project

Ceramics

Vignette: Amy Chase

"Complacency" by Amy Chase, 9x5.5x5in, Porcelain Cone

"Complacency" by Amy Chase, 9x5.5x5in, Porcelain Cone

It was recently announced that Amy Chase 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.

Examining a selection of Amy Chase’s work, one gets the sense that a community has been built. The forms are often abstract, but the relationships are clearly drawn, and some of the figures capture very human postures and attitudes. Those figures live on various platforms, so there is always a context of isolation or separation. Sometimes characters are drawn closer, and other times they are widening the distance between them. Often, and most irresistibly, two of them (for they almost always seem to come in pairs) are connected by a slender thread, pulling on their tether in a precarious fashion that creates a delicate tension.

"Compliance" by Amy Chase, 10x8x10in, Porcelain

"Compliance" by Amy Chase, 10x8x10in, Porcelain

“The surface consists of intricate patterns that are applied using precise silkscreened slip and glazing techniques. These choices in pattern address personal experiences, while at the same time evoking the viewer’s own memories.”

Chase’s artist’s statement makes it explicit that these patterns and textures are drawn from childhood memory, so there is an undeniable element of autobiography in this work. Yet the abstraction puts us at a distance; we are empathetic because the fundamental dynamic at play resonates within our own memory. The anonymity allows us to see ourselves in this nebulous but welcoming community.

"Enticement" by Amy Chase, 3x4x3in, Porcelain, Underglaze, Luster

"Enticement" by Amy Chase, 3x4x3in, Porcelain, Underglaze, Luster

Chase is currently the Design Coordinator for Louisville Visual Art in Louisville, Kentucky. Since residing in Louisville she has also been the Ceramics Instructor and Gallery Director at Spot 5 Art Studio and taught Ceramics at Jefferson Community and Technical College. From 2010–2012 she was the Adjunct Professor of Ceramics at Southeast Missouri State University located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Amy Chase has been awarded the title of ‘Emerging Artist’ by American Style magazine, has been featured in Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, 500 Ceramic Sculptures and 500 Ceramic Vases. Chase has also has an extensive exhibition record including venues such as: The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Clay Studio of Missoula in Missoula, Montana; The Washington Project for the Arts in Washington D.C.; Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale, Colorado and Lincoln Arts in Lincoln, California.

Hometown: Murray, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Murray State University; MFA, Southern Illinois University
Website: http://amychaseceramics.com

"Inclination" by Amy Chase, 8x4x3in, Earthenware, Fibers

"Inclination" by Amy Chase, 8x4x3in, Earthenware, Fibers

"Solidarity" by Amy Chase, 9x7x4in, Porcelain, Stoneware, Flocking, String, Luster

"Solidarity" by Amy Chase, 9x7x4in, Porcelain, Stoneware, Flocking, String, Luster

"Deciphering Fiction" by Amy Chase,  6x6x6in, Terracotta, Wood, String, Underglaze

"Deciphering Fiction" by Amy Chase,  6x6x6in, Terracotta, Wood, String, Underglaze

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

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Mixed Media

Feature: The Value of Being Knocked Off Your Axis

Panoramic shot of the Pairellels exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Panoramic shot of the Pairellels exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Complacency is the enemy of creativity. The very real and honest expression that authentic artists require of themselves demands challenge and occasionally it is important to upset the apple cart a little bit in order to rediscover the muse.

Curator & Artist, Stacey Reason

Curator & Artist, Stacey Reason

A 2013 exhibit at The Patio Gallery in the Jewish Community Center illustrated the idea in pointed fashion. As curated by Stacey Reason, the show, which was titled Pairallels, was described as a “collaborative exchange” in its prospectus materials, a sharing of work in the form of a hand-off from one artist to another, with virtually no restriction on what the second artist would bring to the effort. The prospectus used the word “subtract” to suggest what might be allowable for one artist to do with another artist’s unfinished work, and what resulted in some instances was a complete deconstruction of the original piece, as well as a sharp lesson in how two different generations of artists tend to define the word collaboration.

Artists who contributed to Pairallels were Brandon Bass, Andy Cozzens, Sarah Duncan, Mallorie Embry, Linda Erzinger, Meghan Greenwell, Brandon Harder, Phillip High, Mary Dennis Kannapell, Shohei Katayama, Keith Kleespies, Sally Labaugh, Kathy Loomis, Kacie Miller, Karisssa Moll, Jacque Parsley, CJ Pressma, Kelly Rains, Lelia Rechtin, Alli Wiles, Jenny Zeller and Suzi Zimmerer.

Ms. Reason is a founding member of The Louisville Artist’s Syndicate, an ad hoc group of young and primarily visual artists whose mission is to inspire and promote networking between what they felt was a disparate collection of painters, sculptors, filmmakers, musicians and writers, all working in the Louisville area but lacking the connectivity necessary to accomplish greater things. The group, active at the time, has become dormant in the years since.

Dead Machine, Jenny Zeller & Mallorie Embry, digital photography printed on mulberry paper dipped in encaustic wax, vellum, sewing patterns, thread, canvas, nails, paper, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Dead Machine, Jenny Zeller & Mallorie Embry, digital photography printed on mulberry paper dipped in encaustic wax, vellum, sewing patterns, thread, canvas, nails, paper, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

By contrast, an older generation of Louisville artists, many of them members of the informal “Artists’ Breakfast Group”, had for many years enjoyed a camaradarie and interconnectivity that might be a model of what the Syndicate hoped to foster among its core constituency: a flow of energy and understanding that makes it easier for creative individuals to support each other. The Patio Gallery’s director at the time, Bette Levy, had been a long-standing member of this group and invited Reason to mount her exhibit there.

In today’s creative culture, it is more difficult than ever to characterize any group of artists collectively as having a shared sensibility, but the more prominent members of the Syndicate were preoccupied with art that is of the moment: ephemeral, fluid, and at times limited in its concern for archival survival. Another exhibit that year at Spalding University’s Huff Gallery featured two Syndicate members, Andrew Cozzens and Brandon Harder, whose bold sculptural forms relied on the effect of the elements and the passage of time for their full impact. Some of the pieces, for all intensive purposes, existed only during the duration of the opening reception. A delicate assemblage of wires frozen in pieces of ice and suspended on string, for example, were allowed to slowly descend off of the string while they melted. What remained for the subsequent run of the exhibit were the underwhelming remnants of wire and string that lighted onto the gallery shelf beneath. What interests these artists is the specific process of change and deterioration, not a final, marketable, objet d' art. The approach is fascinating but it risks occupying the same place in the cultural memory as a good joke badly-retold: I guess you had to be there.

C.J. Pressma & Kelly Rains discuss the project in front of their piece. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

C.J. Pressma & Kelly Rains discuss the project in front of their piece. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Whereas the breakfast group, for the most part, makes art in a more traditional context, paintings, prints, and sculptures created, at least in part, with an eye on the marketplace. Most have been doing this for many years, and their body of work can often define them in very specific terms, a signature style that might be immediately recognizable when you enter a gallery. Jacque Parsley's assemblages and C.J. Pressma’s photographic quilts are but two examples of art that is sought after by collectors and marketed at premium prices, reflecting the quality of the work and the esteem in which these artists are held.

Both are valid perspectives, but once artists from both pools were drawn into the Pairallels project, perhaps it was inevitable that some level of disagreement would follow. "My idea was to let the art speak for itself," explains Reason. "It was supposed to be about the object, but it wound up being entirely about the artist."  By design, there was no input between the individuals sharing the work, and apparently none of the artists saw the final results before the opening reception in June.

Grocery Store Mandala II, Kathy Loomis & Kelly Rains, grocery packaging, paper, chili peppers, found objects, fabric, wire, panel, paper, ink, acrylic, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Grocery Store Mandala II, Kathy Loomis & Kelly Rains, grocery packaging, paper, chili peppers, found objects, fabric, wire, panel, paper, ink, acrylic, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Among the breakfast group there were mixed reactions, including shock and outrage from a small number at what must have seemed a violation of their personal artistic integrity. In a few instances the piece from the first stage was physically deconstructed and enough parts discarded to render the source nearly unrecognizable. Elements were identifiable but the hand of the receiving artist might be said to have obliterated the original creative intent. Some tempers flared and some heads were scratched, mostly from within the breakfast group.

When, a few weeks later, there was an opportunity to sit down and talk it out, what was interesting was how much the conflict had turned into an opportunity for most of the participants. Creative types often like to indulge in a certain amount of denial that there is any gap between artists owing to generational differences, yet the reality of two distinct mind-sets about how visual artists approach their careers was obvious. During a meeting at one of the artist’s studios, the outrage was absent, replaced by an admission of recalcitrance from some, an expansion of perspective from others, and, arguably, enlightment all around. Some of the younger members spoke of the lack of attachment to the objects that they had fashioned and how they were sometimes excited to see the drastic alterations that had been employed once they passed off their work, while some in the breakfast group emphasized how they had chosen to dive into the project because, “...doing the same thing I had been doing”, wasn't good enough.

Synthesized Fang, Shohei Katayama & Alli Wiles, enamel, snake skin, beer cans, hot glue, wood, black primer, polyurethane, tracing paper, ink, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Synthesized Fang, Shohei Katayama & Alli Wiles, enamel, snake skin, beer cans, hot glue, wood, black primer, polyurethane, tracing paper, ink, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Coming away from the experience, the lessons may be as varied as the individual sensibilities that populate both groups of artists. Breakfast members had come together out of an attraction to build a social context for like-minded artists who were rarely critical but always supportive of each other, while the Syndicate reinforced an aesthetic that embraces the notion that being knocked a little bit off your axis is sometimes a healthy thing.

Four years later, Reason reflects back on Pairallels: “The project was a great learning experience for everyone involved, myself included. I had no idea what kinds of outcomes to expect, and what happened was far more than what I could have anticipated. The dialog that was created surrounding the project was very productive - it gave a fresh look at individual studio practices, reminded us all of our potentials, and pushed everyone out of their comfort zone, which invariably made us all more comfortable in our individual practices. It was very rewarding to serve as the catalyst of this conversation that I think is still being carried out today in some form or another. If nothing else, it brought together two important groups/generations of artists in Louisville that hadn't intersected before.”

Pairallels was on display June 16 through July 16, 2013, in The Patio Gallery at the Jewish Community Center, Louisville, KY.

Stacey Reason is now the Director of the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky.

"Localized Cosmic Reactions (snapshots of the universe)" by Karissa Moll & Philip High. Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

"Localized Cosmic Reactions (snapshots of the universe)" by Karissa Moll & Philip High. Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Time and Space, Sarah Duncan & Jacque Parsley, photography, fabric, lace, trim, found objects, clock, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

Time and Space, Sarah Duncan & Jacque Parsley, photography, fabric, lace, trim, found objects, clock, Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Rains.)

"Orbit" by Mallorie Embry & Shohei Katayama. Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Philip High)

"Orbit" by Mallorie Embry & Shohei Katayama. Price not available. (Photo courtesy of Philip High)

"Untitled", 12x20in, collage and gold paint on acrylic plastic. Price not available (Photo courtesy Kelly Rains)

"Untitled", 12x20in, collage and gold paint on acrylic plastic. Price not available (Photo courtesy Kelly Rains)


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.


Entire contents are copyright © 2017 Keith Waits. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Photography

Vignette: Mitch Eckert


Art ,“born out of frustration,” — Mitch Eckert


Like many artists, Mitch Eckert works in several different veins. Here we examine some examples from his Translations series. Eckert explains that he has been exploring the genre of still life for 25 years, and in these images we see him emulating the lighting in Flemish paintings. At one point Eckert had sought to discard the project and placed the work prints in a recycle bin – a purging action more common than the lay person might assume, but familiar enough to working artists. Eckert explains the process in his own words:

“Still Life with Cherries and Blue Bowl” by Mitch Eckert, 30x49in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $1200 |  BUY NOW

“Still Life with Cherries and Blue Bowl” by Mitch Eckert, 30x49in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $1200 | BUY NOW

“Still Life with Two Nectarines” by Mitch Eckert, 38x26in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $850 |  BUY NOW

“Still Life with Two Nectarines” by Mitch Eckert, 38x26in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $850 | BUY NOW

“The Translations series was born out of frustration. I wanted to participate in a dialogue with the rich tradition of the Dutch masters of still life painting so I set out to learn compositional strategies of creating still lifes in that manner. I set up the floral arrangements (my wife made the bouquets from our garden flowers) and using natural light made probably 300 photographs of different still life. After printing them all on an inexpensive inkjet printer to pin them on my wall and contemplate, I came to the realization that perhaps they were too commercial, too pretty. As a student in the heyday of Postmodernism (1980's) I became anxious and nervous about making work that was too pretty. I didn't know how to talk about them. I didn't want to make commercial work.”

“Out of frustration I wadded up the prints and threw them into the recycle bin. After a couple weeks had gone by I was getting ready to set the crumpled photographs into the alley for the recycle to be picked up. I unraveled one of the balls of photographs and to my surprise there was an immediate visceral reaction of delight when my eyes looked at the creases, folds, and torn edges of the photographic paper. In an effort to preserve the image I scanned the crumpled still life with a flatbed scanner and then, using a large format printer, made enlargements on a wonderful printmaking paper that wonderfully complimented the aged wrinkles.”

“Still Life with June Bouquet, Cherries and Figs” by Mitch Eckert, 24x18in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $450 |  BUY NOW

“Still Life with June Bouquet, Cherries and Figs” by Mitch Eckert, 24x18in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $450 | BUY NOW

The results blur the lines of the medium by removing the slick surface and detail of photography and exchanging them for a distressed visual texture. Without intending to do it, Eckert brought his images even closer to the aged and brittle tactile reality of their inspiration.

Examples of this series can currently be seen in Altered Perceptions, an LVA Photo-Biennial Exhibit at Metro Hall, which runs through January 12, 2018. Some of the images we see here are featured in that show, which also includes work from C.J. Pressma and Jenny Zeller.

The artist currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky where he is an associate professor or art in the Hite Institute at the University of Louisville. His work can be found in permanent collections of 21c Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville, and Swope Museum of Art.

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Education: BFA, Photography & Sculpture, Herron School of Art; MFA, Photography, Printmaking, Art History, Ohio University
Website: http://www.mitcheckert.com

“Still Life with Hydrangea (in blue)” by Mitch Eckert, 30x28in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $750 |  BUY NOW

“Still Life with Hydrangea (in blue)” by Mitch Eckert, 30x28in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $750 | BUY NOW

“Still Life with Lily and Figs” by Mitch Eckert, 24x18in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $500 |  BUY NOW

“Still Life with Lily and Figs” by Mitch Eckert, 24x18in, Archival Pigment Print (2006), $500 | BUY NOW

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

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Photography

Vignette: Julius Friedman (1943-2017)

"Peony" by Julius Friedman, photography

"Peony" by Julius Friedman, photography

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photograph by Sarah Davis.

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photograph by Sarah Davis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Toe On Egg" by Julius Friedman

"Toe On Egg" by Julius Friedman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book cover for "Images & Ideas" by Julius Friedman

Book cover for "Images & Ideas" by Julius Friedman

"Fresh Paint" by Julius Friedman, photography

"Fresh Paint" by Julius Friedman, photography

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photo courtesy of John Nation.

Artist, Julius Friedman. Photo courtesy of John Nation.

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

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Q&A: Dave Caudill


“My sculpture is often placed in public spaces, and it celebrates attributes that enable all of us to thrive – idealism, enthusiasm and the joy of life.” — Dave Caudill


Artist, Dave Caudill at work.

Artist, Dave Caudill at work.

Dave Caudill and the “Odyssey” project

A well-liked, long-time fixture in the local art community, Dave Caudill has several public sculptures in Louisville: at 6th & Main St, the University of Louisville School of Music, Maryhurst Alternative School, the Crescent Hill public library, and the offices of the Waterfront Development Corp in downtown. His latest project is ambitious, even for an artist who has installed a large metal sculpture on the ocean floor.

How did you first hit upon the idea of “Odyssey”?

A few years ago, I realized the synthesis of a fingerprint and labyrinth could make a powerful combination that prompted consideration of identity and our individual journeys though life.

How do you think it fits in with the themes of your past work? Or does it?

I see it as another iteration of the theme of humanity in harmony with the rest of nature, a theme that I first addressed with an undersea sculpture in 1995.

Do you worry a labyrinth will intimidate people? Are people afraid of getting lost?

Labyrinth concept drawing by Dave Caudill.

Labyrinth concept drawing by Dave Caudill.

Walking a labyrinth is different from a maze, in that once you'e on a path, it takes you to the center and back out again - there is no confusion or opportunity to get confused or lost as in a maze, as long as you stay on a path. Also, everything is at ground level - there are no walls that create blind spots. This misunderstanding is common, but a small plaque at the entrance to Odyssey will clarify the difference.

We are creating a meditative walking experience fused with a bold piece of public art.

You just returned from Bolivia, where you were involved in a similar project. What was your experience there?

The Bolivian Odyssey differs from my proposal for Louisville in that it’s half the size (1/4 the size of a football field) and uses gravel instead of flat terrazzo over concrete for the paths. The Bolivian project is located in a rural area and creating a handicapped accessible design was not an option.

Who are your collaborators, and how did you connect with them?

This unique labyrinth will engage people through the consideration of identity and personal journeys through.

This unique labyrinth will engage people through the consideration of identity and personal journeys through.

I received a residency to start construction from Teresa Camacho-Hull, the owner and director of Ars.Natura.Uta, an art center near La Paz. She has been developing the center as a site dedicated to addressing the need to understand that the wholeness of our relationship to nature is essential to the health of both humanity and the planet. I met her at a sculptor’s conference in Pittsburgh, an event I was able to attend by a grant from Louisville’s Great Meadows Foundation. Teresa’s staff of three men was indispensable for a 2-week schedule.

What would be your dream location for “Odyssey”?

I’d like to see it in an area conducive to reflection and meditation, like a park. That being said, a strong design can go a long way toward overcoming the noise of an urban environment and establishing a unique asset for the city.

Hometown: Corbin, Kentucky
Age: 66
Education: University of Kentucky, 1970; Louisville School of Art, 1973; Anderson Ranch, CO, 2000 & 2001
Website: http://www.caudillart.com

An illustration showing an example of the terrazzo artwork that would cover the concrete paths of Odyssey. Each path would be a winding, evolving, unique design.

An illustration showing an example of the terrazzo artwork that would cover the concrete paths of Odyssey. Each path would be a winding, evolving, unique design.

2017-04-29 11.05.09.jpg

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

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