From The Director: Art in the Nation’s Capitol

In front of the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

In front of the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

This past weekend, I attended a family wedding in Washington D.C. While I was there, I had a whole day to kill before the wedding so I decided to see some art. I started out in the west building of the National Gallery of Art, where they mainly have what I call “the old stuff”. 

Rotunda in entrance of West Building

Rotunda in entrance of West Building

While there is so much to appreciate and study in art from early art history, I usually bypass the collections from the middle ages, renaissance, and prehistoric times. I typically choose to look at artwork made after 1900. Today, I decided to just take it all in (or at least as much as I could in 4 hours) and wandered through each room in the grand building.

Bronze casts of French members of Parliament made from Daumier original unbaked clay sculptures

Bronze casts of French members of Parliament made from Daumier’s original unbaked clay sculptures

Not surprisingly, the things I was drawn to were not that old. Highlights for me from the West Building include bronze sculptures of French officials by Daumier; Color in Context, a small exhibition of prints by Edvard Munch focusing on the use of color and the specific theosophical meaning of his colors; and Posing For The Camera, an exhibition of 60 photographs chronicling how posing for a portrait has changed since the invention of photography.

(left) Photo of playwright Jean Genêt by Brassaï, (center) Untitled photo from Berlin by György Kepes; and (right) Photo of Lucian Freud by Brassaï

(left) Photo of playwright Jean Genêt by Brassaï, (center) Untitled photo from Berlin by György Kepes; and (right) Photo of Lucian Freud by Brassaï

Moving to the East building (with a break for a burrito in the park) you notice the distinct differences in the architecture. The first building was classical, the second building was modern and angular.

Interior shot of the east building of the National Gallery

Interior shot of the East Building

The highlights from this building of the National Gallery include a drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou; “Blue Blood” by Martin Puryear, a large circular piece made from pine and cedar; and the thing that knocked me out the most was a film by James Nares called “Street” with a score by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

"Untitled" drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou

“Untitled” drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou

"Blue Blood" by Martin Puryear

“Blue Blood” by Martin Puryear (with security guy for scale reference)

In the viewing room at The National Gallery watching "Street" by James Nares

In the viewing room at The National Gallery watching “Street” by James Nares

It was a slow motion ride around the streets of NYC and the way we get to interact with these people, usually staring at us or off in to the distance, is very intriguing.  See a clip from the piece here.

Large Robert motherwell painting on the bottom level

Large Robert motherwell painting on the bottom level

"Achilles" by Barnet Newman (left) and two paintings by Clifford Still (right)

“Achilles” by Barnet Newman (left) and two paintings by Clifford Still (right)

"Salut Tom", a huge painting by Joan Mitchell

“Salut Tom”, a huge painting by Joan Mitchell

There were of course some large abstract expressionist paintings, which I always like but the Nares film was my favorite piece. I wish I was able to experience all 61 minutes of it but I didn’t have enough time.

It is always a good idea to check out galleries and museums that you’ve never been to. Sometimes when I am on a trip or vacation, there just isn’t enough time. I’m glad I made the time during this short trip.

204 of Thousands, an installation of cups by Ehren Tool at the Renwick Gallery

“204 of Thousands”, an installation of cups by Ehren Tool at the Renwick Gallery

I also stopped into the Renwick Gallery the day before and saw a great installation of cups by Ehren Tool. Part of his ongoing body of work dealing with war through pottery. This installation at the Renwick Gallery was just a small number compared to the 14,000+ that he has made as part of this project. Powerful to see.

From The Director: End of September Edition

Upstate New York Painting Invitational

Upstate New York Painting Invitational

There have been so many things going on this month, I thought it would be nice to give some highlights… This is the last week to see two great exhibitions. You have until Saturday afternoon to experience the Upstate New York Painting Invitational and Fuse, a solo exhibition of sculpture by Mitch Messina. 

Detail of "" by Mitch Messina

Detail of “Circuit” from the exhibition by Mitch Messina

This is the third consecutive year that we have done a regional, media-specific exhibition. Last year it was printmaking and the year before it was ceramics. This is a great opportunity to see eight painters from our region working in a variety of different styles and media.

We are also having an artists talk this Saturday, October 7 at 2p.m. with seven of the artists included in the Painting Invitational. You can RSVP and get updates on our Facebook Event Page.


The end of each month is always bittersweet… It means that we have to say goodbye to our artists in residence. The bright side is that we get to welcome new artists into our community! Plus this month, Mandy Ranck is staying on for a two month residency, so we get to hang out with her for a while longer.

Ali Herrmann teaching her encaustic collage workshop at Main Street Arts

Ali Herrmann teaching her encaustic collage workshop at Main Street Arts

We are saying goodbye to Ali Herrmann and wishing her well as she travels back home to Lenox, MA. She was the first encaustic artist to be a resident at Main Street Arts and we really enjoyed getting to know her and her work while she was here.


For the month of September, I was honored to be able to teach art classes two days per week at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. These classes provided an art experience for some of the veterans who are full time residents in the geriatric and psych wards at the VA.

"Animal Collage" project from one of the students at the VA Medical Center

“Animal Collage” project from one of the students at the VA Medical Center

Each class we completed a different project and focused on painting, collage, and ceramics. I would usually have 10–15 guys in the class but the day we did the clay figures, 25 showed up! It was a great experience and I look forward to doing more with the VA in the future.


ArtTalksPromo

On Sunday, Sept. 24, I was privileged to be a part of the Ontario County Arts Council’s “Art Talk” series. In case you missed it, the Art Talk at Wood Library in Canandaigua will be aired on Finger Lakes Television (Spectrum cable 12, digital channel 5.12) on October 6 at 9 a.m., October 7 at 6 p.m., October 13 at 9 a.m., and October 14 at 6 p.m.


Mandy Ranck is our first ceramic resident artist and she also guided our kiln along it’s maiden voyage! We have had a kiln at the gallery since we opened 4 years ago but just have not been able to fire it until this year. 

Mandy Ranck loading work into our kiln at Main Street Arts

Mandy Ranck loading work into our kiln at Main Street Arts

We are looking forward to each time Mandy unloads the kiln! If you are a ceramic artist or you know someone who is interested in a residency, check out the details on our website. You will have full access to the kiln and a potter’s wheel.


Installation shot from last year's Small Works exhibition

Installation shot from last year’s Small Works exhibition

Our deadline for two national juried exhibitions was yesterday at midnight! Keep your eyes peeled as we reveal the accepted artists work in preparation for the opening receptions on Saturday, December 2. The fate of each exhibition is now in the hands of our jurors, Cory Card (Small Works) and Peter Pincus (The Cup, The Mug).

While the month of September was definitely a busy one, the coming months will continue in its path, starting with the installation of our next exhibition Sacred Curiosities, which features the work of 13 artists (opening reception on Saturday, October 21 from 4 to 7 pm). The arrival of work for our two national juried exhibitions will follow, and before you know it, the installation and opening of those exhibitions will be here! We will also be announcing our 2018 exhibition calendar very soon so check our website, follow us on social media and, if you haven’t already, sign up for our weekly email newsletter to keep up with all that’s going on!

Meet the Artist in Residence: Renee Valenti

Renee Valenti is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. During the month of October, 2017, she will be working on a series of abstract paintings and immersing herself in art history books. We asked Renee a few questions about her artwork and studio practice. 

Renee Valenti

Renee Valenti

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from a town right outside of New Haven, CT but I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the greater part of the past fifteen years. I’ve been making visual art for the past ten, after making a switch out of performing art and theater. I decided to make the change and went to Pratt for my undergrad and finished my masters last year from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s low-residency program. I feel that I still often draw from storytelling, the theatrical, or cinematic in my work; and I often like to work in series until something is finished for me.

"fuckin, fuck", oil on canvas, 2017

Renee Valenti: “fuckin, fuck”, oil on canvas, 2017

Q: How would you describe your work?
Painting is the largest part of my studio practice and I also do a lot of photography. Most of the time I would take the photos that I was using for my figure paintings, as well. My painting had primarily been figurative or the spaces people occupy, but then last year I started turning toward abstraction. I just couldn’t carry the heaviness in the narratives that were in the paintings from 2015-16 and I also just didn’t have any ideas in my head! I was feeling mentally spent but also just needed to get back into the paint. So one day just started making without the photo imagery. However, then another narrative started emerging for me within these abstract paintings; which still very much have a place of body within them.

My photography has been a continued investigation of portraits of friends, bikers, communities, and empty hotel rooms. I started driving to nearby towns and staying in hotels while living briefly in the mid-west in 2014. As a way to combat the solitude I was experiencing while living there, I started to photograph these spaces—investigating the comfort within transient places devoid of personal memory. Recently, I started a project of landscape photos down Route 66.

Images by Renee Valenti: The Chateau Royale, Lake Geneva,WI (left) Photo 9; (right) Photo 8: ghosts of ashtrays and whiskeys

Image by Renee Valenti: "Gas station, entering New Mexico—off Route 66", digital photo, 2016

Image by Renee Valenti: “Gas station, entering New Mexico—off Route 66″, digital photo, 2016

Q: What is your process for creating a work or art?
That’s a big question and it varies. Sometimes I watch a lot of movies and that inspires me aesthetically; filmmakers like David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Fellini, and Pedro Almodóvar. Usually it takes me a minute to do all the background work before beginning a new series. Whether that’s going to the library to do research on a photo project or walking around the city or being or getting into a head space to feel out what the inspiration for the paintings is/are. Sometimes it’s just walking in the woods a lot. I need meditative time for sure. But then once it takes off I can kind of hit the ground running after that until a stop comes and then it maybe things need a minute to refresh.

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I’m going to say my speakers, or my phone speakers. I always have something on, whether it’s music or a podcast, or talk radio or something. That kind of gets me going or keeps me going. You spend a lot of time alone in your studio too, so it breaks up your own voice or lets me get deeper into it within the making.

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
Everything from Beethoven to Best Coast to Led Zeppelin, to Santigold. It runs the gamut.

"White Noise", oil on canvas, 2016

“White Noise”, oil on canvas, 2016

Q: Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
Out in the world. I feel like some of the best art is all around us. Then Museums and galleries of course, depending on the show. The one thing about living in New York is that a lot comes through there, so you get to see a lot of great work up close and in person.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I plan on working on the series of abstract paintings that have been in process. I’m also planning on just bringing a lot of art history books and digging into those. I’m really looking forward to having a whole month to work there.

"Winter", oil on canvas, 2017

“Winter”, oil on canvas, 2017

Q: What’s next for you?
We’ll see! I’m looking for an exhibition space for these paintings sometime next year and to complete my Route 66 project. That’s the immediate future, art-wise.

Q: Where else can we find you?
http://reneevalenti.com/home.html
https://www.instagram.com/photoslag/
https://www.facebook.com/renee.valenti.9


Renee is teaching a workshop on Saturday, October 14 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Her Paint As Material worksop will examine the versatility of paint with a focus on experimentation within the medium. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Belinda Bryce

Belinda Bryce

Belinda Bryce

Although Rochester has been my home for the majority of my life, I wasn’t born here. My family moved a lot when I was very young, and as a young adult I lived in various places before returning to Rochester. These experiences may have led to my interest in navigation of place and time as it relates to an inner journey. This theme also influences how I work with layers to create a history of the art-making process.

I started painting watercolor landscapes inspired by the Finger Lakes while in college. After college I worked for a typography and print production company that supported the major advertising agencies in Atlanta. Graphic design holds a special place in my heart but I was drawn to fine art.

Belinda's Studio

Belinda’s Studio

My interest in non-objective art began while living in Atlanta where expansive contemporary commercial space invited large abstract work. When I returned to Rochester, I spent the first 10 years working with monotype, which allowed me to layer images and combine elements of printmaking and painting. More recently, I have focused primarily on painting.

My work combines expressive drawing and painting. The compositions suggest an inner landscape that is inspired by nature, its patterns, shapes, color, light and textures.

Nighttime photo reference

Nighttime photo reference

NightSketch

Nighttime painting sketch

NightPainting

Finished painting inspired by nighttime photo

In the last five years, I have focused on the fundamentals of line, gesture, form and texture, nestled within layers of staining, glazing, mark-making, and drawing. The dialogue among these formal qualities informs my process. I am interested in creating balance with a visual language that conveys simplicity, complexity, and mystery.

Rock inspiration (left) and a detail from a painting inspired by the same rocks (right)

Rock inspiration (left) and a detail from a painting inspired by the same rocks (right)

A “celebrant of the indeterminate,” I need room to roam in my work and often get lost in the unconfined freedom I so value. The resulting images are related but often visually different, maybe two or three suggest a brief series, but the work as a whole is more a traveler’s diary of exploration, digression, and the indirect process of becoming then going beyond—a map of getting lost.

A rock-inspired sketch

A rock-inspired sketch

Painting inspired by rocks

Painting inspired by rocks

Untitled painting

Untitled painting

You can see more of my work on my website, belindabryce.com, on Instagram and on Facebook.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Belinda’s paintings included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2017. Belinda’s work from the show is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Save

Meet the Artist in Residence: Ali Herrmann

Ali Herrmann is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. During the month of September, 2017, she will be working on mixed-media encaustic paintings featuring female icons and role models. We asked Ali a few questions about her artwork and studio practice. 

Ali Herrmann

Ali Herrmann

Q:  Tell us about your background
I live in the Berkshires; travel around upstate NY and Hudson River Valley selling my work at markets, fairs, and events.  I have been making art since a very young age—coloring books and a box of Crayola crayons were always my go to.  I went to Colgate University to pursue geology, but after not being satisfied with my choice in college and the academic requirements surrounding the school, I decided to switch majors, transfer, and convinced my geology professor to write a recommendation for application to Bennington College.  My intent was to focus on ceramics and painting, but as it turned out, fell in love with printmaking and continued to pursue painting. I’ve always maintained a multimedia approach to my work, even to this day.  In addition to making art, I teach classes in bookmaking and encaustic painting, bringing my techniques, knowledge and shared experiences to each class.

Encaustic Landscape with Trees

Encaustic Landscape with Trees

Q:  How would you describe your work?
My work is painting with a multi-media approach, using inks, papers, paint, encaustic wax, found object…the idea dictates the medium of choice. I often use multiple things in one painting, hence why I say ‘multi-media.’  Subject matter is typically botanical and nature oriented, in ways that I tend to personify it’s beauty.  There’s a graphic design element to my work, which is a trickle down effect from the very graphic-illustrative nature contributed by college printmaking techniques.

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

At work in the studio at Main Street Arts

Q:  What is your process for creating a work of art?
My day typically starts around 7:25 am,  getting up with my built in alarm clock, then I head for coffee and journal writing.  It takes me a good hour to fully ‘wake up’ in the morning, even after I’ve gotten out of bed, so I’ve learned this is a good time to let out the thoughts, dreams, ideas, and mental clutter into my journals.  After that, depending on the weather, I may head to the studio or go for a walk/jog.  If I head to the studio, I am likely to turn on the hot plate and slowly start heating up my encaustic paints.  While I’m waiting for the materials to liquify to working state, I clean off the work surface from the day before, prep paper collage materials I think I may want to use, and organize my workspace…much like decluttering my mind in the morning journals. When the materials are ready, I begin with a meditative layering and heat setting process with the wax, developing a surface upon which to work.  Encaustic works in layers, so this medium suits me particularly well, given that I utilize a multi-media approach to other paint processes.  Some of the pieces take days or weeks, while others may be done in a few hours…the elements and working properties of the wax dictate the direction, so it’s an experience of being both in control at times and letting go.

Uma: B. Kiddo, 6” x 6” panel encaustic, 2017

Uma: B. Kiddo, 6” x 6” panel encaustic, 2017

Q:  What are your goals for this residency?
My goal for this residency is to create a body of work that uses portraiture as subject matter, particularly women icons and role models.  I anticipate creating 100 6”x6” encaustic portraits of women, using illustrative drawings, paper collage techniques, writings, and encaustic wax.  Portraiture is almost a big diversion from my typical work in encaustic, since I tend to be more focussed on incorporating color abstraction and illustrative narratives using symbols of plants, trees, and sailboats. However, working with the more illustrative pieces in my tree series, where I embed text, I felt a sense of empowerment through the text and it led me to want to personify a strong women icon series.  And with everything going on in the world of current events/politics, I personally find this a perfect time to explore this series. Also interesting is the idea of ‘icons’, since the history of encaustic was predominantly a process of preserving pieces, such as the face masks from the Fayum wedding portraits, so in a sense, I feel as if I am bringing my love and knowledge of encaustic full circle. Going back to the beginnings and root of why this medium gained attention, while bringing attention to modern day women.

A collection of small, handmade sketchbooks

A collection of small, handmade sketchbooks

Q:  Do you collect anything?
I have a fascination for collecting ‘objects of containment’, yes this needs defining.  For a long time, I used to collect sketchbooks and they would sit on a shelf, pristine blank books, waiting and wanting to be used, but at the time, I was out of college and focused on a day job, completely unrelated to anything artistic.  The blank books became a thing of admiration, a collection of sorts: pretty covers, sizes, different bindings.  Once I took a course on different bookmaking techniques and realized how ordinary these were, I started using them to sketch, paint, & write while I made more fun books to eventually use.  While I do have a collection of sketchbooks I’ve made, it’s more for demonstrations and teaching purposes, but they do get used!  Additionally, I have other objects of containment, ranging from a modern, funky purse collection to old wooden boxes: rice boxes, tea boxes, cheese boxes, wine boxes, pencil boxes, and shelf boxes.

Q:  Where are your favorite places to see artwork?
While I enjoy going to a gallery or museum to see work, I really never want to make a full day of it or spend a lot of time in them.  There is a silent, sterile quality that somehow ‘quiets’ the art for me.  I believe this is because I am a process oriented person.  I like to see work in progress, the sketches, the inner brainchild workings, the silly notes, and the processes involved in making work.  The two places I really enjoy to see art are in peoples homes or artist studios.  I think there’s a real intimacy seeing what people collect and how they display it in their environment.  As for artist studios, you get to see the raw and visceral experience of being engaged in the process.

Six, 6x6 inch panels in progress

Six, 6×6 inch panels in progress

Q:  Do you collect artwork?
I think artists always collect artwork.  My collection started in college, where I exchanged a few etchings and monoprints with other printmakers.  Having an affinity for pottery and coffee, I have always loved collecting mugs, though the functional, everyday use aspect of it never made me think I was ‘collecting art’, but rather, creating a collection of enjoyment.  My first purchase that actually made me feel like I was buying art ‘to collect’ was a small portrait piece I found in a boutique type gift shop in Asheville, NC ironically during a pottery visit in 2003.  I saw this lovely portrait and it reminded me of myself: haircut, red background (at the time I had a red Jeep wrangler), seeming poignant, isolated, alone, but having this ingrained presence that could light up a room.  I kept looking at it; however, did not buy it that moment because I thought: why would I want to buy a portrait?   Of who? Of someone I didn’t know?… and so continued on my journey around Asheville.  When my trip reached it’s end, I found myself racing back to the store in the early morning, hoping they would be open, because I simply needed my this piece in my life, regardless of who this person was in the portrait.  I think I even floored the shop owner when I said, ‘I need that’.  She was so excited for the artist, to be selling a piece of their work, but it was more than a sale or a purchase, I somehow connected with that piece in a way that went beyond the imagery, so it became needing it in my life, not simply wanting it.

Since then, I have collected etchings from an artist in New Hampshire, and tiny paintings from artists based in Portland, OR.  Overall, I can say that all the work has a very illustrative feel, despite some being whimsical paintings and others being detailed bug/botanical prints…they all have images of birds, bugs, botany, with the artists personal vision/flair. Artists include: Cori Dantini, Michele Maule, Rachel Austin, J. Ann Eldridge  

Q:  What is the most useful tool in your studio?
The most useful tool is the most unattractive, bright yellow, mundane looking tool: an automotive bond application/spreading tool, but it has a great name…the Dynatron!  While I do love a palette knife, I find this tool in my car, my purse, in the kitchen, and yes, all over the studio for all media, so it is the most purposeful.  Life changing actually!

DSC_0435

In the studio at Main Street Arts

Q:  What’s next for you?
When I return home, I hope have a full schedule teaching classes in encaustic and bookmaking, head into autumn’s beauty, and ready myself for the winter market/vending season.

Q:  Where else can we find you?
On my webiste, www.aliherrmann.com, on Instagram, @aliherrmann, on Facebook, and on my blog, www.aliherrmann.blogspot.com.

Ali is teaching an encaustic collage workshop  on Saturday, September 16 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

Meet the Artist in Residence: Mandy Ranck

Mandy Ranck is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. During the months of September and October, 2017, she will be working on both sculptural and functional bodies of ceramic work. We asked Mandy a few questions about her artwork and studio practice. 

Mandy Ranck

Mandy Ranck

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Lewisburg, WV, a small town in southern West Virginia. I’ve always been a maker, never giving may hands a break. Throughout my life I’ve been interested in knitting, baking, drawing and photography. I earned my BFA in ceramics from West Virginia University. I’ve apprenticed, taught both children and adults, and worked as a production potter. Since moving to New York I’ve been working as a studio potter and sculptor.  

"adventure", 2016, Mandy Ranck

adventure, mixed media, 2016

Q: How do you describe your work?
I create both sculptural and functional ceramic pieces that portray stylized versions of pastoral life. I do this by creating animal and plant life as viewed through a child’s, mind recalled by an adult. My main objective when I create a piece is to encourage the viewer to feel engaged and experience a child-like excitement. Whimsy has always been a part of my aesthetic and clay illustration has given me the perfect means to share my narrative.

storm, mixed media, 2016

storm, mixed media, 2016

bowls, terra-cotta, 2017

bowls, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What is your process from creating a work or art?
My process almost always begins with drawing. Next I find textures, patterns and colors that really interest me. I am always collecting (photographing and cutting out) interesting designs.  Then I usually search for photos or drawings of objects that I’d like to creatively recreate or inspire me. After all that, I just start making.

sketches

sketches

Q: What are your goals for this residency?  
While working at Main Street Arts, I would like to create a cohesive body of work, focusing primarily on dioramas. I would like to continue to use clay as my primary medium, but also explore using ink, wire, wood, paint and paper. I’d like to continue to grow as an artist by experimenting with new forms and ideas. Texture and line are meaningful to me, along with the shadows and negative space they create. I have an appreciation for layers and depth, and I want to continue to explore different ways to use them.

home, mixed media, 2017

home, mixed media, 2017

mugs, terra-cotta, 2017

mugs, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I’m always finding new things that will add interesting texture to my work, make the building process easier, and help me create unique pieces. I use every clay and kitchen tool imaginable, make stamps and use screw heads to decorate. However, I use two tools daily; a microscopic needle tool that helps me draw through layers of colored clay and a small bamboo stick.  Neither of them are high tech, but I tend to panic when I loose them.

cook, mixed media, 2017

cook, mixed media, 2017

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect mugs and yarn. Over the years I’ve collected untold amounts of both. I tend to gravitate towards mugs when I’m looking and other ceramic artist’s work. Nothing more comforting than a good cup of coffee out of a nice mug.  I like yarn because of the never ending array of color and texture it holds.

jars, terra-cotta, 2017

jars, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and be open to constructive criticism.  Try to be involved in as many shows as you can and create a presence online.  Listen to other artists and ask them for advice. Most importantly, continue to create. 

Q: Where else can we find you?
Throughout the year I participate in several craft and art shows.  I have the upcoming events listed on my webpage.  I  also have work for sale at the Burchfield Penney gift shop in Buffalo, NY.

You can also find me on my website, www.mandyranck.com and on Instagram @mandylranck

Mandy is teaching a ceramic diorama workshop on Saturday, September 23 and 30 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Lacey McKinney

Lacey working in her studio

Lacey working in her studio

I am so happy to be included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts. The paintings in the show are demonstrative of a new body of work that I started working on this summer.

Paper photo collage sketches posted on the studio wall

I am experimenting with a different formal approach by making paper collages to use as source material for paintings.

A finished oil painting on polyester film hangs above two preliminary collages

Concepts that coalesce to form a continuing thread throughout my years of painting are still present in this work. For instance, social issues, feminism, and themes relating to bodily experience emerge during my process.

An acrylic ground acts as a beginning base for oil paint

mckinney_studio_6

Detail of a larger painting shows texture

Richness of surface is important. This allows a physical engagement to take place where visceral connection engenders empathy. Oil paint is such an appropriate medium for this since it is used to mimic flesh throughout the history of painting.

To see more of my work, connect with me on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) and to sign up for my email newsletter, visit my website at: www.lacey-mckinney.com


Stop by Main Street Arts to see three of Lacey’s paintings included int he Upstate New York Painting Invitational. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2017. Lacey’s work from the show is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Lacey will also be one of the artists participating in a closing artists talk for the exhibition on Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m.

 

From The Director: Hanging Jewelry on The Wall

5-Brad_Multifaceted

From the DirectorA series that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the exhibitions and events that take place at Main Street Arts, as well as insight from the director’s perspective on the artwork and artists featured.


A grouping of work in Multifaceted

Multifaceted exhibition, a view from the second room

As with all of our exhibitions, I have been looking forward to installing our current show, Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry. One of the greatest thrills of curating and hanging an exhibition is in the process of laying out the work and going through the different possibilities for making the exhibition the best version of what it could be. So many variations of the same exhibition exist prior to making the final decisions to make THE exhibition.

FTD_Jewelry)planning2

Preparing for installation…

I knew it would be a challenge to install jewelry, especially since we wanted to put as much as possible directly on the wall. One of the main concerns was making sure the exhibition would adequately fill the space. When all of the work was taken out of boxes and bags, it was all able to fit on a table and a hand full of pedestals—I started to get a little nervous! However, as pieces started to be set in place, we could see that we had enough work. Our next concern was that we didn’t want the individual pieces to get lost on the large walls of the gallery. Painting a variety of circles in a muted blue helped to give context to jewelry groupings and provided a rhythm to the wall as a whole.

FTD_Jewelry)planning1

Trays, bowls, vases, and other circular objects proved helpful when painting circles! Pictured: Necklaces by Boo Poulin and a brooch by Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez

We also used mirrors, painted with a metallic gold, to add another dimensional element to the layout. As you pass by the sections with mirrors, you notice something moving in your periphery and—I hope—it causes you to stop and look closer at the surrounding collection of jewelry. They also serve a practical purpose in this exhibition, since most of the work in this show is made to be worn.

Multifaceted Installation shot, with mirrors.

Multifaceted Installation shot, with mirrors.

Ultimately, I wanted to do this exhibition to change the context of how we look at jewelry. My hope is for people to experience these pieces as if they were looking at painting or sculpture and spend time considering the meaning behind the work. The jewelry is out of its usual case in the gallery shop and is taking its rightful place on the walls and on pedestals of the gallery—seen as the works of art that they are.

Stop in to experience the exhibition in person before it closes this Friday, August 18.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Colleen Griffin-Underhill

It is such a treat to be asked to write about my work!  It’s always been somewhat secretive and secondary in my life but I’m thrilled to be letting it shine a bit in the exhibit at Main Street Arts.

silo w orange in process

Silo with orange in process

After 15 years as the buyer and manager of the lovely Gallery Store at MAG, I am now the GM of Hart’s Local Grocers—plus the mom of 2 boys and a compulsive furniture re-arranger.  Sometimes I joke that I run the grocery store in my free time but the reality of course is that it is typically the other way around. I’ve learned to take good notes when inspiration comes flying at me and to allow the whole process to ebb and flow as time and life allows.

Making things and playing with color makes me tick.  Putting paint on a brush and playing with how it flows and mixes with other hues is just heart-racing exciting for me.

brushes

Brushes

When my boys were very little, the paintings and collages I had been making for many years became too time (and space) consuming.  Around that time I started making polymer clay shapes and beads to paint. Working in small chunks of time moving back and forth between just painting and then composing the finished pieces later, gave me the time to focus on what I wanted; mixing patterns, pushing color play and finding a rhythm to the way shapes work together.

pallettes

Pallettes

About 4 years ago I started learning to work with metals and integrating sterling silver components into the work. I’ll continue to explore where this goes as I practice more metal-smithing.  Adding something new—a tool, material or a thing in my head that kicks in and gives me a new way of working, feeds my creative process.

studio 1

My new studio space

This body of work is the most I ever made in one burst.  Early this year we moved our 11 year old up to the attic and this spare room became my studio space.  It has been such a luxury to start and stop freely and to sneak in there before work or late at night when everyone sleeps.  Keeping the work breathing and spread out before me each day allowed me to push into new realms and build off of earlier concepts to fully enjoy the design process.

studio sketch

Studio sketch

So much of what was in my sketchbooks came to life this year including the “drills” pattern featured on many items.  In planning our summer garden I found myself thinking about rows of holes for seeds… the boys probably dropping two in here and 12 in there and the dots kept creeping into my sketchbook, some larger, some smaller for seed size.  The dots wander around this work I’ve made and the garden never happened…so it goes.

drills brooch in process

Drills brooch in process

I’m always fascinated and eager to see the artist’s hand in their work.  I try to celebrate that and I never worry too much about the imperfections that happen along the way.   The process of creating plus the thrill of seeing my work worn and worked into a someone’s personal style is what keeps me making it.

My work is sold at Main Street Arts, MAG, Andrea Geer Designs and occasionally on my website — ceegeeu.com.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Colleen’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Colleen’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Meet the Artist in Residence: Hunter Zelner

Hunter Zelner is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. During the month of August, 2017, she will be exploring the notion of place and memory through small landscape paintings while also continuing a series of figure-based works. We asked Hunter a few questions about her artwork and studio practice. 

Hunter Zelner

Hunter Zelner

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am Arizona born and raised and have spent my life there save for a brief stint in Oregon. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering, making, and more specifically painting. I was fortunate to have an arts high school in the area so I went there. Once I hit college I scrambled through just about every major known to man and in the end received my degree in Art History at ASU. I joke but in all seriousness I was the queen of overrides and managed to take mostly studio classes and still ended up with an Art History degree.

Zelner_Hunter02

Wolf Skin, oil on canvas, 28in x 56in

Q: How would you describe your work?
Depicting the dichotomy of visceral meat, a still unmoving form surrounding humanity within has been the primary interest of my work.

Early on in my artistic career a teacher asked the students “Have you ever seen a dead body?” That question stuck with me. She went on to explain that as a figurative painter the trick is to put a person behind the eyes. I want to paint a shell with a person behind the eyes. For this reason I primarily paint people I know. I have worked in metal sculpture, oil painting, acrylic painting, and most recently taxidermy. I always go back to oil paint.

Zelner_Hunter01

Sister Ursuline, oil on canvas, 18in x 36in

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
I am a very structured painter…sometimes to my chagrin. I typically come up with a concept, research until I can’t see straight, put the basics together in Photoshop to work out the kinks, grid my surface, underpaint, and then finally get to actually laying on the final image.

Q: What are your goals for the residency?
Like most people coming to the residency I want time and space to work. Life is wonderful but also full of so many distractions. I am looking forward to building better and more consistent work habits.

Currently I am working on a departure from my otherwise figurative work. It’s a series about place and memory but in short paintings of parking lots, alley, stairs, empty pool, etc. at night. I am curious about taking time to document otherwise transitionary places that I might forget. Beyond that, I am planning two larger figurative pieces, and some portraits for the time I am at the residency.

Landscape

Landscape, oil on canvas, 5in x 7in

Q: Do you collect anything?
Yes, I have always been a collector. I like a bit of clutter when I paint and in my life as a whole. I collect a lot of random things but some of my larger collections include mounted insects, antique and vintage ephemera, and wall art. At this point I am actually running out of wall space at home.

Tucker, oil on panel, 12in x 48in

Tucker, oil on panel, 12in x 48in

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
Lean into your mistakes. As a representational artist I have spent a lot of time fighting the standard of being a human photocopier. There are people with the innate ability to duplicate exactly what they see or those who have spent years learning old masters’ methods. Some of my favorite artists work that way, nothing against it but you are the only one who can “make” exactly like you and the mistakes you make are yours. Fight the urge to start over or cover them and try making them part of your work.

Hunter Zelner in her studio at Main Street Arts

Hunter Zelner in her studio at Main Street Arts

Q: What’s next for you?
After the residency I will be applying for a MFA in Painting. I am glad I took time between Undergraduate and Graduate School but am ready to be immersed again… hense my applying to the residency.

Q: Where else can we find you?https://www.instagram.com/hunterzelner/
http://www.hunterzelner.com/


Hunter is teaching a workshop on painting hands (something many painters struggle with!) on Saturday, August 19 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!