University of Louisville

Painting

Vignette: Brennen Cabrera

“Who Can Know?” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Soft Pastel, Charcoal, and Textile on Canvas, 14x11in, 2018, $175

“Who Can Know?” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Soft Pastel, Charcoal, and Textile on Canvas, 14x11in, 2018, $175

With a vibrant, graphic-novel sensibility, Brennen Cabrera’s paintings spill out towards the viewer with a confrontational force. Yet the imagery is so raw and confessional that it also feels as if we have been invited into an extremely private and privileged world.

“I am not afraid of what I express visually, explains Cabrera. “Art mostly is my voice for things I find difficult to express verbally and sometimes physically. My work mainly focuses on life, emotions, and dreams I experience as an individual with high functioning autism. My goals for many of my brutish, surreal, and provocative paintings are to spread emotional and mental health awareness, especially in people with autism and developmental disabilities. However I do believe anyone can associate with my work. I also want to inspire other artists to be bold and more personal.”

Cabrera is fearless in exposing his inner demons, and the discipline in his draughtsmenship struggles against the spontaneity that energizes the compositions. While there is a sense that the artist has given unfiltered expression to his inner self, there is also a wealth of rationality and logic in the visual relationships.

If anything, Cabrera is even more frank in the way he writes about his work. He wears his heart unabashedly on his sleeve: “Disquietude” is the breakthrough piece of my “Psychology Series.” This one sparked the inspiration to continue my emotional journey. During a strong anxiety attack, I tore a sheet of canvas off my roll, stuck it to the wall and violently smeared acrylic paint all over the raw surface. As I stood back to look at the piece I could see the shape of a face so I decided to paint a face. Then next thing I think of adding, a nude man from behind, pants around the ankles and shirt taken off. I at the time of this attack I was unhappy with my body and I was dealing a lot with sexuality and desperation.”

There is also a common use of literary references happening. “Who Can Know?” is inspired by the choral piece written by Ēriks Ešenvalds and based off the poem “Only In Sleep” by Sarah Teasdale, and
”Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is, of course, conjures the famous poem written by poet and Cabrera’s great cousin Dylan Thomas.

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Currently, Cabrera’s work is exhibited alongside Herb Bradshaw, Lynn Dunbar, Claudia Hammer, Gibbs Rounsavall, and Frank Weisberg in Art in City Hall, a yearlong group exhibition that runs till August 2019.

2017 - StudioWorks, “BAFOL Arts Showcase” Louisville, KY. USA.

2017 - StudioWorks “Connecting Community Through Creativity” Louisville, KY. USA.

  

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: High School Diploma from Waggener Traditional High School (Class of 2015)
Instagram: brennencabreraart

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”Disquietitude” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Charcoal, and Textile on Raw Canvas, 56x36in, 2018, $1000


”Disquietitude” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Charcoal, and Textile on Raw Canvas, 56x36in, 2018, $1000

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Brennen Cabrera, Acrylic on Canvas, 20x16in, 2019, $250

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Brennen Cabrera, Acrylic on Canvas, 20x16in, 2019, $250

“As the Ball Drops” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, and Soft Pastel on Canvas, 60x75in, 2019, $2000

“As the Ball Drops” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, and Soft Pastel on Canvas, 60x75in, 2019, $2000

“Nightlife” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Soft Pastel, Wrapper, and Shirt Scraps on Canvas, 14x11in, 2018, $175

“Nightlife” by Brennen Cabrera, Mixed Media; Oil, Acrylic, Soft Pastel, Wrapper, and Shirt Scraps on Canvas, 14x11in, 2018, $175


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

Vignette: Sandra Charles

“Living Monument, Angela Hollingsworth” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in, 2019, $4750

“Living Monument, Angela Hollingsworth” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in, 2019, $4750

What makes a person royalty? Perhaps it is when they are seen in a regal aspect. Angela Hollingsworth would likely reject such a lofty position, yet Sandra Charles’ portrait of her for the Imagined Monuments exhibit places her in the same attitude that the artist has previously assigned to her series of African Queens. Hollingsworth’s humility is not absent, but it is clothed in rich fabrics and colors that connote a woman in a position of power and respect honestly earned achieved through accomplishment. Imagined Monuments, a Louisville Visual Art exhibit for Louisville’s Metro Hall, runs through July 12, 2019

“My work celebrates the self-esteem of African American women through interpretative portraiture,” Charles explains in her artist’s statement. “Each painting focuses on the expressions that represent our history and the expectations of the future. I look behind the facade of social perceptions that weighs down each of us. My work attempts to capture the removal of this hegemonic veil that covers the struggle between self and the perceived social order. It acknowledges this internal struggle as it fades away from the stereotypical norm towards a truer self. Moving away from traditional portraits, my body of work mixes this history and self together with color and stances that project an attitude of defiance. The facial expression of each woman contains the history of her progress and is a personal statement that captures the confidence of self.” 

“Cynthia as Queen of Ethopia” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in 2016, NFS

“Cynthia as Queen of Ethopia” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in 2016, NFS

Charles will be featured with two other notable African American women artists in The Art of Elmer Lucille Allen, Sandra Charles and Barbara Tyson Mosley, which will be on display at The Carnegie Art Center For Art and History in New Albany Indiana February 22 through April 20, 2019. It will showcase Charles’ vision of contemporary women who are African Queens walking amongst us, women changing the world through the hard work of social activism and public service. Their leadership is built brick-by-brick, step-by-step, against the fusillade of slings and arrows that are the daily experience in a country divided against itself.

Charles came to her painting career later in life, but since earning her BFA in 2015, she has rapidly gained a high profile in the Louisville art community, selected to be a member of the first cohort of Hadley Creatives (Community Foundation of Louisville) in 2017, granted a solo exhibit at Wayside Expressions Gallery n 2017, at Art Sanctuary for the Kentucky Foundation Of Women’s Summer Residency Exhibit in 2018, and having two paintings chosen for permanent installation in the newly renovated Kentucky International Convention Center. 

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Other recognition:

2017 Mellon-Oberst Family Award, 23rd Annual African American Exhibition, Louisville, KY
2016 Kentucky Foundation of Women Summer Residency Grant, Louisville, KY

Hometown: Hazard, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, University of Louisville
Website:  www.scharlesart.com
Instagram: sandraspaintings

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”Refections of Us” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in, 2018, $4750


”Refections of Us” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 48x60in, 2018, $4750

“Pam” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 30x30in, 2018, $2750

“Pam” by Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 30x30in, 2018, $2750

“Restrained Dreads” by Sandra Charles, Oil on Canvas, 48x60in, 2015, $2750

“Restrained Dreads” by Sandra Charles, Oil on Canvas, 48x60in, 2015, $2750

“Fourth of July” Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 36x48in, 2016, $3750

“Fourth of July” Sandra Charles, Oil on canvas, 36x48in, 2016, $3750

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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Multi-Media

Vignette: Monica Stewart

On February 1, multi-media artist Monica Stewart will be recognized at the LVA Honors Luncheon as Emerging Artist of the Year.

'“Hansel and Gretel” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 9 ½ x 11 ½ inches, 2018

'“Hansel and Gretel” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 9 ½ x 11 ½ inches, 2018

Among the foundations of moral education in western society, the fairy tale has fallen somewhat into neglect. Post-modern revisionism is the lens through which we have looked back at this storytelling genre, but Monica Stewart has picked up the thread in ways that both honor the narrative tradition and deliver a fresh take on moral fables.

“In my recent work, I draw on abject imagery from fairy tales to allude to transformation, hybridity, female agency, and dysfunctional familial relationships as well as the magical and grotesque. The quick pace and supernatural imagery of fairy tales create a language that is rife with metaphors and allegories for the ways we experience everyday life. Fairy tales are also particularly strange spaces for women.  While often moralizing or, conversely, toppling patriarchal structures, fairy tales repeatedly feature women and girls who exist in liminal places; as both princess and monster, both lucky and unlucky, both free and bound.”

“Hans My Hedgehog” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper, 11 ½ x 15 ½ inches, 2018

“Hans My Hedgehog” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper, 11 ½ x 15 ½ inches, 2018

“While personal experiences and observations of these kinds of liminal spaces often provide the impetus for my work, I find uncanny relationships between real life and fiction more often than not. In my search for a place where the complications and trouble of life are addressed, I turned to fairy tales. Fairy tales, like life, are places where families fall apart, fortunes are made and lost, impossible tasks achieved, power dynamics shift, and the unthinkable and the inconceivable occur regularly. As the writer, Rebecca Solnit so succinctly states in The Faraway Nearby, “Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming.”[1]”

Thus the rich and prolific imagery and ideas of fairy tales have become part of the visual language I employ in my work to address my own understanding of identity, life, and society. My reliance on paper to achieve this change is in large part due to the familiarity, malleability, and relationship to text that paper has. It may be manipulated in a hundred different ways, it may be made and unmade, as well as utterly transformed. A material that is both simultaneously fragile and strong holds the possibility for endless iterations, endless presentations and tellings of the tale. Papercutting itself also has a relationship with women’s work, leisure activities, and creative labor. Toy-like, tenuous, and tedious, papercutting and paper itself are processes and materials that ally themselves both to the anonymous nature of fairytales, silhouettes, environments that begin to border on the theatrical.”

The imagery and composition in Stewart’s work enchant the viewer by conjuring associations with our own childhood relationships to fairy tales. The use of cut paper emphasizes the clarity and innocence of the tropes even while she frames our understanding of the stories in different ways. The physical presentation exploits the dimensionality of the technique and extends the work into fully sculptural forms.

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Stewart will be included in an upcoming show at Swanson Contemporary which is being co-curated by Nicholas Cook and KCJ Szwedzinski, and will be on exhibit February 22nd to March 30th.

Hometown: Louisville Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, Murray State University; MFA candidate at the University of Louisville.
Website: www.monica-stewart.com

[1] Solnit, Rebecca. (2014). The Faraway Nearby. London: Granta Books, 13.

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“The Six Swans” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches, 2017

“The Six Swans” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches, 2017

“Fabled Fragments” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 35 x 40 inches, 2018, For Suspend Louisville’s 2018 productions of “Fabled Fragments.” This large piece contains six individual smaller papercuts used for playbills and promotional materials.

“Fabled Fragments” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 35 x 40 inches, 2018, For Suspend Louisville’s 2018 productions of “Fabled Fragments.” This large piece contains six individual smaller papercuts used for playbills and promotional materials.


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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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Fiber

Open Studio Spotlight: Katie Castillo

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There has been a lot of energy spent redefining “craft” for the 21st century, but in simple terms we might accept it is as the presence of art in everyday, functional objects. Furniture, vessels, and other household items that capture the spirit and quality of things made by hand when there was no other option. You made it because there was no mass-produced option available from a store down the road.

In the work of Katie Castillo, we find that individual handcrafted quality beneath our feet: “I have worked as a Speech Therapist for more than 14 years. I have no formal artistic training, but I have always loved playing with color. I was inspired into rug making by Emily Carr (1871-1945), while I was living in B.C., Canada. I chose rag rugs specifically because they originated in Appalachia, and I was missing my Kentucky roots.”  

“The process I use, called twining, is ancient and calming. I create my rugs on wooden looms which I built myself. My materials are old bed sheets and other fabric, which I tear into pieces and then re-assemble; no sewing required. I love to take a piece out into the community and work on it in public. When I am not in my Art Sanctuary studio, you’ll find me in Shelby Park or sitting down by the river with my friend Mr. Lincoln.” 

“Evil Eye” by Katie Castillo, 44x24in

“Evil Eye” by Katie Castillo, 44x24in

I have fun creating different color combinations and playing with themes, such as ‘Lobster in the Woods’, which is based on my time in the Northwest. ‘Evil Eye’ was inspired by my travels in Turkey. My rugs are available for purchase through 5-0-Lou and Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile in Louisville, KY.“

All of Castillo’s rugs are 44x24in and typically weigh in at more than 5 pounds.

Katie Castillo is participating in the 2018 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Germantown neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 3 and 4. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information. 

Hometown: Covington, Kentucky
Education: BS, Biology, University of Louisville, 2002; MS, Communication Disorders, University of Louisville, 2004. 
Website: https://sagerugs.com

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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

Vignette: Uhma Janus

"Alien I ZD" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic on panel, 32x24in, 2016, POR

"Alien I ZD" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic on panel, 32x24in, 2016, POR

Mexican-born artist Uhma Janus’ earliest initiation into the arts was at the age of 7 when her mother taught her introductory piano lessons. She developed into a classical musician, but pursued a degree in Physics at the University of Guanajuato and nursing degrees at the University of Louisville. When she came to feel a desire to paint, it would make perfect sense that her curiosity for the understanding of the physical world and Universe and her background with music would substantially inform her imagery.

Theoretical particles were a focus in Janus’ studies, and the busy compositions that rely on repetitive pattern express an innate sense of the unseen realities of existence.  Her early work is characterized by an exploration of the versatility of acrylic ink when tracing dots, lines, and curves in both spontaneous and controlled conditions. Later, her work delineated clearer patterns and figures that began to shift away from the abstract and, eventually, she began doing portraits. The journey reverses the more typical path from representational to abstract.

"XXXIII" by Uhma Janus, Oil on canvas, 72x48in, 2017, POR

"XXXIII" by Uhma Janus, Oil on canvas, 72x48in, 2017, POR

Janus doesn’t use the words, “self-taught” when describing herself, but her intuitive approach to making visual art feels like an honest expression of her life story up until that point. “Alien I Z D” displays a kinetic energy that resembles a graphic representation of sound such as an oscillogram.

Though she started with acrylic inks, Janus has expanded her media to include acrylic and oil paint, mixed media, graphite and color pencils in the variety of her projects.

“My focus has been the authenticity of the emotionally-empowered, fully-intentional-expressive being in action. My work engenders the recognition of the merit and gravity that the most basic graphic elements (the dots, lines, and curves) have in and of themselves. This action finds its own graphic representation as a materialized emergent phenomenon only aesthetically-significant as a posteriori entity.”

When Janus talks about her work, her language is infused with intellectualism and scientific vocabulary that reflects her background in physics, but the work itself feels intuitive; emotionalism filtered through a stringent process in the manner of the Abstract Expressionists.

Her exploration for “modalities of expression” has also led her back to music, and Janus has recently taken up guitar, violin, cello, and darbuka (a goblet-shaped drum of Middle Eastern origin), all at what she calls “a beginner level. She is also composing and writing.

Hometown: Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico
Education: BS Nursing; BS Physics; AD Nursing
Website: www.behance.net/uhmajanus5dfd

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"Ms. Cursedly Expectant" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Ms. Cursedly Expectant" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Abysmal Fall" by Uhma JanusOil on panel, 16x11in, 2017, POR

"Abysmal Fall" by Uhma JanusOil on panel, 16x11in, 2017, POR

"Ms. Empty Hunger" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Ms. Empty Hunger" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Broken Fly" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic and mixed media on panel. 16x16in, 2016, POR

"Broken Fly" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic and mixed media on panel. 16x16in, 2016, POR


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

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