Thursday, September 25, 2014

Herbert's Undivided at Boyd Satellite

Pinkney Herbert's show Undivided at Boyd Satellite in New Orleans has been extended until October 18.

Pinkney's paintings are extravagant in gesture, color and composition. He uses so many different techniques to apply paint: drips, great schmears of pigment, transparent veils, opaque blocks of color and what looks like air brush that one is left quite breathless. Overlapping shapes and textures dance across the surface. Color choices are audacious, featuring bold pairings of garish acrylics and more mellow earth tones.

It all makes for a highly charged, almost cacophonous
effect that threatens to devolve into chaos, but Pinkney maintains control of his beguiling yin and yang blend of slickness and roughness and the results are quite dazzling.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Big Head Brigade Coming to Dumbo

The Big Heads are coming! The Big Heads are coming! Megan Marlatt is bringing her Big Head Brigade to the Dumbo Arts Festival (September 26-28).

The original proponent of Big Heads, having been making them for several years now, Megan undertook a residency in 2012 with Ventura and Hosta, master artisans of capgrossos. At their studio in Navata, Spain, she learned the craft of making the heads  which are a vital part of the Spanish folk art tradition, traditionally made for carnivals and parades.

The Brigade has expanded to include other artists and describes itself thusly: "We are an artist collective whose mission is to create big heads in the Spanish papier-mâché (or cartro pedra), tradition and perform in them." 

The arts festival in Brooklyn is a three-day event with Interactive installations, open studios, crafts for children and the Big Head Brigade. For more information about the festival:

The raves are already coming in. The Brigade was mentioned in the most recent issue of The New Yorker on page 11, in the Above & Beyond Page.
"Two members of the Big Head Brigade, an art collective that builds giant wearable heads and performs in them, will be roaming the streets posing as New York's art-critic power couple, Jerry Saltz, of New York Magazine, and Roberta Smith, of the Times, giving a thumbs-up to artists along the way." And it was listed as Number 1 on this list of "9 Interesting Things to Look For" at the Dumbo Festival in

Check out the Big Head Brigade’s Facebook @bigheadbrigade

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sewell Awarded Tenth Gate Prize for Poetry

Lisa Sewell of Philadelphia, PA has won the 2014 Tenth Gate Prize for her Poetry manuscript: Impossible Object, her fourth poetry collection. This is the first time the prize has been awarded.

“Lisa Sewell’s poems are shot through with an adhesive intelligence born of the accretion of craft, discernment, and engagement with the world. This is exactly the kind of collection for which the Tenth Gate prize was developed,” says Series Editor for the Tenth Gate, Leslie McGrath.

When not writing poetry, Lisa teaches in the English Department at Villanova University where she is also co-director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. She is also a co-editor, with Claudia Rankine, of two essay collections on 21st Century North American poets. 

Lisa’s poems have appeared in the Colorado Review, Ploughshares, Paris Review and Harvard Review. She has been awarded a Leeway Foundation grant and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Impossible Object will be available by advance order for $17 plus $4 shipping and handling at

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quinn's Skies Enveloping Everything, and Places

Skies Enveloping Everything, and Places is Ann Quinn's latest exhibition. Her paintings, which combine abstract elements with precisely detailed passages have an almost mystical quality. Here, she uses the sky to evoke a transcendental sense of place.  

Ann explains, "This exhibition is of different places that I spent time in, under their particular skies. Places such as East Donegal, Bulgaria, Scotland and the South of France. Every piece of work I have made is based on a specific place I have spent time in. My paintings are about places, but in fact I am going for the atmosphere. I use places in order to instill an atmosphere; this is the main element that I go for. It is the same atmosphere that appears in works of literature and films. This is the reason why I cherish literature, films and paintings so much; it is the essence of the book, the film or artwork that I seek out."

Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival, Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, September 27-October 5. Opening reception: September 27, 7:30 PM.

AXIS Artists Attend Opening

AXIS unites 13 visual, digital, sound and literary artists who are VCCA Fellows at an exhibition at the Brentwood Arts Exchange (Brentwood, MD). According to Indrani Nayar-Gall, the show’s title “suggests a center or core that is capable of connecting, changing, and moving things, people and ideas to create a multitude of possibilities and alliances; it is a crucial transformative concept at this point in history. Fitting with the title, this exhibition brings together contemporary artwork by artists from across the United States and Europe whose work connects in spirit while it diverges in form.”
The show’s genesis can be traced to a VCCA open studio in October 2012. Struck by the range and quality of the work being produced, Indrani and Judith Pratt bandied about the possibility of an exhibition showcasing the work of VCCA Fellows. There followed two years of planning, sending out proposals, and collaborating. AXIS will open at DC’s Brentwood Arts Exchange on September 2 and run through October 18.
 “We are so pleased to have this show become a reality,” says Judith. “To shine a spotlight on all that VCCA does for its artists. We also hope the show encourages many more people to seek out what VCCA has to offer.” The thirteen AXIS artists are: Jo Ann Biagini (CA) • Julia Bloom (DC) • Blinn Jacobs (CT) • Caroline Burton (NY) Alonzo Davis (MD) • de’ Angelo Dia (NC) • Rebecca Morgan Frank (MS) • David R. Lincoln (NY) Joan Michelson (UK) • Indrani Nayar-Gall (NC) • Judith Pratt (VA) • Jessica Deane Rosner (RI) • Aaron Stepp) (KY). 

There will be an artists talk featuring several of the artists on October 4 at 2:00 PM. 
Pictured at the artists' reception left to right: David Lincoln, Phil Davis (Brentwood director), Judith Pratt, Blinn Jacobs, Julia Bloom and Indrani Navar-Gall

Monday, September 15, 2014

Susan Crowder's Future Nature

“We’re all living in the biotech century. Our ability to engineer ourselves and our planet has become a reality and it’s being done with wild abandon motivated by self-interest,“ says Susan Crowder whose work focuses on serious issues facing the natural world like disappearing environments, genetic engineering and invasive species.

“Nature is being gobbled up and reprocessed to accommodate more people with more demanding ideas of how their lives can be ‘improved.’ And yet even as we embrace these new versions of ourselves, we are nostalgic for the way we think Nature used to be. We worry about how we’re degrading our planet through our own consumption and hope science can fix everything without too much inconvenience for us.”

Susan is the subject of a one-woman show at her alma mater Sweet Briar College’s Babcock Gallery, September 18 - November 19. The show will feature sculptural work from Susan’s series Ground Covers (developed while she was a Fellow at VCCA) as well as drawings from her Tropical Nature Studies that she has been working on since she began spending time in Florida, where she now lives. Prior to that, Susan and her husband lived for many years in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, but now divide their time between Florida and Maine. 

Tropical Nature Studies are vivid little paeans to the environment Susan now inhabits evoking the heat, color and jungle-like growth of plants that are exotic, vividly colored and charged with energy, so much so their proliferation seems at times frantic and unstoppable.

Though they resemble stylized flora or micro-organisms, Susan’s studies aren’t depictions of actual science, but rather her abstract ruminations on science. “As my interest in biotechnology has developed, my drawings have mutated from images of the observed environment to imagined images of our microenvironment.”

Susan’s style melds a sleek crispness with a distinctly handmade quality that invests the work with character and visual appeal. Her charmingly inspired patterns succeed in referencing microscopic slides, while maintaining a fanciful remove. Some, like “TNS003,” with its spiraling tendrils and little repeated blobs, have the decorative all-over effect of wallpaper—very unusual wallpaper, needless to say. “TNS006” reminds one of twisting ribbons of kelp, and “TNS017” demonstrates a flawless sense of composition, balancing an area of drawn information with a rich scarlet background that is allowed to have its own voice. Yet even as one is charmed by these delightful works, one can’t quite shake an underlying sense of menace. This feeling is quite intentional; Susan is trying to portray “frenzied, eerie but purposeful microbial movement.”

Sculpture has always played a significant role in Susan’s work. For a time, she created large-scale, site-specific installations out of straw that had the appearance of mass and solidity belying their rather tenuous building material. at once architectural and fragile.

Designed to degrade naturally over time from environmental forces, two were destroyed by intentionally set fires. After these incidents, Susan backed away from these works. “The arson kind of scared me, this conflict of culture with nature, it made me want to do something different, so I switched to plastic and to artificial nature.” Susan uses traditional media for her drawings: pencil, ink and Craypas. By contrast, all the materials in the sculptures—low-voltage cable, cable ties, deer netting, ping pong balls—can be bought at Home Depot. Susan’s colonizing Ground Cover sculptures are distinctly ominous. Attractive and repellent, they look like synthetic plants, “Suggesting a future,” Susan has written, “Where engineered plants replace natural ones.

“I have this feeling,” she tells me, “Nature is going to become more and more man-made, partly because we’re being so hard on it and partly because of bioengineering.” One hopes Susan is wrong about this, but even so, her vision of future nature is captivating: part, plant, part machine, pure inventiveness.

Margery Amdur in L.A.'s "ArtVoices"

In 2012 Margery Amdur began using cosmetic sponges to construct her surfaces, drawn to them for their softness, texture and gender specific association.

Margery orders the sponges in bulk. They come in five different sizes, which she glues together by the thousands, making formations that become the building blocks of her compositions. She under-paints these sponge assemblages with gouache and ink layering pastel pigment on top to produce complex abstract markings Some of her sponge pieces are relatively flat and look like topographical maps—Margery describes these works as "maps to places unknown...personal landscapes—others resemble bulging giant amoeba-like shapes or enormous blooms of coral. 

Both pliable and textural, we sense the softness of this unorthodox yet surprisingly dynamic and sensual surface. It adds an appealing contrast to the intensity of Margery's marks. Margery Amdur is the subject of a profile and article in the Los Angeles-based ArtVoices magazine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Duesberry's "In an Instant: New York, 9-11, Before and After"

With In an Instant: New York, 9-11, Before and After Joellyn Duesberry takes on the very difficult subject of 9-11. She does so with technical virtuosity and urgency that seems to embody the shock and awe of that terrible event.

On View: September 11-November 13; opening Reception: September 11, 2014, 5-7pm, The Art Gallery | Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.