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

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 Drawing on personal narrative alongside art-historical reference, she has produced several distinct series while maintaining a deliberate compositional heterogeneity.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

Lily Kostrzewa speaks with Aurora Robson

Aurora Robson is a multi-media artist known predominantly for her meditative work intercepting the plastic waste stream. Her practice is about subjugating negativity and shifting trajectories. Her work is a formal meditation on recurring nightmares she had as a child which she hybridizes with forms found in nature. Robson was born in Toronto in 1972 and grew up in Hawaii. She lived and worked in New York City for over two decades during which time she studied art history and visual arts at Columbia University. Recently, Robson moved to the Hudson Valley to raise her two daughters with her husband Marshall Coles.

Installation view of Remnant Romance Environmental Works: Idelle Weber and Aurora Robson.
Courtesy of Hollis Taggart.

Because of my personal interest in female artists, I took the opportunity to interview the environmental artist Aurora Robson regarding her recent two-person exhibition at Hollis Taggart Gallery with her collaborator the late environmental realistic painter Idelle Weber (1932-2020).  Aurora Robson uses mostly plastic waste debris as her main medium to create her artworks. For her, plastic waste materials’ effect on the environment is of crucial concern. This concern is evidenced by her powerful and often colorful artistic representations. 

As a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts grant, she worked at Penn State University to develop an exhibition with plastic waste debris. Her work there solidified in her what I call the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink. 

One might wonder what plastic waste debris has to do with fine art. Well, as it almost always happens, artistic representations are a most powerful form of education. For me, Aurora’s Creations are impactful yet attractive. 

As I talked with her, I started with her making process. She first explained that color was important … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with David Carbone

David Carbone,  Professor Emeritus of Painting and Drawing in the Department of Art and Art History, University at Albany, SUNY, received his B.F.A. at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. He also spent a summer in Maine at the Skowhegan School, and later, earned his M.F.A. at Brooklyn College. He has studied with T. Lux Feininger, Henry Schwartz, Jan Cox, Barnet Rubinstein, Gabriel Laderman, Lee Bontecou, Jacob Lawrence, Jimmy Ernst, Carl Holty, Harry Holtzman, Joseph Groell, Philip Pearlstein, Alfred Russell, and Sylvia Stone. Carbone has had seven one-person exhibitions including shows at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Zoe Gallery, Boston, David Brown Gallery, Provincetown, and Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco. He is a painter, critic, and curator living in New York City. He has shown his work across the country and written for various print and online publications.

“Neither Out Far Nor In Deep”, oil on canvas, 42 x 70 in | 102 x 178 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Really, is there anything duller than an artist talking about their love of a famous artist—we all know too well: Leonardo, Piero, or Vermeer! Yes, they are all worthy. Perhaps, having a favorite artist may even be dangerous? Often, it points to a limited experience of art or worse to a limited capacity to respond to the varieties of human experience. For me, much of the value of a life in art is found in a conversation between works of art. Art, even when it is buoyant and joyous, is a matter of contemplation and meditation; I always look toward what is hidden in plain sight.

How did you become a professional artist?

Did I have a choice? Not that my parents wanted me to become an artist; it isn’t an easy career by any … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Kaoruko

Kaoruko’s painting process pays homage to both traditional and contemporary Japanese artistic methodologies by using water-based paint (acrylic), gold leaf, sumi-e (traditional calligraphy techniques), ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock prints) and silkscreened kimono patterns on canvas. By juxtaposing all these similar yet separate elements, Kaoruko weaves together narratives of the young and old, the bourgeoning and bygone to deliver poignant paintings that straddle cultural, sexual and geographic beliefs and stereotypes of feminine identity at a crucial time that is rewriting the narrative on what it is to be female both here and abroad.

“Teddy Bear”, acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 60 x 54 in | 152 x 137 cm, 2018

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Gustav Klimt

How did you become a professional artist?

I was a Japanese pop singer when I was a teenager. Based on my experience of playing the “kawaii (pretty/cute)” character in Japan, I still keep expressing the beauty of women in the art world.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

I am currently inspired by the unique Japanese traditional crafts such as “Washi”, traditional Japanese paper, “Aizome”, Japanese indigo dye, and “Arita-yaki”, Japanese porcelain.

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I incorporate the Japanese culture, like Japanese paintings and manga with my works. I use a method of drawing in 2D with a “Mensoufude”, fine pointed brushes and using a 200-year-old kimono pattern into a silk screen to make it look like a collage.

When is a piece finished for you?

When I start drawing my work, my inspiration talks to me. Coincidence calls for the chance. Various colors and ideas are born by that voice. When the conversation stops, I finish the work.

Kaoruko, photo by Hisao Taya.

What’s different

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Artist Q&A with Josh Rowell

Josh Rowell generates his artistic vision by focusing on technological advances that shape our contemporary lives, communicating our increasingly mediated human interactions within the confines of visual art. The artist balances analogue techniques with the instantaneous nature of the digital age. This juxtaposition produces a language that explores and reshapes information, and celebrates the hand-made in a time that is increasingly being enveloped by the virtual.

“Virtually Fragile #6”, acrylic on wooden panel, 47 x 71 in |120 x 180 cm, 2018

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

This is sort of an impossible question to answer! It’s hard to choose just one because I have admired, followed and idolised so many artists; all for different reasons, at different stages of my life. But if I had to give you my favourite artist right now, I think I would say Leonardo DaVinci, his work has been at the forefront of my mind ever since seeing some of his paintings on display at the Uffizi gallery in Florence last summer. I think it is the combination of creativity, skill, mathematics, science and so on that makes him such an important artist, perhaps the most important artist to have ever lived.

How did you become a professional artist?

I grew up in a fairly creative family, I remember as a child my grandmother would teach me to paint and draw at the weekends. That, combined with some inspirational art teachers at school, I felt inspired to follow a Fine Arts education to Degree and Master’s Degree level. Upon graduating from university, I actually took up a position as a gallery assistant for a contemporary art gallery in Mayfair, London. I always say that this was perhaps the most valuable experience of my career so far, … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Gregory Thielker

Movement, territory, and memory shape the work of artist Gregory Thielker. He uses drawing and painting, as well as sound and installation, to unpack perceptions and narratives of specific places. Hyperrealistic representation serves as a tool for a slow, meticulous transcription of the physical sites, as well as documentation of the artist’s contact with each place. His images reveal a critical glance, give pause for contemplation, and allow memory to affect our impressions. He has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Gregory currently lives in Switzerland.

“Remainder”, oil on linen, 34 x 50 in | 86 x 127cm, 2019

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

If I have to pick one who has continued to inspire me it would be Gerhard Richter.

How did you become a professional artist?

I have always loved art, but for most of my days in school, I tried hard to do other things. Eventually, the feeling that I needed to be an artist won out. And now I can’t imagine not making art.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

I am inspired and challenged by what I see around me. I think this started when I began to paint en plein air, and after I pulled out a canvas, that moment of paralysis when I had to decide how and why I was painting what I saw. For better or worse, I have moved around a lot too; living in New York and different cities in the US, to India, Bulgaria, and now Switzerland. It’s not easy to arrive in a new place, but I think that painting and drawing give me the means to understand how I see things. There is a saying I believe about India: that when you first arrive, you feel like you can … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Terry Rodgers

Terry Rodgers is an internationally recognized artist who has worked and lived in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Rodgers’ current work focuses on portraying contemporary body politics. His rendering of an imaginary leisure life stands as an iconic vision of the tensions and confusions endemic to today’s society. These images are not snapshots or slices of life, but rather a compression and dissection of our rampant imaginations and mediated influences. The seductive and marvelous glamour of the outer world jars against the vulnerability and delicacy of our inner and private selves.

“The Garden of Good and Evil”, oil on linen, 48 x 78 in | 122 x 198 cm, 2020

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I have many artists that I admire for many different reasons. So, for me, it is impossible to choose one. Let me list a few in no particular order: Piero della Francesca, Max Beckmann, Joel Peter Witkin, John Singer Sargent, Toulouse-Lautrec, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Anders Zorn, Diego Velazquez, Agnolo Bronzino, Edgar Degas, Cy Twombly, Auguste Rodin Edouard Manet, Peter Paul Rubens, and Alice Neel.

How did you become a professional artist?

Interest and obsession have a lot to do with it, and looking and noticing carried me away.

What are the influences and inspirations in your work?

Perhaps more important is, what do I think about when I’m developing the Magwerks and the archival prints?

What are the effects of our super-photographic world, the miraculous, if not realistic, screen and magazine colors, the high impact graphic design of everything, the perfect plating requirements of the would-be food aficionados? What is it about the “best of, highest-rated, 5-star” that so commands our attention? Someone’s attention.  

And then what is it about the sloosh of a sloppy smear of … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with C. Michael Norton

C. Michael Norton was born in North Dakota in 1951, and has been living and working in New York since 1987. He received an MA in 1979 in metal fabrication, and an MFA in mixed media plastic arts from San Jose State University in 1981. His large-scale abstract paintings echo the cacophony of urban life today. The competing surface tensions confront each other, creating a visual orchestration of discordant and harmonic tonalities. The compositions, resembling visual soundscapes, explore the notion of depth, both spatial and psychological.

He settled down permanently in Tribeca in 1992. The struggle to achieve maturity in painting came to fruition after the World Trade Center was destroyed in 2001. The morning of September 11, the artist was in his studio when he heard the first plane hit. He immediately went to the street with his wife to see what happened. As he rounded the corner on West Broadway, looking ten blocks south just after the second tower was hit, he asked his wife, “How the fuck are we going to fix that?” This question remains central to his critical thinking today.

“Outside Time”, molded acrylic on linen, 55 x 91 x 9 in | 140 x 230 x 23 cm, 2020-2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Vincent Van Gogh

How did you become a professional artist?

By default, I was unequipped to pursue any other vocation or profession. Although I love history, storytelling, music, I never found a way to articulate myself in those professions or disciplines. It was visual art all the way if I could see it I could do it. I climbed on the backs of many other artists through manipulating their techniques and their visions early on, but I eventually found my own … Click here to read more