experience

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

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Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Searching For Enlightenment" by Joshua Jenkins, 43 x 64 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Searching For Enlightenment" by Joshua Jenkins, 43 x 64 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)


“Art to me is the soul’s communication - a response to experience and life.” — Joshua Jenkins


"Summertime Contemplation" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Summertime Contemplation" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

Like any good Expressionist, Joshua Jenkins builds an atmosphere divorced from recognizable reality, and then populates it with figures of solidity that are often indistinct, occupying space as a mass but lacking the specifics of individual character. There is some detail in the faces he attaches to these figures, often on necks that protrude forward, so that the features often give the impression of a mask. Oftentimes the only insight provide for these figures are what they are holding: a stringed instrument is a common item, or a particular hat might give us some clue about the personality. Jenkins is more concerned with the composition and action of the paint, using setting and placement to suggest narrative.

“Some of the works in the show, like 'Summertime Contemplation' & 'Searching for Enlightenment' are an obvious transition from the body of work from my show Somewhere In Between Anxiety & Serenity,” states Jenkins. “There a lot of the paintings had more muted colors and calmer lines. A lot of these newer pieces harken back to my earlier work, the bolder style with warmer colors that I’m known for.”

"Summer Heat (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Heat (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Nights" by Joshua Jenkins, 48 x 30 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Summer Nights" by Joshua Jenkins, 48 x 30 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

For many artists, the theme of summer would conjure up images of sunbaked landscapes, perhaps a beach-lined coastline - open areas of escape. But in “Summer Heat”, Jenkins captures the claustrophobic swelter of a crowded urban environment. This artist’s summer also include a domestic scene of four figures in a modern day family in “Summer Nights”, and the detail of the faces is noticeably more developed, with hair and facial details that suggest an element of autobiography in the scene. As most of the paintings show figures of some universality, here we get the sense that Jenkins knows these people, that this is his summer, and not necessarily anyone else’s.

Jenkins’ solo show, Summertime, will be opening at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, 3803 Brownsboro Road, August 10 with an Artist’s Open House from 5:00pm-7:30pm.

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Age: 30
Education: BA in Digital Media with a Minor in Studio Art, Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Gallery Representative: Joshua is self-represented locally, but has works available at Revelry Gallery, KORE Gallery, New Editions Gallery (Lexington, KY), and at Caza Sikes (Cincinnati, OH)
Website: http://www.joshuajenkinsart.com

"Summer Heat" by Joshua Jenkins, 64 x 59 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016-2017)

"Summer Heat" by Joshua Jenkins, 64 x 59 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016-2017)

"Summer Nights (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Nights (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Nature’s Musicians" by Joshua Jenkins, 36 x 48 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Nature’s Musicians" by Joshua Jenkins, 36 x 48 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

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

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Painting, Print Making

Vignette: Adrienne Miller

Artist Adrienne Miller

Artist Adrienne Miller

The Community Foundation of Louisville, in partnership with Louisville Visual Art, has presented Louisville-based artist and printmaker, Adrienne Miller, with the fifth annual Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art. The $5,000 award is an opportunity for local artists to enhance their careers through a targeted enrichment experience.

Miller will use the prize to research the landscape and art historical influence of the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. The two week trip will cover close to 2,000 miles in a loop through the Four Corners region and will include a variety of stops, including several different pueblo ruin sites, printmaking studios in Albuquerque, The Georgia O’Keefe museum and archives, several National Parks, energy vortexes in Sedona, and several large earth works in the region.

"Keep Out/ Stay In" by Adrienne Miller, 16x20in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2016), $600 |  BUY NOW

"Keep Out/ Stay In" by Adrienne Miller, 16x20in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2016), $600 | BUY NOW

“I want the experience to be transformative and immersive so that I come away feeling as though the experience really was a tipping point for me,” said Miller of the Hadley Prize enrichment experience. “I want to return to Louisville renewed to create a whole new body of work.”

"Come With Me Into The Void" by Adrienne Miller, 16x20in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2016)

"Come With Me Into The Void" by Adrienne Miller, 16x20in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2016)

Miller’s images are hybrids of the representational and abstract that explore the human experience of constructed space. “Within the tradition of landscape art, the term picturesque refers to a view where the human presence is apparent,” states Miller. “We are often presented with a view or vista for our consideration. When viewing a landscape we are allowed to be objective, but when viewing ourselves, does that perspective change?”

“Within the delicacy of the Mylar drawings, I am beginning to break apart the environments into tiny details such as potted plants, ladder rungs, or the tilt of a roof line. For me, the landscape I embody on a daily basis is the idea of the home, an interior and much more intimate space. In some, the details explain a building interior while in others it appears to be just outside, similar to a residential yard space. The fluttering of the Mylar layers serves to remind the viewer of the constant state of change these sort of psychologically charged places experience. Through changes in perspective and unrealistic coexistence, the work encourages the viewer to address their own environments as well as themselves.”

"Man Made Islands" by Adrienne Miller, 32x40in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2017), $1200 |  BUY NOW

"Man Made Islands" by Adrienne Miller, 32x40in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2017), $1200 | BUY NOW

The $5,000 M.A. Hadley Prize is awarded from the George and Mary Alice Hadley Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville. The endowment was established in 1991, and it supports the arts and humanities, particularly visual arts, crafts, theater and the Louisville Free Public Library. The award is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Louisville and Louisville Visual Art, which managed the application process.

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Education: BFA, Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography, Murray State University / MFA, Studio Art with an emphasis in Printmaking, Northern Illinois University
Website: http://www.adrienne-miller.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ay_dree_un/

"Man Made Islands (detail)" by Adrienne Miller,

"Man Made Islands (detail)" by Adrienne Miller,

"Maintaining the Overgrowth" by Adrienne Miller, 32x40in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2017), $1200 |  BUY NOW

"Maintaining the Overgrowth" by Adrienne Miller, 32x40in, acrylic gouache and colored pencil on mylar (2017), $1200 | BUY NOW

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

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Q&A: Dave Caudill


“My sculpture is often placed in public spaces, and it celebrates attributes that enable all of us to thrive – idealism, enthusiasm and the joy of life.” — Dave Caudill


Artist, Dave Caudill at work.

Artist, Dave Caudill at work.

Dave Caudill and the “Odyssey” project

A well-liked, long-time fixture in the local art community, Dave Caudill has several public sculptures in Louisville: at 6th & Main St, the University of Louisville School of Music, Maryhurst Alternative School, the Crescent Hill public library, and the offices of the Waterfront Development Corp in downtown. His latest project is ambitious, even for an artist who has installed a large metal sculpture on the ocean floor.

How did you first hit upon the idea of “Odyssey”?

A few years ago, I realized the synthesis of a fingerprint and labyrinth could make a powerful combination that prompted consideration of identity and our individual journeys though life.

How do you think it fits in with the themes of your past work? Or does it?

I see it as another iteration of the theme of humanity in harmony with the rest of nature, a theme that I first addressed with an undersea sculpture in 1995.

Do you worry a labyrinth will intimidate people? Are people afraid of getting lost?

Labyrinth concept drawing by Dave Caudill.

Labyrinth concept drawing by Dave Caudill.

Walking a labyrinth is different from a maze, in that once you'e on a path, it takes you to the center and back out again - there is no confusion or opportunity to get confused or lost as in a maze, as long as you stay on a path. Also, everything is at ground level - there are no walls that create blind spots. This misunderstanding is common, but a small plaque at the entrance to Odyssey will clarify the difference.

We are creating a meditative walking experience fused with a bold piece of public art.

You just returned from Bolivia, where you were involved in a similar project. What was your experience there?

The Bolivian Odyssey differs from my proposal for Louisville in that it’s half the size (1/4 the size of a football field) and uses gravel instead of flat terrazzo over concrete for the paths. The Bolivian project is located in a rural area and creating a handicapped accessible design was not an option.

Who are your collaborators, and how did you connect with them?

This unique labyrinth will engage people through the consideration of identity and personal journeys through.

This unique labyrinth will engage people through the consideration of identity and personal journeys through.

I received a residency to start construction from Teresa Camacho-Hull, the owner and director of Ars.Natura.Uta, an art center near La Paz. She has been developing the center as a site dedicated to addressing the need to understand that the wholeness of our relationship to nature is essential to the health of both humanity and the planet. I met her at a sculptor’s conference in Pittsburgh, an event I was able to attend by a grant from Louisville’s Great Meadows Foundation. Teresa’s staff of three men was indispensable for a 2-week schedule.

What would be your dream location for “Odyssey”?

I’d like to see it in an area conducive to reflection and meditation, like a park. That being said, a strong design can go a long way toward overcoming the noise of an urban environment and establishing a unique asset for the city.

Hometown: Corbin, Kentucky
Age: 66
Education: University of Kentucky, 1970; Louisville School of Art, 1973; Anderson Ranch, CO, 2000 & 2001
Website: http://www.caudillart.com

An illustration showing an example of the terrazzo artwork that would cover the concrete paths of Odyssey. Each path would be a winding, evolving, unique design.

An illustration showing an example of the terrazzo artwork that would cover the concrete paths of Odyssey. Each path would be a winding, evolving, unique design.

2017-04-29 11.05.09.jpg

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

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Ceramics

Feature: Tom Marsh Legacy


“By practicing a potentially usable art and by insisting on its usability, and the commonness and local peculiarity of his materials, he points it toward the older, finer, healthier sort of artistic success: that such excellent workmanship, such beauty and distinction, might again become ordinary.“ — Wendell Berry on Tom Marsh*


Artists, Ginny & Tom Marsh.

Artists, Ginny & Tom Marsh.

If past is indeed prologue, then perhaps we live in the present only by the leave of our ancestors; formative influences, and most especially our teachers. Tom Marsh was a teaching artist in the Greater Louisville area for more than 25 years, first at Silver Creek High School in his native Indiana during the 1960’s, and then as the founder of the Ceramics program at the University of Louisville’s Hite Institute for Art, where he taught until his death, in 1991.

It is also said, by those who loved and admired him the most, that he was demanding. Surely this is a requisite quality for any worthwhile mentor, and, from all accounts, Marsh set expectations as high for his own work as he did for anyone else, and the program he developed for U of L was unorthodox, moving beyond traditional studio parameters. Certainly experience has taught us that innovation often translates for some as ‘difficult’.

Marsh was raised by missionaries, and studied painting with Mary Spencer Nay at the University of Louisville. A missionary trip took him to Mashiko, Japan, where he ended up staying for several years, studying pottery with Sakuma Totaro (1900-1976), and learning various strands of Buddhism, most notably Rinzai. Once he returned to the U.S. he eventually resettled in Borden, Indiana, living his later years in adherence to ethical and spiritual practices born of his time in Japan, building an aesthetically spare house in the secluded woods that featured multi-functional space - the bed was raised on pulleys to make room for working.

Works by Marsh Pottery,   Install Image from UofL Faculty show (1984) . Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

Works by Marsh Pottery, Install Image from UofL Faculty show (1984) . Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

This holistic approach was indicative of what University of Louisville colleague and current faculty Jim Grubola calls the, “potter-philosopher” ideal that Marsh strived to embody. He brought it into his teaching, breaking out of the confines of the studio to instruct students in building outdoor kilns as a part of curriculum, a practice that brought many conflicts with both the Louisville Fire Department and University officials.

"  Approaching" by Marsh Pottery,   conjunction in situ (1992). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

"Approaching" by Marsh Pottery, conjunction in situ (1992). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

As for the work, Marsh’s ceramic pottery follows the Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty – “art,” in the strictly functional: large scale vessels for storage (because smaller pieces for daily use were commonly made from lacquer or wood), and tea pots. The full, earthen physicality might seem to contradict the western (mis) perception of delicacy as a defining characteristic of Japanese art; these are full, solid forms of visual and tactile weight. Their functionality never feels in question.

Another U of L associate, retired Print Faculty John Whitesell, describes how Marsh developed his techniques for the “expanded form jar,” in which the walls of the vessel are pushed to their limits and the outer surface begins to “crack”: “He would go beyond what you would imagine was possible… he would just keep working it, and working it.” The resulting complex, “fractured” surface texture became a trademark of Marsh’s work, a careful balance between structural integrity and creative aesthetic. However much the artist valued function, the rustic, earthy beauty of the work was always astonishing.

Whitesell also talks of “the anonymous potter,” which is a term that evolved when Marsh worked alongside his wife, Ginny Marsh. In the images of work shown here, from a 1984 sabbatical exhibit at U of L’s Schneider Galleries, all of the work is identified as simply Marsh Pottery, with no distinction given as to which Marsh created which piece. While there may be some who felt they could detect differences, Grubola, for one, could not be certain, because the nature of the vessels had gone in such an elemental direction: “Particularly towards the end,” says Grubola, “the work became more intuitive and less refined.”

"Mark" by Tom Marsh. Photo Courtesy of Hite Art Institute.

"Mark" by Tom Marsh. Photo Courtesy of Hite Art Institute.

Students came to U of L to study with Marsh specifically tolearn the Japanese-based techniques and life philosophy he expounded. Laura Ross, Wayne Ferguson, Sarah Frederick, Fong Choo, Pam Korte, Bran Hazelet, and Gwen Heffner are but a few notable potters for whom Marsh was a mentor, and many of them still live, work and teach in the area.

"Teapot" by Ginny and Tom Marsh

"Teapot" by Ginny and Tom Marsh

All of the concentration suggests that Marsh never did anything halfway. One of his teaching tools were sophisticated, multi-media presentations that he also took all around the U.S. at a time when such things were not common. “For someone so dedicated to a simple agrarian lifestyle,” remembers Whitesell, ”Tom was well-versed in technology, and had multiple projections fading in and out… synched to a pre-recorded soundtrack. It was very impressive.”

"These pots and cups and bowls are not busy calling attention to themselves as 'art objects.' Their preferred habitat is a kitchen, not a museum. They invite use. They are not just viewed. Viewing, by itself, will misunderstand them--just as, by itself, it
will misunderstand the food." — Wendell Berry

Examples of Marsh pottery are in permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in Kamajura, Japan.

Name: Tom Marsh (1934 -1991)
Hometown: Sellersburg, Indiana

The Marsh's 30 cubic foot cross draft salt kiln (c.1979). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

The Marsh's 30 cubic foot cross draft salt kiln (c.1979). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

"  Approaching Conjunction"   by Marsh Pottery,   stoneware   (1984). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

"Approaching Conjunction" by Marsh Pottery, stoneware (1984). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

"Vase with Brass Rings" by Marsh Pottery, 14in H, coarse stoneware   (1973). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

"Vase with Brass Rings" by Marsh Pottery, 14in H, coarse stoneware (1973). Photograph courtesy of the Hite Art Institute.

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

*From “Tom Marsh/Potter: Twenty Three Years of Clay”, published by University of Louisville, 1979.

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