In our efforts to stretch canonical boundaries, a certain amount of risk-taking is required. Indeed, there are more than a few loose cannons among us! Artists include: Anna Buckner, Jen Clausen, Genevieve Cohn, Kaitlin Dodds, Lindsay Hall, IK Kim, Caleb Knoedell, Jordan Kornreich, Corey Lamb, Benjamin Lowry, Mitch Raney, Sul-Jee Scully, Julio Juarez and Madeline Winter.
Art history undergoes constant re-evaluation and restructuring, with each generation of artists focusing the conversation on different aspects of the past. Some painters embrace concerns rooted in centuries long past, while others seek to explore and dialogue with contemporary art movements. Questions regarding the shifting nature of the canon and its impact on the contemporary painters are of concern to all the MFA candidates herein. We are interested in exhibiting a variety of painting approaches and their grounding in a loose, but collective, painting history.
Some members of our group combine perceptual-based painting with imaginative image making, pulling from a wide variety of pre-modern and modern art movements. Jen Clausen exemplifies this approach with her humor-filled perceptual paintings, many of which are juxtaposed with cartoons as well as two and threedimensional collage. She is a loose cannon in that she addresses the charged subjects of sexuality and feminism in her work. Her influences include sixties feminist art and German Post-Expressionism. Softspoken and indefatigable, Corey Lamb’s expressive work examines contemporary social issues through an idiosyncratic paint vernacular. With the use of contrasting bright and dark colors, his trans-media paintings fluctuate between traditional narrative, abstraction and sculptural relief. Though corporeally young, Caleb Knodell has been called “The Rembrandt of Missouri.” His paintings are imbued with somber light and iconography pulling from a wide variety of sources, including 16th century Venetian painting and video games. The mark of 18th and 19th century figurative painting is also apparent in his work. The ever-humble IK Kim is influenced by color field painting and minimalism. His cerebral representational paintings depict minimal spaces that border on geometric abstraction.
Others in our group pull from contemporary and modern movements while referencing objective subject matter. These painters subtly loosen the art historical canon. Sul-Jee Scully's paint vernacular relates to mid-twentieth century Bay Area painting. However, her work cannot be easily pigeonholed. She cleverly combines collage with traditional painting techniques, evoking moments of colorful abstraction in otherwise autobiographical narrative images. Kaitlin Dodds’ paintings reflect man’s contemporary disconnect with nature. She looks to the work of 20th century abstract expressionists, as well as many contemporary painters, such as Kim Dorland and Jules de Ballincourt. Her playful and mysterious paintings dance with fire and whiskey in their eyes. Hailing from the Green Mountain State, Genevieve Cohn’s personal narratives explore feminine vulnerability; the women in her paintings are symbolically placed in environments that reference hostile, psychic landscapes, She is interested in 19th and 20th century symbolist and expressionist figurative traditions. Building on the language of cubism, Madeline Winter explores sustainable systems, both manmade and naturally occurring; she correlates self-contained, hydroponic water systems with human reproductive structures. In a line of inquiry relates to Madeline’s, Jordan Kornreich carefully constructs hardedged, atmospheric abstractions. His paintings are informed by digital light and pay homage ot a variety of 20th century painters, such as Francis Picabia, George Sugarman and Patrick Henry Bruce.
Three of our group’s painters are influenced by movements that extend outside of traditional painting categories. Lindsay Hall relates her multi-media work to the feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s. The themes explored in her work include human interaction, self-exploration, sexuality and the human body’s relationships to a variety of environments. The experimental Anna Buckner considers craft traditions and their trajectories in contemporary fine art, contending with seemingly contradictory relationships between art and craft, as well as what these practices suggest culturally. Perhaps our loosest cannon, Mitch Raney, aligns his work with that of Jean Dubuffet, the COBRA painters, and many from the outsider arts. Working primarily through intuitive processes, he endeavors to find the spaces between a variety of creative approaches, among them painterly abstraction, cartoon-influenced figuration, found object art, and sculpture.
The final two painters’ work is based in observation and strongly relates to the tradition of figurative, perceptual painting. Julio Suarez focuses on the fundamental problem of translating the three-dimensional work into two dimensions. He is influenced by Slade School painters, such as Euan Oglow, and uses limited means to accomplish his goals. Benjamin Lowery too is a perceptual painter. However, his focus is the formal study of still lives. He is influenced by a host of painters, chief among them are Chardin and Giorgio Morandi. Julio and Benjamin seek to incrementally loosen the canon through representations of people and places particular to our time and place in history.