reception

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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Painting

Vignette: Charlotte Pollock


"The mind includes more than intellect. It contains a history of what we learn through our feet. It grasps the world that meets the eye, the city we know through our legs, the places we know in our hearts, in our guts, in our memories, and in our imaginations. It includes the world we feel in our bones." - E. V. Walter


Painter, Charlotte Pollock

Painter, Charlotte Pollock

Charlotte Pollock doesn’t just paint what is in front of her. Some landscape painters may, in fact, be documentarians; capturing with accuracy the details of color and light they find before them, but for Pollock, the choice of subject has specific meaning for her: “This series is the result of my desire to understand the meaning of place and its relationship to self. I paint places that emotionally resonate within me as a way to map my biography. Light and color articulate mood and combine with my paint application to make an interior world accessible to the viewer.”

“A sense of place,” is an elusive phrase that can be parsed many ways, but when we speak of art, we are trying to describe how an individual point-of-view of one moment in time might attempt to communicate ineffable aspects of a location. The artist doesn’t create a picture-postcard; instead they share their own unique experience and understanding of a given place, which may be markedly different than the viewer’s experience. It may also strike unexpected chords of universal experience - anything is possible. The E.V. Walter quote that partly inspires these paintings perhaps says it best: “It includes the world we feel in our bones.”

"Have You Got Good Religion" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Have You Got Good Religion" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

For Pollock, these paintings occupy the realm of autobiography, but on her own terms. What you may glean about the artist from these pieces will not be a complete picture, but what is there to discover just might only be available through her work.

Pollock’s solo exhibition, Lore & Landscapes, opens June 2 at Art Sanctuary with a reception that evening, 5:30-9:30pm. Reception is FREE, family-friendly, and open to the public. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

She also has work in On the Waterfront and Beyond through July 29 at the Jane Morgan Gallery in Louisville.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 26
Education: BFA, Allen R. Hite Institute, University of Louisville
Website: http://www.charlotteannpollock.com

"Old Louisville in November" by Charlotte Pollock, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Old Louisville in November" by Charlotte Pollock, 24x36in, oil on canvas (2017)

"March 29, 5pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016)

"March 29, 5pm" by Charlotte Pollock, 16x20in, oil on canvas (2016)

"Golden Hour on River Road" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

"Golden Hour on River Road" by Charlotte Pollock, 36x48in, oil on canvas (2017)

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

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Painting

Vignette: Kayla Bischoff


“The universal language of humanity spanning across time and geography informs my work.”
– Kayla Bischoff


"Jibber Jabber" by Kayla Bischoff, 36x36in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $525 |  BUY NOW

"Jibber Jabber" by Kayla Bischoff, 36x36in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $525 | BUY NOW

Masks have been a crucial element in religious iconography, particularly in primitive cultures, and by extension, visual art, which is, of course, how we know about those ancient worlds. Kayla Bischoff’s paintings are filled with faces rendered in simple terms that are nonetheless highly expressive. It is the most immediate way of identifying her work, and these most recent pieces reveal an ever-developing subtlety and variation in her painting. The artist describes it this way: “Gaping mouths, shrugging shoulders, flailing arms, and cackling faces occupy the surface in an overcrowded frenzy. On the surface my paintings are vibrant and playful; however, I invite the viewer to peer closer into the cluttered surface of detailed disorder to discover many of the abstracted figures experiencing some inner trepidation.”

“The style in which I paint is a balance of abstraction, representation, spontaneous expression, and conscious decisions. The characters are hurriedly drawn in frenzy, and then built upon with several layers of paint to enhance the depth of the surface. I convey my ideas in paintings because the immediacy allows for uninhibited mark making. The tactile nature of the paint feels authentic while connecting me to the earliest form of human visual expression.”

"Vamoose (diptych)" by Kayla Bischoff, 10x10in (each), acrylic on panel (2015) $275 |  BUY NOW

"Vamoose (diptych)" by Kayla Bischoff, 10x10in (each), acrylic on panel (2015) $275 | BUY NOW

In “Vamoose” the figures are strikingly evocative of famous ancient formations such as Stonehenge and Easter Island, and Bischoff is clear that the references are intentional: “I seek to create a connection between contemporary art and that of past civilizations. I reference ancient artworks, such as figurines and masks from various cultures — Andean, Mesoamerican, Japanese, African, Aboriginal, etc. The universal language of humanity spanning across time and geography informs my work. The use of stylized figures acts as a communicative shorthand of body language and facial expressions. I am also greatly inspired by modern artists such as Keith Haring, Jean Dubuffet, and Elizabeth Murray. Through the playfully chaotic layers of figurative abstraction, my work comments on the plight of the individual and humanity as a whole.”

"Alter Egos" by Kayla Bischoff, 60x40in, acrylic & fabric on canvas (2016) $825 |  BUY NOW

"Alter Egos" by Kayla Bischoff, 60x40in, acrylic & fabric on canvas (2016) $825 | BUY NOW

Bischoff’s second solo show Push/Pull: Paintings by Kayla Bischoff will be on exhibit February 1 - 26 at the Krempp Gallery in Jasper, Indiana. There is an opening reception February 2, from 5-7pm.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 24
Education: BA, (Magna Cum Laude) Studio Art: Painting Emphasis/Minors in Art History & Psychology, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, 2014
Website: http://www.kaylabischoff.com/
Gallery Representative: Galerie Hertz

"The Watchers" by Kayla Bischoff, 24x26in, acrylic & fabric n canvas (2017) $475 |  BUY NOW

"The Watchers" by Kayla Bischoff, 24x26in, acrylic & fabric n canvas (2017) $475 | BUY NOW

"Don't Lose Your Head" by Kayla Bischoff, 40x40in, acrylic on canvas (2016) $625 |  BUY NOW

"Don't Lose Your Head" by Kayla Bischoff, 40x40in, acrylic on canvas (2016) $625 | BUY NOW

"Petty Pile" by Kayla Bischoff, 48x30in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $575 |  BUY NOW

"Petty Pile" by Kayla Bischoff, 48x30in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $575 | BUY NOW

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

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Painting

Vignette: Benjamin Duke


“How much monster, Duke’s Paintings ask us, are we willing to feel in ourselves, to accept, to affirm? What are the limits to which our egos restrict us, and what attractions and sensations liberate us from the cage of self? What aspirations and endeavors, Ben Duke’s paintings keep asking, lead beyond all compromises and reveal to us, finally what a body can think and do and feel.”  — From Brian Kubarycz’s introductory essay to the catalogue entitled: Benjamin Duke 2001-2010: Ten years of Work with essays by Brian Kubarycz, and Su YuAnn, published by Garden City Publishing.


"Persistent Remainders" by Benjamin Duke, 60x65in, oil (2016), $8500 |  BUY NOW

"Persistent Remainders" by Benjamin Duke, 60x65in, oil (2016), $8500 | BUY NOW

Benjamin Duke returns to exhibit in Louisville 11 months after presenting his painting “Louisville 2015: Full of Life, Now” (2015), to Metro Hall. He was Louisville’s first participant in a visiting artist initiative, introduced in 2015 as part of the Mayor’s Music & Art Series. The painting is on display in the Mayor’s Conference Room at Metro Hall.

Duke’s work takes our recognizable existence and twists it with pretzel logic. It is immediately accessible yet touches upon deeper currents: “In my paintings I ask myself “Is this the way the world is?’ I reshape and retool my painting experience to answer that question.  But while the question begins with the world, it ends with the work itself: “Is this the way the world is in this work?”

The search is for the world in painting and painting in the world (painting worlds / painting’s world). Am I in the world or is the world in me? I allude to my life, to writers works, to imagery and it is my hope that this record of allusion conjures and creates the same. I am referring to text, theory, idea but I am also finding myself already there, looking out to see in.”

"Awakening as Self-Identity Matrix #2" by Benjamin Duke, 60x60in, oil, $8500 |  BUY NOW

"Awakening as Self-Identity Matrix #2" by Benjamin Duke, 60x60in, oil, $8500 | BUY NOW

It wasn't a Dream, It was a Real Place, Duke’s new exhibit, will run December 16, 2016 through January 27, 2017 in University of Louisville’s Cressman Center for Visual Arts at 100 East Main Street. There will be an Artist’s Reception open to the public December 16 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

"Lingua Franca #2" by Benjamin Duke, 60x72in, oil (2016), $10,000 |  BUY NOW

"Lingua Franca #2" by Benjamin Duke, 60x72in, oil (2016), $10,000 | BUY NOW

Duke is Associate Professor of painting at Michigan State University. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he received his Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art Hoffberger School of Painting. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions from Chicago to Taiwan. Duke has also been awarded international residencies at Bamboo Curtain Studios, The Kuandu Museum of Fine Art at Taipei National University of the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center.

Hometown: Louisville, KY
Education: BFA, University of Utah, Painting and Drawing Emphasis, 2002; MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Hoffberger School of Painting, 2006.
Website: http://www.bendukeart.com/
Gallery Representative: Ann Nathan Gallery (Chicago), A Gallery (Salt Lake City)

"TXT" by Benjamin Duke, 65x87in, oil (2016), $10,000 |  BUY NOW

"TXT" by Benjamin Duke, 65x87in, oil (2016), $10,000 | BUY NOW

"Awakening as Self-Identity Matrix #4" by Benjamin Duke, 65x72in, oil (2016), $8500  |  BUY NOW    

"Awakening as Self-Identity Matrix #4" by Benjamin Duke, 65x72in, oil (2016), $8500  | BUY NOW   

"Lingua Franca" by Benjamin Duke, 44x54in, oil (2016), $8500 |  BUY NOW

"Lingua Franca" by Benjamin Duke, 44x54in, oil (2016), $8500 | 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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