New American Paintings/Blog


In the Studio: A visit with Chris Buening by New American Paintings
September 27, 2012, 8:25 am
Filed under: In the Studio | Tags: , , , ,

Chris Buening’s (NAP #85) three large pieces at Prole Drift weave in and out of themselves, mesmerizing snarls of color and line and coiling worms. Illustration of Events Happening is the title of the show, as well as the name of a diagrammatic installation on one wall that consists of 29 resin and plaster discs connected by a network of brushstrokes. Embedded in each disc, like fossils trapped in translucent bands of sedimentary strata, are layers of correction fluid drawings, rainbow foil, glitter and Sharpie. To either side of the installation are two large paintings on paper. One of the paintings has been meticulously cut out to form a hydra-like lacework of earthworms (as colorful as Gummi Worms). Facing it is a prismatic, molecular abstraction pulsing with bright spots and worms. Worms are everywhere.


Chris Buening and Illustration of Events Happening (wall installation), 2012, wood, powder pigment, foil, epoxy resin, correction fluid, and watercolor, size varies.

As the title suggests, Illustration of Events Happening sheds light on some recent events in Buening’s life. I met him at his studio to discuss it. – Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

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Top 10 NAP Posts of 2011 by New American Paintings

Even though we are looking forward to 2012, it’s still fun to look back. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our blog contributors for making our site a great place to find commentary on relevant contemporary painting. These very talented writers and videographers from all over the country include Ellen Caldwell, Brian Fee, Josh Reames, Erin Langner, Nadiah Fellah, Graham Kolbeins (Future Shipwreck), Hallie Miller, Catherine Wagley, Paul Boshears, Joey Veltkamp, Alex Ebstein, and Matthew Smith.

On that note, after the jump we list the top 10 most viewed posts by our contributors in 2011. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, please check them out now! And, it’s never too late to comment.


story-telling booth in Oakland at which participants were invited to share their ‘99% Story’

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Strange, New Islands by Bluhm and Griffith by New American Paintings
September 21, 2011, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: , , , , , ,

For SOIL‘s latest show, Islands, Seattle artists Susanna Bluhm (NAP #53, 67, 91) and Cable Griffith are creating mystical terra firma. Strange, new islands, populated with references to Guston, early video games, and feminism, are all tied together with a unified of palette of blues, greens and grays. Where Griffith is tight and controlled, Bluhm is loose and expansive. I’m quite sure at night, the two shows whisper across the gallery to each other, “You complete me.” – Joey Veltkamp, Seattle Contributor


Cable Griffith | Aeaea, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 36”

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This is Prizmism: Joseph Park by openstudiospress
July 8, 2011, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Art World, Seattle | Tags: , ,


Joseph Park, Vanessa, 2009, Oil on board, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Seattle artist Joe Park recently walked me through his studio before he shipped out his latest show to Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco. The title, This is Prizmism, is a sly nod to the art world’s predilection to create more and more schools of -isms. Originally inspired by a J.G. Ballard story, Park has been developing his prizmism style for the past couple of years. Hallmarks are fractal, geometric explosions of light which create a crystalline cubism.  —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

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The New Organic: In the Studio with Ken Kelly by openstudiospress

Studio view. Ken Kelly, work in progress.

Ken Kelly‘s studio is a quick walk from his Seattle home. Sandwiched between two freeways, it’s a surprisingly quiet enclave of artists (Gretchen BennettJeffry MitchellMatthew Offenbacher, and Jenny Heishman) that occupies the top floor of Roy McMakin’s Big Leaf Mfg shop.

Kelly was primarily known for his 15-year run of heavily patterned paintings, full of hidden angular skulls and third eyes created through faux symmetry. The work felt ancient and a bit mystical. Then in 2007, in what seemed to be an overnight change, Kelly abandoned his trademark calligraphic curves for freehand strokes of angular fields rendered with a minimal palette. The new work pushed his previous mysticism into a state of vibrancy that shimmers, hums and pulses.

More after the jump! —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

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Northern Exposure: Seattle’s Ambach & Rice Make the Move to L.A. by openstudiospress

Installation view, Eric Yahnker: Cracks of Dawn, Ambach & Rice satellite exhibition @ Kunsthalle LA, Los Angeles.

Ambach & Rice is a Seattle-based gallery that first opened its doors back in 2003 as a modest book store/gallery. Over the past eight years, Seattle has had the unique opportunity to watch them grow into one of the city’s premier galleries. Their diverse roster blends international artists like Ron van der Ende and Karen Sargsyan, with Northwest artists like Jeffry Mitchell and Grant Barnhart. The gallery has always seemed to prefer the periphery to the limelight. When they outgrew their old space, instead of relocating to the Seattle’s traditional art district in Pioneer Square, they moved to outlying Ballard, an historic Scandinavian seafaring community which has slowly gentrified into a mix of eclectic shops, upscale restaurants and dive bars with live music.

Their tendency to stay on the edges, however, is about to change. It’s the final weekend for Ambach & Rice in Seattle, and when they re-open in Los Angeles this September, it will be in a very central location on Wilshire Boulevard. With this move, Ambach & Rice join other west coast galleries, like San Francisco’s Jancar Jones, who have opted to make L.A. their new home.

The final Ambach & Rice show in Seattle, The Strong, Star-Bright Companions by Ellen Lesperance, will close this Sunday. Before they skip town, I wanted to chat with Charlie Kitchings, co-owner, and his wife, Amanda, about their impending move to Los Angeles, their ability to adapt, and what led them to the move in the first place.  —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

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COULDA-SHOULDA-WOULDA: Joey Veltkamp In the Studio with Whiting Tennis by openstudiospress

A mid-career artist who shows with Derek Eller and Greg Kucera, Whiting Tennis was kind enough to spare a couple of hours to show me what he’s been working on lately, and I stopped by his North Seattle home and studio last week.

As we opened a couple of tall boys, Whiting began talking about what’s on his mind, and what he’d like most right now is time and lots of it. He explained that he’s got three months to prepare for a big Fall show at the Tang Museum. Tennis has tons of great ideas but worries about having enough hours to execute each of them. Like many artists, when pushing in new directions, doubt can creep in. One might think, “Will this work? Is this any good?” I’m a bit more confident in Tennis—I predict his solo show for the Tang, Opener 22: Whiting Tennis, will be one of his best shows yet.  —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

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