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June 05, 2015, 8:45am

The Labyrinth of Abstraction: Victoria Haven’s They all stopped walking

The hedge maze is one of the most memorable images of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. In the Northwest, most of us know this labyrinth isn’t real (it was part of a constructed set) because we are familiar with Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, whose building served as the hotel’s exterior in the film and has no maze. Seattle artist Victoria Haven’s (NAP #6, #49) show at Greg Kucera Gallery, They all stopped walking, references a scene that takes place inside The Shining’s maze. At first, it was hard to see a connection between this new work and the artist’s earlier paintings and sculptures of abstracted, geometric forms that I knew so well.  The older forms even make a few appearances, as does an entire wall of words extracted from text messages that had been turned into woodblock prints and separated into pairs that only make sense together sometimes.  I found myself intrigued but unsure of how everything came together. I was on the brink of lost.

But, when Haven spoke of her desire to question abstraction in the new pieces, the pathway became clearer. The disjointedness that had felt so rigid and real—between words, between mediums, between what I had seen before and what I was seeing now—dissolved, as if it had been in my imagination all along.  In its place, I found a show that continues an artist’s longstanding pursuit by starting from a new, unexpected place.—Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Victoria Haven | Black Frames, 2014, acrylic on panel, 20 x 16 inches. Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.

Listed under: Interview

June 01, 2015, 8:28am

Toxic Skies and Heavenly Light: Alexandra Wiesenfeld at Klowden Mann

Alexandra Wiesenfeld (NAP #61) paints massive landscapes suggestive of the California painting tradition of the past, but she reinvigorates these on a grand scale and reimagines them with bold colors, frantic lines, and bursts of energy.

Her recent show “When I When If When Lie When Life (Xavier Villaurrutia)” at Klowden Mann offered viewers a delightful experience of envelopment. Her grandiose oil paintings run six feet tall or wide and powerfully connect the walls of the gallery, enclosing viewers in with a warm, painted, and natural embrace.


Alexandra Wiesenfeld | Installation view of Desire, Slippage, Nocturne, and Blue Slip at Klowden Mann. Photo courtesy of Klowden Mann.

Working at times from more well-known images like those of Ansel Adams, Wiesenfeld also works from unique composite images she has disassembled and pieced back together. She creates a fantastical photo collage from which to paint and then enlarges them to a monumental scale on canvas. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Review

June 01, 2015, 11:57am

In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Heidi Draley McFall

Heidi Draley McFall (NAP #30, #113) creates monumental pastel portraits that are haunting and endearing, personal and startling. Through heightened contrast in black and white, she invites us to explore the souls and personalities of those she depicts. There is an openness and volatility to her subjects that instills a closeness and sense of shared humanness between the artist, her viewers, and her subjects.

McFall first takes photographs, then prints them, and then draws with pastel on paper to create these large six feet portraits. She recently updated her process, embarking on a darkroom photography class so that she could add an extra layer to her process by printing the photographs herself rather than going through a lab.


Heidi Draley McFall | Taylor Drawn From a Darkroom Print, 72" x 48", pastel on paper. All photos courtesy of the artist.

In this installment of Process of a Painting, please explore McFall’s fascinating multi-step process and read her own words about her work below. - Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: In The Studio

May 18, 2015, 8:49am

New American Paintings at the Elmhurst Museum

A big thank you to Staci Boris from the Elmhurst Museum for doing such an incredible job with New American Paintings first ever museum show....all 40 artists from last year's Midwest Issue are included. View some images below and for more information, please visit: https://www.elmhurstartmuseum.org 

Listed under: Museum Admission, NAP News

May 07, 2015, 8:47am

We’ve got one question: Michaël Borremans

Michaël Borremans US premiere of his survey show As sweet as it gets brings together 50 paintings, 40 drawings and 5 films from the last fifteen years. The show opened at the Dallas Museum of Art and was organized by Jeffrey Grove, the Museum’s Senior Curator of Special Projects & Research, who worked closely with Borremans to showcase this impressive body of work. The films in the show function to establish their importance to Borremans process of culling frames from moving images but the films also maintain an independence all of their own. The most effective film piece, The German, showcases an enclosed diorama which houses miniature figures standing in front of a stories tall (in terms of scale to the miniatures) screen that features a man’s face speaking.

The work expertly showcases Borremans imagination and most importantly his acute sense of scale that is also present in his drawings which exploit scale to depict grandiose ideas and scenes in a restrictive size. 


Michaël Borremans | A Mae West Experience, 2002, Pencil, watercolor on paper, 6 13/32 x 8 in. (16.3 x 20.3 cm), Private Collection, Belgium, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery Antwerp © Photographer Felix Tirry ©Michaël Borremans

Listed under: Interview, Review

April 28, 2015, 8:41am

Caitlin G. McCollom: The Artist is Present

Caitlin G. McCollom lays it all out in Blood and White, her solo exhibition at Pump Project on Austin's east-side. These modest- and large-scale mixed-media paintings on synthetic paper — described by the artist as “indirect abstractions...represent[ing] the quiet panic of the disordered mind and the beautiful decay of the diseased body” — are the result of both six months of sheer studio work and a more complicated cocktail of interstate relocation and return, illness, temporary art-making hiatus, and a subsequent wellspring of creative energy. — Brian Fee, ever-traveling contributor


Caitlin G. McCollom |
Ovum, 2014-15, Acrylic and varnish on synthetic paper, 11 x 14 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Pump Project, Austin.

Listed under: Review

April 24, 2015, 8:37am

Industrial Design Pop with David E. Peterson

David E. Peterson (NAP #112) takes industrial design as his inspiration and turns it into art for your wall. Moved by the bold colors, layout, and rhythms of storeroom floors and wall displays, Peterson set out to mimic and recreate those aesthetic triggers in his wall sculptures.


David Peterson | Office Depot Copy Center Copy Paper | Ultra flat laytex, enamel, mdf, select pine, (32) 8.5" x 11" overall installation 4ft x 7ft, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Bright and bold, his works offer an immediately recognizable visual suggestion and allusion to references we consume daily while driving past storefronts, window shopping on a stroll, and going through the motions of daily urban living. Shying away from commenting on materialism directly, Peterson reflects both our consumer-driven culture and our need to consume art and design, even while shopping. – Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Interview

April 21, 2015, 8:59am

JD Banke’s Live Wire: Peasant Dreams at Glass Box Gallery

When I went to see JD Banke’s Peasant Dreams, the paintings were in the middle of a photo shoot. Lighting apparatuses and tripod stands loitered around Glass Box Gallery’s small, jigsawed-together spaces, the artwork’s real-life interrupting its day job of just hanging out. The photographers politely tried to move aside in a space with little room to move, but they didn’t need to; I liked it this way. The comingling of the utilitarian things with the art-things created the best possible space for hearing the most vocal part of Banke’s work—a persistent, self-assured pronouncement of being alive. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


JD Banke | Peasant Dreams, 2015, Glass Box Gallery. Photo credit: Tyler Coray.

Listed under: Review

April 20, 2015, 9:32am

Skylar Fein and the Dark Art of Pop

Skylar Fein (NAP #112) combines text and paint to create powerful imagery on paper, aluminum, and wood. With a burst of dry verbal wit and starkly contrasted style, his works bite you subtlety and leave you thinking.

With the rise and renaissance of hand-lettering, ­­­Fein’s work recalls that of both pop art masters and signage gurus in works like his series of oversized matchbooks (featured in both the 2014 show Giant Metal Matchboxes and 2015 Strike Anywhere) and other works like his presidential silhouettes such as “Red FDR/Fried Chicken,” named for the color of the text signage and that which it is advertising. Here, Fein discusses text-based art, the darker side of pop, and the failure behind great 20th century revolutions. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Skylar Fein |
 Black Flag for Voltaire (All Murderers are Punished). Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans and the artist.

Listed under: Interview

April 17, 2015, 8:39am

Angel Otero: The Scarlet Self

There are entire worlds—entire existences—suspended within there, floating up to gazes which have been detached long enough—or ran down, heaving and glassy eyed, caned and fatigued—to pick up on such things, looming forms ascending like the prophetic pyramid out of the cuttlefish-ink abyssal  underbelly of an 8-ball, rising and falling and materializing out of the blood brume; there are entire continents, cream continents adrift in an angry sea of cadmium, a granular expanse—as if someone chunked up a block of anatomist's arterial wax, dumped it into a pneumatic cannon, and proceeded to broadside raw canvas—ripe for pareidolia. Their borders are fringed, cloudy, a particulate demarcation of crimson gnats, and that fuzz is really what the fuss is all about, an adroit—if blatant, once one sees it—analogue to the fungible nature of perception, memory, and self; there are images contained within the blood brumes, although it is only by the grace of Angel Otero's exposition that we are privy to this, as they have been translated, riven, reconstituted, and then pressed—like a witch!—into their current, beautifully abused form; these were photographs once, the ultimate form of mimesis, until a triturator has placed his hands upon them, riven them, splayed them…and look at the bloody, powdery mess made of ipseity now!  – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Angel Otero | I am the place I come back to, 2015, silicone and cadmium pigment on canvas, 96 x 120 x 2 inches. Photo courtesy of Kavi Gupta.

Listed under: Review

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