5, ue 1 Iss
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FRONT COVER: Sarah Thibault Reading in the dark (detail) oil on canvas 54 x 48 inches more on p. 46-65 BACK COVER: Amy Nathan Janus Flounder ink and flashe on paper 30 x 22 inches more on p. 135
© 2019 print ISSN No. 2399-892X online ISSN No. 2399-8938
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call for art
curated selection of works
editorial selection of works
Winter E d itio n 16: first issue of 2020 ......................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1
Osamu Kob aya shi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 4 Kimo Nelson .............................................................................9 6 B r idget Mullen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 8 M ich ael Handley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 0 A ngela Hei sch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Liy i ng Z h ang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 B ecky B ai ley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Sam B uch anan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Christian Ruiz Berman ............................................................105 B rendan John Car roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 A r t hu r Peñ a . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Jer r y B lackm an . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 10 M at t B lackwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 2 Akram Esmailli ........................................................................114 Aya Oga sawara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 15 Jonat h an Peck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 16 Daniel Ten Brook ......................................................................117 Eu n -Ha Paek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 8 Cou r t ney Tramp osh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 9 Roxanne Jackson .....................................................................120 Jesse M at t hew Petersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 Jen Pak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 24 Franc i sc o Sier ra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 6
Lindsay Bu rke .........................................................................130 M a j a Ru z n ic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 32 Amadeo Morelos .....................................................................134 A my Nat h an . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 35 Cody Tu mblin ..........................................................................136 Rema Ghulou m ........................................................................137 Ida Sønder Thor h au ge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 38 Jen n i fer Sullivan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 39 Steph an ie McM ahon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 Pi a Kra jewski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 J i n Han Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 M ich ael St i llion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 A na B enaroya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Molly G reene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
H ard- e dge d vib rant fant as y land by Em i ly Ludw ig S h a ffe r ..................................................... .............. 14 T he individu al p s yche and t he colle ct ive u ncon s ciou s : Igo r Hos ne dl’s pu rs uit of my t hic t r u t hs............................................ 30 Wo r ld p e rs p e ct ive s and t he fe m ale exp e r ie nce : I n conve rsatio n with S arah T h ib ault . . . . ....................................................................... 46 Ex plo r ing adorat ion , worshi p , he ighte ne d aware ne s s and erotic sen su alit y t h rou gh t he body- i nh abite d obje ct s of de si re with Kathe ri na Ols chb au r . ........................................................... ............. 66 “ My he art st ill f lu t te rs”: I n conve rs at ion w it h g ue st cu rato r B r igit te Mulholland . . . .......................................................... .............. 8 0
from the editor We say goodbye to a very successful 2019 with our 15th Anniversary Edition of ArtMaze Magazine. It’s been a great honour and privilege to be able to work on this final edition of 2019 with Brigitte Mulholland, curator and director of Anton Kern Gallery in NYC. She previously had independent curatorial experience via multiple shows and art fairs as well as a thirteen year period of working closely via modern and later contemporary galleries with many established and emerging reputable artists. Brigitte describes her work approach as not just a director, sales and marketing operator in enabling the success of each show but also by becoming friends with many of the gallery artists through her passionate support and belief in them throughout their careers. Brigitte’s dedication and friendly qualities as a director and curator have attracted our respect and we are very proud to present her selection of works for this edition (p.92-127). Make sure to read through our conversation with Brigitte (p.80-91) about her journey in the art world, and the advice she’s able to share including life lessons learned along the way. We thank Brigitte for her contribution to ArtMaze and we look forward to following her future successes. Our Editorial Selection (p.128-147) includes submissions from artists that we have been following and supporting for a while after online or in-person encounters, including some who have appeared in previous editions. We enjoy looking at the progress of their new work as well as delving deeper into the thinking behind their emerging visuals, which highlight many unique techniques and thought-provoking ideas; we look forward to seeing how their creativity develops in the future. This edition’s interviewed section (p. 12-91) offers you a candid insight into the work and progress of four international artists whose visuals are compelling and intriguing. We are fascinated by their career paths, which have impacted profoundly on their ideas and creative explorations. Emily Ludwig Shaffer’s illusive scenes and narratives with the appearance of stone human figures as statues take us into a world of fantasy, sensuality and paradoxes. The intricate symbolic language of Igor Hosnedl’s paintings provokes questions around themes of human nature and existence within a ‘greater whole’. The endearing visuals of this edition’s cover artist Sarah Thibault’s work take us closer to ideas of the stillness within, self-care and feminist perspectives on life and the worlds we live in and travel through. Katherina Olschbaur’s inspiring work explores the animal side within us emphasizing the sensual side of human desire, rage, brutality and pleasure. New Year is on its way and we are busy preparing our first 2020 winter edition. We are delighted that Scott Ogden, founder and curator of Shrine Gallery in NYC, has agreed to select works for issue 16 and to share his art adventures in an accompanying interview. If you are interested in submitting your work and appearing on ArtMaze’s pages, please feel free to check out our website for more information (www.artmazemag.com) and hopefully we’ll be able to work with you next time! Happy 2020! Yours truly, Editor and Founder Maria Zemtsova
Featured image: Angela Heisch The Surelys oil on canvas over panel 9 x 12 inches more on p. 101
p.92-127 curated selection of works
p.128-147 editorial selection of works
Winter Edition 16: first issue of 2020
call for art DEADLINE: December 5th, 2019 Guest Curator: Scott Ogden founder and curator of Shrine Gallery, NYC
Submit your work for a chance to be published in print and digital issues, as well as online on our website and social media. ELIGIBILITY: The competition is open to all artists, both national and international, working in all visual mediums. Artists are welcome to submit works in any medium: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography, textile, installation, mixed media, digital, film etc. DISTRIBUTION: ArtMaze Magazine is an independent international publication which is distributed both nationally and internationally via book shops, galleries and museums, art events and via the online store: artmazemag.com/shop HOW TO APPLY: please visit our website for more details and fill in the online form via the following link: artmazemag.com/call-for-art OTHER OPPORTUNITIES: Artists are welcome to submit their works to our online blog. Please visit our website for more information: www.artmazemag.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image: Ana Benaroya Together At Last At Twilight Time spray paint, acrylic and oil paint on canvas 180 x 220 cm more on p. 145
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Igor Hosnedl Sarah Thibault Katherina Olschbaur Brigitte Mulholland
Hard-edged vibrant fantasy land by Emily Ludwig Shaffer The Argentinian writer and blind bibliophile Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “If space is infinite, we may be at any point in space. If time is infinite, we may be at any point in time.” This resonates strongly in the paintings of Emily Ludwig Shaffer, which play with metaphysical propositions, visual riddles and paradoxes. Her paintings typically depict interior and exterior spaces, but these commonplace scenes are undercut by a pervasive sense of the unfamiliar and mysterious. Doorways and rooms seem to lead around in circles, time has broken with convention and the distinction between outside and inside seems dependent on one’s point of view. In her painting Up Out In, Emily positions the viewer simultaneously outside, inside, below, above. It is both night-time and daytime at the same time. Our gaze is led through this labyrinth of contradictions without reaching a finite point. We double back, loop round, lose our way and begin again. Emily’s style of painting is hard-edged with imperceptible brushstrokes. The invisibility of her hand in the application of paint adds to the sense of illusion and causes us to question whether it is in fact a painting we’re looking at. In Emily’s work, looking and the gaze is foregrounded by the many framing devices she incorporates in her compositions—windows, doorways, ponds, wreaths. She undermines the power of the gaze by leading it nowhere and around in circles, which ultimately turns it back on ourselves. Although mostly empty of figures, Emily’s work is resoundingly feminist. Her visual language is steeped in sensuality and innuendo that is at once playful and challenging. The visual paradoxes and the illusory framing of space can be understood as the impossibility of containing and structuring what is boundless. Emily lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) in 2010 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2017. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at Institute 193 (Lexington, KY) and Galerie Pact (Paris, France), and she has participated in numerous curated group exhibitions across North America.
interview by Layla Leiman
Featured image: Emily Ludwig Shaffer Shadow Box Moon Back oil on canvas 36 x 28 inches photo by Kristen Hatgi
AMM: Hi Emily! You’ve mentioned your mother, who was an architect, as an artistic influence. Who have been other influences and mentors along the way? ELS: My aunt and uncle are also figurative painters, so I was surrounded by multiple visual languages from early on. I always find it difficult to pick out just a few names for this question, but for the sake of brevity, some artists I’ve recently worked for or studied with who have made an impact include Jon Kessler, Mira Dancy, Nicola Lopez, and Aliza Nisenbaum. AMM: Can you tell us about developing your style of painting where your hand is all but invisible in the works? ELS: It feels a bit more like rediscovering than developing. I remember as a child watching my older brother sketch in a staccato hairy way and I didn’t understand why his hand did that. When I put my pencil down I would make clear hard lines, albeit very wobbly. As I went through art school “loosen up” was a common critique for me, so I tried many different ways of painting for a long time, but I feel like it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve rediscovered the confidence to paint in a way that feels most expressive and natural to me. I still work by hand with oil paint, though, so there are brush strokes, imperfections, and human touches in person that are lost in photographs. AMM: In contrast to this, the composition of your paintings is self-referential. What is your thinking around your role as artist and presence in your work? ELS: I see the self-referentiality as a form of world building. I’m not trying to write a seamless science fiction series with my work or be too prescriptive with my painterly lexicon, but there is definitely a world I’m exploring here… one that is maybe in the future, or perhaps a faulty memory where much specificity is lost and all that’s left are a few details and a mood. AMM: In paintings such as ‘Bird Bath Bow’ and ‘Shadow box moon back’ clear framing devices direct the viewer’s eye on the canvas. Your paintings foreground notions of viewing and the gaze. How do you engage with and subvert power dynamics implicit in the gaze? ELS: Framing devices are like an echo of the canvas edge. With them, I want to be forthright about the limitations of one point of view, of my own subjectivity, but they are also about creativity within constraints. AMM: In relation to this the subject matter in your paintings is teasingly ambiguous. Rolling hills resemble bodies, but not quite, figures are vaguely feminine, but not obviously so. How do you play with expectations and feminine symbolism in your work? ELS: Painting is a very sexual process. Even if
my works end up looking more hard-edged in the end, I’m still painting fantasy lands and using focused, heightened senses to squish around vibrant colors and juices. I try to be very careful with how I use the figure because of the history of the white male gaze you allude to in the last question, but I’m also a physical sexual being so I don’t want to make art that only ever excites the brain. Phalluses in the bush or a butt among the hills is a way to express and embrace that side of being a woman and an animal. AMM: Can you tell us more about the symbolic visual language in your work, such as the creeping vines, lattices, straight-backed chairs, braids, windows, stairs…? ELS: My paintings are a bit like sentences in that a plant can mean or symbolize one thing in one painting but as its context changes from work to work, it needs to be understood in each unique context. In one painting the potted creeping vine may be something precious or decorative, in another it may be more sentient, sexual, and/or foreboding. AMM: Your paintings often portray rooms inside rooms and multiple times of day in one scene. Can you speak to this metaphysical aspect of your work? ELS: There’s this Persian miniature painting that I found in a book that illustrates a scene from the Khamsa of Nizami where a prince is standing in daylight outside of a princess’s house that is shrouded in night. It isn’t known exactly why the illuminator depicted it this way, but it’s a tragic poem about two lovers who are never able to be together, so some scholars suppose it’s to suggest they are in different time zones, or at least to highlight the distance between them. Persian miniature illuminators often did things like this to depict multiple stories, points of views, or times within a work, and I’m drawn to this loosening of time and perspective within one composition. Sometimes I paint purple skies too, as it could mean either dusk or dawn. AMM: Doorways, stairs and corners play tricks on the viewer, leading the gaze around in circles like a hall of mirrors. Please tell us more about defamiliarising the familiar and undermining expectations in your work. ELS: I want the spaces to seem familiar but not literal. The varied forms of perspective and the elements you mention allow room for more psychological and emotional exploration inside compositions that would otherwise seem straight forward. AMM: What is the relationship between contained and open space in your work? The image of the night sky reflected (although not a true reflection) in the pond in The Secret Garden Femme perfectly captures the tension between these opposing forces in your work. ELS: As the title suggests, in The Secret Garden Femme I was partly thinking about
“As I went through art school “loosen up” was a common critique for me, so I tried many different ways of painting for a long time, but I feel like it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve rediscovered the confidence to paint in a way that feels most expressive and natural to me. I still work by hand with oil paint, though, so there are brush strokes, imperfections, and human touches in person that are lost in photographs.” - Emily Ludwig Shaffer
the idea of privacy and a safe space. I think it comes from the desire and sometimes the need to contain something expansive. AMM: Please tell us about the absence of people in your paintings. ELS: I almost exclusively painted figures in undergrad and I rarely felt like I was having the conversation I wanted to, and I became uncomfortable with the process of objectifying people. So, when I was in my early twenties I got rid of the figure altogether in any sort of literal way. Within the past two years, though, I’ve started bringing the figure back in the form of stone statues. These statues are predominantly female-presenting bodies, and in the wake of #metoo and a Silvia Federici reading I was doing at the time, they started as monument proposals to female companionship. I’m exploring the world/ gardens of these statues in other ways now too, but it’s still very important to me that they come off as stone hard and cold.
photo by Anna Ottum
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Emily Ludwig Shaffer
“Painting is a very sexual process. Even if my works end up looking more hardedged in the end, I’m still painting fantasy lands and using focused, heightened senses to squish around vibrant colors and juices. I try to be very careful with how I use the figure because of the history of the white male gaze you allude to in the last question, but I’m also a physical sexual being so I don’t want to make art that only ever excites the brain. Phalluses in the bush or a butt among the hills is a way to express and embrace that side of being a woman and an animal.” - Emily Ludwig Shaffer
AMM: As a female artist do you feel an urgency or necessity to engage with feminist tropes and discourse in your work? ELS: Yes, but there’s a lot of other issues or things I care about concurrent to gender. It’s not an isolated issue. AMM: Looking at your body of work over the past couple years we can see you’re experimenting with different ideas in your work. Please tell us about the different directions you’ve explored and your journey to where you’re currently at in your painting.
ELS: It’s funny, some people think my work hasn’t changed much in the past 5 years and others say I’m making drastically different work from just a year ago. I think both are probably correct. For someone who seems to make such rigid work, the process of ideation is actually pretty intuitive. So much is influenced by what I’m reading or listening to or looking at in a given month, but I am who I am so there will always be some of those overarching themes and concerns we’ve been discussing. AMM: We’re curious about the edges of your paintings in relation to depicting space and dimensionality. In your paintings on canvas the image stretches to the edges of the canvas, but does not wrap around the sides, emphasizing the two-dimensionality of the painting in contrast to the three-dimensionality of the composition. Please tell us more about this. ELS: This is something I do in some paintings but not in all of them. It was a way for me to think about the illusionistic quality of my paintings, and to disrupt that in a very small way—like the frayed edge of a piece of cloth.
experience post-art school - what have been big learnings for you? ELS: A lot of my 20s were spent waitressing, gallery assisting, and working for other artists. I learned a lot from all of those experiences. AMM: What is the art scene like in NYC for emerging artists? ELS: Everyone who knows me has heard me complain about my studio a lot recently. I can’t handle a windowless ventless space anymore. New York is great for its access to galleries, museums and other artists, but it’s terrible for space. I’ve been living in New York for nearly 10 years and somehow my studio just keeps getting smaller and darker. I’m paying 3 times the price per square foot that I was when I moved here. AMM: Are you working on any exciting projects right now? What’s next for you? ELS: I’m doing a solo booth with L’Inconnue at NADA Miami in December and a solo with PACT in Paris in the fall of 2020.
AMM: Do you have any studio rhythms and rituals? ELS: I work in a windowless ventless studio in Bushwick so I have a large poster of the Hoh Rainforest on my wall with a desktop rock fountain under it. I try to look over at that corner a few times a day, and I try to go on a short walk during lunch. AMM: What is your process of working? ELS: It’s hard to say when a work starts. Going to see shows, reading books, listening to podcasts and conversations with friends all give me a lot of ideas that I turn into sketches that may or may not ever become a painting. I also email myself frequently with the subject line “ART IDEA”. It’s amazing how cryptic and useless most of these ideas seem even just one day later. Like, there’s this one I sent to myself years ago about archers camped out in the crenellated turrets of a White Castle. I still don’t know what “art idea” this was supposed to spark, but my friend Calvin says I should publish them in a book or maybe just to a blog eventually. Sometimes a sketch or idea will just sit for months and never develop, but usually I sketch an image or an idea over and over again until it takes on a form that interests me enough to either do an acrylic painting on paper or a photoshop mock-up of. This is where I try to figure out the colors and the mood of the piece. If it passes that stage I’ll project the sketch onto the canvas to make sure I get the angles right, and then it’ll take 2-3 layers of thin oil paint over a few weeks to finish a work. AMM: Your work has been included in some exciting group shows not to mention two solo shows in two years. Talking marketing and career development isn’t always a favourite topic amongst artists, but we would be curious to hear your
Image (p.18): Emily Ludwig Shaffer Bird Bath Bow oil on canvas 54 x 47 inches photo by Sandra Larochelle
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Emily Ludwig Shaffer
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Friends and Family oil on canvas 68 x 72 inches photo by Sara Salamone
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Rose Garden Night Glories oil on canvas 68 x 56 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Waiting oil on canvas 60 x 47 inches photo by Anna Ottum
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Untitled oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches photo by Kristen Hatgi
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Rose Study III oil on canvas 20 x 16 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Plait View oil on canvas 20 x 16 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Color Braid oil on canvas 42 x 34 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer View to the Night Box oil on canvas 72 x 65 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer From The Ha Ha Wall Comes The No No Dance oil on canvas 72 x 65 inches photo by Joe Parra
Emily Ludwig Shaffer Left Room Right Light oil on canvas 40 x 32 inches photo by Joe Parra
The individual psyche and the collective unconscious: Igor Hosnedl’s pursuit of mythic truths For his imagery of urns, severed limbs, cut fruit, tangled plant tendrils, dinnerware, celestial forms and allegorical animals, Czech painter Igor Hosnedl delves into what he perceives to be a kind of Jungian “collective unconscious”—a vast memory-stock of symbols and meanings that convey a deeper understanding about human nature and existence. We are not singular, Igor’s paintings seem to tell us; we are part of a greater whole. Igor’s work offers glimpses of a perceptual experience that is beyond the quotidian observation of the world and of ourselves. Beyond the facades created by his rounded archways there lie rooms steeped in perpetual dusk, where halfseen symbols and figures are backlit by an unearthly glow. The arm of a shadowy figure reaches out from the painting’s depths, an open wound in place of a hand. Silhouetted, phantom limbs, living plants and metamorphic creatures conduct strange, ritualistic displays just beyond our frame of vision. Still life arrangements adorn the foreground; oranges and figs, spoons and bowls lie forgotten, as though abandoned by one who sat down to a meal only to abruptly rise and depart. This iconography of dining is attended often in Igor’s images by concepts of shame, anxiety and self-consciousness—introspective psychological states that are exacerbated within the social context of eating, of sitting down to dinner. Another important element in Igor’s work is drawing. His figures and strewn objects are sharply demarcated, either by the precise definition of their contours with vividly contrasting hues, or else by a series of deft, bold lines that gesture towards details without inclining to realism. Here and there, Igor employs his draughtsmanship to pick out a few strands of hair, the curve of an ankle, a dimpled back, an eye, a set of genitals. When this more illustrative style converges, in Igor’s images, with his painterly tendency to construct forms according to chromatic gradations, shading and highlights, the whole becomes a play between depth and flatness. This optical variation implies a multiplicity of perspectives all existing in a single visual frame. Within that reality, too, the viewer is forced to question the authenticity of the scene they are witnessing—is it a vase? Or is it merely the cut-out shape of a vase, held up by an unseen hand to trick our eyes and hold our gaze? For Igor, the object and its shadow, the real and the false, the thing itself and the imagined thing, have equal importance within the pictorial space. In his work, what is true and what we perceive to be true are no longer separate, for the fleeting perceptions of the subconscious are captured there, in form and substance, on the canvas. The space of Igor’s paintings is a space in which different planes of reality are merged, so that the world we see and the world we dream become one and the same. Having studied in Prague, Igor is now based in Berlin, where he is currently working on developing the system of enigmatic symbols and cryptic meanings that drive his practice. He speaks to us here about the things that stimulate his creative impulse, the importance for him of mixing his own pigments, the relationship between his visual works and other disciplines, and his unique understanding of the pictorial space.
interview by Rebecca Irvin
Featured image: Igor Hosnedl Character from borrowed book handmade pigments in glue on canvas 210 x 135 cm
AMM: To begin with, what was it that first led you to pursue art? How did you start out? IH: When I was a boy I took art lessons, probably like most children do. I did not rank among the distinctive students though; I used to be reprimanded for not sticking to the task and instead just drawing what I wanted. After a time I decided to quit this hobby. I could not discover my desire to create something of a deeper meaning and for a long time I struggled with the question of what role, if any, art could play in my life. I wrestled with these ideas, abandoning and rediscovering art, even during my studies at Prague Academy. I tried to pursue art after my studies, yet I never was able to assert myself much in Prague. At that time I split my life half and half between my night shifts and working in the studio. In Bohemia it is not easy to make one’s living as an artist, more so if the artist is not willing to pursue the commercial way to success. AMM: Your work seems to contain a lot of classical, mythological elements, both in the images themselves and in your titles such as ‘The Opening of the Wells’, ‘The Lecture of the Wise Snake’ and ‘Emerald Syrup from Orchard of Promises’. How do myth and allegory inform your creative practice? IH: All symbols and narrative elements both in the pictures and their names come from my interest in my own roots and the mythology of the place I come from. I also work with collective memory, which not quite consciously but rather intuitively sits in human nature, influencing the ways we think. I believe that this subconscious collective sensitivity and power dwells in each nation in a distinct and specific form. The sediment of this sensitivity and perception deposits in music and literature as well as visual arts; I do not try to deliberately gain from that, but I feel its presence. AMM: Your paintings often come in pairs or sequences—is this to imply a narrative or to posit a multiplicity of perspectives? IH: I never worked on two paintings knowing I was creating a classical diptych. I believe the final ‘get-together’ of some of them occurred by accident during the exhibition installations. It is interesting though to observe this recurrent phenomenon, which continues to happen maybe also due to the fact that I often work on several paintings at the same time. This may confer a feature that afterwards will have an impact on the final shape of the exhibition. AMM: How does colour function in your work? IH: The choice of colours is very intuitive for me; I cannot exactly define colour sensations before I start working on the picture itself, but I have a partial intuition as to which colour atmosphere might suit the given painting. Thus my colours create a certain darkness and austerity or amiability within the pictorial space. At times I choose really bright colours, thus transgressing the imaginary border that maintains the picture area as a single homogenous environment. Lately, I tend toward subdued colours, which take the viewer into a
rather quiet colour space. These paintings often deal with private situations and do not try to distract the viewer with their colourfulness; contrary to that, they keep him or her in gentle suspense, leading to a more intimate encounter with the image itself.
recognising beauty in darkness.
AMM: What is the meaning behind some of the recurring shapes and symbols throughout your work—archways, doorways, plants, severed limbs, urns, cut vegetables?
IH: Eating in front of the eyes of others is too intimate. This opinion intrigues me with its strong dose of atavism, complementing my idea of dining in relation to possible twisted situations. I also understand dining as an umbrella concept under which meanings from my previous work come into contact—shyness, separation, remorse, humility.
IH: Topics such as crops growing and being harvested have appeared in my artwork for quite some time, mingled with the idea of the human and his or her distorted attitude towards nature, animals, the Earth and, ultimately, to him or herself.
“The symbolism that permeates my artwork is first of all a message to myself as a person living at this time. Cut-off limbs are in a figurative sense a synonym for cut flowers. People endow flowers with the meaning of beauty, which they seek to steal and take away to their homes to watch them until they die. I do not hide my efforts to insert an element of brutality into my paintings. Quite the contrary, I would be happy should this aspect of my work be readable. I am well aware of the fact that nowadays there are few ways left to shock. That’s why I try to stay faithful to the melancholic, naïve vision of recognising beauty in darkness.” - Igor Hosnedl
The symbolism that permeates my artwork is first of all a message to myself as a person living at this time. Cut-off limbs are in a figurative sense a synonym for cut flowers. People endow flowers with the meaning of beauty, which they seek to steal and take away to their homes to watch them until they die. I do not hide my efforts to insert an element of brutality into my paintings. Quite the contrary, I would be happy should this aspect of my work be readable. I am well aware of the fact that nowadays there are few ways left to shock. That’s why I try to stay faithful to the melancholic, naïve vision of
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Igor Hosnedl
AMM: Imagery of food and dining seems to have an important place in your work—your recent show at NoD Gallery Prague is even called ‘Dining ’. Can you tell us about the concept behind that?
AMM: What different mediums do you work in? I have read that you make your own pigments. IH: Yes, the preparation of colours is quite specific in my case. I struggled with colour and its application for a very long time. I tried to find a key to achieving a wholeness of the pictorial space by means of colour tones and their mutual communication. I tried to work both with oil and acrylic. None of these techniques suited me; I could not mix the tints together and all my efforts ended up in a grey or brown mess. In 2010, I started experimenting with dry pastel, which I crushed to a powder-pigment and mixed with glue. This slowing down of the whole process due to the time-consuming preparation of colours was a fundamental breakthrough in my tackling the colour space of the painting. AMM: What is your process like when working on a painting? Do you start with a story, an image, a shape, a drawing? IH: I draw a lot. For me, drawing is the basis of painting. AMM: There is an intriguing correspondence in your work between depth and flatness, between bold, silhouette-like shapes and intricately shaded details— how did this style of painting develop and how does it underpin the themes that run through your work? IH: I try to balance a painting with the help of a variety of approaches that the technique I work with allows. I understand that some painting strategies are not transferable, yet on the other hand I believe in the desire to depict something and the ability to express it within one’s own means. That is why my art is the meeting place of different pictorial shortcuts and symbolic condensations. There are more or less noticeable hints of reality both when working with detail and drawing. I cannot exactly say how this approach developed; I only know that from time to time new approaches and considerations make their way into my painting – how to break through space, how to depict the mass or structure of materials or how to lighten the composition with a drawing. This also concerns the nature of action in the picture (the boy observing his penis, or the patterned wavy curtain). It is interesting to see how a direct, intimate scene makes viewers rise from their chairs more so than a rather brutal story hidden within the draped curtain.
AMM: Many of your paintings incorporate illustrative elements and strong line-work—in your practice, what is the relationship between painting and drawing? IH: I never was a classical painter. My art depends on drawing. I strive to be sincere and respect my natural abilities; that is why drawing and painting mingle in my works— sometimes quite obviously and sometimes less so. AMM: As well as paintings, your shows involve sculptural works and three-dimensional objects such as furniture, fruit and vegetables, textiles and cut-out shapes—in what ways do these relate to one another? IH: The three-dimensional elements, both animate and inanimate, are sometimes echoes or short etudes that are not directly related to the pictures but which serve as separate trains of thought. This process corresponds with my apprehension of reality and the distinctions I make between mental exercise and making an object with the ambition of creating an artwork. AMM: What kinds of feelings do you hope to stimulate in the viewer when they are experiencing your work in person? Is it important for the paintings to be seen in the flesh? Does this change the way they can be interacted with and understood? IH: As I have partially suggested, I try to perceive a painting primarily as an immediate and direct response to my intuition and the direction in which my interest leads me. I don’t know how far I can dictate what I expect from the viewer standing in front of my painting. I hope the relationship I strive to build between myself and my work can permeate and influence the relationship between the viewer and my art. I deem it essential to encounter art face to face in any medium— music, video, performance, painting or sculpture. The experience is specific; it has the taste and smell of the moment. Concerning my work, I think the viewer may be surprised by the manual character of my painting, something not discernible in the photos. AMM: Are there any other artists, either historical or contemporary, whose work influences your own art? IH: I like the artwork of many artists. To name a few, Gertrude Abercrombie, Jan Zrzavý, Balthus, Silke Otto-Knapp. Sometimes it is not the artist’s work itself but rather the energy their art retains. Each artist walks in the footsteps of someone who has been in the same direction. I believe in this mental sense of artistic belonging. AMM: What has been, or continues to be, the greatest challenge in your creative practice? How do you overcome such challenges? IH: I don’t know; the biggest challenges are probably still before me. I presume that after the imaginary overcoming of all challenges the artist ends up in his or her studio alone with him or herself again. This cannot be surpassed. One can just regardfully coexist with it.
AMM: Beyond visual art, where do you look for inspiration and references? IH: I draw much from my own imagination. All that I draw somehow touches upon the classical space of the picture. If something appeals to me and touches my sensitivity, it may become an impulse for my artwork. It can be a text, a picture, a video or music. I have no more closely defined sources of inspiration; they come and go. I try to put it all into my drawings, and I often browse through heaps of these, finding ideas that have passed through my head. AMM: We are intrigued by the letter addressed, “Dear Mikeš” that introduced your show ‘The Opening of the Wells’ and also the text written by Klára Vavříková for your show ‘Dear Mikeš ‘ in the same year. Can you tell us a bit about these accompanying texts and how the two shows corresponded with one another? And who is the elusive Mikeš? IH: It is interesting how much power these two texts contain; I think this power will never be lost. At the time I was preparing the exhibition The Opening of the Wells, I was working with an intense sense of belonging to the landscape I come from and to the old customs that are a natural part of it. It was an unusual decision, due to the fact that it was my first exhibition in the US, in New York, a place so remote from where I grew up and where my ancestors lived. The art gallery almost took my breath away with its wonderful press release, which began with the salutation “Dear Mikeš”. Mikeš is a character from a traditional Czech cartoon fairy tale. The whole text is interwoven with symbolic condensations of many meanings, which refer to my origins and the remote culture of the Czech countryside. I responded to that text with the story of Mikeš in a series of paintings and a short text in collaboration with my friend Klára Vavříková. These texts are very subjectively conceived, focusing on introspective sensations and imagination. In this way they generate a powerful energy, which I felt both during my work on the series of paintings for The Opening of the Wells and for the series Dear Mikeš. This treatment of text is very personal and provides a lot of space for interpretation, manoeuvring and fabulation. They are not standard curatorial texts, but probably that is why they are capable of maintaining a very specific energy.
“Sometimes it is not the artist’s work itself but rather the energy their art retains. Each artist walks in the footsteps of someone who has been in the same direction. I believe in this mental sense of artistic belonging.” - Igor Hosnedl
chance to live according to my own rules and to devote myself to art every day. AMM: How do you spend your time when you’re not working? IH: I am in the studio every day. And I try to spend my leisure time with my family. AMM: How do you envision your practice developing in the future? IH: I am encrypting more meanings and information within my pictures, which are often discernible only after longer observation. My chief interest at the moment is the exploration of intimacy and the slow flow of time in the pictures. I feel that this is going to fill my work also in the future. However, things follow different rules inside the picture area. As if all that a person might seek to predetermine within their art already had a reason to exist in its own way.
AMM: What role does self-reflection play in your work? IH: Self-reflection is the prerequisite of responsibility. I’m not sure that I am selfreflective enough to answer this question in an intelligible way. I try to assess my work as critically as I can. It is not as easy as it might seem. AMM: What is it like working as a painter in Berlin? IH: Berlin is a great place, I am very happy that I can live and work here. Here, I got the
Image (p.33): Igor Hosnedl Handcatching an apple handmade pigments in glue on canvas 210 x 135 cm
Image (p.34): Igor Hosnedl Lavish Dreams handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Igor Hosnedl
Igor Hosnedl A honor to Jan Zrzavý, Dear Mikeš handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
Igor Hosnedl Cat with blue spoon, Dear Mikeš handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
Igor Hosnedl Sun two handmade pigments in glue on canvas 200 x 130 cm
Igor Hosnedl Sun handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
Igor Hosnedl A Boyâ€™s Best Friend handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
Igor Hosnedl Quick makeup handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 140 cm
Igor Hosnedl Mommyâ€™s advices handmade pigments in glue on canvas 200 x 130 cm
Igor Hosnedl Sleeping Pills handmade pigments in glue on canvas 200 x 105 cm
Igor Hosnedl Bath handmade pigments in glue on canvas 200 x 130 cm
Igor Hosnedl Night harvest handmade pigments in glue on canvas 220 x 160 cm
World perspectives and the female experience: In conversation with Sarah Thibault For the past year, artist Sarah Thibault has been living out of a suitcase while traveling the world. Born in Minneapolis, she’s made an art of artist residencies, and to date has spent time on residence at Nes Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland; PLOP Artist Residency, London, UK; Buinho Creative Lab, Messejana, Portugal; and Lakkos Art Project, Crete, Greece (April). Next year she tells us she plans to resettle in San Francisco where she has been a resident artist of the Minnesota Street Project studios since 2016. Not surprisingly, this experience has had a profound impact on Sarah’s general outlook and her art. “My experiences over the past year have required me to re-evaluate all the habits and mental patterns that, in hindsight, had kept my world safe and small. As my physical world expanded, my connection to my internal world deepened,” she wrote in a blog post in July 2019. Sarah’s current body of work began through the deep introspection that comes with solo travel and the need to be self-sufficient, in your power and at peace. Inspired by the words of Audre Lorde about the necessary and revolutionary importance of female self-care, Sarah’s work portrays female-identifying artists in moments of leisure and self-care. This is in response to the historical tradition of odalisque paintings in which reclining women are in service to the artist and viewers’ gaze. Instead, Sarah literally offers her own point of view, presenting herself as artist-as-subject in many of her works. In this way, we’re invited to soak with her in a bath and contemplate her bobbing toes, watch back-episodes of The Great British Bake Off on a laptop screen perched on her knees, or contemplate the contents of a disposable cup. (Here readers may wish to note that the ArtMaze website carries a teatime conversation Sarah had with Olga Pryymak in her London studio which elaborates on self-care and other themes). At once everyday and intensely personal, Sarah’s paintings and drawings meditate on the inner, quiet life that can become drowned out, if we let it. Her artwork charts a journey back to the self, to a comfortable, content and nurturing space of being.
interview by Maria Zemtsova text by Layla Leiman
Featured image: Sarah Thibault Waxing Moon oil on canvas 72 x 60 inches
AMM: Hi Sarah! Can we start by asking you about your childhood and formative years? Were you raised in a creative household and what are your earliest memories of making art? ST: Sure! Yes, I was very fortunate to have two creative parents and an extended family that supported art-making. My earliest memories of making art were of coloring and drawing basically what I’m doing now. AMM: Your first degree was a BA in French with Integrated Liberal Studies, but this was followed by a BFA and an MFA in Studio Art. We’d be really interested to know how and why this change of direction came about. ST: It took some time for me to accept that being an artist was a viable career path. It was also hard to allow myself to pursue something that I was good at and enjoyed. Even though I focused my first major on French, I continued to take art classes. My drawing professor was very encouraging and played good music during class, so I felt an excitement around drawing that I didn’t for writing French papers—although I have always loved languages and French in particular. Once I decided to make the switch, I knew I needed to leave the Midwest. When I arrived in San Francisco, I was all in. I went to art school not knowing how to stretch a canvas, but when I graduated with my BFA, my first opportunity, thanks to the artist Amy Ellingson who recommended me, was to show through the ART in Embassies program at the American Embassy in Uruguay. This success gave me momentum to keep going after school, despite many, many challenges. *As a side note—the painting I showed for ART in Embassies was called “Bridezilla” and was inspired by a Vogue editorial spread on the Donald and Melania Trump’s wedding in 2005. Melania was on the cover, and the article headline was “American Royalty”. It seems Anna Wintour regrets that choice now. AMM: We have read that up until 2018 you were working as an Executive Assistant in San Francisco and making art at the same time, but on a trip to Europe life was about to change rather dramatically. Can you take us through what happened and how it affected your outlook on your artistic career and how you wanted to live your life? ST: It happened fast, but it was building up for a long time. I had worked as an assistant for about 10+ years, while working on a lot of art projects at the same time. I was burned out and I started thinking about making a career shift towards something more creative, if not making my art full time. I also wanted more of a work/life balance and travel in my life, so I booked a trip to Europe—my first trip out of North America in 10 years. About a month before I was planned to leave, our roof started leaking and things were getting progressively worse at my job. I ended up quitting and on my last day I left on a plane for London. While in Europe, I got an email Photo by Myleen Hollero
that our apartment lease was ending, so I was going to have to move out right when I got back. It was a stressful time for me, but in the end, all the people and things that caused problems for me ended up doing me a real favor. It got me out of a rut and into a life I actually enjoy. The more I dug into a nomadic lifestyle, the more I met other people doing it too. Since last year I have met so many people who make wonderful art and live unconventional
“... when you feel comfortable in your own skin, that is when you are truly powerful— when you can listen to the stillness within. You can’t do that unless you are taking care of yourself and feeling right in your body. I think this is an important concept for everyone to internalize, but for my work I am mainly interested in the female experience because that is the one I am having in this lifetime.” - Sarah Thibault lives. It gives me the courage to take risks with my art and to continue to listen to my inner voice, which can get overpowered when you are too busy. AMM: What ideas and themes are you currently exploring in your work? In what ways are they related to your autobiography? ST: My recent series of paintings and drawings is based on photographs that I have taken while traveling. I take a lot of self-portraits since I travel solo mostly, but I also have started taking portraits of artists that I meet along the way. I started by doing
a photoshoot with a group of artists at the Nes Artist Residency in Iceland. From there I wanted to see how things would evolve if I did a different shoot at every residency. In particular I’m interested in presenting portraits of female artists in moments of leisure or in the process of self-care. Recently while I was back in California, I was walking around Lake Merritt in Oakland trying to articulate to myself why it is important to represent that—versus reclining for a nude portrait, for example. The phrase, “self-care is a revolutionary act” came to mind, although I don’t know where I had heard that. No more than 5 minutes later I saw an iteration of that phrase written on a woman’s t-shirt. I must have seen that phrase somewhere before and had forgotten, but that synchronicity seemed important so I did more research on that idea. From there I found the writing of Audre Lorde who wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is selfpreservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” What I took away from that is when you feel comfortable in your own skin, that is when you are truly powerful—when you can listen to the stillness within. You can’t do that unless you are taking care of yourself and feeling right in your body. I think this is an important concept for everyone to internalize, but for my work I am mainly interested in the female experience because that is the one I am having in this lifetime. AMM: We really enjoyed watching the time lapse video on Instagram of how a painting of yours is developed (from December 30th, 2018), please tell us more about your process of work? ST: Thank you! It was fun for me to watch after the fact. I start with a cartoon of an image that I trace from a photo or a sketch, then I go in with oil paint on canvas much the way I would approach one of my drawings on paper. I make marks and do a lot of scumbling with a dry brush. My drawings are done primarily with graphite pencils, smudge sticks and tiny erasers. AMM: Scrolling back through your Instagram feed we were very interested in how your colour palette has evolved, can you tell us more? ST: One explanation is that I made a conscious shift away from the keyed-up, neon palette that I was using for a long time because I felt like the neons were a crutch. Who doesn’t love a good fluorescent red? I decided that blue was the opposite of that and a color I hadn’t used much so I challenged myself to use it in a series of paintings. I asked myself, what does the color blue mean? What other paintings have been inspired by blue (so many) and how could I contribute to the conversation. This shifted again when I was introduced to salt lamps and I fell in love with the warm glow. This became the inspiration for a series of paintings and has since influenced my palette.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Sarah Thibault
The other woo woo explanation is that I think the colors I choose to correspond in some way to my energy field or aura. I always wondered if that might be true for painters in general, or at least for myself, and then I got my aura portrait done. It matched what I was painting almost exactly. If I consider that as the source of my pull towards certain color palettes, because they match my aura, then I assume my palette will continue to shift throughout my life. AMM: Is it all about painting and drawing or do you work in other mediums as well? ST: I go through phases when I also make sculpture. I love working directly with my hands—it’s more tactile which is something you miss out on when you work in 2-d. In graduate school I did a series of soft sculptures inspired by objects in antique stores—Americana, rococo clocks and vases. They were made out of aluminum foil which is the cheapest and most accessible metal I could find. I continue to work with that material because it has a nice texture and has this DIY, punk quality to it because it never fully does what you want it to.
Image: Sarah Thibault Self portrait (hot pot) graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches
AMM: Some of the ArtMaze team have travelled in Iceland as you have and really loved it. The saunas, pools, water and lounging around depicted in your recent drawings reminded us so much of the country and its ambience. In your travels where have you felt at your most creative? ST: Yes it’s so lovely. I am looking forward to going back. Ironically there’s a certain level of boredom and stability that is required for me to feel creative and productive. When you are in a small town for a residency and there is nothing to do at night, making art can feel like a good release - which was the case in Iceland this spring. It can also give you the space to examine your work in a different way because you feel like you have an abundance of time on your hands. AMM: What do you hope an observer takes away from your work? ST: If people like looking at my paintings for more than 20 seconds, or whatever the average time is for a viewer to look at art in a museum, then I feel like I have won. If my work makes people feel seen when they look at it because they recognize something of themselves in it, then even better. If they want to go home and make art themselves, which is how I feel when I see something really good, then that is the best outcome. AMM: How important is social media in your life as an artist and writer?
Image: Sarah Thibault Self-portrait (feet) graphite on paper 9 x 12 inches
ST: I have found it to be a useful tool to reach larger audiences and stay connected with friends. But I’m also inspired by it as a medium, since it has become such a big part of our visual landscape. The tropes of Instagram, the different types of photos and self-portraits that are popular at any given moment or within a given subculture, say a lot about the desires and underlying psychology of people at the
moment. I find it fascinating. AMM: You were working on the series of large paintings for the exhibition Starfish in your parents’ basement while door-knocking for mid-term elections. Do politics, the environment and global issues influence your work at all and if so in what way? ST: They do. As you mentioned I spent about 60 hours last fall canvassing for the Democrats in the Minneapolis area. I used to binge on political podcasts in the studio - which is how my Americana and rococo series came about. It was just after the recession and the US was still dealing with the financial aftermath. Obama was trying to pass healthcare through an antagonistic Congress and we were talking about the great wealth disparity in the country for the first time that I could remember. With that body of work I was interested in deflating or manipulating historical symbols of power and wealth as a way to talk about the systems as a whole. I wouldn’t confuse my work with political activism though. I think that being an artist and living the life you want can be a political act. Much like the power of self-care, if you have a creative outlet, a way to express your voice, and are feeling good in your own skin, then no one can stop you. But after doing the hard work of door-knocking, I realized there’s no replacement for being on the ground, talking to people about issues, and making sure people get to the polls. Get to the polls! AMM: Making art in a basement could be seen as a less than ideal creative environment even though the Starfish series of paintings is so very successful. You have written about maintaining a creative output while on the road travelling the world and staying in a variety of dwellings. Can you share some useful tips, please? ST: Thank you! I was happy with how it turned out because it wasn’t as comfortable or well-lit as my studio. But my parents were very sweet to let me work down there. I had a very clear idea of the paintings I wanted to make before I started, which helped keep me on track. I think if you stay focused on your vision and take small, manageable steps towards it, you can achieve a lot in less than ideal circumstances. Work within your limitations to a certain extent, but also take risks. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. If you really, truly fail, post it on Instagram and we can all have a good laugh. AMM: You have been awarded residencies in Iceland, London, Portugal, Greece, and San Francisco. For those applying for future placements, how should one approach the application in order to ensure success? ST: It’s a crap shoot, or at least it feels that way from your end because you never really know why you were or weren’t accepted. I still get rejected from residencies, so I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. That said, here’s my advice. Before you start,
“I think if you stay focused on your vision and take small, manageable steps towards it, you can achieve a lot in less than ideal circumstances. Work within your limitations to a certain extent, but also take risks. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. If you really, truly fail, post it on Instagram and we can all have a good laugh.” - Sarah Thibault be honest with yourself about whether you actually would be a good fit. A lot of sustaining a career as an artist in the long-run is being self-aware about what you have to offer. After that, have good documentation of your work, do your research and make a compelling argument for why you would be a good fit for a specific residency program, and don’t be afraid to highlight accomplishments. AMM: We would be really interested to know how you prepare for the experience of a residency. Can you tell us more about the wonderful opportunities they provide, and maybe some of the more challenging moments? ST: Because every residency is different, I try to do research about the facilities and the location before I go. How many people are there? What kinds of stores do they have, or not? Where can I get art supplies and how long do things take to ship there? Prepare for shipping costs if you are making big work that you can’t carry with you. Since I do a few residencies in a row, I pack light. I work mostly on paper and have done writing or murals as a way to minimize what I take home. I did make a couple of large paintings that I rolled up and shipped in a tube. I met so many wonderful people, have eaten delicious home-cooked meals and had some really cool experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise had at residencies. A lot of them are
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Sarah Thibault
in small towns, so you end up living places that most people haven’t even heard of which can be really magical. The challenges of attending artist residencies— that is the subject of a book that I am writing and too much to go into here. I’ve found that if a residency is less than 5 years old, expect at least a few surprises. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to run a residency when they first start. It’s like running an Airbnb, an art school, and being a cruise director. It’s not for everyone. AMM: You obviously love art and have a very busy time making art and writing. In the past you have given your time as Co-Director to The Painting Salon which facilitated connections between art space, presentations and new audiences. You were also Co-Director at the Royal Nonesuch Gallery, an artist-run and event space in Oakland. How important is it for you that we all strive hard to do all we can to make art happen for all? ST: Yes, I was so busy! I wouldn’t recommend taking on as much as I did while working a full-time job, but a lot of people do it in the Bay Area for very little reward. As you say, without it there wouldn’t be an art scene. I think if you are feeling frustrated with a lack of opportunities you should ask yourself whether you have done anything to contribute to the solution. I fully believe that all artists should be compensated for their time, but usually we are all scraping resources together to make something happen, so I’m of the mindset that it’s better to be generous. AMM: Why is art for all so important for the times we live in today? ST: I think art has two purposes that are important to the fabric of society. One, the act of making art is very therapeutic whether or not the outcome is good. If people don’t have a creative outlet, that energy gets blocked, which isn’t healthy—so everyone should do something creative, even if it’s bad. The second is the end product—the art. Art does so many things for people. It makes people feel connected to one another, it puts a spotlight on issues that are maybe hard to talk about, it can make people laugh. I certainly need a laugh these days. AMM: We believe you are hoping to get settled back in San Francisco in 2020. What is happening in the contemporary art scene there? How difficult is it to find affordable studio space?
Image (p.52): Sarah Thibault Netflix stretches oil on canvas 60 x 72 inches
because of the high cost of living, a lot of people are leaving the Bay Area—not just artists but other groups like teachers, art handlers, anyone looking to raise a family, and so on. It is a stressful place to be right now, but there are a lot people working really hard to keep the art scene alive. AMM: How do you envisage your dream studio? ST: Good question. I have a very specific vision. My dream is to build a studio and/or house in a converted church with lots of light and high ceilings. There would also be a lofted lounge area with a kitchen, a west-facing view overlooking the surrounding landscape with a view of the sunset, and a comfortable couch for naps. AMM: Are you still able to watch British Bake Off by the way?! We have enjoyed your travel writings and interviews but if you manage to have any downtime what do you enjoy reading and listening to? ST: I am, but I don’t think there are any new episodes! Or am I missing out? I always make time for pop culture because it’s important to my work. Right now I love a British podcast called My Dad Wrote a Porno hosted by a son and his two friends who read a chapter of his dad’s erotic fiction every week. It’s brilliant, abjectly horrible and ridiculously funny. I also just got done binging on Ru Paul’s Drag Race and the Queer Eye series because I love all the spiritual nuggets tucked (pun intended) between the makeovers and lipsynching. Lastly, I am watching My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which is a genius show, and feels like actual research because it deals with a lot of current issues around gender, sexuality and representations of women in the TV and film in a smart way. AMM: What’s next for you Sarah? Can you share details about future projects? ST: I am going back to Iceland this fall for a residency to continue to build up my source material and prepare for a solo project I have coming up in Europe in the spring. I’m doing a lot of writing and trying to finish a book proposal about my travels—how things have evolved internally and in my art. I’m planning to go back to the States and get settled in 2020, although I’m not sure where yet. I had a recent tarot reading that said my new home town will be mountainous and dry like the moon, and will have a famous cemetery in it. I’m excited to go there, wherever it is, and start working on some new paintings.
ST: I am, at least to make work for a show I have coming up in May. I’m not sure what studio rent prices are like because I have been subletting my studio at the Minnesota Street Project, which is a below-market-rate studio building/project/foundation that has been really supportive to a lot of artists there. I do think that if you give to the SF art community, it will give back to you. Although
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Sarah Thibault
Sarah Thibault Still life (British Bake-off) oil on canvas 97.5 x 75 inches
Sarah Thibault Starfish oil on canvas 97.5 x 75 inches
Sarah Thibault Moon Music oil on canvas 24 x 18 inches
Sarah Thibault Sleeping Flower oil on canvas 24 x 18 inches
Sarah Thibault Still life (Medusa) oil on canvas 75 x 55 inches
Sarah Thibault Still life (salt lamp, laptop) oil on canvas 75 x 55 inches
Sarah Thibault Still Life oil on canvas 48 x 54 inches
Sarah Thibault Still life (Sex and the City) oil on canvas 66 x 75 inches
Sarah Thibault Super Blood Moon oil on canvas 18 x 24 inches
Sarah Thibault Peeking on the Neighbors oil on linen 9 x 12 inches
Sarah Thibault Shade oil on linen 9 x 12 inches
Sarah Thibault Sun Up oil on canvas 12 x 9 inches
Exploring adoration, worship, heightened awareness and erotic sensuality through the body-inhabited objects of desire with Katherina Olschbaur Katherina Olschbaur’s painted figures exist in a state of constant flux. Refusing to settle in a singular, fixed body, they flit between sexes, gender presentations, human, animal and pre-human forms. In her recent exhibitions, ‘The Divine Hermaphrodite’ and ‘Horses’, the haunches of bulls and horses become human feet fitted into too-small, cloven heels; voluptuous, horned beasts pose in thigh-high fetish boots; muscular thighs and calves bend and stretch, attached to broad-shouldered, breasted torsos and equine heads. Human dominates animal and animal dominates human in an erotic performance of evolutionary metamorphosis. The power of these figures comes from their evident delight in their carnal being, peering over their shoulders at the viewer and flexing their limbs in attitudes of simultaneous enticement and intimidation. In Katherina’s earlier works, object and flesh merge to create semi-abstract visions of pre-human bodily conception—inert matter turning to living flesh. Hard, angular surface becomes softly curving body, which in turn melts into satiny liquid mass. This is the crux of Katherina’s paintings: fluidity of form and perception. Seduction meets brutality, pleasure meets agony and evolution meets dissolution. All this is conducted via an interplay of vivid and pastel hues, glowing neons and dusky charcoals. For Katherina, the use of colour and light is what conveys and underpins the semantic and figurative content of her paintings, whether by working in opposition to or in support of the represented narrative. After years of artistic experimentation within artist residencies, working abroad and collaborating in friends’ studios, Katherina now lives and works between Vienna and Los Angeles. She discusses the effect of travelling and living in different places on her creative practice, her understanding of animal subjectivities, and the increasing presence of the living human figure in her paintings.
interview Rebecca Irvin
Featured image: Katherina Olschbaur Human Animal oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
AMM: Hi Katherina! When did you first start to think of yourself as an artist? KO: I have always had a strong imagination and I’ve always been a drawer, but there were no professional artists in my family. When I was around sixteen, after a couple of difficult years, I decided to become an artist. It saved my life. I connected it with being free and independent. I was accepted to the Angewandte in Vienna—I didn’t care which class; I even spelled the name of the teacher wrong. I sold the work I made for the entrance exam to a guy on the train. This made my decision to become an artist seem more absolute than just about ‘career’. AMM: Can you tell us about some of the artist residencies you have participated in and how they have helped to develop your practice? KO: I was invited to a couple of residencies and also spent time working in friends’ studios—such as the painter Panos Papadopoulos in Athens—and had some research projects financed that enabled me to travel to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ukraine, and London. These were periods between three weeks and four months; they were relatively short. I had some pretty unstable years in Vienna, so the residencies allowed me to work for short periods in great studios without distractions. Painting in these moments was an escape and a vacation to some extent. I loved meeting other artists, exploring places and organising small shows and dinners. During these periods I began working in watercolour and ink on paper, and that definitely influenced my painting practice. I was living in the moment, on the edge, without a stable studio. The nights and the cities, the conversations, the parties, the experience of being out there as a woman and a stranger became art in and of itself. However, now that I have a studio I love, I don’t want to go to residencies any more. It would distract me now. AMM: Your work has been exhibited in Europe, the USA and China. You also live and work between Vienna and Los Angeles; has working internationally had an impact on your painting and your approach to creativity? KO: Sometimes you are more at peace with a place when you see it from afar. My parents divorced when I was three, so I grew up between my mother, my father, my grandparents, friends, and family’s places— I don’t have the feeling of a singular home. I am mainly in Los Angeles now; my studio is here. At the same time, I have a whole history in Vienna and in other places too, so my mind is often between different settings. I think a lot about hell and paradise. They’re all invented or artificial locations, so they’re not necessarily connected to a specific place, but my paintings are very much influenced by a very specific feeling of a certain locale like
the Fashion District in Los Angeles. I love the Los Angeles horizon and the light as it filters through the polluted atmosphere.
introduced in the press release with an excerpt from Patti Smith’s ‘Land’; does your work often draw on lyrical poetry and music?
AMM: Who, or what, are your principal artistic influences?
KO: Sometimes. It’s good to draw on something that’s already out there, what you are currently listening to, what you’re reading.
KO: It’s my own personal experiences, and how I see the world. It’s art history, it’s the drag queens of the 80s, it’s performance, it’s books, it’s music. It’s all kind of surfaces, and
“I often think about the disconnection between the mind and body. Your mind wants you to go one direction, but your body says something else, then you trip over your feet and fall. Through the digital, this disconnection is made bigger; we lose contact with the physical world on the one hand, but we are also able to inhabit many different bodies at the same time. We can be heads without bodies, hands without bodies, half horse or a single leg too.” - Katherina Olschbaur
the incredible painters that painted in the 20th century, and painters today. When I was seventeen, I was able to see a show of Manet, Velasquez, and Artemisia Gentileschi, that deeply influenced me in terms of textures and colors. Lee Lozano is important to me, Jean Genet, Kafka, Kirchner, and Maria Lassnig too. AMM: Your solo show last year, Horses, was
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Katherina Olschbaur
AMM: Some of the key themes in your paintings, particularly with your exhibitions Horses and The Divine Hermaphrodite, seem to be about metamorphosis, transmutation and the relationship between the human figure and the animal body. What is the significance of these concepts in your work? KO: Often in art history, the animals have a consciousness. They are the silent witnesses of our most intimate moments, when we’re naughty or violent. They are the only ones who keep sane when the humans lose their heads or fuck it up. I often think about the disconnection between the mind and body. Your mind wants you to go one direction, but your body says something else, then you trip over your feet and fall. Through the digital, this disconnection is made bigger; we lose contact with the physical world on the one hand, but we are also able to inhabit many different bodies at the same time. We can be heads without bodies, hands without bodies, half horse or a single leg too. AMM: A lot of your paintings inhabit a liminal space of becoming – being between states, or between figuration and abstraction – why is this ambiguous, shifting space important in your work? KO: As I mentioned earlier, I guess that’s how I exist in this world. I was always a keen observer of power dynamics, and these dynamics are some of the key elements in my work. I like to look for stories that contradict conventional power play. AMM: Is there often a narrative element to your paintings? KO: A narrative grants an access point to the work, so I like my paintings to have that quality. I have too many stories in my head, so when I am painting or drawing, I have to filter them down to arrive at the main key narrative of a single painting. A lot of narrative in my work happens via form, colour and light. AMM: Your exhibition earlier this year, The Divine Hermaphrodite, explores the notion of a third sex in terms of a spiritual “divine oneness”. The power and sexuality of these painted figures is explicitly tied to their pregendered, often prehuman state. In what ways does this body of work seek to address and challenge dualistic perceptions of sex and gender? KO: Like Genesis Breyer P–Orridge said, some people are trapped in a woman’s body, some people are trapped in a man’s body, and some people simply feel trapped in a body.
photo by Zulu Aljabri, Nelly Zagury
“I like to think of the replacement of bodies, or the fetish as a body-inhabited object of desire. This can be seen as perverted—our relationships with objects are often perverted—but I think this is an unfair judgment. I like to explore the fields of adoration, worship, heightened awareness and erotic sensuality, the mistreatment of the objects and our own bodies, like the pain of a foot stuck in a shoe that is too small, or how our relationships with everyday objects change when we are in a rage.” - Katherina Olschbaur AMM: There is a definite eroticism and fetishism at play in your work; what do you seek to communicate with these elements? KO: I like to think of the replacement of bodies, or the fetish as a body-inhabited object of desire. This can be seen as perverted—our relationships with objects are often perverted—but I think this is an unfair judgment. I like to explore the fields of adoration, worship, heightened awareness and erotic sensuality, the mistreatment of the objects and our own bodies, like the pain
of a foot stuck in a shoe that is too small, or how our relationships with everyday objects change when we are in a rage. AMM: What role does humour play in your work?
doesn’t hurt them to have something going on. But painting will always be my primary medium because this is where I exist. I enjoy being alone most of the time, but every show is a collaboration to some extent.
KO: My paintings are meant to be fun. What else do we have? I would kill myself if there was no humour left.
AMM: What are the most significant ways in which your work has developed since you first started out as a painter?
AMM: Your palette flits between pastel or dark muted hues and bright neons—is your use of colour important to the themes in your work?
KO: Getting the self-confidence over time to openly confront my more painful, embarrassing, or darker sides made my work stronger I guess. Around 2007, I stopped painting the human figure and let its essence come into the paintings mainly through replacements, like cloth, gestures, etc. Around 2018, after my arrival in LA, the figure came back to me. Through this I became more aware of colour and light in ways I wasn’t before.
KO: Yes, it’s key. AMM: What mediums do you prefer to work in? KO: Oil on linen. Or watercolour pencil, ink, everything that comes to hand, on paper. AMM: When making a work, do you create from memory, your imagination, sketches or life? What is your process like? KO: I draw all the time or look at art in catalogues, advertising, films and my surroundings. Very seldom, I’ll take a picture with my phone, draw from a model or make a maquette. I go out at night to bars and clubs, sometimes just out in the street, but I am very shy of taking pictures of people, so I’ve learned to memorise certain situations and certain lighting that resonates with me, and I work from there. AMM: Your brushstrokes tend towards sensuality and voluptuousness, offset by soft shading and subtle transparencies. How would you describe the relationship between your painterly style and your subject matter? KO: Sometimes it’s contradictory. Sometimes a violent situation is rendered soft and seductive, or a sensuous situation is rendered rough. A lot of the real feeling of a painting is transported via colour and texture, rather than the ‘story’ itself.
AMM: How do you spend your time when you are not working? KO: I draw or listen to music. If I am in a good mood, then I dress up and go out at night, dance, spend time with friends or my husband, or do something crazy and go to places that I don’t know. AMM: What is next for your work? Are there any upcoming projects you can share with us? KO: On January 11, my first US museum show opens at the Contemporary Arts Center Gallery of the University of California Irvine, CA, curated by Allyson Unzicker. I will present a new series of large paintings and diptychs. Then there are group shows in LA, Mexico City, and Vienna. Some of my early animations are being shown during Vienna Art Week, and I was nominated for two art prizes in Austria. Next year there are two projects in planning that include drawings, but it’s probably too early to mention.
AMM: What is your studio setup like? KO: It tends to get very chaotic after a while, and then I have to clean it up. I make a mess! AMM: Do you often engage in collaborative practices, either with other visual artists or with practitioners from different disciplines, such as writers? KO: I used to, a lot, besides my all-consuming painting practice. Vienna gave a lot of opportunities, as there is money, time, and rents are cheap. I organised shows with Arie Amaya Akkermans in Athens and Vienna, a painting symposium with Bianca Regl in Beijing, staged an experimental opera after the drawings of Charlotte Salomon in Vienna (with Anna Mitterer, Réka Kutas, and Katharina Ernst), I invited artists to show their films and do live performances within a painting show of mine, and organised dinners inside a gallery. Paintings are silent, so it
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Katherina Olschbaur
Featured image (p.71): Katherina Olschbaur Covered Horse oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Crash oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Weeping Horses oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Fight, (Inhabitation of Multiple Bodies) oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Gods or Barbarians, (Blue Nails) oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Orgy in Yellow oil on linen 200 x 400 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Horse Creep oil on linen 200 x 400 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Nudes by the Beach oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
Katherina Olschbaur Untitled (Red Land) oil on linen 200 x 200 cm courtesy the Artist and Nicodim Gallery
“My heart still flutters”: In conversation with guest curator Brigitte Mulholland Thirteen years into her art career and Brigitte Mulholland is as excited and passionate about her work as ever. “Years in and my heart still flutters at the thought of what I get to do every day”, she posted on her Instagram feed ahead of the Richard Hughes exhibition that runs through November and December at Anton Kern Gallery, New York City, where she works as a director. She jokes with the gallery owner that she’s there for good, which says a lot for her dedication but also, and more importantly, her commitment to the artists she works with and her genuine investment in their work and careers. Brigitte spends a lot of time traveling to do studio visits, speaking with artists and learning about their work. She understands her role and relationship with artists as advisory and enabling, never prescriptive or purely market-driven. She is quick to point out that while sales are important, they’re also not the be all and end all of an exhibition nor reflection of an artist’s worth. She is outspoken about predatory practices and operators in the industry that can damage an artist’s career. On her Instagram feed accompanying a humorous painting by David Shrigley of a crow momentarily pausing its squawking, Brigitte posted “Incredibly accurate portrait of me after I’ve exhausted myself ranting about (or at) flippers, auction vultures, and anyone who exploits artists or thinks of them as commodities.” By contrast, she is free and generous with her knowledge and advice, and endeavours to contribute towards a more transparent, accessible art industry for artists and buyers. Alongside her work at the gallery Brigitte also pursues independent curatorial projects. She curated Fuzz at Spring/Break 2018, a two-artist installation with Ryan Michael Ford and Eliot Greenwald, which was well-received and reviewed. Her curatorial work is premised on understanding and integrity to the artists she is working with. “I don’t want to bring a preconceived notion or concept to anything, or to seek to find things that fit an idea I’ve already formed. I think that being open is really important, and that when you see work and you believe in it, you show it because it deserves to be seen.” Brigitte received her BA History of Art from Manhattanville College in New York and her MA at Hunter College in New York City. She started her career from the bottom, working her way up from gallery assistant to director over many years. Despite her senior job profile, she remains humble, deeply interested and most importantly, in love with what she does. We were thrilled to be able to work with Brigitte on this anniversary edition of ArtMaze Mag. Brigitte lent her enthusiasm, keenness and exceptional expertise to the selection of artists in the Curatorial Selection of the publication.
interview by Maria Zemtsova text by Layla Leiman
photo by Chloe Lin
AMM: Hi Brigitte! Have you always loved art? Are you from a creative background?
AMM: How important is a History of Art degree for one to gain success in your line of work?
BM: Hi! Yes I’ve always loved art. I enjoyed art class of course as a kid, but I was actually more interested and involved in theatre for a long time, that was my creative outlet. The real defining moment for me with visual art was around age 11: I was on a school tour of a historic house, and in the gift shop I saw a Monet painting on the cover of a book and just thought, “Wow, this guy gets it”—got everything I had ever felt but couldn’t express, and he put it into a painting. I was in awe. I bought the book and pored over it. Monet was a gateway drug for me—from there I consumed books on the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, went to the Met as much as possible, and during history classes always loved discussing the art of each period more than anything else. It wasn’t until late in high school that I learned art history was a thing you could study, so I figured that was what I would do when I got to college, and I did.
BM: It’s pretty important. A foundational knowledge is great to have but I wouldn’t say it’s 100% necessary, a lot of your education can come from just teaching yourself, looking at art, going to museums and galleries. The history is part of it but not nearly the whole story. One thing that having a degree does help with though, is that it teaches you to have to think on your toes and know enough about a work of art to have an immediate and articulate response to any question. All those slide tests, or essay tests—well, I get quizzed every day at work with questions from clients or curators!
AMM: In Manhattanville College in 2007 you studied Italian Renaissance with Lisa Rafanelli in an Art History Department which made an impression on, and helped you to find your passion in life. Your MA History of Art thesis from Hunter College 2012 focused on spirituality in the works of Jackson Pollock. Can you tell us about what might appear to be a turning point for you? BM: The first art history class I ever took was with Lisa, and it was on the Italian Renaissance. I adored her immediately and it was a no-brainer to keep taking classes with her, have her as my advisor, and declare a major of art history. My second year of college, Jeff Rosenheim from the Metropolitan Museum of Art did a lecture on Diane Arbus that completely changed what I understood about the power of art—and I was lucky enough to do an internship with him in the Department of Photographs my last year at Manhattanville. That was really transformative. Jeff is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and his approach to photography and looking at work was a major education. Apart from photography, it took me a while to “get” contemporary art, but I had a bit of a revelation on a trip to Dia:Beacon my last year of college as well: being so floored at how beautiful a Fred Sandback installation was that I was moved to tears. From there, I happened to get a job at a Modern Art gallery in New York—selling Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Leger, all those guys. I did my degree at Hunter slowly, while I was working full time, and all the while sort of educating myself in the contemporary world. Over the years Pollock became someone I loved, and while at Hunter I wrote a paper on him for a class with Max Weintraub that eventually transformed into my thesis. During grad school the professor I really liked and connected with the most was Max, so I took a lot of his classes, and it just organically evolved into him being my advisor and doing that thesis.
Harold Ancart, Brigitte Mulholland, Julie Curtiss and Alex Marshall at Julie Curtiss’ 2019 Wildlife opening at Anton Kern
AMM: We’d love to hear about the journey that led eventually to your post as Director at Anton Kern Gallery. How was it? BM: My journey was long and a little circuitous but unfolded pretty naturally. There was a time, basically my last year of college, that I thought I wanted a PhD in art history, and to be a professor. I was on track to do that, and had an advisor, PhD program, and paid fellowship lined up for right after graduation. A few months before graduating I realized that I actually didn’t want that, so I didn’t go into the program and decided to move to New York with some friends and I applied for gallery jobs. Eventually I was hired at a small Modern Art gallery. I started as a gallery assistant and over the course of the eight and a half years I was there, I worked my way up to Director. For a time I thought I might still want a PhD but gave up on the idea because I loved working so much and couldn’t do both. A Master’s seemed important though, so I did that at Hunter while working full time, over the course of a few years. After a while it started to feel stale at the Modern gallery, looking at all these works by dead guys. I wanted something more engaging and dynamic, to talk to the people that had made the work. And it felt like, if I could sell art, that skill would be so much more interesting and important to someone who actually made the work and could benefit from my ability to sell. So I started going to contemporary openings, meeting people and artists. I had curated one small show at the Modern gallery, and had always been interested in curating, so I started doing studio visits with artists in New York, putting things together on my own, where and when I could find a space. Eventually I left the Modern gallery and got a job with Jane Lombard, where I stayed for around a year and a half. Anton Kern Gallery was always one of my favorite galleries—in fact the first “contemporary” show I ever went to was one of David Shrigley’s in Chelsea—so when I saw the job at Anton Kern on NYFA I applied, and well, here I am! AMM: What is your understanding of your role as Director and what skills does it take to do what you do? BM: The directors at Anton Kern Gallery have
two jobs—we are artist liaisons, and also sales directors. Most galleries separate out those roles, but why I love working here is that I get to do both. If I was only doing sales I wouldn’t be happy. That engagement with the artists is why we’re doing any of it—why the gallery exists! We are a gallery that always puts our artists first and that is one of the most important aspects of my role. I would do anything for them. Part of that is the selling too—finding good homes and context for the work. There are a lot of skills involved. Empathy, understanding—for both artists and clients. The ability to multi-task! Not having an ego is also really important—artists and clients come first. AMM: How would you describe the space and atmosphere at the gallery? You certainly look as though you have a lot of fun in your Instagram posts. BM: We do have fun, yes. But after the work is done! We have a great team and we’re all incredibly dedicated to the gallery and our jobs. We take what we do very seriously, but we also have a lot of fun because we absolutely love what we do. There’s joy in doing good work, and doing work that you believe in. We also love our artists and we really love each other too, which is super lucky. People are often surprised by the fact that we get together outside of work, or make it a point to get dinner together after fair days. It’s rare I guess, but I genuinely adore my colleagues and spending time with them. And Anton! He’s a great boss and someone who garners a lot of loyalty from his staff and artists because he’s got a genuinely good heart and cares so much about what he does. Even when it’s a stressful time, it’s a supportive environment. There’s no competition among the sales team, we truly just genuinely care and always want to do what is best for the gallery and our artists overall. AMM: Can you tell us about a pivotal exhibition or event you’ve experienced in Anton Kern? BM: They’re all somehow pivotal or important! Honestly every single one. Exhibitions take a ton of work from the artists, and then a ton of work from the gallery too. I throw myself into each and every one wholeheartedly. One that really meant a lot was Chris Martin’s show last year. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for a long time, and so to get to work with him, and watch and help him put together the show, was a huge privilege. Same goes for Jim Lambie— he’s such a great artist and watching him work is fascinating, he’s so sharp. Julie Curtiss’ first solo was really meaningful because I’ve known her for so long and was a part of getting her to the gallery. To see all of her, and our, hard work manifested in such an incredible way was one of those Life Moments, you know? I mean, Nicole Eisenman’s solo presentation at FIAC was also a huge privilege to be a part of. She’s a total genius, and watching her work is unreal. Nicole is on a different level and she’s also a wonderful person to be around, she makes you want to be better because she’s so good
“A foundational knowledge is great to have but I wouldn’t say it’s 100% necessary, a lot of your education can come from just teaching yourself, looking at art, going to museums and galleries. The history is part of it but not nearly the whole story. One thing that having a degree does help with though, is that it teaches you to have to think on your toes and know enough about a work of art to have an immediate and articulate response to any question. All those slide tests, or essay tests—well, I get quizzed every day at work with questions from clients or curators!” - Brigitte Mulholland and awe-inspiring. Erik Van Lieshout’s show earlier this year was a ton of work and pivotal in a lot of ways because of how much we put into it—long days and nights, but then the reception was huge and the show looked incredible, and it was something we were all really proud of. I’m thrilled to be working with Richard Hughes right now, his show is coming up next at the gallery. I pinch myself constantly. Spending time with John Bock; laughing over a new batch of David Shrigley drawings; gushing over Bendix Harms or Brian Calvin paintings; getting to see Ellen Berkenblit’s work every day, marveling at how Robert Janitz’s paintings glow; helping Martino Gamper and Francis Upritchard move a table…I feel very very lucky to do what I do.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Brigitte Mulholland
“The gallery is a community, and the art world is a larger community, so the way to get a gallery to notice you is to be a part of the community. Approaching a gallery cold is never going to work, and generally signals that you don’t understand it. You need to be involved and committed to the gallery, its program and exhibitions, if you want them to be committed to you.” - Brigitte Mulholland AMM: What does a working day look like; can you tell us about the most rewarding and toughest parts of the job? BM: No two days are alike. Obviously I travel a lot, and we do a lot of art fairs, so that becomes a different sort of day. But if I’m going to the gallery, it’s a lot of phone calls and emails. We’re always working on the current shows, the upcoming shows, art fairs, the programming of the gallery, selling other work not on display…people drop by, artists drop by. Mostly it’s a lot of emails. And way too much coffee. It’s tough when an artist or a client is upset about something, I always really feel for them. Sometimes it is incredibly busy and for every email I answer it seems that ten more appear. Traveling so much can be tough, it’s hard to be away from home for long stretches and art fairs are like working with your hands tied behind your back in a lot of ways—you’re in another city, you don’t have your usual resources, things never quite work the way you need them to. But the most rewarding thing is when something I’ve worked on for an artist pays off, or when a client finds and buys something they really love. Making other people happy makes me happy. Sometimes it’s a sale, sometimes it’s when a show is finally hung, or a booth is finished, and it just looks fantastic. In the end the most rewarding thing is always knowing that you did something good for an artist.
AMM: In 2018 you spoke about invasiveness associated with Me Too, have things changed for the better? BM: I’m not really sure. I spoke out about my own experiences on that podcast just because I felt like it was still so hidden and normalized—and it wasn’t even anything particularly bad that happened to me, but the indignity of it really affects you. As I get older I feel it’s important to be vocal about things that aren’t ok, that speaking up can show others the realities of what’s going on and perhaps affect change. It was a shock to me when a friend told me how normal my own experience was, and I didn’t want that to be a shock to anyone else who experienced something like it. Overall though I don’t really know. The dynamic is one that will take a long time to change I think, because it’s so ingrained in society. AMM: How do you find the artists you want to work with? What qualities are needed to be noticed by your gallery? How should an emerging artist approach a gallery to show work? BM: Anton’s been doing this for a long time and his eye is outstanding. A lot of it comes from his intuition and gut. We (the directors) and he are always chatting—casually and then sometimes more than casually—about artists we like, things we’ve seen. I also ask artists I like what artists they like. There’s no specific formula. And for Anton, adding an artist to the roster is a very serious commitment. He has never dropped an artist, which is pretty unheard of in the art world. If we consider adding someone, we’re thinking about the work but also how it fits in with the work of our other artists and our overall program, history, context, and community. The gallery is a community, and the art world is a larger community, so the way to get a gallery to notice you is to be a part of the community. Approaching a gallery cold is never going to work, and generally signals that you don’t understand it. You need to be involved and committed to the gallery, its program and exhibitions, if you want them to be committed to you. AMM: We are very interested to learn about the growing relationship from first meeting with the artist to exhibition? How does the bond evolve and grow? BM: Every artist is different, and I have very different relationships with each of the artists I work with. I’m fundamentally there to support them, and so it’s my job to understand them, and support them in the ways they each need. It’s a lot of studio visits, time spent. I really care, and so I’m the person that will show up to events and things and just generally be there for an artist. It’s really important to understand their practice—the scope of it, their history, how and why they make things. Listening is key; just having conversations. And again, I’m someone who would do anything for my artists, or any of the artists at the gallery, so making sure they know that is really important.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Brigitte Mulholland
AMM: How would you characterize a successful show? BM: A successful show is one that the artist feels proud of and happy about. Sales are always nice but it’s about way more than that. It’s about doing good work, and putting up exhibitions that mean something, and resonate on levels beyond “commercial” success. AMM: What key pieces of advice do you share with your artists? There are always bumps along the road, how do you rally an artist to meet these challenges? What happens if you are not able to sell a work for instance? BM: I wouldn’t say I give them advice, necessarily, but I share knowledge or information with them that they maybe don’t know. It’s their job to be an artist, it’s my job to know about things like the market, other galleries, museums, pricing, things like that. For instance, if another gallery is showing interest in them, I’ll give them information about that gallery, what their reputation is, how it might be a good fit or not. Careers are long, and trajectories never go in one direction. I’m there to keep them feeling good, and just being a support system. It’s hard when a work doesn’t sell, because whether or not a work sells has nothing to do with its quality. We’ve had some incredible pieces that don’t sell, and it’s got to do with the market, or timing, all sorts of crazy and indefinable factors. We take it hard ourselves when things don’t sell, but always keep the long term in mind, and continue to work on trying to make the sale. Sales are important but not necessarily indicative of the bigger picture, especially in the short term. AMM: How do you continue to promote and support an artist? Is it a lifelong commitment? BM: Absolutely, especially at Anton Kern. Museum exhibitions, sales, interesting projects, books; there’s always work to be done. I have a lot of friends who are artists that aren’t part of the gallery and I always support them as well, offering any insight or advice I can if they have questions. I’ve been in the art world for about 13 years now and have seen a lot; people taking advantage of artists is something that really upsets me, so I make sure that friends know that I am always an honest and open resource. AMM: As Director of a gallery you are involved with artist liaison and the business angle; how would you advise and support both the inexperienced and more knowledgeable collectors? How do you grow your collector base? BM: Collecting is a really personal thing, and every collector has different aims, interests, and intentions. I work with a really broad range of clients, from just starting to very old school, and at all price points. Art fairs, openings, events, even Instagram…there are a lot of ways to meet new collectors. My advice to anyone starting to collect is to look at a lot of things, and listen to your gut and your heart when you see something you love. Don’t listen to hype! The most important thing is to buy
what you love, and buy things that you want to live with. I would never ever push someone to buy something they didn’t truly want. I’m here to educate, contextualize, answer questions, and create understanding. It’s a special kind of joy to live with art, and you should never ever buy for anything other than love. AMM: Is it ever wise to buy simply as an investment? What currently influences buyers’ tastes the most? BM: Anyone who tells you a piece of art is a good investment is not to be trusted. I would never tell someone that, it’s rule #1 in the art world. Art is not an investment. I’m extremely vocal about the dangers of flipping and the harm it does to artists. That’s not the art world I want to live in. The gallery is also very vigilant about selling to people whose intentions are pure and coming from the right place. There are plenty of speculators and people who listen and buy according to hype, and those are not the kind of people I choose to deal with. I only work with collectors who want to truly support artists, and buy work because they find it interesting, compelling, and creative. AMM: What is the contemporary art scene like in New York right now? BM: Wonderful! For me New York is still the most interesting city for art and galleries. AMM: You are heavily involved in promoting the work of your artists in art fairs. We have heard it said that you love going to them even though when working you receive some rather odd questions and requests, which amused us when we spotted them in your Instagram stories! Can you take us through the preparation that takes place? How far ahead do you plan? Brigitte Mulholland with Chris Martin at Chris Martin’s 2018 opening at Anton Kern
BM: I do love art fairs! As exhausting as they can be, they’re a real opportunity to meet people, show work to new collectors and curators, and also to see colleagues from around the world. I really love making sales, the adrenaline and rush of a fair. I also love the art world community and the chance to spend time with other dealers in that environment. Planning takes a long time, and often applications for fairs are open not long after the recent edition finishes. We plan our fair programming for the year ahead very well in advance; logistical preparations begin months in advance. There’s a lot that goes into it—designing the booth, asking artists for work, deciding what would make sense to bring. Travel arrangements, shipping, hiring an install and deinstall crew. We try and make our booths interesting and to have a curatorial angle to them; for us they’re not just a commercial thing, but an opportunity to really present the heart of the gallery and to do something intriguing—so there’s a lot of considered thought and planning that goes into that as well. It’s funny, people really love that Instagram series that I do about dumb questions I get asked at art fairs. It actually started a few years ago when I was temporarily working
“I don’t want to bring a preconceived notion or concept to anything, or to seek to find things that fit an idea I’ve already formed. I like to let ideas just come naturally and out of the art itself. ” - Brigitte Mulholland the front desk of the gallery because we were understaffed before Christmas. I hadn’t done reception work in years and had forgotten the kinds of questions you get, so I thought it was funny to post some of them. That evolved to the art fairs. It’s always a joke among dealers that the fair is over when you get asked if you’re the artist, but there are a lot of other totally bizarre and unexpected questions that come too. I love what I do and I think it’s really important to show all aspects of it and create some levity and comradery. AMM: Do you believe there are presently too many art fairs? BM: Yes! We’ve had to cut back on how many we do per year, it’s too many and it exhausts both us and our artists. AMM: Is there more pressure on artists in general to make what could be seen as more saleable work for art fairs, for example? BM: That’s maybe a pressure they might feel themselves, or perceive that as something they should supposedly do, but I would never tell an artist what to make or not to make, or to do something because it would sell. That’s never the reason to make work! I actively discourage artists from feeling that pressure or catering to expectations to do something just for a commercial reason. AMM: How important is social media in your work as Director? BM: Social media is increasingly important in the art world. I’ve sold work over Instagram, but I generally, personally, like to use it as a way to connect with people. I like that it democratizes the art world in a way, and it can also be a tool to educate, and create interesting insights and conversations with people you might never otherwise meet. I enjoy posting about behind the scenes things, or different aspects of the gallery world. For a lot of people my life and work may seem impenetrable, or glamorous, or like something completely foreign. But I like to give a full picture because
I really love what I do and I think that sharing multiple aspects makes everything more interesting, honest, and enjoyable for people. And more accessible too.
read. You’ll also catch me grabbing a drink, swapping stories about the art world and decompressing with some fellow art dealers. Nothing terribly exciting!
AMM: We are so delighted that you have been able to curate a selection for our Issue 15 of ArtMaze Mag. Thank you! Can you tell us about your approach to curating? How has it evolved over time?
AMM: Do you have your own art collection? If so, we’d love to hear about your favourite piece.
BM: Thank you for having me! It was really fun, and I’ve never gone through an open call like that before, so it was also a really great learning experience for me, and a huge opportunity to see a broad range of work I never would have! My approach to curating is always to just do good work. I try not to have specific parameters or ideas—I think that being open is really important, and that when you see work and you believe in it, you show it because it deserves to be seen. I don’t want to bring a preconceived notion or concept to anything, or to seek to find things that fit an idea I’ve already formed. I like to let ideas just come naturally and out of the art itself. I keep a running list of show titles or recurring themes I am interested in. I want to simply and honestly look at and understand an artist’s work. Then from there think about what it relates to, or what might make for an interesting concept or context in which to show it. It’s evolved as I see more work and go through different experiences with each show I do. I’ve learned to trust my gut a lot more, and to shut out the pressure to do something for reasons other than love of the work. AMM: What advice would give to anyone hoping to work as a curator? BM: You have to go on a lot of studio visits! Listen to the artists and to the work. Most importantly though I would say, only do work that you are proud to put your name on—and do it because you want to and truly believe in it. It’s not easy, especially when you’re starting out. You might feel obligated to do something, or pressured to do something that doesn’t quite feel right, because it seems like you should just be doing anything you can. You have to find your voice, and not follow trends. At the end of the day, the only thing you have is your name and your integrity, and you shouldn’t compromise that for anything. It took me a while to learn that.
BM: I do have my own art collection! I live in a really small apartment and it’s just about filled up now. I don’t think I could pick a favorite—that’s like picking a favorite kid or something! All of them are meaningful to me, and really special. I buy a lot from the gallery—I truly love the program, and even when I go home I’m still somehow at work! Collecting is really important to me, and I think it also informs my work because I know what it is to be a collector, and to have “skin in the game” as they say. I don’t come from money so every piece I’ve bought has been because I saved for it and really wanted it. I’m very lucky to own the things I do. Maybe some highlights? Julie Curtiss, Chris Martin, Ruby Neri, Loie Hollowell, Kathy Bradford, Arthur Peña, Wilhelm Sasnal, Cynthia Talmadge, Alice Tippit, David Byrd, Kari Cholnoky, David Shrigley, Nicole Eisenman, Antone Konst. AMM: Are you able to share news of upcoming projects and events at Anton Kern, and in your own curatorial work? BM: The next exhibitions at Anton Kern are Richard Hughes, “The Great Perhaps” and Chris Martin, “1979-1994”. I’m really excited for both of them. At some point next year my colleagues and I will curate a show at the gallery, but we’re still working on the schedule. In my own personal curatorial work, I’m hoping to do something with the artist Craig Drennen very soon. I think he’s an absolute genius and we’ve been trying to make a show happen for a while. It looks like 2020 will finally be the year. AMM: What do you hope will be happening in your art life five years ahead? BM: I hope and think I’ll still be working for Anton. I joke with him that he’s stuck with me for life. I’m very dedicated to him and to the program and the artists. I really could not ask for a better or more meaningful job. I hope in the next five years that I make great things happen for our artists and the gallery. I’d also like to keep growing my collection.
AMM: You have a very busy schedule. When you manage to grab some down time what do you like to do? BM: Down time? What’s down time?! Only kidding. I like to do yoga, I try to do that once or twice a week. If and when I find free time, I honestly just like to spend it at home, spacing out, tidying up my apartment, cuddling out with my cat, watching movies. I have a few spots in my neighborhood that I like to hang out in and
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15, Interviewed: Brigitte Mulholland
Image (p.87): Jim Lambie, Skin Shape, installation view, 2019 Courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery New York / © Jim Lambie
Julie Curtiss, Wildlife, installation view, 2019 Courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery New York / ÂŠ Julie Curtiss
Chris Martin, installation view, 2018 Courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery New York / ÂŠ Chris Martin
10, installation view, 2018 Courtesy the artists and Anton Kern Gallery, New York
curated selection of works by Brigitte Mulholland, curator, director of Anton Kern Gallery, NYC Featured image: Arthur PeĂąa Attempt 179 oil on canvas 46 x 40 inches more on p. 108-109
O s a m u K o b a y a s h i
Osamu Kobayashi (b. 1984, Columbia, SC) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has exhibited widely in the US and abroad including solo exhibitions at Underdonk Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; A+B Contemporary Art in Italy; Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, FL; and the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Lissone Contemporary Art Museum; Paul W Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University; Bronx River Art Center, and the Columbia Museum of Art. In 2013, Kobayashi was awarded the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Fund from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been reviewed in Hyperallergic, the Observer, and artcritical. Recent residencies he has participated in include the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, and the Lepsien Art Foundation. My work is reductive and playful in form, verging on the surreal and comical. I utilize an intuitive array of colors, shapes, and textures, creating visual dualities: fluid vs. rigid, abstract vs. figuration, etc. The paintings capture a snapshot of my ever evolving philosophy, with every element integral to the structure of the whole. The aim is for tension and mystery that never quite resolves.
Drip oil on canvas 32.5 x 30 inches
Wildflower oil on canvas 80 x 72 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
K i m o
N e l s o n
Kimo Nelson (b. 1980 Honolulu, HI) grew up moving between the US, SE Asia, and the Middle East. He moved back to the US and attended college in Oregon, spending summer months working as a professional river guide in Utah and Arizona. His extensive travel and wilderness experience continues to be the foundation for his work. Kimo studied painting and drawing at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and environmental studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. He went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design where he received an MFA in painting with honors in 2012. Kimo has been an organizer and participant for the Signal Fire Artist Residency program based in Portland, OR. He has exhibited nationally at galleries and non-profit spaces including Danese/Corey Gallery and 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in New York, NY; Projekt 722 in Brooklyn, NY; WAS Gallery in Washington DC; Disjecta in Portland, OR, and Chase Young in Boston, MA. Kimo currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Untitled (GC-24) acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches
Untitled (GC-23) acrylic, flashe on canvas 96 x 72 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
B r i d g e t
M u l l e n
Bridget Mullen makes acrylic paintings using Flashe, spray paint, and printmaking. Working circuitously over long stretches of time, imagery is found through overlapping open layers, alternating between color gradation and flatness, and repurposing forms from other intentions. She uses formal propositions to build content instead of consciously deciding narratives. Her repetitive, cartoonish figures unfold free-associatively and chaotically in a process that taps into the irrational and referential registers of the psyche. In melodic and dissonant passages, repeating shapes suggest figurative movement or energetic emanations. Her forms resist stasis or solidity, pivoting between pictorial and abstract, becoming and fading away. Mullen’s work reflects on the nature of perception, time, and the bodily and psychic thresholds between elements longing to relate. Bridget Mullen was born in Minnesota. She holds an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and a BAE from Drake University. She has attended residencies at MacDowell; The Jan Van Eyck Academie; The Lighthouse Works; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program; the Fine Arts Work Center; VCCA; Yaddo, and the Macedonia Institute. Recent solo shows include Helena Anrather, New York, and Annet Gelink, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Recent group exhibitions include wildpalms, Düsseldorf, Germany; DC Moore, New York; Thierry Goldberg, New York; L21, Mallorca, Spain; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands. She has an upcoming two person show in Spain at Fahrenheit Madrid and a solo show at Parisian Laundry in Montréal. Mullen was awarded space from the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program from 2017-2018 and from 2018- 2019 participated in the Shandaken Paint School master class in color. Her work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Maake Magainze, New American Paintings, and Hyperallergic. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
Hard Rocks flashe on canvas 20 x 16 inches
The Kiss flashe and spray paint on canvas 20 x 16 inches
M i c h a e l
H a n d l e y
A n g e l a
H e i s c h
www.instagram.com/mchlhndl www.angelaheisch.com There are two distinctive things I remember about growing up in the 80s. The first is watching the movie ‘Back to the Future’ on VHS. It was the first movie I saw dealing with themes of generational advancements and the compression of time. These themes made me feel like anything was possible, at any moment, to anyone. The second was reading a National Geographic article about global warming, which focused on a hole in the ozone layer over Australia. When I read this article, there was an urgency and sadness brought out in me. It was the first time I realized we could break the earth. My mind and body are Western American: my early firings influenced by landscapes barren of vegetation, astounding rock formations and the visual passing of time. I work with themes of landscape, transformation of nature, and the environment. It has taken over 30 years since I read the National Geographic article about the ozone layer for me to witness a consistent conversation happening within the western media and in public about our environmental issues. I have always held it to be the most important cultural topic of the 20th and 21st Century. Over the last century we have created techniques and materials to modify rain with intent to increase rainfall in drought-stricken areas across the globe. This power to control nature scares me; yet learning of our capacity to alter nature has amplified my fascination with nature, climate change and the environment. The processes I develop for my work make reference to the polarization around our current environmental circumstances, specifically my knowledge and use of Rain Modification materials and process as I create rain storms as art work. Global Warming, The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change. These have been the chapters to my lifetime’s guide to the environment. Now a chapter of title “No Return” has been submitted for an environmental recovery. Once again, I left asking myself how we were able to break the planet and as new examples of environmental destruction are released, visions of that ‘Back to the Future’ time machine come rushing in.
Angela Heisch is a painter born in 1989 in Auckland, New Zealand, currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Heisch uses repetitive motifs to evoke often surrealist but associative imagery. Her paintings employ an anthropomorphic abstract language, often resembling interlocking faces, or flowering entities. Her works are intended to confront the viewer with feelings of playfulness, uncertainty, and intrigue. She received her MFA from SUNY Albany in 2014. She was awarded the Dedalus Foundation Fellowship in 2014, and has been a resident at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Guttenberg Arts. She has had recent solo shows with Davidson Gallery; Gallery 106 Green; One River School and No Place Gallery. She has shown in recent group shows at Actual Gallery, DC Moore Gallery, Deanna Evans Projects, Transmitter Gallery, Crush Curatorial, Pt.2 Gallery, Angell Gallery, Barney Savage, Mother Gallery, George Gallery, Ortega y Gasset, Park Place Gallery, Geoffrey Young Gallery, and Harpy Gallery. Her work has been featured in ARTnews, Artforum, Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, AEQAI, Art SF Blog, Maake Magazine, Young Space, and Open House Blog.
Skycrane wildfire retardant, forest fire ash, conti crayon 12 x 9 inches
The Iris Slide oil on canvas over panel 18 x 24 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
L i y i n g
Z h a n g
B e c k y
B a i l e y
Liying Zhang is an artist who was born and raised in Beijing, China, now living and working in Chicago and New York. She earned her BFA degree from Beijing University of Technology in 2015. In the same year, she transferred to New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and got a second BFA degree in 2017. Liying earned her MFA degree at School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019.
A visual artist based out of New Jersey, Becky Bailey’s interdisciplinary work blends painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and design. With a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a background in textile design, her art practice and design work bleed into one another constantly. The resulting works are mixtures of representational space, home decor patterns, and shrine-like altarpieces. At its core, Becky’s work challenges accepted ideologies that prize competition over connection, individualism over solidarity. In contrast, her pieces celebrate shared experience, exploring the feeling of electricity between individuals that happens during shared participation in an activity - a phenomena Émile Durkheim called “collective effervescence”. It could happen at a show, in a yoga class, at a party, or in a church. Often facilitated by sound and movement, a feeling of connectedness with a group of strangers seems to need the right conditions. In her practice, Becky explores whether these conditions can be orchestrated, or if they are the result of chance. A certain beat, the right light, bodies moving together, an idea to attach to. Is there a formula for collective effervescence?
Liying’s art practice mainly involves ceramics, print media, and fiber. In the early time, her subject of art was mainly based on the experiences and feelings from childhood. She has been explaining how the artworks came as confrontation with the past while achieving self-knowledge of the present. The Shelter series is the latest work by Liying. She aims to create habitat-like sculptures that have never been seen. It shows a sense of insecurity toward the surroundings and society around us. The sculptures can be seen as a surrealistic miniature building in an ideal form in the artist’s imagination. She sees each small sculpture as a mini castle, and by building each to protect its “occupants” from chaos, it is a lasting reminder of human vulnerability. The world in which children live is innocent, happy, and sometimes with a little magic, but the world of adults seems to be more dispirited. They were expelled from the “safety gardens”. Therefore, change is inevitable, people are depressed because of this, and depression may make people seek and look for places that make them feel safe. Besides, the series of Shelter is also a contradiction in the form of sculpture. In the creative process, Liying seeks beauty and weirdness, vitality and death, hiding and exposure in nature as coping mechanisms. She incorporates these elements into the works, giving the viewer a happy form of celebration, while at the same time hiding the discomfort and uneasiness that is contradictory.
Becky has recently completed residencies at The Studios at MASS MoCA as well as ChaShaMa’s ChaNorth artist residency, and has shown work in exhibitions across the US, including New York, Philadelphia, Nebraska, and Massachusetts.
Shelter No. 5 ceramics, gold leaf 13 x 10 x 9 inches
Til You Drop monoprint, screenprint, fabric, paper, paint, epoxy clay, foam core 31 x 21 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
S a m
B u c h a n a n
Through my creative practice I explore the inherent subjectivity of perception with an emphasis on the experiential elements of color and light. Composed of layers of fabric mesh and other semitransparent perforated material, this body of monoprints allows for a series of discrete experiences that highlight the complexities of vision. Variations in context, such as a person’s angle of view or the light from the time of day, significantly alter the perception of the composition. Color, shadow, and pattern transform and mutate, suggesting an endless possibility of potential interactions with the work. Sam Buchanan is a Chicago native currently enjoying the higher altitudes of Reno, Nevada. She holds an MFA in Printmaking from Illinois State University and a BA in Sculpture from Tulane University in New Orleans. Buchanan has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has work in several permanent collections including the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the Limerick School of Art and Design in Limerick, Ireland. She is presently teaching Printmaking and Visual Foundations at the University of Nevada, Reno.
C h r i s t i a n
R u i z
B e r m a n
I was born and raised in Mexico City, and have lived and worked in New England, Costa Rica, Australia, and California. My work spans various mediums, including painting, poetry, film, photography and sculpture. I’ve curated a number of exhibitions in NYC and beyond. I’ve had three solo exhibitions, my paintings have been included in group exhibitions nationally and internationally, and my work has been reviewed and published in ArtMaze Magazine, New American Paintings, Hyperallergic.com, and others. Last summer I attended Plop Residency in London, and Jentel Residency in Wyoming. In January I will be a resident artist at a residency run by Wave Hill in the Bronx. I have attended residencies at Jentel (Wyoming); PLOP (London); Marble House Project (Dorset VT); the Wassaic Project (Wassaic NY, on two separate occasions); ChaNorth (Pine Plains NY), and the Contemporary Art Center (Troy NY). I am currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Siena Heights University in MI, and last year I was an AICAD diversity full-time teaching fellow at Columbus College of Art and Design. My work draws from histories of adaptation and migration. I am interested in the confluences of experimentation and improvisation. My painting practice is meditative in that it strives to dissect and understand the components of my experience and of my cultural and aesthetic legacy in a way that might give a greater understanding of the whole. Many of my works stem from the connection that I have to my biological father, who lives in Mexico, and who suffers from bipolar disorder. I’ve found that communicating with him is easier when we share drawings and poetry, and a lot of my small works reference personal symbols and snippets of this relationship. I am inspired by Mexican mythologies, and by the ways that inherited stories can form community. I am influenced by contemporary philosophy, including the recent writings of feminist and intersectional philosophers like Karen Barad and Donna Haraway. These writers strive to build an ontology and worldview that privileges intra-actions and entanglements between things and systems rather than discrete objects and hierarchical actions. Barad describes reality as an apparatus, in which each person, animal, relationship, and mechanism is an essential component of the present moment. She writes about the tentacular nature of agency, as well as about humanity’s need for new symbols and figures that better reflect our current knowledge of quantum physics and the mind. If there is a need for new symbols, new words, new ways of seeing things, how can I add to the conversation as a painter?
bip 1 monotype on mixed media 22 x 22 inches
Laberinto de la Soledad acrylic on panels with artist frame 11 x 13 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
B r e n d a n
J o h n
C a r r o l l
I grew up Catholic and spent every Sunday morning in church. I remember an overwhelming sense of boredom that was only sometimes relieved by looking at the pictures illustrated on the stained-glass windows and fresco walls. These illustrations were much more interesting than what was happening at the altar or behind the podium. Over the past few years, I have revisited my fascination with stained-glass and frescos and used them as the formal and conceptual impetus for my paintings. These backlit pictures and impastoed surfaces often tell romantic and mythical stories and serve to literally separate the congregation from the reality beyond. They are the physical interface between myth and reality or sentimentality and pragmatism. Enlightenment principles shatter attempts at defending a benevolent God, nationalism, or finding a ‘soulmate’. Yet, any good faith investigation into these beliefs must acknowledge that the vast majority of humanity really does believe, or at least wants to believe, in romance and myths. Perhaps we are happier looking at the window rather than opening it? We see a poetic and necessary truth in the histories and traditions of our ancestors and the communities that raised us. And yet, we are so often desperate to define a new identity and accommodate the allure of modernity. Recently, I visited Italy to see the churches and paintings that had made up the bulk of my early art history studies. While walking through the Vatican, I noticed that many of the world’s most famous frescos had been vandalized. Works by Raphael had been heavily restored to repair zig-zag scratches that read something like “Vlad 1906” or “Jimmy, USA”. This blew me away, and I went back to my studio intent on capturing what I had seen. My own paintings appear as scratched and carved abstract frescos revealing a smooth vibrant window-like layer. They reference the ornamental tableau, gothic stained-glass text, modernism and vandalism. I hope to describe the struggle and conflicts of incorporating rational everyday existence with our sentimental myths and traditions. I paint, in part, about how hard, and perhaps wrong, it is to believe in any of the big important things like heroes, religion and culture, but mostly I describe how badly I want to believe.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree at Providence College, where I studied psychology and art. After graduation, I moved to New York City to develop as a painter while also working at Columbia University’s Division of Neuroscience. I received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011. My paintings have been shown in galleries in Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, and Sweden. My art is included in the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Writing is also a constant part of my studio practice. I have written catalogue essays for artists such as Shara Hughes, and I have contributed to publications such as Salon.com, Painters on Paintings, and Burnaway.org.
Tired Modern oil, resin and wax on canvas 60 x 48 inches
Future Histories oil, resin, and wax on canvas 54 x 43 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
A r t h u r
P e ñ a
Arthur Peña is an artist, curator and writer. He is the co-founder of Deadbolt Studios, founder/director of experimental art space WARE:WOLF:HAUS and roving music venue/music label Vice Palace in Dallas, TX. His celebrated curatorial project One Night Only has presented ephemeral solo celebrations with Nicole Eisenman, Carrie Moyer and Ellen Berkenblit. Peña wrote, produced and directed his collaborative experimental musical, Endless/Nameless in 2016 which premiered at the Nasher Sculpture Center in conjunction with Piero Golia’s, Chalet. The premiere was followed by a critically acclaimed month long run at the Reading Room in Dallas. In summer of 2017 Peña became the first artist to collaborate with luxury fashion brand Coach on a city wide ad campaign accompaniedby an exhibition at NorthPark Center curated by Justine Ludwig, director of Creative Time. That fall, Berlin based gallery Pushkin & Gogol presented a solo booth of his work at the international art fair EXPO Chicago. Peña has shown throughout Texas including exhibitions at Blue Star Contemporary; Oliver Francis Gallery; Barry Whistler Gallery; Dallas Museum of Art with a solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary and Spring/Break Art Show in New York City. His work has been featured in Art in America, Vice, ARTnews, Hyperallergic and Dallas Morning News. As a prominent contributing writer to the website and publication New American Paintings, Peña has years of artist interviews including conversations with David Salle, Daniel Buren, Katherine Bradford, Joyce Pensato, Nina Chanel Abney, Stanley Whitney, Sterling Ruby and many more. Peña received his Post Baccalaureate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. He was the 2016-2017 Visiting Lecturer in Painting at Southern Methodist University and is currently the 2017-2019 Visiting Assistant Professor in Painting at the University of North Texas. Peña lives and works in the Bronx, NY.
Image: Attempt 177 oil on canvas 62 x 57 inches
Image: Attempt 180 oil on canvas 30 x 28 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
J e r r y
B l a c k m a n
My work starts by considering the body as a field of energy. This energy flows freely in some areas and is blocked in others. It takes shape and concentrates in localized regions, and disperses evenly elsewhere. This energy informs our personal behavior and is also informed BY it. In the broader sense, our collective energies shape families, societies, cultures, and the world. The work I make diagrams this psycho-spiritual energy, and harnesses its power to sketch internal landscapes. Simple materials, processes, and forms are used to elucidate the archetypal themes that organize our psychospiritual universe. I make wall reliefs, drawings, sculpture, and installations with an emphasis on boundaries and surfaces as well as the contrast between static and dynamic states of material. All the contrasts are ramped up to develop visual batteries; energy centers, mood machines. Rigid plaster is pressed into wet plaster, and then cast to become a unified whole. Black and white shapes of graphite meet in complicated arrangements to arrive at a neutral grey. By isolating and synthesizing fundamental binaries, the work taps into natureâ€™s law of perpetual balance. My program is a seemingly formalist one, but with respect to my ideas about the body in space, there is a return to the arena of subjectivity, aesthetics, and desire. The positive and negative elements in my works are analogous to our physical make-ups of the same order: the inhale and the exhale; oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. In a way, these works are equally representational as they are process-oriented or abstract. I make these objects to broadcast their own construction and also my personal rituals of catharsis. By virtue of this, my goal is that the viewer should not only have a visual experience, but also an internal, physical one. A lot of this language comes from my interest in Eastern mythologies and insight meditation in tandem with psychology literature and art history. These disparate philosophies prescribe similar goals of freedom from oneâ€™s habitual experience towards an emotional wellbeing. However, in my personal, lived experience, and the fraught utopian dream of our society, fracture plays a central role. A darker, personal spirituality is explored here and a touch of the sinister allows my personal desires to express themselves. In the compromise of the idyllic, the work not only locates the sublime in the spiritually clean, but also appreciates the broken body as a necessary part in the balanced equation of meaning.
Untitled (05) - (from the Polarity Field series) charcoal on paper 88 x 38.75 inches
Untitled (02) plaster, pigments, latex paint, mixed materials 40 x 40 x 16 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
M a t t
B l a c k w e l l
I am interested in painterly narratives. A sense of place is important to me. These places are often northern New England, western New York, New Mexico and increasingly the southern border of the United States. I am enabled by other voices including recordings of early blues, jazz and hillbilly music; the cast of characters in Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan songs; and authors like Cormac McCarthy, Annie Proulx, Denis Johnson and Russell Banks. It is an outsider story, a bit dark, but not without humor. Matt Blackwell received his BFA from the Portland School of Art, Maine, participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC. Blackwell received a Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006) and his work was included in the 2013 Maine Biennial and is currently in “Modern Menagerie”, Portland Museum of Art. Fellowship residencies include Yadoo; Sculpture Space in Utica, NY; Vermont Studio Center; Triangle Arts Association, and Art Lot in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Blackwell is represented by the Edward Thorp Gallery, New York where he has had six solo shows and by Greenhut Gallery in Portland, Maine. In addition to a solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, Blackwell’s work has been exhibited at Studio 10 and Parker’s Box in Brooklyn, NY; John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY); Hartwick College (Oneota, NY); Greenhut Gallery, (Portland, Me,); Savannah College of Art and Design ( Atlanta GA) and numerous group shows in New York City and Maine. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015.
Vet oil on canvas 56 x 46 inches
Unblinking Eye oil on canvas 62 x 100 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
A k r a m
E s m a i l l i
I am an Iranian woman who is a self-taught painter. I have been interested in painting and poetry and writing a short novel since childhood. I have been painting seriously for the last four years. The realities of life and society inspired me to paint my paintings with a particular focus on women’s rights and gender equality.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
A y a
O g a s a w a r a
Raised in Tokyo and trained in Paris and New York, Ogasawara shines a Northern Renaissance lens on her mythological treatment of figures. The pale, translucent skin of her figures is redolent of Jan Van Eyck and the Flemish Renaissance masters. Ritual plays a key role in the gestures of these figures, exhibiting a religious, almost regal, bearing. The artist draws from the experience of young girls transforming into women. Encountering Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces while residing in Paris, Ogasawara reconsidered these female figures within the iconography of religious paintings, reframing these symbols to fit an alluring, mysterious vision of young girls ascending into adulthood. While Ogasawara’s formal approach heavily indicates the influence of Northern Renaissance masters, her subject matter is decidedly Surrealist. Taking cues from the stylistic flourishes of Paul Delvaux and Remedios Varo, Ogasawara juxtaposes everyday objects and Mannerist actions into compelling compositions. Arranging figures amid a swath of negative space, the scenes are arranged in the manner of the Edo period of Japan’s Maruyama-Shijō school, with objects prominently featured against the backdrop of negative space. The artist also alludes to the natural world with plants and leaves incorporated throughout the compositions, another reference to the naturalist tendencies applied by the Shijō school. Ogasawara balances a decidedly Japanese minimal aesthetic with the rich cultural heritage of Renaissance Europe. Infused with the psychological underpinnings of modern Surrealism, these paintings distill the unsettling experience of adolescence into concise, sublime configurations.
My Soul is Flying acrylic and marker 35 x 50 cm
Her Trap oil on canvas 7 x 5 inches
J o n a t h a n
P e c k
D a n i e l
B r o o k
Jonathan Peck (b. 1980) received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Yale University. In 2010 Jonathan was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME. His work has been exhibited at galleries and museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; the New Museum, New York; Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, and Tile Blush Gallery, Miami, FL. Jonathan is an Assistant Professor in the Foundation Department at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
My work is an exploration of confines. A frame can simultaneously be shape, a structure, or a concept; all sharing a sense of containment. What I thought was unnecessary and distracting, became something much more intriguing. A frame prepares the viewer to embrace the work. Discordance between a frame and painting is like a clashing wardrobe. It either works or it doesn’t. My drawings regress and deviate perception from the physical borders to the conceptual. Ornate frames have been the epicenter of my artistic consciousness for years. I explore the use of common geometric elements within compositions to create work that slightly echoes that before it. I push conceptual boundaries while creating new enclosures physically. I aim to create both dichotomy and harmony within a composition to distort the viewer’s experience.
Drawing, painting, and printmaking come together in my work in a process that both exemplifies my interest in craft and my proclivity for exploring new materials. Starting with paint, brushes, and other tools, I make marks and illustrations on paper, which are then scanned and converted into digital files. Once the works are digitized, I transform them into decals by cutting them out through a vinyl plotter onto self-adhesive vinyl sheeting. Sometimes I peel and stick the decals intuitively to create a painting, and other times the image has been preconceived of in a sketch. What drew me to this process is my interest in exploring the authenticity of a gesture, and a curiosity to see what properties are lost or gained when a mark moves from the hand to a machine and back again. As my archive of marks and illustrations grows so too does my ability to pull from it with each new piece.
I am a Midwest multimedia artist from Crystal Lake, IL. I work in numerous mediums, but tend to focus more in drawing, painting, and ceramics. I earned my BFA from Northern Illinois University in 2016. Since graduation I’ve been teaching visual art and coach athletics at Austin Achieve Public Schools. In 2018 I received the Core Values award (Teacher of the year) for my overall approach to teaching. In my opinion that is because I approach teaching from a studio art perspective rather than an Art education background. I tell my students, “You aren’t here to create a masterpiece, you’re here to learn how a masterpiece is made”. I have a local publication in McHenry County Magazine. I currently live and work in Austin, Texas.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
Which Witch Red & Green (diptych) vinyl adhesives on wood panel, plexiglass frames 16 x 20 inches each photography by Arturo Sanchez
Powder Room Pedantic acrylic gouache and paint marker on paper 10 x 10 inches
E u n - H a
P a e k
Eun-Ha Paek was born in Seoul, Korea. She received a BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her animated films have screened in the Guggenheim Museum, Sundance Film Festival, and venues internationally. Grants and awards include the Windgate Scholarship and Rudy Autio Grant from the Archie Bray Foundation, a Travel and Study Grant from The Jerome Foundation and the Anna Siok Award from Greenwich House Pottery. Her work has received mentions in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and G4techTV. The same way a boulder on a hill stores potential energy, a banana peel on the floor can be the setup to a joke, storing potential “hahas”. The setup might cause a smirk, without any real action taking place. My work uses this potential to construct narratives on the precipice of the familiar and strange; to explore grief and hope with humor.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
C o u r t n e y
Tr a m p o s h
Courtney Tramposh’s artistic process involves the repurposing and re-presenting of scavenged and handmade objects, cobbling items together into formal arrangements, then sometimes representationally painting them, sometimes enshrining them like totems or artifacts. She works in a cumulative manner, maintaining a constant practice of making drawings and offhand objects in an unhierarchical, automatic fashion. Then, more deliberately, she sifts through these works, pulls out certain repeated images, symbols, and marks, and incorporates these into more formal works. This self-referential process enables Tramposh to arrive at subject matter. Through the convoluted filter of her own mind and handiwork, this process has manifested a personal symbology which is simultaneously a reflection of the most unflattering and most poignant aspects of herself. Courtney Tramposh (b. 1979) received her BFA from the University of Kansas, and her MFA from Hunter College in New York. In 2007, she was awarded a scholarship to further her graduate studies in Venice, Italy. She has been a resident artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, Real Time & Space in Oakland, CA. Her work has been included in exhibitions throughout the US and abroad, in spaces such as Paragraph Gallery, KS; Clementine Debs & Co., and the Proposition galleries in NYC; The ReInstitute in Millerton, NY; the Emerge Art Fair, Washington, DC, and Red Box Studio in Beijing, China. In 2011, Tramposh curated the sculpture exhibition “Anomalistic Urge” at Vaudeville Park, Brooklyn. And in 2012, she was invited to produce a large-scale installation for the Chashama program’s Harlem exhibition space. From 2011 - 2014 Tramposh also taught children set-design and acting in conjunction with the Paper Bag Players children’s theater company, and the New York Public Libraries. Tramposh lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Serpent’s Mouth handbuilt and cast glazed stoneware, acrylic, epoxy, wire 25 x 19 x 6 inches
Hostiles watercolor, latex, gesso, sumi and walnut ink on paper 30 x 22 inches photo by Arturo Sanchez
R o x a n n e
J a c k s o n
Roxanne Jackson is a ceramic artist and mixed-media sculptor living in Brooklyn, NY. Her macabre works are black-humored investigations of the links between transformation, myth and popculture. Press for her work includes The New York Times, Juxtapoz Magazine, Hyperallergic, the Huffington Post, Forbes, Whitehot Magazine, Beautiful/Decay, Gothamist, Sculpture Center’s Curators’ Notebook, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics Ireland and New Ceramics, among others. She is the recipient of residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (NE); Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (Japan); Socrates Sculpture Park (NY); Wassaic Project (NY); PLOP (UK); Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts (ME); the Ceramic Center of Berlin (Germany), funded by a Jerome Project Grant; and the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen (China), funded by an NCECA fellowship. Jackson has exhibited widely, nationally and abroad, with recent exhibitions at The Hole (NY); Cob Gallery (London); Anonymous Gallery (Mexico City); Garis and Hahn (LA); Kunstraum Niederösterreich (Vienna); Mathilde Hatzenberger Gallery (Brussels); and Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, Sardine Gallery, Regina Rex, and SPRING/BREAK Art Fair in New York, among others. She recently showed in the two person “Karma” at DUVE Gallery in Berlin, with painter Oli Epp. Jackson is the co-founder of NASTY WOMEN, a global art exhibition and fundraising project, and Heather Metal Parking Lot, an elaborate heavy metal event sponsored by the Wassaic Project.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
Becky (Detail) ceramic, glaze, luster, wig, leopard print shirt 15 x 25 x 10 inches
Phat Hand ceramic clay with mica, glaze, faux fur 14 x 10 x 11 inches
Fashion photography (and advertising) amplifies an erotic ideal, much as traditional portraiture has throughout the centuries. By extracting the human figure from haute couture, these digitally manipulated collages, assembled from yearsâ€™ worth of carefully excised cuttings from fashion magazines, are an inquiry into how much our attraction to fashion is to the body itselfâ€” or simply to the evocative materials and veneer of luxury used to enhance and sell it. Despite the absence of flesh, they retain echoes of the human form; I construct them to suggest that they be viewed as portraits. My fascination with the natural world has influenced this series, from the primitive to the complex in both flora and fauna, in their myriad forms, colors, softness and savagery. Subtracting the human body, I push the source material to take other shapes, evoking organic forms and alien life, something simultaneously known and unknown. Isolated from any contextual background, the collages offer themselves both as specimens collected for scientific scrutiny and as objects of devotion. Enlarged and reproduced as glossy prints on rigid PVC sign material, these Ambiguants cop presentation strategies common to advertising and high-end retailing. Pitting the organic against the manufactured allows me to maintain a tension between the vague nature of the images themselves and the coded sensuality behind consumerist longing.
J e s s e
M a t t h e w
P e t e r s e n
Jesse Matthew Petersen lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work has been shown in galleries regionally and nationally, and he is the recipient of a Jerome Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship Grant.
untitled (1) paper collage on illustration board 14 x 17 inches
Ambiguant No. 1 digitally-manipulated collage, vinyl photographic print, PVC board 54 x 47 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
J e n
P a k
Pursuing perfection is the main driving factor of creating my work. By seeking utopia in a dystopian reality, I create a new set of order within a system. In literature, utopia is often stumbled upon by a traveler rather than narrated by someone who already resides in it, thus reflecting human desire to escape from reality. Utopia in Greek translates to “nowhere”. Perhaps it is meant to not exist. So in order to create my own utopia, I had to create something new but familiar. “Legoscape”—a combination of the words “lego,” “cityscape,” and “escape”—reflects my desire to escape from reality to an imaginary, orderly world. As new buildings are erected and old ones demolished, I build my own city on an empty canvas. As a result, my work becomes an intermediary between the real and the imagined space, characterized by perfection. All of my work shares the same origin, the structural form of LEGO®, which is carefully deconstructed. These interlocking blocks are meaningless as an individual entity, but as a finished product, they fulfill their purpose. By losing its form, contradictory to its use, it goes through multiple stages of physical changes concluding once the stage of geometric abstraction is reached. What started as an existing LEGO® building, becomes an imaginary world, further reducing it to mere color and form. Legoscape(-ing), an ongoing project, continuously gives new information and writes a new set of instructions as a new panel is added and minute details are changed. With oil as its medium and the absence of straight lines, Legoscape(-ing) celebrates change and growth. The project will continue until either time or space runs out. This idea reinforces the representation of an impermanent and transitory space, akin to the perpetual transformation of a cityscape, and in large, the fast-paced society.
Jen Pak (b.1985 New York) is an artist who focuses on geometric abstraction. She received her BFA from Cornell University, AAS from Parsons School of Design, MA from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and MFA from Hongik University. Her works can be found at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) and Noroo Paint LTD and other public collections. She is currently based in Seoul.
Legoscape acrylic on canvas 194 x 130 cm
Legoscape acrylic on canvas 130 x 130 cm
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
“The life Francisco Sierra chooses to live as an artist is a dangerous one. He has evidently decided to occupy a space with his paintbrush that embodies the exact boundary between what one can do as a painter and what one shouldn’t do.” - Giovanni Carmine, Director Kunst Halle St.Gallen and Curator Art Basel Unlimited My work considers the question of how contemporary figurative painting could look. I paint the reality of things faithfully, but my works’ chosen subjects rarely represent that which they may first be taken for. I am interested in the transformation of apparent clarity into something new and enigmatic. I am occupied by the pitfalls of contemporary photographic reproduction and the transformative potential of painting, involving surrealistic and conceptual approaches.
F r a n c i s c o
S i e r r a
Francisco Sierra is a visual artist and musician, born 1977 in Santiago de Chile. He studied violin at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (NL) and is a self-taught painter. He is an artistic associate at the Architecture Department of the ETH Zürich. He has had solo exhibitions a.o. at Kunsthaus Aarau, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Galeria Bacelos Madrid, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen am Rhein and Galerie Gregor Staiger in Zürich. Group shows at Baku Biennale in Azerbaijan, SALTS Birsfelden, Galerie Bernhard Zürich, Kunstmuseum Bern, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts Lausanne and Last Tango Zürich, to name a few. He is a winner of the Kiefer Hablitzel Prize, the Swiss Art Award, Manor Kunstpreis St. Gallen, the Studio grant in London by the Landis&Gyr Foundation and the UBS Culture Foundation Recognition Award. In 2011 he was a fellow at the Sommerakademie Zentrum Paul Klee curated by Pipilotti Rist. Several publications, amongst them a monograph at Verlag für Moderne Kunst with texts by Christoph Vögele, Raphael Gygax, Roland Wäspe and Nadine Wietlisbach as well as a Cahier d’Artiste by ProHelvetia at Edizioni Periferia with a text by Giovanni Carmine. His works are represented in many public and corporate collections, such as Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Kunstmuseum Bern, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Collection Credit Suisse, Helvetia Collection and Julius Bär Art Collection.
Gestofzuigd oil on canvas 60 × 50 cm
Untitled (Dolphinhat) oil on canvas 60 × 80 cm
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: curated selection
editorial selection of works Featured image: Pia Krajewski oT (Socke) oil on canvas 180 x 150 cm more on p. 141
L i n d s a y
B u r k e
Lindsay Burke (b. Ames, Iowa, 1991) is a painter living and working in Brooklyn. She received her BFA from the University of Iowa in 2014 and her MFA from Hunter College in 2017. In 2016 she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and was a participant in the Shandaken Paint School Residency in 2018. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Marinaro Gallery in New York and group exhibitions at Martos Gallery, New York; Art Los Angeles Contemporary, LA; Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York; the Flag Art Foundation, New York; Underdonk Gallery, Brooklyn; George Gallery, Brooklyn; Helena Anrather Gallery, New York. My work questions the value of an image in the hastily evolving contemporary visual culture. Traditional figurative images, similar to those preserved in classical frescoes and relief sculptures, are layered and repeated, evoking digital screen culture and the accumulation of content. I examine the antithetical relationships between these enduring frescoes and today’s overexposed and physically impermanent imagery. I also question whether one becomes numb and desensitized by the imagery repeated in endless browser windows, social media apps, and the 24-hour news cycle. My process makes use of contrasting ideas. I’ve utilized a mineral fiber paste that allows the surface to build up and create a slight relief; the resulting texture is similar to a wall or slab, much like a fresco’s plaster surface. And like plaster, the fiber paste offers absorbent qualities for wet and dry media. I deviate from this traditional base in the use of airbrushed compositions and opaque acrylic elements. As with previous bodies of work, my recent exploration focuses on gender-based power dynamics and sexuality but also examines the human potential for emotion, creation, destruction, violence, pain, and desire.
Negating the Human Heart acrylic, pastel and charcoal on canvas 40 x 50 inches
You’ve Got my Temperature Rising and it Won’t Stop acrylic and pastel on panel 58 x 63 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
M a j a
R u z n i c
Maja Ruznic, a prolific and active artist, is primarily a painter, a storyteller who conjures form and narrative from ground up mineral, smeared oil, and stained canvas. Born in Bosnia and Hercegovina in 1983, Ruznic immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling on the West Coast where she eventually went on to study at the University of California, Berkeley, later receiving an MFA from the California College of Arts. Ruznic’s often-quoted biography—a refugee who escaped the Bosnian War—is only the beginning of her journey. Ruznic’s vivid paintings speak for themselves, depicting figures that seem to emerge from the caverns of human history, from within their own supports, and somehow from within the viewer’s own recollections. These paintings breach something intrinsically human and Ruznic guides us deftly with dark humor and complex representations, not dissimilar to Werner Herzog’s wry, but poignant 3-D documentary depicting the oldest painted images in the world. Ruznic has exhibited internationally and her work has been written about extensively, most notably in ArtMaze Magazine, Juxtapoz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Studio Visit Magazine, and twice in New American Paintings, including the cover as selected by curator Anne Ellegood. In 2018, Ruznic was a recipient of the Hopper Prize and in 2019, Ruznic’s painting “Azmira’s Daughters” was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art.
In my latest body of work, colors and values are softer and the figures dissolve into the space that holds them. Thinking of the environment as a character, I search for its history, memories and secrets hidden in the soil. The figures are always doing something on or to the land and the fluids from their various activities seep into the soil and evaporate during scorching summers. They dig and search for stories only the soil can tell, intuiting that they are made of the same matter as the land. Sleep Seekers chew the leaves of Yarrow to stop bleeding gums and spit fermented fruit into the soil to ensure a good night’s sleep. The process of painting is like trying to remember a dream or even something that may or may not have happened. It is a way of touching what psychoanalyst Bracha L Ettinger refers to as the ‘matrixial borderspace’: the space of shared affect and emergent expression, across the thresholds of identity and memory. I’m curious about the space between feeling and language and through my work, I try to give that ambiguous threshold some form. Like a thought or feeling which precedes language, time periods like dusk and dawn are moments right before a shift in light occurs. That transition often looks holy, even celestial. These transitional moments are illuminating and contain an eternal quality that I try to evoke in my paintings. The light at dawn and dusk diffuses edges and forms seem to blur together leaving them porous; appearing and disappearing at once.
Yarrow Pickers oil on canvas 77 x 70 inches
Inheritance oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
A m a d e o
M o r e l o s
I live and work in Mexico City, Mexico. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Comfort Station (Chicago, IL), the Chicago Show (Brooklyn, NY), Quinto Piso (Mexico City), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL) and Palacio Clavijero (Morelia, Mexico). I co-directed at GreenDoor, an artist-run space in Chicago (2017-2018). My work is an attempt to understand my relationship to others; my own search for belonging in a hyperdomesticated world. I look for depth within the surface of culture as a source for understanding more intrinsic human qualities. I am concerned with the relationship between the lust for admiration and the pursuit of empathy. What brings meaning to one’s life? Is it beauty, divinity, weightlifting, supplements, flowers, muscles, crowns, thongs, tanning lotion, masculinity or spot lights. My paintings often borrow from classical art, philosophy, mythology. I set together contemporary, mythical and autobiographical symbols. It is a pathetic attempt to relate my mundane and fleeting experience with the glorious spectacle of ancient myths. Depictions from body building function as surrogates for the vulnerability that comes with putting oneself on display. Bright and contrasting color in combination with grotesque figures and contemporary artifacts create poetic and sensorial scenarios. Self-portraits intended to embody hopes, dreams, mental and emotional states. A “freak” sculpted by the desires of contemporary society wondering within in the space between narcissism and the state of becoming.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
A m y
N a t h a n
Amy Nathan’s drawings and sculptures are guided by the meaning and the formal qualities of language and signs. They begin with the act of applying pressure to images and language, cracking open their systems, making them tactile, and distending them into an expanded space. Working with forms in repetition, she excavates and traces shapes, clusters them into sets, and guides them towards an internal logic. Turning ideas and materials through the wringer, taking-apart and-putting-back-together has become her research and her practice. Through these processes she discovers how chosen images or words operate, and communicate what is embedded or compressed within. Nathan addresses many subjects in her work: the gendered nature of politics and power, classical mythology and contemporary literature, tension between the haptic and the retinal, and the body’s visceral reaction to its environment. Regardless of the starting point, there is a consistent through-line in her examination of forces in opposition, and a need to open up and aerate an idea. Nathan incorporates visual puns and material onomatopoeias: line becomes edge becomes surface, traversing a borderline of two and three dimensions as a way to think through perception. What she builds references the digital, operates in analogue, indexes its own construction, communicates at its own pace and forms its own agency. Amy Nathan’s work has been exhibited at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, the Headlands Center for the Arts, Traywick Contemporary, Art Toronto, Art Market San Francisco, the Seattle Art Fair, and with the International Sculpture Center at the Pyramid Hill Museum. Nathan was a 2018-2019 Graduate Fellow at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She received her MFA from Mills College in 2018, and she is a codirector of Royal NoneSuch Gallery in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in the New American Paintings and Sculpture Magazine.
Darling Smile oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches
Herma I marble, drystone, acrylic, metal fishing weights, wire, brick 22 x 16.5 x 8 inches
C o d y
R e m a
G h u l o u m
Tu m b l i n
I primarily describe myself as a painter, but my work is heavily rooted in material investigation and fiber processes: dyeing, sewing, thread, and needle. My paintings are conglomerates of dyed and painted remnants accumulated from years of making and unmaking. As each work is cut apart, sewn back together, bleached, dyed, and painted over, again and again, their assembly of repeated gestures becomes a palimpsest of recycled memory and emotional resonance. My recent works tend to feature a central image of dyed and painted muslin, celebrated and embraced by rings of collaged forms saturated with vibrant stains of layered color.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
Rema Ghuloum currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Rema received her MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2010 and her BFA in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach in 2007. Rema was a recipient of the Pollock- Krasner Foundation Grant in 2018, the Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Emergency Grant in 2017, the Esalen Pacifica Prize in 2012, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2010, and was an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans in 2018. Rema has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues like Edward Cella Art & Architecture, Et al. Gallery, Hawthorn Contemporary, the Cue Foundation, UCLAâ€™s New Wight Gallery, Five Car Garage, George Lawson Gallery, Torrance Art Museum, and Arka Gallery in Vladivostok, Russia. My everyday experience of noticing informs my process of making. I respond directly to my external and internal environment, which in most cases is reflective of my studio and its surroundings. The ways in which one sees, feels, recalls, and absorbs an experience fascinate me and I consider how this can be translated and transformed through painting. I make paintings that inform one another resulting in the visual language that generates subsequent work. My painting practice oscillates between abstraction, representation, and the illusion of two and three-dimensions. The spaces in the paintings emerge out of the process of slowly building up the surface with thin stains of paint and sanding in between to preserve the previous layers. Pattern and shapes are manifested through this process. Like cellular memory, this allows for the memory of the painting to be subtly visible, appearing and then dissolving, creating a surface that breathes and remembers. The paintings begin to appear slightly sculptural, while still remaining in a state of becoming â€“ shifting and transforming.
Blue Eyed Stranger oil and acrylic on muslin, zipper, painted and sewn muslin collage 11 x 14 inches
In the Morning oil, acrylic and acryla-gouache on canvas 72 x 54 inches
I d a
S ø n d e r
T h o r h a u g e
I work in an expressionistic and abstract language with painting and sculpture. Identity, the existential and emotional, are the most essential themes in my work. I use clichéd icons and symbols from popular culture as well as art history, such as roses, skulls, moons and stars. I process these symbols into a personal universe with archetypal figures. I use recognizable motifs from art history such as the rider or the woman and death, and mix them with contemporary imagery. I am fascinated by fashion reappearing and becoming retro. I notice the young generation currently being obsessed with bucket hats, spaghetti strap crop tops and kitten heels. Investigating the popular is a driving force in my practice. I study the stories and images we collectively develop. With an anachronistic approach I paint clichés into a synthesis of times. I obtained a diploma in fine arts from The Jutland Art Academy in 2016. My works are represented in collections such as the Danish Arts Foundation and the Council of Visual Arts, Copenhagen. I have exhibited my work in recognized venues such as Roskilde Festival, Kunsthal Aarhus and Kunsthal NORD (DK). In 2016 I co-founded the artist group Piscine, with whom I have exhibited at FUEGO (MEX); The Poor Farm, (US); INCA (US), and at Les Rencontres Internationales - Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE). In mid-November I open a duo show with Danish painter Agnete Bjerre at The Art Building in Vrå (DK).
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
J e n n i f e r
S u l l i v a n
Jennifer Sullivan is a New York-based artist whose painting practice evolved out of roots in performance and video. Her work explores autobiographical subject matter, as well as the relationship between psychology and embodiment, gender, humor, vulnerability, and portraiture. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MFA from Parsons. Recent solo exhibitions include Exiled Parts at No Place Gallery, Columbus, OH (2019); Stretch Marks at Real Estate Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY (2018) and the soft animal of your body at Five Car Garage, Los Angeles, CA (2018). Sullivan has exhibited widely in group exhibitions at Marinaro; Brennan and Griffin; Rod Barton; Marvin Gardens; Safe Gallery; Pablo’s Birthday; 247365; Klaus Von Nichtsaggend, and the deCordova Museum. Awards include a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, and residencies at the Lighthouse Works, Skowhegan; Ox-Bow, and Yaddo. Her work has been reviewed in the NY Times, Artforum, ARTnews, the Brooklyn Rail, and Art Papers. She is represented by Five Car Garage in Los Angeles, CA. She lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens with her cat Queenie. I make big, bad, girly paintings, and soft, drippy, intimate drawings. The paintings are made with oil and oil stick on canvas, and are colorful, expressionistic, and raw reflections on my inner life, interpreted through the everyday moments and images of my outer life. Physical details are inextricably woven together with my feelings, desires, and fears, and in reproducing them in paint they take on symbolic proportions and uncover thoughts and ideas I may not even be aware of until I see them reconstituted and laid bare. The subject matter encompasses a constellation of different images, but I see all of my work as an ongoing self-portrait in which I can try on different characters and forms. What makes my perspective new and unique is my insistence on a hyper-feminine point of view, a vantage point that is positioned from and through the female body, and a valuation of sensuality and emotion over intellect. I want to bring the audience inside me, as if they were looking out of my eyes and seeing themselves reflected there as well.
Hearts at Night oil on linen 250 x 170 cm
Ghost Bride oil and oil stick on canvas 60 x 46 inches
S t e p h a n i e
M c M a h o n
P i a
K r a j e w s k i
Stephanie McMahon earned an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BFA from the School of Art and Design at Alfred University. She has been included in exhibitions at Heaven Gallery, Chicago, IL; Northern Illinois Art Museum; Tang Contemporary, Beijing, China; Zhangzhou International Art Museum, China; Gravity Gallery, North Adams, MA; and Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY among others. McMahon is recipient of the Memorial Art Gallery Award of Excellence, New York Foundation for the Arts Strategic Opportunity Grant and a Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Grant. She recently completed an artist residency at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Her work has been reviewed and published in the Boston Globe, Hyperallergic, and New American Paintings Blog and Magazine, among others. McMahon has lectured and exhibited at numerous universities including Northern Illinois University, Kent State University, Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, China.
Guidance from a searching, pleasurable principle is one of the forefront concerns of Pia Krajewski’s abstract, and yet remarkably tactile paintings. Straddling the border between figuration and abstraction, Krajewski’s objects assume almost metaphysical connotations, while firmly keeping the focus on the satisfyingly sensorial experience of caressing them with one’s eyes. The signifiers of human and natural physical life—locks of hair, textiles, berries—appear to be here represented as the disembodied protagonists of surrealist still lifes. However, on closer observation one begins to wonder whether they are not the direct objects, while the subject is, in fact, the viewer’s gaze performing the act of looking.
My paintings extract and distill my observations and perceptions of a particular environment while presenting the possibilities of visual experience and abstraction. Weaving in and out of referential forms, colors and elemental shapes, I allow for intuitive and contradictory responses that fluctuate between deliberate and incidental. Initial explorations can shift abruptly as the painting develops, challenging one’s sense of time and resolve. The result is both tangible and fleeting as unexpected and precarious relationships emerge between thin, translucent layers. Gestural brushstrokes impart physicality yet glide weightlessly over smooth surfaces as figure ground relationships oscillate and conflate. Fluid marks are often contained within a shape or stopped by a sharp edge in contrast to the gesture, revealing both transitory and measured time. Individual actions are condensed into abbreviated shapes as I embrace the flatness of the picture plane and the illusionistic depth of the brush stroke. My process is both calculated and open, creating an active space for visual exploration that connects to the present moment while reconstructing a previous experience.
Krajewski’s paintings are characterised by a certain poetic representation of objects. Lemons, arms, tables and vases are carefully selected and depicted throughout her work. The objects’ appearances are clear, but removed from their everyday environments their meaning is annoyingly elusive and puzzling. Krajewski creates a world where coherent narrative is lacking, however physicality is never in doubt. Her imagery is formally meaningful where it is intellectually frustrating: the painted objects are given a uniformity by their presence on the same picture plane. The logic of Pia Krajewski’s paintings is the logic of vision made bare. She shows the viewer a kind of parallel world, a world comprised solely of sight: a world which promises the knowledge of what it really is to see. In the absence of any cerebral cues, the viewer is moved to this understanding physically rather than intellectually, attaining a position of distance that allows revelations and associations to rise to the fore. The images Pia Krajewski creates are sensible: just look at the hands and arms that reach under tables, point towards picture frames. In a move that recalls medieval theories of vision, sight is represented as a finger pressing a vase: one thinks of Giotto’s figure of Circumspection in the Arena Chapel, her eyes protruding tentacles, testifying to the physicality of seeing. The artist sensitively guides our perception; her paintings are as pleasurable as they are gentle, reaching out to press softly on our eyes.
Pia Krajewski was born in 1990 in Cologne, Germany. She spent seven years at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf studying painting under Dietmar Lutz and Andreas Schulze. Selected shows include 72. Internationale Bergische Kunstausstellung at the Kunstmuseum Solingen and Planet 58 at K21 Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf. In 2018-19 Krajewski was the Winsor & Newton Artist-in-Residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.
Gold Dust oil on panel 24 x 20 inches
oT (Spitze) oil on canvas 180 x 150 cm
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
J i n
H a n
L e e
Having completed an MA at Goldsmiths, University of London, I am currently a PhD candidate at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. Exhibitions include ‘The Day in the Evening’, Space K, Gwacheon; ‘The Intercontinental Breakfast,’ the Roaming Room, London; ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015’, ICA, London; ‘Tradition’, Pump House Gallery, London; ‘Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4 New Sensations’, B1 Space. English as a Second Language is crucial to my introspective paintings. I capture the wordless emotions that underpin the minutiae of everyday life, from having a pint at the end of the day to brushing cheekbones for makeup.
Magic Touch oil on linen 200 x180 cm
Drinks Alone oil and acrylic on linen 200 x 180 cm
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
M i c h a e l
S t i l l i o n
A n a
B e n a r o y a
I am an artist born in New York City, raised in suburban New Jersey. I recently graduated from the Yale School of Art with my MFA in Painting and I’ve had shows at Postmasters, Ross & Kramer, and Richard Heller. I’m quiet and shy and make work that is the opposite. I am very interested in power, who holds it, how it is used, how it informs every narrative, and how it can be taken back—by women in particular. From a queer perspective I explore this notion of power: I play with the human body, both male and female, often anatomically exaggerated and at its moment of most extreme action. I believe the body holds the core of human power and by playing with its form and its relationship to other bodies—I can bring attention to power imbalances that exist within our society. Michael Stillion received his BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and his MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington. Michael is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Miami University where he teaches painting and drawing. His honors include being twice awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, a Joan Mitchell full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center and a full year fellowship to the Roswell Artist-in-Residence. His work has also been exhibited in venues such as the Columbus Museum of Art; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Roswell Museum of Art; Marshall University and Spring/Break Art Show.
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
Using the language of comics, caricature, and pop culture, I explore and expand my understanding of the physical and emotional limits of my own body. Each body I depict is an extension of my own body—and each image allows me to feel more powerful and to physically grow. I am influenced by images of bodybuilders, anatomy books, gig-posters, and artists such as Tom of Finland, Robert Colescott, the Chicago Imagists as well as children’s artwork. Music and song lyrics often play a role in the titles of my works. My inspiration for this imagery comes from feeling powerless and often intense, overwhelming anger at what I view to be atrocities committed against women every day – both large and small. I want to create a visual world where women find their power: mentally, physically, sexually. My work is motivated in large part to my own emotional experience. Humor tempers the anger in my work. Humor is a good lubricant in communication (and in maintaining sanity). I believe in the subversive power of humor and how those who are disadvantaged can harness it to topple the powers that be. I take pleasure in making work that on first appearance might look funny and appealing to the eye—but upon closer examination reveals a darker more serious nature. My hope is for my work to be a reflection of the world around us: exaggerated, yet truthful in revealing the unsaid reality.
The Cigarette oil on canvas 45 x 36 inches
Deep Within Our Hearts And In Our Souls spray paint and oil paint on canvas 60 x 50 cm
M o l l y
G r e e n e
Molly Greene is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. In 2019, she received a PhD in American Studies from Yale University with concentrations in philosophy, gender studies and science and technology studies. Her paintings have been featured in It’s Nice That and Die Zeit and she has recently shown work at The Hole (NY, Copenhagen) and 0-0 LA. In this recent body of work, I have been using brown hair as a surrogate for the body. I am interested in the way that hair is both visual and bodily, both of the body and separate from the body, both an object and part of a subject. In this way, hair lends itself towards urgent slippages, reworkings and inconstancy. Brown hair is one of the most familiar materials in my life. Most of the people I love are covered in brown hair. I touch and braid and tie up and take down my own brown hair many times a day. I became interested in the project of making this deeply familiar material seem alien or strange and in how that process of defamiliarization might alter my perception of it/myself. This has been a way to think more broadly about the relationship between intimacy and alienation and the potential for movement between categories. Hair is also conceptually helpful to me because the hair that I paint is bodily and fem, but also an object. I’m interested in animating the hair-objects or making them seem active and alive. Instead of contesting the objectification of fem bodies, I’m concerned with questioning the passivity of objects and by doing that, trying to mess with ideas about subjectivity and objectivity. I also try to animate the hair-objects in ways that resonate with my own experiences, particularly feelings of excess, porousness, paralysis, feral-ness, or constriction.
I see these paintings as proposals for a set of absurd mutations that attempt to locate the partitions that have been installed between what is natural and what is unnatural. Sometimes they are distortions of an individual form but often they are relational mutations, like plants and hair behaving or interacting in anomalous ways. I’m not interested in a teleological idea of mutation, or in mutations that serve a particular moral or ecological goal. Rather, I’m interested in distortions of these various proxies for nature that call into question the assumed naturalness of the original.
Splitting oil and acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 inches
Tooth and Claw oil and acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 inches
ArtMaze Magazine Issue 15: editorial selection
We are looking to help more emerging artists to publish and promote their work If you would like your work to be featured in our upcoming issues, please find out more details on how to apply to be considered. See p. 11 or visit our website: www.artmazemag.com We have an open call for art for the next print issue which provides publishing opportunities, as well as the ongoing open call for online blog. For any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com
ArtMaze Magazine is an independent artist-run and ad-free international print and online publication dedicated to showcasing and promoting e...
Published on Nov 22, 2019
ArtMaze Magazine is an independent artist-run and ad-free international print and online publication dedicated to showcasing and promoting e...