My most recent work involves the idea of the domestic, platonic- yet secretly dysfunctional western family. I have been questioning: when does something that is so pleasant, become disturbing? I make images that are beautiful, happy, nostalgic, and push them to their possible breaking point, when their pleasantries overtake them, and they reach a level that is no longer enjoyable, but somewhat uncomfortable. I make this work to be lovely, allowing for the possibility that something grotesque is trying to surface. I have no desire to use watercolors in a traditional way. I paint horizontally on large sheets of paper, allowing pools of water and pigment to collect, staining the paper, and drying willy-nilly, in haphazard patterns. It bleeds, stains and soils my subjects while maintaining the domestic, crafty, mundane-ness that suburban watercolor paintings tend to possess. I often break basic compositional rules by cropping the paintings, sometimes even dismembering my subjects. All these elements make this medium the perfect vehicle to create my collection of contradictions. As for my subject matter, I paint family photographs, examining moments from three generations of my normal, yet sometimes odd genealogy, using my own family and lifestyle as an example of a bigger picture. From my grandparents’ highly dysfunctional marriage to my Labrador I use humor, color and beauty to portray something quite ominous living behind the closed doors of suburbia.
Rob Zeller was born and grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although he has resided in New York City for 12 years, the surrealistic and Catholic Baroque quality of his birthplace permeates his art to this day.
He received a BFA from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University, and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. He studied with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier. He is the recipient of two Posey Fellowships and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Rob has taught at the New York Academy of Art, the Stevenson Academy of Fine Art, and the Long Island Academy of Fine Art. He has exhibited in galleries in New York City and nationally.
In January 2009, he founded the Teaching Studios of Art, with locations in Brooklyn and Oyster Bay, Long Island.
Painting in the realist tradition, Hyeseung focuses largely on female subjects in exploring humanistic themes and the nature of the artistic experience and art-making. Born in Seoul, Korea, and educated at Harvard and Princeton Universities, and the prestigious Water Street Atelier, Hyeseung works from observation and imagination to create figure paintings with landscape, still life and interior elements whose innate beauty and uniqueness she reveres and whose essential nature she hopes to distill through the act of painting. More than anything, Hyeseung attempts to come to art and the act of art-making with a sense of wonder, humanity and awareness of the complex circumstances of the artistic pursuit.
Bennett’s subjects are taken from the material that he finds interesting in the everyday world around him. Working from life, he finds that the time he spends studying the subject leads to a greater understanding and emotional connection with the material. Inspired by the great realists who captured the poignant in the commonplace, this process enables Bennett to grasp what is significant, permanent, and worthy of communicating in a work of art.
Kristin’s work allows her to bring her own universe into existence. With brush in hand, she strives to elicit a dreamlike sense of introspection and calm, and to produce art that encourages people to make up their own stories about the subject. Whether they feature a pristine stream, a glass of deep red wine, or the faces of the people around her, Kristin’s works are suffused with inner light and soft color. She paints true to the classical styles, with a sense of timelessness and longevity to her work.
My work investigates a world of visual intoxication; it captures moments of enchantment, which are associated with urban nightlife. I am fascinated by the ambiance of the city at night and its seductive qualities. The breathtaking turbulence of speeding vehicles and hasty pedestrians evoke feelings of wonder and disorientation. The vibrant lights become a magical landscape with enticing opportunities and promises of fulfillment.
I recreate the feeling of dizziness and confusion by letting the paint blur and allowing shapes to dissolve. I suggest motion in order to slow down the scene and capture the fleeting moments, which tend to be forgotten. The sense of motion is intensified with the use of quick vigorous lines and sharp perspectives. By interpreting lights in graphic or painterly ways, I create a sense of space, alluding to a hallucinogenic experience. I want the viewer’s eye to travel within my composition and experience a familiar, exhilarating event of an actual nightly excursion.
Painter and teacher of classical realism. Studied under Peter Bougie and at The Florence Academy of Art. (b Minnesota, USA 1978)
I was raised in a small, and in the off-season, isolated beach town; the sea, and by extension the natural elements, have had a lasting impact on me and my work. My first formal art training was, fittingly, in Provincetown on Cape Cod, also an environment closely associated with nature. There I studied with teachers who traced their artistic lineage back to Charles Hawthrone and, like him, were deeply moved by the seaside display of color and light.
I subsequently studied in Venice, Italy—the birthplace of Tintoretto—and I believe modern painting. There I developed a love for decoration—not meaning the apologetic connotations that this word suffers in the modernist sense—but rather the quality that refers to the abstract significance of design elements. Line, color, form and composition are the ascendant principles informing my art making.
I have never been an astute admirer of realism. Instead I have embraced an archaic visual language that though clearly representational, seeks to express a mortal existence abutting the greater truths of myth, magic and fantasy. The three works for this exhibition began as small plein air studies—later worked up in the studio. Their collective title is telling and references a midlife crisis, and finding Mann’s novella while wandering late at night through Union Square in the throes of a near fatal romantic obsession.
Broadly speaking, this current body of work relates to ideas of balance. It deals with the tensions present during the process of resolution between opposing elements, the struggle to regain or to retain balance where the scale has shifted. It suggests the uncertainty of those moments where outcomes are the most shadowy and unpredictable, and how we are forced to confront them.