2013 Essay

Made In Paint (2)

by Mark Golden

When we realized that the Golden Foundation Residency was going to be a reality, we buried ourselves in the planning for the artists that would be our guests. It was clear we had a tremendous amount of work to complete before we could invite our first participants or even consider a full year of programming. But it was in the evenings, when we had a chance to slow down for a moment and reflect on what was about to happen, that we imagined the amazing opportunity ahead; to see and be part of the artist process spread out right in front of us.
What we weren’t ready for was the energy, commitment and talent of the artists that have joined us in this very unique community. Each month, this past year, we were privileged to be joined by some of the most talented and dedicated artists I have ever worked with. It was a delight to be able to share with each of them our new facility, the connectivity to the artists and technicians at Golden Artist Colors, as well as the connection to the Golden family. All this, while sharing with them the vast range of materials and options for their own work.
Just as it was meant to happen, each artist connected to the assortment of products and ideas that most spoke to them. Each, then in turn, created their own path of discovery as to how they would make sense of this medley within their own personal aesthetic. It is clear to me that the applicants to the Golden Foundation Artist Residency are material and process oriented. These are artists who love the movement, the myriad of surfaces, textures and the push and pull physicality of real paint.
Our first Foundation Residents for the 2013 season were Debra Ramsay, NY; Paul Shakespear, MA; and Sarah Dineen, MA. Debra Ramsay, very much a process oriented artist, immediately took us by surprise as she connected both the landscape of the area with our new Virtual Paint Mixer software to create a dramatic series of linear paintings capturing the environment and the changes in its color over one year. Debra took what we created as a tool to assist artists in color mixing and converted it into part of her process. Paul Shakespear has for three decades been creating incredibly rich, dynamic, multi layered surfaces. He shows an amazing ability to coax the acrylic paint to do what he wants. Even as he experimented with new materials, they were quickly subsumed into his own style, simply offering him just more options as he balanced one surface against the next. Sarah Dineen works with seemingly familiar form and repeating shapes in a fairly tight range of color. In her latest work she allows her color to explode out of the darkest passages with shafts of light that clearly show the exuberance and physicality of her paint handling.
The second Residency session included Dorene Quinn, NY; Pamela Marks, CT; and Rose Umerlik, ME. Dorene Quinn takes paint off the canvas to explore media mixtures and texture in dramatic fashion. Her muse is her environment and the objects in it, her substrate. From there, she lets her colors pour, flow and bridge in and out of space; surfaces playfully engaging with the natural and artificial. Pamela Marks creates a complex network of shapes that one joyfully enters, only to become quickly immersed in color. With its roots in camouflage, the work is absolutely mesmerizing as one gets lost in these engaging worlds of color upon color. Rose Umerlik’s work brings human emotion to the painted surface, allowing us to sense an inner dialogue or interpersonal tension without the body. Even as she juxtaposes and combines contrasting colors, lines, and forms, her work retains an abiding sense of harmony and beauty.
The third session was steeped in the heat of July. We were joined by Clarence Morgan, MN; Arlene Burke-Morgan, MN (Visiting Artist); Efrat Galnoor, Israel; and Mike Binzer, Canada. I have known Arlene and Clarence Morgan and have been familiar with their work since our first attendance at the annual College Art Association conference. In the manner of full disclosure, I have admired their work and enjoyed their friendship for nearly 30 years. While their paintings undoubtedly share a similar aesthetic and use of materials, each has defined a particular path to their work’s execution and evolution. Drawing, pattern, dynamic color and repetition are preeminent characteristics in both of their studio practices. The ovals, circles, ellipses, swirls, dashes and dots tend to be precise, yet they visually imply a random universe of constellations and configurations. Shapes that sometimes hover over the surface and at other times are connected by trails of lines in a mysterious world of their making, populate their compositions.
Efrat Galnoor has used both interior and exterior landscape as the starting point to her brilliantly intense use of color. Fragments of precise interiors poke out of areas of broad passages of color. For the work here, she celebrates with us the Golden factory and the joy of color. Mike Binzer played with just about every material we had available during his residency. Mike shows his love for the human form in all its shapes, distortions and dissections. His use of the body and its flesh is clearly meant to throw the viewer off guard, but a closer inspection of the abstraction and thickly developed skin shows a wonderful sense of materiality.
Our fourth residency session included Alexandria Smith, NY; Julia Brooker, United Kingdom; and Norah Borden, Canada. Alex’s work is truly to be defined by the viewer. She is willing to use all sorts of materials and plays with a variety of surfaces. The caricature-like figures have a haunting quirkiness to them, intending a provocative connection to her audience. Julia Brooker of Wales, shares her joy with reflective surfaces and paints. The aluminum surface allows her an exciting vibrancy on which she works. Her artwork contains the unique sensibility of a stain painter, yet on a hard non-porous surface. Norah Borden experimented in all things poured, layered and sculpted. These jeweled surfaces are so seductive and cloud-like, allowing for one color to blend softly into the next. The transparencies invite one to look deep into the surface of the work, as if peering through a stained glass.
The fifth session watched as summer turned into brilliant fall colors. Our artist residents included Barbara Page, NY; Jane Fine, NY; and Marion Wilson, NY. Barbara Page translates her ideas into diverse languages. Her oils appear to be ethereal aerial maps and her watercolors read as some exploding cellular structure or magical geode. In the artworks here, Barbara explores geological mapping metaphors in thickly applied acrylics. Jane Fine exquisitely combines drawing and painting into oddly familiar imaginary worlds. Each piece is a mash-up of painterly technique including vigorous brushwork, multi-color pours and delicate line. A cartoon-like quality
lends a sweetness to the work. They are dense, just a little bit scary, but always exciting. Marion Wilson has been working in images
derived from nature and life. At first one sees these images in the tradition of still life or landscape, but Marion clearly takes it on as her own. Her color and drawing make her treatment freshly engaging.
Our final session of the 2013 Residency season was a delightful month shared with Jessica Mongeon, MT; Linda Mieko Allen, MA; and Samara Adamson-Pinczewski, Australia.
Jessica Mongeon’s work joins large swaths of transparent color crossing one another, creating sweeping and dramatic movement in a wide range of exquisite color drawn from our natural world and the landscape. Jessica produces her own sort of calligraphy with color, a nod to Sumi-e artists working with oversized brushes. Linda Mieko Allen creates ethereal paintings of incredible delicacy and intricacy, containing multiple built up areas of thin acrylic transfer, line drawing and color field. We get glimpses of land formation and
architectonics, yet as soon as you think you’ve discovered something recognizable, she turns it on its head and it disappears into an incredibly seductive, organic abstract surface. Samara Adamson-Pinczewski paints in a series of solid, hard edged intersecting shapes. These two dimensional surfaces dramatically seem to pop into a world of 3D, creating compelling, disorienting, architecturally inspired forms.
Finally, during an open week at the Residency we invited Mary Frank, NY, to work as a Visiting Artist in the studios. Although we only had one week together, it was clear from the start that even after five decades of exhibitions, her energy was going to exhaust us all. She worked in every medium we had available.
The ‘Made in Paint: 2013 Artists in Residence’ exhibition, clearly shouts each artist’s own individuality as well as expressing their delight in discovering new materials. We are so pleased to be able to bring together these artists, all of whom demonstrate that working in real materials, real paint, is as exciting as it has ever been.