May 2013 Archives

Matthew Zefeldt

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When viewing Zefeldt's work, I felt aesthetically pleased, yet unsettled. I am unsettled because of the inaccurate perspective and dizzying colors - some of the same reasons I am aesthetically pleased.

I feel as if many artists create work for their audience. They don't always enjoy the process of what they do. They're creating a product for themselves, and then giving that product to their audience. I enjoyed the Zefeldt differed from this stereotype. Through his lecture, you could tell how in love with the process he actually was. Yet because of this, he does not make large jumps forward in his work. Change and growth happens very slowly.

I am saying he differs from that stereotype because of the studies he does of each painting to create new paintings. He is not worried about boring his audience because he isn't creating work for them. Through this, you can tell that he really does love the process of creating these paintings. His process that he spoke about was inspiring to me and I am happy he decided to share it in his lecture.

Matthew Zefeldt

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My overall impression of Matthew Zefeldt is, wow this guy must not get bored very easily. This was my impression because of how repetitious his work is. He is able to not just make one very large painting all the same style and pattern, but then he goes on to make even more of them. He seems to get one idea in his head and be able to work on it for a very long time. This was very interesting in his work with sequel paintings. Though, personally I only found this significant with his comic book inspired paintings. It was like he saw the same image in a different way when he went back to it later on. It makes me think of how two people can experience the same thing but see it different ways. I know that some painters can create a piece, and then keep coming back to it because they find things they want to change. They are never officially done with it because it is never good enough. I can't be sure this is what Zefeldt was thinking when he created so many similar pieces, but it could be that instead of just continuing to perpetually work on the same painting, he would rather just start all over when he envisions the same thing a slightly different way. It is interesting to see the resulting different paintings next to each other. It could help the viewer see the way the artist sees, and better appreciate their progress and thought process though out creating the piece.

Matthew Zefeldt

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I really enjoyed Matthew Zefeldt's talk. I am also a huge fan of comics and for him to show a bunch of work from when he was an undergrad and recreating some of these scenes from comic books was just awesome. You could definitely see a clear line from how he got from one point to another in the sense of his artwork. I am also a huge fan of using lots of colors so this was another bonus in my book for Matthew. All of the slides of his work and how he created it was also very interesting for me. It was almost as if he laid out a timeline of pieces and how he went from one step to another and I really liked being able to follow his thoughts along with his work. Matthew seemed to really connect to his audience as well which made that talk that much more enjoyable. I didn't even mind when he went over the time limit, I could have sat there for much longer listening to him talk about his painting and I feel like this is something that doesn't happen to me all that often anymore, usually be the end of the hour I'm ready to go! With all this said, the one thing that I had a hard time understanding was his increased use of heads in his work. I just don't think I personally like the super colorful background and then a not so interesting head looking at me. I know he teaches some classes here at the U and I think I may try to take some with him, he seems like a really down to earth and creative guy.

Mathew Zefeldt

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I have had the chance to take a class with Mathew and his art reflects his personality. It is refreshing in colors and uses many techniques in one piece. I have had other students ask about his work, they thought that his paintings were Photoshop creations. I had researched him and thought the same before having the opportunity to see him work in person.

All of his paintings are created with paint and he also uses photographs of sculpture heads that he uses for reference. His work does not photograph well. I wish everyone had the opportunity to see his work in person. We could have his work in the Nash gallery in the future so others can have the opportunity to see his work in person.
It was a well laid out lecture, he incorporated art the inspired him and the comic books that also inspired me. It was refreshing that he went there and painted piles of poop. I have learned so much from him and one thing is to push the materials to learn what they can do for you.

It was wonderful that he explained were he came from and it was interesting that he used an image a sculpture that he created when he was a small child. I never take the time to reflect on things I did as a child but, I think now looking back I have create things could have connections to work I have recently completed.

Link to him web site: http://www.mathewzefeldt.com/work/single-gallery/17802619

-Nina A.

Penelope Umbrico at Bethel

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As some of you may know Mrs. Umbrico also had a studio talk with the curator of photography from the M.I.A., David Little, at Bethel University. I attended this talk last Thursday instead of the lecture at the influx. The lecture was very inviting as people were sitting close and personal with David and Penelope in the gallery space where Penelope's work was on display. It was very spiritual, as it would be because we were at Bethel, with the sunset streaming in from the windows lightening the space. Penelope was very informative about her work, which was refreshing because so many artists don't give enough insight. The information was almost too much, but it did not take away from her work, but only add to it. I though the most interesting point made was when David said "Some would not consider this work as photography". Penelope responded with "this is photography as a subject". They also talked about how the photo world is now responding to this type of work. Penelope said she thought it was great that more and more were accepting her work because now they are finally dealing with the same issues she has been for awhile now. When Penelope explains her work I feel it only creates a deeper understanding, my favorite is when she said "it's not picture making, but these images are part of our now culture." I think it is interesting that Penelope is working with these types of image creating, I love that she is creating new works that people challenge!

-By the way the Penelope Umbrico Collaboration is now on display in the Quarter Gallery if anyone is interested in checking that out!

Matthew Zefeldt

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Matthew Zefeldt's work for me had a love and hate realtionship yet I loved how he was adventureous and exploritive about his work. When I see his work during undergraduate he was told that he used non objective painting in a gestral abstract. I definitely agree with his goals of his project because he used the spaces and the shapes in his work carefully. The use of space in his work looks like the objects floating and in three dimentional views to make the work more abstractive. It was really inspiring how he utilized different medias such as sculpture and the oil painting to portrayed his work into different ideas.

His grad school was one of the most interesting work I have seen. The use of comics and the use of Roman faces to use as a space was a unique idea into the work. When I was looking his work on the overhead screen, I thought the Roman faces were either photoshopped or copied, but when he told the audiences that he painted all the Roman faces, I was really shocked. All the Roman faces seemed very identical which concludes his carefullness and time focusing the Roman faces.

Although I loved his intention to use spaces and shape to create three dimentional objects, but I wasnt really happy that the color that he used. The colors were rather confusing and bright so it was so hard to look at the pieces carefully. But at the sametime, the color made the pieces very unique and in a way showed like the pop art format.

Overall, I liked Matthew Zefeldt's work. He was very engaging with the audience with the sense of humor. I also loved how he showed us the undergraduate and graduate work to see the improvements and changes of his work in a elevation steps.

Mathew Zefeldt artist talk

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I recently had the great opportunity to visit Mathew Zefeldt's studio for the painting class he currently teaches. It was inspiring to see much of his undergraduate and graduate schoolwork because I often questioned the basis for his current work.

The "blobs" of oil paint seen in a few works were confusing when I seen them in person because I didn't know what to make of it. However my confusion was cleared when Mathew talked about being inspired by comics and their characters such as "the heap", which he said was a creature created from the surrounding environment. I definitely feel like the concept of appropriation is how Mathew goes about his artistic practice. He appropriates images of Greek/Roman stone heads, but places them in compositions that change the ways we think about them. Sure, he could probably have created these images in photoshop, but there is something about painting and seeing these large paintings in person that makes me appreciate his art that much more.

Another aspect I really enjoyed in Mathew Zefeldt's artist talk was his approach of delivering the talk. His quirky personality was definitely present when he started nerding out about his comic inspirations like the form the necroplasm, which he later explored in his work. It was also nice to hear about artists he is inspired by like Gerhard Richter, and how he was interested in how Richter's art can take many forms. In a way, Mathew is also still evolving as an artist as we've witnessed in the changes from his undergraduate work till his current work.

Penelope Umbrico artist talk

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I thought Penelope Umbrico's lecture was interesting because it made me wonder about art appropriation. I also have worked in a collage style by appropriating images from different sources, but the characters are often hand-drawn/painted in a way that is unique from the original source images. I don't feel comfortable with actually taking a finished product from another person and collaging them and calling it my own, I need to feel a sense of the artist's interpretation of the images.

However I did enjoyed Penelope's "Suns from Flickr" because it begs to question whether anyone owns the image of the sun. It was visually appealing because of the choice of using bright coloured source photographs to create a sunset from many images of the sun. As Penelope delved into the topic of the digital age and how we as a culture are sharing many photographs online, I was slightly discomforted by the idea of taking images without permission from the owner, especially if it is a personal image such as a photograph. Lately in my practice I've been moving away from closely copying images, and instead I've taken inspiration from many images but in a way creating my own characters, which I personally feel is a better path as a growing artist.

Harmony Hammond

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Due to illness, I was not able to attend Harmony Hammond's lecture, but instead viewed a recording of it after the fact. I don't know if it was merely this fact or something more, but I felt a fairly strong disconnect from both Hammond and her work while listening to her speak. Personally, I'm fascinated by feminist and queer art, and was intrigued by what Hammond would have to say on the subject. However, there was something intangible about the talk that left me wanting more. I didn't feel like I understood Hammond's connection to the movement terribly well, nor did I understand some of the more significant parts. The talk felt at times like a history lesson and at others like a normal artist talk, but somehow those two did not mix together all too well for me. I was still interested in Hammond's work, especially with fabrics and other material choices she made, but all in all I felt that the talk was fairly aloof. As I said, this could have simply been the result of not being there, but nonetheless, it was my experience.

Matthew Zefeldt

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Recently, I had a long discussion with a friend of mine who works as a graphic designer. We had been discussing aesthetics versus ideas, and the importance of each in the art world, but he had been arguing for aesthetics whereas I was more adamant about ideas being the most important thing in creating good art. Listening to Matthew Zefeldt speaking and seeing his work made me realize that my friend was right in ways I hadn't understood at the time. It is rare that I am struck by a painter's aesthetic style, but in this case, I was floored. Seeing his work, especially the ones that used comic book themes or colorful textures, made me realize how much can be done with stunning work that is simply visually impressive. Matthew himself also gave a fantastic talk, explaining his work quite well while keeping a friendly attitude with the audience. All in all, I thought it was a brilliant note to end the class on, and I look forward to following his work in the future.

Matthew Zefeldt

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I would have to say that Matthew Zefeldt's artist talk was my favorite out of all the talks I have attended. He has such an odd sense of humor that made the talk a lot more interesting. His sense of humor was also reflected in his work. Just seeing his work evolves from creating paintings of comic book characters, to giant blobs, to piles of poop. I also found it very interesting that he makes series of the same type of painting. I feel like if I was the artist I would get very bored of creating paintings that are so similar. Also, painting all those busts almost exactly the same would drive me nuts! I get impatient just painting or drawing a scene that has zero repetition. I just wonder if he ever gets bored or impatient with the repetition in his work. I also wonder if he has plans to turn in a different direction with his work.
I really do appreciate Zefeldt's love for color and his lack of fear of taking risks. He makes risks that are interesting and that some would even fear to show to public. For example, I found it very interesting how he came to paint piles of poop. He said that he had thought about it and in the back of his head he said no, but in the end he decided if you are interested in it you might as well try it out. I enjoy his sense of humor and ability to take risks, but his paintings are something I personally wouldn't hang on a wall.
-Moriah Kelly

Matthew Zefeldt

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Matthew Zefeldt was able to pull together a very interesting presentation for us all last Thursday. Probably one of the most interesting things about his art was the way that it all pulled together, and you could clearly see the evolution of separate ideas and thoughts in his work. With many of the other artists, you know that there must have been some kind of train of thought that connected all of the ideas, but it was nowhere near as clearly apparent as it was with Zefeldt's work. I thought that his ideas with breaking up lines of sight and vision, and forcing strange perspective on paintings was very well done, as well as his ideas about creating a sculpture and then painting it. That almost seemed to play off of Umbrico's ideas about using someone else's work as a basis for one's own art.
The idea of the motif was another interesting contribution that Zefeldt made to my thoughts about artwork. I was torn between different thoughts about its effectiveness. From one point of view, it was cool to see the same shape or object reproduced in many different ways and situations, but from another perspective, it was just kind of boring. I think that perhaps he could have done more to differentiate the motifs he used, and perhaps bring them to have some kind of symbolism beyond a simple object. As it was, the motifs seemed almost meaningless, and I wasn't sure what to think when I saw the stone sculpture heads repeated ad nauseum, or the poop, or the rainbow garbage pile.

Matthew Zefeldt

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What I found most interesting about Matthew Zefeldt's talk was the understanding I got of his inner process as an artist. As a student, I liked hearing about how he experiments with the basic building blocks of painting: color scale, line, form, texture, repetition(rhythm.) I also liked that he included slides of some of the art that inspires and why, and how he works with his reference points. The talk, while not intimate in its presentation, felt very personal, through his self-described comic book geekiness to his sharing of his own evaluations of his work. I loved hearing how much he loved not just to paint, but the paint itself, how glad he is to he always have fruit in his studio because it is as if he is eating his paint colors. I got that totally. I admired not just his dedication, but his seeming self-discipline and prolificness. Although the resulting work has a very free quality, I got the impression that his approach to its creation is if not methodical, at least very structured. I loved hearing about and seeing in his slides, how he moves from one thing to another, how he has a thought and starts to work with it, then how he looks at it from another direction, just a little shift; how his ideas and resultant work evolve.

The paintings that were most enticing to me, at least with this limited introduction to his work, were his earlier pieces, where he incorporated layers of comic book characters and scenes, "collaged" and abstracted. There was so much to look at there, even though the palette was mostly limited to gray-scale. I found them very intriguing and compelling, artful and sophisticated.

But Zefeldt is right now in a love affair with intense color and takes it to its limit. It is exciting, yet after a while becomes its own version of monotone. It is as if he has completely abandoned all form of subtlety. The resulting work is vibrant and happy, and especially when done on such a grand scale, has an impact, but is a little exhausting. It is impressive, but I am looking forward to him someday returning to incorporating more layers of context and subtlety.

And now about the poop. The first thing I thought when I sat down in the InFlux space was "Why would he choose that slide - one that was up on the screen for at least the 15 minutes I was there before the talk began - to have a pile of poop as one of its main elements?" (In his defense, it was a very neatly swirled pile of poop.) It was obviously intended to be provocative, though it was not until towards the end of the talk when Zefeldt spoke directly of his interest, nay, fascination with the lowly bowel movement as a subject for its form, texture and consistency. He said that he had finally told himself that if it occupied his thoughts and he was drawn to paint it, that it means he should paint it.

I am not convinced. To me it is maybe a subject to explore in one's journal, or in the studio through studies, to have as a reference point if you are intrigued, but these huge paintings, where they basically become a focal point in the composition - not so much. As a viewer, I don't need to see that. I suppose it is politically incorrect for me to say so. I feel like I am supposed to think of myself as a closed-minded prude or something, but I don't. What is the point of poop as subject matter in a painting? Because one thought about it is not enough. Sometimes I think artists need to get out of their studio and into the world a little more, that otherwise their journeys become too inward and limited in perspective. This may be one of those cases. I say new input - less output (figurative and literal) - is needed here.

Just like people don't need to (nor in many cases should) say everything that crosses their mind, they don't need to paint everything they think about either. In theory it is fine and dandy to say an artist should never limit himself, but I am not sure that is really true. There is a time and a place for everything.

Allison Ruby
May 1, 2013

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