Emulsion Profiles

Meet EMULSION 2016 Artists: M through S

 

emulsion2016-mcdermott-portrait

Mac McDermott

ALEXANDRIA, VA

How long have you worked as an artist?

I have been building models for over thirty years and scratch building them from primary sources for most of that time. I recently started submitting my sculptural work to shows, and EMULSION 2016 is the second show that Baba Yaga/T34 has been accepted to this year.

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?

Because my work examines narrative in the form of history, myth, legend and propaganda, I work in cardboard and paper to reflect the ephemeral and mutable nature of the stories we tell about ourselves.

I also work with styrene plastic, brass, steel, aluminum, copper, wood and textiles.

emulsion2016-mcdermott-work

Baba Yaga/T34 58˝ x 60˝ x 22˝ Cardboard, craft paper, birch, steel

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

Baba Yaga/T34 has been bouncing around in my imagination since 1983, but I didn’t start preproduction sketches for the piece until Russia invaded the Ukraine in 2014.

Artist Statement

History is narrative. My work makes no distinctions between truth (what actually occurred) and fact (what is believed to have occurred). The fragile materials I use, such as paper and cardboard, reflect the ephemeral, mutable and unreliable nature of narrative. In the end, we are the stories we create, and Homer’s Iliad and the Baba Yaga folktales are some of the most enduring and emblematic stories we are compelled to tell and retell about ourselves.

Baba Yaga/T-34 portrays the enigmatic nature of one of Slavic folklore’s most distinctive figures. She simultaneously embodies the benevolent matriarch, the beautiful maiden and the fearsome and cannibalistic crone. The witch and her deeds serve as reminders that nature is indifferent to the desires of humans. Fusing the gun from a Soviet era T-34 tank, the mechanized backbone of the Red Army for many years, with Baba Yaga’s rooster-legged hut highlights the brutal relationship between the Russian state and its citizenry


emulsion2016-milstead-portrait

Kevin Milstead

WASHINGTON, DC

How long have you worked as an artist?

I’ve worked intensely with encaustic/wax for the past 5 years. I’ve done drawing and some painting since undergraduate work at design school years ago.

When did you start? I began work in encaustic after a class that focused on encaustic collage about 5 years ago. After that class, 6 of us–some from the class and our teacher as well–formed our encaustic collective, Washington Wax Works. We meet for critiques, sharing of techniques and we show together

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?

Wax is the medium and it lends itself to many processes – the torch, the iron, the heat gun, I even have made an oven for larger pieces. Lately, I’ve been very focused on various uses of the torch–using it with the wax as well as with metal.

Do you work with other mediums? I use found objects of various sorts, metal, dried leaves and roots, but almost everything lately has focused on wax, though I’ve done a few paintings, just for a little variety.

emulsion2016-milstead-work

orb 18’’ x 18’’ Encaustic, lead/tin, metallic leaf on board

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

This piece is the latest of a long series of works that I’ve called my “orb series”.  The circle in the square — which has many potential interpretations — has been the connecting thread in this series. It began with thin layers of tissue stained with rusted circles. I then moved into a sub-series that used found objects — in particular discs of dried paint. Experiments with metal leaf, molten metal and mixing my own colors with dry pigment has led to the piece in this show.

Artist Statement

I have been a scavenger all my life—culling a curious or useful thing from the discarded and ordinary objects of life. In my architectural practice, the found object could be a long-hidden window or more broadly a whole building. In my encaustic work, the found object might be a leaf, a root or a disc of paint peeled from the top of a paint can. A central goal in both practices is to examine the additions of time and either preserve the accretions of life or strip down, distill and re-present the object in an essential form— perhaps juxtaposed with a new element—transformed to new purpose.

My work builds on a long interest in texture and pattern. A fascination with the formal affinities and connections of the macro and micro aspects of nature—spanning the level of an atom to a cell to a planet to a nebula—plays a central role in the form of my work. For the past 5 years, the medium of wax has bound my exploration of various materials in pursuit of ambiguity of scale and essence. The transformative element is fire—melting wax, melting metal, changing the form, and perhaps the meaning of both.


emulsion2016-peck-portrait

Judith Peck

VIENNA, VA

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

I’ve always been an artist, however, graduating with a BA in Fine Arts from George Washington University in 1979, I began pursuing my career as an artist.

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

I don’t have one method or process.  I look at what I am feeling and seeing and work new each time.  I feel that the discovery is what I am looking for in each piece.
I start with an idea, something I’ve read about or a part of a poem that moves me and makes me feel I must act.  Then I think of a way to make this idea solid without making an illustration. I am inspired by the richness that one can develop while working with oils and glazes, this is what painting developed over the ages to be. I often work on a broken surface. To achieve this I use sanded plaster shards embedded in gesso on a cradled wooden substrate.  I like the play of illusion created by the juxtaposition of the actual depth of the plaster against the perceived depth of the painting.  The figures I paint may be depicted in a shattered world, but they are still able to remain whole, pulling together the fragile pieces that make up our collective world.

emulsion2016-peck-work

Resilience 18″ x 14″, Oil and plaster on board

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I began the process of using plaster in my work years ago with a very personal piece, painted it around 1987.  It was inspired by two of my grandparents leaving behind their former life and coming to America and safety, each as orphans.  I used the plaster shards to represent the broken world they left behind but always carried with them.  Then I started painting about history and that grew into this more universal message of meaning and preciousness of life and healing a broken world.

I’m looking for the binding power-opposite of mob mentality-our mutual connections.  Although we can all be overwhelmed and feel helpless, the human spirit always possesses hope, even in the most desperate of circumstances.  I would be happy if I can show a glimmer of our broken yet beautiful human experience.  For the painting titled, Resilience, I used an individual model to represent life’s broken path created with oils and imbedded gessoed plaster shards, some not hidden.

Artist Statement

We live in a broken world, full of distances and rifts between and across cultures. I think life is about relating to others with empathy in spite of these breaks. I paint in oil on broken plaster shards in an attempt to hold this cracking world together.

We can be whole, despite being unable to cover all the real-life breaks. To convey this reality, I paint portraits that mask the actual depth of the plaster by covering the surfaces with illusionistic renderings of individuals.

For my subjects, I choose people whose rich inner life comes across on their faces, because it allows a viewer to delver into the sitter’s psychology. If we can actually see each other, we can pursue life compassionately without getting stuck in its rifts.

Working from these principles, my paintings then become about how we heal ourselves in this broken world. The work becomes a guide to investigating our lives and, hopefully, the models’ lingering and penetrating gaze will move us away from our complacency.

 


emulsion2016-ryan-portrait

Beverly Ryan

ALEXANDRIA, VA

Do you work with other media?

I have worked in several media including hand weaving and printmaking, but when I found my way to paint, I knew I was “home.” The directness of painting is perfect for me as I work through evolving ideas. Oil paint and encaustic paint create rich surfaces and surface tension is important to my work.
Presently I have several directions developing. One is my ongoing pursuit of richly painted abstracted forms. Another is the exploration of linear structures such as webs. I have also been experimenting with soft sculpture canvas forms. Content wise I am working with imported images of drones in drawings and paintings that suggest maps, vectors, strikes, continents.
How long have you worked as an artist, when did you start?
My artistic history runs deep.  I have always been making things.  However, it was not until I was in my 30’s that I realized art needed to move to the center of my life.

emulsion2016-ryan-work

Tower 44″ x 27″ x 2″ oil and mixed media on aluminum

More about Tower

Tower is part of my post-industrial series. The telescoping building suggests instability. I see an unsteady fountain, or a gushing oil well or a lopsided winged structure.  The smoke and oil derricks refer to our use of fossil fuels. Working on the metallic grey of the aluminum gives it an apocalyptic mood.

Artist Statement

I have been making “things” all my life.  It is how I am in the world. As an adult I re-invented myself to put art making in the center of my life. It has become my main activity.  Today I am a fulltime artist and art teacher.  Painting is my medium but recently I have been incorporating some mixed media, such as, sewn canvas forms, fabric webs, and metal linear forms.
Making art is the way that I digest what goes on around me, connecting it to my inner life.  My ideas, experiences and feelings manifest themselves in my work in ways that surprise me. My work is about discovery. My curiosity about what will happen if I do ……. to………., also keeps me exploring new techniques.

 


 

emulsion2016-selimovic-portrait

Alma Selimovic

MOUNT RAINIER, MD

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

I have created things since I can remember. I was always more attracted to 3D objects and different materials than I was to pens and paper.

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

My process is very dependent on the medium. I love exploring with different materials and building unusual objects. One thing that you need to know about me is that I am “old school” trained sculptor and I respect when something is well done. While even I sometimes use materials that are really fragile and unstable, I do it in order to explore different properties and limits of the medium so to use it in its best possible state for that piece of work. Recently I started working with plaster, but I use hydrocal plaster mixed with latex and powdered resin combining it with fiberglass. Final work looks fragile but it is actually really strong. In addition, I transfer my own photographs and prints on such plaster.

emulsion2016-selimovic-work

Siblings 16˝x11˝x4˝ Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, print, house paint, metal holders

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I would like viewers to know that my piece is an emotional experiment.

Artist Statement

My coming out gave rise to my activism which exposed me to creating change. It also exposed me to odd and violent interactions with general public. Such experiences greatly influenced my sense of body and comfort.

As a refugee and an artist, I engage in processes of adaptability and transformation, creating work which focuses on domesticity and patterns. Experiential qualities of different materials guide me in creating sculptural open-ended narratives. I explore the impact of context on people’s perception of objects, form, and ideas.


emulsion2016-sherman-portrait

Alexandra Sherman

WASHINGTON, DC

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

I’ve always made art of one kind or another. My mother says I used to make up to thirty paintings a day as a toddler. I realized that making art was what I needed to do professionally my junior year in college. I’ve been working in the arts in some capacity since then, whether it be curating, teaching, or framing. I bring all of these experiences with me to the studio when I paint.

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

I consider watercolor to be my first love, although I create work in other mediums, such as pastel, charcoal, silverpoint, and occasionally oil or acrylic… But I always come back to watercolor.

I’ve been exploring painting on non-traditional watercolor surfaces for the past five years, ranging from grey matboard to various metals. At the moment, I’m working on a synthetic paper called Yupo, which is made of Polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer. Yupo is a non-porous surface that resists watercolor rather than allowing absorption as with traditional watercolor papers. The non-absorbent quality allows me to work additively and subtractively. Having the ability to change the painting drastically has allowed me to follow where the image leads me during the process of painting rather than recreating a previously determined image. I believe this freedom is apparent in the finished work.

emulsion2016-sherman-work

Sin Options 26˝ x 40˝ Watercolor on yupo

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

I feel an artist statement should only be read after forging a connection or interest in a work. I prefer not to influence how someone might see one of my paintings. The relationship between a work of art and the viewer is always interesting because each individual brings a unique vision through which they experience art.

Artist Statement

When I look at trees I see human figures filled with emotion, twisted and pulled in seemingly impossible directions. Trunks act as spines. Branches extend out in all directions like arms. A protuberance becomes the thrust of a hip. The anthropomorphic qualities of trees are especially apparent in winter, when they reveal their true underlying forms, their skeletons.

In winter, naked branches of trees become a map for the eyes to follow through the emptiness of the sky. In all the paintings from the ‘Map for the Eyes’ series, especially, ‘Sin Options’, I’ve focused on balancing positive and negative space, playing emptiness and fullness against one another, and providing places of great detail and nothingness in contrast.

The figure in ‘Sin Options’ is in an awkward, comfortless pose, and is struggling to find her balance, unable to change the forces acting against her. The title ‘Sin Options’ is a double entendre: “sin” means “without” in Spanish and reflects the powerlessness of the figure, but if understood only in English, “sin” refers to the figure’s predicament as a punishment for an unknown transgression.


emulsion2016-sillberg-portrait

Steven H Silberg

CATONSVILLE, MD

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

This is a hard question to answer. I’ve had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. I was encouraged to draw from a very young age and took classes at the Art League when I was in elementary school. I first stepped into a darkroom during the summer before my 10th birthday. I regularly enrolled in art classes throughout my academic career. However, it wasn’t until my 2nd year in college that I decided to make photography my major and it wasn’t until graduate school that I embraced digital media.

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

I am an image-influenced, material-based, process-oriented, cross-media artist with a background ranging
 from photography to book conservation.  As is common with intermedia artists, I use whichever medium is necessary to communicate with my viewers.

Mirror Minus is the culmination of my explorations into how the screen renders changes in movement. It employs live video which is interpreted and evaluated by a software patch written in the Max/MSP programming environment. In developing this work, it was important to me to consider how the pixel (or rather each pixel on the screen) changes from moment to moment to help us view a moving image. By developing this into an interactive installation, I bring that same exploration to the viewer.

emulsion2016-silber-work

Mirror Minus still. Dimensions variable. Interactive Installation.

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

As with many of my projects, once I have experimented with the process myself, I want to put that process out there for everyone to experience. Explore the piece; interact with it; and most of all, have fun. Feel free to take pictures of the projections or of yourself in the space. And, if you decide to share them on Social Media, please tag it #MirrorMinus.

Artist Statement:

My work develops from an interest in materiality as it relates to content. Inspired by the construction of the digital image and time-based media, my explorations have concentrated on the pixel, file data, metadata, the substrate, and the surface. Whether overt or subtle, changes to these elements offer new contexts for interpretation, thereby influencing meaning.

Today, we transmit, alter, and receive information with less effort than ever before. We create professional quality images, edit videos, and layout publications with ease—formerly only the realm of the professional. Technology democratizes the ability to create and communicate; yet this comes at the sacrifice of understanding the medium and tools we are using. As we become users of the technology, a disconnect grows between the process and the result.

As an image-maker and artist, I choose to take back the process. Rather than relying on traditional means of image making alone, I wish to engage the computer image at its level—the pixel, the data, and the display—making it as tangible as its manifestation. As viewers interact with my installations, watch my videos, and view my images, their awareness of the process of constructing an image grows.

At the root of my work is a sense of pedagogy and process. As a pedagogue, I want my audience to gain a deep understating of how things are constructed, where they come from, and how they develop.  My installations educate as tools allowing the viewer to become the variable within a rigidly organized system. My images illustrate the image-making experience and deliberately disclose the pixel and image parameters, making the viewer aware of the constructive/deconstructive structure inherent in imaging technologies. Resulting images are then easier to understand as  the viewer discovers their structure, leading to a greater connection with and appreciation of the medium and the tools.


emulsion2016-Smith-portrait

Anne Smith

WASHINGTON, DC

How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?I started studying art seriously in high school, so that was 15 years ago. I had an incredible teacher and a good community of other kids who just wanted to be in the art room making stuff. That was it for me! Since then, I have been lucky to always find a supportive art community wherever I go.

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

I work in several media — drawing (charcoal and graphite especially), sculpture (mainly wood, but branching out into other materials now), and printmaking (silkscreen and etching). I think of many of my prints and sculptures as drawings, and in my drawings I sometimes feel like I am building a structure, so there are many overlaps for me. The different media aren’t so separate for me.

emulsion2016-smith-work

Pinwheel (left) 11˝ x 13 1⁄2 and Intersection (right) 10 1⁄2˝ x 11 1⁄2˝˝ Charcoal and graphite drawings

What would you like viewers to know about your piece?

The pieces I have in EMULSION 2016, titled “Pinwheel” and “Intersection”, are two in a series of charcoal and graphite drawings. They have a dense, velvety charcoal ground, overtop of which I lay thin, silvery graphite lines that reflect light. The linear structures I create in this series of drawings are each a puzzle, or conundrum. When I am making them, I am searching for the right balance and imbalance of line, divisions of space, and especially for that structure that surprises me and activates my imagination.

Artist Statement
A line is the basic building block of my drawings, prints and sculptures. A line, add to another and another, suddenly becomes much more than itself: the line becomes an edge, a boundary, a path, a structure, a space — and each of these is able to gather meaning over time. My work explores the capacity for spaces, real or imagined, to change over time and to contain contradiction. These works reference the space of home, structures of play and shelter, as well as references to the quiet stillness of night.

My work in the studio is both research and play. I draw, I build, I make and undo; I trust instinct and value craft. My work often involves repetitive labor, surfacing, building densities as well as extending lines. These acts of work and play guide me through the awesome uncertainty of making.

I regard uncertainty as a positive force in my work. I seek out conditions in which I can make without knowing the outcome of the making. Inviting uncertainty into the process and content of my work leads me in a search in which there can be risk, failure and discovery.


 

emulsion2016-Snyder-portrait

Casey Snyder

GAITHERSBURG, MD

How long have you worked as an artist?  When did you start?
I have worked as an artist for the last 6 years.  My father is an artist and making art has been a part of my life since I was a kid.

emulsion2016-snyder-work

Hover 16˝ x 12˝ Oil & mixed media on panel

Discuss your process—what medium do you use?  Do you work with other mediums
I love the spontaneity of collage, and encourage elements of chance often.  I was trained as a painter and am fascinated with its luminous qualities and malleability.  Layering, masking, and destruction are my methods of developing my work.  I often leave elements of these processes in the work and find them just as visually intriguing as refined qualities.

Artist Statement

My art is motivated by the spatial, pictorial and the tactile. Using mixed media and collage painting, my work forms a collision of materials that shift in-between these three motivators. The assemblages flux in-between the personal and public, logical and senseless, theatrical and literal.  Fragments become isolated or mutated, displacing the routine of domestic spaces into the peculiar.

The exploration of presence is an occupying concept in my work. Printed images, silhouettes, and shadows can all be an index of sorts. I use varying fragments of the indexical sign to play with presence and absence, physicality and indeterminacy. Using collage and mixed media practices, the images and materials are presented outside of their original context and over time develop a logic of their own.

The notion of finding an “edge” or “boundary” is what propels my practice. Oil paint, spray paint, acrylic, ink, plastic, rubber, tape, paper and various drawing materials are my methods of creating edges.  Using a process of collecting, isolating, and dislodging; new images are spun from ones that already exist. Curious figures, machine like inventions, cutout forms, and abstracted objects become visual islands, which infuse the familiar with the idiosyncratic or unknown.

Editorial Team
Authored by: Editorial Team

Post provided by the East City Art Editorial Team.