portraits

Painting

Open Studio Spotlight: Page Penna

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“Esa” by Page Penna, Oil, 24x30in, POR

“Esa” by Page Penna, Oil, 24x30in, POR

Portraiture walks a fine line in that it attempts to satisfy our own impression of ourselves. We may not be the artists, but it is often a commission, and so the demand is to be flattering in order to satisfy the client, yet the artist also must satisfy their own need for capturing the truth of the subject.

In her artist’s statement, Page Penna describes it this way: “Portraiture is an interpretive art which serves to capture the essence of the human spirit, a moment in time and a genuine likeness, to be enjoyed by family and friends for years to come.”

“Portraiture is a way of holding onto a place in time - a way to document a moment, an element or the persona of a subject. The art of creating portraits requires the ability to relate to and capture the subject in a way that conveys the features of their character.” 

Penna doesn’t only paint portraits, but it is clearly a passion, and one can see past the gloss of a flattering image to find sensitivity in the observation of details and facility for rendering emotion in a more understated fashion than might be expected. That there are so many children depicted in her commissioned work doesn’t detract from this quality. They are captured in a informal posture drawn from natural behavior (“Veith Children”) or in a deliberate fashion that harkens to an older, more traditional attitude once reserved for the privileged (“Kate Wittpenn”).   

“Kate Wittpenn” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection

“Kate Wittpenn” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection

“From the age of five, I was directly influenced by my great-grandfather’s stained glass studio. Louisville Art Glass Studio created a variety of figurative glass works portraying significant stories for religious organizations. From those experiences, I learned that art conveys a rich portrayal of life, of moments to hold on to, or stories that can be shared with all.”

“After living and painting in Naples, Florida for eighteen years, I have recently relocated to my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. I have opened a studio in a pre-Civil War building in Old Louisville, which provides a large space with natural light — an ideal place to paint my subjects. I continue to work with clients in Florida, especially when families visit grandparents during the spring — capturing children on the beach. In Florida, the sunsets, light, and beaches are infinitely more conducive to painterly expression, yet I tend to thrive in this beautiful part of the world, Kentucky, and love to have a change of seasons.”

“Wiggins Pass” by Page Penna, Pastel, 32x40in, $2500

“Wiggins Pass” by Page Penna, Pastel, 32x40in, $2500

Page Penna is participating in the 2018 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Germantown neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 3 and 4. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Ringling School of Art, Florida
Website: pagepennaart.com

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“Burleigh & Johnny” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, 16x20in, 2017, Private collection.

“Burleigh & Johnny” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, 16x20in, 2017, Private collection.

“Veith Children” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection.

“Veith Children” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection.

“Veith Children (detail)” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection.

“Veith Children (detail)” by Page Penna, Oil on linen, Private collection.


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Painting

Vignette: Uhma Janus

"Alien I ZD" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic on panel, 32x24in, 2016, POR

"Alien I ZD" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic on panel, 32x24in, 2016, POR

Mexican-born artist Uhma Janus’ earliest initiation into the arts was at the age of 7 when her mother taught her introductory piano lessons. She developed into a classical musician, but pursued a degree in Physics at the University of Guanajuato and nursing degrees at the University of Louisville. When she came to feel a desire to paint, it would make perfect sense that her curiosity for the understanding of the physical world and Universe and her background with music would substantially inform her imagery.

Theoretical particles were a focus in Janus’ studies, and the busy compositions that rely on repetitive pattern express an innate sense of the unseen realities of existence.  Her early work is characterized by an exploration of the versatility of acrylic ink when tracing dots, lines, and curves in both spontaneous and controlled conditions. Later, her work delineated clearer patterns and figures that began to shift away from the abstract and, eventually, she began doing portraits. The journey reverses the more typical path from representational to abstract.

"XXXIII" by Uhma Janus, Oil on canvas, 72x48in, 2017, POR

"XXXIII" by Uhma Janus, Oil on canvas, 72x48in, 2017, POR

Janus doesn’t use the words, “self-taught” when describing herself, but her intuitive approach to making visual art feels like an honest expression of her life story up until that point. “Alien I Z D” displays a kinetic energy that resembles a graphic representation of sound such as an oscillogram.

Though she started with acrylic inks, Janus has expanded her media to include acrylic and oil paint, mixed media, graphite and color pencils in the variety of her projects.

“My focus has been the authenticity of the emotionally-empowered, fully-intentional-expressive being in action. My work engenders the recognition of the merit and gravity that the most basic graphic elements (the dots, lines, and curves) have in and of themselves. This action finds its own graphic representation as a materialized emergent phenomenon only aesthetically-significant as a posteriori entity.”

When Janus talks about her work, her language is infused with intellectualism and scientific vocabulary that reflects her background in physics, but the work itself feels intuitive; emotionalism filtered through a stringent process in the manner of the Abstract Expressionists.

Her exploration for “modalities of expression” has also led her back to music, and Janus has recently taken up guitar, violin, cello, and darbuka (a goblet-shaped drum of Middle Eastern origin), all at what she calls “a beginner level. She is also composing and writing.

Hometown: Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico
Education: BS Nursing; BS Physics; AD Nursing
Website: www.behance.net/uhmajanus5dfd

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"Ms. Cursedly Expectant" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Ms. Cursedly Expectant" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Abysmal Fall" by Uhma JanusOil on panel, 16x11in, 2017, POR

"Abysmal Fall" by Uhma JanusOil on panel, 16x11in, 2017, POR

"Ms. Empty Hunger" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Ms. Empty Hunger" by Uhma Janus, Graphite on paper, 24x18in, 2018, POR

"Broken Fly" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic and mixed media on panel. 16x16in, 2016, POR

"Broken Fly" by Uhma Janus, Acrylic and mixed media on panel. 16x16in, 2016, POR


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Vignette: Jaime Corum

It is the sport of Kings, but Jaime Corum paints horses as if they themselves are the royal subjects.

"Racing Frieze 1" by Jaime Corum, oil on wood panel

"Racing Frieze 1" by Jaime Corum, oil on wood panel

Where once a portraitist would depict a monarch in a controlled studio setting, Corum honors the horse with the same reverent approach, imbuing them with a similar lofty dignity. In these portraits, the supple but powerful forms are carefully positioned and lit, placed against deliberately artificial backdrops such as the tapestry in “Amando and Onne”. Corum cites George Stubbs as a key influence, and she has the same formality, the same thorough and complete observation of anatomy, and the same romantic point-of-view of equine nobility.

Corum also paints thoroughbreds in action, but the formal portraits are easily the more distinctive work. She sees the considerable range of expression in these animals; the contrast of mass, power, and speed against the impossible delicacy of the limbs and the graceful, fluid movement. For centuries the horse has worked for us, taken us into battle, and occupied the center of a multi-million dollar sporting industry.

The horse has also played a crucial role in culture, figuring prominently in human mythology and poetry. Symbolic of the force and beauty that are its natural attributes, it carries death, plague, pestilence - but also hope, purity, redemption in equal measure. They occupy our dreams and bear witness to our history:

"Ghost in the Darkness" by Jaime Corum,  oil on wood panel

"Ghost in the Darkness" by Jaime Corum, oil on wood panel

The black horse crooks his
forelegs, the hills split open,
his nostrils pour flame.
Snort, snort through miles,
O charger, through rock.

From The Black Horse Rider - by Pierre Loving

For the White Horse knew England
When there was none to know;
He saw the first oar break or bend,
He saw heaven fall and the world end,
O God, how long ago.

From The Ballad Of The White Horse - by G. K. Chesterton

Can any other animal claim as much symbolic importance in humanity’s understanding of itself? Corum, of course, is not alone in this understanding, but the manner in which her work locates a distinctly continental tradition in equine imagery exemplifies this idea without resorting to kitsch, and she shows restraint in her embrace of sentimentality. She sees the horse for what it is, and while companionship is recognized as vital, her horses resist precociousness.

Jaime Corum is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her equine art is inspired and refined by her own experience with horses, especially her own horse Chesapeake. She is currently exhibiting in Poetry in Motion: The Equine Art of Jaime Corum and Richard Sullivan at The Brown Hotel through July 1, 2018

Photo: Leo Osborn

Photo: Leo Osborn

Hometown: Pineville, Kentucky
Education: Bellarmine University
Website: jaimecorumequineart.com
Gallery Representation: Kentucky Fine Art Gallery (Louisville), New Editions Gallery (Lexington), Tilting at Windmills Gallery (Vermont & Saratoga, NY)

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"Amando & Onne" by Jaime Corum, oil on canvas

"Amando & Onne" by Jaime Corum, oil on canvas

"Her Treasures" by Jaime Corum, oil on gessoboard

"Her Treasures" by Jaime Corum, oil on gessoboard

"Engine" by Jaime Corum,  oil and gold enamel on wood panel.

"Engine" by Jaime Corum,  oil and gold enamel on wood panel.


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Vignette: Cathy Shepherd

"Veronica" by Cathy Shepherd, Acrylic, 11x14in, 2017. POR 

"Veronica" by Cathy Shepherd, Acrylic, 11x14in, 2017. POR 

The human subject never fails to fascinate. Capable of kinetic action and infinite expression, it also is compelling in repose. We love to examine each other, or perhaps it is narcissistic self-obsession as a species. Painter Cathy Shepherd understands that stillness does not necessarily equal an inert state for human beings.

“People have been my main focus through the years. I like to capture the moment of decisions. To some people, this just looks like sitting around, but to me it's the time when things are churning and clicking; the moment before someone says, "That's it! That's what I'm going to do," and jumps up and runs toward that thing.  As a result, my compositions are becoming less surrounding, more close-up.”

“But I still have to paint, even when a subject can't pose, and to my surprise and delight, I've found that still life subjects have personality and big skies are pretty heady characters themselves. Even then, I'm looking for something in the human experience we all share, whether it's animal, vegetable, or mineral.“

"Peonies in Green Glass Vase" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 10x8in, 2017. POR

"Peonies in Green Glass Vase" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 10x8in, 2017. POR

Shepherd may study her subjects closely, but the paintings are fresh and spontaneous, built with assured marks and a careful control of the medium. Her images never feel overworked or fretted over, and that ease may indeed come from a foundation.

“Underneath all of these is drawing. I’ve had wonderful mentors but I don’t exactly follow in their footsteps. Two of my teachers, Philip Pearlstein and Mary Ann Currier, were exacting realists, but Lennart Anderson and Sidney Goodman were tonalists - one classical and one dramatic.  The underlying thread connecting all of them, and me, is drawing as the foundation on which the painting is built. My best drawings are under paintings. And light. I always love light.”

Shepherd is a past recipient of the Al Smith Fellowship and is currently showing as a part of Five Exceptional Painters at Galerie Hertz. The exhibit runs through March 24.

 

Hometown: Paris, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Louisville School of Art/University of Louisville; Four-year certificate in painting, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; MFA, CUNY, Brooklyn College Center for Book Arts, NYC, non-degree
Website: www.cathyshepherd.com
Gallery Representation: Galerie Hertz (Louisville)

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"Cape in Snow" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 8x8in, 2017. POR

"Cape in Snow" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 8x8in, 2017. POR

"Reverie" by Cathy Shepherd, Monotype, 9x12in, 2017. POR

"Reverie" by Cathy Shepherd, Monotype, 9x12in, 2017. POR

"Derrick" by Cathy Shepherd, Water color, 12x14in, 2017. POR

"Derrick" by Cathy Shepherd, Water color, 12x14in, 2017. POR

"Blue Slip" by Cathy Shepherd, Acrylic, 11x14in, 2017. POR

"Blue Slip" by Cathy Shepherd, Acrylic, 11x14in, 2017. POR

"Summer Sky Over VFW" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 32x40in, 2017. POR

"Summer Sky Over VFW" by Cathy Shepherd, Oil, 32x40in, 2017. POR


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Painting

Vignette: Macel Hamilton

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

When someone picks up a brush and begins painting with no formal training or experience, are they hobbyist, amateur? In a time when art intelligentsia is either busy manufacturing new nomenclature to capture new trends, or rejecting all formal classifications (inter or multi disciplinary?) how do we describe the new artist who enters the fray motivated by curiosity or edification?

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

Consider Macel Hamilton. The designation Folk Artist connotes a lack of education and primitive technique, but Hamilton is an educated professional, and her skill after a very brief time painting is estimable, and "hobbyist" foreswears the dedication she has put to the task. Her subjects are simple: animals and insects, but she has also painted portraits of people. All of it indicates an innate skill of observation and the controlled manipulation of a brush and medium. That Hamilton often paints on unfinished wood introduces a rustic quality certainly, but compare the delicacy of her color in this butterfly and the rougher, more spontaneous marks in the image of a savage rooster improbably named “Cow”.

Clearly some of Hamilton’s work finds its roots in her rural upbringing: “I was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and now live in the knobs of Casey County. I am mostly self-taught and have taken a few day classes at a local community art center. I have been painting for about a year and a half. I began doing art approximately two years ago, teaching my self to draw portraits.”

So if there must be a designation, perhaps Rural Artist would be apt in this case, a reflection of both Hamilton’s background and the sensibility expressed in her work.

 Age: 55
Hometown: Liberty, Kentucky
Education:  BS, Psychology, ADN Nursing
Facebook: Macel’s Art

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"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

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

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