July 19 – August 10, 2012

Karri Chapman

Painting for me is a way of slowing down life a little bit, and allowing myself the time to relax. In an age where technology is dominant and rendering by hand is less frequent, my work explores a meditative process which allows me to take my time investigating what I am feeling at that moment. I am interested in labor intensive delicate line work, and I allow that to be the subject matter in the pieces that I create.

I am also intrigued by natural patterns found in plant life around me, and so I use those elements in my pieces as well. Finding something so perfect in nature that was not created by man nor machine fascinates me. I reproduce an idea of that image by hand, knowing it will never be as perfect as the one found in nature, and that becomes part of the process.

I paint with watercolors on BFK printing paper. I use the paint in stages that vary from very thinned out to almost like an acrylic paint, and I try to use the smallest brushes I can find. Using such small brushes forces me to document more lines to cover an area, and also enhances the idea of time in each piece.

Meg Danisi

My goal as a painter is to create a certain light around biomorphic and abstract shapes that I find intriguing or beautiful, and making them a part of the atmosphere or light, with a gravity based idea that I create on a two dimensional surface. 

I am a process based abstract painter, as well as letting the painting do some of the work itself.  My work is delicate and I want the viewer to find that every part of my work is in some way, delicate in light, idea, and fragile. I make fluid like surfaces with a soft texture juxtaposed with a tougher one.

I often find myself using similar ideas in a repetitive manner, as well as being drawn back to surfaces and a palette that I know well and find compelling. 

Jessica Fallis

In my paintings, I explore the fragmentary world of water by focusing on the surface reflection and the nuances of movement. The reflection creates an elusive mirror world that forms a barrier in the landscape through which human eyes cannot penetrate. The division between reality and reflection fragments the world, and the constant motion and ever-changing nature of water furthers this fragmentation. 

This hypnotic motion of water evokes a stillness and retreat into the mirror world upon the surface, suggesting notions of quiet contemplation and introspection. In this way, reflections parallel human processes of memory. Just as the reflection on water cannot be physically touched, so our memories cannot be relived. Moreover, water is fluid and constantly changing, just like memory, and the more a memory is recalled, the more it changes, raising questions of the veracity of our remembered past.  

Sam Miller

I am a second-generation sculptor soon to be in my final year of college at University of Hartford working to my BFA. My recent sculptural work has focused on material use and the context that can come with them. The pieces displayed primarily consist of wood and metal, with others mixed in.

I depict in my work a reflection of my childhood and the lack of masculine influence after my early teens. My work being blatantly masculine masks this vulnerability. Material is extremely important to my work because of the physical and metaphysical meaning. My color pallet is a muted “just found in a barn” range, save the dust.

Stass Shpanin

On July 17, 1918 in the basement of a merchant house in the city of Yekaterinburg, the authority of Bolsheviks executed the last Tsar of Russia and his family. After the murder, Russian imperial history was closed under the sight of the Soviet regime. It was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that the world community and Russian civilians received full access to the history that was hidden for nearly all of the 20th century.

Born in the USSR and raised in the United States, I use historic and cultural knowledge to reanalyze and translate these historical events without any political predispositions. My paintings are contemporary representations of 19th century history analysis based on cultural memory with the realization of time distortion.

The quotation attributed to Winston Churchill, “history is written by the victors” describes the idea of my multilayered paintings, that the history is changing as the new victors arrive. History of the past is no longer a monument, but a constant evolution of ideas to suit contemporary dogma.

The 19th century political system was based on cultural values, which makes it organic for visual examination. The military costumes, coat of arms and other symbols of power were common for all the European aristocracy. The royalty of very different politically developed societies such as England, Germany and Russia used similar visual language. Paradoxically, even the representation of their emperors – George V, Wilhelm II and Nicolas II were identical. Being first cousins with similar body types and facial characteristics, moustache and exchanged medals they became, by themselves, the impersonation of the cultural property of the time.

There is a trust for invention, for the process and personal intuition that I have making this artwork. As a visual journalist, I want to show that history is not a distant patch of true facts, but a living organism with human characteristics. It is as human as it could get. It is a study of human actions by other humans being constantly edited, added and in some tragic cases like the Holocaust – deleted. Today, it is especially important to realize that we are responsible for not only present and future, but for all three dimensions of time.

Dealing with public history, my paintings automatically comment on the oldest form of historical documentation – painting. I use these historical and figurative works to question the idea and accuracy of previous history, and trusting imagery more than the accepted understandings of the past.

Ryan Valentine

These images are little jokes, to me. They describe a relation between the simulation of reality and reality (See Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation and edit out the nonsense as you see fit. You can find a full .pdf online.). Truly they don’t really do that. They’re little exercises in an idea from which you can possibly draw another idea—that much of what we experience is falsified, often for entertainment purposes or monetary gain. Or perhaps unknowingly. Does a woman in a film noir film smoking a cigarette describe the sexiness and rebellion of the act or does it create it? Never mind the fear of female sexuality contained within much of film noir. It’s not relevant to my current argument. I suppose the question is: what portions of fiction and fact are descriptive and what are prescriptive?

Really, though, these images are just ink on paper and you can ignore most of the above. I enjoy the precision of the printing and cutting and gluing. The colors and scale are banal, which I think is fun. The wood grain is real, mostly. And sometimes you won’t be able to find, for sure, where the wood grain is fake, where it doesn’t belong, and where it has insinuated itself into other combinations of falsification. The titles are empty spaces, which can be filled by the viewer. I ripped two of them off from Bertrand Russell so I think that it’s fitting that you do with them as you please.

Finally, I have a soft spot for modernist abstraction. It is not in their relation to reality but rather that they can be argued to be things in and of themselves that is interesting. This is especially relevant when we are talking, vaguely, about insinuated fictions within a physical object.