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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.

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Public Art, Conceptual

Q&A: Todd Smith


“I am increasingly interested in developing projects that engage the community…”
— Todd Smith


Louisville artist Todd Smith is currently an Adjunct instructor at Bellarmine University and Indiana University Southeast. He is now in the prototype phase of an ambitious public art project commissioned through Louisville’s Commission on Public Art’s (CoPA) ARTmovesLOUISVILLE alternative transportation project initiative. His project, Bike Sense Louisville, will need over 100 citizen cyclist volunteers to use custom sensor units to track their bike usage around the city for one year. He took the time to answer questions about his work and this unique project.

Where did the idea for Bike Sense originate? How long have you been developing the project?

Just after completing my MFA in Buffalo, NY last spring I got an email from Sarah Lindgren from CoPA about their latest public art call for proposals. The theme was ARTmovesLOUISVILLE, with a focus on projects that engage and educate the public in alternative transportation issues in the city. I was moving back to Louisville and excited to have the opportunity to potentially participate in the city’s growing public art programming.

From the call, I began to think about biking and biking infrastructure. I am an avid biker and have been trying to get lost all over Louisville since I was a kid in the Goose Creek neighborhood. Since then I have lived in 7 different neighborhoods in the city and watched the infrastructure change. I commend the city and the last couple of mayors on their initiatives to make Louisville more bike friendly, but I have also seen the efforts come slowly and with mixed results. I have experience biking in Portland, Oregon, and New York City, where separated bike lanes and bike sharing have been well funded and implemented. Louisville has a bike share program that I have rarely seen used and painted bike lanes that many cars ignore. I wanted to come up with an idea that would help the city get more information about bike usage that could be used to raise awareness about biking in the city and potentially be used to improve bike infrastructure.

My most recent projects in grad school were based around data and sensor technology. I had created a glove with pressure-sensitive fingertips, which in its prototype phase, measured the quality of a handshake. The intention is to create a pair of pressure-sensitive gloves and shoes that can measure the relative distributions of pressure in a tree climb and give it to multiple climbers to see how climbing techniques vary.

In my thesis project I embedded an accelerometer into a large Y-shaped branch that was attached to a sturdy steel frame. I placed that branch in the center of an abandoned grain silo and invited people to climb onto it. As they moved and shook the branch the lights in the silo would flicker and a hidden subwoofer would rumble at very low frequencies. The intent was to make the participant feel as if their movement on the tree branch was causing the destruction of the silo. Essentially it’s an interactive metaphor for the history of the industrial site: man makes concrete silo infrastructure, industry booms and busts, vegetation begins to spread across the site inserting roots into cracks allowing water and rust to slowly destroy it.

My idea for Bike Sense Louisville is to take sensor technology and give it to citizen cyclist volunteers, collect their usage over one year, and interpret that data into a real-time sound work that will be broadcast on the Big Four Bridge. In a way, it is a combination of the two previous projects I described, only it’s about micro-measurements of where people are biking and creating a responsive sound piece that draws the public’s attention to bike usage and infrastructure. I also want to add ambient temperature and carbon monoxide sensors in an attempt to see how weather is changing across the city, as well as monitoring the worst part of car exhaust. Then at the end of the year-long project, the entire dataset will be open and available for anyone to see and use, and maybe even help to determine ways of improving Louisville’s bike paths and routes.

I submitted my idea to CoPA in June 2016. I then was selected to develop a more detailed proposal and budget in the fall. CoPA helped to facilitate meetings with members of the city from their bike program, innovation, parks and more. I also met with the Louisville Waterfront Corporation who graciously agreed to broadcast the project on the pedestrian bridge. Then on December 12th I presented my project to the public art commission committee. The project was approved and the prototyping and marketing phase is beginning now. We hope to launch the project with 100 cyclist volunteers by late summer.

You’ve secured support from Metro Louisville and the Commission on Public Art? How are they helping?

CoPA is funding the project, helping to organize PR, public outreach, and facilitating partnerships with the Louisville Waterfront Corporation, Bike Louisville, and more to make sure the project is successful. They will also start a speaker series this summer to be held at Metro Hall and I hope to participate and present the project in relation to art and infrastructure.

This is pretty conceptual with a capital “C”, was it difficult to get that level of municipal involvement?

The most difficult part of the project is explaining how the technology will work and be translated into art. Once I broke it down to the basic concept and explained the possible benefits from such a massive dataset, the project was very well received. The sound portion will be accessible and the complexity of sound will directly relate to the level of bike usage. No bikers = no sound. A few bikers = simple sounds. A lot of bikers in a lot of different locations = lots of sounds...and all in the vein of a wind chime or wood blocks. I control the harmony and chords so that the differing sounds firing at random will work together, just like the tones of a wind chime are made of notes in a harmonious chord. It involves public interaction, citizen science, and lots of potential for public good. I didn’t find that it was difficult at all to get people on board.

You are asking for volunteers who use bicycles on a regular basis? What is it exactly you need them to do?

First, I am asking all interested cyclists of all kinds go to bikesense.net and fill out a volunteer survey. I am interested in seeing who you are, where you live in the city, how often you bike, where you bike, etc. Then I will select 100 volunteers that best represent all the different kinds of Louisville bikers, plus a waiting list. Then I will hand out the sensor units to the volunteers with these instructions:

  • Use the sensor unit whenever you bike.
  • Keep the sensor unit charged.
  • Return if it stops working or you no longer wish to participate.

Your work is very focused on the subject of urban ecology, and is dominated specifically by trees. This is relative to that, but also different. How would you characterize the relationship between this and your previous work?

During my time in Buffalo I made the conscious decision to expand my practice beyond tree-climbing. I believe this was a natural evolution from all my time in the treetops, seeing all the ways in which humans impact trees and natural spaces. A large part of my Daily Climb project involved walking, biking, and driving around Louisville in parks and neighborhoods to find trees to climb.

Over the many years climbing, my observation of trees inspired me to research the heat island effect, tree canopy studies, writings about invasive plants vs. native, tree and urban ecology, previous weather disasters and floods, and more. I also spent countless hours up close with varying infrastructure in the city. In learning how every creature, plant and thing are connected in our ecology, I found more and more ways to approach making art that draw attention to our impact on our environment. When it all comes down to it, I still love trees and believe that the more people bike instead of drive and the more people support initiatives to improve bike infrastructure, the better the trees will be.

I also believe the more people in the community become directly involved in issues like alternative transportation and collecting data about bike usage, getting their hands dirty planting trees with groups like Louisville Grows, the more they will care about their city. Most of my previous work was about me and my personal experiences climbing. I am increasingly interested in developing projects that engage the community in activities that can provide positive results.

Tell us about an important moment of transition for you as an artist?

I have experienced 3 important transitions as an artist. The first happened in undergrad in 2002 when a visiting artist challenged me to share my perspective as a climber. From that moment forward I stopped drawing and painting and started using whatever means necessary to share my experiences climbing trees.

The second was when my Daily Climb project ended in July of 2010. It was unexpected, incredibly sad, and my obsession was broken. It was a relief, but also such a hard place to rebuild after so long. It has taken me since then to slowly let go of my identity as strictly the tree-climbing guy. I still haven’t let it go completely.

The last transition just recently happened in grad school. I came into my first year ready to discard tree climbing and start new. The first year beat me down, confused me, and cornered me into re-embracing tree climbing again. Then finally, one month before my thesis exhibition was to open in my last semester, I had an on-site meeting with my 3 committee members. They finally saw my idea to share my tree-climbing experience with projection and virtual reality in an abandoned grain silo and they all thought it wasn’t right for the site. They challenged me to reassess. I went back to the drawing board, spent hours walking the site, and through some research and countless discussions and writing and sketching, I came up with an idea with two weeks left. It still may have had an element of trees and climbing, but it went beyond sharing my own perspective as a climber. I finally moved on. It allowed me to create works focused outward. It’s where I find myself now.

What's the most challenging part when starting on a new work?

Every project presents different challenges at different times in the process. I’d say for Bike Sense Louisville, my challenge was how I would translate the data into sound. I went to a Sound Builders meeting at LVL1 Hackerspace and asked them about programs that can translate data streams into sound, and someone recommended Pure Data. This open source programming language has been around for a while and is incredibly flexible. I started teaching myself by watching YouTube tutorials and fell in love with it. It’s been a steep learning curve but it has been really exciting to add another tool to my toolkit.

Plus, every new language or skill I learn I look for opportunities to include it in my teaching. My students teach me so much in return when I see what they do with these skills. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to teach Pure Data and physical computing using sensors. Teaching and creating has really become a rich back and forth.

Given how project oriented you work is, how long do you usually spend on a specific piece?

This is a difficult question to answer. I suppose there is no “usual.” At times, I have felt frustrated when I compare my productivity to other artists who work in more traditional media. I see them pumping out a series of paintings or object-based work they can do by themselves and I feel the pressure to be as prolific. But I don’t usually work in a studio where I can go and make something. I am more interested in larger projects that are outside and involve long periods of learning new technology and working with other people. I finally came to accept that I work a different way and that’s okay. That’s why I have really come to enjoy teaching at a University. It allows me to fulfill my teaching passion as well as make connections with students and faculty that might be interested in collaborating. The time in the classroom feeds my art while also providing a way to support projects that don’t always pay.

"the GOOD GUY glove" by Todd Smith (2015) |  Click here  to learn more about this project

"the GOOD GUY glove" by Todd Smith (2015) | Click here to learn more about this project

That being said, I recently participated in one of Zephyr Galleries Project shows with a series of photographs called Conic Sections . The series was inspired by my hobby of doing parkour. I had discovered that I could use my iPhone to take panoramic pictures, but rather than scan from side to side, I would arc backward or scoop the phone in a “U” shape and get really interesting images with 2 horizons. I asked a close friend to do parkour through spaces around Louisville and New Albany while I shot the pictures. He was often in the picture 2 or 3 times in different locations, moving as I slowly bent over backwards. The results were really disorienting and playful.

It all depends on the idea I suppose. That idea came to me one day walking around in a park and playing with my phone. The moment I realized I could capture two horizons I had the idea in a flash. I scheduled the shoot, spent a few hours shooting and then ordered the prints from the best few shots.

Other project ideas pop into my head at random moments and I keep a list. Then when opportunities present themselves like public art calls, I look back at my previous projects and my list of ideas and see if any apply or can be tweaked or altered to fit. The bike project wasn’t something I had thought of before, but elements of previous projects helped form the final concept.

How do you feel about local art scene in Louisville? Would you change anything about it?

I see two sides to the art scene here. One, it’s cheap to live and still relatively cheap to rent studio space. The culture is supportive of the arts and there is more and more programming going on with public art. Plus, with U of L and IUS and Bellarmine and KyCAD there are programs producing young artists...I just don’t know where they go after they graduate.

The flip side is that there is a very small group of people/collectors who support all the arts in the city. It doesn’t seem like Louisville is a draw for outsiders to look in and see what’s happening here. That means it’s up to us artists to look elsewhere for opportunities. And then many leave. Because of that, great galleries and art spots like Land of Tomorrow are forced to close. I love the energy that Dan Pfalzgraf is bringing to the Carnegie in New Albany.

He’s trying new things, getting local institutions and artists involved, and he’s especially open to young, local talent. It would be great to see all the curators from all the local museums and cultural institutions get more hands on with local artists and include them in programming. I assume it is happening more than I know and am just not aware of it.

Another example I did recently see was Human Abstract at the Kentucky Center put on by Louisville Ballet. It featured the collaborative work of Tiffany Carbonneau, Andrew Cozzens, and Ezra Kellerman, and the show was amazing! I really appreciate that these kinds of opportunities are coming to local artists. I guess it’s up to me to stay plugged in and make sure I am not missing more of these opportunities to get out and support my fellow artists.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA, Emerging Practices, University at Buffalo, NY, 2016; BA, Studio Fine Art, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, 2003
Website: http://www.toddcsmith.com

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

"Inward Out: Spontaneous Reverberations" by Todd Smith (Exhibited on April 30th 2016 at Silo City in Buffalo, NY) |  Click here  to learn more about his Master Thesis exhibition

"Inward Out: Spontaneous Reverberations" by Todd Smith (Exhibited on April 30th 2016 at Silo City in Buffalo, NY) | Click here to learn more about his Master Thesis exhibition

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Drawing, Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Three Kings No. 2" by Joshua Jenkins, 52 x 41 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"Three Kings No. 2" by Joshua Jenkins, 52 x 41 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

Jenkins at his home studio (2017)

Jenkins at his home studio (2017)

For his upcoming show at Kore Gallery in Louisville, painter Joshua Jenkins has been creating a body of work that shows him shifting from the energetic, bold color and mark making that has long characterized his work. A softer approach to outlining form and a comparatively muted color palette rendered in broad washes of acrylic paint has dominated his technique since the end of summer 2016.

“Seeing a muted color pallet can seem calming to the viewer,” explains Jenkins, “but once you look closer at the surface, you can see a juxtaposition of more complex emotions with anxious line work subtly radiating through each canvas. The subject matter of each work focuses on the abstraction of the sorrowful human form in contrast with a slight homage to nature…”

"Drawing #18" by Joshua Jenkins, 9.5 × 7.5 in, graphite and watercolor on paper (2016)

"Drawing #18" by Joshua Jenkins, 9.5 × 7.5 in, graphite and watercolor on paper (2016)

It is in that balance that Jenkins finds contentment, a location that inspired the title of the new exhibit: Somewhere In Between Anxiety and Serenity. “Joys and upsets always seem to come hand in hand. Keeping in mind the current political climate of our country and the world as a whole, along with my own personal life experiences, I wanted to explore the contrasting feelings of fear and happiness. It seems as though neither emotion can shine without the other lingering in the background.”

The artist is featured in the January 2017 issue of Kentucky Homes & Gardens (Louisville). The article is about Carriage House Interiors and their 2016 Homearama design that prominently featured two of Jenkins’ paintings.

The Great Meadows Foundation recently awarded an Artist Professional Development Grant to Jenkins. He will be using the grant money to visit Los Angeles for the first time.

Jenkins has also been accepted to showcase his work at Mellwood Art Center's March Art Show on March 4th & 5th. 

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Age: 29
Education: BA in Digital Media with a Minor in Studio Art, Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Website: http://www.joshuajenkinsart.com
Gallery Representative: Joshua is self-represented locally, but is represented by New Editions Gallery in the Lexington area

"Birds Flying High" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 40 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"Birds Flying High" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 40 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"A Moment of Disbelief" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 36 x 1in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

"A Moment of Disbelief" by Joshua Jenkins, 40 x 36 x 1in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016)

A detail of an untitled work by Jenkins.

A detail of an untitled work by Jenkins.

"Wondering What Just Happened" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016) $750

"Wondering What Just Happened" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1.5in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016) $750

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

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Painting

Vignette: Elsie Harris

Elsie Harris in her studio. Photo by Ayla Christman.

Elsie Harris in her studio. Photo by Ayla Christman.

People born and raised in Appalachia often speak of a connection with the land that sounds unique to that experience. Certainly they have no monopoly on such appreciation for nature, and the pastoral figures in the biographies of a wide variety of artists, but the eastern region that stretch from the Southern Tier of New York to northern Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia has a cultural identification with environment that sets it apart from other areas.

Elsie Harris is one such artist. Claiming a life-long connection to the land: “As a child I would wander into the woods and sit on a hilltop to innately be a part of it…mountains, rocks, creeks and hillside ridges. It is where I find both joy and serenity,” she sketches areas that attract her attention, and translates those studies onto canvas, using heightened color to capture the experience of being on the site. This emphasis on subjective emotion places her firmly in the expressionist camp, yet there remains some degree of attachment to the realism, and a sense of place.

"Radiance" by Elsie Harris, 32x40in, acrylic on canvas, $1100 |  BUY NOW

"Radiance" by Elsie Harris, 32x40in, acrylic on canvas, $1100 | BUY NOW

“My intention then was to push the edges, processes and limits of realism with color, configuration and composition while still being faithful to an original image. For me it is a magical intimacy – a spiritual consciousness – one with nature – that is the message in my work.”

You can currently find Harris’s work in two Kentucky galleries: CRAFT(s) Gallery, 572 South Fourth Street, Louisville, and Art of Danville Gallery, 413 West Main Street, Danville. 

Harris' work is seen in many corporate acquisitions and personal collections both here and abroad. Her paintings have also been included in various juried and invitational exhibits across the nation, and she has been commissioned to produce paintings and graphics for numerous organizations. She has worked as a graphic artist with Kentucky Educational Television, and has been involved in an administration capability with many arts organizations and agencies in Kentucky.

"Falling Tree" by Elsie Harris, 30x32in, acrylic on canvas, $760 |  BUY NOW

"Falling Tree" by Elsie Harris, 30x32in, acrylic on canvas, $760 | BUY NOW

Exhibits - Invitational:
Hunt Morgan House: Art Connects, Lexington, KY, 2016
KY Crafted: Breeders Cup Exhibition, Lexington, KY, 2015
Coop; Sale: Group Exhibit and sale, 2015
Grid: Creativity by the Square Foot, New Editions Gallery, Lexington, KY, 2015
Gallery on Main, Richmond, KY, 2014
KY Guild of Artist/Craftsmen, Berea, KY, 2014
LexArts, ArtsPlace Gallery, Lexington, KY, 2014

Recent Exhibits:
At the Rivers Bend, Evansville Museum, 2016
OH + 5 2016, Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH, 2016
Visions at the Capital Fifty/50, 2016
2016 Horizon: Contemporary Landscape exhibition, 2016
Appalachian Artist Guild National Juried Show, Blue Ridge, GA, 2011, 2014
OH+5, Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH, 2013, 2015

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Education: BA, Fine Art, University of Kentucky; AA, Fine Art, Sullins Junior College
Website: http://www.elsieharris.com

"Whispering Hills" by Elsie Harris, 30x32in, acrylic on canvas, $850 |  BUY NOW

"Whispering Hills" by Elsie Harris, 30x32in, acrylic on canvas, $850 | BUY NOW

"Sunshine In" by Elsie Harris, 30x40in, acrylic on canvas, $1050 |  BUY NOW

"Sunshine In" by Elsie Harris, 30x40in, acrylic on canvas, $1050 | BUY NOW

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

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