Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Oculus Sinister | Oculus Dexter, 2010, acrylic on canvas strips with staples, 42 inches


Yellow Rift, 2011, acrylic on canvas with staple and brass grommet, 1.25 x 70 inches


Unbound, Bound, Unbound, 2011, acrylic on canvas with staples, 3 x 68 inches



Double Evocator, 2011, acrylic and staples on canvas mounted on panel,  12 x 71 inches

Just a selection of my newest work which has been included in the Annual Invitational Show at ICON Gallery in Fairfield, Iowa -- on view until January 21st. More about this exhibition and  the other artists featured will soon follow.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Change Street, 2009, oil on canvas, papier mache, aluminum, and cardboard,
17 x 14 x 2 inches

Triangle Piece, 2008, bamboo, plastic, papier mache, paint, and fabric, 46 x 17 x 20 inches

Overlook Mtn., 2007, rearview mirror, duct tape, tile, papier mache, plaster, and acrylic on canvas, 12 x 18.5 x 3 inches

Successive Selves Diodes, 2009, plaster, bamboo, steel, copper, plastic, cigarettes, cardboard,  wax, papier mache, acrylic paint, etc., 
47 x 26 x 100 inches
Fan II, 2009, acrylic on file folder paper, 11 x 18.5 inches

Sham, 2007, oil, wood, and papier mache, 27 x 25 x 5 inches

Elisa Lendvay is one of those artists who are pushing the boundaries of painting and sculpture, blurring any sort of distinction between the two—and doing it well.  The scope of her work is wide, covering issues of placement (both on walls, and on the floor), color, composition, the incorporation of disparate materials, and exquisite drawings.  Choosing just a few images for this write-up proved difficult because so many of her works are so interesting; interesting not for just how they’re done, but more importantly, for the narrative that they’re imbued with and hint at.
The works in the Uprights series are a formal/informal exercise in verticality. They bring to mind tools used in measuring and documenting—the tripods that hold surveyors equipment and cameras, etc., and are almost always coated with pigment of some sort.  Her paintings tend to be overtly 3d, with papier mache inclusions that expand outward to supplement the limitations of the picture plane.  There’s an interconnectedness between all of Lendvay’s work; a grander narrative that’s in the air between them because of how well she’s worked out the material aspects.  The following interview sheds just a bit of light on what’s going on in her work.

PB:  What impulse pushes you to work in a way that results in those things commonly referred to as painting and sculpture; do you see the two ways of working as distinct, or one and the same?

EL: Well, the impulse is to visualize thoughts and forms in ways that offer different ways of seeing and relating to the body and perception. Sometimes it should be in the compressed picture plane, or extending out of the wall’s space, or in full physicality in the upright. I’m interested in rendering movement and a sort of energy in different ways of working and thinking with the hands. I don’t often differentiate between painting and sculpture. But then, I am also interested in each as distinct ways of working. They are totally different ways of working and yet they present many of the same problems. 

When I apply paint to a sculpture though it is often different than when I apply it to a 2D surface. I feel like when I paint a sculpture black, it has more intense physical associations and drama to it than the black of canvas. Then there is painting to accentuate the form or make pattern from the form by outlining and elaborating on the lines, corners and curves of the form within its parameters – that sometimes does the trick. I’ve realized over the years how well Dubuffet did that with his larger sculptures.  I’m often interested in the intrinsic colors of materials or specific objects I use. In that case, nothing is applied. If I want color that is not in the material and not applied I mix pigments or rust, etc, into the material before it hardens like in hydrocal or papier machie so that it is innately in the piece.

I had an early interest in sculpture as a student because I was drawn to the possibilities. It seemed like the place where I could most experiment with materiality and do whatever I wanted. However, early on it started as a way of structuring more of a painting with shapes or found forms that compartmentalized colors.

PB:  Who do you view as seminal figures in art history that you draw influence from and what is it about their work that really impacted you?

EL:  There are many whose work has impacted me. I’ll try not to list everything here. Of course when I’m in the studio, I’m not trying to think about that directly. Myron Stout for his simple forms as symbols. Cubism and early Modernism, i.e. Picasso Sculptures, Braque, Duchamp, The Vorticists, Arshile Gorky, long amazed by the portrait he did with his mother and his use of color and shapes defined by brushstrokes.

There were a few pieces in my teens that I saw at the Dallas Museum of Art that were formative. Claus Oldenberg’s Stake Hitch and Rauschenberg’s Skyway. They also had a nice Lee Bontecou which I thought was the perfect wall sculpture and with a void like the eye of the storm.

I learned how to weld in high school and we had access to a great scrap yard. I also looked at books on sculpture, you know, the “plastic arts”, that spanned a limited period, the 30s – 60s. I loved Naum Gabo’s work (and his name) and his use of line and transparency and David Smiths’s approach to monumental metal sculpture. I saw how he ground the scrap metal down to show the gleaming metal. I emulated both and others. I would make wall pieces using scrap metal from factories with patterns of cutouts, grind the rust to reveal the sparkle and put a painted surface behind it. I was always interested in conveying this unknown space behind.

Growing up Catholic in Dallas, Texas got me interested in ritual, sacred space and architecture and history beyond my surroundings. That led me to an interest in medieval art, cathedrals, and seeing everything I should see in Italy. Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa and those rays, and Apollo and Daphne, the movement and transformations and the translucency of the leaves of the marble have always inspired me.

Art Deco design, Dagobert Pesche, Pompeian art and artifacts -- My parents had a catalog of a Pompeian art exhibition. I was drawn to it intensely as a child for the tragedy and mystery: a quiet, sunny day in an ancient Roman town and a volcano unexpectedly erupts covering ash over a village, burying it and the people and animals yet preserving the painting and way of life for people to find later.  I was fascinated that the shapes of the huddled bodies were preserved and later that negative space was filled in with plaster of paris by archeologists and these ancient humans, dogs, pigs, etc. at death’s door were revealed as ultimate sculptures, like fossils. We see people’s last moments but along with that these rich paintings and mosaics that depict mythology, feast and eroticism. That Pompeian red, the clothing and jewelry, and the paintings that depict architectural spaces were beauty ideals for me, with a tainted sense of fatality.

When it comes to the necessity for depicting as a contemplative act I am always inspired by the artists of prehistoric cave painting and the beautiful, often simple gestural line quality. It’s kind of the most perfect essential art.

PB:  What sources inform your narrative and can you elaborate on the various aspects of it?

EL:  I think more in terms of instantaneous perception in the work I’ve been doing. I have been thinking about place and how it informs me - being present where I am, the specific landscape, the city. I take walks and try to tap into or out of the energy of a place – people watch or to be in nature, walk barefoot in a creek bed. It feeds me. I feel connected to a charged space of making. I often pick up artifacts along the way, as fragments of manmade form or natural flotsam that I want to respond to formally. As I walk or bike across the expressway, and pass the cemetery from Queens to Brooklyn to my studio, I often find certain sizes of chipped plastic parts or metal strips that have been run over. There are criteria for forms that I want to respond to and transform further. There might be a flattened curved black shape that has remaining bits of color, which I can emulate in repeated forms, like an echo of the original that is already something different than what it was, or a piece of driftwood from a hike in the Adirondacks that looks like a goat. These parts have histories and my process with them is like strata, tracking of time, extension of the moment.

PB:  Your file folder drawings with the holes in the paper are just great, with a toughness about them. Do you have any plans to progress your drawings and works on paper even further?

EL:  Thank you. Yes, I’m into the rawness especially with the fan shaped ones, starting within a specific gestural shape itself, and then the ripping of the paper in patterns, exposing the surface behind it. Drawing is essential to my practice as a way of recording. It’s a way I figure out forms, doodles, words and thoughts I find and sketch in the day to day, and most importantly, ideas and sketches of forms to make. The drawings are always purest in this spontaneous way of drawing/recording of small inventories of form and variations of sculptures I have made. I’m continually trying to capture and depict these drawn forms in a larger scale and back again in sculpture. They are at their best most immediate, but I want to shift the scale and present them in a consistent format.

PB:  What’s influencing you outside of art and what’s been on your reading/listening list?

EL:  Much of what I’m reading these days has to do with memory, perception and heightened experiences:

Configurations by Octavio Paz. I’ve long loved reading these poems in Spanish and then English. He translated many of his poems himself. Reading in translation, in between languages, accentuates the “in-between-ness” that is in the poems. The space he creates, I relate to in my art, a sort of pre-history.

I had a show titled Force of Things -- some of the titles referenced these poems because I was thinking about them very much then. I also quoted part of Successive Suns of Summer in the PR; Matter and Memory, Henri Bergson; Remembrance of Things Past, Swann’s Way 1st Vol, Marcel Proust; The Wild Prayer of Longing, Poetry of the Sacred, Nathan A. Scott Grey; The Heart is a lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers; Marilynne Robinson books: Home, Housekeeping, Gilead; To the Lighthouse, Virginia Wolf, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (and Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’ parallel novel take), Everything that Rises Must Converge, Flannery O’Connor; The Essential Rilke, Selected and translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann (I also like that he wrote a book about Rodin). Also: The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks; Cosmos and History, Mircea Eliade.

Music is always a source of inspiration. I also write songs. I’ve been listening to Bill Callahan lately in the studio, Ethiopiques, various gypsy music, and there’s always Bach.

To see more:  elisalendvay.com

Sunday, October 16, 2011


School, 2006, 90 x 160 inches

PB:  How did you get started in art?
RS:  At Southwestern Junior College there was an art history class where the teacher split the class into three. Some to make paintings, some to set up a gallery show on campus, and some to write about it. I made a Frank Stella 8 foot circle. That was the turning point. Then, I rented a space in downtown San Diego, chased out the pigeons and moved in.

PB:  Can you elaborate on your use of street imagery?
RS:  I used the street early on because it was non-decorative, radical; and taking this information into an art world, I felt a sense of optimism. That is still today the beginning of my journey.

PB:  How do you go about painting in the studio; how do you make your work?
RS:  I have an idea. My education is the imagery from the street and everything else in life. I make the stretcher, stretch it, gesso it, and normally get my idea down. This is where the painting starts as I need to resolve unforeseen problems. I paint it until it doesn't present any problems.

PB:  Are there any other artists whose work you're excited about?
RS:  I have installed artwork since 1980 and have seen artworks everyday. In the past, I have been influenced by the abstract expressionists, Duchamp, and Kasimir Malevich -- and from here the list is long. But what I can do now is spend time with almost any artwork and find the spirit.

PB:  What other mediums or ways of working have you considered or are already working on?
RS:  There is the focus and the distractions. I have installed a single old pencil standing on the wall, played a painting with paint like a drum, and now I'm doing a child's house with a light inside and smoke in the chimney. Today on my travels in India, I'm drawing praying hands with deformation. Although at home I'm working on large white line paintings that I like to think of as Gods. I've finished ten now and I'm doing about eight more.

To see more:  richardsigmund.com      

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Als Ick Kan, 2011, oil on linen, 48 x 36 inches
Release, 2011, oil on linen, 16 x 12 inches
Thought from Afar, 2011, oil on linen, 20 x 16 inches

One, 2011, oil and spray paint on canvas, 20 x 16 inches 

Say the Other, 2011, oil on canvas, 68 x 52 inches

Doves Pigeons, 2011, oil on linen, 48 x 36 inches

Studio views

PB:  How are things going in the studio and is there anything new to you out there in our culture that you've come across that's working its way into your work?

JS:  Things are going well in the studio. I recently finished a bunch of new paintings that are headed to Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston. Things that are providing starting points for the latest work include 3D images, commercial printing techniques, children’s drawings, magazine advertisements, quilts, excised images & documents, and basic shapes (triangle, square, rectangle). It’s a collection that comes from culture and what we produce to mark our environment and try and communicate with others.

PB:  I remember a couple of years ago when we were talking, you brought up the phrase, "image making by any means necessary," could you elaborate on that?

JS:  As I set to work, I can say, “Do whatever it takes to make the work”. There is a liberty implicit in that, however the choices can also be overwhelming, and have consequences. The spirit of that statement resides in being aware of limitations, using those limitations to react.  Sometimes the result is efficient, sometimes it is elegant, sometimes it is introspective, and sometimes it is brutal.

PB:  You've been mentioned in a few articles lately as a "provisional painter" and in other similar terms. What's your take on that?

JS:  I think it’s an interesting label. Contingency is an element in the painting process and also definitely in the air when the stock market can swing wildly, or the news cycle can jump from one concern to another at break-neck speed. The paintings are purposefully open in the way that they are constructed.  Even when a painting is finished, not all is locked into place. Things are shifting.

Whether a “provisional painter” or a “new casualist”, when I go into the studio I try not to think about that, I do not want that to affect the work. In the studio it is about what the painting needs and wants. It is wonderful that people are aware of some commonalities among several artists work; that is a place for the discussion to start.

PB:  So in the studio, you're keeping yourself open to what's going on there, pushing forward and giving each painting what it needs. When you speak of constructing a painting that's purposely open in the way it's constructed, does that mean that you're leaving room for contingency to flourish?

JS:  When I start a painting, there is often a structure, system, or image that I am reacting to. The paintings are not planned out; in effect I am constantly introducing contingencies to each work. Limits and unexpected occurrences are barriers to be embraced, challenged, and creatively addressed. If I look at the logic that resides in a particular painting or work of art, there is what is known and unknown. It is that play between the two that creates a poetic challenge that we have to wrestle with, just like the known and unknown of life.

PB:  How do things change for you when making large works vs. smaller works?

JS:  I generally work on several paintings at one time. Three or four large ones and ten to fifteen smaller may develop in the studio at the same time. I think about the difference in scale and how we relate to them with our bodies. The 8’ x 6’ painting envelopes the viewer. The 20” x 16” painting draws you in to a more intimate space. A 48” x 36” canvas is a difficult scale, it cannot quite envelope you, nor is it that same intimate space that a smaller canvas creates. Recently, I have been really trying to figure out this size around 48” x 36”. It sounds silly but it is a complicated size, also exciting because of the challenge of figuring out a painting that is neither small nor large.

PB:  Are there any other artists you're excited about or draw inspiration from?

JS:  Morandi’s work is so wonderful. It seems so simple and limited, yet he scrapes out this amazing territory, with a handful of vessels and bottles, using some brushes, paint, and canvas. The paintings are unassuming but completely transfix the viewer. I keep lots of books and images around me in the studio. They keep me company and challenge me. Ellsworth Kelly’s “Plant I” (1949) is such a hauntingly elegant painting, fourteen inches high, black and white and all that presence.

This summer I had a chance to meet Nicole Cherubini and Mike Andrews at Ox-Bow in Michigan. They both have a way of using materials and tradition and get so much out of it. Nicole works in ceramics primarily. Mike uses fiber/yarn to make tapestries. Both make work that I want to spend a lot of time looking at and thinking about. They start with the familiar and take me into new territory.

PB:  I'm familiar with Cherubini's work and I count myself in as a fan, and thanks for shedding light on Andrew’s as well—JoshFaught is another great weaver I've been impressed with. How has a cross-disciplined perspective of a painter looking at ceramics and tapestry enriched your own practice of painting and taken you to that new territory you've mentioned? Also, how do other contemporary painters figure into things for you—the German painters and, just throwing a name out there, how about Twombly and his contribution?

JS:  I think Mike Andrews and Josh Faught are both making interesting work that comes out of fibers tradition and certainly deal with painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation. I like how Nicole Cherubini and Mike Andrews have this wonderful sense of history as it relates to their work. They know the traditions from which their work comes out of, and they are pulling from painting’s discourse and further afield to enrich their work. It is so important as artists to understand our creative heritage, to in fact own it. That said, by looking outside of art or discipline and importing new or unexpected ideas is how one maps new territory, invents new ways of working.

If we start talking German Artists, it is hard to know where to begin. Richter, Polke, Oehlen, Kippenberger, Blinky Palermo, and Joseph Beuys are all amazing and influential for me. Then you have artists like Eberhard Havekost and several other younger German Artists. There has been a lot of amazing painting from Germany. Tomma Abts. Anselm Reyle. So many of them have an amazing rigor to their work, while at the same time having incredible breadth.

Cy Twombly is really amazing. The constant presence of handwriting in his work is brilliant. His drawing, mark-making, helped me understand and think about the larger types of “hand-writing” in the world around us. How we mark, design, alter our environment and the things we place in it. Each painting is like a monumental whisper. He uses this epic subject matter that is scrawled on his walls (paintings). Seeing the Twombly room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an overwhelming experience.

PB:  What's on your reading/listening list lately? 

JS:  Mira Schor’s Decade of Negative Thinking
Mira Schor’s blog http://ayearofpositivethinking.com/
Marilynne Robinson’s Absence of Mind
I have been reading W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn and I just started reading Harold Bloom’s The Anatomy of Influence
What is playing in the studio...The National, The Cold War Kids, The XX, Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines, and Jonny Greenwood.

Also watching the TV series Friday Night Lights, but not while I’m painting.

To see more:  jeredsprecher.com

On view at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, Sept 8th--Oct 15th, 2011:
Jered Sprecher | Als Ick Kan

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Ship of Fools, 2007, oil on linen, 84 x 60 inches

Ross Bridge Heads, 2006, oil on linen, 60 x 97 inches

Rescue up the Creek, 2007, 82 x 120 inches
PB:  How did you arrive at the idea of using such personal imagery in your work?
GN:  It started very early in Tasmania.  I suppose I discovered art at age 4, making fantasy drawings when I attended primary school. That initial burst became lost amidst the intense distractions of daily school life until later, after leaving school at age 15, I worked at Silk and Textiles Factory learning to draw master sketches for fabrics.  That lasted 3 years during which that business encouraged me do to life drawing classes at the Art School in Hobart for one year.  The repeated patterns I worked on at the factory are in a way present in my painting now.

The childhood memories that I remember most fondly and vividly I found in nature. They include the dry ochre coloured bush beyond my home in Lindisfarne, the wild gum trees with white, gray, pink peeling bark and the variety of shades of earth peering up between fallen varieties of eucalypt leaves forming a bed of subtle and raw colour.  The occasional scattered bones of dead animals and birds come to mind easily in this tableau of contrasting textures, shapes and things soft and hard to the touch.

My father’s attempts to grow fruit trees in our backyard have influenced my paintings to a large extent. His successes and failures at trying to cultivate fruits that weren’t entirely suited to the southern Tasmanian climate I celebrate in my paintings. The passion fruit on the vine, apples, peaches and pear trees are realistic vivid memories. The tropical fruit trees that did not succeed were memorable too.  I include all those fruits in my memory as still life arrangements in my oil paintings.  I want to retain some of that personal memory of intense colour, heat, texture, sound quality and momentum of plants striving to grow in that climate, and fenced landscape.

Sounds that are a vivid memory include sqwarking parrots in the trees, flocks of blue / red, gray / pink ones flying overhead making noise everywhere, especially in the bush in Tasmania.  I want my paintings to suggest these sounds.  

PB:  Do you ever feel the pressure to go in a more formal/conceptual direction with your work, or lean toward more symbolism, rather than the fine balance your work is now at?
GN:  I feel no pressure to be anything other than a working painter. I explore the concerns that are currently important to me -  pushing paint around on any surface available to me, continuing to use symbolic colour, shifting around my scale to surprise myself and keeping my narrative interesting.

PB:  How did you survive upon arrival to NYC?
GN:  I had early success in Australia before I left the first time, showing in a top gallery in Sydney whilst still a full-time art student.  That success initially resulting out of a facile talent, hard work, early ambition and luck being in the right place, which brought me attention—and the Marten Bequest travelling art prize award then facilitated and hastened my departure for Europe.  I received a full scholarship to attend the New York Studio School after 6 months travelling around Britain and Europe.  That part seemed easy as events fell into place.  What I encountered in New York was another matter.  My visa situation meant that I was compelled to stay a student to remain in the States.  That was not a difficult choice as the school and its philosophy on art education was the most difficult challenge of my life.  I stayed at the school for 7 years, thriving as an advanced student after falling on my head the first year and a half.  In my last year at the school I started exhibiting in galleries in New York and soon thereafter in Australia again.

I discovered the hard way, that while you are in the throes of exhibiting and getting early attention, success can seem easy and it flows from one show to another, from one grant/award to another and so on.  Once the artist becomes too precious about their art, too aware and careful of the traps and pitfalls of the art business, too intimidated by it, that initial earlier impulse to just make art can get lost. An initial, aggressive, naive approach can get an artist a boost onto the scene and quick success.  Staying there for the long haul is very difficult. Many successful artists settle on maintaining an identifiable style, a style that sells and stay with that, while the artists who want to challenge themselves to evolve and grow generally have the harder road.  I’ve been told by more than one professional that any artist is lucky to have two years of sales of their art in New York.  The art scene is very fickle, fast and can often seem to digest, chew and spit out artists faster than they arrive in this city.  It is always fascinating, always intriguing and sometimes a wonderful place of support for the arts.

PB:  Do you feel satisfied with the point at which your work is now at?
GN:  At this stage of my life and career I am very aware of my abilities and my unique personal vision, which I always attempt to express confidently through my artwork. The response to my story about the actual Ross Bridge in Tasmania, the convict artist who carved the reliefs on it, as well as my family’s involvement in it, has elicited some amazement from my New York friends and the artist community that knows me. The collection of my paintings that focuses on that subject has been very well received by artists, gallery owners and critics, often without them knowing the background story surrounding the carved panels on the bridge.
I am still drawn to the Tasmanian landscape as it provides me with endless material for my artwork. In my paintings I often include and describe cherished, retrieved objects from that landscape: toy ship models, scattered animal bones, and ancient paths - all visual memories.  My symbology of colour - ochres, greens, yellows to reflect the lush palette of the Tasmanian rain forest flora and fauna, contrasted with the black, red and white of the dry heat.  I think of the history of that place and expand on this narrative with a grand vision.

The paintings start with a structure from the nature transcriptions, left as open as possible to allow me to introduce throughout, a flow of contrasting shapes and symbols, built with a process of layering oil paint, heavily and thinly applied, erased, reapplied, and glazed until the images are resolved. These paintings represent a synthesis of ideas I continually explore in my work. Not unlike my attraction to places I spend time divining (dowsing) in, a gift that I have to use, and which I spend much time practicing.

PB:  Is there any other medium that you plan on working with in the future?
GN:  The Weathervanes I have been producing as wooden prototypes in my studio will need to be fabricated in metal, probably aluminum, to exist outside permanently. There are 7 Ship Weathervanes so far.  A Brooklyn foundry has given me some support this year with research into making them as editions. That material should embrace strong patinas that represent the integrity of the existing surface colours on the prototypes. I am endeavoring to take this project as far as possible, with as much commercial success as I think it warrants.
I still love just painting with oils on wood surfaces or heavy linen.  I'll keep doing that for the foreseeable future, with a view to returning to woodblock and silk screen printing.

To see more of Garry's work:  garrynichols.com

Saturday, August 27, 2011


PB: Tell me a little about how you work in the studio, what a typical work session is like.

MD: Though I go to the studio as much as possible I tend to work in spurts of productivity. While I spend long hours in the studio, at least half of the time goes up in smoke, reading, gazing out the window or just looking at the work. I don't know if all this dilly dallying about is actually productive or necessary. I use to think that all the time spent in the studio was useful and spacing out on distant thoughts hovering just outside my grasp was an important aspect of my process, but these days I'm starting to think I may just be prone to being lazy. All this to say that a typical work session is equal parts working and not working. Active and in repose. I almost always go in thinking I'll work on one piece and inevitably get caught up in something much less significant. I may go into the studio with the mind to wrap up a big painting, and a piece of drywall is laying about, and the next thing I know I'm cutting it up into little pieces and tiling them together and scribbling on something. This also reminds me that I usually spend some of my time working on something that is very deliberate and planned out, while also having works in the studio which are filled with accidents and incidentals. And somehow, maybe just through an imagined osmosis these two different methods or processes play off each other and inform each other. Lending their assets and I suppose their liabilities to each other.

PB: What sources (art historical/cultural) are you referencing?

MD: My work currently is indebted to early abstract cinema. The work of Emma Kunz. Building materials. The Los Angeles garment district. Robert Fludd. Robert Irwin. Malevich. Brutalism. And aphasia, a deliberate aphasia: searching through the familiar to reconstruct an unknown. A day dream of modernism. An agnostic modernism.

PB: Have you ever been surprised by some aspect of your work?

MD: I am always surprised by a painting. I can never imagine the thing until its made.

PB: Are there any other media that you are considering as an addition to your work?

MD: I want to make something reproducible, and disposable, maybe a zine. I have an affinity to newspaper. I like the way it feels, and smells. My dad is in the newspaper business back in Indiana. Maybe a newspaper.

PB: How do you consider the current point in time for being an artist?

MD: Here's a poem by one of my favorite writers:


Poets of Troy
Nothing that could have been yours
Exists anymore

Not temples not gardens
Not poetry

You are free
Admirable poets of Troy

-Roberto Bolano

To see more: michaeldopp.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011


While looking for some local art to do a story on, I stumbled onto Eli Torres, who is majoring in art at MUM university in Fairfield, Iowa. He switched his major from sustainable living to art and I think he's definitely found where he should be. Eli is blending east and west in his work, silkscreening biodegradeable rice paste in a honeycomb pattern onto long swaths of muslin hung horizontally along his work space. He then paints using homemade natural dyes made from black beans, berries, tumeric, and other natural materials. The rice paste acts as a masking agent to keep parts of the muslin white and is washed out after the dye has been completely applied. The resulting bolts of hand dyed cloth are made in keeping with the principles of sustainable living that Eli learned in his previous major. There's a fascinating personal story and unique conceptual ground this guy stands on - along with a unique blend of techniques.
This pattern is used to silkscreen rice paste onto muslin before painting is begun. After the painting is done, the rice paste is simply washed off, leaving this pattern in white.
Detail of painting in progress.


Fearless Slumber, 2011, acrylic on board.

Painted diskettes.

Pinned to Eli's studio wall are some notes to reference. Can't wait to see where his work is headed next.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Hanging Gardens of Babylon 1, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"

Ananda Kesler isn't afraid of color - any color, which is why I always look forward to seeing whatever it is that she's come up with next. Punchy yellows, mottled grays, and the strategic inclusion of reds (and almost every other color in the spectrum) continue to find their way into her paintings. Ananda's study of textiles has been a strong influence on her work and in the interview below, she describes her visit to Indonesia. .

PB: How did you choose to major in art--why art, or how did you gravitate to art?
AK: I've always been in love with art, always been enchanted and transfixed by the beauty that artists have created throughout the ages.
PB: Who has influenced your work the most?
AK: I think my first and utmost inspiration came from my grandmother. She was a well known artist in Israel, where I grew up. My fascination with oil paint and the mystical, forbidden realm of the painter’s studio began at a very young age during my visits to her apartment/studio. The scent of turpentine, the thick textured palette, and the luscious hues of oil paint left an indelible impression on my memory. Her work was also abstract, though she was most influenced by the surrealist movement. Although our painting style is quite different, my father once remarked how he couldn't believe how much my paintings reminded him of her paintings. My psyche was undoubtedly marked by my grandmother's paintings, her color and style, from a young age. My work is also influenced by my formative years in art school, by the work of my fellow art-school friends and possibly even professors..

Superstring Theory, 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas, 24" x 30"


PB: How do your work specifically--how do you paint and how do you make color choices?

AK: My process is haphazard. It is fluid and based completely on feeling things out. There are no plans in advance, no road map, or preconceived ideas of an end goal. It is all about exploring feelings translated into color and form. It begins with an impulse that might be a single color and things just flow from there. For me painting is completely about forging into the unknown at every moment. Learning to be comfortable not knowing. Color choices happen accidentally, or influenced by past impressions stored in the creative unconscious. Colors that feel 'yummy' together, that are happy in their relating to one another, get to stay. Colors that don't feel right together get covered up. For me it is all about giving in to a process, letting go and trusting that the painting itself will take over and show me what it wants to be. At times the process seems effortless, the painting just happens almost of its own accord. Other times it feels like pulling teeth, and things take a long time to work themselves out, sometimes never resolving completely.


PB: How have your travels abroad influenced your work; what was Indonesia like?

AK: Traveling is always a transforming and eye-opening experience. It allowed me to see and experience things so exotic and foreign that it opened things inside of me. The main focus of my travels in southeast Asia was a search for textiles, a kind of treasure hunt of sorts. On the Indonesian island of Java I studied batik techniques from a couple of master batik artists. In Thailand I studied about traditional Lana weaving structures. Since I've been back, I've been drawn to take my paintings in a direction inspired by the textile patterns that I saw in my travels.

....Untitled, 2009, oil on canvas, 24" x 36"


PB: What are your plans for your work and/or education in the future?

AK: In the future I hope to somehow combine my two passions for painting and textiles. I would like to find a fluid place where both can inform each other. Where I can use some design ideas printed on textiles that can be turned into consumer products, as well as make paintings that are informed by pattern and textiles. As for education, I am still entertaining the idea of getting an MFA in the back of my mind. My dream would be to complete my graduate studies in Italy or Spain.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon 4, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"
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Not Sure How, 2011, mixed media on canvas, 24" x 36"
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More of Ananda's work can be found at anandakesler.com.