Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Public Speaking for Artists | The Center for Emerging Visual Artists

Public Speaking for Artists | The Center for Emerging Visual Artists

Seats are still available for tomorrow's talk, "Public Speaking for Artists", hosted by The Center for Emerging Visual Artists. 

Speaker: Tom Wright, Director of Public Speaking, Temple University

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists,
237 South 18th Street, Suite 3a
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Time: 5:30pm
Cost: $12.00 ($10.00 for CFEVA, POST and InLiquid Artists)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Art in the Open Announces New Deadline for 2014 Proposals

Art in the Open Announces New Deadline for 2014 Proposals


Art in the Open

Now Due January 3, 2014

Professional artists working in all media are invited to participate in Art in the Open 2014. From Friday, May 16 through Sunday, May 18, 2014, artists will use Philadelphia's Schuylkill River Banks as their studio space, creating new works of art 'outside, on-site.'

Art in the Open re-frames the plein air tradition in a contemporary context, encouraging both artists and audiences to draw inspiration from the city's natural and urban landscapes. Using the Schuylkill River Banks Park as studio space, participating artists will have the opportunity to explore new or extend current working methods, develop process-oriented projects, and respond to a compelling intersection of urban and natural spaces in the public realm. Selected artists will have the opportunity to participate in complementary programming,  public engagement events, and to exhibit artwork created during AiO in the gallery at The Center for Emerging Visual Artists. For more information about the event and to view a gallery of AiO 2012 artists visit

AiO Statistics:
• 8-12,000 visitors per year (on the Schuylkill Banks)
• 30+ Organizational Partners 25 Related programs off and on-site

2014 Art in the Open Jurors 

Gerard Brown Tyler School of Art at Temple University's Center for the Arts 

Harry Philbrick Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum
Christine Pfister Pentimenti Gallery
Theresa Rose  FringeArts
Final application deadline is January 3, 2014. Local, national and international artists are invited to apply.
To apply visit or


For more information or questions, contact Genevieve Coutroubis at 

Juror Information

Gerard Brown
 writes about art and makes pictures about language. His work has been exhibited in group- and one-person shows nation-wide. As an   independent curator, he has organized exhibitions throughout the Philadelphia region and has been the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant in Visual Arts Criticism. He earned his BFA from Boston University and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an Assistant Professor and the Chairperson of Foundations at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University’s Center for the Arts.

Christine Pfister studied at Christie’s Education at Christie’s in New York and since 1995 she 
has been the Co-Owner and Director of Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia. She has given many lectures, and participated on panels, in the Philadelphia area. Lectures/panels include the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Arts, the American Association of Museums, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, Moore College of Art & Design, Kutztown University, Kutztown, and more. She is active in a variety cultural organizations including CFEVA, ArtTable and the Maurice Rohrbach Fund.

Pentimenti Gallery exhibits contemporary art by emerging to mid-career artists. The gallery’s exhibitions were reviewed in major magazines and newspapers, such as Art in America, The Art Economist, Timeout New York, the Brooklyn Rail, USA Today, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, and more. The gallery has exhibited nationally at various art fairs: Pulse NY, Volta NY, Texas Contemporary, Miami Project and CONTEXT Art Miami.

Harry PhilbrickEdna S. Tuttleman Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, directs a museum known internationally for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American art. The museum’s archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training.  Mr. Philbrick is spearheading a revived engagement with contemporary art at PAFA, creating a substantial endowment to rekindle the Museum’s program of actively collecting contemporary art and curating an ambitious series of contemporary exhibitions.  Under his guidance the Museum will open a dedicated Works on Paper Gallery in September, 2013.

Mr. Philbrick has twenty-plus years of experience in museum management, exhibition curation, development, and educational programming and was the Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum from 1996 – 2010.  Mr. Philbrick furthered The Aldrich’s mission of exhibiting provocative and significant contemporary art and establishing education programs that serve as national models in museum education. Mr. Philbrick received his Master of Fine Arts from London University’s Goldsmiths’ College.  His own artwork has been exhibited in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

Theresa Rose is currently the Visual Arts Program Director for FringeArts. From 2007-2012, Rose was Public Art Project Manager for the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy where she managed the Percent for Art program and lead the City’s first temporary public art commission, Soil Kitchen, by the artist team Futurefarmers. Independently, Rose is the founder and one of the organizers of Philly Stake, a micro-granting program for relevant & creative community engaging projects. She is also a Knight Foundation grantee for her upcoming participatory art and food series entitled Operation Food for Thought. Prior to her employment at FringeArts and city government; Rose worked on several projects as an independent curator and artist including exhibitions at Crane Arts, Seraphin Gallery and Little Berlin. She received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she co-chaired the Visiting Artist Lecture Series Program.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Current and Upcoming shows, Fall/Winter 2013

I am participating in two new group exhibitions. I currently have several recent works in "Abstraction Today", on view at Bucknell University's Downtown Gallery, 416 Market Street, Lewisburg, PA. "Abstraction Today" continues until March 2, 2014.

The second show that I have work in is "A Random Walk", curated by Robert Solomon and taking place at the Rowan University Art Gallery, located in Westby Hall, 200 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028. "A Random Walk" will be on view from November 21-December 21, 2013. 

I will be exhibiting four paintings produced in the spring of 2012 that explore combinations of loose brushwork, patterns and geometric abstraction. I am joined in this exhibition by several great Philadelphnia-based artists working with abstraction including Patricial Ingersoll, Emily Brett Lukens, Rebecca Rutstein, Robert Solomon and Douglas Witmer.

A Random Walk
November 21-December 21, 2013
Curated by Robert Solomon

Opening Reception:
Thursday, November 21, 5:30-7:00pm
Gallery talk with artists begins at 6pm

Rowan University Art Gallery
Westby Hall, 200 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, NJ 08028

Gallery hours:
Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
Wednesday 10am-7pm
Saturday 12pm-5pm

Monday, November 04, 2013

Art and Impermanence: thoughts on painting out "We Dance to Pray"

My latest show at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery, "Presence", closed back on October 5th, 2013. Earlier that week, I arranged to be at the gallery when the deinstallation was to take place so that I could be the person to begin the process of  covering up my painting installation "We Dance to Pray". It was really important to me to bring this piece full-circle because I made it, so I should be the one to destroy it. This is what I had planned for back when I thought of doing a wall piece for the show. The show had a finite time-span and since it was a part of the architecture that needed to be used for following shows, so did this piece. 

The obvious question from most everyone that I talked to about what I was going to do was some variation of, "Won't you feel sad about it being painted over?". My answer was that it was intended to be a temporary work, so, I had no reservations about striking out the painting, as long as I was the one to at least start the process of doing so. It was important to experience that control over something that I made. I didn't want to leave this part of this exhibition experience to someone else. I won't deny that there were times when I thought of the physical and emotional energy it took to make the painting and said to myself, "Wow, all of that energy used and now I'll have to cover all of this up in a month". The thing is, I go through this every time I paint something. Inevitably, there are those moments where certain marks are made and passages of color are admired, and I start thinking about ways to save those satisfying moments of bliss. However, as I remarked in recent conversations, many of those small, enjoyable moments in a painting might contribute to, but not make an entire painting work. Often some of those small moments have to be sacrificed on the way to hopefully making a good painting, or a good painting better. The same as with life where we may experience what seem to be too-quick moments of extraordinary bliss and pleasure. Those moments are often fleeting and cannot be recreated, but they contribute something mighty to our existence. 

Covering up "We Dance to Pray" myself was about practicing what I preach about not letting any artwork become so precious that you cannot conceive of letting it go, whether changed while in the process of being made, the work being sold, or through some other way that you might not have control over. Having the opportunity to cover the painting myself was immensely satisfying because I had personal closure with the entire experience of the exhibition, from start to finish; a year and-a-half or more in the making. Had I left the coverage entirely to the gallery's wall preparer, I would have felt more of a loss than closure. It's a similar feeling as not being able to grieve properly for a loved one, whatever that process might be for you. When that happens, there's a sense that the experience is left open-ended with business unfinished. Having done this, I was able to close that chapter and move on to whatever else I'm going to be doing next without that loose end hanging out there. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Saltz on the Trouble With Mega-Galleries

Saltz on the Trouble With Mega-Galleries

Jerry Saltz's take on the Pace/Hauser & Wirth/Gagosian/Zwirner take-over of the art world and the affects on some of their artists' work...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interview on

Fragment (blue shadow), 2013, acrylic on panel, 16" x 20"

In September, was interviewed online by Michael K. Corbin, aka, "Art Book Guy". Corbin is an avid art collector, writer, and full-time broadcast journalist. He writes about different aspects of the art world on his site, We conducted our interview over the span of a few email exchanges during the month where Michael asked some really solid questions. You can read the full interview here: 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Studio 10.04.13

Had my first hours-long studio session since the show opened last month. It felt good to be back at it, trying to make sense of ideas that have been in my head for some time now...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Photo shoot and interview with Tony Ward...

Last week, I participated in a photo shoot with well-known photographer Tony Ward at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery. We took a few shots in front of my wall installation, We Dance To Pray and a couple of them are used here along with an interview that we conducted via email...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tim McFarlane on DoNArTNeWs

Tim McFarlane, Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Don Brewer, Philadelphia-based artist and art blogger has posted a great article on his blog featuring my show and my words in conversation with gallery visitors on September 14th, 2013.

I was in the gallery that day from 11am-2pm to make myself available to talk informally with gallery visitors about the show. I repeated the experience this past Saturday, September 28th from 2-5pm.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Gallery Appearance tomorrow!

Tim McFarlane, "Presence", entry view, September 2013
(photo: Karen Mauch Photography)

Tim McFarlane, "Presence", rear gallery view, September 2013
(photo: Karen Mauch Photography)

Just a reminder that I will be at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery tomorrow afternoon (Sat. 9.28.13), from 2-5pm and available to answer questions and have informal conversations about the work in my exhibition "Presence". The exhibition closes on October 5th.

Tim McFarlane at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery
Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bridgette Mayer Gallery
709 Walnut Street, 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Presence" exhibition updates and gallery appearance news...

We Dance to Pray, 2013, acrylic on drywall, 9 x 13 feet

"Presence" exhibition updates...

We are past the half-way mark for the show and things have been going really well. "We Dance to Pray", my site-specific painting installation has been a favorite among visitors to the exhibition and as a reminder, the you have until October 5th to experience it. Once the show is over, WDTP will only be seen in reproduction form.

"In his first solo show in the new space, he has managed what many artists before him have not been able to do - find the right balance and scale of works for the hallway and then make the most of that huge back wall...McFarlane's enormous site-specific painting, We Dance to Pray, on the back wall is the most exciting, visceral use of this wall to date, allowing viewers the sensation of walking into the painting."

-Edith Newhall, (Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, September 8, 2013)

Gallery appearance! 
This coming Saturday, September 28, 2013, I will be making myself available to visitors of the show to talk about the work. If you're in the area, stop in between 2-5pm to see the show, say 'hi', and chat a bit.

Tim McFarlane at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery 
Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bridgette Mayer Gallery
709 Walnut Street, 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA, 19106

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"We Dance to Pray"

We Dance to Pray, 2013, acrylic on drywall, approx. 9 x 13 feet
(photo: Karen Mauch Photography)

I'm just getting around to posting a good, full image of We Dance to Pray, my painting installation that is part of my current exhibition at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery, "Presence", and here it is. This is certainly one of my favorite pieces to have worked on, so far. To have the freedom to paint what I wanted directly on the wall at the gallery was a very liberating thing. I did a similar piece back in 2009-"This Moment" (a small partial image can be seen on the right hand sidebar of this blog),  but WDTP goes beyond the previous one in man aspects, but I just feel that it's a better painting.

Below is my statement for We Dance to Pray:

The studio is rarely silent when I’m working. Music fills the space from the moment I walk in and doesn’t end until I leave for the day. I listen a wide range of music, but the genre of House (and various sub-genres) dominate my studio listening most of the time.  When I was preparing a list of materials for this painting installation, the first thing on it was “iPod dock”-not brushes, not paints, but the music. It’s that important.

During the second day of working on “We Dance to Pray”, Bridgette asked me if I had a title for the piece and I said that I didn’t. I almost never choose titles before I complete a piece. However, the question did trigger the naming process and before I was finished, the painting had a title. “We Dance to Pray” is a lyric from a house tune that I don’t remember the name of, but it stuck with me as I navigated the layers of this piece and remained strong even as I completed the painting.
“We Dance to Pray” isn’t a direct interpretation of music. However, the overall sense of the painting feels musical. The underlying structures form a basic beat that is changed and multiplied in the three sections of the top layer. We Dance to Pray as a title suggests the ecstatic, near-religious experiences that some forms of dancing can enhance, and is particularly resonant in much of house music, especially in soulful, vocal house. Vocal house links directly to the musical traditions of the black church with its joyful exuberance, uplifting tempos and positive outlook. House is like the secular version of religious music, only more outwardly sensual in its embrace of life. Instead of a church, house brings us to the dance floor, where we dance to release the demons of a stressful life, let ourselves go and offer up thanks the release. We dance to pray.

Tim McFarlane
August 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

'Presence' takes off!

I'm trying to catch up with various things after having a great opening reception for my current exhibition, "Presence",  at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery last Friday (9.06.13). It was a great night with me catching up with friends, colleagues, collectors, and others.

The opening was followed up by a wonderfully complimentary review in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer by Edith Newhall. You can read the review online here: "Settling in at Bridgette Mayer"

The full text is below:

"Settling in at Bridgette Mayer"
By Edith Newhall (Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday September 9, 2013)

"It's been fascinating to see how artists have responded to the Bridgette Mayer Gallery's redesigned space since its official reopening in November 2011 - in particular, the ways in which the gallery's "old guard" have rethought their former quarters when having their first solo shows in the "new" space.
It's the same historic building, of course, but it now has one very long wall running along a somewhat narrow hallway, and one huge, spectacular one in the back that literally draws gallery visitors like a giant magnet. The new iteration is also as polished and professional as it used to be cozy and relaxed.
Surprisingly, though, considering they might have been intimidated by their new digs, all of the longstanding gallery artists who've had one-person shows at Mayer since 2011 have risen to the challenge, none more so than Tim McFarlane. In his first solo show in the new space, he has managed what many artists before him have not been able to do - find the right balance and scale of works for the hallway and then make the most of that huge back wall.
With "Presence," McFarlane has also created one of his most cohesive bodies of work to date; the small paintings displayed in the front room and along the hallway announce that right away. In each, energetically painted gestural lines form netlike compositions that coalesce with varying background colors, conjuring different places and experiences, musical rhythms, and McFarlane's own riff on the physical act of painting.
So many paintings of the same size need not have been hung so close together - a strategy that's been employed in other shows here to take advantage of the long wall but that tends to undermine the individuality of works - but the paintings across from them are varied in scale and color and more anomalous in this show, such as his bucolic, lovely Vortex, which combines a gestural composition with an inner open space that looks like a clearing in a forest.
McFarlane's enormous site-specific painting, We Dance to Pray, on the back wall is the most exciting, visceral use of this wall to date, allowing viewers the sensation of walking into the painting. At the same time, it is a logical progression in his show (as was Eileen Neff's photographic work on this wall in her show at this time last year), not straining to be a separate "project."

Also, during the opening, Bridgette Mayer presented a check for $17,000.00 to members of non-profit dance company Ballet X, based in Philadelphia. The funds are the result of money raised during the 2013 Benefit Exhibition, held earlier this summer at the gallery. The benefit continues online until November 1st at, where two of my paintings on panel can be purchased (10 x 10 inches, acrylic on panel, both completed in spring 2013. 

Last, but not least, I will be in attendance at the gallery this Saturday, September 14th, from 11am-2pm, so if you are in the area, stop by to see the show and chat a bit!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

First Friday Focus: September 2013 :: Arts :: Picks :: Philadelphia City Paper

Nice mention of my new solo exhibition in the Philadelphia City Paper...

First Friday Focus: September 2013 :: Arts :: Picks :: Philadelphia City Paper: Philadelphia-based artist Tim McFarlane is part of growing group of impressive abstract painters featured at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. His pieces are made up of chunky, complicated layers that highlight shape and color in equal parts. While McFarlane’s paintings are often curvy and fantastical, his exhibit “Presence” is colder and more geometrical, in a good way. The show also includes a site-specific painting, and McFarlane said his artwork is inspired by his environment. “The masses of forms overlapping, supporting, and negating each other in my work mirror observations of everyday life,” he said in a statement, “of how people interact with each other and their surroundings, as well as how the passage of time imposes itself on the memory of experience.” Through Oct. 5, opening Fri., Sept. 6 6 p.m., 215-413- 8893.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Upcoming shows from others...

I've been neck-deep into my own work this summer preparing for my upcoming show, but of course, I'm not the only one keeping busy. Here is a partial list of new shows and one new website by some fellow artist friends...


Renowned photographer Tony Ward has unveiled his new website, featuring new works.

Steven Baris at Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE, through November 3rd


Lisa Pressman at Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Joanne Mattera at Arden Gallery, Boston, MA

Rebecca Saylor Sack at J. Cacciola Gallery, New York, NY

Deirdre Murphy at the Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Timothy Gierschick II at the University City Arts League, Philadelphia, PA

Friday, August 30, 2013

"We Dance to Pray"

(photo: ©Bridgette Mayer Gallery)

Day two of working on the wall piece found me making a lot of progress. So much progress that it's complete. I'm going in to look it over today and make any small adjustments that I deem necessary but yes, I'm very pleased to have gotten so far with it. Images of the completed piece will be released after the opening next week-Friday, September 6th, 6-8:30pm at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery

The title of the piece came to me earlier this morning, while I was trying to get back to sleep after waking up much too soon. I'm calling it, "We Dance to Pray", an homage of sorts to my love of house music and the soulful, ecstatic, positive, enveloping warmth that it can bring about.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(photo: ©BridgetteMayerGallery)

The show is hung and today I got to work on a site-specific wall painting in the rear of the gallery. I'm really excited about this part. The main work is done, the bulk of the stress has lifted and now I get to have some fun. I'm approaching this work in the same way that I approach the paintings on panels and canvas: act, react and act some more until it's done.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Presence": Solo Exhibition at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery

"Pink Mirror", 2012, acrylic on panel, 36" x 36"

I'm pleased to announce my next solo exhibition at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery, "Presence".  Presence will consist of paintings completed in 2012 and 2013. The new paintings explore themes related to physical and sensory experiences related to identity and place. There is also a continuing engagement with linear mark-making that defines space and form in my work. 

Tim McFarlane: "Presence'
September 5-October 5, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, September 6th, 6-8:30pm

Bridgette Mayer Gallery
709 Walnut Street, 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA, 19106

If you're in or near Philadelphia during the month of September, stop by and see the show!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Interviewed for "Ahtcast"...

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Phillip J. Mellen for his artist interview series, "Ahtcast". So, sit back, relax, and listen to me ramble on (and laugh nervously) about the things I do when no one is looking...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Evening clouds

Spectacular, evening sun-lit cloud formation as seen from my studio window yesterday (Thurs. 7.11.13)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

James Turrell interviewed by Charlie Rose

"Ideas and thoughts are cheap, you can have many of them, but it's actually pulling these things off and realizing an artist, you don't get to count the things you haven't done"

-James Turrell, in converation with Charlie Rose

Watch the interview below:

Artist James Turrell: New Guggenheim Installation: Video - Bloomberg

Benefit paintings: Singularity and Echo

Singularity, 2013, acrylic on panel, 10" x 10"

Echo, 2013, acrylic on panel, 10" x 10"

Singularity and Echo are the two paintings that I will be showing in the 2013 Benefit Exhibition that I mentioned yesterday at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery, beginning this today and continuing until August 9th.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

BalletX Benefit Exhibition/Philly Art

I'm pleased to announce that I have two new paintings in the 2013 Benefit Exhibition at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery. On view from July 9-August 9, 2013, this year's benefit will have 400 10" x 10" works by 220 artists. Proceeds will benefit BalletX, a contemporary dance company based in Philadelphia. 

In addition to the benefit exhibition, the gallery has launched PhillyArtExperience, a destination/hub site for artists, art lovers, and collectors. Visit for information about how you can experience art in Philadelphia in a new, exciting way!

BalletX Benefit Exhibition
July 9-August 9, 2013

Opening Reception
Friday, July 12, 6-8:30pm

Bridgette Mayer Gallery
709 Walnut Street, 1st floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Friday, July 05, 2013


"70413BG" (digital)

Digital manipulation of pattern elements from a photograph of a work on paper from 2012. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Winning “Work of Art,” 1.5 Years Later

Kymia Nawabi doing a studio crit with Simon de Pury
(image courtesy of the artist and Bravo TV)

This is a really interesting and insightful interview with Kymia Nawabi, the winner of season two of "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist". The show had a great premise at heart, but in a world where drunken "housewives" and c-list celebrities are celebrated by the masses, WOA didn't stand a chance. 

In this interview, Nawabi is very candid about what has happened to her over the past year and-a-half since winning the show. As many of us who watched the show may have foreseen, it is not all glitz and glamor, but it did change some things in her life as an artist and best of all, Nawabi is very down to earth about her experiences then and now...

Winning “Work of Art,” 1.5 Years Later

(interview courtesy of Hyperallergic)

Studio: 6.14.13

Studio: 6.14.13 by Tim McFarlane
Studio: 6.14.13, a photo by Tim McFarlane on Flickr.
The shape of things to come. Trying something new for my upcoming show at Bridgette Mayer Gallery this September. More info on that later this summer.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

All Art No Pay

All Art No Pay

The other day, I stumbled on a link to "All Art, No Pay",  a Tumblr dedicated to Craig's List ads that solicit creative services for no pay. I understand the need to look elsewhere to have your creative needs taken care of, but be willing to pay for those services, in some way or another. It's unbelievably insulting for people to continue to think that it's just fine if they ask artists for free services. After all, how hard can it be, right? "You can whip up that masterpiece in no time and design my promotion package at the push of a button, right? And you'll do it for free."

Try that shit with a lawyer, plumber, contractor, etc, when you need one and see how far you get. This is why artists need to have boundaries when it comes to giving away their work, whether for benefits or in the name of "getting their name out there". I wouldn't THINK of approaching a lawyer asking for free services, unless pro bono work is something that they are offering.

For fuck's sake...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Blue Into Green

"Blue Into Green"

The Ultimate Art + Photo Tumblr List

I can personally attest to the fact that Tumblr has become one of the best places to find out about new art and photography. The problem is weeding the chaff from the grain because images and content is often "reblogged" by some people who have no regard for crediting sources or creators. So, you might come across an image of something that you are intrigued by and the photo link only leads to someone's "themed" Tumblr, with no link(s) to the source, where you might get more info about said image.

This list of some of the better art and photography blogs on the site put together by one of the editors of BOOOOOOOM! focuses on those Tumblr blogs that retain creator credits and source links...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jay Katelansky at Moore College of Art & Design

 Jennifer 'Jay' Katelansky with her work, "The Need To Adorn", on view at the Moore College of Art's Senior Show

My photos don't really do the work justice, but these were the best of the batch that I took. The wall text says in full: "To you the privilege I will not be quiet for your comfort you cannot have this not ever so step the fuck off, baby!"

Since January of this year, I have been acting as an external thesis advisor for Jennifer Katelansky (Jay), who is graduating from Moore College of Art & Design next month. Back in November, I attended an open house event at Moore at the invitation of another Moore student that I used to work with at my job, Stephanie Potter. After visiting Stephanie's studio, I wandered upstairs to the senior studios and wound up having a long conversation with Jay about what she was doing. I was intrigued by some of images that populated Jay's workspace, which included some rough, spare drawings of nude or partially nude black women in various poses, which I later learned were earlier works, while the second work wall was covered, collage-like, with line drawings, books, screen prints, text-based pieces, and photographs. All of these referenced black life from the standpoint of "adornment", which was the basis of Jay's thesis: the use of adornment by African-Americans to stand out visually, as a means of counteracting  negative stereotypes as well as to claim visibility in a society that often seems to want to erase or "whitewash" American history of black culture.

The next evening, I received an email from Jay asking me to be her external thesis advisor (students at Moore are able to choose to have one person from outside of the school to be their thesis advisor, in addition to a Moore instructor). I accepted and thus began a four month journey for both of us that wound up being a challenging, but ultimately very rewarding experience. Working with Jay was a pleasure because she's an engaged thinker, is not afraid of challenging herself nor her audience, is passionate about art-making, and perhaps most importantly, is very open to change and eager to learn. 

For my part, this experience showed me just how much of the practical and experiential knowledge that I've gained over the years I sometimes take for granted and forget about on a conscious level. Like walking or riding a bike, you internalize a lot of information that you can call up at the drop of a hat. In this situation, I not only had to call up that information, I had to also explain it, as well as be conscious of not interfering too much and overlaying my aesthetic ideals over Jay's work. It was important that I respect her vision and still be able to help her with suggestions. I'm sure that this is something that most people who teach art have to deal with all of the time, but this was new to me. I've talked to students in the past and have been a visiting artist, but I've never been in an advisory role for a sustained amount of time. 

All of that has led to this: On Wednesday night (April 24th), the Senior Exhibition at Moore opened and I got to see the completed installation, but the icing on the cake was that she won the "Best of Show" award! I'm very proud of and very happy for her. The past four months were a crucial and challenging time for Jay and her work, but she worked hard came through with a really strong piece that's the start of something great.  Congratulations, Jay!! 

The Moore College of Art Senior Show continues through May 18th, 2013.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Required reading

One of my goals for this year has been to read more often than I have in the recent past. Not only to read new (or new to me) books, but to also FINISH books that I've started to read in past years, but for whatever reason(s), never completed. When it comes to books that I want to read, I get that kind of "Oh, shiiiinnnny..." feeling. I'll hear about something through an interview with an author or will be browsing in a bookstore or check into what people are reading online and want to read almost all of it. Of course, I don't have the time to read everything that I want to at the pace that I want to, or I simply lose interest. A couple of other things figure into my reading issues, as well: 

1) I read more when I had to commute on the subway and buses more often. I'd read while waiting and on the vehicle, ensuring that I covered most of a chapter each way. 

2) I'm a slower reader than I used to be. Probably because I fell out of the habit of reading a lot once I had access to the internet. Now, my challenge is to not only read more, but to make sure that my reading comprehension keeps pace. 

I went through a period over the past couple of years where I was doing a ton of crossword puzzles and doing very little reading of novels or non-fiction. Before that, I was reading books a lot. I suppose that this is something of a cycle with me. What's interesting is that I just looked over at a bookshelf with a pile of half-read books, browsed the titles and my initial feeling is that I'm not as interested those books now as when I first purchased them. However, that is a mental block that I need to get past by just picking up one of them, reading and deciding if I want to finish it. If not, then I'll move on. 

Anyway, all of this is leading to what's below. There are two art-related books that I have been engaged in reading recently. Both are artist biographies separated in time by four centuries. The first review of sorts is about Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting by Dietmar Elger and the second one I am currently reading is Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon. What's interesting is that I really like the work of both of these artists, and yet, prior to reading these books, I knew very little about, aside from their work and bits of information that I've picked up about them. I know that this might sound odd coming from a painter, but there are a lot of artists whose work I like, but I haven't done a ton of reading about. I think that is what this year is about for me-filling in some of the gaps in my art-historical knowledge. 

The photos accompanying this post are part of a series that I'm calling "After Lunch", where I take photos of the books and other things that I might read or do after I've had my lunch at my job. 

"After Lunch (with Gerhard Richter)"

A while ago, I posted about reading Gerhard Richter: A Life in Painting. I finished it almost a month ago and liked it. Of particular interest to me was how he came to develop his signature photographic paintings as well as his later abstractions and reading Gerhard Richter answered a lot of my questions and more. I've followed his work for a number of years, but knew very little about his early life and how his life as a child in WWII Germany and as a student during the Cold War impacted his art making and ambitions. 

In fact, the meatier part of Gerhard Richter is in pulling together the story of his early days. The latter part of the book that focuses on his work in the 70's on seemed to fall a bit flat to me and then suddenly stops. I suppose that's what happens when you read about someone who is still alive and still very active with his work. Another thing that bothered me were the many references to works that were not illustrated in the book, like the many 'Atlas' works that were referenced. Of course, you can easily  search the artist's site for images of those non-illustrated works, but it was still annoying because so many of them were mentioned. With that said, I still recommend Gerhard Richter because it gives a fuller picture of the life and development of a masterful contemporary artist.

"After Lunch (with Caravaggio)"

I'm currently reading Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, by Andrew Graham-Dixon. I'm about half way through it and, so far, I'm enjoying Graham-Dixon's carefully researched depiction of the life and work of Caravaggio in the 15th and 16th century. AG-D makes use of old and new research about the life of Caravaggio in an effort to fill in the blanks of the turbulent life of this post-Renaissance master. To his credit, the author goes to great lengths to stick with factual information and avoids much of the hearsay that surrounds the short, turbulent, and somewhat mysterious life of Caravaggio. 

The author's ten years of research definitely shows, but he relates this information in a manner that isn't just a dry recitation of facts, but rather moves the reader along into the gritty world that Caravaggio inhabited in a way akin to how Caravaggio sought to bring a stark realism to the religious subjects he painted. AG-D writes in a way that allows the reader to know a great deal about the artist's life and details about his major works. As a result, there are points where you do have to slow down a bit to take it in but, overall, the book moves along without skimping on important details. 

Caravaggio offers not only a vivid depiction of what life was like for artists and others in Counter-Reformation Rome, but it also discusses the painter's major works in detail, particularly the symbolism of almost every object and figure in the paintings discussed in the book. One point that I really like so far, is the author's deliberate avoidance of sensationalism when it comes to the lives of Caravaggio and the people around him. The one problem that I have with this book so far, is the size of the reproductions. Because of the limits in scale and book size, a lot of the details are lost in the darker areas of the reproductions. 

Even though I still have half of the book to read, I highly recommend Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. It's a very good artist biography that sheds a lot of light on a creative life shrouded in mystery and whose works continue to inspire and influence others across four centuries. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Locked out and lost...

"Late Glow"
Early evening spring light filtering through my studio windows before I took the plastic off for the season.

Locking yourself out of your apartment is bad. Losing your apartment and studio keys is worse. I've done both recently-the latter just this evening. A couple of weeks ago, I locked myself out of my apartment. I realized what had happened just as the tongue of the lock clicked into the groove of the jamb. I'm sure many of you reading this know that awful, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you realize that you've locked yourself out out and there's little that you can do about it. My wife was at work and I'd left my phone inside. There was nothing else to do but to walk over to the realtor's office, only to find that one of their maintenance men had taken ALL of the keys to the rentals so he could inspect the stairway treads. 

One of the agents placed a call to the maintenance man only to connect to his voicemail, so I had to cool my heels and wait. He called back in about 10 minutes and I had to rush back to the apartment in hopes of meeting him. Unfortunately, I'd left my phone in the apartment, so no one could call me in case he arrived before I did. Anyway, I walked as fast as I could and did make it back before he'd arrived. 

One of the most alienating experiences is to not be able to access the place you live in. Even though you have every legal right to be in that place, you can't because you don't have access because you've locked your keys inside the place. As I stood outside the building, a three story row house that had been chopped up into apartments years ago, waiting for the maintenance man to show up, I felt an acute sense of displacement, a feeling that I'm not used to having so close to home. I'm used to getting up the stairs, unlocking the door, shutting it and continuing on to the apartment. Now, I was stuck outside wishing that I could magically turn the doorknob and everything would be ok. After another 5 minutes of waiting, the guy shows up with the keys and I'm left with a HUGE sigh of relief. 

Tonight...oh, tonight was a different story altogether. I'd been in the studio for a little while working when the time came for me to leave to head out to an opening for Amze Emmons over at Works on Paper. The plan was to leave, check out the works, congratulate Amze, hang out, and return to work some more. Well, you know what they say about the best laid of plans. 

I left the gallery, walked over to Barnes & Noble to browse through art magazines, and took the El back to 2nd Street. I get to my studio door, reach down to where the clip is for my keys and they aren't there. "Fuck!" was the most eloquent I was going to be in that moment (and those after). That sinking feeling hit once more and harder this time around. It's one thing to lock yourself out from somewhere, it's whole different thing to actually lose your keys. My apartment, studio, and bike lock keys were all gone. The reason that they were gone is because I had my key holder clipped onto my belt in a different place than usual-more forward than usual. My theory is that I lost them on the subway. The keys must have come unclipped due to pressure from having my bag on my lap. I didn't hear them drop because the seats on the El are covered in plush-like fabric. 

So, I start to retrace my steps, hoping that the keys had dropped on the platform and I didn't hear it because of the noise, but that wasn't the case. If I'd lost them on the actual subway car, then that was a lost cause. Even if someone found them, there's no identifying information on the key rings. Lucky for me, my wife has the other set of keys to the apartment and studio that I can have copied and I have a spare set of bike lock keys. I'm a bit paranoid about losing the new set I'll have and am thinking about all kinds of almost over-the-top ways of insuring that I don't lose them again.