communicate

Painting

Q&A: Quappi Projects


“We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts.“ – John Brooks


Artist, John Brooks

Artist, John Brooks

Q&A with John Brooks about Quappi Projects

‘Quappi’ was the nickname of Mathilde von Kaulbach, who was married to German New Objectivist painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950). It was derived from the similarity of her surname to the German word Kaulquappe, meaning ‘tadpole’.

It is a singular phrase with no other formal meaning, which seems to delight Louisville artist John Brooks, and so he chose it as the moniker of his new exhibition initiative, Quappi Projects. Occupying most of his current studio space at 1520 B Lytle Street in the Portland neighborhood, the mission is to showcase four artists each year from in and outside of Louisville. The inaugural show will be work of Adam Chuck, a Cleveland, Ohio native, now living and making work in Brooklyn, New York.

What motivated you to devote some of your studio space to exhibition space for other artists?

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

Running a gallery is an endeavor I've long been interested in, but it was difficult to imagine a way in which I could maintain a studio practice, run a gallery, and afford to do both. I was between studios in 2015 and spent the summer in Berlin. Part of that time was spent studying under the German artist Norbert Bisky, whose work I've admired for a long time.  We discussed a lot of things, including lamenting the difficulty of finding avenues to show and share work. He advised that I (or anyone!) should just "start my own thing;" so I've had this bee in my bonnet for a couple of years. Since January 2016 I've shared my Lytle Street studio space with another artist, and when he decided to move out I knew that this was my opportunity. The space is perfect - clean, bright, white, and with enough room to allow me to continue my studio practice and to exhibit others' work in a proper way.

As an artist, I know how difficult it can be to find arenas in which to show your work, and I am thrilled by the idea that I can provide that opportunity to other artists. Also, I've been fortunate to live in both London and Chicago, and have traveled the United States and Europe fairly extensively, so I feel like I have a broad range of art-related experiences and knowledge that I can rely on to help inform the direction of the gallery's platform.

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

How did you become aware of Adam Chuck's work?

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

Adam Chuck paints primarily images from social media; fittingly, we "met" quite randomly through Instagram a few years ago. Though we've never yet met in person, we have developed what I consider to be a real friendship, which speaks both to the power and possibilities of social media but also the power and purity of his work. When it became clear that Quappi Projects was really going to happen, I knew I wanted to inaugurate the gallery with a show of Adam's work and happily he said yes. I'm a fan (and a collector) of his work and am so excited to be able to share it with the Louisville art community and the city at large. At first glance, Adam's work might seem to border on the salacious, but I think it creeps up to that line and then walks back. Most of the work is tiny, phone-screen-sized, owing its existence to social media platforms such as Instagram. The work is intimate, sensual and extremely honest. Each work is an exposure, really; it is essentially about reaching out, about the deep desire to connect, and represents an attempt to know and be known. In an age of terror and big fears, Adam's work seems infused with knowledge of those fears, but speaks more to the fundamental needs and basic human fears of need: to be desired, to be loved, to be seen, to be considered.

Tell me about the term "quappi"? I know the Beckman story, but what does it mean to you?

I believe very much in the transformative power of art. I have experienced this enough times in my own life to understand and value its merit, and I firmly believe that the highest function of art is to allow human beings to know ourselves more deeply. My own work has been concerned with the emotional resonance of particular experiences and what Max Beckmann described as "the deepest feeling about the mystery of being." Quappi Projects' goal is to exhibit contemporary art reflecting the zeitgeist, and the zeitgeist is mighty strange. Perhaps all times are strange, but I don't think there's any arguing that we are living in very strange times.

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts. I find that very worrying. I think the experiences of 20th Century German artists like Max Beckmann (and others) are relevant to us today.  Beckmann didn't consider himself a political person, yet his entire life was thrown into upheaval because of politics. He considered political concerns to be secondary to the concerns of the spiritual or metaphysical. Although I am a political person (and have a BA in Political Science) I agree with him and certainly find most explicitly political work too narrowly focused. At the same time, I think the best art reflects the times in which it was created, so it must have some element of the political. Take Velazquez' "Las Meninas," for example - artistically, it is a masterpiece, but it also tells us so much about the Spanish Court and what was going on at the time. I find that balance fascinating, and hopefully we can show work that is interesting in the same way. Even if we fall just a little short of "Las Meninas," we'll be very successful!

I plan to alternate non-Louisville-based and Louisville-based artists have a great series of artists lined up: Baghdad, Iraq-born artist Vian Sora, who now lives and works in Louisville; Louisville native Whit Forrester, who lives in Chicago and just graduated with an MFA from Columbia College; wood artisan Michael James Moran, a central Kentucky native who now lives and works in the Hudson Valley; and photographer Ryan Tassi.

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

Beckmann credited Quappi with keeping him going, keeping him on task and inspired. I think we're living in times when we must keep going, be on task, and be inspired. It's very easy to want to give into the notion of being quiet and comfortable, but I think we must resist that. We must be open, communicate, and connect. I'm hoping the spirit of Quappi can help me do that.

Adam Chuck / Instant Gratification

August 18 – September 29
Opening: Friday, August 18 / 5:00-9:00pm

Quappi Projects
1520 B Lytle Street
Gallery open by appointment only
www.quappiprojects.com

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Drawing

Vignette: Michael McCardwell


As The Eyes Close We Lose Sight – from Michael McCardwell’s “The Death Snake.”


"The Death Snake" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 |  BUY NOW

"The Death Snake" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 | BUY NOW

Michael McCardwell’s drawings are dense in their collective linear construction yet loose enough to clearly communicate the fantastical imagery. The artist plays with our expectations by drafting forms that are highly suggestive of spaceships – science fiction forms from a bygone era in which stalwart heroes with bulbous ray guns occupied the galaxy. His forms conjoin to form larger, interconnected spaces, and at times, a long, snake-like shape. It all seems very playful.

Yet can we be absolutely certain of what McCardwell has on his mind? The use of clearly defined line and shape in virtually every square inch of the field is also a formal academic exercise in composition, and in “The Death Snake,” his statement considers mortality in stages reminiscent of Shakespeare or Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Either way, there is an almost giddy emotional quality to these pieces, and perhaps the one certainty is that, even in the darker themes, this artist seems to find joy in his work.

"Orange Cross" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 |  BUY NOW

"Orange Cross" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 | BUY NOW

Besides being a studio art and humanities teacher for 27 years at Henry County High School, McCardwell has taught art at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System campus in Shelbyville, Spalding University in Louisville, at the former Shelbyville branch of Lindsey Wilson College, and taught basic skills such as reading, math and English at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. He was twice a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

McCardwell has work in private collections in the United States, Europe and Japan, and has been accepted into juried shows in California, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Hometown: Shelbyville, Kentucky
Education: BFA Murray State University, Kentucky, 1971; MA (Drawing), Morehead State University, Kentucky, 1974

"Shadow" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 |  BUY NOW

"Shadow" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 | BUY NOW

"YHWA" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 |  BUY NOW

"YHWA" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 | BUY NOW

"Picture" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 |  BUY NOW

"Picture" by Michael McCardwell, 18x24in, ink and colored pencils (2017), $350 | BUY NOW

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

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Painting

Vignette: Charlotte Pollock


"The mind includes more than intellect. It contains a history of what we learn through our feet. It grasps the world that meets the eye, the city we know through our legs, the places we know in our hearts, in our guts, in our memories, and in our imaginations. It includes the world we feel in our bones." - E. V. Walter


Painter, Charlotte Pollock

Painter, Charlotte Pollock

Charlotte Pollock doesn’t just paint what is in front of her. Some landscape painters may, in fact, be documentarians; capturing with accuracy the details of color and light they find before them, but for Pollock, the choice of subject has specific meaning for her: “This series is the result of my desire to understand the meaning of place and its relationship to self. I paint places that emotionally resonate within me as a way to map my biography. Light and color articulate mood and combine with my paint application to make an interior world accessible to the viewer.”

“A sense of place,” is an elusive phrase that can be parsed many ways, but when we speak of art, we are trying to describe how an individual point-of-view of one moment in time might attempt to communicate ineffable aspects of a location. The artist doesn’t create a picture-postcard; instead they share their own unique experience and understanding of a given place, which may be markedly different than the viewer’s experience. It may also strike unexpected chords of universal experience - anything is possible. The E.V. Walter quote that partly inspires these paintings perhaps says it best: “It includes the world we feel in our bones.”

"Have You Got Good Religion" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Have You Got Good Religion" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

For Pollock, these paintings occupy the realm of autobiography, but on her own terms. What you may glean about the artist from these pieces will not be a complete picture, but what is there to discover just might only be available through her work.

Pollock’s solo exhibition, Lore & Landscapes, opens June 2 at Art Sanctuary with a reception that evening, 5:30-9:30pm. Reception is FREE, family-friendly, and open to the public. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

She also has work in On the Waterfront and Beyond through July 29 at the Jane Morgan Gallery in Louisville.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 26
Education: BFA, Allen R. Hite Institute, University of Louisville
Website: http://www.charlotteannpollock.com

"Old Louisville in November" by Charlotte Pollock, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Old Louisville in November" by Charlotte Pollock, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017)

"March 29, 5pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016)

"March 29, 5pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016)

"Golden Hour on River Road" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Golden Hour on River Road" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

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

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Installation, Mixed Media, Painting

Vignette: Lennon Michalski

"Ghost Bike" Installation by Lennon Michalski (2016)

"Ghost Bike" Installation by Lennon Michalski (2016)

In a body of work entitled Ghost Bike, Lennon Michalski explores the relationship between man and machine, expressing a complex array of themes, most importantly, the tyranny of technology and the fragility of the human form.

“Ghost Bike takes a specific look at Motorcycles, considering the uniqueness that describes the machine, the man that chooses to indulge in that machine, and the nature of their relationship,” says Michalski. “The imagery in the series considers motorcycle accidents to represent their dangerous cultural association. I specifically chose the motorcycle, the imagery, and popular icons to reflect my personal engagement with this idea. My grandfather was killed on a motorcycle, and this has largely inspired these pieces in the hopes of bringing attention to the motorcycle to provide an understanding of their own distinctive culture.”

"Wrecked Bike"   by Lennon Michalski, 36 x 48 x 84 in, Honda Motorcycle and paint (2016) |  Photograph by Brian Campbell

"Wrecked Bike" by Lennon Michalski, 36 x 48 x 84 in, Honda Motorcycle and paint (2016) | Photograph by Brian Campbell

Michalski in his studio | Photograph by Adam Brester

Michalski in his studio | Photograph by Adam Brester

“Even when these tragedies strike, society often places blame on the cyclist, for they, have willingly put them selves in harm’s way. Motorcycles are largely considered unsafe and rebellious in the eyes of the public because of the sense of vulnerability and danger associated with motorcycles. In an effort to define the broad spectrum of this machine’s interaction with the human condition, I sought to understand why so many individuals crave to connect with it. I realized that engagement with motorcycles cultivated an undeniable sense of community. Motorcyclists feel passionately about their investment in this machine, creating a strong bond between, not only the machine and its owner, but also everyone who rides. In order to incorporate this idea of community, I created works that also represent this aspect of motorcycle culture. I examine the documentation of a group of cyclists traveling cross-country to pay tribute to the fallen. Rather than viewing the death of the biker as a careless rebel, he is considered a fallen hero, who deserves the greatest of respect. Within the motorcycle community there is boundless devotion, which allows for the machine to act as a tool in eliciting genuine human interaction.”

"Wreck" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

"Wreck" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

In his paintings, Michalski often uses his hands directly in applying the medium, building transparent layers that evoke a passage of time. “My paintings are not objects assembled by machines or other individuals; I develop a bond and communicate through the development of each work. This technique is based on a physical language; by pushing the paint with my hands, I am infusing my energy into the gestures. I learn something new from each piece allowing my process to open doors I would have never thought to walk through. Through the creation of digital work, paintings, and sculpture, I hope to bring attention to the motorcyclist so that the sense of community motorcycle culture creates can continue to thrive. The motorcycle acts as a metaphor to represent the motorcyclist himself, with the engine acting as the heart of the individual, and the community. While many have fallen victim to the unpredictability of this machine, it uniquely acts as a tool to cultivate relationships, activate commitment, and instill a sense of community.”

Michalski also just self published a children's book called "How Penguins Save Television," a story that explores what it means for society as it attempts to evolve with the aid of science and innovation. The book engages children with the natural world around them through technological modifications, such as the jetpack.

Since 2008 Michalski has been an Instructor of Digital Media, Drawing, and 2D Design at the University of Kentucky.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Age: 36
Education: BFA in Painting, Eastern Kentucky University 2004; MFA in Painting and Digital Media, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006
Website: http://www.lennonmichalski.com

"Stoplights" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mix medium on canvas (2016)

"Stoplights" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mix medium on canvas (2016)

"Heart" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

"Heart" by Lennon Michalski, 72 x 108 in, water based pigment and mixed medium on canvas (2016)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

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Drawing, Mixed Media, Illustration, Painting

Vignette: Damien Vines

"Bull" by Damien Vines, 22x28in, charcoal and ink (2015), $80 |  BUY NOW

"Bull" by Damien Vines, 22x28in, charcoal and ink (2015), $80 | BUY NOW

"Skateboard" by Damien Vines, 30x8in, acrylic and oil markers (2016), $100 |  BUY NOW

"Skateboard" by Damien Vines, 30x8in, acrylic and oil markers (2016), $100 | BUY NOW

Viewing the work of an art student can illustrate the development of ideas, almost as if we are given glimpses into the creative mind, watching in real time the active thinking that is at play. Damien Vines’ drawings here are sometimes, simple and linear, but also rough sketches of larger themes that the young artist may be only beginning to explore. His approach is very illustrative, with a fair dose of the fantastical present. His design for a skateboard might have appeared in magazines or a comic book, so clearly is that ancestry evoked, but what of the Bull? Exposed to the bone and dripping from slaughter, the beast carries a burden on his back; the weight of industrialized society. It’s a provocative image made all the more impactful by the subtle turn of the bovine head, which stares at the viewer with one, empty, blood-red eye socket. Does it go far to imagine the dripping red beneath might suggest tears?

“My work aims to make the viewer question the intent of subtle meaning and symbolism, I aim to make the work not one note but instead to create a conversation. I explore imagery and ideas that might be considered disturbing such as living with serious mental illness or the boundary between psychopathy and fictional characters.”

Despite his more serious intentions, Vines is clearly enjoying himself with lighter, irreverent collages such as this one that ‘paints’ one arm of Michelangelo’s David with candy color, covering the body like a post-Modern pauldron or vambrace - pieces of protective armor. The contrast in the approaches are may seem sharp, but it is clear evidence of the uncertain, restless mind that drives an artist to communicate.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 21
Education: BFA candidate, Painting and Drawing, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentuck

"Drawings (series)" by Damien Vines, 8.5x11in,  dry point prints and watercolor  (2016), $120 |  BUY NOW

"Drawings (series)" by Damien Vines, 8.5x11in, dry point prints and watercolor (2016), $120 | BUY NOW

"Untitled" by Damien Vines, 16x20in, graphite and pastel (2016)

"Untitled" by Damien Vines, 16x20in, graphite and pastel (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Damien Vines, 4x6in, collage (2016)

"Untitled #2" by Damien Vines, 4x6in, collage (2016)

"Untitled #3" by Damien Vines, 18x24in, markers on paper (2015)

"Untitled #3" by Damien Vines, 18x24in, markers on paper (2015)

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Are you interested in being on Artebella?    Click here    to learn more.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.