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Artist Spotlight: Stefan Chinov

POSTED ON 1.29.2016

“SUSTAINABILITY” ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: STEFAN CHINOV

On view through January 29, 2016, “Sustainability” showcases work from seven regional artists whose work expresses complementary environmental themes. We’re glad to share this short interview with one of the artists, Stefan Chinov.

How would you describe your work?
My work is mostly in sculpture but drawing and photography continuously compliment the three-dimensional work. The objectives of my work are primarily visual, focused on direct relationships between forms and materials, and what they represent or stand for. In a parallel, somewhat introspective direction, I think about the authenticity of our perceptions, which sometimes seem to be caught in a conflict of priority between objects and images.

Can you describe your process of making work?
I photograph the sculptural work all the time and the photographs inform its development. The photographs exhibited at Second Street however, are a little different. Most of them are taken at the Bulgarian Antarctic Base on Livingston Island with a handmade pinhole camera—a small wood box that “inhales” the space around it as opposed to epitomizing it. They show landscapes and human presence in a mixed manner of documentation and reflection. The images engage directly with the landscape, with the natural world (to address the next question as well) but what they end up as is a thing on its own. The images, no matter what they represent, have a substance of their own and their qualities (and purposes), if anything, are aesthetic. I couldn't have done this with lenses and a clean, sharp image that is completely subordinated to its content. In this sense, the pinhole camera is a tool of distancing. The pinhole camera provides the possibility for a "surface". It's a method that relates to the physicality of the subject—it captures the flow of time, not just a momentary appearance—but it also relates to the object that bears the image, the box that defines it by its dimensions, the film that records it, and the surface on which it's printed. The two plaster casts shown alongside the photographs stand for that, the desire to physically and directly respond to what you see.

How does the natural world inform what you make?
I act upon what I see. However, along the lines of what I said above, the process and the nature of the work are no longer the natural world even if it's represented. What remains of it is the motivation to act upon things and events that surround us.

What are you currently working on?
Lately I've been working from observation, traditionally, modeling in clay and casting in plaster. I was looking forward to getting back to this. It's consoling and it makes me feel I am doing something in good faith, without forcing arrogated themes onto the work. It's a borderline, a melting point, as abstract as I can imagine and as representational as it can be.

Where can we see more of your work?
The easiest way to see my work would be my website, www.stefanchinov.com, though it really needs an update to add some of the more recent work that I just mentioned. Some upcoming shows in the area where I live, Dayton, OH, might also be an opportunity, if you happen to be around in the spring and the summer of this year.

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ARTIST PODCAST: Jason Robinson

POSTED ON 1.26.2016

Jason Robinson talks about his work and about "Wastewater," his video piece on display at SSG through January 2016. More of Robinson's work can be seen at www.robinsoncobras.com.

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Robert Llewellyn

POSTED ON 1.26.2016

“SUSTAINABILITY” ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: ROBERT LLEWELLYN

On view through January 29, 2016, “Sustainability” showcases work from seven regional artists whose work expresses complementary environmental themes. We’re glad to share this short interview with one of the artists, Robert Llewellyn.

How would you describe your work?

I had been given three series of book projects on plants. Trees, Flowers and Seeds. I would think of each project as a voyage to another planet, and my mission was to bring back images of what I found. I worked outdoors for a while and then found I liked bringing bits into the studio to study in great detail. I looked for the "wow" moments. Some part that would call out to me, “over here.” Really call out. Something that would actually hurt to leave unexplored. There were of course shapes and colors and textures. What was most amazing to me was they were alive, and they had a mission. A plan. I notice myself and other humans only say "wow" only when they experience something new.

Can you describe your process of making work?
I have been making extreme close up images of the plant world. I use a white light table and by using camera motors and software I make infinitely sharp images. Although some images, like larkspur seeds, are as small as the period at the end of this sentence, most of what I photograph is really "hiding in plain sight".

How does the natural world inform what you make?
I do not think of our planet as having a natural world and an un-natural world. Even things made my humans are natural to me, just as nests made by birds are natural.

What are you currently working on?
A new book in the Seeing series called Seeing the Forest. So I am out of the studio and into the forest. The forest is yet again another new planet. Here is an interdependent civilization with its own unique mission. This is really a new experience for me, especially being face to face with the animal world.

Where can we see more of your work?
In my books, Seeing Trees, Seeing Flowers, and Seeing Seeds, available from Amazon. Also on my website www.Robertllewellyn.com.
 

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Molly Sawyer

POSTED ON 1.21.2016


 

“Sustainability” Artist Spotlight: MOLLY SAWYER


On view through January 29 2016, “Sustainability” showcases work from seven regional artists whose work expresses complementary environmental themes. We’re glad to share this short interview with one of the artists, Molly Sawyer.


How would you describe your work?
The work is about balance: balance of natural forces, balance of materials, balance of emotions, balance of opposites: the light and the darkness, positives and negatives, joy and grief, strength and weakness, bravery and fear, tension and relaxation, what is nurturing and what is dangerous.
The irony of life is that this balance may be achieved but only momentarily. It quickly tips in the opposite direction. It cannot be held for long and therefore it is the nature of the human condition to forever be in pursuit. I feel that my life is a never-ending excursion in the attempt to obtain balance. The ephemerality of the work adds focus to it’s visual definition of these continuous and universal struggles in which we all take part.


Can you describe your process of making work?
A single log cannot burn on its own. But when placed side by side, the energy exchanged produces the effect of flame. When an object or material stands alone it may be inert but when placed next to another, a new idea is created. I call this ‘the conversation of things’ and this is what guides my work. The conversation is created by materials placed side-by-side. The direction is determined by the choice of materials; primarily objects carved by and found in the natural world.
The entire process is an evolutionary one and the key is for me to allow that process to unfold. In one sense, I’m at its mercy as I attempt to remain open to instinct and intuition. In another sense, I am acting as a conduit for the energy created by these conversations. My role as the artist is as director of these conversations. The ideas that are crystallized through the chat are of universal truths in our everyday human experience.


How does the natural world inform what you make? 
I am particularly attracted to the secondary forces of nature. For example, shadows cast on a riverbed made by the sun as it passes through ripples in a current, the carving of sand on the beach by tide steered water, the tracing of forms ice sheets as they melt from the heat of the sunlight.

I generously give great credit of creativity to the natural world and to my role within it. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to act as an interpreter of natural elements and one who documents materials and impressions that we may one-day be without.


What are you currently working on?
1- I am returning to my studio in Asheville, NC after spending time at Jentel Artists Residency in northern Wyoming. This has been an intense experience in experiment and investigation of my own methods of art-making. Currently, I am organizing these sculptures, photos and ideas gathered from this time of advancement into a presentable body of works.
2- I am honing works for the installation of a solo exhibit at the Weizenblatt Gallery on the Mars Hill University campus Mars Hill, North Carolina which opens February 10, 2016. The work in this upcoming exhibit reference the movement of each of our uniquely contained lives.


Where can we see more of your work?

- www.mlsawyer.com
- On Instagram @msawyerart
- The Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University, opening February 10, 2016.
-‘Strong Ties” (working title) at the Asheville Area Arts Council, opening October 7, 2016.
- in Atlanta, GA, this spring

Please come by to see Sawyer’s work with six other artists in “Sustainability,” on view through January 29 at Second Street Gallery. Thank you.
 

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