March in the Annex
March marks the first exhibition of Fountain Street's Annex artists. Chris Plunkett, Catherine Weber and Felipe Zamora will have work on view through April 1, 2018. The Annex artists are a part of Fountain Street for one year and in that time they mount a three person show. Annex memberships are specifically geared to emerging or under represented artists seeking gallery exposure in the Boston Area. The artists share some of their ideas and processes below.
My artistic roots lie in Graffiti art. In my adolescent/teenage years no other form of art could compare with the excitement and intrigue that lay in the sub culture of Boston's 1990's graf scene. It wasn't until college that I finally picked up a paintbrush and tried my hand at oil painting. I haven't looked back since.
I paint what surrounds me. I paint the snapshots of everyday Boston urban landscape. I paint the natural landscape that coexists with Boston. I also paint where I work, where I travel, and really anything that I feel deserves the time to stop, observe, and capture.
My studio is located next to my Dorchester home, in a one car garage, I recently converted into a work space. I make it a point to go to the studio every night, once the work day is done; once the kids are put to bed. My only regret is that this routine, albeit consistent, will never allot me the time I need to paint the many ideas I have for my work. But, I suppose it's better than having no ideas at all. So, I spend a great deal of time prioritizing concepts, taking pictures, sketching, etc. in order to be sure that each composition I create is the one that captures what I want to get across to the viewer.
Lately I've been more and more intrigued by rainy and cold days - I find a beauty in them. I think it speaks to the grittier side of our humanity. It's important to appreciate that we exist, live, work, and thrive in these conditions. I believe that its uniqueness and beauty is worth capturing.
My current focus in the studio is work that incorporates fallen trees and lichens. Instead of canvas or wood panel, my substrate is a 2 inch slice of rock maple, black walnut, or cedar wood. I am exploring how encaustic can imitate lichens, some from real specimens, others from my imagination. I may begin to take this series beyond lichens to new and more challenging places, always focusing on the beauty of wood on which I work.
In this series, I start by photographing lichens in nature and looking for specimens online. I print them and look at them for a long while, trying to understand how I might replicate the textures in wax. I draw from techniques learned from teachers who have shared their approach to using wax to create sculptural work, as well as experimenting on my own. As for working with the sliced wood, when I come across a fallen tree that I like, I seek out the owner and ask for some wood. I have it sliced up and set it outside for many months to dry out before working on it. I then sand it and prepare it with linseed oil, and finally begin building a painting. Often I have a half dozen pieces hanging on the walls of my studio in different states of completeness. I take them each down in turn and build on them as the inspiration comes, until I feel that they are done. Some paintings are evolving for as many as 6 months.
I like working from photographic references, usually from my own pictures. For portraits, my favorite thing is to work from seated models. I tend to mix a lot of dry and wet media. Oil is my favorite medium, but it is the one I use the least due to the drying time. In the future, I hope to have a stronger pro-environmental message attached to my pieces. For now, I’m exploring the visual aesthetics that please the eye, while using found materials to raise awareness about consumption.
I start by grounding the surface after finding a proper format. Then I proceed to determine the pigments I will need. Some sketching shows through in the final result. With smaller works, the graphite helps distinguish the elements I outline, while on the bigger canvases I go directly and start “sketching” with paint. There is a lot of observation prior to proceeding. Most strokes are carefully thought out, while others evolve through experimentation.