Conceptual, Interdisciplinary

Vignette: Luke Gnadinger

Disrupting a Sense of Linear Time

"IghborhoodNe" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramic, 7Hx 24W,x2.75in, 2017, POR 

"IghborhoodNe" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramic, 7Hx 24W,x2.75in, 2017, POR 

On Luke Gnadinger’s website we find a statement in which the artist describes his work as, “…being post-media and concerned with the ways domestic ‘containers’ impart a shaping force on our notions of home and identity. Generally, this foregrounds what would otherwise be supplemental or armature. While not limited to, this often employs the industrial history and materials of ceramics, photography, or coding languages to position the work someplace between archival-object and design-object, disrupting a sense of linear time.”

"Fluids" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramics, Steel, Acrylic, 48Hx24Wx8Din, 2017, POR

"Fluids" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramics, Steel, Acrylic, 48Hx24Wx8Din, 2017, POR

There is an intriguing balance of rustic and digital in Gnadinger’s work. He seems as comfortable using “a hexadecimal editor to produce coding aberrations”, as he is creating somewhat traditional, functional, ceramic vessels. He incorporates found objects that evoke nostalgia in installations of a very modern sensibility. In “House”, the effect is entirely modern, but “Fluids” mines a collective memory that elicits a sentimental response. The vintage ceramic knobs on the fixture have been recoated with slip and fired again by Gnadinger, giving the artifacts a new sheen that makes nostalgia more seductive.

In “Super Great Horse Art”, the packaging concept merges bourbon and horse racing culture in a pointed commentary on art as product in Kentucky. As both are Sacred Cows in the Bluegrass State, the implications, however undeniable, are still somewhat bold for a Kentucky-born artist, and it seems an especially clear example of Gnadinger’s statement about positioning work “between archival-object and design-object”.

Another balance that fascinates is the notion of complex ideas expressed through graphic forms of great simplicity. Those “Horse Art” bottles recall generic labeling from the 1970’s, and in the curiously titled “ighborhoodNe” the forms are equally fundamental, with red map diagrams that have the effect of stamps. There is an ornate quality to the surface design, yet the work remains straightforward and uncluttered, allowing for a direct understanding between the artist and the viewer. For being so conceptual an artist, Gnadinger’s work is refreshingly accessible, but never dumb.

Since receiving his degree from Transylvania University in Kentucky, Gnadinger has worked as an assistant and been a winter resident at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

Gnadiniger’s work is currently featured in show MAP/PING in Morlan Gallery in Lexington, through December 5, 2017.

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA, Studio Art, Transylvania University
Website: www.lukegnadinger.com
Instagram: lukegnadinger/

Scroll down for more images

"SUPER GREAT HORSE ART" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramic, Set: 12Hx24Wx48Din, 2015, POR

"SUPER GREAT HORSE ART" by Luke Gnadinger, Ceramic, Set: 12Hx24Wx48Din, 2015, POR

"Lagrange, #2" by Luke Gnadinger, Cyanotype, Birch, 20Hx36Wx.5Din, 2017

"Lagrange, #2" by Luke Gnadinger, Cyanotype, Birch, 20Hx36Wx.5Din, 2017

"House" by Luke Gnadinger, Windows, Cord, Lights, Slumped Plexiglass, 4Tx20Wx20Dft, 2014

"House" by Luke Gnadinger, Windows, Cord, Lights, Slumped Plexiglass, 4Tx20Wx20Dft, 2014

"Landscape, #5" by Luke Gnadinger, Digital print, 6dx0in, 2017, POR

"Landscape, #5" by Luke Gnadinger, Digital print, 6dx0in, 2017, POR

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

fineline.jpg

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Painting

Vignette: Macel Hamilton

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

When someone picks up a brush and begins painting with no formal training or experience, are they hobbyist, amateur? In a time when art intelligentsia is either busy manufacturing new nomenclature to capture new trends, or rejecting all formal classifications (inter or multi disciplinary?) how do we describe the new artist who enters the fray motivated by curiosity or edification?

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

Consider Macel Hamilton. The designation Folk Artist connotes a lack of education and primitive technique, but Hamilton is an educated professional, and her skill after a very brief time painting is estimable, and "hobbyist" foreswears the dedication she has put to the task. Her subjects are simple: animals and insects, but she has also painted portraits of people. All of it indicates an innate skill of observation and the controlled manipulation of a brush and medium. That Hamilton often paints on unfinished wood introduces a rustic quality certainly, but compare the delicacy of her color in this butterfly and the rougher, more spontaneous marks in the image of a savage rooster improbably named “Cow”.

Clearly some of Hamilton’s work finds its roots in her rural upbringing: “I was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and now live in the knobs of Casey County. I am mostly self-taught and have taken a few day classes at a local community art center. I have been painting for about a year and a half. I began doing art approximately two years ago, teaching my self to draw portraits.”

So if there must be a designation, perhaps Rural Artist would be apt in this case, a reflection of both Hamilton’s background and the sensibility expressed in her work.

 Age: 55
Hometown: Liberty, Kentucky
Education:  BS, Psychology, ADN Nursing
Facebook: Macel’s Art

Scroll down to see more images

"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

fineline.jpg

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Fiber

Vignette: Irene Mudd

“[These women were] exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their lives in an era, a century, that did not acknowledge them…they dreamed dreams that no one knew-- not even themselves, in any coherent fashion-- and saw visions no one could understand.”

-Alice Walker

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery. 20x17in, 2017, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery. 20x17in, 2017, $375

Textile artists often tap into the past contextually; many of the techniques used by such artists originate in family legacy. It is perhaps more unusual to see literary inspiration merged into that lineage. Irene Mudd uses an essay by Alice Walker to provide a conceptual basis for her current body of work. “In Search of Our Mother's Gardens”, discusses and laments the vastly untapped potential and creativity of generations of black American women.

“While Walker addresses black women specifically in her essay, I found her words to be quite universal,” explains Mudd, “resonating with me despite my privileged status as a white woman. I strongly connected her message to my own grandmother’s story—a woman of great intelligence, creativity, and ambition, who studied to be a biologist, but set aside this pursuit to become a housewife, until she died at the young age of 53. My grandmother's story is not unique, generations upon generations of women have followed this same path, being held back from becoming their fullest selves by the oppressive systems established in their worlds.”

"Untitled (Edmonia Lewis)" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 20x18in, 2017, $375

"Untitled (Edmonia Lewis)" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 20x18in, 2017, $375

Mudd joins a legion of contemporary artists who find inherent meaning in these traditional techniques; a feminist sensibility excavated from the archetypal position of ‘homemaker’. Women created things for function, but the task enabled a form of expression that is culturally significant. “Each portrait is hand knitted, paying homage not only to the personal history knitting and craft have had in the lives of the women of my family, but also to women throughout history who were artists and makers, whose primary means of creating were restricted to “feminine” crafts such as knitting.”

“This work is the result of a process of reconciliation with these truths, and therefore, I want this series to act as a kind of memorial for the innumerable, often anonymous lives of women like mine and Walker’s mothers and grandmothers, whose gifts were lost on a society that did not value them.”

Mudd was just in Revelry Gallery’s tarot art exhibit, The Future is Unwritten, and also is included in Kaviar Forge & Gallery's show Artists in Our Midst, which runs through December 30, 2017.

Age: 22
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education:  BFA, Painting & Fiber, University of Louisville, 2017
Website: irenemuddart.com
Instagram: irenemudd

Scroll down here for more images

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 22x19in, 2017, $450

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 22x19in, 2017, $450

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, 21x18in, 2016, $400

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, 21x18in, 2016, $400

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 23x19in, 2016, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 23x19in, 2016, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 21x19in, 2016, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 21x19in, 2016, $375


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

fineline.jpg

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

 

Painting

Vignette: Barry Burcaw

"Pixilated" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2-16, $2800

"Pixilated" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2-16, $2800

Barry Burcaw studied graphic design in school, earning a degree from the University of Bridgeport, but he only began painting once he retired from a long, successful career in advertising. This provides an easy explanation of why his compositions are so dominated by forceful geometric structure and bold saturated colors.

Often the abstract images remain rooted in representational sources; Burcaw is fond of landscapes and architectural sources as a point of departure, but it is not unusual for him to veer into diagrammatical structures of pure pattern and shape. “Pixilated” does this, as does “Vernal Equinox”, even if the title makes explicit that the qualities of atmosphere and climate that we assume were in the artist’s mind here. The lower half containing dark grey and earth tones beneath the blue and yellow tones in the upper half cannot help but connote landscape, if only because our expectations fill in the blanks with little prompting – doesn’t the abstract artist appropriately depend on the viewer’s frame of reference?  “Solar Flares” is more obvious in its subject, placing a brilliant yellow orb in the center, and Burcaw’s curled linear forms representing the sun’s angry expression are more whimsical in their effect than the fiery astronomical phenomenon that provide the inspiration for the piece.

"Impressions of Santorini" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2017, $3500

"Impressions of Santorini" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2017, $3500

There is an unyielding exactitude in Burcaw’s work that suggests a highly structured perspective on the world at large. Perhaps this is a common underlying truth of any artist who utilizes geometry in such bold, almost confrontational terms.

Burcaw recently placed 4 paintings with Zephyr Gallery as part of their Corporate Art Program.

Hometown: Palisades, New York
Age: 74
Education: BS in Graphic Design, University of Bridgeport, CT

Scroll down for more images

"Vernal Equinox" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2017, $2800

"Vernal Equinox" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2017, $2800

"Solar Flares" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2008 $3500

"Solar Flares" by Barry Burcaw, oil on canvas, 50x50in, 2008 $3500


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

fineline.jpg

Drawing, Legacy

Feature: Remembering Mary Ann Currier (1927-2017)

Mary Ann Currier in 2016. Photo by Mo Neal.

Mary Ann Currier in 2016. Photo by Mo Neal.

In days darkened by terrible loss, and so many calls to be kind to one another in the face of violent tragedy, to then to be reminded of this great Kentucky artist and teacher who so exemplified kindness and decency; seems to suggest that her departure needs be measured beyond the commonly experienced parameters of grief and sorrow. Mary Ann Currier originated in an age of a greater civility certainly than we can manage today, and brought compassion and humanity to her life that touched countless many.

When approached to give a lecture about her life and work for Louisville Visual Art a few years back, she responded with typical humility, “Oh, I’m no good at public speaking, and besides, I can’t imagine people would be that interested.” No amount of reassurance could convince her that her soft spoken manner would be a perfect fit for the intimate and relaxed luncheon format, or that people would be eager to share her company.

But I suppose, having been such a meaningful influence on so many Louisville artists over twenty years of teaching at the Louisville School of Art, and being recognized as one of the great American still life artists of the 20th century, she had earned her privacy and solitude.

In 1945, Mary Ann studied at the Chicago School of Fine Art alongside GI’s returning from World War II, often the only woman in the classroom, worked for W.K. Stewarts illustrating furniture ads, and eventually came to take classes at the Louisville School of Art, and became a member of their faculty in 1962. Among the names that came under her tutelage were Suzanne Adams, Gayle Cerlan, Denise Furnish, Lida Gordon, Rebecca Graves, Ed Hamilton, Jacque Parsley, Martin Rollins, Cathy Shepherd, and Neisja Yenawine.

Currier in the Louisville School of Art Life Drawing classroom late 1970's. Photography by Phil Wakeman

Currier in the Louisville School of Art Life Drawing classroom late 1970's. Photography by Phil Wakeman

News of her passing among the community of artists began with a message from one of her former students, Martin Rollins. Rollins, and several others had become friends with Mary Ann and visited with her often. Rollins observed: “Of her accomplishments, I know firsthand her tenure at the Louisville School of Art was one of her most treasured and one she felt most keenly. Mary Ann worked tirelessly on the development and implementation of the Foundations program at LSA as she knew it was both good for the students as well as the school, researching similar programs at other schools in the US.”

"East Palatka Onions" by Mary Ann Currier, 1983, 35x59in, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

"East Palatka Onions" by Mary Ann Currier, 1983, 35x59in, Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The claim of being one of the great American still life artists of the 20th century may seem quaint and old-fashioned in 2017, but to see one of Mary Ann’s exquisitely rendered oil pastels was intoxicating. The impressive command of the medium could leave one dumbstruck, and she became renowned for her vegetables, particularly onions, which she chose for their durability among organic subjects. She captures the shiny surface and translucent, peeling layers with an almost preternatural observational skill. For an artist, it was daunting to measure your own meager skills against hers, but also inspiring in the way of all great artists, to know that human hand could achieve such verisimilitude with a sophisticated crayon. Whatever the hard work behind the image, the grace contained in each one served as a reminder that art is always about touching the divine.

"Pears in Plastic" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 20x34in , 1991, Private collection

"Pears in Plastic" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 20x34in , 1991, Private collection

That notion is even more powerfully realized in the prosaic choice of subject matter. That she turned her attention so often to flowers is not unexpected, and they are masterpieces, but it is the fruits and vegetables: the pears, onions, peppers, and the like, where she achieves that transcendence that comes from sublime technique, technique in the service of communicating the organic forms of nature with great humility. Once artists celebrated the divine through depictions of stories from various mythologies. Vaulted ceilings and church alter pieces were testaments to the Judeo-Christian god, and statues abound for the Roman deities and various pagan religions. Mary Ann Currier’s drawings are testament to the gentle, humanist spirituality of modern society.

"Apples Cezanne" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 26x31in, 1989, Private collection

"Apples Cezanne" by Mary Ann Currier, Oil pastel 26x31in, 1989, Private collection

Click on image to view the KET documentary on Mary Ann Currier

Click on image to view the KET documentary on Mary Ann Currier


This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

fineline.jpg

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.