Monday, April 18, 2016

KINDRED SPIRITS - Exploring Abstract Expressionism Today

The Greenville Center for Creative Arts is a new facility in Greenville SC and I was very excited when I learned they were hosting KINDRED SPIRITS - Exploring Abstract Expressionism Today an exhibition organized and curated by artist Katherine Duncan Aimone.

The show features the work of six artists selected by Aimone for the quality and style of their work and for how she found the paintings "different but complimentary".  Aimone states she feels each of the painters represented have been influenced by a period of art where artists often work from internal not external reference.

The teachers I personally had during my college years all came from an abstract expressionist background and they passed the love of this approach to art making to me.  I have been aware of several of the artists in this show via the web so it was great to see the work in person.

Blue Pulse - Galen Cheney - 2014
oil on two panels - 48 x 48 inches

Blue Pulse by Galen Cheney was featured on the cover of the very nice exhibition catalog.  The work is heavy with paint boldly applied and manipulated.  Often work of this style is created as the artists paints and paints over layers until the work is resolved and in this work I felt I was seeing a frozen moment in time where the work is coming together.  Maybe there could be more iterations ahead and many that have already happened but this is the moment Cheney allowed us to share.  The artist says, "I strive for my paintings to exist on a kind of tightrope, right on the edge of coming apart...and also with a sense of being composed."

unhinderedAccess - Jay Zerbe - 2016
acrylic and crayon on canvas - 30 x 30 x 75 inches

It was great fun to finally see the paintings of Jay Zerbe as I have followed his work for several years online.  Zebra's shapes and composition are very strong and recognizable.  My perception of these paintings is that the elements would all slide off the canvas except he interjects just enough counter pressure to stop the motion.  His use of color and value are very consistent and his style mature.  The Indiana artists says, "The contrast of chaos with order provides the structure for my work.  The appearance of order breaks down under scrutiny, which mirrors my understanding of reality."

Sad Ape - Matthew Dibble - 2015
enamel and paper on birch panel - 48 x 42 inches

Matthew Dibble is from Cleveland, OH.  I hope you will check out his webpage along with all the websites of these accomplished artists.  I love the photo of him sitting alone in his studio studying a painting.  Well sort of alone.  He is surrounded by his work.  Click on the link for Mono Chrome Paintings.  Wow!  I appreciate Dibble's technique and productivity.  There are bones underlying all the marks, scribbles, strokes and scratches and it's those bones that give the work power.  The work is a little tattered and worn and rich for being so.  He says, "I have a natural curiosity about my place on earth, and a thirst for sincerity in all forms.  These paintings are a glimpse into what happens when my very active inner life and the outer world collide".

Emergence and Dissipation - Steven Aimone - 2016
oil and graphite on paper - 12 x 11 inches

I suspect many of you are familiar with Steven Aimone and perhaps have one of his well respected books on your book shelves (Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within and Design!: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within) or perhaps have studied with him in one of his widely know painting workshops.  The piece I've chosen to picture is a beautiful example of his complex work.  It is rich and layered and has a monumental sense of scale but is in fact on 12 x 11 inches.  Aimone's statement about his art is one I think many people share.  He says, "My work is visual poetry, speaking indirectly and metaphorically about the human experience.  The paintings serve as gateways, affording access to complex, internal states of emotion, psyche, and spirit."

 Untitled - Margaret Glew - 2015
acrylic, oil, spray paint on canvas - 48 x 54 inches

While there were excellent women painting in the AbEx style when it was first developing, often the painters most referenced are the men.  As time has passed women are being more recognized for their contribution to this art approach and I feel that women excel in this very powerful and expressive manner of painting.  Margaret Glew welds her brush with abandon and relish.  The details of what has come before are partly obscured and the smears and smudges that fight their way to the surface become the "message" and the central focus of the work.  These works are painted with joy and vigor.  Glee is from Toronto, Ontario and she is quoted as saying, "I like a painting to have an element of unpredictability.  I want to surprise myself.  Deliberately try to disrupt the surface, unsettle myself, and provoke new ways of thinking about the work.  I am never satisfied."

The Floating World #12 - Katherine Aimone - 2016
acrylic on canvas - 48 x 60 inches (each panel 48 x 30 in.)

The last work is by the curator of this show, Katherine Aimone.  This work shows a different aspect or genera of AbEx in that it is very soft, organic, quiet and feminine.  Her color palette tends to be romantic and suggest water, twilight or a dream state.  The #12 painting which is pictured is from her series The Floating World and is a great example of the qualities I mentioned.  While there is texture and marks from the brush this work is carefully modeled and polished.  Aimone says, "My body of work is about experiencing beauty - that vulnerable state that is accessible each day, but often overlooked in our push to succeed and take care of practical concerns.  It is about feeling and sensing in the present moment; I consider it to be the source of my deepest and most authentic voice."

This exhibition will be on view at the Greenville Center for Creative Art through May 20, 2016.  Check their website for gallery times.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Christina Laurel - Refugium

It is always interesting to watch the development of an artists' work over time.  I've know Christina Laurel for several years and her new installation work is a beautiful and meaningful extension of her exquisite two dimensional collage and sculptures.  The show is installed at Greenville Technical College's Riverworks Gallery in Greenville, SC and will be up until April 17, 2016.

Long strands of paper ginkgo leaves hang from the ceiling and flutter and sway as people open the doors of the gallery or walk past or through the space.  The leaves are made from specially treated paper with delicately printed images of Christina's work. 

The desire to have people interact with her work in a new and more physical way was one of the forces that inspired this new direction.  Christina had shared her thoughts about making this piece with me as she began to resolve all the artistic and technical issues involved so I had formed some specific ideas about how it would be resolved.  I think because the artist herself is such a joyful person I imagined light flickering from the leaves as you passed each strand.  While that is not the case literally it is true metaphorically.  


Here is Christina's statement about the installation.  

A refugium is an area where special environmental circumstances enable a species to survive after extinction in surrounding areas.  This "Refugium" is an oasis - a refuge - from the sensory bombardment in today's world.

Why the gingko leaf?  In part because it is a survivor of 200 million years.  In the US the ginkgo withstands urban pollution, and in Japan the gingko is a symbol of endurance; it is one of the trees that survived Hiroshima. 

My artwork removes the barriers of glass and frame but presents recognizable imagery - in this case, the gingko - in an abstracted way yet at a human scale.  Viewers are invited to enter the installation with "eyes to touch" and, in essence, become an ephemeral aspect of "Refugium" itself.

To read more about Christina follow these links: and

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tom Stanley - Slide Script Paintings

Chain, Chain, Chain - Tom Stanley
acrylic and collage on canvas - 1992
13.75" x 21.74"

This past Saturday I had the wonderful experience of sitting with a circle of friends, collectors and artists to participate in Coffee and Conversation with Tom Stanley at the Hampton III Gallery in Taylors, SC.  These gatherings are a tradition at the gallery and are hosted by gallery owner and director Sandy Rupp. Seated in the main room surrounded by the artwork, guests have the opportunity to interact with the featured artist.

Tom Stanley is well known in the Southeast and beyond.  I thought I knew his work but I was delighted to see this never before exhibited group of paintings which presented new insights into his studio explorations.

The first works which caught my attention were from a series created in 1992 - 1993.  Works featuring colorful animated figures, iconic shapes, and collage fragments floating in a field of black. Chain, Chain, Chain is from that series.  The style of the work seems to reflect his love of "self-taught" artists work but the composition is flawless and speaks of an artist who is well versed in how to utilize space yet there is nothing self-conscious about that knowledge.  Stanley has actually been a supporter of artists who work outside the framework of education even though he is by profession a teacher and art professional.

Holy Ghost - Tom Stanley
acrylic on canvas - 1992

Stanley was very generous and shared many stories and insights about the elements contained within his painting.  Often these elements find their way into the work through life experience and over time become an integral part of his art vocabulary.  Some of the elements which were repeated were the profile ( love the profile within a profile in Holy Ghost), ladders, steps, geometric forms and lots of mechanical drawing. He shared he was a mechanical engineer geek when in high school.  Elegant mechanically drawn lines are key to some areas in work from the Profile Across the River series.

Profile Across the River #1 - Tom Stanley
acrylic on 300# arches - 2003-2005
30" x 22"

The mood and form of work from the Profile Across the River series really changes from the earlier work. The palette is more somber and more neutral.  There is one large central figure supported by a few additional elements in front of an intense and richly textured background.  These works were not my favorite on first look but as we talked about the development of the work and the story behind the works my feelings began to change.  I mentioned earlier about the feeling of "self-taught" mixed with well trained elements in this work.  These paintings showcase this combination of approaches  beautifully. Each painting has one huge head balancing on precarious double wheels or on very fragile classical structures.  Each head has what appears to be areas allowing the viewer to see through them into the "night sky".  The pieces tell something of the story of how Stanley's grandfather lost his life.

Profiles en Route to Hamlet #2 - Tom Stanley
acrylic - 1998
22" x 30"

The third series of works from this exhibit is titled Profiles en route to Hamlet and I had a hard time selecting which piece to feature as I loved them all.  Once again we have profiles floating in a dark endless world.  There are slivers of a moon, a skinny ladder going to who knows where, giant plants and the ever present mechanical structures left for your interpretation.  The imagery is developed using sgraffito on layers of acrylic.  Every inch of the surface has the scratches of this very active technique which demands fast decisions and action.  Despite what some might describe as an eerie atmosphere I found the work to be quiet, calm and peaceful.

I encourage you to visit Hampton III and see this fascinating show and be sure to pick up one of the show brochures.  The brochure has a wonderful article on Stanley and his work written by Maria Clare Paulino, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Winthrop University where Stanley is chair of the art department.  If you can't make it to the show be sure and visit the Hampton III Gallery website which has images of all work in the exhibition.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Oil and Cold Wax Paintings

Oil and Cold Wax painting - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
9" x 6" on oil paper - 2016

As I continued to recover from my recent knee surgery the first real sign that I really was better was the mounting desire to get back on my feet into the studio.  I have shared my desire to paint with you via this blog on other occasions and I felt it was a good time to return to that desire.

I have taken workshops with both Lisa Pressman and Lisa Boardwine in past years but due to unusual circumstances in my life I haven't been able to carry forward what I learned  into an ongoing practice.  Now I believe I've gotten a good start.

I have worked with cradled boards as well as oil paper but decided to work with the paper now as I felt more of a kinship with the paper.  One of the biggest hurdles working with the paper is the small size.  This is especially strange for me as I tend to work very large when working with fabric.  No matter.  At some point in the future I will progress to boards and a larger format.

Oil and Cold Wax painting - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
9" x 6" on oil paper - 2016

While I have worked with the R&F oil sticks, these pieces were created exclusively with oil paint and cold wax.  I enjoy the immediacy of squirting out the color, mixing it with the wax and getting to work.  I have a small collection of the oil sticks and will introduce them as I continue.  They work beautifully for bold marks as well as mixing with the cold wax for general painting.

If you haven't followed along with how my work has changed over the past few years this work may seem very different but in fact it is very much a blend of the hard edge intently colored work I began with and the later more painterly work. 

It has been a very joyful experience to be able to go to the studio, stand and work and not leave with painful knees.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Get On Up!

After dealing with a badly damaged knee from my teenage years I made the decision to have a knee replacement.  I did that on Feb. 3 and I'm now working on getting back on my feet and getting back to some level of a normal life.  I've done well and see improvement everyday.

I'm sharing this with you to encourage anyone out there that has knee issues to consider the surgery rather than suffer.  I went through years of pain and tried all the preliminary treatments.  Each of those worked for a short time but did not fix the problem.  In addition to the knee pain my legs were so out of alignment it was impacting my feet.  I'm hoping this procedure will give me relief in my feet as well as my knee.

Find yourself an excellent surgeon who practices in an excellent hospital and make an appointment.  I found a physician who had universally good recommendations from his patients including one close friend who had great results with this doctor.  If you don't feel comfortable with one person look for someone else.  Anyone who lives in the greater Greenville SC area can contact me and I'll give you more information.

I am having physical therapy at home until week after next and then I will have about 8 weeks of in office PT.  Not the fun part of the process but so far it hasn't been as bad as I expected.  Your therapist should not be a physical terrorist but rather someone that understands that gains can be made without pain.  I'm not a hero.

I hope to be back in the studio before too long.  Right now I'm knitting a gift for our neighbor's soon to arrive baby.  The baby is due soon so I have to work fast!  My cat Jackson tried to help me last night and I had one huge mess to unwind this morning.  ;-)  Knitting is not really his best skill.