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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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!

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“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_/

Meet the Artist in Residence: Brandon Sward

Brandon Sward 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 Brandon some questions about his work and studio practice:

"Chicano dude learns Spanish through Duolingo" is a video in which I complete one Spanish lesson on Duolingo as a monolingual-English Chicano person.

“Chicano dude learns Spanish through Duolingo” is a video in which I complete one Spanish lesson on Duolingo as a monolingual-English Chicano person.

Q: Please tell us about your background.

I was born in the Los Angeles area and grew up in Colorado. While I’ve taken art classes, I don’t possess any academic degrees in art and am not exactly sure how long I’ve been making it, primarily because I’m very bad at knowing what art is. I guess I started doing things I thought were art about a year ago, but I’ve also come to retrospectively consider some of my earlier activities as a latent artistic practice. This of course quickly raises the question of whether artists are born or made, as well as the role of technique and the subconscious in artistic production, and now you probably regret asking me this question (I blame graduate school—I’m currently a doctoral student at the University of Chicago).

"A performance is a sculpture made with the body" situates performance within the history of the gradually broadening medium of sculpture over the course of the late 20th century.

“A performance is a sculpture made with the body” situates performance within the history of the gradually broadening medium of sculpture over the course of the late 20th century.

Q: How would you describe your work?

I consider performance to be my home medium. I trained extensively as an actor, singer, and dancer during my adolescence and find myself constantly returning to these modalities, albeit in radically different ways. Perhaps I’m reaching, but I think that even my drawings and prints have a performative quality in how they reveal their own making, giving a sense of the body even in its absence.

"Sometimes I too want to die" is an intaglio print of confessional poet Anne Sexton, who succumbed to her long battle with depression in 1974.

“Sometimes I too want to die” is an intaglio print of confessional poet Anne Sexton, who succumbed to her long battle with depression in 1974.


Q: 
What is your process for creating a work of art?

The beginning is always the idea. I don’t know where ideas come from or how. I only know I have absolutely no control over them and in this way they’re similar to the Christian concept of “grace” (I grew up Catholic and while I’m no longer a believer, I remain intensely interested in theology and mysticism). Sometimes I feel like my ideas are my children; that they have an existence independent of me and that I’m a sort of midwife tasked with bringing them into being. Ultimately, I want them to find places in the world where they can thrive. In that way, I’m maybe a kind of foster parent…

"Child's play" is a video of my man-child character playing with scaled-up versions of Lincoln Logs.

“Child’s play” is a video of my man-child character playing with scaled-up versions of Lincoln Logs.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?

I don’t know how I could say anyone other than Marcel Duchamp, the first person who understood how dumb art could be.

"We have time for a few questions" is a compilation of institutional footage of me asking questions at artist talks.

“We have time for a few questions” is a compilation of institutional footage of me asking questions at artist talks.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see art?

Unconventional spaces. There’s a lot of great work in galleries and museums, but when you walk through those doors, you’re effectively putting on your “art goggles.” It’s much more exciting to encounter something out in the “real world” and to have to ascertain whether it’s art (this may be related to my interest in performance, which often occurs in public).

"Trauma train" is an installation consisting of a Thomas the Tank Engine toy train set, to which is attached a flashlight that projects text onto the walls as the train goes around the track and shines through pieces of clear acrylic affixed with black vinyl lettering hung from the ceiling.

“Trauma train” is an installation consisting of a Thomas the Tank Engine toy train set, to which is attached a flashlight that projects text onto the walls as the train goes around the track and shines through pieces of clear acrylic affixed with black vinyl lettering hung from the ceiling.

Q: Who inspires you and why?

Ms. Lauryn Hill for her obstinance. Andrea Fraser for her authenticity. Rei Kawakubo for her vision. St. Francis of Assisi for his commitment. Lana Del Rey for her lyricism. Sigmund Freud for his iconoclasm. Frank O’Hara for his joy. Rainer Werner Fassbinder for his honesty. José Esteban Muñoz for his seriousness. PJ Harvey for her mutability. Anne Sexton for her vulnerability. Pier Paolo Pasolini for his weirdness. But most of all my friends, who are truly the most extraordinary people.

"Truth and reconciliation" is a lecture-performance I made about my parents' divorce based on interviews with my siblings.

“Truth and reconciliation” is a lecture-performance I made about my parents’ divorce based on interviews with my siblings.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?

I don’t know whether I’m going to undertake any new projects while I’m here; I have a lot of cleanup and organizational tasks I’d like to get done (editing, transcription, writing, installation, documentation, etc.).

About half of my work deals with childhood and its ramifications upon later life. These pieces involve toys, character sketches, and a strange lecture about my parents’ divorce. The other half of my work is more conceptual and tries to push “institutional critique” beyond the museum. These pieces present art-adjacent activities like journalism, residencies, and talks as themselves works of art.

For "Art is a discourse," I blew up one of my art reviews and wheat-pasted it to an abandoned, graffitied building.

For “Art is a discourse,” I blew up one of my art reviews and wheat-pasted it to an abandoned, graffitied building.

Q: What’s next for you?

Learning to more fully surrender to my process (compare with divine surrender).

I also have another residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in March.

"A portrait of the artist" is a compilation of depictions of artists in popular films.

“A portrait of the artist” is a compilation of depictions of artists in popular films.


Q: Where else can we find you?

I’m pretty good at updating my website: brandonsward.com. Otherwise, I’m on Instagram like everyone else @brandonsward. You can follow my rabid thoughts on Twitter @brandon_sward. Facebook is for old people, though I still have an account for events mostly. Add me on LinkedIn because I need more connections.

"Free art" is an interactive performance in which I offer participants my art (my name, the words FREE ART, and a number written on a plain white piece of paper in black Sharpie).

“Free art” is an interactive performance in which I offer participants my art (i.e., my name, the words FREE ART, and a number written on a plain white piece of paper in black Sharpie).

Inside The Artist’s Studio with John Masello

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I grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago, IL before moving to Bloomington-Normal to attend Illinois State University to study art. In 2016, I completed my BFA with a concentration in ceramics. I am currently in my third year of the MFA program at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.

kitchen counter shelf. Terra cotta, photo printed stickers, acrylic paint, glass, spray paint, wax. 2018.

kitchen counter shelf. Terra cotta, photo printed stickers, acrylic paint, glass, spray paint, wax. 2018.

no joy or fulfillment. Shirt fabrics, stoneware, porcelain, plaster, foam, spray paint, poly-fil, styrofoam pellets. 2019.

no joy or fulfillment. Shirt fabrics, stoneware, porcelain, plaster, foam, spray paint, poly-fil, styrofoam pellets. 2019.

My recent work uses a combination of ceramics, found objects, plastics, textiles, and other process-driven endeavors. I am interested in artifice—how we understand what we are looking at and how materials can be deceptive about their identity.

Dredge. Plaster, wood, acrylic yarn, silicone. 2019.

Dredge. Plaster, wood, acrylic yarn, silicone. 2019.

Since I am putting together my thesis exhibition and dissertation, I am focused on refining similar ideas and materials through iterations. For the past few months, I have been working with thousands of small plastic tile spacers. The spacers (which look like a plastic magnetic letter U) are originally meant to be placed in between tiles before grout is added, ensuring that each tile is equidistant from the next. I drilled holes into each individual U so they could be tied together to form a larger piece.

u-blanket. Tile spacers, monofilament. 2019.

u-blanket. Tile spacers, monofilament. 2019.

The first iteration of this work formed a “blanket”. Through the act of making, I learned how flexible this formed textile could be, as well as the structural limits of the material. From there, I started tying the spacers into 3-dimensional “brick” forms. This decision emerged not only from how proportionally perfect the spacers fit to 4 x 8 x 16 cement blocks, but also from my research into camp, borrowing from Susan Sontag’s idea that “camp sees everything in quotation marks. It’s not a lamp, but a ‘lamp’; …To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-As-Playing-A-Role” (Notes on Camp, 1964).

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From there, I started creating hybrid-forms from the tile spacers. This work is still new to me, but my starting logic with this series is to create objects that show its materiality as both a textile and a structure, capable of creating and reacting to 3-dimensional form.

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johnmasello.com
Instagram: @johnmasello


John Masello is one of 112 artists included in the 6th annual Small Works exhibition at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of work 12 inches or less. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Small Works runs through January 3, 2020.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Dara Engler

I grew up in Virginia and now live in Trumansburg, NY.  I’ve been teaching painting and drawing at Ithaca College since 2012.  I received a BFA from the University of New Hampshire and an MFA in Painting from Indiana University, Bloomington.

How to Catch a Fisher Cat, oil on canvas, 36in.x 54in., 2019.

How to Catch a Fisher Cat, oil on canvas, 36in.x 54in., 2019.

As a painter, I have always had an interest in object making.  I love to build props and environments for paintings.  I actually started college in technical theatre, studying scenic art, stage carpentry and properties.  It has had a big effect on how I think about artmaking.  As time has passed, I have begun to integrate three-dimensional objects into exhibitions alongside my paintings.  They are like artifacts and life-sized dioramas, as you might see in taxidermy or natural history museums.

Diorama installation at University of North Carolina, Greensboro’s Gatewood Gallery.

Diorama installation at University of North Carolina, Greensboro’s Gatewood Gallery.

The piece included in the Small Works exhibition takes object making a step further for me.  It’s the beginning of a venture into sculptural felting.

Rabbit, felt on artificial grass, 2019.

Rabbit, felt on artificial grass, 2019.

My palettes: in paint and in felt.  (Photo credit: David McKinley)

My palettes: in paint and in felt. (Photo credit: David McKinley)

My paintings are portraits of an alter ego, often rooted in exaggerations of my own experiences.  Their loose narratives are allegorical, embracing human foible and the humor that comes with it.  My pirate-y anti-hero is full of curiosity and combative reverence for her natural environment.  The animals in the paintings were friends, foe and food.

How to Track a Deer, oil on canvas, 36in.x 158in., 2018.

How to Track a Deer, oil on canvas, 36in.x 158in., 2018.

How to Track a Deer (detail).

How to Track a Deer (detail).

The felt animals, organs and guts have sprung out these paintings.  It’s been really fun learning a new skill and I’m excited to see where this work will lead and if it will fit in with my previous body of work or become a separate body (pun intended).

Deer Organs, felt on artificial grass, 2019.

Deer Organs, felt on artificial grass, 2019.

Chipmunk in progress…only thousands of needle pokes to go.  (Photo credit: David McKinley)

Chipmunk in progress…only thousands of needle pokes to go. (Photo credit: David McKinley)

My work is influenced by a lot of external sources: other artists, fiction, psychology, my environment.  But what’s been most interesting is how my work has influenced me.  In researching for paintings and learning my character I have become a more active person. I’ll always be an “indoor kid” but my character has prompted me to take an animal tracking course, learn to make twine from plants, get a fishing license and to learn to gut and scale fish.

Gutting my first trout.  (Photo credit: Nina Hien)

Gutting my first trout. (Photo credit: Nina Hien)

You can see more of my work at: www.daraengler.com


Dara Engler is one of 112 artists included in the 6th annual Small Works exhibition at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of work 12 inches or less. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Small Works runs through January 3, 2020.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Camille Riner

Some people aren’t sure what they want to do when they grew up but I knew it would be something to do with art. I was the kid that drew bunnies for everyone in elementary school, made costumes in middle school, and took an art class every semester in high school. When I went to college orientation, I visited the art department and felt right at home. After getting my undergraduate degree at the University of South Dakota and graduating with a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, I taught design and printmaking at Southwestern Michigan College. In 1998 my husband and I returned to South Dakota and started our own book publishing business. 

Camille Riner at her studio desk.

Camille Riner at her studio desk.

My name is Camille Riner and I work in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Welcome to my studio! I love my sunny space and the trees and granite outcroppings I see out my windows. In front of the windows is my computer desk where I spend a lot of time, but I also have two standing benches where I draw, assemble books, carve plates, and package orders. I have a Bunch etching press which, when not in use, is the perch for the home of my two budgies. In the corner, you will find my ukulele and several piles of books. It is a warm and comfortable space that I share with the Studio Birds, Cleo and Brindle.

The yard around Camille's Studio. We have been getting lots of snow this fall.

The yard around Camille’s Studio. We have been getting lots of snow this fall.

I enjoy working in my studio and the diverse jobs awaiting me every day. This can mean working on assembling books, creating a collage on my computer, filming a new YouTube video or any of the many odd jobs we all do every day. Occasionally I teach workshops to spread the excitement about making artist books with others. Through sales of my online patterns, I have discovered that people all over the world enjoy making artist books. 

DIY pattern for Wind and Snow petal fold ornament.

DIY coloring project pattern for “Wind and Snow” petal fold ornament.

Carving bench with new block waiting to be carved.

Bench with new block waiting to be carved.

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“Sanctuary” altered accordion book.

I use allegory in my prints to investigate abstract themes based on our universal human experience. I strive to convey wonder, hope, overcoming adversity, and self-discovery. While some connect to the meaning of my pieces right away, it might not be initially obvious to others. For example, my book “Sanctuary,” in the Small Works show, uses images of thorny plants and cactus to depict the struggle and cruelty sometimes found in our world. Throughout my art, I use the rabbit to express vulnerability, the bird as a connection to nature, and the terra-cotta-colored figures as our strongest selves. I also repeatedly use the moon and stars to represent hope: hope for the moment and hope in the future. 

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“Hope Garden” limited edition, altered tunnel book.

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“Take Courage” Turkish map fold book.

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“Sky of Blue, Sea of Green” altered accordion book.

I am excited to have been selected to show my piece, “Sanctuary” in the Small Works exhibition and grateful to have the opportunity to share my work on the Main Street Arts blog. I hope you’ll check out my holiday books and DIY holiday book ornament patterns in my Etsy Shop. Thank you! 

"Community" Hungarian map fold book, hanging ornament.

“Community” Hungarian map fold book, hanging ornament.

To contact me or see more of my artist books and tutorials: 

Website: camilleriner.com
Pinterest: camille riner artist books
Instagram: @camriner
Youtube: How to Make Artist Books 


Camille Riner is one of 112 artists included in the 6th annual Small Works exhibition at Main Street Arts, a national juried exhibition of work 12 inches or less. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop. Small Works runs through January 3, 2020.