Author: Art Review City

Willie Cole

The Future of Art: Willie Cole, a contemporary artist creating unique work and positive change.

Willie Cole has been ­­­making innovative work with unique iconography for over half a century, but talking to him, he sounds like a friendly, smart colleague or neighbor next store. Perhaps that’s why his work is so accessible and inspirational.

The artist, who lives in Mine Hill, NJ, has been the subject of shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001), and Miami Art Museum (2001). These institutions, some of the biggest in the world, along with private collectors from New York to Los Angeles, see something provocative in his work.

When Art Review City caught up with him, the artist invited us to a visit his home studio where he was finishing the works for the collective exhibition “There’s There There,” curated by renowned American artist Rashid Johnson at blue-chip gallery Hauser and Wirth’s Southampton location. This show invites visitors to reflect upon the pleasures and complex histories of the shapes, movements, and objects that permeate the everyday, and Cole’s ironing board works are clearly the stars of the show. 

Installation view, ‘There’s There There’, Hauser & Wirth Southampton, 2021. © Hauser & Wirth. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Thomas Barratt.

The artist has spent a lifetime working to look at thing differently than most artists. He is most concerned with recycling, green energy, and living a healthy and spiritual life to live at one with Mother Earth. He spent many of his early days in a pew at Sunday School, and later studied Buddhism in high school and college, but today he says he is a “no-frills nature worshipper” which explains a lot about him as a man and as an artist. “Nature, no matter what you call it, is powerful, and it deserves to be admired … Click here to read more

Geoffrey Dorfman

Artist Q&A with Geoffrey Dorfman

In a time when the centrality of painting has been questioned and abstraction appears to have exhausted its possibilities, Dorfman maintains his commitment to oil and brush on canvas. For him, the Abstract Expressionists were a starting point, not an ending point.

Dorfman’s approach is not goal-oriented movement toward some idea or vision. Rather, it is an identification with with the properties of paint, understanding what it can do, and from there to the painting. For Dorfman, the edges of the painting are very important, and his works tend to move out beyond the canvas. At the same time, he puts small “stop signs” in his works, so as the eye pauses and contemplates before it continues on and outward. His strokes tend to “flutter,” in a way similar to the Impressionists, further generating movement and at the same time, anchoring the eye in the moment.

“Zoroaster”, oil on canvas, 42 x 46 in | 107 x 117 cm, 2020. Courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

How did you become a professional artist?

Most artists are ex-art students or teachers. They’re still practicing the lessons they learned or else they get diverted into something peripheral, but call it art anyway. I myself didn’t know any different. I had been working summers in the movies as an electrician. I had an ‘in’ through my mother’s brother. In the late 1960’s I worked on several commercials and a few features, including Midnight Cowboy. (I and one other guy lit the set for Sylvia Miles’ bedroom.) Anyway, in 1971 there were openings in the scenic design union. You had to take a test and there was a $2,000 entrance fee. My uncle, who always drove a new Cadillac El Dorado, told my parents he’d front the money and … Click here to read more

Bobbie Moline-Kramer

Artist Q&A with Bobbie Moline-Kramer

Bobbie Moline-Kramer was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1946, and is now based in California. She traces her interest in art to a course she took at a local community college with Conceptual art pioneer John Baldessari, and to assistant work she did with Allan Kaprow, the originator of “Happenings.” As a painter, Moline-Kramer has pioneered a unique fusion of hyperrealism and gestural abstraction; she has also worked in mixed media. Drawing on personal narrative alongside art-historical reference, she has produced several distinct series while maintaining a deliberate compositional heterogeneity. Moline-Kramer teaches oil painting and is an adjunct professor at California State University, Long Beach.

“American Shunga, Zen Sensual”, oil paint, colored gesso, graphite on handmade Japanese paper, 40 x 60 in | 102 x 152 cm, 2018

How did you become a professional artist?

 Initially I became an artist because I was good at it, thus getting lots of praise from assorted adults. Then as I became older, I magically fell in love with both the concepts and the processes of making art. To this day, facing a blank surface still excites me with its unlimited possibilities.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My latest series American Shunga celebrates both life and love. 2020’s lockdown was for me a time of paring the extemporaneous with a rediscovery of the essence of living…love.  Of the importance of the combination of love and spirituality in trying to achieve the ultimate in love, a Greek/Christian concept called agape. Agape love is a selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love which I think I captured in a delicate piece that’s part Tales of Adjusted Desire online at Robert Berry Gallery.

Bobbie Moline-Kramer, photo by Tim Janssens.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

Since being an artist doesn’t pay the bills, … Click here to read more