Sunday, December 19, 2010

FLYING LEAP ART SPACE

Flying Leap Art Space is a hybrid combination of art gallery, teaching studio, library, and sitting room with a gift shop. It's the concept of Donna Colby, who has been a resident of Fairfield and an art educator in the area since the early 1980's. Accessibility to the space is what I consider to be one of its best characteristics it's even open on Sunday afternoons for her students and any gallery goers that may stop by. Donna also happens to be an artist who has continued to study the history of art herself, as her carefully chosen library shows. In visiting with her, she's always able to offer words of encouragement and insight about the work of others. Donna Colby is one whose activity within Fairfield, Iowa has definitely helped its art scene to thrive. What if every town had a Donna Colby and a similar art space?
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The art library.
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Book art on display in the gallery.
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The sitting room.
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One view of the gift shop.
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A view of part of the studio where Donna teaches.
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More about Flying Leap Art Space can be found at: flyingleapartspace.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

JERI FELIX

"Blue" acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"
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In 2005, I received a postcard in the mail announcing a new show by a local artist. That postcard still hangs on a wall in my home today, a testament to how much I admire the work of Jeri Felix. I got a chance to visit Jeri at her studio and learned a lot more about her.
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Resourceful is how I would best describe Jeri Felix. She's a fervent shopper at thrift stores where most of her clothing is bought. Jeri has also supported herself by making art and selling antiques, among other things. So, while living this frugal life, she considers herself extremely blessed as she is able to concentrate on her artwork.
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Jeri received her MFA at the University of Cincinatti and has taught art to all ages -- preschool and up. My ears perked up when she told me about how she traveled to New Mexico, staying for months there and making art while camping on Sante Fe Mountain. She also has some great stories about her many antique finds.
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It's Jeri's color usage that has really hit me, though. The color combinations in her work are captivating--and yes, Rothko is a definite influence, as well as Cezanne. The color in Jeri's work, however, is clearly her own choosing, her own level of saturation, and part of her own personal artistic journey.
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. "Summer Nights" pastel on paper, 18" x 26"
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A small acrylic on canvas.
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.Pastels in the flat files.
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"Violet Sky Orange Moon" pastel on paper, 18" x 26"
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. "Tye" pastel on paper, 18" x 26"
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Another view of the flat file.
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A pastel from another series of Jeri's.
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A small pastel nestled in a nook.
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This is an example of some new territory that Jeri's exploring.
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More work by Jeri Felix can be found at her website, jerifelix.com.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ONE GREAT BOOK

Recently, I finally had the opportunity to read the book that was published in 2006 in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition of Brice Marden's work that was shown in New York and Berlin during that year. I've always admired Marden's work and have read other publications about it, but this one is different. It's much more than a catalogue of work and it's well beyond being a good book about a painter—it’s actually a treatise on what it was like to be an artist during the change-over from the modern to the postmodern time period, along with the technical trappings and considerations that can accompany such a transition.
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The text is a combination of essays from five different authors and covers both the struggles and the influences that Marden has experienced over the course of his career which began around 1963, the year he received his MFA. Quite surprising was the level of detail that was mentioned concerning his own studio practice such as the binders of his paint, i.e., the switch from wax medium to the terpineol that he now mixes his oils with.
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Brice Marden's recipe for success as an artist lies in how he blends the most formal of influences from the West with all the formalism the East has to offer. The text brings forth this fact masterfully, never forgetting to mention that this artist's early work was heavily infuenced by that of contemporary Americans, while his recent paintings were produced under the overt sway of Han-dynasty tomb figures and garden rocks.
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In its depth of coverage of Brice Marden, this book is unrivaled. In its account of the plight of an individual growing into an artist during a time of great aesthetic change, this book is vital.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"COOL SUMMER" AT FLYING LEAP ART SPACE

Mikaila Maidment, oil on board.
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Corey Kramer, watercolor and pencil on paper.
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Michael Rutherford, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 9" each.

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Geoffrey Baker, watercolor and pencil on paper.
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Karla Christensen, painted tile & mosaic.

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Kudos to Donna Colby, who has put together this show in her gallery at Flying Leap Art Space. She has one of the most active teaching studios where, even on a Sunday afternoon, one can find a group of people quietly working on their art, along with a small library, gallery, and gift shop.
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I've always been excited about the work of Mikaila Maidment after seeing her MFA exhibition a few years ago. Her color sensibility and brushwork are what really caught my attention and I'm always looking forward to whatever she comes up with next.
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Also had the opportunity to meet Corey Kramer at the opening of this show. I really like the sketchy, loose, and energetic feel of his pieces. The drawings and watercolors of Charles Burchfield immediately came to mind as the work of both artists share the same organic quality.
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Geoffrey Baker, retired professor of art who has taught in Europe and locally, had several watercolors. The simplicity and charm they bring forth is always refreshing to see and even though he's retired from teaching, others will always be learning from the body of work that he's produced over the years.
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More about Flying Leap Art Space can be found at flyingleapartspace.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

KEN DUBIN

Ken Dubin, acrylic on canvas.
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Ken Dubin, acrylic on paper.
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Ken Dubin, acrylic on paper.
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I had the chance to meet Ken Dubin, a Chicago native who recently left the city and moved to the town of Fairfield, Iowa. Ken is known for his subtle use of paint and work that has stillness and evokes the unfolding of events and the passage of time.
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I caught up with Ken at his current show at Teeple Hansen Gallery in Fairfield and as I viewed his paintings, I found myself getting closer and closer to check out the layers of paint and the patterns of mark-making that are recorded on each piece. Some works have a lyrical side to side arc to the brush marks while others have stronger verticals, and only upon closer inspection is the variety of colors evident and the fact that there's much more there.
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Ken is also an expert framer and his works on paper are so well done and so immaculately framed--they're done just right. Ken is a painter's painter who's work gets to the inward person of a person, leaving the definite impression that there is always another aspect of paint that can be considered and addressed. .
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More of Ken Dubin's work can be found at his website.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

THE MASTER MADONNARI SERIES


Sponsored by SOFIA, ICON Gallery, and the Fairfield Art Association, the Italian Master Madonnaro and President of the Madonnari Associazione D'Italia, Nedo Consoli, visited Fairfield Iowa and presented the 500 year-old tradition of Madonnari street chalk art with events and workshops during June 3rd to June 5th. Pictured here are photos of Nedo and his interpreter during a workshop for artists, along with shots of artists working on the street. A special thanks goes out to SOFIA (Society of Fairfield Italian Americans) and Mr. Dick DeAngelis for sponsoring the event and the artists' lunch at Revelations.
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

CHRISTOPHER BROWN

I first came across the paintings of Christopher Brown in the book 10 + 10, which was published in conjuction with the exhibit of the same name in the late 80's or early 90's. The show featured the art of ten american artists juxtaposed with that of ten Russian artists. Eventually, I had the opportunity to see Brown's work at a major museum and I've kept track of his output ever since. The video featured here offers some valuable insight into his thought process and working methodology.

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More work by Christopher Brown can be seen at John Berggruen Gallery.

Friday, May 14, 2010

JOHN BECKELMAN AND DANIEL WEISS AT ICON GALLERY

Daniel Weiss, Solid Object, 2003; wood, paint, and nails, 34 3/8" x 15 3/8" x 1 1/2"
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Detail of Solid Object.
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Materiality is in full force at ICON Gallery. While walking through this show, I had the feeling that no matter what these two artists use to make their work, it will always result in something that's informed and worth seeing. John Beckelman has taught for 30 years at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Daniel Weiss has taught art in the Des Moines area since 1987. Shown here are just a few of the works, but also on view are large ceramic vessels and works on paper by Beckelman, and more collage-like pieces by Weiss with a great rough-hewn quality about them.
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Daniel Weiss, Cloud Writing, 2007; wood, paint, cardboard box, and nails, 14" x 10" x 2 1/2"
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Detail of Cloud Writing.
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Detail of Cloud Writing.
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Daniel Weiss, After Mesa (Barbancito), 2001; wood, paint, nails, and tar paper, 23 1/4" x 7 1/4" x 1 1/4"
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John Beckelman, Rich with Birds and Fruit; clay, enamel, gesso, oil, acrylic, powdered pigments, and prismacolor on wood, 41.5" x 63" x 2"
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Details of Rich with Birds and Fruit.
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John Beckelman, Resonance; clay, enamel, oil, wax, and powdered pigments on wood, 41.5" x 67" x 2"
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Detail of Resonance. .
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More work by John Beckelman and Daniel Weiss can be seen at ICON Gallery (Iowa Contemporary Art) at 58 North Main Street in Fairfield, Iowa. Also on the web at: icon-art.org.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TEN QUESTIONS WITH JESSE ALBRECHT



1. Who/what influences your work the most?
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Spending a year in Iraq as a medic and 10 years in the national guard are a big influence; and now as I re-learn how to live post war...research and work on practicing peace.
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2. What life experience has impacted you?
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See answer to previous question.
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3. Where have you done workshops and teaching since you graduated?
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2009--present: Adjunct Professor, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA
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2010: Visiting artist/lecturer, Endicott College, Art and War Panel, Beverly, MA

2009: Visiting artist/lecturer,
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School of Visual Arts, National Conference of Liberal Arts and the
Education of Artists, Art of War, New York City, NY
Veterans Book Workshop, 1.3, Center for the Book, Minneapolis, MN
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Kendal College or Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI
Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI
Ox Bow Institute, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Saugatuck, MI
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2008 & 2009: Visiting Lecturer, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA
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2008: Visiting artist/lecturer,
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College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA
Anamosa State Penitentiary, Anamosa, IA
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2007: Visiting artist/lecturer, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
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2006 & 2007: Studio Assistant for Don Reitz, Clarkdale, AZ
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2006: MFA Ceramics, Drawing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
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4. Are you into building your own kilns and equipment?
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Yes, but haven't set up my own studio/kiln yet. I have worked with unwanted/discarded/abandoned clay and materials and tools.
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5. If your work has an audio equivalent, what band/songs would that be?
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Johnny Cash, Ministry... Cat Power in a subtle way.
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6. What part of the country are you gravitating toward now?
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Well, I have been on the East Coast for the past couple of weeks for a lecture and the ceramic conference and love the action and history there. The easy, open, fertile, and simple unassuming ways of the Midwest are great, I live in Iowa now. And the Portland area of the West coast has been a yearly pilgrimage to hang with good friends out there....the mountians, rivers, forests and ocean are so great.
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7. Soul food or Indian fusion?
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Indian Fusion as I am easing way up on flesh.
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8. What's your favorite books on art and on ceramics?
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Clay and Glazes for the Potter, early edition I love...hmmmm a book by Deepak Chopra called unlocking the secrets or something like that is a good one about getting out of your head and into your heart. Ah, Lame Deer, I forget the author, is a good one about life...living life as art.
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9. Have you ever been caught by surprise by some aspect or result of your work?
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Hmmm, I don't know, I don't think about it too much.
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10. Have you been to the Bray Foundation in Helena yet? If so, what's your impression?
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I haven't gotten to the Bray yet, but it is on the list for sure. I have heard only glowing words about the facility, expierence, and of course the history with Pete Voulkos and Rudy--it is legendary.
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More of Jesse Albrecht's work can be seen at artaxis.org.