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.
During 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.
When 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 www.jonpaulcsmith.com.
September 2-15, 2013
Jeannette 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.
Jeannette 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.
May 29-June 12, 2013
New 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.
He 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.
The 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.