While we were hiking last weekend, Mr. F & I spotted something we’d never quite seen before. We’re familiar with nurse logs, but noticed several trees whose roots had grown over and around a fallen redwood. In her Viral Series, Toronto artist Jess Riva Cooper explores ideas of environmental impact and change as flora overtakes the human face.
It has always amazed and intrigued me the way we build things up, yet nature always finds a way to inhabit and continue on its own journey. From the spider taking up residence in the smallest corner of the bathroom, to abandoned buildings through which vines and trees have grown, try as we might to prevent it, nature takes what is needed. How much more would we live in harmony if we simply left things alone or provided nature a place to thrive among us? Something to ponder over your weekend, dear Artsies.
If you’d like to see more work by Jess Riva Cooper, be sure to check out her website.
All images via the artist’s website. Artist found via Colossal.
Or maybe it would have been more appropriate for this to be Painting 8. This seventh painting in my series of small color studies, Feminine Wiles, is based on Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8. Elizabeth Taylor plays Gloria Wandrous, a promiscuous party-girl model with a propensity for attracting wealthy suitors.
Although Taylor has been said to have disliked the film, her performance garnered the actress her first Oscar. Gloria is a character filled with passion and sexuality, but flawed in her own humanity. I thought it was so fitting that the palette of the film should be so full of fleshy pinks and peaches.
Elizabeth Taylor as Gloria Wandrous in Butterfield 8, acrylic on canvas panel, 6×6
To see more of my Feminine Wiles series, check out the archives here. Oh and Feminine Wiles has received its first bit of press! The Woven Tale Press included a spread on FW in their latest issue! So exciting!
Butterfield 8 image source linked above, art by Lesley Frenz aka Artsy Forager.
As human types, we are in a constant state of flux. Even when we think we aren’t moving, we are constantly evolving in this direction or that. In these paintings by Los Angeles artist Allison Miller, we see the evolution of her process, the results leaving me feeling slightly off kilter in the best possible way.
In order to gain a fresh perspective on their work, many artists will turn their canvases on their sides or upside down. But they don’t always leave them that way to continue painting. Miller allows those twists and turns to be evident in the final painting– leaving us with paint that defies gravity by dripping up and compositions that delight no matter which way the canvas is turned.
As people, we too are molded and shaped as our circumstances twist and turn, allowing us to be carved into our most recent incarnation. But soon, our human canvas will rotate once again and we’ll add yet another layer to our composition.
To see more of Allison Miller’s work, please visit her website.
All images via the artist’s website.
Every day, every life is made of small, seemingly insignificant moments. Sometimes, the importance of those moments isn’t revealed until later. I was thinking on this dynamic when pouring over the work of California artist Marti Somers. Somers’ richly textured work is filled with layer upon layer of paint and ephemera, the artist revealing forgotten moments as she deconstructs the surface.
Like a worn scrapbook, we see snatches of life, of moments and memories revealed in the paneled surfaces. A treasure once forgotten, a glimpse of a flower we were too busy to notice at the time. Book pages and receipts reveal a life lived busily, while birds and teapots remind us to sit and to savor, all will be well.
To see more of Marti Somers’ work, please visit the websites of her representing galleries, Addington Gallery, Morpeth Contemporary, Adamson Gallery, and Caldwell Snyder Gallery. You can also check out a wonderful interview & studio tour with Marti on Elise Morris‘s The Studio Work blog!
All images via the Addington Gallery site.
It’s often a challenge to put a finger on just what it is about an artist’s work that draws me in. But in the case of the work of Jessica Bell, I’m pretty sure I can pin it down. There is something in her visual language that I’m connecting to, something in the way she is communicating leading me down visual pathways into her process.
Maybe it’s the way she plays with color, planes and simple shapes to evoke a certain place or point in time. Or perhaps it is her use of visual and physical texture in subtle and spare ways. Or the process of layering only to conceal or reveal as needed. Whatever it is, there is a richness and complexity to her work that indicates an artist physically working through each composition on canvas. An organic, evolutionary process that I find so intriguing! Each piece seems a capturing not just of a work of art but a record of art making.
To see more of Jessica Bell‘s work, please visit her website.
All images via the artist’s website.
As I sit working in my t-shirt and jeans, munching my lunch of popcorn and staring at these paintings by Minneapolis artist Michael Carson, I’m reminded of how very unglamorous life seems sometimes. The most dressed up I get these days is wearing a skirt with my flip-flops or adding a fancy scarf to my every day uniform.
Ocassionally I miss cocktail dresses and high heels and I’ll pick up Vogue or Vanity Fair to get a little glamour fix. And then I see things on the news like the suicide of model turned fashion designer L’Wren Scott and remember that the rich and glamorous life isn’t always what we think it is. In Carson’s paintings, I get a keen sense of melancholia and boredom on the faces of his figures. Beautiful and fashionable, but sad. Painting his figures into mainly neutral, unrecognizable spaces make them relatable in a way they may not have been had we seen them a lush setting.
No matter our physical or financial circumstances, we’re always responsible for our own happiness and welfare. For some it is found on the runway, for others behind an easel or on a hiking trail. But choosing to live your life as if it is the only one you will get ( because it is! ), no matter how, is the ultimate in luxurious living.
To see more of Michael Carson’s work, please visit his representing gallery, Bonner David Gallery. If you happen to be in Scotsdale, AZ, you can see his work in person there.
All images via the Bonner David website.
One of the things that has utterly enchanted me about Eureka has been its Victorian history and architecture. Everywhere you turn is another beautiful old building showing off its corbels, cornices, and lintels. I am charmed by it all, always wanting to go downtown where Mr. F & I can sit in a brick-walled cafe, under high ceilings, sunlight flooding in through the transom windows. The work of UK artist Charlotte Hardy hearkens back to the charm, warmth and attention to detail that makes these old places so irresistible.
Floors are creaky, walls a bit askew, but the charms of these places always enthrall me. It is all perfect in its imperfections. Hardy’s work has an illustrative quality to it that work so well in conveying the sweet delight of these kinds of places. Her textural surfaces recall the years of life to be found beneath the surface.
More of Charlotte Hardy‘s work can be seen on her website. I do believe Mr. F and I may do a little cafe visiting this weekend. Hope you have a wonderfully artsy weekend!
All images via the artist’s website.
Touring artist studios at last weekend’s ArtsAlive got me day dreaming about my own future work space. As we travel, I paint either at our dining/kitchen table or on a collapsible easel Mr. F bought me a few years ago. I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer so I work out on our pretty little deck! Where do you like to set up your artistic command center?
If you work small like I do currently, or on paper, maybe a table works for you. A big flat surface where you can spread out and everything you need is within reach. And bonus– you get to sit down!
michelle morin on anthropologie
Or maybe you’re a traditionalist and working from an easel is your thing. A good sturdy, adjustable easel is a thing of beauty. There is one in the window of the local art supply store that I am totally coveting.
katie stratton on a beautiful mess
Perhaps you like working a la Jackson Pollock? It might be hard on the back, but working on the floor is great for large canvases or getting a different perspective on your work. And I’m pretty sure it’s a great workout.
A lot of artists like to mount their canvases on the wall and if we ever have the extra space, I would love to give this way of working a try. Would be especially fun in a studio in which you were free to make as big a mess as you wanted!
A lot of artists don’t have the luxury of a dedicated studio space, so we just find a place to land our artsiness wherever we can! Maybe it’s the kitchen island or a corner in the attic. If you’re an artist, wherever you happen to be, that’s your artsy spot.
sarah boyts yoder
So where’s your favorite artsy spot? I’m off to pin inspiration images for my someday studio! A girl can dream, right?
All image sources linked above.
Let’s switch gears a bit, shall we? Looking back over this week’s posts so far, I’ve been in a bit of a nature-obsessed-state, so how about we throw in something different? I spotted the the work of this artist last week on the Little Paper Planes blog and knew I wanted to feature her work pronto! In these mixed media pieces, Gianna Commito is creating a playground of planes and patterns.
Just a simple shift in line creates a skewed perspective that leads us down the path to another inverted plane and then to another and another. It’s like a geometric rabbit hole that I am happy to get lost in! There’s a natural correlation to cityscapes and architecture, but I see parallels to the natural world as well ( there I go again! ). Towering cliffs and slot canyons, redwood burls and nurse logs. We are all just planes resting on top of more planes.
To see more of Gianna Commito‘s work, please visit her website. Her work can be seen in person at Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York.
All images via the Rachel Uffner Gallery site.
You guys, we are loving our new little town so much! Since we arrived, everyone’s been telling me how many artists there are here in Eureka and that we must check out the monthly art walk, ArtsAlive. It was a perfect, beautiful evening and it seemed like everyone in Humboldt County was in downtown Eureka, enjoying the spectacular weather and taking it all in.
I knew there were a few galleries I needed to check out but what I didn’t know was that so there were so many artists with studios downtown and a great many of them were open that night! I do so love a peek inside artists’ studios! After checking out the mesmerizing work of Isabelle Staehle at The Black Faun, we wandered through the studios & Hall Gallery at C Street. Large, high ceilinged, open beam studios with tons of light? Yes, please. Mr. F asked if I would like a studio like one of these.. uh yeah, let’s find a way to make that happen! Lots of people wandering through the halls, and a nice variety of work to be found, from abstract expressionist to folk art inspired to traditional landscapes. Truly a cornucopia of artsiness!
studio of Augustus Clark
We also wandered through the studios at the Center for Insane Artists. How could we resist checking it out with a name like that? Alas, I’ve been unable to find any info for them online. But a handful of the studios were open, some interesting work to be found there, for sure!
Next stop was Piante Gallery‘s show Metal Pin Cushion featuring work by Sondra Schwetman and Patrick Williams, addressing the process and physicality of fabric.
My favorite stop was First Street Gallery, HSU’s non-profit, off campus art gallery. No cameras were allowed, but I HAD to share these shows with you, so I pulled images from their website. Currently, the exhibition space is broken up into two shows, one featuring the work of artist and Stanford University professor Gail Wight, on loan from Patricia Sweetow Gallery. Wight’s work is an elegant combination of beauty and science, her burned vellum drawings inspired by a 1948 pharmacological study of spiders and her composite digital prints, all drew my eye with their intricate simplicity.
The other half of the gallery was taken over by three North Coast artists, Seana Burden, Jeff Jordan, and Jesse Wiedel in their group exhibition, Laughter in Darkness. The works of these three artists combine traditional landscape and dream-like imagery often providing commentary on contemporary culture. I was especially drawn to Burden’s “Boob” paintings in which she creates a fantastical land in which all the subversive messages we are sent each day are much more blatant.
seana burden, jesse wiedel, and jeff jordan
Like most good art walks, we weren’t able to get to everything, but what we did see gave Mr. F and I lots to chat about over a glass of wine ( or 3! ) at the end of the night. I hope you’ll check out the websites of these artists and galleries– so much wonderful talent in this area. I feel so lucky to be here, even if for just a short while.
Gail Wight, Seana Burden, Jesse Wiedel and Jeff Jordan images via HSU website. All other images by Artsy Forager.