Saturday, July 31, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Wandering through the old Luther’s Livestock barn in Wassaic this weekend I ran into a 27-year old artist from Teaneck New Jersey who now lives in Los Angeles and works with donuts as both his medium and his message. Sitting among pallets of acetate dipped stacks of donuts, Josh Atlas smiles a winning smile and notes that his 4 month residency with the Wassaic Project is an opportunity to experiment and study the techniques available behind preserving donuts and realizing his illustrated fantasies. In “Donut Day-Spa”, a figure “soaks” in a bathtub full of donuts replete with facemask of pink icing. Josh is interested in the donuts for the way they affect our eyes and our bodies, as symbol of desire and also for their formal element, their stackable shapes and high key colors.
The art is about appetite. Josh admits to an enormous sweet tooth and at least one chipmunk groupie in the studio. He says that, “comedy is the impulse behind my practice”. He cites the influence of comic books and cartoons behind his inclination to stretch the absurd. So came the impetus for Josh to create disco balls of donuts.
Josh attended Carnegie Mellon originally intending to study computer animation. The BFA program required interdisciplinary study and, as a result, his love of drawing and sculpture grew. His last major project was a long illustration turned graphic novel.
For the August Wassaic Project Summer Festival in the Maxon Mill, August 13-15, Josh plans a real icing splash on the wall. Visit www.joshatlas.com or the www.wassaicproject.org for more info.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
The dialogue continues with a third group showing of “14th Colony Artists” in Millerton, NY this month. I hung two paintings from my empty nest series over last weekend with about 43 other artists in the building that used to be a hair salon on Railroad Avenue. Next to me on the wall is an abstract work by Karin Wexler painted with a searching pallet knife called “Marshland”. It echoes and intensifies the warm oranges and cool blues of my own work. Below my painting, sits an abstract wood sculpture by Peter Cascone. The playful relationship between Cascone’s sculpture, “Macdonaldwood and Preserved Dutch Elm”, was created after a gift exchange with artist Kevin Macdonald. Nearby in the same room, Macdonald’s, “Two Paint Cans” are positioned near Cascone’s “Taxi Ride” and they echo the shapes and colors of the blue, yellow, red, and white abstraction. Not sure they were supposed to do that, but together they make me laugh. Between them Dorothy Fox’s “Red Hot Jazz”, large acrylic on canvas singer at microphone, sets up a lively atmosphere.
What’s interesting about the show and the 14th Colony is what I see when the works hang close to each other, and what I hear when the artists talk about how they work. There are paintings and photographs and sculptures. There is a dialogue with personal histories, a past heritage, and common culture.
Diane Shapira’s “Morandi Project #3”, an installation of ceramics, investigates the oeuvre of George Morandi by re creating vessels with variable silhouettes in muted hues and arranging them in elegant clusters. It is made by and for the contemplative spirit. Many of the artists cite past masters as inspiration. Rosemary Barrett responds to a George Ohr vase with a romantic oil painting. Virginia Lavado makes large ink drawings of the darker side of nursery rhymes. Michael Gallatly’s abstract renderings on paper and Pietter lefferts’ April Moon oil are samples of artists challenging themselves and pushing their handling of media into a new contest. .Lefferts paints at night, outside, in the dark, on location, hence the immediacy and abstract quality. Gellatly’s CRDRWG #4 and #5 marry a delicately odd surreal rendered form with random sharpie ink lines drawn while driving his car. Not everything should be tried at home! It’s open weekends though out the month of July.