Michael Fields is a self-taught artist based in Portland, Oregon. His work is the product of personal reflection.. “When I paint, I contemplate the world as I know it: situations and people of past, present and future come into focus and it is my reaction to these concepts that dictates what emerges onto the canvas.” Michael’s work is born not of planned composition, but inner dialog, often challenging the viewer to decipher messages both on the surface and buried deep within it’s structure. Fields is also a graphic designer and WordPress developer.
Aurora Robson was born in Toronto, Canada in 1972 but grew up in Hawaii and has lived in New York for 20 years. She has a BA in Visual Art & Art History from Columbia University and is a certified structural welder. Robson currently lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband, cinematographer Marshall Coles and daughter Ona.
Robson uses everyday waste such as discarded plastic bottles and junk mail to create intricate sculptures, installations, and collages. Over the years, Robson has intercepted tens of thousands of bottles, saving them from their ultimate destination at the landfill or costly recycling plants. The fate of her junk mail follows a similar path and have now become part of her stunning ink collages.
“Deeply concerned about the natural environment, Robson sees herself as an eco-activist who uses her art to address urgent issues poetically, not polemically. She is best known for assembling cast-off plastic bottles, which she colorfully paints, into wildly inventive hanging sculptures the smaller ones sometimes containing LED lights and large works that fill entire rooms.” (Art in America Magazine Oct. 2009)
In addition to her work as an artist, Robson is Director/Co-founder of Lumenhouse, a photo studio, artist in residence program, exhibition space and community/cultural event space located in Brooklyn. She is also the founding Director of Project Vortex, an international organization of artists, architects and designers working with plastic debris – working with Project Kaisei to reduce the amount of plastic debris littering our oceans and shorelines.
Robson’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows across the United States, and has been featured in magazines such as Art in America, Juxtapoz, Artworld Digest, and the cover of Arts Houston to name a few. Most recently, she was awarded the 2010. The Arthur Levine Foundation Grant.
To see more of Aurora Robson’s work, visit AuroraRobson.com.
See stuffed toys made with recycled sweaters.
1. Edith Branson (1891 – 1976) – “Edith Branson was an American modernist painter who created her own interpretation of the multitude of avant-garde movements that blossomed in Europe and New York City in the early 20th century. She was a significant contributor to the New York art scene both through her numerous exhibitions and in the roles she served as a director of the Society of Independent Artists (1934-1940) and as one of the officers of Emily Francis’ Contemporary Arts Gallery. Branson exhibited nearly every year from 1921-1941 with the Society of Independent Artists, as well as with the Municipal Art Galleries (1938).
Most of Branson’s work is reflective of her personal life as a young woman living in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Though not autobiographical, her surrealistic works introduce a woman’s introspection into the many social changes of the day.
Branson’s early paintings were influenced by Cubism and Synchromism but expanded to include Surrealism in the 1930’s. Previously kept in family hands over the last 70 years, Edith Branson’s paintings are currently being reintroduced to American collectors. It is hoped that the reputation she acquired while active will be recaptured and that her position among many other important women artists of that era can be reestablished.” (Blue Heron Fine Art)
2. Maria Sibylla Merian (April 2, 1647 – January 13, 1717, Frankfurt, Germany) – was a naturalist, scientific illustrator, businesswoman, and publisher who made a significant contribution to the understanding of insects and flowers in the 17th century. Merian was encouraged to paint at a young age by her stepfather and still life painter Jacob Marrel. In 1665, Merian married Marrell’s apprentice, Johann Andreas Graff, had a child, and moved to Nuremberg where she continued to paint, created designs for embroidery patterns, and had many students from wealthy families. It was in the gardens of the elite that she first began her study of insects and took note of the transformations, and illustrated all the stages of their development in her sketch book.
In 1675, at the age of 28, Merian published her first book “Neues Blumenbuch — New book of flowers”. One year later, she published “The Caterpillar, Marvelous Transformation and Strange Floral Food.” In 1690, Merian moved to Amsterdam where her work attracted the attention of various contemporary scientists. In 1699 the city of Amsterdam sponsored Merian to travel to Surinam along with her younger daughter, Dorothea Maria. Merian worked in Surinam for two years, travelling around the colony and sketching local animals and plants. She also criticized the way Dutch planters treated Amerindian and black slaves. In 1705 she published a book “Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium” about the insects of Surinam.
In 1715, Merian suffered a stroke and was partially paralysed but she continued to work. She died in Amsterdam on January 13, 1717. Her daughter Dorothea published “Erucarum Ortus Alimentum et Paradoxa Metamorphosis”, a collection of Merian’s work, posthumously.
“Sherman’s photographs are portraits of herself in various scenarios that parody stereotypes of woman. A panoply of characters and settings is drawn from sources of popular culture: old movies, television soaps and pulp magazines. Sherman rapidly rose to celebrity status in the international art world during the early 1980s with the presentation of a series of untitled ‘film stills’ in various group and solo exhibitions across America and Europe. While the mood of Sherman’s early works ranges from quiet introspection to provocative sensuality, there are elements of horror and decay in the series from 1988–9. Studies from the early 1990s make pointed caricatures of characters depicted through art history, with Sherman appearing as a grotesque creature in period costume. Her approach forms an ironic message that creation is impossible without the use of prototypes; identity lies in appearance, not in reality.” (MoMA)
In 1995, Sherman was the recipient of one of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowships, popularly known as the “Genius Awards.” This fellowship grants $500,000 over five years, no strings attached, to important scholars in a wide range of fields, to encourage their future creative work. Sherman’s works are in the collections of major galleries and museums around the world including MoMA, New York, Tate (London), Museum Ludwig (Germany), Guggenheim (New York), and others.
4. Barbara Hepworth (January 10, 1903 – May 20, 1975) – born in West Riding of Yorkshire, Hepworth won a scholarship to the Leeds School of Art at age sixteen where she studied with Henry Moore, and completed the two-year program in half the time. Her formal art education continued for a three-year period at the Royal College of Art under the honor of a senior scholarship. Hepworth trained in Rome in sculpture with master stone carvers and by 1924, she was a finalist in the Prix de Rome.
Hepworth returned to England in 1926 to exhibit her work with her husband John Skeaping in their shared studio, and then in a solo exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1928. She joined a small group of pioneer sculptors who were committed to abstraction, with whom she developed her more mature style marked by organic abstraction and innovative use of various media including string, wire and colored paint.
In 1931, Hepworth divorced and two years later married the avant-garde painter Ben Nicholson, beginning a personal and professional relationship that lasted 20 years. By the 1950’s Hepworth’s reputation grew tremendously. Her work was featured at the Venice Biennial and won the top prize at the Sao Paulo Biennial. Additionally, she held her first major retrospective exhibition, which contributed to the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, receiving the rank of Dame in 1965.
In the later part of her life, Hepworth was diagnosed with cancer which left her confined to a wheelchair. Hepworth died in her studio in 1975 as a result of a fire. The studio was later rehabilitated and opened as a museum in 1976.
5. Hannah Höch (November 1, 1889 Gotha Germany– May 31, 1978) was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage. From 1912 to 1914, Höch studied glass design and graphic arts at the College of Arts and Crafts in Berlin under Harold Bergen. In 1915, she studied graphics at the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. In that same year, Höch began an influential friendship with Raoul Hausmann, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. Upon completion of her studies, she worked in the handicrafts department for Ullstein Verlang (The Ullstein Press), designing dress and embroidery patterns for Die Dame (The Lady]) and Die Praktische Berlinerin (The Practical Berlin Woman). The influence of this early work and training can be seen in her later work involving references to dress patterns and textiles.
Höch’s work at Verlang working with magazines targeted to women, made her keenly aware of the difference between women in media and reality. Many of her pieces critique the mass culture beauty industry. Her works from 1926 to 1935 often depicted same sex couples, and women were a central theme from 1963 to 1973. Höch also made strong statements on racial discrimination. Her most famous piece “Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands” (“Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany”), is a critique of Weimar Germany in 1919 and combines images from newspapers of the time re-created to make a new statement about life and art in the Dada movement.
Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Germany quietly in the background. Although her work was not as acclaimed after the war as it had been before, she continued to produce her photomontages and exhibit them internationally until her death in 1978, in Berlin.
Some recent work from DAF favourite, Portland, Oregon based artist Jesse Reno. “In the latest series of paintings, shamanic beings struggle to find their place in a world simultaneously on the verge of expanding and collapsing. Totem animals and Native American figures reverberate memories of people who once lived as one with nature. Marked by symbols, these figures seek their dreams in the growth of trees and the passing of spirits. on a quest to find their true selves, they collect feathers and relics left by past encounters and past lives. They learn to transcend the boundaries of the rational world evolving into a collage of what they have become and encountered. In this body of work, Reno presents us with a journey leading inward to ultimately expand outward: “If you have moved wisely, your dreams will still grow when you are gone.”
“This is the story that tells itself to me, the weight of personal truth regardless of its outcome. My work acts for no reason other than to convey an inner struggle for expression. simple and direct. open for interpretation. always with purpose. words mispelled left out just like real thinking, the disconnected string of thoughts that guides the day. this is my expression. 200 times this year ive painted random layers of self introspection and visualization. expanding and growing through trial and error. the paintings thicken with purpose as time goes on with each new thought learned, and each layer created, confirmed, rethought, re identified, and tested until it is true or removed.” -Jesse Reno
Check out more of Jesse’s work at JesseReno.com.
Jason Shawn Alexander is an expressionist figurative painter from Tennessee, now living and working in Los Angeles. His intimate works penetrate to the core of human integrity, often depicting images of figures wrenched in that critical space where the strained coordination of mind, body, and spirit, hangs in the balance of existential woe. Abstract elements now and again emerge by way of exaggerated gestures, elongated limbs, the doubling or tripling of images, hints of apparitions, or the intrusion of foreign materials and text into the paint, which satisfy the rich psychological nature of Alexander’s work. Suggesting an intense personal narrative, his paintings are imbued with an essential human drama that is his signature quality. (from artist website)
To see more visit JasonShawnAlexander.com.
“Tiffany Bozic is a self-taught artist currently living and working in San Francisco, California. Bozic has spent the majority of her life living with and observing the intricacies of nature. Having grown up on a farm in Arkansas, she was inspired by the natural world at an early age. Blending her external observations with the internal world has led her to refine a distinct style.
Her work has the traditional air of tightly rendered illustrations with a highly emotional range of surreal metaphorical themes. In her paintings and sketches she presents her vision of life’s struggles and triumphs that are largely autobiographical. Her wide array of subjects are inspired both from her extensive travels to wild places, and the research specimens at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California.
Bozic’s work often incorporates richly pigmented acrylic paint on solid maple wood panels. Over the years, she has developed a complex process of masking and staining the maple panels in which she paints on. By doing this, the natural grain can collaborate with each composition using multiple layers of watered down acrylic paint.” (bio from artist website and Joshua Liner Gallery)
Portland based artist Jim Kazanjian received his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1992 and his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1990. He has worked professionally as a commercial CGI artist for the past 16 years in television and game production.
Kazanjian’s images are digitally manipulated composites made from photographs that he finds online. “The number of found images I work with in a piece can vary from 12 to 30. On the more complex pieces I’ve used upwards of 50. I generally sample sections from photographs I find interesting and use them as building blocks. I assemble these “blocks” together in Photoshop to create a nonexistent space that mimics a photograph. I do not use a camera at any stage in this process.”
“I am interested in a kind of “entropic” image, an image that has the capacity to de-familiarize itself. My current work is an attempt to unravel the photograph and play with established notions of time, space, and the understanding of what gives things context.”
To see more, visit Kazanjian.net.
Dena Schuckit has a BFA from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her MFA from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. She was a master printer with Crown Point Press for twelve years.
Schuckit works from stacks of saved and categorized photos pulled from online news. “My hybrid landscapes chart loose and abstracted scenes of construction, destruction and the suspended chaos that often accompanies the two. The process decontextualizes the action from any specific event, instead drawing from the connections that emerge in the process of organizing the photos. Online news is often accompanied by entire slide shows of photos capturing the drama and dynamism of the disaster and the surprising and unplanned landscape that is the deconstructed physical manifest. Sorting stacks of these pictures is a way of mapping my relationship to my landscape. Pattern, shape, color, and event overlap and repeat in a complex rhizome charting the ebb and flow of civilization vs. nature.” (from artist website)
Schuckit’s work is included in the collections of the University of the Arts, London and the Parsons School of Design, New York. Her current solo show ” The Garden is a Raging Sea” at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado runs August 27th through September 25th.
To see more visit DenaSchuckit.com.
Bathsheba Grossman is an American artist based in Santa Cruz, California who creates stainless steel and bronze sculptures using computer-aided design and 3D metal printing technology. Her sculptures are primarily mathematical in nature, often depicting intricate patterns or mathematical oddities.
Grossman’s sculptures explore the region between art and mathematics. “My work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from a zero point to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry. “
Grossman’s work been exhibited in art galleries around the world. She has been featured in the New York Times, the London Times, Der Spiegel, Wired, Discover and Make magazines. One of her lamps was in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential designs of 2007. Her sculptures have also appeared in the TV shows Heroes and Numb3rs, in Second Life, and on a Japanese video game commercial.
To see more of Bathsheba’s fascinating work, visit Bathsheba.com.
“When New York based photographer Lois Greenfield first began taking photographs during the late 60s, her dream was to be a photojournalist for National Geographic. After graduating from Brandeis University in 1970, she started working towards this goal, freelancing for Boston’s counter-cultural newspapers, photographing everything from maximum-security prisons to rock concerts. Having never studied photography in a classroom, she taught herself everything she needed to know as she encountered obstacles and opportunities during her assignments.
Being assigned to cover a dance concert was one such obstacle: knowing nothing about the dance world or how to photograph movement, it took Lois a while to master photographing the unpredictable movement and lighting of dancers on a stage. When the time she returned to New York City, though, she had gotten the hang of it. Not only that, but she found herself very intrigued by the subjects themselves. It was a relief to work in an area where she only needed to worry about the visual interest in her photographs, rather than editorial relevancy.
As the modern and postmodern dance world in New York took flight, Lois photographed as many dance rehearsals as she could, developing her technique and reputation, and regularly working for The Village Voice, The New York Times, Dance Magazine, and many others. By 1978, she had grown frustrated with the documentary approach. Rather than trying capture someone else’s art form, Lois wanted to find a visual syntax of her own.
Whenever she could manage it, she invited dancers to join her in experimentation, and in 1980, finally set up her own studio. In this environment, she wasn’t limited to the traditional expectations of the nascent genre of dance photography, and could explore quirky configurations and unusual moments. She spent less time interpreting choreography and more time employing dancers as creative tools for her own artistic vision. Her images expressed the joy and excitement of movement, liberated from the constraints of choreography.” (bio from artist website)
“The ostensible subject of my photographs may be motion, but the subtext is Time. A dancer’s movements illustrate the passage of time, giving it a substance, materiality, and space. In my photographs, time is stopped, a split second becomes an eternity, and an ephemeral moment is solid as sculpture.”
Throughout her prolific career, Greenfield has continued to photograph both the world’s most well known dance companies as well as talented emerging artists, while maintaining a thriving commercial photography business, whose international clients have included Disney, Pepsi, AT&T, Sony, Hanes, Raymond Weil and Rolex.
To see more of Greenfield’s stunning images visit LoisGreenfield.com.