medium /// mixed media




lorna simpson

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Oh. Lorna Simpson. Her hair collages make my collage-loving heart skip a beat … brilliant, beautiful, and this time a little bit rocky. These pieces are part of a series of 12, exclusive to Vogue.com. Here is Vogue’s description of this fantastic work:

Now, her subjects are more liberated than ever… in a new exclusive series for Vogue.com, Simpson has lifted the faces of 12 women from “very mundane” ’60s and ’70s advertisements in Ebony magazine—the culture and politics monthly she grew up with that “informed my sense of thinking about being black in America”—and paired them with illustrations of geological and astrological forms from a 1931 textbook. Stripped of any fundamental context, the women provide no origin story and no identifying characteristics. The geometric shapes replacing their hair weren’t chosen for their resemblance to, say, Nefertiti’s crown or Erykah Badu’s emerald head wrap—references that may spring to mind as you look at them—but rather for the same reason you might cut, color, or change the texture of your hair: simply because, says Simpson, “I thought they were beautiful.”

Sigh… I do too.





“nothing is a mistake”

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Time-consuming, candy-hued, magical. That’s what comes to mind when I think of the work of this artist. Today I’m talking to LA based German artist Nike (pronounced Nee-ka) Schroeder… I have to add that because for years I thought her name was Nike… like, you know, Nike. It’s not. It’s Nike (Nee-ka). Ok, now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about her absolutely stunning work. Miles and miles of thread, porcelain, sometimes a bit of paint, and more thread. You can listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

First things first… one of my faves… this installation, titled 34°North 118°West :

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Ah-mazing… and the photos don’t even close to do her work justice. I’ve seen them in person and they’re so so so beautiful. The way they move in the slightest of breezes… magical. Next, these pieces are from an older series, titled Fundamental Reports. This is what she was making when I first wrote about her work in 2012:

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You can tell she reallllly wanted to start playing with that dangly thread! Speaking of which, this is the custom piece she made for interior designer/stylist Emily Henderson… here’s the installation of this colorful, ten foot beauty:

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Ah! And there it is featured in Domino Magazine… not too shabby! I want to take full credit for this piece, because I introduced Emily to Nike’s work. Yep, this love affair started at The Fig House – a gorgeous event space in LA that Emily designed. She asked me to curate the art, and Nike was one of the ten artists I chose. Match. Maker. Just sayin’.

Next up, Nike’s latest show where she went back to some of her figurative work… this time with paint… porcelain, and of course, THREAD. This was shown with her primary gallery in LA, Walter Maciel Gallery:

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So. Good. And now, brace yourself… Nike’s amazing, light-filled, downtown LA studio:

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So. Much. Thread! And those windows {and of course, those great shoes}. Oh. Such beautiful work, and another episode that I loved. It never fails… in every single episode there is a moment when I get chills, and when Nike said “nothing is a mistake”  – that those layers and layers gives your work depth and wisdom because they have learned – yep I had a little shudder of excitement. Sigh. And with that, I will thanks to Nike for doing this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and as always thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next week.

Other links: Jack Fischer Gallery





what goes around … at nahcotta

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Oh! Get it… oh… circles… anyway. These are 7 of 34 pieces in Nahcotta‘s latest exhibition, “What Goes Around”.  Yes, 34 artists – many of whom I’m slightly obsessed with – have created 12″ circular pieces of art. From Jeremy Miranda, to Jennifer Davis, to Leah Giberson {who hinted about this piece during our podcast interview a few weeks ago} – the roster is just fantastic! This was the inspiration for the show:

Choosing a particular selection of 34 artists, predominantly from the gallery’s significant stable, Nahcotta challenged them with the task of creating work on a twelve-inch circular panel. Since Greek antiquity and making resurgence throughout the Renaissance, circular works of art, called “tondi” (“tondo” when singular) have been made in architecture, sculpture, and paint. Botticelli and Michelangelo, for example, both painted and sculpted more than a few scenes utilizing this form. Deriving from the Italian word “rotondo,” meaning “round,” the shape very much informs the context and narrative of the art itself, so “What Goes Around” promises an incredible range of work launching from the same dimensional foundation.

It’s a gorgeous show, so if you can make it to the artist reception/opening – which is TOMORROW from 5-8pm – well, you should! It will be up from April 1 until May 1, 110 Congress Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Now, if you can’t make it to the show, all of these pieces are available for purchase online… but hurry because a few of them are already SOLD.

{Artists shown above: Jeremy Miranda / Timothy Wilson / Michelle Morin / Travis Hetman / Jennifer Davis / Laura Berger / Leah Giberson}





vivienne strauss

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Oh, this is a woman after my own heart… I have literally cut out those plants from the same book… so, where can I get those birds, cars, and giant bottles of booze? These are the whimsical and wonderful collages of American artist Vivienne Strauss. The only question I have now… how have I never written about her before? HOW!?

{ps. all of these pieces can be found in her online shop}





“discipline … and a bit of chance”

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Found bits and pieces of wonderfulness. Today I’m talking to New York based artist/illustrator Andrea D’Aquino. She is just as lovely as her work, and almost as carefree. She talked about being disciplined in the studio {ie., getting in there and doing the work}, but she also talked a lot about happy accidents and chance. I loved this conversation and I hope you do too. Listen on the little player right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

First up, the original piece that she created for my book, Collage. Clearly she was drawn to the mustache in the starting image I gave all 30 of the artists… or the death of it:

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So fun, as is all of her work! Fun and quirky and odd and wonderful… perfectly imperfect you might say. Here are a few of my favorites … oh, and when she said she’s been drawn to color since she was little, well, I was not surprised. Take a look:

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Oooh, I love all of those random bits and pieces. I really do want to go for a walk around New York with her and see what we find on the street to add to a collage!

You might remember this from a few months ago. I wrote about this beautiful book, a gorgeous version of Alice in Wonderland that was illustrated by Andrea, and published by Quarto. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I love that she was able to put her stamp, or style you might say, on a classic {tough task, but Andrea nailed it}:

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Sigh. The end. Well, almost… Andrea sent me a few photos of her studio! UHU stick, kinda color-coordinated piles of found stuff, and a sneak peek at the cover of her new collage book, “Once Upon A Piece of Paper”, {due out this fall}:

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Ok, now it’s the end. Thanks to Andrea for doing this, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode {and generously giving away two VIP tickets to the Affordable Art Fair in NYC next week… enter here because I’m drawing the winner at noon on Saturday March 26th}, and of course thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next week.

Other links:

  1. Quarto {Publisher of Andrea’s books}
  2. Stefan Sagmeister

 





ben skinner

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My friend/idol Ben Skinner is at it again. This is a new series he’s working on. Paint? No. Holographic transfer foil. Yeah, that’s how Ben rolls. But he doesn’t stop there, oh no, a holographic foil plant would not be complete without the illusion of a chainlink fence created with engraved Plexiglass. Sigh. 

I did a little poking around on his Instagram feed to get those “in progress” closeups, but let’s be honest, photographs just don’t do these pieces justice… here’s a little video that I also found during my snooping researching that really gives you a sense of this work (pre-engraved plexiglass fence):

A video posted by Ben Skinner (@benskinnerart) on

Magic.





spencer merolla

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If you’re thinking to yourself, “Cool… wait… is that… hair?”, you’d be exactly right. Crazy and amazing. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Spencer Merolla. I’m going to let her explain what this is about and where it came from:

“This series takes the Victorian women’s practice of sentimental hairwork as its jumping-off point. For the Victorians, mourning was a very public act. Rather than a private emotion or an embarrassment, grief was a popular motif for the arts and fashion. What strikes modern sensibilities as mawkish and overly sentimental behavior was, at the time, considered proof of a person’s sincerity and morality. Ornamental hairwork, painstakingly crafted from the hair of loved ones, was a fashion that insisted the wearer embodied these virtues. This work plays with the tension between sincerity and emotional performance, imagining a contemporary practice in which moderns might socially engage with death’s physicality. The dissonance of the craft (when transposed onto the emotional and aesthetic landscape of our times) draws attention to the ever-shifting boundaries of permitted public display.

That the hair must be severed from the body to be worked in this fashion is a compelling aspect of the practice for me. With few exceptions, the provenance of antique hairwork is now unknown. As a result, it loses its essential quality of referring to a specific person, while still being a distinctively “personal” object. In a sense, the story of hairwork is a testament not of our capacity to remember our lost loved ones, but of our ultimate inability to hold onto them.”

Yep. Crazy and amazing.





“distant friends”

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Today I’m talking to Swedish artist/illustrator Camilla Engman. Eep! She is one of those people who I’ve got way up on an artsy pedestal… and so do a lot of you apparently! I’ve had several people send messages asking if I can get her to come on the podcast. Yes, yes I can! Listen on the little player right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

Let’s start with a few of my favorite paintings by Camilla:

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Ah, so good. Mysterious, narrative, and oh so beautifully painted. We talked a little bit about her strange characters… the bears and dogs etc… turns out they represent people {people that may or may not take on those animal-like characteristics}:

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Ahh, I love them so much. So sweet and innocent… but I have a feeling they’re probably not quite as sweet and innocent as one might think. Next, these are the amazing envelope collages, from her “Distant Friends” series that she and Ana Ventura started together. I cannot get over them. So simple. So smart. So “damn I wish I thought of that” :

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LOVE! We also talked about her studio. Sigh. I want to go to there:

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She’s in her own little house which is part of a larger arts community area, in Gothenburg Sweden, called Konstepidemin, which means “the epidemic of art”. There is a little blue restaurant, galleries, AND guest studios that you can apply for as part of their artist-in-residence program. Here’s a little peek:

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Yeah. Let’s ALL go there! Thank you so, so much to Camilla for talking to me, even though she was worried about her English… which I thought was perfect/much better than my Swedish; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and THANK YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Her online shop, Studio Morran
  2. Book that Camilla did with Uppercase
  3. Apply for a guest residency at “Konstepidemin”

 





kirkland bray

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Love. These collages are the work of New Jersey based artist Kirkland Bray. He’s been painting for over twenty years, but in 2012 discovered a love for using found bits and pieces to create his work. Ah, a man after my own heart. I love his description of this…

I’m inspired by the hunt to find new materials and the challenge of editing. A piece is finished when the combination of shapes and ideas comes together like a puzzle; when the positive and negative space have equal say; when I’ve exhausted all other possibilities.

Ditto. And ps… I love these ones too:

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“painting with thread”

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Sigh. Yet another artist whose work I’ve loved for years and years. I’m talking to American artist Stephanie K. Clark. Right off the bat she answered one of my questions almost poetically… how does she describe her work? She “paints with thread”. Love. We talk about art vs. craft, our love of houses, and our shared fascination with peeking into people’s windows at night … don’t judge us. You can listen to our conversation right up there under that lovely blue house, or you can subscribe on iTunes

Let’s start with a few of her fantastic houses. The plan had been to pick two or three… but clearly that was impossible:

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Gah! I love them all so much {and ps. she does commissions… in fact, she quit her day job because so many people want their homes “painted in thread”}. It’s really hard to tell from the photos, but a lot of these are shadow boxes, so you really can look into the windows as the pattern you see is actually a couple of inches back. Did that make sense at all?

Now, onto her dreamy clouds… thread with just a bit of pastel in the background:

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Sunsets, not sunrises apparently … the speed round revealed that she is not a morning person! Up next, her tiny but gorgeous little rugs:

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Oh. I love them… all 3 inches of them! These are a few of the pieces she’ll be showing this coming May at Good Eye Gallery in LA (Eagle Rock). And of course, after all of the talking about her red hair, I had to show you what a hot mama Stephanie is:

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Look at her, doing it all! Baby in arms, fabulous hair, holding up a magazine featuring her beautiful work. Not too shabby!

And with that I will say thanks to Steph for taking a break from her incredibly busy life to chat with me, thank you to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode and as always, thank YOU for listening {and if you feel like leaving a rating on iTunes that would make me so happy}. Ok, happy Saturday… see you next week when there will be more art for your ear.

Other Links: UMOCA  //  Flight of the Conchords