Showing posts with label contemporary artist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contemporary artist. Show all posts

December 18, 2020

Once there was a man that didn't have a brain

"Once there was a man that didn't have a brain. He didn't think that people thought he was strange. So he lived the way he wanted, going in a zig zag."  -Danielle G, 3rd grade

Sometimes I miss teaching just for little gems like this. Kids have remarkable innocent brains! I wish I kept whatever painting went with this quote, but I can only imagine it and maybe that's just as good.

I spent the day re-organizing my art studio. My small space fills up quickly, so every time I finish a series of work, I need to find a place for it all, all over again. This time I got in deep, and discovered a bunch of old art journals, and a whole slew of inspiring little pieces of paper with artist quotes and images. 

February 12, 2010 I was working on my first purely abstract painting; a departure from the figurative work I had been making. Reading that journal entry made me think, oh I've been doing this for ten years now, maybe in another ten years it'll really be something! 


























I can't remember the name of this painting. 
I think it was November Snow, 2010, and likely around 4' square




October 23, 2020

STRIPES

Prismacolor markers on Tyvek, 24 x 24"
Everything counts. And everything's connected.

It's almost exactly a year ago that I started making these striped drawings. I was having a lot of anxiety at the time, and the only thing I could think of to calm my nerves was to color long straight vertical lines over and over. 

So much has happened in one year. I have gone back and forth, working on the stripes, then putting them away, working on more stripes, then putting them away, in different mediums, materials, and sizes. All along, I struggled to see their relevance within the context of my painting practice. I knew they were worthwhile to make, but I didn't know what to do with them. 




Four 5 x 7" drawings, prismacolor markers on card stock, the backs of old gallery postcards


With the pandemic and quarantine, the need for anxiety reducing activity became paramount, and the stripes suddenly were brought to the forefront of my studio practice. Working on these scraps (literally, since some of the drawings are on scraps of cardboard, and the knitted pieces are mostly made with leftover scraps of yarn) has been a great source of reassurance and consistency for me. And, as with most things, the more you do, the more you discover. The work has grown in scope and importance. The stripes seem to have taken on a life of their own, infiltrating even the large paintings now.


detail of knitted piece


I still don't know exactly how it all fits together, but my color choices, and the energy behind them, the organic nature of so much of it, which includes the imperfections of the handmade and hand drawn object, all of that speaks to what interests me in my work. I can't say I'm pleased with the 'extra bout of anxiety' that first led me to the stripes, but I'm pleased I made something out of it, and that I keep making, in spite of not knowing why or where it's going.

I keep reminding myself, everything counts, and everything's connected. 


Grasping, prismacolor markers on fluorescent cardstock, with collaged elements


See more drawings on my website.






October 3, 2020

Lean Into It

I spent the full day yesterday taking pictures of new work and updating my website. Check it here: www.samanthapalmeri.com

This pandemic has me feeling frayed and unfocused. I've started five different projects in the past six months, adding to the growing pile of bits and pieces on my studio floor. Yes I've been working, but I've also been pacing, biding my time, and letting the dirty dishes pile up. 

I'm a visual person. I need to see things in front of my face. So getting all these pieces photographed and uploaded and organized feels like a little miracle! I even came up with titles for the new work, most of it at least, which can sometimes be a daunting task. 

Lean Into It is one of those titles. I thought of it for this painting below, because I see it as images literally leaning on and into one another, but I ended up using it for a different piece. 

I had a vague notion of what made me think of the expression to begin with, but when I looked up the meaning, I was so pleasantly surprised. It perfectly describes this entire body of work, and my state of mind during this strange time, and I chalk that up to the power of serendipity and the subconscious.


Fake It Till You Make It,
the inevitable final title of this piece: oil, oil stick, and oil pastel on canvas, 64x58 inches


Lean into it-

To embrace; to experience fully or respond to wholeheartedly. To take on or embrace something difficult or unpleasant, usually through determination or perseverance; to find a way to benefit from, or alleviate the harm of, risk, uncertainty and difficult situations.  

Cheers to leaning into it! Hopefully we'll all be able to clink our glasses together, in person, real soon...



August 24, 2020

Pandemic blues and opportunities



This week I picked up the paintings from my show at Pen & Brush. Thrilled to have been asked to participate, thrilled that we were able to have an opening reception right before the pandemic, but crushed that no one got to see the show, and that those paintings are now rolled up in storage and will probably not get shown again. Also this week I finally got word about the artist residency program I was supposed to participate in this month at Arts Letters & Numbers. It is now officially postponed until further notice. 

I am extremely fortunate to be on my own, with a place to live and work, and the freedom of time and commitment, but having all communal activities shuttered or postponed, some indefinitely, is certainly bittersweet. 

Time itself is bittersweet. The state of the world, our country, our communities, leaves me feeling scattered and restless. 

I'm aware that this time I've been given is a gift, an opportunity to be focused and introspective, innovative, productive. So, each week I start all over with lists of how not to squander it. How to make the most of these moments. 

As today is Monday, I guess I'm sending this out into the world to anyone else feeling this way-
Keep working! little by little by little... 


Untitled Pink I, oil on canvas, approx. 46x40 inches

Untitled Pink II, oil on canvas, approx. 46x40 inches

Untitled Pink III, oil on canvas, approx. 27x35 inches





June 6, 2020

New Drawings

Learning patience is not an easy thing.
The second I asked for it, all my markers and pens ran out of ink simultaneously! No joke! I'm grateful for the lesson, and in spite of that, I'm really enjoying these drawings, not only for the process of making them, but because I feel certain they will make their way to larger paintings, and that makes me happy. The series is ongoing and is titled Fill My Cup, each one is 8 x 10 inches, art markers and colored pencil on paper











February 11, 2020

finding meaning



Samantha Palmeri, Unravel, 2018, oil and charcoal on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

When I titled this piece, a little over a year ago, I pictured unraveling as a breaking apart of things, and it felt like a good metaphor for me. 

So much has changed since November 2018, and I can now appreciate that to unravel is also to untangle, and resolve

I've never shown the painting before, so I'm excited that the timing seems so perfect to have it included in a group exhibition coming up in March in Beacon, NY. 


Loss doesn't equal failure

This is hard to sink in because we are brainwashed to believe we need things that we don't really need, and that we are supposed to want things that we don't always want. We can make our own rules and find our own way of doing things. Things that make us feel most like ourselves. Even if, and especially when, it doesn't make any sense to anyone but us.


lovers
friends
husbands
children
houses
possessions
mothers
brothers
I lose them all
little by little
and then all at once
still
in this sea of loss
I find things
in packing your bags
my lost kimono
and in filling my voids
without warning
the answer
Here all along









February 1, 2020

fake it till you make it

detail of working painting, oil on canvas



This morning I made coffee, put on my favorite Chopin, peeled an orange, fried up two beautiful eggs with butter and crusty bread, which I slid onto my grandmother's perfectly sized Jadeite plate. I even lit a candle. 
A good friend recently said to me, I’ll know you’re in a real relationship Samantha when you gain those relationship 10 lbs. The other day I said to her, hey you’re right! I’m finally having a real relationship. With myself. Apparently it’s going really well I’ve already gained 5 lbs. Cue drum laughter..
Listen, I know how to wine and dine myself
The spirit of self-care has extended into my art studio as well. I am feeling a new sense of freedom and independence. I am no longer painting angsty continuations of what came before. I've decided to paint the joy I want to feel, and damn if it's not working. Is that the expression, fake it till you make it? I'm okay with that. My studio is a positive ray of light, and I've got the comments on instagram to prove it, Lol
I know the world is falling apart and all, and I'm here writing self-help messages to myself, but sometimes you just have to go in the studio and close the door. 


detail of working painting, oil on canvas


detail of working painting, oil on canvas

January 21, 2020

slow painting

fragment detail of working painting, oil on canvas
























slowly I am working on new paintings 
and even though there seems to be no logical space in my life at the moment for luxuries like painting in my studio
miraculously it happens anyway

I haven't slept very well in a while
my thoughts are sprawled out and jotted down on the backs of small pieces of imaginary papers

this morning I wrote the beginning of a poem I may or may not ever finish:

          my left eye is not twitching to the beat of my heart
          I can tell
          because out of the corner of my right eye
          knees up
          feet on the floor
          I can see the pulse in my wrist moving up and down




fragment detail of working painting, oil on canvas





November 11, 2019

how to stop overthinking

There are little orchid babies on all my orchid plants.

I'm mesmerized that they are thriving with no concern for my feelings at all!

Completely unperturbed by what's going on in the world. They could care less about the emotional roller coasters I'm on, whether it's a bad day or a good day. They don't care about my new socks or my chipped nail polish, or the teaching gig I may or may not have. They just do what they do no matter what. 

I've watched these things all year, slightly neglected I admit. Even with yellow leaves falling off, clumps of entangled roots with barely any soil or moss to grow in, they still flourish. Regardless of even some basic necessities, they still grow, because that's what they're made to do. So simple and easy.

Orchids are thought to be a difficult plant to keep, but that's a misconception. Maybe because they're so beautiful and delicate it's thought they need extra care, but really they need less. Less humanness, less fussing and overthinking. I wish I could be this way. I'm exhausted from all my overthinking and feeling, inside the art studio and out. If I could get to work without thinking about it so much I could get relief. The irony is that it takes so much work to get to that place of losing yourself in the work...






September 24, 2019

how to fall in love with yourself


Samantha Palmeri, Good Job, 2019, oil, charcoal, and pigment on canvas, 50 x 54 inches


It seems like everything happens in the fall.

Three years ago in October I was on the floor pretending to be a dolphin sobbing like a baby. sort of if I can remember correctly, in between writhing around and laying in a fetal position in a dark room full of strangers all doing the same thing. except for the sobbing part, because when the instructor said to give yourself a big hug and tell yourself you loved yourself, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who burst into tears. At that moment I couldn't have been farther away from knowing what that felt like or how to do it. Three years later I am not sobbing on the floor, but this notion of self-love still eludes me.

When you google self-love, some twenty something with a nose ring and perfect eyeliner appears on a video saying maybe you haven't done this or thought about it in like a year or so, so here's what you should do. really? Millennial self-help is such an oxymoron.

How to fall in love with yourself could very well be the most cliche thing ever. but what if it's like the most important question to ask. after all, trying to figure out how to fall in love with someone else or how to get them to fall in love with you is exhausting and counterproductive. I'm starting to understand, or at least pretending really hard to, that all that matters is the being okay with yourself part.

So, I'm willing to give this thing a try. TRY
or Don't Try as Charles Bukowski would say, but either way it's just there, and you're just there, and whether you meet in the middle, fall madly in love, or go to the bar and forget all about it, it's still gonna be there no matter what, so you might as well..........


This article might not legitimately be about life as a working artist, but you know, confidence goes a long way. My work is about relationships, and this probably is the most important one.









September 18, 2019

PAINTING WITH ACTION

Samantha Palmeri, The Things Between Us II, 2019, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Actions speak louder than words, and my paintings speak louder than me.

Unless you put your words and thoughts into action they lose meaning. In the end wishful thinking is just wishful thinking.

Friends who constantly say to you, I'd love to, I wish I could but can't, and never do, aren't really your friends. Friends actually show up, physically and emotionally. And isn't it wonderful when they do!

Then there's my paintings, which is what I really want to talk about. I'm so proud of this work that is now showing at the Catalyst Gallery in Beacon, New York.

My amazing artist friends who have seen this work in progress know what a struggle it was, my constant questioning, uncertainty, and doubt. And yet somehow the work has ended up speaking  louder than my trepidation.

I guess I'd say these are paintings of action. They showed up! Somewhere between my brain and my hand came some resolute power to pull it through.

The work is all the things I'd like to be: vibrant, decisive, satisfying.

(other people's praise not mine btw)

This reassures me, and we all need that reservoir of surety don't we, that I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.

Installation view, Samantha Palmeri, The Things Between Us, Catalyst Gallery, 2019


The Things Between Us is showing at Catalyst Gallery through September 29th.
I am at the gallery weekends 12-6 and by appointment any day of the week.






March 18, 2019

Shaolin*: the forgotten borough

Who we are has so much to do with where we are from.

Something's been on my mind about place and belonging. So many artists talk about where they're from and how much it's influenced their work and their lives. Whether they left a place by choice or not, whether they stayed, returned, or were never able to, whether they hated it or loved it, it has played an important role.


I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York, and lived there until I was 29.



Staten Island has a very ghetto mentality. By that I am being quite inclusive as far as race and discrimination. It's less about poverty, but definitely about fear, isolation, and cultural starvation.

Staten Island is divided by neighborhoods. There are 19 stops on the Staten Island Rapid Transit. Each one has its own personality. In my era, neighborhoods were divided into territorial gangs. My neighborhood gang was called the Albee boys because we lived on the cross street of Albee Avenue. The Albee boys were rivals of the New Springville boys. In 1991 Thomas Bickerton's big brother was beaten to death with a baseball bat by the New Springville boys and his name was spray painted under the overpass a block from my house. I remember this distinctly because Thomas Bickerton had jumped up to kiss me in the courtyard of PS 36 during our Kindergarten recess, and I had been friendly with him ever since. I graduated from a high school with a population of almost 4,000. There were exactly two African American students in my graduating class. In the last election almost 75% of the people from my old neighborhood voted Republican.

Staten Island is divided by the north shore and the south shore. My neighborhood on the south shore was made up mostly of people who had moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island, including my family. People who commuted to Manhattan to work every day but didn't spend much time there after working hours. My friends and I didn't hang out in the city, we hung out on the corner, in back of the high school parking lot, or literally at the giant rock in the woods by my house.

In 1986 I was accepted into NYC's High School of Performing Arts for ballet. I didn't go. I have no recollection of what that conversation was like, but for a sheltered 13 year old from Staten Island, the idea of riding the ferry to the subway by myself to Fiorello La Guardia every day wasn't even in my peripheral.

There are five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island. Staten Island is the only borough that doesn't physically connect to Manhattan. There is no bridge or train that goes directly to the city. Commuters take a train to a ferry, or a bridge to a tunnel, or some combination which often includes driving from New York to New Jersey to New York again. From Annadale it took me an hour and a half to get to midtown Manhattan. A half hour train ride, a 20 minute ferry ride, a ten minute subway, plus the walk to, and the wait for, each of these operations. There are three bridges that cross over to New Jersey and exactly one bridge that crosses to Brooklyn. This is not an accident. It symbolizes a great cultural divide. In 1993 65% of Staten Islanders voted to secede from NYC. With mostly no interest in taking advantage of/enjoying any of New York City's culture, art, spirit, energy, there was also no interest in paying its expenses/tax bill.

Staten Island, often referred to as the "forgotten borough", if you didn't already know, was also once home to the largest garbage dump in the world. T h e   w o r l d.  It was seen from outer space... for real. On a particularly stale day one could smell the dump from miles away.

It took me years to accept that the place I grew up in was, well, kind of embarrassing. A way more suburban than urban, left out, dumped on borough under a giant shadow of one of the greatest cities in the world. When I worked in the city I never volunteered that I was from Staten Island. People would make fun of the dump or the ferry or the fact that New Jersey was easier to get to.

I hated Staten Island when I was growing up. I was shy and artistic and I didn't get anyone's inside jokes about the Staten Island mall. I had no connection whatsoever to the place I was from. When I was a senior and about to graduate high school, my parents went to an open school night and incidentally met with my art teacher. Mrs. DiGuiseppe was shocked that I had absolutely no plans for any specific college or to pursue art in any way. She's the reason I became an art major. Not because she was particularly inspiring, but because she was the only one who'd suggested it.

I think I let the place I was from define me for a long time. I'm beginning to understand that the place itself is just part of a story I tell myself about who I am, and that's something I can change.




*Shaolin is what the Wu Tang Clan called Staten Island in the early 1990's.


February 6, 2019

#artistproblems

I've been able to get my painting schedule back and focus on full time work in the studio again. It's been a while. Here's how it's been going. Last week out of sheer frustration I threw my paint brush on the floor while exclaiming, I can't believe I forgot how to paint! A few days later I was feeling like a painter again and actually enjoying myself. Hashtag artist problems. This morning I added a new painting to my website www.samanthapalmeri.com. I'm excited that work for my upcoming show in September at the Catalyst Gallery is finally well on its way.

I've decided to leave the paintbrush on the floor just to remind myself, every day is a new day.


half blurry picture of paintbrush on the floor.
palette table with that little rubber hand I won at a Funky Spunky Literature Night
I'm kinda obsessed with it. 
unfinished newest painting. doesn't have a title yet. oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches



January 29, 2019

Kiki Smith, Art Exhibitions, Journal Writing, Inspiration, Vulnerability


from the exhibition Genevieve and the Wolves, Sainte Genevieve, 1999, ink on Nepal paper, 7 feet 8 1/4 inches



Kiki Smith


My Blue Lake, 1995, color photogravure with a la poupée inking and lithograph in colors, 33.7 x 45.8 inches


Sojourn installation image at the Brooklyn Museum, 2010

book cover



I got a great book for Christmas this year, Kiki Smith: Photographs
Published on the occasion of the exhibition I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith, March 6-August 15, 2010, at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Organized by Elizabeth A. Brown.

I've been following Kiki Smith's work for a long time. I remember one of the first exhibitions I saw of hers in the 1990's of black birds and bent over bodies hanging on the wall and scattered on the gallery floor. The psychological, emotional, and physical relationships she explores: self to nature, nature to animal, animal to human, and so on, mesmerize and enthrall me. She seems to be an artist who is so completely enveloped in her work, consistently working on numerous projects at once, in complete servitude and surrender to her art.

It both inspires and intimidates me. On Christmas Day I wrote in my journal,

Kiki Smith inspiration. I am not an artist/person who lets it all hang out. I am full of fear not vulnerability. I do not photograph myself naked or give myself tattoos. I am not fearless. I am covered. I want to break through like piercing the yolk of a poached egg. I want to completely dissolve and disappear into my absolute. I wonder if this is a thing everyone is even capable of. I'm starting to think this is the thing that makes great artists, and this is the thing I do not have.


Ribs, 1987, terracotta, ink, and thread, 22 x 17 x 10 inches

Silver bird, 2006, ink on Nepal paper with silver gouache, mica, glitter, and graphite, 72 1/4 x 58 1/4 inches

Lilith, 1994, bronze, silicon, and glass

Lilith detail



Fawn, 2000, Etching and aquatint, 22 1/2 x 31 1/4 inches


Daisy Chain, 1992, steel and bronze, chain 100 feet


Untitled (red man), 1991, ink on gampi paper in four parts


Rapture, 2001, bronze, 67 1/4 x 62 x 26 1/2 inches






Touch, 2006, suite of 6 prints, aquatint, etching, and drypoint, 30 x 22 inches


Wolf Girl, 1999, etching and aquatint on paper, 8 x 11 inches




Jewel, 2004, suite of three prints, aquatint and etching, each 14 x 17 inches





Cat, 1999, cast porcelain, 3 x 3 x 3 inches





Kiki Smith


further looking and reading:

Art21

ArtObserved

Shoshana Wayne Gallery