Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jacob Pongratz

Jacob Pongratz
Artist’s Statement

The major goal in producing my art is to apply a primal energy that solidifies my experience as a human to canvas. A fluid approach of spontaneity and confusion is essential to my finished product. The subject matter is one of universal understanding; it is the reflection of one’s self that matters most, using abstract forms to unbalance any preconceived notions of rationale. What little representations that do exist are merely adaptations of the primary idea into more fully developed forms. My willingness to let go of the customary subjects and examine the idea of belief and ideas existing beyond the plane of paint on canvas has given me opportunities to exploit my enthusiasm. My own methods of art making are straightforward, in that they truly have no convention only habits may define them and impulsiveness frees them. That process in itself is key in the outcome I deem necessary. A true palette is conceived with minimum contemplation and with total finality knowing that it will be utterly consumed by the conclusion of each project. It is my aim to teach myself to see in a very specific manner that allows the undeniable image an opportunity to spawn until the vision is complete. An innate surveillance of the initiative that hemorrhages forth the specific and general information defines the boundaries between a hypothesis and fruition. An understanding of the spectator’s position is intended to give the witness all the introspection they desire, without a severe definition of purpose. The autobiographical nature is rooted so deep that one may have no knowledge of it at all. In finding the solution to each work the initial concept must be purged several times to embalm the overall purity of the piece. The use of triggers to make connections is critical to unleashing the more imminent information while obscuring the inferior backdrop. My questioning and hunt for an image becomes the genesis and path along which my work travels. This excursion must be open and broad, and not focused on termination. I draw the heart of the action from images of remembrance, past and present, recollections of objects used, populations destroyed, manifestation of moments, or extensive passages of time. I must include everything, and yet, all may be removed in order for me to feel the tension and presence of recalled emotion. With each painting, I undertake a search for an engaging image with no pre-existing plan. The human essentials of space, time, place, landscape, and light are the perceptual cues that I use (however ambiguous or diffuse they may appear). I am motivated by the inherent contradictions in painting: its physicality, its misleading potential. I use the medium –the process itself-sometimes spontaneously, sometimes progressively, to generate the finished work. As much as each work is a result of a number of processes, the sum of canvas and paint, each is also an image that is conjured and visualized through the medium, spurred by the qualities of paint. The work automatically exists through the evidence of its incarnation, but also can imply a fiction that belies its resources.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mary Abbott

In addition to the weekly "Guest Artist" feature, I enjoy introducing readers to some of my favorite artists. To date I have featured stories on, or at least introductions to, artists such as Frida Khalo, Berenice Abbott and Norman Bluhm.

This week for those not familiar with Mary Abbott, here is a brief introduction to one of the few pre-feminist movement female artists to achieve success in modern art.

Mary Abbott

Born in Boston in 1921 and raised in New York and Washington, DC high society, Mary Abbott is one of a very small group of female artists who achieved both critical and public success among the first generation of American Abstract Expressionists.

In the 1930's Abbott began studying at the Art Students League and the Corcoran School and later would count among her friends many of the top painters of the era. Mentored by Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, Abbott began to exhibit at important New York galleries in the 1950's.

Abbott’s work was featured in surveys of contemporary drawing, organized by the Museum of Modern Art in 1950 and 1956. She taught painting at the University of Minnesota in the 1970's and was the first artist of her generation to set up a studio in Manhattan’s revitalized SOHO.

Like many artists of the period, Abbott has many colorful stories surrounding her life. It is believed that she was introduced to peyote, a hallucinogen by sculptor David Hare which had a great influence on her understanding and use of color. She was a regular at the Artist’s Club and Cedar Tavern in New York. In the 1940's she began an affair with Willem deKooning and proclaimed him,” the love of my life”.

In 2007 the McCormick Gallery in Chicago organized a major retrospective exhibition of her work.

Mary Abbott lives on the east end of Long Island.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rainer Lagemann

Rainer Lagemann is an emerging artist who was born in Duesseldorf, Germany in 1959.

He received a formal education in Germany at the FH Lippe, Detmold in Interior Design and Architecture. In 1988 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to open his first retail store specializing in the import and retail of modern European furniture. In 2007 he sold his share of the business so he could concentrate on his passion; sculpture.

Rainer uses metal to sculpt the human form, creating works that elicit both the strength and delicacy of the body.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cathie Joy Young

Cathie Joy Young utilizes a masterful command of color and composition with acrylic on wood panels to create modern, urban paintings with an oftentimes devotional quality to them. Although unmistakably current in appearance, the imagery often evokes a feeling of having come from long ago and far away. Figures, boats, structures, and animals recur in her paintings which at first appear whimsical, but look closer and the viewer may discover the depth and tension within these spectral images. The multiplicity of meanings implied in these works is reflected by the alternating techniques of glazing and scraping through the paint to reveal the layers below, adding to the surface texture and at times revealing what at some point in the process was hidden. These sensitive, complex works do not scream with narrative and emotion, rather they suggest by a whisper up close, inviting the viewer to come to a visual understanding.

WM. Vesneski

Cathie Joy Young creates tapestries of beautifully layered rich colors in which creatures, known and unknown, gather together. Some of them look out at you, others are sleepy or forlorn or joyful. Her original work is very fresh in its take on primitivism. The beautiful palette of rust and muted greens is intoxicating. The paintings seem always playful, but also seem to be alluding to a sort of mysterious antiquity or mythology, either real or of Cathie's creation. ***Charmagne Coe

Primal, atmospheric dreamscapes... Cathie Joy's paintings feel like directly transmitted dreams, almost like fairy tales or nursery rhymes, peaceful but discordant enough to be curious, to feel like inquiries or investigations of mystery. These paintings take me to the depths of some place where I want to stay...but a place which challenges me in some intangible way; they are worlds full of beauty, of change, of wonderment.
Erica Steiner

Cathie Joy Young


I am a painter living and working in Portland, Oregon. My paintings are acrylic on wood panel. I also do drawing/paintings with acrylic and ball point pen on wood panels. My work is figurative with an abstract sensibility. It is process oriented but not for the sake of process; rather this is how I get to the imagery. When it all comes together I tend to figure out where I was heading. The outcome is a visual story.

Painting is inspiring me to paint. It is my one and only favorite mystery. I follow where it goes and sometimes it is troublesome. Sometimes it is bliss with back pain. It is something I can do which has relevance in and of itself but it is unexplainable. Words interrupt the long conversation. Images are so forgiving. If I can make a painting to be looked at and seen again and again, if I can make a painting that means something at different times and in different places, then I have made some impact in time and space.

I use the cross (+) a lot, symbolizing the intersection of time and space, but as with all symbols, it represents many other things as well.

This is why I paint.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ted Mikulski

My work is reflective of classic abstract expressionist style. I have always been an admirer of abstract art and began to paint sporadically in architecture school. As time went on I knew that art was the only form of design I wanted to pursue. I began teaching art and really diving into the art world to find my personal creative niche. There I found the major players in the abstract expressionism world and was hooked by its raw beauty and creativity. I prefer large canvases and I like to blend the paint in order to take away from the 'brush-to-canvas' effect. I still consider my work to be in its infancy, but it is ever-evolving. I try not to be too morose or negative in my paintings and I tend to stray away from the depressed feel that much of the original abstract expressionism possessed. I am just starting to work with others, collaborating ideas and theories. Collaborating is helping me to evolve as an artist and see things I previously had not My inspirational artists are Dale Chihuly, William Ronald and Helen Frankenthaler. I believe abstract expressionism to be the most pure of any art form and find it to be tremendously liberating.

Studied architecture at Norwich University (MArch)
Studio is in central CT