political

Painting, Mixed Media

Vignette: Tad DeSanto

“I want my work to make people smile, laugh and think.”
– Tad DeSanto

"I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong" , Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong", Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

Tad DeSanto creates amusing yet pointed images that can be seen as part of a tradition stretching back to English poet and illustrator Edward Lear, who may be the first artist who embraced the descriptive “nonsense.” Of course, that strain of facetiousness came to distinguish the work of satirists in the years since, and a connection between DeSanto’s work and political cartoonists is not that much of a stretch.

"Must be present to win,"  Tad DeSanto, 16x16in, oil stick on panel, $400

"Must be present to win," Tad DeSanto, 16x16in, oil stick on panel, $400

“I Could Agree With You But Then We Would Both Be Wrong,” is perhaps the most clear example provided here, an overt commentary on the painful and seemingly irrevocable division in social discourse in recent years. The commentary itself may suggest a position on the part of the artist, but his opposing figures are given equal weight. The black & white shirt worn by one character might represent intractability, an inability to consider the grey middle ground, while the red and pink print shirt on his nemesis could be read as the opposite, an ability to consider a variety of perspectives; the ambiguity invites the viewer to finish the debate to their own satisfaction.    

“Making something from nothing is magical,” explains DeSanto. “When the image I’ve created touches another person’s heart I feel a special connection that is beyond words. I know what I do is not for everybody and that’s fine with me. I do it because it takes me to another place, a place where thoughts, feelings and memories collide. I want my work to make people smile, laugh and think.”

DeSanto is a self-taught artist who has been showing work since 2005. His work has been exhibited at the Kentucky Folk Art Center, Museum of Art and Craft, New York City Outsider Art Fair, Craft(s) Gallery & Mercantile, Galerie Hertz, Swanson Contemporary, the Arts Company (Nashville, TN), the Good Folk Fest and other venues. DeSanto’s work can be found in several notable personal collections, including Jacque Parsley, Larae Bunn, Julius Friedman, Henry Heuser, Dr. Lawrence Weis, Congressman John Yarmuth, and the University of Kentucky.

 Age: 70
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA, Education, University Of Kentucky, 1970

"Believe", Tad DeSanto, mixed media, 24x24in NFS (sold)

"Believe", Tad DeSanto, mixed media, 24x24in NFS (sold)

"End the War," Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"End the War," Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"Peace," Tad DeSanto, 24inx24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"Peace," Tad DeSanto, 24inx24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"Was or not was," Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

"Was or not was," Tad DeSanto, 24x24in, mixed media, NFS (sold)

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

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Mixed Media

Vignette: Ann Stewart Anderson

"Callie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Callie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

The Answer Is Sisterhood

It was recently announced that Anderson is one of the recipients of the 2017 Al Smith Fellowship. The prestigious award, named in honor of former arts council chair and Kentucky journalist Al Smith, recognizes professional artists who have reached a high level of achievement in their careers. Since its beginning in 1983, the program has provided more than $2.5 million in funding to artists in the visual arts, literary arts, media arts, composing and choreography. In this round of funding, the fellowships were awarded to artists in the choreography and literary arts disciplines.

Ann Stewart Anderson has been working with assemblage techniques through the use of various media for several years, but most recently she has been using paper, specifically images and textures pulled from art magazines. Now she utilizes the approach in a new series that seems consistent with the style and themes of the Wonderful Old Women (W.O.W.) series, yet there is a new political commentary that has come into play.

“It has been almost a year since I got the idea of creating Sisters,” explains Anderson. “Since then I have made seven TEFFUBUD sisters, three GAMTRA sisters, four NACIREMA sisters, three DEMARF sisters, and I am just now putting the final touches on the last group of as yet unnamed sisters.”

“This new concept pushes me to develop more complex images. The NACIREMA sisters, (Hint: read it backwards), inspired by a portrait of Donald Trump illustrated in  last November’s Art In America, is a visual statement about presidential politics. Each woman represents an American state: Minnie, Minnesota; Dela, Delaware; Flora, Florida and Callie, California. All are dressed in black and, hidden away in the composition there are upside down American flags. And, as you can see, all have some characteristics of the face of Trump which literally is under the transforming layers of paper glued over it to create these sisters. I will continue to make more siblings as long as I can find inspiration and material, which is pretty easy thanks to my local bookshop and friends for whom I am delighted to recycle their discarded art magazines.”  

"Dela" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Dela" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

The use of the inverted flag references the U.S. military protocol for flying the flag upside down as a warning to approaching troops. In the past, Anderson, has expressed social commentary through the use of Classical Mythology in her paintings, almost always with a vital feminist undercurrent, yet the political message in these images is expressed with even greater subtlety. Anderson’s use of collage has developed even more, with some of the textures and compositions in “Dela”, for example, recalling her previous work with mosaics. 

Anderson ‘s new series is making its public debut in Sisters: A Family Resemblance, a solo show concurrent with the Painting II show at Galerie Hertz, both running through September 2, 2017.

"Moira" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Moira" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

 Anderson’s work can be found in several corporate collections including:

Drake Hotel, Chicago
Turtle Wax Company, Chicago
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Louisville
Brown Foreman Distillers
Atlantic Richfield Corporation
Evansville Museum of Arts and Science
Alabama Power Company
Central Bank, Lexington
Hilliard Lyons, Louisville
Cleveland Clinic
Makers Mark Distillery

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 82
Education: BA, Wellesley College, MA, American University
Gallery Representative: Galerie Hertz (Louisville)
Website: http://www.annstewartanderson.com

"Enid" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Enid" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Minnie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

"Minnie" by Ann Stewart Anderson, 16x12in, cut paper mosaic (2017)

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

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Painting

Vignette: Jordan Lance Morgan

Artist, Jordan Lance Morgan in front of his painting "Rising and Setting"

Artist, Jordan Lance Morgan in front of his painting "Rising and Setting"

Jordan Lance Morgan describes himself as a figurative painter, and he seems concentrated on the head and face. Yet, his work doesn’t feel as if a limitation has been imposed on the artist and his themes, and Morgan imbues his work with a powerful sense of narrative. His subjects are captured indoors, but there is little evidence of a typical studio environment: the lighting is muted and the surroundings feel urban and dank, as if we have wandered into an abandoned basement.

“I am a figurative painter with an emphasis on portraiture, symbolism and storytelling,” explains Morgan. “While my work reflects a desire for realism, my main concern is to emphasize tension between the illusion of volume and flatness within the picture plane. Beyond this formal interest, I am heavily influenced by early American art, historical iconography, military and political history.”

"Black Bile" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 6x8in, oil on linen on board (2015)

"Black Bile" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 6x8in, oil on linen on board (2015)

The allusions to history were once overt in Morgan’s work – portraits of individuals in military uniform that were strictly formal in their composition, but in these recent paintings, the references are more elusive: a Phrygian cap, an early 20th century German army helmet, and…could that be Benjamin Franklin in the dour, oversize portrait, “Rising and Setting”, or are we just meant to ponder the identity? In any event, the image is startling in its immediacy, demanding attention from the viewer and displaying a sure psychological understanding.

“I paint and draw to understand people. Aesthetically I am constantly changing how to produce a portrait. My ambition is to connect myself and the viewer with history and the people who made it.”

Morgan certainly seems in control of his medium and the expression of his themes, yet we catch him here in a moment of crucial development, an emerging artists who is ready to launch.

Hometown: Goshen, Kentucky
Age: 28
Education: BFA, University of Louisville, 2012, Lou, KY; MFA, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
Website: http://www.jordanlancemorgan.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/Jordanlancemorgan

"Phrygian" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 24x24in, oil on linen on board (2015)

"Phrygian" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 24x24in, oil on linen on board (2015)

"Ray" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 12x9in, oil on linen on board (2015)

"Ray" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 12x9in, oil on linen on board (2015)

"Rising or Setting" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 64x64in, oil on canvas (2016)

"Rising or Setting" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 64x64in, oil on canvas (2016)

"Appeal to Heaven" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 12x9in, oil on board (2016)

"Appeal to Heaven" by Jordan Lance Morgan, 12x9in, oil on board (2016)

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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Mixed Media, Painting

Vignette: Patrick Donley


Where our army has gone and established a long-term presence, there has sprouted an interest in America’s game…” – Patrick Donley


“Taijitu (South Korea)" by Patrick Donley, 20x26in, mixed media on arches (2016)

“Taijitu (South Korea)" by Patrick Donley, 20x26in, mixed media on arches (2016)

Not very long ago, we were discussing the use of flags in art, and their importance as symbols. Patrick Donley is a painter, sculptor, and collage artist who uses found materials to a significant degree. In his artist’s statement for his new exhibit at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, he provides insight into his process, but also illuminates how the weight of memory in reclaimed objects can raise the artist’s own awareness through discovery, in this case, tying in to themes of geo-political influence.

“The Flags series began as an excuse to use the imagery of ‘America’s Game’ in my art. For years, I have been fascinated by the gritty, rugged, glorious, and often tarnished visual lexicon of baseball, a game full of heroes, heroines, legends, myths, successes and failures.

The choice to use the flag as an inspiration was somewhat accidental. I had been making collage paintings on paper that were made up of horizontal bands like the strata of the earth, or like the stripes on a flag. The paintings being on paper seemed appropriate, more ephemeral - more flag-like. I came across a cache of baseball images I had saved including some torn up baseball cards found while walking my dogs (the source for much of my collage). So the Baseball Flags were born (however, I never understood why the championship is called ‘the World Series’).

“The Girl Next Door (Aruba)" by Patrick Donley, 20x26in, mixed media on arches (2016)

“The Girl Next Door (Aruba)" by Patrick Donley, 20x26in, mixed media on arches (2016)

The first pieces were mainly suggestive of flags: very colorful with lots of random collage, words and letters buried in the paint. After making about ten of these, I chose to leave the idea for a while and venture elsewhere, as is my way of working. Several years and several very different bodies of work ensued.

One day last year, I decided to revisit the flags, but this time I thought to use flags of the world as the platform. I had done a large commission piece for Kentucky Refugee Ministries here in Louisville, and while cleaning the studio I came across the images of all of the flags that represent the refugees who have been resettled into our town, and thus, these were my initial inspirations. After completing several, though interesting conceptually, something just did not feel right about the flags I was using, other than their graphic nature. Where was the connection to baseball?

“8 Men Out (Venezuela)” by Patrick Donley, 19x26in (framed), mixed media on arches (2016)

“8 Men Out (Venezuela)” by Patrick Donley, 19x26in (framed), mixed media on arches (2016)

So I researched how many countries are actually represented by players throughout the major leagues. The number varied, but twenty-something is the rough tally. From that point on, the flags became about countries that have contributed players to the sport.

One of the fun challenges of using ‘real’ flags as the departure point is that there is not a huge diversity of colors used in national flags. It is a fairly basic palette, which allows me the license to explore layering, variation, and texture.

“Daddy-O” by Patrick Donley, 8x8in, mixed media on wood (2015)

“Daddy-O” by Patrick Donley, 8x8in, mixed media on wood (2015)

At this point, I began to connect the dots between our military presence throughout the world and the growth of baseball in many of those places. It made sense. Where our army has gone and established a long-term presence, there has sprouted an interest in America’s game: Japan, Korea, Germany, Cuba, and Vietnam. But the list extends well beyond that to some places that honestly I could not guess why players would come from there: Australia, the Netherlands, Aruba, Venezuela, Columbia, Greece Baseball, Taiwan, Curacao, Brazil. And the list goes on.

It fascinates me that although Soccer is the ‘World’s’ game, Baseball has ‘the World Series’, and now, for me, that phrase finally makes a little more sense.”

Flags: A World Series, New Work by Patrick Donley, is now on exhibit at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty at 3803 Brownsboro Road in Louisville. There is an Artist Open House Thursday, February 16, 5:00-7:30pm.  On March 3, Donley will open The Memento Series: Travel and Leisure at Craft(s) Gallery in Louisville. 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 54
Education: BA in Painting, Davidson College in Painting; MFA in Painting and Drawing, Northwestern University
Website: http://patrickdonley.wix.com/donleyart

“Beer Is Food” by Patrick Donley, 8x8in, mixed media on wood (2016)

“Beer Is Food” by Patrick Donley, 8x8in, mixed media on wood (2016)

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

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

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