What Remains: an exploration of the Erosion Series

As I quietly paint, I have both decisive moments and an earnest, listening eye. In the midst of this what occurs is nuance, serendipity, intuitive associations, chaos, and reduction. Working with abstraction allows me to explore the boundaries between positive and negative space, the use of unusual textures and the mixing of different media. I begin this work flat while adding and subtracting subtle and intense color as well as exploring various types of heavy texture. I allow the water based media to flow and puddle in the valley’s of marks and textures that were first laid down, enhancing the interaction with paint, inks or collaged hand-made papers, gradually adding multiple layers that begin to form the foundation of the urban grids, urban botanicals, character botanicals or weavings. Once color and chaos is achieved across the surface, the pieces then go up on my painting wall where I begin the reduction process.

ES-UG process shot 1.png

Studio process shots of Erosion Series: Urban Grid #78

Reduction—the Erosion Series is about seeing the beauty in the natural event of decay and building an aesthetic around it. Like the Japanese wabi-sabi; the acceptance of transience and imperfection, I repurpose and create new life out of past work or begin anew on fresh panels or paper. Inside the studio and out, observing the natural decay of the life cycle has made me appreciate that within reduction the more possibility there will be.

I am fascinated with the push/pull of creating civilizations and nature taking them back. For the grid paintings I begin by taping off the areas of the surface that interest me to begin the formation of the urban street grid as I build the composition between positive and negative space. The urban botanicals focus more on the relationship between nature’s relentless botanical growth in the nooks and crannies of urban architecture. The weavings explore botanical shapes that are either on Arches 300lb watercolor paper or abstracts of sandpaper remnants from my reduction process. These begin with the warp image (the vertical strips) and are then woven with the weft (horizontal strips) to enhance the color or patterns of the piece. The final step is to stitch them together with waxed linen thread. The character botanicals explore eroded botanical shapes seen through the window of letterforms that make a hidden word. Making these paintings is as much a physical experience as a psychological one. I embrace and process the nuances of this work and use the outcome as a vehicle to communicate a narrative about humanity and the natural world around me that exists outside of language. What remains of this process comes together to form all aspects of the Erosion Series.

Gallery 111 @ the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton GA

Gallery 111 @ the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton GA

The Creative Arts Guild in Dalton GA is a fabulous venue to house and showcase these pieces with their commitment to raising awareness of all the artistic disciplines in the community. Join us this Friday, May 3rd, from 5:30-7:30pm for the opening of several shows at CAG.

Affinity in Interests

A new Gallery Relationship in Nashville

My latest Pod and Botanical Paintings find a New Home at York & Friends Fine Art 

My latest Pod and Botanical Paintings find a New Home at York & Friends Fine Art 

Every once in awhile you find a gallery relationship that clicks right from the beginning. Maybe its part of southern hospitality but I have been lucky to find not one, but two galleries here in Tennessee that make me feel like I'm part of a family. Here in Chattanooga its Area 61 on the SouthSide and now in Nashville—Ron York's gallery in the beautiful Belle Meade neighborhood on the west side feels like home.

Ron is a dedicated artist and art lover who has a way with making people feel like you've been pals for a very long time. He believes in the importance of art and expression in our everyday lives and York & Friends Fine Art is repeatedly voted as one of the best galleries in Nashville. Within 24 hours he sold one of my Botanicals and has done more promotion for me than anyone in that limited timeframe. Very much the professional—Ron is always seen as an art advocate and builds trust quickly with all who come in contact with him.

Drop by and see my latest series of pieces if your in town—Ron will always welcome you.

New Work

Erosion Series: Seeds #7 @ York & Friends Fine Art

The Nature of Art

by Marie Lauer

Many believe in the healing nature of art. Indeed, scientific studies show that art has a profound affect on healing the mind and body. Add nature to the mix and you have a powerful force for energetic rejuvenation. 

This was the approach that local artist Anna Carll used to create a breathtaking series of paintings for Erlanger Health Systems valet entrance to the Medical Mall here in Chattanooga. The Elemental Series combines nature with intense color to enliven a neglected space in the vast geography of Erlanger's campus. "My vision was to help create a space that both patients and visitors wanted to spend time in and allow the art to do it's magic" says Carll. "Most people aren't aware of the subtle affect that art has on the senses—a deep and visceral response to color and natural forms centers the mind & body and can lead us down a healing path."

The Elemental Series is about seeing the beauty in the natural cycle of life and the passage of time. Carll's images successfully portray this concept in The Four Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. Her modern botanicals dance along the main wall of the lobby while her panel entitled Rain graces the corner wall and reminds us that water is essential to all life on Earth. Carll also uses color as a way-finding element in the hallway leading to the C-bank of elevators. The four Elemental Impressions are colorfield studies that act as wall-level stepping stones representing the colors of the four main elements—earth, water, air & fire. Carll believes that "We are all influenced by first impressions. Subconsciously drawn to color—we will respond and head in that direction." When you round the corner into the elevator lobby you are greeted with Carll's lively depictions of The Four Elements—images that simply grab you and make your wait an enhanced experience.

This is a very cohesive suite of pieces in both palette and concept highlighting Carll's response to the basics of life. Anna Carll's work reminds us that we are all part of the elemental process.

Publish or Perish

In this brave new art world since the Crash artists must learn to wear many different hats. Gone are the days of quietly working away in your studio, having one sell-out show a year and getting free publicity from all the media available. Now we have to be fully computer literate, navigate the social media quagmire, pay to "boost" our Facebook posts, keep the blog posts coming and find all the new venues for selling our work. Many of the national galleries are making artists pay "wall rent," and all the shipping of our pieces to and from the gallery, pay for half of all marketing for the work AND still want 50% of the sales. Museums won't even look at you unless you have an MFA after your name.

When did all this happen? Was this really the post-nuclear fallout of the Crash? The truth is — this change in the art world started about 25 years ago when museums started the mega-shows and making you buy tickets for them even if you have a membership card. At about the same time, universities started expanding their MFA programs, only recognizing neo-pop art as valid and began drowning us in installation art. Let's not forget the rise of the global Art Fairs. All the top-flight artists copy one another and these fairs are now looking like high-end art shopping malls. Most of the new work there is just, (excuse me), butt-ugly. 

But I digress. This was supposed to be a blog about media, which it is. All this feeds into my main point: the only good publicity left is local magazines and outlets in cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee. Local media doesn't care about galleries "wall rent," MFA's or art fairs. They want to publish what local people care about—what's happening in their city.

Many years ago a good friend and mentor said to me: "For artists, there is no such thing as good or bad publicity — if you're being written about, the people will come..."

Last week our local magazine The Pulse published their annual state of the arts issue which focuses on up-and-coming artists in Chattanooga. I was lucky enough to be one of the artists profiled for the issue. For the first time in a long time I wanted to read a magazine from front to back. Gary Poole, the editor of The Pulse, did a smashing job of balancing content with advertising and giving 12 local artists some free publicity while at the same time highlighting our careers through great freelance writing.

This is what the art world SHOULD be about. What are artists really doing? What are their passions as they work in the studio? Show me some great art of people I care about and help to keep art alive rather than perishing away quietly as the world sleeps.

Subtle Shifts Can Be Huge

There are many things in life that influence us as seekers—especially artists. As a trained observer you would think that surprise and serendipity would be commonplace in the studio, but sometimes these observations can affect you in ways that alter meaning and purpose. 

The longer I am on the creative path—the more I realize that subtle shifts become huge influences in my work. The current shift started as a rudimentary exercise in cutout sketches. I was needing something more from the "feeling" of the Pods in my Erosion Series and started playing with marbled papers. Seeing the swirling patterns, colors and metallics in the papers gave me the impression of both micro and macro cells that imply a narrative of the life cycle—the very core of the Erosion Series. This lead me to believe that I could create this effect within the painted pods and shift the work in a subtle but profound way.

I have long felt that something was missing from my Pod paintings—the illusion of a strong life pattern bursting with energy and vitality. This new direction has given me a vision of what the potential of my Erosion Series can become.

Back in — A Gallery Fine Art

My long standing relationship with A Gallery Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA, is finally re-established in this brave new world that has emerged from the art market shakedown after the crash.

I am so grateful to be back in the saddle with the wonderful staff at A Gallery. Lisa and her family are fine people and I know my work is in good hands once again.

2016 is shaping up to be a great year!