Moody, Minimalist Landscape Painting

Posts tagged “Mark Kanter

Drawing: At the Heart

With every mark we make with brush or a palette knife, each shape that we cut out with a mat knife or clay that we shape with fingers or tools…every object that we create with our hands that did not before exist in the physical plane, we are drawing. When our eyes follow the shapes of things around us, even when our bodies bend to a pose in yoga…we are drawing.

I asked some friends to comment on the importance of drawing, all stellar artists, most who also teach. I left the question wide open—importance how? as painters? as visual human beings?—and so received wise answers to these slightly different questions.

“Drawing, as Michelangelo said, is the foundation of all the arts.  It is the means by which an artist can make what  he or she does convincing.  Drawing, in my opinion, is not to be understood as the rendering of forms (which alone leads to eidetic illusionism), but as the construction of pictorial space within which form can palpably exist.  Drawing is not a visual equation (these marks equal this object) that is left to illustrators who always and only render.  Drawing is an abstraction which evokes and reifies the phenomenon of human visual experience of the world.  It puts both artist and viewer at the center of experience.”

Mark Thomas Kanter, from “The Theory and Practice of Drawing” copyright Mark Thomas Kanter, 2012
Mark Thomas Kanter, "Polytropos" Oil on Canvas, 72" X 96" 2011

Mark Thomas Kanter, “Polytropos” Oil on Canvas, 72″ X 96″ 2011

“If we are talking about the importance of drawing relative to painting, I think it is as important as the artist needs it to be. Having said that, I see little difference between drawing and observation. Observation leads to understanding, whether the subject is material or intangible doesn’t matter. Once one has observed and understood, then one may communicate.  The visual artists chosen mode of expression, be it representation, abstraction, non-objective, or otherwise, is irrelevant. How effective the communication is, is of paramount importance. Overall I would say that the more acute the powers of observation then the more powerful the expression. In the end, to quote Charles-Édouard Jeanneret  (Le Corbusier), “I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.”

Eric Angeloch

Eric Angeloch, "The Home Fires", 24"X48".

Eric Angeloch, “The Home Fires”, 24″X48″.

“There seems to be an ease with drawing that i don’t find in any other medium, yet I find a finished drawing to be just has important as any painting .”

Marie Vickerilla

Marie Vickerilla, graphite and wax on clay board, 7"x5".

Marie Vickerilla, graphite and wax on clay board, 7″x5″.

Drawing is where we start our creative lives and it continues to be where we take our exploratory steps into a new painting or sculpture or into almost any other medium. The immediacy of scratching lines on a piece of paper is perfect for experimenting with concepts or compositions for other works or for creating a pure, stark, honest work of art in and of itself.

I’ve always been so taken with the act of putting lines on paper, that I seem to gravitate toward drawing-based mediums like etching and drypoint. Again, it’s the immediacy.

Learning to draw well is essential for an artist. He or she can bring it to incredible levels of realism or break it down to pure abstraction…but it must first be mastered.

Steve Dininno

Steve Dininno, Night Traffic

Steve Dininno, Night Traffic, charcoal on mylar, 23″x16″.

Drawing by definition is process intensive.  The experience of drawing is also universal because everybody has at least made marks with a pencil; handwriting, a doodle or two.  This is not true of painting, sculpture or filmography.  There is no hiding with drawing, and also no drama.  It is a simple task to just pick up a pencil and make a mark.  Getting in the stream right where you are and navigating from there a pictorial impression.  It will be a drawing no matter what.

Margarete de Soleil

Enso Nest, Ink on paper, 33"x18".

Margarete de Soleil, Enso Nest, ink on paper, 33″x18″.

“Drawing is the primary vehicle of visual intention and commitment. When a person gains drawing proficiency, they stand and take their first steps as an artist. Prior to that, their mark-making is like a baby that scoots around the floor on their butt- they eventually get where they want to go, but inelegantly, slowly and sloppily. Making a strong, intentional mark takes a great amount of courage- it might fail. And that fear of failure- easily remedied by making another mark, and another, and another, until confidence- gained through experience and persistence- produces the shape we see in our minds,  stops too many people. And that is a shame. What is at stake here? A few pennies worth of materials, at best; some time; some self-criticism. The myth that artists tap into some deep well of innate talent and produce beautiful drawings ab ovo is just that- a myth. Most of us, our chubby child’s hands firmly grasping a crayon, made our first marks long, long ago. The main difference- we didn’t give up, we never stopped making bold marks, we learned to coordinate eye and hand, we learned to draw.

Polly Law

Polly Law, MEchanisms of Desire,

Polly Law, “Rude Mechanicals: The Mechanisms of Desire”, Bricolage, 2013, 24.25″x18.875.

From David Smith’s questions for students found among his papers after his death in 1965:

“21. Why do you hesitate–why can you not draw objects as freely as you can write their names and speak words about them?

22. What has caused this mental block? If you can name, dream, recall vision and auras why can’t you draw them? In the conscious set of drawing, who is acting in our unconscious as censor?

In particular, to the painter—
Is there as much art in a drawing as in a watercolor–or as in an oil painting?
Do you think drawing is a complete and valid approach to art vision, or a preliminary only toward a more noble product?”

I read these questions and loved them back when I was a student decades ago, and recommend them for any artist (link below).

http://www.davidsmithestate.org/statements.html

I remembered #21 incorrectly in the intervening years, and so I will end with what I thought was his question, but turns out to be one of my own.

“Why, when we learn in school how to write the word chair, do we also not learn how to draw it?”


15: Artists from Ulster County—A group show at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck

I am co-curating a show at my gallery in Rhinebeck, using this blog post as an ongoing site for information about the show. I am a participating artist  in “15” as well.

Keep checking back for additional news, press, and photos. We have selected outstanding work from these stellar artists, and expect this exhibition to be a bright light in our late winter.

How do the light-infused geometric abstractions of Heather Hutchison exhibit in the same show with Lenny Kislin’s antique assemblages?  How does Bernard Gerson’s mysterious photograph of two faces connect to Yale Epstein’s luminously rendered mixed media paintings?  15: Artists of Ulster County looks at just this exploration.

15 will be at Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck from February 18 to April 22, 2012. It brings back and expands on the show that exhibited at Brooklyn Artists Gym Gallery last May, 2011.  This time around, curators Christie Scheele and Peter Wallace have added artists and pieces.  As they selected the paintings, photographs, drawings, prints and sculptures, they discovered something exciting:

“When we first invited artists to participate in our show last year, we were going for eclectic, and did not anticipate the complex connections that emerged between the artists. What we found was that we had uncovered a kind of Ven diagram of artistic endeavor in the Hudson Valley. Each artist was having a hidden conversation with at least three others in the group. It was like a creative game of  ‘telephone,’ where the end does resemble the beginning in delightful ways.”

From Polly M. Law’s edgy, doll-like figures to Chris Hawkins iconic children’s worlds, from Kim Alderman’s smoke-fired ceramic totems to Meredith Rosier’s densely atmospheric drawings, there is a journey to this show with a point of entry for any viewer.  The fifteen artists in this exhibition represent, with the highest level of achievement and creative edge, the same wide range of artistic expression that is available in the entire region.

Meredith Rosier

When I commence upon the exploration of marks and their subsequent densities, I am investigating containment and dispersal. Density arrives from the layering of pigments pushed through metal screening, coarse or delicate fabrics and handmade stencils as I employ unexpected hand tools in order to interlock my materials. I utilize sawdust, dirt, rust, smoke, fireplace ash, pastel, gouache, ink, graphite, pencil and conte crayon. I intend to seam tiers of pigment to one another until the density contradicts the notion that paper lies beneath. Deliberately working within a restrained palette, I aim for an intimation of phosphorescence from my pigments and a dialogue between the indeterminate and the exactitude of my forms.”


Polly M. Law

 “I make paper dolls with deep personal issues. I use humble materials but elevate them with my attention to color, form, costume, expression and gesture. I sometimes incorporate materials scavenged from the natural world. Sometimes I incorporate my deep love of language in the form of type and visual/verbal puns.”

Leslie Bender

“I’m always known for psychological high motion figures reacting in an environment such as beach or restaurant, but I have also drawn and painted from life for 4 decades. Continually practicing the formal elements strengthens the artist’s work exponentially.
Paint and its manipulative faculties is as fascinating as studying from life::: here is volume and paint, all smooshed into one!” 

“Still Life Pedestal #2″, Oil on canvas, 20″X30”.

Kim Alderman

“My 40 plus years of forming clay into functional and sculptural objects has given me an experience of relational consciousness: I form clay and clay forms me, I move clay and clay moves me. The skin of the earth and my skin are both breathing organs of perception and as such, we share dna and an emotional body, we share voice and imagination. This relationship is critical to my work as an artist and teacher, and the inspiration for my book MOON TIME: Receiving Images of Feminine Consciousness through Clay, Drawing, and Word.”

Heather Hutchison

“For the past 23 years I’ve been following one particular line of inquiry; the use of natural light, captured and inflected, as my primary material. In that time, these works have gone gradually from being somewhat translucent and heavily constructed, to being nearly completely transparent, and appearing to float upon the wall.
In my pieces that are as much light sculpture as painting, the viewer is presented with the opportunity to directly experience the scientific truism that the only constant is change. Striving to maximize my medium’s literal transparency in order to attain the greatest self- illumination, natural light is as essential to me as any other material I employ; it literally animates my work with its ever-changing nature.”

Christie Scheele

“A variety of landscape imagery, color, and format expresses a range of my interests, allowing me to combine my contemporary art training with my love of the natural world in differing degrees from piece to piece, emphasizing in one a sense of place, and in another alternative concepts that refer to the process of making art. Common to them all is my use of minimalist compositions, with strong interlocking shapes, and the silky surfaces I achieve by layering delicate coats of paint, relating my work to other contemporary artists who use photographs for inspiration.

Kate McGloughlin

“In the winter months, I keep myself engaged with the landscape by making large format monotype collages.  
Bouncing off of sweeping passages of etching ink with pastel and recycled prints has become a pretty standard
methodology in my studio, and I appreciate the time and space this work gives me to design a meaningful composition without
the time pressure of the setting sun.”

Bernard Gerson

“Rather than copying subjects literally, I create my images with a more abstract quality and attempt to transform them into a vehicle of emotion and sensuality.  In the landscapes and cityscapes, I use light, texture and movement, as a painter would, to achieve a softer impressionistic effect. In the portrait series, the theme I try to convey is not related to the individual person, but rather to something more universal in humanity.”

Tom Luciano

Judy Sigunick

“I began making my most recent ceramic figures after 2003 when I heard the story of a young college student and peace activist Rachel Corrie who traveled to Gaza . While acting as a human shield to protect a local Palestinian’s home from demolition by the Israeli Defense Forces, she was crushed by a bulldozer, while the house remained intact. This event was seminal for me and from that moment on I vowed to be as candid and thoughtful in my work, as Rachel Corrie was brave and trusting in her actions.”

Anique Taylor

   THE TRAVELER SERIES is about the personal journeys of women;
how we are in different ways, inadvertent, reluctant pilgrims. Chemical
sensitivities have necessitated inventing personal processes that excluded
accepted methods of working. I developed a process of alternating casein
paints, colored pencils and matt medium in successive layers – drawing back
into lino prints, watercolors, and computer fragments with archival pens and pencils.
Heads are sculpted with 20-30 layers of newspaper interspersed with assorted
resins & glues after which facial expressions are delicately built up in several layers
with archival pencils.This gives them a beingness, like silent partners to our growth
who understand our intricacies. In this way they are psychological portraits of who
we are and what we are trying to become.

       “THE TRAVELER SERIES is about the personal journeys of women; how we are in different ways, inadvertent, reluctant pilgrims.

“Tamar Lost”, from the Good Girl series, mixed media, 32″X16″.

Mark Kanter

“My work begins with printing ink or paint applied and manipulated on Plexiglas until a
structure and/or image suggests itself. It is then mono-printed by hand onto paper, canvas
or panel, reversing the image and causing various accidents to occur. The underlying
structure I build in the first phase of each piece opens to new suggestions, which I then
pursue in paint; adding, subtracting and inflecting what survives until a cohesive whole is
forged.”

Chris Hawkins

“In my new paintings the dialogue is visceral manipulation of personal icons; the composites ape dream in the gardens of law and religion.  Although the characters may be uncertain, they are incisive as villains against tampered knowledge.  As the soils are tilled, in innocence they look for mercy in values and essentials.”

Yale Epstein

“These works came about by allowing  gestural, calligraphic marks (as ” made up” language), to become integrated with elements of the art processes, and to take on the forms that seem appropriate. The completed images are a result of my attempt to leave a lot of openness to the emerging graphic directions, and the emotional implications of the works, as they were evolving. In this similar vein, the paintings are not to be ‘understood’ by the rational mind, but to be experienced as visual/emotional entities on their own terms. Yet inevitably, the viewer will add to the mix, their own personal reactive processes and perspective.”

Lenny Kislin

“I have been selling unusual antiques since 1973. In the course of hunting for interesting objects to sell, I came across many pieces which were not so salable, but because of their forms, uniqueness, or rarity I was intrigued to the extent that I bought them anyway. I have saved these objects through the years with the intent of eventually finding a way to enable others to see what I saw in them.
In 1991, I began to physically join these forms into conceptual and narrative art objects that I felt utilized them to their best advantages. What you see here in these pieces is the fruit of my passion for these here-to-fore under-appreciated objects.”

“Mindless Vanity”, mixed media assemblage, 22.5″x27.5″x10″.

Rosalind Robertson’s striking work was in our show at BAG, but when it came time to organize the new show, we were not able to contact her.  So, we went ahead with the new artists and ended up with the number 15…announcements went out…studio visits arranged…blog assembled.

Happily, she  called me several weeks back having returned to her Woodstock home, ready to pick up her career. Since we have come too far with our “15” to insert her retroactively into the PR, we are delighted to include her as a sort of grandfathered addition to the show. We will have work of hers at ASFA, two of which you can view below.

“103”, ink on paper with sea water, 30″X20″.

“Regarding these paintings, it is my policy to add nothing to what comes out of the water, except my signature, as a partner. And then to sit back and contemplate the meaning of the imagery.

The ingredients?  

1. First find an ocean

2. Research appropriate materials 

 3. Test materials

  1. Keep inks warm, avoid coagulation
  2. 300lb paper to withstand rough handling
  3. Drive 5 hours to nearest Ocean
  4. Find safe beach access
  5. Pour pigments onto paper and quickly
  6. Put on boots and walk into the water

“104”, ink on paper and sea water, 30″X20″.

Some Studio Shots from our Visits

Peter and Meredith in her studio.

Kate and Peter in her studio.

Leslie and Peter in her studio.

Heather and Christie in Heather’s studio.

Peter in Heather’s studio.

 

 

Show of 15 Ulster County artists in Rhinebeck

Posted by Paul Smart on February 17, 2012 in ArtEvents

Tom Luciano, who lives outside Phoenicia and runs a top-shelf antiques shop in Hudson, came out of SUNY-Purchase’s Art program like a bolt a while back. I remember when he remade my garage into a studio for his work. Gradually, his paying work, marriage, parenthood and other matters crowded his attention – until he found a means of capturing the world around him digitally, on a daily basis, that combined meditation with creativity. Daily postings on Facebook reestablished a market for his work, which in turn prompted deeper explorations. Now, Luciano will be amongst a group of 15 Ulster County artists being brought together by regional gallery pioneer Albert Shahinian at his new pair of spaces in the middle of Rhinebeck.

Actually, “revived” is more the theme of this expansive exhibition, which first surfaced last May at the Brooklyn Artists’ Gym (BAG), when BAG founder and director Peter Wallace joined forces with Chichester-based painter Christie Scheele to create a New York City showcase for a cross-section of Ulster County’s mid- and late-career artists working in such diverse media as painting, printwork, photography, ceramics, assemblage and mixed media. Now, as Scheele brings her baby to her longstanding gallerist’s new haunts, with Kim Alderman, Leslie Bender, Yale Epstein, Bernard Gerson, Chris Hawkins, Heather Hutchison, Mark Kanter, Lenny Kislin, Polly M. Law, Tom Luciano, Kate McGloughlin, Meredith Rosier, Judy Sigunick and Anique Taylor in tow, along with Scheele’s singular work, it turns out that about half have shown with Shahinian before – either in Rhinebeck or at his earlier galleries in Poughkeepsie and Hudson.

“When we first invited artists to participate in our show last year, we were going for eclectic, and did not anticipate the complex connections that emerged between the artists. We found that we had uncovered a kind of Venn diagram of artistic endeavors in the Hudson Valley,” the curators have remarked on their creation and its new genesis. “15 looks to explore the layered relationships between the exhibit’s selections. How do the light-infused geometric abstractions of Heather Hutchison inhabit the same space with Lenny Kislin’s antique assemblages? How does Bernard Gerson’s mysterious photograph of two faces connect to Yale Epstein’s luminously rendered mixed-media paintings? From Polly M. Law’s edgy, doll-like figures to Chris Hawkins’ iconic children’s worlds, from Kim Alderman’s smoke-fired ceramic totems to Meredith Rosier’s densely atmospheric drawings, there is a journey to this show with a point of entry for any viewer.”

Me, I’m looking forward to seeing Kanter’s epic drawings in such a setting, as well as McGloughlin’s earthy prints and paintings and Sigunick’s witty, warm ceramics – and Luciano’s vividly thoughtful observations (and ruminations). Talk about that adage about getting away to appreciate what one has!

With an opening reception this Saturday evening, February 18 all over the center of Rhinebeck, we’re relishing the chance to catch up with so many favorite Ulster artists at once – and coming back while it all stays up past the Passover and Easter holidays, until April 22. The reception’s set to run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Albert Shahinian Fine Art’s Upstairs Galleries at 22 East Market Street, as well as the ASFA@ Prudential/Serls Prime Properties space at 6384 Mill Street (Route 9). Hours are Thursdays through Sundays. For further information, call (845) 876-7578 or visit http://www.shahinianfineart.com.