Artists

Abner Harris

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Abner Harris grew up in eastern Massachusetts. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago receiving a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in 1996. After leaving Chicago, Abner moved to the city of New York. In 1998 Abner moved to the United Kingdom where, at first, he lived west of London finding work, painting murals on moonwalks (bouncy castles) and as a model maker In Lego land. During the decade 1998·2008 Abner was showing his paintings regularly in pubs, dive bars, and galleries of London. In one bar, Camden, his work was featured in the film ‘Happy go Lucky’ by Mike Leigh. At The Foundry he exhibited in and co-organized an arts festival and appeared twice on ‘live from the Foundry on Resonance 104.4 FM. Around 2010 Abner began tracing his paintings with vector graphics. In 2011 he exhibited in the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 2015 he exhibited in the Moniker Art Fair in London. Coinciding with the Moniker show, a short film was made about Abner by Brazilian film maker, Matcelli D’Andrea. Back when Abner was a kid, he used to walk all over the place. By the time he arrived at his destination he would always have collected a fist full of rubbish from the side of the road and made some sort of misguided contraption out of it. He was a doodler and defacer of classroom desks. While some grow out of this sort of thing he never did. He believes that is what art is about. Abner admits that he is no different than that old guy who’s still carving duck decoys or his wife who knits sweaters around trees. Painting however is more specific than a child’s playful creativity. So, it is necessary here to explain why he paints the things that he does. He has always been drawn to artwork with a fluid sense of motion and calligraphy from the English alphabet and alphabets of other languages. This writing, aside from the literal meaning, can tell a story with angles and swoops and stops. With his paintings, Abner has sought to tell little stories with the lines and shapes that make up more recognizable imagery, with a shape echoing a line or a color used for balance. Today the world is in a state of flux. Demographically, meteorologically as well as technologically nothing seems immune to change and strong opinion. In times such as these it is tempting for artists to become partisan. Abner has always preferred to focus on the patterns and relationships born of such changing times in art as well as in life. He uses what he sees in the world allegorically when he does and roles are often shared or interchangeable. His subjects can be dreamlike and ambiguous but they obey his own laws of cause and effect, often in reaction to other recent paintings of his. For his purposes, a successful narrative is one in which he takes definable positions which can be seen from different perspectives. In other words, Abner would like to paint like a wise, open-minded historian, or a weak, ineffectual lawyer.

Bryan McGinnis

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State of the Art is a two part exhibition. This solo show includes McGinnis’ Projects, President and Man Made. The exhibition bonds both collections with emphasis on the identity of American president. Historic and American subject matters are frequently explored throughout his work, for it serves as a learning tool. The research is just as important and valuable to the art as the paint is to the canvas. Project President is a series of painting paper cut-outs. Each piece portrays a separate president using acrylic paint, paper, and a combination of negative and positive space. The paintings transform from abstract designs to geometric recognizable figures. The ramification of lines and deliberate pairings of layers are based on juxtaposition of colors and occasionally content. Project President is a playful interplay between solid and void spaces that delicately create a visual performance. For McGinnis, Project President is a labor of love. While little technology is dependent for this series, the physical impact of cutting each line is extensive; however, the manual actions take you back to a time where tools were found in a box and not on a computer. Man Made is a series of inkblot-like designs depicting late American icons such as John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. The inkblot formations are arranged over densely textured fields of obscure rock-like shapes as well as gritty sand. The materials enhance a vision of complex masculine qualities, which serve to further build upon an appreciation of his own masculine identity. Bryan is from Levittown, Pennsylvania, commonly known as the first modern suburb of the United States. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Lycoming College with concentrations in Painting and Photography. His interests in art came at a young age where he was then able to train his talents and pursue an education and life style within the arts. Bryan’s art is highly influenced by American History. Mostly concentrating with historic American politics, he paints with respect and an objective to acquire the realistic American beginnings that were often sugarcoated in his public education. Many of his works center on American presidents. Various other presidents are finding themselves incorporated in his work as he expends outside of his comfort circle. Bryan’s pieces can be described as representational, conceptual, abstract and contemporary. He is able to tie together both ideological and personal beliefs and distort them in multi-layered conceptual pieces. The finished composition is playful in a sense that he enjoys approaching his work by accumulating mediums at the surface. His artistic style often differs in medium, yet stays conceptually historically based. Bryan does not limit his mediums, instead he diversifies his pieces with: acrylic paints, ink, photography, and ceramics.

Chad Andrews

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Chad Andrews received his BFA in studio art from Kutztown University and his MFA in printmaking from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at The University of Pennsylvania for five years, and held the position of Director of Visual Arts at the Interlochen Center for the Arts (Interlochen, MI) for six years. He is currently a full-time instructor of Printmaking and 2-Dimensional Design at Bloomsburg University. He maintains a private studio at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport PA. Andrews grew up moving every two years for nearly 50% of his life. This constant changing of environments is melded to Andrews persona and is manifested into his approach to making art. Andrews work constantly fluctuates with mediums, techniques, imagery and concepts and yet through all this change, he remains the constant. Andrews recent exhibitions present a variety of directions and ideas simultaneously. This manner of working feels right to him, in a way it is exactly the way he lives his life. Andrews lives on a horse farm, teaches at Bloomsburg University, and has a private studio practice at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, PA. These three very different lives are one to him and are reflected in his artwork. In a recent studio visit with Andrews, a critic stated that, “If someone thinks they know what you do, they don’t know you.” Andrews took this as a compliment and keeps pushing his life and work forward. Andrews art keeps him observing and participating in the world around him and as this world changes so does his work. Terms such as Representational, Pop, Graffiti, Conceptual, Installation, Abstract, and Contemporary, may be used to describe some of Andrews work. But the moment you use a name to describe what Andrews is doing, he feels that he is moving in a new direction. His work has been in numerous exhibitions in Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Virginia and is represented by Gallery Plan B in Washington DC. With the Converge show in December as his re- emergence into public life, 2016 will yield a whole new body of paintings, prints and drawings. He is not going to have an on-line presence for 2016, as he figures out these new works.

ClockWorkBox

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ClockWorkBox a.k.a. Timothy Allen Miller is (in no specific order) a teacher, photographer, designer and assemblage artist currently based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I’ll drop the third person narrative now and speak directly. My work covers many different themes but my modus operandi remains constant: the use of common and/or uncommon objects relating to each other in unusual ways. Each of us experiences reality in our own unique way and I strive to make work that reflects my worldview and challenges others to look outside of their own reality. Early in my life I was greatly influenced by the work of Jasper Johns and Joseph Beuys. Both of these artists found ways to elevate popular iconography through the prism of their own experience. Like Marcel Duchamp who preceded them, the observer’s role became to create art’s meaning. I have also been greatly influenced by the work of Joseph Cornell who used the evocation of nostalgia to appeal to the viewer and used materials found in thrift shops to make his work. From the work of these artists I was encouraged to find my own voice in the flotsam and jetsam of America’s past and present. Themes in my work include growing up, socio-political issues, mental illness, metaphysics, redemption, and the concepts of time and change. My work is composed of a variety of materials. Cornell once said “Everything can be used, but of course one doesn’t know it at the time. How does one know what a certain object will tell another?” If you would visit my studio you would see how firmly I believe in that sentiment, it is a guiding principal to my artistic process. The space that I work in is covered in bits and pieces from bygone eras. Sometimes I use cast off objects that I find in a local thrift stores and other times I use objects found at the many antique stores in rural Pennsylvania. I think about who may have used a tool or a toy in my work. I think about how these things were once new and valued but have now come to be in possession, discarded and unwanted. I attempt to return value to these items as a metaphor for redemption. There is a darkness to my work and I believe that this is due to the darkness in the act of redemption: the return to the unpleasant past and the balancing of it with a hopeful future. I often use gilding as a way to emphasize this transition from the valueless to the valuable. My process works on a deeply subconscious level. Often I start working without understanding where it will take me, often I do not know what the meaning of my work is until I need the final pieces to make it complete. There is a very Taoist bent in my work: to try to explain is often to chew my teeth. As Lao Tzu wrote, ”The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” this is my way.

Craig Kaufman

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Once an art teacher, Craig now spends his time as a painter, craftsman, designer, colorist, draftsman and former partner in two businesses. He taught art for 36 years in Pennsylvania public schools. He has also taught art history, painting, color, design and drawing at the Pennsylvania College of Technology where he worked as an adjunct for 22 years. He also taught as an adjunct during spring semesters for 9 years at Lycoming College. All of these courses focused on both art historical information as well as elements of design and architecture. He has also studied art and architecture as he has traveled. The art exhibition record shown represents shows since the year 2000 until the present although my show record dates back to 1972. He has worked on four political campaigns supporting candidates favoring a strong public education within Pennsylvania. Painting, for Craig, “is the mystery it has always been.” That may be why he loves this activity. He begin each painting relying on discovered problems and solutions found within his recent work and the work of others. He has come to know content, subject and technique as planned and accidental. One painting builds on another. High expectations and failure are always a part of his studio practice. He believes that fine art is important to study, describe, analyze, interpret and judge. He seeks out new and older works which lend new ideas and give him pleasure.

Curt Miller

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Curt Miller is an artist who grew up in central Pennsylvania. He has a Master of Business Administration Degree and has several creative outlets that over time have included: art, theater, music, and stand-up comedy. Curt is best known for his figurative and expressionistic oil pastels. His subject matter comes directly from his mind and leans towards the enigmatic, the thought provoking, and situations that are out of context. He interjects subtle humor and often flirts with the absurd, sometimes placing an emphasis on the title or the idea behind the painting rather than what is visually displayed. His art challenges and entertains, while at the same time appealing to the intellectual, the philosopher, the comedian, and the psychologist in us all. Curt hopes that his art can serve as some sort of beacon to let people know that they are not alone. More than anything, he hopes that you read the narrative on one of his pieces and ask, “What would make someone think of something like that.” There is no shortage of artists who enjoy painting barns, cats and flowers and plenty of people who enjoy those things as well. Curt may choose the same subject matter, but he is more interested in exploring what went on in the barn, how much we did not like the cat or what the quality of life was for the people who did the flower arrangement. He is speaking to the existential, and to people who are searching for some deeper meaning and are wondering why they are so different from everyone else. You cannot hang Curt’s art on your wall without making a statement that you may have to explain or defend at some point. Curt’s work is in private collections overseas, and throughout the United States.

Dean Landry

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Dean Chooch Landry is an artist who hails from Harlem, New York City. He works as a photographer, artist and illustrator. His clients include Anna Sui, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Strokes, and Nickelodeon, to name a few. His trompe l’oeil designs were featured in two major art museum exhibitions. His Anna Sui illustrations can be seen in the book “Fashion & Graphics,” published by Harper Design International, and “My Favorite Dress,” published by ACC Editions. Landry is, in all respects, an artist — he creates inspired photographs, paintings and illustrations, and is a practicing musician, performing and touring with his band, Tiger Flowers. His vibrant paintings have been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. His photographs include a large body of Polaroid, medium format and large format filmwork, which span the spectrum from street photography to portraiture to nature to his night in NYC series entitled I STILL LOVE YOU. His photo series of Harlem has been widely exhibited in various galleries and online features. His paintings and Polaroid photos are featured in a release from Magma Books, “Graphic 09.” His, paintings, Photos and illustrations were also featured in a solo exhibit titled CHOOCHLAND in Osaka, Japan. A book of his illustrations and paintings was published to accompany this exhibit. His painting and engraving works were displayed in a month long solo show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. Landry recently had a month long solo exhibit at Mooney Center Gallery in the College Of New Rochelle entitled GO ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS in which a book also accompanied. This featured his Harlem series of photos, paintings and illustrations for the fashion industry. He is also a collaborator and contributor with Colab Projects on Art For A Free Tibet. His photographs were recently featured in a solo show in NYC and Tarrytown NY and were part of a group show in Madrid Spain. His current work for, “I still love you” coincides with a book project he is working on. The work is all large format film night photography in NYC. The camera is a 1947 speed graphic with a 1942 Kodak lens that was used in the belly of Bomber planes in WWII for surveillance. He develops all of the film himself.

Dillon Samuelson

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Dillon Samuelson’s work is an exploration of human experience and emotion, through storytelling and the outward manifestation of that which is often kept internal. I am interested in expressing emotional content as well as ideas of isolation, manhood and the romanticization of violence in our culture. These themes appear in my artwork through figurative representation, exploring the inner workings of man by displaying it outwardly. The imagery is often distorted and symbolic rather than that of strict realism or visual likeness, using loose marks and obscurity to express a sense of the psyche. Most of the work is self-portraiture or personal friends in order to give an intimate look into the individual’s perceived experience, as well as share my own self-examination and search for self-knowledge. Dillon Samuelson is a painter and illustrator who currently lives and works in York, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Fine Art program at York College of Pennsylvania in 2014, and the following year was awarded the third annual Appell Arts Fellowship at Marketview Arts. His work has been shown in regional exhibitions and his illustrations have appeared in books and comics, accompanying the writing of authors such as Ted Kelsey and Erik Arneson.

Job Johnson

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The Story of Job title was taken from the bible, in the bible Job lived a good life, had dozens of kids, a good wife, a huge farm, lots of money and he thanked and praised God everyday. The devil was talking to God and said yeah Job’s a good man, but he wouldn’t like you so much if you took everything away from him. So, as a test, God took his fortune away, his wife left him, his kids all died, Job even became a leper, but he still prayed and looked up to God. So the devil was wrong, God was right and so God gave Job back everything he once had and much more. That’s where the saying “the patience of Job” came from. One of my friends (even though they weren’t Christian) said I should read that story because when I was in the hospital sick with ulcerative colitis (near death) in 2003, I didn’t give up, and I stayed happy by drawing pictures. Job Johnson is my alter ego that I created out of 1. My family always pressuring me to make pictures of farms and landscapes for them. 2. Inspiration from seeing all the Vincent Van Gogh drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a year before. 3. Inspiration from my great Aunt Mae and all the stories she used to tell me as a kid. After she passed away I needed a way to preserve some of these stories from her and my grandparents, too. 4. Reading the collected folklore from Henry W. Shoemaker and looking at all the ancient photos in that book, wondering what it would be like living and making art in North Central Pennsylvania at the turn of the last century. Job Johnson was born. I learned to make paper in graduate school and could make it at home with scraps of acid free mats from the local frame shop I work at. I made drawings on it and framed them out of really old looking tree branches. Like objects and relics from the past, it was important for me to make a story for Job and set him in an earlier time period, the beginning of the industrial revolution. A time when the old ways, traditions and superstitions gave way to the modern and the clash that was happening at the time. My pap (He’s 98 years old now) once told me that he remembered a new automobile, a model T, once collided with a horse and wagon, killing everyone including the horses. I’m interested in the victims that were left behind in this transition, the wolf, the mountain lion, the great white pine tree. This picture has yet to be made but will be, in hopes that people will see the correlation with today’s society. An alter ego frees me up from the concern of having to be stylistically modern. The work is anti-modern. So I, Jeremiah Johnson can continue to make the modern work that I do.

John Breiner

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Growing up in New York with an early love for Comics, skateboarding and graffiti John has maintained a career as an Illustrator, fine artist, and muralist for well over two decades. While the focus of his personal work revolves around the reuse of found items, (specifically, old paper, books, and book jackets) he has also painted large-scale murals, various private commissions and designs, as well as curated a number of group art shows and installations. John’s works have been exhibited internationally in Turkey, Italy, Switzerland and China, as well as nationally in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Philadelphia and San Francisco. After residing in New York City for the last 13 years, John is currently living and working as an artist and DJ in New York’s Hudson Valley region. John Breiner’s work is highly inspired by nature, the passing of time, and the reclaiming of surfaces. For the last decade, books, salvaged paper, and found objects have been his work surfaces of choice. As an artist, he looks for a surface with stains and the telltale marks of a past life. He finds inspiration from yellowed paper, peeling paint, or a water-damaged surface. He sees these marks as a constant reminder that time stops for nothing. Almost exclusively discarded, John embraces these “lived” surfaces adding and subtracting layers to convey his own experiences and observations. His hope, in the end, is to create a seamless interaction with the piece, to join image to surface as naturally as possible and push it out into the world with a new story to tell.

John McKaig

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John McKaig is a painter, printmaker and photographer from Williamsport. He currently is a professor at Bloomsburg University and the Pennsylvania College of Technology, teaching drawing, photography and art history. He has previously taught drawing, painting, printmaking and photography at the Interlochen Arts Academy for 15 years and Syracuse University for 12 years. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and internationally. McKaig creates pictures that help him explore the idea of escape, ideas of mortality and passage after life, how to deal with trauma and healing from that trauma. His use of the figure explores his identity as a gay man that is still expected to justify his experiences and basic human identity. He uses nautical imagery, water and the human figure in order to communicate essential ideas of how we relate to each other, how we affect each other, and how to move to space that is empowering and encouraging. John often depicts the figure (or figurative elements or components) in situations or stances that allude to ideas of fighting back, play and wonderment, as well as stoicism and quiet resolve. He also works with the idea of “passage” and “journey” not only to communicate ideas of healing and working through trauma, but also to communicate the idea of growing beyond limitations and definitions of being. He is drawn towards working in a way that drawing is a basis for this exploration. He tries to remain open to how the inherent qualities of a specific media can help him communicate both subtle and dramatic ideas related to his thesis, so he moves between printmaking, drawing, and painting in order to remain active and positive in his process.

Johnny Romeo

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Johnny Romeo is an internationally acclaimed Australian pop painter whose energetic appropriation of comic book aesthetics and pop culture is capturing attention worldwide. With GQ Magazine describing his art as ‘part punk, part pop’, he draws inspiration from neo-Expressionism, rock’n’roll, graffiti art and Pop art. Johnny Romeo’s work critiques the madness of a modern world driven by pervasive advertising, hollow materialism and wasteful excess, exploring the way in which we construct our identities through the idolisation of pop culture and brand-name heroes. Romeo is represented by many of Australia’s top galleries with a number of sell-out exhibitions across Sydney, Perth, the Gold Coast, Alice Springs, Darwin and New Zealand. His work has also caught the attention of publications such as the Sydney Morning Herald, GQ Style Australia, Vogue, Grazia and the Australian Art Review, as well as the ABC 7:30 Report, SBS and Foxtel Australian arts channel STVDIO. His recent work was included in the 2012 Urban Pop Survey in Los Angeles, and there are three major US exhibitions planned for 2013 in addition to a series of commissions by LA County which will see the artist become the first non-US based artist to incorporate his work into transportation projects throughout Los Angeles. Romeo recently completed a collaborative work with world-renowned punk band Blink-182.

Kate Paul

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Born in upstate New York and raised in northern England, Kate Paul has had a varied art career involving photography, graphics and as a scenic painter for theatre and film before establishing her own commissioned painting business. As a scenic painter, coming up through the guild system, life took her to Los Angeles where she met her “mister” at a scenery shop. Together they relocated to Seattle, WA where Kate started her own commission painting business in 1992. She and her “mister” relocated to his home state of Michigan in 1995. As a commissioned mural painter you can find her work in many private residences and public venues, such as: Gest Omelets in West Bloomfield, Gilda’s Club in Royal Oak and the Royal Oak Public Library. She also works with projects for Suite Dreams, an organization that creates pleasing environments for children in need. In addition to her mural work Kate has been working on her own fine art in painting, printmaking, encaustic and sculpture. Her artwork can be seen in gallery shows including, The Scarab Club, Detroit Artist Market (Detroit, MI), Northville Art House (Northville, MI), Crooked Tree Arts Centre (Petosky, MI) and the Dennos Museum (Traverse City, MI), Kunsthandel Breunesse (Netherlands), Converge Gallery (Williamsport, PA) and on the syndicated PBS programme, “Detroit Performs”. This collection of paintings, etchings and sculpture are in response to a series of work involving the “celestial”. It makes Kate think of great distances (infinities) and the idea of trying to understand such great expanses, such as the light from distant stars and our role in the greater cosmos. The wonder and confusion and the impossibility of understanding it all is her primary inspiration for making artwork. How can we understand infinity from our finite selves? There is a wealth of ideas that fuel her making as “some infinities”!

Kurt Herrmann

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BLOCKHEADS Initially I found a box of partially sanded childrens play blocks at the Amish store for ten cents apiece. Without a definite plan I painted one of the blocks bright red and started George Washington. By the time I had finished his nose I knew I had to paint them all. Since painting all the Presidents I’ve painted astronauts, boxers, baseball players, jazz musicians, cowboys, bandits, Civil War generals, World leaders – whatever floats through my studio and takes root. I’m not confined to it, but portraits from the past are always a little visually funny to me – the hats, wigs, haircuts, facial hair, the space suits! Because these are small works they become a stream of consciousness that I can work through at a good clip, and only when I’m done with an entire series do I see where I’ve been. Lightbrights Simply put I’m trying to distill the seasons, light and landscape down to absolute color and take them into the unknown. Usually when I paint there is the constant urge to go off the rails and abandon all that I’ve been working on. There are infinite options at all times. Part of the art is in the restraint. This series is different. It has a personal logic that is methodical that plods steadily along towards an unknown, yet inevitable resolution. It’s rooted in the language of color. I have to find a home for each stroke to form the whole. I’m looking for the colors to resonate as one body – to produce whole notes by playing many little notes. Linens When I sandwich a canary yellow between a rusty red and a Mediterranean blue I’m jolted the way a Dalmatian might when the whistle blows at the fire station. It’s the language of color. My hair stands on end.

Liz Parrish

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Like many artists, I like to draw from my own experiences when making art. My primary goal is to visually reinterpret my surroundings, the people I care about, and whatever else I’m learning about (or confused about) any given moment. I often find a muse in an ill-tempered animal, such as a pet goat I had as a child who would chase my grandmother, knock my friends over, and head-butt me on the way to the bus stop. If I have a memory or flight of fancy that makes me chuckle when I think about it, then I think it’s worth distilling into paint, sculpture, or drawing. Another favorite subject is my cat, Anthrax. I blessed her with that name prior to 9-11 and, for some reason, the veterinarians refuse to call her name in the waiting room. Anyhow, Thraxy is a lovable, but wildly bipolar feline who never mastered the art of using a litter pan. Abandoned places have always held a tight grip on me. When I was younger and stupider, my friend and I would walk around as many abandoned buildings as we could find. Sometimes we’d enjoy fast food picnics in the dusty rooms, but usually we just ran screaming from the premises after hearing a creaky door or seeing a slow moving headlight. I have been able to feed this fascination more recently at the Pajama Factory. Although it’s now very much alive, the factory still possesses the charm of abandonment in some areas of the building.

M.A. Morgan

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M.A. Morgan is the next emerging artist to watch. Morgan, who lives and works in Pontotoc, MS, is a graduate of the Mississippi University for Women with a BFA in studio arts. Her sculptural assemblages are reminiscent of Cornell boxes but deal with present day issues including the bombings of Gaza, Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, the confederate flag, Isis, and the American Dream.

Mark Loughney

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The collection of drawings that comprise “Letters From Desolation Row” were all created in what might be considered a strange place for a studio: my prison cell in Pennsylvania’s Sci-Dallas. The same cell that serves as my studio was also the setting for a mere miraculous intervention in the form of a radio interview given by artist, Johnny Romeo. It was September of 2015 as I lay in my bunk, weighed down by the gravity of facing a lengthy sentence, when I heard on public radio a message that spoke directly to me. It was so moving that I couldn’t lie there for another minute. I had to get up and draw. Johnny’s message saved me from a darkness I couldn’t shake, and it also jolted me from the paralysis of non-productivity. All the pieces in “Letters From Desolation Row” were arrived at in roughly the same way. My process begins with being terrified of a blank paper until I conjure enough mettle to make an initial intuitive stroke with my pen, then another stroke, and another. It is not until after initially getting the drawing off ground that I take a step back and make conscious design decisions. The first step is almost always to figure out what the drawing wants to become, then kind of helping it along. Small strange animals and insects are all over the place in my drawings. The most prolific cast member, the MVP, is a striped pupa that I have dubbed “botfly”. This element kept showing up in my drawings and one day I stood back to try and understand why I liked it so much. My analysis revealed some parallels to my own life: The black and white stripes that commonly indicate a prisoner, the transitional life stage, the vulnerability, and the way they look like they want to just go bouncing down the hallway. This series of drawings was only possible because of Johnny’s persistence in his own development, which has served me about as much as it has served him. If I had not heard him give that interview in 2015 there would be no drawings, no botflies, no redemption through art, no light in the tunnel. But I did hear it. And because of it I have been reborn into a newly focused obsessive. This is how I have found a way to be free. When I draw, when I paint, I am truly myself. I cling to it as if it is my life raft to redemption, as if I might be able to right the wrongs I am responsible for. When I draw I feel like I am tapping into a universal mind from which I borrow these archetypal elements and stick them into my drawings. It is my meditation practice and my communion with all that is life. I never really had any faith in ever being anything more than an amateur artist until I heard Johnny’s interview last year on WVIA. Since then I have kind of been reborn into an obsessive nut that rarely thinks about anything other than drawing and painting.

Matthew Rose

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Matthew Rose was born in New York in 1959, graduated from Brown University in Semiotics, studying linguistics, art, film, writing. While painting and producing collage works, he wrote about New York’s art scene, principally the East Village, but also other areas in the art world that involved Fluxus, Dada and Mail Art. Matthew Rose met Ray Johnson in April of 1990 (they were neighbors on Long Island, NY at the time) and regularly corresponded with the artist. The artist moved to France in 1992 where he currently lives and works. Matthew produces large-scale collage works, installations, drawings and a wide variety of objects. The artist has exhibited widely in both Europe and the United States in sometimes floor to ceiling installations collage works; his most recent exhibition with Converge Gallery was the wildly successful The Letters (2013) in which 333 works were all mailed to the gallery. Matthew Rose’s works are collected both publicly and privately in the US and Europe; his text prints – “Paintings” are permanently installed at The Boca Raton Museum of Fine Art, Boca Raton, Florida, and his global project A Book About Death is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The artist is currently working on two projects – Suicide Specials, a collage suite – and One Thousand Queens, a work based upon the seminal power of image of Queen Elizabeth’s silhouette. The latter just debuted in Rijeka, Croatia (October, 2014).

Michael Bell

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Michael Bell is a renowned American artist (b. 1971), best known for his cinematic, narrative series works and for his infamous portrait painting clientele, which includes reputed Mob Boss John Gotti and numerous actors from hit crime shows and mob movies such as the Sopranos, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale and more. Bell has always been naturally gifted in art, winning 1st Place in the first art show he ever entered at the age of five. As an emerging artist Bell spent a lot of his time in and around New York City studying art with his maternal grandmother, Violet Vallery, a self-taught artist from Lyndhurst, New Jersey. This is when Bell began to explore life’s psychological issues through his paintings. “Bell’s works are often the mirror to a tragic world, but they deepen our humanity through psychology, ghostly brushwork and a personal color palette that draws on memories and silent echoes from the artist’s own dark, turbulent past.” – Martin Cid, Editor in Chief, Yareah International Arts Magazine. “I believe the most important job of an artist is to draw a line from your life to your art that is straight and clear. My line can be traced back to my passion for bringing dramatic stories to life in a realistic fashion. My work serves as a medium through which the audience can safely explore the dangerous and complex world I grew up around, where innocence and morality are often blurred. While I spend a lot of time on the surface, it’s the inside of my subjects that I’m really after. Mysteries and secrets abound.” – Michael Bell Bell holds a BFA from Lycoming College, a M.Ed. in Art Education from Towson University.

Rene Gortat

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Tyler Coey

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