Filed under: Competitions
Check out some of the latest entries to the MFA Competition. The deadline is October 31, so keep them coming! In order to enter the MFA Competition, you must be a current Masters of Fine Arts candidate. We’ll be updating the blog with highlights throughout the competition. Apply online!
NOTE: The following are random selections, and in no way reflect, or influence, final selections made by the juror.
Hana Shoup, “Diving In” | Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 12 inches
Craig Hawkins, “Box No. 7” | Oil on Canvas, 72 x 60 inches
Leah Wolff, “Woven Space No. 6” | Pastel on Paper, 22 x 30 inches
Stephanie Henderson, “Beyond the Pale” | Oil on Canvas, 30 x 42 inches
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: Eric Yahnker, Evan J. Garza, Kunsthalle L.A., Los Angeles, pop culture
Fat Bastard Scramble, 2010 | Colored pencil on paper, 76 x 72 in.
Featured in editions #73 and #85 of New American Paintings, Eric Yahnker isn’t afraid to be a bit absurd. His drawings—one of several mediums in his practice—are as humorous as they are meticulously executed, tearing pop culture references apart into kaleidoscopic compositions as infectious (and as unique) as the celebrities that inspire them. Like television, Yahnker transforms everyone (and everything) into a character—even drawings of strawberries and stacks of pancakes are given sad, anthropomorphic features. This week we spoke with the L.A.-based artist to talk about his work. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: In some of your newer works you rip apart your subjects, which often appear like woven collages, but are executed with colored pencil on paper. How do you approach working on paper and what is it about these compositions you find interesting?
In some way these images come from those ridiculous ‘guess the celebrity’ scramble games in the back pages of shitty tabloids my mom always had lying around the house when I was a kid. Actually devising and drawing my own ‘scrambles’ serves a couple of distinct purposes: first, it’s a pretty decent challenge to draw, and second, it makes the original concept that much more retarded.
Hello Dolly Scramble, 2008 | Graphite on paper, 65 x 52.5 in.
EJG: There’s an almost psychotropic quality to much of your work. They’re fucked up on purpose, and that’s a huge part of their inherent quality.
Everyone has a different idea of normalcy. I basically depict what I see. Considering how often people slap the ‘bizarre’ tag on my work, I’m starting to think the lens I look through must be a little warped. It never really occurred to me before.
EJG: Tell me about how you create the text pieces.
My life and work is so centered around language, working with text is just a natural development. But, it’s a crowded field, so I wanted to make sure I was making my own unique contribution to ‘text art’ or ‘visual poetry’ without stepping on anyone’s toes.
A-Bea-C, 2009 | Colored pencil on paper, 12 x 12 in.
Filed under: Competitions, Q&A | Tags: competitions, Evan J. Garza, ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, MFA, MFA Annual, Randi Hopkins
New American Paintings is pleased to announce that Randi Hopkins, Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), will serve as the juror for the 2010 MFA Annual Competition, Edition #93. (Open to current MFA candidates. The deadline for entry is October 31, 2010. Apply online.)
Earlier this week we featured a Q&A with Evelyn Rydz, featured in editions #68 and #86 of New American Paintings and included as a finalist for the 2010 James & Audrey Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA). The exhibition was organized by Randi Hopkins, the juror for the 2010 MFA Annual Competition of New American Paintings, and we sat down to talk with her this week about the exhibition and the forthcoming competition. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: You have a lot of experience working with emerging artists, from running Allston Skirt Gallery to now being at the ICA, to being on the selection committee for Artadia Boston, and now you just put together the 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize show built entirely of emerging artists.
I think that’s a place where I really offer artists something, and I enjoy that. It’s interesting for me to all of a sudden be on a different stage. Putting on a show at a museum is really different than putting on a show at a gallery, but working with artists is always this great process.
EJG: What do you enjoy about working with emerging artists?
I think it’s really that there’s a collaborative feeling, and a feeling of trying to see the world through their eyes, see their work, often brand new work—like the Foster Prize show… These are nine really different artists and trying to get each of them to look as good as possible in their own vocabulary. It’s really fun. It’s like a little bit of an adventure, and a journey for me, into their world.
EJG: Are you looking forward to going through MFA Annual competition submissions?
Very much so! I think that for someone who likes to look at things as much as we all do, why would you do this if you didn’t love to look at things? The idea of looking at something that’s new—not just in the sense of being novel but in the sense of seeing something taken in a new direction or seeing something reinvented in an interesting way—is really exciting. It’s something I really enjoy.
I feel about looking at this work that you really are looking at both something that’s grounded in something, and also to be going off in an inventive direction, that’s fun. You never know what you’re going to see or what’s going to feel strong to you.
EJG: I think what’s been the most remarkable thing for me, since becoming editor-at-large last year, has been creating a dialogue about exactly where painting exists now in contemporary art-making practices, because so many artists are working in several mediums, and how those practices inform their painting.
I also think it seems like New American Paintings has always thought in a broad way about what painting is as a concept. In some ways, a focus like this on a single medium, in this day and age, is really rare and so to be able to take a deep look at what that means is really, really interesting.
Filed under: Art World, Q&A | Tags: Boston, drawing, Evan J. Garza, Evelyn Rydz, Foster Prize, ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Detail from Drifing Islands #3, 2009 | Pencil, Color Pencil, and Acrylic on 2 Sheets of Duralar, 21 x 32 inches
Featured in editions #68 and #86 of New American Paintings, Evelyn Rydz makes work that draws equally from her surroundings and her own imagination. Featured as a finalist for the 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), which opens to the public today, Rydz spoke to us this week about which of her works will be exhibited in the show, how she works in the studio, and what informs her art-making practice. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: Tell me a little about the work you’ll be exhibiting in the Foster Prize show.
There will be a selection of drawings from two related bodies of work that are inspired by my coastal visits. Over the last few years, I’ve been making regular visits to coastlines and documenting objects that wash ashore. The first group of drawings is called Castaways and they map out items the sea has rejected, just as I’ve found them. The second group, Drifting Islands, creates places where they exist together. So, Castaways really documents things that I’ve tried to draw exactly as I’ve found them, and Drifting Islands is much more invented from things I’ve seen. I’m really interested in these objects and the stories they tell of relocation, transformation, and all the events that might have made them castaways in these foreign landscapes. There will be about nine or ten of the Castaways and two of the Islands.
084523, 2010 | Pencil and Color Pencil on Duralar, 11 x 14 inches
EJG: What exactly informs the compositions for the Drifting Islands pieces? Because I would imagine that those would require more imagination on your part.
They’re all based on these things that I’ve found. All of my work begins with photographs, so I photograph these objects in different landscapes that have undergone some really significant change or that seem to be in a process of transformation. I’m really inspired by a lot of landscapes I see and work from that.
I take my photographs and then reorganize them in Photoshop. So, often there are different perspectives, different locations, there are things close up and far away, but they kind of start to exist simultaneously in this one landscape. It’s like there’s this one place where they exist together and they’re joined by them all being things that have maybe been lost or abandoned or things that have possibly been transformed at sea. The organization and composition is mostly made in Photoshop, and that’s a big part of the drawing process for me. It’s almost like collaging in organizing and laying it out, and I go through many versions. And then I make the drawings from the Photoshop collages.
Beer Can with Algae and Shells, 2010 | Pencil and Color Pencil on Duralar, 11 x 14 inches
Filed under: Noteworthy | Tags: BAM, Brooklyn, Dan Cameron, Evan J. Garza, film stills, Jim Gaylord, Monica Ramirez-Montagut, Q&A
Force Field, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches. Courtesy Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York.
Jim Gaylord was included in the 2006 MFA Annual, edition #43, and was selected as a Noteworthy artist in edition #86 of New American Paintings by Northeast competition juror Monica Ramirez-Montagut, Curator, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. I caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist last week to discuss his optically-charged works, which seem as if to use movement as medium. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: Your work evokes a great deal of movement, and some of your abstractions seem as if captured by a moving camera.
That makes sense because all of the current work is made up of abstract shapes I find in film stills. They’re the kind of forms that fly by quickly and are easy to miss, but I slow down certain sequences frame-by-frame and look for something interesting to work with.
The blurring effect that’s happening in a lot of the new paintings is a result of the fast-moving subjects, but I’m finding that the motion translates into painterly brush strokes in an interesting way. The trick for me is to make them seem like they just happened spontaneously, while in reality they’re planned out. It’s kind of a contradiction, but if you think about it, it’s not really even a process of abstraction because I’m depicting something that’s actually occurring on the screen.
EJG: Did you stare out of car windows a lot as a child?
Sure, and I still appreciate being a passenger in a car or a train. I guess it’s like watching a movie, or a campfire.
Lapse of Decorum, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Courtesy Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York.
EJG: The line between representation and abstraction in your work is, quite literally, blurred. How do you approach your compositions and how are they produced?
I’ve always liked pictures that I had to keep looking at to figure out what I was seeing, but keep changing, so they never settle into one thing. I used to make ‘automatic drawings,’ like the Surrealists did, just making these ambiguous, stream-of-consciousness forms. But after a while, they all began to look the same, and I wanted to come up with more contemporary ways of image making.
Last week I posted an installation visit with Andrew Schoultz as he prepared for his show, Compound Eyes on the World at Marx & Zavattero and as promised here are pics from the opening. The detail in Andrew’s show is incredible and, as I have said many times before, I hate this word, but truly epic. I took so many pictures, I was like a kid in a candy store. All of the pics from the install and opening can be found on My Love For You’s flickr. You can also take an online walk through on M&Z’s website.
Compound Eyes on the World: New Work by Andrew Schoultz runs September 11 through October 23, 2010.
Filed under: In the Studio | Tags: Anoka Faruqee, Evan J. Garza, George Condo, homoeroticism, queer, samsøn, Steve Locke
Featured in edition #86 of New American Paintings, Steve Locke makes work that is colorful, complex, and unapologetically human. Concerned with figuration and perceptions of the male figure, Locke’s paintings evoke richness in all its forms. I sat down last week with the Boston-based artist in his Hyde Park studio, where he lives and works, to discuss his paintings, his mother, and ideas of queerness. Above his door, a brightly-colored neon by the artist fluctuated between the phrases, “GOD IS LOVE” and “you little faggot.” —Evan J. Garza
EJG: Before we left for coffee, we were talking about those pieces (pointing to the wall) that feature a pattern of faces and those wonderful gradients of color, and you mentioned your mother.
My mother died of lung cancer in 2004 and I was back and forth between here, in Massachusetts, and Michigan, flying back and forth to take care of her. I’m a very anal retentive person and I schedule time to be in my studio, and I was so upset and so overwrought about it that I didn’t know what to do [while] in the studio, so I just tried to paint my mother’s profile from memory. And there’s tons of work in that series because I would just come into the studio and mix this color, gradient by gradient, just trying to ease the transition. I don’t normally talk about this work, it’s been hard to show, it’s been hard—all that sort of stuff—but I like you.
No, really! …It’s funny because I don’t—like I said, you’re the first person I’ve ever really spoken to, outside of my close friends, about what that work is about, but as I get older, and the event of my mother’s passing gets further and further into the distance, I feel like I have a different relationship to that work now. The hard part about it is I keep trying to change the content of that work to make it speak to people in different ways. I think that a lot of people misunderstand paintings. And that’s fine—sometimes that misunderstanding can be really interesting. With that work in particular, it’s always been so close, I didn’t want people to misunderstand it. I’ve always been very, sort of, protective of it.
EJG: And it must also be difficult because it is so conceptually different from the rest of the work that you make.
Very much so. I’ve always let people have their own experience with their eyes. I know that the modern moment is over where an object can talk about everything all at once. I think sometimes text is helpful. But with these paintings, for me to talk about where they came from would diminish their visual power, and they would start to become this sad thing, and instead I wanted them to be these sort of evanescent moments. And since then I’ve seen Anoka Faruqee, and her work is so brilliant, but working with the same idea with gradiation and stuff like that—her work leaning more towards abstraction and mine staying with a figurative basis because I think it’s the only thing I know how to paint. It doesn’t occur to me to paint anything else.
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: Chris Hagerty, Evan J. Garza, Middle East, Q&A, war
Mall and Explosion, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches
Featured in edition #86 of New American Paintings, Chris Hagerty reveals an intense duality in each work he creates: unyielding and radiant color and the earth-toned, inescapable terror of war scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan. At odds in both palette and subject matter, Hagerty’s paintings are as intense as they are eerily humorous. We caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist this week to catch up and talk about his work. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: In your work you conflate war scenes with shopping mall architectural layouts. How did you arrive at this combination?
I started making paintings of shopping mall architecture as a type of meditative response to the shared environment that people place themselves in. The commercial interiors are an environment that I ‘keyed up’ to a type of unreal space, much like landscape paintings of the past based on actual locations could become fantastic and unrealistic through the depiction by the artist. The photographs of war began to appear just like another field of color in the environment. The synthesis of these photos with those of the shopping mall images felt like a natural combination of two related elements. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is figuratively in the background of our minds as Americans while it is literally in the background of the paintings.
Garden Of Babylon (double JDAM), 2010 | Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches
For this year’s Midwest edition of New American Paintings, we are excited to feature Lisa Dorin, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, as this edition’s juror, and her selections reflect the exceptional quality of applicants from this part of the country. We are also pleased to feature Editor’s Selections with each competition’s winners, a handful of artists selected by our editorial staff, introduced in our last issue.
The Spotlight feature for this edition focuses on the work of Kansas City, MO artist Peregrine Honig, whose work conflates social hierarchies with fashion and art world affections. Recently featured as a contestant in the inaugural season of Bravo’s reality television series Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Honig lets us in on her time under the microscope and the work the experience produced. (Read a sneak peek here!)
Also included is a brief Q&A with juror Lisa Dorin, providing further insight into her perspective as a contemporary art enthusiast, both professionally and personally, including descriptions of her favorite works in the AIC collection and her own. New American Paintings is excited to include her insights with this edition.
Evan J. Garza
Filed under: Noteworthy, Q&A | Tags: collage, Devin Troy Strother, Evan J. Garza, Los Angeles, painting, Skowhegan
Boom for Real, 2010 | Enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on paper, 21.75 x 37 inches. Courtesy Richard Heller Gallery.
To say that the work of Los Angeles-based artist Devin Troy Strother is loud is an enormous understatement. In every work, with every color and each piece of cut paper, Strother constructs rich narratives that, quite literally, cannot be contained by the panels they’re made on. Featured as a Noteworthy artist in edition #85 of New American Paintings, Strother makes paintings that are highly confrontational, not only for their brilliant visual qualities but for the subject matter at hand. I caught up with the artist this week by phone to talk about his work. —Evan J. Garza
EJG: You just finished up a residency at Skowhegan. How was that?
I’ve been working this past year on my solo show opening on Saturday, so I went [to Skowhegan] June to August. Skowhegan’s kind of a place to go and open up and experiment and try different things. Going there having to make work for a show, going there with a preset list of things that you need to accomplish [was] kind of a different thing than going there to make some shit and see what happens.
Big Hustle, Little Hustle, You Know Them Girls Be Puttin’ in Work, 2010 | Enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on panel, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy Richard Heller Gallery.
EJG: Was the work you made at Skowhegan different than the work you’d been making previously?
I would say yes because the work is on this perpetual growth almost, where every piece I do is really different from the last one… All the studio visits really informed the work; a lot of feedback from a lot of people, as opposed to making work in the studio where it’s just mild feedback or just one person seeing it.
EJG: The titles are pretty great. Where do they come from?
The titles come before the work is made. I have a book that I keep of funny shit I hear or comments that I hear that are kind of interesting. It starts with a phrase or a title, and I try to genrate an image that relates to the whole narrative, this world that I’m trying to make. The titles come from things I hear in rap songs or things I hear family members say, things friends say.
California Dreaming/Love, 2010 | Enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on paper, 16 x 10 inches. Courtesy Richard Heller Gallery.