“comfortable in my skin”

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It’s rare for fibre arts to make you feel slightly {or very} uncomfortable, but that’s exactly what these beautifully woven tapestries do. I wrote about her for the first time in 2011, and five years later I finally get to talk to Brooklyn based artist Erin M. Riley… I had A LOT of questions for this very thoughtful, smart, and ridiculously talented woman. The combination of her chosen medium, and her subject matter is truly brilliant! Now, before we get started, I thought this description from her site was an excellent way to explain her work:

Riley has referenced found images online as well as her own photographs that address sex, social media and feminism. Influenced by the Instagram generation, her subjects have varied from iPhone nude selfies, screenshots of sexual positions and objects of womanhood or sexuality.

Yep, that sets up our conversation perfectly. You can listen right up there under Erin at the loom, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorites from her found photo weavings:

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Oh girls… don’t do it! Risky behavior and bad decisions captured forever in woven fibre. Amazing. Next up, we touched on some of Erin’s earlier work that revolved around drunk driving:

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It’s heartbreaking to think about the stories behind these found images.

Next, all of these pieces are from her “Daddy Issues” series. They’re beautiful, but make you cringe for these girls at the same time:

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I love this series so much. I think it’s incredibly powerful and a really interesting way to slow down {literally in Erin’s case} and take a closer look at the fast-paced world of social media. Erin said she’d had some negative feedback on this work – granted, those were faceless comments from the internet – saying that she was “exploiting these women”. That was not her intention at all, so she switched from using found images, to self portraits. Talk about taking control … while being totally vulnerable at the same time. I think these pieces are absolutely stunning, and yes, these are her tattoos:

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Gorgeous – even the shaving and tweezing. I absolutely love that she captures those very real moments too, instead of only choosing to document her body when perfect/posed. Again, brilliant and, oh, so vulnerable. I certainly couldn’t take those photos of myself… and then WEAVE them for the next month or two! Yeah, no. Speaking of which, I found these photos of Erin and her loom in action on her Instagram feed:

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That final photo was captioned “nipple day” … and yes, it made me LOL as the kids say. And last, a close up of her truck tattoo that came up in the speed round:

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We didn’t talk about gum, but how could I not include this photo!? Apparently this was late at night in the studio, the coffee was gone and all she had left was bubble tape. You do what you have to do, am I right?

Thank you so much to Erin for answering all of my questions and for being so open {and for admitting that she too cries like a baby during Grey’s Anatomy}. As always, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and big high fives to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. MassArt {Boston}
  2. Tyler School of Art {Philadelphia}
  3. Grey’s Anatomy
  4. She didn’t mention this! Erin’s showing at Brilliant Champion Gallery in Brooklyn till July 26, 2016

 





tracy rocca

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Oh my. Ethereal paintings that bring a quiet, hushed exhale to the room. This is the work of Albuquerque, NM based painter Tracy Rocca. I had to show those studio shots so that you could understand the scale of these beauties. How does she create these light filled landscapes… I dunno! Do you want to find out? Me too. Here is a lovely video of Tracy talking about her process, and working her dreamy magic:

Tracy Rocca: In the Studio from Deb Achak on VimeoStudio photographs also taken by Deb Achak





michael carson

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Ok, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about American painter Michael Carson … but it’s a hot day in July and I just found these {oil on panel}. How could I not write about him again!? Polkadots, night swimming, and sunglasses that just won’t quit. Love.





tallulah fontaine

tallulahfontaine

Ok, first things first… Tallulah Fontaine… that may be the most amazing name EVER. Other amazing things: blue hair, lovely silhouettes, and a bright pink moon. This is the work of Toronto based artist/illustrator Tallulah Fontaine and everything about it makes me happy. The end.





kerry james marshall

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“You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility. You can’t move to Watts in 1963 and not speak about it. That determined a lot of where my work was going to go…”

Well yes, I guess so! Those are the words of prolific Chicago based painter Kerry James Marshall. His work is so powerful, so beautiful, and there is oh so much of it! I wanted to post about fifty paintings but I tried to show a bit of self-control. Luckily self-control isn’t needed if you’re in Chicago this summer, because there is a huge retrospective of his work currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago until September 25, 2016. Go! But before you do, one more great quote: “You can wait for somebody to let you get in the door – or you can assume your place among equals and put yourself in the world too, and put yourself in the stories that you want to see told.”  

Amen.

Mr.Marshall is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, NY




fabienne rivory

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Sigh. These ethereal landscapes are the work of French artist Fabienne Rivory, and part of a series titled Croisées. This isn’t new to Fabienne though… in 2007, she began “exploring interactions between photography and painting. The meeting of these two media allows [her] to create images that are not a faithful reproduction of reality, but retain in them a trace of reality to which is added an interpretation, a subjective layer.” Beautiful.

{Fabienne’s work is available here}





“jellyfish in a trifle”

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I like to imagine that these abstract worlds are made of candy, and are most likely home to a bunch of unicorns. These colorful layers of dots and lines are the work of Kansas based painter Jaime Rovenstine. She is an artist, works full-time at a museum, and is the mother of a beautiful little girl. How does she do that?! Don’t worry, I asked her. You can listen right up there under that explosion of color, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of my favorites {acrylic on canvas} from Jaime’s magical portfolio:

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Yum!

Jaime’s studio is in her home, which is great for getting work done. Luckily, she has a little helper in there:

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Gah! How cute is she!? I also really wanted to show a couple of Jaime’s “in progress” pieces. I’d hang these on my wall right this very second… but she’s a “maximalist” so she keeps on going. Fair enough. She’s the pro!

So, we also talked about Jaime’s very busy life. She works at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, comes home for dinner / bath / books with her family, and then makes her way into the studio {or the couch for Netflix depending on the day}:

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How great is that self-portrait in the reflection on her brush… love! {found on her dreamy Instagram feed}. 

We also talked about the evolution of her work. In college she was already starting down the path she’s on now:

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Similar but they’re definitely deeper and richer now. The piece just above, with the phonograph, is the painting that Columbia College Chicago {the art school she went to} bought when she graduated… it’s also the piece inspired by patterns in the Anthropologie catalog!

And finally… I started this post with a few of my favorites, and I’ll end it with a few more. These are the paintings I was talking about when I brought up her fabulous titles {that we now know are words from the mouth of the very dry/hilarious Karl Pilkington.} These are: “Worry Hole”, “Willy Nilly By the Sea”, and “Jellyfish in a Trifle”:

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See? I’m sure there has to be candy and unicorns in there somewhere. Speaking of unicorns, here’s a link to the weirdest infomercial you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Thanks Jaime, without you I never would have known about the “Squatty Potty”! *Warning: You may never want to eat ice cream again.

Thanks so much to Jaime for taking time out of her busy life to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for continuing to support the podcast, and as always, thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend!

Other links:

  1. Design Mom interview with Jaime
  2. Art School Confidential {movie}
  3. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art {Jaime’s day job}
  4. Ian Tan Gallery {re: Sarah Gee Miller}
  5. Kirra Jamison
  6. Kerry James Marshall
  7. Alchemy Candles {Jaime’s painting as packaging!}
  8. Land of Nod
  9. And of course, Karl Pilkington {and a ridiculous interview with Ricky Gervais}

 





jeff topham

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Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks… oh look, here’s one now! These stunning photographs, taken in both the Arctic and Antartica, are the work of Vancouver based photographer Jeff Topham. I wrote about him in 2010, when he and his brother {and their cameras} went to Africa to recreate photographs their father had taken when they lived in Liberia during the 1970s. Anyway, all that to say Jeff obviously comes from a very creative family and when I saw the icy/magical results of his latest adventures, well, here we are again! Now, just to be clear his portfolio is not all icebergs {although those are some of my faves as you can tell} – there are also a lot of urban gems like this beauty:

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Sigh. Yes. I hope so. {Text installation in Vancouver by Martin Creed, 2008}

* Jeff has just recently started selling prints, and at the moment they’re only $100 CAD… so get over there right now!





nathan ritterpusch

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Ooh! These gorgeous wobbly portraits are from a series titled, “Old Enough To Be My Mother”, and are the work of American artist Nathan Ritterpusch. I wrote about this series in 2012, and my heart literally just skipped a beat when I saw that he had created new pieces in 2016! LOVE.





jeanne heifetz

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Intricate ink drawings on gorgeous dyed paper… all of these pieces are from a series, titled “There Is No Road” by American artist Jeanne Heifetz. I absolutely love her statement about this work:

“… As a child, I was always afraid of making the wrong decision. Selecting from many possible options was torture unless I could find a convincing rationale for my choice, some external justification beyond my own desire. Fear made me superstitious. I enlisted numerology, mythology, arcane patterns of all sorts to confirm the “rightness” of my decisions.

This body of work confronts decision-making head on. Still craving a system, I borrow one from nature: Plateau’s laws, which govern the branching and growth of many natural forms. Within that system, I improvise, lighting out for the territory without a map. Each drawing grows by slow accretion as I allow myself (or force myself) to make hundreds of tiny sequential decisions…”

So. Good. What a beautiful challenge to give herself… as are the results.