Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Buy Local Think International
TAG Group Show 2012

January 3 - 28, 2012

Featuring: All 40 TAG Artists

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 2012, 5-8 PM

The forty diverse artists of Santa Monica based TAG Gallery will display their latest work in a group exhibition from January 3 - 28, 2012. Housed in TAG’s stunning space at Bergamot station, Southern California’s largest art gallery complex, the exhibit will span all media and genres of painting, photography, sculpture with an opening to be held on January 7 from 5-8 pm.

As the foremost not-for-profit art gallery committed to local, contemporary work in Los Angeles, TAG is breaking new ground by integrating the world of contemporary art into the scene of the thriving Buy Local movement. TAG offers a mindful, contemporary approach to participating in the international art market, by committing to sustainability and a vibrant, diverse local community.

Founded in 1993 by five women, The Artists’ Gallery has grown to a membership of forty artists, both men and women, working in all media and genres. The artists of TAG are inspired by each other’s work and the vivid Southern California environment. Work is priced reasonably with 80% of the sales price going directly to the artist, and the remainder toward the functioning of the cooperative. TAG is committed to making art available to people from all walks of life.

By participating in the TAG community, clients and fans support a holistic approach to the contemporary art world, and the positive effects of international cultural exchange.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hyper-America: Cookies, Wires & Landscapes
New Exhibit at TAG Gallery
November 29 - December 24, 2011

Featuring John Clendening, Cameey McGilvray, Joan Vaupen
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 3, 2011, 5-8 PM

John Clendening, The Lake at Sundown, 2011, oil on panel, 24 x 18 in.

American Landscapes
John Clendening
Combining still life images with landscapes in a form he calls the “Stillscape”, artist John Clendening forges a connection between the traditions of American landscape painting and those of European still life. As the former Smithsonian Chief of Design, Clendening has an intrinsic relationship with American art and history. His current show, American Landscapes, surveys American national parks, including Zion, Joshua Tree, Snow Canyon, and Indian Canyon. He reveals how the natural world can inspire on any scale, bringing the majestic together with the commonplace, juxtaposing monumental natural imagery with traditional still-life imagery. From stunning mountain peaks to crates of apples on a desk, John Clendening’s work emphasizes how the smallest detail is ultimately just as important as the large whole.

Camey McGilvray, Haywire 2011 Acrylic, wire and wood 36 x 26 x 6 in

WIred, Camey McGilvray
In WIRED, Sculptor Camey McGilvray challenges the multi-faceted, scattered, high-speed nature of contemporary culture. Using wires and wood in her kinetic constructions, McGilvray shows that twenty-four hour access to information is the blessing and curse of our time. A constant stream of communication may allow us to do more, send more, and process more, but ultimately, will expect more of us in return. While being wired informs our personal energy, it also limits the depth of our connections. By capturing individual slices of life in hyperdrive, McGilvray’s sculptures force us to realize that despite the benefits, digital communication is no substitute for the quality of an unedited, face-to-face interaction. While more words reach, fewer touch.

Joan Vaupen, Red Fortune Cookie, 2011, Plexiglass and mixed media, 12 x 12 x 6 in.

Fortune, Joan Vaupen
Fortune Cookies. Plexiglass. What do they have in common? Mixed-media artist Joan Vaupen revels in the two, in her new exhibit, Fortune at TAG Gallery. Vaupen brings the kitschy cookie into the realm of 21st century art - molding the the soft plastic of plexiglas into the hardened, sensual shapes of that frustrating, sweet paradox: the fortune cookie. We want to eat it, but we don’t want to eat it. We want to open it, and we want to keep it closed. The circuitous forms of Vaupen’s plexiglas cookies simultaneously hide and reveal, are feminine yet hard. Larger than life, they suspend themselves from the wall, requesting us to open them and discover the platitudes of life. Fortune forces us to recognize that even though the unknown shall always be unknown . . . it will always be enticing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview With Cheryl Medow

Cheryl Medow 
Great Egrets of the World, Ed of 5 
Digital Pigment Print, Deckled Edge 29 ¼ x 24”

Of all the animals and birds you photograph, do you have a favorite?

The birds are the most difficult to shoot and I love a challenge.  When they are in full mating colors it's the best.  Their feather, beaks and eyes can be unbelievable.  The cats are amazing as well.  I have to travel a far distance to see them in the wild.  Where they live is as spectacular as how they dress.  The leopard is the most beautiful with his coloring and incredible eyes.  When I am eye to eye with these cats, I stop breathing. And I have to remember to press the shutter.

I know you often travel to search out birds and animals to photograph. Where are some of the places that your work has taken to you in the past year or two?  

For the birds, they live everywhere.  I have been shooting them in Kenya, Botswana, and the Pantanal in Brazil and as close as the Malibu Lagoon.

Have you noticed any changes to the conservation areas that you visit, or in the numbers and/or varieties of animals?  

The numbers of animals depends on drought and of course loss of habitat.  The oil spill in the gulf certainly disturbed the ecosystem there.  Malibu is in the process of wanted to change the lagoon.  I for one have been against this so as not to disturb the habitat and as well, keep the lagoon in the wonderful state it is with great wooden bridges going thru the marsh, rather than only have a walkway around it.

Cheryl Medow 
Elusive Leopard, Ed of 5 
Digital Pigment Print, Deckled Edge 29 ¼ x 38”

What are some of the challenges you face in your work? (Technical, scheduling or time constraints, distances, weather, etc)  

Technically, the challenge is to be able to carry all my camera gear whether it be 1 mile or taking it on board a flight.  The gear is heavy.  My camera and 600mm lens weighs approx. 20-25 lbs.  Kenya and the continent are not close to Los Angeles but the Malibu Lagoon is.   Unfortunately I can't find the big cats in the wild in Malibu.  So making arrangement to fly across the world almost once a year for the past 15 years has been exciting and challenging.  

Is there a particular season, or time of day that you find better for finding your subject matter?  

I try not to go places in the rain.  Certainly not good for camera gear.  Early morning and late afternoon light are the moments that photographers relish.  The light is incredible when the sun is out of course.  The lions (morning light), the leopard (afternoon light) and the Great Blue Heron Of The World (morning light) are examples of the nature of light.

There is a new quality to your latest images, a texture. Have you learned any new techniques? If so, can you share them?  

My newest work began as field notes and postcards. I wanted to tell people about my travels so I incorporated an envelope pattern on the photographer's canvas. The envelope I used was one I found amongst my father-in-laws love letters to my mother-in-law from December 1930.  And here we are 81 years on. Life has texture and maps show us where we are.  In other words, the textures explore the fabric of life.  The maps are another means of travel and worldliness.  The images are placed in their world as a snapshot of time.  

Cheryl Medow's exhibition begins November 1.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Lives We Could Have Led
November 1 - November 26, 2011
Carol Kleinman, Michael Knight, Cheryl Medow

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, 2011, 5-8 PM
Artist Panel: Saturday, November 19, 2011, 2-3 PM

Carol Kleinman
Reflections of Hawaii

Upon first glance, Carol Kleinman's works might seem like photoshopped composite images. However, Kleinman takes a single picture of a single reflection, floating in the complexity of simplicity. Kleinman's images engage a careful kind of seeing, where unlike things interact and overlap in images simultaneously possible and impossible. Though they are real images without technological intervention, they only exist in reflections, and thus are in a way unreal. Kleinman invites viewers to join her in floating between exotic placeless places, somewhere between home base and utopian escape. Here Kleinman explores Hawaii, her origin and oasis, and a place where dreams fade in and out of reality with its surreal beauty and maternal warmth.

Michael Knight
As the Crow Flies

Moving from here to there, people and populations travel and disperse for myriad reasons, ccasionally or with regularity, legally or illegally, willing or under duress. Cultural patterns are reinforced or shifted by these journeys that range from daily commuting to the activity of nomads. Reflecting on this enduring human activity in his new show, As the Crow Flies, artist Michael Knight continues a multifaceted metaphorical exploration of the complexities of human migration. In this series of limited edition digiglyphs on canvas, Knight combines layered images of maps, hand drawn crows in migratory flight and calligraphic tracings that record growth, time and change. These images combine the uniqueness of a monoprint with the sophistication of the digital world, exposing our own, uncertain times. In Knight’s transitory world, nothing is taken for granted, and nothing remains the same.

Cheryl Medow
Wildest Dreams

In her upcoming exhibition Wildest Dreams, Cheryl Medow infuses her hyper-realistic images of wildlife with an acute, visceral energy.  From the jungles of Africa to the marshy thickets of the Malibu Lagoon, Medow seeks the textures of the landscape and its diverse creatures, saturating them with layers of color and imagery.  With every image we become attuned to the contours of the environment and the creatures within her magical dioramas.  

Medow is filled with a sense of belonging whether she is photographing nature in a nearby lagoon or in a far distant land.  Join Cheryl Medow in the journey through her wildest dreams.    

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carol Kleinman Interview

Carol Kleinman
Portal to Paradise, Hawaii 2011
single exposure digital image on canvas
60" x 30" Ed. of 5
Carol Kleinman's photographic works seem to float between exotic place-less places.

Are you still photographing window reflections?

I have been photographing reflections for almost 20 years. It all began in Russia...on a train from Moscow to St Petersburg. Looking at the reflections on the train windows, I saw the many layers of life flying by. There were the people in the train, the outside world and the cold steel of the dining car. They all collided in front of my eyes creating a collage of life. As an artist, I wanted to capture these complex moments of life and put them on canvas for others to experience. It took time to develop this work. Year after year I've found more mystery, depth and joy using reflections. I plan to continue to explore and expand this work for many years to come.

How do you decide where to go to photograph windows? What attracts you, or what elements are you hoping to find? Do you have a favorite places (or places) to go?

This series was taken in Hawaii - the place of my birth. Hawaii is a nurturing place of light, water, and trade winds. There is a uniqueness in the islands that is found nowhere else in the world. My home had a profound impact on who I am and is in every sense a part of me. With this series, I want to convey this remarkable place from my point of view through my "Reflections of Hawaii".

                  Carol Kleinman
                  Orchids, Glass, Water, Hawaii Reflection 2011
                  single exposure digital image on canvas
                   60" x 30" Ed. of 5
What technical decisions do you have to make – camera, lens, printing surfaces…?

Upon first glance the work might seem photoshopped composite images. They are not. Capturing a moment in time is one of the most important aspics of my work. I strive to accomplish this with one single exposure.

I work intuitively with a very good small, single lens camera which allows me to catch the serendipitous moment. It is similar to a treasure hunt. My work is all about the unexpected.

Printing on canvas adds texture to my work. It also blurs the line between painting and photography adding to the sense of mystery intrinsic in the reflections.

Carol Kleinman's exhibition opens November 1, 2011.

  Carol Kleinman at work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview With Michael Knight

Michael Knight
Limited Edition Digiglyph, Ed. Of 8  
28” x 36”
 Michael Knight's digiglyphs on canvas continue his multifaceted metaphorical exploration of the complexities of human migration.

Can you teach somebody to be an artist or is it an innate ability?

As an art teacher of more than three decades experience, I believe that just about anyone can be taught to make art. In the same way that humans have developed the ability to communicate verbally, they have also learned to communicate on a visual level. In fact, we only have to look to a young child to see that they often scribbling out their impressions of the world around them with a carefree abandon long before they are able to speak (innate artistic ability). Just as there are guidelines that help to organize verbiage, thus clarifying our thinking, so too we use the elements and principles of design to organize visual compositions and to clarify our thinking. These guidelines of visual communication have remained constant through history and along with content, form the basis of art criticism. How to apply these guidelines and the manipulation of materials and techniques can be imparted to others (artistic teaching). However, I also believe that there are inborn personal traits such as desire, commitment, aptitude, initiative and passion that will make developing these artistic capabilities easier to master.

Have you participated in migration yourself? Is your perspective on migration born from experience and/or observation?

Wow! Mapping the course of my relocations would produce quite a circuitous route and has provided a personal perspective on the implications of human migration. Born in Oakland, CA, I soon ended up in the Bronx, NY after a layover in Southern Arizona. Greenwich, CT, Old Saybrook, CT, Mamaroneck, NY were all stops before I came to LA and the San Fernando Valley. As a youth I traversed “The Valley” calling perhaps 12 different locations home. Next was LA 90034 and now LA 90066. Finding my way to and from those locations and being immersed in the environments and cultures that I found there has shaped many of my views on this shared human experience. Observing and reflecting upon how these same activities affect the lives, thoughts, actions and behaviors of others is at the crux of my current process. 

Crows are a recurring element in your work. Why crows? Why not parrots or penguins?

Crows first appeared in my artwork during my graphite/tornado series about five years ago. I became aware of them while out walking my dogs in my Mar Vista neighborhood. I would see large groups of black birds flying South and East in the morning and North and West in the evening. As I walked, I mused about the metaphorical connections between the way these cunning survivors would travel to insinuate themselves into an area, and find a way to thrive there. I also noticed that their arrival was met with mixed sentiment. This then led me to find connections to human migrations and especially immigration. To me, these crows became the ideal symbol to use as I questioned these essential issues in my art.

Michael Knight
HYY 80
Limited Edition Digiglyph, Ed. Of 8
26” x 36”
How do the digital and handmade aspects of your work complement each other? How does each support the other?

I have been involved with printmaking for about fifteen years. Initially I explored transfer prints, photo etching and monoprinting. More recently I became interested in digital printmaking, and in the digiglyph, I have found the perfect blend of handmade and digital art making. Creating hand drawn monoprints became a major focus. Along the way, I experimented with digital art making as well, finding the ability to layer imagery fascinating and similar to that which is present in monoprinting. In my current work I begin with a hand drawn monoprints of crows using only black ink on white paper. That image is then scanned and added digitally to images of maps that establish location, destination and movement. I use my artistic training to guide the manipulation of compositional issues and color considerations viewed on a monitor.  Concentric rings that represent time, growth, travel and change are then added, both digitally and by hand, to an image that is outsourced to paper or canvas.

Where do you your find inspiration for your works?

Process is the core of my inspiration. My goal is to create images that question the constant evolution of societal pressures, cultural identities and definitions of self, tempered by intellectual control and emotional response. I encourage the viewer to examine the world beyond the art and beyond the frame. To that end, my artwork explores distinctions between the inherent and the refined, the organic and the geometric, the worldly and the spiritual, the male and the female, the cerebral and the impassioned. This contrasting nature of the universe, as I perceive it, is ever present.

What is your thought process while making an artwork? Or, Can you take us through the steps you go through when creating a new piece?

I am always taking photos of crows with the overarching migration theme lurking in the back of my mind. In the studio these two occurrences intersect as I create a monoprint drawing and gather the resources that will form the final composition. Next, images are scanned, and the digital fun begins. Although I start with a concrete plan, I also embrace, even seek, the unexpected discoveries I find while manipulating the numerous digital layers in the computer. I find combining new and age old technologies intellectually and physically satisfying. They seem to round out both sides of my Gemini personality and provide a yin/yang balance to my life. The finished prints are a bonus. 

Whom do you make art for?

I make art mostly for myself as a way of reconciling my ideas and understandings of the world around me with those of others. Rather than offering visual opinions, I prefer to pose questions to those who view my work. I would like them to share in my questioning of our world and its constructs. It is my way of saying, “Did you ever notice this?” and if so,  “What do you think about it?” 

Michael Knight
Photo by Danny Moloshok

Michael Knight's exhibition opens November 1, 2011.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Human-Nature Urban-Suburban New Exhibit at TAG Gallery
October 4 - October 29, 2011
Featuring Artists: Carole Garland, Diane Rudnick Mann, Della Rolle, Ellen Starr

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 15, 2011, 5-8 PM
Artist Panel: Saturday, October 22, 2011, 2-3 PM
An Afternoon with Wild Art and Wild Animals: Sunday, October 23, 3-5 pm

In LAyers, Carole Garland’s paintings give us an overview of Los Angeles, city of mirages. They capture both the transitory nature of the marine atmosphere and the permanence of the mountain topography. Fascinated with the natural geometry of the local environs, Garland paints urbanscapes of familiar sites overlooking Culver City, Mulholland, Pacific Palisades and Ocean Park.

Garland’s oil paintings display a city that rests amidst a complex environment. Pink stucco houses, crowded streets and towering palm trees starkly contrast the bold mountains and heavy fog that linger in the distance. The patches of paint which mimic Cezanne’s color block technique diffuse light as it shines through the marine layer shrouding the city.

Everyday Things Come Alive, Diane Rudnick Mann

Diane Rudnick Mann places everyday things in a limitless cosmos: cherries, peppermint candies and vegetables appear as if carved out of dark matter.  Pastels, usually reserved for soft-focus effects and blurry lines, are applied with meticulous intensity and vigor.  Edges of objects alternately cut through the black background leaving crystallized reflections or seep into nothingness, losing contrast as they are pushed out of view.

Stripped of time, place, and function, the minutiae of everyday life become the focus of our attention.  We are forced to look, to gaze intently at the usual, otherwise, as Mann describes, “you would walk by and never notice."

Animalia, Della Rolle

In Anamalia, Della Rolle highlights the odd yet prevalent parallels between human characteristics and animal behavior. Exposed to both wild and domestic animals that live in and around her home in Los Angeles, Della sees remarkable crossovers between her neighbors and her furry friends who live in her backyard. Amused by these similarities, Della captures both humor and beauty in the animals that she sculpts.

Through her bronze and terra cotta sculptures, she reveals the unique personalities of animals such as the Mule Ear Deer Fawn, Cougar Cub, Gray Fox Cub, and Brush Bunny. By associating human mannerisms to animals, the creatures do not only become entertaining but also familiar. Linking human and animal personalities together, Della is satirically commenting on the connectedness of the city, suburban neighborhoods and nearby nature. Whether it is Della’s unique lighthearted view of the world or the fact that humans and animals are related, Anamalia presents a playful view of our society, both two-legged and four-legged.

Vacation Memories, Ellen Starr

Ellen Starr transports us to primitive "vacationscapes". Her Rousseau-inspired foliage provides a glimpse into these untouched locales, like a postcard from an untouched land. From the sands of the Gulf Coast of Florida and the terrains of the Sierras to the shores of Hawaii, these acrylic on canvas paintings beckon a primitive serenity outside the domain of tourism or even humanity.

Starr’s landscapes channel peace within the wild, simplicity within the complexity of nature. The details of organic forms which have become expected of exotic utopias are given new life as Starr revels in the details of silhouettes and their purple shadows, of the crisscross of stems and branches. Through creating idealized replications of her personal memories, Starr creates visual souvenirs of the ultimate escape: a return to nature.

An Afternoon with Wild Art and Wild Animals Charity Event, Event and Silent Auction

The Nature of Wildworks is a nonprofit 501c3 Wildlife Care and Education Center in Topanga, Ca.  It provides lifetime care for over forty non-releasable wild animals that were either injured, orphaned or people’s illegal pets. Wildworks also provides programs to the public and works with the LA school district, working with each school's curriculum, to provide programs to educate and engender respect for wildlife and the environment. The ticket price is $40 per person. Wildworks is a volunteer based organization so the ticket price and the money from the silent auction are donations toward the continuing care of the animals at Wildworks. Sample animals in attendance: a serval, a red-tailed hawk, an owl, foxes, prairie dogs, and opossums. There will be a volunteer with every animal who is there to tell people about the animal and its story. Event is not open to children. October 23rd from 3:00 until 5:00 PM, with the silent auction closing at 4:45 PM. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Diane Rudnick Mann Interview

Diane Rudnick Mann 
27.75 x 32”  pastel
Diane Rudnick Mann continues her focus on The Beauty of Ordinary Objects with her intensely colored pastels.

How do you decide on your lighting and your palette? 

Since my work is defined by very high contrast- shadow and light, I have a very specific way to set up the lighting for my paintings.  My latest series of paintings all have black backgrounds. When I set up what I want to paint it is in front of a black background in a dimly lit room.  I then shine a lamp on the set up so I can see the real highlights and shadows.  My intention is to bring that drama to the painting.

As far as a palette, the objects I use define the color.  An apple will be red, etc.
Diane Rudnick Mann
20.5 x 26”  pastel  
Can you describe your process, or take us through the steps involved?

I set up my paintings and then photograph them.  My paintings are usually large so I enlarge the photo to the size I want to paint and then transfer the outline to the paper.  Because I work in pastel I paint from right to left as Im left handed.  I complete each section as I move across the painting.  After all my years of painting, I still get a thrill watching the painting develop across the paper.

Diane Rudnick Mann

Diane Rudnick Mann's exhibition opens October 4, 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Della Rollé Interview

Della Rollé
Hang in There 
12 1/2"h x 6"w bronze, edition of 9

Della Rollé focuses her humorous worldview on animals, creating sculptures infused with whimsy.

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

I have always loved to draw, and illustrated my grade school and high school yearbooks.  The pivotal moment for me as an artist was the first time I held clay in my hands and worked from the figure.  That was in 1991 and I realized Sculpture was to be my passion.  I still have the same excitement every time I sculpt with clay.

Where are you from? Did your upbringing contribute to your development as an artist?

My father was in the Navy and we moved often, mostly in California.  Drawing became the continuity in my life.  Making new friends and changing schools constantly contributed to my creative imagination and why I find humor in my work. 
How often do you start a new work?

Generating a new idea may take days or years so there is never a set time to start a new work.  Many ideas are rejected.

Does your own life experience play a role in your imagery?

Yes.  Recently I have included my love for animals in my humorous sculptures and they will be featured in my next show at TAG in October. 

Della Rollé
31"h x 5"w x 5"d bronze, edition of 9

Is there a separation between your "normal" life and your artwork. if so, how do you manage to keep each in its place?

Definitely not!  My artwork reflects my personal life view.  Hopefully when you look at my work, you smile.
Of terra cotta, bronze, and stainless steel, …why one or the other? How do you decide which to use?

Each type of fired clay, metal, acrylic and marble/resin reflects light in strong and subtle ways.  That is how I decide which one to use.

You have a great sense of humor, and in your artist statement you state,I see humor and beauty in all body types and find that the humor intrinsic in human behavior is reflected in the body.” So, may I ask …..just what is so funny?

Everything is funny!  I think feet, hands, faces, body types, hair are all humorous and beautiful at the same time.  That is why I sculpt.

Della Rollé

Della Rollé's exhibition at TAG begins October 4, 2011.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Interview With Carole Garland

Carole Garland
LA Morning
oil on canvas
16 x 20"

In Carole Garland’s recent oils, an elevated perspective of LA. reveals the mirage - like layers that make up the city.

When did you first realize (or decide) that you were a painter?

While I was always drawing and received encouragement in gradeschool, it was observing a Chicago Art Institute  outdoor workshop in Saugatuck, Michigan, that moved me to think about becoming an artist.  I saw painters standing  at their easels and working from a model.  When I was 16 I started taking figure drawing classes at the Art Institute. After that, it was a long and bumpy road before I could become a full-time artist.  BUT...I painted as often as I could, sometimes weekends only.

Where do you your find inspiration for your works?

Unfortunately, I find inspiration everywhere, which makes me want to paint everything, which makes me scattered. In fact, I've spent years painting in the Santa Monica Mountains working in watercolor and oil during which time I was always drawn to the woods, canyons and mountains. Seascapes were of less interest. The angle of a tree, a shadow across a field... A landscape evoked a mood, a remembered feeling, a sense of awe, a place of peace.  I painted in one area of Solstice so often, it felt like my living room.  

 But in the last few years I've been drawn to the Los Angeles environment, which is incredible and diverse, geometric and architectural.  For instance, inspiration for this show LAyers came  from the walks I take at the top of Kenneth Hahn Park, with overviews of the city in every direction, from the beach to downtown,   but 90 percent of the time it's overcast and so what    you see is like a mirage. And that is what I attempted to capture.

 I also am terribly excited by abstract artists and their manipulation of paint.  Am currently reading a interesting biography of Joan Mitchell, whose work is exquisite.  Among artists I've loved and poured over their work are George Inness, Whistler's nocturnes, Sargeant, Matisse, Hopper, Diebancorn, Twombly, Howard Hodgkin and Gerhard Richter.

Carole Garland
oil on canvas
12 x 48"

Can you teach somebody to be an artist or is it an innate ability?

Some people have an innate ability to draw.  I definitely did to some degree and got pats on the back for it.  But there are many famous 20th century artists who couldn't draw and didn't do well in artschool.  But their drive and passion to express themselves in art carried them forward.  I have a friend who says he can't draw but his reverence for nature and his knowledge of California historic painters has propelled him into becoming an artist, and his love of art carries him forward.

How do you decide on your palette?

I started with a simple palette influenced by Frank Serrano's workshop in plein air painting. I continued to use that until in a class with Jove Wang, I was told to add some new colors to my palette, otherwise all my work would look the same.

I took that to heart and started adding cadmium red, viridian green, cadmium orange, etc.  I am no longer afraid of color. Although I still don't use enough of it.  

Does art serve a function beyond decorating walls? In your opinion, what is the purpose of art?

I just thought of a series "SOFA ART".In which, you would take orders for paintings to match the color of the sofa and living room decor. I do some work that is decorative and which I enjoy doing.  But the deepest motivation is probably close to spiritual, a divine sense of purpose to recreate the world of spirit, emotion, place, one painting at a time.

Carole Garland in the studo.

Carole Garland's exhibition begins October 4, 2011.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Layers of Landscape: Lorraine Bubar, Peter Kempson, Brigitte Schobert

September 6 - October 1, 2011
Reception:   Saturday, September 10, 4-8pm
Artist Panel:   Saturday, September 17, 3 pm

Lorraine Bubar
Papercut Fusion 

In her new show Papercut Fusion, Lorraine Bubar offers a blueprint for the multi-layered environments that surround us. At first glance, her pieces depict scenes of Koi fish, birds, and water lilies in their natural environments. However, her papercuts reveal a deeper story. Created by children and adults in numerous cultures for diverse purposes, papercuts have crossed the boundaries of culture, art, and craft. Lorraine connects this heritage and skill through a richness of imagery and a complexity of technique. While historical papercuts were never intended to hold a permanent value, Bubar develops a decorative tradition into an artistic one. Each layer upon layer of paper adds color, form and figure, resulting in a kaleidoscope of colors, shape  and surprisingly delicate detail. Lines and shapes overlap and the scene emerges out of  texture and depth. Through the flat, two dimensional medium of paper, Bubar transforms nature into a three dimensional dynamic experience. Her papercuts become a reflection of the intricate layers of life.

Peter Kempson
Urban Landscapes: LA and Italy

In Urban Landscapes: LA and Italy, Kempson unlocks new perspectives of two environments with deeply-entrenched preconceptions. Los Angeles, often viewed as a sprawling no man’s land, is revitalized through a detailed attention to the most unexpected places such as a neglected, graffiti-ravaged back alley. Kempson animates the city in its diversity, acknowledging both the magnificence and profanity of the shiny cars, bright lights and cracking pavement. While Los Angeles may not offer the validation many seek, it remains for Kempson a flawed yet magical muse.
Italy is widely regarded as a cultural and historic mecca, but Kempson’s brushstrokes transform Venice into a modern and accessible destination. His work helps decode the mystery of the watery city and reveals the simple beauty the complex, medieval city offers. Urban Landscapes: LA and Italy not only brings new perspectives to old cities, but inextricably links them in the space between art and life.

Brigitte Schobert
Woodcuts and Monotypes

Brigitte Schobert's woodcuts of the four seasons merge the cyclical nature of life and its rituals with cyclical composition. Rounded blocks of color create pastoral landscapes inhabited by abstracted figures in motion. They participate in activities of annual events that are familiar to us in our daily lives, yet the images can as well be seen as representing the different stages of a person's life. In her new abstract prints, She explores different techniques, exchanging carved wood plates with a matrix that does not retain information when the impression is made. She achieves a balance between control and whimsy, allowing the vivid colors of oil based inks to merge in unpredictable ways, layer after layer. Her new approach is a more painterly way of printmaking than the woodcuts and demonstrates the versatility of this medium.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview With Lorraine Bubar

Lorraine Bubar Flight (detail) Papercut 40 x 24"

With paper and x-acto Lorraine Bubar paints intricate layers of  movement, pattern, and meaning.

Where are you from?  How long have you been an artist?

I was born in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA.  I studied art and biology when I was an undergraduate, with the idea of becoming a medical illustrator.  Biological subject matter has always found a place in my work, including my love of insects and flowers.   I became interested in animation while I was at UCLA and continued studying animation at Yale, and then worked in the animation industry for many years.  My work often reflects that interest in movement and capturing a moment in time.  I have worked commercially animating and directing animated television commercials, movie titles, and special effects.  I have done magazine illustrations and illustrated a calendar for The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  I taught animation at Santa Monica Community College, which evolved into a career of teaching drawing, painting, and printmaking.  I have been teaching studio arts for many years, working with elementary, middle, and upper school students and currently teaching at Windward School. It is important to continue to have one’s own personal voice and I have found that teaching art has clarified many art concepts and techniques for me and working with students has inspired me greatly.

For those of us who are not familiar with what you do, will you explain your medium?

My first major body of work consisted of narrative watercolor paintings.  They told stories through the juxtaposition of unusual objects, rendered with a lot of detail, movement, and delicate coloring. 

My work from the last several years consists of papercuts, layering many different colors of papers.  I became interested in papercutting because it is an art form that reflects my interest in many different cultures and the environment.  As a craft practiced across the world, including its origins from my own heritage, Eastern European Judaism, traditional papercuts include imagery and themes that interest me.  It is difficult to trace the origins of papercutting because the fragile designs and materials did not last over time, but the earliest papercuts can be traced back to China where papermaking began.  By the 17th century, papercutting spread throughout the world.  In Japan family emblems were cut from paper, Turkey had papercutting guilds, and regional styles developed in Holland, Germany, and Switzerland where people used scissors or knives to do their “paper carving.”  Jews throughout Europe created papercuts that illustrated their history and symbols from the Torah.  Jewish papercuts were made to hang on walls of synagogues and homes and served diverse purposes and folk customs.  They could indicate the direction of prayer, as an amulet to protect a child at birth, as calendars, to decorate for holidays, and to commemorate a death. Diverse immigrants brought the craft of papercutting to the United States.  These papercuts were not intended to have permanent value and were created by nonprofessionals and became a folk tradition.  The richness of the motifs, complexity, and range of themes created an artistic heritage that I wanted to connect with in my own artwork. There were often many layers, or levels of symbolic meaning in a single motif.  I love that I can image young and old and men and women planning and then cutting out their complex designs, the paper holding together as one piece when completed.  In my most recent pieces, I have been influenced by the fact that many papercut designs were symmetrical and based on a horizontal framework, including delicate foliage, flowers, animals, and birds.  I like the idea that papercutting is a “folk art” or “craft” that I am perpetuating and elevating to a “fine art.”  The word “craft” often refers to a respect for the materials themselves.  I strongly consider the variety of papers incorporated into each of my pieces.  “Craft” also refers to a respect for the processes and techniques identified with that specific craft.  In papercutting, it suggests that a simple tool such as a knife or scissors can be used to create very detailed and precisely created forms and patterns.  Using simple materials, I can include gentle curves, the feeling of movement, detail, and imagery.

Lorraine Bubar Tug of War Papercut 40 x 38"
 Can you share with us what is involved in your art making process—take us through the steps, if you will?

I am fascinated with how papercutting spread into so many different cultures.  It is an art form that requires only inexpensive and readily available materials and is primarily created for personal use.  I wanted to explore the idea of making this craft more contemporary and more painterly.  I am painting with paper and an x-acto knife.  I make a very complete drawing first and use that as my guide for the top layer of paper.  Once I have the negative space in the top layer cut out, using a very sharp x-acto knife, I experiment with a range of colors and papers to begin to get a color palette for the piece.  I layer the papers and cut through each layer, utilizing the color and texture of the papers, and improvising as I work.  I glue each layer of paper together as I complete the cutting.  As I work I decide how much detail I want to include in each layer and how much of each color I want to reveal.  Although I start with a detailed drawing, I feel very much like I am painting with the paper and I am reacting to the effect of each color as the piece progresses. 

In your artist statement you say that you are attracted to detail and delicacy.  I can see how this comes through in your work and I am wondering—what about these attributes initially attracts you?

I have always incorporated a lot of detail into my work.  When I was working with watercolors, I liked how a pattern covered the surface of an object; such as the scales of a fish covered its body or the texture of bark encompassed a tree.  In painting those objects, the three dimensional shapes got laid down, but then they were transformed by the details on the surface.  In papercutting, when I am creating those same patterns, such as the scales of a fish or the pattern in a tree, cutting out the small negative spaces leaves “lace,” such a delicate piece of paper that it continues to amaze me at how fragile the paper can be and still hang together as one piece of paper. 

How do you choose your subject matter?

Animals often have symbolic meaning in artwork, including the animals illustrated in papercuts.  I began to incorporate koi into both my watercolors and my papercuts.  Koi are energetic fish that churn up the water, which is what attracted me originally.  From observing koi in my own backyard pond, I tried to capture how the movement of the water breaks up the shape of the fish.  Their colors broke up into slivers of color that moved with the water.  I tried to capture that in the layering of paper. There is a Japanese legend about a koi swimming upstream against a strong river current and finally arriving at a waterfall.  Undeterred, the koi climbs the waterfall against the strong current and is transformed into a dragon when it reaches the top.  Swimming upstream against the current shows determination and courage.  Climbing to the top of the waterfall shows ambition, strength, and victory.  Finally, the koi transformed into a dragon symbolizes good fortune and prosperity. 

My current theme relates to the concept of layering, both in the layering of paper and the layering of meaning.  I am exploring the idea that there is a hierarchical layering in the nature.  All of these species are predators and interact, doing the “dance” of survival. 

How often do you start a new work?

I always have a piece of work going in my studio.  The papercut pieces that I am currently working on take me about a month to complete.  Recently I also started working on mixed media pieces to balance working in a very controlled way, labor intensive technique with a more spontaneous method.  I like changing my rhythm and my materials.

Who do you make art for?

I would like to say I make art for myself, but it also makes me very happy when I know that I have an audience.  While I am engaged in a piece I try to keep the “critic” quiet, and stay focused on “reacting” to what I am creating.  I work at pursuing my own personal vision.  If I am working in a way that is satisfying and stimulating to myself, I lose myself in the work and I can work endless hours and hardly notice that the time was gone by.  I hope that my process of creating, including the energy, effort, and enthusiasm I put into my work is evident to others.

What satisfies you the most about your work?

Currently I am pleased that I have developed a way of working that is unique and relates to my interests in different cultures, the natural environment, and in my cultural heritage.  

Lorraine Bubar

Lorraine Bubar's exhibtion at TAG begins September 6, 2011.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Brigitte Schobert Interview

Brigitte Schobert
Rites of Spring
woodcut 20 x 24"

With new woodcuts that celebrate the four seasons and a series of abstract monotypes, Brigitte Schobert continues her discoveries in printmaking.

Does the work in your new exhibition differ than previous work? What are the differences, the similarities?

My new work differs considerably from the previous work. As a reaction to all the crises and disasters the world faced in recent times I wanted to create images that celebrate the joy of life. My style is now much more abstracted and part of my work is totally abstract. Although I often found abstract pictures intriguing and moving, I was unsure whether this style is for me. After attending seminars at the Art Academy in Bad Reichenhall, Germany, I was finally able to overcome a hurdle. Now I enjoy very much creating abstract images, but I am only at the beginning and curious myself where it will take me.

Many artists create digital prints. How are woodcut prints different than digital prints?

Digital art (including photography) is a new and separate field and expanding with the advent of new technologies. Printing from woodcuts is a technique that is many centuries old and has changed very little over time. The fact that the plate/print is handmade and not as perfect as a computer created image adds a certain quality to it. The simplicity or "rough edge" of the shapes, the limited color palette and the grain of the wood all contribute to the austere beauty of the prints from woodcuts.

What excites you about woodcuts?

I like working with a natural material and I definitely like the process of carving. Wooden plates are a very versatile material and I have yet to explore all the possibilities.

Brigitte Schobert
Winter Sun
woodcut 20 x 24"

Are your print editions limited? How many do you/can you typically print before you’re ready to cancel the plate?

My editions are rather small. Color prints take a long time, because each color is on a separate plate and the oil based inks have to dry between the print runs. If I spend too much time on the press, I don't have time to design and carve new images. Small editions are the only way to balance my time reasonably between printing and creating new images.

I know that your process is time consuming, with that in mind, have you had the time to experiment with any of your processes? If so, would you be willing to share with us the results?

Almost every time I print it is an experiment. It has to do with the different properties of inks from different suppliers, the color of their mixtures, printing different colors on top of each other, the properties of paper etc. Recently I started working on abstract monotypes. This is a completely different and more immediate way of working on the press, because I do not have a prepared image in front of me (or in my head). Also, I do not follow a strict procedure when I transfer inks from plexiglass or aluminum plates of different sizes onto paper. Everything is spontaneous and decided at that moment and right at the press. However, it takes many rounds of printing until I am satisfied and consider the image completed.

Are your family and friends supportive of your art?

Yes they are and it is very valuable to have their support.

Imagine you have to evacuate due to a (fire/flood/tornado) coming. Along with your important papers and family photos you can only save one piece of your art work. Which one do you take and why?

I don't think I would burden myself with my art work in such a situation. John Baldessari had a large portion of his early work cremated and the urn with the ashes was shown in his retrospective. This made me think a lot about attachment to my own art.

           Brigitte Schobert in the studio.

Brigitte Schobert's next exhibition begins Septemeber 6, 2011.