Portland based artist Elizabeth Atterbury talks art, inspiration, and the transition of being a new mother with KAC in our latest Interview Interview.
Myke Venable's work investigates the infinite potential and purity in shape indicating a visual representation of his own paired-down universe. From detailed sketches in an open notebook on the worktable to mathematical drawings tacked to the wall, Venable's studio is a perfect diagram of his working and theoretical process. During our visit, KAC viewed Venable's newest body of work and saw how his paintings have evolved into what they are today.
While teaching at The Art League in Houston, Venable rediscovered his love of drawing. He has since dedicated one of the largest walls in his small studio to colorful geometric explorations, mapping out on paper his ongoing study of the complex relationship between shape and color. While he views his drawings as independent works, they also serve as inspiration for shaping his large canvas and panel paintings.
The drawings come to life on wood panels covered with pristine layers of acrylic paint squeezed straight from the tube. Mixing colors, he explains, would complicate his process of instinctually matching color and shape. Venable then focuses on creating thought provoking relationships through the particular arrangement of each element on the wall.
Venable’s newest paintings cleverly juxtapose not quite symmetrical shapes with slightly irregular placements and parings. Tension builds within the negative space between the paintings as they barely touch, leaving the viewer to question whether the forms are merging together, floating apart or statically coexisting. Every combination creates a new dynamic that alters the energy of the cluster itself, therefore impacting the space in which it resides.
Hidden at the end of a beautiful lot densely populated by lush Houston greenery, Libbie Masterson's studio feels like her own personal oasis. The high ceilings and large windows yield a flood of soft natural light ideal for viewing her vast array of work including photographs, paintings, watercolors, glass mosaics and even stage set maquettes.
Masterson's lively persona is a striking counterpart to her tranquil, contemplative work. Our studio visit began with a look at her new glass mosaics, an extended exploration of her large-scale installation at the Houston Hobby Airport. These works are heavily influenced not only by Masterson's affinity for nature, but also music. Masterson shared her life-long fantasy of composing a symphony, and explained to KAC how she incorporates this hidden passion into her work by listening to songs on repeat and allowing the music to dictate the emotional direction of each mosaic.
The imaginative glass compositions provide a splash of color to Masterson's otherwise monochromatic studio, filled with icy landscape photographs of deep grays, blues, and whites. These mesmerizing and meditative photos are back-lit and displayed as illuminated light boxes. Masterson walked us through the rewarding process of working with the light boxes, and calculating the perfect hue and strength of light to properly enhance the imagery without overpowering it.
Masterson’s dream project: set design for an entire opera! Her infinite sources of inspiration and matching talent pose a promising future of endless possibilities and exploration. Be sure to attend her upcoming exhibition, opening September 10th 2016 at Catherine Couturier Gallery, who represents Masterson in Houston.
On our latest studio visit, KAC got an inside look at Sharon Engelstein's eclectic studio, settled in the core of Houston's Museum District. Engelstein's studio is a breath of creative fresh air, fully equipped with a professional-grade kiln, her collection of colorful children's toys and all other essential elements to her creative process.
Sharon Engelstein's kiln
Engelstein's "Dillidiidae" at Hermann Park
Engelstein is commonly known for her sculpture “Dillidiidae” that is currently on view in Hermann Park. This exuberant piece has served the community as a public art landmark for the past two years. Her imaginative and anthropomorphic forms range in scale, material, and purpose, and KAC was eager to see what's currently cooking in her studio.
Ceramic sculptures, "Feel Fine I" and "Feel Fine II"
Upon expressing our curiosity, Engelstein proudly revealed her growing collection of small organic clay sculptures. While staying true to her barnacle-like forms, she has temporarily stepped away from her meticulous planning process that traditionally plays a significant role in her work. This shift encourages Engelstein to work more intimately within her studio, allowing her sculptures to evolve into their own individual identities.
We can expect to see great things from Engelstein, who says her best work has yet to come. Sharon is represented in Houston by Devin Borden Gallery and will have her next exhibition in 2017.
Engelstein's work in progress clay sculpture
While we were in Mexico City, we had the pleasure of doing a studio visit with Tomás Díaz Cedeño. We were initally introducted to Cedeño at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in 2015 at Yautepec Gallery, so we were eager to meet him and learn more about his intruguing process. Take a look at our Let's Talk Art Interview with Cedeño for more on his inspiration and reflections on being an artist in Mexico City.
Tomás Díaz Cedeño, Untitled (Black, White, Flesh), 2015, Vel-mix, pigment, plastic mesh, aluminum
We loved our recent visit to Steve and Paula Murphy’s home where we got a glimpse into their carefully selected art collection of artist friends and great finds. Equally as enticing was our time spent in Steve’s bright, lofted studio. There we admired his classic towering steel forms, as well as a group of newly-milled wooden pieces perched on his work bench. Other new forms were in varying states of completion where Steve was painstakingly applying countless layers of silky graphite to achieve the perfect luster. We left with a clear understanding of how Steve’s work has progressed over the years, reaching a point of refinement that is simultaneously fluid and permanent and achieves a satisfying dichotomy between surface and form.