In KAC’s latest Interview, Houston-based painter and professor Bradley Kerl shares an inside look into what originally focused his creative journey towards painting, where his body of work is headed and exciting news about his growing family.
Kerl's work at Texas Contemporary Art Fair, 2016.
Kerl's site-specific still life set at Gensler, Houston.
KAC announces a solo exhibition with Houston artist Hillevi Baar on view at Gensler Houston. The inspired creator of intricate installation-based works, Baar views herself as not only an artist but also as a facilitator who assists her medium of Mylar to reside in it's intended and natural state. Her active interplay with medium explores variations in form, often derived from interactions observed between wind, water, plant life and shadow play.
"Float" by Baar in Gensler's reception
Baar’s experimentation with Mylar is particularly evident in "Float," a site-specific installation created for Gensler’s reception. This elegant suspended sculpture investigates the balance between meticulous strategizing and spontaneous on-site manipulation in response to the environment. Baar began creating this piece by carefully scoring the Mylar to intentionally mimic the linear forms throughout Gensler’s space.
References to nature are also seen in "Wild Flowers," a wave-like form installed along Gensler's Conference Corridor comprised of Mylar and steel pins resembling delicate branches. These complex elements seem to grow from the wall, fusing into one fluid shape that gently sways with the flow of foot traffic. These slight movements expose individualized drawings hidden between the intricate layers.
This interactive component allows the viewer to experience the piece in its entirety, while also inviting the study of each self-contained drawing. Conversely, "Unraveled" in the Coffee Corridor beckons the viewer to quietly approach the finely cut and tapering suspended Mylar sheet to fully experience the highly detailed graphite drawings within.
Baar is continuously experimenting with the dimensionality and boundaries of medium to transform the environments of numerous corporate and private spaces. This exhibition was curated by Kinzelman Art Consulting on behalf of Gensler.
Mokha Laget, "Southern Wing"
Kinzelman Art Consulting is celebrating the completion of a two-story geometrical wall mural, Color Field, commissioned by artist Mokha Laget, represented locally with Gallery Sonja Roesch. Although Laget was undoubtedly influenced by her time as Gene Davis’s studio assistant, her work is deeply rooted in her own distinct exploration of color composition and shape precision. KAC took advantage of Laget’s four day Houston visit to discuss her artistic process, cultural influences and life balance.
KAC: The painting commissioned for Johnson Law Group is part of a larger body of work. What was the catalyst for this series of forms and have they always been a part of your visual dialogue?
ML: The image for this commission originated from several drawings based on mosaics. The idea was to scale up the tessellation to a monumental scale for the architectural space. Last year I took a trip to Morocco and stopped in the historical ruins of an old Roman town. 2000 years later the mosaics were virtually intact, and the geometry is still universal. I made a series of works based on those patterns but exploded the rigid predictability so that the motifs began floating in space. I then integrated the idea of perceptual ambiguity so that depending on where you stand, the elements of the piece appear at once to come forward or recede to invisible vanishing points. Much of my work plays on perceptual ambiguity.
Mapping out "Southern Wing", credit: Mokha Laget
KAC: This painting is much more complex than meets the eye and the completed work will be the result of multiple steps and extreme attention to detail. Will you please describe the process that goes into a wall painting like this?
ML: As with all of my paintings, the preparation sketch is a small pencil drawing on graph paper. From these I select a specific configuration to further develop. Color, however, is never planned in advance. In the case of a mural, I create a more detailed sketch and envision several color schemes that can change at the last minute. For this project, I wrote software code to create a computer representation and refine the color selection. I work with an engineer who takes my program and generates what looks like pages of numbers but is actually a series of mathematical equations to generate coordinates that allow us to modify or laser plot the image in the correct scale onsite.
KAC: What is the largest painting you've completed to date?
ML: In 2007 I was commissioned by the Washington DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create a 450’ x 50’ street painting on 8th St NW. It was part of a citywide Color School revival. I called it Gene’s Jubilee as a nod to Gene Davis, a Washington Color School painter. I worked as his studio assistant for 4 years and when he died suddenly, I was asked to design the first street painting below the National Museum of American Art where his memorial exhibition was. That was in 1987 then I reprised a different color scheme for the 2007 painting. You had to be on a rooftop or in a helicopter to see the whole thing.
KAC: You've stated that you gather creative material from your travels. Are you gathering ethereal data such as light, awareness and emotion or physical data like architectural shapes and design form and color? How do you document your discoveries?
ML: I have moved around my whole life. Travel is lifeblood; it connects the planet. Humans are not so different worldwide but their cultures and creations are. Every place I visit gives me ideas, whether it is an exotic land or my own back yard. I try to note them in my notebook every morning. They become a kind of library to draw from. I may be interested in the obscure historical use of red in India vs. Japan, or the plain shadows cast on a corrugated shelter in Africa. Light sources are tremendously important in my work, going back to my early years growing up near the Sahara. Ultimately what I paint is the sense of place, real or imagined.
Mokha Laget, "Southern Wing"
KAC: Will you speak to how your secondary role as a simultaneous French interpreter informs your work and provides balance in your life as an artist?
ML: I’ve been fortunate to have a skill, which allowed me to work as another kind of bridge builder around the world. As a simultaneous interpreter, I am engaged in quasi performance art. In art you often work alone but in language you are compelled to interact with the world and those in it. I greatly value my privacy as an artist, but I never wanted to spend my life in studio isolation. It’s important to live in your time, experience it, and strive to understand it.
KAC: What might we find in the corner of your studio?
ML: …Old maritime and aviation maps, Franco-Prussian war manuscripts, a yellow toy Citroen DS, a rusted civil war canon ball…
Trammel Crow's Energy Center 5
Kinzelman Art is proud to announce the completion of two site-specific commissions created for Trammel Crow's Energy Center 5 building lobby located in the Houston Energy Corridor. In May 2016 we installed these unique works of art by artists, Val Britton and Ara Peterson enhancing the elegance of the interiors and infusing energy into the lobby.
"Many of my colleagues are not familiar with the dynamics and environments of the art world, therefore it can certainly be intimidating to approach, but working with Julie and her team, we found that the process was very inviting and approachable. The two artists that were selected were highly vetted, and we all feel we selected two representative pieces that are spot on for the opportunity." - Cody Armbrister, Senior Managing Director, CBRE
With more than 40 offices worldwide, international energy trading company, Vitol, has one of its largest operations in the Upper Kirby neighborhood of Houston, Texas. Kinzelman Art organized the relocation and exhibition of Vitol's art collection, (as managed by Kinzelman Art since 2010), to Vitol's new award winning offices designed by interior architecture firm, PDR Corporation. Successfully working in tandem with one another, the modern art collection and the sophisticated interior architecture expands one's experience of the typical corporate environment by creating a progressive, museum-like work place environment.
"We have an appreciation and understanding of the unique role that art can have in the workplace. Over the years, Julie and her team have been instrumental in the selection of new pieces to add to our collection. Our new work space was designed to intentionally highlight certain works, so proper selection and placement was critical. Kinzelman Art made that process very simple and the end result is better than what we had initially envisioned." -Scott Adams, HR and Administration, Vitol
Corporate Collection Project
Kinzelman Art is celebrating the completion of a 4-year, comprehensive art management initiative for a corporate client collection. Managing this collection has been a significant opportunity for Kinzelman Art, and we are proud of our dedicated efforts and achievements through this ambitious undertaking. KAC is honored to have been selected to expertly lead this outstanding collection.
Chermayeff and Geismar, Red "O" Tower
Soo Sunny Park, Capturing Light
Hughes Landing Project
Recognized by the Houston Business Journal as the 2016 recipient of the Landmark Award in mixed-use development, Hughes Landing is a 66-acre master planned community located in The Woodlands that features numerous works of public art throughout. Continuing the collecting philosophy of The Woodlands, Hughes Landing retained Kinzelman Art Consulting to procure and commission several public works of art for select locations to further enhance the community.
Yvonne Domenge, Wind Waves
We were thrilled to add to the magnetism of Hughes Landing via the placement of invigorating works of art by such artists as Mexico City based Yvonne Domenge, and Washington State artist Julie Speidel. We find that the overall success is seeing these public works of art serve to unify the community through an artful experience.
With an impressive roster of 140 galleries from around the world, EXPO Chicago has delivered a vast selection of world class contemporary art. We are spending the weekend in the windy city to explore the many high-caliber art works and art programs on view. After our first day at the fair, a number of works have already caught our eye.
Impressive biographical works by McArthur Binion, Sketch VII and VIII (Looking for Grey): For: Three Movements of Sunlight, 2013, laser print collage, oil paint stick, and Staonal crayon on panel, at Kavi Gupta Gallery
Kinzelman Art Consulting recently organized a temporary exhibition with Houston based artist Natasha Bowdoin at HOK Architect’s crisp and beautiful new space. Bowdoin’s The Daisy Argument Revised is a striking and dynamic spray of feathered elements that recall the aquatic flora of her native Maine. She has installed many iterations of this layered cut paper piece over the years, the first being in 2010.
Professor of Painting and Drawing at Rice University, Bowdoin is known for her painstakingly detailed cut paper installations and collages. Process and content are equally important to Bowdoin in her work. She spends hours hand-cutting the paper elements in direct and visceral response to the even more labor-intensive drawings and transcriptions of significant literary texts. Here the artist has fluidly recorded the text of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and portions of Through the Looking-Glass throughout the abstract composition of the piece.
Natasha Bowdoin’s The Daisy Argument Revised will be on view at HOK through mid-December, 2015.
During the installation process, where Natasha intuitively attached individual elements to HOK’s feature reception wall, KAC’s Adrienne Johnson had a conversation with the artist about the piece and about her work in general.
Q: What was the first text you transcribed?
A: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Before, when I first started to use writing in my work it was much more fragmentary. I would transcribe clips of overheard conversation, portions of remembered song lyrics, and bits of my own stream of conscious writing: things that were floating around the studio as I worked. My work is now made up of other authors’ texts. I was drawn to the idea of using others’ writing as a kind of found, raw material, in that it introduced an element into the work and process that wasn’t personal to me and wasn’t something I could predict. This particular piece includes transcriptions of the entirety of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and a portion of Through the Looking-Glass.
Q: How long does it take you to make a piece like this, in its original iteration?
A: This piece in my mind will never be finished. Firstly, I want to complete the transcription of Carroll’s second Alice book. As I mentioned before, I have only partially completed Through the Looking-Glass. Secondly, while at some point the drawings and component parts will be complete, I see this piece staying in flux and transition, resisting any one finite form. The piece is intuitively recombined in each new space it comes to inhabit, never going together the same way twice. Each installation is to a certain extent improvisational. Drawings for a particular installation are usually in the making for several years, as I tend to work on a lot of different pieces at once. If I sat down and focused solely on one installation alone it would come together faster but I like splitting my attention across different works and projects in the studio, in the hopes that different pieces might influence one another in a way I can’t predict.
Q: Is it your intention that viewers read your works?
A: I hope people are neither prevented from reading the work nor feel obligated to. I’m not particularly interested in using text as a means to directly articulate a message or illustrate a meaning. There is a tradition of text in art, established especially in certain kinds of artistic investigation that really took off in the 1960s, that focuses on text as a device for communication or a signifier of meaning. I’m more interested in and inspired by artists like León Ferrari, Robert Smithson, and Mira Schendel, who I think were really interested in the abstract potential of text. People can look for meaning in my drawings, but the structure defies any sense of logic. I don’t give anyone a specific place to begin. Text I think isn’t always straightforward, obvious, or transparent. I like channeling this room for flexibility, ambiguity, and a text’s potential.
Q: Will you tell me about the inspiration for the forms themselves?
A: A lot of the pattern I gravitate towards as source material is nature based. I’m fascinated with how humans over time have tried to depict and document the world around them. With this piece, I’ve had people tell me that they are reminded of life under the sea, seaweed and sea fans for instance. These weren’t forms I intentionally had in mind but I guess it’s impossible for me to get away from where I grew up. The natural surroundings of my home state of Maine and elements of my upbringing I think work their way into my work subconsciously.
Originally this piece was kept in a palette of black, white, and yellow in that I was thinking of the color of type in a book, and of Alice’s blond hair. Eventually I began to add more and more color in an attempt to reference the wackiness and the vibrancy of Carroll’s Wonderland.
Another reason the work remains in flux is that in a way it’s meant to mirror Alice’s own experience. As she travels through Wonderland she is constantly shrinking or expanding to make her way through the space. There’s a lack of fixed boundary to her own body as she continues on her adventure. This piece is meant to evoke that sense of boundarylessness I find so appealing.
See the installation time-lapse video here:
KAC had the privilege of commissioning Korean artist Soo Sunny Park to compose an impressive site-specific installation in a corporate reception in The Woodlands. Capturing Light is made up of 22 individual panels and 12,000 dichroic acrylic tiles that scatter ever-changing patterns of refracted light through the space. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Park throughout the entire process from developing the initial concept, to creating digital and physical models. After months of careful collaboration and planning, it is wonderful to see this beautiful installation come to life and transform the surrounding environment.
Special thanks to CYNTHIA-REEVES, New York and TYart Art Handling.
See our time-lapse video of the week-long installation:
We braved the frigid New York temperatures to explore what this spring's New York art fairs had to offer. Below are a few of our highlights from The Armory Show, SCOPE, art on paper, VOLTA, and Pulse. While we were in Chelsea, we also made a stop at Morgan Lehman Gallery to check out their current Aaron Wexler show.
James Surls and Adrienne Johnson
James Surls flourishes in Houston! We were excited to have the opportunity to work with this Texas art icon on his site-specific suspended work that measures an impressive 14’ x 25’ x 19”. Surls’ Nature’s Language resides in and enhances a corporate lobby in the Woodlands.
TYart Art Handling expertly installing the sculpture