Get To Know Us: “What We’re Reading”

This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts focuses on what we’re reading. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


MARIA

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they've made

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they’ve made together

My mother-in-law recently lent my daughter and I a wonderful book called Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, and this is what I am reading right now. This book gives detailed techniques and tips for making one’s own felt wee folk with a wooden bead head, a pipe cleaner body and embroidered felt clothing. My daughter loves when I get this book out along with the craft supplies, and together we have made quite a few wee folk, that she absolutely cherishes!

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple CrochetLeft: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet by Erika Knight

I am also reading Simple Crochet by Erika Knight. I need to keep my hands busy and I have found crocheting to be a great activity to do when I have down time in my day. I recently learned a new pattern in Simple Crochet and a working on a blanket. I’m actually calling it my “Pandemic Blanket” and am using only the yarn I have hoarded over the years, since I’m not supposed to go to yarn stores currently!


RACHEL

You’ve probably heard of Karl Ove Knausgård–he’s a living Norwegian cannon and he’s widely known for his series My Struggle, translated by James Anderson and first published by Archipelago. He currently has a series of essays, The Seasons Quartet, published by Penguin. But you never hear about A Time for Everything. To date, I wouldn’t say that Knausgård is one of my favorite authors (like Krasznahorkai or Clarice Lispector) but A Time for Everything is one of my favorite novels. The premise is simple: a man named Antinous Bellori researches angels as a species. The narration cycles through Bellori’s perspective and also cites (and completely rewrites) stories from the bible in which angels are mentioned: Cain and Able, the Great Flood, and so on.

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

On June 5, 2014, I took a train from Rochester to McNally Jackson because I heard Knausgård was going to be at the launch event for the release of Book Three of his My Struggle series—and that it was going to be moderated by Zadie Smith. I got to Prince Street an hour early and the line was wrapped around the block. I was lucky because the line was cut off just a few people behind me due to fire code. That’s how many people wanted to see him. We were on top of each other on the bottom floor of McNally. I stood on a chair to see him and Zadie Smith the whole time.

Knausgård read from the Norwegian, Zadie Smith read in the English (and if you’ve never heard her read, you don’t really know what Poe meant when he said tragedy and melancholy are the height of beauty), and a Q&A followed. ( Read Rachel’s full post about Knausgård here)


SARAH

Sarah's night stand book stack

Sarah’s night stand book stack

I have a stack of books sitting on my night stand. I put them there thinking that it would encourage me to read before falling asleep or when I wake up in the morning. And it worked for a little while until it didn’t anymore.

The cover of "High School"

The cover of “High School”

At the bottom of the stack is High School, a memoir by musicians Tegan and Sara Quinn. A gift from my husband for my birthday, I read it through it in about three days. It’s still in the stack because I am planning to re-read it. In some ways it reflects experiences I had in high school, and in other ways it gave me a look into a high school experience for people who are very different from myself. From a graphic design perspective, the cover of this book is phenomenal. It captures my feelings about the book perfectly. Almost like a fun house mirror, in the cover you see your own reflection but it’s distorted just enough that you don’t recognize the person either.

Books from the middle of Sarah's book stack

Books from the middle of Sarah’s book stack

In the middle of the stack, you’ll find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This one is a bit self-helpy but who doesn’t need that from time to time? (Also, the title!) Also mid-stack is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, which I purchased from Sulfur Books. As an introvert, it appealed to me.

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

On the top of the stack is The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, an author recommendation to me by Rachel, our literary arts coordinator, and a book that I purchased at Sulfur Books. (I will admit that the teeth illustrations may have been one of the driving factors in the purchase of this book.) This is my most recent read, with a really fascinating story line, and one that I am so (so) close to finishing but haven’t had time. Maybe now is the perfect time to get back on track!


BRAD

I have never been a reader. In high school, I didn’t finish even one book—except Of Mice and Men, which was one of the assigned summer reading books. Otherwise I always skimmed the books and faked my way through! In college, I took a survey of english literature and then a class called women in literature and I started to enjoy reading. In grad school and afterwards, I would start many books—artist biographies, philosophy, books about strange occurrences—some of which I would finish, others are still left on a long list of “books to be read or finished”.

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

My favorite book is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski—he’s the brother of musician, Poe. Her album Haunted is the companion to House of Leaves—a novel about a house, time and space, and things that aren’t what they seem. This book is probably the thickest novel I’ve read and it has a lot of footnotes, stories within stories, and text you have to read in a mirror. Also, the word House always appears in blue.

Books that Brad means to read

Books that Brad means to read

I am currently meaning to read five books. One of them was started two years ago, one from earlier last year, and the others were started more recently. They range from non-fiction to short stories and one of them, the novella The Taiga Syndrome, is one of the April book club books at Sulfur Books. My brother-in-law got me a subscription to Sun Magazine (thank you Sylvia Taylor for introducing me to this!) for Christmas last year and I have enjoyed getting into reading that as well, although its no surprise to me that the issues to be read are piling up…


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what’s hanging on the walls in our homes!

The Place Where an Author Speaks

The six part series, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The six part series, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard

You’ve probably heard of Karl Ove Knausgård–he’s a living Norwegian cannon and he’s widely known for his series My Struggle, translated by James Anderson and first published by Archipelago. He currently has a series of essays, The Seasons Quartet, published by Penguin. But you never hear about A Time for Everything. This book was recommended by a friend of mine who, years ago, was in the same literary circle in Rochester as me. We read it in our book club. To date, I wouldn’t say that Knausgård is one of my favorite authors (like Krasznahorkai or Clarice Lispector) but A Time for Everything is one of my favorite novels. The premise is simple: a man named Antinous Bellori researches angels as a species. The narration cycles through Bellori’s perspective and also cites (and completely rewrites) stories from the bible in which angels are mentioned: Cain and Able, the Great Flood, and so on. Knausgård, a staunch atheist, knows the literary merit of the bible and re-rwrites these excerpts with a certain pathos—we get access to Cain’s interiority/three-dimensionality, his love for his brother. We watch as Noah let’s his family die within sight of his ark, as they beg him for help. All of this is written in that Knausgårdian style that references biology, epistemology, and historical figures like Galileo, Copernicus, Aquinas. The “Coda” is horrific and traumatizing—a man self-mutilates his body for several pages and in a strange cohesion with the rest of the plot.

A Time For Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard

A Time For Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The description I just offered is a perfectly adequate reason to love a book. When I review books, I typically keep this question in mind: why language? There are seemingly infinite media with which to tell a story: dance, sculpture, film. The plot is important, but the use of the medium, in this case: form, grammar, structure—is what makes a work a masterpiece on a technical level. Knausgård knows his medium—at least in A Time for Everything––and that’s why he’s often compared to Proust. It’s why he’s revered.

But there’s more to this book for me than its literary merit.

On June 5, 2014, I took a train from Rochester to McNally Jackson because I heard Karl Ove Knausgård was going to be at the launch event for the release of Book Three of his My Struggle series—and that it was going to be moderated by Zadie Smith. I got to Prince Street an hour early and the line was wrapped around the block. I was lucky because the line was cut off just a few people behind me due to fire code. That’s how many people wanted to see him. We were on top of each other on the bottom floor of McNally. I stood on a chair to see him and Zadie Smith the whole time.

Here’s what I remember about this event: Knausgård read from the Norwegian, Zadie Smith read in the English (and if you’ve never heard her read, you don’t really know what Poe meant when he said tragedy and melancholy are the height of beauty), and a Q&A followed.

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

At one point, early into the Q&A, someone asked if his depression was alleviated by his writing process. He gave a terse “no” and a brief explanation. Then the hands went up. No one was satisfied with this. Didn’t creative expression offer relief and release? It seems impossible to be in a perpetually depressed state. No one accepted his answers, the questions were nearly the same and unrelenting, and all while he struggled with a language barrier. He started getting pissed off. Zadie Smith had to take over the conversation and shut it down. She told the audience to move on. They did, eventually. The Q&A was almost over anyway.

My friend and I went upstairs to get my book signed. I was the only person with A Time for Everything and people around me kept asking about it. Big fans of his who either hadn’t read or hadn’t heard of it. Most were there to purchase Book Three of his series.

I finally got to Knausgård. I apologized for the audience. I told him writing doesn’t do anything for my depression, either. It’s not why I write. It’s not an inspiration and I don’t feel relief after the fact. He told me that the audience’s approach was purely cultural––that in Norway, people don’t ask questions this reductive. Depression isn’t shocking there—hell, it’s where modern black metal came from. And then he told me he was sorry for me, that I lived in a culture that either sensationalizes or completely rejects the reality of a fairly common state of being.

I had three books I wanted to write about—some titles that are rare and signed that I’ve found locally. But I wanted to tell this story because it points to the inherently uniting property of the arts—particularly in music and literature. And it makes it especially clear why we should read books from other cultures—our collective ethos isn’t the only ethos to this or that. (Like how Japan and the Netherlands view suicide from a different perspective than the States and yet those perspectives stem from wildly different origins.) This story also makes clear why bookstores are important—they’re , maybe to an impenetrably and willfully obstinate audience, and he then has something provocative to respond to.

The rippling consequence is that today, there’s a woman with a signed novel—one of her favorite novels—written by a living canon compared to Proust, who spoke to her for under two minutes, normalizing a subject that no longer made her feel deeply alienated. Nearly four years ago she has a tangible and really quite transcendent object that revisits what is an otherwise oxymoronic concept, maybe now more relevant than ever: collective isolation, and conceptually connecting amid it.

Get To Know Us: Introductions

This is the first in a series of posts from the staff at Main Street Arts. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


 BRAD

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Hey! It’s Brad! I am the executive director and curator at Main Street Arts and I have been here since the gallery opened in 2013.

A meandering combination of work and school experiences brought me here. Oddly enough, I now work only 6 minutes from where I spent my first 23 years—I grew up on Clifton Street in Manchester. In high school I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at Monroe Community College. I also worked at a print shop in Canandaigua after graduating from high school and worked there while going to college and afterward, for a total of 7 years. After 2.5 years at MCC—I stayed an extra semester to build a stronger portfolio—I decided to shift gears and pursue art education at Nazareth College. It was here that I took my first college-level painting class with one of my favorite painters, Kathy Calderwood. In her class, I became a painter!

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

After my first art teaching job —teaching 4th–6th grade kids— was cut from the budget, I decided to get an MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology so that I could teach at the college level. It was there that I worked with Zerbe Sodervick in an assistantship at Gallery r—at the time, this was a student run gallery located on Park Ave. I taught as an adjunct professor at RIT and SUNY Brockport, worked at Genesee Center for the Arts (now Flower City Arts Center), and had various non-art jobs before finding Main Street Arts.

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Over the last 7 years at Main Street Arts, I have grown into my role here and appreciate its rewards and challenges. I feel lucky that I get to commute to work each day with my wife and that we share a tiny office together.


 SARAH

Sarah Butler the day she graduated from MICA

Sarah Butler, assistant director, the day she graduated from MICA

Hi, I’m Sarah, the assistant director of Main Street Arts.

I have been working here for just over three years — I started in January of 2017 — but I have been involved with the gallery in some fashion since it opened in 2013. I am married to Bradley, the executive director, and from the beginning I always volunteered to serve drinks at opening receptions, paint the gallery, and generally pitch in when needed.

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

During the first four years of the gallery’s existence, when I wasn’t working here, Brad and I would take our dogs for walks in the evenings and we talked about all of the possibilities for Main Street Arts. I have felt a part of Main Street Arts from the beginning, even just through these conversations we had each evening. I am incredibly fortunate to now work here as we continue those conversations together each day work.

Sarah's studio

Sarah’s studio

My background is in graphic design. I attended Monroe Community College and graduated with an AAS in graphic design before transferring to Rochester Institute of Technology. During both my time at MCC and RIT, I worked at a local shop called Mobile Graphics. I graduated from RIT with a BFA in graphic design and eventually changed jobs. In 2010, I began working as a graphic designer at Finger Lakes Community College for the advancement department and worked there for 6 years. In May 2014, I decided to pursue an MPS (masters in professional studies) in the business of art and design through the Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with my degree in mid-August 2015. Just one week after my graduation, I turned 30 and Brad and I took a great adventure down the California coast.

In addition to handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Main Street Arts, I also design all of our marketing materials, website, and exhibition catalogs. I approach the world through the lens of a graphic designer. I am hyper organized, love schedules, and appreciate all things good design.


MARIA

Hello, this is Maria Galens, gallery assistant at Main Street Arts. I help out with whatever is needed to make the gallery run smoothly from painting walls and printing tags to re-designing the retail shop and communicating with retail artists.

A student working on a project from Maria's Winter Art Saturday class

A student working on a project from Maria’s Winter Art Saturdays class

I am also an art educator and teach art to kids through our Art Saturdays program, as well as veterans at the VA in Canandaigua. I thoroughly enjoy thinking about and creating art lessons for the variety of students I teach. For my education, I received my B.F.A. from Pratt Institute and went on to earn my M.S.Ed in K-12 Art Education at Nazareth.

Maria Galens' daughters, Penelope and Josephine

Maria Galens’ daughters, Penelope and Josephine

I have 2 children, Penelope – age 6, and Josephine – age 3, who are little budding artists and love to draw. I always have paper and markers available around the house so they can draw anytime they feel the desire. My ambition to create my own artwork has ebbed and flowed since becoming a mother, due to time restrictions and exhaustion, but I have managed to work on smaller projects, like small paintings and embroideries.

A painting in progress by Maria

A painting in progress by Maria

I recently started a larger acrylic painting that I am excited about! My children enjoy watching me draw and paint and it is a real joy to be able to pass onto them the artistic skills and creative thinking of being an artist!


RACHEL

Hi, I’m Rachel! I am the literary arts coordinator at Main Street Arts and you can normally find me at Sulfur Books, the Main Street Arts owned bookstore.

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation whose books we carry at the store—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is, why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.


 

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what we’re all reading!

 

From The Director: Painters Painting Painters

Painters Painting Painters runs through Friday, March 27, 2020

Painters Painting Painters runs through Friday, March 27, 2020

I will often think of an idea for an exhibition that is not a simple one, one that needs explanation. This is because I like things that are mysterious and also because I like to follow spiraling thoughts that get more abstract, even as they come in to focus.  Our current exhibition, Painters Painting Painters is not an exhibition with a big complex idea. The idea for this exhibition is a simple one and it is spelled out clearly in the title. We asked painters to paint paintings of other painters!

Detail shots of each painting included in Painters Painting Painters

Detail shots of each painting included in Painters Painting Painters

The idea for this exhibition started with a painting. One that I saw on Instagram just over a year ago by Chad Cleveland—who is included in this exhibition—that he had started of Honeoye Falls artist, Bill Stephens. Some time last spring, I spoke with Chad and said I was thinking of putting together this show and thanked him for sparking the thought!

From there a list of painters was made and we are delighted with the diverse group of 22 painters that we ended up with for the show. To make the exhibition more democratic, we selected the names of the artists from a jar in order to figure out who would be painting who. Funny enough, only two sets of artists got to paint each other—Shawnee Hill and Sarah Morgan painted each other and so did Jean Stephens and Thanasi Hristodoulou. It has been fun to talk to people about the exhibition when they visit the gallery. We get to say things like “Brian O’Neill painted John VanHouten, who painted Robert Marx, who painted Brian O’Neill!” and Lacey McKinney painted Geena Massaro, who painted Luvon Sheppard, who painted Bruce Adams, who painted Fritz Proctor, who then painted Lacey McKinney!”

(left) Sarah Butler, installing the vinyl for the feature wall; (right) the finished wall including vinyl, yarn, and photos

(left) Sarah Butler, installing the vinyl for the feature wall; (right) the finished wall including vinyl, yarn, and photos

Sarah—my wife, assistant director, graphic designer, and all around wonderful person—came up with a brilliant visual depiction of this puzzle. This can be seen on the wall in the gallery and in the catalog that she put together for the exhibition.

Explaining the exhibition to students in our After School Art Experience program

Explaining the exhibition to students in our After School Art Experience program

This exhibition has also prompted the students in our after school program, The After School Art Experience, to try their hands at figurative painting and portraiture. I gave them an introduction to the exhibition and our instructor, Pam Viggiani has been talking about the paintings in the show along with historical examples of artists who use the figure in their work.

Pam Viggiani speaking to ASAE students about Brian O'Neill's painting of John VanHouten

Pam Viggiani speaking to ASAE students about Brian O’Neill’s painting of John VanHouten

We had planned to host an open house for the After School Art Experience during this exhibition to showcase what the students were up to during this session. Their work was to hang on the walls in the middle of the gallery, alongside the exhibition. At this time, due to the current situation in dealing with the Coronavirus, this open house will be postponed for a later date. You will still be able to see the work of these talented young artists inspired by the painters in Painters Painting Painters, unfortunately just not alongside the exhibition.

We had also scheduled a painting workshop with Tom Galambos, who is included in this exhibition. Tom’s workshop—Adding Illumination to figurative paintings—originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28 will be postponed for a later date. Please check our events page on our website for these rescheduled dates in the near future.

So, while the exhibition started with a straightforward and simple idea, it became more complex in the execution of the concept. The connections made between the variety of artists have made this show a favorite among gallery visitors.  If you were not able to make it in to see the show, no worries! We are creating a virtual version of the exhibition for you to experience from the comfort of your own home. Check our Facebook page in the coming days. We will link to it here once it is live.


Painters Painting Painters runs February 22—March 27 and paintings can be previewed and purchased on the gallery’s online shop along with a full color 75 page exhibition catalog.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Lya Finston

Lya Finston, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Lya some questions about her work and studio practice:

Lya leading a plate lithography demonstration on an etching press at Spudnik Press in Chicago

Lya leading a plate lithography demonstration on an etching press at Spudnik Press in Chicago

Q: To start off, could you please tell us about your background?
I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Cranford, NJ, which isn’t far from Elizabeth and Newark if you’re familiar with the area. In May 2018, I graduated from Oberlin College in northeast Ohio with a BFA in Studio Art and German Language. Since then, I’ve been living in Chicago, IL with two friends and my cat, Leoni.

I decided to move to Chicago in 2017, after spending the best summer of my life interning at a printshop called Hoofprint in Pilsen (now in Mckinley Park). Liz Borne and Gabe Hoare, who run the space, became lifelong friends and role models of mine that summer. As an intern, I helped them with various publishing projects, ranging in media from screenprinting and lithography to cyanotype and relief. Gabe also trained me in stone lithography that summer, which has been my primary artistic medium ever since.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 11.22.20 AM

Lya assisting Florida artist Bob Mueller with his edition of large-scale woodcuts, printed and published by Hoofprint in Chicago

Q: How long have you been making artwork? Did you go to school for art?
As early as 7 years old, I aspired to be an artist, singer, spy, and primatologist (a scientist that studies primates). Monkeys in leisurely poses with double lives as high school students and super heroes remained the central focus of my work for the majority of my early years. My list of future careers narrowed out over time, but I never could shake my love for drawing.

lunar

“Lunar Animals & Other Objects,” stone lithograph with screenprinted color

From the beginning of my time at Oberlin, I knew I’d major in art, but I fell into printmaking entirely by accident. I spent my freshman year floundering around various painting classes, uncertain where to land. I couldn’t get into the drawing class I wanted sophomore year, so, knowing nothing about it, I signed up for the same intro screenprinting class as my best friend. All of Oberlin’s print classes were taught by Kristina Paabus, who I’m infinitely blessed to still have as a mentor today. Everything about printmaking drew me in, from the process-driven nature of creating multiples, to the strong sense of community in all shared print spaces. During that first screenprinting class, I fell in love hard and fast, which left me eager to learn all the different branches of printmedia.

milkshake

“For Two,” stone lithograph

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
For over a year and a half now, I’ve worked as a circulation assistant at the Ryerson and Burnham Library, which is an art and architecture library located within the Art Institute of Chicago. Working in a place where I’m surrounded by so many incredible artistic resources has been truly invaluable.

“Golem,” stone lithograph with screenprinted color

I bounce around between my apartment and three different studios in Chicago to make my own work. I continue to help out with publishing projects at Hoofprint in exchange for studio use and flatfile storage. I’m also a fellowship alum and current member of a community shop called Spudnik Press Cooperative, where I often go to screenprint. Because I work at the Art Institute, I have access to the School of the Art Institute’s printshop, as well. I’ve been lucky to print two stones there thus far, including the one above!

tree3

tree2

“Trees,” screenprinted butcher paper & cardboard tubes

Q: How would you describe your work?
These days, I work primarily in lithography, screenprinting and animation. However, throughout the span of my residency at Main Street Arts, I’ll be focusing on linoleum relief printing.

I’m primarily inspired by historical phenomena that are fantastic and surreal, but still contain hints of truth, especially when they overlap with the evolution of printmedia. My recent subject matter includes giant prehistoric sloths, Kabbalistic monsters,  regional cryptozoology, and lunar aliens.

"Triplets," stone lithograph on kitakata paper

“Triplets,” stone lithograph on kitakata paper

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My creative process usually starts with some research. I’ll discover something I find beautiful, strange, and a little bit scary that resonates with my identity in some way — whether it be where I live, where I have lived, the kind of printmaking I do, or my jewish upbringing. Then I’ll do lots of reading and thinking about it. I’ll spend my breaks at the Ryerson looking at lots of art books, drawing inspiration from different image compositions and collecting reference photos.

Next, I’ll start sketching out designs that contextualize my subject in a narrative, and often humorous way. Over time, I’ve learnt it’s important for my prints to tell stories, for me to laugh and make others laugh when I talk about them, and for me to exercise my love of drawing.

"Incident on S Professor St," stone lithograph

“Incident on S Professor St,” stone lithograph

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’ve recently become fascinated with a phenomenon known as the “Great Moon Hoax.” In 1835, a newspaper called the New York Sun published a series of articles detailing the invention of a new telescope that allowed astronomers to see all sorts of fantastic happenings on the moon, including bat-winged humanoids, vast plains of giant amethyst crystal, and blue, bipedal beavers acquainted with the use of fire. All the images supplementing these reports were printed traditionally as stone lithographs and reliefs. When these articles were released, people believed them, since publications like these were how the masses normally received “factual” information on current events.

A lithograph of the hoax's "man-bats" relaxing near a distant "lunar temple", as printed in The Sun

A lithograph of the hoax’s “man-bats” relaxing by a distant “lunar temple,” as printed in The Sun

Lunar scene, from a Welsh edition of the moon hoax

Relief print from a Welsh edition of the moon hoax

The Great Moon Hoax’s 19th century impact isn’t so different from the way misinformation pervades the internet today. During my time at Main Street Arts, I’d like to complete a project that speaks to these consistencies in both a warning and humorous light.

As an artist in residence at Main Street Arts, I plan to complete an edition of books illustrating the original text from the New York Sun’s Moon Hoax articles. I’ll render these illustrations as linoleum-cut reliefs  in order to achieve an antiquated look that’s contemporaneous with the phenomenon I’m referencing.  I’d also like to experiment with incorporating my prints into various pop-up book techniques.

Linoleum relief stamps carved by Lya and Atlan Arceo-Witzl

Linoleum relief stamps carved by Lya and Atlan Arceo-Witzl

Q: What’s next for you?
I have a few projects lined up once I return to Chicago. Last year, I started collaborating with some writer friends of mine by illustrating, designing, and screenprinting their texts in the form of short booklets. I’m currently wrapping up an 8-page review of various menu items from the chicken-finger-centric, fast food restaurant Raising Cane’s. Next on my list are a comprehensive ranking of the Air Bud franchise, and a scholarly review of a dark, imaginary sequel to the classic Adam Sandler rom com, 50 First Dates. Chicago’s thriving zine and comics scene was my main inspiration for this project, along with a growing desire to incorporate more humor and collaboration into my work.

Lya printing at Spudnik Press Cooperative in Chicago

Within the next year or two, I hope to participate in the Printer Training Program at Tamarind Institute. Tamarind is a school in Albuquerque, NM dedicated to education, research, and publishing projects in fine art lithography.

Q: Where else can we find you?
The best way to follow my work is on Instagram, where my handle is @thehottestdjinmiami. I also update my website regularly, which you can find at lyafinston.com.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Betsy Foster

Betsy Foster, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of February and March 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Betsy some questions about her work and studio practice:

Betsy Foster studio picture

artist in her studio

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Henrietta, New York (about 35 minutes west of Clifton Springs).  I’ve been making artwork for around 15 years now!

In 2011 I graduated with my BFA from Alfred University, and in 2019 I graduated with my MFA from The Ohio State University. My concentration for both fine art degrees was ceramics.

I just moved back to the western New York area this past summer when I finished my Master’s. In addition to my studio practice I teach as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Fredonia.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice revolves around the manipulation of ceramic material and carrying out repetitive actions to accumulate multiples. I am drawn to the tactility of clay, of leaving marks in the surface whether they be my fingerprints or that of a tool. The surfaces of my ceramic sculptures and paintings are usually abstracted patterns like grids, lattices, or polka dots stretched or overlapped. I change these patterns on the surfaces to create something different each time.

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Pinnacle Pair, 2019. ceramic, 5 feet x 4 feet x 2 .5 feet.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Nearly every ceramic form I build starts out as a series of sketches done in my studio, a sort of planning process. Two-dimensional sketches become three-dimensional form. I sketch the piece again after it is completed, continuing that cycle of sketching and building, each time abstracting and changing the form, pushing against its specificity. My sketches originate from fuzzy thoughts, or flashes of memories steeped in nostalgia. I’m tapping into these feelings as I explore how my paintings, sketches, and ceramic forms can exist together.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
For my time in the residency, I want to explore the relationship between my paintings and ceramic forms. Having gone the better part of this year without a kiln, I’ve been creating paintings with freeform abstract swatches of color. My work from early 2019 and late 2018 dealt with purposefully distorting patterns across a surface, but with access to a kiln once again I am interested to see how my time working solely in paint has influenced how I glaze ceramic forms. My plan is to create ceramic pieces that have painting counterparts. Being back where I was born and raised in Rochester, NY for the first time in many years has everything steeped in nostalgia. I plan on tapping into these feelings as I explore how my paintings and ceramic forms can exist together, merging surface textures and colors, as sources obscure and abstract in the back-and-forth of two-dimensional paintings/sketches to three-dimensional ceramic forms.

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September Display Case, 2019. ceramic sculptures and paintings installed in a hallway case. roughly 10 feet x 3 feet

 Q: Do you collect artwork?
Besides work from a variety of mediums from friends of mine, I have a collection of ceramic cups, mugs, and plates. As someone in the ceramic community who used to solely create pottery, I have a huge appreciation for handmade cups, mugs, plates, etc. With a few exceptions, I only use handmade ceramic to eat off of! I have gotten most of it from The Clay Studio’s gallery, they are located in Philadelphia (but you can also order online!) NCECA, the annual ceramic conference, is also a place I’ve picked up a few of my favorite pieces. For me, there is a sensitivity, a contemplation, and an awareness present while using handmade objects every day.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I want to say my hands, but I think that’s too cliché. I’m going to say a banding wheel. When building ceramic pieces, I need to be on all sides of it and being able to spin the piece around on something has probably saved my body from aches and pains! Alternatively, for bigger work a dolly from the hardware store (so I can put a large wooden board on wheels to move around) has definitely been a life saver!

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That Pink Painting, 2019. Acrylic paint on canvas, 3 feet x 3 feet.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
I would say anywhere that I’m traveling where I haven’t been before. If I’m in a new city I usually make a quick stop at a museum or gallery. I frequently drive around for concerts, and I love to make an overnight trip so I can pop into a museum in the morning before a drive back to give me a lot to reflect on during the drive. My more recent favorite was The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh. A second runner up response would be the museum I used to work at – The Philadelphia Museum of Art. They have such an amazingly huge collection that they rotate frequently so if you stop in, a lot of the galleries are different than that last time you were there.

Q: What’s next for you?
I’d like to get a kiln to establish my own studio here in western New York so I can continue to create ceramic pieces in my studio practice. And I’m hoping to continue teaching!

Q: Where else can we find you?
Website: betsy-foster.com
Instagram: @betsy__foster

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Cylinder Composition, 2019. Ceramic, brick, acrylic paint, 6 feet x 5 feet x 1 foot.

Meet The Artist in Residence: Erika Kari McCarthy

Erika McCarthy, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. Erika is also an MSA Residency alumni, she was here in January 2019 as well! We asked Erika some questions about her work and studio practice:

Q: Remind us who you are where you’re coming from?
I’m an interdisciplinary artist but I often simplify things by calling myself a sculptor because my work relates to mass and presence (things sculptors are often caught up in).  I have been making art in one form or another for as long as I remember, earning my BFA from RIT a few years back, and was lucky enough to be in residence with Main St. Arts last January.  In my other life, I run an artist residency in the Hudson Valley with my partner-in-crime James Adelman, a painter who is also in residence with me this month.

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Erika working on a copper sculpture, photographed by James Adelman

Q: What inspired you to come back as a returning resident to Main Street Arts?
I find the heart of winter to be one of the most inspiring and productive times of year to make art. Being an artist-in-residence last January was tremendously beneficial for my creative practice. I spent much of the month marveling at bare trees stark against sheets of ice, nestling into the quiet of a snow-blanketed landscape,  giving myself time and space to unravel complex questions and immerse myself in the studio devoid of distraction.

Work from January 2019's residency

Work from January 2019′s residency

In the best of ways, the time was very isolating in a manner that allowed me to dig deeply into my creative practice on a personal and genuine level.  This year I am substituting isolation for camaraderie by sharing the residency time with my partner, James Adelman, an astounding painter and observer of light.  He and I often approach problems from different angles and have complementary skill sets, so we’re both always providing resources for the other and supplementing each other’s ability to get things done. We have more force &energy as an alliance than we do as individual entities, so I’m excited to see how our work shifts alongside one another over the course of the month.

Sculptural view of the Horizon of the Earth, November 2019

Sculptural view of the Horizon of the Earth, November 2019

Q: Tell us about your current projects.
My most current project, “iterations of ghosts”, is an attempt to merge my ongoing sculptural work into larger environments and use photography to capture the resulting image. I am attempting  to collaborate with the environment  – from earth to sky to architecture and everything in between – to try and find a point where sculpture becomes something as broad and encompassing as the very horizon of the earth.

Collaborations with Body & Landscape, November 2019

Collaborations with Body & Landscape, November 2019

The photography for this series happens alongside the development of the sculpture itself;  I am building a form by intricately weaving copper wire into a laced pattern, a tedious process that thus far has produced a webbed body built from 1300 ft of thin gauge copper threads. As more copper wire is woven in and the form grows, I photograph its current body in an environment and see how  it’s presence shifts within each situation – watching where the copper web disappears then falls back into existence, seeing where it catches sunlight and where it casts shadow, etc.

My process lends itself to being incredibly tedious – lacing hundred of strands of thin copper into one another becomes a imbued with a sense of ritual over the many days and many many hours it takes me to work on a project. I am obsessed with the repetition of elements beyond a reasonable number, layering thread on top of thread to the point of absurdist intricacy.

Installing and photographing the work over its evolution allows me to see its permutations  and how its elements shift, allowing the sculptural body to morph and change over time with no defined start and end point. I’m excited to continue this project while in residence, finding new environments and collaborations and seeing how the sculpture itself develops as I put more labor into it.

Item from the series iterations of ghosts

Q: Where else can we find you?

You can find me on instagram: @erikakari and on my website: erikakari.com

 

Meet The Artist in Residence: James Adelman

James Adelman, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of January 2020, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked James some questions about his work and studio practice:

James Adelman in his Brooklyn studio.

James Adelman in his Brooklyn studio.

Q: How would you describe your work?
Pretty traditional by most standards. I find 2-dimensions wholly adequate to convey infinite possibilities, so primarily I make oil paintings and charcoal drawings.

I am fascinated with contradictory notions and emotions felt simultaneously. The intersections and parallels of futility and persistence, despair and hope, loneliness and contentment.

Many are representational featuring ambiguous subjects with ephemeral, atmospheric qualities. They could read like stills from a movie reel, telling a nonlinear story. Sometimes haunting, but with stillness and quietude as well.

"Three Dresses" Charcoal on Paper 18 x 24"

“Three Dresses” Charcoal on Paper 18 x 24″

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Often my work begins with a meditation or visualization exercise, followed by small sketches. I try to stay in a trance state and think as little as possible for as long as possible.

The sketches are translated into drawings, staged photographs, or paintings. Any of these may serve as the basis of further drawings, photos, or paintings. Sketches become photos become drawings that inform more photos that become paintings. Like a cycle.

The idea or visual is not as critical to me as maintaining the mood or emotion throughout the process. I want work imbued with emotional resonance and pictures which solicit emotive response and elude analysis.

Meditation Derived Charcoal Study 9 x 12" and Oil on Canvas 30 x 40"

Meditation Derived Charcoal Study 9 x 12″ and Oil on Linen 30 x 40″

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I was nominated to apply for a Pollock-Krasner Foundation photography grant, so one project will be developing that portfolio. But also paintings and drawings.

I have a mountain of ideas, visuals, and references built up from the Summer which I just haven’t had psychic space to reflect on or organize. Main Street Arts seems like the right place to regain that space and dive in and see some of the longstanding projects advance.

Q: How do you promote your artwork?
I don’t really! Or at least I’m terrible at it. I carry forward announcements for events etc for the sake of the venues, but  most opportunities and supporters come to me through friends. It all comes back to friends. We are a tribal species.

James Adelman, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40″

Q: Who are some of your favorite artists and inspirations?
Not just visual artists. Bruce Lee, David Lynch, Mr. Rogers, Gerhard Richter, Friends, Mark Tansey, Lisa Yuskavage, Marilyn Minter, Inka Essenhigh, Stanley Kubrick, Emily Evelleth, Edward Hopper, Vilhelm Hammershoi, James Casebere, Amy Bennet, George Tooker, Francis Bacon, Whistler, Kurt Cobain,… the list goes on and perpetually evolves, of course.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
Imagination! Then eye, mind, and hand. After that I think I use a palette knife most. Also I’m a big fan of homemade painting carts and how they evolve organically. Sort of a hobby.

James’ Studio Cart

Q: Do you collect artwork? Tell us about your collection.
Yes when I’m able, but only modestly scaled work. I have about 20 pieces, most came from friends as gifts or trades. Sometimes residents leave work out of gratitude, which is always humbling and amazing. There’s an amazing Alex Kanevsky I won in a raffle I could never have afforded it otherwise. I also got a Dik Liu at a Christmas benefit.

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I think this quote from Mark Twain about sums it up: “I’m glad I did it, partly because it was well worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again”

Q: Who are your strongest influences and why?
Ha, this will be a long one… Inka Essenhigh had a profound impact on me and my work. I admired her a lot then unbelievably she taught a class while I was in grad school. Later I was her teaching assistant for the same class: ‘Painting from Imagination’. It rocked my world. It is crazy that I know her.

Inka Essenhigh "Forms from Deep Underground" 2014, Oil on linen, 54 x 64"

Inka Essenhigh “Forms from Deep Underground” 2014, Oil on linen, 54 x 64″

Mark Tansey must be the most influential artist for me though. I was his studio assistant for several years and a huge fan long before. He employs one assistant at a time and there is a mentorship component, which he considers a long standing painting tradition.

He worked for Helen Frankenthaler around the same age and was very open with techniques, materials, and process with me.

Mark Tansey "White on White" Oil on Canvas, 78 x 138.5"

Mark Tansey “White on White” Oil on Canvas, 78 x 138.5″

It was incredible meeting an artist I’ve studied and for years and emulated for a time. Being able to ask about pictures in the book and told almost exactly how they were made, plus insights and revelations surrounding them at length. I got to see new work develop stage by stage. It is hard for that not to permeate the subconscious, especially if your willing.

I traveled to Rhode Island 3-4 days at a time, staying in a guest house over the garage. He has a Tribeca studio, but  Rhode Island was the primary workplace. We’d have dinner each night and talk art, philosophy, politics etc for hours.

Mark Tansey "The Innocent Eye Test" Oil on Canvas, 78 x 120"

Mark Tansey “The Innocent Eye Test” Oil on Canvas, 78 x 120″

It was amazing to have access to such a powerful intellect, especially in an ongoing format like that. The conversations could carry on to great depths as we reconvened consecutive nights and weeks.

Challenging at times too though, sometimes I had to read whole books just to participate. Often his wife Jean, who I regard as highly and deserves all credit for the food, would join us. They are an extraordinarily generous family in all regards.

Q: What’s next for you?
Driving to Utah to see my brother’s brand new baby! Then not sure. Probably driving aimlessly to places I’ve never seen, exploring. Taking advantage of having remote work and a Saab. I know I’ll be back in Woodstock again in May.

James Adelman "Swingset" Charcoal on Paper, 18 x 24"

James Adelman “Swingset” Charcoal on Paper, 18 x 24″

Q: Where else can we find you?
On my website,  www.AdelmanArt.com and @AdelmanArt on Instagram.

From the Director: End of 2019 Edition

As I sit here and prepare myself to write this end of the year blog post, I find it hard to believe that a whole year has actually gone by; 2019 was a whirlwind of a year for us at Main Street Arts!

Installation shot from our residency alumni exhibition in April, featuring 43 former artists in residence

Installation shot from our residency alumni exhibition in April, featuring 43 former artists in residence

In our first full year as a 501(c)(3) non profit arts organization, we have been humbled and encouraged by the support of so many of you through our fundraising efforts. Your contributions help us to keep offering a variety of arts programming to our immediate community, our region, and beyond. Through our first Artist at the Table event and Residency Alumni Exhibition in April, we raised enough funds to start offering financial support to artists in residence. Starting in January 2020, we will be able to fully fund one resident per quarter and offer partial funding to accepted artists in residence in need. We welcomed 22 artists in residence in 2019 from 13 different states and 1 Canadian province. This is the most artists we’ve had come through the program in a single year!

Bill Stewart on the night of his opening reception for "Eccentric Energy"

Bill Stewart on the night of his opening reception for “Eccentric Energy”

"Perception of Time" included artwork by Carol Acquilano, Jim Garmhausen, Sue Leopard, Richard Margolis, Nick Marshall, Nancy Wiley, and Beckett Wood

“Perception of Time” included artwork by Carol Acquilano, Jim Garmhausen, Sue Leopard, Richard Margolis, Nick Marshall, Nancy Wiley, and Beckett Wood

2019 was also a great year for exhibitions at Main Street Arts.  From group exhibitions like Perception of Time, which explored our relationship to the concept of time; to solo exhibitions like Eccentric Energy, which highlighted the career of well-known Rochester sculptor Bill Stewart. We had a total of 16 exhibitions in 2019, 8 on the main floor and 8 in our second floor gallery space.

Sprawling Visions, January 11–February 14, 2020 — Reception: Saturday, January 18, 4–7 p.m.

Sprawling Visions runs Jan. 11–Feb. 14, 2020 — Reception: Saturday, Jan. 18, 4–7 p.m.

While I may be biased in saying this, 2020 is full of great exhibition programming as well. Starting off the year is Sprawling Visions, a 26 artist invitational of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and photographs by artists from our region and beyond. Over the past 3 years of having our open call for work, many artist’s submissions have gone unanswered. I would consult the list to find artists for exhibitions we were planning and if there was a fit, I made contact. If not, the submission stayed active. This exhibition is an effort to answer that call and moving forward, all submissions to the open call will be answered twice per year. This exhibition will take place on both floors of the gallery.

Sneak peek at a painting that will be included in "Painters Painting Painters" by Rochester artist, Brian O'Neill.

Sneak peek at a painting that will be included in “Painters Painting Painters” by Rochester artist, Brian O’Neill.

In February, we’ll have another large group invitational on both floors with Painters Painting Painters. The exhibition consists of 22 artists from the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Buffalo areas.  Each artist was tasked with making a painting of another artist in the exhibition and the result is a unique look at the variety of figurative painting being done by artists in our region. Additional work by each artist will also be shown, keep an eye out for the full list of artists to be announced soon!

Installation shot from "Silent Voices…Silent Rooms", Robert's solo exhibition in February of 2019

Installation shot from “Silent Voices…Silent Rooms”, Robert’s solo exhibition in February, 2019

We will also be adding a ninth exhibition to the main floor exhibition calendar in 2020. In December, we will have a special solo exhibition of new work by Robert Ernst Marx, which celebrates his 95th birthday!

ASAE students in grades 1–3 discuss ceramics as they look at this year's "The Cup, The Mug" exhibition

ASAE students in grades 1–3 discuss ceramics with instructor Pam Viggiani as they look at this year’s “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition

ASAE students in grades 4–6 show off artwork they made, inspired by Sylvia Taylor's "Pink Cloud" installation.

ASAE students in grades 4–6 show off artwork they made, inspired by Sylvia Taylor’s “Pink Cloud” installation.

The After School Art Experience at Main Street Arts has grown in it’s second year, as we now have two different sections, one for kids in grades 1–3 and another for kids in 4–6. We hit the ground running at the start of the 2019-2020 school year with twice the amount of students in each 4-week session over last year. So far, the students have discussed and made artwork based on a solo exhibition by Sylvia Taylor and they have seen artwork from around the country by a total of 156 artists in our Small Works and The Cup, The Mug exhibitions. This unique program  gives kids the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with the artwork in our exhibitions. They learn about the artists, their ideas and processes, and they make artwork based on what they are learning. We are proud of the program and thank instructor Pam Viggiani for cultivating a deeper appreciation for art in the kids in the program each week.

Mixed media leaf composition project at the Canandaigua VA

Mixed media leaf composition project at the Canandaigua VA

Weekly art classes at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center have been taught by gallery assistant and artist, Maria Galens. She has been doing weekly art sessions with the veterans consistently since February and will be continuing on into 2020. While we have been providing art workshops at the VA since 2014, this is the longest consecutive stretch of classes taught and we are thrilled to be there!

Assistant director, Sarah Butler and literary arts coordinator, Rachel Crawford at Sulfur Books on the first day of being open, Small Business Saturday

Assistant director, Sarah Butler and literary arts coordinator, Rachel Crawford at Sulfur Books on the first day of being open, Small Business Saturday

We hope that by now, you have all heard about the latest addition to Main Street Arts. We now own a bookstore on Main Street in Clifton Springs! Sulfur Books opened at 18 East Main Street on Saturday, November 30th and we couldn’t be happier. Sarah Butler, assistant director, Rachel Crawford, our new literary arts coordinator, and myself spent the month of November tirelessly renovating the storefront. In just 32 days, we moved the entire inventory of Explore! The Bookstore—which MSA board vice president Anne Mancilla gifted to us—built-out, painted, restocked, and rebranded the store.

Top left: Explore! The Bookstore prior to renovation; Top right: The bookstore during renovation; Bottom: Sulfur Books

Top left: Explore! The Bookstore prior to renovation; Top right: The bookstore during renovation; Bottom: Sulfur Books

Rochester-based author, Brian Wood reading from his new book, Joytime Killbox at the Sulfur Books grand opening event

Rochester-based author, Brian Wood reading from his new book, Joytime Killbox at the Sulfur Books grand opening event

The existence of Sulfur Books is the reason that we are now launching literary arts programming and we have many exciting programs and events to be announced. Be sure to follow Sulfur Books on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We will be launching the full website soon. Stay tuned!

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all of us at Main Street Arts, I would like to thank everyone who came to see an exhibition, attended an event, took a workshop or joined us for a residency. If you are interested in making a year-end contribution to Main Street Arts, you may do so on our website: MainStreetArtsCS.org/support. A donation of any amount will help to support our unique programming and keep us growing into the future. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!

Meet The Artist in Residence: Kathryn Beavers

Kathryn Beavers artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the month of December 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kathryn some questions about her work and studio practice:

Kathryn Beavers, December 2019 artist in residence

Kathryn Beavers, December 2019 artist in residence

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I am originally from Bucks County, PA and now reside in Philadelphia, PA. I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD and received my BFA in Painting this past summer. This year I did my first residency at The Vermont Studio Center which opened my eyes to the possibilities of residency programs. I always knew I wanted to be a painter and muralist in the art world.

Q: How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as all encompassing installation that borderlines on being site specific. Landscape and body converge as they were the first forms of art that I was formally trained in. These collisions of spaces focus on line as the main thread of piecing together a full mural and installation. I world-build but it is all of our world and the creatures that inhabit our Earth as well as minds creating a sense oneness with alien.

Kathryn Beavers, marker and pen drawing on tracing paper, June 2019

Kathryn Beavers, marker and pen drawing on tracing paper, June 2019

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Layering and more layering. I edit by adding. I relate it to propagation in the natural world. Something I realized early on when making art is that I need to be active. I move around a lot and need to be able to see the physicality of the mark. My mind is typically in a state of undulation of feelings real and unreal so I go back and forth between natural non-archival materials as well as paint as the basis for all of the moving parts.

Kathryn Beavers in her studio at Main Street Arts

Kathryn Beavers in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.
For this residency I really want to focus on small works. I am constantly in flux between grand scale and micro objects, and size is something I can not stay consistent with. I would also like to explore and push my ideas and concepts to a more specific realm. I often have too many ideas floating around in my head so trying to narrow down what exactly I want to say has been the goal.

Kathryn Beavers, Irritation, acrylic, matt medium, watercolor, marker on paper

Kathryn Beavers, Irritation, acrylic, matte medium, watercolor, marker on paper

Q: Do you collect anything?
I probably collect too many things. I am not a hoarder, but rocks and “free souvenirs” as Quentin Moseley would say. I have bags of dried flowers, some dried gourds, a lot of dead things. And then there are baskets, containers, bags, and vessels. I have a bag filled with bags, sometimes I take them out and stuff them for reference. I like looking at different types of sacks and pots and even cages.

Kathryn Beavers, Sunny Side Up, acrylic, sand, gloss medium, marker on stretched fabric, 39 x 41in.

Kathryn Beavers, Sunny Side Up, acrylic, sand, gloss medium, marker on stretched fabric, 39 x 41in.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
My advice to others artists is very simple: I think you never know until you try. I would say go at it with gusto. There’s a difference between overworking a piece and pushing it to 105%. Never leave something where you are wondering if you should still make a move or not. I say go for it.

Q: Who inspires you and why?
Terry Winters, I can’t help but always go back to his Tessellation Figures and his notebooks. Elizabeth Murray, Katharina Grosse, Barbara Takenega, Georgia O’Keefe, Rina Banerjee… There are too many women for me to count and name. I absolutely adore taking in hybrid paintings. I love Op Art, Installation Art, and performance work that takes in consideration of the time and place in which it is occurring. There are so many musicians and different art forms that influence me, especially glass-blowing as a medium.

Undulating Systems, Temporary Site-specific studio Installation/Mural, acrylic, polyfil, canvas, cut paper, organic materials, fake plants, (MICA) Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 2017

Kathryn Beavers, Undulating Systems, Temporary Site-specific studio Installation/Mural, acrylic, polyfil, canvas, cut paper, organic materials, fake plants, (MICA) Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 2017

Q: What was your experience like in art school?
MICA was an incredible experience. Incredibly difficult and incredibly transformative. The pressure was definitely felt every year. I didn’t know I could be pushed as far as I went honestly. There were visiting artists and lectures constantly, if you wanted to jump in it was very accessible. There were so many incredible female artists/professors I met during my time there that made me believe it was possible to hold a space in the art world : Carolyn Case, Lauren Adams, Katherine Mann, and Alex Ebstein just to name a few.

Q: What’s next for you?
After this residency I am going to go back to Philadelphia to work and continue making art whenever I can. In May I plan on doing another residency in Minnesota at the New York Mills Retreat.

Q: Where else can we find you?
www.kathrynbeavers.com
behance: behance.net/KathrynBeavers
Instagram: instagram.com/kathryn_beavers_
Facebook: facebook.com/kathryn.beavers.54
Pinterest: pinterest.com/kathryn_beavers_/