Lily Kostrzewa interviews artist Lo Ch’ing

In the summer of 2020, I was invited by the director of Whitebox Art Center in New York City to write a piece art review for an exhibition “Nocturnal Whispers of Pan” by Lo Ch’ing and Thomas Rose. It was the first time I saw Lo Ch’ing’s paintings; I was fascinated by the exhibition. The two artists open a new artistic dialogue that begins with an interpretation of an image’s meaning and a discussion of the cultural concepts surrounding the image. Using the cultural concept of Chinese calligraphy’s reimagined scenarios, Lo Ch’ing creates images of Chinese calligraphic “playful” icons with a focus on bizarre spatial arrangements with an abstract traditional format. He also created a poem for each image in both Chinese and English languages. In my childhood, my artistic foundation was trained in traditional Chinese calligraphy/painting in Taiwan, which made me wish to interview Mr. Lo one aday. The wish was granted two years later.

A Maple Tree’s Magnificent Autumn, ink and watercolor on paper, 27 × 54 in | 68 × 137 cm, 2018

Lo Ch’ing, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, was a famous poet from Taiwan; he studied comparative literature at Washington State University in Seattle and obtained a master’s degree. After returning to Taiwan, he taught at the School of Foreign Languages ​​of Fu Jen Catholic University, later serving as the director of the Chinese Language and Culture Center (Mandarin Training Center) of the National Taiwan Normal University, taught at its Fine Arts Department and many other schools as well. He has been invited to give lectures in various countries around the world and has appraised calligraphy and paintings in well-known museums, including the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Shanghai Museum, … Click here to read more

Iranian-American Zahra Nazari’s abstract architectural paintings bring together two distinct worlds

Zahra Nazari’s work is a unique composite of gestural abstraction and intricate architectural painting. This combinations creates a compelling visual narrative with a mixture of pure abstraction and geometry gives the viewer a reason to stop, stare, and wonder. Today, her artwork is known for its gestural rhythms, layered density, organic feel, and the use of architectural and floral influences inspired by traditional formats from her native land of Iran. The artist herself offers a captivating tale of an artist who risked everything to break into the New York artworld–more on this later. 

After getting a sneak peek of her latest exhibition at Cinema Supply–the recently renovated former warehouse building at 217 W 21st Street in Chelsea, NY, and a tour of her new studio, Art Review City is pleased to share her unlikely, and often surprising, story with our readers.

Portrait of Zahra Nazari, 2022. Photo courtesy of Cinema Supply.

The artist is a prolific creator, proactive with every aspect of her career. Nazari paints every day and is constantly completing new work. Since her emigration to the United States in 2011, she has participated in 18 artist residencies across the globe. The 37-year-old painter and sculptor has lived in New York City since 2015, and has created monumental and easel-sized paintings that have been shown worldwide. Nazari rejects the concept of focusing on just a single idea, instead utilizing broad composites of investigation which she has explored to the fullest across her 10-year professional career. 

Her recent exhibitions include Uprooted at a temporary space in Queens, NY hosted by the arts non-profit Chashama– founded by Anita Durst; and Unification, a blockbuster exhibition at High Line Nine in Chelsea curated by Roya Khadjavi Projects. Her … Click here to read more

Terence Falk’s Documentational Abstracts

In his first solo show with Robert Berry Gallery, Connecticut-based abstract and found still life photographer Terence Falk’s intriguing and documentational, almost evaluational, photographs of the world taken with a large format camera. They’re about the natural world, but break it down into abstract shapes and form, evoking the viewer to slow down and rethink the world right around them. There is beautify and mystery right around us; it just takes a keen eye to find it. The artist has done just that.

Falk’s first passion as an amateur zoology thrived due to his observant nature. He minded snakes, butterflies, flatworms, and anything else that caught his fancy, and learned to observe them on a macro level through a microscope. He taught himself about every species of animal that lived at the shoreline near his home, and the nearby ponds and streams. At sixteen, photography entered his life, and has served to reaffirm the natural connection to the natural world that he felt since he was six, albeit on a more introspective level.  He wanted to continue discovering the world, but even though the tools are different, the passion for observing has never ceased. In 1976, he bought a Lindholf 4” x 5” view camera, since he was drawn to subjects that beckoned a slower, more intense process of photographing. The artist was right back where he started observing the world through a microscope, but now armed with a camera and documentarian approach.

Remains to Be Seen, Installation view, 2022

Falk received his BFA in photograph at the University of Bridgeport in 1977. In 1986, the artist was awarded an Artist Residency Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Sweet Briar, Virginia and in 1996 he received The Weir Farm Visiting Artist Fellowship. His … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Matthias van Arkel

Matthias van Arkel has become known for his unique expression of merging painting and sculpture in his works made of silicone. Over the past few decades van Arkel has consequently investigated painterly ideas, his practice has emerged out of a conceptual approach. In his three-dimensional works meaning is achieved through density, sensuality and energy. There is a performative dimension involved in the creation process, as the artist balances intuition versus control through the special technique that he has developed. The sculptural shapes move like enlarged brush strokes forming abstract landscapes. Van Arkel challenges our perception of what defines a painting and invites us to see it from a new perspective.

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s a difficult question. Probably Edvard Munch. I’m so interested in everything about him as an artist and a person–how he found ideas for his paintings. His graphic prints, especially, have a very strong impact on me. 

“Gobelin (F.A.S)”, silicone rubber, 106 x 137 in | 270 x 348 cm, 2012. Photo credit: Erik Lefvander.

How did you become a professional artist?

It all started because it was natural in my family: my father was an artist. But the one who took me further with the thought of being an artist was my 9th-grade art teacher, who inspired me in all ways and stood as a model for me after school hours. She also gave me pep talks about my ability to be an artist, that I had the talent for it, and she told me to apply to art school–my dad didn’t do that. He thought it was a difficult life to be an artist; he wanted me to choose something else. But this teacher encouraged me at that young age to go for it. … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Lin Shih Pao

Lin Shih Pao is a New York contemporary artist born in Pingtung County, Taiwan. A child from the rural countryside of Taiwan, he has been creating with his hands since he was young. And his hand-making skill has led to this extraordinary life as a legendary artist in a social movement. Taiwan’s Times Press compiled his story into two books:” A Penny Story” and “The Legend Continues.” Taiwan’s public television also produced an episode for him: An Artist’s Story.

You may be as curious as I am, how his work resulted in a thousand-person social movement? How he demonstrates love in interpersonal relationships has brought tears to the eyes of many, both participants in his creation and viewers. And his volunteers rally to him with exuberance and passion. Let us hear his views on art creation from the following interview.

“Love Ring 1”, PVC, gold foil, 13 x 13 x 10 in | 33 x 33 x 25 cm, 2020

Who are your most admired artists?

I like Van Gogh’s wild, enthusiastic, and reckless personality. I think that’s the spirit that an artist should have, regardless of the consequences to make art, live in the moment, and do whatever you want to do at the moment for the art’s sake. I have visited the painting site of Van Gogh in the south of France, and I can feel the momentum. In addition, I also like Picasso’s willful little urchin personality, but Picasso is very good at doing art business. Unlike Van Gogh, Picasso’s life is the sum of reason and sensibility. As for American artists, I like Jackson Pollock. His action painting in Abstract Expressionism has an invisible coincidence with my painting creation. I often use a similar technique as he does to flick … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with William Bradley

William Bradley graduated with a Masters degree from Wimbledon College of the University of the Arts London in 2008, selling out his end of year show. He has since been selected for FutureMap 08 and the Catlin Art prize 2009 and 2011 and Baker’s Dozen at Torrance Art Museum in 2020. His work is included in several major collections. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

“Wild, Wild Wood”, acrylic on canvas on board, 52.5 x 48 x 3.5 in | 133 x 122 x 9 cm, 2022

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I’ll give you a different answer every time. There are however a few touchstones: John Hoyland, Hans Hofman, Howard Hogkin, and Sandra Blow. There was an incredible show of Eduardo Chillida at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I was a teenager–it’s stayed with me ever since. Then there is Matisse.

How did you become a professional artist?

When you’re consumed by something it can be difficult to resist; so it was always the plan. It’s my mum’s fault–she gave me the bug. Then throw in a couple of influential tutors and you’re pretty much screwed. I worked practically full time during my BA to save the money to move to London and continue my studies. My time in London working towards my MA in Painting was pivotal. It was challenging in so many ways and taught me that I was going to question what the fuck I’m doing everyday–several times a day, but like I said, difficult to resist. I was incredibly fortunate to sell out my degree show and meet a couple of key people who set me on the path, including me in UAL’s Future Map and then the Catlin Art Prize–Cheers Medeia and Justin!

What are the influences and inspirations

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Artist Q&A with Engels the Artist

Engels the Artist is a painter who subverts the materials of a painting. Staples march across the picture plane. Wooden stretchers peek through raw canvas. Canvas is punctured, torn or shredded. The strict economy of line and texture, the use of everyday objects, and makeshift elegance recalls his grandmother’s home in Haiti, which against all odds had splendor.

In 2019, Engels the Artist had a solo show at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase New York. He has shown extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. The National Museum of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Skoto Gallery, New York; FiveMyles Gallery, New York; Zane Bennett Gallery, Santa Fe; and others have exhibited his work. 

A monograph on Engels the Artist was published by Neuberger Museum of Art in 2019, and his work has been written about in Hyperallergic, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News

Engels the Artist works in Brooklyn, New York.

“Cotton Pearl”, oil on canvas, 60 x 40 x 8 in | 152 x 102 x 20 cm, 2017

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I like so many artists from so many different periods. The impressionists and the artists of the Dada movement speak to me directly. The tenderness of Cezanne. Bob Thompson’s play on the classical and the raw. One of my favorite artists is Antoni Tàpies. His work is tactile. His used materials like string and marble dust. He grew up during the Spanish Civil War. He looked at destruction and made something sacred, tranquil. His work makes me feel like I am on a journey. It is transformative. 

How did you become a professional artist?

I did not get into art. Art got into me. I knew I was an artist when … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Lawrence Charles Miller

The human figure is the given in Lawrence Charles Miller’s visual equations. He creates pictures that imply their own fiction, making pictures within and about pictures. He is known for his sense of humor, which is often evident in his art. He has exhibited extensively across the United States, including exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, as well as exhibition abroad in Wales, Tijuana, and San Paulo. His work is in the permanent collection of MOMA in New York City; MOMA in Wales, UK; MuBE, Sao Paulo; LACMA, Los Angeles; and Fluxus Museum in Texas. 

“Oxendrawn #9”, graphite and electronic digital media on paper, 10 x 12 in | 25 x 30 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Leonardo DaVinci. On each viewing his drawings seem to draw themselves anew. This sensation of movement ends in a mighty stillness in his paintings. Here I sense a timelessness that gives them a contemporary attitude. To me it’s oddly American. I think of Warhol’s electric chairs. Hopper’s rooms. Pollack’s thickets of time.   

How did you become a professional artist?

Well, I come from a working-class family in a gritty city. My mother’s family were Italian immigrants, and my father was Pennsylvania Dutch. It was either the steel mill or something else. 

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My parents bought a set of encyclopedias. There was a section about painting in the P volume. My drawing habit switched from copying comics to copying the old masters. Later, libraries were crucial. My inspiration became modern art and poetry. 

Lawrence Charles Miller, portrait by Peter Isaac Miller 

How is your work different than everything else out there?

Recently, my work has become something else. It is different relative to … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Luminita Gliga

Luminita Gliga (b. 1975) is an internationally recognized visual artist who is living and working in Bucharest, Romania. She studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. With a PhD in visual arts at the same university and with over 15 years of art experience, Gliga expresses through the colors and shapes, creating new worlds where the viewer is expected and invited to explore. Her compositions are created with abstract and elements from the known and seen world.  The painted image is a form of communicating with people.

Gliga’s paintings have been presented in many places in her country and across the globe in art museums, galleries, festivals, and art fairs including the Romanian Artists’ Union, the Romanian Parliament; Galerie Icosahedron and the New Arts Center in New York; the IRCCU Venice; and the the Thuilliers Gallery in Paris. She was awarded by La Société académique Arts-Sciences-Lettres with Medaille de Vermeil in 2006. Her artworks are present in various public and private collections.

“Memories of a Tropical World II”, acrylic on canvas, 39 x 51 in | 100 x 130cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

My tastes are changing all the time because it can be the situation to like just one artist or the complete opera. I love Abstract Expressionism, particularly Willem de Kooning, but my favorite artist of all time is Picasso. I am fascinated by his way of breaking the practices of the past and finding new shapes to express. Also his devotion to artistic production contributed significantly to the whole development of modern art. I also find his collages very interesting. He remains an influential painter and sculptor, print maker, and ceramist. He wanted to develop a new way of seeing, namely in that of reflecting the … Click here to read more