Category Archives: Inside the Artist’s Studio

PatBacon_OldOrchard_cropped

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Pat Bacon

If you want a label, today I would say that I am a “photographer/printmaker” knowing full well that I have a painter’s sensibility. I like to color outside of the lines and to experiment, which is not really a practice that is compatible with traditional photography or printmaking. There is a prescribed process and set of steps that you should follow.

Experiment with printmaking and fire

Experiment with printmaking and fire

Printmaking and photography, like all mediums require understanding and mastery. The intrigue for me is to gain mastery while not being a slave to the expected process. When working, I want to collaborate with the subject, using the chosen media to make the unspeakable into something concrete.

Hedgerow Fog, photogravure, 2018

Hedgerow Fog, photogravure, 2018

Burn Pile, photogravure, 2018

Burn Pile, photogravure, 2018

Currently my art incorporates printmaking, photogravure, and collage. Photographic images from my camera, scanner or phone capture a specific moment. What I do with those images after capturing them allows me to elevate the quiet and insignificant in a loud world. Each of my pieces carry the trace the marks of the process of making them.

"Old Orchard" and "Burn Pile", digital prints made from photogravure images with wax and oil paint.

“Old Orchard” and “Burn Pile”, digital prints made from photogravure images with wax and oil paint.

Art is not obvious. Art critic, Jerry Saltz once wrote “Art is for anyone. It just isn’t for everyone”. My work is not for everyone. I start working on something for the possibility of interacting with an image that has the potential to speak beyond the obvious.

Self portrait, in the fog

Self portrait, in the fog


Pat Bacon is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Pat and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Pat Bacon on the gallery’s Artsy page.

"Into the Wood (Autumn)"

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Lanna Pejovic

Throughout my life as an artist/painter, I have found my inspiration in the world of nature. The places I prefer as a source for motifs are the places that I can experience continually, such as the view from my house and studio windows or a park or special garden close by that I visit all the time in every season and light. I live in a village surrounded by fields and woods with gentle hills and four seasons in a year.

My backyard

View of my backyard with studio on left

DSCN3539

Gouache sketch

I most often paint in cycles where I concentrate on one of “my” places for a while in a series of works and then move  to another motif. There is usually overlap and a cycling back toward previous motifs. Discoveries in each cycle inspire future series.  I swing between abstraction and naturalism and I often paint and draw on location. My on location paintings are a way of building up a memory of landscape but as finished paintings can become too burdened by information. I prefer to have time to reflect and distill so I often work over the outdoor version in the studio. It can become a finer reflection or a reflection of a different experience, such as the painting below, “Winter Garden”.

garden shed at Linwood Gardens

Photo of Linwood Garden shed

Winter in the Garden

A summer plein air version that got a winter makeover

What I respond to in the space surrounding me is the light and color first and then the structure of the trees. I love trees and experience them as living architecture. I can imagine them breathing when I walk through the woods. They also remind me of the great church architecture of Gothic Europe.

Birdsong Trail at MMP

Birdsong Trail at Mendon Ponds Park

Birdsong Trail at MPP sketch

Drawing made at Birdsong Trail location

Below, the painting The Listener is a studio invention that alludes to time passing, night/day and again…I find winter more evocative.

The Listener 1MB copy

“The Listener”

To conclude my post, I am back at my studio with a photo of a winter sunset seen through a window.

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Winter scene from the studio window


Lanna Pejovic is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Lanna and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Lanna Pejovic on the gallery’s Artsy page.

"Bad Seed" by Chad Grohman

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Chad Grohman

Landscape by Chad Grohman

Landscape painting by Chad Grohman

I am from Buffalo, NY and have spent all but one year of my life there, minus the four years of undergrad at Rochester Institute of Technology. I didn’t really live in Rochester so much as the college itself, so I don’t really count that. My MFA was in a distance program so I stayed in Buffalo.

That being said, I have shown mostly in Rochester and other other cities besides Buffalo. As a commercial illustrator, I draw or paint many subjects in many media. When my personal artwork is shown in galleries, I tend to mostly paint landscapes. I paint landscapes because the landscape is where I prefer to be; outside. That’s the great thing about being an illustrator —as a freelancer, I can use what ever minutes I choose to be outside. While there walking or sitting, I began to draw and paint from life, as well as in the studio from photos. It was not until about 2010 that I really began painting landscapes.

Landscape by Chad Grohman

Landscape by Chad Grohman

Many years ago I began practicing and studying Buddhism. Outdoors is a wonderful place to practice. The school I belong to has a beautiful liturgy that is well suited for outdoors. Holding an outdoor service for the land and painting the land is an amazing combination.

School Days by Chad Grohman

“School Days” featured in the CULTIVATE exhibition at Main Street Arts

I am a Nichiren Shu novice Buddhist priest. In the CULTIVATE exhibition, I am showing artwork inspired by recent training trips to Japan — both rural and urban. The cats included in many of the pieces represent all realms of existence, primarily the bodhisattva (concern for others), human, animal, hell realms. The cats are spiritual — they suffer, they are beneficial, and are often confused.

"Original Disciples" by Chad Grohman

“Original Disciples” by Chad Grohman, included in the CULTIVATE exhibition

The artwork is mounted on cardboard. I prefer the basic nature of using cardboard and watercolor paper. I have long been attracted to and inspired by hobo art and the limited materials they use.

"Bad Seed" by Chad Grohman

“Bad Seed” by Chad Grohman, included in the CULTIVATE exhibtion


Chad Grohman is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. He is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Chad and his work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Chad Grohman on the gallery’s Artsy page.

 

The finished print with blue, red and grey added by hand.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Sylvia Taylor

Every spring the spotted salamanders migrate from the woods behind my home in Ithaca, New York.  We watch for them on rainy nights. With a flashlight you can see their little dinosaur bodies moving forward into the night.  My print called The Quickening,  was inspired by the salamander migration.

salamander night

A Little Dinosaur in the Garden

Most of my work is created by a process called relief printmaking. It involves carving a piece of wood or linoleum, rolling ink onto the surface, and then transferring the ink/image onto paper. The final print will be the mirror image of the carved plate.   My favorite part of the process is carving the plate.

But first, I must get the drawing onto the plate.

I often draw directly onto the linoleum plate.

I often draw directly onto the linoleum plate.

Now for the fun part!

Cutting the Lino

Cutting the Lino

More Cutting...

More Cutting…

When you first roll ink onto the plate, it seems to spring to life before your eyes.  I love this part.

The image comes to life and any areas that need to be tweaked show up clearly.

The image comes to life

The plate is inked up and ready to proof

The plate is inked up and ready to proof

Next step is printing. Here’s my press:

My Printing Press

My Printing Press

The Ink from the Lino Plate is Transferred to the Paper...

The Ink from the Lino Plate is Transferred to the Paper…

It typically takes a few days for the ink to dry, depending on the weather

It typically takes a few days for the ink to dry, depending on the weather.

Once they are dry, I can add color and experiment.

Painting spots...

Painting spots…

The final print:

The finished print with blue, red and grey added by hand.

The finished print, “The Quickening”,  with blue, red and grey added by hand.

The word quickening references the idea of something speeding up but it is also a word used in pregnancy for the first moment that a woman feels the baby move in utero. Because I was a midwife for many years, I especially love that double entendre. I frequently see the process of making art with midwife eyes. Birth metaphors always come to mind.

In this print I was interested in exploring a certain kind of psychological undercurrent. Sometimes we experience the kind of change or upheaval that is marked by a departure from life as it has been. There is no going back and no discernible path forward. It’s like the proverbial night sea journey. Carl Jung talks about it as kind of a descent into Hades — to the land of ghosts somewhere beyond this world and beyond consciousness. Whenever I have a character in my art holding a salamander, it’s there to help find the way forward.

We were lost.

We Were Lost


Sylvia Taylor is one of eight gallery artists represented by Main Street Arts. She is featured in the exhibition CULTIVATE which runs April 7 through May 18, 2018. More information about Sylvia and her work can be found on our website. View more pieces by Sylvia Taylor on the gallery’s Artsy page.

Inside the artist’s studio with Harry Littell

Exploring near Horseheads. Photo by Roger Freeman

Exploring near Horseheads. Photo by Roger Freeman

I live in Ithaca, NY, where I’m a teacher (Tompkins Cortland Community College) and fine art photographer. I think of my studio broadly as the upstate New York region. A sense of place is important in my work.

House with asphalt shingles and vinyl siding, Union Springs, 2016

House with asphalt shingles and vinyl siding, Union Springs, 2016

In 2016 I began a collaborative project with friend and writer Ron Ostman to explore the upstate cultural landscape including houses, schools, businesses, industries, theaters, signs, thrift stores, and places of worship.  The unadorned vernacular architecture of the old farm house above attracted me with the mundane beauty of its simple lines and patterns.

Rhinehart Sand and Gravel, Corning,2017

Rhinehart Sand and Gravel, Corning, 2017

We strove for a  focused aimlessness in our weekly treks. We had no fixed destination. The key was to stop. Often. A main interest became sites that reflect the flux of the built environment. We saw evidence of industries in decline or completely gone. The hulking rusted machinery at a gravel mining operation near Corning is a reminder of a different era.

Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant, Aurora, 2017

Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant, Auburn, 2017

We also saw new industry. The  Cayuga Milk Ingredients plant near Auburn is a high tech milk processing plant serving a collective of dairy farmers, its pristine facade rising above the surrounding agricultural land.

Petrified Creatures Museum, Richfield Springs

Petrified Creatures Museum, Richfield Springs, 2017

I keep my photo technique simple. For this project I used a full frame mirrorless digital camera and two manual focus prime lenses, a 35mm and a 50mm. Some of the artists I look to for inspiration include Walker Evans, Edward Hopper, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Lee Friedlander, and Thomas Struth.

Elmira/Horseheads contact sheet

Elmira/Horseheads contact sheet

Double page spread

Double page spread

Towards the end of 2017 I began to put the project into book form.

InDesign layout in progress

InDesign layout in progress

I use InDesign to combine photographs and text. It’s challenging and fun to find visual and thematic connections between images. The screen grab above shows a glimpse of the process involved in finding a pair of images for a double-page spread. Images that don’t make the cut live in the limbo of the pasteboard outside the page layout. Ron wrote an introduction about our process and an afterward with thoughts on the state of upstate.

Storefronts

Storefronts

The shop signs in the photos above provided an idea for the title of the book, as seen in the cover image below.

Cover, UNROOM: New 2 U

Cover, UNROOM: New 2 U

I used MagCloud, a print on demand publisher, to print UNROOM: New 2 U.  Signed copies are available at Main Street Arts. The book can also be purchased directly from MagCloud.

Printing and framing

Printing and framing

I print and frame exhibition prints in my office at home. Here are two images being prepared for the exhibit at Main Street Arts. A big thanks to Brad for his interest in this project!

Dundee storefront

Dundee storefront, 2017

Ron and I are continuing to work on two offshoots from this project. One is a series of photographs of storefronts,  such as the above second-hand store in Dundee.

Robinson's Wood Shop, Cortland

Robinson’s Wood Shop, Cortland, 2017

Another is a series about upstate New York people and their stories, such as this environmental portrait of Steve Robinson at his wood mill in Cortland.

Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers

Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers

Ron and I have collaborated on a number of books about historical photographers, the most recent of which is Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers: The Photographic Legacy of William T. Clarke, published by Penn State University Press in fall 2016. For more about this project see the New York Times Lens Blog.


See 12 of Harry Littell’s photographs in Unknown, Overlooked, and Unfamiliar at Main Street Arts on display through Friday, March 30, 2018. The exhibition can also be viewed on the gallery’s Artsy page: Artsy.net/mainstreetarts.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Bill Finger

 

"Self Portrait" 2012

“Self Portrait” 2012

For many years, I worked on various motion picture productions as an Assistant Cameraman. My artwork and the process of it’s creation is very influenced and reflective of that time spent working on movies. Each photograph that I create begins with the construction of a miniature diorama. In a sense, the dioramas are like miniature film sets.

"After Psycho," 2006

“After Psycho,” 2006

"Watch," 2009

“Watch,” 2009

Each photograph begins with an empty work table and a camera on a tripod. The perspective of the camera’s lens is key. Everything is built to that point of view. This process comes in part out of economical necessity as well as limitations brought about by depth of field. When working with a wide angle lens in very close proximity there is often issue of degrees of visual distortion as well as a limited plane of focus. By varying the scale of objects, a deeper sense of depth and space can be created.

The work featured in Dream State comes from two different projects. However, both series play off of and look to ideas of space exploration.

LEM

“L.E.M.” 2013

Ground Control evolved out of an NPR interview with a scientist discussing the most economical way to send humans to Mars. The proposal centers around making it a one way trip. The prospect of traveling to Mars while leaving everything and everyone you know behind, was fascinating. Especially since the age parameter that they set, made me a prime candidate. But what stuck with me was the shear number of people asking to volunteer. People with no skill set for space exploration but who truly believe that it is their life calling. That was whose mind I wanted to play within and explore. I wanted to imagine how that obsession for space could manifest itself.

"Floating in a Most Peculiar Way"

“Floating in a Most Peculiar Way,” 2012

Hotwheels

“Hot Wheels,” 2012

One of my photographs included in the Dream State exhibit is the title image for Ground Control. It makes reference to a well known NASA photo of Neil Armstrong descending to the surface of the moon. Looking to and referencing images from photo history has been an element that I work with, and has resurfaced in my work many times. I originally began referencing other photos as a Graduate Student at RIT.  Other examples of photographs that I have referenced include Death of a Rebel Sharpshooter by Alexander Gardner as well as, Frederick Church’s snapshot of George Eastman on the deck of the S.S. Gallia. To me, all of my photographs are in part about photography. This is one way that I chose to reflect upon it.

Eastman01cr

“Eastman I,” 2016

 

Eastman02cr

“Eastman II,” 2016

 

Photo by Frederick Church, 1890.

Photo by Frederick Church, 1890.

 

VoyagerVI

“Voyager VI”, 2012

With the second series, Voyager, I continue to use Space as an inspiration and touchstone. Where Ground Control can be brash and border on the fantastical, Voyager is intimate, quiet, and introspective. Focusing on perceptions of the passage of time, Voyager looks to exploration as a quiet and introspective form of drifting. Where Ground Control uses memories of the past to construct the desire for a future in space, Voyager uses memories on a more personal and grounding manner.  Floating and drifting through the landscape, time can seem to slow as space appears to expand. Time becomes more introspective as the explorer turns inward. A sense of longing surfaces and holds the explorer in orbit. It is this ebb and flow of past and present that brings out discoveries for the traveller.

 

"Voyager IV," 2012

“Voyager IV,” 2012

 

"Day Passing I," 2016

“Day Passing I,” 2016

 

Eastman process shot.

Eastman process shot.

More of my work can be viewed at BillFingerPhoto.com as well as on Instagram. You can see the photographs included in this exhibition on Artsy.


Nine of Bill Finger’s photographs can be seen in Dream State, on display through February 16, 2018. The exhibition also features paintings by Matt Duquette (Buffalo, NY), sculpture by Carrianne Hendrickson (Rochester, NY), and paintings by Lin Price (Ithaca, NY)Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased online. 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Lin Price

In Lin's studio with her dog, Cherry

In Lin’s studio with her dog, Cherry

Originally I am from Ann Arbor Michigan, but have spent most of my adult life in New York State, near Ithaca. I had an unconventional and circuitous path toward the arts. After the birth of my second child I decided to return to college and became completely smitten with painting, earning a BFA from Ithaca College and an MFA in painting from Bard College/Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts. I am drawn to painting because it is a non-verbal language with limitless expressive possibilities.

Isle of Wight, oil on cradled panel, 24" x 18", 2017

Isle of Wight, oil on cradled panel, 24″ x 18″, 2017

Looking at art, especially painting, from all historical eras and styles, gives me new insights and pleasure. Over time, this ‘looking’ is condensing into my own specific vocabulary. My paintings are dream-like and non-linear and explore themes and symbols I believe are universal to most humans; desire, regret, isolation, and joy. Water often plays an important role.

Lover's Knot, oil on cradled panel, 48" x 40", 2017

Lover’s Knot, oil on cradled panel, 48″ x 40″, 2017

The Jetty, oil on cradled panel, 28" x 34", 2017

The Jetty, oil on cradled panel, 28″ x 34″, 2017

I use all kinds of painting media, although lately, oil paint is the medium of choice, which I find challenging and forgiving.

Paint box

Paint box

Lin Price's studio in Danby, NY

Lin Price’s studio in Danby, NY

The landscapes in my work are invented and abstracted, sometimes inhabited by single miniature figures, completely self-contained, creating a sense of aloneness and quiet as they focus on the task at hand. I enjoy surrounding the figures with unusual, unexpected, and mysterious events. The perspective is voyeuristic, one has the sense of peering in at someone’s private obsessions.

Sunrise, oil on canvas, 48" x 60", 2016

Sunrise, oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″, 2016

Fountain Maker, oil on canvas, 44" x 54", 2017

Fountain Maker, oil on canvas, 44″ x 54″, 2017

Margaret, oil on cradled panel, , 21" x 28 1/2", 2017

Margaret, oil on cradled panel, , 21″ x 28 1/2″, 2017

Corona, oil on canvas, 42" x 50", 2017

Corona, oil on canvas, 42″ x 50″, 2017

The paintings evolve with experience and accident, creating areas of texture and intimacy of touch, building a psychology into each environment. This is a challenging and fluid experience. One has to pay close attention when a painting starts to speak.

More of my work can be found at linprice.com


Six of Lin Price’s paintings can be seen in Dream State, on display through February 16, 2018. The exhibition also features photographs by Bill Finger (Seattle, WA), sculpture by Carrianne Hendrickson (Rochester, NY), and paintings by Matt Duquette (Buffalo, NY). Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased online. 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Carrianne Hendrickson

Carrianne_ThenAndNow2

Left: Me when I was 10 years old, holding my cat (photo credit – Betty Rooker); Right: Working in my studio a few years later

My name is Carrianne Hendrickson and I have been practicing ceramics for 22 years. My main focus in clay is figurative and narrative based imagery that gravitates toward the unusual.

Graveyard near my childhood home

Graveyard near my childhood home

I believe my childhood experiences have had a pretty significant impact on the imagery I covet. Growing up living next to an old graveyard, and early exposure to Bosch and Bruegel paintings, may have also guided me toward developing an admiration for some of my more unusual image combinations.

This needs a caption

Box of my collected objects

I grew up in a rural community near Seneca Lake. I moved to Buffalo at age 17 for college, and lived there on the west side most of my young adult life. It was quite a drastic change from where I grew up. I didn’t own a car for a handful years so I traveled mainly by foot, by bike, or by bus (both day and night). A lot of unusual experiences were had because of this direct connection to the city that might not have occurred had I been in the driver’s seat of a car whizzing by everything. Eventually I had my “fill” of such experiences and bought a car.

I moved to Rochester, NY four years ago and my life is quite different now again, for unexpectedly wonderful reasons.

Work in progress and a curious studio assistant

Work in progress (including two pieces in this exhibition) and a curious studio assistant

My work in ceramics is primarily hand-built. My clay choice is usually low fire, however recently I have been working with cone 6 clay bodies and glazes.

Work in progress

Work in progress on “Child with Rabbit Ears”

I don’t usually have a completely concrete vision of what I am making when I start, but instead prefer to begin figures when the concept is more of a vague form in my mind.

The Dream (left) and The Cloud (right), two non-functional teapots included in the Dream State exhibition

The Dream (left) and The Cloud (right), two non-functional teapots included in the Dream State exhibition

You can see more of my work on my website: www.carriannehendrickson.com


Twenty-two sculptures by Carrianne Hendrickson can be seen in Dream State, on display through February 16, 2018. The exhibition also features paintings by Matt Duquette (Buffalo, NY), photographs by Bill Finger (Seattle, WA), and paintings by Lin Price (Ithaca, NY). Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased on Artsy.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Matt Duquette

Matt Duquette

Matt Duquette

Being a 40-year-old commercial artist and graphic designer, gallery work has always been an idea in the back of my mind. I haven’t dedicated much effort to painting and showing because most of my creative energies are spent in the day-to-day of a design and illustration studio in Buffalo, NY. The gallery seems to be an allusive place where I’m required to be extroverted and share my thoughts and experiences. It does, however, offer an opportunity to create something purely for my own, with materials that allow for exploration.

While in school at RIT, I began to develop a loose, painterly style because I liked to convey action or even emotion of the moment. I was leaning more towards candid portraiture since most of my interests laid in music and sports. In 2000 I attended The School of Visual Art (SVA) in New York City to further develop my visual storytelling. Here, I began to include collaged elements—paper, photos, notes—to help explain the storyline and add visual texture.

Mixed media work from early 2000's

Mixed media work from early 2000′s

Many of my older paintings focused on personal life experiences or at least followed a surreal storytelling approach and almost always involved a figure. I was exploring concepts of home and family, along with the stresses of caring for an ill parent.

Matt Duquette

Figurative work “A New Day” & “Homesick”

A few years ago, after taking some time off from painting, I began drawing the chickens we raising on our small farm. It started merely as an exercise in making art, but I rather enjoyed it because there wasn’t much thought involved. I just drew pictures that I wanted to draw. That experiment has since sparked a number of paintings and drawings, and a new excitement which has allowed me to focus on style. I also get to talk about my chickens.

Matt Duquette

Chicken portraits

The series I worked on for the Dream State show a came at a time when my wife had just experienced a guided meditation dream involving an owl. Even before the show I knew that I wanted to do some type of bird interaction so it was perfect timing. Owl dreams have so many interpretations, but I did the best I could to remain close to her experience. The focus, of course, was the majestic owl guide in a outer space-like atmosphere.

Matt Duquette

Process detail

I’m most comfortable with acrylic paint because it’s fast drying, easy to control, and easy to clean up. It works well with collaged elements and layering of drawings. I typically work with washes of color to build the forms but quickly move to a dry brush technique to layer on the paint. I like to mix the color on the surface, so many times I’ll just use paint straight from the tube. For sometime I’ve used basically the same 6 colors: black, raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, pthalo blue, and gesso as my white. I only have 3–4 brushes that I’m comfortable using so I try to make it work with what little I have. Again, I would not classify myself as a fine artist.

Matt Duquette

Materials used for painting

You can view more of my personal artwork at mattduquette.com or follow my art and farming adventures on the Instagrams @matt12grain. Thanks for looking!


Five paintings by Matt Duquette can be seen in Dream State, on display through February 16, 2018. The exhibition also features photographs by Bill Finger (Seattle, WA), sculpture by Carrianne Hendrickson (Rochester, NY), and paintings by Lin Price (Ithaca, NY). Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased online. 

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Colleen Pendry: What it means to be a Hybrid Artist

For the artist, the process of “making” may appear aloof. We are independent thinkers, and for the most part are reserved. We pride ourselves in our separateness, however, we, or at least I, find great energy in the overall closeness we have with others through the sharing of our work.

Over the past 50 years, my work has taken on many forms. From copying “how to be an artist” matchbook covers when I was kid, to watercolor painting in the early seventies to oils and pastels in the eighties. In those early years my work was primarily seated in a two-dimensional realm, but, I always thought there was something missing. My aesthetic conversation seemed to be stifled…nothing more to say on a flat surface. The pretty pictures were simply that…pretty…lacking content and an extended dialogue.

Little did I know how growing up in the 1960′s, would truly impact my work. As history continued to repeat itself in the art world, I could see the same happening in my own work. The regurgitation of memory and materials, over and over again, began emerging as a relentless new discourse. Multiplicity, multiplicity, multiplicity.

Testimonial IV (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial IV (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial I (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

Testimonial I (2011) mixed media on acrylic panel

My work made a significant departure from painting throughout the nineties when I began to merge genres and combine disparate materials and techniques. From a metaphorical standpoint this was the perfect path in pushing not only the making process, but  content as well. “There is a story to be told”, my mother always reminded me, and “you just need to find a way to tell it.”

As painting began to be pushed off the wall and then stripped totally from a traditional gallery installation, the dialogue changed, becoming compelling in both form and intent.

If This Wall Could Talk (2012) mixed media and light

If This Wall Could Talk  (2012) mixed media and light

 A Room with a View (2012) mixed media installation

A Room with a View (2012) mixed media installation

If you visit my studio you will find a great deal of stuff as I continue to embrace this new identity. I have found these collections of nothing a relevant source of material in most of my work and an endless reflection of the stuff in my head. This following series of small narratives, which had been brewing for quite some time, emerged from the studio in a most unexpected way.

In this series titled Where Have All the Flowers Gone, my intent was not to reveal any conclusions, but, force an inquisition, and open ended conversation about concepts relating to objectivity, political correctness, preciousness, humility and humanity. Underlying themes are complex and uncomfortable and meaning is uncertain. This particular work can be described as an intellectual layering by way of circumstance. Captured on shelves and in pristine plastic boxes familiar objects appear tangible yet illusive. Juxtaposed with the silhouette, memory becomes a source of meaning, albeit complicated and skewed. This circumstantial evidence, left to its own devices, has the potential to elicit from viewers the unexpected.

Because You're Worth It (2017) Gelatin capsules, silhouette, Barbie, wire, acrylic

Because You’re Worth It (2017)
Gelatin capsules, silhouette, Barbie, wire, acrylic

In a Heartbeat (2017) Shell casings, pedestal, silhouette, American Flag, toy gun,barbed wire, acrylic

In a Heartbeat (2017)
Shell casings, pedestal, silhouette, American Flag, toy gun, barbed wire, acrylic

First Responders (2017) Ashes, silhouette, Bible, Koran, ribbon, acrylic

First Responders (2017)
Ashes, silhouette, Bible, Koran, ribbon, acrylic

See Jane Run (2017) Doll parts, silhouette, Mary Jane shoes, acrylic *Where Have All the Flowers Gone – photography by Jeremy Leadbetter

See Jane Run (2017)
Doll parts, silhouette, Mary Jane shoes, acrylic
*Where Have All the Flowers Gone – photography by Jeremy Leadbetter

From this series came the work currently in the Small Works Exhibition at Main Street Arts.

Nature/Nurture (2017) Cicadidae shell, paper, beeswax, pedestal, silhouette, gold bands, string, acrylic

Nature/Nurture (2017)
Cicadidae shell, paper, beeswax, pedestal, silhouette, gold bands, string, acrylic

Nature/Nurture - detail

Nature/Nurture – detail

Nature:Nurture (2017) Cicadidae shells, handmade paper, crushed wasp next, baling twine, Swarovski crystal, synthetic pearl (collectively)

Nature:Nurture (2017)
Cicadidae shells, handmade paper, crushed wasp next, baling twine, Swarovski crystal, synthetic pearl (collectively)

As an homage to the wondrous images of Robert Mapplethorpe and the eternal debate of nature vs nurture, these works continue. The juxtaposition of form and content seem contradictory…makes sense I think.

Nature:Nurture IV Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, silver thread, silver beads

Nature:Nurture IV (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, silver thread, silver beads

Nature:Nurture V (2017) Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snakeskin

Nature:Nurture V (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snakeskin

Nature:Nurture VI (2017) Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snake skin head

Nature:Nurture VI (2017)
Cicadidae shell, handmade paper, snake skin head

Thank you to Main Street Arts for the opportunity to share this work. I am truly grateful.

Colleen Pendry


Three of Colleen’s “Nature:Nurture” pieces are currently on display in Main Street Arts’ fourth annual “Small Works” exhibition (juried by Cory E. Card, former curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY). The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018 and can be previewed onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com