Friday, May 27, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Vicky Hoffman On the Perils of Encaustics

Encaustics is a mixture of resin, beeswax and colored pigments heated on a pancake griddle. Wax is immediate. It is a deliberate medium. Its workability is dependent on conditions – weather and a few seconds once lifted from the hot palette. 
Each layer must be fused with either a heat gun or a propane torch. After each application of a color or material, it must be fused to the layer below. 
Some pigments are more obedient than others. Depending how close the heat source is to the material can alter the “movement” of the materials and pigment. Zinc White has a mind of its own. It can be difficult to get a very thin, straight line and fuse it without it moving or blurring. If a propane torch is used too close to the material, it can spark or catch on fire.
Vicky Hoffman, Redlined: 8.55, 115.2E, Encaustic, 18 x 24"
True stories:

• Not long ago, I had a show in January. With the installation deadline quickly approaching, I was working in one of the coldest December months in history. The wax mixture would not melt on the pancake griddle and increasing the temperature of the griddle is not an option as the material can be flammable. It was crazy and I will never do a show in January again unless all of my work is complete by October or November.

• For one piece, I intentionally wanted burnt edges. Obviously, I did not want to burn down my studio either. An artist friend and I concocted a fusing station that was free and clear of the studio. As I fused the layer(s), she stood by with a hose to extinguish any flames if necessary. Although nothing happened, this was NOT one of my smart moments and I would not do this again nor should the reader of this blog try something as stupid as that.

• Scale. Oftentimes, I hear collectors are interested in large works. Large is defined as greater than 4 feet. Working large is physically taxing – maneuvering the panel board and fusing each layer. In addition, the panel board has to support the weight of the wax. The largest I have worked is 4 ft. x 3 ft. and there’s approximately 15 lbs of wax on that piece. Sadly, I don’t have an assistant to support with the fusing and over time, my shoulder was bearing the brunt of my fusing posture. 
Vicky Hoffman, Energized: 41.2N, 124W, Encaustic, 36 x 48"
I love the magic of this medium. I enjoy the depth and dimension I can achieve by playing around with materials. 
Vicky Hoffman, Shaken & Slipped: 35.8, 114.9W, Encaustic, 18 x 24"
Vicky's current show, Latitude & Longitude, will be at TAG through June 11.
Come meet Vicky at an Artist Panel Discussion on Saturday, June 4, 3pm.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"In Transit" Group Show at TAG

Katie Crown, Locomotion, 37 x 30"
Coinciding with the grand opening of Santa Monica’s new Expo Line, TAG Gallery presents In Transit, a group show exploring the significance behind the process of “transition”.
Pam Douglas, The Horizon Line, Acrylic on linen, 40x20"
Dating back to its original purpose in 1875, Bergamot Station has always been a place of transit. It started as a stop and car storage area along the Independence Railroad and then for the Pacific Electric trolley system. Even after passenger service ceased, and manufacturers moved in, Bergamot has always encompassed a sense of physical progression. Although still retaining its industrial feel, Bergamot has quite literally transitioned in it’s own right, growing into the dynamic arts complex we know today.
Joan Wynn, Phantom Journey, Welded steel, 28 x 13 x 5.5"
Exploring the many facets of these changes, In Transit embodies the many stops along the way to our final destination. Whether it be a transition between jobs, locations, stages of life, or changes in relationships, as human beings we are always transforming. Transition is where we find the creative potential for that growth. It is the energy we use to travel from one place to another. It is the determination of where we end up, regardless of where we thought we were headed. Transition is a journey that can last a minute or a millennium.
Donn Delson, 532,  Archival metallic acrylic facemount, 20 x 30" Edition of 15.
Anne M Bray, Four Trucks (Grey, Red, Blue, Shadows), Digital watercolor printed on aluminum, each 7 x 5", Edition of 10
Lorraine Bubar, In Route, Papercut, 47x52"
The show runs through June 11, 2016.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Upcoming Exhibition: Vicky Hoffman, Joe Pinkelman, Tom Wheeler

Tuesday, May 17th – Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 21st, 4 – 7PM

Artist Panel Discussion: Saturday, June 4th, 3PM 

Vicky Hoffman 
Latitude & Longitude  
Vicky Hoffman, Sacred: 34.8N, 111.7W, Encaustic, 12 x 12"
In her latest series of work entitled Latitude & Longitude, Vicky Hoffman explores the impact we have as a society on our environment, and its vastly limited natural resources. Questioning how much further we can exhaust the assets of our earth, Hoffman references ecological concerns such as drinking water, economy, population, and poverty within her work. Using simple geographical coordinates as her titles, Hoffman brings to light specific locations around the world facing such crises.

From sites as far away as Madagascar, and as close as the LA River, Hoffman’s work speaks broadly about our opportunity and responsibility to work collaboratively as a civilization to pollute less, and conserve more. Utilizing different textures, grids, and tactile materials, Hoffman provides an intimate perspective of these environmental worries. Applying mixed media and encaustic paints, Hoffman creates a veil of light, depth, and transparency to achieve an abstract atmosphere within her work.

Joe Pinkelman
Pinching China
Joe Pinkelman, Pinching China #1, Porcelain, 19 x 7 x 7""
In his latest exhibition, artist Joe Pinkelman explored the porcelain pinch pot methods of the indigenous people of Jingdezhen, China. While studying abroad last summer, Pinkelman began experimenting with the time-honored techniques of creating ceramics and using the vocabulary of traditional and ancient Chinese vessels. With a very slow and delicate process, Pinkelman was able to focus on the spiritual and ceremonial aspects of the traditional craft.

Using a customary oxblood red glaze, Pinkelman’s work draws focus to the texture, surface, and shape of each piece. The other forms in this exhibition explore Pinkelman’s continued examination of fragmented vessels, the tension created between two shapes forced together, yet seemingly pulled apart. 

Tom Wheeler
Light Lab 2016: Western Landscapes
Tom Wheeler, Cube #1, Archival pigment print, 26 x 36"
In Light Lab 2016: Western Landscapes, Tom Wheeler presents a dynamic evolution of his continuing work in night photography. His new work reaches beyond the realm of typical night photography and into something unique. Wheeler proposes that this style might be more aptly called light manipulation photography.

Wheeler’s underlying requisite methodology still holds constant, (nighttime long exposures with light-emitting tools such as flashlights, and hand-lit subjects among vast, awe-inducing, starry landscapes) while many of the images in his newest series challenge the elements of composition in traditional night photography. Moving beyond his previous approach, these new images are no longer necessarily bounded by complete starry darkness and now include “fast work” in rapidly changing pre-dawn and post-dusk light situations.

Although always a primary subject, nature itself is no longer the only cast member, as man-made intrusion and/or coexistence is introduced into his new work as a theme. A recurring subject is a lonely plastic snowman, as well as exploration with portable acrylic light rods and large glowing hand-hit Lucite boxes. Experimentation is paramount in Wheeler’s artistic process, spurring the title Light Lab 2016, as Wheeler intends to morph his style of work as he progresses. Wheeler holds the idea that there is an abundance of untapped compositional style in the world of night imagery, and thoroughly enjoys the journey and thrill of exploration in this genre of photography.

Light Lab 2016, showcases a variety of images in beautiful settings along the West Coast region of the American continents from the upper US to the bottom tip of Chile. Wheeler’s recurring styles lean toward minimalism, with vast wide-angle landscapes and tiny, yet powerfully lit up subjects, with some of his work continuing to show a somewhat quirky sense of humor.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

TAG Interviews Alison Lowe Platt

Instinct is Alison Lowe Platt's current show at TAG.
Alison Lowe Platt, Lost In Her Thoughts, Mixed media, 15 x 20" 
We asked her a few questions:

Where did you grow up? Do you feel that your early environment had an influence on your artistic development?
 I grew up in New Jersey and creativity was all over my family. My dad sang and created amazing “doodles” all over his work. After he passed away, I saved a bunch of his note books which always remind me of him. My grandparents were pianists, as well as my grandmother was a master needle-pointer and my grandfather a writer. My aunt taught me how to draw at 6 years old. She is amazing with everything paper, collage, calligraphy and origami.

When did you first realize you were an artist (or have the courage to identify yourself as an artist)? 
 I was always “the artist” among my childhood friends, although I refused to take any art classes until college. I just didn’t want to be told what to create. But I don’t think I considered myself an artist until after college, when I kept painting etc. without the structure of classes, and just realized that it’s how I love to spend my time.
Alison Lowe Platt, Male From the Back, Charcoal, 18 x 16"
As an artist working in more than one medium -- paints and charcoal pencil -- do you find that the two mediums influence each other? If so, in what ways, and how do you decide which to use?
 I usually know what mood I’m in, whether I feel like working in black and white, or with color…that seems to determine whether I’m going to draw or paint. They both influence each other because even with drawing, I think in terms of shape rather than line because I come from a painting background, and I have really never taken anatomy classes. My interest is not in creating perfectly drawn, proportionate bodies. My interest is really in shape and dark/light relationships, and I draw the figure out of that way of thinking, rather than anatomical. I also love the interaction of background/foreground in all my work and the contrast of a linear background against the roundedness of the figure.
Alison Lowe Platt, Repose, Acrylic on board 11.5 x 13.5"
How do you decide on your color palette? 
 I always prefer working in a limited palette. I feel it creates a strong color harmony. For each of these paintings, I only used 5 colors. I love the surprise of mixing new colors I’ve discovered because of the limited palette. It also takes me out of a comfort zone because I have to really think not only about color, but value and hue.

How do you like people to view your work—from across the room, or close up?
 I like people to first see it from afar and then move in closer. I love strong shapes and it reads well from afar. Then when you get up close, you see all the subtleties.

How is working with/from photographs different than working with models? 
 When drawing or painting the figure, I absolutely MUST work from life. It’s extremely important for me to get a sense of the models energy, and sense if and where their body is relaxed or tense. There is simply no way to get this from a photograph. I need the breathing being in front of me.
Alison Lowe Platt, Inward Thinking, Pastel collage, 22 x 16"
Is scale important to you as an artist? 
 Yes, in my land/seascapes, I like to work large so you feel a part of the scene, but with the figure, I always like to work small. I feel there is a sense of intimacy and grace that seems to get lost in a larger scale.

Whom do you make art for? 
 Definitely myself. I love getting lost in the process of creating, and the discoveries that come with it. Even if I don’t like the end result, I have never left a day of painting and thought, "I wish I didn’t do that today."  It’s how I see and process the world.

What is it like getting ready for an exhibition - are there any special considerations that you have to deal with? 
 It’s definitely a process. I create so many different types of work that I just have to pick either one subject, or one medium and go from there. I also have recurring themes in all my work, regardless of the medium, which is really evident once I look through years of artwork! I move from being anxious about it, to gaining excitement. And then there seems to always be a moment, where I feel it all click, and then I see it all come together. I actually love showing my work because I don’t actually talk about it a lot to my friends etc. so it’s fun to show them what I’ve been up to. Also, once the show is hung, I try and take a few minutes to think…”What did I learn from this show?” Each show has taught me something about myself, and that I am capable of creating a cohesive body of work.

What is the most memorable comment someone has made about your work? 
 At the reception for this show! An older man with a thick European accent came up to me and said, “YOU draw delicious breasts!” It made me laugh so hard.
Alison Lowe Platt, Torn & Torso, Mixed media, 24 x 18"
Have you had any surprises putting together this show?
 Yes, the surprise for me was actually in realizing that these small drawings and paintings I've done over a 10 year span, actually are complete grouping. All of these works were created while raising my kids, and at a time when I didn’t even have the time to really focus on my artwork. I would attend uninstructed figure drawing groups at night, or loosely instructed painting groups here or there, and really had no idea how “complete” the pieces were, I was just so happy to spend the time creating art, then I would come home and put them away in my flat files. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t have enough cohesive new work for a show, that I discovered how these pieces really worked together.

Where do you see your journey as an artist going from here? 
 I know that I want to continue to be more intuitive and loose. This means, leaving more messes, spills, broken lines etc. I find I am very instinctual and quick in the beginning and love the “unfinished” look but somehow, I can lose that feeling if I work too long. I am learning when to stop. This also means continuing to more towards more abstraction. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have found I’ve got a lot more time for my artwork and it’s been really fun to put more time into it and get lost in it. I’m starting to work bigger, crazier, and messier. I still love the same subjects, whether it’s the figure, land/sea, spiritual epiphanies, so it’s not so much that my subjects will change, as much as the approach and how I want to interpret them.
Alison Lowe Platt, Seated, Acrylic on board, 14.5 x 12.5"

Alison will be part of an Artist Panel at TAG this Saturday, May 7, 3pm.
Feel free to leave her any questions here in the comments.