formal

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.

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

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

Painting

Vignette: Valtcho Tonov


“I believe in the beauty of ordinary subjects.” — Valtcho Tonov


   "Greece" by Valtcho Tonov, 10x20 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in gold plein air style frame)|  BUY NOW

 "Greece" by Valtcho Tonov, 10x20 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in gold plein air style frame)| BUY NOW

Artist, Valtcho Tonov

Artist, Valtcho Tonov

Even though Valtcho Tonov has no formal, institutional diploma, through private lessons and countless workshops he has been relentless in pursuing a personal course of study in painting. For many years he practiced painting the figure from life in a class setting and the landscape en plein air.

“As my experience accumulates as an artist during the years I understand that it's important to convey feeling with my art and relate in a profound way to the viewer. I believe in the beauty of ordinary subjects. I consider myself an abstract impressionist, however my style varies depending of my mood and the way I start a new painting.”

"Cherokee Park Path" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) |  BUY NOW

"Cherokee Park Path" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) | BUY NOW

We see the different moods in “Cherokee Park Path”, which perfectly captures the unique winter light on the snow, everything crisp and clear under the brilliant sun, of how the equine forms in “Southern Horses” seem rooted to the earth as if the are plants awaiting harvest, and is there an image more evocative of moodiness than a view of the skyline distorted as if being witnessed through a rain-streaked window in “Louisville Winter”.

This is what a painter does; working with one of the most plastic and expressive of mediums, the artist is able to communicate a heightened perception of the world, forcing us to look harder at our own environment and the aspects of nature that we too easily take for granted.

"Mc Neely Lake, Louisville" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) |  BUY NOW

"Mc Neely Lake, Louisville" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) | BUY NOW

Tonov is a member of Oil Painters Of America and the Plein Air Painters of Kentucky. After moving to the United States in 2001, he eventually settled in Louisville, Kentucky. Tonov has continued his studies under the tutelage of renowned artists such as John Michael Carter, Phil Starke, and others. He is part of an ongoing uninstructed figurative drawing/painting workshop at Mellwood Art Center in Louisville.

Hometown: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Age: 44
Education: self-taught but studied with John Michael Carter & Phil Starke
Website: http://www.vptart.co

"Louisville Winter" by Valtcho Tonov, 20x24 in, oil on canvas (2017), $900 (not framed, finished sides) |  BUY NOW

"Louisville Winter" by Valtcho Tonov, 20x24 in, oil on canvas (2017), $900 (not framed, finished sides) | BUY NOW

"Southern Horses" by Valtcho Tonov, 11x14 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $600 (comes in gold frame) |  BUY NOW

"Southern Horses" by Valtcho Tonov, 11x14 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $600 (comes in gold frame) | BUY NOW

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.

Painting

Vignette: Michael Victor Troutman


"I didn't choose art. I was born into it." – Michael Victor Troutman


"Amber" by Michael Victor Troutman, 6x6in, acrylic on canvas (2017), $25 |  BUY NOW

"Amber" by Michael Victor Troutman, 6x6in, acrylic on canvas (2017), $25 | BUY NOW

Michael Victor Troutman claims that his work contains no “pretentious message,” and that he just hopes to provoke an individual emotional response in each individual viewer. His unorthodox use of color and a deliberately unsophisticated approach to mark making give us paintings that might be more accessible to a broader audience for exactly their lack of “airs.” There is skill in the line work but a liberating lack of concern for what is academically appropriate in compositional choices.

Troutman’s work is reminiscent of mid-20th century art that included connotations from the past. “Amber” is quick and spontaneous, but cannot help but recall Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe, while the sense of decadence with a hint of depravity found in “Cessation” seems to cite Toulouse-Lautrec as a part of its ancestry.

"Cessation" by Michael Victor Troutman, 24x30in, acrylic gesso varnish on canvas (2016), $123 |  BUY NOW

"Cessation" by Michael Victor Troutman, 24x30in, acrylic gesso varnish on canvas (2016), $123 | BUY NOW

The artist is self-taught and has been exhibiting since the late 1990s. He primarily paints portraits but has experience with other mediums such as sculpture, found art, collages, drawings and the written word. He credits much of his artistic talent to his family, “especially, my father, Victor, & my brother, Aaron. Many other relatives—including my mother, who worked in the Culinary Arts & created edible sculptures, etc., and my sister, who worked in crafts & home décor, fabric/fashion, etc., & and uncles, grandparents, etc. who made swank furniture and kinetic art—are also influences/inspirations to my creativity.”

"A Self Portrait" by Michael Victor Troutman, 24.5 x 18.5 in, acrylic on canvas (2012) 

"A Self Portrait" by Michael Victor Troutman, 24.5 x 18.5 in, acrylic on canvas (2012) 

“I took advantage of the situation and used the tools, instruments & materials I found in my vicinity. Art is not a science, thus I did not continue formal training. Everyone is born an artist, but somewhere along the line most children morph into adults—they're too self-critical and judgmental.”

When Troutman expresses his aesthetic he tends to the poetical:

Some cold souls see art as an excessive luxury; one of them even said to me that “art is one thing that the world could do without.”
But to that bastard, I reply, I retort that never has the world done without art.
Art is ancient and as continuous as circles.
I find that when something “does not matter” is when it/something matters the most
because it's done as a thing/act in itself,
alone, clean & pure
& done because it needed or wanted to be done
& it was not done to seek rewards in heaven
& it was not done to evade punishment in hell;
it was done because it was the R—> thing to do regardless of the consequences/effects.

"TRS 3.0" by Michael victor Troutman, 20x24in, acrylic gesso varnish on canvas (2015), $138   |  BUY NOW

"TRS 3.0" by Michael victor Troutman, 20x24in, acrylic gesso varnish on canvas (2015), $138 | BUY NOW

ART is about AIM:

Attention

Influence  

Manipulation

- so please let me con you. Feel! ENJOY!

Troutman’s latest exhibition started March 3 at Open Community Arts Center in Louisville.

Hometown: DePauw, Indiana
Age: 28
Education: BA, Spanish; BA, Political Science & Minor in International Studies w/ concentration in Latin America (& a brief period of graduate school MAT Spanish program)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TroutmanArt

"Girl Stepping Out of Shadow" by Michael Victor Troutman, 16x20in, acrylic on canvas (2012), $169 |  BUY NOW

"Girl Stepping Out of Shadow" by Michael Victor Troutman, 16x20in, acrylic on canvas (2012), $169 | BUY NOW

"Private Eye" by Michael victor Troutman, 24x30in, acrylic varnish on canvas (2015), $222 |  BUY NOW

"Private Eye" by Michael victor Troutman, 24x30in, acrylic varnish on canvas (2015), $222 | BUY NOW

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.

Painting, Ceramics

Vignette: David Keator

A photograph of David Keator taken by Geoff Carr.

A photograph of David Keator taken by Geoff Carr.

“ Resurgence ” by David Keator, 30x38in, oil on canvas (2014), $1000 |  BUY NOW

Resurgence” by David Keator, 30x38in, oil on canvas (2014), $1000 | BUY NOW

During the first part of his life as an artist, David Keator was celebrated for unique ceramic work: traditional forms such as vessels and pots featuring details of great delicacy, but also furniture pieces. Dorothy Weil, writing in Cincinnati Magazine in June 1986 describes how Keator’s work at that time, “…brings out the elegant side of Art Deco. His tables are crafted of wood, marble, and porcelain, and have formal, classic, straight lines and pretty Deco blues and pinks. Humor and whimsy come out when Keator decides to throw in zigzag legs or create a table and vase in one.” 

Keator worked in Louisville for many years, including a stint as Professor of Ceramics at the Louisville School of Art. Later he moved to Florida and, in his last years, turned to painting when arthritis made the intricacy of his ceramics work a challenge. In a statement from 2013, Keator talked about the change in medium: “Paint became my new fascination and ‘creative outlet.’ My paintings are non-representational. They are a search for the impression or expression of objects or subjects in a spontaneously responsive manner.”

Perhaps there is more of a relationship between the work with which Keator made his reputation and the work with he makes his last artistic statements. The sophisticated surface treatments on clay give way to a more abstract but no less sophisticated development of the painted canvas surface. Curvilinear figures and jewel-like geometric shapes echo the Deco qualities Weil refers to 30 years ago. The nature of the work may have changed over time, but the character of it remains consistent to Keator’s overall aesthetic.

A silent auction of David Keator’s paintings will be held at Headliner’s Music Hall in Louisville November 6 from 4:00-6:00pm. All proceeds will go to Louisville Visual Arts and the Louisville Fund for the Arts.

David Keator
(1951-2016)

"Abrupt Turbulence" by David Keator, 15x20.5in, oil on canvas (2014), $600   |  BUY NOW

"Abrupt Turbulence" by David Keator, 15x20.5in, oil on canvas (2014), $600 | BUY NOW

“Fallen Skies” by David Keator, 13x31in, oil on canvas, $950 |  BUY NOW

“Fallen Skies” by David Keator, 13x31in, oil on canvas, $950 | BUY NOW

“Gathering Impulses” by David Keator, 10.5x29.5, oil on canvas (2014) $800 |  BUY NOW

“Gathering Impulses” by David Keator, 10.5x29.5, oil on canvas (2014) $800 | BUY NOW

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

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

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.