Tag Archives: Abstract Art

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Adam LaPorta

In 2001 I was given a Pentax k1000 camera as a gift from my parents. It was a send off gift as I was headed to art school that year.

Little did I know that I would always be drawn to the lens.

Over the past eight months I have realized the gift I was given was too far removed from my life, and in January 2018 I stepped back into my role as an artist.

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Artist Adam LaPorta

I wanted to reignite an idea I had from 2006. The idea related to my earlier macro works, which I always wanted to take it to an elevated level.

Capturing patterns and shape at macro and microscopic magnifications distorted the placement or recognition of something someone so commonly understood, to becoming unfamiliar with it.

Below are images shot from my years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, 2004 – 2006.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

I have always been intrigued by the repetitious and structured patterns life so beautifully creates. We pass by so many places/items daily and never think to give something a different look…a new perspective.

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Earlier work by Adam LaPorta

In taking my process to an elevated level I began to explore life from new heights. Turning a path someone so commonly walks on, into something graphic and different, giving them a new perspective.

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The artist getting a new perspective

What makes this process so exciting to me is the ability to remove our awareness of place, taking a viewer’s eye into patterns and shapes by abstracting space.

The surroundings of color, objects, weather, and seasons all play an important role influencing my canvas.

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“Unknown #3″ by Adam LaPorta, included in the Land & Sea exhibition

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There is still so much to learn about my process, especially finding out how different seasons will influence what I capture and why I want to capture an area.

Right now I am just grateful to be creating once again. I have many ideas I would like to bring to fruition. If I continue to be consistent with my work then my ideas will continue to consistently grow into stronger creations!


Adam LaPorta is one of 28 artists featured in “Land & Sea”, a national juried exhibition of landscapes and seascapes juried by Deirdre Aureden, director of programs and special projects at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. His photographs “Unknown #1–3″ won a juror’s choice award. The exhibition runs through June 29, 2018.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Marisa Boyd

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

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Marisa Boyd

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am from Central Illinois, living in the town of Bloomington-Normal. I am originally from Channahon, IL which is near Joliet, IL. I moved to Bloomington-Normal in 2013 to attend college at Illinois State University for my BFA. Now that I am graduated, I enjoy reading a number of books I have laid out throughout my apartment and keeping a daily drawing practice. I spend my days walking throughout the downtown area of Bloomington and sharing an art studio with my best friend.

Q: How long have you been making artwork?
I have always been making art since I was a child. Moving forward into high school, I focused on more realism and narrative scenes. During the beginning of art school, my practice began to shift into abstraction. I went to Illinois State University for art school.

"Nothing Entirely Surprising" by Marisa Boyd

“Nothing Entirely Surprising” by Marisa Boyd

Q: What was your experience like at art school?
My experience was the most beautiful, busy, stressful part of my life that I have encountered so far. I have never not slept so much, staying up all hours of the night obsessing over the latest idea that popped into my brain.…which would word vomit to anyone I began talking to about art to in the hallway. I was similar to many former and current art students being willing to do anything to get further into their inquiry while simultaneously feeling like there was more that could be done. I still struggle with this today. Ultimately, I met incredible people and artists that have influenced me throughout my time at Illinois State University.

Q: Do you have a job other than making art?
I am a server at a farm to table restaurant called Anju Above in Bloomington, IL. On most days, I actually really enjoy my job!

Q: How would you describe your work?
I would describe it to be quiet with a hint of distress. I make simple drawings that are made with a micron pen. As well as shape cutouts that are made of wood, fiber board, paper, or fabric. I embrace simple gestures. My typical subject matter is abstract focusing on the “activity” of marks rather than an image.

Marisa Boyd

Marisa Boyd

 Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?
For two years I have been developing a personal drawing practice that engages me to seek a space within myself. Creating “Closed Eye” drawings is meditative that focuses on silence and my ability to see, hear, and feel my surroundings. I wait for the after image behind my eyelids to disappear, then I seek out shapes and specific colors. My closed eye drawings are my primary source material for creating larger works out of plywood, fiberboard, paper, etc. I cut into the drawings to create a hole and have a whole shape remaining.

Q: What are your goals for this residency?
I tend to plan too much, I set far too many goals instead of focusing on one or two things to work on. I have had a sketchbook project in my mind for the past month that I can’t wait to get the time to complete. In addition, my goal is to create as many paper drawing/ paintings as possible. I hope to find some material that will speak to me in a way that urges me to use my jigsaw to cut it into a shape with beveled edges. I am bringing a collection of velvet fabrics that are waiting to be the covering of a shape or used as a atmospheric ground.

Work by Marisa Boyd

Work by Marisa Boyd

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I call it my “sharp tool,” although I believe it is for printmaking. I stumbled upon it at the DickBlick outlet in Galesburg, IL. This tool lead me to a revelation with my work. I began to scratch lines into paper and tear it creating sharp openings. The lines became an outline for cutting out a shape around the contour of the drawing.

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect a variety of objects. My rock collection began at an early age and I still have the same jar containing the rocks from when I was a child. I look at the ground often when I walk, which leads me to collecting natural objects and photographs of them with their surroundings. The strangest thing I collect is lint from when I dry my clothes in the dryer. I began doing this in the beginning of 2017 thinking about my body and what covers it. I held attachment to lint because of the various colors of fibers and the shape it makes.

Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
Eva Hesse is my favorite artist. Her approach to Abstract Expression inspires me to not reject that label. The artwork existed in that realm while also developing into something of its own. Her persistence is an inspiration to me. I love that she explored drawing, painting and sculpture. During the last five years of her life, she produced so many incredible works of art. I have traveled to the MoMA, Seattle Art Museum, and Milwaukee Art Museum to see her artwork in person.

"Vital" by Marisa Boud

“Vital” by Marisa Boud

Q: What’s next for you?
Simply put…a road trip back to Illinois.

Q: Where else can we find you?
I can be found on Instagram @artsymars and at www.marisaboyd.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Amy Vena: Process

Art is my life-long passion. I’ve always maintained a connection with art, specifically drawing and painting. However, it wasn’t until graduate school that I really investigated using industrial materials as painting mediums. My relationship with high-gloss epoxy resin began in 2011 and has continued since then. Applying resin to both canvas and panel has taught me about the medium and it’s behavior.

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Amy Vena, In her studio

My painting process is inspired by both contemporary and past artists. Similar to Abstract Expressionist painters of the mid-21st Century (like Helen Frankenthaler), I strive to produce paintings that are active and contain energy. The focus is to achieve expression through tonal variation, depth, and color.

Most importantly, creating artwork is fun and spiritual. When I am in the studio I work through thoughts and problems until everything drifts away. Thoughts about life turn into brushstrokes. Eventually, my mind is quieted by work. Space, healing, and peace are all achieved while painting.

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By Amy Vena

The pieces contributed to Solid Gold were recently created. They are part of a transitional phase coming from a previous series inspired by images of nebulae. These new paintings are not meant to be representational images. They are  abstract, diverging from themed work. They focus on color and movement.

By Amy Vena

By Amy Vena

I often incorporate objects into my artwork prior to applying epoxy resin. Leaf skeletons and gold leaf add subtle detail. The actual process of creative development is pretty standard between pieces:

  1. Lay gesso and modeling paste on canvas to create the foundation texture and organic ambiance
  2. Use Acrylic Inks to develop a composition
  3. Create or enhance depth in certain areas working the entire painting
  4. Apply aerosol spray-paint
  5. Saturate each end of the value spectrum
  6. Allow the paint to dry
  7. Apply the clear or colored resin
  8. Create striations with iridescent acrylic/epoxy resin mixture
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By Amy Vena

Layering is one of the most valuable elements in my creative process. It takes patience and time. The application of epoxy resin bears the heaviest risks. Epoxy resin is toxic, and all precautions must be taken when handling the medium. Mixing must be closely monitored, as the epoxy resin will not cure if mixed incorrectly. Complexity level is something to consider when deciding to work with epoxy resin, but when done correctly the medium is fantastic and exciting.

Painting is a journey, and I am excited to see where each new painting will lead me.

For more information please visit Amy’s website, amycvena.com. You can see Amy’s work in person during our current exhibition, Solid Gold. #amycvenaart

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post, by multimedia artist Jeanne Beck.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jeanne Beck: Coming Home Through Creating

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Jeanne Beck at work in her studio in Rochester, NY’s Hungerford Building

It seems to me my whole life has been a slow, steady evolution of coming home to myself. I suspect a lot of women of my generation feel that way. My earlier life didn’t offer a lot of stimulation or opportunity to study music or dance or art, all of which interested me greatly, but I did read voraciously. I fantasized about writing novels and started writing short stories at age 12, but then I became absorbed in teen-age concerns. I turned to keeping a journal, which I wrote in faithfully from 7-12th grade. I’ve done personal journaling in some form for most of my life and have a storage box filled with composition notebooks and more recently, sketchbooks too.

Book of the Ancients 6, 18" x 18", mixed media collage, gold leaf, acrylic paint. Cut, collaged, screen-printed and stenciled.

Book of the Ancients 6, 18″ x 18″, mixed media collage, gold leaf, acrylic paint. Cut, collaged, screen-printed and stenciled.

When I decided at mid-life to become a visual artist, I made a total commitment to it. Lose, win or draw, I have invested myself fully in my own creative potential. And, as a result, this midlife adventure has become the most passionate, committed period of my life. Since I began exploring visual art, I have been drawn to combine more than one medium or techniques, as well as create multi-layered surfaces.

The Writing in Air pieces utilize a variety of processes and techniques to create a dimensional , cut and manipulated surface that suggests  cursive handwriting. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

The Writing in Air pieces utilize a variety of processes and techniques to create a dimensional , cut and manipulated surface that suggests cursive handwriting. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

Melding media and techniques to express a concept drives most of my choices. So I might stitch thread structures and dip them in paper pulp, for example. Layering and combining materials and methods is a fluid process and varies with each new idea. I like to envision my pieces accumulating layers over time and bearing the marks of use and age to build their own personal history.

Distressing the leafed surface with layers of acrylic paints and screen printed texts creates a patina of aging. Private collection, Boston, MA.

Distressing the leafed surface with layers of acrylic paints and screen printed texts creates a patina of aging. Private collection, Boston, MA.

Seemingly random numbers cut in fiberglass screening punctuate the aged surface of this piece. They are a list of street numbers from the houses where I've lived over the course of my life. They are as I remember them, but I have no idea whether the memories are accurate. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

Seemingly random numbers cut in fiberglass screening punctuate the aged surface of this piece. They are a list of street numbers from the houses where I’ve lived over the course of my life. They are as I remember them, but I have no idea whether the memories are accurate. Purchased by SUNY Geneseo for MacVittie Student Union.

I am drawn to aged surfaces and tend to try to and create them in whatever medium or technique I’m using. Rust, decay, and layers peeling away attract me. They also relate to my interests in memory and aging and what happens to personal histories over time.

Most of the scattered  images on this piece refer to The Palmer Method of Cursive Handwriting instruction. Once  a part of elementary school curriculum, cursive handwriting  has become almost obsolete.

Most of the scattered images on this piece refer to The Palmer Method of Cursive Handwriting instruction. Once a part of elementary school curriculum, cursive handwriting has become almost obsolete.

The earliest concept for my current series of language-inspired pieces started in 2007. I had done extensive research on Etruscan and other forms of ancient writing remnants and the marks  intrigued me as visual elements. Then my focus shifted to an interest in 19th and 20th century found journals, diaries and bits of cursive writing.

This work lists all the names of the teachers I can remember from my elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA. Book of the Ancients 9: Bethel Park Elementary, won a prestigious 2013 Niche Award.

This work lists all the names of the teachers I can remember from my elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA. Book of the Ancients 9: Bethel Park Elementary, won a prestigious 2013 Niche Award.

Green World IIMy metallic leaf series began in 2011 with the idea of “fluttering pages.” The exploration of ancient texts and languages to gather ideas for this series led me to an unexpected realization, “ancient” is a relative term. To someone entering adulthood today, the 1950’s and 60’s seem ancient. Amused by that recognition, the first works in this series focus on remembered bits from my childhood. We often refer to ‘turning a page’, ‘ getting on the same page’, ‘starting a new or closing an old chapter of our lives’ in our everyday conversations. These pieces offer a visual take on such ideas.

Green World II is a new organically-inspired, dimensional  work with layered kozo fibers over a  richly textured, painted surface.

Green World II is a new organically-inspired, dimensional work with layered kozo fibers over a richly textured, painted surface.

The pages series still doesn’t feel finished and I will continue to work on new ideas. However, I am also working on a new series of organic, two and three-dimensional works using handmade paper, pulp and wire armatures.

You can see more of Jeanne’s work in our current exhibition, Solid Gold, or visit her website: www.jeannebeck.com.

Check out our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Colleen Pendry.

Upcoming Exhibition: The Opposite of Concrete

Main Street Arts is preparing for our next show in the main gallery space, The Opposite of Concrete: An Exhibition of Abstract Painting and Photography.

Main Street Arts, The Opposite of Concrete, 2014

Main Street Arts, The Opposite of Concrete, 2014. Left to right: Carl Chiarenza, Bradley Butler, Karen Sardisco, Sarah Sutton, and Patricia Wilder

This exhibition features five different approaches to making abstract imagery through painting and photography by Carl Chiarenza, Karen Sardisco, Sarah Sutton, Patricia Wilder, and Bradley Butler (gallery director at Main Street Arts).

The opening reception for The Opposite of Concrete is Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 4 to 7 pm. For reception updates make sure to rsvp to our Facebook event. We hope to see you there!

Exhibition Dates: September 6–November 1, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 4 to 7 pm

 

For now, check out our blog posts on a few of our exhibiting artists:

A Studio Visit with Painter Sarah Sutton

An interview with Carl Chiarenza


Carl Chiarenza: The Opposite of Concrete

Photographer Carl Chiarenza is one of five artists who will exhibit abstract artwork in our upcoming exhibition at Main Street Arts, The Opposite of Concrete.

Carl Chiarenza, Somerville 10, 1976

Carl Chiarenza, Somerville 10, 1976

Chiarenza recently showed his work at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center as part of their Makers & Mentors exhibit. In an interview for the show, A Conversation with Carl Chiarenza, Carl covers everything from how he began taking photographs to his opinions on the art world’s preoccupation with money.

Carl Chiarenza’s unique perspective on photography, collage, and abstraction itself is one of the strengths of our upcoming exhibition here at Main Street Arts.

Carl Chiarenza, Noumenon 148, 1987

Carl Chiarenza, Noumenon 148, 1987

The Opposite of Concrete features 5 different approaches to making abstract imagery through painting and photography by Carl Chiarenza, Karen Sardisco, Sarah Sutton, Patricia Wilder, and Bradley Butler (gallery director at Main Street Arts).

Carl Chiarenza, Rossini, 2013

Carl Chiarenza, Rossini, 2013

Check our Upcoming Exhibitions page or our Facebook page for updates.

Exhibition Dates: September 6–November 1, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 4 to 7 p.m.