A Fresh Take on Fresco

posted by on 07/19/14 @ 1:44pm


If you are as excited as I am to see the three new Ali Cavanaugh pieces in the upcoming show, The New Real 2: Figure-Focused, then I would highly recommend checking out this video, Ali’s World, to learn more about the artist, her process, and her sources of inspiration.  Cavanaugh, who was recently featured in the June edition of the Nashville Arts Magazine, says her process of using watercolor paint on wet kaolin clay is best categorized as “neo fresco secco.”  Describing her process in depth in one of her blog posts, she writes, “I use small controlled strokes of overlapping colors to create depth while letting the white clay surface illuminate through the pigment. These small strokes of color are built upon a wet plaster surface.”  For her newest pieces, Cavanaugh has innovated this process further by using a new type of watercolor paint that holds up to forty-percent more pigment.  This technology, combined with her meticulous layering process (one of her paintings may have as many as fifty layers), leads to pieces that are even more luminous and nuanced.  As follows, since photographs cannot fully capture the iridescent quality of these works, I am antsy to see these paintings in person.  Read below for additional details about the upcoming show.












Ali Cavanaugh’s pieces will be featured in the upcoming exhibition, The New Real 2: Figure-Focused, at Tinney Contemporary along with works by Eric Zener, Yigal Ozeri, Brian Tull, and Kevin Peterson.  The show will run from August 2nd through September 13th with an opening reception on August 2nd from 6 – 9 pm and a closing reception on September 6th from 6 – 9 pm.

Connecting Collections

posted by on 07/17/14 @ 12:29pm

Every summer, the major art museums of New York host workshops in an effort to expand the landscape of modern nd contemporary art in the classroom. Teachers of grades 3-12 are invited to attend forums on a variety of subjects at institutions such as the MoMa, Guggenheim, Met and Whitney museums. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns in the pedagogy of art is how to keep conversations alive which encourage further exploration of both past and current art practice. Programs such as these are an effective catalyst for ensuring that art stays in the classroom and that teachers and students alike can converse about some of history’s greatest works.

Connecting Collections workshop at the Guggenheim.


Through the educational efforts of museums today, teachers are encouraged to form a comradery in which lesson development is embarked upon together, expanding the paradigm of how to meet common core standards while still incorporating modern and contemporary art. Experts in the field of public pedagogy in the arts share their expertise and open up new areas where teachers can express their own creativity. It may seem daunting at first to dialogue in the classroom about more contemporary works, but through hands on learning and experimentation, teachers gain their footing in this area. Workshop activities include drawing from description, practice classroom discussions, research methods, communicating aesthetics, learning to personally connect to a piece and many more!

Contemporary works by Clyfford Still at the Met.


Workshops in progress at the MoMa.

Connecting Collections and programs like it promote the idea that art reflects our culture and thus should continue to be incorporated into the education system. For teachers all over the country, these few days become an essential part of understanding how to keep modern and contemporary art in the forefront of classroom standards, allowing generations to come the opportunity to explore their cultural heritage in a new way!


Beauty in the Overlooked

posted by on 07/02/14 @ 2:51pm

Due to the upcoming photorealism show in August at Tinney Contemporary, I decided to focus on paintings by Laura Shechter. Shechter is a Brooklyn based artist who focuses on “solving the aesthetic conundrums each photo-based painting presents.” By looking at the photo above, it becomes apparent that Shechter has an interest in making her paintings come alive through using uncommon New York cityscapes and graffiti. In the painting below titled, FSM Packing Corps, Bronx, Shechter finds ways to create a vibrant painting of what would normally appear as a soon-to-be torn down storefront. Not only does her painting bring the building to life, but it also preserves the life of the storefront and the graffiti. Shechter is drawn to the graffiti based on its intricate beauty. The recreation of the graffiti in her painting serves as an ode to the artists whose work will soon be demolished through urban renewal.

Her work helps bring the forgotten cityscapes to life in ways that a photograph cannot capture. If you want to read more about her thought process and view her other works click here.



The Art of Soccer

posted by on 06/29/14 @ 11:23pm

It is no secret that protest, along with excitement, has gone hand in hand with preparation for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.  Brazilians’ feelings about FIFA’s month-long soccer tournament has found its way into the streets as local artists express their sentiments through graffiti.  Some street paintings are unequivocal about their critique of the government’s spending on the games. For example, Brazilian graffiti artist Paulo Ito painted a child crying out for food, but being presented instead with a football at the dinner table (below). “It’s a good way to expose the country’s problems,” Ito told the Guardian.

Still, other artists celebrate Brazil’s hosting of the most important tournament for their national sport and their pieces depict enthusiasm for the World Cup – as seen in the image below. Whether supportive or critical, these powerful images are reaching a world audience.  With the highest ESPN viewership for a World Cup match, Americans have certainly embraced the international tournament like never before.  With less than two weeks left, it will be interesting to see how these artists continue to reflect the emotions of the games through this visual medium.

To read more about street art in Brazil, check out this CNN article.

The Influence of Space and Time

posted by on 06/02/14 @ 9:03pm

When visiting the current exhibition at Tinney Contemporary, CONTINUUM – New Work by Carol Mode, you’ll notice that one horizontal, grey, textured piece in the back room is specially labeled.  Upon further inspection, you’ll note that while the piece, FORA, has been recently completed, its start date is from a little over a decade ago.  Reading the accompanying description of the work, you’ll learn that Mode began FORA during her time as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the 1990s.  Looking at the piece, taking in her current work, and learning more about Mode’s background as an artist-in-residence all over the world, you may become curious, like I was, about how Mode’s experiences in these different artistic cultures, histories, landscapes, and tastes affected her portfolio and present work.  In advance of this weekend’s First Saturday Art Crawl, Mode was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work and its relationship to her experiences -


One of the pieces in the current exhibition, FORA, was initially begun during your time as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in the 1990s.  How or in what ways does your work from this period in Rome influence your current work?

Mode: The work FORA, a result of the experience at the Academy, definitely triggered a change in [my] approach to large work. I began collecting objects and tools around the Academy for use in mark making on the large roll of paper. My studio was enormous. The work was experimental, and the whole process of building layers and patterning led to all the work that followed. The stone work and grey architectural monuments led to a constant interest in greys.  Something important that occurred was my continuous shift in approaches to painting, and I can say in earnest that the thrill I get in painting is about my experiments, challenges in process and constant learning.


You have been an artist in residence in several locations all around the United States and Europe - the Christoph Merian Foundation in Basel, Switzerlan), the Wurlitzer Foundation in New Mexico, and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and have also spent significant time in Nashville. Does the environment/culture/landscape of the cities in which you are living play into your work? If so, in what way?

Mode: Every residency led to change in my work, though there is the thread that ties all my years of painting together. In Basel, as one of eight international residents, the exposure to the world of minimalism and mostly non-traditional artists definitely opened up great avenues of thought in my work. Culturally, Basel being a city of brilliant contemporary museums, I created large bold works, all experimental. Travel within Switzerland, Germany and France was a huge influence. I researched museums and galleries everywhere, tried to see everything possible. In Taos, and also in Wyoming residencies, I had immense spaces, isolation, huge sweeping sky, and daily interaction with poets, fiction writers, composers, and other visual artist, mostly minimalists. I developed a series of 70 blue paintings in Taos, and a series of amazing large abstract landscape minimal paintings that were deeply influenced by both Wyoming and Taos, New Mexico.

If you, like me, are curious to learn more about Mode’s process and pieces, please join us and the artist for the closing reception of CONTINUUM at Tinney Contemporary this coming Saturday, June 7th from 6 – 9 pm.  The exhibition will continue to run through June 21st at Tinney Contemporary (Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm or by appointment).


Frieze Frame

posted by on 05/10/14 @ 4:36pm

I was recently watching a documentary about Midtown Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue luxury emporium, Bergdorf Goodman.  Having never been to Bergdorf’s, I was taken with the gorgeous window displays which regularly fuse fashion with art.  While visiting New York City for a conference this week, my husband promised to send me photos of the Bergdorf windows.  Well, three days later and no pictures richer, I decided to see what Google had to say about the windows. Lo and behold, it just so happens that the windows are of particular wonder this week.  As part of its Art Matters! initative Bergdorf Goodman is sponsoring Freize New York – one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs running between now and May 12th – by collaborating with Salon 94 to create three incredible installations.


In the three 58th Street windows of the department store, passersby can take in the bold and beautiful works of contemporary artists in concert with contemporary fashion designers.  While each window display evokes a distinct emotion, taken as a group, the installations are minimal yet fantastical, sculptural, and punctuated by with saturated hues.

The curators did an amazing job finding points of contrast and cohesion among the artists and designers pieces.  David Benjamin Sherry’s large-scale landscapes provide an imaginative natural backdrop to the windows, a fantastical representation of nature repeated by the Paula Hayes‘ botanical sculptures.  Swiss artists, Kueng Caputo, continue the melding of earthen materials with striking colors, as dyed leather stretches over enamel in their geometric furniture.  Nina Ricci’s floating, floral dress has a earthy quality not unlike the surrounding works of art; Lavin’s simple, sculptural gown finds repetition in Sherry’s magenta mountain. Marni’s incorporation of feathers and leaf motif are echoed by Hayes’ birdhouse installation.

To view more of Bergdorf’s imaginative window displays, visit their website.

Portrait of Erin Fitzpatrick

posted by on 05/06/14 @ 12:56pm

Baltimore-based artist Erin Fitzpatrick paints portraits. Specifically, she paints portraits on wood using pencils, brushes, and oil paints. There’s a long tradition of portraiture in Western art. But with the emergence of photography, oil portraits declined in popularity. Erin Fitzpatrick is keeping the tradition of portraiture alive – with some contemporary updates.

Fitzpatrick loves to people watch and she sees her portraits as “people collecting.” Each time she paints someone, she tries to get to know him or her. Fitzpatrick says she aims to capture the essence of her subjects – not just what they look like. Essentially, she tries to put their personalities on the canvas (Source).

I love Fitzpatrick’s portraits because they seem to capture the current moment. The people she paints are real. They’re the type of people I might interact with everyday. Even though oil portraits are a traditional medium, Fitzpatrick’s work is anything but old-fashioned.

Click here to see more of Erin Fitzpatrick’s portraits on her website.


Free Humanity

posted by on 04/24/14 @ 11:16am

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was walking through the downtown area when a utility box caught my eye. Usually, utility boxes are plain and uninspiring – one might even say they’re an eyesore – but this one was different. Each of the four sides of the box were colorfully stenciled with artworks that made religious references.

One side was a portrait of Audrey Hepburn wearing what seemed to be a multi-colored hijab. Another side of the box featured a portrait of the Virgin Mary holding paintbrushes and a can of spray paint. A third side featured red, blue, and green letters that spelled out, “The Miracle is not to walk on water but to Walk on the Green Earth.” The last side was a picture of a hand holding a lotus flower with a diamond growing out of it.

I’m not sure quite what to make of this utility box, but it’s certainly got me thinking about world religions and American culture. Hepburn was not only an actress and American icon, she was a generous philanthropist and an advocate for peace. Showing an American sweetheart in a hijab distorts some of the assumptions about Muslims and violence that have been increasingly prevalent post-9/11.

In a sense, seeing a heroine of the Christian faith portrayed as a street artist reminded me that Christianity was once a subversive peace movement. Maybe it’s suggesting that creating street art is the new way of prophesying peace?

The quote appears to reference Jesus’s miracle of walking on water. Walking on the earth would certainly have been the norm for people in Jesus’s day. But what about for us? I started to think about the last time I walked on something that wasn’t pavement or an indoor floor. I’m sorry to say that it’s been a while.

In Buddhist ideologies, the lotus flower commonly represents purity and enlightenment. But what does it mean when it’s paired with a diamond, a symbol of luxury?

After some googling, I discovered that the utility box was painted by the prominent Los Angeles street artist known as Free Humanity. He has many other artworks throughout LA and each one critiques or promotes different issues in American society. On his website, Free Humanity states that the mission behind his art is “Taking back the Humanity stolen from our minds by social manipulation and planting seeds of positivity through art and consciousness.”Although it’s a bit dogmatic, the activist art on the utility box struck a chord with me – and I suspect I’m not the only one.

Click here to learn more about Free Humanity.



Happy Earth Day! A Profile of Pam Longobardi

posted by on 04/22/14 @ 1:28pm

Happy Earth Day! It’s the time of year to celebrate nature, spend time outdoors, and consider the effects we as humans have on the environment. So it’s the perfect time to highlight an artist whose works you may have seen at the gallery – our very own Pam Longobardi!

After encountering a beach full of garbage in Hawaii, Longobardi started the Drifters Project in 2006. Along with a team of assistants, Longobardi removes plastic debris from oceans and beaches around the world. She then uses the debris to create art meant to spark an interest in reducing ocean debris and overconsumption. In this sense, Longobardi’s art is both activist and educational. In 2013, Longobardi won the Hudgens Prize for her work.

In June 2013, Longobardi was one of 5 artists and 5 scientists who spent a week travelling along the Alaskan coastline. The team travelled over 450 nautical miles by ship, collecting, researching, and documenting marine debris along the way. Throughout the journey, their efforts were recorded by National Geographic filmographers and photographers. A documentary about the expedition, Gyre: Creating Art From a Plastic Ocean, has been selected for several film festivals, including Australia’s Byron Bay International Film Festival, Washington State’s Big Water Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.

A museum exhibition featuring artwork from the expedition is currently on view at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska. A book about the expedition titled Gyre: The Plastic Ocean is available to order on Amazon.com. Longobardi has written a chapter for the book titled “Wilderness and Invasion: Plastic place-makers of the anthropocene.”

Here at Tinney Contemporary, Pam inspires us to be conscious of the ways we impact the environment. Even though Earth Day comes only once a year, we should strive to celebrate the earth everyday.


Picking up the pieces

posted by on 04/16/14 @ 12:03pm

My senior year in high school, one of my classmates gave a presentation about monkeyspheres.  A monkeysphere is a theoretical maximum number of stable relationships we can have at the same time.  It is estimated to be around 150.  That’s why we don’t know half the people we are friends with on Facebook, and we only care to read about a fifth of the things on our news feed.  Think about all the bonds we’ve made and broken in just the past few years:  that guy down the hall from you in college freshman year that you chatted with every now and then but now hardly see him and it’s too inconvenient to catch up with him, the kid that sat next to you in class last semester, but isn’t in any of your classes this semester.

As someone that has moved a lot growing up and likes to dabble in lots of different interests, I’ve seen the population of my monkeysphere change quite drastically.  And with graduation coming up, oh boy, my monkeysphere will be getting a serious overhaul in the next few months whether I like it or not.

So what if we found our 150 favorite people in the world just a few days after we were born, and kept them permanently in our monkeysphere?  We don’t need anybody else right?

Okay, here’s my tie-in to art:
An art type in Japan called kintsukuroi involves taking a shattered piece of art such as a ceramic bowl or large vase that has plummeted to untimely destruction, and repairing it using gold and other precious metals as an adhesive.  It is a way of saying that the repaired piece is even more beautiful than the original for having been broken.  The breakage makes for an interesting story contributes to the history of the piece.  Rather than being cleverly disguised, it is illuminated so that it can be embraced for the flaws, imperfection, and past that define its character and personality.  The effect really makes you think twice before throwing away that favorite coffee mug you dropped as you were reading surprising news in the morning paper.

Now to tie-out of art:
So maybe keeping our original 150 people in our monkeysphere is perfect, but maybe perfect isn’t all that great.  Maybe after we pick up the pieces of a severed relationship, we use them to make something better.  Maybe that’s why How I met your Mother ended the way it ended (I’ll stop here because I don’t want to give any spoilers :) ).