Amber Kempthorn

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Amber Kempthorn’s work employs the use of myth­i­cal crea­tures and birds to con­vey a nar­ra­tive that is often times a quest, the begin­ning or end of it. Absurd sit­u­a­tions and char­ac­ters help to make their sto­ries believ­able and endearing.

I really enjoy her care­fully col­laged works, which use graphite, ink, pas­tel, and other papers. The works, while huge are extremely detailed in scope and con­struc­tion. Amber has clearly con­sid­ered each piece of her images, which range but can be as large as 60 inches in length! If you look closely, you can see that the paper comes off its sur­face a bit, giv­ing a nice and sub­tle three dimen­sional effect.

All images via her web­site.

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Wayne White

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Con­tin­u­ing a bit of typog­ra­phy on Brown Paper Bag today, I am really enjoy­ing the word paint­ings of Wayne White. Wayne is not new to the art scene, as he’s had a fairly long career, start­ing out as an illus­tra­tor in New York City and later becom­ing a designer for Pee Wee’s Play­house. After mov­ing to Los Ange­les, he con­tin­ued to design sets for TV shows.

More recently in his work, he has cre­ated Word Paint­ings that are, accord­ing to his web­site, “…world paint­ings fea­tur­ing over­sized, three-dimensional text painstak­ingly inte­grated into vin­tage land­scape repro­duc­tions. The mes­sage of the paint­ings is often thought-provoking and almost always humor­ous, with Wayne point­ing a fin­ger at van­ity, ego, and his mem­o­ries of the South.“

All images via his web­site.

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Mazzarella Thomas

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Would you want to live in Maz­zarella Thomas’s world? While I like his work, I won­der if I could hack it. It’s the appli­ca­tion of paint that gets me. While his paint­ings don bright col­ors and open space, there is also a chalk­i­ness to his work, and leaves me feel­ing like I was in Los Ange­les. A sunny place with haze and smog abound.

I espe­cially like his open fields of color set against minus­cule fig­ures. It’s a reminder of just how small we are now mat­ter how impor­tant we may think.

All images via his web­site.

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Adam Weir

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My friend and fel­low artist Amanda turned me on to the work of Adam Weir. Using gouache and water­color, he paints dis­jointed envi­ron­ments. His statement:

Through works on paper, I explore ideas of dis­place­ment, con­sump­tion, and the envi­ron­ments in which we live. By com­bin­ing every­day expe­ri­ence, nos­tal­gia, and urban visual cues I cre­ate absurd con­struc­tions within my paint­ings to try and under­stand the com­plex inter­ac­tions between peo­ple, spaces, and things. Rec­og­niz­able imagery sur­rounded by a vast expanse of white cre­ates a dream­like space that may or may not exist. The place­ment of such quo­tid­ian objects in unnat­ural or fan­tas­tic sit­u­a­tions ques­tions the real­ity of the world in which they reside.

All images via his web­site.

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Art Together // Ethan Hayes-Chute

I am very excited to share the lat­est install­ment of Art Together, a col­lab­o­ra­tive inter­view. It works like this: I cre­ate a piece of work and then mail it to the par­tic­i­pat­ing artist. They, in turn, respond to it some how– this could be: adding, sub­tract­ing, cut­ting, past­ing, paint­ing. What­ever they see fit to what I’ve started. After that, I write some ques­tions based on our collaboration.

Ethan Hayes-Chute was an artist that I met while at the Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter last fall. Always up for an adven­ture, Ethan was a lot of fun to get to know, and I’m really happy that he was able to par­tic­i­pate in this with me!

With­out fur­ther ado, here is the piece I sent Ethan:

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And, here is what he sent back to me:

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Firstly, have you done any explor­ing recently?

I spent nearly three months this win­ter in Ice­land, on the east coast at an artists res­i­dency pro­gram (www.skaftfell.is), and there was a bit of explor­ing going on there. Win­tery weather and lack of access to a car stymied that a bit, but I still saw some great things. I plan to swing by Ice­land again for a bit this sum­mer. I’m also going to be explor­ing a bit of the west coast of Nor­way in a few weeks, and hope­fully I’ll be able to be a bit more mobile there– though I’ll be pretty busy, so per­haps that’s a bit overly optimistic.


How was the deci­sion made to respond to my piece with some­thing a bit less abstract?

Well, indeed, I don’t really work abstractly, at least not lately, but I wanted to make some­thing that tied into what I am work­ing on now. I tried out a few more solu­tions before I set­tled on what I ended up with, some more abstract. A few were aban­doned mostly on a mate­r­ial level, mean­ing I didn’t have access to the right media to do what I ini­tially wanted while I was work­ing on this in Iceland.

(The fol­low­ing images cour­tesy of Ethan.)
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“Home­stead (Turn­buckle) ” Graphite on Paper, 15 x 10.5 cm, 2010

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“Home­stead (One Chan­nel)” Graphite on Paper, 15 x 10.5 cm, 2010


Do you see our pieces as hav­ing a con­tin­u­ing nar­ra­tive? Do you think they exist in the same world?

I do. What I saw in your piece was some sort of storm, per­haps envelop­ing, or shroud­ing, the scene I even­tu­ally pulled out of it. When the storm died down, you were able to see what it had been cov­er­ing up.

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“Sug­gested Worm­house” Graphite on Paper, 7.5 x 10.5 cm, 2010


Your piece has a feel­ing of des­per­a­tion — depres­sion, Grapes of Wrath feel to it. Is this a theme you see in your other work?

Cer­tainly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I sup­pose I was a bit taken aback at the loose­ness of it– At first I had a hard time think­ing what I could do other than use it as a back­ground for some­thing else. I looked fur­ther, of course, and found some shapes and forms that I responded to. The stitch­ing imme­di­ately brought to mind an old needle-point that was always in the bed­room I slept in at my grand­par­ents’ house. I think my mom made it when she was young. It was of an old wooden post stick­ing out of the ground, with grasses and weeds around it –I need to ask where that ended up– I knew I wanted to use your care­ful stitch­ing in my response; the col­ors evoked wood and boards, as well as those dried weeds in my mom’s needle-point. I also responded quickly to this triangle-shaped por­tion you stitched, on the left hand side. It reminded me of a bulk­head used to get down into a cel­lar, and I knew I was going to incor­po­rate that as well. The col­ors of paint you used are also famil­iar to me, so I decided to take those mate­ri­als, forms and col­ors out (in the case of the stitch­ing, lit­er­ally) of the orig­i­nal piece and incor­po­rate them into a new piece. I had started sketch­ing out some things on this old piece of paper and left it on my desk for a few days. Appar­ently there was an oily spot on the desk and it soaked into the paper. The splotch was rem­i­nis­cent of the stitched shapes you had made on the orig­i­nal piece, so I decided to con­tinue with that paper. The oily splotches acted as a marshy area for the thread-plants to grow in. I imag­ined that the struc­ture I drew has a cel­lar– and that enter­ing through the bulk­head is the only way into the rest of the house as well. The small peb­bles lit­ter­ing the scene are painted, matched from var­i­ous col­ors in the back­ground, and there are two col­laged ones, cut from the purple-y color you had col­lage into the piece.

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“went to get wood” Wood, found objects, 300 x 250 x 260 cm, 2008


Your body of work involves a lot of dif­fer­ent liv­ing spaces. Some are 2D, but you con­struct other spaces as well. What draws you to this? Do you think your trav­els influ­ence the way you think about home and struc­ture, both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively?

I’ve got­ten very inter­ested in the idea of some­one build­ing their habi­ta­tion the way they want it to be– not sim­ply con­tent with mov­ing into a pre-designed space. I imag­ine peo­ple who have decided to start from scratch, using their own ideas of what a house or a home should be, and inves­ti­gat­ing what pos­si­ble forms may come up as a result. I sup­pose my trav­els must have influ­ence in such ideas, but they also do make me go back and think about how it is ‘back home’ and I find I recen­ter my thoughts on those ideas and struc­tures. My draw­ings, which I view as stand-alone works, but also as ‘sketches’ for 3D struc­tures I’d like to build as well. In many ways I wish I could be sim­ply liv­ing the life these build­ings are cre­ated for, but that might also way-lay my inves­ti­ga­tions into other struc­tures and archi­tec­tural inter­pre­ta­tions. That is, unless I can get a big tract of land and build my own town on it.

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“Frag­mented Cabin Study in 1:10 scale” wood, paper, plas­tic, metal, fab­ric, foam, paint, 15 x 14 x 2 cm, 2010


Art-wise, what’s on the hori­zon for you?

From April till July I’ll be artist-in-residence in Nor­way at the NORDISK KUNSTNARSENTER DALSÅSEN (nkdale.no), which I am look­ing for­ward to greatly, and while I am there, I’ll have a solo-show in May and June in Bergen, Nor­way at a great space called Entreé, where I’ll make a fully-interactive cabin struc­ture, fur­ther­ing the ideas of another piece I did a few years ago in Berlin, went to get wood. (http://entree-visningsrom.blogspot.com)

Also in May, I’m show­ing a selec­tion of draw­ings from my series “Sev­eral Exam­ples of Home­steading” at Mai­son des Arts, Malakoff, France in a group show with some great artists themed around the idea of houses and homes. (http://maisondesarts.malakoff.fr/ )

After all that, I’ll have a show in August at the Cen­ter for Maine Con­tem­po­rary Art in Rock­port, Maine which will fea­ture draw­ings and instal­la­tions through out the build­ing, a con­verted barn and fire sta­tion. It’s a great space and insti­tu­tion, so I can’t wait. (http://cmcanow.org/)

Thank you, Ethan!

Conectado: Connecting

This past Sat­ur­day I attended the open­ing for Conec­tado: Con­nect­ing at the Cre­ative Alliance in Bal­ti­more. I per­son­ally know the artists col­lab­o­rat­ing on the piece, Jaime Ben­nati and May Wil­son, and I was really impressed with the instal­la­tion they had put together. Jaime and May had really trans­formed the space, with a totem-like struc­ture of cement cylin­ders (casted by May) and ship­ping pal­lets, inter­twined with wire. Not only was this a visu­ally com­pelling piece to view, but also was inter­est­ing to look at the indi­vid­ual assemblage.

Both artists have spent time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (with Jaime spend­ing upwards of a year there), and Conec­tado: Con­nect­ing is a reflec­tion on the vibrant street cul­ture present in this city. Wires present in the fave­las, candy and fruit sold on the street — Jaime and May have ref­er­enced it in their instal­la­tion. The large pal­let and cylin­der struc­ture felt mon­u­men­tal, lum­ber­ing over the atten­dees of the show, a remark on the rapid speed of Brazil’s grow­ing econ­omy. Also, pro­jected on one wall (which I failed to cap­ture), were bus routes on Google Maps, flip­ping through dif­fer­ent streets at a rapid, almost dizzy­ing pace.

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Cast out of resin.

Marie Glaize

I am lov­ing these ethe­real, dreamy land­scapes by French artist Marie Glaize. They feel weight­less, yet hold their own in the space.

Marie min­i­mal­izes our world by abruptly adding hard edges to trees, fields, and moun­tains. They are akin to topo­graphic maps, but have a much more roman­tic feel to them with their jewel-toned col­ors and soft marks.

Check out Marie’s Tum­blr. All images via her Flickr.








Peter Taylor

I don’t know about you, but my day has started out with a bit of stress. My moment of zen for the morn­ing thus far is Peter Taylor’s work. His web­site fea­tures 10 dif­fer­ent draw­ings of the same fig­ure in dif­fer­ent poses. I think it’s the com­bi­na­tion of soft han­dling and tran­quil expres­sion and poses of Peter’s character(s) that is very sooth­ing to me. The draw­ings are very fluid and my eye trav­els around the com­po­si­tions, never tiring.

Here are some of my favorites. I wish I was doing some yoga right now! All images via his web­site.

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Faif

I am lov­ing the play­ful­ness and sub­ver­sive aes­thetic of Barcelona-based Faif. On street projects, he col­lab­o­rates with other artists, but you can still pick out his part. It’s help­ful that he makes prints, which gives a bet­ter idea of his style. So, in awe­some murals like this one, you can see some of Faif in there:


All images (one above and oth­ers below) all via Flickr.









Amaz­ing:

Erica Mahinay

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I met Erica Mahi­nay this past fall at the Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­ter while we were res­i­dent artists. I thought her work was amaz­ing in per­son, and so this morn­ing I was very excited to see a press release from her in my inbox.

Erica’s work is play between paint­ing and sculp­ture, and what I really love about it is how ambi­tious it is. Ambi­tion can­not always be met, but her pieces — a com­bi­na­tion of paint­ing on can­vas sup­ported by phys­i­cal objects and instal­la­tion, really cre­ate an envi­ron­ment for the viewer. A por­tion of Erica’s artist state­ment:

As an emerg­ing artist, it is my ambi­tion to amplify the scope of my work through com­pelling visual play, exten­sive dia­logue, and exam­in­ing my rela­tion­ship to the his­tory of paint­ing. In my work, I explore the psy­cho­log­i­cal and emo­tional weight inher­ent in our con­struc­tion of “home”. My painting-constructions uti­lize the famil­iar­ity of the home to explore notions of long­ing, dis­place­ment, inver­sion, truth, self-deception, and per­se­ver­ance. By com­bin­ing a vari­ety of mate­ri­als, I am allowed to cre­ate a sys­tem of clues that cre­ate an imme­di­ate sense of famil­iar­ity, but in a way that is shifted and uncanny. Dense lay­ers of sub­tly col­ored paint and stripped away por­tions act in con­junc­tion with found objects and painted rep­re­sen­ta­tions to cre­ate visual play between his­tory and inven­tion, dreams and mem­ory, and the past, present, and future.

If you are local to Kansas City, Mis­souri, Erica has a show at the Cocoon Gallery from March 4th to the 26th.

First three images via her web­site. Last image via the Cocoon Gallery

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