lorna simpson

Gasp! Just when I thought I couldn’t love the work of American artist Lorna Simpson anymore than I already do… “Unanswerable”. This is just a tiny peek at her latest work, all of which is currently hanging at Hauser & Wirth in London. I have loved Lorna’s collages for years, but these large scale, deep blue, smokey mixed media paintings are new, AND AMAZING. Here is a little bit of the show description from the Hauser & Wirth site that starts to explain the colors, ice, smoke etc…

“… In the last few years Simpson has taken up the medium painting for the first time in two decades, creating works using hazy washes of ink and acrylic over gesso. In works, such as ‘Ice 4’ (2018), Simpson layers the appropriated imagery and Associated Press photographs of ice, glaciers and smoke with nebulous washes of saturated ink which partially obscure the source material. The smoke plumes signal upheaval and discord in nature and society in reference, perhaps, to images of riots following police brutality past and present that Simpson has more explicitly illustrated in other related works. Barely discernable strips of newsprint typography allude to wider issues in society. Here, as elsewhere, the artist is sparing with colour; her disciplined palette consists of inky blacks, greys, and a startling acid blue that has only recently appeared in her oeuvre, contributing to its atmosphere of bristling movement. Deftly navigating the territory between figuration and abstraction, these paintings cut through the calculated glamour of magazine imagery with the brute force of the natural world. As the artist explains, ‘Conceptually, this is in tandem with what I’m experiencing emotionally but also what I feel is going on politically: the idea of being relentlessly consumed.’”

The show will be up until April 28th, 2018. GO.

ole marius joergensen

“Icy Blondes” is a series by Norwegian photographer Ole Marius Joergensen… yes, photographer. Did you think these were paintings? Me too. In this series, his bizarre, narrative, painterly photographs capture what appear to be some very intense cinematic moments inspired by Hitchcock’s femme fatales:

“The well-know US film critic Roger Ebert observed that Alfred Hitchcock’s leading ladies, ‘reflected the same qualities over and over again. They were blonde. They were icy and remote. They were imprisoned in costumes that subtly combined fashion and fetishism. They mesmerized the men, who often had physical or psychological handicaps.”

Well, beware the icy blonde, I guess. Happy Monday.

foxes ‘n’ hedgehogs

Oooh, look at that tiny snippet of goodness! Layers of paper, images, and whatever else this curious artist can get her hands on. Today I’m talking to Canadian artist Aimée Henny Brown. And the reason for the title of this episode, “Foxes ‘n’ Hedgehogs” is truly a perfect description of how Aimée’s brain works … curious like a fox, but she digs deep like a hedgehog! We started this episode with a personal help session that I’d requested. Aimée knows EVERYTHING about paper and, luckily, is happy to share her knowledge. I want to go bigger with my collages, so she told me how. Listen right up there under that insanely gorgeous peek at a #WIP from her Instagram feed, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, go big or go home.

Gah! Look at that amazing, gigantic collage! That’s the Tyvek she was talking about, and yes, I am so going to try that. Look out hardware store, here I come!

Next up, houses in the negative. This is what she’s experimenting with while in Montreal, and I absolutely love them:

There really is something so beautiful about the other side of the paper after you’ve made a few cuts – lots of happy surprises over there! So, as you can see, Aimée has a fascination with structures, architecture, shelters etc… case in point, a few pieces from a 2016 titled “Futur Infinitif” :

Oh my word. Stunning. Last year Aimée and I were in a group show together, along with Vancouver’s Janice Wu, at Back Gallery Project. These were some of Aimée’s pieces:

There they are on the right, and again, look how big they are! I included that close-up above as well so you could see that, yes, there are houses nestled into almost everything she does! LOVE.

Oooh, and these are the installation shots of the work Aimée did while on that YEAR LONG residency in Harrison:

Right? Seriously, she can make anything. Look at those cuts? I love that she isn’t afraid to experiment with materials… which of course is why I ask her for advice whenever I can!

Speaking of cuts, here are those perfectly perfect bangs we were talking about:

Gorgeous! The topmost shot is a recent photo, but given all of our talk about foxes, hedgehogs and possums, I thought it only fair to include this 2016 image of Aimée and her forest friend! Thanks to Aimée for taking a break in her precious studio time to hang out with me for an hour and a half; thanks to Saatchi Art and Thrive for supporting the episode, and thanks to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. I just found out tonight that Thrive is currently accepting new members for their May intake. Their groups fill up, so if you’re interested make sure to pop over there soon.

Other links:

  1. Thrive Mastermind
  2. Tyvek
  3. Terraskin
  4. NASCAD, Halifax
  5. University of Alberta, Edmonton
  6. Condordia University, Montreal
  7. Banff Centre Programs, Banff 
  8. Amy on Instagram
  9. Maudie {movie that will make you cry}
  10. SOMA Gallery, Vancouver {June show}
  11. ACT Gallery, Maple Ridge
  12. Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver {Fall show}


norman gilbert

These paintings {oil on board} are the most recent work of Scottish artist Norman Gilbert. Now, when I say ‘most recent’, I mean sometime between now and 2000. The work shown on his website actually begins in 1950, as Norman is now 91… and still creating his beautiful work. His color choices, his style {that almost looks like printmaking}, and the fact that his teachers at the Glasgow School of Art considered him to be “unteachable” because he wouldn’t do what they told him to do … yes, these are all of the factors that go into making me a fan of Norman!  Watch this video clip from the BBC, and I’m quite sure you’ll be right there with me:

Norman is represented by Tatha Gallery in Scotland.

kaetlyn able

I suddenly want to spend the day watching old Westerns … and I don’t even like old Westerns! This is the mysterious, rich, beautifully crafted work of Montana based artist Kaetlyn Able. Are you wondering how she does this? Graphite? Printmaking? I’ll let her tell you:

“I create dreamy portraits based on found historical photographs. Using tattoo needles and an x-acto blade, I etch into thin layers of black ink that I have painted onto white clay panels. Traditionally, this drawing technique is known as scratchboard, or scraperboard, but I don’t love those clinical-sounding names. They don’t do the process, which feels utterly, completely and perfectly magical, any justice at all! For me the practice is part meditation, part act of devotion. I slowly build delicate layers of marks, gradually adding more and more light and life to the image, until suddenly, a character and a story seem to emerge out of the black. It’s a surprise every time. I often layer these black and white drawings with pops of colorful elements that I paint in acrylic and acrylic gouache, creating further texture, dimension and emotional resonance.”

Tattoo needles?! What a fantastic way to get these characters to “emerge out of the black”. Love.

elyse dodge

Ahhh, British Columbia Canada… fractalized into candy-colored fantasticness! This province is my home – my heart – and I absolutely love the way that Vancouver based painter Elyse Dodge has captured the beauty of this special place. Geometric shapes, celebrating each and every color that bounces off our mountains, and those trees! I love those lovely little trees. Clearly, this is her home & heart too.

cj hendry

A post shared by Cj Hendry (@cj_hendry) on

Um, WHAT? Yeah. Drawings. DRAWINGS. I have written about the insane work of Australian artist CJ Hendry before {ink drawings of food}, but these juicy blobs of paint? Do you know how I feel about thick, lush, colorful blobs of paint? I LOVE THEM. I use them in my own work… but not like this! I am in awe. And in love. Awestruck love. Sigh.

andrea soos

Abstract works on paper … that make me want to drop everything, run into the studio and start making marks… alllllll of the marks! This is the dreamy work of Canadian artist Andrea Soos. She runs a beautiful studio in Victoria, called Poppet Creative, where she helps other people find their creative genius. I am so thrilled that she’s finally showing the world what she’s been doing quietly in the background! Pop over to her brand new site to see her lovely work {PS. you might want to buy a piece or two before they all sell out, or before she realizes she should put her prices UP.} Happy Monday.

“free to be”

Well, that painting basically covers everything I had on my list of questions for British artist Pippa Young. Flat bonnet-ish hats, thin red lines {which are paint, not thread btw}, weird plastic-looking stuff wrapping her subjects – what’s it all about, because I need to know! Thankfully, she told me. We talked about being free to do whatever we like, late starts, and how I can get myself to Cornwall because, clearly, it’s a creative wonderland filled with amazing artists! Have a listen right under “Self-Doubt” – how perfect is that? – or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, some of the paintings I wrote about years ago when I first stumbled upon Pippa’s lovely/weird work:

After doing this interview, I’m pretty sure that’s Pippa’s son in, at least, the last painting above. These works also give you a little peek into the “hats” / “bonnets” I brought up right off the top. Next on my list of “what’s this about?”… tiny, delicate, beautifully painted red lines:

Gasp! Pippa told me she doesn’t do those lines freehand, she “uses masking tape”. Oh okay, super easy then. WHAT?! So precisely perfect! She explained that these tethering red lines were inspired by “The Goldfinch” – a book written by Donna Tartt, inspired by a 1654 painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius … now that’s a lot of inspiration. Pippa’s final painting above is, in fact, titled “Goldfinch I”. FYI… this is the cover of the book, and the painting:

Lovely. Next on my list of questions… the plastic trash bags?

Yep, there’s that plastic bag “baby” we were talking about. Her work is so gorgeous … the combination of the detailed plastic texture, with the flat hats and dresses on the girls? LOVE. It is so obvious {now} that Pippa was a graphic designer for such a long time … beautiful compositions, photographic qualities combined with flat graphic elements, and oh, that negative space. It’s all just too good.

And, ah yes, her “interventions”. I already loved them to begin with, and then to find out that these are not found images, but actually members of Pippa’s family, well, that pushed me over the edge:

Ghostly, beautiful, kinda weird… fantastic! And finally, Pippa in her studio:

Gorgeous! Quite handy to have a talented photographer brother to take cool in-studio shots, no? Thank you so much to Pippa for taking time out of her recharging break to talk to me; thanks to Saatchi Art and Create! Magazine for supporting the episode; and thank you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Charlotte Keates, Episode No.107
  2. Lisa Wright, Episode No.122
  3. Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh
  4. Michaël Borremans, Belgian artist
  5. Pippa on Instagram
  6. Create! Magazine – Call for Art (due Feb 28)


lorraine o’grady

This is a peek into “Miscegenated Family Album” by Lorraine O’Grady. She chose 16 diptychs {7 shown here} from 65 image pairs of slides – comparing her sister Devonia, Nefertiti, and their families – that she had projected behind a performance piece she did in 1980. Lorraine retired the performance in 1988, but luckily she allowed the work to live on through this gorgeous album that she assembled in 1994. Amazing. But wait, I can’t stop there… I have to include her insanely inspiring bio too:

Born in Boston in 1934 to West Indian parents, O’Grady came to art late. Mlle Bourgeoise Noire and Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline in 1980 were her first public art works. After majoring in economics and Spanish literature at Wellesley, she studied in the fiction program of the Iowa Writers Workshop and had several careers: as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. government, a literary and commercial translator with her own agency, and for a time as a rock critic for The Village Voice and Rolling Stone. Ultimately, this broad background contributed to a distanced and critical view of the art world when she entered it and to an unusually eclectic attitude toward art-making. In O’Grady’s work, the idea tends to come first, and then a medium is employed to best execute it. The work’s intellectual content is rigorous and political, but its form is often characterized by heightened beauty and elegance.