106 Green, located at 104 Green Street in Greenpoint, is an alternative gallery co-founded by artists Holly Coulis, Ridley Howard, and Mitchell Wright. Established in 2009, and open only on weekends, this space provides exhibition opportunities for artists with exceptional talent but who are undiscovered. The man behind the scenes at 106 Green is director Jon Lutz. Jon has been an integral addition to the gallery since 2016, providing a breadth of curatorial and gallery expertise as a former gallerist at Sardine and independent curator at Daily Operation. Since his arrival, 106 Green has successfully exhibited solo shows of several notable artists including Elise Ferguson, Julie Curtiss, and Ginny Casey. Here, Jon and I discuss his role at 106 Green, alongside their current exhibition, Sunnyside, featuring artist Karin Campbell. Continue reading
By Madeline Ehrlich
Danielle Orchard greets me with a big smile in her Greenpoint studio. We just met two months prior at her solo exhibition, “A Little Louder, Love,” at Jack Hanley Gallery. Danielle and I immediately connect over our shared Midwestern roots, having both spent four idyllic years in Bloomington, Indiana for college. While in her studio, I am drawn to a painting of a woman bathing with her head laid back on the edge of a tub. In some areas, a color change designates a volumetric form, and in another moment, it will depict a flattened shape. The clarity she has in her vision is insurmountable, and echoes in the candor of her paintings.
Orchard’s figures exist in their own reality; they are neither staged nor stumbled upon, yet seek both attention and solitude. She invokes figuration of the past and present. Inspired by how the nude woman has been portrayed throughout Western art history, she uniquely explores the familiar yet overlooked shapes of the female figure. Orchard reveals how a woman’s body flattens in a bathtub while breasts buoy to the surface, how her arms tangle overhead while taking off a shirt, and how her curves contour the ground while laying nude in grass. Repeating tulip and cigarette motifs are reflected in her figures’ pubic and elegant fingers, signaling impermanence, or a momentary recess. Danielle explains to me that those activities we visualize ourselves doing we can biologically benefit from as if we were physically doing them. While viewing her paintings, we are all in some way benefiting from their requiescence.
Greenpointers: When were you first exposed to art growing up?
Danielle Orchard: I was born in Michigan City, IN and grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. Both of my brothers and a lot of my family are into skateboarding. I was never a skateboarder, but creativity was always around me. There was always this sense of making art which shaped the community, like building the skate park which was fairly engrossing while I was growing up. I drew as a kid, and remember always asking for art supplies for holidays. Both of my parents are design minded, my dad a really good draftsman and my mom a flower hobbyist. I think once you’re recognized as being talented as a kid, you sort of decide that is the thing you’re going to pursue. I had an art teacher in high school who was really supportive. There was always that sense that art was serious, but not to say that that was never mutable. It has always been subject to various pressures and even taste throughout college and graduate school.
GP: In your interview with MaakeMagazine in October 2017, you mentioned you would like your drawings to be standalone pieces. How is that process going?
DO: Not well! I’m always so impatient to get painting. I do keep a pretty steady sketching practice and I also take a lot of written notes. I think it’s interesting when painters take color notes to plan for future paintings. Drawing is so much a part of the way I paint that I feel that the urge is satisfied there. The early stages of my paintings are typically linear. I don’t see much of a division between drawing and painting in my process, so I guess that’s why I’m okay with drawing not being a distinct thing where I show the work independently. I do think a lot about Nicole Eisenman’s decision to stop painting for a year and what that means to fully shift focus to a different medium. In the future it’s something that I’m interested in to turn off oil paint for a while and see what happens.
Spring is approaching, and you know what that means- it’s Armory Week in New York! In addition to The Armory Show, the other fairs Volta, SPRING/BREAK, Art on Paper, NADA, Independent, and SCOPE are happening all around the city. Our team at Greenpointers created a road map highlighting some North Brooklyn artists and galleries that will be exhibiting throughout the week, along with when and where to catch them. Enjoy!
March 6-12: SPRING/BREAK Art Show (4 Times Square)
- Hiba Schahbaz (Bushwick): The Garden curated by Field Projects; Room 2362; also exhibiting at Art on Paper with Sugarlift; Booth 417
- Carolyn Salas and Maureen Cavanaugh (Greenpoint): Here Now curated by Adam Parker Smith; Room 2370
- Brian Willmont (Greenpoint): Milk Thieves curated by Alison Sirico; Room 2374, and Human Now curated by Kara Brooks; Room 2319
- Kawita Vatanajyankur: Rituals of Otherness curated by Alexandra Fanning (East Williamsburg); Room 2232
- Macon Reed: A Pressing Conference presented by Helen Toomer (Williamsburg); Room 2221; Daily performances will take place at 1pm and 4pm
- Caris Reid (former Greenpointer): Crystal Visions curated by Sarah Potter; Room 2364/2365
- Eric Lee Bowman (Greenpoint): What’s Past Prologue curated by Kristin Sancken; Room 2369
It’s hard not to love sculptor Hein Koh and her carefully constructed amorphous spandex sculptures. Nearly twice her height, Hein’s wide eyed and weeping flowers watch over us while we talk. Her Greenpoint studio feels like a remix to a more extensive, and sparkling, Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse set, a reference she immediately identifies with. A mother to twin daughters, Ami and Oni, the brilliant whimsical world Hein has created explores the innocence of childhood, and the melancholy she faces in her inability to return to such virtuous times. Continue reading
I spent last Wednesday evening with artist Matthew F. Fisher at his new studio in Inglewood, California, a diversified and quieter southwest suburb of Los Angeles. We began the night at Fisher’s home by unboxing various eras of paintings and ink drawings, the evidence of a recent cross coastal move. It was a treasure hunt, where the gold was getting to examine his tight, ornamental, almost sculptural figures up-close. Matthew, his wife Nora and their 16-month-old son Ferdinand moved to Inglewood six months ago after living and working in Greenpoint for eleven years. Their relocation was prompted in part by their desire to be closer to family, and for Nora’s continuing education.
After getting acquainted with Fisher’s neighborhood, we made it over to his studio building in downtown Inglewood. The neighboring storefront, coincidentally titled Big Wave Realty, was labeled with a hand-painted wooden sign in the shape of a breaking tidal wave. Matthew smiled adding, “They asked me if I would hang up a painting.” While the move has had distinct influences on Fisher’s work, his various iconic seafaring motifs seem to be around to stay. Leaping synchronized waves, stoic ocean rocks, and tides peeling back to reveal glittering sand are all seemingly familiar imagery, but now with a West Coast influence.
Greenpointers: How has your work changed since moving to L.A.?
Matthew F. Fisher: I’ve been obsessed with this idea of near symmetry. I used to see it in paintings by John Mclaughlin, an abstract minimalist painter from L.A. in the 1950s. After I moved out here, I started to look at the architecture and noticed that the structure of the houses would be symmetrical, but then the windows would be slightly off. I feel like that energy is starting to play into the work in a way where I am not interested necessarily in working symmetrically, but I’m interested in the idea of elements being almost symmetrical or elements indirectly lining up symmetrically with other elements. For me, it makes it not necessarily supernatural, but a once in a lifetime experience. These things had to have happened at some point in time, considering we’ve been around for tens of thousands of years. The paintings are almost like this snapshot, or a wink in time I am capturing.
Louis Fratino’s Long Island City studio is part of the Artha Project artist residency program. Among the others in the shared studio space, I am quickly drawn to a long wall jeweled with multiple small paintings that hold snapshots of moments shared between Louis and those close to him. A gentle stretch from an inversion, a simple sip from a cup, two figures nuzzling in bed, the paintings bolster warmth, solidarity, and peacefulness. His works are clearly intimate in both scale and subject. Each supple figure is cradled safely in its tight frame, yielding both tenderness and eroticism. His painting in progress hangs in the center of a paint speckled circle, warmly haloed by the brush strokes of preceding works. There is an intuitive desire to squeeze the juicy feet and bellies of his adoring figures. The dry and waxy rendering of paint invite a closer look into his inventive mark making techniques that create a diverse textural surface.
Greenpointers: When were you first exposed to art as a child?
Louis Fratino: My first experience with art was probably my amazement with various illustrations in children’s books as a kid. I used to hoard books and try to figure out how they could make the character look the same on each page. I made my own versions of books as a kid. We also lived not so far from Washington D.C., so I was able to go to the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art which was incredible. I always really loved drawing and don’t remember having a defining moment of figuring that out. It was just always something that I did. I would go through multiple reams of printer paper in a weekend. Eventually my parents noticed and heard from my teachers that I was very interested in art. I took art classes in high school where we had a very robust program. The art room was in the old gymnasium where six or seven people could be working on easels at one time. I have always made work about relationships and intimacy and love. In high school I was making paintings about my siblings, and when I was in a relationship I started painting the person I was with.
Louis: I decided I wanted to study painting my freshman year of college. I was trying to entertain the idea of a dual degree in illustration right up until graduation. I made a manuscript for a children’s book and had done some editorial pieces. I decided it wouldn’t be possible to go all the way and do both at the same time. There are tons of artists who make publications and do things outside of painting when they’re older that I want to do, but I think right now it just demands too much to try to build both of those careers. Illustration in a way feels harder to me sometimes because you don’t get to just generate your own material. And maybe that’s why I’m ultimately a painter.
Giordanne Salley spends a few weeks each summer out of the city. She retreats to the rocky coastlines and glacier-carved forests of our Northeastern-most state. There, she quickly assumes the circadian rhythms of nature, in part, encouraged by a lack of cell phone reception. Swimming, kayaking, and hiking, Salley studies the sun and changing colors of the day. Upon returning to New York she begins painting these summer experiences. Nude figures running freely among raw pebbly beaches, silky waters, and deciduous brush; Giordanne has managed to transport the spirit of the spruce islands to her Greenpoint studio.
Greenpointers: When were you first exposed to art as a child?
Giordanne Salley: I am originally from Southwest Ohio. My parents took us to the Dayton Art Institute on the weekends which had an interesting collection of art for a city of its size. We would picnic in the gardens and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the various exhibits. I remember once looking at a Josef Albers’ red square painting and wondering why it was in a museum. I find it ironic now because I’ve taken color theory classes and really appreciate his work. Being homeschooled until the sixth grade, my parents always encouraged me to take on any form of self-expression I wanted. I was constantly being supplied with paper and drawing tools. I could organize my time differently than kids in school, and was able to spend a lot of time exploring nature. This remains very important to me and my paintings.
Kate McQuillen greets me from the driveway of her charming and noteworthy Greenpoint house, directing me into the garage where her fluorescent printmaking studio is set up. Her companion Kassie, a sterling herding dog, is attentively surveying the area and happy to have another to look after. The inherent New York City ankle weights have already slipped away, leaving us to speak candidly in Kate’s kaleidoscopic space. While we talk, the garage door remains open and Kate periodically greets her neighbors passing by. I feel as if I have crossed a portal into an alternate dimension, or at least am no longer in the city.
Greenpointers: When were you first exposed to art as a child?
Kate McQuillen: My dad studied painting in graduate school, and during my childhood worked as a graphic designer in Boston. We always had an art studio in the house, which allowed me the opportunity to experiment with literal cut and paste tools like transfer paper. I’d imagine this is what initially pushed me into printmaking. I think of printmaking processes as the perfect place between design tools and fine art tools. I always had a lot of interest in drawing, but was never super into oil paint. I think my new work is taking on a form reminiscent of paintings, but I can still use the printmaking tools I’ve grown to know and love. Continue reading
Aaron Zulpo‘s Greenpoint studio is a multitude of raw canvas hung on paint-stained walls. In the middle stands a table topped with piles of paint, smelling rich of linseed oil. His work looks immediately relatable, a style he later describes to me as “Cartoon Realism”. The divisions of brightly colored vignettes create elaborate narratives, enticing the viewer to engage further.
GP: When were you first exposed to art as a child? Are there visual influences from your childhood that currently influence your work?
Aaron Zulpo: I grew up in the Midwest and wasn’t exposed to a lot of art until high school. I was always a doodler, however, replicating imagery from comic books and a duplicated bronze Remington cowboy statue we had in the house. As far as visual references from my childhood go— action movies, bright colors, cowboys robbing a train—these are all things I liked as a child and I still like now. I took art classes in high school and really loved a specific sculpture class. After that I decided to apply to art school. This was the first time where all my classes related to one another. I could be in 2D Design in the morning, and learning about the same concepts and principles in afternoon art history. It was very exciting. Continue reading