Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mid-Year Exhibition

My latest painting "Freddy 3" (30 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas) will be on view from November 19 to December 13, 2015, at the National Academy of Design, 5 East 89th Street, New York City.

Here are some progress shots over four 3-hour Saturday morning sessions:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recent head studies

Here are some recent head studies in oil and acrylic, done in one to two hours just to try out some new ideas.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Central Park Fine Arts

My teacher Dan Gheno, will be exhibiting at Central Park Fine Arts, 211 West 57th Street, New York City, from October 22-25, 2015. See details below.

Monday, October 5, 2015

An Installation in the Upper West Side

A collector recently sent photos of some of my pieces in his apartment in the Upper West Side, New York City. Seeing my work in a new setting, especially an elegant one like this, is always humbling. But also exciting - in this case I felt that perhaps paintings do have a life of their own.

I was lucky to see the installation over the weekend and so I thought I'd share the pics with hyperlinks to Flickr.

And thanks to my friend and one NYC's most inspiring models, Claudia Hajian, for featuring this post on Museworthy.

Left to right: Lucian Freud, Betty 1, Rosanna, Mark 2

Left to right: Juan, Jen

Center: Raven 6

Left to right: Claudia, Jen

On the side table: John

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Upcoming Show in London

So excited to be a part of Flux at the Royal College of Art later this year. Details to follow!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


After seeing the Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends at the Metropolitan Museum, I've been reconsidering my own stylistic direction.

Sargent's portraits of his friends (including Monet, Rodin, and Henry James) have the nobility of line and psychological insight that recall Velazquez and Bronzino. Sargent's subjects seem so alive, almost engaged in conversation with the viewer, in part because the artist required at least eight sittings from his clients. Contemporary portraits based on photographs rarely have the same vitality. Sargent's paintings are striking and memorable even without the use of expressionist techniques.

A few days after seeing the exhibit, I found "Ilya," buried in my closet, which I painted five years ago during a workshop with Kate Lehman at Janus Collaborative School of Art in East Harlem (which has since closed but is rumored to be re-opening again soon).

At the time all I wanted was to paint like an old master - with Rembrandt lighting, dark backgrounds, and so forth. Indeed the Janus studio had a wonderful north light and a model who could have stepped out of a portrait by Zurbaran or El Greco, though in reality he was a graduate student in statistics at Columbia University.

I worked on the 18 x 24 in. painting for five days, six hours a day, but didn't quite finish it. I would have liked to work on the ear and neck a bit more but was generally pleased with Ilya's likeness and expression.

I practiced classical realism for a while but in time, the strict rules of the atelier method - the preparatory drawings, limited color range, uniformity of expression  - began to feel like a suppression of creativity. Indeed, the idealized aesthetic of classical realism felt escapist and somehow out of touch with how we perceive each other in modern life, with its fast pace, urban chaos, and profusion of electronic media.

I have since changed my style, appropriating the sensibilities of abstract expressionism and other 20th century movements, while exploring the limits of facial recognition and anatomical integrity.

But it was good to get in touch with Sargent, and Ilya, once again. I came to understand that figurative expressionism doesn't exist in a vacuum, and can't work without a solid, realist foundation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Photography 3

Here are some random pics from my walkabouts in New York City.  Like my first and second photography posts, these test shots are about abstraction, color, and value, rather than narrative.

I used my iPhone 6 plus rather than a professional camera. I will be uploading more pictures here.