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

Artist Q&A with Kim 25

In 2020, Kim25 began exploring the duality of the ‘boundary of undecidability’ that lies between inside and out, and sought to capture this complicated relationship. with her work “The Truth of Mystery.” In 2021 “The Truth of Mystery” series reveals its shape as the figure of the text at the point where inside and outside, inner world and outside reality, correspond. What is remarkable in her painting is that the undecidability of the boundary that belongs to both inside and outside turns into the very (textual, perhaps inter-textual) substance; the undecidability of the boundary becomes, through the artist’s kiasmatic logic, the boundary of undecidability that re-doubles the boundary and the object(s) and thus problematizes the boundariness of the boundary. Kim25’s poetic imagination that manifests itself on her canvas not only gives a new sense of aesthetics through which viewers can communicate with the newly expressed reality, but also facilitates the invitation to various interpretative participations.

“Meet of Each Other – L’éternité & Rimbaud”, oil on canvas, 32 x 46 in | 80 x 117 cm (each panel), 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

My favorite artists of all time are Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, and Julian Schnabel.

How did you become a professional artist?

I was always friends with art and painting. Ever since I was born and had strength in my hands, I always played with drawing utensils. Painting is a fickle friend I meet every day.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

I am influenced by words from literature. On a gloomy day, looking out the window at the scarlet red sunset, I imagine the red sea. I think of the fate of the sea and how it becomes a mirror for the sky, mixed altogether and … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Kurt Lightner

Kurt Lightner was born in Troy, Ohio. He received his BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design, OH, and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

Lightner’s works have been included in many significant group and solo exhibitions; Greater New York, PS1 MOMA, Kurt Lightner: Five Acres, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Queens International, Queens Museum, Other Worlds, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, and A View almost Picturesque and Slow Dissolve, Clementine Gallery. Lightner’s works have been critically reviewed in Artforum, Art in America, Artnews, Freize, Beautiful Decay, Brooklyn Rail, New York Times, The New Yorker, Sculpture, and the Village Voice, among others.

He has been a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and The Headlands Center for the Arts Project Studio Residency in San Fransisco. Lightner’s works are included in many private and public collections both nationally and internationally.

He currently lives and works in Queens, New York. 

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Of all Time? That’s tough.

My favorites ebb and flow but here are a few that always stick in my mind. Charles Burchfield, David Milne, Early Vuillard, Lois Dodd, Alice Neel, William H. Johnson, Giorgio Morandi, Edvard Munch, Jacob Lawrence, William Hawkins, Arlene Shechet, Millet, Van Gogh, Horace Pippin, and Peter Doig. Not necessarily in that order.

“Planting Lesson”, acrylic on canvas, 98 x 70 in | 249 x 177 cm, 2021

How did you become a professional artist?

Since I was a child, I was always using my hands creating, making, growing something. I grew up in a small town in a farming community out in the country pretty isolated until I could drive. This environment allowed for a lot of time to find ways to entertain myself. I would draw and go on made up “archeological … 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 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

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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