From The Director: The Complexity of Drawing

Colleen Buzzard, drawing on the wall

Colleen Buzzard, drawing on the wall to complete one of her pieces in the exhibition

What isn’t a drawing? In the beginning of 2012, I taught a class at RIT on Tuesday nights called Experimental Drawing. On the first night, I started the course by asking this question and proceeded to take the students on a magical journey (a.k.a. “boring slideshow”) that chronicled drawing since the dawn of time according to Bradley Butler. It was of course a truncated version of the history of drawing. Within the slideshow there were typical drawings made with pencils and there were paintings and there were sculptures and other things that were more experimental (hence the name of the course). It was a way to show the students that classifications don’t always work in art. Just as in other real life examples, the definitions of things that seem so certain may end up being in more of a fluid state.

Installation view of exhibition

Installation view of exhibition

Our current exhibition, The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational  is a great example of a portion of that slideshow. It has drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures but all of them fit into this exhibition as drawings.

Looking at drawings by Faithanne Carapella in her studio in Syracuse, NY

Looking at drawings by Faithanne Carapella in her studio in Syracuse, NY

The large-scale works by Faithanne Carapella bounce back and forth between drawing and collage as she often uses torn paper, photographs, and found objects among her marks of charcoal and ink. Her process involves making a drawing, tearing it apart and finding a way to make it whole again, often with the other materials filling in the cracks. When I was in her studio, I found myself holding torn sections up to see the full image as they hung off the wall.

Kathy Farrell's mixed media drawings, prior to framing

Three of Kathy Farrell’s mixed media drawings, prior to framing

Kathy Farrell also uses collage. Her mixed media work tends to  walk the line between drawing and painting but her approach to making artwork is always based in drawing. Her use of line, whether made with a marker, paintbrush, or scraggly bits of press type is lyrical and improvisational and will often interact with lines or printed words found on the torn pieces of maps or other printed ephemera in the composition.

Colleen Buzzard, Untitled wall drawing with graphite and wire

Colleen Buzzard, untitled wall drawing with graphite and wire

In thinking about the use of line, no one’s work in the show best exemplifies the simple beauty of a line more than Colleen Buzzard’s  Untitled graphite and wire drawing (Colleen is pictured above drawing on the gallery wall). This simplicity is deceiving, however, because this piece is multilayered. The drawn portion, extending from the floor to the top of the wire, is imagined as being the same line that punches out through the wall into 3 dimensional space. This floating line of wire also makes a “drawing” all on its own, casting several shadows onto the wall, some of which are even more predominate than her own drawn pencil line.

Installation shot of Bill's drawings

Installation view of Bill Stephens’ pen and ink drawings

Bill Stephens gives us another way to reimagine space as well with his intimate pen and ink drawings, which depict cubist inspired architecture and organic human/nature hybrids. Many of the drawings in his cube house series have more than one orientation, which leaves you wondering which way is up.

detail of "Disconnect 4", colored pencil on panel by Mandi Antonucci

detail of “Disconnect 4″, colored pencil on panel by Mandi Antonucci

Mandi Antonucci’s colored pencil drawings are a consistent surprise for gallery visitors who assume they are painted in gouache or acrylic. Her ability to model the human form in this way with colored pencil is impressive. Beyond the dexterity with the medium, the composition and point of view she offers us is even more engaging. Faces interrupted by geometric patterns and flat color as well as homes being overtaken by glowing crystal formations are the basis of these surreal drawings on wood panel and paper.

IMG_0214

Installation view of “Fragments 2 and 3″, two charcoal drawings by Tricia Butski

Two distinct bodies of work by Buffalo artist, Tricia Butski are also included in the exhibition. Her Lapse series includes small overlapping linear outlines of faces with ink on paper, making us see many sides of a person at the same time. While the heavier, darker charcoal drawings in her Semblance series give us a single view but through veils of distortion and abstraction. Both avenues offer us a way to consider the ideas of memory and identity.

Overall, the goal for this exhibition is to show that drawing is a versatile medium. It can be done with a single pencil and sheet of paper (or wall) or it can be complex and exist somewhere between a drawing and a painting/sculpture/etc. See The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational before it closes on Friday, September 28. You can also preview many of the pieces included in the exhibition on Artsy and view photos on Flickr.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Kathleen Farrell

Kathleen Farrell at the opening reception of the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational

Kathleen Farrell at the opening reception of the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational

I love making art from discards, lost, recycled, unwanted things. I have been looking in other people’s trash for most of my life. I can go for hours, days, just looking for objects, in search of something that will later be worked into a painting or collage. I tuck them away when another idea takes over and revisit them looking for  just that piece for completion of a artwork.  If I like the look of something or it conjures up a memory or thought it goes into my stash bin for safekeeping. I work on my art whenever possible. I have many projects going at once always in search for that perfect discarded piece of wood or partial part of a toy that will take on another life.

Discarded book

Discarded book

I love to draw and do so every day. An activity that has remained constant since I was a child. I draw in meetings, at parties, poetry readings, listening to music in bars, while watching baseball, and especially at boring meetings. More or less working out ideas, frustrations or for pure comic relief. I work in small manageable formats whenever possible keeping several projects going at once. I prefer drawing my thoughts, rather than speaking my thoughts, whenever possible.

Me drawing with two hands

Me drawing with two hands

I can work almost anywhere that has a flat surface.  As a child I would get in trouble in school for drawing in my composition books, so I would take notes on the desk top and draw in an other book on my lap or in the compartment under the desktop. Being both righty and lefty (ambidextrous) this skill set has helped me throughout my life to cope with my need to draw. I attend the Rochester International Jazz Festival each summer and do drawings of musicians and concert goers. I draw a lot when waiting in lines.

I have numerous sketchbooks scattered everywhere. I will purchase various types of sketchbooks, chosen for shape and paper.  My favorite is the Moleskine Japanese book, as it has one continuous page that usually becomes a landscape of a sort. I participate each year in the Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook project.  I have eleven sketchbooks in their library. At first it was hard to give the books up, to not have them in my possession.  Now somehow knowing that my books can be viewed by visitors at the library in Williamsburg NY almost on a daily basis feels good to me.

discard

Discarded book drawing

I work with just about every drawing medium under the sun.  Markers and colored pencils are my favorite. I use gouache, watercolor, pen and ink and combined all that with collage materials.  Of late I have been using discarded library books. It pains be to see such nicely bound paper go in the trash. Lately, like drawing on bogus paper, I collage,draw and paint on that surface. I have a small studio in my basement with many  and various surfaces to work on.  I listen to all types of music while working out ideas.

Two-handed

Two-handed

I was born and raised in Rochester, New York. I love to travel to see new places and ideas.  I have worked at Monroe Community College since November 1986 as the Director of Monroe Community College’s Mercer Gallery which entails administering an arts program of gallery exhibitions, artists workshops, residencies and an artist lecture series. I am a full professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at MCC. I teach in both Commercial Illustration, and Graphic Design programs, and teach various other courses from time to time.  I love every aspect of my job.

I teach a sketchbook class that I developed with another colleague, Jason Smith, about 10 years ago. The course has developed into a very successful course that is offered each semester with two sections.  Many of the students are not visual artists, most are studying the sciences or engineering.  It is a great course that allows these students to relax, mediate and exercise their imagination on a daily basis.

Detail of drawing

Detail of drawing

I am the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, the NISOD Excellence Award for Teaching, the John and Suzanne Roueche Award for Teaching and the Dr. Wesley T. Hanson Award for Teaching Excellence.

I surround myself with colleagues, friends, family, madmen and poets who do not judge and will nudge me when I fall asleep.

Video of Kathy Farrell, drawing with both hands!

Click to watch the video of me drawing with both hands!


Kathleen Farrell is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Faithanne Carapella

document-10

Teacher/Artist. Artist /Teacher.

I am an artist who teaches. Drawing and teaching are methods of informing  the manner in which I learn about my self, my environment. Teaching requires that you examine and pay attention to the world outside of yourself. Teaching clarifies your ideas and makes you examine what is not quite clear. Art pulls it all together.

IMG_4672

I grew up in Syracuse, NY. I believe that there is a  Central New York “look” that invades most of my work. I attended SUC Buffalo and received an MFA from Syracuse University.

I draw. I draw because I find making marks to be the most immediate, the most fluid, most adaptable process for how and what I see. The marks move from my heart to my eyes, to my brain to finally to my hand. I find that drawing can move from raw, emotional and straight from the gut sensation or it can clean up to become sleek refined and elegant observational recording.

document-6

For me, drawing always starts from  sheer observation. While I see an initial image before I even begin a drawing, the time between the beginning and end of of drawing influences the final strokes. Things change. When I start a drawing, I think know where I am headed. I am sure that I am concentrating on a form or a tangle of positive and negative space. I am looking at light and dark. I am seeing texture. I am filled with concern about a natural phenomenon. But suddenly the drawing gains a life of its own. There is a constant conversation between me and the material and the idea. Sometimes the drawing and I fight and argue. And sometimes we co-exist peacefully. We work it out.

document-2

Obviously, I am strongly influenced by my environment. I am always aware of both interior and exterior environments. My drawings are where I live and how I live and oh, I do live inside of these drawings. The elements and images and ideas are sometimes actual events. Sometimes they are metaphorical. There are great amounts of manipulation of idea and technique.  And then again, often an audience reads them as a totally different entity and that is good. Art tells stories that allows everyone to interpret as they need. My own internal and external landscapes drive what and how I draw.but I watch and try to interpret how others inhabit the same places. I see images in my head suddenly and without warning. They germinate and marinate over time. When they are ready to happen, they know.

document-11

 

I usually have 4 or 5 drawings developing at the same time. Sometimes the work just needs the time to sit and figure itself  out. I simply lay down the marks that give voice and credence. All of the images. All the memory. All of the world. All of the daily observation. It is a tangle. It is my job to unravel and make sense of it all.

IMG_4752

While the technical part takes some time—the tiny marks, the light against the dark—the composition knows itself immediately. The drawings are never precious. I usually let them get a bit beat up I often just rip them up and reassemble. I make great mistakes and sometimes embrace those mistakes. Sometimes I do not. I add materials. I currently have a pile of smooth clean bark that I found in a pile in the woods.

IMG_3445

IMG_E1974

While I’m currently working on natural environments I’ve always been entranced by the all of the spaces that people inhabit. I’ve worked with interiors that include the artifacts that people leave behind. I watch the effect that they have on spaces.

IMG_0382

I was that kid that grew up on concrete sidewalks. I played kickball in the middle of the busy city streets under streetlights. I sat on the curbs and watched cars drive by and wondered where the people were coming from and going to. I wondered about the stories. I always found solace and comfort in the hidden quiet nature so often overlooked in urban areas. Weeds that survived the trauma of concrete. Branches bent by forces specific to cities. Insects. Weather patterns. Rocks. Seeds. I picked up acorns and beautiful chestnuts from old city trees. I carried them in in my pockets. Dandelions were as beautiful as the city park roses. Maybe more so. I loved the darkness and lightness of evening. Stars . Lightening bugs. I collected leaves and rocks. Dead insects. Bird nests. Bones. These objects were Talismans from nature. They were to pondered and studied for shape. Form. Color. All of the concepts that I eventually learned in school I learned on the streets. Two objects placed next to each other-appeared a certain way. When you rearrange the grouping the image and feel changed.

document

IMG_E1969

I am currently working on this group of drawings that center on the trauma of our earth, I think I see it as a way of earth reacting to our brutal action. We overrun and abuse the earth. We leave our imprint. Wind/Air. Water. Fire .Ice. Stone. All alive .  Hurricanes. Rockslides. Fires. Tsunamis. Tornados. I just heard of the latest phenomena this morning. A fire tornado. It is tragic,but that will be a future drawing. The earth reacts to our presence and we are now watching the result.

Recently I stumbled across a house for sale. The setting  appeared to be pulled straight out of one of my old drawings. The house is made of logs and sits in the middle of a mishmash of old trees. The ancient land is covered with boulders and rocks and moss. A winding creek cuts through a deep ravine. The environment is full of shadow and light. Drawings will happen here.

document-1

My one consistency is that I must draw everyday. It’s a habit. In my head I need to remember the eye/hand/brain connection. Observation. Correct drawing and then I can throw it away or tear it up. . Sometimes I simply throw washes down on big paper. Charcoal and ink seem to fit as natural mediums. They seem close to the earth for me. They connect.

document-9

I find my drawings becoming more wild. More fragmented and more ragged. Less observational, more emotional. I look around and I start adding other materials. I watch them and suddenly I know a part of will happen on that page. And then I draw. And I will continue to draw.


Faithanne Carapella is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Mandi Antonucci

I stumbled across a quote by Henry Adams a few weeks back that struck me as indicative to my approach to art making. Adams said, “Chaos was the law of nature; order was the dream of man.” This precarious point between the two extremes is where I like my work to dwell.  

Snapseed (2)

While I will occasionally work in ballpoint pen and oils, my true love is colored pencils. I love the range they provide from soft layered colors to sharp bold edges. I love the simple buttery depth they can create and the complex layers of color mixing they enable. I love that despite my years I have put into the medium, I still learn something new about them each time I draw, like an old friend divulging new secrets.

My greatest expense and favorite obsession is trying out different brands, and experimenting with using them together. My favorite combination is using the Caran d’Ache Luminance with the Prismacolor Premier. The Luminance can pack a punch with their ability to layer, maintain color integrity, and won’t wax bloom like the Prismacolors. Yet, the Prismas have such a wide range of colors and play very nicely with other brands.  

3F379323-E7BA-458E-9894-ADD3C06EA3F0

I often start a piece without any clear direction. I’ll be intrigued with an object, the way someone is holding their hands, or a conversation, and I will start with a rough sketch, working my way slowly to the final product. I don’t necessarily have a clear concept of the symbolism in my work until I have put more hours into it, like it’s a new friend I’m getting to know.

I often like to work alongside my kids; they provide good company and funny title ideas.

I often like to work alongside my kids; they provide good company and funny title ideas.

Nearly all of my work deals with the contradictions found within the human condition. I strive to find meanings and marriage between the two opposing forces that push our physical and emotional boundaries from one extreme to the other. In the past, I have primarily worked with the human form in some way, creating a visual commentary on the precarious emotional space in which we sometimes dwell.

8668CBEC-7111-4D21-B4D4-4EC5F31474EC

See No Evil

IMG_5428

Flight Plan

IMG_2295

Disconnect 4

For the past few months I have been making a slight change of direction from mental space to physical space. I am interested in how we interact with the space in our homes; the ways in which we fill the space, the complicated relationship we may have with the objects we keep, and the ways in which our emotions and memories for a space can change due to the external forces that dwell within our walls.

90A5C777-45E6-4F12-874D-CDF4B2B324C4

Beneath

37472054-B740-4326-9CFD-B5AE8AC72BDC

My work often includes patterns as both a stylistic and symbolic choice. Patterns can be both predictable and improbable, stable and changing. We search for patterns to make sense of the world around us, they allow us to make familiar predictions, and interpret the connectivity between points. Patterns can provide reassurance in unknown situations, yet they can also create confusion at their break down. This point between familiarity and confusion is where I like my work to inhabit.

You can follow my work on Instagram @skywardagain or on my website, mandiantonucci.com


Mandi Antonucci is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.

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: Matt Simon

Matt Simon, 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 Matt some questions about their work and studio practice:

Matt Simon

Matt Simon

Q: Tell us about your background.
I’m from Denver, Colorado, and lived in various neighborhoods around the city growing up. I didn’t really make much art in grade school (I had two art classes during those twelve years), and ended up getting into art pretty much on accident — I actually applied to a bunch of engineering schools, but ended up choosing Oberlin for financial reasons.

Still, I entered college with the intent of majoring in physics. I sat next to the painting professor at a first-year orientation event, and she encouraged me to take a class with her since I’d always had a vague interest in making more art but hadn’t really acted on it. I did so my second semester, and during a class field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art first saw the painting Lot’s Wife by Anselm Kiefer, and was enamored with its scale and textural aptitude. But during another trip to the museum with some friends during commencement week at the end of the year, the painting’s emotional weight hit me. I had to figure out how Kiefer was able to provoke such a strong reaction through an image, and I was hooked.

Lot's Wife - Anselm Kiefer

“Lot’s Wife” by Anselm Kiefer

Q: How would you describe your work?
I think the best descriptor of my work is tactile — I love creating textures that make you want to touch them, and have slowly figured out various material processes that result in ones I’ve integrated into many of my pieces. My favorite one is probably a mixture of acrylic, sand, clay, and iron oxide, which dries thick and claylike, but much more sturdy due to the acrylic and sand; this can be seen most plainly in my book, Weathering.

how the stars did fall

how the stars did fall

My longest-running subject material is the mythology of the American West, which has a long and complex history I’m still working to understand more completely. I feel a deep affinity for the landscape of that region, especially in Colorado and New Mexico. But at the same time, that affinity is enabled by the genocide and displacement of the indigenous peoples who lived there. I draw on that tension as inspiration for my work.

the child the father

the child the father

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
Most of my work begins textually, often from written sources on the West and the period of westward expansion. I find imagery or stories in these which I draw from to create preliminary ideas for pieces. A couple of my favorite textual sources for this kind of working are Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.

Once I have that initial idea, I’ll try to figure out which medium best suits the idea, whether it be one of my usual assortment of book, painting, sculpture, or print, or some combination of those. I’ll occasionally make a more formal sketch of something, like on a small canvas before moving to a large one, but often I’d rather just jump in with the idea and follow where it takes me as I work the image over and over. I find my choice of mediums fairly forgiving since I can usually just add more material over the last layer if I want to change something, which helps this approach.

Weathering (page 2)

Weathering (page 2)

Q: Do you collect anything?
I like to collect natural materials, especially rocks and plants, and some of my pieces even end up incorporating them. My favorites are the ones I have that remind me of Colorado and New Mexico.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
I have a hard time picking favorites, so I’d say there’s a three way tie: I’ve already talked about Anselm Kiefer, but I also love the work of Doris Salcedo, whose sculptures always have a level of detail that seems completely impossible, and Kathe Kollwitz — I don’t know of anyone who can create more depth in black space. I’d be happy to be one-tenth as good at that.

Kindersterben - Kathe Kollwitz (My copy)

“Kindersterben” by Kathe Kollwitz

Q: What type of music do you listen to? How does music affect your artwork?
I mostly listen to things in the vicinity of indie, folk, and bluegrass, with some hip-hop/rap in there as well. I often end up playing music that feels like it suits the piece I’m working on, so I sometimes will listen to an album or even a single song on repeat if I’m really focusing in on that correlation.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.
I love making large-scale works, but unfortunately studio space where I live, in Seattle, is expensive, prohibitively so for a space big enough to do works of that size. So I’m planning on taking full advantage of the space I’ll have for the month and working on some good-sized pieces. I’m going to try making a book at least the same size as my largest so far (2×3’), or maybe even bigger!

Weathering (page 5)

Weathering (page 5)

Q: What’s next for you?
I plan on starting to apply for MFA programs in the next year or two. It’s a little intimidating how many incredibly skilled artists are competing for admission (especially for the well-funded ones), so I want to get to a place where I feel more confident in my portfolio first.

Q: Where else can we find you?
You can visit my website, and I recently succumb to making an art-specific Instagram, which you can find at @mattsimonart.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Tricia Butski

studio5

My studio is based in Buffalo, NY, where I am currently a resident artist at Buffalo Arts Studio. Though my recent work is primarily grounded in drawing, I was trained as a painter and graduated with my BFA in Drawing and Painting from SUNY Fredonia and my MFA from the University at Buffalo.

studio11

Tricia’s studio space at Buffalo Arts Studio

studio17

Tricia’s studio space at Buffalo Arts Studio

Through drawings rendered in charcoal and ink, my recent work examines issues related to memory by exploring its limitations and aestheticizing the instability inherent in portraiture. The work I create allows the viewer to enter the subconscious space between remembering and forgetting. The figures and faces, which have been distorted through a repetitive layering process, manipulate the viewers sense of familiarity. The original image becomes fragmented through this process, a conceptual procedure that corresponds to the experience of forgetting the semblance of the face, the body, and the subject.

'Eclipse' in progress

‘Eclipse’ in progress

The process of arriving at the reference image alternates between analogue and digital techniques. The raw, unaltered source photo is physically manipulated through an additive layering process. Films, ointments, and various substances are applied to the surface of the photograph, each layer removing it one step further from its origin. The image is re-photographed constantly throughout the process as a means of collecting information. Once this analogue process is complete, I continue augmenting and adjusting the images digitally, using layers to create a new level of distortion.

studio10

The image is then rendered in charcoal and charcoal powder using a painterly technique at larger than life scale. During the drawing process, a final transformation emerges as I adjust and reinterpret the reference image. The final image can only be realized through the activity of drawing, which creates a third representation that is neither real nor imagined.

studio3   studio6

The medium of charcoal serves as a material analog for impermanence, fragility, and malleability. Charcoal best articulates my thoughts about partiality, longing, preservation, reconstruction and deconstruction, not only for technical and aesthetic reasons, but because of its origin. As the residue of organic animal and vegetation substances, it speaks to the preservation and re-visitation of memory. The medium consists of dead matter that is condensed, preserved, and then reanimated through the drawing process. The dust can be reused over and over. Because it is an easily transferrable substance, the medium itself exerts a level of influence over the mark making process, an intention beyond the limits of my control.

studio8

Through distortion and fragmentation, the figures take on a monstrous form. The familiarity of the face evokes comfort while simultaneously rousing a sense of distress. This creates an intermediary form that inhabits a space both real and imagined. The resulting image is neither entirely original nor fully invented, taking form as a realistic rendering of a fleeting moment. By challenging the boundaries between representation and abstraction, and questioning the relationship between fluctuation and constancy, the works become entangled and disordered, mirroring the viewer’s innate desire for clarity and their proclivity for drawing meaning out of partiality.

To view more of my work visit www.triciabutskiart.com or follow me on Instagram at @triciabutski.art.

 


Tricia Butski is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.


 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Colleen Buzzard

I’ve been making art since the 1980’s.  I began at Reed College in the ceramics studio in my spare time and eventually took some art courses at Boston University and Mass College of Art. When I moved to London, England I was making large scale ceramic installations but with the birth of my second child I made a sharp turn to drawing. I loved the immediacy of work on paper and a process that seemed to have a more direct connection to my thinking.

IMG_0911

One day walking into the studio I had the sensation of walking into my mind. That experience gave rise to a small immersive room I call the Language Lab. A collection of found objects, art works, and drawings create a mix of order and disorder, a place where I look for classification systems and explore the rules and rule-breaking that make language so malleable and expressive.

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Language Lab detail

Thinking about language led to musings about how the mind works, about the nature of thinking itself. If we could visualize a train of thought, what would it look like?  Would it be an orderly pattern like a map or a series of tangles? As I worked on these questions by drawing on paper and walls, I felt an urgent need to bring my experiments off flat planes and into the architectural space of the studio. The mysterious threshold between 2D and 3D became an important and enduring focus in my work.

IMG_0846

I use a wide range of materials from ink and graphite to wire, tape, and steel wool. Where possible I like the supporting mechanisms for hanging the work to function also as part of the content of the pieces. Drawn lines morph into scaffolding and reach out toward us. I think of shadows, extant or drawn, as an important element (sometimes the major element) of many pieces. Drawing in space animates the work for me, making it responsive to changing light and air currents rather than capturing a frozen moment.

in the studio

While I work I often wonder what terms like “order,” “information,” and “random” really mean. It is surprising to me that systems are often a wild mix of order and disorder. It turns out that systems that lie on the edge between chaos and order are better able to incorporate diversity and evolve, and are therefore more robust.

studio table with notebook

A touchstone for me is an artwork by Luis Camnitzer called “Two Parallel Lines 1976-2010.” The textual part begins with: “Two parallel lines. The materialization of an abstraction. Line covering the horizon. A shadow of the horizon. Fragment of the curvature of the Earth. Axis of a corner. Narrative…” and ends with: “The slices’s slice. The superstition of territory. Instant defining a victim. Victim. The beginning of a self-portrait.”  (The full text and images can be found here.)

Origin of Matter

Origin of Matter

I like to think of grids, as well as knots, tangles, and scribbles as both mental and physical architecture. In the study of knot theory mathematicians have uncovered clues to the nature of DNA folding and other complex phenomena.

Untitled (dash line)

Untitled (dash line)

My work often circles back to the difference between matter and information.  Are they really two different things or is the distinction just an intellectual convenience?

Colleen Portrail 2017

You can see more of my work on my website at www.colleenbuzzard.com and on Instagram at colleenbuzzardart.


Colleen Buzzard is one of six artists featured in the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s Artsy page. The Upstate New York Drawing Invitational runs through September 28, 2018.