Posts Tagged 'New York City'

Brian Zegeer – Studio Visit – August 17th, 2011

– Studio Visit-
Brian Zegeer
Date: Wednesday, August 17th
Location: Queens

Studio Visit Synopsis:

Entering Brian Zegeer’s studio in Long Island City, Queens is like walking into a double-exposed photograph. His studio/domicile is actually a former speakeasy complete with a long wood bar, mirrors and bar stools. Brian projected a series of videos and stop motion animations filmed in the last couple of years on a screen adjacent to a cart made of scavenged materials stacked with a number of potted plants. A work in progress, the cart will serve as a “relaxation booth” installed along the waterfront at the Dumbo Arts Festival. Plants will canopy the viewer as they sit in the cart and are spritzed with water while viewing the lower Manhattan skyline. This mobile oasis of sorts is informed by a memoir The Book of Khalid by Ameen Rihani (1910), an immigrant’s tale that describes a conflicted vision of America. This literary work also informs and provides the text for the narrated voice-over to Brian’s newest work, Book of Khalid (To Man…), a video consisting of shots of Middle Eastern influenced architectural elements and construction sites in lower Manhattan near the world trade center tower site. The group discussed the sound component of the video, a low tone computerized voice-over that reads from Ameen Rihani’s text. Some participants found the computer voice incongruent with imagery of the piece, while others thought that it matched up with the surveillance-like qualities of the video and the rhythm of cuts and edits.

Field Notes from Little Syria, a series of photographs similar in imagery and content were projected along with this video. Brian pulled and combined imagery from these photographs to make digital print work. In some ways the digital print seems to mesh some of the collage techniques and aesthetics apparent in Brian’s animation work with the visual and structural interests of his new video piece.

Brian’s older video and animation pieces are surrealistic process oriented works that use an abstract language of refuse materials and distorted figuration. These pieces represent for Brian acts of discovery, and in many cases access ritualistic ways of image making. The group discussed ways in which ritual plays into different aspects of Brian’s work. In some pieces Brian seems to create imagery relating to ritual as in Shell Game; a figure (the artist) is wheeled around Queens inside a cart in an assemblage funeral procession, grasping various trash of seeming importance. In other pieces Brian constructs and works within a series of processes that are more like carrying out ritual as in his video/animation Poetics of Ditch Digging, a non-sequential narrative in which, among other phenomena, a sort of trash golem materializes before the viewers eyes.

In a society that has purged ritual importance, Brian’s work may reclaim ritual through materiality, performance and engagement with world history and current events.

– Amanda Lechner
Discussion Links:

Chris Marker (La jetée)


Cart as installed at the Dumbo Art Festival (image courtesy of Brian Zegeer)



Jacob Goble – Studio Visit – July 26th, 2011

Studio Visit: Jacob Goble
Date: Tuesday, July 26th

Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Jacob Goble Studio Visit 7/26/11

Beach Vacation (image courtesy of Jacob Goble)

The Wheel 2011 (courtesy of Jacob Goble)

Jacob Goble

Since our last studio visit with Jacob Goble over a year ago, he has continued to investigate and hone three primary trajectories:

1) A developing series of abstract linear drawings that are non-repeating permutations of an arch shape.

2) Drawings made from observation in park, museum and domestic settings executed with aesthetically varied and developed mark making.

3) Paintings informed by the drawings, photographs and the book of arches.

While each of these elements of Jacob’s total body of work is produced largely independently from one-another, there is also significant crossover between the three directions. Most commonly the observational drawings act as preliminary work to the paintings. Jacob has also incorporated arches from the books of abstract into his paintings focusing on a particular shape and adding color and brushwork. In some paintings the shape/symbol is used as an overlay on an image of a landscape, in effect, encrypting the landscape language. In other paintings the arch shape is within a wholly abstract canvas, investigations on building an image from formal elements alone.

Jacob described the way he chooses his varied images and content as allowing himself to get attached to an idea or image without committing to putting it in all his work. The group discussed the interplay between nature and artifice in Jacob’s work. There seems to be balance between invention, reference, and removal in each of Jacob’s projects. In his directly observed drawings a level of illusionistic abstraction through mark making is apparent. In some paintings Jacob has combined observed landscape with invented elements and color schemes. In his paintings that are made using observed source material, surface details and foreground/background distinctions pull against the illusion of the image depicted. In the abstract arch books there too seems to be an embrace of a fluid evolution of form.

Perhaps on account of its scale, color palette and graphic presentation, one painting accrued more discussion than the others. The largest canvas in the studio depicted a nearly life size depiction of the Wheel of Fortune wheel positioned as if the viewer was a contestant who has just won a trip to New York. Jacob has edited the image he photographed from his television screen, leaving only the iconic wheel and light colored field below. The group discussed the relatively hard-edged and slick mark making used in this painting and compared it to the small preliminary painting that informed the larger final work. The idea of making a drawing of the wheel was discussed as well as a return to using inks to encourage the mark making exhibited in the observed pencil drawings.

When asked how he would formally exhibit his different modes of working, he answered that he would show the different works together, drawings alongside the paintings.


-Amanda Lechner


Discussion Links:
Keith Tyson
Charles Birchfield
Decorative Art – Met
Structures: The Arch

Beach Bum, 8x10in, Oil on Canvas, 2011

Page 186, 2011

Vince Contarino – Studio Visit – June 28th, 2011

Studio Visit: Vince Contarino
Date: Tuesday June 28th
Location: Marie Walsh Sharpe Studios – DUMBO, Brooklyn

Vince Contarino

Split Decision, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40" x 34"

Studio Visit Synopsis:

Vince Contarino started his studio visit by introducing a drawing project started about a year ago, before he moved into his current studio in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space program. The project, a collection of small paintings, drawings, works on paper, exists in tandem with photographs and other ephemera produced and collected by Vince. A black shrine of sorts, this intuitively assembled drawing project gives off a film noir-like feeling of gesture. While paralleling and informing the body of work created upon moving into the Sharpe Studio it has thus far remained separate.

Vince is not the kind of abstractionist that takes recognizable images and objects and makes them unrecognizable, but he is not pulling from chaos either. He instead, through a discerning eye, identifies shapes, colors and marks that he then pulls into the work. Thinking of gestures as objects, Vince refers to his painting process as “building a painting”. During his residency at the Marie Walsh Sharpe he has taken the opportunity to vary strategies for making his paintings, challenging size and mark making, and testing the parameters necessary for a painting to “hold the wall”.

Vince states that he does not wish to fetishize paint or to create a “perfect” surface but that his work is should be a dance between gesture and hard edge utilitarian marks.

The discussion on mark making led to a conversation about whether Vince’s marks act as quotes or as “ideas of a gesture”, whether they are a depiction or a demonstration.

For Vince abstraction is based on faith, not in a religious or spiritual sense but as belief in a language and trust in a process.

Abstraction is often an activity of isolation. In the case of Vince Contarino’s practice, he challenges this notion by active engaging the outside world with other artists and through writing and blogging. He is involved in Progress Report and KCLOG blogs and recently co-curated The Working Title, a group exhibition at the Bronx River Art Center.

-Amanda Lechner

Discussion Links:

David Reed

Map of Metal

Article : The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism

Quote below from Howard Hurst’s interview on March 21st, 2011-

“Vince Contarino is a New York based painter. His multi-layered canvasses explore the language of abstraction. From first glance there is something illusive in Contarino’s canvases, a tension between the forthright and the concealed. The artist often repurposes forgotten brushstrokes and colors, pasting them into his collages and works on paper. The result is something both beautiful and challenging, a floating soup of the painterly. Contarino’s belief in the ongoing relevance of abstraction is mirrored in his extracurricular activities.”

To read the full interview click on the link below.

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