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Drawing

Vignette: Sarah Johnson


“Iconography has given me the opportunity to undergo a reflection and transformation…”
— Sarah Johnson


"The Holy Trinity" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"The Holy Trinity" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

At this point, it is fair to say that all art speaks to tradition; even the most radical work usually sees Dadaism as an ancestor. There was a time when virtually the only way to make a living as an artist was to create religious imagery – the church was one of the only paying customers, and private collectors rarely wanted secular art, except for portraits. Iconography is not always religious, but the use of recurrent symbols and themes in churches arguably laid the foundation of how we think about such things. Sarah Johnson here picks up that tradition in designs that show fealty to the rigid, highly symmetrical compositional formula that were essential in this work, but with a soupcon of individual interpretation in the details of character.

“I have the opinion that art is supposed to reflect to its audience a message,” says Johnson. “I believe art has a very significant role to play in our daily and personal lives as well as having the capacity to influence our entire culture, spiritually and politically. The best examples of that kind of art have one thing in common: it touches the soul. I have a strong desire to share my belief and perspective and Iconography has given me the opportunity to undergo a reflection and transformation and to learn a time-tested medium. I aim to continue in my study in Iconography.”

So Johnson’s images are unabashedly ecclesiastical; a personal expression of spirituality rooted in the long and rich historical traditions employed by some of the greatest artists the world has known: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, not to mention untold numbers whose specific identity has been lost to time.

Hometown: Maysville, Kentucky
Age: 32
Education: Studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati
Website: http://www.sarahcatherinejohnson.wordpress.com

"Christ Pantocrator" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"Christ Pantocrator" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"Archangel Michael" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"Archangel Michael" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"Saint Andrew" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

"Saint Andrew" by Sarah Johnson, 14x22in, graphite on paper (2017)

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

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Painting

Vignette: Geoff Crowe

Artist, Geoff Crowe and his wife, Shannon.

Artist, Geoff Crowe and his wife, Shannon.

A Different View of Horse Racing

Some artists paint horses - in Kentucky it’s almost a requirement, but in the paintings by Geoff Crowe we see here, he is not painting horses as individual animals as much as capturing the field in a horse race as one, thundering, entity barreling through the dirt and mud directly at us.

Win, Place, & Show, hold little meaning in these compositions, in which Crowe discovers the collective form and violent motion of the Sport of Kings. At times the results are ominous and foreboding, as in “Full Field”, or “Muddy Day”, wherein the point-of-view suggests precipitous danger, the mass of horse and rider abstracted as if we were witnessing the scene through a rain-smeared windshield.

"Muddy Day" by Geoff Crowe, 38x72in, acrylic on canvas (2016). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Muddy Day" by Geoff Crowe, 38x72in, acrylic on canvas (2016). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

In “Race 22” the darkness is replaced by sunlight, and the loose, drip application of some of the paint illustrates the color and kinetic energy we associate with thoroughbred racing, and in “Race 17”, Crowe comes closest to a more standard representational image, in which details of the jockey’s silks are discernable and we can glimpse the individual personality of the horse.

"Race 17" by Geoff Crowe, 36x38in, acrylic on paper (2016). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Race 17" by Geoff Crowe, 36x38in, acrylic on paper (2016). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

The artist began his journey in 2004 in Puerto Rico with a show of children playing soccer and today many of his works focus around ballet and horse racing, with the color and texture of the Caribbean remaining an important influence on his work. These elements also carry across to his sculptures and their organic look and feel. Space and movement play a key role in all of his art.

Crowe studied painting and sculpture in Puerto Rico at La Liga deArte and La Escuela de Artes Plásticos. His work can be found in private and corporate collections in Puerto Rico, Ireland, England, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, and New York. His work can be found at Gifthorse and Regalo in Louisville, and Copper Moon in New Albany.

Crowe will be opening Hoof and Earth at the Mellwood Arts Center’s Pigment Gallery Opening on May 2; there will be a closing reception on May 26th.

Hometown: Walnut Grove, California
Age: 56
Education: BS, Business Administration, Minor Finance 4 years Independent study in Art at La Liga de Arte and La Escuela de Arte Plasticas in Puerto Rico
Website: http://www.studiocrowe.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/StudioCrowe/

"Night Race" by Geoff Crowe, 30x60in, acrylic on canvas (2015). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Night Race" by Geoff Crowe, 30x60in, acrylic on canvas (2015). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Race 22" by Geoff Crowe, 36x60in, acrylic on paper (2017). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Race 22" by Geoff Crowe, 36x60in, acrylic on paper (2017). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Full Field" by Geoff Crowe, 36x30in, acrylic on canvas (2017). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

"Full Field" by Geoff Crowe, 36x30in, acrylic on canvas (2017). Available at Mellwood Arts Pigment Gallery during May.

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: Valtcho Tonov


“I believe in the beauty of ordinary subjects.” — Valtcho Tonov


   "Greece" by Valtcho Tonov, 10x20 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in gold plein air style frame)|  BUY NOW

 "Greece" by Valtcho Tonov, 10x20 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in gold plein air style frame)| BUY NOW

Artist, Valtcho Tonov

Artist, Valtcho Tonov

Even though Valtcho Tonov has no formal, institutional diploma, through private lessons and countless workshops he has been relentless in pursuing a personal course of study in painting. For many years he practiced painting the figure from life in a class setting and the landscape en plein air.

“As my experience accumulates as an artist during the years I understand that it's important to convey feeling with my art and relate in a profound way to the viewer. I believe in the beauty of ordinary subjects. I consider myself an abstract impressionist, however my style varies depending of my mood and the way I start a new painting.”

"Cherokee Park Path" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) |  BUY NOW

"Cherokee Park Path" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) | BUY NOW

We see the different moods in “Cherokee Park Path”, which perfectly captures the unique winter light on the snow, everything crisp and clear under the brilliant sun, of how the equine forms in “Southern Horses” seem rooted to the earth as if the are plants awaiting harvest, and is there an image more evocative of moodiness than a view of the skyline distorted as if being witnessed through a rain-streaked window in “Louisville Winter”.

This is what a painter does; working with one of the most plastic and expressive of mediums, the artist is able to communicate a heightened perception of the world, forcing us to look harder at our own environment and the aspects of nature that we too easily take for granted.

"Mc Neely Lake, Louisville" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) |  BUY NOW

"Mc Neely Lake, Louisville" by Valtcho Tonov, 12x16in, oil on linen panel (2016), $700 (comes in plein air style dark frame) | BUY NOW

Tonov is a member of Oil Painters Of America and the Plein Air Painters of Kentucky. After moving to the United States in 2001, he eventually settled in Louisville, Kentucky. Tonov has continued his studies under the tutelage of renowned artists such as John Michael Carter, Phil Starke, and others. He is part of an ongoing uninstructed figurative drawing/painting workshop at Mellwood Art Center in Louisville.

Hometown: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Age: 44
Education: self-taught but studied with John Michael Carter & Phil Starke
Website: http://www.vptart.co

"Louisville Winter" by Valtcho Tonov, 20x24 in, oil on canvas (2017), $900 (not framed, finished sides) |  BUY NOW

"Louisville Winter" by Valtcho Tonov, 20x24 in, oil on canvas (2017), $900 (not framed, finished sides) | BUY NOW

"Southern Horses" by Valtcho Tonov, 11x14 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $600 (comes in gold frame) |  BUY NOW

"Southern Horses" by Valtcho Tonov, 11x14 in, oil on linen panel (2016), $600 (comes in gold frame) | BUY NOW

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

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Photography

Vignette: Charles Mintz


“Hardware stores are about self-reliance and culture that values results rather than shiny new things. In today’s world, they are survivors.” — Charles Mintz


"Cedar Center Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Cedar Center Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

As we make the world shiny and new with urban renewal and fashionable shopping malls, there is still a network of old-fashioned hardware stores located in American communities. The counters are aged; once sharp corners worn to a nub, yellowed tile floors, the glare of fluorescent lights on plastic packaged merchandise filling every square inch of space, so that the color of the walls remain a mystery. Photographer Charles Mintz has been documenting these archetypal exemplars of the American character for the last few years, searching out the rustic and utilitarian businesses wherever he travels.

As is his custom, Mintz uses a large format film camera with interior exposures ranging from one to six minutes. He explains how it serves to break the ice with his subjects:  “Though ungainly, the camera is appreciated by the owners, who gave their permission for the project, and allows some control over focus and perspective. The project is a continuation of work exploring the Great American Dream and the meaning of home. Hardware stores are where we go to fix things - to make things. They are about self-reliance and culture that values results rather than shiny new things. In today’s world, they are survivors.”

"  Heuser Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Heuser Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

“All of my work is about things that are important to me. It is built around my biography but is not about me. Rather it is about the culture of my time and place. It is intended to make you feel and to make you think, though it is not didactic. While this project is not traditional portraiture, it pictures the people that own, operate and shop in these stores. In addition, we can see both common elements and hints of where we are. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of place. To the extent possible, I want the subjects to speak for themselves with a minimum of my interpretation.”

Since becoming a full time photographer in 2008, Mintz has explored portraiture through objects and locations: The Album Project, Precious Objects and, still in progress, Costumes. Even Every Place – I Have Ever Lived, where people in the images are largely unrecognizable, is uniquely personal, beginning with my childhood home that was in foreclosure and continuing in all my lifetime neighborhoods the work has become less traditionally photographic both in form and method.

"  Hollywood Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Hollywood Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

Mintz was Artist in Residence at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley CA in March 2016, and he was was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2015. His work can be found in museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American History, private and corporate collections in North America, Europe and Asia.

Trillium Books, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press, published his latest book, “Lustron Stories”, in 2016. The Lustron series was exhibited at LVA’s PUBLIC Gallery in Louisville in 2015.

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Age: 69
Education: Mintz studied photography at Maine Photographic Workshop, Parsons School of Design, the International Center for Photography, Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College. He has a BSEE from Purdue University and an MSEE from Cleveland State University.
Gallery Representation: 1point618 Gallery
Website: www.chuckmintz.com

"  Krays Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Krays Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

"  Rodeo Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Rodeo Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2016), $1000 | BUY NOW

"  Rutledge Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 |  BUY NOW

"Rutledge Hardware" by Charles Mintz, 32 x 40in, Inkjet Print From Scanned FIlm (2015), $1000 | BUY NOW

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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