Archive for December, 2009

Nature and Asian calligraphy inspired AAU instructor and prolific artist Jenny Balisle to create the most striking compositions that encompass stunning effects. A large body of work that represents diligence interwoven with innovation teases us with unresolved questions on technique. The complexity of Jenny’s artistic process is juxtaposed with the simplicity of the choice of subject. Pigment soaked in layers of solvent-rich oil boasts of variation in application techniques. This very lucidity defines her artistic identity. In conversation with Jenny Balisle who taught me how to get better at what I do:

  • You are obviously committed solely to abstraction. However, some of your drawings involve repetition and meditative mark making that have dared to venture into the representational world. Does the highly personal and rhythmic quality of line encourage you to cross conventional borders in order to find expression?

My pen and ink drawings explore repetitions of line and organic forms. As a result, I explore the simplicity and complexity of gestures, marks, lines and textures. Often, viewers will observe a symbol or form from nature. As a result, the mark making of the art becomes a language of expression. Therefore, I cross borders through the viewer’s interpretation of the art.

  • I helped to display your paintings at the Faculty-Alumni Auction and I have to admit that I was completely floored by the beautiful and finely layered surfaces. Would you like to share your secrets with us?

In my latest body of work, each painting took over 2 1/2 years to complete because of the drying process of multiple oil paint and mediums layers. The secret is having time and patience on your side.

  • Photographs do absolutely no justice to your work. The composition is undoubtedly minimalistic but only close observation reveals how committed you are to your method of painting. How did your process find you?

My process has taken years to accomplish and will continue to evolve over my life. Artists have to discover what they excel at, work hard and make it the best possible within their skill set. Make art that is your own and do not copy.

  • You are extremely well-informed about the current art scene, concepts of art and have a lot to offer in class. How challenging was it for the student in you to emerge into an instructor while you juggled with the ceaseless quest to establish yourself as an artist?

. It’s very important to know how your art fits into the current contemporary scene. It helps an artist look at their art honestly. In addition, being a fulltime artist prior to teaching guided me as an instructor. To me, teaching is giving back knowledge to promising artists. However, establishing yourself as an artist takes a lifetime.

  • How does being a woman affect your role as an artist? What project have you undertaken to promote women artists?

. I proudly take the “labels” as artist, educator, advocate, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and woman. Of course being a woman has affected my role as an artist and I have been rejected based on that. However, the strength I’ve gained from these experiences provides the inspiration to work harder to produce the best art possible.Ultimately it should be about the quality of the art and I look forward to a time of equality. Even though I feel positive about the direction of the art world’s perspective towards women, progress has been slow. As a result, I’m curating and participating in a show featuring eleven women artists. The women range in ages, education and background. Please check out the website and blog: www.factorxx.com.

JBP67222252V- Jenny Balisle

JBP67222252V- Jenny Balisle

Class with Carrie Ann Plank is the simultaneous culmination of fun and the deceptive obliteration of labor. It is hard to categorize her into anything other than the ‘accomplished artist and ingenious instructor’. Dexterous and cognizant, this multifaceted ally cum tutor makes the miter saw seem less intimidating and printmaking more fascinating to me. I bring to you a demo in the hope that it might lure you into bringing her Mixed Media class into your life.

Armed with printmaking, the content, concept, and context of her work find themselves rendered through an amalgam of diverse techniques. Her approach is informed by a plethora of information and found imagery. Carrie Ann effortlessly accommodates ‘manuals, treatises, medical texts, records, and charts and diagrams of all descriptions’ to create a unique repertoire whose quest for aesthetics in atypical spaces redefines convention and confronts perception.

Begging the question - Carrie Ann Plank

Begging the question - Carrie Ann Plank

Greg Gandy created quite a stir at the Faculty-Alumni auction this year. His paintings were a popular choice and sold for the highest bids at the Live Auction. On his experience at the auction he states, “In retrospect, I am very proud to have been one amongst many talented artists in this year’s faculty alumni auction. I am especially proud that I was able to support the Academy through it’s scholarship fund. On the day of the auction, however, I was impressed with the excitement in the air about art in general. It was especially rewarding to have that excitement be due to the few pieces I had in the auction. The live auction was especially memorable. It was fun to see patrons bidding live on my piece.”

Art summoned Greg in his sophomore year, perhaps residually from childhood creativity indulgences. Greg’s quest for skill brought him to AAU and his impressive work amasses assiduous and countless hours in the studio, “I can’t put into words why, its just something I have in me. I think because it doesn’t come easy to me I never get tired of doing it. To me being a painter is like being a great problem solver. Each painting requires a new way of thinking and fixing the scene to create a successful painting. … I am in the studio just like its an everyday job. I paint from 8am to 7pm because I feel like that’s what it takes to get better.”

A recent graduate, this remarkable go-getter paints realistic, detail-oriented landscapes of San Francisco amongst other things. Currently represented by John Pence Gallery his still lifes and urban landscapes are a must-see for all.

Rainydayonmarketstreet- Greg Gandy

Rainy day on Market Street- Greg Gandy


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