Insider Edit: What Molly’s Loving

Working in the art world has always been my dream, and being able to directly work with art is such a treat. It is so nice to be surrounded by such a spectrum of art and to learn something new every day! As a gallery assistant, I get to work with many different art pieces every day. I also work with our clients to help them find the perfect piece for their home.

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces in the gallery!

Gavin Benjamin, Heads of State No. 17, Mixed Media on Board, Edition 2 of 5, 40 x 30 inches

 

Gavin Benjamin | Heads of State No. 17

Gavin Benjamin is my favorite artist we have here at the gallery. I have a background in jewelry, so I love to see the crystals he adds to his pieces, and how he incorporates fashion into his art. This piece starts a conversation, and speaks to the severe lack of black royal icons remembered in history. Benjamin saw this absence, and therefore created his own “heads of state.”

See more of Benjamin’s work.

 

Dennis Sheehan, Frost Awakening, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 24 inches

 

Dennis Sheehan | Frost Awakening

I have always loved landscape painting, and Dennis Sheehan creates some intricate pieces. This piece reminds me of waking up in the mountains in Maine, and being able to see the snow glistening in the sun. In his brushstrokes, Sheehan is able to perfectly capture the way in which a golden sunrise can light up a winter day.

See more of Sheehan’s work.

 

Henrik Abedian, Dud I, Sublimation on Aluminum, Edition 3 of 25, 30 x 30 inches

 

Henrik Abedian | Dud I

I find the process of sublimation on aluminum fascinating, and enjoy the way it gives the piece a glossy finish. This piece also starts a conversation. It does this by drawing a sharp contrast between the grenade, a symbol of destruction, and the floral print, a symbol of life. In a way, Abedian has made something once considered threatening into something beautiful.

See more of Abedian’s work.

Local Summer Exhibitions

Here at Merritt Gallery & Renaissance Fine Arts, we know that on a hot summer day, one of the best places to be is in a nice cool museum! We rounded up some of the must-see exhibitions this summer in all of our local gallery locations, including Chevy Chase, Baltimore and Haverford. Here are the best art exhibits to check out across the east coast this summer!

Chevy Chase


Philip Guston Now at the National Gallery of Art (closes August 27th)

This exhibition charts the career of one of America’s most influential artists through more than 150 paintings and drawings. From muralism to abstract expressionism to figuration, Philip Guston’s biography is one of significant shifts over time. Famous both in his day and now, Guston’s art continues to connect and evoke strong reactions. Guston’s art also poses queries about how art interacts with beauty and cruelty, freedom and uncertainty, politics and the imagination.

Philip Guston, Painting, Smoking, Eating, 1973, oil on canvas.

 

Artist to Artist at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (closes September 3)

Artist to Artist showcases a changing lineup of eight partnerships drawn from the museum’s collection of 20th century works.  Each partnership depicts two individuals whose paths crossed at a pivotal point in their careers. The interpersonal interactions reflected in these works, based on shared objectives or life experiences, all contributed to the development of American art. 

Grace Hartigan, Frank O’Hara, 1926-1966, 1966, oil on linen.

 

A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China at the Hirshhorn Museum (closes January 7)

A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China is the Hirshhorn’s first survey of photography by Chinese artists made between the 1990s and 2000s. The exhibition will feature 186 works of unique Chinese art. 141 of these pieces are a donation from renowned Chinese art collector Larry Warsh. A Window Suddenly Opens explores how, over the course of three decades, Chinese artists embraced the immediacy of print and digital photography during an unprecedented cultural shift.

Huang Yang, Chinese Landscape Series No. 3, 1999, Color Photograph.

 

Baltimore


Martha Jackson Jarvis: What the Trees Have Seen at the Baltimore Museum of Art (closes October 1)

Martha Jackson Jarvis has created mixed-media works that imaginatively retrace her great-great-great-great grandfather Luke Valentine’s journey from Virginia to South Carolina during the American Revolution. The end result is a masterwork of abstract painting, consisting of 13 large-scale works on paper and a focused collection of smaller pieces. Jackson Jarvis imagines in her art her ancestor’s movements on foot across treacherous and shifting terrains.

Martha Jackson Jarvis, Red Road Dissemblance, 2020, walnut ink, watercolor, oil, and acrylic paint on paper.

 


Quiet Beauty: The Watercolors of Léon Bonvin at The Walters Art Museum (closes August 13)

This exhibition, Quiet Beauty: The Watercolors of Léon Bonvin, gives visitors the opportunity to view 16 of the French artist’s watercolors in-person. The artist was influenced by many different things, such as modern French art styles, photography, and Japanese prints. Following Léon’s death, William Walters (1819–1894) continued to purchase the artist’s watercolors and build a collection. After William’s death, his son Henry (1848-1931) established Baltimore as the hub for the preservation and appreciation of Bonvin’s work.

Léon Bonvin, Country Road with Peasant, 1863, watercolor with gum heightening, iron gall ink and pen, over graphite underdrawing on slightly textured, moderately thick, cream laid paper.

 

ABUNDANCE: Too Much, Too Little, Just Right at the American Visionary Art Museum (closes September 3)

ABUNDANCE explores what lies at the core of profound contentment, fruitful enjoyment, and gratitude. Nowhere is the pursuit of happiness or the search for personal freedom in the expression of work more apparent than in the works of these artists. The artists featured in this exhibition have fashioned new worlds out of simple, frequently discarded materials using nothing more than their creative minds.

Paul Lancaster, Still Life With Fruit, 1997, Oil on Canvas.

 

Haverford


Judith Joy Ross at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (closes August 6)

The work of Judith Joy Ross represents a turning point in the history of the portrait image. Since the early 1980s, Ross has employed an 8×10-inch large-format view camera to record her interactions with a variety of Americans. Her work includes an emphasis on subjects in eastern Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised. This exhibition, which features over 200 photographs, examines Ross’s work throughout all of her significant projects, as well as other previously unseen images. 

Judith Joy Ross, Untitled, Eurana Park, Weatherly, Pennsylvania, 1982, Photograph.

 

Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (closes October 8)

20 artists were asked to participate in a partnership with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia. These artists all created works that address the pressing question: Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? A ground-breaking exhibition at both institutions, Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America includes brand-new installations in various galleries. Visitors are able to witness how each artist responded to the theme of the rising sun, in an era marked by divergent viewpoints on human rights and equality.

John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea, 2015, three-channel HD color video installation, 7.1 sound, 48 minutes and 30 seconds.

 

Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature at Brandywine Museum of Art (closes September 24)

Approximately 80 paintings and works on paper are included in the exhibition Joseph Stella: Visionary Nature. This exhibition is the first to exclusively focus on his flora and fauna subjects. Visionary Nature reevaluates how this body of work relates to Stella’s overall career by concentrating on his distinctive vocabulary based on nature and the context in which it developed. It also looks at how these works reflect Stella’s fervent spirituality.

Joseph Stella, Swans (Night), ca 1924-1930, pastel and charcoal on paper.

 

Q & A with Justin Wheatley

At the intersection of nature and architecture, the paintings of Utah-based artist Justin Wheatley exude tranquility. Working as both an artist and a teacher, his inspiration comes from many sources. 

 

Tell us about your background. When did you start creating art?

I’ve always been an artist. My earliest memory of creating art was in the back of my second grade classroom with a friend. We worked hard to get the approval of our teacher and she would let us go back there and draw whatever we wanted. I think this was the beginning of my appreciation for art and for teachers. In junior high, I decided I wanted to do both of those things for the rest of my life. Now I create and teach art and I love it.

 

 

Can you describe your creative process for us?

One of the most important classes I took in college was basic photography. The class focused on composition and value. I remember looking at a photo that a classmate developed and being shocked at the placement of the focal point at the extreme top of the image. I loved it. Photography continues to be an integral part of my work. I take thousands of photos every year and spend a good amount of time combing through them, looking for interesting compositions that can be cropped from each picture.

When I am ready to start painting, I will scroll through the cropped images and select what I want to paint. The image is mostly used for the structure of the painting’s composition. Once it is sketched on the panel or canvas, I’ll begin filling in areas with colors that I feel work well together. Though structured, the paintings are fairly intuitive as to how the colors fill in the space.

 

Barn at Palmer’s Farm, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 36 inches

 

What does a typical day in the studio look like for you?

During the summer, when I can paint full time, I’m in the studio by 9:00 am and there until 4:00 or 5:00 pm. I’ll take a break to eat lunch with my family and then head back to work. I try to keep planning away from the studio so I can focus on painting while I’m there. I’m usually working on at least three paintings at once, rotating them from the studio to the outside patio so they can dry quicker. At the end of the day, I clean up and refill my sour cream container with fresh water for cleaning brushes so it’s ready, and I can get right to work the next morning.

 

 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not painting?

I love spending time with my wife and four girls. We are outside as much as we can be. That might just be in the yard or up a canyon. As I consider my day outside the studio, I went for a run, placed flags for flag day in the yards of our neighbors with my oldest daughter, had a critique with an artist friend, played pickle ball, catch, and Boggle with the girls, volunteered with a church youth group, watered the garden, and had a nice chat with my wife about everything. It was a good day.

 

 

What do you hope viewers see in your work?

I hope they see something that evokes an emotion that wasn’t there prior to initial viewing. I hope they see a composition that they are not used to. I hope they are intrigued by the use of color. As an artist, it is a privilege to have people take the time to consider my work. They may walk away intrigued or bewildered. Those are both responses that I accept and appreciate.

 

Getting Closer, Acrylic on Canvas, 26 x 48 inches

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I teach high school art at an alternative high school, where students are behind in credit for many reasons. I often get asked when I am going to quit and focus just on creating art. The truth is, I love teaching and it brings balance to my studio practice. My students inspire me, and I hope to inspire them. 

Art for Every Mood

“This modern space has neutral furnishings perfect for many types of artwork. I chose three works that could each infuse a different feeling.” –Marcie

Marcie’s diverse picks demonstrate that there’s no right or wrong answer when choosing a piece for your space—it’s all about what resonates with you and reflects your personality. What would you place in this space?

Barber, First of Spring

Liz Barber, First of Spring 5, Mixed Media on Canvas, 62 x 50 in. framed

 

First of Spring by Liz Barber is organic and relaxing. The wall is filled with colors that will calm any mind at the end of the day.  

Liz Barber: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Vargassal, Sugar Heist

Ariel Vargassal, Sugar Heist, Acrylic on Canvas, 61.5 x 49.5 in. framed

 

Ariel Vargassal’s new piece Sugar Heist is lively and unexpected, injecting humor and positivity into the space.

Ariel Vargassal: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Segal, Spinning Top

Maura Segal, Spinning Top, Mixed Media on Canvas, 62 x 50.5 in. framed

 

Maura Segal’s Spinning Top is sophisticated and bold.  Her pieces have a hidden layer of texture beyond the seemingly simple foreground that adds personality and interest.

Maura Segal: View More Work | Inside the Studio | On the Wall

Hand Carved Framing with Marcie

At Merritt Gallery, we have a wide selection of frames, ranging from traditional to modern. In this video, Marcie selects a few of our unique hand-carved options to pair with Joseph Adolphe’s oil painting Equus No. 10.

When thinking of hand-carved frames, we may tend to picture something heavily ornate in style. While we love and carry many gorgeous ornately-styled hand-carved frames, Marcie does a great job of showcasing a few of our additional style options.

 

Although these four stunning selections are very different, they all do a wonderful job of elevating Adolphe’s piece. Which do you prefer? We’re always excited to see what speaks most to you and the work of art.

Contact us to arrange a custom framing appointment for your piece.
View more work by Joseph Adolphe.

Gazing Upward

Adding color and texture to this clean and neutral living room was no problem for Mina, the director of our Chevy Chase gallery. She chose three pieces that draw the eye upwards and play off the various elements in the space, while still maintaining a relaxing and cohesive look.

What would you place in this space?

Allen Martin, You’ve Got the Love

Carly Allen Martin, You’ve Got the Love, Mixed Media on Panel, 62 x 52 in.

 

You’ve Got The Love is a beautiful new piece by artist Carly Allen Martin that would be a striking addition to this room. The loose impressionistic style and vivid colors bring the outside in and feels like a summer day.

Carly Allen Martin: View More Work | In the Artist’s Studio |On the Wall

 

Belassen, A World Away

Sherri Belassen, A World Away, Oil on Canvas, 62 x 62 in.

 

A World Away by Sherri Belassen brings interest to the space in both the medium and subject. Is it an abstract or can you see the leg hanging out of the hammock? Her use of mixed media provides texture and depth well. What a fun piece to enjoy in a room that invites relaxation.

Sherri Belassen: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Dugar, Night Music

Shivani Dugar, Night Music, Oil on Canvas, 74 x 50 in.

 

Shivani Dugar’s Night Music brings rich earthy tones to the room which tie in so well with the natural wood elements and textures. The painting feels like an extension of the blazing fire below and lifts the viewers gaze upward.

Shivani Dugar: View More Work | Inside the Studio | On the Wall

Frame Your Ducks in a Row

There are no limits to the fun we can have with framing! Whether you’re framing a 2-dimensional or a 3-dimensional piece, we’ll help you find the best way to display the things that mean the most to you or simply put a smile on your face.

 

Project Inspiration: Collectible Rubber Duckies

Our clients are constantly surprising us with their framing ideas. When one of our clients came in with a bag full of rubber duckies, we couldn’t have been more excited about this framing challenge.

 

How We Did It

First, we picked out our 9 favorite rubber ducks and arranged them in a way that felt playful, yet balanced. With all the fun costumes, it was hard to pick just 9!

Next we discussed the materials we wanted to use. We decided on a plexiglass-glass box that would allow you to see the rubber ducks from any angle. We also knew we wanted shelves for the ducks to sit on, but rather than having them made in clear acrylic we decided that lining them in a fabric would add that something that we were missing…

With the bight colors of the rubber ducks and their various outfits, we opted for a white terrycloth that felt clean, on theme, and didn’t compete with the stars of the show.

Once hung on the wall, the plexiglass box adds dimension, but lets the rubber ducks shine on their own. A perfectly playful piece for our client’s bathroom!

Have a framing project in mind? Reach out to your nearest gallery to get started!

Pattern, Texture, & Color…Oh My!

Do you want to try something new in your home? Embrace the creative chaos of quirky furniture, funky wallpaper, and patterned textiles, layered with captivating pieces of fine art. Maximalism in your interior design is a great way to show off your unique personality and passions. If you are unsure of how to make it work, check out some of our favorite installs in maximal interiors for some inspiration.

 

Collage and Neon

This Rock Therrien piece juxtaposes the image of Tweety Bird with bold neon against a collaged background. The art is placed on a lively lime green, pink and teal floral patterned wallpaper. Combining these dynamic features allows their energy to play off one another. The longer you look at this installation, the more it just makes sense! Check out some pop art to add to your maximal space.

Therrian, F*ck, Mixed Media with Neon on Board, 48 x 48 in

 

See more from Therrien

 

A Blue-Green Dream

Next, we have a mystical room designed by Elizabeth Reich. The space beautifully reflects Mark Beck’s Seaside, perfectly enveloping participants in serenity. This wallpaper is whimsical and fun, working with the brilliant bright blues of the couch, coffee table, and rug. Loud and immersive, Elizabeth maximizes the design so well, you can almost hear the crash of a wave or birds in the trees!

Mark Beck, Seaside, Acrylic on Canvas, 42 x 42 inches

 

See more from Beck

 

Funky Maximal Medium

Not quite ready to commit to the ultimate boldness? Here are two spaces that inspire a light dose of maximalism.

 

Neutral POP

Beatriz Simon’s Blue Dance delivers an exciting pop of blue to this first neutrally textured and patterned room. Dining room chairs have a geometric pattern that speaks to the similarly toned one of curtains. The two head seats pull focus to either end of the room while the twin chandeliers add a strong dimensionality to the space. This is a beautiful example to dip your toe into maximalism.

Beatriz Simon, Blue Dance, Mixed Media on Canvas, 59 × 59 in.

 

See more from Simon

 

Naturally Abstract

This room with its exposed stone strategically brings outside in. The stone’s organic texture and shapes are reflected in the forms located in Rose Masterpol’s Barcelona Chair. The wonky curves and taupe coloring is continued in the chairs and sculptures, tying the design together. This is a good example of how to make a space feel more exuberant without going deep into the maximalism sphere.

Rose Masterpol, Barcelona Chair, Acrylic on Canvas, 54 x 56 inches

 

See more from Masterpol

 

More is More!

For the last install we have this bubbly and jubilant space designed by Johnson Sokol. This is a perfect example for those ready to dive into the maximal deep end. From the charming floral patterns in the pillows and the drapes, to the peek at the hallway’s more structured wallpaper, this home grabs your attention at every turn. Mersuka Dopazo’s Still Life on the main wall ties every color and texture together harmoniously. This space is activated and welcoming, embracing your gaze wherever it lands in the room. Explore more still life art to activate your interiors.

 

Dopazo, Still Life, Mixed Media on Canvas, 82 x 88 in; Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

 

See more from Dopazo

 

The Art of Rehanging the Gallery

Switching up the mood on this Haverford gallery wall

 

Art on the Move

From a practical standpoint, rehanging the gallery is an opportunity to showcase the many artists’ fantastic works that we have at Merritt Gallery. Because we offer in-home consultations and art showings for local clients, our gallery installations are anything but permanent. And as we share inventory between our three locations, the artwork is constantly on the move between Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia.

Dance With Me by Charlie Bluett paired with Kadee Craft’s Colorfast series in Baltimore

 

The Process

The gallery needs to look cohesive and fresh, but we also strive for a variety of sizes, mediums, and representation for as many artists as possible.

For Mina, Chevy Chase’s Gallery Director, rehanging the gallery is a passion. When considering how she wants to lay out the gallery, she likes to have a story to tell. She says,

“Whether it’s the color palette, subject matter or style, I look for some sort of connect. Maybe I’ll have a canvas up and place a sculpture next to it. It’s to excite the eye. And sometimes the eye needs a place to rest, so a little negative space is important.”

 

Sherri Belassen’s A World Away, paired with three Nina Jun sculptures in Chevy Chase

 

The feel of a piece can change when placed next to different artwork. Our galleries are constantly changing and with that comes the chance to see the same work through a different lens or something completely different.

Tips On How To Create A Gallery Wall

If you’ve curated an array of beautiful artwork and are looking for a way to showcase it in your home, a gallery wall can be a fantastic option. They’re a great focal point for any room and perfect for someone with an eclectic mix of artwork.

As wonderful as they are, gallery walls can feel like a daunting puzzle to assemble, so we’ve put together a few tips to help get you started.

 

1) Variation is Key

Consider varying either subject matter, framing, size, or medium to increase visual interest.

 

2) Stick to Odd Numbers

Choose an odd number of pieces to help create a more dynamic layout.

 

 

3) Consistent spacing

While you’ll be varying other aspects of your gallery wall, make sure to the spacing between pieces consistent for a visually pleasing layout. Include an internal axis to have a feeling of cohesiveness.

4) Test it Out

Once you’ve selected the pieces you’d like to use, do a rough sketch with a pencil and paper. When you feel good about the sketch, lay the artwork out on the floor or create a mockup on the wall to get a better sense of how it will work. It will save you a lot of time!

From Past to Present: Art History’s Influence on Contemporary Art

Nearly every piece of art ever made has in some way referenced art that came before it. Whether the reference is subtle or very clear to the viewer, it is impossible to deny the impact that art history has on the art of today. Here are a few pieces from our collection, and the iconic works that we see reflected in them.

 

Rodin / Quinn

Auguste Rodin, The Cathedral / Lorenzo Quinn, Eternal Love

 

Hands are often considered one of the most difficult subjects to draw and paint, let alone to sculpt and cast in bronze. Both Auguste Rodin and Lorenzo Quinn have overcome this difficulty, creating delicate sculptures from a traditionally hefty material. Rodin’s is displayed in a more conventional manner: the hands are upright, anchored to a flat base. Quinn takes artistic liberty in his presentation, attaching the hands to a rounded base and displaying them sideways.

See more of Lorenzo Quinn’s impressive bronzes.

 

Martin / Bolles

Agnes Martin, Affection / Tom Bolles, Luminous Lilly Pulitzer Pink

 

Often in muted or pastel palettes, Agnes Martin’s work is an exploration of two of the most basic artistic principles: color and line. This exploration results in a soothing composition like the one pictured here. Within the context of the 21st century art world, Tom Bolles explores these same concepts in a new way. His bright and electrifying colors are applied with an unmatched precision, making his work pop in any space.

See more of Tom Bolles’ radiant paintings. 

 

O’Keeffe / Sills

Georgia O’Keeffe, The Barns, Lake George / John Brandon Sills, Barn on Hill

 

Architecture is often rendered in art through harsh lines and edges. Though created in different centuries, the barns of Georgia O’Keeffe and John Brandon Sills defy this expectation. O’Keefe’s is painted in a dark, gloomy palette, while Sills’ is much lighter and calm. Despite these differences, both artists have painted their respective barns in a way that captures their softness and connection to humanity.

See more soothing landscapes by John Brandon Sills. 

 

If you enjoyed these comparisons, be sure to check out our other installments of the series! Click here for part one, and here for part two.

Image Sources: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Rodin Museum, The Wall Street Journal

New From Geoffrey Gersten

Geoffrey Gersten’s new work contains his signature photorealistic style, continuing to work from vintage photographs. A handful of his new pieces, however, take an interesting shift towards still objects. Gersten brings them to life with his vibrant and recognizable polka dots.

 

Playing With Conceptual Art

 

Triumph Over Mastery, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches

 

One image that may stand out to viewers is “The Art Basel Banana,” which is officially entitled Comedian, by Maurizio Cattelan. David Datuna, a performance artist, challenged Cattelan’s absurd conceptual piece with his own act—eating Cattelan’s banana. Gersten is continuing the chain of artists testing the “art” of Cattelan’s piece by rendering it with vivid accuracy and juxtaposing it with his pop art dots. It looks so realistic, it is almost as if you could go right up to the canvas and pluck up the banana to eat, just like Datuna!

Check out Geoffrey going “bananas” in his studio.

 

Sunny Days By The Pool

 

Poolside, Oil on Linen, 24 x 18 inches

 

Poolside depicts a woman leaning against a pool railing, staying true to Gersten’s black and white vintage photograph inspiration. Even with multicolored dots replacing the background of the image, Gersten provides the feel of a bright, sunny day by the pool through his execution of highlights and shadows. Gersten grounds the piece with the pool deck tiles, giving viewers a further sense of space.

 

Color Everywhere

 

Wild Dreams, Oil on Linen, 48 x 36 inches

 

In Wild Dreams, Gersten strays from his normally monochromatic figures and depicts this woman in vibrant sun-kissed hues. This image is very bold and commanding, just like the expression of the woman. Gersten pays very close attention to detail in this piece, from the dusting of purple eyeshadow, the rosy lips, to the floral impressions on the figure’s swim cap.

 

View More Work | Inside the Artist’s Studio | Learn More

In Honor of Black History Month (Part 3)

In celebration of Black History Month, we have been featuring the work of several important black artists all throughout February. If you have not read our previous installments, they can be found here and here. Though this is our final installment, we hope to spark an interest in these artists that will continue on!

Norman Lewis (1909 – 1979)

Norman Lewis in front of one of his paintings, photographed by Anthony Barboza in the 1970s

 

Many artists attempt to show a variety of artistic styles, but few exhibit the range that Norman Lewis was capable of. From pure abstractions to figuratives, with both political and personal subjects, Lewis was able to show a huge variety in his work. An array of artistic influences and personal experiences led his work to become a unique conjunction of social realism and abstract expressionism.

Lewis did not personally believe that art could be an effective catalyst for political change. Despite this, many of his paintings were still political in nature. Some were more obvious with their political messages, while others disguised his meaning in abstract forms. Not all of his work was political though; Lewis grew up during the Harlem Renaissance, and much of his work is deeply influenced by the jazz scene there.

 

Phantasy II, 1946, Museum of Modern Art

 

The Wanderer (Johnny), 1933, Estate of Norman W. Lewis, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

 

Evening Rendezvous, 1962, Smithsonian American Art Museum

 

Sam Gilliam (1933 – 2022)

Gilliam in his studio, photographed by Anthony Barboza in 1980

 

Sam Gilliam was one of the greatest innovators of modern American art, having pushed the boundaries of his materials. Gilliam is often associated with the Washington Color School. This abstract expressionist movement is known for its focus on color field painting and unconventional use of materials. Gilliam’s work displays both of these qualities, often working together harmoniusly. He is credited as the first artist to display his work on unsupported canvas, often draping his canvases or shaping them in a sculptural way.

Gilliam’s first draped paintings were created in 1968, a period of immense turmoil in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated, and the Vietnam War was in full swing. Suspended on the wall, his canvases were free to fold, shift, and sway with the environment around them. The artist was no longer in control of his own artwork. This lack of control was a political statement for Gilliam, and it mirrored what a majority of Americans were feeling at the time: powerless as they watched the world unfold around them.

 

Shoot Six, 1965, National Gallery of Art

 

10/27/69, 1969, Museum of Modern Art

 

Double Merge, 1968, Dia: Beacon

 

Black creators have been an essential component of the art history canon for as long as it has existed, but are too often left out of the narrative. Though this series has only scratched the surface, we hope it shed some light on just how important these artists are.

New Arrivals: De la Torre & Sheversky

Raul de la Torre, Fils: The Waves Whisper Secrets, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

 

Raul de la Torre, Fils: There is Only One Piece of the World, One Piece of a Heart, mixed media on canvas, 36 x 58 inches

 

Our newest arrivals from Raul De la Torre are unlike any of his previous work. While the colorful combination of paint and embroidery is typically surrounded by a white border, these two new installments of his FILS I COLORS series stretch all the way to the edge of the canvas. At the bottom of the canvas there is some visible white space, accommodating his signature drips of paint.

De la Torre: View More WorkIn the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Alexander Sheversky, Red Tulips, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches

 

Alexander Sheversky, Gummy Bears II, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

The subject matter in Alexander Sheversky’s work varies widely, but these two new arrivals truly display his range. The dark, moody florals of Red Tulips beautifully juxtapose the soft, playful feeling of Gummy Bears II. These pieces are a fantastic example of how one artist can create work that fits many aesthetics.

Sheversky: View More WorkIn the Artist’s Studio On the Wall

Conversation Pieces for a Minimalistic, Earthy Dining Room

We asked Jenna, one of our consultants at the Baltimore gallery, what pieces she would place in this minimalistic and bohemian dining room. She chose 3 pieces that not only match the down to earth aesthetic, but are also sure to be conversation starters.

What would you place in this space?

Masterpol, Uruz

Rose Masterpol, Uruz, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 62 x 62 in.

The earthy green and bright red of Rose Masterpol’s Uruz make for an eye-catching pop of color in this toned down room. The piece harmoniously blends geometrics and softness with vibrant color and movement, making it an energetic addition to this subdued space.

Rose Masterpol: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Westlake, Rallied to the Empire

Wendy Westlake, Rallied to the Empire, Acrylic on Canvas, 49.5 x 61.5 in.

Wendy Westlake’s Rallied to the Empire complements the minimalist, neutral look of the room. Bold and simple, this piece adds a sense of calm and elegance to the space.

Wendy Westlake: View More Work | Inside the Studio | On the Wall

 

Padron, East Village, NYC

Xan Padron, East Village, NYC, Photograph on Aluminum, 49 x 62 in.

The deep burgundy brick of Xan Padron’s East Village, NYC brings warmth and additional texture to this space. His photographs of people moving through cities make you wonder who they are and where they’re going, inviting plenty of conversation to the table.

Xan Padron: View More Work | Inside the Studio | On the Wall

In Honor of Black History Month (Part 2)

Throughout February, we are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the works of several prominent black artists. In our previous post, we featured the dynamic work of Jean-Michel Basquiat as well as the storytelling series of Jacob Lawrence. This week we’re taking a closer look at two contemporary artists, whose work is greatly informed by their experiences as women.

Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953)

Weems, in a photo from her Kitchen Table series, 1990

 

Carrie Mae Weems is one of the most prominent black women in the arts today. She uses photography to relay her personal experiences with the intersection of gender and race. Her photographs serve as both a reflection on society at large as well as a kind of self portrait, as she often uses herself as a model. Weems aims to bridge the gap between artist and viewer, portraying herself as a witness to the scene being photographed rather than the actual subject of the photograph itself.

Her ouvre includes photos of her travels abroad, musings on African history, and critiques on racism in America among other subjects. Her beloved “Kitchen Table” series, consisting of 20 photos, is an exploration of the many ways womanhood is performed. Each photo contains the titular table as a focal point, depicting the artist in the company of various other people and props. By staging these photos in such an intimate and mundane setting, Weems provides an insight into black womanhood that is wrapped in warmth, sensitivity, and tenderness.

 

Untitled (Woman and Daughter with Makeup), 1990, Museum of Modern Art

 

Thoughts on Marriage, 1989, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

 

May Flowers, 2002, Baltimore Museum of Art

 

Kara Walker (b. 1969)

Walker in her studio, photographed by Ari Marcopoulos

 

The disturbing history of slavery and American racism, and particularly their effects on women, is at the forefront of Kara Walker’s work. Walker is most well-known for her works consisting of black paper cutouts, that create silhouettes set against a contrasting white wall or background. These cutouts are often displayed across entire rooms, engulfing the viewer. While these silhouettes can conceal some of the more disturbing details, the exaggerated facial features are a clear reference to racial caricatures.

Recently Walker has been exploring the medium of sculpture, in a way that is reminiscent of classical European art. Though visually similar, Walker’s work opposes the racist ideals and power structures of classical Europe, as well as the modern societies that followed its example. From the marble sculptures of ancient Greece to the patron portraits of Renaissance Italy, references to classical art can be seen across much of her work. Regardless of the medium, Walker’s work displays upfront both the past and present hardships faced by African Americans.

 

Resurrection Story with Patrons, 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Insurrection! (Our Tools Were Rudimentary, Yet We Pressed On), 2000, The Guggenheim 

 

Fons Americanus, 2019, Tate Modern

 

Visit our blog again soon for our upcoming final Black History Month feature, where we will be discussing the work of two more trailblazing artists.

Artistic Techniques & Secrets

Each of our artists have their own unique perspective and style when it comes to their art-making. Some artists utilize special tools, some execute specific techniques, and others incorporate interesting supplemental media. Our artists use these skills to perfect their craft and produce work of which we just can’t get enough!

 

Maura Segal

If you look closely at Maura Segal’s paintings, you can see texture and patterns in the foreground and background. Those shapes and lines are actually hand-cut pieces of paper that add an awesome dimensionality to her pieces. 

 

Liz Barber

Liz Barber’s approach to her canvases is very experimental. She likes to pour paint around and let it take on a life of its own. She also works chalk, charcoal, and pastel into her paintings. Barber enjoys seeing how the mediums interact with each other. The heavy pours of paint mingle into one another beautifully, especially juxtaposed with her other mark-making. 

 

Raul De La Torre

Raul De La Torre’s first step in his process is to paint linearly with select colors on a canvas or paper. After that, he carefully cuts out sections of the canvas, interrupting the connection of the painted lines. Finally, Raul sources thread that very closely matches the color of his paints to embroider the gap and connect the painted lines once again. Like Audra Weaser, De La Torre’s process is special and amplifies the uniqueness of his art.

 

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Audra Weaser

Audra Weaser tackles her work through layering and then navigating back into the canvas using a sanding process. Weaser uses this technique to depict motion and allows for an interesting exploration of the movement of light in naturalistic motifs, such as water. This excavation process adds a lovely poetic note to Weaser’s serene canvases.

 

Hunt Slonem 

Hunt Slonem loves repetition, as seen by his multitude of rabbits, butterflies, and finches, but also his method of adding texture. His technique for creating texture is executed by sharpening the back end of a paintbrush to make lines in his impasto surfaces. This effect is most clearly seen in his landscape paintings and in the backgrounds of his butterfly pieces, giving them an intriguing illusion effect.

 

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In Honor of Black History Month

February is Black History month, and a wonderful time to pay tribute to some of the many talented black artists throughout history. Black artists have been greatly influential to the art world, creating work that often tells important but forgotten stories. Throughout this month, we’ll be featuring six black artists who made history through their art. Each has used their medium to shed light on the people and issues that are too often left out of the artistic canon. We hope you find as much power and meaning in their work as we do.

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988)

Basquiat, Photographed by Andy Warhol in 1982 & Lee Jaffe in 1983

 

Starting with the most well-known of the artists featured in this series, there is Jean-Michel Basquiat. His work is nothing short of iconic, with recurring symbolism that is instantly recognizable. Although his artistic endeavors spanned only 10 years until his tragic death, Basquiat had a prolific career in that time. His style, often classified as neo-expressionism, is dynamic and full of energy. Basquiat primarily painted portraits and figurative work, using vivid colors and confident brushstrokes. Many of his paintings contain symbols and pieces of text, relaying complex political messages and ideas about race in America.

His work is nothing like anything that came before it, proving to be revolutionary both during and after his lifetime. On multiple occasions he became the youngest artist in history to work with some of the most renowned galleries and artistic institutions in the world. Along with countless solo-shows and impressive exhibitions, Basquiat ‘s work continues to break auction records to this day.

 

Untitled, 1981, The Broad

 

Hollywood Africans, 1983, The Whitney Museum of American Art

 

Bird on Money, 1981, Rubell Museum

 

Jacob Lawrence (1917 – 2000)

Jacob Lawrence, Photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1941

 

One of the most influential painters of African-American history is Jacob Lawrence, a self-proclaimed “dynamic cubist.” Lawrence’s work illustrates the lives of major black historical figures and events. Often working in series, Lawrence used his practice to create comprehensive studies of various moments in American history.

In his 30-panel series The American Struggle, Lawrence tackles numerous events over the course of multiple centuries. The series begins with European colonization and ends with World War I, covering a huge range of American history. At just 23 years old he created the Migration Series, a project that visualizes the Great Migration of the 20th century. Spanning across 60 individual panels, Lawrence tells the story of African Americans migrating from the agricultural south to the industrial north and midwest, in search of opportunity. Through his art, Lawrence retold black history in a totally different way than the white-written textbook versions most people were familiar with.

 

The Migration Series, Panel no. 1, 1941, The Phillip’s Collection

 

Taboo, 1963, Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

The Shoemaker, 1945, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Be sure to check back on our blog throughout the month of February! We will be featuring four more black artists whose work influenced the landscape of modern art.

What Is Your Framing Personality?

With countless framing options for a single piece, it may be tough to narrow down the options. Sleek and minimal, or more ornate? Make a statement or keep it subtle? If you’re going for a modern look, you might choose a simple floater frame. If you want to add more personality to your space, a funky hand finished frame might just do the trick.

Whichever design you choose can be a wonderful reflection of your personality and style in your home.

 

One of our experienced consultants, Betsy, presents two landscapes from Hunt Slonem’s Bayou series that are framed in different ways. The first piece is Bayou Louisiana (La Fouche), which has an ornate vintage frame, sourced by the artist himself. This frame adds character and grandeur to this jewel.

The second landscape, Bayou La Fouche Assumption Parrish, is a larger painting framed with a simple silver float frame. The frame complements the painting, quietly allowing the piece to make the statement. 

Betsy selects two more frames fitting for these landscapes to demonstrate the “possibilities” when selecting the perfect frame for your paining. She picks a hand carved driftwood frame with silver detailing for Fouche Assumption Parrish and a simple silver cap frame with black antiquing for Bayou Louisiana (La Fouche)

We are happy to play and try out any and every frame that speaks to you! Contact your nearest gallery to schedule your framing appointment.

 

Explore more work by Hunt Slonem.



From Past to Present: An Art History Comparison

Have you ever looked at a contemporary piece of art and thought it looked a little familiar? Chances are that in some way, that piece shows influence by artists of the past! Art is inherently referential, and it is nearly impossible to create something without referencing other art in same way. There are so many of these references within our collection, too many in fact for one blog post. You can read our earlier installment of this series here!

 

Noland / Hoffman

Kenneth Noland, Spring Call / Michael Hoffman, Costa del Sol III

 

In these two pieces, the simplicity of the subject matter lends each artist to take bold risks with their color choices. Noland, an influential color field painter, uses a much more limited color palette. Hoffman’s take on the concentric circle is more complex and colorful, showing a natural progression from earlier examples like Noland’s.

See more of Michael Hoffman’s mesmerizing circles.

 

Courbet / Abrecht

Gustave Courbet, The Calm Sea / Eric Abrecht, Azul Variant 20

 

Made almost two centuries apart, both of these pieces depict a calm, serene sky and seascape. Courbet’s is a bit more traditional, with a subdued color palette that reflects the realism he strived to convey. Abrecht’s is much more modern, with brighter colors and hints of abstraction. While stylistically different, both pieces share a similar composition that emphasizes the sky rather than the sea.

See more stunning works by Eric Abrecht.

 

Warhol / Alan

Andy Warhol, Brillo Boxes / Craig Alan, Populus: Soul Shine

 

Of all the historical art references we’ve covered, this one may be the most straightforward. Warhol’s original Brillo Boxes (three are shown here, but he made many more) sparked discussion on what separates art from commercial products. In his version, Alan has used the same subject manner to create a one-of-a-kind piece. Alan has chosen his own words, as well as the same minuscule figures that are found across much of his work, to accompany the familiar branding.

See more of Craig Alan’s work, including more dynamic examples of his Populus series.

 


Image Sources: Christie’s, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Museum Recommendations from our Artists

Winter is the perfect time to spend a free day at one of your local art museums—get out of the house and out of the cold, and experience the artwork with fewer tourists around. We asked our artists which museums they love visiting most, and here are some of their recommendations:

MoMA (NYC)

Recommended by Liz Barber

Housing artwork by all of the modern greats, MoMA is clearly a place that sparks tons of inspiration, seeing as it was also recommended to us by Tom Bolles, Shivani Dugar, Hyunmee Lee, Rose Masterpol, and Xan Padron!

LT – stock.adobe.com

 

The MoMA in NYC is my absolute favorite. I visit whenever I can. All of my heroes are there – Helen Frankenthaller, Joan Mitchell, Motherwell, Cy Twombly, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning to name a few. I was also able to see the Henri Matisse retrospective there. It was life changing. Twenty or so rooms filled with his work – just breath taking.

– Liz Barber

 

While the Matisse retrospective that was so influential for Barber is no longer on view, the MoMA is always featuring new and exciting exhibitions. If you’re looking to be totally engulfed by a piece of art, make sure to see Monet’s water lilies;  on long-term display at the MoMA, this triptych expands across three different walls, and makes the viewer feel as though they could dip their toes right in.

 

Dia (Beacon, NY) & Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LA)

Recommended by Hyunmee Lee

Hyunmee Lee recommended two museums, one on the east coast and one on the west. While both museums have impressive collections, they are quite different as far as art museums go.

Richard Serra, Torqued Ellipses, on view at Dia: Beacon

 

My favorite would be DIA: Beacon in New York with its amazing exhibit spaces that support and transform the work of contemporary artists artists like Richard Serra. DIA exhibits works that inspire me, particularly traditional modern painting. My other favorite museum would be Los Angeles County Museum. They always have incredible shows of Korean art including things difficult to see elsewhere, even in Korea. These shows support and inspire my work related to Korean calligraphy and philosophy. I also appreciate their mix of traditional and contemporary art that explores the aesthetics of both East and West

– Hyunmee Lee

 

Dia’s collection primarily consists of contemporary works, all housed within a building that used to be a factory. This gives the museum quite the industrial feel, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Hudson Valley.

 

The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art, exhibition currently on view at LACMA

 

LACMA on the other hand has artwork dating all the way back to ancient times, as well as more modern and contemporary works. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this museum offers a place for thoughtful contemplation amidst one of the nation’s busiest cities.

 

Centre Pompidou (Paris)

Recommended by Christopher Peter

An excellent example of brutalist architecture, the exterior of the Centre Pompidou in Paris is almost as striking as the masterpieces that reside within it. It is no surprise that a unique building like this would have an impressive art collection inside it.

Exterior of the Centre Pompidou, Paris

 

I’m a member of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston so I go there relatively often. I also really like the elegant quirkiness of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, but my favorite art museum is the Centre Pompidou in Paris where I saw Gerhard Richter’s work for the first time. The space was incredible, the work was incredible… it was a life-changing experience!

– Christopher Peter

 

Located in Paris, this collection of 20th and 21st century works is right at home in the city that was, at several key moments in modern art history, considered to be the center of the art world. With near-constant rotation of the works on display, there is sure to be something to suit every visitor’s tastes!

 


Image Sources: Condé Nast, Dia Art Foundation, Forbes, LACMA Museum Associates

Energetic Art for a Neutral Living Room

Adding energy and color to this neutral space was no problem for Patti, one of our art consultants in Haverford. She chose three pieces that elevate this contemporary apartment in very different ways, while still maintaining a cohesive look.

What do you think of the pieces she chose?

Hunt Slonem | Orange Hombre III

Hunt Slonem, Orange Hombre III, Oil and Acrylic with Diamond Dust, 51.75 x 71.75 in.

 

“This piece will fill the room with sunny tones of orange and golden yellow. It’s fun and free spirited, featuring recurring bunny patterns that create movement and energy while wrapping the room in warmth. The addition of diamond dust makes the work glow.

Hunt Slonem: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

 

Shivani Dugar | Spring, Joy, & Love

Shivani Dugar, Spring, Joy, & Love, Oil on Canvas, 48.5 x 74.5 in.

 

“This piece reminds me of a rich textile and adds an exotic feel to the space.  Warm tones of ochres, browns, smokey grays that give the room a more formal feel with a luxurious textural quality. Vibrant brushstrokes add movement to this lush work.”

Shivani Dugar: View More Work | Inside the Studio | On the Wall

 

Christopher Peter | Swing Silhouette

Christopher Peter, Swing Silhouettes, Mixed Media on Canvas, 53 x 78.5 in.

 

“This piece has a very playful quality and draws you in with the patterned, handmade papers combined with layered paints. This is a serious piece of art that infuses fun into the room.” 

Christopher Peter: View More Work | In the Artist’s StudioOn the Wall

Viva Magenta: Pantone Color of the Year

Rose Masterpol, Mood Board, Acrylic on Canvas, 61.5 X 61.5 Framed

View More Work By Masterpol

 

Pantone has announced the very vibrant Viva Magenta as the color of 2023 — a color that Pantone describes as ‘brave and fearless’, a shade that ‘promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration’.

Incorporating artwork with this color can serve as a stand-out conversation piece, while creating an uplifting feeling in your home.

We’ve selected a few pieces from the collection that showcase this fun and powerful color.

 

Mersuka Dopazo, Black & White in the 60’s, Mixed Media on Canvas, 87.5 X 73 Framed

View More Work By Dopazo

 

Hunt Slonem, Hortencia, Oil on Wood, 15 x 13 in Framed

View More Work By Slonem

 

Beatriz Simon, Poem with Neon I, Mixed Media on Canvas, 58 X 58 in

View More Work By Simon

 

Paula Urzica, Twelve Macrons 4, Oil on Canvas, 33 X 41 in Framed

View More Work By Urzica

 

Joseph Adolphe, A Vision, Oil on Canvas, 65 x 78 in

View More Work By Adolphe

 

Aron Hill, A Joyful Home with Magenta and Red with Yellow Roof, Acrylic on Canvas, 31.5 x 25.5 Framed

View More Work By Hill

 


View more magenta and red works from our collection.

A Few Favorites From 2022

As we look back on 2022, we find ourselves reflecting on our many art installations. We’re lucky to have worked with such wonderful artists, designers and clients. Here are a few of our favorite spaces.

 

Playful Pop Art

Craig Alan, Know How Assembly, Mixed Media on Board

View More Work By Alan

 

A Super Sheversky

Alexander Sheversky, Super Blow Pop Strawberry, Oil on Canvas

Interior design by Wolfington Interiors
View More Work By Sheversky

 

Keeping it Cozy

Eric Abrecht, Beginning Thaw, Mixed Media on Panel

View More Work By Abrecht

 

Dining in Style

April Midkiff, Unite 1, Acrylic on Canvas

Interior design by Catherine Ebert, Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg
View More Work by Midkiff

 

Got the Blues

Maura Segal, French Bistro, Mixed Media on Canvas

View More Work By Segal 

 

Devine Intervention

Matt Devine, 1984 #3, Powdercoated Steel

Interior Design by Erica Burns Interiors, Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg
View More Work By Devine

 

Feeling Surreal

Joseph Adolphe, Another Memory, Oil on Canvas, 65 x 78 in

View More Work by Adolphe

 

A Captivating Collection

Gavin Benjamin, Heads of State No. 8, Mixed Media on Board; Amber Goldhammer, Let’s Go to the Fields of Love, Mixed Media on Canvas

Interior Design by Barbara Noguera 
View More Work by Benjamin
View More Work by Goldhammer