ARTIST OF THE MONTH:
Our Artist of the Month is one of the many local artists whose work we feature in the Art Shop Gallery. Normally, the Art Shop features a limited amount of work from an artist. When chosen as Artist of the Month we expand their work throughout the gallery to give visitors a comprehensive appreciation for the featured artist’s work.
Delightfully quirky describes the Boxes enclosing kinetic figures constructed of paper and wire. Pulling and releasing the wire or pumping it creates movement. The interactive device gives the work a playful element designed to engage the viewer with thought-provoking content.
Overall the content speaks to humanity’s perplexing construct as an apparently solid three dimensional being having a temporal impermanent existence. Why we live; why we die; what was before us; and what comes after; what’s going on here, and why don’t we know?
Looking for answers, I wander the fields of science, religion, mythology, metaphysics, all things Fortean, the strange and unusual. I turn my eye to the exterior world and my ear to my inner one. I look and listen and what I uncover spills into my art. The art gives no answers to those dogged existential questions, only glimpses of my search. www.estheraron.com
Local artist Mary Telfer is our artist of the month for March and April. She is the judge for this year's Women's Works, and is the Gallery Coordinator at Lakeside Arts Park and an art instructor at McHenry County College and Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association (NISRA) in northern Illinois.
Telfer is a multi-media artist who uses language and humor to address issues of corporate structures, animal rights, and feminist agency. The media she employs include: photography, drawing, painting, collage, digital technology, and books in a practice that is both collaborative and socially engaged. Mary has spent a great deal of time curating and jurying exhibitions through the Wausau Festival of Arts in Wausau, WI, Northern Illinois University, and NISRA. She is committed to educating audiences about healthy living and veganism. She has an extensive exhibition history throughout the United States, exhibiting in Illinois, California, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
To learn more about Mary and see more of her work, please visit www.marytelfer.com.
I enjoy many mediums to explore this alternate world (connected to and reflective of my familiar world). It jolts my perceptions.
I connect to these human-like figures, not necessarily human, but definitely mindful. I search for kernels of hope amidst adversity; spirit surpassing challenges; connections, compassion and empathy rather than discord...
This world is encapsulated in boxes and transforming in digital video. The videos were created by skripting the digital painting process. Some digital paintings are printed on archival paper with archival ink as artist’s test proofs.
Frankie Johnson is an accomplished artist with over 40 years of experience in oil painting and pastels. She opened Mainstreet Art Centre in 1994 with a talented staff of instructors. She conducts workshops in portrait and landscape painting at various locations at Mainstreet, The Clearing in Ellison Bay, WI, and Dillmans in Lac Du Flambeau WI.
She studied art and design at the Art Institute of Chicago and William Harper College. Frankie has participated in many juried exhibitions and plein air painting competitions and won numerous awards for her paintings through the years. Her paintings, including numerous portrait commissions, hang in corporate and private collections throughout the country.
Making art gives me covert glimpses into my own mind, and so it has become a study of human nature for me, my own and others. The hours spent working give me the time to consider the more spiritual aspects of the work. I begin with a concept in mind and devise the best way to bring it to its ultimate visual culmination. I work with many materials and techniques; from hand-dyed fabrics to handmade paper; I paint, sew, bead, or sculpt, as the piece requires. As I “cultivate” a piece, the concept itself develops even further into more abstract avenues, to ultimately create a story that is personal to me, but still open to free interpretation by others. Many of the concepts of my artwork are based on Peruvian shamanic work that I am currently learning and practicing. I use a whimsical style to lighten up and add humor to some of the darker aspects of my concepts…..to pay homage to the light side and romance the shadow side.
My work is traditionally representational. My love of people leads me to strive to convey their character, through their mannerisms or expressions. My love of travel and being out of doors leads me to paint in plein air where I am striving to capture the changing light, and movement. My love of composing leads me to setting up a still life to paint a setting with lighting and objects that I find interesting in color and texture.
Attending the Palette and Chisel in Chicago, has helped me to grow as an artist . I have been very fortunate to have been able to take many classes and workshops with inspirational and very generous artists such as Scott Burdick, David Leffel, and Mary Qian.
My goal as a painter is to grow by continuously studying and to continue painting.
For those who know me, they know if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s artist statements. For those who don’t know me, well, now you know. They are many times as painful to read as they are to write. I never even read all those little cards at museum exhibits. It takes away time I could spend just looking at something I may never have the chance to see again. But we live in an information age, so here is some information, which I hope you enjoy reading.
I take absolute joy in just making things and have since I was teeny weeny. As I began to study art and learn the rules, my first loves were painting and drawing. I never really thought of myself as photographer, it was more of a way to capture a moment for memory, a kind of archiving. But as one of my college professors said, it’s about learning and unlearning and there is always so much to unlearn.
I always hated being in the darkroom. But with the advent of digital cameras and working on computers, camera as an art tool became interesting to me. I once told a photographer “I know how to make an image, just not with this tool.” Knowledge of device counts for a great deal in photography and that I am still learning. (And unlearning)
So here are some of my photos, I hope you enjoy them
I am a Chicago-area artist working in different media: oil, acrylic and pastel. I love the richness of oil paints, and the immediacy of drawing and painting at the same time with pastels. These media are like friends with different personalities. I enjoy spending time with each, knowing their differences will draw my interactions with them in somewhat different directions. In a way, my paintings are the conversations I have with these friends.
My approach to art is to paint from my heart, as I explore the nature of what I see with my eyes and my imagination. Using a representational starting point, either real or invented, I examine the relationships of lines, shapes and colors. My works are largely abstract, evolving as an interaction between my vision and the process of arranging and applying color to paper or canvas. While literal images may contribute somewhat to my images, I am mainly interested in presenting simplified flat shapes, and creating color relationships. I try to rely on line and shape as content, while using color to create the emotional component in my paintings.
March and April 2015
The images in my paintings arise from a profound love of nature. The many varied colors and patterns in nature are what inspire me as an artist. Growing up among the hills of northern England cultivated my fondness of tranquil settings, and I believe my paintings often reflect this. I work predominantly with oil and acrylic and tend to surround myself with as many as ten paintings in various stages of completion. My best work usually starts with preliminary sketches which enable me to work out value and composition. After the initial structure has been established I allow myself to be spontaneous and accepting of the unforeseen “happy accidents” that occur in the final painting process.
My paintings have evolved through many different styles and techniques over the course of my career. I started out gravitating towards photo realism and then moved through more impressionistic-type paintings. Of late my landscapes have become more spontaneous and nonrepresentational than the majority of my previous work. Artists that have influenced me are innumerable, but two impressionists that have really left a mark on me are Claude Monet and John Henry Thwachtman. Thwachtman’s painting “Arques-la-Bataille” is beyond genius in its design, yet at the same time, as his friend Childe Hassam once said, “…was delicate even to evasiveness.” Recently I have been captivated by the color field painters of the 1950’s, such as Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko. Their pure emotional approach and disregard for detail has been a complete revelation for me and my technique.
I feel I have just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible as an artist and have found a connection with what Rothko believed, “The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity…and to achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.”