Sean Downey in Big Red & Shiny

Excerpt from Review: All our Tomorrows and Yesterdays at Proof

By Stephanie Cardon, Dec. 5, 2013

To read complete review click: here

Love Triangle, 2013.  Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in.

Love Triangle, 2013. Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in.

Sean Downey’s work often depicts liminal spaces, somewhere on the cusp of a developed and a natural world—a polluted, desecrated frontier, botched attempts at contemporary edenic encampments. Characters come across as archetypes more than individuals, owing to their quasi-recognizable traits and dress, and this imbues the work with a sense of déjà-vu. But, beyond the subject matter itself, Downey’s strength lies in his use of form to tell an ongoing narrative, which is just as much about the object, and the process, of painting.

Some works, for instance, appear to use the act of representation to shift an object’s status from detritus to icon. The smaller Love Triangle (2013) and Four Members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club (2013) each skew two-dimensional photographic planes, endowing them with enough heft to defy gravity. This has the uncanny effect of breathing life into the faces photographed: their gaze becomes active, interactive, significant once more. The printed document lives in a new context as a painted object.

Downey also seems highly attuned to the theatrics of the frame. In Go to School Go to School Drop Out Drop Out (2013), and thoughtACTIONthought, Best Wishes (2013), each composition is symmetrically centered on a scene that possesses the passive, empty quality of a stage-set. These are flanked with smaller scenes, which contain the most active elements of the composition. Skirting the canvas, they observe contradictory rules of perspective. As a result, there is no unified vision or space, no single illusion in which to lose oneself. This formal strategy gives a nod to the proscenium — the part of a theater stage which extends beyond the curtain — revealing and reveling in an awareness of the stagecraft of painting.

Read Stephanie Cardon's entire review: here

Robin Myers in Ain't-Bad Magazine

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Robin Myers was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has recently been exhibited at Aviary Gallery in Jamaica Plain, the Humble Arts Foundation’s Small Prints exhibition at Flash Forward Festival in Boston, Danforth Art, and Houston Center for Photography. Robin currently lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1988 I was 8 years old. A few years earlier, Carl Sagan published Cosmos and a copy ended up in my family’s household. The dust jacket was long gone by the time I pulled it from its place on the shelf, leaving behind a dust outline from its undisturbed time there. The seemingly giant black book sat heavy on my tiny pale legs day after day as I looked and attempted to make sense of the endless information. My world seemed to simultaneously expand and shrink. This was the catalyst for my relentless investigations of the unknown and fueled a need to make connections between our scientific understanding of the world and the human experience of it. The Macrocosm can be terrifying, if not downright panic-inducing. The whole vast ocean, though beautiful, is far too much to hold. When the focus is taken down a notch to delve into the tiny fragments that make up this world, when everyday drums are scaled down to the beat of dust collecting on glass, connections begin to open up. This work combines my interest in the aesthetics of space exploration with phenomena of the visible world, while exploring the limits of perception.

Link to article: here


Deborah Oropallo: Art in America

Deborah Oropallo's Atypical Archetypes

Entangled, 2011. Mixed Media on Paper, 60 x44 in. Image via Gallery 16

Published in Art in America: March 25, 2011


By Chérie Turner

Deborah Oropallo's "Tale Spin" at Gallery 16 in San Francisco is a big, bold show of female fairy-tale characters and other alluring archetypes—Snow White, Goldie Locks, the French maid and the Catholic schoolgirl, among others. Each of these collaged pieces amounts to an almost life-size full figure or portrait, comprising layered pieces of sheer material, each with a part of a figure printed on it. The figure is made up of about 10 sourced images, sourced from costume websites, which are assembled and mounted on paper to form a single woman. Gas masks and bondage accessories also appear-these are characters facing today's world.

The 56-year-old, Berkeley-based Oropallo addresses each new body of work, as a series, distinctly different from previous work. "It's not just searching for the new; it's building on the old," Oropallo told A.i.A. during a recent tour of her show. "As a painter you are painting on the shoulders of everyone who came before you, and all of the work you have seen and made in the past 30 years—that's in every piece."

In 2009, she made the "Wild Wild West.Show," an exploration of cowgirl imagery. The 2008 "Guise" series, featured in a solo exhibition at San Francisco's de Young Museum, comprised prints that melded 17th- and 18th-century male portraits with images of women modeling lingerie.

In this latest work, Oropallo deftly updates age-old tales, a theme Oropallo has treated previously. The "Guise" series demonstrates the similarities in poses between her subjects, begging questions about portrayal of power and how it differs between the sexes. Fortified (2011) shows an adult Rapunzel. With her braided hair tied like a rope-ladder down the front of her body and  shiny black gloved arms encircling her head, this modern woman is going to protect and save herself.

Uniforms and costumes are deployed for their relationships to gender and power. The interest stems from Oropallo's childhood, she explained, including memories of her uncle's grand presence in full Navy garb, as well as her experience wearing the traditional blue-and-green uniform to Catholic school for years.

Oropallo grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and started making art at a young age. But it wasn't until she started the fine art graduate school program at UC Berkeley, where she earned her MFA, that she got her first formal art training, studying under esteemed Bay Area Figurative painter Elmer Bischoff. Shades of those early self-teaching, however, continue to be visible in her work today.

"I actually think of paint-by-numbers paintings as the original conceptual paintings... They have a prescribed beginning and end," said Oropallo in an interview for her 2001 midcareer retrospective at the San Jose Museum of Art. "This has been in my work since I was a kid. I copied things out of how-to books, always using this type of methodology."

Oropallo's work is structured according to a modular, graphic, Pop ethic. She used to often work with silk-screened images or patterns, all sourced from photographs. For the 2003 series "Replica," she arranged repeating depictions of duck figurines for Spill, a toy suburban tract house for Free House. For Oropallo's 2005 "Stretch" pieces, she digitally pushed, pulled, and stretched, images to the verge of being unrecognizable. What remained was their contemporaneity.

Link to online article: here

Image via Gallery 16

David Lefkowitz on MN Original

Visual Artist and Carleton College Professor David Lefkowitz shows MN Original his painting series of “Cultivars” — unlikely topiary structures highlighting the ubiquitous human impulse to gain mastery over nature, at the Bloomington Art Center.

Artist Bio:
David Lefkowitz has no shortage of awards and commendation for his resume. He’s had numerous solo and group shows around the country. He’s been collected by the Walker Art Center and beyond, he’s won McKnight fellowships etc. His work begins with some basic questions, “What is the relation of an image to an object?” And, “How is our perception of the world altered by the conventions we trust to describe it?” His work acknowledges our lives in a visual culture and break down the barriers with which we see and understand art.

Credit: MN Original / TPT

Interview link: