found objects

Fiber

Vignette: Stephanie Tanner

"Up The River" by Stephanie Tanner, Mixed Media Fiber Art Metal, Wool, Driftwood, 12x60in, 2018, $600

"Up The River" by Stephanie Tanner, Mixed Media Fiber Art Metal, Wool, Driftwood, 12x60in, 2018, $600

Stephanie Tanner makes sculptures that scream out to be touched. The tactile quality of the wool she often uses is particularly alluring, but more importantly, the pieces communicate an emotional intensity that is utterly compelling.

"Holding Fast" by Stephanie Tanner, Concrete, Wool, Wood, 8x22x18in, 2018, $250

"Holding Fast" by Stephanie Tanner, Concrete, Wool, Wood, 8x22x18in, 2018, $250

“I like to think of myself as a woven word artist,” explains Tanner, “a poet that wants to hold words in my hands and show how they appeared as I wrote them. I write passionately about love, loss, longing, and mental illness. My rendering of each poem uses discarded household objects, concrete sculpture and various types of fiber (wool, yarn, fabric etc.) to move the poem from paper into this dimension.”

The recognizable objects are filled with fabric situated in forms and patterns suggestive of the ordinary contents or attachments, but the softness of the materials, including the delicate interplay of pastel colors that suggest Baroque paintings, lends a dream-like quality to the sculptures. Tanner’s formal education may have not included an art degree, but her work is nonetheless filled with academic references from history, even while it expresses complex emotional states that reflect.

“I am stubbornly self-taught in that I learned my techniques through a great deal of curiosity and experimentation. There is never a sketch or a plan…just the thought ‘I wonder what would happen if I did… X?’ and then surrender myself fully until it tells me it is finished. My goal is to bridge the gap between poetry and visual art and create a fuller sensory experience.”

“I loved the people I worked for but found the 9-5 life unfulfilling. I quit in 2008 after the birth of my daughter and jumped head first into art, pursuing a career as a professional photographer. After 9 years of photographing weddings, babies, and families my heart once again felt restless and I felt a desire to further push my creative limits. I began exploring all kinds of artistic mediums but none of them felt right for me. I had always written poetry but in 2016 I began weaving as a way to battle my chronic depression and anxiety and it quickly moved from a hobby to a full-time passion. Recently I have been working on larger pieces that incorporate my poetry, weaving, and found objects.”

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On September 29, Tanner will be part of the Louisville Visual Art’s Juried Exhibit in the 2018 Portland Art & Heritage Fair. The exhibit will be available for viewing at the Marine Hospital from 11am-5pm. Jury prizes will be awarded at 2:00pm.

Hometown: Grew up in Germany, Alabama, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. But for the last 15 years, I have called Louisville my home.
Education: Degree in Hospitality Management, MBA, Johnson and Wales University
Website: www.iamstephtanner.com
Instagram: iamstephtanner

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"Starships" by Stephanie Tanner, Wool, antique fish basket, 24x18in, 2018, $300

"Starships" by Stephanie Tanner, Wool, antique fish basket, 24x18in, 2018, $300

“Nowhere to Keep This” by Stephanie Tanner, Wool, vintage suitcase, 26x20in, 2018, $425

“Nowhere to Keep This” by Stephanie Tanner, Wool, vintage suitcase, 26x20in, 2018, $425


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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Mixed Media

Vignette: Curtis Uebelhor

"1894 World Geography Redacted" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 12x18x1.5in, 2015, collection of Jeremy Efroymson

"1894 World Geography Redacted" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 12x18x1.5in, 2015, collection of Jeremy Efroymson

When Curtis Uebelhor was last on Artebella (July 2014), we described him as a “mixed media“ artist, but the word “interdisciplinary” has since gained usage and seems perhaps more apt. Like so many creative, Uebelhor seems to have a restless imagination that is not easily contained by any one medium. He is best known for his found-object constructions:

“I usually strive to utilize my fondness for ‘stuff’ by being very selective in the objects I pick for individual artworks.  An idea may lay dormant for quite some before just the right object(s) is found or decided upon. Such is the case for ‘Latchkey # 2’ and ‘1894 World Geography-Redacted’. The keys, faux marble blocks, photograph and textbook had been in my possession for quite some time.”

"Willard Carpenter Home- Drive-by Archeology" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 24x30x1.5in, 2017,  $350.00

"Willard Carpenter Home- Drive-by Archeology" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 24x30x1.5in, 2017,  $350.00

“With the recent Drive-By Archeology Series I have departed from that work plan somewhat by limiting the objects used in a specific collage to only things collected at a specific site on a specific date. The series started in 2012 when I filled in as interim director of the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art and was staying in town during the week at a private residence, and then at the USI guesthouse. I collected bits of ephemera from the yard of those houses and took photos of both places. Being in that historic town and revisiting the Historic New Harmony sites and the Working Men’s Institute and its plethora of odd and interesting collections became a starting point for this series that continues to evolve. The element of chance is an important part of these pieces; how to interpret what is found to make a cohesive composition shifts my role as curator from judiciously selecting items from an existing collection of objects to quickly jurying objects in or out of a collection as they present themselves ‘in the field’. “

“Willard Carpenter Home” and “Willard Library”, both seen here, are the most recently completed works in this series.

The artist here shares two pieces, “Focus, Please Focus,” and “Le Grande Bicentennial Tribute,” that are distinctly different from his sculptures, 2-D works that use intense color and patterns of shape in a whimsical manner.

“A sense of humor or playfulness is pervasive even when tackling serious topics like climate change, gender issues and our current political scene.”

"Focus, Please Focus" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30in, 2017, $300.00

"Focus, Please Focus" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Acrylic on canvas, 24x30in, 2017, $300.00

Uebelhor currently has a one-person exhibition: Hunting and Gathering, at St. Meinrad Archabbey Library Gallery in St. Meinrad, IN that continues through February 20, 2018. He also has two sculptures in: The Chair: writ small - Invitational Exhibition, University of Southern Indiana, McCutchan Art Center, which runs through February 19, 2018

Hometown: Ferdinand, Indiana
Education: BS, Art, University of Southern Indiana; MFA, Sculpture, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Teaching Certification, University of Southern Indiana
Gallery Representation: New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana

"Latchkey II" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 15x12x1.5in, 2015, $300.00

"Latchkey II" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 15x12x1.5in, 2015, $300.00

"Willard Library-Drive-by Archeology" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 24x30x1.5in, 2017, $350.00

"Willard Library-Drive-by Archeology" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Mixed media, 24x30x1.5in, 2017, $350.00

"Le Grande Bicentennial Tribute" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Acrylic on handmade paper 26x36x1.5in, 2016, $400.00

"Le Grande Bicentennial Tribute" by Curtis R. Uebelhor, Acrylic on handmade paper 26x36x1.5in, 2016, $400.00


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

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Mixed Media, Sculpture

Vignette: Miranda Becht

"The sweet nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. (Order)" by Miranda Becht, 13x68x5in, tinted cast resin, flocking, lace, shelves (2016)

"The sweet nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. (Order)" by Miranda Becht, 13x68x5in, tinted cast resin, flocking, lace, shelves (2016)


“An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice… or terrify, all depending on how we conduct ourselves today.”– Jim Davis, from Garfield “Alone,” October 23, 1989


Artist, Miranda Becht

Artist, Miranda Becht

Miranda Becht is having a moment. One of only three students in the University of Louisville’s MFA program at the Hite Institute of Art, she is taking her three degrees and wasting no time positioning herself to have a positive impact in the Louisville and Southern Indiana arts community. This fall, she will be teaching foundation art courses as an Adjunct Professor at Bellarmine University, and be working as a instructor in LVA’s Academy program for high school students. She also has recently been offered an adjunct position at IUS. At the same time, she will a part of the St. James Court Art Show Emerging Artist Program and has been commissioned to create public art through the Jeffersonville Public Art Committee, Powering Creativity.

Becht’s work has largely been installation based, exploring how memory and nostalgia form our idea of the past: “I have always seemed to long for some sort of metaphorical home located somewhere in the past. Homesickness is defined as the longing for a particular home, nostalgia as a longing for a lost time. Nostalgia may carry with it a yearning for home, but it is a home faraway in time rather than space. Nostalgia, oftentimes used to refer to something sweet and pleasant, is bittersweet. It is the longing for something that is unattainable.”

"I can feel your sweet decay." by Miranda Becht, 38x73x73in, wood, sticker paper, acrylic paint, cast resiin, linoleum, found objects (2017)

"I can feel your sweet decay." by Miranda Becht, 38x73x73in, wood, sticker paper, acrylic paint, cast resiin, linoleum, found objects (2017)

“As a society we tend to idealize our vision of the past, particularly our vision of home. Our idealized notion of home presents itself as a supposedly traditional form of domestic life, but bears little relation to the way people actually lived. This concept of a cozy home full of family love is an invented tradition. Inevitable in our linear understanding of time, we are constantly being uprooted from home and from the past. Because of the fallibility of our memory, the past and home as we remember them, no longer exist. I mourn for a home that perhaps I never had.”

"The sweet nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. (Order) (detail)" by Miranda Becht

"The sweet nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. (Order) (detail)" by Miranda Becht

Becht cites “The pleasant, nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. I would sit and play with an odd, white vessel, full of wonder about its use and its origin. This vessel seemed so big, so white and pure, so curious. My grandmother told me it was a bedpan, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized just what a bedpan was. My most cherished childhood memory is soiled with urine and feces. Lost innocence often takes the guise of idealized memories. My work is a vehicle for my fetishized, fragile memories. I am pressured to be the object of desire… this untrue illusion, the ideal.”

Becht’s work is filled with mid-20th century design layered with a cotton-candy colors (she seems especially fond of pink), which adroitly captures the unique collective memory of what is arguably the most idealized period in modern American history, the 1950’s. The artist reminds us that what seems too good to have been true, often is.

Age: 31
Education: MFA Sculpture, University of Louisville, 2017; BFA Ceramics, Indiana University Southeast, 2012; BA Printmaking, Indiana University Southeast Minor Psychology, 2012
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Miranda.indiana/

"I can feel your sweet decay (detail)" by Miranda Becht

"I can feel your sweet decay (detail)" by Miranda Becht

"In Hiding" by Miranda Becht, 119x64x24in, wood, cast resin, acrylic paint, shag carpet, embroidery floss, light fixture (2017)

"In Hiding" by Miranda Becht, 119x64x24in, wood, cast resin, acrylic paint, shag carpet, embroidery floss, light fixture (2017)

"Underside" by Miranda Becht, 96x96x66in, wood, screenprint, cast resin, rug, embroidery floss (2016)

"Underside" by Miranda Becht, 96x96x66in, wood, screenprint, cast resin, rug, embroidery floss (2016)

"What’s a dream and what is real? (Entropy)" by Miranda Becht, 84x54x6in, wood, cast resin, hydrocal, embroidery floss, lace (2016)

"What’s a dream and what is real? (Entropy)" by Miranda Becht, 84x54x6in, wood, cast resin, hydrocal, embroidery floss, lace (2016)

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

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Painting, Illustration, Mixed Media

Feature: Michael John Braaksma


“What I’m doing 25 or 30 years later is an echo of what I did as a four year old…”
– Michael John Braaksma


Michael John Braaksma in his studio.  Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis for LVA.

Michael John Braaksma in his studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis for LVA.

Michael John Braaksma is a sculptor, puppeteer, and a scenic and costume designer for theatre. In a curatorial statement, Braaksma described his practice; “His multidisciplinary approach to art-making blends drawing, painting, sculpture, illustration, puppetry, mask-making, theatrical design and art direction together to create spectacular visual narratives. Folk tales, oral narratives, and mythologies linking inhabitants with their land and culture are of particular importance to Michael’s work.”

Still from 'Unicorn Xing' Tyler McDAniel cinematographer. Puppets and Set by Michael John Braaksma.

Still from 'Unicorn Xing' Tyler McDAniel cinematographer. Puppets and Set by Michael John Braaksma.

He recently wrapped his first short film based around his puppetry, and is beginning to work on a children’s book. 

“I’m a visual story teller. That’s a description that fits the all encompassing approach to my work,” said Braaksma. 

In his studio, there are characters hanging from the walls; some are fully formed, some are just heads or faces. Many actually are puppets, but others are stand-alone art objects, some sized to be affordable at art fairs and events like the Flea Off Market.  Regardless of the artistic purpose of each character, they all seem ready to spring to life at any moment. “All my work has a strong sense of narrative,” said Braaksma. “They are all named, with rich back stories, and complex rationales as to why my little entities are here.”

The artist was born in Wisconsin, and comes to Louisville by way of Chicago, and time spent at Hope College in Michigan for a BA in scenic and costume design. In between Braaksma’s story takes a bit of a turn. “It’s essentially Mean Girls,” joked Braaksma, citing the popular film about a young American girl who grows up in Africa. 

"Memories of places I've never been" by Michael John Braaksma, 18x24in, acrylic on canvas, $400 |  BUY NOW

"Memories of places I've never been" by Michael John Braaksma, 18x24in, acrylic on canvas, $400 | BUY NOW

“When I was two, my parents decided they loved Jesus a lot, and became missionaries. They move the family to the Kenya-Somalia border, with no electricity or running water.” Braaksma lived in Kenya from age two to age nine and he says the time affected him greatly. “I’m doing some clay sculpture right now and it ties me back, there was a seasonal river where all the local children would sculpt animals, so what I’m doing 25 or 30 years later is an echo of what I did as a four year old kid in remote Africa.”

Braaksma believes in free sculpting each piece rather than casting his work. “I do everything free sculpting. Especially for the work I do, and the voice of the characters I’m drawing out, the idea of each form having its own shape and angle,” said Braaksma as he worked on a series of small unicorns he was preparing.  “Even though the work I’m doing now is related, it’s unique in a way, and I think there is a movement to those precious things.”

"Celestial Nymph" by Michael John Braaksma, 12x10x6in, paper mache, fur, found objects, $300 |  BUY NOW

"Celestial Nymph" by Michael John Braaksma, 12x10x6in, paper mache, fur, found objects, $300 | BUY NOW

Braaksma says “precious things,” and one can almost hear the capital letters; his ideas about precious things key into his belief that there is a reaction to large corporation and the “Big Box” lives of many Americans. They want smaller hand made items - Precious Things. 

In addition to informing his practice of sculpture, Braaksma says his time in Kenya changed the way he imagined. “Being so young and having such totally different extreme experiences of reality, it sort of shapes the imagination and what you see as possible. Reality and your existence seems more fluid when you’re used to stretching your brain at an early age, being bilingual and all that.”

"Wilbur the octopus" by Michael John Braaksma, 16x20in, mixed media on canvas, NFS

"Wilbur the octopus" by Michael John Braaksma, 16x20in, mixed media on canvas, NFS

For his recently wrapped short film, Braaksma, worked with local filmmaker Tyler McDaniel. Braaksma says the film reflects his own inner life. “It’s funny, but there’s some cynicism, as makers, people interested in our own narratives and our own sense of value, do we lose the context of seeing our selves as directional, are we missing the boat on where we’re going? I feel that way.” He added, “Sometimes my world become small and isolated.”

Braaksma believes that strong images, such as the handmade creatures and characters of his work, are necessary to reach modern audiences. “Strong visuals are so critical for pounding through this facade, the sarcasm or cynicism, or dismissive nature of story telling that has erupted because of our over exposure to constant media.” 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 32
Education: BA in Theatre, emphasis in costume & design, Hope College, MI
Website: https://lamaland.carbonmade.com/

"Terrence the Turtle" by Michael John Braaksma, 5x7in, acrylic on paper, $100 |  BUY NOW

"Terrence the Turtle" by Michael John Braaksma, 5x7in, acrylic on paper, $100 | BUY NOW


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This Feature was written by Eli Keel.
Eli Keel is a Louisville based freelance journalist focused on arts and culture. Nationally he’s written Salon.com, The MarySue.com, Howlround.com, and Pointe Magazine out of New York. Locally he’s written for Louisville Public Radio’s news division, both the radio and the web (wfpl.com), Insiderlouisville.com, LEO Weekly and Leoweekly.com. He’s also contributed to Louisville Magazine, The Voice Tribune, Modern Louisville, Churchill Downs Magazine, arts-louisville.com, and thecoffeecompass.comHe also writes plays.


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.