Archive for February, 2012

Nano-Interview with Joe Wardwell

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Imagine for a moment the Hudson River School painters depicting the immense magnificence and power of nature. Now think about the primitive power of loud, guitar-driven grunge, punk and metal music. Combine them, and voila, Joe Wardwell (Painting Fellow ’12) has struck a gnarly power chord with his bold paintings. Take a listen with your eyes:

What do you listen to while you work? I listen to pretty much everything but I would say the most common genres that I indulge in would be stoner metal or doom metal with a little psych rock thrown in. I have had a serious long term relationship with early Black Sabbath and have been a long term devotee of “The Melvins” and “Earth.” Recently have been obsessed with a Japanese band named “Boris.” “Boris” is an amazing band that is great studio music but have also have been a source of inspiration for my work.

How loud? Very. The music I listen to needs to be loud and luckily at my studio I can play it really really loud.

What artist do you most admire but work nothing like? Tom Friedman. Rodney Graham.

What are you currently reading? 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, I have about 200 pages left. Murakami is one of my favorite authors.

Have you ever revised your work on once it’s been hung in an exhibition? Not yet. Once it is done and been up somewhere it always feels complete after that. When I just finish the painting, I feel like there are tons of mistakes that if I had more time or I was a better painter I would be able to fix. It is a totally defeated state. Then after it gets shown, or have decided it is done and sits around a while. I can’t really see what was getting to me so much and the painting usually feels as it should be.

Do you secretly dream of being a) the fifth Beatle? No, I went straight from my dad’s Willie Nelson records to hardcore punk to metal to grunge and then out into the abyss. Never had a Beatles phase, never owned a record and probably never will.  b) a tax collector, No
and/or c) a paperback writer? Definitely.

Which color(s) do you least like? It’s the spectrum. Love it or leave it.

Ipod, cassette tapes, record albums or 8 tracks? Ipod and Record albums but never at the same time.

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: “Never liked the Beatles”

What’s next?  In the studio, I have been most excited by the larger paintings that are on view at the deCordova and LaMontagne Gallery. They just feel right. I am planning on continuing to develop this body of work. The work feels like it has been gathering momentum for a while now and I want to run with it as long as I can. As far as exhibitions go, I am planning to do a show sometime in 2013 in Seattle at Prole Drift Gallery. The gallery is run by the amazing Dirk Park who organizes Aqua Art Miami with his wife and artist Jaq Chartier. Having lived in Seattle for a long time I am very excited to show back in the home town.

Big Disgrace by Joe Wardwell
On View at LaMontagne Gallery
March 3rd – April 11th, 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, March 3rd, 6 – 8 pm.

Image credit: Big Disgrace, and Maybe Just Happy are courtesy of Joe Wardwell.

What’s the Essence of a Portrait?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

We’ve been asking artists about issues they encounter in their work, and recently, we asked three artists exhibiting in Portraits at Drive-By Gallery (3/1-4/7): What’s the most essential element you try to capture in your portraiture?

Laura Chasman (Painting Finalist ’04)
To capture what is felt, as well as what is seen. Each one of my portrait paintings is a personal journey that explores the humanity that is all around me. I am especially drawn to the youngest and oldest persons. I lose myself in either their primal exuberance or the still waters of their wisdom and fortitude. My need to paint is driven by my need to see these subjects clearly. However, like a mirage it often disappears upon completion and I strike out to do it all over again.

Andrea Sherrill Evans (Drawing Fellow ’12)
I don’t always think about my drawings first and foremost as portraits, but as in the case of this show, it is an interesting way to frame them. By using my husband and myself as figures in the work, I root my investigations about relationships and interactions with the larger world in personal experience, within the bodies that I know best. As portraits/self-portraits, I am always seeking to capture the right expressions and particularities of our bodies.

But in many ways, I see these drawings as functioning more as a portrait of a relationship, rather than of individuals. They are about a kind of balance and negotiation that comes with intimacy and closeness. I hope they can speak to more than just our particular relationship, to the struggle inherent to any relationship: the desire for, and impossibility of a complete connection with another. So in effect, these portraits/figures have the potential to be inhabited by other bodies. Because ultimately, what is it that we look for in a portrait? Some mysterious, ambiguous aspect of that person, made visible in the rendering of their face? Perhaps also some kind of recognition of a bit of ourselves as well, of the things that connect us and of what we share in common?

Helena Wurzel (Painting Finalist ’10)
I explore the layers and complexities of femininity, physical beauty, and the reality and imagination inherent in this realm. The lives, rituals, and introspective moments of myself and my friends are an integral part of the subject matter.

Read part two of this post, where we pose the same question to a photographer, a filmmaker, and a composer.

Images: Laura Chasman, DOSALENA (2012), gouache on museum mounting board; Andrea Sherrill Evans, PLAID SHIRT #4 (2011), silverpoint and watercolor on prepared paper, 14×11 in; Helena Wurzel, SHE’S GOT LIGHT IN HER EYES (2012) Oil on Canvas, 12×16 in. Portraits, an exhibition of work by these three artists, can be seen at Drive-By Gallery in Watertown March 1 – April 7, 2012. Helena also has a show (One Is Always Forgotten, with Ariel Freiberg) at Laconia Gallery (3/2-4/22).

To The Point Artist Opportunities

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Get into your thinking cap and make your work happen.

Visual Artists Under 30 The Arsenal Center for the Arts is seeking the work of artists from the Greater Boston area under the age of 30 years old (born on or after Jan 1st, 1982) for the exhibition 30 Under 30. Learn more.
Deadline: March 1, 2012

Workshop ArtMorpheus will hold a workshop for creative people working in all disciplines who want to overcome procrastination, finish projects, and get on with their lives. The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, a workshop led by author/coach Hillary Rettig will occur on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Learn more right now immediately without delay!

Photographers Entries are now being accepted for Hey, Hot Shot! an international photography competition.Submit five (5) photos (per entry) for your shot at $10,000, a solo exhibition at Jen Bekman Gallery, representation from Jen Bekman Gallery for two years, commencing with his/her selection. Each of five finalist Hot Shots earns: A $500 honorarium + Participation in the 2012 Hot Shot Exhibition at Jen Bekman Gallery. Learn more.
Deadline: March 14, 2012

Call to Artists The Arlington Center for the Arts is now accepting entries for their exhibition Images of Arlington. Artwork must feature the landscapes, architecture, natural spaces, events, people and special character of Arlington, MA. Learn more.
Deadline: March 23, 2012

Free Negotiations, Copyright, and Contracts Workshop NEFA’s Public Art Discussion Series fourth session topic is Negotiations, Copyright, and Contracts led by Jim Grace, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston. The workshop will occur in Boston on March 29, 2012, from 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. RSVP required. Learn more. And by the way, here’s a list of upcoming workshops that might be of interest.

Summer Residency The School of Making Thinking (SMT) is an interdisciplinary summer residency program in East Branch, NY, where artists and academics think, create, and live together in a communal setting. SMT seeks to blur the line between these two conventionally distinct practices. Past participants have ranged from botanists, dancers, playwrights, painters, poets, philosophers, fiction writers, audio documentarians, filmmakers, performance artists, and PhD candidates from English and American Studies departments. Learn more.
Deadline: April 1, 2012

Call to 2D and 3D Media Artists Entries are now being accepted for Viridian Artists’ 23rd Annual International Juried Competition. This year’s juror is Chrissie Iles, Curator, The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Learn more.
Dealine: April 13, 2012

The Visual Arts Sea Grant The Visual Arts Sea Grant was established in 1988 to encourage professional artists from New York and New England to address the issue of the environment of the ocean and it’s coastal communities. Up to $3000 will be awarded. Submit 10 digital images, image list, proposal, budget and resume. For the prospectus send a SASE to Visual Arts Sea Grant, Department of Art & Art History, 105 Upper College Rd, Kingston, RI 02881. Learn more.
Deadline: May 25, 2012

Cape and Islands Playwrights Eventide Arts is currently accepting entries of full-length plays for the Sixth Annual Jeremiah Kaplan Playwriting Competition open to full-length plays written by both new and experienced playwrights who live on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. One play will be selected by the judges and presented in two staged readings in June. Learn more. Questions: 508-398-8588
Deadline: May 1, 2012

Image credit: Photograph of group of people with hats courtesy of the School of Making Thinking.

Studio Views: Stacey Alickman

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Recent MCC Drawing awardee Stacey Alickman has launched a USA Projects campaign* to support her fascinating painting project, and here, she offers a look into her studio and process.

I’m currently working on a project called Pulling The Legs Off Bugs Was a Cruel, Harmless Waste of Time. This poetic phrase came into my head almost ten years ago and its meaning is layered; that children easily pull the legs off bugs without remorse or regret. The emotion behind this phrase continues to inspire new work and new directions.

Last year, I began to integrate this persistent narrative within my art and explore why it has resonated so deeply. These paintings reflect my process of creative exploration and how this phrase has developed visually as well as conceptually. What have emerged are abstract pieces that are textured and rhythmic, densely worked and sculpted.

I’ve been working on many pieces at once this past year, rotating through as many as ten at a time. This is because some of my applications are thick and need long pauses before I can paint or sand into them again. Finished and in-progress pieces cover walls, shelves and floor space so that they are all in my line of sight while I work. Recently, I’ve also started using paper like paint, putting it on and then taking it off, and allowing the formation of the material to create rhythm and texture.

My studio at 6 Vernon Street in Somerville is shaped somewhat like a bowling alley, with one large window at the end. I like to work on the two opposite walls closest to the window, with an old, ratty chair in the corner for periods of contemplation. Half of my painting titles are born in this chair, the other half, usually in the bathtub (which is not in my studio). My space is cramped but tidy, with various tables and a desk that pens me into the space I am working. I have my paints and various tools for application laid out in an organized way so that fledgling pieces can begin in a completely disorganized way. This is the best way I know to initiate unexpected results. I always hope that something interesting might come out of the chaos.

Learn more about Stacey’s project through United States Artists.

Images: all images courtesy of the artist; titles for paintings (top to bottom) SPIACCICATA; PARADIDDLE; WET INTO WET; IN A BOX MY DIRTY POODLE THOUGHTS.

* Awardees of the MCC Artist Fellowships Program are among the artists invited to launch projects on United States Artists Projects, one of the crowdfunding sites that artists can use to support their art practice.

Mixing Down Artist Opportunities

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Call for Visual Art SlowArt Productions in NY is now accepting entries for their group show, Arte Natura. Learn more.
Deadline: February 29, 2012

Filmmakers The Berkshire International Film Festival has a call for submissions of Feature, Documentary, and Short Films for their 7th annual festival from May 31 – June 3, 2012 at the Triplex Cinema, the historical Mahaiwe Theatre, the Beacon Cinema and other venues throughout Great Barrington and Pittsfield. All awards carry a $5000 cash prize. Learn more.
Deadline: March 1, 2012

Performing Artists The International Exchange for the Performing Arts (CINARS) is now accepting applications for their artist showcase. CINARS 2012 will take place in Montreal from November 12-18, 2012. As part of its official programming, they will present full-length showcases (90 minutes maximum), as well as excerpts (25 minutes) of shows in dance, music, theatre, and multidisciplinary arts. Learn more.
Deadline: March 1, 2012

Call for Artist in Residence Applications The Banff Artist in Residence programs offer independent periods of study for artists, curators, and other arts professionals. Participants are provided with an individual studio accessible 24 hours a day, as well as use of Visual Arts facilities including printmaking, papermaking, ceramics, sculpture, and photography. Short and long-term opportunities to work are available.  Learn more. Questions:
Deadline: March 2, 2012

Emerging Curators The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation is pleased to announce its second annual Emerging Curator Open Call. The Emerging Curator Program offers an opportunity for a young-in-career curator to present a group show at the NARS Foundation Gallery. Learn more.
Deadline: March 2, 2012

Filmmakers The Independent Filmmaker Lab (IPF) has announced their call for entries. They offer support to filmmakers through completion, premiere, marketing and distribution of their first feature film. Learn more.
Deadline: March 9, 2012 (documentary films), Deadline: April 6, 2012 (narrative films)

Writers and Visual Artists Whitefish Review, a semi-annual literary and arts journal, is seeking submissions for their Summer 2012 edition. The theme of this issue is wildness. They are seeking submissions that explore and celebrate the untamable and wild in astonishing ways. There is no entry fee to submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art and photography. Learn more.
Deadline: March 15, 2012

GLBT Playwrights The Ringwald Theatre in Detroit is currently accepting entries for new, original one-act plays to be performed at their 3rd annual Gay Play Series (GPS). This short play festival is striving to provide early-career writers the opportunity to see their work produced, giving them what is oft-needed exposure. Learn more.
Deadline: March 16, 2012

Emerging Artists Applications are now being accepted for the Franklin Furnace Fund. Grants are given to emerging artists, allowing them to produce major works in New York. Grants range between $2,000 and $10,000 based on the peer review panel allocation of funding received by Franklin Furnace. Learn more.
Deadline: April 1, 2012

Image credit: Photograph of a Twelve channel mixing desk courtesy of

Vote Now for the New England Art Awards

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Vote early and often in the New England Art Awards! (Actually, vote just once: “Cheaters will be banished,” says the voting announcement.)

Organized by Greg Cook and the New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, the New England Art Awards honor art made in this region – perfectly in line with the blog’s Yokelist beliefs. Now in its fourth year, the Awards include such categories as “Solo show by local artist,” “Career survey,” “Book by local writer about local art,” and more.

See the full ballot. Votes must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.

Image: poster by Kari Percival.

Painting Lovely Artist Opportunities

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Asian Choreographers Curated by the J CHEN PROJECT, Translate is a new performance series giving emerging choreographers of Asian descent an opportunity to perform their work at Dixon Place on Friday, April 20, 2012. Artists must possess a keen desire to develop and explore their work with their peers in the context of this series. Artists will be selected based on the quality of the work they submit. Contact to request an application.

Call for Artists The South Shore Arts Center is now accepting entries for their exhibition White, Black & Shades of Gray, a national show juried by Dina Deitsch, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum. Entries in all media in the theme of White, Black & Shades of Gray should be sent on CD. Exhibition dates March 30-May 6, 2012. $1200 in prizes. Learn more. Questions: 781-383-2787
Deadline: February 24, 2012

Artist Residency The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE, offers artists-in-residence the gift of time, space, and financial support of a $750 monthly stipend grant to each artist. Learn more.
Deadline: February 28, 2012

Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts Creative Capital is now accepting online Letters of Inquiry for grants in Emerging Fields, Literature and Performing Arts. Learn more.
Deadline: Letters of inquiry due March 1, 2012

Full-Length Plays Entries are now being accepted for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award at Bloomington Playwrights Project. Work must be an unpublished and unproduced full-length drama. $3,000 prize and a full production by Bloomington Playwrights Project, as well as travel expenses up to $300 for author. Submit script, 1-page synopsis, cast breakdown, brief playwright bio, and development (if applicable). Musicals accepted (include a demo CD). Learn more. Questions:
Deadline: March 1, 2012

Choreographers The Green Street Studios announces the Summer 2012 cycle of its Emerging Artists Award Program. Learn more. Questions:
Deadline: Friday, March 2, 2012 (5:00pm)

Call to Artists First Street Gallery is now accepting entries for their 2012 National Juried Competition. This year’s juror is Dore Ashton. Works in oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, drawings, prints, mixed media and sculpture are accepted. Online applications only. Learn more. Questions:
Deadline: March 31, 2012

Artist Residency The Grand Canyon National Park is now accepting artist-in-residence proposals for the upcoming season. Artists working in all genres and traditions are encouraged to apply. Learn more.
Deadline: April 1, 2012

Call to Visual Artists The City of Salem is now accepting proposals for artists to paint one out of six downtown utility boxes as part of ArtBox 2012. Winning artists will will receive $500 and a basic staple of painting supplies. Learn more.
Deadline: Friday, April 6, 2012

Call for Group Exhibition Proposals The New Art Center’s Curatorial Opportunity Program is currently accepting applications. They encourage all to apply for the opportunity to experiment in a large, unique and alternative space. Their gallery is a converted church with 1,800 sq. ft. and a 25′ vaulted ceiling. Proposals accepted involving two or more artists and at least one public presentation. Curators of accepted proposals receive a $1,000 stipend and administrative, installation, marketing & p.r. support. Learn more. Questions:
Deadline: April 9, 2012

Image credit: Public domain image of a vintage Valentine’s Day card depicting a young boy holding a paint brush and palette. Image from


Black History Month Art Exhibit at MA State House

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

At yesterday’s Local Cultural Council Statewide Assembly* at the Massachusetts State House, we heard from Representative Gloria Fox (Roxbury) about an intriguing event tomorrow at the State House, as part of a series of Black History Month celebrations.

African Americans in the Military Art Exhibit and Reception takes place Friday, February 10, 2012, at 1:30 PM, at the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House. There will be performances, refreshments, and art by the young artists of Artists for Humanity.

For further info contact the office of Rep. Gloria L. Fox (617-722-2810).

Image: work by young artists from Artists for Humanity, commissioned by Tri-Ad Veterans League.

* The event yesterday was a convening of volunteers from the 329 Local Cultural Councils throughout the Commonwealth to discuss topics key in arts and culture, learn about advocacy opportunities, and be celebrated for their exceptional service to the MA cultural community.

Mira’s List Art Contest

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

This just in from author and blogger Mira Bartok:

Mira’s List 2012 Art Contest
2nd PLACE: $100

DEADLINE: March 31, 2012
Judges: Mary Sherman, Curator, Critic & Director of TransCultural Exchange and Wendy M. Watson, Curator at the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art

Grand Prize Winner will receive:
• $500 cash prize
• an interview on Mira’s List
• a slide show of your work on Mira’s List until the next contest
• the opportunity of having two top curators look at your work

This contest is open to international established and emerging artists working in 2-D and/or 3-D media (i.e. drawings, prints, paintings, artist books, mixed media, collage, sculpture, installations – no photography, digital art, or crafts). Find full guidelines and application instructions.

Mira’s List, in case you don’t know, is a supercalifragilistic blog that lists grant, residency, and award opportunities for artists. And speaking of awards: here’s hoping Mira wins the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for which she’s been nominated.

Fellows Notes – Feb 12

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Phil saw his shadow – six more weeks to enjoy Winter arts in MA. Here’s the news from past MCC Fellows/Finalists, for Feb.

Visualize data with Reese Inman (Drawing Fellow ’08) and Nathalie Miebach (Sculpture/Installation Fellow ’09) in Random Access at Montserrat Art Gallery (thru 3/31, artist talk 2/28, 11:30 AM).

On the Border Line between crafts and contemporary art, Elizabeth Alexander (Sculpture/Installation Fellow ’11) has work in The Mikhail Zakin Gallery in NJ (thru 2/24), and a solo show at Dana Hall Art Gallery in Wellesley (2/13-3/8).

Stacey Alickman (Painting Finalist ’10) launched a fundraising campaign for her new painting project. She’s using United States Artist Projects, which she’s eligible for through her MCC award!

Claire Andrade-Watkins‘s (Film & Video Fellow ’09) short film Hi Neighbor is a Jurors Choice for the 31st Annual Black Maria Film Festival Tour.

Congratulations to Ben Berman (Poetry Fellow ’08), whose first book of poetry has been accepted for publication by Able Muse Press.

Steven Bogart (Playwriting Finalist ’09) directs a public reading of James Carroll’s play American Requiem for Actors Shakespeare Project (2/15, 7 PM).

Alice Bouvrie‘s (Film & Video Fellow ’11) film Thy Will Be Done screens at First Parish of Watertown (2/10, 7 PM) and is part of the Supporting Students – Saving Lives conference in San Diego (2/17-2/19).

Congratulations to Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Film & Video Fellow ’11, with Ilisa Barbash), who won a Creative Capital Film/Video grant.

Vote for Candice Smith Corby (Painting Fellow ’08) in the Artists Wanted competition!

Angela Cunningham (Crafts Finalist ’11, ’09) was featured in Feb. issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Rebecca Doughty (Painting Finalist ’10) is in The Calender’s Tales: Fantasy, Figuration, & Representation at Boston University 808 Gallery (2/2-3/31).

Joel Janowitz (Painting Fellow ’08) is in Breathing Spaces (with Anne Lilly) at the Art Institute of Boston Gallery (thru 3/4).

Zehra Khan (Drawing Finalist ’12) and collaborator Tim Winn pit Pandas Vs. Skunks as artists-in-residence at Cape Cod Community College (thru 2/24).

Matthew Mazzotta‘s (Sculpture/Installation Fellow ’11) interactive Steeped in Exploration project was awarded a Americans for the Arts 2011 Year in Review Public Art Award for Community Engagement and Social Activism.

In 2011, Koji Nakano‘s (Music Composition Finalist ’11, ’09) won an ASCAP Plus Award and a National Science Council (Taiwan) grant. And upcoming, he has commissions from Taipei Chinese Orchestra and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players!

A reading from Monica Raymond‘s (Playwriting Finalist ’07, Poetry Finalist ’08) play-in-progress Four Riffs for a Sailor will be part of Interim Writers (2/3) at the Democracy Center in Cambridge.

Elizabeth Whyte Schulze (Crafts Fellow ’09) is featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Surface Design Journal.

Jeff Daniel Silva‘s (Film & Video Finalist ’09) Ivan and Ivana debuts in NYC at MOMA (2/17 & 2/18)!

The lyrical films of Robert Todd (Film & Video Finalist ’09, ’05) will screen in a program called Golden Hour at the Bright Screening Room in Paramount Center (2/17, 6 PM).

Read past Fellows Notes. If you’re a past fellow/finalist with news, let us know.

Image: Matthew Mazzotta, STEEPED IN EXPLORATION (2010), methane digester, reeds, wood, paint, burner, 20x10x8 ft.