Making a field trip to Austin's newest gallery

Tuesday Night Painting #27

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Hello painters,

Back at the beginning of June, I took you on a virtual field trip to Braddock, PA to visit Unsmoke Systems Artspace. That was the last time I visited an art gallery in person until this past weekend, when I took a trip to a spot on the east side of Austin called Ivester Contemporary.

If you can recall from our visit to Braddock, Unsmoke is situated across the street from Pittsburgh's last fully functioning steel mill (the Edgar Thompson Steel Works). The vibe is a little bit different with this Austin gallery. The only thing approximating the feel of seeing a steel mill smokestack is the cloud of vape smoke coming from an iced coffee sipping patron sitting outside the trendy café.

On that day my destination was located in what's called Canopy Austin, a four-acre former complex of Goodwill warehouses which have been snazzily renovated and transformed into an arts oasis. Large windows allow you to peer into the row of galleries that fill up the ground floor of the main building. Most exterior surfaces are covered up with colorful murals and painted patterns. There are chic retail stores as well as art studios for painters, printmakers, photographers, and more.

Brooke Burnside, Tether
2018, Chalk Pastel on Paper, 30 x 22 in
Brooke Burnside, More is More I
2020, Watercolor Collage and Chalk Pastel on Paper, 15 x 15 in
Ivester Contemporary is, to my knowledge, the newest art gallery in Austin with a brand new exhibition launched just a week ago. There was a lot on offer at Ivester for their Maiden Voyage. They've assembled a group of 18 artists from around Texas, a good amount of them working abstractly. With 18 artists you're always going to have a range of art; the curation here went broad rather than deep.

Even within the abstract work, there was an array of different approaches, which is something I love to see when I'm looking for things to talk about or to teach with. There was something for everyone here. Brooke Burnside made some very enticing hard-edged chalk pastel and collage pieces, working with a geometric style I always love to see.

Ariel Rene Jackson raided the hardware store and the garden center for supplies, creating collage, abstracted images using powder, soil, cement, and paint. These paintings had a grit and texture that invited you to explore them close up, and a lengthy materials list that asked you to search for hints of each material and how it contributed to the piece's creation.
Ariel Rene Jackson, Home Away From Home, 2020, 24 x 24 in
Cement, Chocolate Loam Soil, Red Chalkline Powder, Blue Chalkline Powder, Blue Matte Ink, "Tool Shed" Image Ink Print on Linen, Black Gouache on Panel
Ariel Rene Jackson, Porch Throne, 2020, 24 x 24 in
Cement, Found Metal, Red Chalk Line Powder, Blue Chalk Line Powder, Blue Matte Ink, "Grandpa's Porch Chair" Image Ink Print on Linen, Black Gouache Paint on Panel
Ryan Thayer Davis
The Octonions, 2020, Oil & Acrylic on Canvas, 62 x 60 in
But the biggest and boldest works were these canvases by Ryan Thayer Davis. The colors are all high key, saturated, and attention demanding.

There was artwork in this show that was pensive, quiet, subtle. These paintings acted as an emotional counterweight, with their playful bright yellows and magentas.

These paintings are joyful, maybe even a little goofy. Many of them make use of that warm, golden yellow color that's identical to the one Crayola uses for it's packaging. And sometimes the paint is layered on so thickly you can see it protruding out off the canvas, like discs of Play-doh or chewing gum slapped onto the surface. I couldn't get away from associations with childhood playtime. I have to imagine these paintings were fun to make.
You can view the rest of the offerings from Ivester Contemporary here at this link. I'm excited to see what else is coming up from this gallery, since they are emphasizing the contemporary and the local in their curation. 

Painters, have you been to any galleries in person this summer? If you have, write in and let me know how the experience was for you and what it is that you saw.
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I recommend / insist / demand that you look at these colored pencil pieces by "polyglot painter" Laura Lit. These have been on my mind for two weeks now since I first came across them.

I greatly admire the color transitions and soft gradients present in each of these works. There's a softness and also an eeriness in each of these pieces, which I think is a great combination to have but a difficult one to achieve with any consistency. 

FUZZY FORCES is a show of colored pencil drawings by Dallas-born, Austin-based artist Laura Lit. A new drawing is posted each week on this site until the set is complete.

Online Courses
with Tuesday Night Painting

One last reminder to check out my online art class offerings before we get things started on October 5th, next Monday.

If you've been out of the swing of things lately and want to kickstart your art-making once again, taking an online class will help you put aside some special time for painting. These classes will give you a chance to carve out a special time in your week that you can dedicate to actually making the paintings you're just thinking about.
Edvard Munch
Summer Night in Asgaardstrand,1904, Oil on canvas
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Quick Links
Another one for the "why did it take so long?" file (this isn't a great name for a file, I'm open to suggestions). This newsletter has mentioned quite a few artists who either passed on or waited late until their 80s or 90s to receive the artistic recognition they deserved. Here is a story from the NY Times about Virginia Jaramillo, an artist who is having her first solo exhibition at the age of 81.
This is an article from the writer David Carrier covering two recent books about abstract art and history. The Abstract Pissarro book seems especially relevant to my Abstract Landscapes class.
Mary Weatherford displays some large, black and white and neon expressionist paintings at the Gagosian in London.
Cecily Brown displays a series of new abstract works inspired by the collection at the monumental Blenheim Palace.  
That'll do it for this week, painters. This week I've been hearing for the first time about the Canadian musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland. His enormous catalog of music was rediscovered by a Japanese music aficionado, which led to their remastering and rerelease.

You can read about the musician's journey here in this article from the New Republic.

You can listen to a variety of his here music on Bandcamp.

See you next time, and happy painting.
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