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The Wild Selves: Anne Siems

24 Apr

As I mentioned before, there were certain shows I knew I wanted to see while we were in Seattle last weekend.  I’ve loved the work of Seattle artist Anne Siems since first seeing it online and was excited to get my chance to see her work up close and personal.  Her solo show, Guidance is showing at Grover Thurston Gallery, just up ( or down? Still don’t have my Seattle geography down pat ) the street from Foster/White, so away we went.

Wolf Girl, acrylic on panel, 48x48

Siems’ inspiration behind the show was the evolution of her daughter from childhood into adolescence and the idea that wild animal spirits may help children navigate their way through this transition.  In each of us there is a wild, animalistic-like spirit that, as we grow up and grow older gets buried under years of suppression and training in proper behavior.

Antler Girl, acrylic on panel, 40x52

In Siems’ work, we see children taking on historically grim expression and formal, constricting garb, reminding us of centuries of children whose innocence is lost all too soon.  Children whose natural wild spirits may fight against the constraints of social tradition and custom.

Bison Boy Drawing, mixed media on paper, 38x50

I was particularly drawn to Bison Boy ( above ), perhaps for the way the figure is isolated starkly against the white paper background.  He has been taken out of his environment, out of his element.  His garments are in the somewhat effeminate style of his era, yet his bison head & skin seem to be reminding us to not forget the wildness within.

George’s favorite work in the show was Lynx Cap ( below ), as this figure retains a sprightly, little girl expression in contrast to the other figures’ more suppressed, even haughty countenances.  She is still an innocent.

Lynx Cap, mixed media on paper with embroidery, 22x30

Guidance Tree, mixed media on panel, 48x48

I could go on and on about these and talk about every one– they are so interesting, visually and spiritually.  If you’d like to see more of Anne Siems’ work, please visit her website.  If you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend a visit to Grover Thurston to see these in person, a truly stunning show.

Featured image is Heart Branches, mixed media on panel, 30×30.  All images are via the artist’s website.

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Artsy Spot: Gallery Orange

22 Feb

In the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter, housed in a 200+ year old classic Creole building lives Gallery Orange, a contemporary fine art gallery whose vibe and vision match the freshness of its signature color.

Gallery Orange, New Orleans, exterior

If you’re a regular Artsy Forager reader, you’ve heard of Gallery Orange before.  I first found GO when I discovered the work of Sarah Ashley Longshore, which then led me to Gallery Orange, her exclusive representation in New Orleans.  I found gallery owner Tracy Geilbert’s aesthetic and taste to be quite similar to my own and have been happily watching her list of artists grow and work by those artists flying off the walls!  Tracy’s love of art and enthusiasm for original work is infectious, I’ve never seen a gallery promote their artists harder than she does!

Gallery Orange, New Orleans, interior with works by Sarah Ashley Longshore

Owner Tracy Geilbert was already selling art at a young age, making sketches of Duran Duran, photocopying them and selling the “prints” to her classmates. ( Ah, a fellow 80’s girl! )  Part Dutch and part British, Geilbert studied  art and eventually graduated from the Royal Academy of the Arts at The Hague.  Life would eventually take her to post-Katrina New Orleans and, after working for another high-end New Orleans gallery, heeded the call of her heart to open a space of her own.

Gallery Orange, interior, works by Guus Kemp

Gallery Orange, New Orleans, interior, works by Gigi Mills, Carlos Lopez and Jill Ricci

Starting in a tiny 600 square foot space, with only two artists on her roster, Tracy’s hard work and eye for unique talent led to the gallery’s current space on Royal Street where boutique galleries are springing up and blazing new trails on the New Orleans art scene.  Tracy brings her Dutch artistic sensibilities to the gallery, offering only exceptional original work ( no giclees here! ), creative energy galore and a bit of good humor thrown in.  Gallery Orange is all about serious art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Gallery Orange, New Orleans, exterior

If you are in New Orleans or planning a visit, do not miss a trip to Gallery Orange!  Delightful, deliciousness awaits you!  You can see a list of upcoming shows at GO on their website— which is newly redesigned, make sure you check it out!

All images are courtesy of Gallery Orange.

Mixing Light Into the Grey

12 Jan

None other a luminary than my husband’s man crush, Eddie Vedder said, “It’s an art to live with pain.. mix the light into the grey.” Although I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that all artists must suffer in order to create great work, artists have long had a way of funneling hardships endured into their work.  The result is often something extraordinary.  When diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, Cleveland artist Arabella Proffer channelled the painful endurances of modern medical procedures into research of the remedies of the past.  The result is a new series, The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa, a collection of paintings exploring the medical procedures and superstitions of the past.

Skin of the Fox Cures the Pox, oil on linen, 16x20 ( via Lee Joseph Publicity )

Being in the midst of a Frida Kahlo biography, Arabella’s work immediately struck a chord with me.  But these aren’t remade Kahlos.  There may be a similarity in style and subject, but while Kahlo’s work dealt directly with her own experiences and emotions, Arabella instead chose to portray imaginary female subjects, creating not only a visual representation but a history and backstory for each.

Violets for Heart Veins, oil on linen, 16x20 ( via Lee Joseph Publicity )

From the artist: “After having a section of my leg removed, I began researching medicine from the Middle Ages through the 18th century; this series was a good way for me to work out my anger and be even more thankful that what I’m going through is nothing compared to old remedies and techniques. My art and interests were in the way society lived in the past, but with emphasis on the defiant, glamorous, and eccentric — not daily strife. You could have been rich, important, or beautiful, but if sick, you would still receive brutal or worthless treatment.”

Sawed, oil on linen, 16x20

Black Madonna, oil on linen, 5x7

This series, along with selected works from the Black Madonna series, are now on display in a solo exhibition, Ephemeral Antidotes at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco through February 3rd.  If you’re not in the San Fran area, be sure to check out Arabella Proffer’s website for more of her work.

Featured image is a detail from Violets For Heart Veins, oil on linen, 16×20.  All images are via that artist unless otherwise stated.

Desires Confronted

9 Jan

Confession:  I love fashion magazines.  The beautiful imagery of gorgeous people wearing couture, sporting watches and handbags that cost as much as a car, is like crack to me.  Maybe in the intellectual artsy realm I am not supposed to taken with such trivial and superficial fluff, but I just can’t help it.  Nor can NYC artist Hooper Turner.

High Noon, oil on canvas, 18x24 ( via Skidmore Contemporary )

Turner, whose latest exhibition, Glamorama, opens at Skidmore Contemporary in Santa Montica, CA this Saturday, chooses to focus his fascination and truly study these portraits of consumerism, painting them and in turn, seeing them with new eyes.

The Crusaders, oil on canvas, 30x40

Turner doesn’t take the imagery out of context, like many might, instead the images are unabashedly commercial, some complete with the text juxtaposed over the image, just as it would be in a magazine.  It is in this honest confrontation of our voluntary manipulation by advertisers, creative directors, etc., that his work finds its most poignant power.

Solstice 2005, oil on canvas, 30x36 ( via Skidmore Contemporary )

Spiced Egg Nog Cardigan, oil on canvas, 20x24 ( via Skidmore Contemporary )

Be sure to check out Hooper Turner’s website to see more images of his work.  If you’re in Southern California, make plans to see his show in up close & personal at Skidmore Contemporary Art.

Featured image is Calvin Klein Underwear, oil on canvas, 51×36.  All images are via Skidmore Contemporary’s website.

Artsy Spot: Florida Mining

7 Nov

Ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my life in the Pacific Northwest.  But occasionally, there is that nagging little 1% that longs to be back in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, just so that I can be in the thick of the exciting artistic resurgence happening there.  Though the arts in Jax were hit hard by the recession, artists and art supporters are determined to make Jacksonville a cultural destination.  Among them, artist Steve Williams is bringing home forward-thinking, atypical art with his new gallery, Florida Mining.

CPHACE by Laird, inaugural exhibition at Florida Mining

Williams is no stranger to playing gallerist.  He’s been at the heart of several successful galleries in Jacksonville over the years.  As an artist, he thrives on being involved with other artists and their creative processes.  And, being the generous soul that he is, wants to help them succeed and in the process, is bringing his unique vision for the arts to his hometown.

Florida Mining

Florida Mining’s mission?  To present emerging to mid career artists who are thought provoking and fresh with a mix of medium and perspective.  And they were off to a slammin’ start with their first show featuring a new series of work by Northeast Florida photographer Laird, a series infared photographs which begin with organic surroundings and are composited and mirrored so that the resulting image becomes almost hauntingly alien, yet familiar.

CPHACE series by Laird

Florida Mining’s sleek, contemporary space, designed by the brilliant team at Designmind, Larry Wilson and Rebecca Davisson ( both artists in their own right ) is the perfect showcase for making avant-garde work accessible to North Florida.

Florida Mining

Up next for Florida Mining is a new show, Tonya Lee: All Smiles, a new series from the Jacksonville-native, current Philadelphian featuring paintings and wallpaper ( yes, you read that right! ), embracing Lee’s fascination with alternative materials.

Tonya Lee: All Smiles

Tonya Lee: All Smiles opens at Florida Mining this coming Friday, 11/11/11.  If you are anywhere nearby, you will not want to miss it!  Big things are in store for this new venture.  Go and experience it for yourself.

If you’re not in Florida, be sure to check out Florida Mining on their website, Facebook and Twitter.  Always interesting and cheeky fun to be had.

Gallery Spotlight: Davis & Cline

31 Oct

As the hubby and I travel, we love to explore and see what the surrounding area has to offer.  While living in Grants Pass, Oregon, we’ve come to love the nearby artsy town of Ashland.  While other galleries in Ashland cater more to local work, Davis & Cline Gallery, in the Railroad District, carries a variety of exceptional work by both emerging and established artists recognized both regionally and nationally.

Davis & Cline, exterior

As we walked in the front doors of the gallery, I immediately fell in love with the current show, Out of the Woods, featuring work by Christian Burchard and Haley Farthing.  Burchard’s madrone wood sculptures are stunning in their simplicity and texture, full of organic elegance.  A perfect complement to the rich, milky warmth of Burchard’s sculptures are Farthing’s subtle pastel and ink wood panel paintings.  Look for more on these two artists soon!

Out of the Woods, Christian Burchard & Haley Farthing

Throughout the gallery, the space is well lit and the placement of the work a well-designed mixture of two-dimensional work and sculpture.

Davis & Cline, interior

Davis & Cline has a world class collection of glass work and it is showcased beautifully, both in naturally lit and a specifically designed “dark room”.  It is a space worthy of exhibiting the prismatic beauty of world renown artists like Dale Chihuly ( check out some of Chihuly’s 2-d work hanging above! )

Davis & Cline, glass gallery

The gallerist was friendly yet, unobtrusive– exactly the feeling I like to get in a gallery.  Once we started talking, he was eager to tell me more about the artists and the gallery but never with a “salesman”-like attitude.  This is a gallery where both a serious collector and student would feel welcome and appreciated.

Check out the Davis & Cline website to see more of the artists they represent.  If you’re ever in Ashland, be sure to make a personal visit!

All images are via the Davis & Cline website.

Yes, Virginia, You CAN Afford To Buy Artwork! ( Part 1 )

31 Aug

Please enjoy this oldie by goodie while I spend the next two weeks camping, packing, visiting with the mom-in-law and moving from WA to OR. See you in September!

It is a huge misnomer that only the rich can afford to be art collectors or even to purchase original work.  When most of us think of an “art collector”, we tend to think of the stereotype of the wealthy patron, attending auctions at Christie’s, buying artwork for more than many of us make in a year, heck, in a lifetime.  Or maybe you’ve gone into a higher end gallery and seen a price and thought to yourself, “Self, no way you’ll ever be able to afford that.”

Well, I’m here to tell you, the times they are a changin’.  It has never been easier or more affordable to purchase original artwork and/or high quality limited editions.   No, I’m not talking about the kind of “original art” you buy at the fleamarket or from a sale in a hotel ballroom.   I’m referring to original, gallery worthy fine art.  The kind you can be proud to hang on your wall.

Here are some suggestions for finding the artwork of your dreams and getting your collection started:

Online galleries/exhibition websites– These are popping up all over the place and many of them represent some very talented artists and you can usually find wonderful work in every price point.

  • Etsy— Possibly the largest online art & handmade marketplace, complete with a powerful search engine, you’ll find a wide range of artwork available.  Many artists are using Etsy to reach a wider audience and as a way to sell their work independantly. ( Note that many of the artists with shops on the “exhibition sites” will have their links on those sites connecting back to their Etsy shops. )

Into the Mystic, photgraphic print, 8″x8″ $30

  • 20×200this New York City based website works with artists to offer limited editions of original work.   Starting at just $20 for the smallest size, 20×200 offers affordable, quality work for newbie collectors.

Well-Being I, limited edition on archival paper, 8″x10″, edition of $200, $20

  • Papernstitch— I must admit, I’m a little biased toward this one, as it is run by my friend ( and fabulous artist in her own right ), Brittni Wood.  Started as a blog, Papernstitch is a growing online exhibition site, curated monthly by Brittni and features handpicked, talented artists, designers and craftspeople.   The Papernstitch blog is still going full force and features daily posts from Brittni and a handful of other talented contributors.  Papernstitch is definitely worth a look when you are searching for something special.

  Open Space by Rachel Austin, original mixed media on canvas, 8″ x 8″, $85

  • Artwelove— Founded in 2008, ArtWeLove “offers exclusive, museum-quality art editions by today’s inspiring artists”.  A big difference with this site is it focuses on offerings from artists whose work is found in top galleries, museums and exhibitions throughout the world.  The work is curated and commissioned directly from the artist to ArtWeLove exclusively– you won’t see these prints anywhere else.  The site has a “learning engine” similar to Amazon.com, which tracks your artwork preferences over time and makes recommendations for you.

 Petal, Pixel and Stain by Nina Tichava, limited edition on archival paper, starting at $50

  • PoppyTalk Handmade–Founded in 2008 by a Canadian husband and wife team, PoppyTalk Handmade is a monthly curated and “themed” marketplace showcasing artwork, handmade and vintage goods from around the world.   Sort of an online street fair/festival, PoppyTalk provides an online marketplace to emerging and indie artists and craftspeople. 

Pillow Land, sewn print by Clare Elsaesser of Tastes Orangey, 4.75″ x 4.75″, $20

Stay tuned over the next few days for more suggestions on ways to buy original art on any budget!