Suzan Woodruff’s most recent body of work involving multiple and various painting series she has worked on since the Burning Woman Project is created through a self-invented and designed “Gravity easel,” which though gravitational forces allows control of water and paint, creates echo’s and spectacles of nature, fractals and waves, and natural phenomena. A. Moret, in the winter 13/14 issue of Art Ltd., wrote ” The “echo presented in these works is visceral, devastating and beautiful.” Woodruff’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in the US, Europe and Asia. She is a recipient of an NEA/Arizona grant and residencies from the Sanskriti Center for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and 18th Street Arts Center. Woodruff has been reviewed in Art Ltd., Budapest Sun, ArtPulse, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and Delhi Today.
Woodruff was born in Phoenix, AZ. From an early age, she began exploring the desert, immersing herself in endless spaces and spectacular natural vistas that would later become essential to her art. She was raised by her gold-prospector grandparents who taught her how to “read” rocks and by her mother, who lived a distinctly Arizona-bohemian lifestyle. She remains an avid hiker, biker, boogie boarder and reader of rocks as well as books. Woodruff received an art scholarship to attend Arizona State University. She soon began exhibiting her work and left Arizona for Los Angeles and New York. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist Bruce Bauman and their two dogs.
For more info on Eric Minh Swenson visit his website at thuvanarts.com.
Leslie Lew, Wonder Woman Making a Splash, Sculpted Oil on Canvas, 60 x 36 inches, 2012
American Pop artist Leslie Lew, who has been creating her unique “sculpted oils” for 30 years, actually is following a 3,500-year-old artistic tradition that art historians believe began on the island of Crete, site of the earliest known frescoes.
Unlike paintings done onto walls, frescoes are painted while their plaster base is wet—thus the term, “wet-on-wet”—so that the pigments are absorbed into the drying plaster. Because the pigments are part of the wall, they are not as vulnerable to the myriad threats to paintings applied only on the surface, and they have endured for centuries.
Using the wet-on-wet technique with oil paints, Lew swiftly applies various coats of paint onto the base layers while they are wet, creating a high relief for her special three-dimensional effect.
“I start with a blank canvas that I sketch out with all the drawing and detail. I then go into it by mounding titanium white acrylic paint with brushes to create the forms. I go back with thick oil paint, wet on wet, until I finish the painting. I only work on one painting at a time.
Lew explains that at first, she used a base of layers of oil paint. “The earlier paintings before 1992 were created entirely in oil paint, without the foundation of titanium white acrylic.” But she notes that oil paint can take up to 200 years to dry, this created subsurface problems, so she switched to the quick-drying acrylic for a stable base layer.
Virginia Miller, owner and director of Greater Miami’s longest-established fine art gallery, says that in her more than 40 years’ experience in art she has never seen anyone who creates high-relief oil paintings of nostalgic subjects like Lew. In Miller’s words: “Leslie Lew is truly an American original.”
During his visit to Miami, Jose Angel Vincench was interviewed in the gallery by Veronica Hernandez of Coral Gables TV. The artist describes his art, which has focused on Cuba’s “Women in White,” political prisoners, and other sociopolitical issues as “an extension of myself.”
According to Vincench, the current exhibition–“Vincench vs Vincench, A Dissident Dialogue from Cuba”–is his self-examination of the concepts of dissidence and exile, universal issues that have affected not only Cubans but many others throughout history.
Ned Evans, Bingo, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 41 x 41 inches
When a surfer catches a wave perfectly, for a few ecstatic moments his body, the surfboard and the sea become one, flying with the wind toward the implacable beach. Malibu, Baja, El Salvador, Hawaii: the Meccas of surfing have been the classrooms of Ned Evans for nearly a half-century, just as were the art classes of Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Larry Bell and Craig Kaufman at the University of California at Irvine.
Evans’ exuberant canvases, inspired by surf and strand, evolved from “natural influences of the ocean, transferring its movement and energy into abstracts of color, strokes, patterns and layers,” according to the artist, who states:
“The physicality of surfing and the immersion in the medium translate into what happens in the studio. It’s not conscious—it just happens for me. I like to immerse myself in the process of the painting and the liquidity of the paint. Everything’s done wet on wet, and it carries right over into a similar sensation when you’re surfing. In other words, it’s about getting lost, losing the gravitational pull, or at least suspending it all for a moment.”
Evans’ paintings have been featured in more than 100 exhibitions in such leading venues as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, the La Jolla Museum of Art, and the Laguna Beach Museum of Contemporary Art.
Urban Cries, 24 x 18 1/8 inches, 61 x 46 cm, 2006, Oil on Canvas, WND1
As with so much Chinese contemporary art, the sensuous women depicted by Wang Niandong are more than meets the eye, according to one critic. Chinese artist Wang Niandong frequently superimposes a young woman against an urban background with butterflies, gazelles or other symbolic references to nature.
Most critics think the butterflies refer to a transformative effect, suggesting that clothes—or in Wang’s case, lack of them—or cosmetics have changed a young woman into a sexual commodity. At least one of the artist’s paintings refer to Japanese art, however, and in Japanese culture butterflies also connote promiscuity, thus the artist may be lamenting a lapse in traditional sexual restraint.
According to Dr. Bobbie Allen, “Chinese art is exploding in the world market because the art world has been flooded with imitations of Western styles. Collectors hungry for the ‘contemporary’ without the ‘weird’ or abstract snatch up nostalgic landscapes or romantic portraits executed with immaculate technique and virtually no origin.
“Wang, it seems to me, has put all his women in this position. She (Wang’s archetypal woman) always seems to me to be like Chinese art itself, which can no longer look back on its past, but rather than forging a new future for itself, puts on the lurid clothes of American capitalism and sells herself like hotcakes.”
Clowns, Money, Plane and Love, 11 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches (30 x 120 cm), Oil on Canvas, , 2007
Born in 1978 in Sichuan Province, Wang attended Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and completed his graduate work in the oil painting department of Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2002