May 19, 2014, 4:53pm

Close Encounters with Falling Realities: Cynthia Camlin’s Divided Earth

Last week, when I heard the news of the West Antarctica’s falling ice sheet, it was hard not to think of the floating, fragmenting masses that comprise Cynthia Camlin’s (NAP #109) new paintings. For over ten years, the artist has been manipulating frozen landscapes into rich imagery that ranges from the luscious, bulbous forms of her watercolor icebergs, to graphic screen prints of broken, frozen shards made flat by their map-like, textural surfaces. Camlin’s latest series, Divided Earth, on view at Seattle’s PUNCH Gallery, reexamines her familiar subjects, which have become increasingly prominent representatives of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns.  These new, articulated ice shelves—one of which spans a colossal ten panels—loom directly above and beside their onlookers, the grid structures building an illusion so tangible that, at times, the mounds’ jagged edges feel as if they break into our space on a disturbingly intimate level.  I caught up with the artist to find out more about the new works and the way our evolving relationship with climate change has shaped her practice. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

Cynthia Camlin | Water Fragment, 1-10, ink, watercolor and vinyl polymer emulsion on paper panels, 12" x 9" each. Image courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Review

May 16, 2014, 4:19pm

Color Pollination: Leigh Anne Lester at grayDUCK Gallery

If your produce shopping is limited to sustainable farmers markets rather than the neighborhood big-box — or if you haven't followed decades of GMC developments — you may be unaware of genetically modified crops' tenacious pervasiveness in the global community. In Venomous Cabbage and other demands satisfied, the inaugural show at grayDUCK Gallery's new eastside location in Austin, Leigh Anne Lester wields graphite and rich color as her magnifying glass to this agricultural reality. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Leigh Anne Lester | Deviant Pollination, 2014, graphite and color pencil on drafting film, 29 x 24 inches. Image courtesy the artist and grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.

Listed under: Review

May 05, 2014, 9:24am

Personal Ties: Wura-Natasha Ogunji at MASS Gallery

Connectivity is a recurring theme in Wura-Natasha Ogunji's work, within personal space and interpersonal relationships — to family, to a homeland, to both hemispheres of one earth. In her solo exhibition Your heart is clean at MASS Gallery, Ogunji unveils a body of works on paper and video installation developed during return trips to her father's homeland of Nigeria and time shared between industrial metropolis Lagos and Austin, TX. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Your heart is clean
installation view, MASS Gallery, April 25 – May 31, 2014. Image courtesy the artist and MASS Gallery, Austin. Photos taken by Sandy Carson.

Listed under: Review

April 25, 2014, 12:09pm

Lodi: Natalie Smith at SCA Contemporary

Nearing the end of her stint at the University of New Mexico, Illinois transplant, Natalie Smith (NAP #105) unveiled her most recent body of work, Lodi, at SCA Contemporary in Albuquerque. Heavily influenced by craft and design practices, Lodi references her affinity for everyday objects, images and forms and belief that paintings can be “arenas in which anything is possible.” – Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor

Natalie Smith | Victoria & Albert, 2014, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches; image courtesy of the artist

Listed under: Review

April 22, 2014, 9:03am

Mountains Made of Paper: Saul Becker’s Dead Reckoning

Svalbard is an unincorporated Norwegian archipelago that resides in the Arctic Circle, between continental Norway and the North Pole.  While its indisputable date of discovery surrounds a Dutchman’s search for the Northern Sea Route, in 1596, Scandinavians may have found it as early as the twelfth century.  In either case, a human presence made its way into this distant, arctic land filled with fjords, mountains, polar bears and arctic foxes, through a history of interactions ranging from whaling, explorations and coal mining, to the last armed German military unit’s surrender, after World War II. Svalbard is also now the site of The Arctic Circle residency program, where Tacoma artist Saul Becker (NAP #49) took in the landscapes that became part of his new show, Dead Reckoning, while aboard a grand, 120-foot schooner. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Saul Becker | Folding Coastline, 2012, watercolor, ink and gouache on paper, 29.5 x 41.5 in. Image courtesy of Prole Drift.

Listed under: Review

April 14, 2014, 8:55am

Pow! Wow! Hawai’I Packs a Painted Punch

This past February, street artists and fine artists alike joined together for the fifth annual Pow! Wow! Hawai’i (PWH) festival in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founder of the site and painting festival PWH Jasper Wong and mega-art site Booooooom’s Jeff Hamada caught up with me to discuss the event, its history, and its future.

Lady Aiko
on Auahi Street| 2014, Courtesy of Pow! Wow! Hawai’I.

If you’re feeling like you missed out, check out PWH’s great video page and their mural page – and of course, consider attending Pow! Wow! Taiwan this year. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Review

April 09, 2014, 9:39am

Lasting Impressions: Miguel A. Aragón at Tiny Park

Trauma permeates Miguel A. Aragón's very physical printmaking, both in subject matter (victims of Mexico's drug wars) and in process (depending on the intended result, he burns, abrades, or hand-drills the works). Aragón's return to Austin — his first solo here following the critically-lauded exhibition Fractured Memories, Assembled Trauma at Mexic-Arte Museum in 2012 — is both potent and bittersweet, as while the artist's bracing techniques continue to advance the compositional potential of paper, it also coincides with the final outing at eastside gallery Tiny ParkBrian Fee, Austin contributor

Miguel A. Aragón | De brazos abiertos, 2014, hand-drilled paper with layered Xerox, 72 x 192 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Tiny Park, Austin.

Listed under: Review

April 08, 2014, 11:14am

Dan Gluibizzi and the World Wide Archive

Combing Tumblr for inspirational sources, painter Dan Gluibizzi pairs scenes of friends, porn, swingers, and bongs to form groupings of perfect strangers in his watercolor compositions. In his show "Between Friends" at the Kopeikin Gallery, Gluibizzi explores and questions the social media bonds and the ties of voyeuristic “friendship” in this digital age. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Dan Gluibizzi | Story Sisters, 2014
, 33" x 40," Watercolor on Paper. Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

Listed under: Review

March 30, 2014, 8:32pm

Painting Backwards: Evan Nesbit at Roberts & Tilton

Painters and paint-lovers should flock to Evan Nesbit’s (NAP #99) current show /ˈkaɪˑæzəm/. Entering Roberts & Tilton, visitors are met by a group of large and brightly colored burlap canvases. The combination of acrylic paints and dye on brown burlap and of Nesbit’s painting on the opposite side of the burlap than the one facing outward has a contradictory effect on the colors: they are muted bolds and conversely, they are bright pastels.

The very act of painting backwards, though, is what interested me most—visually, aesthetically, physically, and quite psychically. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Evan Nesbit
| /ˈkaɪˑæzəm/ Installation View. Courtesy of Roberts & Tilton.

Listed under: Review

March 27, 2014, 10:17pm

Mission Schooled: Jason Jägel at Gallery 16

If you’re a fan of underground hip hop then you’ve probably seen Jason Jägel’s (NAP #25) work. He’s produced album cover art for the likes of Dudley Perkins, Madlib, and MF Doom, including the cover of the 2011 reissue of Operation: Doomsday (originally released in 1999),  a classic in underground hip hop. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these names then you’re more likely to be impressed by the twenty years exhibiting that Jason has under his belt, half of those coming after he completed his MFA at Stanford University in 2002. His current exhibition, From the Sky, Rivers Look Like Snakes (through March 31), marks his first show in the expansive loft space of Gallery 16. It offers a glimpse at the narrative line drawings that have become Jason’s signature style. And it includes oil paintings -- a first for the artist since 1997 -- that seem to hint at the influences guiding his work. - Matt Smith Chavez, San Francisco Contributor

Jason Jägel | Hand/Eye, 2012. Gouache on paper. 81.5” x 60.5”. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 16

Listed under: Review