Reality is a Constant Becoming

Luis Cortés, a sculptor from Zaragoza who lives in Barcelona, has spent years investigating movement through his articulated sculptures, a series made up mostly of small minimalist sculptures with pure shapes, representing different animals, such as the horse, the elephant, or the whale. However, he has also studied the human figure and the hand. In Luis Cortés’ sculptures, you can observe a part of scientific research, and the artist investigates movement carefully. Each of his sculptures is made with a different number of wooden pieces, all of them with geometric shapes. These pieces are linked together through pivot points, thus allowing movement.

In Barcelona, Spain, the presence of exceptional creativity and imagination is around every corner, where artists like Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, and Dali once resided. I was lucky enough to visit Luis Cortes’ art studio, where I wandered around like a child in a Toyland. I was fascinated by his geometrical jigsaw puzzles that turn into motion sculptures.

Animals, plants and ultimately all living beings are important examples of morphological changes, their displacement, and relationships with other beings, based on their intentions, instinct, and intelligence.

– Luis Cortez

“Horse”, wood, 15 in | 40 cm tall, 2019

Luis Cortes went to school at Facultat de Belles Arts, Universitat de Barcelona (The Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona) and was initially trained as a filmmaker. Throughout his career, he has made a living as a special effects maker for motion pictures and commercials. Eventually, the evolution of sculptures made with kinetic chains captured his mind. He devoted his focus to it as he became a full-time artist. Over the last ten years, he has applied polygons’ continuous lines and rigid elements to create various figures through endless detailed calculations of multiple pivot … 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 Mark Kostabi

Mark Kostabi is most known for his paintings of faceless figures which often comment on contemporary political, social and psychological issues, and which have visual stylistic roots in the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Fernand Léger.

Beyond traditional art world exposure, Kostabi has designed album covers for Guns N’ Roses (Use Your Illusion) and The Ramones (¡Adios Amigos!), Seether (Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray), Jimmy Scott (Holding Back The Years), Glint (Sound in Silence), RK: Roman Klun (Kingsway), Psychotica (Espina) and numerous products including a Swatch watch, Alessi vases, Rosenthal espresso cups, Ritzenhoff milk glasses, and a Giro d’Italia pink jersey. Kostabi is also known for his many collaborations with other artists including Enzo Cucchi, Arman, Howard Finster, Tadanori Yokoo, Enrico Baj, and Paul Kostabi.

“Ideas are Drips from a Melting Brain”, oil on canvas, oil on canvas, 47 x 47 in | 120 x 120 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s sort of like asking which city I prefer better: Rome or New York, where I have homes in both. I like each city equally but for different reasons. So the best I can do here is list some of my favorites: Caravaggio, Bernini, Picasso, Warhol, De Chirico, Hopper, Magritte, Dali’, Arman, Picabia and Duchamp.

How did you become a professional artist?

I had natural talent and a strong desire to draw at a young age. All the positive encouragement made it an easy career decision.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Amanda Gorman’s poetry. The pandemic. New technology. And the concept of recycling and revisiting earlier works and ideas of mine and improving them. 

Mark Kostabi, portrait by Jean Kallina.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

It’s the … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with KwangHo Shin

 KwangHo Shin attempts to capture the complex relationship between the expression of emotion and the experience of the mind. With roots in Abstract Expressionism, he employs intense and vibrant oils juxtaposed with charcoal to distort the facial features of his subjects and confront them psychologically.

The artist deliberately refuses the depiction of precise form and proportion in an effort to transcend conventional representation and in turn confronts a more visceral type of portraiture. Faces are deconstructed but retain the power of expression as the artist reimagines them in a patchwork of carefully yet energetically applied strokes of color. Shin’s paintings convey the inner psychological processes of his subjects but also remind the viewer of the artist’s presence.

“[21p09] untitled”, oil on canvas, 21 x 16 in | 53 x 41 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

My favorite artists include Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and Alberto Giacometti.

How did you become a professional artist?

Because I used to like making or drawing something, I went to an art high school and naturally went to an art school. By making works and posting them on social media after graduation, I was able to arrive at this point. I just did what I enjoyed doing.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

The images in my art are shaped through the emotions formed in conversation with the people around me, and the images and stories gathered through mass media such as the news.

KwangHo Shin, self-portrait.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I mainly use primary colors, and the texture is very thick; therefore, I believe that my work permits multitude of emotions and feelings when seen in person.

When is a piece finished for you?

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White Noise at WhiteBox

A skinny, disheveled Asian man spins on a pile of empty cans, screaming and waving his bare arms and legs while strangers throw more cans on him, producing a deafening noise. The man is Chin Chih Yang, a New York-based Taiwanese artist who is a familiar character at WhiteBox’s performative events. His act closes the second day of the fifth edition of White Noise, a series devoted to sound and multimedia visual performance art.   

Organized by WhiteBox, an alternative art space currently located in Harlem, White Noise was first started in 2005 in the organization’s original gallery in Chelsea. Now it moves around the city and its latest installment has been taking place in the New York neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant, hosted in a 19th-century mansion made available by Georgian artist Eteri Chkadua who lives here with her brother Gotcha, also an artist.

For White Noise, the curator and artistic director Juan Puntes assembles a diverse group of international artists that create an engaging and unpredictable soireè. At these events, a musical performance can follow a video projection, a poetry reading can accompany a multimedia installation and an occasional dancer can make an appearance –an eclectic bunch with one common denominator, exploration and experimentation. 

White Noise V. Matt Sullivan and Beatrice A. Martino.

On Saturday, October 16th a packed living room was the setting for a gripping succession of performances including videos by transmedia artist Eva Petrič, and a live reading and screening of a graphic novel by indie-rocker and social critic,Jeffrey Lewis. Throughout the night, Mr. Puntes made sure that the artists had a proper platform to present their work and that the audience had an opportunity to connect and engage with the artists and explore the hosting space. He was clearly in his natural habitat, … Click here to read more

Through COVID cocoon, acclaimed Japanese artist Ogino brings a new perspective to NYC

“My painting is so to say an accumulation of questions about different elements, forming many layers.” – Yuna Ogino

Artist Yuna Ogino is one of the most acclaimed artists of the new generation of Japanese artists. By developing a distinctively striking style, her works have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Yuna Ogino (born 1982, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. Besides traditional medium, the multi-talented artist has also expanded her boundaries beyond painting by expressing artistic value into textiles, books, and performances. Yuna’s innovative style has been awarded and praised in public collections and spaces. With inspirations from ikebana flower arrangements and Japanese gardens, she weaves lights and colors onto the blank canvas, bringing to life her thoughts and memories. If you have followed her work, you know her painting technique is full of joyful color and intriguing lines that represent both the strength and vulnerability of plants and insects. She turns metaphorical representation to maternal richness with a refined design that continues a gorgeous tradition of Japanese decorative society. 

Installation view of Yuna Ogina’s “RELATE” . Courtesey of Mizuma & Kips.

But the COVID-19 imprisoning experience was turning Ogino to a new dimension and forcing her to see human struggle in the whole. The outbreak forced her stay at home life to become a central focus, with little emotional connection to allow her to see humanity and suffering without gender, age, and race. This newfound understanding of we (the whole world) are all suffering under the pandemic changed her palette and inspired her to produce figurative oil paintings in a 7-foot-high canvas. They are debuted at Mizuma & Kips Gallery (324 Grand Street, New York, NY, November 10th – December 7th, … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Kathleen Shaver

Kathleen Shaver is an abstract painter who studied at Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) with teachers and mentors including Bill Richards, Chuck Fahlen, and Thomas Chimes. Her work has been included in a major survey of contemporary Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in exhibits at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, the James A. Michener Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Attleboro Arts Museum and Moore. In addition to the Rodger LaPelle Galleries and 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia, Shaver has exhibited in galleries located in Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Texas. Her work is included in both private and corporate collections.

“Just Human”, oil on canvas, 56 x 48 in | 142 x 122 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s a tough question because time is speeding along and nothing remains the same. I remember seeing paintings by Goya and Velasquez in a book as a kid. I grew up loving the magic of Walt Disney movies. As an art student, Jasper Johns had a huge impact on me as did Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, George Segal, Marisol, Jim Dine, Joseph Cornell, and Lucas Samaras. The first time I saw works of Van Gogh in the flesh I was blown away by the physical presence of his paint. Today, I’d walk a mile to see work by Angel Ortiz, Rachel Jones, Rita Ackermann, or Daniel Crews Chubb.  I feel that Willem de Kooning is in my bones so he must be my favorite.

How did you become a professional artist?

By overcoming a deep conflict. I started out in art college after high school. After figuring out I did not want to study … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Joyce Pommer

Joyce’s paintings evolve out of her subconscious in a free flowing intuitive process. They do not start with a preconceived idea or plan; the art is her reflection.  The work she creates makes people feel good, and instills positive emotions and harmony. The work frees the mind and spirit. Inspired by the early Abstract Expressionists, the artist seeks the emotion and spirit of the painting by way of the unconscious and spiritual.

“Adventurers”, mixed media on canvas, 15 x 15 in | 38 x 38 cm 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Giorgio Morandi. His transformation of simple objects into beautiful imagery are affecting. The contrast of strong to fragile, and still life to abstract, have always spoken to me from the time I discovered his work. Serene and quiet with subtle use of color, his play on positive & negative space are powerful.

How did you become a professional artist?

I attended art school in San Francisco and Boston, but when I moved to NYC I concentrated on having a studio and persisted in exhibiting my work wherever I could. Although I had another job (as a nurse) for many years, I had the flexibility and financial support to continue on this journey, always maintaining a studio and becoming more selective with exhibitions, and eventually becoming a full time artist.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

My inspiration is in the process and use of diverse materials. I am always in search of different textures and how I can put them all together to make the connections coexist especially when alien to one another. My work has a spontaneous and intuitive start, but I always love the element of surprise that happens when working. There are many references … Click here to read more

By Carley Townsend and Beatrice Antonie Martino

Finnish photographer Jaakko Heikkilä doesn’t travel – he stays. Sometimes, he lingers long enough that you’ll fall asleep to the low hypnotic hum of the camera. At least, that’s what happened when Heikkilä photographed Jill, normally lively and hyperactive, suddenly still, quiet, untroubled. With a panoramic camera in hand, each shot takes a full minute, if not more, to develop, imposing a necessary stillness on each moment – a collection of fleeting eternities. Coaxed by a rhythmic repetition of “Lie down” – Click – “Rest your eyes” – buzz – “be still”– silence, Jill turns posing into repose. Heikkilä elicits a sense of magic as focus dances from detail to detail. Time stops, and the stillness deepens the relationship between viewer and subject. 

Jill in Her Living Room, 2003

I have been sitting a lot in kitchens with people, when nothing happens. Total silence. I like to meet people in that silence. It is more intensive, more intimate. I can come closer when nothing else is happening around. That sense of silence, that sense of slowness, it is the same as the photograph. The panoramic lens is rolling like that, silent, slowly. One image taking one minute.

We live in a world where everything is always moving, moving, moving. Everyone is racing to be better than the next. In a society where life is all about motion and distraction, silence and emptiness are revolutionary, radical acts. What does it mean to simply be

Heikkilä has mastered the act of radical stillness, connecting to the inherent beauty, integrity, and inner magic of the other – sitting opposite his camera lens. The subjects of Heikkilä’s photographs live whole and multifaceted lives with or without us – we are simply invited to linger … Click here to read more