chicago

Painting

Q&A: Quappi Projects


“We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts.“ – John Brooks


Artist, John Brooks

Artist, John Brooks

Q&A with John Brooks about Quappi Projects

‘Quappi’ was the nickname of Mathilde von Kaulbach, who was married to German New Objectivist painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950). It was derived from the similarity of her surname to the German word Kaulquappe, meaning ‘tadpole’.

It is a singular phrase with no other formal meaning, which seems to delight Louisville artist John Brooks, and so he chose it as the moniker of his new exhibition initiative, Quappi Projects. Occupying most of his current studio space at 1520 B Lytle Street in the Portland neighborhood, the mission is to showcase four artists each year from in and outside of Louisville. The inaugural show will be work of Adam Chuck, a Cleveland, Ohio native, now living and making work in Brooklyn, New York.

What motivated you to devote some of your studio space to exhibition space for other artists?

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

"Diogo In Pink" by Adam Chuck, 5x7in, oil on mylar

Running a gallery is an endeavor I've long been interested in, but it was difficult to imagine a way in which I could maintain a studio practice, run a gallery, and afford to do both. I was between studios in 2015 and spent the summer in Berlin. Part of that time was spent studying under the German artist Norbert Bisky, whose work I've admired for a long time.  We discussed a lot of things, including lamenting the difficulty of finding avenues to show and share work. He advised that I (or anyone!) should just "start my own thing;" so I've had this bee in my bonnet for a couple of years. Since January 2016 I've shared my Lytle Street studio space with another artist, and when he decided to move out I knew that this was my opportunity. The space is perfect - clean, bright, white, and with enough room to allow me to continue my studio practice and to exhibit others' work in a proper way.

As an artist, I know how difficult it can be to find arenas in which to show your work, and I am thrilled by the idea that I can provide that opportunity to other artists. Also, I've been fortunate to live in both London and Chicago, and have traveled the United States and Europe fairly extensively, so I feel like I have a broad range of art-related experiences and knowledge that I can rely on to help inform the direction of the gallery's platform.

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

"Baptism" by Adam Chuck, 4x7.35in, oil on mylar

How did you become aware of Adam Chuck's work?

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

"Hand Palm" by Adam Chuckn, 5.5x7in, oil on mylar

Adam Chuck paints primarily images from social media; fittingly, we "met" quite randomly through Instagram a few years ago. Though we've never yet met in person, we have developed what I consider to be a real friendship, which speaks both to the power and possibilities of social media but also the power and purity of his work. When it became clear that Quappi Projects was really going to happen, I knew I wanted to inaugurate the gallery with a show of Adam's work and happily he said yes. I'm a fan (and a collector) of his work and am so excited to be able to share it with the Louisville art community and the city at large. At first glance, Adam's work might seem to border on the salacious, but I think it creeps up to that line and then walks back. Most of the work is tiny, phone-screen-sized, owing its existence to social media platforms such as Instagram. The work is intimate, sensual and extremely honest. Each work is an exposure, really; it is essentially about reaching out, about the deep desire to connect, and represents an attempt to know and be known. In an age of terror and big fears, Adam's work seems infused with knowledge of those fears, but speaks more to the fundamental needs and basic human fears of need: to be desired, to be loved, to be seen, to be considered.

Tell me about the term "quappi"? I know the Beckman story, but what does it mean to you?

I believe very much in the transformative power of art. I have experienced this enough times in my own life to understand and value its merit, and I firmly believe that the highest function of art is to allow human beings to know ourselves more deeply. My own work has been concerned with the emotional resonance of particular experiences and what Max Beckmann described as "the deepest feeling about the mystery of being." Quappi Projects' goal is to exhibit contemporary art reflecting the zeitgeist, and the zeitgeist is mighty strange. Perhaps all times are strange, but I don't think there's any arguing that we are living in very strange times.

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

"Bildnis Quappi" by Max Beckmann

We have more knowledge than at any time in human history, yet not only do we not seem comforted or buoyed by that knowledge, we have - or some of us have, I suppose - begun to openly reject knowledge, experience and even commonly agreed-upon facts. I find that very worrying. I think the experiences of 20th Century German artists like Max Beckmann (and others) are relevant to us today.  Beckmann didn't consider himself a political person, yet his entire life was thrown into upheaval because of politics. He considered political concerns to be secondary to the concerns of the spiritual or metaphysical. Although I am a political person (and have a BA in Political Science) I agree with him and certainly find most explicitly political work too narrowly focused. At the same time, I think the best art reflects the times in which it was created, so it must have some element of the political. Take Velazquez' "Las Meninas," for example - artistically, it is a masterpiece, but it also tells us so much about the Spanish Court and what was going on at the time. I find that balance fascinating, and hopefully we can show work that is interesting in the same way. Even if we fall just a little short of "Las Meninas," we'll be very successful!

I plan to alternate non-Louisville-based and Louisville-based artists have a great series of artists lined up: Baghdad, Iraq-born artist Vian Sora, who now lives and works in Louisville; Louisville native Whit Forrester, who lives in Chicago and just graduated with an MFA from Columbia College; wood artisan Michael James Moran, a central Kentucky native who now lives and works in the Hudson Valley; and photographer Ryan Tassi.

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

"Raven Wings" by Adam Chuck, 5.5x7.25in, oil on mylar

Beckmann credited Quappi with keeping him going, keeping him on task and inspired. I think we're living in times when we must keep going, be on task, and be inspired. It's very easy to want to give into the notion of being quiet and comfortable, but I think we must resist that. We must be open, communicate, and connect. I'm hoping the spirit of Quappi can help me do that.

Adam Chuck / Instant Gratification

August 18 – September 29
Opening: Friday, August 18 / 5:00-9:00pm

Quappi Projects
1520 B Lytle Street
Gallery open by appointment only
www.quappiprojects.com

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

"Portrait of Les" by Adam Chuckn, 3.25x4in, oil on mylar

Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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

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

Painting

Vignette: Andrea Alonso

"Birth of immortality" by Andrea Alonso, 48x36in, oil on canvas (2016) $1200 | BUY NOW

"Birth of immortality" by Andrea Alonso, 48x36in, oil on canvas (2016) $1200 | BUY NOW

Artist, Andrea Alonso

Artist, Andrea Alonso

Andrea Alonso’s painting, “The Birth of Immortality,” represents the birth of the tradition of Day of the Dead. The iconic celebrations now occur all around the globe, but started with the pre-Hispanic culture and Aztec mythology. Mictlantecuhtli was a god of the dead and the king of Mictlan (Chicunauhmictlan), the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld. The arrival of Spanish colonialism and the transforming influence of Catholicism brought about a merging of the beliefs that resulted in the Catrina, the Saints Day, and the Day of the Dead.

“The painting also shows that death can occur to any of us, elder and children, rich and poor,” says Alonso. The story is told by the old man of the corner, who lost his wife and is waiting for death to come for him.”

“My style emphasizes the universality of visual abstraction in highly developed compositions of patterns and forms, I try to suggest space within these geometric arrangements, and my main object is try to establish a sense of place within the painting. I think this is not common in most abstract paintings.”

"Solitary thoughts" by Andrea Alonso, 36x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $600 | BUY NOW

"Solitary thoughts" by Andrea Alonso, 36x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $600 | BUY NOW

 Currently Alonso is one of the many Louisville artists featured in the Alley Gallery public art program sponsored by the Louisville Downtown Partnership and unveiled by Mayor Greg Fischer on May 11, 2017

Alonso was one of the five finalist in ArtPrize Pitch Night in Louisville with the sculpture project “The Hole,” and is or will be exhibiting work in the EKU Center for the Arts, Lexington KY, the Andersonville 14th annual show at Chicago, IL, the “O” Gallery, Nashville TN, 5-0-LOU Gallery and, Tim Faulkner Gallery Winter show 2017, in Louisville, KY. She has paintings featured in Art Yellow Book #2, by CICA Museum, South Korea.

Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico
Age: 31
Education: Architecture degree University of Monterrey, Mexico; MBA in Administration, Rioja University, Madrid, Spain.
Website: http://www.art-ark.com

"Paranoia" by Andrea Alonso, 48x48in, oil on canvas (2017), $950 | BUY NOW

"Paranoia" by Andrea Alonso, 48x48in, oil on canvas (2017), $950 | BUY NOW

"The Date" by Andrea Alonso, 36x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $600 | BUY NOW

"The Date" by Andrea Alonso, 36x36in, oil on canvas (2017), $600 | BUY NOW

"Winter Storm" by Andrea Alonso, 30x24in, oil on canvas (2016), $260 | BUY NOW

"Winter Storm" by Andrea Alonso, 30x24in, oil on canvas (2016), $260 | BUY NOW

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

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

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

Painting, Drawing

Feature: 2017 Academy of LVA Seniors, Part 2 of 2


“I learned so much that helped me to become a better artist.” — Mayteana Williams


Student, Mayteana Williams working on a drawing.

Student, Mayteana Williams working on a drawing.

The art of youth is often the transition between the joyful, unfettered creativity of a child, and the first deliberate intention of an adult artist. The senior students departing the Academy of LVA for college in the fall have discovered that they have something to say to the world, and they are choosing to say it through art.

Moving from the idealized and fantastical images of children from Mayteana Williams, to the more polished and well-observed self-portraits and startlingly brutal scene pulled from archetypal childhood we find in the work of Madison McGill, we get some understanding of how young artist may surprise us with caustic social commentary or reach beyond the obvious assumptions of perceived cultural identity. Then Katie Montgomery shows a full embrace of Expressionism and an authoritative command of her medium in capturing raw human emotion. A child’s first art making is fundamental expression of their emotional being – the elemental satisfaction of finger paints, and Montgomery reconnects to that need.

Mayteana Williams – CFAC/Academy student for 8 years
Has been accepted to Spalding University for their college of art and design.

“I am grateful to William Duffy in sculpture, because I had never done that before, and Dennis Whitehouse, because I learned so much that helped me to become a better artist.”

Work by Mayteana Williams

Work by Mayteana Williams

Madison McGill – Scholastic Silver Key
Will be attending the University of Kentucky to major in Studio Arts.

“I learned a lot from Wilma Bethel and we had some great conversations. She has such a loving heart for every one of her students and is an outstanding artist! It was my pleasure to learn from such an amazing woman. Jean Smith was also an amazing teacher. When I started the mural, she graciously took me under her wing and assisted me in any questions I had for her. This was my first mural and without her encouragement and guidance, I don't know if I could've completed it. Both of these wonderful ladies have impacted my life greatly and have taught me so, so much. I would definitely recommend LVA to someone with an interest in art!”

Work by Madison McGill

Work by Madison McGill

Katie Montgomery
Has been accepted into and will attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a scholarship.

“Classes with LVA/CFAC have made me the incredible artist and person that I am today. I've learned everything that I know from being taught and influenced by their teachers, especially Dennis Whitehouse.”

Work by Katie Montgomery

Work by Katie Montgomery

These students, and others, have created small-scale work especially for The Academy of LVA exhibition, which will be at Revelry Boutique Gallery May 19 – May 25. There will be an Opening Reception May 19, 6-8pm.

Revelry Boutique Gallery
742 E. Market Street

Gallery Hours
Tuesday – Saturday, 11am-7pm
Sunday & Monday, 11am-5pm

Work by Mayteana Williams

Work by Mayteana Williams

Work by Katie Montgomery

Work by Katie Montgomery

Work by Madison McGill

Work by Madison McGill

Work by Mayteana Williams

Work by Mayteana Williams

Work by Katie Montgomery

Work by Katie Montgomery

Work by Madison McGill  

Work by Madison McGill
 


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.


 Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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

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

Drawing, Painting

Q&A: Dorothy Kavka


“I believe in a primordial sisterhood of women that links them beyond social and territorial boundaries." — Dorothy Kavka


Face.jpg

Dorothy Kavka sees herself as an artist who is a chronicler of women: “…both in the roles they are made to assume within their societies and their historical reality. I believe in a primordial sisterhood of women that links them beyond social and territorial boundaries. The ‘other,’ or cultural diversity becomes the guise they assume that is demanded by their fathers, husbands, religious leaders, and lawmakers. My work explores the tension created by the existence of these forces on every woman.”

Kavka was accepted into a prestigious Women's Gallery Show in Chicago and in exhibits at the Kaviar Gallery and the Gallery Janjobe in Louisville. Recently, she won first place at the Jewish Community Center's 12th Annual Mazin Art Exhibition, juried by Joey Yates from the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

"Mood" by Dorothy Kavka

"Mood" by Dorothy Kavka

When did you first think you would be an artist?

I always knew I would be an artist. Even as a young child, I was always drawing, I took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago (giving up ballet because my parents could not afford both classes), and saved a few of the drawings from those classes; it still amazes me that I could do such detailed work at that age.

Who or what inspires you now?

Knowing that people like what I do inspires me. I just won first place at the Mazin Juried Art Exhibit, and that was a real thrill.

You describe yourself as a “chronicler of women” as regards how they are viewed by society. How do you feel your representation of the human figure captures that?

I find that although I have a number of studies of men, my focus has always been on women. That may be because in the workshops I took, we usually had women models. Then again, I guess I just find women more interesting.

Among the images here are nude studies of women. How does your work avoid some of the objectification of the female form that is still so common? 

I don't know. I just draw and paint what I feel at the time I do the work.

"Nude X" by Dorothy Kavka

"Nude X" by Dorothy Kavka

What are you reading right now?

I am reading a book about George Washington and about to read “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell, who also wrote “Cloud Atlas”. I was an English teacher, and I do enjoy a good book.

Tell us about an important moment of transition for you as an artist?

I think that it happened as an adult, when I was able to start taking workshops with well-known Chicago artists, such as Ed Paschke and Lillian Desow Fishbein. They never tried to "fix" my work by drawing or painting over them, but would offer suggestions that allowed me to discover for myself what I need to do.

"Garden Party" by Dorothy Kavka

"Garden Party" by Dorothy Kavka

If you could do anything else but make art, what would it be?

I need to do art; it is a calling that I cannot ignore.

Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think
influenced this?

Yes, my art has changed over the years. Remember that I started art classes when I was a teenager. However, I did not begin to really take my art seriously until I started workshops with Chicago artists. At first I was doing realistic drawings and paintings - which were good, but somehow not fulfilling. Then, I began to work into them, changing the focus, and suddenly I found my stride. 

Does art have a purpose? If so what is it?

This may sound trite, but I feel that art is the one thing that makes life enjoyable. 

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Age: 76
Education: BA in English Language & Literature, University of Chicago; MA in English; University of Wisconsin; studied at Art Institute of Chicago and in private workshops with Ed Paschke and Lillian Desow Fishbein

"Nude III" by Dorothy Kavka

"Nude III" by Dorothy Kavka

"Nude II" by Dorothy Kavka

"Nude II" by Dorothy Kavka

"Ballerinas" by Dorothy Kavka

"Ballerinas" by Dorothy Kavka

Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. 

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more. For information on how you can advertise through Artebella click here.

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.
For information on how you can advertise through Artebella
click here.

Painting, Illustration, Mixed Media

Feature: Michael John Braaksma


“What I’m doing 25 or 30 years later is an echo of what I did as a four year old…”
– Michael John Braaksma


Michael John Braaksma in his studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis for LVA.

Michael John Braaksma in his studio. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis for LVA.

Michael John Braaksma is a sculptor, puppeteer, and a scenic and costume designer for theatre. In a curatorial statement, Braaksma described his practice; “His multidisciplinary approach to art-making blends drawing, painting, sculpture, illustration, puppetry, mask-making, theatrical design and art direction together to create spectacular visual narratives. Folk tales, oral narratives, and mythologies linking inhabitants with their land and culture are of particular importance to Michael’s work.”

Still from 'Unicorn Xing' Tyler McDAniel cinematographer. Puppets and Set by Michael John Braaksma.

Still from 'Unicorn Xing' Tyler McDAniel cinematographer. Puppets and Set by Michael John Braaksma.

He recently wrapped his first short film based around his puppetry, and is beginning to work on a children’s book. 

“I’m a visual story teller. That’s a description that fits the all encompassing approach to my work,” said Braaksma. 

In his studio, there are characters hanging from the walls; some are fully formed, some are just heads or faces. Many actually are puppets, but others are stand-alone art objects, some sized to be affordable at art fairs and events like the Flea Off Market.  Regardless of the artistic purpose of each character, they all seem ready to spring to life at any moment. “All my work has a strong sense of narrative,” said Braaksma. “They are all named, with rich back stories, and complex rationales as to why my little entities are here.”

The artist was born in Wisconsin, and comes to Louisville by way of Chicago, and time spent at Hope College in Michigan for a BA in scenic and costume design. In between Braaksma’s story takes a bit of a turn. “It’s essentially Mean Girls,” joked Braaksma, citing the popular film about a young American girl who grows up in Africa. 

"Memories of places I've never been" by Michael John Braaksma, 18x24in, acrylic on canvas, $400 | BUY NOW

"Memories of places I've never been" by Michael John Braaksma, 18x24in, acrylic on canvas, $400 | BUY NOW

“When I was two, my parents decided they loved Jesus a lot, and became missionaries. They move the family to the Kenya-Somalia border, with no electricity or running water.” Braaksma lived in Kenya from age two to age nine and he says the time affected him greatly. “I’m doing some clay sculpture right now and it ties me back, there was a seasonal river where all the local children would sculpt animals, so what I’m doing 25 or 30 years later is an echo of what I did as a four year old kid in remote Africa.”

Braaksma believes in free sculpting each piece rather than casting his work. “I do everything free sculpting. Especially for the work I do, and the voice of the characters I’m drawing out, the idea of each form having its own shape and angle,” said Braaksma as he worked on a series of small unicorns he was preparing.  “Even though the work I’m doing now is related, it’s unique in a way, and I think there is a movement to those precious things.”

"Celestial Nymph" by Michael John Braaksma, 12x10x6in, paper mache, fur, found objects, $300 | BUY NOW

"Celestial Nymph" by Michael John Braaksma, 12x10x6in, paper mache, fur, found objects, $300 | BUY NOW

Braaksma says “precious things,” and one can almost hear the capital letters; his ideas about precious things key into his belief that there is a reaction to large corporation and the “Big Box” lives of many Americans. They want smaller hand made items - Precious Things. 

In addition to informing his practice of sculpture, Braaksma says his time in Kenya changed the way he imagined. “Being so young and having such totally different extreme experiences of reality, it sort of shapes the imagination and what you see as possible. Reality and your existence seems more fluid when you’re used to stretching your brain at an early age, being bilingual and all that.”

"Wilbur the octopus" by Michael John Braaksma, 16x20in, mixed media on canvas, NFS

"Wilbur the octopus" by Michael John Braaksma, 16x20in, mixed media on canvas, NFS

For his recently wrapped short film, Braaksma, worked with local filmmaker Tyler McDaniel. Braaksma says the film reflects his own inner life. “It’s funny, but there’s some cynicism, as makers, people interested in our own narratives and our own sense of value, do we lose the context of seeing our selves as directional, are we missing the boat on where we’re going? I feel that way.” He added, “Sometimes my world become small and isolated.”

Braaksma believes that strong images, such as the handmade creatures and characters of his work, are necessary to reach modern audiences. “Strong visuals are so critical for pounding through this facade, the sarcasm or cynicism, or dismissive nature of story telling that has erupted because of our over exposure to constant media.” 

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Age: 32
Education: BA in Theatre, emphasis in costume & design, Hope College, MI
Website: https://lamaland.carbonmade.com/

"Terrence the Turtle" by Michael John Braaksma, 5x7in, acrylic on paper, $100 | BUY NOW

"Terrence the Turtle" by Michael John Braaksma, 5x7in, acrylic on paper, $100 | BUY NOW


Eli-Keel.jpg

This Feature was written by Eli Keel.
Eli Keel is a Louisville based freelance journalist focused on arts and culture. Nationally he’s written Salon.com, The MarySue.com, Howlround.com, and Pointe Magazine out of New York. Locally he’s written for Louisville Public Radio’s news division, both the radio and the web (wfpl.com), Insiderlouisville.com, LEO Weekly and Leoweekly.com. He’s also contributed to Louisville Magazine, The Voice Tribune, Modern Louisville, Churchill Downs Magazine, arts-louisville.com, and thecoffeecompass.comHe also writes plays.


Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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

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