New American Paintings/Blog

In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Erin Murray by New American Paintings

Erin Murray’s (NAP #69, #98) oil paintings have a way of making the everyday environment feel surreal, fluid, informal, and in flux.  Regular land- and cityscapes are painted to feel slightly off, making the viewer feel faintly uneasy compositionally, yet vaguely at home geographically.

Erin Murray | Settling (good neighbors), 2013, oil on panel, 24” x 24”

Familiar scenes – a pool, a backyard, a house, a farm – look commonplace, but feel so subtly upended that it leaves me, as a viewer, uncertain about the lonely and troubling feeling I have in contemplating and taking in her works.  Regardless of my feelings while processing Murray’s works and subjects, the end result of her works is something for which most artists strive and most viewers yearn – her paintings are thought provoking, conceptual, and meditative, all in one. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Matthew Bourbon by New American Paintings

Matthew Bourbon (NAP #90, #102) creates a wonderful balance in his paintings – he fills organic shapes and figures with loud, bold, geometric shapes.  Rather than seeming meddlesome or intrusive, though, these shapes look and feel quite at home in the spaces they occupy.

1. The Psychologist 2012
Matthew Bourbon | The Psychologist, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 48.5″ x 30″

Bourbon shared his step-by-step process for and thoughts behind his painting Ms. Motives in this Process of a Painting piece…There are quiet andwonderful moments throughout his process – one of my favorites being the point in the painting where he has painted Ms. Motives’ legs so naturalistically, before covering them in their metaphorical and painterly geometric “tights.” –  Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Laura Lark by New American Paintings

Laura Lark (NAP #102) has been making pointillist portraits and video installations for the past decade.  Painstakingly detailed and almost obsessive in artistic process and dot application (similar in methodology but even more precise than someone like Bonard Hughins), her portraits result in a delicate and even nostalgic aesthetic that walks a fine line; the softness of the images is almost undermined by the painstaking efforts it takes Lark to complete them.  Seeing the miniscule details and knowing the time and potential agony involved in creating such works opens a window to viewers and makes the work far more complex than the surface of a portrait.

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Installation view of Simulacra, Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. Ted Kincaid | Laura Lark | Shawn Smith, Curated by Michael Henderson, October 3 – 27, 2011.

Her work evokes mixed emotions: I found myself feeling sensitivity towards those portrayed, while also feeling a foreboding sense of anxiety as I contemplated the familiarity of the subject’s face and wondered why/how/and if I knew them, even though I knew I didn’t… Here, Lark’s end product, is not the portrait itself, but the video that captures both her process and the passage of time.  In documenting her creation of and reflection upon ephemera, there is something of a meta-narrative running through her work that speaks not just to time, but to memory, fleetingness, and permanence all at once. – Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor Continue reading

In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Jeffrey Deane Hall by New American Paintings

Working with iconic images to unite similar subject matter, painter Jeffrey Deane Hall (NAP# 100) combines mathematical and painterly techniques to merge media and themes together.  His paintings are a mix of assemblage and collage and they have an architectural and puzzle-like aesthetic.

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Jeffrey Deane Hall | Man Recast, oil painting on panel, 18×24″, 2012.


In “Man Recast,” Hall explores the subject of marriage through two well-known and lauded works: Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Wedding (or The Arnolfini Portrait), 1434, and Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelor’s, Even (or The Large Glass), 1915 to 1923.  During his 45-day process, Hall superimposes shapes and contours from both existing works to begin creating new shapes, lines, and planes where the painting fragments intersect.

He reworks these masters by creatively reexamining the art historic canon, bringing both the subject and work to the present, and challenging viewers to consider what makes a marriage last—and even, perhaps, what makes a painting last?  In this Process of a Painting, Hall explains his process and methodology as he recasts van Eyck and Duchamp in Man Recast– Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Karen Ann Myers by New American Paintings

Karen Ann Myers’ (NAP #100) series of scantily clad, young females rest on their beds, but seem unrested and uneasy.  They look to the viewer in a confrontational and semi-seductive manner, as if being photographed or watched voyeuristically—thus positioning the viewer in an awkward role as the voyeur getting a glimpse into or playing an active role in the intimate space of these young women.

1. Karen Ann Myers Geo Stripe Day 20
Karen Ann Myers, “Geo Stripe” (36″ x 24″, oil on panel), 2012.

Her subjects have been described as “troubled figures” and “virginal lovelies,” though honestly, to me, they quite poignantly and sharply depict young adults.  Isn’t that what your later teenage and twenty-something years are?  Awkward, sexual, daring, shameful, richly emotional, and totally complex… and Myers captures all of this quite accurately, beautifully, and seamlessly.  There is a quietness in her compositions, despite the loudness of the geographic textiles, wooden floors, and colored walls.  And it is a pleasure to explore them all. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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In the Studio: The Process of a Painting with Robert Josiah Bingaman by New American Paintings

In his painting “Texas,” Robert Josiah Bingaman (NAP #90, #101) traces and records the feelings surrounding his night wanderings and musings as he is in different states across the U.S.  So far, Bingaman has completed eight of this Nocturne series, with “Texas” being the most recent and most intricately recorded, process-wise.

As part of our Process of a Painting series at NAP, we were eager to share Bingaman’s journey in beginning and completing “Texas.”  For the most part, his process, video, and images speak for themselves.  But he has provided additional narrative to accompany some of the images below as well.
– Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Robert Josiah Bingaman | Texas, 2012, acrylic on linen, 61 x 102 in. Continue reading

In the Studio: The Process of a Painting with Aurélien Couput by New American Paintings

The topic of visibility and invisibility is something I am really drawn to in art – what an artist chooses to make visible or invisible is a theme that I find to be fascinating, densely packed, and layered.

Aurélien Couput’s (NAP #99) painting Enola Gay falls in this category.  As the title suggests, the subject of his work is the Boeing B-29 bomber used to bomb Hiroshima.  However, Couput eliminates the object, central focus, and namesake altogether, shifting the subject of his work to the aftereffects brought on by Enola Gay.

Aurélien Couput | Enola Gay, 2012, Oil on canvas, 75 1/2 in. x 133 in.

In making Enola Gay invisible, Couput makes the horror, tragedy, and force of the event visible and central.  Below, we follow his progress and process of completing his painting, accompanied by his own words and sentiments. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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