We’ve been getting plenty of feedback about our latest billboard!
Friday, October 12.
Been a while! Guess what gets left behind when we all get busy? Yep – this blog.
All galleries are different. One of the things I like best about our gallery is all the work we show is exclusively by artists we directly represent. This means we get to know these folks. In fact, over the past 3 months I’ve enjoyed visiting a whole bunch of them and hanging out in their studios. I love my job.
A few years ago – life got really hard for many artists. I am not an economist. Far from it. My world economic health gauge hinges on 2 things. How messy the gallery is, and how often we get to call an artist to say “It’s sold!” We are able, especially when times are good, to enjoy it on both sides – savoring that remarkable contact high from a client who is acquiring a piece of original artwork, and then bearing the great news to the creator of the work. Over the past year we’ve been relishing this fun on both sides at a record pace. Depending on who you read – there are great economic minds that write about both how our economy is headed for disaster, or believe it’s on an upswing. I don’t pretend to know – but it’s sure been way more fun in the gallery lately.
SO – where to start. Why not with TRIO, our current show which opened last night. We have the new work of 3 very different artists. While enjoying the party last night, I realized there is a common theme. Each artists creates work that invites the viewer to move in tight. I’m talking really close. In both the 2 dimensional artists work, Carlos Gamez de Francisco, and Mariana Palova, there is so much content per square inch – it forces you to get really intimate. Ted Gall‘s work is also almost impossible to view casually. The sculptures demand to be explored from every angle.
Carlos Gamez de Francisco presents a series of fantastic work. Listening to him talk about his ideas behind the series last night was a treat. I love it when artists expose their nerdy side – and Carlos came through with flying colors. He is obsessed with everything historical – art / politics / sociology. His new series French Radical Fashion in 1789 is about so many things, including the rigidity of life for French citizens under Louis XVI; the namesake of his new hometown Louisville, KY, the real story of Louis and Marie Antoinette, and Cuban politics.The paintings are filled with ideas and symbolism.
In his latest work pictured at right, he explores historical ideals of beauty. Throughout different periods, artists have used head height as a unit of measurement to render the body in proportion. Carlos has played with these equations and how they have changed throughout history and the subject of the portraits. These 3 women represent different proportions; 10, 7.5 and 8.5, each relating to a historical rule accepted during different periods. Can you tell who’s who?
Ted Gall‘s new sculpture is awe inspiring. They invite you to touch and play and explore, which was a happy pastime for many visitors last night. Each moveable piece has hidden places to investigate under layers of gorgeously sculpted bronze. Observing a viewer as she discovers a hidden place or an idea within the work is a blast for us.
Beyond the interactive playing with bronze sculpture component, which is unique and fantastic, is the not-to-be-overlooked part where you realize Ted Gall is a phenomenal sculptor and technician. Possibly the strongest works in the group are the two larger stand-alone cast stainless steel pieces. Both enjoy exquisite modeling and narratives.
Here’s a video of Ted’s studio shot by his son. I loved finally seeing Gall World – the magic place where all his subjects are born.
Mariana Palova‘s body of work is spellbinding. When you live and work in an art gallery, you watch people looking at art. When folks come in and enter her area of the show, it’s fun to watch as they slow down and move in close. Her digital paintings are lushly colorful and magical. Mariana lives and works in Mexico and at 22 is showing mastery beyond her years in both technique and her imagery exploring nature, astrology, and the beauty of human metamorphosis.
The opening for our Contemporary Realism Invitational show is tomorrow–Friday, September 30, 6 – 8–and every single painting within the show is a testament to the outstanding and extraordinary talent of the contemporary realists we represent–and others we greatly admire and have invited to participate.
Included in the show is a remarkable painting by Russian artist, Daud Akhriev, now living in Spain. The title of the 22 x 30 oil painting is Studio of Alexander Rabinovich, Luthier. The story of how this complex painting came about is worth telling.
Alexander Rabinovich lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is a master luthier, a maker of stringed, wooden instruments. His pieces are played in the great philharmonic orchestras of Russia, all the European capitals, the world.
Daud and his artist wife, Melissa Hefferlin, met Rabinovich because of Daud’s gift to Melissa years ago.
“Daud bought for me,” recalls Melissa, “in a Russian antique store, a beat up, cracked, dusty and falling-apart violin which had the sweetest little tiger face carved at the top of the finger board. We decided to have it repaired and called the Russian Conservatory of Music to get the name of a luthier. They gave us his, and he agreed to see us. He lives in the dead center of old town (think 5th Avenue across from the Plaza), in a rambling old run down apartment which has cables strung on the ceiling. From all the cables hang instruments by their necks. We made friends. We had tea there often, and tea often morphed into cognac or something before the day was over. Often some musician, or several musicians, would wander in looking for a replacement instrument, or a new instrument, and they’d play for us for hours while they tested violins or whatever. That was rather spectacular! Imagine some ingenue breaking into Bach unaccompanied sonatas for an hour or two in an old pair of jeans while we drink tea…..!
“So Alexander, ‘Sasha’, totally rebuilt my beautiful violin, and restored it to glory. He presumed it was 200 years old or so, probably Tyrolean, and I loved to play her for hours in Russia.
“Here’s the tragic end to this story! When Daud bought me the violin, it was kindling. Now that we have paid a fortune to restore her, she’s considered a ‘national treasure’ and can never leave the country of Russia! I play her only three weeks every other year when we visit Russia. It is our great pleasure to remain in contact with Sasha.”
We are very pleased to announce the addition to the gallery of a remarkable emerging Cuban artist, Carlos Gamez de Francisco. Born in Holguin, Cuba and now living in Louisville, Carlos, at just 24 years old has already exhibited extensively in the United States, Cuba and Spain. His most recent 2011 solo exhibition was Cuban Now at the 21C Museum in Louisville, resulting in the institution’s purchase of 25 of his paintings.
A film-maker and illustrator of books as well, he has received numerous awards in all his artistic pursuits. His current body of work, Last Words of Louis, looks at alter egos, human behavior, often monstrous, in a style influenced by the Renaissance painters, Russian artists, German expressionism, Japanese prints, and the graphic art of Toulouse Lautrec. He works in a variety of mediums: oil, watercolor, graphite, and ink.
Like most of the children, I drew scribbles in my father’s books. When I was 5 years old my father explained to me how water passed through pipes. I was thinking about it and I drew each detail he explained to me. I preferred loneliness, only with my toys drawn and cut by me.
When I was 12 years old I went to a theater and I saw a contemporary dance performance. From that day on I understood the purpose of my life. Then I attended one of the best Fine Arts School in my state for 3 years. There I received my first painting, dance, ballet, and music classes. It made me someone really disciplined, taking advantage of all the fine arts.
Then I studied in a visual arts school for 2 years. Every day I used to paint until I was tired. I found in fine arts my hobby, my work, and my own life. When I finished my classes at school I tried to refine my knowledge, so I became a pupil of some of the best Cuban artists. I was influenced by each one of them and I learned some technical methods that made me more accomplished.
My work is the testimony to this silent battle that begins with each new proposal. My interests are quite varied. Again and again I revolve around the stereotypes of human behavior that aroused in me an almost morbid curiosity. My figures which seem to escape the laws of reason, of physics and biology, are only our alter egos, usually friendly monsters, but monsters in the end, apparently mannerisms and ironic monsters. I’ve tried to demystify the reality around me.
It’s HUGE! 7′ x 5 – ‘ This spectacular painting isn’t finished. The artist, John Agnew, will be working on it today from 10-2 in the gallery, along with chatting with foodies from the Farmer’s Market. Sundays have been really fun this summer at the gallery.
John Agnew was born in Dayton, Ohio. His parents met in art school, so he had an early exposure to the art world. With the opportunity to enjoy the best of science and art, he chose museum exhibits as his career, but began painting full time in 1983. John estimates that he has painted over 25,000 square feet of murals for the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, plus mural projects as far away as the Moscow Zoo in Russia.
I am excited to watch John work. I wonder how he lays out his palette, what reference material he uses – if any?, how he mixes colors, if he stands or sits, ipod?, can he chat and paint? – all of this fascinates me. I’ll be posting demo pics on our facebook page.
It will be fun to watch folks become immersed in this meditative magical painting today. I wonder if everyone who really looks into it might feel just a bit more balanced and calm.
I’ve been up in the North Woods of Ontario, Canada unsuccessfully resisting dark maple syrup, poutine (my next dog name) and butter tarts. I did not resist my complete disconnection from the internet. I managed to squeeze in an attempt at a palette knife plein air painting. The result was hideous, and as usual after an attempt at painting, my respect for our artists, in this case palette knife experts Pam Folsom and Lynn Whipple has multiplied accordingly. Now that I’m back, I thought I’d post about some random news from the gallery.
Jonathan Queen‘s ongoing painting demo piece has changed dramatically in my absence. I missed posting images for a few sessions – so you’ll see a few surprises this week. I also got a sneak peak at another painting he’s working on at home for our late September Contemporary Realism Now show. It will not disappoint. Clue: A secret that’s not that book.
This Sunday, August 21, John Agnew will be in the gallery doing his free live demo. I can’t wait to watch his technique in action. He’s an amazingly talented man. Can you believe his rocks? Freaking exquisite. These demos are really amazing. When artists of this caliber give workshops, they are never free. The opportunity to watch and interact with this varied collection of “art stars” in action is rare, fun, inspirational, and often just plain magic. They will continue through September – mark your calendars
As the Lesek Sokol paintings slowly trickle in from Poland, the last hi-res images have been dropboxed from Warsaw to complete the catalog. The gallery will be transformed as the walls are filled with his paintings of a joyous, magical, and romantic world. Save the date for that opening party – Friday September 9th.
There’s so much more I’d like to share here. Growing up with an art gallery as a living room is a very colorful experience. Maybe it’s just the nature of the gallery business – we seem to attract the lunatic fringe. If I can ever figure out how to write the gallery stories without getting into trouble, it would be fun. Between the artists, clients, designers, staff and neighboring vendors, you just can’t make this stuff up! I’m keeping a file of notes, just in case.
Cincinnati artist Pam Folsom, with her bold, vibrant, and energetic paintings, primarily of the rural mid-West, makes us all take another look at what we consider “the ordinary” landscape, those scenes we pass everyday without much thought. Pam’s paintings slam on our brakes and make us stop and look at what we take for granted–and see the landscape around us for its true, true beauty.
“The ordinary–not manipulated or manicured, is beautiful just because it is,” states Pam, who will be demonstrating her en plein air technique—painting in oils, primarily with a palette knife–at the gallery this Sunday, between 10 and 2.
“As a culture, we have become so destination oriented, that we have forgotten about what the experience holds as we travel along our way,” explains Pam. “It is my passion to capture the beauty of all these places and views that usually simply flash by.”
Folsom encourages us to slow down, stop the car and really see the beauty the Ohio Valley holds. In her energized renderings of the scenes she so loves, we can virtually smell the fresh air, feel the breeze, and the warmth of the sunshine.
“Color is my inspiration,” Folsom states. “I love to go beyond reality but still create a believable, unique piece.” With her powerful palette, the rich texture of her oils, she accentuates the color that is really there, exhilarating us with her fresh vision. By painting out of doors, on location, rather than from photographs, she makes artistic decisions on the spot, full of pure and honest emotion.
“It’s not just what you see, it’s what you feel,” she says.
Educated at the University of Indiana, the University of Cincinnati, and the Vermont Studio Center, Pam has been painting for 16 years. Her work is included in corporate collections, hospitals, casinos, as well as many notable private collections.
Melissa Hefferlin, our lovely friend and fine artist, is currently on the road from Chattanooga to visit us, bring new work—and to do a live painting demo at the gallery on Sunday, 10 – 2!
This will be Melissa’s last visit to Cincinnati for a while. She and her artist husband, Daud Akhriev (also represented by Miller Gallery) are about to make a permanent move to their beautiful home in Spain!
Melissa grew up in the countryside outside of Chattanooga, TN. She studied at the the Academy of Fine Arts (Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture) in St. Petersburg, Russia, under Andrei Mylnikov , from 1990 to 1991. She was the only American to study at that academy during the Soviet period, and was preceded only by James Whistler, who studied there in 1884.
She also attended the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she apprenticed with painter Michael Newberry.
In September of 2007, Melissa won the Prize of Excellence at the Pastel Society of America nationally juried exhibition, in NYC. The City of Chattanooga chose her to paint the commemorative mural celebrating the opening of the 21st Century Waterfront Development. In 2002 the Hunter Museum of American Art presented a solo show of Hefferlin’s work. That same year she received the grand purchase award from Seimens at the “Art For Healing” exhibition presented by the Association for Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited in Zurich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Denver and around the Tennessee region. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America. American Artist (June 2009issue) featured Melissa and her work.
We have just unpacked the first group of paintings by New Jersey artist Paul Casale. Paul finds his favorite subjects in Europe, New York City, and the Jersey Shore.
“Creating an image that conveys a sense of light, form, depth, time and emotion, built upon the formal elements of art, is the goal that keeps me at my easel,” says Casale. “I continue to find the work I do both challenging and fulfilling. I am inspired by artists both past and present and strive to create art that will leave a lasting impression on those who view it.”
Paul attended the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and later received a scholarship competition award to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where he majored in fine art and minored in illustration. While attending Pratt, he went on to win a number of awards and grants for both his fine art and illustration, including a Ford Foundation Award and an Art Students Association Award before graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 1983.
Like many realist artists of the past and present, Paul has established a career as both a fine artist and illustrator. He is a member of the prestigious Society of Illustrators in New York City and has participated in a number of its exhibitions. The artist has created illustrations for a variety of clientele in the United States and abroad, including AT&T, Avon Books, Bantam Books for Young Readers, Bethany House Publishers, JC Penney, Harper Collins, Houghton Mifflin and Company, Macys, Penguin USA, Pocket Books, Random House Publishers, Scholastic Books and many others.
He is a member of the Society of Illustrators, Oil Painters of America, Mid Atlantic Plein Air Painters, Artpride New Jersey, The Jersey Central Art Studios and Landscape Artists International.
We love everything about Stephen Smalzel! He has certainly figured out how best to live his life to the fullest. His degree in nuclear physics from Cornell and career in researching superconductivity turned out to be not what he wanted to do—and there were many other things he would much rather do. Like traveling around the world, running Pike’s Peak Marathon (three times!), busking for the pleasure of passers-by, and sleeping outdoors in Australia for four months.
“Primarily I just wanted to be outside looking at nature and trying to uncover the mechanics of beauty,” states Steve, who taught himself to paint. “That is the essence of my art and the pursuit continues to this day — a study of beauty in the natural world.”
“At times nature presents a scene that is beautiful in itself and needs no interpretation or explanation, such as a majestic mountainscape or a field of bright wildflowers. These scenes seem to resonate universally in the human experience. At other times the elements of our visual perception such as color mixing, the interplay of light and shadow, compositional rhythm and graphic balance create an abstract beauty or intrigue that is hard to define. Both of these elements of beauty inspire me. Always there is a mix of the lyrical and the abstract in my art and it is my job to find the correct balance between the two. And then the painting must be executed with a style (the actual layering and brushwork technique) that compliments the balance between subjective and abstract beauty and creates a harmonious and satisfying whole.”
Stephen’s primary home is in Colorado in the warmer months—but when the temperature starts to cool, he heads to warmer, often tropical, climes to travel and paint—and play music.
“My main pursuits beyond painting are music and running. I was a successful mountain runner in my day, having won the Pikes Peak Marathon three times, and often use long runs to scout out new painting vistas. I play banjo, guitar and harmonica for fun, and enjoy the immediacy of music compared to the interpretive nature of visual art. When I become frustrated painting there is nothing like banging out an old jig on the banjo to set my head straight.”