kycad

Installation

Feature: Vinhay Keo's Confront at Moremen Moloney Gallery

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Visual Art Honors The Stars Among Us, a luncheon event which will recognize artists and patrons in four categories:

Vinhay Keo - Rising Star Award - In Memory of Bob Thompson
Wilma Bethel - Visual Art Educator Award - In Memory of Anna Huddleston
Porter Watkins - Benefactor of the Year Award - In Memory of Charlotte Price
Elmer Lucille Allen - Legacy Award - In Memory of Julius Friedman

This review, reprinted with permission, discusses Vinhay Keo's fall 2017 solo exhibit in Louisville. 

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Confront – Vinhay Keo

Moremen Moloney Gallery
September 15 – October 14, 2017

Review by Keith Waits. Originally published by Arts-Louisville in October 2017.

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

Louisville has a thriving visual arts scene, but it lacks a meaningful representation of installation work with the artist’s personal involvement. It happens in other cities, but most exhibition spaces here tend to traffic in fairly traditional presentations. Academic galleries tend to come closest to fulfilling this need, but even they offer such programming intermittently.

Vinhay Keo is only a little more than a year out of the BFA program at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD), and Moremen Moloney Contemporary Gallery is hosting his first solo exhibition, Confront. The Cambodian-born artist here follows up on his work from the school’s 2016 BFA exhibit, some of which is included here.

Like many artists at this age, Keo is preoccupied with identity. His experience of moving to Bowling Green Kentucky and searching for a place in a smaller American community is realized through a monochromatic aesthetic in which the artist is continually surrounded, nay, overwhelmed by the color white. The Moremen Moloney environs, a renovated home, provide an interesting format by forcing the elements into individual rooms. Keo himself stands in the center of the first room on the left, motionless and silent, naked from the waist up, his lower half wrapped in white fabric and his neck adorned with a stiff white collar from which emerges a long white tie. The tie transitions from broadcloth to a twisted cord that reaches out of the room, across the hall and into the opposite room, where it disappears into an enormous, multi-peaked mound of confetti that is, of course, white.

The hallway displays photographic images printed on aluminum, five of which are specifically created for Confront, and several others that are from his time at KyCAD and the BFA exhibit. In the live installation, Keo’s brown skin is rich and warm in contrast to all of the white. The interior décor is analogous to the austerity of Keo’s imagery, and he has dusted his natural skin tone with white powder on his shoulders.

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In the photographs, Keo is mostly covered in white make-up, even graying his black hair, or wearing white clothes. His mouth emits viscous white fluid filled with suggestiveness, and in the most striking picture, he appears to vomit a profusion of confetti.

We can draw from all of this that Keo has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to fit into a Caucasian world and that the effort very likely confused the artist’s own sense of himself, his own individual identity. Subsumed by a culture of Bible-belt social mores and backyard barbecues, and with, what we must presume, was a surfeit of similarly brown-skinned neighbors, what degree of denial and willful ignorance must have colored Keo’s own view of himself?

That quality of isolation is pointedly conveyed in this performance installation, set as it is in a high-end exhibition space that draws a well-to-do, predominantly white audience. As Keo stands, stone-faced, the viewers move around him sipping wine and blithely commenting on the artist and his work as if he weren’t within earshot. Is this a replication of Keo’s early life in Bowling Green? The Cambodian boy as the Other? Not fully a citizen and therefore not deserving of full social embrace? If so, Keo has provocatively forced the viewer to be complicit in realizing his statement.

The expression of his thesis is highly intellectual, but the imagery is emotionally charged. And if one stands in the room with Keo, listening to the self-satisfied chatter surrounding him, it is not difficult to empathize with his position. We might expect an artist coming from this experience to put forth a message of protest; to plant his feet and demand recognition for who they are and not who society forces them to be, but Keo codifies his biography into a savvy recognition of his repression.

This reading is reinforced when we consider that Keo is Gay. While it doesn't seem the most important aspect of Keo's projected alienation, at least not in the context of this installation, he references another level of repression in a covert photographic image in which he blocks the view of his genitals with his hands, his entire body, of course, covered in white.

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Keo has made clear that the overabundance of shredded paper makes reference to the relentless documentation of personal history in the United States. How many bureaucratic forms has Keo filled out in his journey thus far? We are all burdened with such baggage, and it is now a largely digital repository of personal data, but Keo’s paper trail is undoubtedly greater than that of most law-abiding native-born citizens.

As personal as the entire project is, it also strikes a universal chord for all immigrants who come to America as People of Color and/or people for whom English is a second language, and perhaps many others who might not as easily match those descriptions. This positions Confront as one of the more important exhibits of the moment, a commentary that speaks to the chaos in American society, the worth and importance of the immigrant in that chaos, and the very core value of diversity that lies at the heart of the United States of America.

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Drawing, Mixed Media, Painting

Feature: The Future Is Now, Part 2 of 2

Getting Down To Business

LVA is really stepping up to fill a need in a time when support for art is on a decline in schools. It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of helping our community grow. It’s something that is very important to me personally, and I’m glad that there are others out there that feel the same so we can collectively do things much bigger than we could ever do on our own.
— Daniel Pfalzgraf (2016 artist mentor)
"Horny Sea Puppy #1" by Jake Ford (Mentor), fleece, hand dyed cotton, and polyfi (2015)

"Horny Sea Puppy #1" by Jake Ford (Mentor), fleece, hand dyed cotton, and polyfi (2015)

The Future Is Now is a program that pairs aspiring young artists with adult, working artists so that they might provide an example by working together on projects that will be exhibited at the end of the process. Facilitated by LVA Director of Education and Outreach Jackie Pallesen in conjunction with Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD), the program selects students through an application process each year. Pallesen gathers a pool of prospective mentors for the students to choose from - working artists whose work and/or studio practice will complement the young artist’s creative talents.

Andrew Cozzens, KyCAD Assistant Professor and manager of the school’s 849 Gallery, was a mentor in the first year, and the experience motivated him to work with Pallesen to forge a formal collaboration on the program. Now many of the combined meetings, which began on May 30, take place in KyCAD studios, with all the efforts culminating in an exhibit that opens July 20 in the 849 Gallery.

On July 11, Cozzens shepherded the group through the final critique, imposing strict time limits to structure the discussion. “This is how we do it in classes here at KyCAD,” he explained, underscoring the intention of the program to prepare the students to function most effectively in a real-world environment with other artists. Most of the mentors spoke, some framing their pairings individual experience before letting the student take over.

Although there is painting and drawing in the work, it was mostly untraditional, using unconventional substrates and illustrating a high degree of experimentation resulting from the interaction between mentor and mentee.

Mentor, Bobby Barbour & Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Mentor, Bobby Barbour & Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Brittney Sharp and I are a great match for this project, both as individuals and creatives. Brittney’s work mainly consists of illustration, but she wishes to try new mediums. I was about her age when I started to branch out from drawing, thanks to a student teacher’s assignment that pushed me to try new media. I’m really thankful for the experience and for that teacher challenging me. My hope is to be that person for Brittney, supporting her in expanding her definition of art and how to create it.
— Bobby Barbour

If the student artists were ever shy about discussing their work in such a format, they were pretty much over it by this meeting. Sunny Podbelsek was highly articulate in deconstructing her process, explaining the very specific emotions that her images were meant to express, while her mentor, Lauren Hirsch, was content to take a back seat in the presentation, only interjecting some observations towards the end of their time.

Working with Sunny Podbelsek has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have learned a lot from Sunny and enjoy facilitating her creative process. Pushing her to explore different processes helps me reflect on my own work from a new perspective, and the shared energy of the collaborative process gives me a renewed sense of excitement to explore new ideas in my own work.
— Lauren Hirsch
Mentor, Lauren Hirsch & Mentee, Sunny Podbelsek

Mentor, Lauren Hirsch & Mentee, Sunny Podbelsek

Hannah Lyle and Dominic Guarnaschelli described how their images, portraits of family members painted on transparent plexiglass, would be hung from a sculptural apparatus attached to the ceiling, and how they were hoping to have some reflection, or shadows, cast on the gallery walls if the lighting could be managed.

From the start I was immediately impressed with Hannah. Very sharp and eager to dive in, Hannah was overflowing with ideas for our collaboration and ready to learn new skills and work with unfamiliar media. Hannah has been open to experimentation and incorporated other interests in math and science during this process. Throughout the summer, I was very struck by Hannah’s confidence. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Hannah.
— Dominic Guarnaschelli

Deb Whistler and Rashad Sullivan showed what felt like nearly finished twin B&W self-portraits that were striking in their consistency. Working from photographs they took together, the drawings incorporated autobiographical text painstakingly rendered into the background, a feature inspired by their conversations together.

Rashad and I spoke quite often, sometimes by phone, and I loved the stream-of-consciousness in the way he talks.
— Deb Whistler

The final instruction for the evening was for each pair to place themselves in the gallery in the place they imagined the work would be presented, so that Cozzens could discuss specifics of installation. It was interesting that no pair had selected the same spot, and that the mentors had already discussed hanging and placement with the students as the work developed.

All of the work will be installed by the group before the opening reception for the exhibit, which is July 20, 5-7pm at KyCad’s 849 Gallery.

Anyone interested in participating in the 2018 Future Is Now can find more information on applying at this link: http://www.louisvillevisualart.org/the-future-is-now

Guarnaschelli's (Mentor) Studio

Guarnaschelli's (Mentor) Studio

"Drawing 1" by Lauren Hirsch (Mentor), 24x36in, mixed media, $550 |  BUY NOW

"Drawing 1" by Lauren Hirsch (Mentor), 24x36in, mixed media, $550 | BUY NOW


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


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

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

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Mixed Media, Painting, Drawing

Feature: The Future Is Now, Part 1 of 2

What is The Future Is Now?

"Untitled' by Lauren Hirsch   (Mentor), 19x30in, mixed media, $600 |  BUY NOW

"Untitled' by Lauren Hirsch (Mentor), 19x30in, mixed media, $600 | BUY NOW

The word itself has its origins in Greek Mythology, Mentor being the name of a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus. Like so many things that have weathered the passage of time, the concept of mentorship in contemporary society has taken on a variety of nuanced shadings, but the essential idea remains the same: for an older, more experienced individual to guide or instruct a person who has less experience.

But isn’t that a teacher? We seem to have a greater expectation now that a mentor also provides an example beyond formal instruction. A teacher in a classroom setting might be a mentor, but a mentor need not be teacher in a classroom.

The Future Is Now is a program that pairs aspiring young artists with an adult, working artist so that they might provide that example by working together on projects that will be exhibited at the end of the process. Born in the mind of Daniel Pfalzgraf, now Curator at the Carnegie Center for Art & History, and facilitated by LVA Director of Education and Outreach Jackie Pallesen, the program selects students through an application process each year. Pallesen gathers a pool of prospective mentors for the students to choose from - working artists whose work and/or studio practice will complement the young artist’s creative talents.

"Healer" by Dominic Guarnaschelli   (Mentor), 47x35x6in, UV print, acrylic, steel, and electric cord on panel (2017), $800 |  BUY NOW

"Healer" by Dominic Guarnaschelli (Mentor), 47x35x6in, UV print, acrylic, steel, and electric cord on panel (2017), $800 | BUY NOW

The program is executed in conjunction with Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD). Andrew Cozzens, KyCAD Assistant Professor and manager of the school’s 849 Gallery, was a mentor in the first year, and the experience motivated him to work with Pallesen to forge a formal collaboration on the program. Now many of the combined meetings, which began on May 30, take place in KyCAD studios, with all the efforts culminating in an exhibit that opens July 20 in the 849 Gallery.

Those meetings follow a structure designed to give shape to the creative dynamic and demand communications etiquette between everyone involved. “Things can get off track so easily if accountability to the members of the team is not emphasized,” states Pallesen, who facilitates the early stages of the process. “There is certainly structure, but at some point the relationship between mentor and mentee takes over.”

That relationship is given a foundation of introductions and icebreaking exercises, formal presentations by each artist of their work, and some attention to art history. A series of critiques led by KyCAD faculty allow each pair to present their respective projects to the group and receive feedback.

"While You Wait (detail)" by Deb Whistler   (Mentor), pen & ink, cut paper & plexiglass

"While You Wait (detail)" by Deb Whistler (Mentor), pen & ink, cut paper & plexiglass

The Future Is Now looks for student artists who have substantial ambition to pursue art or design in their college choices. Most are thinking about fine art programs, but this year includes a fashion designer, Ballard High School student Nicole Scott, who Pallesen lined up with Jake Ford. “Nicole wanted a fashion professional, naturally enough, but I encouraged her to work with Jake, whose sculpture is so conceptual. I hoped it would help her develop the idea of concept and narrative in clothing and challenge her more.”

Eventually the pairings broke down this way:

Bobby Barbour, multi-media artist  -  Brittney Sharpe, Eastern High School
Deb Whistler, 2-D artist  -  Rashad Sullivan, Western High School
Dominic Guarneschelli, multi-media artist  -  Hannah Lyle, Ballard High School
Jake Ford, multi-media artist  -  Nicole Scott, Ballard High School
Lauren Hirsch, 2-D artist  -  Sunny Podbelsek, duPont Manual High School
Linda Erzinger, multi-media artist - Heavenly Tanner, Academy @ Shawnee

Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Mentee, Brittney Sharp

Brittney Sharp’s chosen mediums are colored pencil, markers, or acrylic paint. This year she won an honorable mention from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Last year she was a part of her schools Vans Custom Culture team and the team ending up winning in their region. The Eastern Vans team tied for 4th place after moving on to national voting.

Mentee, Rashad Sullivan

Mentee, Rashad Sullivan

Rashad Sullivan excels in the fine arts department and is an excellent draftsman. He free hands all of his artwork, which is often detailed drawings of animals and objects. He especially likes to use value in his artwork.

Mentee, Hannah Lyle

Mentee, Hannah Lyle

Hannah Lyle currently attends Ballard High School. They enjoy oil painting, and they are a member of NAHS (National Artist Honors Society) at their school.

Mentee, Nicole Scott

Mentee, Nicole Scott

Nicole Scott is busy developing her own website "uNique Styles" and her fashions have been featured in the local Sew Much Fun e-Newsletter. In October 2016, Nicole won second place in the University of Louisville Youth Pitch Fest.

Mentee, Sunny Rae Podbelsek

Mentee, Sunny Rae Podbelsek

Sunny Rae Podbelsek loves to draw and create comics and characters. She mostly uses pen, marker, and watercolor but also loves paint and printing. Podbelsek has won many awards, including a total of 4 regional Silver keys, 5 regional Gold keys, 8 regional honorable mentions, and 1 National Silver key in the Scholastic art and writing awards. She is a 2017 Governor’s Scholar.

Heavenly Tanner's chosen medium is drawing, which includes graphite pencil, sharpie pens, and markers. Her accomplishments include winning the Kentucky Derby Art Contest when she was in elementary school, she also received a scholarship to the University of Louisville for art by winning an art contest put on by the university.

Tomorrow, Part 2: Critiques and Results


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


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

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

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Painting, Drawing

Vignette: Jenny Shircliff

"Creekside" by Jenny Shircliff, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $1500 |  BUY NOW

"Creekside" by Jenny Shircliff, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $1500 | BUY NOW

Artists turn that introspective gaze towards themselves; it’s not at all unusual - most art reveals something of the person who creates it. Jenny Shircliff makes herself the subject as a way of investigating age and, by implication, mortality.

"Cavea" by Jenny Shircliff, 18x15in, pastels on paper (2016), $650 |    BUY NOW

"Cavea" by Jenny Shircliff, 18x15in, pastels on paper (2016), $650 | BUY NOW

Her earlier paintings were naturalistic renderings of the figure, but her new work is a departure, in which she dramatically abstracts human form nearly beyond recognition, and equates it with landscape forms.

“Our culture's idea of figurative beauty is predicated on youth, smooth skin, and rosy complexions,” observes Shircliff, “I am inverting that tenet and looking at my own aging flesh as a recording of my life, much in the same way that time is visually marked on the landscape. Thus, I have turned to viewing various parts of my own body as elements of land formations and use them as a derivation for abstract landscape. And I draw my color from nature itself. In a way, this new body of work could be described as ‘flesh-scapes’.”

What results from this focus are images of startling graphic impact. They appear to be abstract but are, in reality, intense, close-up views of the human form that embrace and reveal their humanity. The discovery of organic pattern and shape is so universal that we mistake them for images of other animals or natural rock formations. Through this highly candid, nearly forensic self-portrait series, Shircliff reminds us that we are a part of a larger natural world.

"Outcrop" by Jenny Shircliff, 20x24in, pastels on paper (2016), $950 |  BUY NOW

"Outcrop" by Jenny Shircliff, 20x24in, pastels on paper (2016), $950 | BUY NOW

Shircliff has returned to painting after a long period devoting herself to the studying and teaching art history. “One of the most important things I learned from that experience is that assumptions should be challenged, inverted, and viewed in a different light.”

Shircliff has taught previously at Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, KSAH, Bellarmine University, University of Louisville, IUS, JCTC, and Midway College.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 62
Education: PhD in Art History, May 2014 University of Louisville, Louisville, KY; MA in Painting, 1994 University of Louisville, Louisville, KY; BFA in Drawing, 1976 Murray State University, Murray, K

"Cavern" by Jenny Shircliff, 31x36in, oil on canvas (2016), $3000 |  BUY NOW

"Cavern" by Jenny Shircliff, 31x36in, oil on canvas (2016), $3000 | BUY NOW

"Gorge" by Jenny Shircliff, 48x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1500 |  BUY NOW

"Gorge" by Jenny Shircliff, 48x48in, oil on canvas (2016), $1500 | BUY NOW

"Cliffside" by Jenny Shircliff, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2016), $750|  BUY NOW

"Cliffside" by Jenny Shircliff, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2016), $750| BUY NOW

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

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Photography

Vignette: Violet Herrmann

"Faces" (set of 2) by Violet Herrmann, 10x16in, photograph (2014)

"Faces" (set of 2) by Violet Herrmann, 10x16in, photograph (2014)

As a photographer and a designer, Violet Herrmann states she is, “…a firm believer in simplicity with a bold hint.” In “Mellwood,” her photograph reads at first glance as a captured ‘snapshot’ – a random glimpse of a passing moment, yet the cool, evening shades of blue are seductive, and there is tantalizing mystery in the dramatic depth found in the contrasting channels of space. It would all be a solid, albeit academic composition except for the hesitant figure on the right, leading us further into the scene but arresting that momentum by turning on their heel. It is the key to lifting the image beyond the ordinary.

All of which reflects the idea that good composition and design is a series of relationships, most of which might never register fully with the viewer, but will have undeniable impact on how a piece is read. Herrmann explains, “I believe that the best designs appear to have their components distributed randomly throughout the page; but one finds that every element is aligned to another found in the piece.”

"Mellwood" by Violet Herrmann, 17x11in, photograph (2016)

"Mellwood" by Violet Herrmann, 17x11in, photograph (2016)

“My work describes me as an artist as well as a person. As a stubborn perfectionist, my designs reflect my personality by carefully placing components in relation to one another while maintaining an edginess that makes them unique. I believe that a design must ultimately speak for itself to be considered truly successful. If I have done a good job on my work, my personality should be able to shine through and reflect me as a designer.”

Herrmann has worked as a Graphic Design Intern for Simon Signs in Louisville Kentucky and her work has been displayed in the Kentucky College of Art and Design (KyCAD) Gala in the 849 Gallery, Louisville Kentucky. While at KyCAD she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship.

Hometown: Charlestown, Indiana
Age: 21
Education: BFA candidate, General Fine Arts, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville Kentucky

"Louisville Door Series" (1 of 12) by Violet Herrmann, 10x10in, photograph (2014)

"Louisville Door Series" (1 of 12) by Violet Herrmann, 10x10in, photograph (2014)

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

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