is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lexington Art League Updates For the New Year!


A look at the juror who looks at The Nude

•December 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Ebony Patterson, juror of The Nude: Self & Others
Ebony Patterson is the juror for 2013′s The Nude: Self & Others, an exhibition that has been presented by the Lexington Art League for the past 27 years.
Patterson originally hails from Kingston, Jamaica, but her current position as assistant professor of painting at the University of Kentucky put this internationally known artist right on the doorstep of LAL and her work with the figure had us inviting her in to serve as a juror for this exhibition.
undefinedPatterson’s work centers around the body and identity. In her early work with Venus Investigations, she objectified the female torso and, later, the vagina to confront the taboos connected with specific body parts.
“Vulva II”
The exploration of body parts evolved into an exploration of identity and the lengths we go to to make our body reflect who we are. In Gangstas for Life, Patterson investigated the act of skin bleaching in Jamaican dancehall culture, which prompted deeper reflection about homosexuality and masculinity in a predominantly homophobic culture.
“Blingas I” from the Gangstas for Life series
Here’s more from a great article in Caribbean Beat:
Skin-bleaching is nothing new in the Caribbean, where levels of melanin have historically correlated to social status. Some women, in particular, have long used special ointments, powders, and soaps — usually harsh chemical concoctions — in an attempt to lighten their faces, often damaging their skin in the process. But now this practice with feminine associations was being taken up by men from Jamaica’s hyper-masculine underclass. “I thought, well, criminality, beauty,” Patterson remembers. “How do I even begin to visually merge these two things?”
Patterson‘s ability to merge the beautiful and the grotesque on the landscape of the body has catapulted her to notoriety in contemporary art. She has shown at the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Jamaica, and the Museum of the Americas, to name a few, and has been awarded the Rex Nettleford Fellowship in Cultural Studies, the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Art and Culture, the Super Plus Under 40 Artist of the Year title, and, of course, the opportunity to jury 2013′s The Nude: Self & Others.
Don’t miss seeing how Patterson’s experience and aesthetic shapes the 27th year of The Nude, which opens Jan. 11 with a ticket-only preview party (click here for tickets). And don’t miss the chance to hear from the juror herself on Feb. 9 at 1pm.

Meet the Mandrews.

•November 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Since you’ve probably seen Michael Andrews around LAL lately, it’s high time we properly introduced you to him.
Michael Andrews, or Mandrews as we’ve accidentally started calling him around the office, is LAL’s new development director. He replaces Kara Hobbs who relocated to Dallas this summer (and became buds with another former LAL-er in Dallas, Marin Fiske… hi Kara and Marin!).
Michael  has been in his new position for barely a month, and already he’s got us so inspired we’re going to be shameless about asking you for money because, people, THERE IS AWESOME WORK TO BE DONE HERE.
The official release about Mr. Andrews can be found here, but we wanted to give you ArtBeat insiders a pulse on who he really is.
AB: First of all, welcome to Kentucky. It’s only been a few months since you moved here from Charlotte, N.C., but what are some of your favorite finds so far, some of the places that made you think “well, isn’t that a cool little spot”?
MA: I live in Winchester (have to live in Clark County . . . long story), so the drive over to work every morning always has amazing skies, trees and greenness – never get tired of it.  Love the pizza at Miguel’s (in the Gorge), the catfish Poor Boy at Windy Corner Market and the hot wings at Indi’s. The JIF plant is usually churning when I leave town, so the smell of peanut butter is luscious. Still working my way through all the different bourbons and beer cheeses. Have been to Keeneland several times. Have not been invited to Rupp. Think I wear the wrong color blue.
AB: While you were in Charlotte, you worked as the director of development and marketing for McColl Center for Visual Art, which is an extraordinary contemporary art center. You obviously know your sauce when it comes to art and economics, so where do you see the greatest potential for visual art in Lexington?
MA: A feature in a recent US Airways magazine called Lexington the “next great American city,” and I have to agree. There is an exciting marriage of entrepreneurism, art and commerce here that is taking the city by storm. Visual art is everywhere. Murals, pop-up galleries, crawls, public art happenings, a vibrant and eclectic culinary scene fueled by music, madness and more swirl all around you. Business investment follows that kind of interesting diversity and creativity. The vibe is palpable and that bodes well for any art enterprise, including what we are doing here at LAL. Staff, board and our members could not be more engaged and enthusiastic. This is an amazing time and place.
AB: Your whole career has been based on generating support for organizations that enhance the quality of life for people and their communities. What are some of the moments you’ve have in the past 20 years that have made all those fundraising phone calls and after-hours benefits so completely worth it?
MA: First I have to say I LOVE what I do.  People think fund raising is about “asking for money.” That could not be further from the truth. Fund raising is about telling stories, forging positive relationships and creating space for abundance to flow.
Last year at McColl we had an artist who took her work in a whole new direction because of her residency. During the closing reception, one of our visitors walked into that artist’s studio, saw the new work and went berserk – “I love that piece. It makes me so happy. I want to look at it every day,” the visitor said. She bought the piece. It was her first-ever art purchase. I still have the crystalline image in my mind of her leaving the studio with a huge smile on her face, meeting her friends in the parking lot, bragging about her find.
When you connect like that with art – see something that makes you pause and reflect, learn a process that intrigues and challenges you, meet an artist – that’s the magic. People want to connect with and support such transformations. It is fun to be part of those conversations, whether it’s one person nabbing a piece of art, a philanthropist investing in sharing an artist with a whole community or a national foundation engaging art as a catalyst for social change. Such intersections are ever more critical in today’s world; creativity is the engine that drives prosperity and we are lucky to be in that business.
AB: We noticed that you used your auction ticket at THE 200 to claim Gazing and Grazing by Joan Schulte. Where’s the cow now and what about it earned it a coveted spot on your Picks List?
MA: My wife, Jen, and I were very deliberate. It was our first piece of Kentucky art. We wanted to make a strong statement about our love for the Bluegrass. We thought it was delightfully appropriate to have that cow wandering around in our kitchen. It has only been up a week and has already received rave reviews, especially from our friends who go on the Winchester Farmer Banker Tour. It makes us happy and is different from anything else in our collection.
AB: True or false: you enjoy celebrating birthdays. Also true or false: you’re okay with the nickname you’ve been given at the office. Just checking.
MA: My birthday is on the second day of January, so there is a certain holiday flair to the whole thing – a conundrum among family and friends about how to memorialize Christmas, Hannukah, New Years and my substantial annual lifestyle requirements. Chocolate, art, travel and electronics are usually involved, not necessarily in that order. Usually, my birthday includes a lounge chair under a palapa staring at the sea, with a Chelada in one hand and my Kindle in the other, but I am always open to other suggestions.
I have had many names during my career, some whispered under the breath, others more blatant. Mandrews is just fine with me, as long as I get to reciprocate with endearments for my fellow art nuts.
Next time you’re at LAL, be sure to say hey to Michael. And sign up to be a sustainer of LAL.

Chris William’s earth casting

•October 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment
lal2Today at Loudoun House, visiting artist Christ Williams is hard at work on his earth castings. Using constructed letter molds, he produces site-specific letter castings using the surrounding materials that he temporarily installs into the landscape. Williams uses this same technique with his students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. While here, he hopes to engage the history of the Loudoun House and his own experience on the site. Come see his work here at the Loudoun house tomorrow night at LAL’s 4th Friday opening of Approach, our first exhibition featuring performance art. There will be documentations of performance art as well as live performances going on from 6-9 PM.

Rae of Light

•October 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Performance art. Okay, we’ll just go ahead and say it. Sometimes, it can be a little… awkward.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect staring someone in the eye to totally break open your consciousness. And on most days, seeing someone lying facedown on the sidewalk would probably have you reaching for your cell phone to call 911.
But when you’re lucky enough to stumble upon performance art, and you’re lucky enough to approach it with an open mind, those moments that we’re programmed to get through can become moments that are extraordinary.
Approach, now open at the Lexington Art League, is LAL’s first exhibition ever devoted exclusively to performance art. The opening celebration, which happens this Friday from 6-9pm at LAL @ Loudoun House, features a breadth of live performances as well as photo and video documentation of previous performances.
It was curated by Rae Goodwin, a performance artist and assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, and Rae recently opened up to Contemporary Performance about what it’s like to be a performance artist and how she added the medium to her repertoire.
Here’s an excerpt:
TE: Why is performance important for you?
RG: While I grew up knowing that I was a visual artist, I also danced with my family’s folk-dance group.  We toured New England wearing costumes my mother made and moved in squares and circles.  I remember my Dad, who was the caller, telling me that movement had meaning and if you looked at any folk dance there was a story of connection and of culture imbedded in the movement.
Performance art is important in my practice because of its immediate physicality (movement as metaphor,) direct connection to humanity and influence on the surrounding people.

TE: Where did you first get “hooked” on performance?
RG: When I was in graduate school for sculpture, at Winthrop University, my amazing professor, Shaun Cassidy assigned us readings from Body, a part of the Phiadon Themes and Movement series.  He told us we were being to careful, challenged us to take more risks, and told us that sculpture as object was too safe.
I became fully “hooked” after my fourth performance piece when reading viewers comments in a notepad after one piece where I tied knots for three hours, repeating “I am not. I am knot. I am naught,” while being physically attached to bundles, balls and bags of knotted fabric.  At times in the performance I thought, how ridiculous to consider this valid work, but their comments changed my mind.  They were moved by the work, concerned for me and left with empathy for the humanity in a shared experience.  The meta-narrative of attachment and negation was evident to them in the piece.
In her curator statement Rae says, “It is my hope that while experiencing this grouping of work, both live performance and documentation of performance, the viewer will have an empathetic response to the artists presented in the work. If empathy is achieved this response can allow the viewer to enter a dialog with themselves and with others. This dialog is the approach, the whole of the art experience, and if we succeed as artists, it can create diverse, layered and complex understandings of meaning, as can any conversation within one’s self or with another.”
Now that is something to see.

Before I die, I want to make sure you see this.

•September 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment
The Lexington Art League’s Loudoun House is on the north side. It’s an enormous castellated villa in a gorgeous park in a neighborhood full of people walking dogs and riding bikes and tailgating at softball fields. It’s a home for contemporary art and a cultural hub in this part of Lexington, and we are proud to be here.
As is the case in every community, there are some homes and buildings in our neighborhood that are a victim of circumstance. A bad economy, slumlords, political neglect, individual physical limits, and an epidemic of not knowing your neighbors are all contributors. But you know what the area of town now being referred to as NoLi is doing to celebrate and promote the spirit of our neighborhood?
Neighborhood leaders, many of whom are artists-activists who share the same spirit of art for everyone as the founders of LAL, have educated people with urban wildlife murals, have changed the facades of apartments with paintings, and have, most recently, used graffiti to put NoLi on the international art map.
Where politics, religion, and money divide communities, art puts them back together. It’s our glue out here on the North side, and it’s a glue that’s rebuilding neighborhoods all over the world.

Artist Candy Chang, who is based in New Orleans, turned an abandoned house in her neighborhood into a community chalkboard, one that asked people to finish the sentence “Before I die, I want to…” This and her other community art projects were the subject of a recent TED talk, and before you die, you really should spend 7 minutes being inspired by her story.

Photography 101. Or, more appropriately, Photography 1900.

•September 14, 2012 • 2 Comments
Today we’ve got Photoshop. In 1880, we didn’t. But we still had this.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model: 1892 by Maurice Guibert. Gelatin silver print.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art  is hosting an exhibition of the original photo shoppers, a collective of artists whose conceptual work beyond the shutter pushed photography into the medium it is today. Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop opens on Oct. 11, right on the heels of another of the Met’s photography exhibitions, After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age, which opens on Sept. 25.
Here’s more from Daily Mail Reporter:
… the images were altered using a variety of techniques, including multiple exposure (taking two or more pictures on a single negative), combination printing (producing a single print from elements of two or more negatives), photomontage, overpainting, and retouching on the negative or print.
Whether manipulated to compensate for technical limitations, for explicitly political or ideological ends, to amuse or astonish, or to depict events that never occurred, the meaning and content of each image in the exhibition has been significantly transformed or ‘faked’.
Collectively, the pictures offer a provocative new perspective on the history of photography.
A Powerful Collision: Unknown Artist, German School 1910s. Gelatin silver print.

Hera + Akut = A little more awesome Lexington.

•September 10, 2012 • 3 Comments
In case you didn’t know it already, Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova are superheroes. Both professors at Transylvania University, the creative duo has pulled off such artful heists as The 1,000 Dolls Project and LAL’s Passing: Fashioning Drag among others.

And with the help of fellow artist extraordinaire Georgia Henkel, they are at it again.
Through hard work, social networking, and a little bit of luck… oh yeah, and support from LexArts, Griffin Van Meter/Bullhorn Marketing, Lexair Foundation, PRHBTN, Morlan Gallery, Univ of Kentucky School of Art & Visual Studies, Morris Book Shop, Joseph Clay, Price & Kim Nichol, and Ellee Ven… Kurt, Kremena, and Georgia are giving Lexington two new murals by internationally acclaimed street artists Hera and Akut, known creatively as Herakut. (You may now consider yourself street smart even if you know nothing else about graffiti art.)

Herakut will be painting murals on two buildings  — one at 156 Market St. and one in LAL’s neck of the woods, at 6th & Limestone (where John Lackey/Homegrown Press used to be).
Painting starts on Tuesday, and everyone is invited to stop by throughout the week to watch them work or just say hello.
Wednesday night at 7pm they’ll be giving a free artist talk at the Central Library theater, followed by a book signing sponsored by Morris Book Shop.
We’ll be keeping an eye out on their progress and posting updates on ArtBeat, but you can find more information here as well. Hooray!

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