Turning his attention toward some quieter moments, Dmitry Samarov has an exhibit of paintings at Rational Park in Chicago.  While the still-lifes bustle with traces of hustle and human disorder, the cityscapes seem to depict a more subdued side of  Chicago than his work from Hack, which we have featured here before. See more of Samarov’s work at his website.  The exhibit runs until May 1, 2015.

Q & A with Julie Farstad

Farstad03.There'sAUnicorn… Julie Farstad, “There’s a Unicorn…”, 2014, oil on clayboard, 4″ x 4″

Julie Farstad is a painter who has worked here in Kansas City for quite some time now.  Typical descriptions of her paintings point out that they are meticulous, jewel-like and radiant, as well as uncanny and a little nightmarish.  Through some sort of impressive mental gymnastics, the work has become increasingly tender and playful over the last few years as the color has tended a little more toward harmony and the spaces have become a little more contained, all the while maintaining a subtle scent of danger.  Her 2014 exhibit at PLUG Projects was an impressive showing of new, mostly smaller paintings and work incorporating collage.

Farstad generously answered our questions at length, so I will keep this intro short.  There is a lot to read below.  Lots of substantive thoughts about making paintings, lots of good pull quotes.  You can see more of Julie Farstad’s work at her website. Please give our readers a little bit of information about yourself (upbringing, education, location, news, etc.):

I was born and raised in Elmira, New York. I earned my BFA in painting at the University of Notre Dame and my MFA in painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I currently live in Kansas City, Missouri with my husband and our four and a half year old son. I am the chair of the painting department at the Kansas City Art Institute. I am represented by Zg Gallery in Chicago and Byron Cohen Gallery in Kansas City.

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“Howlinglight”, 2015, oil on canvas, 71″ x 84″

Stephanie Pierce showed a body of work, Wake, at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects just last summer.  Now Pierce is readying to show a new body of work at Alpha Gallery in Boston with the title Radiant Welter.  The exhibit opens April 4th.  Here is a choice bit from the press release: ” With meticulously plotted out applications of paint pushing and pulling between figuration and abstraction, Pierce’s work conveys the sensation that materiality becomes elusive the minute we try to pin it down.”  

We asked Pierce a few questions about her work, and how she works lately.  She was kind enough to reply.  

After you read the Q&A below, you know you  might want to see more  of Stephanie Pierce’s work at her website.  You might want to read more about her at the website for the Joan Mitchell Foundation (Pierce received a J.M. Foundation grant last year). or read the longer interview with Pierce that Sam King posted in 2009. 

What is the hard part of painting for you?
All of it: getting started, figuring out what to start with, figuring out what is interesting there to be uncovered, figuring out what it’s going to be about, pushing past the obvious things, breaking routines, finding something new, embracing the chaos. Finding something transcendent in observing something so mundane over a long period of time, having patience and faith that something good will eventually happen through the process. Making it matter.
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untitled, 2015, oil on canvas,  56″x50″

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Eric Sall murals


Those wild and wacky folks at the U.S. General Services Office made this cool video of Eric Sall murals being installed in the Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, MO.  Check it out.  More on the mural project.  More Eric Sall.


Currently on view at Weber State University’s Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery is Pure Paint for Now People, and ambitious exhibition of contemporary painting curated by Matthew Choberka and Lydia Gravis. The show features works by many artists with whom MWC’s readers will be already familiar from previous postings, and plenty we haven’t covered before, too.

Above: Gianna Commito, Stow, 2011, courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery, NYC
Below: Installation photos, courtesy of Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery

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One of my most favorite painters, Judy Glantzman, talks to Gorky’s Grandaughter.  I can’t decide which the best part, maybe where Glantzman is crawling around on the floor on top of one of her drawings, and I’m in awe of the obvious physical investment, thinking, “Yes!  This is what being a painter is all about!”…or maybe the discussion about color and “the space in between” a few minutes later where Keeting and Glantzman really address some of painting’s more elusive aspects.  Just brilliant.

I have this great memory of being at a Glantzman show in NY with my then-two-year-old son.  We were standing in front of one of Glantzman’s paintings imitating her painting it…gesturing with our wrists and arms, saying things like, “Here she went WOOOSH and here she went SHLOOOP!”  and having a great time in front of it.  I kind of feel that same way during the moments when the camera pans over some of her work in progress.  Hope you do too.

Michael Krueger: See Be


Healer, acrylic, gesso & colored pencil on linen 30″ x 20″ (d.v.)

From the press release for Michael Krueger’s exhibit, See Be:

 The subject of the exhibition is rooted in landscape, and notions of wilderness and observation. The title, in part, refers to the act of seeing as becoming; meditative observation as a means to learn, understand and become. There is also a nod in there to the notion of live and let live, to allow nature and wildness to be, as the grateful observer.

The truth is, See Be is far less a departure for Krueger than the press release leads us to believe.  Krueger dips his toes into a new medium and new motivations.  Longtime fans will be pleased, maybe only wishing for the appearance of a cowboy, hippy or poofy-haired heavy metal singer.  It’s a funny  moment for an artist, this sort of transition, so  I’ll stop here, and let Krueger speak for himself.   See Be is on view at Haw Contemporary in Kansas City until March 13, 2015.  Read the rest of the press release here.  More Michael Krueger.  

You were a part of our Tenses of Landscape exhibit a couple years ago, how has your take on landscape as a subject changed over the last few years?  

Yeah, I have been working with the landscape for about a decade now, at first sort of unknowingly, and with the last few bodies of work with deeper intention. For my exhibition See Be, I started with a full-blown study into early American painters of the West: Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, others too. However, it might be difficult to see the association in the paintings I made, for which they are probably much better off.

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