expressionism

Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Wächter (Guardians)" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48x60x1.5 in, 2018, POR

"Wächter (Guardians)" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48x60x1.5 in, 2018, POR

To be prolific is a gift. Creativity as a practice does not always come easy. Painter Josh Jenkins has been steadily making art for several years now, some years filling 2-3 exhibits with new work. Yet in the last year or so he found his productivity slowing down: “Aside from finding it hard to make time for myself in the studio after starting a full-time job I've also been in a bit of an artist’s slump--which has led me to paint over more paintings than I've ‘finished’.”

Jenkins is an expressionist painter whose work, over time, can be seen as an extended, ongoing narrative illustrating a Neo Bohemian world of colorful characters. These people are usually captured at leisure; sometimes celebrating, but almost always being social.

"Just A Family Stroll Around The Neighborhood" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48x36x1.5 in, 2018, POR

"Just A Family Stroll Around The Neighborhood" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48x36x1.5 in, 2018, POR

But now the artist has broken free of his slump, and his newest work, such as “Just A Family Stroll Around The Neighborhood” and “Wächter (Guardians)” seem to be an emphasis on domesticity; children and pets join Jenkins’ society, or at least they have taken more of the focus. The peace and tranquility of the traditional image of family, before dysfunctional was a descriptive term that would be quixotically embraced by the former “nuclear family” unit, is here placed within the unsettled line and mark making that has always been characteristic of Jenkins, providing a compelling visual tension.

One other piece we see here, “A Self-portrait at 31”, is perhaps the key to understanding the slight shift in themes, because Western culture highlights the passing in age of each decade, locating yourself one year after such a milestone suggests a time for rumination, an assessment of both the moment and the future.

Currently Jenkins has several "mini" drawings on wood available at KORE Gallery in the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center. They are recycled drawings mounted, painted, and then sealed on re-purposed wood. He is included in a group exhibit at The Champagnery on Frankfort Ave that will run through the summer.

Jenkins also will be participating in a group pop up show on Friday, August 3rd (a part of Trolley Hop) in the lobby of 635 West Main Street (next door to Red7e) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Other participating artists are Shawn Marshall, Mike McCarthy, and Amy Chase. 

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
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: 

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"A Portrait of a Young Man That Knows Something" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 24x24x1.5in, 2018, POR (available at Revelry Gallery)

"A Portrait of a Young Man That Knows Something" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 24x24x1.5in, 2018, POR (available at Revelry Gallery)

"A Self Portrait At 31" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 24 x 18 x .75 in, 2018, POR

"A Self Portrait At 31" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 24 x 18 x .75 in, 2018, POR

"Two Nude Figures Reflect On Life Together" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic, collage, and mixed on canvas, 40x30x1.5 in. 2018, POR

"Two Nude Figures Reflect On Life Together" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic, collage, and mixed on canvas, 40x30x1.5 in. 2018, POR

"Sleeping Nude Figure" by Joshua Jenkins, Drawing on wood, 5x7x0.5in, 2017, $45 (available et KORE Gallery)

"Sleeping Nude Figure" by Joshua Jenkins, Drawing on wood, 5x7x0.5in, 2017, $45 (available et KORE Gallery)


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

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Painting

Vignette: Julio Cesar Rodriguez

"Infinity Wings" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 18X14in,  2017, POR

"Infinity Wings" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 18X14in,  2017, POR

Julio Cesar Rodriguez’ surrealism is pure, in that it derives from an openness bordering on out-of-body experience: “When I'm painting I feel my mind is opened as a theater stage and my staging begins to establish itself with its own lights and shadows, colors and strokes…and then going to bed trying to sleep with that huge dark hat is the night. It is in this process where I feel still perched at that stage - floating in my paintings.”

We also are tempted to describe these most recent paintings as moving more into abstraction. The traditional surrealist’s descriptive precision with objects, time, and space has not been totally abandoned, but the vigorous kinetic swirl of his compositions partially obscure those elements, and our eye focuses on the few instances of representational clarity. The bird’s head from “Infinity Wings”, for example, or the self-portrait from “The Saved Essence of My Soul”, which makes explicit the feeling of theatricality the artist mentions. The figure might be onstage, or he might be painting a scenic design backstage.

It all reinforces the concept of alternate reality that is a keystone of the surrealist aesthetic. But the images are more than that label would allow. Rodriguez describes his work as, “a mixture of figuration and expressionism with an air of surrealism.” So we also witness his abstraction regroup into suggestions of the representational, as in “Muse Face”.

"The Saved Essence of My Soul" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 48X36in,  2018, POR

"The Saved Essence of My Soul" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 48X36in,  2018, POR

“When I am creating I feel locked up in a cage with clouds. They help me hold on to the tightrope of real life and it is then that I feel the exact balance with the doors of my intellect. My love for painting holds me, makes me play attached to a brush, and it is the only time where the magicians’ savor their perfect trick.”

Rodriguez’ new solo exhibition Divine Shadows, opens on April 7th in the Revelry Boutique Gallery, with a reception that evening 7:00 to 10:00 pm, and will continue through the month of April.

Hometown: Holguin, Cuba
Education: BFA, Fine Art Academy, Holguin, Cuba
Gallery Representation: Revelry Boutique Gallery
Website: www.juliocesart.com

 

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"Muse Face" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 15X15in,  2018, POR

"Muse Face" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 15X15in,  2018, POR

"Spring Call" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 16X20in,  2017, POR

"Spring Call" by Julio Cesar Rodriguez,  Oil on canvas, 16X20in,  2017, POR

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

Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Two Folk Musicians In Nature" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 60x72x1.5 in, 2017, $3000

"Two Folk Musicians In Nature" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 60x72x1.5 in, 2017, $3000

JoshuaJenkins' human forms are distorted and at times can seem like disfigured scribbles of a body. His people previously seen at leisure in the city streets or in the public square, have now moved into the bucolic countryside of open fields and forests. His disruptive and freeform line, an influence from the Expressionist movement and the energy of street artists, illustrates humanity breaking free of the constraints of society – Jenkins’ characters are almost never working. Yet in “People in the Woods” the individuals are caught in a visual pattern of nature. This artist’s fascination with, “the raw textures that plague old cities”, seems to here be supplanted by the organic textures of nature, both welcoming and vaguely sinister.

"A Contemplation Of Nature" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 36x24x1.5in. 2017, $1250

"A Contemplation Of Nature" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 36x24x1.5in. 2017, $1250

His Artist's Statement includes this declaration: “Art to me is the soul’s communication - a response to experience and life. This theory is what drives me to create, because I feel as though I have to so for my own wellbeing. Like many artists I use art as a source of therapy—coping with day-to-day stresses, romances, my sexuality, my childhood, and my ongoing struggle with institutional religion. However, not all inspiration comes from my life, observing the people around me also inspire me. In some regards I consider myself a voyeur of life. People intrigue me not only on a physical plane, but also on a deeper emotional level. I tend to feed inspiration to myself from the lives and emotional distresses of others. Ultimately, my work is not to create art at the expense of my own or anyone else’s miseries, but rather to shine a light on the commonalities between us all.”

“It has become apparent to me that my approach to art is to try and give a fresh voice to the Fine Arts, pulling influences from past movements and acknowledging trends that are in today’s culture. I must conclude that my art is always evolving and will also stay true to my original drive for creating, which comes from my soul—the inner voice that I have learned over time to never question.”           

Jenkins currently has a "Holiday Pop-Up Art Show" at Mellwood Art Center in conjunction with KORE Gallery. The show features some recent works from his one-person exhibit at Lenihan Sotheby’s  Summertime along with other works I have done over the years including a few new pieces done over the past couple of months. Jenkins himself will be available in the gallery on weekends. Otherwise people can get access through KORE Gallery during the week. 

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Mellwood Art Center
#187 (entry off the courtyard)

Tuesday through Friday: 11 AM to 5 PM
(get access through KORE Gallery)

Weekdend Hours:
Saturday, 12 to 4 PM, Sunday, 12 to 4 PM

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Education: BA in Digital Media with a Minor in Studio Art, Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Website: http://www.joshjenkins.com
Instagram: joshuajenkinsart/
Gallery Representative: Joshua is self-represented locally, but have works at Revelry  & KORE Gallery, New Editions Gallery (Lexington), CAZA Sikes (Cincinnati).

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"People in the Woods" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 48 x 36 x 1.5 in, 2017, $2200

"People in the Woods" by Joshua Jenkins, Acrylic & mixed media, 48 x 36 x 1.5 in, 2017, $2200

"Untitled Drawing" by Joshua Jenkins, Pastel, Charcoal, and Graphite, 24x18in, 2017 $350

"Untitled Drawing" by Joshua Jenkins, Pastel, Charcoal, and Graphite, 24x18in, 2017 $350


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

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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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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.

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

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