New American Paintings/Blog


Ria Brodell’s Butch Heroes by New American Paintings
August 16, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: , , ,

In her series Butch Heroes, Ria Brodell (NAP #74 & #98) reinterprets Catholic holy cards in larger, hand-painted versions that look to buried and near-endangered histories of earlier generations of LGBTQ heroes, role models, and martyrs.


Ria Brodell | Helen Oliver aka John Oliver, c.1795- c.1820 (Scotland), gouache on paper, 11 x 7 inches, 2011.

Mimicking the same poses and styles of saints in existing holy cards, Brodell imbues her new “cards” with the biographical stories and portraits of LGBTQ heroes who she has found by scouring history books, archives, and the internet.  She noted that because terms, phrasing, and identification has obviously changed so drastically over the years, her heroes were not self-identified as LGBTQ, but rather they lived a life that defied society’s traditional gender roles in some way and partook in a same-sex relationship.  Brodell is careful to triple-check her sources and takes every effort to present a true history in her series—and as such, she is doing a real service for everyone—both in and outside of the art world.  In a poignant part of our interview, she imagined a childhood where her set of Butch Heroes cards were interspersed with her holy cards.  What a different, more compassionate, sensitive, and tolerant world and church we might have if this were a true history. – Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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Northeast Issue #98 Sneek Peek! by New American Paintings

The 2012 Northeast Issue, #98, is now hitting newsstands across the US. We expect them to ship to subscribers in the next 1 to 2 weeks, so check those mailboxes! The juror for the Northeast issue was Dina Deitsch, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA.

Deitsch notes in her essay, “While the Northeast can be characterized by its cold weather, ties to the earliest days of American history, a collection of some very good schools, and perhaps, what is politely termed a Yankee frugality or better yet, pragmatism, the truth of the matter is that the art here bears no such defining characteristics. In the realm of painting, where the limits are the mind and hand, there is a remarkable range of forward-thinking ideas, subject matter, and technique. In the grouping of painters featured in this issue of New American Paintings you’ll come across works that speak more to the human experience—both local and global—and a broadening effect of thinking through painting as a material, as color, and less as a means to an end. This shift towards the materiality of paint seems to almost reinvigorate the medium, taking it into the space of the world itself.”

— View a list of all featured artists after the jump!

You can pre-order the issue by calling 617-778-5265.

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