New American Paintings/Blog

Unpacked Cargo: Mary Iverson Inside and Out by New American Paintings

Shipping containers have a strange relationship to the city of Seattle.  Their accompanying series of orange and white cranes frame our skyline as highly visible but distantly silent landmarks.  With imported products from Asia on the rise and easier movement across the Arctic Ocean due to climate change, the ever-larger stacks of building block-like crates and their colossal vessels that once seemed to be background noise for the city have become poignant emblems of the present.  Washington artist Mary Iverson (NAP MFA Annual 2001) was ahead of the game on the relevance of the shipping container, interjecting it into familiar natural landscapes in her paintings and public art for years. Like many of the scenes she depicts, her work is running up and down the west coast this month, with concurrent shows in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco—a testament to its resonance right now. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Mary Iverson, John Day River, 2012, acrylic, ink and magazine photo on panel, 9.5 x 7.5 in. Image courtesy of Shooting Gallery.

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Anonymous Source: Anna Fidler’s Topographic Celebrities by New American Paintings
November 7, 2012, 8:36 am
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: , , ,

It is difficult to decide whether Anna Fidler’s (NAP #61) new show Cherry Bomb references the firecracker definition or the “smokin’ hot lady” definition of the term. The Portland artist’s meticulously constructed acrylic, pencil and cutout paper portraits on view at Seattle’s Prole Drift gallery literally portray women as their subject matter—nostalgic pop musicians including Heart, Joan Jett, and Karen Carpenter.  Yet, a sinister tone resides within the figures’ construction, a highly textural technique that combines psychedelic blasts of color with dark, map-like details that abstract Fidler’s imagery beyond simple appropriation. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Anna Fidler | Heart, 60 x 80”, Acrylic and colored pencil on paper, 2012

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Alchemy of Paint: A Studio Visit with Margie Livingston and Isaac Quigley by New American Paintings

Margie Livingston (NAP #61) has spent the last couple of years pouring, compacting and carving paint. Her experimentation with the limit of paint’s sculptural malleability has culminated in a (still-evolving) process by which she manufactures sheets of marbled, plastic acrylic that are later rolled, folded and cut into a number of forms, often posts or logs. Isaac Quigley indulges the materiality of paint in a different way, often pushing his canvases toward the brink of assemblage or bricolage. His paintings, which take up to a year to complete, are splashed with landslides of color, overlaid with delicate drawing, and embedded with paper, plastic and textiles.

We convened at Livingston’s studio in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle to discuss some of the shared characteristics of their work. Quite the host, Livingston has laid out a spread of Coconut Bliss, homemade peach tarts and tea for us. It’s the first time the two artists have met, and they start talking right away about paper towels and Rauschenberg. – Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

Margie Livingston and Isaac Quigley.

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Where to draw the line: A Conversation with Bette Burgoyne and Jed Dunkerley by New American Paintings

I sit down at a bar at the north end of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with two artists whose work is the definition of obsessive, both in technique and content. Neither of them identify as OCD or autistic.

The venue is called Joe Bar. Located next to Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and owned, staffed, and curated by a handful of Cornish grads since 1997, Joe Bar is the most likely of unlikely places you’ll find excellent art tucked away in the city. Unlikely because it serves crepes and beer, has garish green walls, and is super cozy, none of which are particularly helpful settings for displaying artwork. But none of that stops some of Seattle’s most interesting artists from hanging their work there. -Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

Joe Bar

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Leanne Grimes: The Journey to Radiant Earth by New American Paintings
July 30, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: , , ,

Two newcomers to the Seattle scene are worth checking out this month: Blindfold Gallery, now mounting its fourth exhibit since opening in April, and Leanne Grimes, who graduated last year from the University of Washington’s MFA painting program.

Grimes’ paintings often depict landscapes built out of heaps of rich, chunky paint and loud color. But for the paintings in The Journey to Radiant Earth, a show that lightheartedly glosses over the fetishization and elusiveness of memory, she punched the color up even more with day-glo oranges, yellows and pink. They’re the colors of plastic toys and melting popsicles. These paintings depict apocalyptic black night skies spattered with emerald stars, candy-raver mountains and surreal beaches. They range in size from petite to a huge, unstretched canvas pinned across an entire wall of the gallery. – Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

Leanne Grimes | CherryTop, 2012, oil on mylar, 11 x 14 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

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In the Studio: Q&A With Susanna Bluhm by New American Paintings
June 21, 2012, 8:25 am
Filed under: In the Studio, Q&A | Tags: , , , , ,

This month in the back gallery at Prole Drift, Susanna Bluhm is showing her latest installment in an ongoing series of works based on passages from The Bible’s nightmare-and-sex-heavy Song of Solomon. You may remember her lush paintings of islands (not part of the biblical series) reviewed alongside work by Cable Griffith at SOIL Gallery last September. This new work at Prole Drift cites the darker passages of the Song of Solomon and comprises fifteen prints pulled from a single plate that’s been etched with images of an infant’s incubator, breathing tubes, little foxes, twigs, creeping ivy and bottles of milk. The prints themselves are wildly different, having been inked or wiped with varying degrees of thickness, then collaged or painted over.

On a work table in Bluhm’s studio is a small children’s Bible bound in red leather that she says she picked up at a local Goodwill. It’s spread open to a chapter in The Song of Solomon and has been heavily annotated with red ink and underlined in pencil, outlining plans for paintings. – Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

Susanna Bluhm

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Flat Time Blue: Buddy Bunting at Prole Drift by New American Paintings
May 16, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: Interview, Seattle | Tags: , , ,

The centerpiece of Buddy Bunting’s Flat Time Blue at Prole Drift (on view through May 27th) is a panoramic watercolor and flashe painting that stretches twelve feet across the wall. The painting depicts a prison washed out and warmed up with scalding bright yellow sun, its structural starkness rendered sheer and almost weightless. It’s the tenth in a series Bunting has been developing since 2004. In this piece, as well as in the smaller sketches hung in Prole Drift’s back room, Bunting transforms the sterile architecture of correctional facilities and American industrial sprawl into visionary landscapes where the political and social narratives nested within the physicality of buildings meld with a sense of the imaginary. – Amanda Manitach, Seattle Contributor

Buddy Bunting | Idaho Correctional Center, Kuna, Idaho, 2011-12, watercolor, flashe and pencil on paper, 52 x 145 in.
Image courtesy of Prole Drift.

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