Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview with Joell Baxter

Interview With an Artist: Joell Baxter
Lower East Side Printshop

Joell Baxter was a 2012 recipient of the Printshop's Special Editions Residency. She is currently participating in the Studio Rental Program and working towards an April 2014 solo exhibition at Real Art Ways, Hartford, Ct.
This interview was conducted by Oscar Montenegro and Paulina Beron, who spent the summer at the Printshop as part of the Studio In A School Internship Program. 

What is your creative process like? Would you describe it as tedious and labor intensive? 
In the early part of any project things are very open and exploratory. I typically start with a very general idea and start collecting images, making diagrams and charts, and playing with paper.  At some point I settle on a color system and a form, and then it is really about just executing the work. The piece I am currently working on is in the production phase, so I will be printing, cutting, glueing, and weaving for the next 2 months. I can calculate pretty exactly how long each part will take. Some days this feels tedious, and other days it feels liberating. Throughout this whole phase, as my hands are moving, I am thinking and, hopefully, germinating new ideas for future work.

Most of your work is colorful, can you tell us why they are so colorful? 
Color is the mechanism by which our eyes make sense of light hitting an object.  It simultaneously describes the surface of an object and its shape, allowing us to understand our physical relationship to the things around us. I like to play with this duality--color's decorative nature on the one hand, and it's utilitarian, physiological function on the other. I always use color according to the sequencing of the visible spectrum (R-O-Y-G-B-P), and develop systems to build the work based on that. The spectacular patterning that results is actually a by-product of my attempt to organize colors in ways that make sense to me.
I am equally interested in working in gray-scale and have done several projects that don't use hue at all. In these works I can focus more explicitly on the effects of light. I also like the slightly fictive experience of looking at a gray-scale object in real space. Something in gray-scale looks almost like a photograph, or like something that is slightly outside reality.

What do you like better, sculpture or painting? 
I like them exactly equally! I am most interested in work that sits, perhaps uneasily, right between those two disciplines. I love the ambiguity of sculpture. The differences between a sculpture and a utilitarian object, like a basket or a rug, can be subtle. In both cases the object exists in the same space with you, and there is a lot of room to play with that and raise questions about what you are seeing and how you are supposed to interact with it. With a painting, you know right away what it is and what your relationship to it should be. But I am interested in the varieties of fictional space that can be created in a painting.  
 A lot of my current work, the woven pillow forms in particular, can also be seen as paintings in real space. The weave itself relates directly to the canvas of a painting, and I incorporate illusionistic painting techniques, such as greying down the colors in shadow areas to create the illusion of raking light. But the “illusion” is redundant, since the piece actually exists in real space and is effected by real light. I like playing with those contradictions to create some uncertainty around the object.
You work beyond the boundaries of a printmaker, can you explain your work beyond paper? 
I primarily use printmaking to generate material, printing full sheets of color that I then cut down and weave, fold, or stack.  So I don’t really think of myself as a printmaker, but I do think printmaking is a perfect bridge between painting and sculpture.

 Untitled (Magic Carpet), 2013, screenprinted paper and glue 5" x 96" x 96"
Out of all your work our favorites are “Didn’t I, Didn’t I, Didn’t I (Two)” and “Reclining Figure”. Can you go into details about both of these pieces? 
Didn’t I, Didn’t I, Didn’t I (Two) was produced as part of the Special Editions Residency at the Printshop. For this project I wanted to challenge myself to do a more traditional print. My work is usually labor intensive and takes a long time and sometimes I need some instant gratification, so I’ll make a colored pencil drawing in one sitting to work out some ideas. The edition grew out of one of these drawings. I liked the idea of taking this very spontaneous and intuitive thing and then subjecting it to the careful analysis necessary to recreate it as a print. The print has an intensity that comes from that rigorous breaking down and putting back together the parts.
Reclining Figure was also a kind of experiment. It is actually made using the same woven structure as extremely large pieces like Untitled (Magic Carpet), but I was curious to find out how spare the weave could be while still creating a form that could support itself.
Reclining Figure, 2012, screenprinted paper and glue, 14" x 14" x 28"
How did you manage to transition from sculptural creations to editions yet still maintain a consistent theme and style? 
Since I always think of the sculptural work as drawings or paintings in real space, it was actually interesting for me to then take those ideas back to two-dimensional space. The edition still works with a woven structure, but instead of strips of paper physically moving over and under each other, you get an illusion of layering from the overlapping areas of transparent color.  The final prints almost feel like pressed flowers--like an object with a shallow dimensionality that has been flattened by pressure, which makes sense since the basis of most printmaking is applying pressure to an inked surface.
At the moment, do you have any ideas for your next piece? 
I'm working on a solo project for Real Art Ways in Hartford Ct. It will be my largest installation so far. I will be making two large-scale forms (1 x 8 x 8 feet each) which will then appear to be effected by two different kinds of light. The pieces will fill the entire room and the viewer will be able to negotiate between these two objects. I will hopefully also be showing a series of related drawings.
What are some common myths about your profession? 
I am not sure what the myths are, but I think the reality is that it is a really gratifying way to spend your life if you can make it work on a practical level. I’m stealing this from an artist I heard give a talk recently, who said one of the best things about being an artist is that anything you encounter over the course of your day might be relevant to your practice. And I love that idea, that any mundane object or event can become charged and important.
Stack Overflow, detail, 2011, screenprinted paper, hand torn and stacked with tape, 1" x 72" x 72"
Do you plan to travel back to your hometown of Evanston, to contribute your amazing talent to all the residents of the town? Maybe create a mural or begin an art program if there aren’t any already? 
I live in Brooklyn now and consider that my home. I have a son in elementary school and I have done some great art projects with the kids at his school, which has been very inspiring. I plan on doing more projects at his school this year and will hopefully continue to do that over the coming years.
How has your connection to the Lower East Side Printshop fostered your art making and evolution as an artist? 
I first came to the Printshop in 2008 to take a screenprinting class, with the intention of making some wallpaper. At the time my artwork was primarily drawing and sculpture, and I had never done any printmaking.  I quickly realized that this was the perfect medium to bring drawing and sculpture together, and at that time I began the body of work that I am still working on today. The restrictions of the Printshop—such as limited storage, and having to be very neat and organizedhave been paradoxically liberating for me, forcing me to really focus my ideas and work in a productively disciplined way.
BONUS: Did you enjoy this interview, if so or not explain why.
I very much enjoyed this interview and really appreciate the thoughtful questions! I think it’s a challenge for any artist to talk about what they do, so it’s actually very useful for me to have to sit down and try to be clear about my ideas and process.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Interview with Emily Noelle Lambert

Interview With an Artist: Emily Noelle Lambert 
Lower East Side Printshop

Emily Noelle Lambert is a current Keyholder Resident at the Lower East Side Printshop.

This interview was conducted by Oscar Montenegro and Paulina Beron, who spent the summer at the Printshop as part of the Studio In A School Internship Program.

How does color influence your artwork? Would you consider it an important aspect of your work? If so, why?

Color is one of the key elements in my work. I think about building with color and the interaction of colors together. Opacity and transparency of the color--that is my starting point. How a line can be delicate and tedious, gestural and weighty.

Do all of your pieces of artwork have a story or a theme behind them?

No, but there is the story behind the making of each piece and whatever kind of path and decisions I made that led me to creating that work. Many times, one body of work will be inspired by a place or a series of objects; so in the end, the story can be about a place, things in my life or in my mind, things that I find that inform the work. The themes change, but it’s all a reaction and processing of life. There is a nod to a diaristic expression, where the mark-making is almost a document of a piece of time.

Would you say there is any pressure or difficulty in attempting to organize sculptures, paintings and drawings into a harmonious exhibition?

I am not interested in having a harmonious exhibition. I want disharmony, but only as it exists as the flip-side of the coin to harmony. The two need one another.  I am always interested in the duality in the work, shadow and lightness. I love the challenge of trying to make dissimilar elements work together. I think all of my work starts as a problem and how I find my way through it is the invigorating part.  

What kind of artist would you consider yourself: impulsive, traditional, or experimental?

Do I have to choose?  All three. There is definitely an impulsive and intuitive approach. I try to keep experimenting to find something new with each work. In some ways, I’m very much traditional. I love color. I grew up looking at modern masters -- Vuillard, Picasso, Matisse, Diebenkorn, Avery, Dove. What drives me is to experiment more and work with different materials. And no doubt my painting feeds from impulse.

Do you approach sculpting in a different way from painting and drawing? What about these three practices motivate you to express your ideas in various forms?

There is a braiding between the three elements for me. All of these different practices help one another. I studied printmaking and painting in college. The reworking of intaglio prints informed my paintings. The sense of malleability stuck in my painting. So there’s something special about the impermanence of the imagery in printmaking which translated into my paintings. I started making sculpture because I was trying to rediscover painting. I wasn’t really enjoying my painting, and started to wonder what would happen if I put different things together in the dimensional world, off the flat canvas world. Instead of chasing down an image via painting, with sculpture I could find it tangible and in my hands; linking the physicality I was searching for in painting. Experimentation, freedom, and a sense of play was what I wanted to bring back to painting. I began to integrate pieces of wood and Styrofoam together and acted a little less precious about the process and just let it flow. The sculpture begins to feel more like painting; the color and the form which felt figurative in the beginning, now feels more abstract. They kind of go back and forth and right now, with printmaking, what I am loving thinking about the key elements in all of these practices. If I’m going to have this reduction of my practices across the board: the most important aspects starting with color, texture, and then trying to think how I can bring remnants of the outside world in, and bring elements of me into my work which is basically a collage.

Can you give us a brief summary of your career as an artist and possibly describe your experience in one word.

My mom made textile paintings with flying creatures, very inspired by the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 1970s.  My dad had a woodshop and built furniture and other odd things. As a student at Antioch College, I came to New York for an internship with Jane Hammond. I moved to NYC after college and began teaching for non-profit arts organizations in the Public Schools.  In 2007 I received my MFA from Hunter and am grateful to the huge supportive community that I met and that continues to nourish me. I am preparing for my fourth solo exhibition in New York at Lu Magnus on the Lower East Side. I am hoping to have a new print in the show as it will be all works on paper. One word to sum it all up: process.

Are there any other forms of art you would like to attempt in your art career?

I hope to work in many different media. I would like to do some public art work and I want to take a dance class!

How have artists such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and the abstract expressionist movement influenced your artwork?

Well, their sense of freedom, responsiveness, and gestural abstraction inspired me to think about the language of line and how my intentions are visible through the brush strokes and how they create a language of mark-making, brush strokes, colors.
What aspect of the Lower East Side Printshop do you feel is unique among other non-profit organizations and how have you benefited from being a current Keyholder Resident?

It is a very supportive and inspiring environment. The professional development courses and salons with the Keyholders are really helpful. It has been great meeting and working with a new group of artists. I am enjoying more than I could have imagined working in the communal space. It is a refreshing change of pace from the privacy and solitude of my studio. As I mentioned before, the reduction of my practice into key elements and the use of these in developing a work that changes and becomes it’s own.

What is one color you haven’t used in your artwork so far and hope to use in the future?

I just bought some “Interference Blue,”  this morning I am excited to work with that today!

BONUS: Would you sketch or write a poem giving a hint about your next piece of artwork or theme of exhibition?

This Season at the Printshop!

Master Printer Erik Hougen with Publishing Residents Heide Fasnacht and Hank Willis Thomas.

Season's News

We are tremendously grateful to our artists, supporters, and the entire Printshop family for your passion, engagement, and for starting the season off with a bang!    

Hank Willis Thomas, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, and Kate Shepherd are completing their Publishing Residencies! Each artist received full support and the opportunity to create a significant body of work. They spent the year collaborating with our master printer and his studio team to create new print editions. We are very proud of these publications, all of which display a unique approach to the medium. We know you will agree! Editions by Thomas and Taylor are already available for viewing and purchase, and we will be ready to unveil Shepherd's later this year. 
You may have visited Thomas' solo exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery last fall; we were thrilled to print the Fair Warning series of 18 carborundum-flocked works in that show. And, Alison Elizabeth Taylor's solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery opens on October 24. Don't miss the chance to see how her latest prints connect to her wood veneer paintings.
Heide Fasnacht and Janaina Tschape are building their projects in full force, while Dasha Shishkin will just be getting started next month.

We are excited to announce the newly awarded Publishing Residents: Derrick Adams, Simon Evans, and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Congratulations! 

This week we are welcoming the new Keyholder Residents: Theresa Bloise, Robert Hernandez, Andy Meerow, and Jaret Vadera!

Special thanks to the Keyholder selection panelists: Lisa Kim, Cultural Affairs Director, Two Trees Management; Adam McCoy, Christie's Senior Specialist, Prints & Multiples; Amani Olu, Independent Curator & Writer, Co-founder and Executive Director of Humble Arts Foundation; David Rios Ferreira, Artist and former Keyholder Resident; and Sara Jo Romero, Schroeder Romero Editions.

Four artists ended their Keyholder Residencies: Megan Berk, Rebecca Bird, Gisela Insuaste, and Charles Koegel. It's been wonderful to have them as a part of the Printshop community and we plan to follow their journeys.
Studio rentals offer artists full access to the facilities to create new work independently. The program is open to all artists and allows you to stay as long as you need. Join us!


We are thrilled to participate in UNTITLED. art fair, Miami Beach, December 4 - 8.

We had a fantastic turnout at the reception last week for Roses By Other Names, guest curated by artist Jaishri Abichandani. The show is on view at the Printshop through November 17, so stop by for a visit. 

We are happy to participate in IPCNY's New Prints 2013/ Autumn exhibition with Jonggeon Lee's 2013 relief print Pyramid I

Selected works from the Printshop's collection by Ghada Amer, Jennie C. Jones, and Shinique Smith are on view at The Roger Smith Hotel's exhibition space through December 8th. 

Upcoming, we will welcome curator Dexter Wimberly and artist Saya Woolfalk as guest curators!

Look up our printmaking class schedule and visit us for a studio tour before registration. Use your Printshop Gift Card towards the class of your choice! 

Our Salon program continues for Keyholders in residence and critic, educator, and curator Sarah Schmerler will lead as guest speaker this month.

Stay tuned for our upcoming Career Development Workshop series. Presenters include Heather Darcy Bhandari, Director of Artist Relations at Mixed Greens Gallery; artist Jennie C. Jones; and artist and curator José Ruiz.

This summer we welcomed the Artsy staff, artnet staff, and visiting groups of students to our special workshops. These can be custom tailored as demonstrations, hands-on workshops, or artwork discussions, and they are always fun!

Spring Internship applications are due November 15. Interns assist the printers with all aspects of collaborations with resident artists and receive school credit or free studio time in exchange for their time.

          Thank you for reading. We look forward to seeing you often this season!

Interns Azalia, Brooke, and Tayloe