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Rick Buttari will be showing new paintings for the month of September and F.A.N. Gallery.
We got the chance to ask him a few questions about his work.
F.A.N. Gallery will show the work of Serge Zhokov this month. Serge is a wonderful painter and a master at creating mood through is landscapes and figures.
Victoria Donohoe of The Inquirer said, “his figure drawings give us an easy sense of his subjects’ reality, but it’s the delicate mix of senses and substance that imbues the oils with an air of uncontrived refinement, while their milky hues set the spirit that appeals to the sophisticated eye.”
I was able to ask Serge a few questions about his influences and how he works.
Who are your influences? Favorite artists or books or music.
My influences, naturally, are constantly changing throughout my life. At one point in time, I skipped through pages in Art History books, which were devoted to Giotto and De Chirico. Now they are my favorite artists. I am certainly influenced by Piero della Francesca, Giorgione. I can examine works like “Legend of the True Cross” or “Pastoral Concert” for hours. I like Balthus, mostly his late works. In literature, it’s Stanislaw Lem, Hesse, Sasha Sokolov, Osip Mandelstam.
How much planning and preparation go into your paintings, do you do a lot of drawing first and then move onto the painting?
It’s difficult to say. If, I have a clear idea about my next project, then painting goes smoothly. However, I have to envision the entire image in my mind first, prior to drawing. I do a lot of drawings. Often my vision is altered when I actually start painting. It happened with “Drawing Lesson 1” where my original idea changed after creating several drawings.
What is your first creative memory?
I mixed toothpaste with watercolor paints and colored a window glass. I was 5 years old.
Thanks Public Walls for the great review.
New Paintings by David Bottini opens Friday, March 1, 2013
March 1 – 30, 2013
First Friday Opening Reception March 1, 5-9 PM
David Bottini’s realist landscapes explore light and atmosphere. His approach begins in direct observation and is enhanced and developed in the studio using a traditional glazing approach. His work draws from training in classical realism as well as his passion for a post-modern abstract sensibility in composing a viewpoint.
Kate Kern Mundie is exhibiting 30 paintings at F.A.N. Gallery for the month of December. Her work in this exhibition is a mixture of landscape, still life, and interiors.
Q: How would you describe your work? What inspires you to put brush to surface?
A: I paint because I like to lose myself in the experience of painting. There is a rhythm to painting: you examine the subject – landscape, still life, what have you; you mix the colors and brush them onto the surface; you step back and look again; you ask yourself if this is an honest interpretation; and repeat over and over.
Q: What is your first creative memory?
A: When I was four years old, my mother sent me to art classes at the St. Louis Art Museum. I have no memory of the classes except looking at a Picasso painting. I cannot remember what I thought of it at the time, but the painting became seared into my brain. We moved from St. Louis to Boston, so I had not seen that painting for years. I came across the painting in a book many years later when I was in college and was very excited to see it again.
Q: What was it about that painting that appealed to you? Do you think it has an influence on your work today?
A: I would do “exquisite corpse” drawing with my dad and the line work in the painting looked like the drawings we did. I also really love the leaf shapes. I don’t know if it has any influence today but I wonder if I had not seen the painting and had such a connection to it would I have ended up a painter?
Q: Do you have a creative habit? How do you shape your art making practice to nurture your work?
A: I am trying to make a creative habit. As I get busier with kids, family, and work building in time to make artwork is a challenge. My husband is also an artist so I cannot be selfish and sneak away to the studio all the time. I end up working in bursts; I will paint for a few days and then nothing for a week or more. However, I am trying to be more mindful about scheduling dedicated art-making time.
Q: What do you read, listen to, or look at to recharge you or fuel your work and find inspiration?
A: I read a great deal. I usually have two or three books going at the same time – a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. The best books I have read in 2012 are The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson.
While I paint, I like to listen to music – such as Charles Mingus and Joe Strummer, or I listen to the news and interview programs on NPR.
Al Gury taught me the importance of keeping a journal. Journaling helps you learn to write better. Writing about your own work can make narrative themes stand out and can help you to better understand and develop your work. It’s also great when you are applying for a grant and can take great chunks out of your journal and clean up into an application essay.
I look at a lot of art. I really like the work of many of my contemporaries like Alex Kanevsky, Tim McFarlane, Jon Redmond, Stanley Bielen, Katy Schneider, Peri Schwartz, and Jenny Saville. I look to the Ashcan School painters like George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and John Sloan for inspiration.
Q: What do you do for fun when you are not in the studio?
A: I spend time with my family, taking my kids on bike rides. I do yoga to unwind, and have begun to teach it as well. I like to watch movies. When it comes to movies, my tastes are all over the place. I like movies by directors like Hitchcock, Frank Capra, John Woo, Yimou Zhang, Quentin Tarantino, and Guy Ritchie.
Well-known portraitist Jesse J. Gardner will present his most recent series of landscape paintings, On the Streets of Philadelphia, at FAN Gallery this October. This series explores several neighborhoods familiar to the artist; Kensington, Frankford, Northern Liberties and Manayunk. Sculptor and critic Leslie Kaufman has written of the artist’s work; “Gardner’s Philadelphia is not on any visitor’s map…he searches city neighborhoods and industrial locations to illuminate lost places whose histories were long abandoned and forgotten. As an urbanist dedicated to environmental issues, Gardner wields his paintbrush as a spotlight – to reveal both what we have lost, and to suggest what may still be reclaimed.”
Jesse J. Gardner grew up on farms in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and Canada’s Cape Breton Island. Before he began focusing on art, he was a volunteer firefighter at the Pine Plains Hose Company #1 in New York and worked as a long distance trucker and construction worker.
What is your first creative memory?
I was always drawing, and recall that the subjects that interested me as a young child were similar to my subject matter today: houses in the landscape. The first serious drawing was done around age 11, when I looked down the hill at the rooftops of my neighbor’s barn and outbuildings and produced a pencil drawing on a cheap tablet. My parents decided at this point that I was serious about being an artist, and gave me extra time off on our busy farm to draw and paint. I had an interest in preserving historic architecture as a teenager, and when we lived in Nova Scotia in the 1970’s, began making detailed pencil studies of Canadian National Railway stations that were being demolished.
How do you think about your body of work, the portraits and the landscapes? Does one inform the other or are they separate in your mind?
I see the subject matter as emanating from the same conscious desire to dig below the surface and reveal the inner light. It is part of the same narrative; restoring a measure of dignity to the invisible and overlooked. I have integrated the two occasionally. Look for these two separate themes to come together in my work in the near future. It is a natural evolution for the work.
You can find out more about Jesse’s portrait work and involvement with firefighters here.
How did you get involved doing the portrait work?
It grew out of an interest in the invisible service class–workers who keep the world moving but are taken for granted–rarely acknowledged or recognized for their efforts. My parents were very involved with the Labor Movement when I was growing up, so it felt right to be documenting in paint these hard working, ordinary people. I know that my concept of the heroic firefighter was shaped very early on, growing up as I did with farmers and mechanics as role models.
How do you choose your landscape subject matter?
I paint obscure places for the most part, far removed from the tourist itinerary and the “center” of things. When I paint familiar landmarks, like the Ben Franklin Bridge, I look for vantage points that most would dismiss as non-picturesque, even ugly. In the series River Town, I ended up painting the bridge from underneath, with a focus on the floating March ice and abandoned piers. The bridge was the focus, but treated as a secondary element. It makes one rethink the familiar and question assumptions.
Who are your influences art or otherwise?
I owe a great debt to my parents, who are writers and farmers and who shaped my approach to my work by emphasizing the importance of craft and honest labor and self-reliance. They exposed me and my siblings to a wide range of art and culture, which was unusual on a working Vermont farm. They taught us to do everything to the best of our ability. Most importantly, they nurtured an appreciation for lost and endangered places–we restored farm equipment, homes and barns, and cleared abandoned fields for grazing land.
My artistic influences are wide ranging. I love the expert drawing and chiaroscuro of Rembrandt and Velásquez, Whistler’s portraits and nocturnes. I appreciate Egon Scheile, Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas for their draftsmanship. I am profoundly moved by Käthe Kollwitz’s etchings The Weaver’s Cycle.
There are Russian realist painters from the pre-Stalinist era who have had a profound effect on me. I feel a kinship with Grant Wood, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, and Edward Hopper. There is a contemporary painter named William Wray who I really admire. Brad Holland’s poster illustrations for the Public Theater provoke a visceral reaction in the viewer; he is a brilliant artist and this is a body of work that every artist who is interested in portraiture should study.
I have discovered Chinese modernists recently. Qi Zhilong’s series Chinese Girls has inspired me to consider a new series of large portraits. There is so much that I want to explore as an artist, and so little time.