still life

Illustration, Painting

Art[squared] Spotlight: Julia Davis

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To celebrate the 5th Anniversary of LVA’s Art [squared] Event to Benefit Children’s Fine Art Classes, we will feature five local artists who are contributing 24” x 24” paintings to be sold at the event through a Silent Auction. Today we feature Julia Davis:

Design for CirqueLouis event, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2017

Design for CirqueLouis event, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2017

“As an artist and I want to be fully involved within the arts on many levels.” – Julia Davis

Besides her studio practice as a painter, Davis has also become involved with performance, working with Squallis Puppeteers for the last 18 months and becoming immersed in the world of puppetry, education, and creation all together. “I started working for these amazing people as an administrative assistant in the office then I started dipping into puppet mingling, which then lead to protest involvement, then to making puppets and performing with said puppets. I made my first puppet for Emperor's New Clothes, which is an adaptation of a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy tale using multiple animal rod puppets, which meant I had to find my voice as well. I eventually made my first backpack puppet for the performance of Peter and the Wolf (with the helping hand Squallis directors, Shawn Hennessey and Nora Christensen) that was utilized in a one-time performance with the Louisville Orchestra on March 17th, 2018.”

“I also I dip into the circus as an illustrator for CirqueLouis, and I am currently working on my 4th poster for them. Like Squallis, CirqueLouis is a non-profit organization that makes a great effort teaching the public and the youth of the public the importance of performance artwork, specifically the importance of the circus. Their most recent show, Kaleidoscope (November 2017) was a favorite of mine because it gave life to one of my most treasured studio items, the movable manikin. I was given a lot of artistic freedom and was able to develop a visual story in one frame. I truly love the relationship I have with CirqueLouis and will be designing the poster for their new show, Happy Birthday that will be performed at the Iroquois Amphitheater as part of that historic venue’s 80th birthday.” 

"Look before you leap" by Julia Davis, Oil on canvas, 24x24in, 2018, Featured Silent Auction Painting for 2018 Art[squared} Benefit

"Look before you leap" by Julia Davis, Oil on canvas, 24x24in, 2018, Featured Silent Auction Painting for 2018 Art[squared} Benefit

Davis remains dedicated to her studio practice for painting however, and was included in Not Just a Drawing: A Line with Intent in Chicago in March 2018. Oh, Places is a new painting that is adding on to a continuing study about the use of imagery. “My personal work contradicts realistically painted images with superimposed line work offering a question of purpose. My aim is to paint images in a realistic fashion and interrupt them with graphic line work to consistently investigate the use of imagery. The piece for "Art [Squared]", Look before you leap, is another addition to my study.” 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, University of Louisville, 2012
Website: www.JuliaDart.com
Instagram: @Julia_Davis_Art

"Peter" (for Peter and the Wolf) by Julia Davis for Squallis Puppeteers, 2018

"Peter" (for Peter and the Wolf) by Julia Davis for Squallis Puppeteers, 2018

"Pinocchia", Design for CirqueLouis poster, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchia", Design for CirqueLouis poster, digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchio" (alternate), Design for Cirque Louis poster, Digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016

"Pinocchio" (alternate), Design for Cirque Louis poster, Digital illustration by Julia Davis, 2016


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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Photography

Vignette: Dolly Miller-Brennan

“It is the journey, not the destination.” Dolly Miller-Brennan

"Christmas With Ava At Arabian Acres" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2017, $600

"Christmas With Ava At Arabian Acres" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2017, $600

Photographer Dolly Miller-Brennan embraces that well-used maxim without irony; it aptly fits her experience. Born in southern Illinois of Kentucky parentage and ancestry, she was raised in southern Indiana and western Kentucky.

“My love of photography began at age 3 sitting for what seemed like hours for my photographer/truck driver/horse trainer father”. Being allowed into the dark room with Daddy and seeing the awesome finished results made me want to be behind the camera and not in front of it.”

When Miller-Brennan photographs horses, she captures them in unique moments that stand apart from the abundance of other equine images that one encounters in Kentucky. That’s an accomplishment in The Bluegrass State, where photographs and paintings of thoroughbreds are ubiquitous. Perhaps that individual point-of-view emanates from the fact that some of these horses were photographed outside of Kentucky.

"Westward Ho" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 24x20in, 2016, $350

"Westward Ho" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 24x20in, 2016, $350

“Returning to my roots where I grew up on a truck, with horses and a camera re-created in me the desire to impart the feelings of the animals, the aura of the area and the spirit of the people involved, to those who view my images. This established an emotional and spiritual perspective to see the world around me as one spiritual all engulfing abstraction; becoming so involved when out in the field that I sometimes can not feel my surroundings but lost in the soul of what I am shooting. I want the viewer to be able to step into that picture and become part of it. I want to bring my world and my art to real people, that makes us feel integrated with each other. There should be no separation from art and the real world for the world is a glorious masterpiece of art, created by God for us to love and enjoy.”

That a camera captures a moment in time, arresting motion, goes without saying, but Miller-Brennan’s horses almost occupy the place of close friends, since her images communicate not only the beauty and power of the movement, but also a relationship to the viewer. “Eye in the Sand” is notable for the intimate, unorthodox take on a horse at play, an unguarded joy evident in the creature’s eye that easily engages us.

"Eye In The Sand" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 24x20in, 2015, $350

"Eye In The Sand" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 24x20in, 2015, $350

Miller-Brennan is a member of the El Paso Art Association, Southwestern Indiana Arts Council, (Evansville Indiana); The Tri State Art Guild, (Angel Mounds Indiana), including Southern Indiana, North Western Kentucky and South Eastern Illinois; the Richmond Area Arts Council, (Richmond, Kentucky); Louisville Visual Arts, (Louisville, Kentucky).

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Hometown: Robinson, Southern Illinois
Education: BA’s in Political Science and Studies in Photography, University of Wisconsin
Website: http://www.brennanartography.com/
Gallery Representative: The Village Framery (Palestine, Illinois); The Red Lantern Gallery (Poseyville, Indiana)

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"Door To Knowledge" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2017, $350

"Door To Knowledge" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2017, $350

"Run With The Wind Kentucky" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2015, $350

"Run With The Wind Kentucky" by Dolly Miller-Brennan, photography, 20x24in, 2015, $350


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

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Drawing, Legacy

Feature: Remembering Mary Ann Currier (1927-2017)

Mary Ann Currier in 2016. Photo by Mo Neal.

Mary Ann Currier in 2016. Photo by Mo Neal.

In days darkened by terrible loss, and so many calls to be kind to one another in the face of violent tragedy, to then to be reminded of this great Kentucky artist and teacher who so exemplified kindness and decency; seems to suggest that her departure needs be measured beyond the commonly experienced parameters of grief and sorrow. Mary Ann Currier originated in an age of a greater civility certainly than we can manage today, and brought compassion and humanity to her life that touched countless many.

When approached to give a lecture about her life and work for Louisville Visual Art a few years back, she responded with typical humility, “Oh, I’m no good at public speaking, and besides, I can’t imagine people would be that interested.” No amount of reassurance could convince her that her soft spoken manner would be a perfect fit for the intimate and relaxed luncheon format, or that people would be eager to share her company.

But I suppose, having been such a meaningful influence on so many Louisville artists over twenty years of teaching at the Louisville School of Art, and being recognized as one of the great American still life artists of the 20th century, she had earned her privacy and solitude.

In 1945, Mary Ann studied at the Chicago School of Fine Art alongside GI’s returning from World War II, often the only woman in the classroom, worked for W.K. Stewarts illustrating furniture ads, and eventually came to take classes at the Louisville School of Art, and became a member of their faculty in 1962. Among the names that came under her tutelage were Suzanne Adams, Gayle Cerlan, Denise Furnish, Lida Gordon, Rebecca Graves, Ed Hamilton, Jacque Parsley, Martin Rollins, Cathy Shepherd, and Neisja Yenawine.

Currier in the Louisville School of Art Life Drawing classroom late 1970's. Photography by Phil Wakeman

Currier in the Louisville School of Art Life Drawing classroom late 1970's. Photography by Phil Wakeman

News of her passing among the community of artists began with a message from one of her former students, Martin Rollins. Rollins, and several others had become friends with Mary Ann and visited with her often. Rollins observed: “Of her accomplishments, I know firsthand her tenure at the Louisville School of Art was one of her most treasured and one she felt most keenly. Mary Ann worked tirelessly on the development and implementation of the Foundations program at LSA as she knew it was both good for the students as well as the school, researching similar programs at other schools in the US.”

"East Palatka Onions" by Mary Ann Currier, 1983, 35x59in, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

"East Palatka Onions" by Mary Ann Currier, 1983, 35x59in, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The claim of being one of the great American still life artists of the 20th century may seem quaint and old-fashioned in 2017, but to see one of Mary Ann’s exquisitely rendered oil pastels was intoxicating. The impressive command of the medium could leave one dumbstruck, and she became renowned for her vegetables, particularly onions, which she chose for their durability among organic subjects. She captures the shiny surface and translucent, peeling layers with an almost preternatural observational skill. For an artist, it was daunting to measure your own meager skills against hers, but also inspiring in the way of all great artists, to know that human hand could achieve such verisimilitude with a sophisticated crayon. Whatever the hard work behind the image, the grace contained in each one served as a reminder that art is always about touching the divine.

"Pears in Plastic" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 20x34in , 1991, Private collection

"Pears in Plastic" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 20x34in , 1991, Private collection

That notion is even more powerfully realized in the prosaic choice of subject matter. That she turned her attention so often to flowers is not unexpected, and they are masterpieces, but it is the fruits and vegetables: the pears, onions, peppers, and the like, where she achieves that transcendence that comes from sublime technique, technique in the service of communicating the organic forms of nature with great humility. Once artists celebrated the divine through depictions of stories from various mythologies. Vaulted ceilings and church alter pieces were testaments to the Judeo-Christian god, and statues abound for the Roman deities and various pagan religions. Mary Ann Currier’s drawings are testament to the gentle, humanist spirituality of modern society.

"Apples Cezanne" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 26x31in, 1989, Private collection

"Apples Cezanne" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 26x31in, 1989, Private collection

Click on image to view the KET documentary on Mary Ann Currier

Click on image to view the KET documentary on Mary Ann Currier


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.

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Painting

Vignette: Claudia Hammer - Open Studio Weekend Artist

Beauty In Everyday Objects

"General Electric" by Claudia Hammer, 20x20in, 2017

"General Electric" by Claudia Hammer, 20x20in, 2017

The Greeks saw the divine in themselves and depicted the gods in human form, and for thousands of years it was deemed that art should only celebrate the extraordinary. Eventually artists found grace and beauty in the common people in society, and Modern Art found worthwhile subjects in the mundane and ubiquitous. Think of Pop Art’s fascination with media and advertising.

Claudia Hammer has a considerable reputation for painting portraits, and the human figure, but more recently she has turned her attention to static objects.
“Drawing or painting the figure has always been a pleasurable challenge,” says Hammer. “However, in the last few years I have really have been loving the still life. I seek the beauty in everyday objects like coffee cups, scissors, marbles, crossword puzzles, bottles, and appliances. In focusing on these items I hope to show gratitude for the overlooked but useful things that engage us in life.”

There is a thick layer of nostalgia over the objects Hammer chooses to paint. How many of the current population has ever seen an old-style, black rotary telephone? We have fancier electric mixers in today’s kitchens, but the sleek, mid-20th century design of the one we see here is classic. It might give us a warm feeling to remember our grandmother’s kitchen or grandpa’s workbench, but could it be possible that the utilitarian tools of their day were actually this beautiful? Hammer renders the objects with a sufficient degree of realism to impress us with her technique, but there is also an atmosphere, crafted from evocative background textures and a sophisticated sense of light, that places these things in the realm of misty memory.

"Old School Communication" by Claudia Hammer, oil on wood, 20x20in, 2017

"Old School Communication" by Claudia Hammer, oil on wood, 20x20in, 2017

Hammer will be showing at PYRO Gallery, where she is a member, with Mary Dennis Kannapell. The exhibit, called Modern Muse is scheduled for April 12 - May 26, 2018.

Claudia Hammer will be participating in the 2017 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. Her studio, located in the NuLu neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 4 and 5. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.


 

Hometown: New Albany Indiana
Age: 67
Website: http://www.claudiahammer.com/
Instagram: Claudia Hammer
 

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"Singer Sewing No2" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 20x20in, 2017

"Singer Sewing No2" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 20x20in, 2017

"Tools and Orbs working together" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 24x30in, 2017

"Tools and Orbs working together" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 24x30in, 2017

"Old School Communication" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 20x20in, 2017

"Old School Communication" by Claudia Hammer, oil on panel, 20x20in, 2017

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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