Embodiments. Jenny Morgan.

Throughout my younger years, my body seemed to bend to my wishes.  I was one of the lucky ones, eating whatever I liked and barely gaining an ounce.  Never breaking bones, full of energy for whatever came my way.  But as the years have passed, that body has changed.    Harder work is required to keep my body in the kind of shape I need it to be.  That ideal shape has evolved– no longer do I obsess over being model-skinny.  I want to be strong.  My body is not a clothes hanger, it is a work horse.  I want it to take me up that mountain and show me things I can’t see from my sofa.  I want it to be my ally, not my enemy.

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New York figurative artist Jenny Morgan renders in paint self portraits and portraits of friends and family in which there seems a strong interconnection between the physical, psychological, and spiritual.  Bodies are simply the vessels in which we move through this life.  They can be a help or a hindrance but in the end, they are only a part of who we are.  In my hands I see years of work and my mother’s genes.  My legs have carried me on numerous hikes and adventures beside my husband.  But those memories aren’t carried in this physical body alone.  They reside in my heart, in my mind, in my spirit.  And when this body no longer serves it’s purpose, I will carry them with me.

To see more of Jenny Morgan‘s work, please visit her website.  If you’re in New York, mark you calendar for her upcoming show, All We Have is Now at Driscoll Babcock.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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Distillations. David Benjamin Sherry.

Before Mr. F and I began to travel, I rarely gave thought to the energy found in certain places.  Sure I knew the intensity of Manhattan was vastly different from the quiet pace of life in the Smoky Mountains.  But once we started traveling, I became much more sensitive to each place’s energy.  In his photographs, LA artist David Benjamin Sherry seems to distill the aura of each place down to color.

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As a painter, it’s something that I’ve given a lot of thought to.  While each new place definitely has a different pace and feel, it’s interesting to me to think about how that might translate into color.  You may think well, that’s easy, trees and water = green and blue.  But there can be an underlying feeling to a place, whether a warmth or mystery, that might make it feel differently than it presents visually.  I haven’t decided yet the colors of the Bay Area.. give me a few more months, ha!  What color is your landscape?

To see more of David Benjamin Sherry‘s work, please visit his website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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Associations. Marshall Crossman.

I’ve been out of high school a long time ( we won’t mention how long! ).  If it weren’t for Facebook, I think it’s safe to say there would be few folks from high school I would be keeping up with today.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great high school experience.  But I’m a firm believer that people move through our lives in seasons– some come to stay, others stay just for awhile.  But what is it about high school that seems to create such strong bonds for some?

One thought might be that commonality of going through the same experience at the same point in time.  We are becoming a singular person, but are immersed in a large group.  Striving to find ourselves, yet often losing ourselves among the crowd.  The Class Photo series of paintings by Pacifica artist Marshall Crossman  seems to illustrate that experience of individuals melting together to form a whole.

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The way the artist reduces the ubiquitous class photo pose into simple shapes and strokes reinforces the idea of young people still in “formation” mode.  Who among us knew who we would ultimately be while in high school?  I certainly didn’t!  Maybe it’s true that my life’s path didn’t take the journey I thought it would at eighteen, but deep inside I’m the same soul I was in high school.  Introspective, striving, shy.  When I look at the current faces of my former classmates, I don’t see the changes life has dealt.  What is left is the essence of those souls who are forever linked with mine through our shared experience, our shared moment in time.

To see more of Marshall Crossman‘s work, please visit her website.

Artist found via Dolby Chadwick Gallery.  All images are via the Dolby Chadwick website.

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Churning. Lorene Anderson.

After spending almost 2 years in small towns, it is such a treat to be close to a big city and all it has to offer.  Recently Mr. F and I spent a Saturday morning gallery hopping, one of my favorite ways to spend a day!  We hit up a bunch of galleries in Union Square, including K. Imperial Fine Art and it was there I fell in love with the work of Lorene Anderson.

Inspired by the rolling hills here in Northern CA, Anderson uses stripes to mimic the landscape but only slightly– she bends and churns their parallel lines to create movement and depth.  What would have been solid and stagnant becomes fluid and lively.

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While sharing work on the blog is important, I can’t stress enough how much difference it makes to get out and see art in person.  The depth of the layers in Anderson’s work amazed me on sight.  There was so much going on, so many little worlds to get up close and explore! And I’m still mesmerized by those stripes.  Landscape painting has been around for centuries, artists will always be inspired by the earth’s beauty.  But it is in the work of artists like Lorene, who show us a different vision of the land we see every day that I find endless inspiration and fascination.

To see more of Lorene Anderson‘s work, please visit her website.  If you’re in the Bay Area, you can see her show, Landscape Multiverse at K. Imperial Fine Art until April 30th.

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Convergence. Edwige Fouvry.

Trees break free from rocky soil.  The sea crashes onto land.  The natural world is filled with interesting and often incongruent intersections.  In her paintings, French born Brussels based artist Edwige Fouvry calls our attention to those confluences to be found around us.

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These places of intersection are often some of my favorites– the drama of cliff faces rising above a glassy lake is just too incredible to be true sometimes!  Landscapes remind us of our own juxtapositions, the way our lives don’t always seem to make sense and yet, somehow we continue to thrive.  There is a certain type of wildflower found in Florida that actually needs what we would normally think of as disaster ( wildfire ) in order to grow.  Perhaps it is at those times when the sea crashes onto our shore that though we think we are drowning, we are actually being nourished.

To see more of Edwige Fouvry‘s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.  Artist found via Dolby Chadwick Gallery.

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Distortions. Jennis Li Cheng Tien.

It seems like we are finally taking a stand.  For years now, we’ve been bombarded by photoshopped images of “perfection”, leading to unrealistic expectations on both sides of the gender aisle.  While the underlying issues are still pervasive, the tide seems to be turning.  Companies are at last standing up and reinforcing the idea that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.  In her series, Have a Nice Day, Berlin based artist Jennis Li Cheng Tien gives the world her own take on how digitally enhanced images have altered our perceptions.

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How disorienting and disconcerting it must be to have your digital representation, whether it be your face or body, so altered that it doesn’t reflect the image you see in the mirror.  What may begin as a tweak here, an airbrush there, perhaps with the good intention of clearing up one’s less than perfect skin or helping that designer’s clothes to hang a bit more ideally, can quickly escalate into dangerous territory.  We’re left in a world where the face on the screen or the page doesn’t match the face we see in person.  Where certain idealized qualities that often don’t naturally exist leave the rest of us striving for the unattainable.  What we end up doing is erasing not the blemishes, but ourselves.

To see more of the work of Jennis Li Cheng Tien, please visit her website and her Saatchi Art portfolio.

All images are via the Saatchi Art website.

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Move. Jasmine Deporta.

As a blogger and freelancer, I spent a good deal of each day planted in a chair in front of the computer screen.  Isn’t there a rule of physics that an object at still will stay at still?  That is what it feels like some days.  The chair is sucking me in.  I’m glued to it.  Before I know it, hours have gone by without moving from the seat.

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Barcelona based photographer Jasmine Deporta‘s sofa safari series seems to reflect our tendency to become married to our seats.  What is that about, anyway? Isn’t life so much more enjoyable when you are in motion?  Like me, many of us use work as an excuse for our inertia.  On the weekends, I am usually bursting to move- to get out from the cell of four walls whether that means hiking, gallery hopping or just wandering about.  Seeing the world in three dimensions, away from the sofa cushions brings vibrancy to the work you do from your seat.  And motivation to leave it.

How are you moving this weekend?  I’m ready to go!

To see more of Jasmine Deporta‘s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.  Artist found via I Need a Guide.

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Abundance. Todd Hunter.

Something about spring brings to mind the word lush. The landscape here in Northern California has been filled with blossoms and green.  It’s like the earth is ready to explode with the joy of warmth and sun following the grey of winter.  But we know all this riotous color is short lived, soon to give way to the scorched earth of summer.  These abstract paintings by Australian artist Todd Hunter remind me that the overabundance of life isn’t to be taken for granted.

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Just as Hunter’s paintings are a deluge of color and texture, so does our life sometimes seem overflowing with happiness and good fortune.  We store up those feelings, to be called upon in the midst of the drought.  But right now the rains are coming and we relish the abundance while we have it.

To see more of Todd Hunter‘s work, please visit his website.

Images via the artist’s website and the website of his representing gallery, Scott Livesay Gallery.

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Coverings. Brian Coleman.

For painters, it can be so intoxicating to fall in love with those first strokes laid on a canvas.  They can seem so pure, so guileless.  It’s tempting to call it done.  But what we learn over time is that choosing to cover and rework can bring depth and clarity that wasn’t there at the beginning stages.  We might lose something we loved, but we always know it is still there, under the latest cover of paint.

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Charleston artist Brian Coleman knows a thing or two about what he calls “excessive reworking”.  Painting intuitively and to music, Brian’s thoughts and feelings flow freely onto canvas.  Yet with many a freewheeling emotion, sometimes those first strokes need to be reigned in.  Just as we push aside a hurt to focus on what is better, so his work reminds us to cover what was in hopes of finding better in the new.

To see more of Brian Coleman‘s work, please visit his website.

All images are via the artist’s website.  Artist found via Anne Irwin Fine Art.

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Sliding. Leslie Wayne.

Momentum can be a tricky thing.  If we’re moving in a positive direction, building and maintaing momentum is crucial.  But if we’ve begun sliding into bad habits or toward danger, we need to do everything we can to stop the propulsion.  In her Plank sculptures, New York artist Leslie Wayne  takes her paint on a journey, pushing and piling like lava flowing down a hillside.

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Sometimes we can temporarily stop the slide, but what if it just keeps coming, piling and piling until it overflows?  Maybe the trick is to just let it slide.  Sometimes we need to allow ourselves the freedom to shift so that we can position ourselves to move away from one thing and build toward another.  The shifting can be tricky, though.  Overcorrecting might delay or detour.  But if just allow a tiny, scary bit of sliding, we move with greater purpose.

To see more of Leslie Wayne‘s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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