Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Art from JULIE BAKER FINE ARTS in California

Julie Baker Fine Arts in California.

Recent purchases from this Gallery include:


"Call to Duty"


Matt Duffin was born in 1968 and grew up in Houston, Texas. He studied architecture, but never practiced as an architect. Instead, he chose to explore the more human themes of solitude and irony through art. His medium has evolved from charcoal to encaustic wax, but he continues to dwell in the realm of dark recesses and stark contrasts. He has lived in Spain, Costa Rica, and Taos, New Mexico and currently resides in northern California with his wife and two small children.




The figures, words, and symbolic markings that fill my work are my own synthesis of culture, both past and present, creating what I consider visual poetry. The work is created to remind people of lost thoughts that pass by each of us with or without notice. The work involves a dialogue with the observer, established through interaction. The act of creation is as much a part of a piece as the final product-the formation of ideas, the construction of the surface, the selection and application of media all function as important elements of my process.

The use of language in the work is a study of words as the representation of ideas, objects, and events. This presents an opportunity for viewer interaction, as each i identified word or phrase brings a personal set of visual possibilities to the viewer's mind. Grid paintings offer collaboration between the figurative and the narrative elements of my works. Integrating grids with figurative, written, and abstract images I create an analytical puzzle of the work. These works function as riddles that allow insight into the meaning of the work.

One-line drawings are another example of my efforts to bring interaction to the work. These time-based works involve drawing one continuous line to form various images in a somewhat subjective approach. The intricacy of the line is contrasted by the simplicity of the images depicted. Images are not necessarily readily discernable and the viewer must follow or study the line to discover the content of the piece.

-Tad Lauritzen Wright



"Shoe Shine Boy"


BFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University 1988

9/2005 V. Breier Gallery, San Francisco, CA., Narratives in Clay
7/2005 Julie Baker Fine Art, Nevada City, CA., "In the Garden"
12/2004 Off the Preserve, Napa, CA., "Group Show," juror, Rene diRosa
06/2004 Epperson Gallery, Crocket CA “What are Dogs For?”
01/2004 Off the Preserve, Napa CA. "All in the Family" Juror, Rene diRosa
11/2003-present Imani Gallery, Napa CA.
10/2003 1212 Gallery, Burlingame CA. "New Works: Suzanne M Long /Michael Cutlip"
08/2003 Fairfield Center, Fairfield CA. "Figuratively Speaking" Curated by Ruth Moss
04/2003 Arts Benicia Gallery, Benicia CA, 2003 Open Studios
03/2003 1212 Gallery, Burlingame CA. "Opening: Group Show"
03/2003 Arts Benicia Gallery, Benicia CA, "Terra Forma", Juror, Arthur Gonzales
02/2003 The Epperson Gallery, Crockett CA, "homosapien"
01/2003 Off the Preserve Gallery, Napa CA, "Painters and Poets" Curated by Ann Trinca
08/2002 Northern Light Gallery, Napa CA, "pipsqueak"
04/2002 Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol CA, "Couples" Juror Clayton Bailey
03/2001 Fetterly Gallery, Vallejo CA. "Figures in (e)motion"
05/2001 Marilyn O'Rourke Gallery, Benicia CA. "Naked as an Apple"
12/2000 Agiurre Gallery: Group Show, "Wonder" San Mateo CA.
08/1999 12 Gallery: Group Show. Suisun CA.
06/1999 Epperson Gallery: Group Show. Crockett CA.
05/1996-2003 Benicia Open Studios. Benicia CA.
01/1995-2003 Arts Benicia Gallery: Art of the Community. Benicia CA.
1992 Society of Illustrators Group Show. San Francisco CA.
1991 Society of Illustrators Group Show. San Francisco CA.
1988 Pen rose Gallery Tyler School of Art. Elkins Park PA.

The Rene and Veronica di Rosa Collection, The di Rosa Art and Nature Preserve, Napa CA.
Kathy Runyon Collection, Santa Cruz CA.
Diana Mercer Collection, Santa Cruz CA.
Ann Trinca, Napa CA.



My work has evolved from an early interest in Pop Art and icons of American pop culture expressed through popular imagery and cultural artifacts. I explore visual symbol for what it represents both literally and metaphorically.

I am fascinated with the psychological disavowal that is required to live with and accept the pervasive cultural narratives of childhood, power, and gender. Simultaneous acceptance of contradicting information is rooted in these narratives. Childhood, as a concept, is a place charged with fantasies of freedom and innocents. It is addressed in my work by appropriating familiar imagery and reconstructing it on an image surface in a self-reflexive and highly material approach. Through techniques of layering and erasing of visual elements and texts, I present conflicting ideas and develop a trace of my psychological process. In reworking the surface, each layer brings me further into the dialectics of the issues being addressed.

Toys and children's books become objects of ritual when in a culture like ours they are imbued with conscious and unconscious meaning. The various meanings are based in cultural constructs of gender and power. To illustrate the construction of childhood imagery, larger-than-life ceramic sculptures of iconic toys and books demonstrate a banality that comes from being oversized and heavy while also fragile; mimicking the duality in childhood mythology.

I use humor to juxtapose the underlying presence and psychological consequence of the menacing cultural narratives intrinsic in children's toys and books. Power is trivialized and becomes symbolically accessible in stylized toys such as guns, jet planes, and rocket cars where the violence is hidden under their glazed surfaces.

Fantasies of power are closely linked to gender identities. Gender identities that are formed in childhood depend greatly on visual representation in media images and toys. The toys that seem to reflect the innocence and freedom of childhood are embedded with weighty social contracts dictating gender identities. I incorporate images of toys and children performing gender roles in combination with ghost images into my investigations of American pop culture and its fantasies to show the disparity between our idealized fantasies and our physical based realities.

- Don Fritz


"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"


For the last few years I've made a deliberate move away from abstract subjects to recognizable ones. Here's a small sampling. These works are a kaleidoscope of subjects and visual thoughts – a conglomeration of junk yard items, old toys, games, architectural salvage, random letters,and numbers. I'm interested in the specific, commonplace unaltered look of these objects. Each one tells a life story all by itself and while I don't want to alter the intrinsic look of the objects I do enjoy arranging them in different, often implausible juxtapositions. Presented together these components suggest a type of ocular language, a synergistic relationship based on or becoming folk lore or ritual or religion – a deliberate contrast to our complicated times with our computers and our techno-advances and the Internet and man vs. man pushed to the nth degree. I hope the viewer sees a life cycle chronicle of progress and change and time passing. I want past and present to merge as these memory paintings sketch a tribal blueprint for a mental and emotional scavenger hunt deep into the heart of American curiosities that evoke the past and trigger the viewer's memories; there's a certain amount of nostalgia, a recycled moment here and now (the Proustian thing); lastly, a prescient remembrance of how it all began way back when.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Art from CARL HAMMER GALLERY in Chicago

Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago.

Recent Purchases from this Gallery include:




Placed in the context of landscapes informed by the Hudson River School painters the idealized female is portrayed at the juncture of myth and social realism. The paintings refer to archetypes of fairy tales and mythology through a language of culturally specific symbols to explore both the female identity and broader cultural shifts. The grand American landscape is used not as a record of a specific place, but as iconic backdrop to an exploration of the fears and uncertainties that nip at the edges of the post-feminist landscape.

The paintings continue a centuries old tradition of depicting the female form in idyllic settings yet through incorporating symbols of America's idealized past the work probes a loss of cultural optimism and the ongoing irresolution of such post-feminist issues as sexuality versus intellectualism, passivity and acquiescence versus ambition. With references to mid-twentieth century imagery and advertising text the work courts irony and the inner narratives are playful, yet confront the conflicting expectations of contemporary culture and the intricately complex ways in which we form our identities.

While much of the narrative is intensely personal the underlying themes remain universal. The finished paintings are a pastiche of references and emotionally charged symbols that ultimately the viewer will respond to through their own personal history and emotional landscape. The paintings in this series are done in acrylic on canvas.

Working in water based media the artist is focused on depicting the idealized female in psychological-narrative scenes.


"Neotoma cinerea"

Artist's Information:

Her work is heralded by critics nationwide. From the New York Times to the L.A. Times, from The New Yorker to Juxtapoz, art reviews reflect upon her work in like-minded fashion. Robert Costa, Cover magazine, best describes her style. Irene Hardwicke’s laboriously detailed paintings are intricate, obsessive and idiosyncratic – qualities associated more with personality than with any stylistic category. Though not “outsider” art per se, her work shares with that school a tendency to be all-inclusive, to leave nothing out. Her surfaces are often dense with tightly scrawled text and fantastic imagery relating to a favorite subject.

Ms. Hardwicke Olivieri’s paintings resound with depictions concerning relationships between the natural world and our own lives, especially hers. Each work is chock-a-block full of both visual and textual references to the cycles of nature, the symbiotic relationships in the plant/animal world, and the parallel worlds which exist between them and humanity. In all of her works we feel a constant and ingrained referencing of the ideologies of Emerson, Thoreau, and Muir. Additionally, we experience the similar self celebration advanced by artists as far-ranging as Walt Whitman and Frida Kahlo. And like Kahlo, as well as other exceptional women artists, Hardwicke Olivieri finds her way outside the dominant, masculine mode and turns, instead, her attention inward, creating a personal autobiography of astonishingly intimate self-portraits. The cultural and natural artifacts surrounding her figures are employed like a kind of clothing which not only surround but envelope her, and she becomes One with them.

The tradition of desire unconventionally employed is the theme best describing this artist’s vision. And it effectively offers us a window of experience wherein we are enabled to see and regain a sort of self understanding. By sharing this with the artist, we are free to re-examine and to participate with our own very secret life experiences and desires by translating them into new vistas of discovery, delight, and potential transformation.

Eden, Again

Painted on old cupboard doors, weathered bits of driftwood, the lids of disassembled boxes and shutters that have come off their hinges, Irene Hardwicke Olivieri’s pictures of voluptuous women and virile men – set in fabulous landscapes teeming with all manner of flora and fauna – re-write the story of the Garden of Eden. Traditionally, the lesson to be learned from the age-old parable is that desire for knowledge inevitably leads women (with men following right on their heels) out of idyllic, uninterrupted contentment and into suffering, hardship and death – in other words, life as we know it. in olivieri’s hard-working hands, however, the pursuit of knowledge is not at odds with the pleasures of the flesh. Rather than linking curiosity and punishment – and thus establishing the foundation for an absolute division between heavenly ideals (or Godly perfection) and earthly inadequacies (or human frailties) – her meticulously crafted yet simply composed images invite viewers to entertain the idea that a healthy appetite for physical experience goes hand-in-hand with the desire to discover (and understand) humanity’s place in the cosmos.

excerpted from Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, Paintings, 2000, by David Pagel


"Dreaming (Pillow Case)"


Review of Orly Cogan's Tangled Up in You show

An embroidered nipple. Hand sewn pubic hair. Even the words provoke unease and curiosity, the desire to stroke the obscene with a tender hand.

Orly Cogan's manufactured and appropriated linens serve as the cultural backdrop for her ethereal figures, composed of hand sewn dotted lines and embroidered nether-regions. Often appearing like flighty '80s Oui Oui models turned gods and goddesses, each character is caught in the midst of nervous experimentation and ecstasy. Many seem unsure of their new-found innocence, while some take advantage of a another's distraction, sneakily petting a vagina, or holding a penis as though they were nicking a wallet.

Still others (the veterans of this world?) have ventured into bestiality. Many creatures, dogs, lobsters, and bears, seem to have intentions of their own, sometimes attacking vaginas, sometimes appearing as delighted cherubs around a couple's embrace.

Cogan's use of vintage fabrics, outdated but not beyond our recent memories, incites strange memories. Like a mother's apron and linens, or a green and brown, leaf-patterned tablecloth that we sat at refusing to eat our peas, we are already both attracted and repelled. By layering these scenes of sexual delight and unnoticed horror, Cogan seems to propose that these elements are ever-present, then and now, hidden by veils as thin as these.

Cogan eroticizes the very nature of linens and the act of sewing. Rather than simply reusing a previous generation's products for mere commentary, she nearly respects them, using them like two-way mirrors into the like-minded fantasies of competing generations.

In "Allegory," a mix of embroidery and paint on a pale, vintage tablecloth, a group of women are gathered like saints and angels in an ochre-flowered celestial-like realm where the night sky is dotted with deeply-pink areolas and thick embroidered hair. The women simultaneously embrace, fondle, and ignore each other to their own liking. The age and scale of each woman varies, creating a seemingly randomized hierarchy that hints at a state of constant flux between each woman's assertive and passive roles.

Cogan seems to make a statement about the role of women in general, as being something recently unhinged and possibly capable of exploding into a world of unfettered delight. The men, somewhat unchallenged in these works, seem to be just fine with that.

—Michael Kiser []


Orly Cogan: Tangled Up in You
Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago
June 02—July 08, 2006


Orly Cogan

BACHELOR GIRL - ORLY COGAN at Julia Friedman Gallery - Nudes on vintage fabrics provide witty contrast. - To paraphrase an old song, Orly Cogan enjoys being a girl, and her embroidered nudes offer a flip, hip irreverent take on the conventions of femininity. She achieves her signature look by stitching figures on dainty vintage fabrics. These found linens, which once served as table runners, bureau scarves and tablecloths in a more modest age, were already embroidered once by an earlier and more circumscribed generation of women. Cogan adds to these quaint decorations a layer of attitude that updates old-fashioned womanly crafts with a kind of happy-go-lucky postmodern perversity.

Thus we see prim rows of flowers and leaves forming a bower for the bachelor girl’in a series of soft-porn stitcheries that appears to be a kind of self-portrait of the artist with snack food. She is shown not just eating but smashing soft pastries into her mouth or against her body while staring provocatively at us and wearing nothing but panties and striped ankle socks.

The portrait Cogan offers of life as a ‘bachelor girl’ looks like loads of fun. There's nothing in here about paying the rent or even getting dressed. The world she shows us is one of pleasure and self-absorption with occasional drop in visits from like-minded nude males. When she's not eating or playing suggestive games with hand puppets, Cogan's bachelor girl lounges around talking on her cell phone and hugging her cat. And she stays voluptuous and pretty, no matter how many Hostess cupcakes and Pop Tarts she eats. What a life. The character Cogan creates is sort of a 21st-century female Hugh Hefner in much scantier pajamas. The trick here is that she's Playboy centerfold and playgirl all at once. She gets to keep her cake and eat it too. All this would just be propaganda for a point of view no one seriously disagrees with anymore except that Cogan's rendering is so appealing and so deftly integrated with the vintage fabrics she uses that the effect ends up being more than just the sum of its parts. The works are both decorative and witty. The embroideries are fairly primitive, made of neat basting stitches that clearly draw her subjects but without any of the subtlety of the originals that earlier generations of women sweated over with cramped fingers.

All the work is hand stitched embroidery on vintage linens,2004/2003.






"If She Were Clumsy"


"Nataly and I"



"Follow the Leader, Leader"







The simultaneously repulsive/beguiling mixed media figures of Joseph Seigenthaler didn’t just crawl out of some dark, murky, mysterious slime. They arrived by car, the CTA, they walked in city streets, they ate lunch in a neighborhood diner, their legs mended in local hospitals, they were entertained in the local movie theater. They were the man or woman who live just down the block. But it is, perhaps, the artist himself who is most studied in these fierce and unlikely recreations straight out of an Ivan Albright painting. Their fixed stares at first confront then transport the passing viewer, often into surrealistic realms of discovery and understanding. A transplant from the South, Seigenthaler has taken the resemblance of a latter-day Chicago imagist. His people studies are the quintessence of freak or sideshow subject matter. His transformational use of exaggeration and distortion creates a reality out of illusion and disillusion. "ALIVE!" they seem to shout while conveying to us a chilling association with all things improbably pre-historic or extra-terrestrial.

What we fear and draw back from is often the source of our greatest fascination. The remarkable and transformational sculpture by Joe Seigenthaler touches us in ways which both surprise and delight. We love the ability to suspend our own disbelief, and we uncover a more base and unfamiliar self in the process.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1959, Joseph Seigenthaler currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he has exhibited his figurative sculpture for the past decade.

He received the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981 from the Memphis College of Art's painting department and afterwards began fabricating on a freelance basis life-size, realistic wax figures for various wax museums, primarily in Nashville and Sydney, Australia. The technical processes gained from this three-year period were to become influential in the development of his later explorations with the figures in clay.

From 1984 to 1986 Seigenthaler attended the Appalachian Center for Arts and Crafts in Smithville, Tennessee, where he became exposed to the possibilities of the ceramic medium. In 1987 he was awarded a three year tuition scholarship from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, where in 1990 he received the Master of Fine Arts degree.

Seigenthaler has taught ceramics and sculpture at the University of Montana, Missoula and Harold Washington College in Chicago. More recently he has taught part-time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Virginia A. Groot Foundation awarded him their visual arts grant in sculpture in 1996, as well as a third place award in 1995. He was the recipient of a Regional Fellowship Award in sculpture from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991 and a visual arts grant in sculpture from the Illinois Arts Council in 1990.

Recent exhibitions from 1997-1998 include "The Nude in Clay" at Perimeter Gallery in Chicago; "Out of the Shadow of Ivan Albright, Twelve Contemporary Chicago Artists" at the State of Illinois Art Gallery/ Chicago; the Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art Exposition in New York and Chicago; and one-person shows at Ann Nathan Gallery in Chicago. Seigenthaler was included in the 1994 exhibit "UnReal- Three Chicago Artists," curated by the SUNY Roland Gibson Gallery, State University of New York, Potsdam. He is currently scheduled for a solo exhibition in the Spring of 2000 at the Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago.

His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu Hawaii, as well as numerous private collections nationwide.


"The Secret Motion of Things II"


Painting is about experience meditated on in a peculiar manner with the hope of sustaining genuine feeling and selfhood despite the myriad of emotional dangers inherent in living. It is both more cruel and more intimate than everyday life in its effort to preserve the depth and complexity of intimate engagement with life, not just to reflect the accommodations necessitated by our emotional and physical survival. At its best it is a compassionate endeavor; a form of experiencing that feels fully; accepting pain, grief and joy without the indulgences of judgement that limit our vulnerability, need, and fear but also our sense or realness. Thus, my paintings express a world that possesses me as much as I feel I possess myself. It is a troubled love within the dream of my painting, but one in which I believe the vulnerable can survive.

Elizabeth Shreve





At one point or another I infuse my work with parody strategies, arbitrariness and
ephemeral counteractions about love and affectionate feelings in a hostile world.
Often burlesque-like and erotically hypersensitive, the images meander between a
physical and mental existence that juxtaposes the nonsensical with the profoundly
meaningful. The work becomes a site for sexual discourse often pushed into a
precarious state, a state where one can get lost in a tangle of fear, desire and

The motifs I use are based on the co-presence of memory and fiction, suggesting a
miniaturized fairytale-like illusionary life that offers up all sorts of cosmic possibilities.

Beginning invisibly and unconsciously, when the narrative and forms finally develop
they become distilled, killed, seductive, lost, self-containing and overflowing.

Thus the activity of making becomes a meditation about pleasure, trauma and the
difficulty of being, all the while distilling the senses and addressing quirks of the soul which I want to articulate beautifully and idiosyncratically. Finally my paintings are ruminations about submerged eroticism played out against operatic opulence, refined and dressed to reflect the terrible melancholy of nostalgia and loss.



"Heart's Desire"



"Hugger Mugger"

Mary Lou Zelanzny


"Ignis Fatuus"

"Hidden Trojans"


The Carl Hammer Gallery is pleased to welcome Mary Lou Zelazny in her first one-person exhibition appearance here. For over 18 years we have observed the career of this artist develop as she has masterfully worked to inject collaged pop culture imagery into her paintings. For us, the public, great satisfaction is derived when the perfect, unexpected element, or lost piece of the puzzle is found and made to be a part of the greater whole. Her combining the gestural fluidity of paint with the slickness of the clipped photograph creates a hybrid form which is both expressive and stimulating.

In much of her work, Zelazny explores and pays homage to elements of pre-modern art history. Among the many genres that she has worked into her paintings, landscapes, still life, and portrait paintings seem to dominate. The human figure, especially the female form, parades most often through her work. Those initial inspirations, combined with collage, seem to create the new worlds allowing her own observations to inhabit. And all the while that the process seems to work as an introduction to the viewer, to rethink the clichés of romance, surrealism, and pictorialism, Zelazny surreptitiously introduces herself through the clichés.

This most recent work by the artist uses the effects and gestures of a loaded brush to create new collage material. Mono-prints, splashes, drips and pours have replaced the found, photo-based images. These new elements seem then reorganized and combined with more traditional techniques so that a variety of textures and patterns coexist within the larger narratives of the paintings themselves. From the tension and movement of all the ingredients, and in their flickering reassembly, we become infected from the realization of her passion and excitement.

David Sharpe



It is with great pleasure that the Carl Hammer gallery presents its first solo exhibition of new paintings by internationally acclaimed artist David Sharpe. Mr. Sharpe is no stranger to Chicago. A graduate school standout at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, his artwork has been a familiar part of the Chicago exhibition landscape since 1968. He was, up until recently, a mainstay in the stable of artists from the venerable Sonia Zaks Gallery. We are privileged, now, to continue representing his work to the greater Chicago and vicinity area. In the latest of a long list of achievements, Mr. Sharpe was awarded The American Academy of Arts and Letters 2006 annual purchase award for The Universe, a recent painting by the artist.

A prolific painter, David Sharpe’s consistency is marked not only by its quality, but of his willingness to explore beyond the perceived limitations of his range. Recently, his production of work provides us a greater insight to the painting process with much more visible drawing present, an integrated exposure of the layering of the paintings themselves. The process is much more immediate, not as a stream-of-consciousness, but certainly very direct in terms of approach.

The Landscape, more prevalent in his paintings years ago, is reintroduced by Sharpe in this newest work. Though there is still an active involvement with figuration as well, this new engagement with issues, like natural phenomenon, is saying something personal and new about the artist as well. “We all know what a sunset looks like, but a work of art can redefine for us the way we look at nature or can help us to define any personal experience whether it be perceived or felt. I like it when I look at a sunset and say to myself – there is a Joseph Yoakum sunset or mountain, or perhaps it reminds me of a Van Gogh,” quotes the artist. Or perhaps it is, in part, a reaction to the immense amount of work which is so media based. “So much art today relies on magazines, computer, or TV. Things can get very sterile very quickly when all you respond to is the corporate world. It is much more challenging for me to take the commonplace as my subject than to appropriate the bizarre and serve it up as invention.”

The inventiveness and insightfulness of David Sharpe’s paintings truly bring us back to a contemplative re-inspection of that which surrounds us every day. More importantly, they also take us to the new places in our private worlds of self-discovery

Hollis Sigler

"You Were the Most ..."

"The Phoenix Takes Flight"

"She Knew SHe Could..."


Hudson Hills Press to Publish Unique Journal

Of Beautiful and Moving Paintings

Documenting Artist's Struggle with Disease

Hollis Sigler's Breast Cancer Journal

"Sigler's entire career has been a testament to the communicative graces of art,

and in the Breast Cancer Journal she reminds us

that art can accomplish this in a way that nothing else can,

and that sometimes, preciously and rarely, it will do very much more.

Sometimes art can be a matter of life and death." - James Yood

Hollis Sigler, a leading feminist artist, was diagnosed in 1985 with breast cancer, a disease that had also stricken her mother and great-grandmother. After it recurred, she began a pictorial journal, now encompassing more than one hundred works. Art in America magazine called Sigler's Breast Cancer Journal "one of contemporary art's richest and most poignant treatments of sickness and health… Taking on a kind of religious conviction, her jewel-colored symbols imbue a death-haunted situation with miraculous, celebratory life." These works- and the commentaries that the artist inscribed on many of them- combine personal experience with family history, medical statistics, and political consciousness raising.

This inspiring volume brings together the sixty finest works from the Breast Cancer Journal in full-color reproductions- paintings, drawings, prints, watercolors, and cut-paper pieces- each accompanied by the artist's commentaries. Dr. Susan M. Love, a leading authority on breast cancer, discusses the importance of Sigler's art as a document on the disease's personal impact. "Hollis Sigler gives a voice to the woman struggling with the reality of breast cancer- not the ever-happy face the public wants to see, but the real face of a woman living with a chronic and potentially life-threatening disease. It is this reality that makes her art so difficult for many women to face, and it is this reality that also makes it so powerful."

James Yood recounts the aesthetic trajectory of Sigler's career, and of the Breast Cancer Journal in particular, drawing parallels with Frida Kahlo, another artist whose life and work were significantly affected by a medical condition. He is also "reminded of late works by Rembrandt or Pablo Picasso or Ivan Albright, when these artists looked squarely in the face of their death." He writes of Sigler: "In work after work she explores what it means to love, to enjoy small pleasures, to consider both the wonder and the ambiguities of human relationships, and to inventory the thousand tender wounds of intimacy… Sigler's images, with their titles often scrawled across them, constitute a corpus of work revealing the possibilities for a genre painting of the human spirit at the end of the twentieth century."

Sigler herself, in an essay titled "To Kiss the Spirits," writes of her life as a woman, as a lesbian, as an artist, as a person with breast cancer, and as a breast cancer activist, also relating the history of various art projects and exhibitions that culminated in her Breast Cancer Journal, a project undertaken with the hope that "the work would thus gain the power to destroy the silence surrounding the disease." She also discusses many metaphoric images that appear and reappear in the work, such as the vanity and its mirror, a dead and broken tree, her mother's dress, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The titles of the paintings alone provide a poignant glimpse into the mind and spirit of this remarkable artist:

The Illusion Was to Think She Had Any Control over Her Life

Trying to Maintain an Air of Normalcy

The Future Moves in Much Closer

What Does the Lady Do with Her Rage?

Following the Ghosts of Our Grandmothers into the Future

In Spite of All, She Rises in the Morning with Joy in Her Heart

Wishing She Could Take a Vacation from Her Disease

It Starts with One Errant Cell

A Wish to Touch the Sky

In the Unfolding of Life, Every Minute Is Precious

She Had No More Room for Sorrow

We Have Sold Our Souls to the Devil

Hollis Sigler’s Breast Cancer Journal is a beautiful art book and a unique testament to the human spirit, a fundamental affirmation of the possibilities of life discovered in the midst of agony and loss. To be published during National Breast Cancer Month, October 1999, it is the artist’s gift to all whose lives have been touched by this disease.

Dr. Susan M. Love is the bestselling author of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book (Addison Wesley, 1990/1995) and Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book (Random House, 1997). A breast cancer surgeon, researcher, scholar, teacher, and activist, she studies and taught at Harvard Medical School before moving to the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine. She is also Medical Director of the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute and one of the founders of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She has been appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board.

James Yood, born in Elizabeth, N.J., studied at the Universities of Wisconsin (B.A.) and Chicago (M.A., Ph.D. candidate). He teaches at Northwestern University in Chicago and is the author of many books on Chicago art and artists.

Published by Hudson Hills Press

Tending the Garden

“In the face of terminal illness, those afflicted have been known to do extraordinary things. While compelled to cope with the physical effects of disease, many artists, writers, and performers have created works directly related to or informed by illness. Confronted with a new identity and status as ‘sick person,’ they have questioned the meaning of life, fate, and destiny or addressed social and political issues surrounding their illness. An energy and freedom seem to follow the diagnosis of a disease that will remain with a person for the rest of her life.

Hollis Sigler’s Breast Cancer Journal is a public acknowledgement of her longtime battle with breast cancer. First diagnosed in 1985, Sigler was told seven years later that the cancer had metastasized to her bones. Responding to the disease’s permanence, it seemed natural, unavoidable, to incorporate breast cancer into her art. Since the mid-1970’s, Sigler’s continuing pictorial diary of confessional paintings and drawings has revealed her desires and fantasies, as well as her fears and sorrows. Rendered with a vibrant palette and a childlike simplicity, her fictional spaces scattered with personal effects symbolize complex and intense emotional states. Though Sigler continues to employ her vigorous yet delicate style, the content of her works shifted dramatically when she found the cancer had spread. Accepting her social responsibility as an artist, she decided to incorporate the ‘cause’ into her work. “

- Stacy Boris


Monday, November 27, 2006

New Art from BUCHEON GALLERY in San Francisco

Bucheon Gallery in San Francisco.

Another work by David Gremard Romero:


New art in the collection includes two new pastel pieces by DAVID GREMARD ROMERO.

"Super Heros"


David Gremard Romero: Metamorphosis
essay by Jacqueline Cooper

David Gremard Romero’s paintings and drawings are redolent of Classical allegory and executed in a technique that recalls the late Renaissance and the subtle nuances of Mannerist portraits. Throughout this body of work, figures, or characters, are depicted in the throes of transfiguration. In the paintings and pastels on paper this metamorphoses remains incomplete, whereas in the drawings the completed
transformation propels a specific narrative.

Taking his cue from the classical tradition of patronage when artists depicted their benefactors as allegorical figures, David began his series of paintings and pastels by asking his models to describe the characteristics, spiritual, moral or otherwise, of a super ego that might be representative of their own projected desire. Some of the models were specific while others were vague. The site, or stage setting, for these transformations is frequently modeled on the Elysian fields of Rococo landscape
painting. Loosely brushed-in trees sit in front of pale washes of color, while the confident brushwork and strident colors of the fi gures occupy the foreground. Romero usually refers to the partially transformed selves as “Superheroes”. This further distances the figures from their backgrounds and suggests a character actor free to explore and exchange archetype, gender, race and sexuality as he/she adopts, tentatively, or otherwise, the costume of an “other’ freed from the subjectivity of history or environment. This obviously makes some of his models uncomfortable. For example, in the painting, Portrait of Heather as a Superhero Unmasked, the model seems unsure of the protection of her luxurious purple cloak, and clings to a black mask in her hand as if the vulnerability of her disguise had just been penetrated. Other portraits, however, celebrate the autonomy of their chosen transformation.

In the luscious pastel on paper, Transformation of Migs into a Superhero, the figure turns his head away from the gaze of the viewer but puffs out his chest with pride while his red, blue and gold tunic strains to wrap his naked torso. A proud coquette, Migs dares the viewer to comment on the intimacy of his personal metamorphoses. Not all the archetypes chosen by the models are esoteric. One of the
most dignified of transformations is seen in the work, David Rudolph as the Lumberjack. The slightly elongated figure whose red and black flannel shirt is opened in a state of partial undress represents a noble personification of the mythical, axe-bearing, woodsman.

As the transformations become more extreme and complicated, the artist increasingly flirts with gesture and form by liberating the figures from the pedantic needs of human anatomy. This is most obvious in the work Self-Portrait as Wonderwoman with Linda Carter as Diana Prince. Using himself as subject, Romero has squeezed and attenuated his own form into an awkward but defiant depiction of the actress Linda Carter’s television “Wonderwoman”. A spectacle in itself, this transgendered deity
clutches a portrait miniature of the original DC Comics Wonderwoman, Diana Prince. This cameo is a fetish that can only be approximated through the adoption of a recognizable but rather ridiculous costume. In this work, David Gremard Romero suggests that the authority suggested by physical transformation relies on the popular recognition of costume, whereas the subject as allegorical figure has to further refer to heroic ideals and political agency.

The theme of metamorphosis as a medium for personal and political change is followed through in a group of sequential drawings, arranged as a frieze that partially wraps around the gallery walls. Hung at eye level and reading from left to right, this work is an homage to Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The form and scale of Romero’s narrative drawing is comparable to a graphic novel or the preliminary storyboarding of epic cinematography. A storyboard outlines direction in the production of a film and,
similarly, the frieze has changes of pace and focus throughout its length. Individual characters are focused on when specific physical transformations mark a paradigm shift. In one frame two figures exchange eyeballs, while in another, open mouths feed aggressively on the fecund figure of a multiply breasted woman. By contrast, when the collective actions of characters provide the impetus for social
revolution, the sweep of the artists’ lens is appropriately wide. The storyline in Romero’s work loosely mirrors Metamorphosis but remains open-ended with conclusions being drawn only about victory over past physical and psychological lives when, for example, groups of figures shed brown skins for blue, or characters elect gender as a refl ection of the predominant show of force. Ovid’s Metamorphosis is anachronistic and, similarly, David Gremard Romero plays with this idea by introducing contemporary iconography to suggest the mutability of present day subcultures. He characters are pushedinto the foreground by flat colors and the graphic division of the space behind them. The flattened perspective of the comic strip environment is further accentuated in one frame where the artist has adopted a cartoons, blossom patterned print as a metaphor for the (already once-removed) illustrated realism of branches and flowers. This gesture is reminiscent of backgrounds in Japanese manga and anime, this element subtly contradicts the overarching Classical content.

As well as the large narrative drawing and the paintings and pastels, single cartoons are also on display in the gallery. These works are more ironic, positioning themselves as a bridge between the allegorical portraits and the fast paced graphic novel. Their composition frequently references sketches by Michelangelo or Tiepolo, although the angels and gargoyles are ripped from the pages of contemporary comics and dysfunctional Superhero couplings occur between the cast-offs from Marvel comics. In the paintings, although the figures remain passive, costume and symbol provide clues to events offstage. In the frieze, as in the cinema, action is present and continually unfolding as a narrative offered to a passive viewer. Although the paintings present the transformation of character into archetype by the adoption of theatrical costume and the drawings describe acts of heroism and selfsacrifice, David Gremard Romero refers to the lineage of classical narrative in both forms. In doing so he provides the viewer with access to allegory as he attempts to elevate the human condition through the loving act and attention of painting and drawing.

New piece by JENNY DUBNAU.

"M. wearing lampshade as helmet"

ARTIST'S STATEMENT: "My work attempts to describe momentary encounters with people. Using photography as a starting point, I hold a photo shoot with a friend, and see what occurs between us. I usually choose the image which is the most revealing: it is often also the image which renders the subject the most vulnerable, both psychologically and physically. Photography can capture “in-between” moments of great awkwardness; painting can extend the length of those moments, creating a context in which metaphors of mortality and grace can be extracted out of the imperfections and physical flaws of the subjects."

Another new piece is by LAURA BALL.



The young women in Laura Ball’s new paintings appear exnihilo, as though inexplicably transported from their daily grind into a utopian jungle where horses, rams, and lemurs await a playful battle.

Showing both oils and watercolors, Ball displays the breadth of her talents. The canvas works recall Sigmar Polke’s sketchy, disappearing figures, but with more focus and direct narrative.

Her delicate watercolors demonstrate her craftsmanship and restraint. The natural rendering of the girls and animals contrasts with other water-thinned elements breaking apart into abstract areas of hazy color. Each figure maintains a weight and solidity in their airy, vacant environment, which gives them the feeling of dreams or wild visions. They seem to bleed through the empty fibers of the paper and into our world.

Armed with squirt-guns and pointed fingers, and atop the unusual work animals, the girls engage in a brightly colored chaos that ranges from light, ironic glee, to a darker, unexpected violence. These are not the simple fantasies of little girls, carrousels and candy, but those of a slightly older, not yet settled age when fear and responsibility begin to claim the minds of young people.

Here, the only realities will be manufactured by the inhabitants. The girls’ excitement seems uncontrollable. Their arms flailing, legs kicking off the sides of horses, and laughing so hard it must hurt, they are clearly releasing a pent-up cache of energy and creativity. Their newfound freedom implies a prior oppressor, and the mostly negative space into which these dream-like renderings emerge hint at an external absence.

With this oppressor confined to the blank margins of the page, there remains no hindrance to the ultimate enjoyment of the girls. Except themselves of course. The dissonance created between their formerly internal and external realities falls. And where much responsibility is given, failure is rampant. The girls are affected by this “play” in extremely different ways. Many seem emotionally distraught and victimized.

Whatever their individual oppressors in the real world, they have clearly not escaped them all. They project their own fears onto each other, as they are clearly not endangered by squirt-guns or search parties with walkie-talkies. And others seem to be putting too much threat behind these same toy weapons, grimacing as they pull the imaginary triggers.

The difficulty for some of these girls seems to lie in their inability to understand why they still feel afraid in their collective fantasy. If they feel fear, then there must be someone to be afraid of. And without the boring job to hate, or the overbearing parents, these young women seem to be in the throws of their own developing, and sometimes self-destructive psychology.

—Michael Kiser []


Laura Ball: Wargames (Don't Try This At Home)
Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago
Oct 20—Nov 25, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ed Paschke Show at Chicago History Museum

Impressive new show curated by David Russick with a great video interview of Ed and a tremendous survey of his life's work. We were honored to be asked to lend a major piece to the show.

The Art of Ed Paschke

Join Chicago-area artists in their personal tours of the Ed Paschke exhibition; you will explore the work and life of the artist through the insights and personal connections of one of his colleagues and friends. A final program brings all three artists together for a panel discussion on Paschke led by guest curator David Russick.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Art from JOHN PENCE GALLERY in San Francisco

John Pence Gallery in San Francisco

Recent Purchases from the Gallery include:

Juilette Aristides


Juliette Aristides (b. 1971) is a mid-career artist living in Seattle, Washington. She has studied at The National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Aristides is an Elizabeth Greenshields grant recipient.

Juliette Aristides is actively dedicated to rebuilding a traditional arts education in the United States. This is exemplified by her teaching and writing. She was an original member of the Water Street Atelier and currently teaches at The Seattle Academy of Fine Art where she founded the award winning Classical Atelier Program. Aristides is a regular contributor to Artist Magazine and is currently writing two books for Watson-Guptill, Classical Drawing Atelier and Classical Painting Atelier. Aristides' work is imbued with confidence and bravura. An innate drawing talent permeates her work. Her work invites the viewer to share an inner world as she explores her identity through the roles of artist, teacher, historian and mother. Aristides utilizes historical references which entices the viewer's intellect. She employs a rich warm palette, reminiscent of another age.

Aristides has had two successful one person shows at Pence, in 2003 and April 2005. She has also participated in group shows across the country, garnering a national collection base as a result.



"Sweet Nothings"

Will Wilson - (b. 1957) began his career with John Pence in 1980 and has staged ten highly successful one-man shows at John Pence Gallery. In addition to his shows in San Francisco, he has exhibited with Baltimore Life Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Schuler School Of Fine Arts, Baltimore, MD; Salmagundi Club, New York, NY; St. Mary's College, St. Mary City, VA; Society of Illustrators, New York, NY; Denver Rotary Show, Denver, CO; Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Memorial Art Museum, Rochester, NY; and the Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, NY.

Wilson is a master of his painting craft. He creates between 8-10 works each year, ranging in size from 9 x 10 inches to 70 x 50 inches. He works from life and paints figures, florals, still lifes, animals, and self-portraits. His paintings are tight and precise, working in the tradition of the great Dutch Masters and the American Masters Harnett and Peto. For Wilson, it is important to observe, then render all of his subjects in the greatest detail. His sense of humor is plainly evident for all to see. Each of his works, while inspired by trompe l'oeil traditions of the past, contain contemporary references linking his work to the present day.

Will Wilson has been awarded prizes for his paintings in New York, Maryland, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia and Missouri. His works have been acquired by museums, well-known corporate collections, and private collectors of note. Numerous publications including: ArtNews, US ART Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Baltimore Magazine have singled out Wilson in articles setting forth his emergence as a major force on the American art scene.


"Self Portrait"

Kate Lehman (b. 1968), from New York and Paris, is a talented painter of the figure, the interior and the still life. From the early age of fifteen, she avidly pursued an art education striving to acquaint herself with the methodologies of the 19th Century academics and has succeeded in a most convincing manner. Her affiliation with Jacob Collins' Water Street Atelier, from 1996, has allowed her to continue these lofty pursuits in an ideal environment and the results are impressive.

Lehman has also studied in Europe and the United States at prestigious academies and with respected artists and teachers such as Carlos Madrid in New York, Patrick Devonas at the Minnesota River School, as well as the Academies Lecompte and Roederer in Paris, France.

Lehman's one-person shows with us in 2001 and 2004 have been very well received. Bold, articulate and assured — she is one of the finest women painters working today.


"Here's Looking at You"

Jacob Pfeiffer — (b. 1974) works in oil and is equally at home painting still-lifes, figures and trompe l'oeil. He is a meticulous draftsman who paints his surroundings and selects objects that whet his appetite and capture his attention. He has an excellent eye for observing detail, nuance and a sense of time and place. His colors are true and his compositions are playful and poignant.

Pfeiffer graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. From an early age he knew he wanted to become a professional artist and has steadfastly worked toward that goal. Pfeiffer is also a key member of the gallery's staff. Many of you who have called the gallery have no doubt met him wearing another hat: he is multitalented.

Pfeiffer's paintings are popular and his collector base is nation wide. In addition to his San Francisco exhibitions, his work has also been shown at The Arnot Art Museum, in Elmira, NY; the Museum of Fine Art, FSU, Tallahassee, FL; the Sangre De Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, CO and can be found in major private collections across the country. He is a painter with unlimited potential.


"The Stockbrokers"

Steve Armstrong - (b. 1945), is an artist we first exhibited several years ago as a part of an exhibition that paid tribute to sculpture. His work is most unusual for the big city in many ways - Armstrong is a Kentucky native known for his "Automata" sculpture. Every piece has moveable parts, hand-carved from various woods and vividly painted. He deftly uses gears, pulleys, chains and the viewer's energy to make his sculptures move. They stand tall, they whirl and spin, and they open to reveal an amazing sense of humor. "Automata" sculpture generally fall into the category of folk art. But in the case of Steve Armstrong, he has taken this art form to a new level and raised the bar. He is an American. While his art form falls outside most conventional ideas of what realist art is — he is the best at what he does and our clients should be aware of this rare talent.

Armstrong received his degree from the University of Kentucky. For many years he pursued more conventional ways of earning a living. Yet he had an abiding faith that his increasingly sophisticated, whimsical sculptures, could allow him to express himself and delight those who had the good fortune of finding his sculptures. His works have been featured in galleries, educational institutions, and museums. Since introducing him to our audiences in 1998, his works have been acquired by corporations, our leading collectors and museums of note. These are rarities. We recommend him to you and urge you to consider acquiring one of his wonderfully unique works for your collection.

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