Painting

Vignette: Macel Hamilton

“Rooster” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on wood, 12x18in, 2018, Private Collection

“Rooster” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on wood, 12x18in, 2018, Private Collection

“Serious” art people are often skittish about paintings of animals; simple, straightforward, portraits of pets are the work of “hobbyists” they might say. Yet the concept that any artist’s practice draws directly from their immediate environment and experience is a common point of discussion in any critical appraisal.

Macel Hamilton resides in the knobs of Casey County, Kentucky, a rural area in in which her menagerie of12 dogs and 12 cats is not that unusual. So why shouldn’t these plaintive yet precocious subjects serve as a valid expression of Hamilton’s environment? Hamilton was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, so the attachment to the land and its non-human inhabitants comes naturally to Hamilton.

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A nurse by profession, Hamilton has only been painting for about 4 years, and for having painted for so brief a time, there is authoritative us of the brush in capturing the details of this “Rooster” that is compelling. Nothing is overworked. The relative lack of experience seems to have merged with the intimate understanding of subject to finish a simple, naturalistic expression of wariness in this Bantam’s face. It is as individual as any portrait of a human subject.

Hometown: Ligon, Kentucky
Facebook: Macel's art

“Dobey” by Macei Hamilton, Pastel on sanded paper, 14x10in, 2019, Private Collection

“Dobey” by Macei Hamilton, Pastel on sanded paper, 14x10in, 2019, Private Collection

“Horse” by Macei Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 12x10in, 2018, Private Collection

“Horse” by Macei Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 12x10in, 2018, Private Collection

“Baby” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 16x20in, 2018, Private Collection

“Baby” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 16x20in, 2018, Private Collection

“Low Rider” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 12x16in, 2019, Private Collection

“Low Rider” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 12x16in, 2019, Private Collection

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Drawing

Spotlight: The Academy at LVA Graduating Seniors, Part Two

“Birds on a Branch” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at IUS

“Birds on a Branch” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at IUS

On May 10, Louisville Visual Art will open the 2019 Academy Exhibition for high school students. This is the second of a two-part look at the senior students included in that exhibit.

“The Louisville Visual Art classes helped to restore the passion for art inside of me.” - Syndonia Kinderman

“Feathers Perspectives” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at IUS

“Feathers Perspectives” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at IUS

Ian Kimbell may be the model of a modern over-achiever; National Merit finalist, Presidential Scholar finalist, National Horatio Alger Scholar, Indiana Academic All-Star, National AP Scholar, speech and research awards at the state level through the Indiana Junior Academy of Science are only the top of his list of accomplishments, but today we look at the most recent work from his eight years in Children’s Fine Art Classes and the Academy at LVA.

Kimbell’s images show an interest in pattern and texture. Even in the linear form of an elephant the understated cross-hatching suggests the rough skin we associate with the oversize mammal. More interesting is the manner in which he has fashioned a row of birds snuggles in tight formation on a tree branch. Although representational, there is an eye for the abstract foundation of organic form in how Kimbell realizes the aviary chorus.

 “I have a special spot in my heart for Dean Mistler. He saw the potential for me early on in middle school and is probably the sole reason I am still devoted to art today. He was never afraid to tell me if a line was a bit off, or if I could add more color in a certain spot, or if my texture didn’t exactly match the image. But beyond that, Mr. Mistler really did teach me how to see. Before I began taking his classes in middle school, I saw red as red, I couldn’t feel textures by looking at them, I saw shapes as only shapes in our world. Mr. Mistler gave me the joy of seeing the vibrant greens and yellows of moss in the spring, and seeing the feathers of a bird and being able to imagine brushing my hand through them just by seeing them. He taught me the design of the world and how to truly appreciate the beauty of everything around me. And, on top of this, he showed me how to express these feelings on paper, scratchboard, canvas, cardboard, mosaics, and many more. I owe everything I am as an artist to Mr. Mistler.”

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Art was not all he was about. Kimbell was also Student Council President, a member of the marching band, jazz band, pep band, and the Floyd County Youth Symphony, co-President of the Latin Club, co-founder of the Dance Marathon for Riley Children’s Hospital at New Albany High School, served on the Youth Philanthropy Council, was an intern for the coordinated campaign for Joe Donnelly, did peer tutoring, and volunteered for Kentucky Science Center.

He has been accepted to Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon, Notre Dame, and Purdue for the fall, and has financial aid from all of these institutions, and is one of 106 students in the country to get the Horatio Alger national scholarship, which is $25,000.



Sydonia Kinderman took classes with LVA for 9 years at Preston Art Center (New Albany), the Louisville Water Tower, the Holy Trinity / Clifton Center, and at DuPont Manual. As an Academy student, she took Drawing and Painting 1, Drawing 2, Painting 2, Studio Art, Print Making, and Developing Concepts 1.

“Dude It's 3AM” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual

“Dude It's 3AM” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual

Like any young artist, you can find a range of themes and techniques in Kinderman’s work, but the images we see here explore visual darkness as a way to capture darkness in human lives. “Dude, It’s 3AM” evokes a multitude of shared memories of the lonely places available to us in the wee hours. Kinderman comes by the image honestly, but it connects to a tradition of socially conscious art, imbued with sensitivity to human psychology.

“When the art teachers at my school lost patience with me, at a time when I was struggling with health issues, they made me feel very discouraged and I began question my interest in art. Ultimately, I chose to be removed from art classes at my school. I wasn’t sure I would ever find my passion and love of art again. The Louisville Visual Art classes helped to restore that passion inside of me and inspired me to keep learning. I feel like all the teachers that I had throughout my years with the LVA have gone above and beyond what most art teachers would but if I were to single one out, it would be Wilma Bethel, for all that she taught me, both about art and about being an artist.”

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Kinderman is a very active athlete, participating in the Archery team at school (Most Improved Archer, Top Female Archer, 1st Place Female Archer at the Fairdale Pre-State Shoot Out tournament, and 2nd Place at the 2018 Farnsley Spring Shoot Out Tournament), a swim team during the summer, and Mixed Martial Arts through the year. She received the Distinguished Scholars Award from Bellarmine University and also received a National Society of High School Scholars award.

Since 9th grade Kinderman has volunteered as a coach for an organization called Girls On The Run, a program for young girls to learn how to build character while also learning to be healthy and active. She also volunteered at Studio Works by Zoom Group for 2 years.

Kinderman has been accepted to Flagler, Bellarmine, WKU, EKU, U of L, UK, Moorehead State, Ohio University, Greenville, University of Indianapolis, and Long Island University. I have received some scholarships and financial aid. My projected major is psychology and art as a double major. 

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“Cerynitis” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual.

“Cerynitis” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual.

“Coercion” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual.

“Coercion” by Sydonia Kinderman, from the Academy class at DuPont Manual.

“Savannah Scene” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at US

“Savannah Scene” by Ian Kimbell, New Albany High School, from the Academy class at US


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Print Making, Painting, Drawing, Digital

Spotlight: The Academy at LVA Graduating Seniors, Part One

“Bliss” by Madelynn Hicks, North Oldham High School

“Bliss” by Madelynn Hicks, North Oldham High School

On May 10, Louisville Visual Art will open the 2019 Academy Exhibition for high school students. This is the first of a two-part look at the senior students included in that exhibit.

“LVA has made a major difference in my life” - Alexis Fromm

“Mushroom Bride” by Natalie Stastny, Atherton High School

“Mushroom Bride” by Natalie Stastny, Atherton High School

In the work of these three graduating seniors we see a preoccupation with a deconstruction of the human form. Bodies are modified through dismemberment, the peeling of skin, or a grafting of mushrooms onto the epidermis, not for horrific effect but as metaphorical signposts for the adolescent introspection building a foundation for identity. Each of these artists is still finding themselves, searching for who they are by peeling themselves like an onion.

Whether or not the exact images are self-portraits is beside the point; all art expresses the aesthetic concerns of the individual. In “Moulting” Madelyn Hicks depicts a woman’s torso, bereft of hips, legs, or feet, stripping away skin. The piece may be inspired by a case of post-beach vacation sunburn, but it elicits feelings of discomfort in the viewer in part because the woman so casually changes her physical form without any preciousness or hesitation.

Natalie Stastny’s “Mushroom Bride” wears a garment made of the plants, or is the fungus a part of her skin? The ambiguity is compelling, but the choice of color, gesture, and expression do not suggest distress. Whatever the reality, the bride seems happy enough.

A print from Alexis Fromm is slightly more gruesome. It shows a naked female torso in which the skin has been pulled away to reveal an oversize eyeball surrounded by teardrops. The merging of vivisection and whimsy is pure surrealism. We want to turn away but we cannot.

These are arguably the more overt examples of a fascination with the physical self that might be claimed as a teenage stereotype, but the level of confident, even sardonic self-awareness and forensic examination is impressive. One of Fromm’s favorite subjects seems to be animal skulls, although she extends them into fantastical forms beyond the mundane farm inhabitants whose brains they once held. “Hellboy” imagines the horns and stretched earlobes of the comic book character.

And Hicks’ young person eating Tostitos from the bag while prone on their bed in violation of how many rules of civilized behavior is not quite “Ladylike”, but the image suggests that they could care less about outmoded nomenclature intended to restrict all natural impulses for comfort.     

Meanwhile, Stastny is fond of entangling her figures in organic forms that seem to bind and blind them. We assume it is not because she doesn’t like drawing eyes that she inevitably shields them from view.

All three artists are fearless in exploring the plasticity of the body, lending it malleability that aligns them with Modern and Post-modern movements.

Alexis Fromm has been in LVA classes since 7th grade. She will be attending Spalding University with a $6,000 Merit Scholarship and a projected major of Studio Arts.

“After my first class with Rodolfo Salgado Jr., I fell in love with Printmaking and have taken every printmaking class with him that was available. Before LVA I did not know what printmaking was and I didn’t know the large variety of art that was in the world besides clothing, painting, and drawing. LVA has inspired me to go to college and pursue my love for art.”

Fromm has worked as a volunteer for Steam Exchange Community Arts Center over the past four years. With Steam Exchange she attended the Mayor’s Give A Day to help clean out their building and clean up around the Smoketown neighborhood.

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Madelyn Hicks has taken LVA classes every semester for all four years of high school: Studio Art with Rudy Salgado, Drawing 1 and 2 with Wilma Bethel, Painting 1 with Dennis Whitehouse and Sunny Ra, and Painting 2 with Sunny Ra, Julie Leidner, and Tenille Novinger. She was accepted into several schools and will be attending The University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program in the fall and majoring in Industrial Design 

Hicks was accepted into GATES (Gifted and Talented Educational Services) for art, and the Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) 2018 program. She also won an LVA competition to have her work featured on the 2018-19 season poster for The Kentucky Opera.

“LVA truly taught me how to make art. My teachers all taught me different techniques and styles of creating that shaped me into the artist I am today. The classes I took with Sunny Ra in drawing and painting established the foundations I needed to discover my perspective as an artist and work not only technically but also conceptually. Sunny definitely went above and beyond for me and was extremely helpful in building a portfolio for both GSA and college auditions. The different perspectives and skills I learned through LVA have provided a strong base for me as a creator.”

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Natalie Stastny has taken Academy at LVA classes for three years: 2 Digital Art classes with Lilly Higgs, one Drawing and Painting class with Sunny Ra, and one Drawing and Painting class with Julie Leidner. She has been accepted at and received scholarships and/or financial aid for the Art Academy of Cincinnati, the Columbus School of Art and Design, and Eastern Illinois University.

Stastny is also involved in National Art Honors Society and the Atherton High School Art Club and earned a varsity letter in Swimming. She has represented Atherton on WLKY and the PBS News Hour talking about the school’s transgender bathroom policy.

“My favorite class with LVA has been the Digital drawing class. I’ve taken it twice mostly because the program itself helped me understand digital media but also because my teacher (Lilly Higgs) was very encouraging and helped me practice digital drawing with tablets, which at the time was a resource I did not have access to at home.”

“I loved all of my classes and think they have helped me a lot in both my personal and school related art projects. Lilly Higgs and Julie Leidner especially seemed to want to talk to me and get to know me better. I won’t forget the kindness that those teachers offered me. It also allowed me more practice time during the day and a space where I can just be creative and also learn the basics of art at the same time.”

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“Frida Kahlo” by Alexis Fromm

“Frida Kahlo” by Alexis Fromm

“Moulting” by Madelynn Hicks, North Oldham High School

“Moulting” by Madelynn Hicks, North Oldham High School

“Siren Queen” by Natalie Stastny, Atherton High School

“Siren Queen” by Natalie Stastny, Atherton High School

“Lady” by Alexis Fromm

“Lady” by Alexis Fromm


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Painting

2019 art[squared] Featured Artist: LaNia Roberts

“Still” by LaNia Roberts, Honey, ink, & charcoal, 24x24in, $900, Available for purchase through Silent Auction at the 2019 Art[squared] Preview Party Fundrasier

“Still” by LaNia Roberts, Honey, ink, & charcoal, 24x24in, $900, Available for purchase through Silent Auction at the 2019 Art[squared] Preview Party Fundrasier

The 2019 art[squared] Fundraiser will feature the work of three local artists sold through silent auction.

LaNia Roberts is from Louisville and grew up in neighborhoods west and south of downtown. As a young girl of color who struggled with her identity, she discovered in visual art a creative outlet for self-expression that would prove transformative. After several years in Louisville Visual Art’s Children’s Fine Art Classes, she entered Syracuse University in New York, and while there wrote a blog for Huffington Post, became a motivational speaker, and was the subject of stories in several publications including Cosmopolitan (April 2015).

“My work addresses the creation of self, and the social constructs that control perception,” explains Roberts. “By continuously searching for the real truths about my own humanity and others around me, I uncover my findings through the medium that best fits. Taking the form of portraiture, I work with painting in honey and charcoal, art video, and photo collage to convey truths about the humanity I see in my friends, my family, and myself.”

“Marcus's Light and Shadow” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 46x42in, 2018, $1000

“Marcus's Light and Shadow” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 46x42in, 2018, $1000

“The process of healing and reconstruction are engaged through the mediums of honey and charcoal applied with fluid brush strokes that hinge on the discomfort of the unfinished. Reflecting upon honey’s natural antibacterial components, used traditionally through ancient and modern times to reconcile wounds and bodily dysfunctions and charcoal as a substance which helps flush out toxins in the body when consumed, I explore healing as an ongoing process. The mixture of these mediums speaks to the dark and sweet process of healing engaging simultaneously joy and pain and shifting the negative connotations associated with darkness through its coupling with sweetness.
The dormant self-portrait alludes to the release of control, and the natural process of transformational healing.”

All self-portraiture is revealing, but when Roberts makes herself the subject of her images they are confessional, obtaining an intimacy that might makes some viewers uncomfortable. What has earned us such a privileged glimpse into LaNia’s privacy? The emotional vulnerability of the work challenges our own introspective gaze and forces the viewer to ask, “Could I be this honest?”

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That tone is communicated through a spontaneous use of medium, a freedom that allows the blending of organic and artificial materials. When you lean in close, you can smell the honey on the canvas, and the smell reinforces the sweetness of the freedom Roberts earns from making art. 

Roberts has recently exhibited in Louisville at 1619 Flux and in New Albany at the Carnegie Center for Art & History.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, Syracuse University 
Instagram: @bylania / www.instagram.com/bylania

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“Grandmama and Lil' Rell Rell” by LaNia Roberts, Vine Charcoal on Paper , 41x29in, 2019, $800

“Grandmama and Lil' Rell Rell” by LaNia Roberts, Vine Charcoal on Paper , 41x29in, 2019, $800

“The Colored Gaze” by LaNia Roberts, Watercolor on Illustration Board, 40x30in, 2017, $800

“The Colored Gaze” by LaNia Roberts, Watercolor on Illustration Board, 40x30in, 2017, $800

“Randal Simply Sitting” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 23.5x19in, 2018, $350

“Randal Simply Sitting” by LaNia Roberts, Photo Collage on Paper, 23.5x19in, 2018, $350

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Photography

Vignette: Mia Hanson

“Ida Disa” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Ida Disa” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

To begin at the beginning, photographer Mia Hanson has a first memory of a camera: “While my parents were away, I sought out a 35mm film camera from a glass case and held it to my right eye; instantly, the world around me had space and definition unlike before. It was a new way of seeing, I realized.”

Today when Hanson teaches digital photography for Louisville Visual Art, she keeps this important “first time” in mind. “We’re not just  taking fun pictures in class, we are learning how to see in a new way.”

Hanson’s images often discover an otherworldly quality, a view of human figures that escapes the mundane details of corporeal existence. One is tempted use the word ghost, and while it is true that a ghost might appear in a Mia Hanson photograph, we must be open to a more organic and ephemeral relationship between the artist and her subject. As Hanson explains in a 2006 interview:

“I'm always searching for the soul of my subject. As a photographer, I try to tap into some other frequency of mood and emotion that is there, yet hidden. Unlike the painter who creates from imagination, I'm fascinated with the thought of lifting the veil from our given reality.”

All art can investigate this thin place of transition between Illusion and Reality, Life and Death, posing questions about different planes of existence, if not always answering them. Photography occupies a special place in this territory, because it plays on our expectations that the camera is capturing an objective reality, when the truth is that it is another tool in the artist’s box. Even when Hanson is using natural environments, such as in “Disturbance in Central Park”, the location is suggestive of a fantasy world. The pensive pose could be anywhere in the world, and only the title ties it to a few yards from a busy Manhattan street. And the image is timeless. It looks to me like a frame enlargement from an early silent film. Look at stills from F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise for a comparison.

“Disturbance Central Park” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Disturbance Central Park” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

Hanson has lived in Stockholm but returned to the states with her partner, painter Hawk Alfredson to live for several years in the fabled Chelsea Hotel in NYC. While in residence there she, “Created portraits utilizing the light and charged energy of the hotel atmosphere while careful not to disturb or “document “ what is not entirely capable of being captured. The ghosts are best left alone.”

We can venture a guess how much the Hotel Chelsea influenced Hanson’s images, but it may a rhetorical question. If we entertain the notion of an artist connecting to other realities, then both she and Alfredson might have arrived at the Chelsea guided by unseen but always present forces. That may sound eccentric and picturesque, but, after all, we are talking about connecting to an ethereal plane.

Hanson’s work has appeared as cover art illustration for publishing houses such as Random House, Houghton & Mifflin, and Simon & Schuster, as well as magazine editorial work for Psychology Today and New York Black Book. She has exhibited internationally and is currently teaching for Louisville Visual Art.

Photo: Hawk Alfredson

Photo: Hawk Alfredson


Hometown: Santa Monica, Ca.
Education: Studied film theory and photography in San Francisco’s Bay Area before leaving to pursue a photographic mentorship with influential photographer/ videographer Matt Mahurin in NYC in the 90’s.
Website: www.miahanson.com


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“Jennica” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Jennica” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Balance” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Balance” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Terezka the Betrothed Shrew” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR

“Terezka the Betrothed Shrew” by Mia Hanson, Photograph, POR


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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