Signs of the Times Ceres National Juried Exhibition Joanne Mattera, Juror
Joanne Mattera Juror Joanne Mattera is a widely exhibited painter who works in a style that is chromatically resonant and compositionally reductive. From Dawn to Dusk, her 35th career solo, took place recently at ODETTA Gallery in Chelsea. Folding both writing and entrepreneurial projects into her practice, she is the author of The Art of Encaustic Painting (Watson Guptill, 2001), and founder/director emerita of the International Encaustic Conference, which continues annually in Provincetown Mass. Her memoir, Vita: Growing up Italian, Coming Out, and Making a Life in Art, was published in 2019 by Well-Fed Artist Press. An illustrated resume is online at www.jmresume.blogspot.com
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Signs of the Times The call for entries for Signs of the Times came just before Covid-19 permeated every mile and meter of our planet. This monstrous virus stopped us in our tracks. What an irony that the biggest sign of all, a global pandemic, does not figure into the artwork on exhibition. Certainly its presence changed the timing of our show. We are, for now, an online exhibition, but an actual installation will take place when it’s safe to come out. I look forward to trading masks and gloves for full embraces and two-cheek-kissing and all the warm ways that friends and colleagues greet each other. In the meantime we view art and each other through the safe filter of distance. The work I selected for Signs of the Times aligns primarily along social and environmental issues, leavened with a bit of the order and chaos of abstraction.
As always, we start with women. We are still under siege, as Kathleen A. Kneeland’s Target, a uterus drawn onto a paper gun target, makes clear, although her tiny pink felt sculpture, Thorny, fights back. Yu Huang’s painting, Where Is Ana Mendieta, remembers the early beacon of earth-body performance art who fell (?) to her death in 1985 (her husband was acquitted of the murder). Sheryl Intrator’s Pussy Hat Flag employs that icon of the MeToo movement, a reminder of the many transgressions against us and, equally important, our great numbers as a political force to secure justice. We are powerful together. This is a message underscored by Isabele Milkoff’s Women’s Power 1 and Joan Easton’s All Women Are Sisters. Joanne Mattera, juror (to be continued)
Kathleen A. Kneeland Target, 2017 Colored pencil on paper target 18 x 14 inches Thorny, 2019 felt, rose canes, thorns, fingernail polish, thread, wire 6 x 4 inches Imagine how different women’s lives would be if vaginas were more like Venus Flytraps! Equipped with the ability to open and close upon command, to decisively determine who or what could or could not have access, and when. A built-in defense system that could be activated at any time, this is where my mind went after hearing Presidential candidate Donald Trump express his thoughts about how male celebrities can get away with ‘grabbing women by the pussy’. Grasp This! a pussy made with attitude was my first piece addressing the issue. I’ve always admired the way roses come with their own protection. I knew immediately after hearing this awful statement what I wanted to do with the dried rose canes that I had collected from my garden. I carefully cut and sculpted them to resemble a vagina and added extra thorns to make it look as menacing as possible. Carefully navigating around each thorn, I finished the piece with bright, pink finger nail polish. After creating this version of vaginal armor, I found myself reflecting on the interior. You never know what you might find when you look in to something. I wanted a soft exterior with surprises inside. Excited by the thorns I had used in ‘Grasp This’, I built a simple metal armature out of hardware cloth to support the felt exterior and stitched prickly rose canes within it using sparkly nail polish to accentuate each thorn. I want the thorns to glisten, to help beckon the viewer to come closer, to peer into this Thorny private space. I can’t think of a more private space than a woman’s vagina. I also believe that each woman has the absolute right to determine what comes in and out of such a space and how important that right is to each woman. Since 2016 there have been multiple assaults pointed in the direction of women’s reproductive rights. My drawing Target focuses on this issue. It still blows my mind that the ERA amendment has not been added to the Constitution and that women continue to have to battle for their right to use birth control, end a pregnancy, and have full control over their bodies and lives. If only women had a mechanism to entrap the toxic, misogynistic beliefs that interfere with our equal rights, so we could capture and dissolve them like a carnivorous plant! www.bcaonline.org/kathleen-a-kneeland.html
Yu Huang Where is Ana Mendieta? 2019 Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches I am a witness of my history. My paintings are records of my history. I endeavor to promote humanity and social justices through my work. An art historian by training, my work is constantly shaped by my knowledge and experience as an art historian. Art historical training enabled me to adopt an analytical view to examine my work in terms of content, design and techniques. My body of work reflects my interest in portraiture and using figurative forms to communicate my observations of our contemporary society. I strive to paint realistically and accurately to capture my subjectsâ€™ likeness but also to convey their inner spirits. Oil on canvas is my primary medium. I also use acrylic and employ collage technique in my work. My paintings reveal my multicultural background. I painted Chinese school girls, an African American man, a Romanian gypsy girl, as well as American adolescent and Islamic human right lawyer. I use portraiture and figurative forms to offer a critical view to examine my own social and political environment. I painted homeless folk musicians, and restaurant customers. I believe artists should constantly challenge themselves and explore new ways of artmaking. I would like to experiment more techniques, styles, and subject matters such as landscape painting and abstract work. My knowledge in art history both the East and the West provide with me multiple perspectives in looking at art. These knowledges offer me a variety of techniques and styles to incorporate into my work. I believe the importance of continuing evolving and growing as an artist. My experiences as an immigrant, a Chinese American, a woman, a teacher, a curator, and an art historian have been offering me invaluable resources to draw from. I am constantly examining myself as an artist to create meaningful work for my history and the history of our own. I wish to speak of my experience as a citizen of the world. www.yuhuangart.com
Sheryl Intrator Pussy Hat Flag, 2018 Acrylic, oils, nail polish 30 x 40 inches The Pink Pussy Hat movement was created as a social movement which supports freedom, and women’s rights, it has a feminist focus. I wanted to bring attention to this movement, which brought solidarity for woman’s rights and political resistance. The word “Pussy” was reclaimed by the hat, many protestors wore to reclaim the derogatory term as used by President Trump in some disparaging remarks he had made prior to his presidency. Several marches took place in which thousands of women wore hats with pussy cat ears attached to them to show solidarity. I took artistic license and changed our proud American Flag to include feminine/ girly colors and instead of 50 stars, I created 50 PussyHats. Each hat helps spell out a message about the movement, feminism and freedom. The stripes have details of knitting stitches since most hats were created that way. I used the iconic American Flag to bring awareness to a social movement in America. Sherylintrator.com
Isabele Milkoff Women’s power, 2020 Mixed Media Collage on paper 14 x 17 in Doing collage echoes what I see in the world, its shapes, its colors, and its chaotic rhythm. That’s why the entire world is source of my collages. I gather all kind of papers as well as pictures from magazines, newspapers, postcards, flyers, because something in them attracted me. My collages are built in a way that shapes and colors dialogue with each other in a dynamic way, playing with frames inside the bigger frame. Often this leads to a series but none of them are planned. They appear either in a spontaneous way or in relation to a theme or an idea that launched the work. I also like experiencing all kind of material. I never try to build something simple or simplistic. Even though I give a title to my pieces, there is no other meaning than the one each person will get by looking at my work. What I like about collage is the freedom it gives because you can use anything to do collage, you can use any bit of paper you like and cut any shape you want. I like its non academic spirit. I also like the way it gives birth to new images by using all kinds of material – paper bag from shops, postcard, newspaper, pictures, flyers, etc. I like the new ideas that come while doing one piece, for example the remaining pieces of the cut out I just used usually end up in a new collage. There is no waste, you can use everything you cut. It’s a sustainable art work. isabelle-milkoff.squarespace.com
Joan Easton All Women Are Sisters, 2019 Acrylic paint on board 12 x 12 x 0.5 inches Whether it is photography, mixed media, or sculpture, most of my work stems from a curiosity and/or fascination with something that presents itself in my life. I am drawn to these things, which I then feel compelled to investigate. Each investigation presents a series of aesthetic problems that require resolution. While exploring possible solutions, I proceed to have a ‘conversation’ with the materials/subject matter with which I’m working. Neither the material nor I impose possible actions, rather each entity ‘influences’ the other, which eventually manifests itself in the finished work. www.joaneaston.com
Society (continued In her monotype, Deconstructed American 5, Toby Sisson considers ethnicity. Her series
uses the word ‘American’ as a collage element, its recombinant patterns offering, Sisson says, “numerous perspectives on our country’s national identity.” That’s the good news. The bad is chilling. Joel Tretin’s manipulated photograph of a Klan snowman set against a peaked-roof house is an American Gothic of white supremacy, which seems to become more normalized by the day. Toby Needler sees in her cut-paper work, Reality Never Got in the Way of Their Convictions, the disparity of outcomes between who has power and who doesn’t. In her small linocut, Censorship, A. Bascove laments the repression of journalists, a situation as frighteningly true today as it was in 1992 when the artist made her print. Robert Sherman’s collage, You Are Going Straight to Hell, says what we are all thinking about the other side (of course, they are thinking the same about us). An unexpected upside of our social isolation is that there have been no mass shootings. Two artists, Sheila Wolper and Heather Stoltz, have each created quilts commemorating the Sandy Hook massacre, which took place just over seven years ago. Wolper’s collage of vintage handkerchiefs and image transfers reflects what she describes as “the disturbing disintegration of our society.” Stoltz’s Innocence Lost, starts with Sandy Hook. “In the six years that followed there were 392 shootings at schools in the United States,” she notes. “This quilt includes one piece of fabric for each of those shootings. It is left unfinished.” Sadly, we understand why. There’s more. Elizabeth Frischauf’s America Under Gun, a double-sided hanging, mingles guns and stripes with stars and bleeding hearts—“the wreckage of lives and families from a gun-happy, violence/fear-controlled nation.” In Nicole Shivers’ Who’s Balance, a weapon disturbs the equilibrium. One could read isolation into Hildy Maze’s Visual Poem-Earth Vermillian; one could also read contemplation—“entertaining the question, not grasping for an answer,” says the artist. In Trump’s Legacy 1: Help, Help!, Raul Manzano depicts our goddess of freedom opening the wire cage of a confined immigrant. With her Going Up, Leila Dorne depicts a Muslim woman and a Jewish woman ascending together to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, “guarded by an Ethiopian Israeli soldier and serenaded by an African musician playing the djembe drum.” The scene offers, says the artist, “both ongoing anger and the possibility of reconciliation.” Rebeca Fuchs and Barbara Rugg present images of defiance. Fuchs’s I Dare You depicts a wounded warrior who holds your gaze with determination. In Rugg’s Bound Angle, a seated blue figure remains steadfast, surrounded by final notices, bank statements, and the shards of credit cards. A sign of the times, indeed. For some much-needed levity, we consider Ellen Freyer’s photograph, Liberté, Egalité, Beyoncé, a tongue-in-cheek comment on, as Freyer notes, “a world connected by pop culture.”
Toby Sisson Deconstructed American 5, 2019 Encaustic monotype on paper mounted on wood braced panel 32in x 20in ( Dyptich) The Deconstructed American series uses the word “American” as a visual collage element. Repeatedly print, cut, and recombined, the letters form multifaceted patterns as fragments are arranged to align or contrast. In this way, numerous perspectives on our country’s national identity are imagined, during a time when debates over who belongs dominate the news. Hand lettering in encaustic monotype is uniquely suited to this graphic work as it conveys the political potency of graffiti as well as the ephemeral character of a charcoal drawing and a grainy black and white photograph. In some compositions, fractured “stars and stripes” are foregrounded, and in others, abstracted pieces evoke a snippet of unexposed film, a stroke of chalk on a blackboard, or an inky night sky: all reminders of unbound possibility. tobysisson.com/home.html
Joel Tretin KKK Snowman, 2019 Photograph 17 x 22 inches Itâ€™s the beginning of the 21st century, and we are witnessing the suppression of human rights (again), the rise of Autocracy around the world (again), and the accumulation of wealth by the few (again). History does repeat itself. Artist including John Heartfield (1891 ? 1968), Raoul Hausmann (1886 - 1971), and Hannah Hock (1889 ? 1971) during the 20th century used photomontage as weapons to push back against the unjust and hypocrisy of their time. My work attempts to follow that tradition. I work with original photography and Photoshop to juxtapose visual elements and create images that cast a spotlight on the deceit and conceits of our time. Using humor and irony, I try to broach difficult subjects in a way that provokes serious discussion www.joeltretinphotography.com
Reality Never Got in the Way of Their Convictions
Toby Needler Reality Never Got in the Way of Their Convictions, 2018 Paper and marker 18 x 24 inches Throughout my artistic career the focus of my work has been an homage to women past and present. However, from time to time I am compelled to use my artistic voice to express my concerns regarding broader issues facing the world including climate change, immigration, homelessness, etc. This work titled â€œReality Never Got in the Way of Their Convictionsâ€? is a political statement reflecting the inadequacies and injustices of our political system. It gives voice to a very strong need to express my frustration and anger with the political system and powers in the United States
A Bascove Censorship, 1992 Linocut 6 1/4 x 6 inches We are seeing much of our government descend into a state of repression and censorship against women, the LGBT community, people of color, and freedom of the press, where we thought we had made many hard- fought advances years ago. In the arts there is a dialogue of resistance, seeking to explore and reflect the issues society is facing on a daily basis. As artists we have the opportunity to express images that are both personal and political. www.bascove.com
Robert Sherman Straaight to Hell, 2019 ceramic shards, colored mirror glass, photo-lithos on clay 12 x 13 inches For many years, I made masks from the “inside out.” Sculpting wet clay directly on my face, breath and emotion became the catalysts of transformation as “inside faces” surprisingly emerged. Presently, I am creating mosaics, using smashed shards of my own hand stamped, crystal-glazed ceramic tiles, along with colored mirror glass and photo-lithos imprinted on clay. I am exploring my own take on 6th century Byzantine mosaics and those of Antonin Gaudi to reflect our present political/ emotional world.
Shiela Wolper Sandy Hook Lullaby, 2020 Canvas; vintage handkerchiefs; transferred images, photocopies 48 x 36 inches Haunted by the tragedy of Sandyhook and the continued gun violence that is murdering our children, I have created ‘Sandyhook Lullaby’ an homage to the children that are killed every day in our streets, schools, and places of worship. Resembling a ‘crazy quilt’, my collage highlights the sweet innocence of delicate vintage handkerchiefs with images of children and places them adjacent to images of assault weapons, rifles, and handguns. The design of the crazy quilt aptly reflects the disturbing disintegration of our society and there will never be enough handkerchiefs to wipe away our tears. sheilawolper.com
Heather Stoltz Innocence Lost, 2018 Cotton fabrics and threads 44 x 36 inches On December 14, 2012, 20 children and 6 staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. In the six years that followed, there have been 392 shootings at schools in the United States. This is not normal. We must do something to protect our children and ourselves. This piece includes one piece of fabric for each of those shootings and is left unfinished to ask how many more we will allow before we demand real change. sewingstories.com
Elizabeth Frischauf America Under the Gun, 2013 Mixed media quilted flag 25 x 40 inches Taken as a whole, a variety of subjects are important to me: nature, anatomy, rising sea levels and the degradation of our environment, human faces, experiences and relationships, technology, gun and other violence, re-interpretation of ancient myths with a womanâ€™s perspective. Often poetry I write in a variety of forms is integrated with the visual work. Largely self-taught, I have exhibited widely, including juried shows. elisabethfrischauf.com
Nicole Shivers Who’s Balance, 2019 Metal, plastic, tin can, crystals 12 x 9 inches Transitioning from cultural producer of programs to a cultural producer of my own visual works and engagement has not been easy. It’s been a revealing process to myself and those around me. These pieces are part of a series Black the Gift That Keeps on Giving is a living testimony from my heart, and historical events of past and present. It’s works that we’re conceived out of self and temporal repetitive frustrations. They live for the struggle of a people who despite being builders of civilizations and today’s great impact leaders and innovators still struggle through erroneous odds and in your face subjugation. These works portray stories of beauty, sorrow and deception. They’re reasoned for those who know tribulations, those who don’t and those who need to look in the mirror and recognize. It’s a journey through me a woman coming out of an institution that not always acknowledged her work but whose few champions and hard work presented opportunity and new successes. I work with new and found objects. I work with kitsch. I work with secrets unveiled but not to those who understand. The result has taken on new narratives that will intertwine onlookers. And ignite real applicable progress starting with self and onto the greater community.
Hildy Maze Visual Poem- Earth Vermillian, 2020 Metal, plastic, tin can, crystals 54 x 42 inches This work is a contemplative way of looking at ourselves as one would read a poem, entertaining the question not grasping for an answer. Living in this culture of the selfie and crisis this work turns the idea of “selfie” on itself in that I’m investigating the mind through these contemplative images questioning how and why we ignore our inherent basic nature of mind. We ask questions about everything out there; I’m questioning that which creates the question, i.e. our mind. Each image represents thoughts and emotions happening in the space of the mind. I see this work having a sense of community, a universal benefit beyond being a “picture”. I use figurative representational form as the reference point giving the images an intimacy. These images evolve from within themselves, unfolding in a chain of experiments and reactions. Each piece is the result of a singular unpredicted development that varies from image to image fluctuating somewhere between the painterly and the graphic. Over the course of time, I have developed an expanding repertoire of forms and patterns, a series within a series that are recognizable as recurring elements. The work feels experimental resisting finality like suggestions or notes or indications of possibilities. Just as all things are impermanent, nothing is final, changes and adjustments can continually happen. Although the images are basically female, they focus on knowledge about ourselves, man or woman, that is beyond words. Inherent knowledge that would be tedious to speak in words. People are not often willing to access this type of thought, and when they do it is often confusing, but none of us can escape the habit of projecting thoughts and concepts onto reality itself. Yet through awareness of our deeply ingrained conceptual biases, we can open new windows onto our minds. “You have to go beyond words and conceptualized ideas and just get into what you are, deeper and deeper Opening to oneself fully is opening to the world.” -Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism hildymaze.com
Raul Manzano Trumpâ€™s Legacy I: Help, Help! 2019 Oil on canvas 30 x 24inches My fascination with the Statue of Liberty has driven me to explore the meaning of this iconic symbol from different perspectives. My artistic scholarship and research have been the result of ongoing visual narratives in transformative images of this icon. Since her conception, what was meant to symbolize freedom and equality to all became the mother of exiles. I use this iconic symbol metaphorically to provoke, emphasize, and bring awareness to issues ranging from the first peopleâ€™s in the American continent, the transatlantic slave trade, marginalized groups, genocides, children in detention camps, family separation, and terrorist attacks among others. The paintings depict altered images of the Statue of Liberty to suggest new meanings. It is my goal to invite viewers to reflect on their learned notions of what the Statue of Liberty is supposed to represent and how they experience it in relation to my pictorial narratives. I hope this analysis raises consciousness about individual freedoms and rights, self-empowerment, culture and education. raul-manzano.com
Leila Dorne Going Up, 2017 Acrylic and paper on canvas 24 x 24 inches LEILA NOVAK DORNE is a New York area artist. Her ongoing series, Painted Words, is a group of reverent and irreverent views presented in mixed media. Each picture includes quotes from the Bible, secular literature or original poetry. Pictures extend onto all sides of the stretchers. Life continues beyond the canvas edge. Leilaâ€™s paintings are frequently exhibited in juried competitions and can be found in public spaces and private collections throughout the world. Going Up: Jerusalem is a city holy to many peoples. Here a Muslim and a Jewish women ascend together to the Temple Mount, guarded by an Ethiopian Israeli soldier and serenaded by an African musician playing djembe drums.â€? ArtByLeila.net
I Dare You
24 x 24 inch (25.5 x 25.5 inch framed)
Rebeca Fuchs Dare You, 20187 Oil on wood panel 24 x 24 inches We all search for answers, for knowledge, and control. What makes us really humans however, is what we donâ€™t know, the mysteries, the realization that some things are (still) out of our comprehension; it is this acceptance of our ignorance that drives our will, our research and progress, that feeds our imagination and curiosity. I like to explore any of these unknowns on my work. What is death? What is life? Why is life so determined? How did it all get started? Why do we feel? Do plants feel? What about the stars? Do they feel or think? What is consciousness? Does the universe have one? By quietly looking at peopleâ€™s small gestures, the fallen tree covered in fungus, the stare of an animal or the shape of a plant, I try to understand what those shapes and colors are saying; what is the common thread that runs though all of it. I try to replicate on the canvas what I learn through my eyes. To me, itâ€™s clear that there are so many shared experiences, not just among humans, but among all life forms. I like to bring this connection into my work, so that the viewer can experience the same union and wonder. I see this force of life manifesting as vibrant colors, with familiar shapes that can easily move to the abstract. I am particularly fascinated for the opportunity that our current technological progress brings us: our visual world has increased to include the realm of atomic particles, microscopic life, as well as distant, gigantic galaxies. Exploring the colors, shapes and life of these new realms gives us a new opportunity to expand our world and our imagination. May my paintings allow you to stop and ponder, to feel deeper, to listen a bit clearer, to see a bit brighter. rbkfuchs.com
Barbara Rugg Bound Angle, 2019 Mixed Media (Acrylic, credit cards, and paper on canvas) 26.5 x 24 inches Originally from Nevada, Barbara Ayala Rugg Diehl (BARD) currently works and lives in Massachusetts. Her attraction to mixed media stems from both her work as an environmental educator and a personal creative curiosity. By using found items and reusing her own objects and clothes, she both reduces waste and explores the tangibility of art. Working with art in many different fields such as costuming in theater and craft projects to foster hands-on learning in science, she is fascinated with finding new uses for items in her work and combining them in unexpected ways to relate images. This background and experience has led her to focus on mixed media featuring 3D elements. In past pieces she has additionally used 3D elements to redefine who can interact with visual art, adding Braille and durable interactive elements to allow blind and low-vision audience members to enjoy her work. barbaraayalarugg.wixsite.com/artbybard
Ellen Freyer Liberte, Egalite Beyonce, 2014 Archival Inkjet print 12 x 18 inches Inspired by Cartier Bresson, I love walking around the city taking photographs and catching an image that reflects issues of contemporary life but would normally be passed by.
The Environment (continued) The inconvenience of quarantine has yielded a positive environmental result: Pollution has dropped significantly around the world as manufacturing and transportation have scaled back. This is a welcome respite for the planet, which—as noted by Marjorie Morrow, Noreen Dean Dresser, and Emily R. Gillcrist in their respective works—has reached a flash point. Morrow’s Even Half of One Degree issues a dire warning. Dresser’s postcard-size collages show us America on fire, her four images underscored by Gillcrist’s vision of our country’s “distressed landscape.” The richly organic surfaces of Gregory Wright’s mixed-media works, the wall-hung Bound/Frieze 2 and freestanding Bound/Monument 2, deliver the artist’s disconcerting message: “Each work defines how environmental elements build, decay, weigh upon, and attempt to destroy us and the instinct to survive.” Nancy Azara sees things differently. A sculptor and printmaker who has long drawn inspiration and materials from the natural world, she gives new life to fallen leaves and found tree limbs. Her Blue Cloud is a stand-in for her own presence and, she says, an expression of “the dogged persistence of life.”
Marjorie Morrow Even half of one degree, 2019 Mixed-meda and collage on canvas 30 x 24 inches As an abstract painter, my work has always drawn inspiration from the natural landscape and that has led to an increasing involvement with environmental issues and the impact of climate change. In my mixed-media paintings, I use the contrast of fabricated grids to those textures found in nature as a metaphor for our dilemma: human co-existence with the natural world. Rubbings of actual trees are intermixed with human-made grids such as expanded metal mesh. The ‘message’ is sometimes enhanced literally with the texture of type and actual words. I hold the hope that my work will draw attention to this crisis in a unique way, bring conversation to our shared predicament, and stimulate action as a response. Web site: http://www.marjoriemorrow.com
Prairie Post Office Mural CO, 2019 Painting, burned earth, grasses US Post Stamp Murals canvas board 5 x 7 inches
Prairie Dog, 2019
Couriers Rivers Ontonacon, 2019 7 in W by 5 in H +/Painting, burned earth, wood matches, coal dust US Stamp ideal view 5 x 7 inches
Couriers Rivers Deschutes, 2019 Painting, burned earth, wood matches, coal dust US Stamp ideal view 5 x 7 inches
Painting, burned earth, grasses US Post Stamp on canvas board 5 x 7 inches
Noreen Dean Dresser We war against nature. As the casualties’ mount; so, do the storms, earthquakes, flooding and fires. Tremendous losses; human and wildlife, should give one pause. The Real Estate evaluation for wilderness land tracks is a calculation solely for what we extract. Water is taken and spewed. In the biosphere, all must yield to our definitions of productivity. Societal discussions have focused on Co2. Meanwhile, unrelenting human excess fills the known world with garbage and plastic down to the molecular level. Fires are escalating as complex global systems are undermined and altered by our deluge of waste. The messaging and idealized promotion of The United States Post Office stamps fascinate me as a historical source of public interest. We then find those stamps on fashion magazines, food stamps and social security checks. The USPS moves our commerce from corporate and individual contributions. Tracking our shared economies of expansion, their products ship through land, sea and air space. For this, the Post Office markets unique stamps, carefully designed and collected with the visions of our localities, their products and our ideals of America. Stamp with images specific to our land and shores, I embedded into the reality of our fires and waste. In today’s society, postal couriers confront a damaged world. These works present the burned woods and charred terrain, the wind-swept sea and land; flakes of coal and oil stains. The Forestry Department’s campaign of “Only you can prevent forest fires” may well bridge the divide of left and right politics, avoiding full responsibility. We are all in this together. Shall not kill is a choice we need make. NoreenDeanDresser.com
Emily Gillcrist Red Light/ Green Light, 2019 Acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 inches My visual wok inspires and is inspired by my scholarly research, which focuses on materialist, psychoanalytic, and existential critiques of techno-industrial expansion, particularly in light of the global environmental crisis. Primarily a painter, I utilize abstract expressionist techniques, creating layers of texture and color, at times incorporating mixed media. I often balance these surfaces with detailed brushwork influenced by natural forms. I am drawn to themes I encounter in my research: the uncanny, memory, worldhood, and the nature/culture relation. emilygillcrist.com
Gregory Wright BOUND/FRIEZE 2, 2019 Cradled birch panel, acrylic paint, paper, various mixed media 24 x 6 1.5 inches BOUND/MONUMENT 2, 2019 Mixed media relief 5 sided painting on wood construction: 8.5 x 5.5 x 4 inches: In my body of work Bound, I explore literal and figurative concepts of this state of being. The connectivity that exists among the visual, cerebral and emotional ideals of Bound are brought forth by minimal compositions and reduced palettes, which allow varied and personal interpretations. My intent is to capture an account of the earthly condition, as we and all that exist are Bound in many different ways. I paint in wide array of mixed-media with a multitude of fibrous embellishments. The images and surfaces are built up to be relief paintings. The subtle to extreme textures give a sense of longevity and history, as though time has left its mark upon the image. The underpinning of grids and lines gives each painting a sense of constructional or geographical order. I intend for my compositions to exceed the boundaries of their surfaces, as though they are close-ups or small passages, allowing just a glimpse of the entire story.
60in x 14in x 16in
Nancy Azara Blue Cloud, 2019 Carved, painted wood, and encaustic on a steel base 60 x 14 x 16 inches I make collages, prints, banners, and carved and painted sculptures that record a journey of ideas and memories around the unseen and the unknown, reflecting on time and mortality through facets of my personal history. I juxtapose real tree limbs and vines with arboreal imagery including renderings of witch hazel and rhubarb leaves using them as stand-ins for my own presence, and as expressions of the dogged persistence of life. nancyazara.com
The pleasure of abstraction (continued) Despite what’s going on in the world, artists keep painting, drawing, printing, building. Summer Bhullar’s two silkscreen prints, Conscious Heart Living and Living on the Path Towards Supreme Reality are inspired by her connection to a higher consciousness. Katy Ferrarone’s Fall Deep is an attempt, through mindfulness and meditation, to process the emotion of “falling in and out of love over and over again.” Carmile Zaino’s Re-Mix/Hard Cider, a combination of photography and digital collage, imposes a new order to her urban environment. In his My Drawing #4, SeungTack Lim uses scrap wood to construct an assemblage that offers equilibrium without symmetry. With her tall Weaving Series August-2, Darla Bjork pulls us into a dense tangle of summer growth. Or are we in the middle of a metaphor for the unraveling of our national fabric?
Summer Bhullar Conscious Heart Living, 2019 Silk Screen Printmaking 6 separations, Acrylic inks (orange) 19 x12 inches Living on the Path towards Supreme Reality, 2019 Silk Screen four separations, Acrylic inks 19 x 12 inches The Supreme Being is The Ultimate Artist. My Art arises from my love for The Supreme Being. I represent my experiences with The Supreme Reality in this love. I have named this original genre Supreme Reality Art. I am a seeker of The Supreme Being. I am on a unique path. I live only for it. My father is my Guide on this journey. My Art expression begins within me as an intense feeling of love. It overwhelms me and inspires me. It generates a deep creative urge to express and experience. My mind dissolves in this love and an immense play of colors begins in my consciousness. At some point a spontaneous release of this energy comes and I express on the canvas. Once an Art expression feels fulfilled, I take it to my Guide. Thus I receive full consciousness of what it represents within The Supreme Reality. An appropriate name also gets revealed and my experience is complete. The name helps others to relate with the depicted Hidden Reality. Supreme Reality Art has 7 themes. supremerealityart.net
Katy Ferrarone Fall Deep, 2019 Acrylic and ink on Canvas 60 x 60 inches Katy Ferrarone’s abstract works are landscapes of her psyche. Influenced by her ex-pat life in Singapore and the practice of mindfulness, her paintings present a portal into her inner world, while reflecting the sights and scenes of her everyday environs. Combining a methodical approach with expressionistic detail, Ferrarone is inspired by the American-Canadian painter Agnes Martin. Following Martin’s belief that “Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings,” Ferrarone’s process embraces exploration, tracing the intimate elements and limitless boundaries of her subconscious. As she paints, fleeting thoughts manifest into forms that evoke puzzle pieces, realized through a unified color palette. Her finished products are bursts of energy that capture the expression of where her mind has traveled and thoughts have strayed. In its purest sense, her work explores the relationship between the movement of the brush and stillness of the mind, and though deeply personal, each painting serves as a gentle reminder to pause in our tracks and mindfully observe our own thoughts and feelings.
Carmile Zaino Re-Mix | Sign Series | No.4 Quad | Hard Cider, 2019 Digital collage printed on archival canvas 24 x 24 inches (4 12 x 12 inch units) Re-Mix | Sign Series | No.4 Quad | Hard Cider The artistic process I call Re-Mixing combines photography and collage by breaking down examples of mundane communication - usually printed or hand lettered signs - into elements that are transformed into visual abstractions. These Re-Mixes are related to the beginning of art itself when primitive man used a few strokes to communicate information with symbols. In time, these markings became letters and words, as I realized during trips to India and China when I saw street signs I could not read but appreciated as visual a bstractions of grace and beauty. After photographing these signs, I returned home to continue to remix the symbols I saw around me everyday. Such is the work that is presented here. Instagram: @zaino711
SeungTack Lim My Drawing #4, 2019 Scrapwood, Paint 21 x 17x3.5 inches My work examines both the obvious and unobvious. I challenge preconceived ideas about ordinary objects by jettisoning their traditional functions and transforming something familiar into its unapparent counterpart. I seek to toss aside the audienceâ€™s preconceptions about what art is. Accordingly, I stretch the boundaries of imagination. Nowadays, we take life for granted and it becomes a repetitive cycle. Everything is judged rapidly by inference; some objects are easily passed without critical observation. But every object, every word, is significant. Building on these blind spots, I expose the viewerâ€™s illusions and encourage them to look anew. seungtack-lim.com
Weaving Series August-2
60in x 36in
Darla Bjork Weaving Series August-3, 2019 oil stick on wood panel 60 x 36 inches Bjork connects her abstract painting style to a tradition of female labor and artistry in her family. The grid-like visual structures the weaving series consciously evokes the warp and weft of the woven rugs Bjork watched her maternal grandmother make as a child. These works are gentler than the scored and scared works Bjork has produced in recent years. The dense interlocking layers of paint are built over each other, in some cases dictated by the choice of surface, canvas rather than board. The series incorporates both tightly woven pieces, a direct reference to her grandmother’s weaving, and looser pieces with more movement. The warp and weft are balanced, controlled, there is little dimensionality and the surface presses forward against an invisible plane. In contrast, other works in the series, show a deliberate choice to engage with illusionary visual depth to ‘loosen up’ the weave structure as the striking crimson lines reach simultaneously deeper into the canvas and out at the viewer. Bjork’s weavings, like her grandmother’s, are more than decorative, their value is created by the process, the physical and emotional labor they are imbued with. Bjork’s dimensional and physically expressive work has in recent years engaged with everything from contemporary politics to botany and personal grief. Although she engages with a diverse range of subject matter Bjork’s painting is consistently expressive, upfront about its role as mode of processing, an artistic catharsis. In the Weaving series Bjork has also reckoned with mortality, physical illness, and new celestial imaging. darlabjork.com
Ignorance Is Bliss
The last word(s) (continued) Caitlin Vitalo’s mixed-media installations are not what they seem. The cheery message in her Culture of Politeness has an unseemly side, referencing, she says, “the ways conversations of inequality are often swept under the rug,” while the ecstatic message of her light-and-shadow installation takes a darker turn when the full message becomes visible: Ignorance is Bliss. As this exhibition makes clear, we are navigating a world fraught with difficulty. But even hard times are assuaged by art.
Caitlin Vitalo Culture of Politeness, 2017 Found object and glass 27 x 14 x 5 inches Ignorance Is Bliss, 2019 Plastic sheet, wood, paint, light 28 x 47 x 7 inches In a society full of discrimination and prejudice, those with privilege can easily overlook systems of power that are not directly negatively affecting them. When we blindly accept these systems that allow privilege to be acquired at the expense of others we strengthen and prolong its existence. In tandem with these unequal structures, many have been lead to believe that the success of others is often a direct threat to one’s own, halting any possible collective growth our society is capable of. Divisive systems of fabricated hierarchies fortify the position of those with the most power. My work attempts to expose some of the ways these oppressive systems are reinforced through banal cultural objects such as billboards, money, chairs, and our own bodies with the hope that when you walk away from the work you won’t be able to view the cultural landscape without criticality. The sculptures and installations I meticulously create, connect and acknowledge my privilege within these structures and pair them with facts to provide context for important truths that have fallen by the wayside. Through readings and research, I combine my personal realizations with relevant materials, allowing my individual experience to be in conversation with other perspectives. The visual pleasure in my work exists in direct contrast to its inability to function the way the object is expected to, creating a tension between desire and repulsion, reality and idealism. In order to question and redesign our societal systems, we must first be able to find them. The normalization and pervasiveness of social disparities has made it difficult to identify how they are perpetuated and, oftentimes, our willful blindness to these structures leaves us crippled, vulnerable, and powerless. Display, language, and the uncanny within the work are used as a strategy to wake viewers up to issues of complacency and apathy. An enlightened understanding of these subtle systems implicates us, regardless of our position, and calls for the sharing of this new knowledge to attempt to dismantle these systems together.
Signs of the Times juried by Joanne Mattera. The call for entries for Signs of the Times came just before Covid-19 permeated every mile and...
Published on May 27, 2020
Signs of the Times juried by Joanne Mattera. The call for entries for Signs of the Times came just before Covid-19 permeated every mile and...