Emulsion Profiles

Meet EMULSION 2016 Artists: A through C

 

emulsion2016-artist_johnmadams-portrait

John M. Adams

RESTON, VA

How long have you worked as an artist?

At some point toward the end of my undergraduate experience at VCU, I started to truly consider myself an artist, and made the commitment to pursue that, around the time I had my first solo exhibition (in the window display at Pla-za Art Materials on Grace St. in Richmond, where many of the VCU art students shopped). I believe that was 1997.

Discuss your process- What medium do you use? Do you work with other mediums?

The process of making these paintings combines thoughtful planning with intuitive, reactionary mark-making within the structure of the environment or painting support, requiring me to be fully “present” and focused when creating the work. The work is designed to pull the viewer into the present moment through use of subtle color variations and pigments or surfaces that change as the viewer moves around the work, and information is presented in a new context. The physicality of the material, no matter how slight, is an important aspect of the work. Irregular forms and patterns found in the natural world inspire the brushstrokes. Drips emanating from the marks ground them in space and alter their visual weight and presence. These marks are juxtaposed with the structure of clean white panels or architectural spaces, causing the elements to resonate from this interaction.

I also make site-specific graphite drawings. The site-specific drawings are created on location, for that specific location. Typically, they last for the duration of the exhibition, and are destroyed when the exhibition is over. The transitory drawings require the viewer to be in a specific place during a specific period to experience the work first hand. The feathery line quality of the graphite drawings evoke plumes of smoke or light reflected on the surface of water, equally transitory and in keeping with the larger work’s momentary existence. Together these components offer a metaphor for evolution – moving the viewer through creation, existence, and eventual destruction.

All at Once #11

All at Once Number 11

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

My artwork activates the perceptual connection between artist, object (or environment), and viewer. In this new body of work I am continuing my exploration of the art object (or installation) as a catalyst for contemplation and meditation for the viewer as well as the artist.

I’d love to have anyone visit my studio in Arlington, which is only two blocks from the VA Square Metro station.  Contact me if you want to visit!

I’m currently working on many more pieces in this series and very excited to be in full production/experimentation mode.

Artist statement

My artwork activates the perceptual connection between artist, object (or environment), and viewer. In this new body of work I am continuing my exploration of the art object (or installation) as a catalyst for contemplation and meditation for the viewer as well as the artist.

The process of making these paintings combines thoughtful planning with intuitive, reactionary mark-making within the structure of the environment or painting support, requiring me to be fully “present” and focused when creating the work. The work is designed to pull the viewer into the present moment through use of subtle color variations and pigments or surfaces that change as the viewer moves around the work, and information is presented in a new context. The physicality of the material, no matter how slight, is an important aspect of the work. Irregular forms and patterns found in the natural world inspire the brushstrokes. Drips emanating from the marks ground them in space and alter their visual weight and presence. These marks are juxtaposed with the structure of clean white panels or architectural spaces, causing the elements to resonate from this interaction.

Photos: Photo of me working in studio: Installing a site-specific painting at McLean Project for the Arts in September 2015. Photo Credit Susan Silva.


emulsion2016-artist-alfuth-portrait

David J Alfuth

WASHINGTON, DC

How long have you worked as an artist?

I have been working in the art work for about 45 years.  I graduated with a degree in drawing and painting many years ago.   I taught art for 43 years in the public school systems.  I started my three dimensional art work at about 10 years of age.  It was actually an art lesson that I used with my 8th graders.  I loved it so much I have never quit.

Discuss your process- What medium do you use? Do you work with other mediums?

I use the normal process that any artist does to create my work.  The only difference is that I use a copy machine to enhance, enlarge, or reduce my images.  I start off with an idea and start locating images that will help me create my finished art piece.  Then working through trial and error I create.

Ceiling with Perspective Nº 1

Ceiling with Perspective Nº 1

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I want the viewers of my work to stop in front of it.  Then contemplate it.   Then try and figure out how I did it.

My creative process is much like any other artist’s. I start with an idea, and I collect images that I think will help me with the piece. Now, as I start to put the pieces together, some work and some do not.

I change images, make some smaller and some larger to achieve the idea I am trying to get. I will take images out and add new ones that I feel give the piece a better look. 95 percent of the time, what I thought it would look like is nothing like what I end up with. I was a painter in my early days, and I find the process is about the same. You start out with an idea and change as you need to achieve your goal.


emulsion2016-artist_benbarker-portrait

Ben Barker

WASHINGTON, DC

How long have you worked as an artist?

I graduated from art school in 2005, with a degree in computer animation. I worked for years as a visual effects artist for movies and video games. In 2008 the economy collapsed, but entertainment was doing better than ever. We even had a large champagne toast to celebrate a new product. It felt like I was the grasshopper, with my champagne glass while the world imploded. There was no reason it couldn’t be me. I needed another skill.

The only other thing I ever loved as much as vfx was drawing and painting. Even if it wasn’t a smart financial move I knew it was my only choice. But even though I loved it I couldn’t really draw at all, and I was convinced painting was basically impossible.

I found a small atelier in San Diego, named Watts. I was blown away by the quality of the art there. I didn’t know people who weren’t long-dead Italians could paint that well, and they were teaching! Little did I know it would lead to a complete career change. I started taking more and more classes, and in 2013 I quit visual effects to pursue art full time. Shortly after I moved to DC, and now painting is my life.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I begin with an idea, which I then develop by thumbnailing and sketching. Often it dies there. Some ideas get developed more with a finished sketch or a comp in gouache or oil. Then I hire a model, and use the model to do a full size underdrawing in graphite or oil. I then finish the painting in oil. I used to be terrified of oil painting, but now it is my favorite medium.

I AM A MAN

I AM A MAN

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

This painting tells two stories: one of a man being choked to death by a police officer in New York City on July 17th 2014, the other about Jim Crow. Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow drew connections between the Jim Crow era, the civil rights movement, and modern systematic disenfranchisement of black Americans. Eric Garner’s death by choking, the intertwined figures, and the vertical orientation seek to draw visual parallels between these events in the same way.

Artist Statement

I think all artists are storytellers. It is our job to suggest connections and then allow the audience to take what they need from the story.

Art can reflect connections between disparate things that otherwise might be hidden. Writing, music, painting, speech: all art forms have their advantages, but none are able to capture the totality of internal thought. Each provides a small window through which we pass notes to each other. Painting is the window I love to explore. It’s a magic thing where colored oil smeared on a surface combines with the viewer and turns into thought.


emulsion2016-artist-David-Bellard-portrait

David Bellard

WASHINGTON, DC

How long have you worked as an artist?

I’ve been an exhibiting professionally for seven years.  When did you start? I have used photography in one form or another since I was a teenager. I became more intentional with my subject matter and processes in the past 10 years.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

The majority of my work involves a combination of photography, collage, and occasionally typography and screenprinting. I shoot photos on a variety of analog medium-format cameras and movie cameras, using color reversal film (transparency film) shot on analog cameras from the 1960’s and 1970’s. I also create video art pieces and films.

Edited Tableau 5

Edited Tableau 5

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

“Edited Tableau 5” is part of a series created from a photoshoot in the forests of the Kainuu region of Finland in August of 2105. The land is gorgeous and green, and you can feel the ancient souls of the trees and the land as you walk through it. The land reminds you that as a human, we are very short-term visitors here, no more grand or humble than any other living thing there.

Artist Statement

I like to rearrange reality through film photography, specifically the immediate visibility of transparent film, whether taking still photos or motion pictures. I learned the language of storytelling by cutting and splicing motion picture film, and I now apply that same language to my still photographs, which I cut and edit to construct new narratives.

Because a photograph records a particular point in time, collaging it with other photos re-interprets them all into entirely new point in the present. The viewer then creates a new point in time, and a new narrative, proving nothing is immutable, not even the moment.


 

emulsion2016-artist_Adam-Bradley_portrait

Adam Bradley

WASHINGTON, DC

Artist Statement

Coming from a background of figure drawing I have chosen to work with the figure directly for my sculptures.  I have tried to use materials to build sculptures in same way that I have used marks to build a drawing.  As with drawing, the gesture of the figure is very important to my sculptures.  I use the physical pose as a metaphor for a psychological or emotional state.  My work general deals with themes of anxiety, fear, isolation, and desire.

My figures tend to be nervous, outwardly dangerous and needy.  The loosely constructed materials and angular gestures give the figure an active presence and desperate vulnerability.   The floating figure is a recurring theme in my work.  The subject drifts listlessly with no control of its trajectory, struggling for a sense of purpose.

Arm Salesman

Arm Salesman

The cast aluminum figures are lonely characters trying to piece together their shattered sense of self. They have been given animal heads to represent the loss of rational thought and logic.  They have become wild.

I have been working back and forth between life sized and small- scale figures.  I like to build, constructing figures from found materials, steel, and wood and working with foam burn out casting in aluminum and lost wax in bronze.  


 

emulsion2016-artist_Alexandra-Chiou_portrait

Alexandra Chiou

NORTH BETHESDA, MD


How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start? 

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and making things ever since I was young. Art has always been a passion, but it was during high school and college that I realized how important it was to me, that it wasn’t just a hobby but a calling.  Ever since I graduated, I’ve been working hard to promote and exhibit my work while continuing to push myself to experiment and try new things.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

I actually started as an oil painter, but began working more with acrylics after college since I was creating art in my apartment and had limited space. Presently, I work mostly with watercolor, ink and cut paper.  I primarily identify as a painter, but have recently been pushing the layers, depth and dimension in my works on paper. The boundary between painting and sculpture really intrigues me and it’s something I continue to investigate.

Like Smoke

Like Smoke

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I have several interests that feed my artistic vision – a lot of my inspiration comes from literature that I read, whether it’s a scientific article or fiction. Also, I am a huge outdoor enthusiast, so being immersed in the natural world plays a huge role in my artwork. Last year I had the opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountains and a lot of the colors, forms and imagery I came across directly influenced this piece. It’s definitely shaped by real world observations coupled with my imagination.

Artist Statement

As an avid explorer and outdoor enthusiast, I have always been struck by the inexplicable beauty of the natural world. Whether hiking in the mountains of the Shenandoah or the jungles of Malaysia, I am continually intrigued by the complex patterns, shapes and vibrant colors of the surrounding flora and fauna. Every time I take in a grand vista looking down from the mountains, I appreciate the sense that there is something out there much larger than ourselves and am reminded that the world existed long before we came to be.

Initially, I was drawn to the idea of primordial landscapes free of manmade structures. Over time, my interest in unexplored terrains has morphed into a fascination with the beginnings of life, and the connections we humans share with our surrounding geography—for instance, the parallel between rivers and the blood that flows through our veins, and the cave as a womb.

In terms of process and medium, I began as an oil painter creating large scale paintings with vibrant colors. Over time, I wanted to achieve greater transparency and airiness in my work, and moved towards pen, ink and acrylic paint. Most recently, I have incorporated layered cut paper into my work, adding new textures and more dimension to my pieces. I have also created several layered non- rectilinear works on paper, further accentuating my interest in the organic and my desire to meld the spheres of painting and sculpture. Ultimately, I plan to continue developing my interest in science, philosophy and natural history to further investigate this idea of the human body as a habitat and environment in itself.


 

emulsion2016-artist_ellencornett-portrait

Ellen Cornett

CHEVERLY, MD

How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start? 

I began studying art early, taking drawing and oil painting classes while in elementary school. I continued to study art through high school and earned a BA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland. After graduating, I spent many years working by day as a graphic designer and illustrator, and by night drawing and painting. Fifteen years ago I began to transition out of design and into teaching fine arts and a steady studio practice.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums?

For a decade I created whimsical and surreal pastel illustrations of fairytale and literary subjects. The work is vivid and reminiscent of a child’s coloring book. During that time, I would sometimes take a palate cleansing break (pun intended) to clear my head with pen and ink or charcoal drawings. A couple years ago I took such a break and it kind of stuck. I am seeing everything in terms of value and texture right now—no color. The table of pastels is gathering dust at the back of my studio and I’m absorbed in creating drawings with a handful of charcoal sticks and carbon pencils.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

Last year I was introduced to Wendell, the model for Bird of Paradise by a friend in New York City. This drawing celebrates his incredible personal style and brio. I am enthralled by the way Wendell mixes textures and patterns along with a period sensibility in his attire.

Artist Statement

My drawings and paintings are inspired by the comic humor and serious, sometimes tragic undertone of poems, short stories and fairytales. Using the element of surprise I strive to make something intriguing and meaningful from well-recognized sources, manipulating characters into odd vignettes.

Editorial Team
Authored by: Editorial Team

Post provided by the East City Art Editorial Team.