New American Paintings/Blog

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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Artist vs. Studio: Margie Livingston by openstudiospress

Margie Livingston, Study for Spiral Block #2, 2010 | Acrylic, 5.75 x 6 x 6 inches. Photo: Richard Nichol.

Overlooking Seattle’s industrial, corporate SoDo neighborhood, Margie Livingston’s long, spacious studio rests in a building of independent, office-like workspaces. A canopy of overhanging grid sculptures and an adjacent geometric bookshelf at the studio’s entrance reference Livingston’s grid-based paintings of several years prior. Her most recent three-dimensional Paint Objects appear with greatest frequency at the opposite end of the room. Moving through her space, from entrance to window, Livingston’s studio offers an unconsciously structured progression of her approach to painting, beginning with the most theoretical objects and ending with the most physical. —Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

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Letting Go of the Weight: Painting at SOIL, Seattle by openstudiospress

TOP: (installation view) Julie Alpert and Andy Arkley, Flat & Bright. Courtesy of the artists. BOTTOM: Joey Veltkamp, The Ghost of Claude, acrylic and resin on bisque ceramic. Courtesy of the artist. Photos: Amanda Ringstad.

When Seattle’s first ever exhibition of Picasso’s work closed at the end of January, the city had been thoroughly saturated with the weight of both the artist’s legacy and the museum blockbuster experience. Leaving a heavy association with painting to linger in the city, this month Seattle’s SOIL provides an antidote with the March shows Flat & Bright and The Ghosts of Joey Veltkamp. Here, painting lets its guard down, leaving behind the tradition of the three-dimensional canvas in exchange for a pursuit of proudly flat forms closely tied to video games and cartoons. More after the jump!  Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

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Painting like a Sculptor: In the Studio with Peter Opheim by openstudiospress

For all the implied detail that jpegs provide, there’s nothing quite like seeing a painting in person. I was certain that when I set out to visit German-born artist Peter Opheim at his Chinatown studio in New York, I had a pretty good handle on what I would expect to see. But appearances can be deceiving, and a closer inspection of the surface of his works was not unlike being whispered a very important secret, with all the weight of the work carried with it. The surface quality of these paintings is both remarkable and remarkably important to the understanding of his work.

When viewed in their entirety, or seen from a distance, Opheim’s large-scale paintings reveal very little about their surfaces. Based on individual sculptural maquettes made of clay (which I had the rare pleasure of seeing in the studio), the artist’s colorful subjects are rendered with a very small brush, effectively making his painted works seem more like hand-made objects. Each tiny brushstroke appears as if Opheim has instead sculpted the paint with his fingers, casting a very sculptural glow over his oil paintings.

For Opheim, the result is less about an accurate representation of his clay maquettes and more about the careful abstraction of his compositions. For decades, the artist worked almost exclusively with abstracted imagery, and his recent work deeply recalls that spirit. I caught up with Opheim as he was preparing for a solo show at VOLTA NY with Steven Zevitas Gallery. More after the jump!

—Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-large

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Q&A: A Conversation with Zane Lewis by openstudiospress
October 27, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mirror, Mirror, 2009 | Mixed Media, 69 x 51 x 2.5 inches. Private Collection.

Zane Lewis wants to go the distance. He admittedly thinks like a DJ when creating his work, a veritable zoo of different painterly and sculptural methods that are equally chaotic as they are startlingly refined. (“Zany” would almost be too appropriate here.) Featured in editions #66 and #72 of New American Paintings, Lewis has taken the last year to remove himself from the “gallery game” to focus on making new work. Not long for any one specific studio practice, Lewis is constantly changing his work, moving from method to method, in search of a more challenging application and context. Featured in 2006 as a “(23-Year-) Old Master” in The Wall Street Journal, I caught up with the New York-based San Antonio native last week to find out what he’s been up to and why he’s into “wall power”.  —Evan J. Garza

EJG: Tell me about what you’ve been working on recently.
My work has changed so significantly this last year, at least it feels like that for me. Obviously there’s conceptual and aesthetic threads that remain, but it’s very different from the type of work I was making when I was featured in New American Paintings. One year I got the back cover [of the magazine], and it was a large image of a detail shot of one of my drip paintings. They were these paint my number pieces that looked like they were spilling paint out of the shadowboxes they were in. And then when I got the cover [of #72], it was the cut painting style of work with the cut Paris Hilton piece. I am no longer making either of those bodies of work. (Laughing)

Paris, 2007 | Cut acrylic paint, 63 x 63 inches

I tend to work like that as an artist. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of coming up with a certain way of working that’s approaching things in an unconventional way, dishing it out, doing a series, and then I get bored and I want to move on and I want to kind come up with something new and stimulating for me in a new way. So I haven’t made the cut paint paintings in about two years now, and longer since I made the paint by number paintings. I do typically, in my work, have that drip aesthetic. That is still there.

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