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Special, Photography

Feature: PYRO Relocation

From The Firehouse to The Butcher Block: PYRO Gallery On The Move.

It was christened PYRO because it made its first home in a converted firehouse on Hancock Street nestled along Nanny Goat Strut. Yet it has always seemed a good name for an artist’s cooperative: a word suggesting the fire of inspiration but also containing a note of danger. As the members prepare to move into their fourth home at 1006-1004 East Washington Street, they seem poised to rediscover the upstart nature of their beginning.

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From the firehouse they relocated to the former Chapman-Friedman Gallery on West Market Street, one of the most beautiful gallery spaces in town, with high ceilings and polished wood floors. The location felt premium, but the traffic didn’t match the mission. Too many tourists carrying miniature bat souvenirs from the nearby Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory and not enough art collectors.

Meanwhile, 10 blocks east on the same street an explosion of restaurants, local retail, and galleries called NuLu was happening, gaining national attention with coverage in the New York Times. PYRO joined in by moving to a space in the 909 East Market building. It was an effective exhibition space, but positioned away from the street in an L-shaped structure, it was hidden from view to passing traffic.

“If we had been one block west it might have made all of the difference,” laughs James “Chip” Norton. Norton has been conducting a tour of the new location, which still needs a lot of work, some of which will take a period of months to complete. As opposed to the idea of a large, single gallery, the new location is actually two adjacent buildings that will house five separate exhibition spaces for PYRO, as well as a home for DE Gallery Boutique, which has shared space with PYRO at 909 East Market. The two will be connected by an addition whose construction is currently underway, the foundation blocks still visible as of this writing. Beyond this is a common outdoor area that the building’s owner, Andy Bleiden, is planning on developing in such a way that it will connect with the businesses on the equivalent block on Main Street, Hi-Five Doughnuts, and Pho Ba Lu.

"Untitled #1" by Keith Auerbach, archival digital print, 2017

"Untitled #1" by Keith Auerbach, archival digital print, 2017

“This community - which is named Butcher Block - consists of several renovated National Historic homes and is a family of retailers, galleries and restaurants that work together to promote their members,” explains PYRO member Debra Lott. “The Butcher Block businesses will be connected by a green space in the center and we believe it will become a destination for tourists and local customers for a unique, relaxing, shopping experience.”  

Despite the broken up space, Norton states, “Once we are finished I think we will have pretty close to the same linear square feet that we had in the previous location, but it will be easier to have multiple exhibits when we choose.” There will also be a full working kitchen, which will help facilitate public events.

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PYRO Gallery was founded in 2003 by CJ Pressma, Marilyn Whitesell, Debra Clem, Erin Devine, Susan Gorsen, Michael Brohm, David Modica, Cean Peevey-Rosenthal, Mitch Eckert, Keith Auerbach, and Susan Moffett, who is still a member and very excited about what she sees as potential and possibilities: “Potential in that, this "Butcher Block" area will be a destination once all the development is complete - Butchertown is blooming! And possibilities in that having several smaller galleries will allow us to have more exhibits up by different people, perhaps some guests of PYRO. Not to mention some fun and challenging installation/performance artwork.”

PYRO Gallery’s FINAL show in its current location, 909 E. Market St., is a group exhibit featuring members and several invited guest artists. PYRO Squared, through August 26.

The current membership consists of: Debra Lott, Jeffrey Skinner, Bette Levy, Mike McCarthy, Susan Moffett, Guinever Smith, Bob Lockhart, C J Pressma, James Norton, Claudia Hammer, Corie Neumayer, Nancy Currier, John McCarthy, Keith Auerbach, Beverly Glascock, Shawn Marshall, Julia Davis, Kathy Loomis, Leslie Anglin.

The first show in the new space will be Experimenting with Light by Keith Auerbach. It will run September 7 through October 21, with an opening reception September 7 from 5 to 9pm. The exhibit will be part of the 2017 Louisville Photo Biennial. PYRO will also be open for the First Friday trolley Hop on October 6.

PYRO has a Grand Opening planned for December of 2017 - exact date to be announced.

"Untitled #3" by Keith Auerbach, archival digital print, 2017

"Untitled #3" by Keith Auerbach, archival digital print, 2017


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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.

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Photography

Vignette: Julius Friedman (1943-2017)

"Peony" by Julius Friedman, photography

"Peony" by Julius Friedman, photography

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photograph by Sarah Davis.

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photograph by Sarah Davis.

Once when Julius Friedman was delivering an informal lecture for Louisville Visual Art, he noted how the cover of his most recent book at the time, “Images & Ideas”, was a shot of the condensation on his shower door, and how he had once waited 2 hours for a car to move off a particularly fascinating oil and water puddle in a parking lot so he could photograph it.

Friedman’s images are characteristically so expertly constructed and expressive of a stringent graphic discipline that the randomness at the root of this anecdote seems surprising, but I think the lesson is that an artist does indeed see the world differently; at all times observing their environment on a fundamentally different level than the average citizen.

Art is communication, so if the ability to share that point-of-view is the most important measure of an artist, then Friedman must be counted as a Modern Master. His commercial work, most notably the posters that made him famous in the 1970’s, are brilliant in capturing the appeal of art in terms so vivid as to command the attention of all levels of society. In effect, he established a brand for the arts in Louisville, designing iconic images for so many important arts organizations: The Speed Museum, Louisville Visual Art, the Louisville Ballet, the Louisville Orchestra…the list goes on and on.

"Erica de La O 1" by Julius Friedman, 20x30in, photography printed on aluminum (2010)

"Erica de La O 1" by Julius Friedman, 20x30in, photography printed on aluminum (2010)

He did no less in his personal work, exploring technique on an esoteric level that always translated to fun and fascination for the viewer. He photographed Louisville Ballet dancer Eric De La O exhaustively but never exhausted the subject, producing dozens of potent images over several years. He photographed flowers, a prosaic and common subject that in Friedman’s hands become an astonishing example of his own relationship with nature. The same observation applies to his Becoming Wisteria series, images of model Alli Wiles positioned among the wisteria on his 200-acre farm.

"Toe On Egg" by Julius Friedman

"Toe On Egg" by Julius Friedman

In 2016, Frazier Museum in Louisville hosted a vital retrospective of Friedman’s work, showing more than 200 posters and also incorporating The Book, a project in which he deconstructed a collection of discarded books and which was his last published work. There was also a dazzling installation of color photographs on aluminum that, in and of itself was impressive enough to represent his creative vision, but what most excited the artist was an immersive screening of his most recent film work, flowing, abstract images of water in nature.

It was just water running in a stream – or it was simply peonies, or a painter’s palette, or an old book, but Julius Friedman always made us see the commonplace in a new light.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Website: http://www.imagesol.com

Nathan Felde, Fred DeSanto, and Julius Friedman (c.1970) outside Images studio. Photographer unknown, courtesy Tad DeSanto.

Nathan Felde, Fred DeSanto, and Julius Friedman (c.1970) outside Images studio. Photographer unknown, courtesy Tad DeSanto.

"Untitled #10" by Julius Friedman, 20x30in, photograph printed directly on raw aluminum (2015)

"Untitled #10" by Julius Friedman, 20x30in, photograph printed directly on raw aluminum (2015)

Book cover for "Images & Ideas" by Julius Friedman

Book cover for "Images & Ideas" by Julius Friedman

"Fresh Paint" by Julius Friedman, photography

"Fresh Paint" by Julius Friedman, photography

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photo courtesy of John Nation.

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photo courtesy of John Nation.

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

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Photography

Vignette: Sid Webb


“I think of art as making a statement about the artist’s time and place and/or turning points in techniques and tools that give the next generation of artists a new outlook.” — Sid Webb


"Skipping" by Sid Webb, 10x27in, photograph (2011), $89 |  BUY NOW

"Skipping" by Sid Webb, 10x27in, photograph (2011), $89 | BUY NOW

Photographer, Sid Webb

Photographer, Sid Webb

Sid Webb creates in a variety of mediums, and today we see some of his photographs. “I have taken nearly 100,000 photographs,” claims Webb, “and although I am tempted by beaches, mountains, sunsets, and sunrises and their breath-taking beauty as much as anyone, I rarely find lasting substance in such images. We can count the significant landscape photographers on one hand. Landscape painters fare a little better because technique and interpretation come into play.”

Webb prefers people as subjects for his camera. Here we see a young boy approaching a large 17th-century canon at Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine with appropriate trepidation, sheepishly inching his foot forward, a look eager anticipation mixed with supreme caution on his face. The shot is from a distant, raised point-of-view, and if the child had a clue he was being photographed, would he have been so expressive?

"Cigar Roller" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Cigar Roller" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 | BUY NOW

The locations here cover a range of territory, from Germany to Portugal, and Webb’s camera finds the ordinary, universal truths of people instead of the divisive artificial barriers that arise from nations and politicians. Webb sees people experiencing the wonders of the world as a respite from their normal, daily existence.

“It is my feeling that about 80 percent of creating art is the process of making it,” says Webb. “By which I mean just being focused and absorbed in the process of creation. Another 15 percent or so has to do with skill and craft, and 5 percent is drawn from our sensitivity to the world around us and how finely tuned we are to form and balance and color. Somewhere in this mix is a bit of rational thinking and reasoning that lead us in deciding subject matter and content. Generally, artists are thought of as being creative and original. And artists think of themselves in those terms, too.”

Hometown: Lexington, KY
Education: Majored in journalism and political science, University of Kentucky; Atlanta School of Art (High Museum)
Website: http://www.sidwebb.com/

"Skipping (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Skipping (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Boys and Guns" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2014), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Boys and Guns" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2014), $45 | BUY NOW

"Boys and Guns (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Boys and Guns (detail)" by Sid Webb

"Fairy Dust" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 |  BUY NOW

"Fairy Dust" by Sid Webb, 11x17in, photograph (2013), $45 | BUY NOW

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

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Sculpture, Painting

Feature: William M. Duffy


“You have to be dedicated, but also giving of yourself.” — William M. Duffy


"African Heads" by William Duffy, prismacolor on paper

"African Heads" by William Duffy, prismacolor on paper

Artist, William M. Duffy

Everybody calls him “Duffy”. You say that name to anyone in the visual art community over 30 and they immediately know whom you’re talking about. A Louisville native who earned his BFA in Painting from the Louisville School of Art during its fabled heyday in Anchorage back in the 1970’s, he turned to sculpture after chancing upon an automobile collision that freed some marble from a pillar. He was fascinated by the piece of stone and took to it with a hammer and screwdriver when he got home.

Needless to say, William M. Duffy obtained the proper tools, but the story illustrates the unpretentious, workaday touch that seems characteristic of this artist. He has distinguished himself as a sculptor ever since, and a new exhibit at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Folks and Wee Folks: The Work of William M. Duffy, puts a long overdue spotlight on the man and his work.

Duffy was raised on Magnolia Avenue in the West End of Louisville, which, at that time, was predominantly Black, but the elementary school he attended, Virginia Ave. Elementary, was more balanced racially. “In my school, I would say it was closer to 50% White/50% Black back then,” recalls Duffy. He attended Shawnee High School, by which time he already knew he wanted to be an artist. Louisville School of Art came next, where he studied painting with Bob Barton.

"Electric Slide" by William Duffy

"Electric Slide" by William Duffy

But the most crucial influence in those early years was Gloucester Caliman “G.C.” Coxe (1907-1999). The most notable African American artist in Kentucky in that period, he was known as ‘the dean of Louisville’s African American artists.’ Duffy recalls, “He ran the Louisville Art Workshop on 35th Street back in the day, and we all called him, ‘the Master.” Duffy, along with Ed Hamilton, Sylvia Clay, Eddie Davis, and several others were a loose group around Coxe that eventually was given formal shape as “Montage.”

"I Fear None" by William Duffy, silk screen

"I Fear None" by William Duffy, silk screen

“It was difficult at that time for any of us as individuals to get a show in Louisville, so we formed Montage because we thought there would be strength in numbers. Part of it was that there was a militant, political edge in much of our work, and that seemed to make it even more difficult to be accepted by traditional galleries.” Montage exhibited as a group for several years, including at The Speed Museum, before disbanding, but this was happening at a time when several young, outspoken Black people holding a meeting could too easily arouse fear and suspicion. “Ed’s Shelby Street studio was kind of our center,” says Duffy, “and one night we emerged from a meeting there to find four police cars waiting for us with questions – ‘what kind of meeting was this?’ – that kind of thing…because the neighbors had called them; and that was in a predominantly Black neighborhood!”

The group also sought opportunities elsewhere. “G.C., Ed, and myself were in a show in Atlanta, so we drove to get to the exhibit opening, and then almost nobody came because the Falcons had a big game at the same time,” recalls Duffy, laughing at the memory. They returned to Louisville the same night driving for 8 straight hours in hammering, blinding rain.

"A Little Bird Told Me" by William Duffy, 7.75x5x7in, alabaster sculpture (2011)

"A Little Bird Told Me" by William Duffy, 7.75x5x7in, alabaster sculpture (2011)

But Louisville remained home for all three men, a commitment to the community that Duffy worries is not carrying through with younger generations of African American artists. Having taught youth art classes for over 30 years now (including with LVA), Duffy has seen a lot of talent come up through the education system only to move on to other cities that afford more opportunity. “G.C. stayed here, Ed stayed here…we came together in support of each other, and I’m not certain that is happening enough with young Black artists in Louisville right now.”

“You have to be dedicated, but also giving of yourself. I still hear young people who have the attitude, ‘This is what we need – this is how you can help us… almost never what do you need – how can we help you?” It is a different ethos from Duffy’s halcyon days with Montage. “We were always encouraging each other, always working to help each other out. I built the turntable in Ed Hamilton’s studio that he still uses today. We always did for each other.”

Duffy speaks about his life with self-effacing ease, yet not without a sure sense of his place in the history of African American artists in Louisville. While arguably not as celebrated as some of his contemporaries, his legacy of teaching ensures a lasting influence on the past, present, and future of the Louisville arts community.

Duffy’s work can be found in numerous private, corporate, and public collections, including Phillip Morris USA, Brown-Forman Corporation, Kentucky Fried Chicken (now YUM! Brands, Inc.), Humana Inc., The Louisville Orchestra, and The Speed Art Museum.

"At Rest" by William Duffy, 6.5x11.6.5in, bronze sculpture (2011)

"At Rest" by William Duffy, 6.5x11.6.5in, bronze sculpture (2011)

Folks and Wee Folks

April 3- May 25, 2017

Monday – Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm

Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
1701 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard
Louisville, KY 40203
502-583-4100
kcaah.org

Hometown: Louisville, KY
Age: 63
Education: BFA in Painting, Louisville School of Art
Gallery Representative: E&S Gallery (Louisville, KY)
Website: http://www.wmduffy.com/

"On My Block" by William Duffy

"On My Block" by William Duffy

"Queen for a Day" by William Duffy, alabaster sculpture on wood block

"Queen for a Day" by William Duffy, alabaster sculpture on wood block

Artist, Duffy with his wife Sherrolyn. Photo by Jason Harris.

Artist, Duffy with his wife Sherrolyn. Photo by Jason Harris.

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

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Painting

Vignette: Jill Baker

"Grand Canal" by Jill Baker, 30x12in, oil, $2000 |  BUY NOW

"Grand Canal" by Jill Baker, 30x12in, oil, $2000 | BUY NOW

Jill Baker working on her painting "Lady In Waiting" (2016)

Jill Baker working on her painting "Lady In Waiting" (2016)

When one tries to imagine the ideal life of an artist, you might do worse than use Jill Baker’s experience as an example. Encouraged at the earliest age to make art, most notably by her artist grandmother, she majored in Fine Art in undergraduate studies at Baylor University. She traveled extensively and lived in Spain, Italy and South Korea. “In Spain I studied the masterpieces at the Prado. In Florence, Italy I painted under the masters at the Academia di Belle Arti. My work was in a major U.S. Exhibition in Paris and in Italy I was chosen for a one-person show at the prestigious Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In Seoul, South Korea, I became an Artist In Resident and took advantage of the opportunity to create a major exhibition for the U.S. Information Services, exhibiting in the old American Embassy. I also was taken by the USIS to tour South Korean artists and universities, to lecture and lead workshops.”

For many people, that might have been enough, but Baker moved to New York City, where she exhibited, including two solos shows, before earning her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in NYC in 1981. Since then she has exhibited at galleries in major cities and galleries of the states of New York, California, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Evansville, Purdue University, and other institutions.

"Arizona" by Jill Baker, 60x43in, oil, collage, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Arizona" by Jill Baker, 60x43in, oil, collage, $5000 | BUY NOW

"Gondolas in the Snow" by Jill Baker, 16x30in, oil, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Gondolas in the Snow" by Jill Baker, 16x30in, oil, $5000 | BUY NOW

As is common with many full-time artists, Baker works on several pieces simultaneously, expressing herself in different styles. She describes her surreal collages, such as “Arizona,” as her most popular work. The upending of recognizable physical reality accomplished through the impossible juxtaposition of conflicting landscapes is compelling; a seamless merging that illustrates Baker’s great facility with medium. 

“I have sought to be true to my strengths and have resisted other occupations and callings to become and remain a visual artist. I know it is a gift I have been given and in developing it, have tried to bring new and innovative visions to it.”

In 2011-12, Baker was a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Evansville, Evansville, IN, and since 2009 she has been Adjunct Professor, University of Southern Indiana, Department of Art, also in Evansville. In November 2016 she exhibited at Cook Studio and Gallery with Andy Cook and Debbie Welsh.

Baker is currently listed in Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Society, Who's Who in American Art, American Art Directory and Marquis Who's Who of American Women, in Community Leaders of America, Female Artists in the United States: a Research and Resource Guide, Fantastic Art and Artists Directory and the yearly listing in ArtNews.

"Madonna" by Jill Baker, 3x5in, blockprint, $200 |  BUY NOW

"Madonna" by Jill Baker, 3x5in, blockprint, $200 | BUY NOW

Public Collections
Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Evansville, IN
Goethe House, German Cultural Institute, New York, NY
Krannert Art Series, Purdue University, W.Lafayette IN
Bellarmine College, Merton Collection, Louisville, KY
St. Marks Priory, Fine Arts Collection, South Union, KY.
Alexander & Alexander, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska
Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, Bowling Green, KY
College of Education, Western Kentucky U., Bowling Green, KY

Selected Private Collections
Herman Rath Collection, Houston, Texas
Barton Simons Collection, Los Angeles, California
L. H. Dishman Collection, Washington, DC
Norman Wexler Collection, New York, New York
Dr. Lawrence Balter Collection, New York, New York
Wayne Kline Collection, Studio City, CA
Paul Nonte Collection, Jasper, IN

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 74
Education: BA in Fine Arts, Baylor University (Waco, Texas); studied at the Academia di Belle Arti (Florence, Italy); MFA in Painting, Pratt Institute (New York City)
Gallery Representative: Manhattan Arts (New York City); Contemporary Arts Gallery (New Harmony, Indiana)
Website: http://www.jillbaker.com

"Sotto Porto" by Jill Baker, 24x36in, oil, NFS

"Sotto Porto" by Jill Baker, 24x36in, oil, NFS

"Goddess" by Jill Baker, 18x10in, monotype collage, $500 |  BUY NOW

"Goddess" by Jill Baker, 18x10in, monotype collage, $500 | BUY NOW

"Seated on Rug" by Jill Baker, 36x48in, oil, $5000 |  BUY NOW

"Seated on Rug" by Jill Baker, 36x48in, oil, $5000 | BUY NOW

Jill Baker working on her painting "Summer Sidewalk In Paris"

Jill Baker working on her painting "Summer Sidewalk In Paris"

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

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