show

Painting

Vignette: Erik Orr

Artist, Erik Orr

Artist, Erik Orr

Flipping Reality On Its Head

Writer William Goldman once opined that the difference between art and popular entertainment might be that entertainment comforts, but art should unsettle us; prompt us to ask questions. Erik Orr’s paintings immediately prompt us to wonder what we are looking at: is this a painting or a photograph? When you take into account that his subjects are primarily iconic figures in popular entertainment, music, culture, comics, and videogames, then Goldman’s proposition comes under challenge. The familiarity of celebrity faces may seem to offer accessible pop pleasures, but the presentation of the artist won’t quite allow us such a cushy perspective.

In his most recent artist’s statement, Orr describes his intentions: “My more recent works use techniques that blend traditional painting through a filter of digital technology, the works create optical illusions that will make you question your own eyes. At a time when we experience our world through screens of all sizes, these works flip that reality on its head and present paintings that look as if they are digital images from afar.”

"Anthony Michael Hall" by Erik Orr, 2.5x3.5ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"Anthony Michael Hall" by Erik Orr, 2.5x3.5ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"River Phoenix" by Erik Orr, 3x4ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"River Phoenix" by Erik Orr, 3x4ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

Orr builds his portraits with organic vertical lines that suggest a photograph enlarged beyond what its quality should allow, yet such a question is made almost moot in the limitless digital resolution of the moment. His work straddles the divide between digital and analog both functionally and conceptually.

“In my current show, New Work, at Revelry Boutique Gallery I intend the work to showcase the culture that has influenced me to become the artist I am today.”

Orr resides in the Highlands of Louisville Kentucky with his wife and two young children. He is employed as a Graphic Designer at a marketing company and plans to continue to grow and show his work more frequently in the coming years.

New Work runs through September 6 at Revelry Boutique & Gallery.

Age: 37
Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia
Education: Associates Degree in Communication Design, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA); BA, Art and Visual Technology with a Minor in Art History George Mason University
Website: www.erikorr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/erik_orr/

"B-Boy" by Erik Orr, 3x3ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"B-Boy" by Erik Orr, 3x3ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"Twiggy" by Erik Orr, 3x4ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

"Twiggy" by Erik Orr, 3x4ft, acrylic on wood (2017)

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

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Painting

Q&A: Quappi Projects


“We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts.“ – John Brooks


Artist, John Brooks

Artist, John Brooks

Q&A with John Brooks about Quappi Projects

‘Quappi’ was the nickname of Mathilde von Kaulbach, who was married to German New Objectivist painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950). It was derived from the similarity of her surname to the German word Kaulquappe, meaning ‘tadpole’.

It is a singular phrase with no other formal meaning, which seems to delight Louisville artist John Brooks, and so he chose it as the moniker of his new exhibition initiative, Quappi Projects. Occupying most of his current studio space at 1520 B Lytle Street in the Portland neighborhood, the mission is to showcase four artists each year from in and outside of Louisville. The inaugural show will be work of Adam Chuck, a Cleveland, Ohio native, now living and making work in Brooklyn, New York.

What motivated you to devote some of your studio space to exhibition space for other artists?

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

Running a gallery is an endeavor I've long been interested in, but it was difficult to imagine a way in which I could maintain a studio practice, run a gallery, and afford to do both. I was between studios in 2015 and spent the summer in Berlin. Part of that time was spent studying under the German artist Norbert Bisky, whose work I've admired for a long time.  We discussed a lot of things, including lamenting the difficulty of finding avenues to show and share work. He advised that I (or anyone!) should just "start my own thing;" so I've had this bee in my bonnet for a couple of years. Since January 2016 I've shared my Lytle Street studio space with another artist, and when he decided to move out I knew that this was my opportunity. The space is perfect - clean, bright, white, and with enough room to allow me to continue my studio practice and to exhibit others' work in a proper way.

As an artist, I know how difficult it can be to find arenas in which to show your work, and I am thrilled by the idea that I can provide that opportunity to other artists. Also, I've been fortunate to live in both London and Chicago, and have traveled the United States and Europe fairly extensively, so I feel like I have a broad range of art-related experiences and knowledge that I can rely on to help inform the direction of the gallery's platform.

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

How did you become aware of Adam Chuck's work?

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

Adam Chuck paints primarily images from social media; fittingly, we "met" quite randomly through Instagram a few years ago. Though we've never yet met in person, we have developed what I consider to be a real friendship, which speaks both to the power and possibilities of social media but also the power and purity of his work. When it became clear that Quappi Projects was really going to happen, I knew I wanted to inaugurate the gallery with a show of Adam's work and happily he said yes. I'm a fan (and a collector) of his work and am so excited to be able to share it with the Louisville art community and the city at large. At first glance, Adam's work might seem to border on the salacious, but I think it creeps up to that line and then walks back. Most of the work is tiny, phone-screen-sized, owing its existence to social media platforms such as Instagram. The work is intimate, sensual and extremely honest. Each work is an exposure, really; it is essentially about reaching out, about the deep desire to connect, and represents an attempt to know and be known. In an age of terror and big fears, Adam's work seems infused with knowledge of those fears, but speaks more to the fundamental needs and basic human fears of need: to be desired, to be loved, to be seen, to be considered.

Tell me about the term "quappi"? I know the Beckman story, but what does it mean to you?

I believe very much in the transformative power of art. I have experienced this enough times in my own life to understand and value its merit, and I firmly believe that the highest function of art is to allow human beings to know ourselves more deeply. My own work has been concerned with the emotional resonance of particular experiences and what Max Beckmann described as "the deepest feeling about the mystery of being." Quappi Projects' goal is to exhibit contemporary art reflecting the zeitgeist, and the zeitgeist is mighty strange. Perhaps all times are strange, but I don't think there's any arguing that we are living in very strange times.

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts. I find that very worrying. I think the experiences of 20th Century German artists like Max Beckmann (and others) are relevant to us today.  Beckmann didn't consider himself a political person, yet his entire life was thrown into upheaval because of politics. He considered political concerns to be secondary to the concerns of the spiritual or metaphysical. Although I am a political person (and have a BA in Political Science) I agree with him and certainly find most explicitly political work too narrowly focused. At the same time, I think the best art reflects the times in which it was created, so it must have some element of the political. Take Velazquez' "Las Meninas," for example - artistically, it is a masterpiece, but it also tells us so much about the Spanish Court and what was going on at the time. I find that balance fascinating, and hopefully we can show work that is interesting in the same way. Even if we fall just a little short of "Las Meninas," we'll be very successful!

I plan to alternate non-Louisville-based and Louisville-based artists have a great series of artists lined up: Baghdad, Iraq-born artist Vian Sora, who now lives and works in Louisville; Louisville native Whit Forrester, who lives in Chicago and just graduated with an MFA from Columbia College; wood artisan Michael James Moran, a central Kentucky native who now lives and works in the Hudson Valley; and photographer Ryan Tassi.

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

Beckmann credited Quappi with keeping him going, keeping him on task and inspired. I think we're living in times when we must keep going, be on task, and be inspired. It's very easy to want to give into the notion of being quiet and comfortable, but I think we must resist that. We must be open, communicate, and connect. I'm hoping the spirit of Quappi can help me do that.

Adam Chuck / Instant Gratification

August 18 – September 29
Opening: Friday, August 18 / 5:00-9:00pm

Quappi Projects
1520 B Lytle Street
Gallery open by appointment only
www.quappiprojects.com

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

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

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Painting

Vignette: Joshua Jenkins

"Searching For Enlightenment" by Joshua Jenkins, 43 x 64 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Searching For Enlightenment" by Joshua Jenkins, 43 x 64 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)


“Art to me is the soul’s communication - a response to experience and life.” — Joshua Jenkins


"Summertime Contemplation" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Summertime Contemplation" by Joshua Jenkins, 24 x 18 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

Like any good Expressionist, Joshua Jenkins builds an atmosphere divorced from recognizable reality, and then populates it with figures of solidity that are often indistinct, occupying space as a mass but lacking the specifics of individual character. There is some detail in the faces he attaches to these figures, often on necks that protrude forward, so that the features often give the impression of a mask. Oftentimes the only insight provide for these figures are what they are holding: a stringed instrument is a common item, or a particular hat might give us some clue about the personality. Jenkins is more concerned with the composition and action of the paint, using setting and placement to suggest narrative.

“Some of the works in the show, like 'Summertime Contemplation' & 'Searching for Enlightenment' are an obvious transition from the body of work from my show Somewhere In Between Anxiety & Serenity,” states Jenkins. “There a lot of the paintings had more muted colors and calmer lines. A lot of these newer pieces harken back to my earlier work, the bolder style with warmer colors that I’m known for.”

"Summer Heat (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Heat (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Nights" by Joshua Jenkins, 48 x 30 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Summer Nights" by Joshua Jenkins, 48 x 30 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

For many artists, the theme of summer would conjure up images of sunbaked landscapes, perhaps a beach-lined coastline - open areas of escape. But in “Summer Heat”, Jenkins captures the claustrophobic swelter of a crowded urban environment. This artist’s summer also include a domestic scene of four figures in a modern day family in “Summer Nights”, and the detail of the faces is noticeably more developed, with hair and facial details that suggest an element of autobiography in the scene. As most of the paintings show figures of some universality, here we get the sense that Jenkins knows these people, that this is his summer, and not necessarily anyone else’s.

Jenkins’ solo show, Summertime, will be opening at Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, 3803 Brownsboro Road, August 10 with an Artist’s Open House from 5:00pm-7:30pm.

Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
Age: 30
Education: BA in Digital Media with a Minor in Studio Art, Marist College (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Gallery Representative: Joshua is self-represented locally, but has works available at Revelry Gallery, KORE Gallery, New Editions Gallery (Lexington, KY), and at Caza Sikes (Cincinnati, OH)
Website: http://www.joshuajenkinsart.com

"Summer Heat" by Joshua Jenkins, 64 x 59 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016-2017)

"Summer Heat" by Joshua Jenkins, 64 x 59 x 1 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2016-2017)

"Summer Nights (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Summer Nights (detail)" by Joshua Jenkins

"Nature’s Musicians" by Joshua Jenkins, 36 x 48 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

"Nature’s Musicians" by Joshua Jenkins, 36 x 48 x 1.5 in, acrylic and mixed media on canvas (2017)

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

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Photography, Mixed Media

Vignette: Melissa Hall


“Integrating my photography with encaustic processes blurs the line between reality and narrative.” — Melissa Hall


"Look Outward" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017), $820 |  BUY NOW

"Look Outward" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017), $820 | BUY NOW

Melissa Hall is “drawn to locations and objects that are patinaed, worn, and wear their age like a badge on their surface, displaying their history. These decaying spaces spark my imagination and allow me to tell stories of the lives that could have been lived between the walls.”

"The Weight" by Melissa Hall, 24x48in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $940 |  BUY NOW

"The Weight" by Melissa Hall, 24x48in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $940 | BUY NOW

We see female figures that are literally imprisoned within physical circumstances: a mermaid struggles inside of a ticket booth aquarium. The cubical is ludicrously small for her, but even if it were more spacious, it would remain confining. And another woman occupies an attic space, her body disappearing into a window, and even if we cannot see her face, we might, without too much difficulty, imagine a look of longing in her face. In any event she seems ready to depart; she clutches ropes tied to a brace of travel cases, her life further confined within even smaller spaces.

“My imagery evokes conceptual undercurrents from myths, twisted fairy tales, and simple aspects of everyday life. My work is built by combining photographs with translucent layers of encaustic medium, oil paint, and pastels. Integrating my photography with encaustic processes blurs the line between reality and narrative.”

In the work we see here, that layered effect is perhaps most obvious in “Stand,” an image in which the woman is not constrained by space. She stares out at a horizon filled with the ocean, typically a symbol of boundless freedom. Yet how is it that even in this instance, this figure also feels somehow limited? Hall plays with our expectations, crafting a tension and speaking to troubling issues of identity. 

Hall has a solo show, Aggressively Fragile, running June 13 – July 21, 2017 at the MS Rezny Gallery in Lexington, KY. There will be a Coffee & Artist Demo on July 8th, 11am-1pm, and an Artist’s Closing Reception July 21st, 5-8 pm, in conjunction with the LexArts Gallery Hop.

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Education: BS Computer Science & Mathematics
Gallery Representation: MS Rezny (Lexington)
Website: http://www.melissathall.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissathallstudios/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissathall/

"Endure" by Melissa Hall, 21x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |    BUY NOW

"Endure" by Melissa Hall, 21x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

"On Display" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |  BUY NOW

"On Display" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

"Hurry Up and Wait" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |  BUY NOW

"Hurry Up and Wait" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

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.

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

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