Tag Archives: National Juried Exhibition

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Julie Herman

I am a Syracuse, NY based photographer with work in the de/composition exhibition currently on display at Main Street Arts.

"Packard Automotive", photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

“Packard Automotive”, photograph included in de/composition at Main Street Arts

I received my BFA from Alfred University, and currently work for Light Work, a non profit photography organization based at Syracuse University. Light Work supports emerging and under represented artists through a residency program, grants, and lab facilities. I also do freelance work and studio photography.

My photographs focus on the decline of American industry, and the effect it has had on neighboring communities. As a child growing up in Endicott, NY, I witnessed the slow collapse of IBM, the region’s major employer. When layoffs began, I remember watching my father worry about losing his job. As offices closed, and manufacturing plants were shut down, the landscape became dotted with vacant factories and shuttered storefronts. As IBM’s presence in Endicott slowly dwindled, the places where I spent my childhood were abandoned, and stand now as derelict property.

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

The IBM country club pool, now full of reeds and rainwater

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

Former blast furnace, Pennsylvania

As I began to search for other towns that had been similarly affected, I saw the same story unfold in other areas; places that once had function and purpose are now empty, nature slowly reclaiming the buildings and their contents. Despite their great amount of deterioration, I find these places serene. A sun beam through the roof, or a seedling rooted in the floor signal hope and beauty where it might not be expected.

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Control panel at the now abandoned IBM country club

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Empty house in a company town in Pennsylvania

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Forgotten work glove at a Pennsylvania lace factory

Recently, I have begun collecting mementos from the places I visit. Old invoices, letters, torn wallpaper, and discarded books all tell stories of those who had been there before. I have also been collecting old IBM memorabilia: postcards of the manufacturing facilities, photographs, and items that belonged to my father. I don’t know what I will do with them yet, but gathering them feels like the next step to me.

Collected items

Collected items

I took my first photography class in high school, where I was introduced to a traditional black and white darkroom. Despite the prevalence of digital cameras, analog processes are still central to my image making process. While my freelance work demands the immediacy of a digital workflow, almost all of my personal work is done in the darkroom.

I photograph using medium format film cameras from the 1950’s and 60’s. Shooting with film forces me to slow down, consider each frame, and be present in the space. There is joy and excitement in waiting to see the images; not knowing with certainty that I’ve captured what I intended.  I enjoy the process of analog photography, the physicality of the work, and even after two decades of darkroom printing, watching an image materialize in the developer is a magical experience.

After years of using a community space, I finally installed a darkroom in my basement. The nice thing about developing film and silver gelatin prints is that it doesn’t change much. It’s the same process that I used in high school. There is no need to upgrade to a better camera, a nicer monitor, or faster computer.

You can see more of my work at www.juliekherman.com or on instagram @juliekherman.


Julie Herman is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Stephanie Garon

By juxtaposing organic materials against an armature of steel, my art captures paradoxes of decomposition: formalism and fragility, permanence and impermanence, and nature and nurture.

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

Evaluating placement of my sculptures in an exhibition

I’m continually experimenting and evaluating placement of my sculptures. Since I focus on environmental awareness, it’s important to me to bring organic materials indoors to the viewer.

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

My sculptural work placed in a different setting

Placement affects meaning. The viewer’s perspective changes, but this sculpture gets lost in the environment. Should it?

Images from Redwoods

Images from the Redwood Forest in California

My inspiration stems from nature, in additional to the following four artists:

  • Eva Hesse: delicacy of materials, framing of powerful themes with grace,
  • Anish Kapoor: using steel and similar infusions to instill messages about humanity,
  • David Nash: playfulness in creating nature based work that succumbs to nature,
  • Meret Oppenheim: for transforming items traditionally associated with decorum or refinement into sculpture.
Eve sculpture

“Eve”, sculpture included in the “de/composition” exhibition at Main Street Arts

Eve is a monument. Whether we see lungs or breasts or the negative space between the forms, we are forced to acknowledge the greatness of nature, despite how much we nurture it, as evidenced by the evergreen changing. It is foreboding. These decaying materials, presented in unexpected ways, challenge reason and emotion. Eve changes color and sheds through the duration of the exhibit: it’s nature’s own performance art.

“Impediment”, current work

“Impediment”, aluminum, plaster, soil 70x30x30

My current work, shown above, is inspired by pine needle bunches. I plan to fill a small gallery space with these repeating forms.

To see more of my work, visit my website: www.garonstudio.com.


Stephanie Garon is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Maria T. Bentley

MTB studio

Tethered to our innermost beings and the marrow that comprises us, our bodies are rooted in the earth. The loss or decay of any one of these can cause an imbalance. I aim to provoke that delicate steadiness while inducing a sense of nostalgia, and odd familiarity.

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“Bottom of the Barrel” 2015 – mixed media sculpture

I was born and raised in Seneca Falls, NY. Growing up surrounded by the Finger Lakes, rural farm land, and state parks, I am continually drawn outdoors. Religious influences and family experiences are other factors that play a role in my work. I see the use of clay as a representation of the physical body, drawn from the Genesis creation story; recycling of material and life. To me ceramic vessels and sculptures take on a figuratively charged quality representing people from my life.

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“C.A. O.” 2015 – ceramic/ mixed media sculpture

Alzheimer’s and the aging process are explored in my color palate and surfacing quality. Alzheimer’s is a terrible thing to watch a loved one experience, for me it was my grandfather. I recall his vibrant personality and coloring became muted, rather quickly. I recall bruises and the cloudy confusion in his eyes as he became a shell of the man I once knew. Using ceramic burnout methods I expose natural fibers to the firing process, leaving an  exoskeleton of what was, similar to those that experience Alzheimer’s.  What was once there remains in essence but is never the same.

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“How are the numbers?” 2019 – ceramic

Using muted earthy colors and textures associated to decay, decomposition, aging, and the natural earth, I mimic the passing of time. The combining of materials and insertion of light charges the work with multiple layers. In each piece I combine three or more materials experimenting with ceramic, wood, glass, neon/ light, metal, and fibers.

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“Dust to Dust” 2019 – mix media sculpture

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etail shot of the ceramic garbage pail in “Dust to Dust”

I enjoy incorporating apples into my work as it add an ephemeral element to the piece that grows/decays with the passing of time. Apples hint towards my childhood as well as referencing religious creation stories. The piece above invited viewers to eat an apple and dispose of the core in the ceramic garbage pail. Over time there was an accumulation of cores, the collection of compost created by humans, and the decay of these cores provided a wonderful smell and color to the inside of this white void.

My studio practice is sporadic. I am constantly traveling to portfolio days and art classrooms across the country for my position in admissions at Alfred University.

In our "Sugar Shack" making maple syrup this past winter.

In our “Sugar Shack” making maple syrup this past winter.

Image may contain: one or more people, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Working in the garden on our land

I reside in Hornell, NY with my partner. We have land that we garden on and we have a maple farm, Maple Marrow at B&T Farms. We spend a great deal of our time outside playing in the earth or creating with it. I am continually researching and exploring new ways to enhance my practice, manipulate material, and expand my network.

View more of my work on my website at www.mariatbentley.com.


Maria T. Bentley is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Chad Cleveland

Self-portrait, Acrylic on board

Self-portrait, Acrylic on board

I grew up in Fairport, N.Y.  and I’ve been making art since my early 20’s.  Having grown up heavily involved in sports, I never really created much artwork through my younger academic years.

It was in my undergraduate program at Binghamton University that I decided to be an artist. It’s funny because I had never painted before, but I was sure that’s what I wanted to do in life.

“Passing Through”, painting included in the “de/composition” exhibition at Main Street Arts

“Passing Through”, painting included in the “de/composition” exhibition at Main Street Arts

After diving into the art program  head  first I quickly realized that I was a terrible painter. My drawings were strong but I had a hard time converting my ideas into the world of paint. However, I was advised and encouraged by my instructor, mentor, artist, and friend Dave Shapiro. He was an extremely gifted artist who worked under the tutelage  of Philip Guston  at one point in his career.  He insisted that I was indeed on the right path, and with hard enough work  I could get to where I wanted to be.

It was because of his encouragement and support that I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for my MFA in painting and drawing, and eventually an MST in Art Education.

"Bill", work in progress

“Bill”, work in progress

I was fortunate enough to be exposed to many different gifted artists and professors at RIT. This lead me to experiment with a variety of different media and techniques, and exposed me to ideas that were very foreign, yet extremely exciting. This was when I met another extremely important artist, guide and mentor in my life by the name of Bill Stephens. He has been paramount in the development of myself as an artist and human being.

"The Crow", work in progress

“The Crow”, work in progress

My current body of work consists of variations and experimentation with the human portrait.  Throughout my career I have ventured back-and-forth between the world of abstraction/non-objective art and representational/figurative art forms.  So it is now that I find myself  at the marriage of these two worlds.  I find that each piece leads to the next, and serves as a jumping off point for the next idea.

For more of my work, follow me on Instagram @chad_cleveland.art


Chad Cleveland is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jennifer Schinzing

Jennifer at work

Jennifer at work in her home studio

The incredible passion I have for animals and the natural world is what inspired me to learn taxidermy. All the animal elements found in my work are road kill casualties or have died from natural and unpreventable deaths. By preserving them in the very small window of time between death and decay it forces the viewer to see them in a more intimate and surreal setting. By placing them in improbable situations, I hope to remind the viewer of our fragile world.

Sculpture

Sculptural piece by Jennifer Schinzing

I grew up in Rochester, NY and still call it my home today. I work at More Fire Glass Studio full time, managing the studio and blowing glass. On weekends I volunteer at Wild Wings (an injured bird of prey facility) helping to educate people about the environment. And at home, my husband and I, have 3 rescue greyhounds.

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Jennifer with her 3 rescue greyhounds

Creating and making art from a very young age eventually led me to art school. I graduated from Alfred University, School of Art and Design, where I was exposed to glassblowing and continued to experiment with different materials.  My sculptural work is mixed media based. I love sourcing found objects from antique stores, sometimes those are the source of inspiration for the piece. I incorporate my own blown and sculpted glass into the work but I also incorporate vintage glass as well. 

Cyclical

Cyclical by Jennifer Schinzing

I have always felt a strong love and connection to animals and the natural world. As a kid, my sister and I spent hours upon hours playing outside, building forts and making “food” from random plants and berries. We would stay busy playing in Irondequoit Creek which ran through our backyard and enjoyed being surrounded by the wildlife that lived close by. This informed my artwork as a kid and it continues to do so today.

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Detail of a custom piece for a private residence in Chelsea, NY

My approach of beginning a piece consists of different thoughts and feelings. It isn’t always the same formula for me. I don’t do a ton of sketching, most often a vision will pop in my head and I start piecing it together. It could be the animal that inspires me, in other instances it is a found object or a lot of times I am tying  personal experiences in amongst the broader message. I hint at what the pieces are about for me in the titles but I always love for the viewer to take away their own perception of the piece if possible.

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Jennifer creating flame worked pieces for a sculpture piece

blowing glass

Jennifer blowing glass

In the indefinite continued progress of existence, there are particular moments that will change us, leaving us to wonder how or why we have gotten to this moment. The hopelessness that these periods of time create can be paralyzing and leave you wondering if you will ever be able to repair the holes. From every death comes a breathe of new life, giving us a glimmer, a feeling of repair. By creating intimate moments from personal fragments paired with an environmental connotation, a duality evolves to form a narrative that explores both sides.
Cache

Cache by Jennifer Schinzing

 I am honored to be among all of the talented artists showing work in the current exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts, I hope all of you get the chance to see the show!


Jennifer Schinzing is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Bryan Northup

Me with installation Artist with installation 'You Can't Put It Back In The Box'

Artist with installation ‘You Can’t Put It Back In The Box’

My name is Bryan Northup and I’m honored that my work “Cautionary Entrails” was selected to be a part of the de/composition exhibit at Main Street Arts. I am particularly pleased that this work found a place to be shown, framed in a such a compelling theme.

Cautionary Entrails

“Cautionary Entrails” by Bryan Northup

I am a Chicago based environmental artist, originally from Northern California. I have been making art for most of my life, drawing horses during church sermons and taking any and all art classes offered in high school. I graduated from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California with a BFA in Fine Art Photography and since then have been a self taught, intuitive artist.

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Earlier work, 2000 – 2014

I work in several media including cold and warm glass, painting, mixed media sculpture and photography. Until recently, I focused on working with glass, from traditional stained glass and mosaics to experiments with recycled bottles, creating kiln-formed, functional tableware, lighting and sculptural works.  See more here >

Plastic raw material

Plastic art material

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My studio worktable, kinda clean

I was awakened to the serious problem of single-use plastics in 2015. I like to think that a dead tree changed the trajectory of my art practice. I was fortunate to be selected to create a public art sculpture through the Chicago Tree Project that utilized a dead tree (one of many in the city’s parks) as a framework for sculpture. I chose to shift my material from glass bottles to plastic beverage bottles for many logistical reasons, but through the process of creating the sculpture entitled “Message In A Bottle”  I discovered the invisible scourge of single use plastic and ties to the bottled water industry. Shifting my thinking, message and medium to create with everyday found materials that no one was thinking about seemed the most important outcome of the project.

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View while installing Message in a Bottle

Before this experience I had no idea that plastic lasts forever, never decomposing, or the amounts of plastic produced, used and thrown away on a daily basis, all designed to be disposed of. As I researched more, these facts changed my awareness and the focus of my artwork.

sliced roll

Detail of a “sliced roll”

Now I use these plastics and foam to create wall relief and sculpture works that abstract food, mimic organic forms and invent pseudo-biological structures. I attempt to blur the lines between appetizing consumables, anatomical dissection and waste — exploring layers of meaning in an age where plastics have saturated our environment and penetrated human-kind both biologically and culturally, to the cellular level.

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Work in progress

While being an environmental plague, I have found plastic to be an incredibly dynamic art medium. I work with plastic as a fiber, a fabric, in some ways as a cooking ingredient, a food. I incorporate common tools such as chef knife to cut the rolls and an iron to laminate sheets of films together. Creating rolls, “sushi- style” is a technique I originated when I started working with plastic. It’s a meditation, adding unlikely and inedible ingredients like foam, bubble wrap, plastic bags while I reflect on how these same steps are so closely related to making nourishing food, something we crave and can actually eat.  I think about all the wildlife, particularly in the ocean that that ingest plastic because of our dependence on it.

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My first plastic wall relief, Sea Change, 36×48

The organic forms and textures I create suggest perishable matter, “flesh”, “tissue” likely to spoil and decay quickly, but because these objects are created with plastic, they will never naturally decompose  but just appear to be, forever, in a state of suspended decomposition.

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Detail

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a bit better. You can see much more of my work on my website, www.bryannorthup.com, I post regularly on Instagram @bryan.northup and have a Facebook page @beyondbiolumglass


Bryan Northup is one of 31 artists featured in the national juried exhibition de/composition at Main Street Arts. Work from the exhibition can be previewed and purchased through the gallery’s online shopde/composition runs through June 28, 2019.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jaime Gaiti

My interest in making art has been prevalent throughout my life. Even as a young child I always enjoyed making small objects, drawings, and collages.  I can even remember one of my elementary school art teachers, very matter of factly, stating that I would be an artist one day.  I was born and raised in Ronkonkoma, New York, a town in the center of Long Island.  After graduating high school, I attended Suffolk County Community College on and off for a few years where I discovered how interested I truly was in pursuing art school.

Gaiti working on her BFA thesis in her studio

Jaime working on her BFA thesis in her studio

When I began my academic career at Suffolk, I was interested in ceramics and by the time I left I had decided to major in sculpture, which led me to apply to the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine in 2014. By 2016, I had graduated from MECA with my BFA in Sculpture. At MECA I had access to countless new materials and techniques that I used to develop my work including, metal smithing, mold making, welding, and fabrication.

An image of Gaiti's studio at MECA

An image of Jaime’s studio at MECA

My work has always centered around the human body and some of my own intimate, personal experiences and struggles. One of these early pieces, Contact Comfort, was created by using plaster bandages to create casts of my own body that were assembled to abstract the form, as well as chicken wire to create the underlying structure of the piece. I made this piece with the idea of human’s inherent need for physical contact and the need to be loved and cared for. At this point, the inherent fragility of the human body and life became a prevalent theme for my work. Personally, I was experiencing a relationship in which I felt myself separating while feeling like the other person was becoming increasingly dependent.

"Contact Comfort," 2015

“Contact Comfort,” 2015

As I further developed my work, I began to abstract the human form and focus in on the grotesque qualities of the body as I became less interested in portraying the body as solidly as I had in previous work, like Contact Comfort.  I became interested in the simultaneous presence of the grotesque and  beauty in the human body and how I could create forms that were  repulsive, uncomfortable, and familiar. This body of work began with Human, which is included in the Small Works exhibition, and began the development of my thesis project.

Detail of "Human," 2016

Detail of “Human,” 2016

Through this body of work, I aimed to create a sense of discomfort and familiarity for my audience; they are able to make connections to the work by relating it to their own bodies. I began to focus and draw inspiration from my own experiences with life and death, including the death of my mother in 2014. I created this work in an effort to answer questions about the fragility and complexities of life and death by confronting people with the delicate and impermanent nature of their own lives.  I began to explore the effects of being faced with the realization of one’s own mortality, the limitations of flesh, and anxieties about the body’s inevitable decay.

"Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place," 2016

“Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place,” 2016

My thesis work, Bound in Flesh, Time, and Place, became the culmination of this body of work.  It also served as an extremely cathartic process for me as I navigated through my experiences during the first 2 years after my mother’s death, and could feel a sense of closure after this work allowed me to convey all of the emotions I had felt but was unable to put into words.

Since graduation and the completion of my thesis, I have been working towards my next body of work with a series of studies of flesh and contrasting materials.  The human body and its grotesque qualities have become sort of the base focus of my work, however, I have been interested on the idea of heirloom objects and memory as things that remain as a source of comfort.  Having moved back to my childhood home in Ronkonkoma, after living in Portland for the past few years, it has been inspiring to be in such a familiar place with a new perspective and understanding.  I am looking forward to the development of this work and being able to share it with others.

"Vulnerability 1," 2017

“Vulnerability 1,” 2017

"Untitled Ring," 2016

“Untitled Ring,” 2016

To see more of my work you can visit my website: jgaiti.wixsite.com/jaimegaiti


“Human 1–5″ is currently on display in Main Street Arts’ fourth annual “Small Works” exhibition (juried by Cory E. Card, former curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY). The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018 and can be previewed onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist Studio with Michael Ashley

 

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Glazing at Ashley Studio Pottery in Tupelo Mississippi

Originally from Springfield  MO, I graduated from College of the Ozarks with a BA in Painting and Ceramics then moved to Tachi, Taiwan where I spent a year at Tainan National University for the Arts.  In 2010 I graduated from the University of Mississippi with an MFA in Ceramics. I have taught at Missouri State University, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Tyler School of Art and am currently making Pots in Tupelo MS at Ashley Studio Pottery and teaching at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

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My desk with Max Beckmann, coffee, homework for students, and sketches for cups.

My current work comprises utilitarian forms with motifs and patterns influenced by Kenzan Style Edo Period Japan with color and painterly application of  expressionist paintings from early to mid century.

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wine cups earthenware 2017

I am particularly interested in the way Beckmann uses bold colors surround by black lines to create shapes and planes.

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vase with tulips

My process begins with red clay dipped or brushed in white slip. After bisque, I start first layer of brush work using iron wash made of iron oxide and OM4 ball clay or glaze pencil.

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bisqued bowls with brushwork

Next, I apply liner glaze depending on the form.

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I then begin to layer glazes using bulb syringe and brushes. My glazes are a combination of glazes I mix, made mostly of frits and Mason Stains as well as some commercial Amaco and Duncan glazes.

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Glazed work ready for the next layer

Lastly, the pot is dipped in a thin clear glaze and fired.

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Footed red box 2017

Artist Statement
My work invites touch, like a stone plucked from a riverbed. I love pots that are smooth in the hand but have a rugged, natural beauty. I observe a constant erosion and evaporation that takes place in my daily environment. I strive for layers of visual depth combining slip, glaze and texture to recall this geological wearing. Traditional utilitarian forms are the vocabulary for my investigation, surfaces are a combination of historic patterns and motifs mixed with the vibrancy and life of mid century abstract expressionist paintings.

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cups earthenware 2017

Ritual and habit inform my studio practice. Art, work and play exist in all aspects of life. I begin my day with tea; boil the water, strain, pour and savor. That rhythm carries throughout my day whether chopping onions or wedging clay. Make something, use it, let it inform your life, make more.

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Mississippi oribe 2017

You can follow me on Instagram and Michael D. Ashley or Ashley Studio Pottery on Facebook.

662-523-7887
ashleyceramics@hotmail.com

Ashley Studio Pottery
398 East Main Street, Suite 106, Tupelo MS, 38804

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Ashley Studio Pottery www.ashleystudiopottery.com


Michael Ashley has two cups included in our second annual “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition, and received an honorable mention award for one of his wine cupsStop by Main Street Arts to see Michaels’s work through January 4, 2018 or purchase his cups onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Anna Katalkina

I am originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, where I had my formative introduction to arts and culture. Growing up in that environment I was surrounded by two artistic worlds; the great Russo-European traditions of the city’s museums, architecture, and performing arts, but also the underground cultural explosion that came with the end of the Cold War – rockers, hippies, and a youthful fascination with the ‘new.’

Since I left Russia in the early 1990s, I have developed in several directions across  different places. I spent a few years near London in the UK, before moving to Birmingham, Alabama for six years. It was in Birmingham that my art-making began to shape up. Maybe because of the studio courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or maybe because of the southern charm?

Part of my Arabian Nights series

The Fisherman and the Jinni, from my Arabian Nights series

Since 2002, I have lived and worked in the Washington, DC area.  I have painted, photographed, and completed a master’s degree at Georgetown, studying cultural diplomacy and Cambodian cultural regeneration. In terms of artistic inspiration, DC is the great place as it’s full of diverse people, world-renowned museums, and space to breathe. In addition to Washington, DC, I spend a lot of time in Paris and Brittany with my family, soaking up French arts, culture, and the joie-de-vivre along the way!

I have always been creative, but it has taken a long build to get to where I am now. At the age of 15, I bought a box of oil paints and started painting on any surface that I could find: cardboard, broken guitar backs, or vinyl. I haven’t had a moment of a single transformative art school, but I’ve learned from great talents throughout – at the UAB; at the Corcoran College of Art and Design; in the Maroger studio of artist Robert White; and by seeing countless exhibitions and museums I visit no matter where I go.

From my Candy and Mementoes series

From my Candy and Mementoes series

Over the years, I’ve worked in different mediums: narrative drawing, abstraction, photography and design, but am currently settled on a rooting in the Old Dutch Masters’ still lifes, with modern interpretation. These days I create vivid depictions of simple objects, which often convey much richer meaning than the elaborate. The style requires a large amount of layering, time, and patience, but ultimately it’s incomparable as a way of depicting still life. Making the still life (nature-morte) alive. My work expressly balances seriousness and humor, elegance and simplicity, tradition and modernity – it picks up the breezes from travel, theatre literature, and food.

Elephant on Red Jawbreaker

Elephant on Red Jawbreaker

Elephant work in progress

My inspiration is mainly in slowing down the fast pace of society and zooming in to objects with a certain meaning. I seek out and depict possible objects of desire, beauty and satisfaction – sometimes in the overtly beautiful, and often in the mundane. Candy and toys receive the same attention as fine porcelain figurines, capable of attracting the willing eye and triggering lighthearted memories and pleasure.

When preparing for a show, I tend to look for a common theme which can be explored through different objects. One of my series, Candy and Mementoes, explores the nostalgia and tactile charm that people have for childhood candy. The other, the Arabian Nights, interprets the tales from One Thousand and One Nights, merging  the cultural traditions of the East and the West.

Sinbad the Seaman

Sinbad the Seaman from my Arabian Nights series

You can find my work on my website at annakatalkina.com. I’m also on Instagram sharing photos of what catches the eye at Instagram.


See two of Anna’s paintings in Main Street Arts’ fourth annual “Small Works” exhibition (juried by Cory E. Card, former curator at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY). The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018 and can be previewed onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Anna’s piece, “Clay Duck and White Jellybeans” received a juror’s choice award for the exhibition!

From The Director: Utopia/Dystopia

Installation view from "Utopia/Dystopia", painting in foreground by Polly Little

Installation view from ‘Utopia/Dystopia’, painting in foreground by Polly Little

Juried exhibitions are interesting from my perspective as a gallery director. There is much less control of the outcome in an exhibition like this. Typically, I get to choose each artist—and many times, each specific piece—that will be included in a show. From the beginning, I have an idea of how the exhibition will come together and how it can be installed to become an interesting thing unto itself. However, in a juried show I have no control over what will be displayed, only how it will be  displayed.

The usual exhibition at Main Street Arts has its beginnings in seeing a specific piece by an artist and slowly building the idea for the exhibition around that. The place that I end up may be different from where I started but it is this organic process that keeps things interesting for me from year to year.

The current national juried exhibition, Utopia/Dystopia features 40 artists from 15 different states selected by our juror, John Massier—visual arts curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, NY. The idea for this exhibition came to me last year during the strange spectacle that was primaries and started out only as “dystopia”, with no brighter side. As a little time passed, it became important to add in “utopia” as the counterpoint with the hope for an exhibition that presented competing visions of the future. The resulting exhibition brings the realization that the themes of utopia and dystopia can be left to interpretation.

Installation view of 'Utopia/Dystopia', Painting by Sarah Peck in foreground

Installation view of ‘Utopia/Dystopia’, Painting by Sarah Peck in foreground

There are of course pieces in the show that are always read as depicting  dystopia (i.e. things that are on fire or demonic figures) and then there are those that could be both. Endless Pool by Anna Pleskow could be read either way, I see both isolation and serenity. Fretful Mickey by Jennifer McCandless  is meant to be “a dystopian Disney that is hot, crowded, and the only thing to eat is a giant turkey leg” (a quote from the artist) but I could also see this as an alternative version of the Disney classic that is perhaps even more captivating.

(left) "Endless Pool" by Anna Pleskow (right) "Fretful Mikey" by Jennifer McCandless

(left) “Endless Pool” by Anna Pleskow (right) “Fretful Mikey” by Jennifer McCandless

Even though I had a complete lack of control in selecting the work for Utopia/Dystopia, I am very happy with the selections made by our juror. It is an eclectic mix that makes you laugh, scratch your head, and maybe even get a little creeped out! Stop in before June 30, 2017 to see the show before it is gone.