Monday, October 6, 2014

Reflections on the Classical

I'm pleased to have "Male Torso 10" as part of the Reflections on the Classical exhibit currently on view at the National Academy School.

October 2, 2014 to November 16, 2014
8 AM - 9 PM
5 East 89th Street. New York, NY

Reflections on the Classical features works by faculty and students that engage with classicism and classical subjects. The show complements the Beyond the Classical exhibition in the adjoining museum.

Also on view are five of my paintings in the student lounge. Many thanks to the National Academy for the opportunity to exhibit my art work.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On Pleasure

Pleasure is a freedom-song, But it is not freedom.
It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not their fruit.
It is a depth calling unto a height, But it is not the deep nor the high. It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.
Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedomsong.
And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.

Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it were all, and they are judged and rebuked.
I would not judge nor rebuke them. I would have them seek.
For they shall find pleasure, but not her alone;
Seven are her sisters, and the least of them is more beautiful than pleasure.
Have you not heard of the man who was digging in the earth for roots and found a treasure?

And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness.
But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement.
They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they would the harvest of a summer.
Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted.

And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember;
And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.
But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.
And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quivering hands.
But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?
Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly the stars?
And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?
Think you the spirit is a still pool which you can trouble with a staff?

Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?
Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul,
And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.

And now you ask in your heart, "How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?"
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.

- Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, September 25, 2014

KwangHo Shin

KwangHo Shin
Creation Under Collapse
September 11 - October 16, 2014
UNIX Gallery
532 West 24th Street
New York,NY 10011

Monday, September 15, 2014

Táctica y estrategia

Mi táctica es
aprender como sos
quererte como sos

mi táctica es
y escucharte
construir con palabras
un puente indestructible

mi táctica es
quedarme en tu recuerdo
no sé cómo ni sé
con qué pretexto
pero quedarme en vos

mi táctica es
ser franco
y saber que sos franca
y que no nos vendamos
para que entre los dos
no haya telón
ni abismos

mi estrategia es
en cambio
más profunda y más

mi estrategia es
que un día cualquiera
no sé cómo ni sé
con qué pretexto
por fin me necesites.

                                                                                                                                        - Mario Benedetti

Instructors Exhibition at The Art Students League of New York

September 2 to October 9, 2014
215 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Around the World Creative Blog Hop

Many thanks to the extraordinarily gifted sculptor Midori Tataki for nominating me for the Around the World Creative Blog Hop, wherein artists answer questions about their creative endeavors and invite others to participate.

It's always fun to do a bit of self-examination so here's my entry:

What am I working on?

We're currently on break at the National Academy of Design, where I study painting with Dan Gheno, and so I've been dropping in at Spring Studio in Soho NYC to sketch live models.

My recent drawings are all short poses lasting about 10 to 20 minutes. Rather than doing the full figure I've been focusing on portraits and sections of the torso to study the abstract patterns that occur naturally in the human form.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I was trained in classical realism but over the past few years transitioned into figurative expressionism.

To paraphrase Lucian Freud, my object in painting is to move the senses by giving an intensification of reality. My art explores the fragmentary nature of perception, the selectivity of memory, and the heightened awareness that exists between the artist and subject.

In my paintings I aim for visual tension through opposing colors and brushstrokes. I often introduce an element of discordance, perhaps something that doesn't seem quite right, in order to startle the eye and encourage it to keep looking.

I follow many artists who combine realism and abstraction. I like to think of my own work as a part of this zeitgeist.

My pieces, however, differ from others in that I prefer live models over photographs. I believe that it is important to be in the same room with the model in order to accurately express his or her personality and energy on the canvas.

Why do I create what I do?

As a child I liked to sketch but it was only after seeing the movie Pollock that I decided to attend art school.

Drawing from life is intensely addictive. The focused, non-verbal exploration sometimes fosters a psychological attachment that is similar to transference. Indeed, I have become good friends with many models and have come to appreciate their feedback and points of view.

I believe that portraiture is an essential tradition that enables us to recognize the dignity all humanity. It has been my privilege to continue this practice.

How does my creative process work?

I have documented my creative process with Freddy, Lex, and Christophe.

I start with a realistic drawing then develop it in an expressionistic manner. If a painting takes more than one session, I photograph it and alter the image digitally to explore possible directions.

With these recent studies I've been trying to develop the fragmented, glitched qualities at the very beginning, rather than superimposing them later on in my process.

And now... with great pleasure I hereby nominate the following artists for this blog hop:

Martin Olsson - color field minimalist, based in the UK,

Daniil Belov - plein air landscape artist, based in Russia, and

Troy Stith - sculptor and painter, based in Ohio.

Please click on their links and enjoy their inspiring works. And thanks to all of you for visiting my blog!

Friday, September 5, 2014


Here are a couple of photos pf my painting Aria on a collector's wall. I've never thought of my art as decorative, at least not in in the conventional sense of the word, but I think it looks good in this interior.

The collector encouraged me to continue with larger scale paintings which I haven't done in over a year. Art class resumes next Saturday and so I'm looking forward to working on a big canvas again.



Here are two smaller paintings in the collector's bedroom:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Freshness

When it's cold and raining, 
you are more beautiful. 

And the snow brings me 
even closer to your lips. 

The inner secret, that which was never born, 
you are that freshness, and I am with you now. 

I can't explain the goings, 
or the comings. You enter suddenly, 

and I am nowhere again. 
Inside the majesty.

- Rumi

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Photography 2

Here's the second installment of my photographic experiment. Like the first batch I focused on geometric abstraction and avoided narrative.

I took these pictures with my iPhone at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney. The last three were of revolving doors at the MoMA where the blurred motion and reflections somehow reminded me of Gerhard Richter and Andy Denzler. These images gave me some ideas for future paintings.

This Saturday will be our final class for the summer at the National Academy, after which we'll have a few weeks' break before the sessions resume in September. I may take some more photos during this hiatus.

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Photography

I recently watched Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary about a nanny who compulsively took photographs on her daily walks.

Curiously, most of her pictures remained undeveloped in her lifetime. Maier's work was discovered a few years ago during a liquidation sale of her storage holdings. Since her death on 2009 her photos have received critical praise and found a wide audience though the internet and international exhibitions.

The film inspired me to try some photography during our two week break at the National Academy. Unlike Maier, I couldn't bring myself to photograph strangers on the street, not in any recognizable fashion anyway. I limited myself to abstract compositions in an effort to resolve a new set of pictorial issues that had nothing to do with figurative painting.

I have a Nikon DSLR but found it too clunky to carry around. I used my iPhone instead and online photo editing programs.

I took many pictures, deleted most of them, but thought I'd share a few images. Art class resumes this Saturday but I'll probably continue my photographic experiment. It's a new way of looking at things. I find myself mentally cropping everything I see in order to distill my daily life into its abstract essence.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I recently watched one of my favorite art films, Love is the Devil. starring Derek Jacobi as Francis Bacon and a very young Daniel Craig as his lover George Dyer.

The film is an intense meditation on the creative impulse as an expression of the libido. While you won't see any of Bacon's paintings in the movie, the director filmed it with much distortion and strange lighting, evoking Bacon's artistic style and nihilistic frame of mind.

For our latest model, Christophe, I attempted something Bacon-esque, i.e. an abstracted head study against a dark background. I did the painting in one three hour session beginning with a drawing using acrylic on linen:

Then the application of color and, for lack of a better adjective, "angry" brushstrokes:

Here's the final image:

It was weird trying to channel Bacon. I became quite unnerved in the process but I think this was worth the exercise. I lost the drawing a bit, due to distortion, but still consider it a portrait since Bacon's portraits of Dyer weren't meant to be realistic or conventionally recognizable.

Maybe I'll try to imitate Lucian Freud next week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

John in grisaille

I recently finished an acrylic painting of a new model, John, done in grisaille (gray monochrome).

I've been thinking about cubism in the context of contemporary portraiture. I tried to express rhythm, shifting planes, and flickering light by breaking down the figure into discrete abstract passages, perhaps informed by digital glitches and pixelation.

My references included:

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910)

Gerhard Richter, Matrosen Sailors (1966)

Andy Denzler, Untitled Screen Test (2007)

Rob Sheridan, The Social Network (Soundtrack Art) (2010)

We will have the same model for the next three weeks. I may explore the same theme in color.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Creative Mischief

I received some good news this morning: my painting "Melissa" will be included in the upcoming Creative Mischief open house exhibit at the National Academy next month. I hope to see you all at the opening reception on May 15!

From the website:

National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10128
On view May 15 – May 18, 2014
Opening reception May 15, 6 – 8 PM

Two floors of Fifth Avenue’s historic Huntington Mansion, home of the National Academy Museum, are transformed by the international + national + neighborhood artists who study at the National Academy School. Join us to see 

  • Large-scale site-specific installations 
  • Abstract paintings and dynamic figurative works 
  • Prints, photographs and cyanotypes 
  • Video and animation 

Call 212-996-1908 to learn more.

Update: Here's a video of the installation:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Art Fair at Alex Adam Gallery

The Alex Adam Gallery in Harlem is holding its first annual Spring Art Fair featuring some big names from the Art Students League.

The exhibit is divided into five genres: portraits (Eleanor Adam and Robin Smith), landscapes (Dan Gheno), prints (Mary Beth McKenzie), sculpture (Jonathan Shahn and Beñat Iglesias), and abstraction (Fumiko Toda).

The art works reflect the prevailing style of ASL which is firmly grounded in American realism with some expressionist touches. It's a refreshing change from the current offerings of other New York City galleries which seem to emphasize conceptualism and gimmickry over aesthetics and craftmanship.

The show runs through April 26, 2014. Definitely worth a visit.

Press release

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Andy Denzler at Claire Oliver

I've been obsessed with Andy Denzler for a long time and finally had the opportunity to see the Swiss artist's glitch paintings in the flesh at Claire Oliver in Chelsea.

Some words about Denzler's method, from D. Dominick Lombardi on Artslant:
Working in stages, Denzler first marks off an outline of his subject with sketchy brush strokes, which he then overpaints with a rather straightforward depiction of same. The third layer is a thick impasto that directly relates to the under-painting both in placement and color. It is in this final "fat" layer of paint that one can see the artist’s individual color selections, which are quite informative. His flesh tones in particular are numerous and variously warm and cool. His style shares something with pointillism or impressionism insofar as Denzler’s colors are more or less separate, even though there is some inevitable mixing that naturally occurs during the application. 
The painted surface of each canvas varies. Some are so thin that the texture of the canvas is visible; others are as thick as icing on cake. In certain areas of the more thickly applied paint the artist makes a smearing blend in a vertical motion. After the uneven, uppermost surface blends are completed, Denzler takes great risk by making deliberate and invasive sweeps across the painted surface from side to side leaving only a few select bands untouched. In the end, the artist is left with an "out-of-focus" Gerhard Richter's Baader Meinhof-esque painting—if you look past the untouched bands. Finally, Denzler goes back in with paint – or works with what remains still on the canvas – to clarify salient features in the figures.
Even though glitch art has its roots in corrupted digital imagery, I was surprised by Denzler's lush, voluptuous textures which are not quite evident in online photos. Denzler's works definitely come from the painterly traditions of abstract expressionism even though his references appear to be photographs or video stills.

There is a palpable feeling of voyeurism and decay in his work, as well as an exhilirating visual tension from the rhythmic bands of blurred and pixelated passages. By obscuring his subjects in this manner Denzler somehow manages to make them seem more real. Indeed, breathtakingly alive. I have much to learn from this artist.

Andy Denzler: Between the Fragments will be on view until tomorrow, February 15, 2014.

Ophelia V
Oil on Canvas
47.2 x 55.1 inches | 120 x 140 cm

The Observer
Oil on Canvas
31.5 x 27.5 inches | 80 x 70 cm

Haunted Garden II
Oil on Canvas
70.9 x 59.1 inches | 180 x 150 cm

Grape Eater
Oil on Canvas
31.5 x 27.5 inches | 80 x 70 cm

Cora II
Oil on Canvas
31.5 x 27.5 inches | 80 x 70 cm

Ghost in Me
Oil on Canvas
31.5 x 27.6 inches | 80 x 70 cm

For more images, click here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

In Art We Trust

I am pleased to announce a new association with the Paris dealer In Art We Trust. Please click here for available works. Merci!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A letter from Australia

An Australian reader wrote me about the head study above:

"It seems to capture the dynamism and movement we associate with the idea of women's liberation in a modern way, without the association with older images which have become cliched."

Even though I wasn't thinking about women's lib while I was painting this, I thought it was a nice compliment. I had to share it!