Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Good to Be Back.

After a three-year long hiatus from writing in this blog, I realized how much I missed having my own platform for writing about art in a more meaningful way than snippets here and there, say, on Facebook. I've been blogging elsewhere about different things, but to have this void where the subject is so important to me seemed silly. So I am back.

This blog is not a place where I am to offer reviews or critique or even semi-intelligent babbling about what's going on in the art world. Instead, I envision this as more of a sitting around with artist friends and having fairly light conversations about what's happening around us, whether that means something on an international scope or simply what is going on in my basement studio.

I mean for this as a way to keep my audience informed about what I am up to, but also to share thoughts about who I am and what I like and care about, as it pertains to art (or closely associated to it).

Let me just get you a little caught up as to some of the things that have happened since 2012.

• After three years of adjunct teaching, I accepted a job in June 2013 as an in-house graphic designer, and have been working a 9 to 5 schedule since. This equals better, more stable pay and benefits, but much less time and flexibility in my schedule. I enjoy the work and my colleagues a lot, but it's been challenging finding a balance for other things (i.e. my studio practice).

• I'm still teaching art and design online, and I'll be celebrating my sixth year this January.

• I now have representation with three entities: Uprise Art in NYC, Susan Eley Fine Art in NYC, and Exhibit A in Corning, NY.

• I moved out of my nice big studio at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in favor of working at home in my little dank basement space. I feel like it suits me better somehow!

• In May 2014, I embarked on a big undertaking to improve my health and fitness. I call 2015 the year where my body was my art project, because it really did become my focus. As a result, I lost 100 pounds and starting running (up to 5+ miles, even!). I still have a lot to lose but I feel so much better in my skin, and feel like I can get back to the studio with a fresh perspective full-force in 2016.

• – and I'd better, too! I have three exhibitions lined up this coming year, all two- and three-person. The first goes up and opens on January 8th; another in March, and another in September. I've already been in casual talks about 2017, too! I've got a lot of work to do.

Before I sign off here, let me tell you about my January show. It's at Studio Hart in Buffalo and I was invited to show with a good friend of mine, Elizabeth Switzer (who needs to set up a website already!). It's called The Rest Is Silence and the concept is based around hibernation, sleep, dreams... and, I think, the dread that comes in the deepest, darkest winter months. We're also both creating work that incorporates text.

My statement:

I have been interested in lettering since I was a child and was gifted with the book Lettering and Alphabets by Albert Cavanaugh at age 9. I used to enjoy copying the letters out carefully and found all the different styles of letters intriguing. That love of type was amplified as I grew into an adult and started working as a graphic designer. I work with type every day on a computer screen, but what I really enjoy doing is painting and drawing it by hand—and I still use that old book as a reference for this body of work.

Letterforms can be metaphors for many things. Here I use them as a vehicle for semi-abstract experiments with imperfection, form, color, and contrast, and the dichotomy of absence and presence; I also enjoy choosing the phrases around which I build the compositions. They are picked out of my stream of consciousness at random, and along the way become quite meaningful in their own strange fashion, and interpreted in endless ways depending on who is doing the looking.

Some samples.

"Ships Passing in the Night", ink on paper, 6" x 9", 2015.

"Retro Thinking", ink on paper, 6" x 9", 2015.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blog as Archive: Thank You!

Thanks to all of you who have followed me on this blog. I am continuing to make and show art; however this blog will remain here now only as an archive. For new and current work, activities, shows, and news, please visit my website, or Facebook, where I post frequently. Thank you again for all of your support!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

echo Art Fair 2012

My gosh, surely it can't be that one month has already passed since my last post?

Time sure does fly when you're busy having fun. Since then I celebrated my birthday, made lots of new paintings, and sold the one I featured in my last post! I had a lovely studio visit with a new collector who is quite discerning – at 91 years old she has collected a but handful of artworks, and "knows what she likes and doesn't care what anyone else thinks!" She has a beautiful, light filled penthouse apartment in a restored 1927 building and I am so happy that my painting found such a home among J.'s small, but eclectic and extremely tasteful collection. It is always an honor for me when someone responds strongly enough to a painting to buy it and live with it, but it's really special when I get a glimpse into a collector's life and how that work fits into it. Making a (partial) livelihood from the work I do is always a great thing, but I can't downplay how much I enjoy building relationships with collectors and appreciators. It really fuels what I do in the studio. Thank you, J.!

In other news, I have been busy getting ready for echo Art Fair coming this weekend in Buffalo, NY. I'll be among about 40 individual artists and a handful of galleries with booths showing and selling art. It's a two-day weekend affair that kicks off with a VIP party on Friday evening, and based on my experience last year and all the chatter that's been all over town this year, I have a feeling this is going to be a fantastic event all around. I do urge you to have a look at the website for all information regarding the schedule, the exhibitors, and more – it's going to be an exciting time for all involved. Now in its second year, echo has grown to include galleries from Toronto, Canada and artists from the  beyond the immediate region. 

I'd like to share with you images of just some of the work that I will have to offer at my booth (number 16, by the way, in case you're able to attend!). In addition to paintings on canvas, I will also offer smaller framed works on paper (ink drawings, collages) as well as larger painted pieces on unframed Yupo paper. I hope you enjoy – let me know what you think!

(As yet untitled) acrylic on canvas, 15" x 30", 2012.

Great Expectations, acrylic on canvas, 15" x 24", 2012.

(As yet untitled) acrylic on canvas, 15" x 30", 2012.

The Void, acrylic on canvas, 16" x 16", 2012.

Tidal Wave, acrylic and ink on Yupo paper, 27" x 53", 2011.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Telephone Game

The name of my newest painting, finished just today, is The Telephone Game. There was something about the way the two buildings are juxtaposed that reminded me of kids hanging out the windows with tin cans connected with twine... and that phrase popped into my head. Of course, that game is the one when a chosen phrase ends up being very different once it reaches the last person in the group, having been whispered (and translated) in a multitude of ears... such an evocative concept!

The Telephone Game, acrylic on canvas, 29" x 42", 2012. (click for larger view)

Then, upon posting this photo on my personal Facebook page (you can like my Amy Greenan Art page there if you wish!), my good friend Alfred offered the comment,

Your houses tell more stories than most people.

It is a reaction like that to the work that tells me I am doing it right.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Busy in the studio

I don't think anything makes me more happy lately than losing track of time spent in my studio. Yesterday I had a marathon canvas prep session and now have eight canvases of various sizes ready to paint – so satisfying... but you know what's even more so? Actually sitting at the easel working on a new painting, like I did today. This little guy is finished and will be headed to Syracuse in the fall as part of my showing in The Other New York biennial there.

Not Here, Not Now, acrylic on canvas, 15" x 15", 2012.

It's so nice knowing that even on my gloomiest day (and I have had a few lately) I have a place I can go where everything else is forgotten, and I can get lost in the work. I feel so lucky to be living this life, despite the associated pitfalls. The positives tend to outweigh any negative aspect, it seems. Now that it's been almost two years since I left the 9 to 5 world, I can honestly say that I am making it work, I am on a trajectory.

Some days, you just have to ruminate on this stuff. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Impromptu Open Studio TONIGHT!

I'll be hosting an informal open studio tonight, 5–10pm. My studio is located at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (The NACC), room 340. For more information, have a look at the e-newsletter I sent out yesterday. You can also sign up to receive future newsletters there – I generally send them monthly, but sometimes a little more frequently if I have more things to tell you about.

This is my first public event and while it was spur of the moment to coincide with the opening of the Polaris exhibition put on as a collaboration between the NACC and 464 Gallery in Buffalo, I am very excited (some of our best ideas come at the last minute!). I figured that if a bunch of folks were coming up to Niagara Falls to attend, I may as well be around and open for some traffic! (I am also looking forward to seeing the show, too, mind you!)

Some of my Big Fragments will be on view!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Materials, the Process

I'm just about wrapping up the more busy time of the year this week, and had off from any point responsibilities yesterday and today. I spent a lot of time just surfing around the internets, I admit it – but I also do a lot of research, too, and dreaming, about things like the residencies or art workshops I'd like to attend, other artists I admire, etc.

One thing I try to impart to my students is the value of the process, that is, that the end product is not always the most important thing. Playing with a new material and letting it dictate the process and even the content is not always easy to do, but invariably opens you up into a whole new direction never before achieved or even imagined.

I don't know that I expect such amazing things when I get myself some acrylic gouache, but I am very excited to experiment with a (slightly) new media. Of course in the past I have used water-based gouache and I have been using acrylic paint as my main medium for a few years now. But the idea of getting the same look and feel of gouache (kind of matte, opaque, lovely) and be able to layer because it doesn't wash away is tantalizing.

I was looking at a listing of summer workshops at Cullowhee Mountain Arts in North Carolina and found the fantastic painter Susan Lichtman, who is scheduled to teach one. I would love to have the chance to meet her and study under her for a few days, but since I can't, instead downloaded the supply list for the class. It's funny how such a list can be so inspiring! I'm hoping to get a starter set of acryl gouache within the next week or two.

This may also be a good chance for me to get back to figures in my work again, too... that's something I've been thinking about for a few months now. I even have a couple of friends who said that they would sit for me, so I'll even have easy access to subject matter.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at how to approach this, but maybe just sitting down and sketching out some loose compositional ideas might help. I want to connect these figures to my houses somehow, which shouldn't be too hard. I'm also going to be an artist-in-residence this summer (more on that as I have more solid information – very exciting!) that will enable me to work outside among people, a stark contrast to the solitary conditions in which I usually work. Lots of potential models in that kind of situation!

The coming weeks and months have so much potential... I need to make lists to organize my thoughts and my priorities so I don't miss anything. In addition to lots of studio time, I am also looking forward to working in my gardens, spending time with friends and family, cultivating my career...