symbol

Painting

Vignette: Gretchen Treitz


“Trees for me are a symbol of strength, a metaphor of hope.” – Gretchen Treitz


"Sycamore" by Gretchen Treitz, 8x8in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016)

"Sycamore" by Gretchen Treitz, 8x8in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016)

Trees are important in the work of Gretchen Treitz, the form providing compositional structure while also expressing a highly spiritual theme. Everyone has heard of druids, but Treitz is following a longer, more complicated tradition of using the tree as a religious symbol; their endless cycle of renewal allows an easy metaphor for life, and the evergreen has often represented the eternal or divine for precisely its lack of a cycle of change. No death or renewal, but constant and unending life.

“I am amazed how trees seem to personify a perfect being in adversity. My current series of trees is an attempt to explore a reality beyond appearances. Like many artists from the past, I use nature, light, and celestial luminosity to search for the divine. Painting trees with silver leaf not only highlights their shape but also calls forth the universal tension between matter and spirit. I engage trees to approach the spiritual realms of the wilderness, the cosmos, and the mysteries of the soul. Trees for me are a symbol of strength, a metaphor of hope. Silver leaf, white gold leaf, and aluminum leaf emulate a kind of ethereal light. I utilize these materials to represent the delicate vulnerability of sky, wind, atmosphere, and other environmental factors. Other times I manipulate these metal leaves and watercolor to embody the wonder of the life energy of a tree’s progression against these forces.”

"Light on Broken Places II" by Gretchen Treitz, 15x15in, watercolor, silverleaf (2017)

"Light on Broken Places II" by Gretchen Treitz, 15x15in, watercolor, silverleaf (2017)

Treitz was just a part of Painting Exhibition #1 at Galerie Hertz in Louisville, and in 2016 participated in Aqueous, Kentucky Watercolor Society, Actor’s Theater, Louisville, and in Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, Community Arts Center, Danville, KY.

Permanent Collections:
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn New York
National Westminster Bank, New York, New York
Hilliard-Lyons Collection, Louisville, KY
Holcomb Farm Permanent Collection, Granby, CT
Private Collections in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Michigan

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Stephens College, Columbia, MO; MFA, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Website: http://www.gretchentreitz.com/

"Kentucky's State Champion Swamp Chestnut Oak" by Gretchen Treitz, 14x14in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016)

"Kentucky's State Champion Swamp Chestnut Oak" by Gretchen Treitz, 14x14in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016)

"Good Fruit II" by Gretchen Treitz, 25x25in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016), $2000 |  BUY NOW

"Good Fruit II" by Gretchen Treitz, 25x25in, watercolor, silverleaf (2016), $2000 | BUY NOW

"Rose on Gerardia" by Gretchen Treitz, 10x12in, watercolor, silverleaf (2015)

"Rose on Gerardia" by Gretchen Treitz, 10x12in, watercolor, silverleaf (2015)

"Study for In the Shadows" by Gretchen Treitz, 8x10in, watercolor, silverleaf (2015)

"Study for In the Shadows" by Gretchen Treitz, 8x10in, watercolor, silverleaf (2015)

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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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: Tom Cannady

"Scooch Over, Hon" by Tom Cannady, 48x60in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $3600  |  BUY NOW

"Scooch Over, Hon" by Tom Cannady, 48x60in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $3600  | BUY NOW

Tom Cannady describes his paintings as, “nostalgic representations of Americana,” and he has expressed that notion primarily through the use of mid-20th century automobiles, vacation images, and signs. Iconic images filled with the sunlight and faux innocence of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

There were often people before, but they were typical – middle class Americans living the dream on a hard-earned vacation, but in newer work, Cannady introduces some of the same over-exaggerated quality that we find in the 1950’s cars: sleek, fins and detailing that call attention to themselves and remind us of a time when how a car looked mattered more than fuel efficiency, into human female figures. “They Went That Away” highlights the kind of emphatic sex symbol of the period, while “Scooch Over” completes the relationship between objectification of women and automobiles that has never left us, but which was in much greater bloom at this seminal moment.  

"OneTwoThree" by Tom Cannady, 24x36in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $1800  |  BUY NOW

"OneTwoThree" by Tom Cannady, 24x36in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $1800  | BUY NOW

Cannady creates paintings in what he describes as, “a pop impressionist style creating new perspectives or recreating unique moods from another time. I use vintage photographs acquired from multiple sources as reference points and inspiration. Many were originally printed in black & white, which gives me complete freedom to choose the pallet best suited to the composition. I lean to warm, bright hues with strong contrast.”

Cannady is currently showing works at Makers Crucible Showroom and Craft(s) Gallery & Mercantile in Louisville, Kentucky. In November 2016 he was selected as one of twenty artists representing the sixty participants in the LVA Open Studio Weekend in a group show of work at the University of Louisville, Hite Gallery.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 59
Education: BS in Marketing and a minor in Art, Murray State University
Website: http://www.tjcannady.com

"They Went That Away" by Tom Cannady, 36x48in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $2400 |  BUY NOW

"They Went That Away" by Tom Cannady, 36x48in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $2400 | BUY NOW

"Launch Party" by Tom Cannady, 48x24in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $2400 |  BUY NOW

"Launch Party" by Tom Cannady, 48x24in, acrylic on canvas (2016), $2400 | BUY NOW

"Hurry Up, Fred!" by Tom Cannady, 48x36in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $2800 |  BUY NOW

"Hurry Up, Fred!" by Tom Cannady, 48x36in, acrylic on canvas (2015) $2800 | BUY NOW

Cannady's studio

Cannady's studio

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

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Fiber

Vignette: Kathleen Loomis


“My flags are somewhat the worse for wear.” Kathleen Loomis


"Fading" by Kathleen Loomis, 59x99in, fiber (2016) $8000 |  BUY NOW

"Fading" by Kathleen Loomis, 59x99in, fiber (2016) $8000 | BUY NOW

Political art can be a misnomer; on some level all of art is, by its very existence, ‘political’, and more overt statements are often best realized in simple terms. In her most recent work, Kathleen Loomis has been working with the American flag, appropriate both in that she is a fiber artist, and that there is arguably no symbol that carries more emotional and thematic weight than the Red, White, and Blue.

"Flagging" by Kathleen Loomis, 98x54in, fiber (2016) $7000  |  BUY NOW  

"Flagging" by Kathleen Loomis, 98x54in, fiber (2016) $7000  | BUY NOW 

“The flag is a stand-in for our country, so flags in distress convey feelings about the state of our democracy. Even beyond the disturbing recent elections, it seems that so many things in government and our legal system are going downhill. Maybe our nation and its democratic ideals aren’t as crisp and bright as they used to be; as a nation we are getting weary and have lost our mojo, so my flags are somewhat the worse for wear.”

Loomis’ statement may reveal a particular position, and the images are equally straightforward, yet they do not limit themselves by pointing to cause or solution. There are protocols for flying the flag that reinforce that it is also a vital tool for communication – flown upside down it is a symbol of distress to approaching forces, so co-opting it as a motif in visual art feels natural. “Kentucky Graveyard” and “Postage 3 Memorial Day” powerfully comment on the cost of freedom by echoing the flag-draped caskets of deceased military returning from foreign wars, while “More Equal Than Others” speaks to the inequity that has always been a struggle in American society. Loomis may have current events on her mind, but these themes are forever with us.

You can keep up with Loomis through a lively and informative blog on her website. Loomis joined Pyro Gallery in 2016, and is currently a part of the New Year, New Pyro Artists exhibit that runs through February 18, and will be participating in an Artist’s Gallery Talk there on Saturday, January 14, at 12:30pm.

"Fading" (detail)

"Fading" (detail)

Recent Exhibitions:
·      Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN, Dialogues, 2016
·      Dairy Barn, Athens, OH, and on tour throughout the US, Quilt National ’15, ’11, ’09, and ’03 (Quilts Japan Prize, 2009)
·      Jasper Arts Center, Jasper, IN, Annual Juried Art Exhibits, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2011, 2015 (award of merit), 2011, Best in Show, 2015).

Hometown: Saginaw, Michigan
Education: BA in Journalism, Syracuse University; MSJ Northwestern University
Website: http://kathleenloomis.com

"Kentucky Graveyard (Iraq)" by Kathleen Loomis, 71x60in, fiber (2006) NFS

"Kentucky Graveyard (Iraq)" by Kathleen Loomis, 71x60in, fiber (2006) NFS

"Kentucky Graveyard (Iraq)" (detail)

"Kentucky Graveyard (Iraq)" (detail)

"Postage 3: Memorial Day" by Kathleen Loomis, 86x100in, fiber (2008) NFS

"Postage 3: Memorial Day" by Kathleen Loomis, 86x100in, fiber (2008) NFS

"Postage 3: Memorial Day" (detail)

"Postage 3: Memorial Day" (detail)

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.

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