Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Weekend

(TONS of great things happening!!!)

Blindheaded: Ellen Durkin
Towson Unversity - Center for the Arts MFA Holtzman Gallery
Opening reception: Thursday, March 26, 2009 7:30 - 9 p.m.
Gallery Hours: Tues - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Information: www.towson.edu/artscalendar

Futurefarmers: The Reverse Ark--In the Wake
Soledad Salamé: Where Do You Live?
The Contemporary Museum announces two exhibitions
Opening reception: Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:00 - 8:00 pm

The Contemporary Museum
100 W. Centre Street
Baltimore, MD 21201


Wise Guise: Grand Opening Group Exhibition
Nudashank- H & H Building 3rd Floor
Friday March 27- Saturday April 25, 2009
Opening reception: Friday March 27, 2009 7 - 9 pm
After-party in the adjacent Whole Gallery
with performances by Talk Normal , U.S. Girls, and Jana Hunter

405 West Franklin Street 3rd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

MICA MFA Thesis Exhibitions-
Graphic Design, Hoffberger School of Painting, Mount Royal School of Art, Photographic and Electronic Media, and Rinehart School of Sculpture programs
Friday March 27- Sunday April 5, 2009
Opening reception: Friday March 27, 2009 5-7 pm

MICA Fox Building
Decker, Meyerhoff and Fox 3 galleries
1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21217


Everyone An Artist? An Everything Exhibition
Opening: Saturday, March 28, 2009 3-6 p.m.
first floor of Studio Center, 113-131 West North Ave.

The exhibition, which also is on view Wednesday, April 15 from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday, April 25 from 3-6 p.m.
is described as a "project room" where all is considered, and nothing rejected out of hand.
Information: http://www.mica.edu

Monday, March 23, 2009

Studio Visit with Marty Weishaar

interviewed by Phuong Pham. Phuong is a contributor to Locus Art Magazine.

I recently visited local painter and educator, Marty Weishaar, in his home studio in Hampden. Weishaar and his wife have turned their house into a mutual creative space, where he works on paintings not only within his studio room, but also in their dining room, around her musical equipment, and in their upstairs hallway.

So tell me a little about yourself and where you come from:

I grew up in upstate New York and graduated from Alfred University in with a BFA in Ceramics and sculpture, and then later went on to American University to get my MFA in painting. We have been living in Baltimore for 2 years.

How did you make the shift from ceramics to painting?

It was a gradual shift, like when you're in art school you try as many things as you can until something sticks. And actually, a lot of ceramicists who are fascinated with color do turn into painters.

Who are you looking at these days?

When I was doing more painting, I was, of course, thinking about Pollock and de Kooning and their use of texture and gesture, but was eventually turned off by all of that manliness, like it was just too macho for what I wanted to do. I'm really interested in Mary Heilman, another ceramicist-turned-painter who works with contemporary abstraction, and there's a whimsicalness to her work. I also like the work of Amy Sillman, who works with vignettes of abstract sailboats, and Laura Owens.

Could you talk about your process?

I start with these simple, almost graphic mountain ranges... I'm interested in creating fun and whimsical pieces, but it's more adult or serious fun.

I'm not trying to be ironic or cute with my work. I like to compartmentalize my different compositions; building up the surface allows me to not get stuck. The colors become something that you can feel and touch, even though they are flat.

I notice that you use a lot of nostalgic imagery and landscape-like placeholders in your work.

Yeah, I like to use things like electrical towers, houses, and silos in my mountain ranges. They refer to a certain playfulness that I was trying to resist for a long time because I didn't want it to be mistaken for being silly. I kept coming back to them, though, and using them as nostalgic abstraction. I think mark-making is both subconscious and conscious, and the more I build up a composition, the more I can take something that appears to be playful... but it's also a strange way of representing a personal story for me.

How did the rainbows start entering your paintings?

I think they're kind of funny as a symbol. like my interest in nostalgic objects, I was thinking about how the world changes when you're married. there are all of these "social cues" that you don't think about as being so pervasive until you have to start making adult decisions. They started as simply an interesting object for me to use as a straight white male out of grad school, but now I see them more in compositional terms; they harmonize a picture through line and color.

Why did you decide to come to Baltimore, rather than stay in DC or go elsewhere?

My wife had a job opportunity here, and my work was also going back to my influences of mountain ranges and rural life, so we came to Baltimore. I was really resistant to moving to New York, because there are fewer opportunities and more people competing for them... I wasn't interested in fighting tooth and nail just to make my work.

Do you think your interest in nostalgia has anything to do with the displacement that comes with moving from farm to city or city to city?

Sure, in a way. It's also connected to noticing change around you. When I lived in DC, I always thought it was so... politicized about nature, like it was too sculpted or simulated. Where I was in northwest DC, the gardens were uprooted and replaced every 4 months, which was never something I experienced in rural New York. It was so artificial, even when I lived in Rockville for a while, and I was pissed about that. I found myself remembering silos and thinking a lot about what they looked like. I missed that aspect in my daily life, and began recalling them in my work. Then I moved to Baltimore, where you don't really feel like there is a central, urban strip. Some parts of the city are really ugly, but it's still a landscape. We're all putting in our images and breaking things down to abstraction for different reasons.

Marty Weishaar works as public school art teacher and currently has paintings and drawings on exhibit at The Hexagon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This Weekend

Kate McGraw & Ann Tarantino: Workbook
March 19 – April 17, 2009
Opening reception: Thursday, March 19, 6 – 8 p.m.

Kate McGraw and Ann Tarantino collaborate on planned and improvised drawings created directly on the walls of the gallery. The artists draw using their own signature styles while also responding and referring to one another’s mark-making. The artists film the process and the resulting video will become a part of the art, rather than just documentation of the process.

Workbook is a video that documents the ten days artists Kate McGraw and Ann Tarantino will spend creating a mammoth work stretching across the walls of the Gallery at Flashpoint. The installation will be on view beginning March 19, 2009 and the film will be projected at the exhibition entrance beginning March 28, 2009.

Flashpoint DC
916 G St NW, Washington DC 20001

Patterns of Obsession

March 20, 2009 - May 2, 2009
Opening Reception: March 20, 7-10pm

Gallery Imperato is pleased to announce Patterns of Obsession, a three-person show that brings into light the visual and behavioral patterns of each individual artist. On display will be Dana Reifler Amato's luminous, three-dimensional drawings, Chris Bathgate's precision made, metal sculptures, and Matthew Kern's mixed media Polaroid collages.

Gallery Imperato
921 East Fort. Ave. Suite 120 Baltimore, MD 21230

The Garden
Screening at The Contemporary Museum
Friday March 20, 7pm

Scott Hamilton Kennedy's 2008 documentary tells the story of a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles started after the 1992 riots. Presented in conjunction with the March 27-29 "The City From Below" conference.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Talk with Jason Hughes at The Library

Jason Hughes has been an artist and curator in Baltimore for over 13 years. He is the head exhibitions coordinator at School 33 and co-founder of The Library. He is represented by Curator's Office in Washington, DC.
interviewed by Rachel Sitkin

RS: Do you want to start by telling me a little about yourself? Where did you grow up, go to school, that stuff?

JH: I grew up in Jacksonville, FL and went to a magnet school down there. When I was 18 years old, just a couple of months after graduating I ran into a friend of mine, and he and some other members of my graduating class were moving to Baltimore to go to MICA. He told me he was moving up the next week and asked me if I wanted to go with him. So with three hundred bucks in my pocket I was like, “yes, yes! Yeah, sure let’s go!” I had been accepted but didn’t have enough scholarship money to afford to go so I ended up deferring my acceptance. I got a job the day I got here.

RS: Where were you working?

JH: Stocking shoes in a shoe store in the inner harbor (laughing) About two weeks after moving to Baltimore a space in the H&H warehouse opened up. I had a few friends that were living there and they asked me to fill in that vacancy- I moved into that space in September of 1996 and I was there until February 2008.

For the first five years we were converting the warehouse space into a gallery (Gallery Four) and some nice live/work spaces. One of our friends was working for the Smithsonian and they were closing one of their galleries for renovations. They were tossing all of their track lighting, so we were able to get that as a donation. And that really helped to elevate the quality and presentation of our exhibits.

As well those first five years I was working in museums or for a few different fabricators- Fandango and Center Stage. I was learning how to build, all the crafts and skills that I could apply to my artwork, all before I went to MICA. Then a friend of mine put me in touch with an art installer and I started doing work for the Contemporary Museum and the Historical Society, then got a job at the Walters as a cabinet-maker for their renovations.

And through all this we started realizing what a great potential we had with the warehouse space. We started applying everything we had learned to our approach for organizing exhibitions. We had a lot of respect for the artists that were in Baltimore, but we thought there wasn’t a lot of support for artists beyond MICA. There were a lot of artist run spaces but we wanted to take the professionalism up a notch- create a situation where people would seek us out. We had a 4500 sq. ft gallery to begin with, and we would concentrate our shows to only having 4-7 people and show enormous bodies of work instead of only a few pieces. We would completely alter the space for each show so it gave us a lot of versatility. So yeah, that was my first five years here and then in 2001 I finally started at MICA. I was a sculpture major and did an unofficial concentration in drawing and curatorial studies. In the fall of 2003 I did a semester at the New York studio center.

For my thesis show, in addition to showing my own work, I also curated a huge exhibit at the H & H, 2 floors, 9000 sq ft. of gallery space. Immediately following that show, January 2005, I had a studio visit with Andrea Polan at from Curator’s Office and she liked my work and put me in a show. A curator from the Yucatan saw the drawings I had in that show, kind of dreamscape architectural drawings that were drawn from memory. He asked me to go down there, so like 6 months out of undergrad I had an exhibition in the Yucatan. It was really amazing.

Then last year, after having been in Baltimore for 13 years, I was really trying to figure out what to do next. I was planning on moving to New York and then the opportunity to take over The Library came up. Fran (Franciska Farkas) and I learned about this space, and I was wanting to set up an artists’ residency for a while- so we saw the building and as soon as we saw it we really felt it had a lot of potential, but we couldn’t really afford it. We sent out an e-mail to about 40 people to see if they could help us get the money together to do the renovations and within 30 hours we had all the money raised.

RS: Wow! That’s fantastic!

JH: Yeah it was totally unexpected but that really got the ball rolling for us and within a couple of months we had our first exhibition.

Fran brought her yoga teaching practice here and she and her partner have a video production studio here and it gave me a space to put together some dynamic exhibitions. But just as we were getting it started I got the job as exhibitions coordinator at School 33. So it’s been a real balancing act this past year. We haven’t yet been able to do the residency thing yet.

And that brings us to today…

RS: Ok. Now that you’ve answered my first "five" questions… It seems that both your studio and curatorial practices tend to be socially critical. Can you speak about the specific issues that interest you and about what your goals are?

JH: Well, I think it’s always going to be evolving no matter what. I grew up questioning authority and wanting to do things my own way. My parents taught me that your thoughts shape your reality and that’s had a major impact on me. My practice is always rooted in perception, that’s always the underlying thing- your perception shapes how you experience things. And it results in a very formal sensibility.

You say it’s socially critical, I guess so. I began allowing my work to become more political after organizing Material Matters for Maryland Art Place’s 25th anniversary. I realized I was addressing all the things in that show that I try to address in my work but it had a much louder voice. The other artists were able to articulate similar ideas in ways that I never would have thought of or been brave enough to tackle. I realized that curating could be an extension of my own practice. I never want to force my opinions on others but I do want to open people’s eyes to other ways of seeing things.
Similarly, in recent years, I’ve really been inspired by the music of Fela Kuti, his ability to motivate and inspire people around him through his music, create change that way.

RS: So, are you’re talking about bringing to people’s awareness how we affect the world and how the world affects us in return, from a very personal intimate level to a more outward level? Maybe the mandalas are more on that personal introspective level and the currency specifically is more socially critical?

JH: Well the mandalas, the army men mandala and the camouflage mandalas were more about the idea of demons. The way that war manifests because we are at war with ourselves. The way we deal with our internal struggle on a personal level ripples out to the bigger picture. It is about a meditative transformative process, but how that affects everything around us.

With the currency work though it’s a little bit more conceptual and immediate. With money some people believe it’s the root of all evil, and some have said that it’s just a form of energy, an exchange you have with someone else. It something that moves through you- I’m leaning toward that idea a bit more. With the Police and Thieves piece, I shredded American currency and axis-of-evil currency and wove it together to create Chinese finger traps; they’re all intertwined. That’s the direction I’m moving in right now, the more political side of things. I’ve been really into the idea of disaster capitalism lately- it’s twisted.

RS: What are you working on right now?

JH: I bought all this really finely shredded currency from the Treasury; it’s like a novelty gift. I used to get in elementary school and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, but I didn’t really realize what I was looking at. It’s a really loaded medium though. I bought $10,000 in shredded money and I’m working on weaving 10,000 $1 bills back together.

RS: You’re making 10,000 individual bills?

JH: Well ultimately however many bills I can make out of it. So it’s a really heavy process oriented piece.

RS: It’s seems that over the range of work that you do, whether its drawing or sculpture or collage that craft is always meticulous. How do you personally feel about craft in your own work and how do look at it when you are curating other people’s work?

JH: For my own process it’s always about becoming a better craftsman. I think the craft always needs to match up with concept. Perception always comes before conception, and the look of it is the gateway to the audience. Curatorially, I have a lot of museum experience and I really appreciate that professional look. But some of my favorite artists are very crude in their art making- John Bock and Adrian Lohmuller. I really liked the immediacy of the Dadaists. There just has to be a balance between what you are trying to say and they way people perceive it.

RS: If you could visit the studio of any living artist who would it be?

JH: Oooh, that’s a tough one, maybe Bruce Nauman. He really had an impact on me.

RS: If you were me, which local artist would you interview next for this blog?

JH: Oh, Laure Drogul. I just saw her show at MICA and it was great.

RS: You’re the second person to say that so I guess I better look her up.

To see more:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Weekend

The 14Karat Cabaret at the
Bakst Theatre

March 13, 2009

Join Laure Drogoul and her colleagues at the elegant Bakst Theater located at the Evergreen Museum and Library. The night includes the world premiere of a new film by Nancy Andrews and musical performance by Dick Turner, with La Hostess as MC.

Tickets are $10 general public, $5 for Evergreen members. Limited free seating is available for students with advance reservations by calling 410-516-0341. Valid student ID required at the door.

Evergreen Museum and Library
4545 North Charles Street
Baltimore MD 21217

Bridget Sullivan: Watershed
at School 33 Members Gallery
March 12- April 11, 2009
Opening Reception: Saturday March 14, 2009 2-4pm

Friday, March 6, 2009

Interview with the Curators of Involving Violence

Involving Violence is group show featuring artists from Chicago and Baltimore. It is on view at School 33 through April 11, 2009. Lasso (Carrie Ruckel and Karin Patzke) was interviewed by Rachel Sitkin

RS: Can you tell me a little bit about the two of you?

L: We are both engaged in the art community in Chicago. We are both from Texas, but met in Chicago.

Carrie Ruckel is an artist, curator, works for local tv and is currently also a grad student. She works at Chicago's public access tv station, CAN TV, as a videographer and editor. She is pursuing her MFA degree in Visual Art at Vermont College of Fine Art, a two year, intensive, low residency program.

Karin works at the Art Institute of Chicago, coordinating a project to photograph the complete collection of works on paper and small objects for the museums website and collections database. She's also working on her MA in art history, criticism and theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing on depictions of culture in natural history illustrations.

RS: How and when did Lasso begin?

L: Lasso began after we'd been collaborating for a couple years and we had the opportunity to inhabit a gallery space, The Butcher Shop, in Chicago. It's an artist-run studio and gallery space that's been around in different formations for about 12 years. We took over the summer of 2007 and had three wonderful shows there, after which we were kindly asked to leave by the building owner. He was and still is having zoning and licensing issues with the City of Chicago. We / he did not have a license to run an exhibition space in the building. Unfortunately, after years of being under the radar of the city, it was "found out" or discovered when the building needed some major work done to the roof and had some contractors or city officials come in to inspect it. That, in addition to some press reviews of the gallery led to it's current demise. The Butcher Shop, located in Chicago Meat Market District currently houses artist and musician studio spaces. We don't know for sure, but we think it may never be a gallery again, unfortunately.

RS: How did the idea for “Involving Violence” come about?

L: Shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings we decided we wanted to do something in response. While that event, along with the subsequent censoring of images in the media was our instigator, we quickly realized that the show would have to address larger issues of violence, such as the war in Iraq and gun violence in general. We are constantly bombarded by reports on assaults and gun violence in the media, not to mention the depiction of violence as entertainment, from television to music to movies and video games. We knew that we discussed these issues in detail, but wanted to bring this dialog to our gallery space by inviting artists whose work addressed these social and cultural problems as well. We asked the basic question: How are artists dealing with violent imagery in their studio practice.

RS: When curating this exhibition, did you have specific artists in mind or was the worked selected after a call for submissions?

L: We put out a call for entries and solicited work from a few local Chicago artists who we knew were working with similar subject matter. We had a lot of submissions and had to narrow it down a great deal. Luckily we had a lot of space to work with for the first show in Chicago at the Butcher Shop.

RS: If it was an open call for submissions, did the submission pool change your initial ideas about the show? In what way?

L: For the first show, we specifically wanted to focus on artists incorporating media images into their own work.But as submissions came in, we realized that we would have to cover a variety of issues about violence, from the war to domestic violence to lynching to self-inflicted violence. We really wanted to question the impact of violence on our society at large by looking at art that engaged different types of violence.

RS: This is the second incarnation for “Involving Violence”. When selecting work from the Baltimore based artists, how were you hoping to broaden or change the exhibition from its original version in Chicago?

L: For the second show, we started out just looking for Baltimore/DC area artists who were dealing with the issue of violence in their work. After reviewing the many submissions we received and speaking more with Jason Hughes, the director of School 33, we realized the issue of urban and gun violence would be a main focus, specifically because of the work submitted but also because of the reputation that Baltimore has. We still wanted to include a variety of issues in the discussion, but we knew that urban influence was prevalent and needed to be addressed for both Baltimore and Chicago. We were very interested in creating a dialog between the artwork and the two cities.

It was difficult to bring the show to Baltimore for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the reputation that Baltimore has of being a violent and dangerous urban area. We consciously chose work that helped to engage this stereotype in a more productive manner. We wanted to bring artwork into a gallery space that would help create a thoughtful discussion, and not work that limited conversation to stereotypes.

RS: Do you have any plans to exhibit this show anywhere else in the future?

L: We would very much like to continue to explore the issue of violence and bring the exhibition to other cities, especially, urban areas that are well known for their struggles with violence, like Detroit and New Orleans.

RS: Any other projects coming up for either or the two of you?

L: Lasso submitted a curatorial proposal called Imposing Landscapes, to a local Chicago community art space called Hyde Park Art Center. We are waiting to hear back.

Karin is preparing to present her archival work of the Art Institute of Chicago's collection to several larger organizations (the American Library Association and the Museum Computer Network) to promote digital imaging for cultural heritage institutions in an effort to advocate for the sharing and distribution of isolated materials. She's also a printmaker and will have art work in an upcoming show, curated by Anne Elizabeth Moore, at the Green Lantern Gallery in Chicago.

RS: What was the best exhibit you’ve(both of you) seen in last year or two?

L: While in Baltimore, we saw the "retrospective" of Laura Drogule at MICA, that we really enjoyed. We were very excited to learn more about the Baltimore art scene.