Skip to content
Art Sync: A Considered Beauty

Art Sync: A Considered Beauty

Conversation with Ann Lofquist

February 2024

Elizabeth Johnson: I enjoyed your 2020 discussion of True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 with Mary Morton at the National Gallery. Relating eighteenth and nineteenth century painters as peers, you say it isn’t enough only to do plein air oil sketches, even though they sometimes end up being more dynamic than larger, constructed studio versions of the same scene...Do you scrape or rag off large areas of paint to keep canvases dynamic?

Ann Lofquist: My painting process usually involves doing on-site plein air studies, and then reworking the most promising ones into larger canvases in the studio...I try to reinvent the experience but also alter and improvise. However, I consider a large painting “adrift” and courting failure if it loses the original emotional inspiration depicted in the plein air...I hope there is another kind of meaning in something more considered and resolved, perhaps a more mature rather than youthful beauty. 

Art Sync: Chasing My Own Satisfaction

Art Sync: Chasing My Own Satisfaction

Conversation with Nasir Young

February 2024

Elizabeth JohnsonFaces of London #2 and Beauty Salon play with the pattern of the bricks by eliminating some dividing lines, softening the frontal, flatter, squarer quality of those two paintings. Smudgy areas summon a tactile response that balances the use of line for both rendering and texture. You seem to really love drawing lines. Do you use a ruler, or do you have a super-steady hand?

Nasir Young: I’m going to be honest. It’s a cruel addiction: it’s all done freehand, with the occasional drawn line over the painting. Anytime I’ve tried using tape or rulers, I end up redoing the section. I can see the imperfections, so I wouldn’t call my own hands super steady. But it matches the believable space I’m building out. If the lines were perfect, it would highlight the areas that aren’t technically accurate or exaggerated. Ultimately, I’m chasing my own satisfaction in my work...

The Scream: Self-Portraiture That Expresses Universal Emotions featuring Mickayel Thurin in conversation with TK Smith

The Scream: Self-Portraiture That Expresses Universal Emotions featuring Mickayel Thurin in conversation with TK Smith

Watch the Interview on YouTube below

December 2023

Gross McCleaf Artist Mickayel Thurin discusses her studio practice with TK Smith, Assistant Curator: Art of the African Diaspora at the Barnes Foundation in The Scream: Self-Portraiture That Expresses Universal Emotions at GMG. In this video, Thurin discusses her personal biography, developing a distinctive style, meaning in materials and formation of the figure, all the while exploring the almalgamation of emotions. 

Click below to listen and watch this insightful dialogue unfold.

Art Sync: Basically Just Grass Forever

Art Sync: Basically Just Grass Forever

Conversation with Nicole Parker

December 2023

Nicole Parker: Printmaking is all about the process, because it takes so long to build the plate before I get to print it. I’m always exploring the same or similar ideas and subjects regardless of the medium, but printmaking lets me focus on the process and ponder how it’s tied to the concept or symbolism of the image itself.

Painting used to be more of a means to an end, but a professor once told me that I paint like a printmaker, and that completely changed my view of my process. Lately I’ve been noticing how I paint and what my knowledge about the process can add to the interpretation of the work.

There are many pieces in this show that involve repetitive, intricate movements bordering on tedious/maddening, which I’m realizing reflects the emotions I want to convey about the piece. One of my newest pieces of a giant lawn around a tiny house illustrates this best: it’s basically just grass forever. 

Art Sync: History Eats Itself

Art Sync: History Eats Itself

Conversation with Morgan Hobbs

December 2023

(Excerpt): Elizabeth JohnsonSymbol Drawings 2 seems to explore the transformation of a fountain image as drawing, mosaic, and sculptural form. To you, does making the image feel more flat and less representational (and thus more iconic) imbue the piece with loss, the compression of time, or magic? I sense that painting or sculpting presumed shards of architecture, writing and symbols suggests that collective human endeavor changes but is never entirely lost, yet rather, ripening for reuse...

Morgan Hobbs: Shifting between a drawing, a mosaic, and a sculpture concerns permanence vs. impermanence. Surely the Romans felt their buildings were consequential, formidable, and permanent. But now they are ruins, and were covered with dirt from centuries of leaves, dust, and manure. Pieces of the ruins have been repurposed in St. Peter’s Basilica...I keep thinking of the adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Human history is a snake eating its own tail.

Art Sync: The Pulse of the Field

Art Sync: The Pulse of the Field

Conversation with Douglas Martenson

October 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: In YouTube videos A Feeling for Nature and Painting Arcadia (both by John Thornton), you credit various Tonalists as inspirations: George Inness, James McNeill Whistler, Alexander Helwig Wyant, John Francis Murphy, Robert Swain Gifford, Henry Ward Ranger, Charles Warren Eaton, Mitchell Bannister, and the Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, and their greatest practitioner, Frederic Church. Would you say that you mix Romanticism and Realism differently than your predecessors? Also, does the issue of climate change differ from 19th-century paintings that depict the scourge of industry and collective loss of innocence? 

Douglas Martenson: The influence of the artists you mentioned, and of Tonalism in general, culminated for me in a show I curated at the PAFA Museum in 2014, The Artist’s Response to Nature: Tonalism, Historical and Contemporary. The show resulted from my search for and being inspired by artists who I felt went beyond depicting the landscape...

Art Sync: The Making and Breaking of Imagery

Art Sync: The Making and Breaking of Imagery

Conversation with Emily Richardson

October 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: You say in your show statement for Plot Lines that the title comes from "both the physical boundaries of a plot of land and the components of narrative." Can you talk about how recent experiences feed your personal synthesis of painting, quilting, and sculpture? 

Emily Richardson: What feeds and inspires my creativity is working with the materials­––the act of creating, and the personal experiences of daily life––interactions with others, closeness with family, revisiting places where I’ve lived before, lasting friendships, loss, changing perspectives. A lot of my visual influences comes from what I see day to day. I love to move and to look as I’m moving. I ride my bike throughout the city and sometimes take a new direction or route and discover something new...

Art Sync: The Allure of Objects

Art Sync: The Allure of Objects

Conversation with Frank Trefny

October 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: Jeffrey Carr said of your work: "Art doesn't have to confound beauty, or fight with it, or compete with its naturally occurring presence. Beauty can be left as is." Does this ring true to you? If so, how do you find your groove that allows technique to reflect rather than overpower or undermine found beauty?

Frank Trefny: Yes, I agree with Jeff’s statement. But while everyone may share some concepts of beauty, it is subjective. One thing that makes something beautiful to me is that it looks paintable. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it looks easy to paint, but that it seems to call forth a painterly response. That feeling makes it “beautiful” in my mind. Ivan Albright saw the ugly in everything and made “beautiful” interesting paintings. I, on the other hand, often favor rather traditional beautiful subjects because they inspire me. I never find them boring...

Art Sync: Ambiguities

Art Sync: Ambiguities

Conversation with Clint Jukkala

September 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: As I scroll through your portfolio that begins in 2005, I notice evolution through the styles of: digital notation, architectural windows, split-screen windows, round pairs of portals, portals presenting deeper space, portals juxtaposing contrasting surfaces, and, most recently, collaged paintings in mixed media. Your BravinLee programs artist statement asserts: "I'm interested in our awareness of our own thinking and sense perceptions––our consciousness. I approach this with a sense of humor that reflects the irrational space of knowing and believing." Does your development express a gradual change in your personal consciousness? Does the arc of change in your work feel chance-based to you?

Clint Jukkala: My work has changed over the years, though many aspects have stayed constant: an impulse towards images that suggest things but aren’t descriptive, a preoccupation with framing devices and spaces within spaces, an interest in the numerous possibilities of color, and a focus on simple and direct means. 

Art Sync: Soft Power

Art Sync: Soft Power

Conversation with Lauren Whearty

July 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: Your statement on the Gross McCleaf website says you are interested in, “the ways in which the grid and images can direct our attention to the painted surface." You say you think of the surface as "twofold." What do you mean by twofold?

Lauren Whearty: The surface of painting was emphasized at Tyler when I was in undergrad. Most of the faculty worked abstractly, so the focus on color, materiality, physicality, and gesture was the foundation of my painting language. Although this may seem to contrast with my recognizable still lives, I see all painting as a kind of abstraction because we’re using this colorful mud combined with our bodily gestures to make a record on canvas...

Art Sync: The Infinite In All Things

Art Sync: The Infinite In All Things

Conversation with Bruce Pollock

June 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: The New York Times recently had an article, “The Quest for an ‘Einstein’ Shape,” about the geometric challenge of designing a single shape that fits together irregularly on an infinite plane. After much study, a hobbyist in England discovered two “Einsteins”: shapes that tile a plane in a non-repeating pattern. Could reading such an article inspire a series of paintings for you? How do you discover and foster your science-based ideas?

Bruce Pollock: Science-based ideas affect my thinking about the world, but my methods are artistic. My inspiration is derived from direct observation of the natural world and the expanded awareness brought about by scientific enterprise...

Art Sync: Atmospheres and Subtones

Art Sync: Atmospheres and Subtones

Conversation with Christine Lafuente

May 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: On the Gross McCleaf website you describe your still life arrangements as “tiny cities floating on an enamel sea.” This struck me because, while browsing your website, I noticed that you’ve lived and worked near large bodies of water. You write: “I am conjuring up milky fogs in the space around each season’s crop of flowers: tulips, daffodils, peonies, roses, zinnias, ranunculus, lilies.” Would you say that having lived near water influences your tendency to build colorful forms emerging from a silvery or grey backgrounds?

Christine Lafuente: I grew up next to the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, NY. My father grew up in Cuba, which is at the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea...

Art Sync: Beautiful to Watch

Art Sync: Beautiful to Watch

Conversation with Max Mason

May 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: How do you like Major League Baseball’s new rules: the pitch timer, shift restrictions, and bigger bases?

Max Mason: As an unrepentant traditionalist, I was initially horrified. But after watching a spring training game on TV, I changed my mind on two things: the pitch clock will speed up the pace of play, which is good, and I accepted the size of the bases almost immediately. If the players aren’t complaining and it makes the game safer––what the heck. The shift restrictions, however, are terrible. They reward a limited approach to the art and science of batting...

Art Sync: Eggplants Have It All

Art Sync: Eggplants Have It All

Conversation with Eileen Goodman

April 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: The Woodmere Art Museum catalogue, “The Weight of Watercolor: The Art of Eileen Goodman,” includes an early oil painting called Woman (1963-64) that uses dark shadows to model the figure and simplify the background as a mystery. Peter Paone asks, “Why did you decide to shift to painting still lifes”? As your answer you mention being at home with your daughter as a factor, and later, selecting objects for drama and relishing shadows in still life. Is it possible that the mystery of shadow replaced the figure in your case? And could you have been paving your own path against the trend of figure painting dominated by male painters in that era?

Eileen Goodman: Woman was probably influenced by my love of Diebenkorn’s figurative work, which included objects as well. I still think it’s one of my best paintings, and I did do some other figures for maybe a decade or so. I always did a lot of figure drawing...

Art Sync: Screen Kisses

Art Sync: Screen Kisses

Conversation with Stuart Netsky

March 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: Your prints in your current show join radically different images to express the visual overkill of contemporary culture, but it seems that you aren’t entirely critical of the excess, since you revel in it. Do you enjoy scrolling though social media or jumping between cinematic decades via streaming? How does the seam between images function for you? Does it indicate a jump in thought and/or time and function to compress a group of dramatic moments into a whole? Are you aiming to compare several unrelated high points of Western culture? or to express the vastness of cultural experience?

Stuart Netsky: I do revel in excess to express the visual overkill...

Art Sync: The Deep End

Art Sync: The Deep End

Conversation with Elizabeth Geiger

March 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: Your previous still lifes and landscapes were realistic. Your recent paintings use Cubist formats and tropes. What made the change? Are you still doing landscapes? Are you focusing only on interiors for this show?

Liz Geiger: When I started painting, I was wide-eyed and open to anything and everything. Subject matter wasn’t as important as learning how to paint, how to make light and space. I worked only from observation and looked mostly at observational painting, which seemed natural being married to a realist painter. Later, I tackled composition, studying old composition books by the armload from The University of Virginia library. Understanding composition took years.... 

Art Sync: Stories Without People

Art Sync: Stories Without People

Conversation with Caleb Stoltzfus

February 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: On Gross McCleaf’s website you describe a farm in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. You write: “The land vibrates with textures, sounds, smells, and crawls with life. Stand in one place too long (to paint a picture, for example) and the dusty straw ground slowly pulls apart . . . revealing the smooth, wet clay beneath.” Did you grow up on a farm? Why the strong bond with dirt and earth? Are you always looking for the basis of things? Or is this feeling a result of standing and working for days on one spot? 

Caleb Stoltzfus: My upbringing was suburban. But my dad farmed for much of his life, before I was born, and he comes from a long line of Amish farmers. Farmers often believe, from their experience, they must conquer nature, overcome its dangers...

Art Sync: On Flowers and Change

Art Sync: On Flowers and Change

Conversation with Naomi Chung

January 2023

Elizabeth Johnson: On the Gross McCleaf website you state: "In an attempt to capture the full spectrum of a constantly evolving world, I break down the constraints that a still landscape offers and opt for compositions and environments that appear to be in a constant state of flux.” What attracts you to capturing change as a still image?

Naomi Chung: Before there was a still, captured image there was the experience of being present and taking in all the information visible and invisible. That is where painting becomes a translator of these experiences. The sounds, movements, glimmering light, temperature, breeze, smells are all evoked in the final painting...

Susan Moore Remembered

Susan Moore Remembered

by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

January 2023

Ron Abram, Professor of Studio Art & Queer Studies, Denison University in Granville, Ohio, recalls his teacher, colleague, and close friend, Susan Moore:

"Susan was a confident portrait artist with direct goals, an incredibly strong-focused artist, teacher, mother, spouse, sister, and loyal friend to many. She made friends in all walks of life and treated everyone equally. While she did see her work as an expression of herself, she readily emphasized her goal as an artist to be a universal one: to make work that spoke to viewers on an individual level. Susan was a distinct artist: she parted with historical figurative traditions to connect with contemporary abstraction, not striving to illustrate but to provoke the viewer to see and feel core emotions..."

Art Sync: Fast Release of Style, Slow Release of Subject

Art Sync: Fast Release of Style, Slow Release of Subject

A conversation with Howie Lee Weiss by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

November 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In the “Style, Process, Perfection” part of your website, you describe beginning a charcoal drawing: "My fingertips coat the paper gray first, and then I draw loosely and freely, searching out my characters. Once found, decisive black lines are added as accurately as possible so that there is no mistaking what kind of image was intended.” Few contemporary artists work exclusively with charcoal. Besides its workability, why do you gravitate to it? Do the traces of previous attempts help you find your subject? Or are you always starting over with a blank slate after erasing?

Howie Lee Weiss: The image grows and develops. I may like a tiny bit and build around that, or I may continue to wipe away the sketch marks until the images that are necessary gradually appear...

Art Sync: Something About The Place

Art Sync: Something About The Place

A conversation with Ted Walsh by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

November 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: Studying your work, I feel a strong pull toward surrealism, movies, and dreams. What inspires you to put a composition together? Is there a story or mood that gets things going?

Ted Walsh: All kinds of things inspire my compositions. Things I happen to see. Things I’m inspired by, literature, music, other art. A technical painting idea, an abstract compositional idea, a theme from an older painting I want to revisit. A story, a mood. ––It could be any mix of these. Anything really...

Art Sync: Through Light And Shadow

Art Sync: Through Light And Shadow

A conversation with Larry Francis by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

November 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In John Thornton’s video, Larry Francis Is Philadelphia’s Most Enjoyable Artist, you mention growing up among model trains and planes. Do you think that makes you see reality as a sort of toy world? A place to play?

Larry Francis: Perhaps all art is a toy representation of real life. We lived over my dad’s bicycle shop. He built model airplanes (some of his own design) and train platforms with houses, landscaped hills, and bridges. My mom was always making centerpieces or other crafty projects. I drew things and took art classes in high school. Between 11th and 12th grades I sold my motorcycle to attend a summer art camp, where I did my first oil painting with the teacher’s paint. My parents bought Time Life books for me on American art and world art. My favorite thing was watching black and white movies on The Late Show. I think all this mixed together with the craft of making things...

Art Sync: People Are in the World to Be Seen

Art Sync: People Are in the World to Be Seen

A conversation with Leigh Werrell by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

October 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In the Gross McCleaf statement you mention "approaching the communal through the personal" and the "seemingly contradictory feelings of being lonely in a crowd and feeling a sense of community among individuals." Were the pandemic years especially meaningful for you since we were together in our loneliness? If so, how did the pandemic affect your work?

Leigh Werrell: The pandemic has really changed me as a person––as I believe it has many people––and I think it has certainly changed my work. Throughout the last few years, I have been grappling with personal ideas of how I want to live, what is important to me, and what my studio practice means to me. I have realized two things: without a community to show my work to, I find it very hard to create; and to feel fulfilled I need to be making art...

Art Sync: Nature As Muse

Art Sync: Nature As Muse

A conversation with Thomas Paquette by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

October 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: Your website bio mentions that you dropped out of your freshman BFA studies and traveled the country for six years. What did traveling touch that book learning did not?

Thomas Paquette: During my “hobo years," I went on several adventures by freight train and hitchhiking that lasted anywhere from a week to several months. But it wasn’t a full-time gig: I always gravitated toward further education. When I wasn’t enrolled in colleges (I attended five), I used public libraries to follow my own curriculum.

EJ: You seem to value surprise...

Art Sync: An Upside-Down World

Art Sync: An Upside-Down World

A conversation with John Greig, Jr. by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

September 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: Does your experience as a welder, cabinet maker, foundry technician, mold maker, and tombstone setter/cutter dovetail with studying at PAFA, and with your art making today?

John Greig Jr.: My basic understanding of various tools or processes certainly has influenced my work, and pushing these abilities drove a portion of my artistic exploration. With Subterranean I’ve been less tool intensive, more direct and simpler. Much of the work is done with just a sanding block and a straight chisel. My building mind still solves technical problems, but the making is more of a playful process...

Art Sync: A Way, A Direction

Art Sync: A Way, A Direction

A conversation with Celia Reisman by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

September 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In your statement on the Gross McCleaf website, you state that you are inspired by certain details in suburban landscapes. Does working from preparatory drawings of compelling details forestall succumbing to new enthusiasms? Do you ever relax your focus and follow tangents? 

Celia Reisman: The initial detail/object/subject that inspired me to sit in my car and draw from the location is incorporated into the drawing as a focal point. I compose as I draw, selecting aspects of the place, assembling parts for the foreground, middle ground, and background while incorporating the main subject. As the painting develops, I try to stick to that initial detail. If the painting starts to shift for various reasons, I’ll use another organizational format...

Ed Bing Lee in his studio

Art Sync: Heaven's Eye

A conversation with Ed Bing Lee by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

July 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In an interview with Glenn Holsten when you were a Pew Fellow in 2007, you said that early in your career you made "knottings" that depicted Georges Seurat paintings. In an interview on artmobia.com, you named Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asinières as sources. Your sculptures such as Burger 4, Popcorn I, Mocha Ice Cream Cone, Trophy Cake and Edo celebrate birthday parties, baseball games, movies, tea ceremonies––the pleasures of life. Was the pleasurable, restful subject of Seurat's work as important as relating knots directly to pointillism? Do you feel like you pick aesthetically and emotionally pleasing subjects in general?

Ed Bing Lee: I draw heavily on art history for many of the subjects of my work. In my compositions collectively titled Picnics, I juxtaposed Seurat with contemporary food images to renew art history by linking it with the present in a humorous or even unsettling way...

Art Sync: Creating The World

Art Sync: Creating The World

A conversation with Val Rossman by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

May 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: You and other viewers describe your work as lyrical, whimsical, lush, archeological, personal. Both you and Julie Courtney state that it is a “chaotic blend of chance and careful planning.” When you finish a painting, would you say that you prefer achieving balance or landing slightly off-balance?

Val Rossman: I think it is a combination of both . . . I definitely want balance, but there also needs to be some element of surprise. If it is too balanced, then it seems boring. Sometimes it is a gesture that achieves this and at other times it is a surprising color or shape in an unexpected place. It can’t be too disturbing, just a bit awry. The combination of chance and careful planning is a major theme in all of my work regardless of media and even series. To me that is a metaphor for life . . . we all try to plan our life, but often unexpected things happen which we have to deal with. My art mimics this and I love using a visual medium to expand upon it...

Art Sync: Seeing And Feeling

Art Sync: Seeing And Feeling

A conversation with Penelope Harris by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

May 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In Bill Scott’s essay about you on the Woodmere Art Museum website, he recalls that your parents, Audrey Buller and Lloyd Parsons, both studied at The Art Students League of New York with Kenneth Hayes Miller. Scott says that they “were among the most prominent of realist painters, exhibited at top galleries, and saw their paintings acquired by the Whitney Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” Scott continues: “Early on, however, her parents never encouraged her to follow in their footsteps for, as artists themselves, they had experienced the many disappointments too often encountered by a life in the arts. They feared the instability of such a life might lead their daughter to a wildly sad existence. Perhaps worse [. . . ] they worried she might move to Greenwich Village and live a life of ‘sin and debauchery!’” Did your parents invite you to paint or draw with them when you were a kid?

Penelope Harris: My parents were older when they had children. They weren't like the Wyeths, they didn't take us under their wing and teach us. They were so busy with their own careers, and they did commercial work for money...

Art Sync: An Excuse To Paint

Art Sync: An Excuse To Paint

A conversation with Mickayel Thurin by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

April 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: Did you start painting portraits when you came to PAFA? Or did you enter school already drawing and painting people? 

Mickayel Thurin: I've always loved portraiture. I used to draw from family photographs when I was six or seven, and I’d also draw people when someone would take the time to sit for me. Some kids like drawing animals or sunsets, for me it's people and their faces that sparks my interest, closely followed by color and pattern and texture. It has to do with the personality within a face. There’s so much going on with a person, and I understand them better through portraits than through conversation...

Art Sync: Potential Images

Art Sync: Potential Images

A conversation with Michael Gallagher by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

April 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: In your statement on the Gross McCleaf site, you use the term “slippage.” Does this reference Jacques Lacan’s theory of the unstable relationship between signified and signifier?

Michael Gallagher: I’ve been using “slippage” for decades. It’s not informed by any postmodern thinking, which I find mostly befuddling and obtuse on purpose. How I use the term relates not only to subject matter but also issues regarding space; the idea that a shape/form can occupy multiple spatial conditions and potential readings keeps me engaged in both making and looking.

In the ’80s I was painting on X-rays and black and white photographs of artworks from PAFA’s permanent collection...

Art Sync: The Baobab Tree

Art Sync: The Baobab Tree

A conversation with Benjamin Passione by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

March 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: The press release for All the Sauce, your 2019 show at Gross McCleaf states: “Passione’s paintings benefit from a vitality born from the means of their finding: handmade, felt, visual, and free from singular meaning.” Has your process of “finding” changed since then?

Benjamin Passione: The paintings from that show were a little bit opaquer and denser, very bright and immediate with the color. They were a little darker and acidic. The newer works are a little lighter, sketchier, and scumbley, a tad bit more playful and less serious. These paintings are my quarantine/Covid pictures. They are escapism for me. Hopefully, they are calming and fantastical...

Art Sync: Rhythmic Velocities

Art Sync: Rhythmic Velocities

A conversation with Thomas Paul Raggio by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

March 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: Your work seems to build on the color-focused branch of abstraction or formalism that springs from Piet Mondrian and Joseph Albers. I sense echoes of Sol LeWitt, Al Held, Frank Stella, and Dorothea Rockburne, particularly because they approach drawing and color as you do. Who were your influences?

Thomas Paul Raggio: Barnett Newman, Morris Louis, Roy Lichtenstein are the major ones that come to mind. During a studio residency in Australia, I studied with Jenny Watson, Julie Fraser, and Mostyn Bramley-Moore...

 

Art Sync: The Sky in Your Pocket

Art Sync: The Sky in Your Pocket

An interview with Jeffrey Reed by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

February 2022

Elizabeth Johnson: I grew up on a farm. Open green spaces dotted with farms equates home, security, and privacy to me. What does rural beauty mean to you?

Jeffrey Reed: I grew up just north of Annapolis, Maryland, in a small community on the Magothy River. It was a rare day when I wasn’t outside on or near the water. Nature has always had a strong pull on me and being outside is where I feel most alive and curious.

Being on the water made me keenly aware of the weather and the relationship between the sky, water and land. The skies were always of special interest to me. Skies can be dynamic, beautiful and unique while offering a sense of the moment and the anticipation of change...

Art Sync: Color and Space

Art Sync: Color and Space

An interview with Kurt Moyer by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

January 2022

Elizabeth Johnson:  Realistic landscapes of farmland, forests, and streams were formerly your subject.

Landscapes from 2017 and 2018 seem to mark the transition to abstraction, especially the outliers Vista and Creek Walk. What entices you to paint abstractly?

Kurt Moyer:  From the beginning, I’ve wanted to make something beautiful out of my experiences, something to share with other people. For many years this meant painting landscapes and depicting the nuances of light and color. These new abstract paintings still concern the light and my experiences in particular places. But now, without realism, they’re free to become something new. I feel I’m building a painting in real-time instead of making a recording of the past...

Art Sync: The Seen and the Unseen

Art Sync: The Seen and the Unseen

An interview with Dale Roberts by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

December 2021

Elizabeth Johnson: You work in several difficult mediums: encaustic, casein, egg tempera, pastel, silverpoint, ink, and gouache. You mentioned that it took ten years to get the hang of encaustic––a big commitment. Is it still the most pleasurable medium?

Dale O. Roberts: Encaustic seems to possess the most unique character and range of possibilities. However, each medium has its own appeal. My fascination with ancient mediums began long ago when I was a sophomore in a graduate seminar on egg tempera...

Art Sync: Everything Matters

Art Sync: Everything Matters

An interview with Scott Noel by Elizabeth Johnson, edited by Matthew Crain

November 2021

Elizabeth Johnson: In our telephone conversation, you mention John Berger’s book, “Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Visible,” as being useful in thinking about painting. Berger states that “something as small and at hand as a pebble or salt-cellar on the table” might open access to the heaven he calls “invisible, unenterable but intimately close.” How would you describe why quotidian subjects or everyday people elicit your desire to paint? Is it generally by chance that you get interested in a particular subject? Is story a part of your interest from the beginning?

Scott Noel: I became interested in pictures, photographs, comics, illustrations, and reproductions of paintings at an early age and began to draw on my own. Pictures awakened me to the look of things and inspired the activity of drawing. Images of animals, airplanes, battle scenes, crucifixions, whaling scenes, cars, and basketball players were a preoccupation. Eventually, my hunger to make pictures coalesced around the challenge of drawing people...

 

Painting Perceptions, Elizabeth Geiger In Studio

Painting Perceptions Elizabeth Geiger

Larry Groff Interview

December 2020

I am very pleased to be able to share this email interview with Elizabeth Geiger and I'm grateful for her generosity to be able to hear about her experience and insights into her process and intense engagement with painting.