Tag Archives: Painting

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 Cherie Burbach

cherie burbach in the studio

Cherie Burbach in the studio

I’ve painted ever since I was a young child. Art was a safe place for me and a way to work through a turbulent childhood. Growing up in an alcoholic household made things unsteady and frightening, but drawing and writing poetry were how I worked through anything that made me sad or scared.

cherie burbach painting

Artist Cherie Burbach painting

This desire to offer hope and encouragement is the intention behind my art. I am a self-taught artist, painting almost every day. I also write and publish poetry and feel these two are linked for me. Words and images are closely tied in telling a story of faith and confidence about the future. There is a beauty in words that really speaks to me.

cherie burbach art supplies

Art supplies and a work in progress

I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My artistic talents were recognized early on in but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I began to pursue them professionally by painting the covers of my poetry books.

cherie burbach poetry books

Cherie Burbach poetry books

Over the years, my painting has evolved from oils to acrylics to now, a collection of paints, inks, pastels… and many different kinds of ephemera. I enjoy adding lace, music sheets, book pages, and anything with handwriting on it, like old notes and recipes. I enjoy these small, personal elements and feel they add a comforting element to my art.

cherie burbach uses lace in her art

A pile of lace to use in paintings

cherie burbach art supplies used

Art supplies

I’ve been influenced by a variety of artists, but my favorites are the emotive works of Vincent Van Gogh and the mother and child paintings of Mary Cassatt.

cherie burbach exhibit LMA

Cherie Burbach exhibit LMA

Several years ago I fell in love with mixed media. I was able to add words, collage elements, and a variety of mediums that made painting a new journey, one that was about uncovering the image I wanted to convey as much as it was creating it. Adding layers of paper and paint and words felt like the bridge between my art and writing I’d always longed for.

cherie burbach working on She Stood Tall

Cherie Burbach working on “She Stood Tall”

Along with the images I create, I like to include my original poetry and Bible verses on my art. I paint with bright colors and whimsical images to show the light of a world beyond this one, where there is only hope and possibility.

cherie burbach in front of her art booth

Cherie Burbach in front of her art booth

I have written dozens of poetry, art, and nonfiction books. My latest is Painting the Psalms, a combination art book and devotional.

“Painting the Psalms”

I also like creating functional art products so people can surround themselves with art in various forms. Things like tote bags, devotional decks, and mirrors are among some of the things I sell in my booth at art shows.

cherie burbach at a craft fair

At a craft fair

In addition to shows and exhibits, I also teach classes online and in person. My art pieces and prints are sold in artsy shops and galleries throughout the Midwest. For more, visit my website or catch up with me on Instagram.


Cherie Burbach 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.

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Vickie Pierre

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

Artist Vickie Pierre

Artist Vickie Pierre

Q: To start off, please tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York and graduated from the School of Visual Arts 1997.  I’ve been living and working in Miami, Florida for the last 20+ years.  Prior to my full time studio practice, I spent years working as a fine art preparator in New York and then a Museum Registrar for local institutions in Miami.  I now work occasionally as a Registrar Consultant for local collectors and museums.

I Can't Say No to You (Good Enough) 2014 Mixed medial installation

“I Can’t Say No to You (Good Enough)” by Vickie Pierre, 2014. Mixed media installation.

Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice includes painting, collage and installations. I explore my Haitian American identity, with references to design and the decorative arts and the natural world. I also consider the connections between my Caribbean heritage and global cultural mythologies and their relationship to contemporary cultural politics.

Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3) 2016

“Elemental Mistresses (The Power of 3)”, by Vickie Pierre, 2016

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
My paintings and collages usually begin with background color buildup followed by basic forms applied with rubber stamps or brushes. Sometimes I’ll draw on the surface to mark out possible shapes and collage placement. The assemblages and installations are trickier. I’ll visualize these projects for a longer period of time, even before I sketch it out. Once I’ve completed it in my mind, I’ll put it to paper and then the best part, I make it!

That's How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series) 2019, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“That’s How Important She Was (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have many favorite artists (old and new) so it’s difficult to choose… I love the Surrealists and Matisse. Barbara Chase Riboud, Miriam Shapiro, Faith Ringold and the Saar Family women. There’s also Willie Cole, Jim Hodges, Lari Pitman. And of course back to women! All of the incredible women artists who have inspired me for decades: Petah Coyne, Annette Messager, Chakaia Booker, Sue Williams and on and on!

Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018, Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“Queen on the Pyre (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork? 
One of my favorite places to see artwork is at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (previously the Temporary Contemporary). I lived in Los Angeles in the early 90s just before enrolling at SVA and spent many hours visiting with the art there.

She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series) 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

“She Wolf (Poupees in the Bush series)” by Vickie Pierre, 2018. Acrylic and decorative paper collage.

Q: What advice would you give to other artists? 
My advice for others artists would be to determine from the onset if being a working artist is what you ultimately want. Perseverance is so important to sustaining your practice, even when it seems as if nothing is happening. My instructors at SVA used to say, ” work comes from work” and “paint your truth” so I try to practice everyday even when I’m not in my studio. I always have a pad and pen with me to jot down ideas or draw a vision that may come to me.

Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!) 2019. Mixed media installation.

“Totem For My Sisters (We Are Illuminous!)” by Vickie Pierre, 2019. Mixed media installation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to continue working on the current themes in my work but also include elements of inspiration from living and working in Clifton Springs. I plan on using this opportunity to work on several projects including larger collage artworks.

Q: What’s next for you?
I have a solo exhibition coming up in the next year, so I plan on continuing to work and prepare for this career milestone.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My work can be see on my website: www.vickiepierre.com and on Instagram: @vpvpierre

From The Dirt to The Skies: Lanna Pejovic

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

From the Dirt to the Skies is a group exhibition featuring new works in painting, drawing, and printmaking from four of Main Street Arts’ gallery artists — Pat Bacon, Chad Grohman, Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer, and Lanna Pejovic. The artwork is inspired by fog-laden lakes, wooded paths, gardens, and objects plucked from nature. 

Next in an interview series with the artist, executive director and curator Bradley Butler talks to painter Lanna Pejovic about painting on-site as well as in the studio, her color palette, and what inspired the work  included in the exhibition.


From The Dirt to The Skies: 
Lanna Pejovic

LannaPejovic

Q: Can you talk about the work included in the show and what inspired it? Is there a single theme running through the work?

A: The paintings in this show are more focused on flower gardens. Much of my previous work deals with the larger spaces found in the broader landscape. Even if I’m painting a garden, I’m normally more interested in the space of the garden, not the flowers themselves.
For whatever reason I felt more like being right in the flowers, so that’s what I focused my attention on. 

"A Garden Conversation" by Lanna Pejovic

“A Garden Conversation” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: What is on your mind while you’re working?

A: It often depends on the mood of the day but I am focusing on specific gardens. Memories of being in these specific places because it isn’t a generic idea of a garden, the memories come from my experience being in a garden. When I get ready to paint I think about the color mood of that day. Its a conversation with the painting about the color mood of that particular day. 

"Lilies and Rain" by Lanna Pejovic

“Lilies and Rain” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: When you’re recalling these gardens in your memory, are you trying to hold onto one specific image? Or do the images keep passing through in your mind?

A: I try to hold on to the image and go back to the same space in my mind. Two of the paintings included in this show are from the most intensive garden experience I’ve had, which is at Linwood Gardens. Linwood is a big place so it has all kinds of spaces that are very planned out, yet not rigid. Flowers and vegetables are planted together and continue to grow there all summer long. That’s where I spent some time a couple of years ago and I try to go back to that mental space while I’m painting, that combined with photos I took. Since I never did drawings in the garden, I am doing that now. Making charcoal drawings in the current mood I’m in which is a more linear and scribbly way of defining details of what I’ve seen. I try to revitalize my experience of the garden first in charcoal and then move towards oil paint.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Walk" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Walk” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: You have 3 oil paintings in the show along with 8 small pastel drawings, can you talk about the pastels?

A: Those were totally unplanned. I was thinking about a generalized idea of the garden, thinking of a poetic mood about a garden. Trying to not be specific, and not adding specific garden elements. Since they are very small, I couldn’t use the same gestural technique I’m using on the paintings. I didn’t have a specific image that I wanted and I like the ones best that are more diffused. Those are the ones that bring me back to the sensory experience of being in the garden. I focused on laying some color down, smudging the pastels and seeing what memories that might trigger. From there I would draw back into it, which was an unplanned gesture of the moment. I went through lots of paper, you never know if that gesture or that color combination will be successful. With pastels, you can only go so far with layering colors before they aren’t able to be brought to any kind of conclusion.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Pink Sky" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Pink Sky” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: Can you talk about your color palette for these pieces?

A: I’m very affected by what’s going on around me, I don’t work in a vacuum. I am aware of the landscape around me. As a landscape painter I am very much affected by the weather, the light, and the mood of the day. Paintings take their own course sometimes and you decide whether to follow it and support it or whether you will deny it. Letting certain colors in to the composition and then reacting to those colors.

I have been making an effort recently to rely less on blues and greens in my paintings. Those colors are so prevalent in our area, especially this time of year, it tends to dull the senses in a way. You can’t feel anything fresh about the garden. So I ask myself, how can I refresh the idea of being in a place that is a garden? I like winter gardens and I like the fall and a lot of the pastels are fall colors, somehow they kept coming out in the pastel drawings. I find the fall and winter to be more inspiring times of the year.

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Dusk" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Autumn Dusk” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: How does your environment impact your work? 

A: The kind of painter I am, I am very sensitive to the lyrical mood or sound of the day. That in combination with my own mood, ends up having an effect on my dialog with that particular painting on that day. 

"Pastel Gardens 2019 — Yellow Trees" by Lanna Pejovic

“Pastel Gardens 2019 — Yellow Trees” by Lanna Pejovic

Q: Can you talk about your studio practice and how do you balance working on-site vs. being in the studio?

A: It’s hard being outside working on-site but I feel that it’s necessary, whether I’m just making a sketch or a full painting, that’s where I get the real experience of being there. Otherwise the finished painting wouldn’t have the sense of immediacy that I’m after. The symbolic and formal idea that has come out of my relationship to landscape. It’s more authentic for me to show the immediacy of the moment of being there, or a series of moments. The light is always changing, everything is changing. 

I found some drawings I did 35 years ago, very carefully done with layers of accumulation. They are small sketches but they are so fine, I thought “was I ever that quiet and calm working out there?”. I feel like now everything is moving so fast, even though I am out there in the quiet landscape. I feel like the time is going and I have to keep responding to it. Capturing the changing moments I’ve experienced
in a place is important to me now. So the paintings I make in the studio have to feel that way and having actually spent time somewhere helps me to capture the freshness and immediacy of a place.


From The Dirt to The Skies runs through Friday, October 4, 2019. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop.

From The Dirt to The Skies: Chad Grohman

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

“From The Dirt to The Skies” is on view at Main Street Arts through Oct. 4, 2019

From the Dirt to the Skies is a group exhibition featuring new works in painting, drawing, and printmaking from four of Main Street Arts’ gallery artists — Pat Bacon, Chad Grohman, Meredith Mallwitz-Meyer, and Lanna Pejovic. The artwork is inspired by fog-laden lakes, wooded paths, gardens, and objects plucked from nature. 

Executive director and curator Bradley Butler sat down with each of the artists and asked them some questions about their work and what inspires them to make it. Up next in this series, Buffalo artist Chad Grohman.


From The Dirt to The Skies: 
Chad Grohman

DSC_0419

Q: What inspired you to make this body of work and how is it different from other work you’ve shown here in the past? 

A: With work I’ve shown in the past at Main Street Arts, I am usually focusing on landscapes and trying to show “the big picture”, the larger view. There are a couple of paintings like that included in this show but what’s different about the other pieces is that I am focusing more on specific branches and the fruits and vegetable that comes from the branches. A little more focus to provide more intimacy with the natural world. 

Stylistically it is done different as well. To differentiate from previous paintings I tried painting smaller objects with bigger brushes, bringing the viewer closer into the individual
object of nature rather than providing a larger scope of nature.

"Organics" by Chad Grohman

“Organics” by Chad Grohman

Q: What’s on your mind when you’re making your work? 

A: The act of painting a specific object with more focus requires more focused thought. So when I’m painting a landscape that’s seen from across a lake for example, I’m trying to get a sense of the day in the entire landscape, even if I’m not physically capturing all of what I’m seeing. With this group of paintings, I’m really focusing on what the object is and where it came from. For example, in the painting “Organics” we ate those things after I painted them. So there’s a definite connection to our everyday lives. We have an organic
share that we get, so these are things that I’m coming into physical contact with and so I’m remembering those moments or appreciating the work that went into the harvesting and everything else that goes along with providing organic food to a community. This series is really about community.

"Pieces of Hiking" by Chad Grohman

“Pieces of Hiking” by Chad Grohman

Q: Can you talk about a specific piece that is included in the show?

A: The painting called “Pieces of Hiking” is one that I’m the closest to. My wife Kristen and I were going on a hike and I was looking for things that were interesting as we were walking. Whether its specific plants pointed out by Kristen who is an herbalist or maybe something laying next to that plant. I remember that day so clearly
and I remember coming home after the hike and starting that painting right away. I feel like out of all of the paintings in the show, that’s the one I think of first from the group.

“Organics” brings back a memory as well but not as vivid. The tomatoes and peppers were good and made a nice addition to our dinner but “Pieces of Hiking” reminds me more of the day I had with my wife, talking about plants. So I’m closer to that one because the memory is about personal interaction, which is important. With this series of paintings I’m trying to bring people into the work rather than having them looking from across an expanse to see something.

"Organic Turnips" by Chad Grohman

“Organic Turnips” by Chad Grohman

Q: Your color palette shifted a bit in this series, can you talk about that?

A: I hadn’t worked in this way before. I started each piece with a very bright and saturated underpainting of magenta. First, I used this as a way to unify everything. And also, I liked the way it affected the color balance of warm and cool. Then it also started to serve as a way of covering and revealing things. I stayed with the pink color even though I had planned to do some paintings with a blue underpainting. I felt like the pink color really brought joy to the work. I feel that these objects and these things I’ve painted should be celebrated and I feel like the bright pink added to that positive
approach to looking at nature. 

"Wedding Poms" by Chad Grohman

“Wedding Poms” by Chad Grohman


Q: How does your environment impact your work?

A: I live in a rural environment and I’m involved in the community through our various activities. We organize in our community to bring people together and a lot of it has to do with how we’re interacting with nature. Whether that’s through plants or beneficial action to aid the community, like a clean up or something like that. All of these things require us to be in nature and to be around these objects. We aren’t just getting together, we are getting together in nature. Every time we do, it involves observing our environment.

"Sapling" by Chad Grohman

“Sapling” by Chad Grohman

Q: When you’re painting these natural objects and images, you aren’t painting them on site, you’re taking photos and bringing them back and working in your studio, right?

A: That’s right. I’m always using photographs. I appreciate plein air painters and I do that sometimes too but that’s not my standard practice. I’m an illustrator so that’s just the way I’m comfortable working, in the studio using references. 

What’s funny is that this is the first time I’ve painted vertically using an easel! Normally, I work flat on a table. That’s a huge difference and I was very comfortable and welcomed the change.


From The Dirt to The Skies runs through Friday, October 4, 2019. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shop.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Gregory Dirr

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

Gregory Dirr and his works at Bailey Contemporary, July 2019

Q: To start off, please you tell us about your background.

I’m from Miami but I live and work in Boca Raton, I work as a full-time visual artist. I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember; from a very young age it was something I was known for by my peers and even my family. I created more serious bodies of work during high school and applied to Ringling College in Sarasota where I received my BFA in 2008. After college, I started an artist collective – Thought Coalition – to help not only myself, but my friends and other emerging artists build relationships with businesses and art gallery owners.

Because of Thought Coalition I was able to accrue a lot of experience in curating and event organizing. I work as art director for Healing Blends Global, art director at Sickle Cell Natural Wellness Group, I am co-curator of Shangri-La Collective, and I have spearheaded some projects with local businesses all while pursuing my own studio stuff.

Q: How would you describe your work? 

Primarily, I’m a painter. I do, however, work in printmaking, sculpture, installation, collage, video, and music but I always circle back to painting. I’ve always been interested in various ways of creating and my own career has led me to dip into a plethora of art forms.

My subject matter is all a study for a book I’ve been writing for several years. I create landscapes, observational pieces, realism, or dreamy imagery as a response to my surroundings. These responses are sort of existential, which is touching into what my book is about, even if the references for the book are a bit obscure.

Flora

Flora, 2018, Gouache on raw canvas

I also love children’s folklore and literature. A few of my successful pieces are inspired by children’s stories that have a fantastical world like James and the Giant Peach, Grimm’s Tales, Oz series, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Alice in Wonderland.

GregoryDirr_James And The Giant Peach

James and The Giant Peach, 2017, Acrylic, gouache, ink on canvas

Q: What was your experience like at art school?

During college, I was constantly surrounded by other visual artists. At school I would get a glimpse of other artists’ work and their studio processes. We had to write papers about them and critique their work which turned out to be valuable and introspective to my own work. That analytical way of thinking allowed me to apply it to my own work and become less biased of the art I create.

immured

Immured, 2008, Acrylic, toothpaste, collage, medical tape, iridescent ink

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?

My favorite places to see art are in an artist’s studio or home, where they work. I feel like I’m getting an unedited version of what their process looks like. I enjoy looking at the duality of how something can look so orchestrated when it’s in a gallery, a book, or online versus how human it looks in person.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?

What’s most valuable to my process is actually a sketchbook or journal, something to write down or draw thoughts. To me it’s more than doodling or sketching – I write ideas or even potential color palette combinations. Sometimes I even just write a single word, sometimes I write lyrics. I think the thought process behind an idea is more valuable than the actual painting of the artwork itself. I can be working on a very successful idea, but if I’m not elaborating on it aesthetically or conceptually, it will never grow. This is where a sketchbook comes into play.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

I want to mix my observational stuff with my landscapes with my fantastical illustrations with my graphic work and find a middle ground between them. I’m also going to use this opportunity to paint bigger than what I’m usually working because my current working space is at home. That all being said, I’d love to use this opportunity to be influenced by the surrounding imagery of Clifton Springs. I’ve never been to upstate New York so I’m excited to explore the area – especially the nature.

Currently, I’m working with Nordstrom on a project, I’m also working on a regional grant proposal. I always have something in the works be it public art, upcoming shows, commissions, directing art – you name it. This month at Main Street Arts is going to give a reprise from most of those things.

Q: Where else can we find you?

My website — GregoryDirr.com has some bodies of work gathered in an organized type of way.

Instagram — @gregorydirr it where I post only art, usually current stuff or things I’m just interested in showing off. :)

My blog — gregorydirr.wordpress.com where the art is all over the place!

And my Facebook business page — @Gregory Dirr and it lists all my upcoming and and recent works. :)

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Geena Massaro

Geena Massaro, artist in residence at Main Street Arts during the months of July and August 2019, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Geena some questions about her work and studio practice:

Geena drawing

Geena drawing

Q. Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in Palmyra, NY and still reside there. I attended Pratt MWP in Utica, NY as well as the better known Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where I received my BFA in painting and drawing. Since finishing my BFA, I worked as a preschool teacher and am currently a teacher’s aide in a special education program. I’ve always found the energy of children inspiring, honest and relatable so I seem to have developed a gravity for this type of profession. I am currently attending Nazareth College in pursuit of a degree in art education.

Q. How long have you been making artwork?
I have been making art since I was a child. My imagination was my home and a safe place to follow some of the curiosities I developed about perceiving my inner and outer worlds.  I identified with the quiet self who  actively observed both my imaginary world and the physical world in one channel, so drawing became very natural to me. It was my habit and identity as a child.

The first thing I consciously remember drawing was an elephant. I remember showing my parents at the kitchen table (where I actually still draw) and my mother telling me that I was going to be an “artist” and I remember I took that very seriously.

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Self portrait as a child, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. How would you describe your work?
I started this style of automatic painting that is very reactive to surface and are conversations (and excavations) with my own silent innerness. My paintings exhibit compulsive movements, perceived more through the hand than the eye. Superficially, they are highly textured and raw spaces. The goal of this kind of painting is not to represent a specific thing but to be within the activity of a field of feelings come and gone- observed and released through me to my hand and onto the surface. I started doing this as a way to push my paintings and myself into places of the unknown. When I reach this state of the unknown, I feel I often go blind to the action of my hand and become involved in this deep instinctual play of automatic-reactive problem solving. 

Geena Massaro, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 2019

My drawings channel the same hand but a different eye. They often depict some innocent and vulnerable object or character (I seem to be followed by the archetype of the child) turned melancholic.  It is the expression of my hand however that I do believe defines my drawing- regardless of what I could say my subject matter is.

Geena Massaro, Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Isabella at the table, graphite on paper, 2018

Q. What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am very curious about seeing and enthusiastic about the act of (and the mind of) drawing itself. Translating an image from my perceptions to my hand, my hand becomes a vehicle towards another seeing.

I draw a lot from reference photos that I have accumulated from my time as a preschool teacher. I draw a lot of my students. I think sometimes the drawing begins with a separate emotional response (some curious response) and then I just continue reacting to whatever through the language of line. My line dances fast from light to heavy and I tend to draw small- around sketchbook scale.

Geena Massaro, Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

Lily in a chair II, graphite on paper, 2019

My paintings develop out of reaction as well. Painting is embarked upon in phases of intense work and suspensions of waiting. Painting begins in the hand and it’s completion is seldom foreseen. The process is a blind, visceral response between thought, hand and material.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

Untitled (Blue), oil on canvas, 2018

The painting sits once I tire of the action and then waits for me to return to it. I live with the painting as if it were complete. This is when the painting speaks to me. I contemplate its suggested “eternity” through this play until I am either tormented or inspired to re-enter the work- or agree with it’s completion.  this play is very childlike to me and liberating. It is difficult for me to see my paintings clearly as the object they insist to be in their completion and I am curious still how to define the life of an artwork.

Geena Massaro, detail of Untitled (Blue)

Detail of Untitled (Blue)

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
I’ve learned that it is more productive and enjoyable to leave some questions out of the working hand and to ask them when you are out of the creative state. I think asking yourself questions while working is important but any question that involves a doubt about the work  will be more beneficial and constructive to yourself when you are out of the work and in a state of reflection instead.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Untitled (Carter, curtain, dog, room), graphite and chalk on paper, 2018

Q. Who inspires you and why?
Children seem to have a big emotional impact on me. It may be because they are naturally what they are and I have a feeling of this being more difficult to know in adult life. I think children are always in a creative space.  Their brains are so hungry and I feel mine is too but I feel it is so much more natural to engage with that when you are child. They take the information of life as it comes. I love my students and there is so much natural wisdom in the things they say and do. They remind me to be honest with myself and my own inner child.

Q. Who is your favorite artist and why?
My favorite visual artist, overall, is Cy Twombly.  Apart from his works being highly charged in historical literary significance, there is a sublime freedom and play in his hand and the language his works possesses which I feel moved by.

Geena Massaro, Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Sasha’s communion and lilies, graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I’ve noticed, my hands respond to noise reflexively, so I really enjoy listening to music while working. I respond to all kinds of genres, so whatever I’m into at the moment is what’s playing.

I had a huge relationship with John Frusciante’s music during college (especially after reading his essay on the creative act, The Will to Death). His work and expressions carry through to me still so deeply so I turn to him sometimes by default because I know a strong energy exists in his music.

I sing a lot to myself when I work as well.

Q. What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to produce as much as I can and really be present with my creative world. I want to work bigger and I am very excited to have the space to do so (my current working studio is also my bedroom which is very limiting).

I want to try to unite the worlds of my painting hand and my drawing hand more successfully as well. I would like to try larger figurative paintings that use the same kind of mark as my non-objective paintings but solve themselves with a  figure. I would like to try to make more spaces for the figures to exist in in the paintings that would combine a better sense of space with the dance of paint that my non-objective works have.

Geena Massaro, Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Lily, oil on canvas, 2017

Apart from figure, there are other subjects in me that I find reoccurring in the gravity of my innerness and I want to try to understand how these objects or things got there and what I could do with them in my work.

Geena Massaro, Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Untitled (Julianna, bird, branch), graphite on paper, 2019

Q. What’s next for you?
I can’t really say what’s next yet. I’ve been  looking forward to this residency and I’m just really excited for this opportunity to be with myself and create.

Q. Where else can we find you?
Instagram @geenamassaro

Meet the Artist in Residence: David Fludd

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

Artist David Fludd

Artist David Fludd

Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I currently live and work in New York City.  I have a BA, in art from Morehouse College and an MFA in painting and printmaking from the Yale University School of Art. I have also attended Skowhegan.

The layering and building of textures is apparent in my paintings. I am interested in creating textures and working with color as well as black and white. I see the process of printmaking and painting as being related.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 24”x30”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 24”x30”

I am interested in printmaking and its multifaceted possibilities in terms of changing a single image from print to print. Printmaking is open to improvisation and experimentation; printmaking informs my painting practice.

I draw from life as well. This experience is important and adds to my art. The works are open to interpretation. In this manner, dialogue is invited. I also play the piano and compose music.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas. 50”x32”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas. 50”x32”

Q: What type of music do you listen to?
Music informs my work technically and in the way that I approach a canvas — with the ideals of exploration. I am constantly exploring music and experimenting with composition. Improvisational concepts are present in the works and basic musical compositional techniques such as retrograde motion and augmentation are present. I compose and perform as a pianist.

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 19”x24”

David Fludd, “Untitled”, 2018, Acrylic on Paper, 19”x24”

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I plan to create works on paper and to work with drawing and watercolors. I am interested in experimentation. The art that I plan to create will be improvisatory and experimental in nature. The  compositions will be open to interpretation.

The works that I create are influenced by where they are created. By this approach the works express the experiences of where they were created. The art expresses the experiences of working by the sea or in a city, or more rural place in a unique way. In this regard multiplicity exists and thereby expresses many places, often simultaneously.

Untitled. oil on canvas, 2016, 18”x24”

David Fludd “Untitled”. oil on canvas, 2016, 18”x24”

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I have an open sensibility in creating art and I am constantly learning, experimenting; trying new ways of creating and seeing. All of the parts of my compositions are carefully arranged in the process of creation. I am interested in a spontaneous methodology as a way of articulating compositions.

I explore color and texture and multiple approaches to painting and drawing. I make an effort to instill an awareness of seeing the fundamental basic shapes and structures in my art. I have studied many paintings throughout the world. I am fascinated by different approaches to painting and drawing and instill my own work with a vibrancy and sense of looking forward while understanding painting from a historical viewpoint.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Elizabeth Courtney

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

Artist Elizabeth Courtney

Artist Elizabeth Courtney paining en plein air

Q: Tell us about your background.
Hi I’m Liz. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to paint here for the next four weeks. Let me tell you a little about myself and my work…

I have been painting in Eastern Connecticut, all my life. I decided to try to take my art to a more professional level my junior year of high school when I attended the RISD pre college program. I quickly realized I was out of my league there. So for my undergrad I did not want to go to an art school. I ended up at an environmental liberal arts college called Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. I started there thinking I was going to go for environmental studies but something kept drawing me back to the studio. I still don’t know what it was.

I graduated from there in three years with my BFA with a concentration in painting in 2016. After a little while I realize that not going to art school for my undergrad may have been a mistake career wise, not personally, so I decided to do a post bac in Florence, Italy. That was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Studying painting in Italy, not only got me to truly open up as an artist for the first time in my life but I also met so many other artists that introduced me so many new concepts and ideas I would have never been exposed to. Some of those artists even helped me get into other residencies and galleries. I am forever grateful for
that.

Elizabeth Courtney, "This Green Place II”, 2018, oil and acrylic on panel

Elizabeth Courtney, “This Green Place II”, 2018, oil and acrylic on panel

Q: How would you describe your work?
I am a plein air oil painter. I love painting outside. I have found that painting outside on site just helps me live in the moment. I truly appreciate where I am and what I came here to do. I know that I am not the best painter ever, but I love it. I don’t care that I am not the best painter, I just want to create an image that evokes an emotional response even if it is just for me.

Elizabeth Courtney, “Truth”, 2018, oil on canvas, 18”x24”

Elizabeth Courtney, “Truth”, 2018, oil on canvas

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I feel like my process and style of painting are always changing but only the one thing that stays the same is that I take my paintings outside. Recently, I have been starting in the studio and experimenting with acrylic underpaintings so that I don’t start on the intimidating white surface.  Sometimes I completely cover that surface in a made up color of oil paint which I draw into, exposing layers of paint that I constantly change with more paint. Most people are afraid that it would get muddy and sometimes it does but I love finding the perfect top color and making it bright.

One of the biggest problems I have as an artist is knowing when to call my paintings done. I want to get better at that and I think I am.

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I want to paint outside as much as possible during this residency. Possibly everyday if I can, even if it’s raining. Last summer I did some really cool paintings in the rain, in my car and under shelters at State parks.

I really want to drive around the area as much as possible, too. I want to get to Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls, and other state parks around the area to paint. I really want to do an en plein air painting of Niagara Falls—I just think that would be really cool!

I wouldn’t mind selling some of the paintings I do as this residency. I’ve recently started running out of wall space.

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Work by Elizabeth Courtney

Q: What’s next for you?
As far as after this residency, I took a job with the Chautauqua Institute residence life department for the summer where, hopefully, I can keep painting there. I don’t have a ton of plans after that but I would love to someday get my masters in fine arts, maybe in Europe, but who knows. That might be my favorite part of being an artist. I don’t know what’s next.

Q: Where else can we find you? 
I am very active on Instagram @elizabeththeartist. I try to keep it as up to date as possible.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Rachel Siminoski

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

Rachel Siminoski

Rachel Siminoski

Q: Please you tell us about your background.
I grew up in a small town in central Ohio, and after graduating high school I went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for my BS in biology. During my sophomore year I decided that as much as I loved science (and still do!), it wasn’t what I wanted to pursue. I graduated with my BFA in drawing and printmaking, worked at an art gallery for a year, and recently I’ve been working for a screen printing company in the Charlotte area. I also started an online art magazine called Reciprocal in 2017, and I’m currently working on the fourth issue.

Rachel's studio

Rachel’s studio

Q: How would you describe your work?
My work stems from my interest in biological systems and the intersection of protection and separation. Most of my paintings depict ambiguous enclosures in which biomorphic and structural forms interact symbiotically. While I’m influenced by various structures that I see on a daily basis (fences, enclosures, walls, etc.), I’m not actively attempting to depict anything from life. I’m more interested in the function that those forms are associated with- such as protecting, covering, holding, or supporting the things around it.

"Octagonal", 2018, acrylic on canvas, 36.25  27 inches

“Octagonal”, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 36.25 x 27 inches


Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I start with small, simple sketches, although I never feel obligated to stick with my original plan. I like to work on multiple pieces at a time- if I try to focus on just one image, I feel like I end up drowning in ideas that don’t belong crammed together in one single painting. I also like to stop and take a moment to write about what I’m working on, ask myself questions about the decisions I’ve made so far, and gain some clarity on where I want to take the painting next.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’ve been thinking about how things evolve over time, and how the abstract characters and environments within my paintings fit into that idea. I think in the past I’ve thought about each of my paintings as separate, individual representations, whereas now I’m more curious about how they interact in relation to one another, and depicting them in a way that makes them seem less static.

I’ve also been playing with the temperature of the grays that I mix, and I want to explore how I can push that further while still staying true to the parameters that I set for my work. I’m hoping to continue exploring these ideas and make some smaller paintings that will lead to larger works once I get back to my studio in North Carolina.

Per Kirkeby

Per Kirkeby

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why? Who are your favorite local artists?
I really love Per Kirkeby’s paintings. He made sure to emphasize the importance of having structure within a painting, and that has always resonated with me. A few of my favorite North Carolina artists include Felicia van Bork, Marvin Saltzman, and Mariam Stephan.

Untitled, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 28 inches

Untitled, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 28 inches

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I had an amazing experience in school. My professors were tough yet supportive, and I was surrounded by talented and driven peers. The environment wasn’t competitive in an unhealthy way like I think some people assume.

"Small Enclosure 2", 2018, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches

“Small Enclosure 2″, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches


Q: What’s next for you?
That’s a big question! Hopefully I’ll be attending more residencies later on this year. I’m also starting to think about going back to school for an MFA in painting, so we’ll see where that leads me!

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can find me on instagram, or on my website www.rachelsiminoski.com