Category Archives: Blog About Our Residents

Jonpaul Smith

October 7-28, 2013

Jonpaul Smith utilizes found objects and discarded commercial waste, cutting them into strips and weaving them by hand to create large compositions. Despite the complex structure and the deconstructed nature of the materials, recognizable images and lettering appear throughout the work, and the actual process of making is quite simple. The ability to recognize a brand or product by only a partial label shows how powerful and popular today’s consumer society, and the new images he constructs maintain the same boldness present in modern advertising. He keeps his scraps filed by color in a milk crate, making it easier to select his materials to include in a work.

JonpaulSmithPaducahDuring his residency, Smith has focused on creating new, smaller works utilizing a variety of discarded materials and brightly patterned origami and scrapbook papers. These smaller works are woven together using much smaller strips in order to create a similar visual effect as the larger works. The woven surface of Smith’s work adds dimension to a piece and creates a vibrant play between color, texture and pattern. At his opening reception, I immediately notice a piece created from the Paducah brochures from his welcome packet. The area’s rich textile tradition is naturally incorporated into the woven structure.

JonpaulSmithSketchbookWhen I meet with Jonpaul, his sketchbook catches my eye. The pages are thick with drawings that are heavily collaged with pieces of paper, wrappers, and woven bits of paper. His sketches document more of his thoughts and his humor than the large works do, and looking through it I get a better sense of his personality. His small drawings are bold, complex, and playful.

Jonpaul Smith is an established artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is formally trained as a printmaker and holds an MFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. He is the Artist in Residence at A.I.R. Studio through October 28th. To see more of Smith’s work, visit his website at

Jeannette MacDougall

September 2-15, 2013

JeannettePaintingJeannette MacDougall’s work ranges widely in style and subject. She is both a mixed media artist and a painter. During her time in Paducah she created three large abstract landscapes which she displayed outdoors in the Sculpture Garden at A.I.R. Studio.

Her objective with her current landscape series is to draw the viewer into a spiritual space through painting a place at dawn and dusk. These points of time have what she calls a “fleeting moment of light… where you can almost feel the light moving”. Having her work displayed outdoors adds to this feeling of movement. The paintings are especially impressive to see in the morning and evening, when the color of light is transitioning, and the shadows cast by the trees in the sculpture garden move across the work. The large paintings were painted on top of old painter’s drop cloths, adding a layer below the painting. She made this choice intentionally in order to remind the viewer of the imperfection of nature and the irreverence to nature by humans. She says, “It’s not enough to create a beautiful painting” and believes it is her duty to help clean up the environment, and remind the viewer to do the same.


Jeannette uses a variety of surfaces for her work. As a mixed media artist, her surface is important to her work, and she enjoys reusing old surfaces. She also enjoys using materials, such as venetian plaster, to imitate old surfaces. Her work is a process of adding and removing paint, using brushstrokes, rubbing, and lifting the paint to create a work reminiscent of watercolor.

JeannetteMacDougallEndOfSummerJeannette uses photography to record her travels, and works from photos to capture the essence of a place. Her travels have taken her around the world, and she sees travel as very important in order to experience a place rather than to simply see it. Her photos help to inform her of the most important features of a place, and she chooses those details and amplifies them in her paintings. She uses the photographs to soften the harshness and remove what she sees as distractions.  She also uses digital photography to create layered collages.

Jeannette is an established artist visiting from San Antonio, Texas. She is a part-time Instructor of Drawing and Painting at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio where she has taught for the past thirty years. She holds an M.S. in Education Administration and Supervision from Parson’s School of Art and Design in New York and a B.A. in Art from Trinity University in San Antonio. To see more of her work, visit her website.

Dan Bethune

July 15-30, 2013


Addressing the ideas about the role of males in modern society is central in Dan Bethune’s sculptures. Dan works primarily with cast and fabricated resin, which he manipulates in a variety of ways. The resin has a pink color to it, which he occasionally embraces and other times covers with paint.

His work and process of making is overtly masculine. Dan arrived at A.I.R. Studio with a truck full of power tools, including a chop saw, belt sander, drill press, orbital sander, router, and various sanding and carving implements. The only thing it seemed that he didn’t bring was his table saw, which he used prior to his residency for his prep work.

DanBethuneStudioFormsDan is not trying to be vulgar or pornographic with his work. He enjoys a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor, which I notice in the labeling of several of his more minimal pieces. These titles include, “Vas Deferens”, “Secret Sauce” and “Viscosity”, quietly referencing parts of the male anatomy. His early work included heavy jewelry and ritualistic knives. His current body of work started with a fabricated baby doll form with a large penis bolted onto it. He continues to use the baby doll forms because of they are less aggressive, but he realizes that some viewers have difficulty looking at his work. He believes men can frequently be childish, shirking off their responsibilities as parents and in business, maintaining a distant role. The baby doll forms allude to this childish tendency. He has seen a subtle change in recent years, with more single parents sharing custody of their children and fathers more involved with their relations.

DanBethuneWallDrapedHis strand series consists of individual balls and cones of shaped resin connected together.  The resin is painted with a white pearl finish, alluding to a strand of pearls or to bones. Some of these pieces he hangs on the wall, some he suspends in the air. The flexibility of the resin as a material makes these pieces look a lot like fine porcelain, when in reality they are only plastic.

His most current work is more minimal, consisting of shaped canvases. Are they drawings, paintings, sculptures? He enjoys the lack of definition with these works themselves. The pink coloration and ball shape still carry through into these pieces. The process of sanding and scraping of the surface is exposed in these works, which become more simplistic as he works. He sees the content of these pieces as referring to objects and places, and looks forward to the evolution of this series.


Dan earned his MFA at the University of Florida and his BFA at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He currently a Lecturer of Art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Priya Wittman and Jesse Wittman

June 15-July 13, 2013


Priya and Jesse Wittman spent that past month at A.I.R. Studio doing two things: looking and listening. Priya is a visual artist and Jesse a musician. Their residency has allowed the time and space to explore working together in their two distinct disciplines, beginning a new phase in their relationship.

Priya earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Herron School of Art and Design. Jesse earned his Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Their foundation of formal training gives them a unique approach to their contemporary work, both referencing their past instruction through their work.

Priya and Jesse enjoy working with synthetic materials because through them they are able to reference natural objects. Priya uses two weights of mirror mylar, a material often used in greenhouses for its light reflecting qualities. Her other materials typically come from craft stores like, Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, trying to push the limits of how a material can be viewed and often taking a material out of context by manipulating it beyond recognition. Jesse’s work with digital music started when a friend invited him to create a computer duet, and has evolved since. He works with the program PureData, which can be downloaded from the internet for free, allowing anyone who is interest access to create music without having to write code. Their use of items that are easily obtained helps them to push the boundaries in their work, so that making work can be both experimental and experiential.


During their stay Priya and Jesse have been very active. Their first event, “Sojourn”, allowed the viewer to explore an “other world”. “Sojourn”, meaning “a temporary stay” was an temporary installation created in A.I.R. Studio using mylar film, computer generated sound, and lights. Reminiscent of the Northern Lights, the play between the synthetic materials and noises and those of the natural world created an oddly beautiful environment within the studio. With the lights on, the magic qualities of the mylar disappeared, leaving behind a room that looked simple and cheap. Read more about “Sojourn” here.

IMAG1486Their second weekend here, Priya was invited to Live on Broadway to lead the visual activity at the “Family Fun Zone”. She brought many of her essential materials, including mylar tubes, scrapbooking papers and markers for children to explore and create their own “vortex drawings”. The children were instantly absorbed in making when they discovered the kaleidoscope effect that the mylar tubes had on their drawings. Through their materials they explore how close one can get to kitschy, gaudy and still maintain qualities of that are beautiful and magical.

PJWittmanIntoSpaceTheir final Open Studio was quite different from the first; lights were on, not off, immediately drawing attention to the materials. The mylar film was crinkled and covered the long wall in the studio, pooling onto the floor. Using a midi keyboard controller and laptop, Jesse constructed a basic instrument allowing participants to manipulate projected sounds through the PureData program. The sound maps were displayed on an adjacent computer, providing a visual outlet showing how the sounds were processed by viewer interaction. Jesse’s attraction to computerized music comes through the unexpected results that arrive through the human contact with the program. The rigidness that is often expected with computerized music can be overcome through this interaction, and the outcomes are often surprising. Nearby, Priya set up a table with materials for participants to construct their own objects. “Into Space” emphasized playful audience interaction and experimentation with sounds and materials, gravitating towards the synthetic and toeing the line between gaudy and beautiful.

Priya and Jesse hope the discoveries made during their time at A.I.R. Studio will lead to additional work in non-conventional performances and installations. To read more about their time in Paducah, visit their blog.

Mitch Eckert

May 29-June 12, 2013

MitchEckertStudioNew materials and old collide in Mitch’s mixed media assemblages. His collections of old books, bird nests, and bones line the floor and tables while new stickers, scrapbooking paper and decorative tapes are pinned to the opposite wall, on display to be easily selected and applied to new work. Some of the materials he arrived with, others he has collected from the many antique shops and junk stores in Paducah.

MitchEckertWovenMusicHe cuts apart the books, searching for interesting images. Aged, brittle pages produce interesting textures and colors that are carefully extracted to preserve their importance. Some of the images he scans to set them aside to reuse again. Several small works are in progress on the table and more complete works are pinned to the wall to view. Having many pieces going at once allows him the flexibility to move from one piece to another and respond intuitively to the available materials.

Mitch has also used the time here to work with encaustic, a new material for him. The translucent materials add color and dimension to his compositions, suspending collaged materials layers over the images. After visiting the National Quilt Museum, Mitch has been busy cutting small strips of paper and weaving them together. The works are not pieced, but provide a similar visual result of individual squares and rectangles relating with one another to create a new surface. He enjoys learning from the craft traditions and playing in the open space that A.I.R. Studio offers.


His past work focused on still life photography based in a Dutch tradition. He is captivated by making arrangements that are not permanent, and the ability to rearrange objects into something new, documenting through photographs. His interest in the staged experiences of natural history museums and gardens play into his current work.

DSC00755The works created at A.I.R. Studio begin a larger project involving a variety of boxes. The box allows the work to take on a larger narrative, holding additional, larger elements. “The focus on the box is due to its breadth of metaphors ranging from a repository of memory to vessels of delivery… A fruit crate offers up a history that differs from a milk crate or cigar box. The structure can transform into a stage in which objects interact and converse. Simultaneously it possesses an interactive quality where one has to open the box in order to reveal its inner narrative.”

Mitch is the Associate Professor of Photography at the University of Louisville. He received his M.F.A. from Ohio University.

Matt Ballard

May 15-28, 2013


Matt’s work varies in style and content. His residency fell simultaneously with the Lowertown Art and Music Festival, so he brought several finished works with him to fill the front gallery for his Open Studio event. Since graduating, Matt’s work has taken new directions, rethinking his approach to making artwork, and working outside of himself to incorporate a range of styles. His work has caused him to broaden his material understanding, a fundamental component in his ability to produce art and creative process. Limited by the lack of equipment, he has moved away from printmaking, now focusing on drawing and painting and moving into collage work.

MattBallardTheJourneyThe evolution of his style has opened up his paintings through layering components of drawn or painted images on top of another drawing or painting, treating the parts individually to construct a whole. This approach draws attention to specific areas of a work and adds both physical and visual depth to the piece. He took some of his inspiration for these collage works from Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and his research into mosaic work.

During his residency at A.I.R. Studio, Matt’s focus unexpectedly shifted from his artwork to the development of his website, a bigger project than he originally imagined. Rather than to use a standard website template, Matt has been deconstructing elements in different templates to experiment with how components work together. Using Lynda ( a website that offers online video tutorials and training to make technology more accessible, Matt has been learning how specific components in a template work together so that he can more easily manipulate them.  It seems obvious that his approach to building a website would be like to his approach to making art; cutting things apart and assembling them again to make a whole.

MattBallardBirdsFeaturedMatt Ballard is a visual artist from Falls Church, Virginia. He graduated in 2010 from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking.

Wild Turkey Music Series No. 1

May 11, 2013


On a late Saturday afternoon in May, a poet and two musicians explored the possibilities—in an eclectic exchange of words and music genres, including world beat, blues, country and rock.

Kay Lindsey, poetry Ira (Ike) Erwin, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, bells & vocals David (Dave) Phillips, guitar

Ike Erwin, native of Mayfield, Kentucky plays guitar, banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, autoharp, mandolin, harmonica, and he sings.

Ike and Dave crossed each others’ paths as musicians way back when in one of the countless area jam sessions and went on to form the Ike Brothers Blues Band. You can see Ike on YouTube with Mad Dawg Mike Hinkle in a winning performance of “The Weight” during a Kentucky Opry competition several years ago.

David (Dave) Phillips , guitarist, one of the ‘grandfathers’ of Paducahs’ underground music scene plays both solo and with bands, one of which went to the National Battle of Bands. He even played once for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Also a visual artist, Davids’ work is in both private and public collections among them, the Chicago Peace Museum, Yeiser Art Center and the Clara M. Eagle Gallery at Murray State University.

Kay S. Lindsey, poet (originally a painter), native of Washington, D.C., enjoys collaborating with artists in other disciplines, sculptors, musicians, printmakers, photographers, book artists, a metalsmith and ceramist among them. Current collaborations in progress are with cellist, Jodi Beder and Ike Irwin, bookbinder/musician. Her poem “Mad for Kites,” a recent collaboration with artist, Alonzo Davis, was on exhibit in late 2012 at Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah, Kentucky. Ancestral roots extend to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.