Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 29, 2011 - April 23, 2011 Cynthia Alexander and Suki Kuss

Opening Reception: Saturday April 2nd 5 - 8 pm

Artists' Panel: Saturday April 16th 2pm


Cynthia Alexander Earthly Geometry

Our focus on the perfect female form is obsessive. Women strive to conform their shapes to the airbrushed images in magazines and television. In Earthly Geometry, Cynthia Alexanders new exhibit at TAG Gallery from March 29th- April 23rd, the human figure is blatantly portrayed in its honesty. Beginning her career as a photographer, Alexander shifted to painting ten years ago, and brings a photographers unflinching focus to her painting. Female figures and anonymous torsos face the viewer baring all - totally vulnerable in their perfect perfection. Fine lines meet large fields of color, and the result is mystical yet concrete. Taking her cue from the minimalism of Japanese prints, and the formal, sensual photographs of Edward Weston and Irving Penn, Alexander explores the idiosyncrasies of the female figure as an enigmatic symbol of something greater, and the female form becomes a vehicle for contemplation.

Suki Kuss Available Light

In an era of social and political imbalance, finding stability and completeness is the challenge of the day. In Available Light, Suki Kuss new exhibit of paintings at the TAG Gallery, this search for balance is symbolically explored in her heavily layered works. Using vintage fabrics, maps, patterns and mirrors to bring the painting into the present she creates a restful place to breathe. Her paintings are both formal in their abstract use of line and shape, and intuitive in their multi-layered complexity.

The results are delicate, intimate works that call out to be scrutinized, and recognize the still moments that are so often forgotten in our lives.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cynthia Alexander Interview

Cynthia Alexander
Black Leotard
mixed media on paper, 30 x 22"

Exploring the figure as landscape, Cynthia Alexander's paintings evoke an essential simplicity and stillness.

Where did you grow up? Did that environment contribute to your art making?

I grew up in Connecticut about an hour outside of New York City. My grandparents lived in Manhattan, and visits to them often included visits to theatres and museums. In particular, I have vivid early memories of going to the Egyptian Wing at the Metropolitan Museum, which still strikes me today as a marvelous, mysterious place, full of extraordinarily ancient and finely crafted things. I especially loved the long wall panels, with their elegant hieroglyphics and silhouetted figures of gods and kings. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?  I have wanted to be an artist pretty much as far back as I can remember, but for a long time I didn’t know what sort of an artist I wanted to be. For many years I thought I wanted to be a writer, and I was an English major in college. Then, in my 20’s, I began to take photographs, and I realized that I was naturally more of a visual artist than a verbal one. Doing photography taught me a lot about light and how to see. About ten years ago, I began to draw and paint again for the first time since high school, continuing an ongoing exploration of the human figure that I began as a photographer.
Cynthia Alexander
After the Bath
mixed media on paper, 30 x 22"

What is your thought process while making a painting? Can you share about your technique? Or is it a secret?

In making a painting, I see myself less as a creator and more as an observer of what is. I almost always start with a session with a model, usually female. I may have an idea of a pose or a part of the body that I’m interested in exploring, but I rarely have more than a general sense of what the finished product might be. Perhaps because I began as a photographer, I often use the edges of the blank paper to impose compositional boundaries to challenge me and focus my observation. Then I start to draw, and see where the interplay between the model’s body, my seeing and my drawing takes me. Sometimes I am so captivated by the lines of the body that I go no further than that, and the finished piece is a drawing. Sometimes I become more interested in the expressive interplay of light, color and texture, and the piece becomes a painting. Sometimes I become so absorbed in playing with the surface of a piece – drawing, smudging, erasing, sanding, layering translucent washes, perhaps, or painting in opaque blocks of color - that the original figurative image fades into the background as I work. At these times, I wonder if someday the human figure might disappear altogether, leaving just line, color, texture and light behind.

Can you name any artists (historical or contemporaries) whose influence is important to you?

I’ve already mentioned the ancient Egyptians. I also never tire of looking at classical Persian and Indian paintings and medieval European illuminated manuscripts; I am in awe of the delicacy of line, the bold use of color, and the abstract sophistication in these artistic traditions. In my exploration of the human figure, I’d say that early and lasting influences have been the great photographers Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz and especially Irving Penn, whose monumental nude studies introduced me to a new way of seeing the female body. Similarly, Japanese paintings and prints of women have showed me how often less is more. More currently, as I explore paint, color, and composition, I find the work of Richard Diebenkorn a constant source of information and inspiration.

What is the purpose of art? A very big question to which there are many, many answers. Mine is that the purpose of art is to give people the opportunity to experience something new: to see something they haven’t seen before, think about something they haven’t considered before, feel something they’ve never felt before. It may be something as big as a new way of thinking about what it means to be a human being, or as small as noticing the way a patch of light falls on a woman’s skin.

Cynthia Alexander

Cynthia Alexander's exhibition starts March 29, 2011.

Monday, March 7, 2011

TAG Gallery Interviews Suki Kuss

Suki Kuss
A Stitch in Time X - Voyager
MM Collage 12 x 40"
When did you first realize you were an artist (and/or have the courage to identify yourself as one)?

I think there's more to being an artist then just creating visual art...or any type of art, for that matter. I've lived internally as an artist for as long as I can remember. I created a world for myself and decorated it with my imaginings...both emotional and tangible...so, I suppose, I have always considered myself an artist.

Did you go to an art school, and if so, are you satisfied with the experience?

No art school experience. I've studied and continue to study with some wonderful, inspirational artist/teachers. Gerald Brommer has changed my life with his stained paper collage workshops...Katherine Chang Liu is an amazing teacher and emotional guide...Franklyn Leigel is just simply my mentor. Terri Balady has been instrumental in assisting me in recognizing my personal symbols and finding my voice as an artist.

What is your painting process? Are your techniques a secret, or can you share what they are?

My techniques change constantly...often surprising me. I sit and "watch" my work for hours. I'm able to see the shift in texture and color as the light changes throughout the day...and night. This guides me in creating new forms and making decisions regarding composition.

Suki Kuss
Edge of the World I - Beyond Time
MM Collage 24 x 20"
Who are some artists producing work that you like?

All four of my teachers, of course. There are so many others, it's hard to say. I'm very fickle...flitting from one favorite to another.

Beyond decorating walls, do you think art has another purpose or meaning?

Visual art is a means of communication, a search for balance and a continuous dialogue between the artist and the viewer. Decoration has nothing to do with art.

Suki Kuss in the studio.

Suki Kuss's exhibition starts March 29, 2011.