(e)merge ART FAIR 2014 Capitol Skyline Hotel 10 “I” Street, SW Washington D.C., DC 20024
The (e)merge art fair presents an extensive line-up of special projects and performances. Three Touchstone Artists join the fray: Leslie Nolan, Pete McCutchen and Ai-Wen Wu Kratz. (e)merge also engages curators, gallerists, collectors, artists and other art world innovators in panel discussions during the fair.
LESLIE NOLAN: Energetic Figuration
Painter Leslie Nolan focuses on individual figures with the idea of capturing the real individual behind the facade. Rather than portraits, the subjects of these works have become more and more distorted to reflect inner turmoil instead of the veneer we humans tend to display in public. Her goal "is to de-cloak the individual from artificial wrapping to display a frank, honest and sometimes disconcerting state of being." Her work has evolved from full figure views to extreme close-ups in larger and larger formats, allowing for more abstracted brushwork and pop color.
Nolan's controlled chaos seems to suggest that something important has happened to each subject, their reaction to money or job-related issues, loneliness, semi-stable environments, or familial concerns. The idea behind this work is to show what is felt rather than what is seen. "I've pared away context, details of clothing and background, and simplified a color palette to focus on emotion. I purposely avoid connecting all the dots. The viewer must imagine a unique narrative based on his or her own idiosyncratic interpretation," Nolan states.
Nolan prefers horizontal or square formats to suggest that something different is happening, something significant. The most important technical element in her works is bold gestural, loose brushwork. It exposes the process of the painting. Corrections, scratches, drips, oozes are all elements that lend an unstable, constantly shifting feel to the character - just like emotions, which are difficult to hold in check. The energetic brushwork emulates an outpouring of feelings unrestrained by civility. The work appears honest and real, in part because a polished, softened or subtle look is purposefully avoided. The work is all hand done. Images are genuine expressions, forceful, and candid. Rosemary Luckett
THE ARTIST: University of Madrid, Spain; BA Portland State University; MS George Washington University; MS National Defense University
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS: 2014 Art League Gallery; 2014 Touchstone Gallery; 2012 Glenview Mansion Gallery
AI-WEN WU KRATZ: Magical Intangibles
Ai-wen's technical goal in painting shaped canvases is to incorporate the material of the painting support into the image of the artwork. She creates while painting on a huge ping-pong table using brushes, shaped canvases and masking and drafting tapes. The acrylic pigment application is hard-edged on both cotton duck and linen duck canvases. The inherent lightness and darkness of the textiles enrich the final image.
Once the technical parameters are met Ai-wen focuses on the magical aspects, the spiritual and intellectual qualities that appear in the colors, lines, shapes, forms and movements. She tries " to orchestrate an image so strong that it provokes intangible magical feelings in the viewer." In so doing, the basic visual elements have become her subject matter rather than any representations from daily life. The lines, colors, planes, forms, shapes and movements from her tools describe the magic she feels and lighting enhanced environment amplifies it. Rosemary Luckett
THE ARTIST: BFA/Fort Wright College; MFA/Cranbrook Academy of Art; Alumna/Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Alumna/NY Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS: 2013 / Gallery M, Vienna, Austria; 2014 / The New York Art Connection, Long Island, NY; 2014 / Crisolart Gallery, New York, NY
PETE McCUTCHEN: Beauty in the Salvage Yard
Pete McCutchen's work shows what can happen when you get lost -- on purpose. He was driving through rural Pennsylvania, and he saw it: an Opel GT perched atop a school bus. There was a big "no trespassing" sign, and at least some chance the owner of the salvage yard had firearms, but Pete knew he had to shoot there. And so he asked Cliff Connors, of Connors Auto Parts for permission. After signing a waiver, Pete got permission to shoot on 70 acres of rusted trucks, broken buses, and disused vehicles. He asked Cliff how he got the Opel on top of the bus, but he didn't have to ask why; it spoke for itself.
Thus was born Pete's "Out of Service" series, an ongoing exploration of rural Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Soon he will expand his search to West Virginia. He seeks to find and show the beauty in the disused broken wrecks found in the corners of rural America. Pete McCutchen