Tag Archives: Painting

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

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Nancy Wiley

My name is Nancy Wiley and I’m honored that my series of portraits is on display as part of the Perception of Time exhibit that is currently at Main Street Arts.

Nancy Wiley at Main Street Arts

Group of my paintings in the exhibition

I have always loved painting individual portraits in oils. I love people, especially faces — trying to get a likeness and portraying some aspect of each subject has always fascinated me.

Recently, my thoughts have turned to the kids growing up in our country right now— the adolescents who have been labeled “Generation Z” in the current culture. I have met quite a few (I’ll admit my own children are in this group) and a common thread I have noticed is that being true to themselves and being honest about who they are is very important to them, sometimes when it isn’t easy or if it challenges old social norms.

Sketch

Sketch

I decided to do a series of these individual portraits, and show them grouped together and in various states of being finished, as they are still physically and emotionally changing and emerging into adulthood.

My idea is to do as many as I can and then show them together in large groups. This would hopefully portray them as peers in a way or as part of a whole — a “generation”.

IMG_20181211_155254836 (1)

The process of painting so many young people has caused me to think about what I was like at their age and what the world was like then. Contrasting that to current times, so many things are different in ways I could not have fathomed.

And also I think about the future and what it holds for these kids —how life will shape them and how they will live in the world.

My daughter posing in front of my portrait of her during the opening reception

My daughter posing in front of my portrait of her during the opening reception

And so I continue to find them compelling subjects to paint. I hope the series will possibly evoke thoughts from the viewer about his or her own perspective about time and change — individuality and the identity of different generations.


Nancy Wiley is one of seven artists featured in the exhibition Perception of Time at Main Street Arts. The exhibition can be previewed on the gallery’s Artsy page. Perception of Time runs through February 15, 2019.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jamie Moriarty

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

Artist Jamie Moriarty

Artist Jamie Moriarty

Q: Please tell us about your background:
I’ve lived in Florida most my life. I started out with film photography in high school and then moved to digital photography and photoshop. However, once I got to college I started painting and sculpting which is when I really started to make artwork. I got my associate’s degree at the State College of Florida where I had access to a wonderful ceramics studio. After graduating I decided to go to New College of Florida. All of the sudden I found myself without clay and a kiln and that’s the moment that my art started to take off in a whole new direction.

"Tilt-Axis Accelerometer" Oil on panel; 5x5 in; 2018

“Tilt-Axis Accelerometer” Oil on panel; 5×5 in; 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
My first love is sculpture, but I’ve been focused more on painting as of late. Most of my portfolio consists of interactive sculptures. Either via a sensor, button, or other mechanism, the artwork is activated and altered in order to talk about the ways in which we interact with technology and how such interactions influence us. I started out in this genre with simple buttons and relays, but I’ve been expanding into more complex programming. Recently, I’ve been working a lot with computer vision, the field that deals with getting computers to understand and interpret visual images.

"Finger Study No. 3" PLA, MDF, micro servo, Arduino nano, LED, potentiometer, circuitry; 9x4x3.5 in; 2018; When dial is turned, the finger bends.

“Finger Study No. 3″ PLA, MDF, micro servo, Arduino nano, LED, potentiometer, circuitry; 9x4x3.5 in; 2018; When dial is turned, the finger bends.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I feel somewhat compelled to say a computer, but they never really work so I’d have to go with my speakers or headphones. As my medium changes, I’m always listening to music or an audiobook.

Q: What type of music do you listen to and how does music affect your artwork?
That being said, I love listening to rap, jazz, indie, instrumentals, and everything in between. When I get bored of music I listen to informative non-fiction audiobooks. I find that music helps to keep me on a certain pace or in the right mind set. Although I love audiobooks, they make me work much slower.

"Camera Module" Oil on canvas; 34x28 in; 2018.

“Camera Module” Oil on canvas; 34×28 in; 2018.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I envy the days when I would just start painting out of the blue. Now, my process starts out very conceptually, I have a very good idea of my end product before I begin creating. My paintings start out with very meticulous reference photos, you really don’t see my hand until you get up close. However, it’s my programming works that wind up changing a lot throughout the process, but that is mostly due to the learning process.

IMG_20180108_182344

Paintings in progress in Jamie’s studio

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
I’ve really been struggling with the way that art school has altered my practice. The school I am at is more of a liberal arts college and the art program is firmly rooted in the world of academia. I have become so conditioned to think primarily about the conceptual that aesthetics is always optional and expression weakens the idea. The worst part is that you don’t realizes the changes that happen until they become damaging. I’ve been trying to unlearn some these constraints in order to go back to a more natural process of creation.

"RPi Zero Camera Module" Oil on canvas; 36x11.75 in; 2018.

“RPi Zero Camera Module” Oil on canvas; 36×11.75 in; 2018.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’ve been animating my sculptures with electronic components for quite some time, but my paintings have remained the same. My goal for this residency is to find new ways of making my two dimensional works more interactive.

photo of taking photo

Q: What’s next for you?
I will be graduating this spring and after that I plan to move to a bigger city and focus on making work outside of the academic environment. I plan to get my master’s but I want to spend more time discovering myself as an artist first.

Q: Where else can we find you?
My website is jamiemoriarty.com and my Instagram is @jamie_michelle_moriarty. All my fun and frustration in the process gets posted to my Instagram account.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Angela Guest

Angela Guest, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of September 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Angela some questions about her work and studio practice:

Angela Guest

Angela Guest

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Austin, TX and went to school for art at DePaul University in Chicago where I focused on oil painting and intermedia. DePaul had a small art department that was full of amazing teachers but lacked enough resources to teach a wide spectrum of artistic mediums. Because of this, all of my textiles knowledge is self-taught/ gleaned off of fabric experts like Chicago artist Karolina Gnatowski and my Grandma, Florence Guest (god bless mentors).

"Lazy Arches" felt and thread, 9"x11", 2018

“Lazy Arches” felt and thread, 9″x11″, 2018

Q: How would you describe your work?
All of my pieces tend to involve a pattern, lots of colors, appliqué, and are mixed media. I prefer materials like felt, gouache, oil paint, and thread. I have the habit of wanting to learn how to do everything; I want to be a master oil painter, a master textiles artist, a master of realism and abstract expressionism… so my practice can tend to go everywhere. Whether that’s good or bad for me and my work I’m still deciding! But I do love how that inner conflict often results in me producing mixed media works.

As far as subject matter, my work is very much about symbols and the meaning of those symbols, with the meaning usually connected to things like souls, death, decomposition, and love. 

"Long Distance Relationship" fabric, felt, thread, gouache, and glass paint with frame, 12"x15", 2018

“Long Distance Relationship” fabric, felt, thread, gouache, paper, and glass paint with frame, 12″x15″, 2018

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
The process is often a lot of looking at the materials I have and coming up with interesting combinations. I try to be a good planner, I draw out a few sketches, write out thoughts/goals with a piece, but it will usually devolve into me going “wow I like they way these things look together,” and then building off of that.

“On Fire” oil paint, gouache, thread, felt, canvas paper, two beads, 12″x16″, 2017

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

Q: Do you collect anything?
House plants and beads. My aunt recently came across a big bag full of jewelry making materials that my late Grandpa left behind. The bag was full of precious stone beads including my favorite precious stone Carnelian, which it turned out was my Grandpa’s favorite precious stone as well.

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
The whole city of Chicago.

"Consumption of Clouds" fabric, felt, thread, and bleach, 42"x23", 2018

“Consumption of Clouds” fabric, felt, thread, and bleach, 42″x23″, 2018

Detail of "Consumption of Clouds"

Detail of “Consumption of Clouds”

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?

I go for a lot of rap and hip-hop. Some of my favorite albums right now are Tyler the Creator’s Flower Boy, Kamaiyah’s A Good Night in the Ghetto, Tierra Whack’s Whack World, and Dj Quik and Problem’s Rosecrans. If I’m wanting to listen to something less wordy, I go for Philip Glass or Nujabes.

I don’t really think music affects my artwork. It’s more like what I like in music can be for the same reasons that I like my art or other people’s art. I like things that are intricate, chaotic/loud, and playful with the bite of a serious topic. The rap and art I like is often all of those things together.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I’d like to continue focusing on the creation of my own symbols and incorporating those symbols into a large scale fabric and paint piece. I also have a couple of unresolved projects that I started around a year ago that I’d like to bring out again and think about.

Q: What’s next for you?
Settling down in Buffalo, NY and getting my bearings!

Q: Where else can we find you?
My website and on Instagram

Meet the Artist in Residence: Kaele Mulberry

Kaele Mulberry, artist in residence at Main Street Arts, during the month of April 2018, is working in one of our two studio spaces on our second floor. We asked Kaele some questions about her work and studio practice:

Kaele Mulberry

Kaele Mulberry

Q: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Sodus, NY, but when I was two my family moved south to Dallas, Georgia.  I spent the majority of my childhood there—running barefoot on dry grass, sipping honeysuckle, and drawing in the shade.  We relocated back north to Newark, NY in the summer of 2004 and I have lived there since.

I graduated from Alfred University in 2016 with a BFA and a minor in art history.  After graduating I made an improvisational studio in the closet of my childhood room.  At the moment I juggle working as a barista in the mornings and afternoons, and painting in my little studio in the evenings.

“Pupa, Imago (The Inherited Memory),” oil and varnish on canvas, 2016


Q: How would you describe your work?
More recently I have been really into the atmospheric qualities of layered watercolor and the buttery texture of gouache.  I find that these two mediums work best with my choice of scale.  I love the excitement of being overwhelmed by a large canvas, but even more so the meditative, scrawling, clenched fist process of working small.  There is a preciousness about holding something small in your hands.

“Exchange!,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 2017

Recently I have been painting a lot of raccoons.  During my morning commute it is not uncommon to pass by several unfortunate road-crossers, especially raccoons or opossums.  I have begun painting them to, in my own way, pay homage.  More recently my work subjects innocent and tender moments exchanged between humans and animals.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I start with a sketch, and then create more sketches based off the first sketch.  Most of the time I like my drawing more than a finished painting.

Sketchbook, graphite and marker, 2018

Sketchbook, graphite and marker, 2018

There’s a looseness and a spontaneous quality in my drawings that I am still working to capture in my paintings.  I end up scrapping a lot of work because of this.  Restarting and being frustrated about it is a short but important process for my work and for me.  I usually work on two pieces at once to keep things fresh and to stave off disinterest. I find it best to come back to an image with refreshed eyes.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
My project is a series called Ugly Planet, a collection of paintings that illustrate a utopian planet where the dichotomy between humans and animals has been dismantled.  Ugly Planet describes the conventional human tendency to alienate and disparage the unfamiliar and strange.  The content of this series is not meant to be jarring or violent, rather, it is to blur the presumptive roles of humans and animals.

“Untitled,” ink, watercolor, gouache, and color pencil on paper, 2018

The underbelly of this series is inspired by roadkill.  My personal interest in this series is to pay homage to the birds, foxes, raccoons, and opossums I so often encounter on my daily commute.  I wish to illustrate a wistful imagining of their lives uninhibited by humanity’s environmental intervention, while also portraying them amidst activities and settings that are recognizably human.

My big mission is to walk away from this residency with many paintings and, hopefully, a book of this series.  I am convincing myself to let this series bend and grow however it needs too.

Q: What do you listen to when you work? How does it affect your artwork?
I find that I need to always listen to something to keep myself awake and focused.  I only let myself listen to podcasts when I’m working, and because I like to marathon episodes, this usually keeps me working for longer.  A few podcasts that I’m always listening to are Lore; My Brother, My Brother, and Me; and The Adventure Zone.  I definitely recommend them.

For music, I’m currently into the narrative of Sam Beam and the chaotic and exuberant energy of Dan Deacon.

“To Drown a Fish in Loose Leaf Tea,” oil on panel, 2016


Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a handful of favorite artists.  Remedios Varo is an artist that I am drawn to because of her immersive and fantastical scenes.  Gustav Klimt is another favorite, especially his “Golden Phase” and landscape paintings.  I have far too many favorite contemporary artists, but to name a few: Teagan White, and her detailed paintings of flora and fauna succumbing to the gentle and cruel hands of nature; Rebecca Green, whose gouache paintings of curious children and animals reverberate nostalgia; and Estée Preda, with her folk tale inspired watercolors.

“Picnic,” watercolor and gouache on paper, 2017


Q: What’s next for you?
I expect to print and distribute Ugly Planet during or shortly after my residency.  I am hoping to ready an online shop up with prints, originals, books, and zines.  I will definitely be found brewing fresh coffee and pouring lattes for friends and familiar faces.  I will also be moving to Canandaigua and upgrading from my closet studio to a room studio.

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can view my work over at my website kaelemulberry.com, and follow my process, adventures, and shenanigans on Instagram @loiir.