I work in a style that is reductive and geometric. My primary work is painting, primarily encaustic on panel. My secondary work, which I do each summer, is painting on paper, either with gouache made thin and grainy with water, or graphite powder suspended in alcohol. Where encaustic is hot and process intensive, gouache and graphite are cool, direct, and light on the brush. Usually color is the focus of my work, but after a series of monochromatic paintings in the spring—elongated diamonds within a square diamond field—I had a hankering to work achromatically in graphite. I transitioned onto paper, creating a series of interacting diamonds afloat on a field of indeterminate space. Despite the restricted palette, the work looks like color in black and white. I surprised myself. I love when that happens. –Joanne Mattera, 2012
Last winter I spent the day at Wave Hill and was profoundly affected by the Conservatory’s Tropical house. The warm humid air and the earthy smells emanating from the planted ferns and bromeliads filled me with a quiet longing. In that moment of respite, I was ready to give everything up. I would move out of the city, become a farmer’s wife and live off of the land. This didn’t happen, but instead, a new body of work emanated from photographs taken that day. The work is about death and renewal. –Kristine Moran, 2012
In addition to making abstract paintings, I draw from life. My ongoing series of graphite drawings includes self-portraits, skulls, and hands. These complex forms require sustained perceptual and material engagement, qualities I also strive for in my abstract paintings. Each of my drawings begins with a representational under-drawing like the one pictured here. Once the under-drawing is resolved, gestural movements discovered during the process of observation are gradually amplified and repeated. Direct observation informs the abstraction and the resulting animated field of marks retains the original structure and depth. This way of working connects my abstract painting to the tradition of close-looking and visual engagement inherent in observational painting. –Brett Baker, 2012
As part of my project over the past few years I’ve been making ‘on-the-spot’ observational paintings. Whenever I travel around, I usually bring my painting gear, and try to set up in front of anything that could make for art. The two paintings shown here were made this summer in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. ‘Smokers’ is more of a sketch. I looked out of my studio window and saw three women smoking on the opposite stoop– I had to paint fast to get a semblance of the scene before their cigarette break ended. I made ‘Industrial Waves’ today by the edge of New York harbor. This painting is also quick, but I managed to capture the light and atmosphere mostly how I saw it. In this sense I consider it a complete painting because I would not add or take anything away. I might however go back to that spot later in the week and try another one. –Daniel Heidkamp, 2012
The second image is of a plant that used to live at the end of my bed. I woke up to it slowly in the morning, thinking about it, among other things. The plant died about five years ago but I still return to this image quite often. The plant was a hildewintera aureispina which was simultaneously crested and monstrose (two mutations found in cacti). I am drawn to the inventiveness of accident in evolution that brought this plant, and other cacti and succulents, to be such strange and sculptural objects. Along with my plant collection, reading evolutionary theory has changed the way I view the world, and especially how I approach making. It has helped me embrace mistakes and failures, and has given me a love for the awkward.
The sculpture is a piece from my upcoming show at Jeff Bailey Gallery. While the plant was still alive my work had a more obvious connection to the ideas in evolution, both visually and conceptually. Now the connection to my work isn’t apparent to the viewer, but stronger and much deeper for me.
-Christian Maychack, 2012
Earlier this year I made small paintings on panels for an exhibition I had at Kingston Gallery in Boston. Over the last ten years my work has become more and more sculptural although in my mind it is still painting; paint applied to an unconventional support whose final configuration I couldn’t predict. In painting there is always the question of pictorial space in relation to its ground. With this last show I wanted to re-iterate for myself what kind of two-dimensional imagery I was interested in. I began painting 9×12 inch panels that were going to stay 9×12 panels as if they were pictures. These remind me of necessity of fiction in art to transform literal form. There’s some cliché about good artists being good liars. It makes me want to do a lot more of these! -Susan Still Scott 2012
As a way to work through ideas faster I started making some small pencil drawings. And I’ve been thinking a lot about manhood lately. I made some graphite portraits of gamecocks after reading Charles Willeford’s book, Cockfighter. The narrator works the 1960’s Southern cockfighting circuit, conditioning his cocks by putting them through brutal trials to find out just how game they are for this bloodsport. Yet he handles these vicious birds with love and tenderness, showing both pleasure and pride in their tight plumage and firm bodies. In my drawing, I was attracted to the sexual, labial folds of my gamecock’s skin, its feathers plucked and eyes set on fighting to the death. My buddy image is of me on the subway, where I get most of my reading done. My son gets a kick out of sitting next to his mom, who’s reading Cockfighter. -Emily Roz, 2012
Recently the main thrust of my work has been painting portraits of the recently deceased. I think that this concern with mortality can be attributed to an increased awareness of my own mortality since the birth of my daughter. The top painting was done shortly after the tragic death of Whitney Houston. I think of this painting as my answer to David’s “Death of Murat,” although the composition is in this case my own. This year I have been exclusively painting and drawing the newly dead. So far I have painted Whitney, Gary Carter, Adam Yauch, Steve Jobs, and drawn roughly 50 others.
I have several other projects that I bounce back and forth between, a bunch of “buddies.” One of these project is a series of re-imaginings of paintings by the great American master, Philip Guston. This one is called “Sexy Monument,” modeled after Guston’s 1978 painting “Monument,” which is in the collection of the Tate. I think that the Guston picture is among his most powerful. My interpretation of the composition may not have the same psychological presence that “Monument” has, but perhaps mine is a more ambiguous image, somewhere between appealing and horrific.
Tom Sanford, 2012
The first one is the “real” work. It’s currently in my show at Ille Arts. It’s actually a portrait of De Kooning but looks more like Warhol and somewhat like my dad. That’s all ok to me. Gabor is my dad’s name. I made this show immediately following his death in late April. The small painting below is on sized linen. It’s a portrait of dad that I began after he died, while I was finding the subject of the new body of work. That’s as far as I was able to get on it and I feel like it captures him quite well somehow. So they are both portraits of my dad. -Liz Markus, 2012
My primary work is oil on canvas. In these works the images flirt between fragmented figuration and abstraction. There are elements of a quasi narrative being constructed but never completed. I always struggle with the works on canvas. In my head they are more weighty. I’m suspicious when they seem to come to quickly and I labor with them, constantly revising. I beat the canvas up- scrape paint away, put it back, trying to find the balance between right line that is both tentative and true, refined and awkward.
In Tender from 2007 I have manipulated the photo, layering it with altered book pages in photoshop, It’s almost like painting on the photograph. I love the nest of sticks in my lap. They are oddly reminiscent of the forms in my paintings; those tenuous piles precariously balanced over the figures. -Deborah Dancy, 2012