamilton, Anna Huddleston, Gretchen Bradleigh, William Duffy, & Sylvia Clay. Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

Ed Hamilton, Anna Huddleston, Gretchen Bradleigh, William Duffy, & Sylvia Clay. Photo courtesy Ed Hamilton.

With the Stars Among Us luncheon on March 1, the LVA will again remember the important achievements of this landmark visual arts educator so that her contributions to following generations do not disappear.


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John Begley is a Printmaker, Installation, and Video Artist. From 1975 to 2014 he was a Curator and Gallery Director, including 19 years as Executive Director of LVA and several years with the UofL’s Hite Art Institute, where he is now Coordinator of the IHQ Project.

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Fiber, Ceramics

Feature: Elmer Lucille Allen

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art will present Elmer Lucille Allen with the Legacy Award, in memory of Julius Friedman. This is a reprint of an Artebella Feature from February 2017. 

To purchase tickets, click here.

To purchase tickets, click here.


"I love the academic environment. I am a perpetual student." — Elmer Lucille Allen


Artist Elmer Lucille Allen (Photo by Tom LeGoff)

Artist Elmer Lucille Allen (Photo by Tom LeGoff)

When Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Center Director Aukram Burton describes Elmer Lucille Allen as, “one of our Elders,” he is not just acknowledging that the ceramic and fiber artist is an Octogenarian. The term carries weight in various cultures, but in parts of Africa it specifically denotes a connection to ancestors, the dead who remain vested with mystical power in the kin-group, and the elder’s authority stems from the idea that they are representatives of the ancestors to the contemporary community.

Elmer Lucille Allen is as approachable and convivial as anyone you would ever meet, but she is a “senior” (the far less satisfying American appellation) who has never truly retired. She earned the gold watch, so to speak, after 31 years as a chemist at Brown-Forman, where she was the first African American chemist to be hired (in 1966). In the twenty years since she retired, she has established herself as one of the most important artists in Louisville and an important influence on succeeding generations.

In person, Ms. Allen is an archetypal matriarch, speaking in the unadorned but nurturing language you would expect from any great-grandmother. She exhibits little outward evidence of the depth of her academic background, the years spent as a community activist, and the position she occupies in local history; she never wears her ‘status’ on her sleeve. She puts it this way: “I take it as an honor because what I do is part of who I am.”

"Untitled ELA #5" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Shibori Wall Hanging Red Kona Cotton – Stitched Resist – Dyed Blue Price, $2000 | BUY NOW

"Untitled ELA #5" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Shibori Wall Hanging Red Kona Cotton – Stitched Resist – Dyed Blue Price, $2000 | BUY NOW

“I became involved in the art scene in the early 1980s when Ken Clay, then head of Renaissance Development, held the first African American (AA) Arts Conference at the Galt House. After this conference, the Kentucky Coalition for Afro-American Arts, Inc. (KCAAA) was formed. I was the first and only president of this organization that lasted 10 years. When I decided that I did not want to continue as President, the treasury was donated to the Arts Council of Louisville. I was a charter member of the ACOL and a treasurer for four years.”

Ms. Allen states she has never felt a bias in the arts, but her history before she was an artist is another matter, and reflects the time. “Remember, I came up through a segregated system and did not have classes with a white person until I was a junior in college. I experienced racial difference when Nazareth College (now Spalding University) graduates in 1953 were looking for a place to host a graduation event. The event was eventually held at the Knights of Columbus Hall.”

“When I graduated I could not get a job as a chemist in Louisville. The only jobs available were teaching. My first job was as a clerk typist in Indianapolis, Indiana, at Fort Benjamin Harrison. There was bias on that job - one person from a city in Indiana had never been around a "colored" person, but you have to be who you are and stand up for what you believe. ‘Speak to a person even if the person does not acknowledge you.’” 

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Allen took her first pottery class at Seneca High School in the late 1970’s after her children were all grown and out of the house. She never gave empty nest syndrome a chance, following up with mold ceramics or pottery classes through JCPS and New Albany adult education. But this was still just the beginning: “Then I enrolled in a ceramics class at Metro Arts Center where I studied with Melvin Rowe. Also, while I was a student there I had the pleasure to meet Laura Ross, a national ceramic artist who encouraged me to take classes at the University of Louisville with internationally recognized ceramicist Tom Marsh.”

But studying ad hoc wasn’t enough, and, after retiring she decided to seek a masters in ceramics at U of L. It was while studying for her master’s that she was introduced to a second art media - fiber/textiles. “My thesis exhibition consisted of stenciled wall hangings and over 200 reduction fired porcelain sculptural boxes that were placed on boards on the floor, which meant you had to view the pieces while standing.”

Lucille Allen in a workshop (Photo by Aron Conaway)

Lucille Allen in a workshop (Photo by Aron Conaway)

Whatever racial or gender restrictions she encountered in her earlier life, Allen’s first years in the art world were mostly lacking in such difficulties. “I have not experienced any discrimination as a woman artist or as an artist of color. My work does not depict any culture - it speaks for itself. I create work that I enjoy making. I do not do commissions. I have been fortunate because I did not have to depend on selling art for a living. I retired in 1997 and have been volunteering in some capacity ever since.”

Yet she is not blind that many artists of color find it a challenge to reach wider audiences and secure their place at the larger community table, particularly in the visual arts world. “I think that one organization needs to take control. At the present every organization's president has their own agenda and is not looking out for other persons or organizations, and small organizations normally do not have a specific place, computer equipment, or expertise for such large undertaking.” 

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One of the values of being an Elder is that you have been a witness to the changes in the arts and cultural landscape that surrounds you. Allen can recount a time when there was much effort in the name of unity and inclusion. “Years ago, Louisville Visual Art had a large (non-digital) database of artists and arts organizations. The Kentucky Arts Council funded two directories of African American artists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Two conferences were held, one in Lexington, and one in Louisville. They conducted free workshops for the community at the Chestnut Street YMCA, West End branch of the YWCA, as well as other venues. Bale McKnight, who conducted drum making at the YMCA, created a drum that was in Chickasaw Park, which was the first public art project in the West End. KCAAA was the fiscal agent for Educations Arts and the dance group founded by Harlina Churn.” You see, Elders know the history.

So how does Louisville recapture that level of motivation again? What actions need to be taken today to build a functional community network? Allen feels, “Everyone is waiting for someone else to do the hard work,” but individuals who want to be leaders need to focus on developing their game in crucial ways; Elders also get to give advice:

  • Organizational and leadership skills are a must. 
  • You have to show up and be willing to assume responsibilities. 
  • You must not be afraid to fail. You learn from your mistakes.
  • You, as a leader, must be presentable and responsible for your actions at all times. Remember the golden rule - Do unto others as you want others to do to you.
  • You must be punctual.
  • Respect the time of others. Meetings should have an agenda and should not exceed two hours.
Untitled ELA #2" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Stenciled Wall Hanging Black Polyester Fabric Price, $750 | BUY NOW

Untitled ELA #2" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Stenciled Wall Hanging Black Polyester Fabric Price, $750 | BUY NOW

So how does this near-iconic status affect Elmer Lucille Allen’s work as an artist? Or does it? “My work is not impacted by my place in history,” states Allen. ”The work that I have done since 1981 speaks for itself. I have been the volunteer curator/director of Wayside Christian Mission's Wayside Expressions Gallery since 2005.  My goal is to showcase artists, some of which have never exhibited. My second goal has been to have an African American artist or artists for February. I have done the scheduling, press releases, fliers, finding new artists, etc., from my home. I think my presence in the art world has afforded me the opportunity to be asked to serve as judge for the 2016 Fund for Arts, as a panelist for Metro arts grants, etc.”

“I think that over the years, the community sees who is where and what you are doing. Action speaks louder then words.”

Recognitions/Awards: 
Louisville Defender – Lifetime Community Service Recognition Award (2016)
Outstanding Community Leader by Metro Council (2016) 
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft’s First Art and Advocacy Award – Bourbon Bash (2015) 
Parkland Rising Up Project (2015) 
Community Spirit Award given by the University of Louisville College of Arts and Science and the Yearlings Club (2015) 
Spalding University Caritas Medal (2011) - the highest honor awarded to an alumnus 

"Untitled ELA #4 – Shibori Wall Hanging" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Natural Silk Noil – Three Panels - Stitched Resist and Pole Wrapped – Dyed Blue, $1000 | BUY NOW

"Untitled ELA #4 – Shibori Wall Hanging" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Natural Silk Noil – Three Panels - Stitched Resist and Pole Wrapped – Dyed Blue, $1000 | BUY NOW

"Untitled ELA #1" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Stenciled Wall Hanging Black Polyester Fabric Price, $750 | BUY NOW

"Untitled ELA #1" by Elmer Lucille Allen, Stenciled Wall Hanging Black Polyester Fabric Price, $750 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Installation

Feature: Vinhay Keo's Confront at Moremen Moloney Gallery

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art Honors The Stars Among Us, a luncheon event which will recognize artists and patrons in four categories:

Vinhay Keo - Rising Star Award - In Memory of Bob Thompson
Wilma Bethel - Visual Art Educator Award - In Memory of Anna Huddleston
Porter Watkins - Benefactor of the Year Award - In Memory of Charlotte Price
Elmer Lucille Allen - Legacy Award - In Memory of Julius Friedman

This review, reprinted with permission, discusses Vinhay Keo's fall 2017 solo exhibit in Louisville. 

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Confront – Vinhay Keo

Moremen Moloney Gallery
September 15 – October 14, 2017

Review by Keith Waits. Originally published by Arts-Louisville in October 2017.

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Louisville has a thriving visual arts scene, but it lacks a meaningful representation of installation work with the artist’s personal involvement. It happens in other cities, but most exhibition spaces here tend to traffic in fairly traditional presentations. Academic galleries tend to come closest to fulfilling this need, but even they offer such programming intermittently.

Vinhay Keo is only a little more than a year out of the BFA program at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD), and Moremen Moloney Contemporary Gallery is hosting his first solo exhibition, Confront. The Cambodian-born artist here follows up on his work from the school’s 2016 BFA exhibit, some of which is included here.

Like many artists at this age, Keo is preoccupied with identity. His experience of moving to Bowling Green Kentucky and searching for a place in a smaller American community is realized through a monochromatic aesthetic in which the artist is continually surrounded, nay, overwhelmed by the color white. The Moremen Moloney environs, a renovated home, provide an interesting format by forcing the elements into individual rooms. Keo himself stands in the center of the first room on the left, motionless and silent, naked from the waist up, his lower half wrapped in white fabric and his neck adorned with a stiff white collar from which emerges a long white tie. The tie transitions from broadcloth to a twisted cord that reaches out of the room, across the hall and into the opposite room, where it disappears into an enormous, multi-peaked mound of confetti that is, of course, white.

The hallway displays photographic images printed on aluminum, five of which are specifically created for Confront, and several others that are from his time at KyCAD and the BFA exhibit. In the live installation, Keo’s brown skin is rich and warm in contrast to all of the white. The interior décor is analogous to the austerity of Keo’s imagery, and he has dusted his natural skin tone with white powder on his shoulders.

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In the photographs, Keo is mostly covered in white make-up, even graying his black hair, or wearing white clothes. His mouth emits viscous white fluid filled with suggestiveness, and in the most striking picture, he appears to vomit a profusion of confetti.

We can draw from all of this that Keo has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to fit into a Caucasian world and that the effort very likely confused the artist’s own sense of himself, his own individual identity. Subsumed by a culture of Bible-belt social mores and backyard barbecues, and with, what we must presume, was a surfeit of similarly brown-skinned neighbors, what degree of denial and willful ignorance must have colored Keo’s own view of himself?

That quality of isolation is pointedly conveyed in this performance installation, set as it is in a high-end exhibition space that draws a well-to-do, predominantly white audience. As Keo stands, stone-faced, the viewers move around him sipping wine and blithely commenting on the artist and his work as if he weren’t within earshot. Is this a replication of Keo’s early life in Bowling Green? The Cambodian boy as the Other? Not fully a citizen and therefore not deserving of full social embrace? If so, Keo has provocatively forced the viewer to be complicit in realizing his statement.

The expression of his thesis is highly intellectual, but the imagery is emotionally charged. And if one stands in the room with Keo, listening to the self-satisfied chatter surrounding him, it is not difficult to empathize with his position. We might expect an artist coming from this experience to put forth a message of protest; to plant his feet and demand recognition for who they are and not who society forces them to be, but Keo codifies his biography into a savvy recognition of his repression.

This reading is reinforced when we consider that Keo is Gay. While it doesn't seem the most important aspect of Keo's projected alienation, at least not in the context of this installation, he references another level of repression in a covert photographic image in which he blocks the view of his genitals with his hands, his entire body, of course, covered in white.

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Keo has made clear that the overabundance of shredded paper makes reference to the relentless documentation of personal history in the United States. How many bureaucratic forms has Keo filled out in his journey thus far? We are all burdened with such baggage, and it is now a largely digital repository of personal data, but Keo’s paper trail is undoubtedly greater than that of most law-abiding native-born citizens.

As personal as the entire project is, it also strikes a universal chord for all immigrants who come to America as People of Color and/or people for whom English is a second language, and perhaps many others who might not as easily match those descriptions. This positions Confront as one of the more important exhibits of the moment, a commentary that speaks to the chaos in American society, the worth and importance of the immigrant in that chaos, and the very core value of diversity that lies at the heart of the United States of America.

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Painting

Vignette: Kayla Bischoff

"The universal language of humanity spanning across time and geography informs my work." - Kayla Bischoff

"Brouhaha" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on birch panel, 35x54in, 2018, $675

"Brouhaha" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on birch panel, 35x54in, 2018, $675

When Kayla Bischoff cites her influences, Jean Dubuffet seems to be the clearest line: the utter denial of perspective and the embrace of his ‘art brut’ aesthetic, which celebrated the idea of art produced by ‘non-professionals.’ Bischoff certainly is no amateur, but her dense, kinetic compositions are filled with figures and faces rendered in a deliberately unsophisticated style, as if anybody could draw them.

Yet a laymen’s vision of what is accomplished art would arguably still be colored by an ambition to create form and space with detail and depth built from craft. What Bischoff gives us instead are simple images layered one upon another, forcing relationships and building depth through a density of marks that threatens to overwhelm the viewer; except she knows when to pull up. Her world is all surface, but what a busy, busy surface it is.

“The style in which I paint is a balance of abstraction, representation, spontaneous expression, and conscious decisions. The characters are hurriedly drawn in frenzy, and then built upon with several layers of paint to enhance the depth of the surface. I convey my ideas in paintings because the immediacy allows for uninhibited mark making. The tactile nature of the paint feels authentic while connecting me to the earliest form of human visual expression.” 

“As a contemporary artist I actively study and absorb art history. I seek to create a connection between contemporary art and that of past civilizations. I reference ancient artworks, such as figurines and masks from various cultures — Andean, Mesoamerican, Japanese, African, Aboriginal, etc. The universal language of humanity spanning across time and geography informs my work. The use of stylized figures acts as a communicative shorthand of body language and facial `expressions. Through the playfully chaotic layers of figurative abstraction, my work comments on the plight of the individual and humanity as a whole.”

“Gaping mouths, shrugging shoulders, flailing arms, and cackling faces occupy the surface in an overcrowded frenzy. On the surface my paintings are vibrant and playful; however, I invite the viewer to peer closer into the cluttered surface of detailed disorder to discover many of the abstracted figures experience some inner trepidation.”

In 2017, Bischoff had her 2nd solo exhibit, Push/Pull: Paintings by Kayla Bischoff, at Jasper Community Arts: Krempp Gallery, Jasper Arts Center, Jasper IN.

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Bischoff is having a two-person show with Bob Lockhart at PYRO Gallery in Louisville, February 22 through April 7, 2018. There will be an opening reception Friday, February 23 from 5:00-7:00pm, and a Gallery Talk featuring both artists Sunday, February 25 at 1:00pm.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA, (Magna Cum Laude) Studio Art: Painting Emphasis/Minors in Art History & Psychology, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, 2014
Website: kaylabischoff.com
Instagram: /knbischoff/
Gallery Representation: Galerie Hertz (Louisville)         

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"Egress" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on birch panel, 12 x 12in, 2017, $225  

"Egress" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on birch panel, 12 x 12in, 2017, $225

 

"Hoopla" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30in, 2018, $525

"Hoopla" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30in, 2018, $525

"False Faces" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60in, 2017, $875

"False Faces" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60in, 2017, $875

"The Blame Game" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 36x48in, 2017, $675

"The Blame Game" by Kayla Bischoff, Acrylic on canvas, 36x48in, 2017, $675


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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