Louisville Visual Art

Painting

2019 art[squared] Featured Artist: LaNia Roberts

“Still” by LaNia Roberts, Honey, ink, & charcoal, 24x24in, $900, Available for purchase through Silent Auction at the 2019 Art[squared] Preview Party Fundrasier

“Still” by LaNia Roberts, Honey, ink, & charcoal, 24x24in, $900, Available for purchase through Silent Auction at the 2019 Art[squared] Preview Party Fundrasier

The 2019 art[squared] Fundraiser will feature the work of three local artists sold through silent auction.

LaNia Roberts is from Louisville and grew up in neighborhoods west and south of downtown. As a young girl of color who struggled with her identity, she discovered in visual art a creative outlet for self-expression that would prove transformative. After several years in Louisville Visual Art’s Children’s Fine Art Classes, she entered Syracuse University in New York, and while there wrote a blog for Huffington Post, became a motivational speaker, and was the subject of stories in several publications including Cosmopolitan (April 2015).

“My work addresses the creation of self, and the social constructs that control perception,” explains Roberts. “By continuously searching for the real truths about my own humanity and others around me, I uncover my findings through the medium that best fits. Taking the form of portraiture, I work with painting in honey and charcoal, art video, and photo collage to convey truths about the humanity I see in my friends, my family, and myself.”

“Marcus's Light and Shadow” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 46x42in, 2018, $1000

“Marcus's Light and Shadow” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 46x42in, 2018, $1000

“The process of healing and reconstruction are engaged through the mediums of honey and charcoal applied with fluid brush strokes that hinge on the discomfort of the unfinished. Reflecting upon honey’s natural antibacterial components, used traditionally through ancient and modern times to reconcile wounds and bodily dysfunctions and charcoal as a substance which helps flush out toxins in the body when consumed, I explore healing as an ongoing process. The mixture of these mediums speaks to the dark and sweet process of healing engaging simultaneously joy and pain and shifting the negative connotations associated with darkness through its coupling with sweetness.
The dormant self-portrait alludes to the release of control, and the natural process of transformational healing.”

All self-portraiture is revealing, but when Roberts makes herself the subject of her images they are confessional, obtaining an intimacy that might makes some viewers uncomfortable. What has earned us such a privileged glimpse into LaNia’s privacy? The emotional vulnerability of the work challenges our own introspective gaze and forces the viewer to ask, “Could I be this honest?”

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That tone is communicated through a spontaneous use of medium, a freedom that allows the blending of organic and artificial materials. When you lean in close, you can smell the honey on the canvas, and the smell reinforces the sweetness of the freedom Roberts earns from making art. 

Roberts has recently exhibited in Louisville at 1619 Flux and in New Albany at the Carnegie Center for Art & History.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, Syracuse University 
Instagram: @bylania / www.instagram.com/bylania

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“Grandmama and Lil' Rell Rell” by LaNia Roberts, Vine Charcoal on Paper , 41x29in, 2019, $800

“Grandmama and Lil' Rell Rell” by LaNia Roberts, Vine Charcoal on Paper , 41x29in, 2019, $800

“The Colored Gaze” by LaNia Roberts, Watercolor on Illustration Board, 40x30in, 2017, $800

“The Colored Gaze” by LaNia Roberts, Watercolor on Illustration Board, 40x30in, 2017, $800

“Randal Simply Sitting” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 23.5x19in, 2018, $350

“Randal Simply Sitting” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 23.5x19in, 2018, $350

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Painting, Photography

Feature: John Brooks

“An Abyss Of Thighs” by John Brooks, 37.5x33.5in, Oil on canvas, 2019, $3800

“An Abyss Of Thighs” by John Brooks, 37.5x33.5in, Oil on canvas, 2019, $3800

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John Brooks has work all over Louisville right now. He is a part of the Imagined Monuments exhibit at Metro Hall, he is showing with Letitia Quesenberry at O Gallery, and some of his paintings from a just closed show at Moremen Gallery will remain on view in a space adjacent to the main gallery (he’ll be showing there again this summer). On top of all of that, his Quappi Projects exhibition initiative, in which he shows other artist’s work in his studio in the Portland neighborhood, is going strong in its second year. He is especially articulate about the foundations of his practice and the imagery he creates, so we will let his most recent Artist’s Statements speak for themselves:

“I consider myself foremost an oil painter. This new and developing body of work represents the first time I have integrated two other areas of my creative practice - collage making and poetry - with my painting practice. This solution evolved out of what was primarily a crisis of composition: after nearly a decade of almost exclusively creating expressive faces, my painting practice had reached a standstill. I did not see a way forward until it occurred to me to utilize my collages - during the making of which I do not suffer from compositional frustrations - to help facilitate composition in my painting. Through this change in method and approach, I feel unbounded. The addition of poetic text into my painting has also made my work more expansive and allows for a more comprehensive representation of my artistic conceptions. In the past, I have mostly resisted incorporating text into my visual work out of a fear that it could be too leading, but as a person who writes constantly in my head as I move throughout the day, the appeal of joining my poetry practice and my painting practice was undeniable. The way in which I have incorporated text into these paintings provides a narrow window into an idea or feeling but bewilders more than illuminates.”

“Fizz Of Hornets (Betty)” by John Brooks, 42x56in, Oil on canvas, 2018, $3800

“Fizz Of Hornets (Betty)” by John Brooks, 42x56in, Oil on canvas, 2018, $3800

“For the last decade, my work has explored themes of identity, memory, death, and place, and has been centered around questions of contemplation, the expression of emotion, the transformative power and the emotional resonance of particular experiences and what Max Beckmann described as “the deepest feeling about the mystery of being.” These paintings are a continuation of those notions. Something seems amiss in the zeitgeist; a mood of uncertainty and disquiet has seemingly overtaken the world. We find these moments before in history: in 1929’s Buchmandel, Stefan Zweig wrote: “Something had gone irrecoverably wrong; he was broken; the blood-red comet of the war had burst into the remote, calm atmosphere of his bookish world.” Are we living on the cusp of such an era or has it already begun? Collage is the perfect metaphorical representation of the disjointedness of contemporary life, of this exact moment in the twenty-first century. We are at once both so interconnected and so siloed; we are so fortunate and so starved; we are so inundated with knowledge and information that we ignore it in order to remain ignorant; our societies are unimaginably diverse and complex yet we fear the stranger, the other. “

“In most of these works, I have chosen to leave expanses of canvas unpainted. This is both an aesthetic choice but also a reference to the paintings’ relationship to poetry. Good poetry says the most it can with as few words as necessary; the impact of one correct word far outweighs the impact of several incorrect words. What a poet leaves out is as important as what he or she includes. Rich and luscious, oil paint has inherently excessive qualities; many colors are made from amalgams of precious minerals and metals, and others are made from earth pigments and charred animal bones. Throughout the process of making this series, I became entranced with the challenge of working with materials that dared me to be excessive while trying to employ the restraint of a poet’s eye. In that sense, these paintings are an exercise in spareness.“

“While these works contain some personal references, experiences and particular depictions of extant LBGTQIA+ life, their objective is ultimately not concerned with the specific; rather they are meant to evoke tantalizingly unreachable atmospheres and to engage with nebulous answers to queries about the search for and ambiguity of meaning and the powerful desire for connection and sense of belonging; they approach an attempt to make sense of the constant disparate noises, voices, and directives which contemporary life seems to exist amidst.”

“Stinson” by John Brooks, 8x10in, Digital photograph, 2018, $250 (edition of 5)

“Stinson” by John Brooks, 8x10in, Digital photograph, 2018, $250 (edition of 5)

Brooks offers separate thoughts on his photographs:

“I consider myself foremost an oil painter, and it is in my painting where these fundamental themes are most  rigorously probed, but my creative practice encompasses work in a variety of other media including collage, sculpture, poetry, and photography. While painting mostly happens only in long, designated sessions, I live with and work with poetry and photography on a daily basis. I consider them to be essential to my work as an artist.”

”These works were taken with my iPhone 8 Plus and represent the first time I have exhibited photography. Locations include Louisville, Miami, the San Francisco Bay area, New York City, the Hamptons, Athens and other parts of Greece. Even as a writer, I think visually. I see in images; I look in frames. Before the proliferation of mobile phones and the vast improvements made in their camera lenses, I often carried around a Nikon 35mm camera, and later a Leica X1. In the last several years I have become inseparable from my iPhone - less so for internet access than for wanting to have the camera with me at all times. In case a bird comes; in case the light moves. It isn’t documentation of occurrences that I am compelled to capture, but rather what I feel, or see, or what I think I almost see. Permeated with an atmosphere of loss and longing, or what the Germans describe as Sehnsucht, these meditative and emotionally resonant images do not posture a sense of knowing, but rather disclose themselves as unknowing, even unknowable. Joy is present, too, and praise for the ephemeral delicateness of existence. In thinking about this joint exhibition with Letitia Quesenberry, she and I came to understand that what binds these two bodies of work together is the subtle tension between the promise of an attainable understanding and the elusiveness of the answer. There is never any arrival; understanding is just out of reach, tantalizingly beyond what is within grasp. These non-arrivals are, of course, what compels us to revisit works of art time and time again.”

“Statement of Other History” by John Brooks, 72x96in, Oil on canvas, $2200.00

“Statement of Other History” by John Brooks, 72x96in, Oil on canvas, $2200.00

Jim Zimmer / Often the Content is Impenetrable is at Quappi projects through March 3.

Non-Arrivals, with Letitia Quesenberry at O Art, 1000 Swan Street, runs through March 9.

“Statement of Other History” is a part of Imagined Monuments, an LVA exhibit for Metro Hall, 527 West Jefferson Street, runs through July 12.

Hometown: Frankfort, Kentucky
Education: BA in Political Science, Minor in English literature from College of Charleston, SC 2000; continuing education at Central St Martins, Hampstead School of Art, Camden Art Centre, London, England 2006-2009
Website: johnedwardbrooks.com
Instagram: narcissusandgoldmund

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“Wind Is Wild Now”by John Brooks, 42x56in, Oil on canvas, 2018, $3800

“Wind Is Wild Now”by John Brooks, 42x56in, Oil on canvas, 2018, $3800

“Mother(Darrell)” by John Brooks, 8x10in, Digital photograph, 2018, $250 (edition of 5)

“Mother(Darrell)” by John Brooks, 8x10in, Digital photograph, 2018, $250 (edition of 5)


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Illustration, Painting

Art[squared] Spotlight: Julia Davis

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To celebrate the 5th Anniversary of LVA’s Art [squared] Event to Benefit Children’s Fine Art Classes, we will feature five local artists who are contributing 24” x 24” paintings to be sold at the event through a Silent Auction. Today we feature Julia Davis:

Design for CirqueLouis event, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2017

Design for CirqueLouis event, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2017

“As an artist and I want to be fully involved within the arts on many levels.” – Julia Davis

Besides her studio practice as a painter, Davis has also become involved with performance, working with Squallis Puppeteers for the last 18 months and becoming immersed in the world of puppetry, education, and creation all together. “I started working for these amazing people as an administrative assistant in the office then I started dipping into puppet mingling, which then lead to protest involvement, then to making puppets and performing with said puppets. I made my first puppet for Emperor's New Clothes, which is an adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy tale using multiple animal rod puppets, which meant I had to find my voice as well. I eventually made my first backpack puppet for the performance of Peter and the Wolf (with the helping hand Squallis directors, Shawn Hennessey and Nora Christensen) that was utilized in a one-time performance with the Louisville Orchestra on March 17th, 2018.”

“I also I dip into the circus as an illustrator for CirqueLouis, and I am currently working on my 4th poster for them. Like Squallis, CirqueLouis is a non-profit organization that makes a great effort teaching the public and the youth of the public the importance of performance artwork, specifically the importance of the circus. Their most recent show, Kaleidoscope (November 2017) was a favorite of mine because it gave life to one of my most treasured studio items, the movable manikin. I was given a lot of artistic freedom and was able to develop a visual story in one frame. I truly love the relationship I have with CirqueLouis and will be designing the poster for their new show, Happy Birthday that will be performed at the Iroquois Amphitheater as part of that historic venue’s 80th birthday.” 

"Look before you leap" by Julia Davis, Oil on canvas, 24x24in, 2018, Featured Silent Auction Painting for 2018 Art[squared} Benefit

"Look before you leap" by Julia Davis, Oil on canvas, 24x24in, 2018, Featured Silent Auction Painting for 2018 Art[squared} Benefit

Davis remains dedicated to her studio practice for painting however, and was included in Not Just a Drawing: A Line with Intent in Chicago in March 2018. Oh, Places is a new painting that is adding on to a continuing study about the use of imagery. “My personal work contradicts realistically painted images with superimposed line work offering a question of purpose. My aim is to paint images in a realistic fashion and interrupt them with graphic line work to consistently investigate the use of imagery. The piece for "Art [Squared]", Look before you leap, is another addition to my study.” 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, University of Louisville, 2012
Website: www.JuliaDart.com
Instagram: @Julia_Davis_Art

"Peter" (for Peter and the Wolf) by Julia Davis for Squallis Puppeteers, 2018

"Peter" (for Peter and the Wolf) by Julia Davis for Squallis Puppeteers, 2018

"Pinocchia", Design for CirqueLouis poster, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchia", Design for CirqueLouis poster, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchio" (alternate), Design for Cirque Louis poster, Digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchio" (alternate), Design for Cirque Louis poster, Digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Art[squared] Spotlight: Chuck Swanson

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To celebrate the 5th Anniversary of LVA’s Art [squared] Event to Benefit Children’s Fine Art Classes, we will feature five local artists who are contributing 24” x 24” paintings to be sold at the event through a Silent Auction. Today we feature Chuck Swanson:

"Untitled (Kentucky)" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 36x48in, POR       

"Untitled (Kentucky)" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 36x48in, POR

     

Swanson is an artist, primarily a painter, but he is also one of the pioneer gallerists in Louisville, having opened a gallery on Bardstown Road in 1982 and then in 1998 on East Market Street in what would eventually become the celebrated NuLu neighborhood. For the record, Swanson opened the space near Market and Clay well ahead of the rechristening of the area, so he must be counted as one of the reasons why the once-neglected and depressed environs became a hot spot for redevelopment.

As a painter, his images have often been landscapes, but not with the typical detail and texture for flora and fauna that are found in a wide range of such compositions. Swanson’s scenes are elementally observed, deconstructing the form to its basic structure and realizing the point-of-view with saturated color under layers of translucent medium.

"Calendar #3" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 70x40in, POR

"Calendar #3" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 70x40in, POR

The composition is almost always a body of water moving away from the viewer and dividing two landmasses as it approaches the horizon. While the tone is placid enough, there is also a tension that results from the opposite shores never touching, forever separated.

Swanson’s more recent work positions these images in relationship to abstract color fields, but even there we can find that same dynamic in the juxtaposition of acrylic painted panels either echoing the tension of two forms in opposition on a horizontal plane.

As a gallery owner, Swanson is credited with helping develop the early careers of artists such as Russel Hulsey, who calls Swanson, “extremely progressive and forward thinking”, and being among the first to include electronic media and musical performances   He has served on the board of the East Downtown Business Association, Louisville Visual Art, and has been vice president of both the defunct Artswatch and LOOK, a Louisville area consortium of art galleries.

  installation view, "Calendar #4 and Calendar #5", by Chuck Swanson

  installation view, "Calendar #4 and Calendar #5", by Chuck Swanson

Hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin
Education: BA, Social Studies, University of Kentucky

"Flattened Landscape" by Chuck Swanson, Acrylic on panels, 12x28in, POR

"Flattened Landscape" by Chuck Swanson, Acrylic on panels, 12x28in, POR

"Calendar #2" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 54x40in, POR

"Calendar #2" by Chuck Swanson. Acrylic on canvas, 54x40in, POR


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Art [squared] Spotlight: Billy Hertz

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To celebrate the 5th Anniversary of LVA’s Art [squared] Event to Benefit Children’s Fine Art Classes, we will feature five local artists who are contributing 24” x 24” paintings to be sold at the event through a Silent Auction. Today we spotlight Billy Hertz:

“My paintings of landscapes have become far removed from any traditional definition of that genre; yet they still maintain a slender but sustaining thread to the concept of representational image. I paint "ariel" views of farmland - the furrows of plowed fields are sometimes rendered as transparent textures.” 

"Pink Cloud at Sunrise" by Billy Hertz, Mixed media painting, 24x20x1in, 2017, POR

"Pink Cloud at Sunrise" by Billy Hertz, Mixed media painting, 24x20x1in, 2017, POR

Hertz has exhibited all over the United States, and in Germany, Italy, and Russia, and his work is included in several private collections.

“My fascination with the dark, fertile earth of cultivated fields led to loose interpretations of the landscapes; this manipulation into near abstraction by unorthodox perspectives i.e. Clouds and fields occupying the same plane and geometric shapes are built from layers of oil washes.” 

“The determined physicality of the color fields is accentuated by a collage element, so that the terrain is rendered with a dash of topical relief that introduces a new element to my vocabulary.”

“The blurring of naturalism and non-representational in the imagery obfuscates the intention enough to create some mystery in a subject usually thought of as straightforward (the landscape) and hopefully seduces my viewers into completing the narrative for themselves.”

In addition to his own inestimable work as an artist, Hertz has been a gallery operator for more than 20 years, and was an early pioneer in transforming the near east downtown area of Louisville, KY that is now known as the NuLu district. Galerie Hertz now operates in the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville.

"Garden Plot #1" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil on panel (painting), 12.5x16.5x3.75in 2017, POR

"Garden Plot #1" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil on panel (painting), 12.5x16.5x3.75in 2017, POR

Hometown: Boynton Beach, Florida

Education: BFA in Ceramics, Florida Atlantic University, 1972; 1974 Post Graduate, Painting, Florida Atlantic University Painting, University of Louisville, Post Graduate Painting
Website: www.galeriehertz.com

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"Seaport" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil on panel (painting), 16x20x3.75in, 2016-17, POR

"Seaport" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil on panel (painting), 16x20x3.75in, 2016-17, POR

"Fields #2" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil & foam core on panel mixed media painting 16x201in, 2017, POR

"Fields #2" by Billy Hertz, Oil pencil & foam core on panel mixed media painting 16x201in, 2017, POR

"Fields Meet River", by Billy Hertz, Oil & pencil (painting) on panel, 20x24x3.75in, 2017, POR

"Fields Meet River", by Billy Hertz, Oil & pencil (painting) on panel, 20x24x3.75in, 2017, POR


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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