FLUXUS :: painting/performance

Surface Tension: an interaction 

with my painting, Anxieties + Alienations

December 9, 2010



Please join us for a Closing Reception
Thursday 9 December 2010, 6 - 8 PM
for my show, Conditions of Existence
at Pelavin Gallery 13 Jay Street, TriBeCa
and the debut drawing performance of 

Surface Tension 

Surface Tension is a direct response to my painting, Anxieties and Alienations, currently on display. 

Surface Tension

a drawing performance accompanying Kate Beck's solo exhibition, Conditions of Existence.

Kate Beck    detail Anxieties + Alienations   
Poured Oil, Enamel, Powdered Graphite on Aluminum Panel 89 x 185 inches 2010

on Surface Tension:

In responding to Kate Beck’s painting, Anxieties and Alienations, Surface Tension parallels the artist's commitment to the seemingly effortless act of a single line, or series of articulated lines.

Kate Beck    Anxieties + Alienations   
Poured Oil, Enamel, Powdered Graphite on Aluminum Panel 89 x 185 inches 2010                             


Light in August

"...Memory believes before knowing remembers.  Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders."           
                                              -William Faulkner



Agnes Martin :: On Living, On Art

The Tree 1964 6'x6' oil, pencil on canvas

Agnes Martin
with Chuck Smith, 1997

Morning 1965


A Conversation I Want to Have :: CASSIE JONES

Cassie Jones  When and Between  2010 Acrylic Felt Staples on Panel 12x10x5 inches

Cassie Jones makes flat paintings on plastic and low-relief paintings on upholstered panels within a vocabulary of line, shape, color and paradoxical tension. I want to call them all drawings.

Cassie Jones   Figure 1a    2004, Alkyd on Acrylite  18x24 inches

Her work takes formal components and serves them up in a way that allows “...mutations, hybrids, and synthetic forms to take shape...” 

Cassie Jones   Receiver   2010 Acrylic Felt Staples on Panel 13x10x4 inches

Line becomes a kind of pictorial register of movement and action.  Form becomes gesture.  A dialogue emerges, tempered with a twist of spontaneity and off-the-grid humor. It is a conversation I want to have...

Cassie Jones  Rook  2009, Acrylic on Duralar, 11x11 inches

Very complex emotions can be evoked from the simplest forms and gesture; the idea of recognizable colors and shapes pulsating amongst irrational thought and feeling. 

Cassie Jones   Spine 2005  Acrylic on Duralar  17x14 inches

When an artist transforms recognizable materials into artworks, human consciousness intrinsically pervades the viewer's mind. Eye sight is biased by all of the histories, thoughts, associations we may bring to the moment. 

Cassie Jones   Roll   2006, Acrylic on Duralar  17x14 inches

This is the nature of painting, the subliminal undercurrent that stokes action in the studio, and relinquishes our grasp upon release.

Cassie Jones   Second Split    2009, Acrylic Felt Staples on Panel 12x10x3 inches

"..There are still lots of surprises along the way and the pieces always diverge from my initial imaginings, but the process of realizing the piece is very different from the spontaneity of the works on paper, " says Jones.

"....I knew I wanted the works on paper to be in dialogue with the larger, low-relief paintings," she said. "Because while they are disparate bodies of work in some ways, they both begin with intuitive responses to my materials and hopefully arrive at a place where the contradictions in the work are posed like questions, not to be resolved, but to be explored."

Cassie Jones   Figure 2b   2004, Alkyd on Acrylite, 18x24 inches

Cassie Jones lives in Brunswick, Maine. She received her MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and her BA from Bowdoin College in 2001. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Space Gallery and Coleman Burke Gallery in New York, as well as group exhibitions at Art Chicago, Gallery 808 in Boston, the Portland Museum of Art, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and others. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the MacDowell Colony.

Cassie Jones    at MacDowell, 2006

See Cassie's work in Maine this summer at:

New Work by Cassie Jones
June 4 - July 21, 2010
Artist Talk : Wednesday, July 21, 6pm, free
SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress Street, Portland, Maine, 0410

162 Russell Ave., Rockport, Maine 04846
May 29-July 17, 2010

89 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine 04101
June 21 - August 28, 2010

Thanks, Cassie



Human nature is like water
It takes the shape of its container.                                      - Wallace Stevens
 Katherine Bradford    Liner Pointed    Paint on Plaster and Wood, 8 x 4 x 6 inches, 2010
A vital resource, and a natural element, water is at once physical yet formless, transparent yet reflective.  Katherine Bradford  provides form to contain it, imposing shape, surface, and volume - and metaphorically soups it up. 

A very small piece will control you. 

Katherine Bradford   Cropped Boat   Paint on Plaster and Wood, 4 x 12 x 9 inches, 2009 - 2010

Bradford's water-based imagery jettisons forward a degree or two in her current show, Ocean Liners, at Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, Maine.  The exhibit includes both large and small paintings, works on paper, a video and handmade objects.

                           "In my painting studio (at Skowhegan 2009) with chair painted by one of the participants."
In her own words:
“While at Skowhegan everything started to look like an Ocean Liner – the chips of Styrofoam used to test the fresco, the hunks of wood on the floor of the sculptors’ workshop and the pointed pencil holder I found stuck to the wall of an abandoned studio. I added paint and smoke stacks and eventually these objects became the props for a video about the story of the Titanic. 

Katherine Bradford      Liner Rose Monotype       Unframed Monotype, 23 x 20 inches, 2009

"Since everyone knows the plot I felt I could be as playful as I wanted with how the story is told. The climatic scene, for example, takes place on a snowy sidewalk in Brooklyn; other scenes were shot in a tub of water filled with ice cubes. It seemed the best way to show the smallness of this great Ocean Liner that eventually proved to be so vulnerable in the open seas."

 Katherine Bradford  Liner Orange Knobs   Paint on Wood with Collage,  11x9 inches, 2010

It is a matter of tension and control. When we see objects constructed from familiar or found materials, we think we know what they are. Bradford fools us into believing her story. We sense familiarity when in fact we are "vulnerable in open seas".   Much like the individual confronted by the immensity of the universe, or the existential loneliness of the long-distance dreamer perched on the edge of nothingness, we are transported into Bradford's fictitious and illusionist pictorial space. 

 Katherine Bradford   Ship with Red Sky  Acrylic on Canvas, 10x14 inches, 2010

"....We can’t figure out exactly what is going on. The longer we look, the more suggestive Bradford’s abraded brushstrokes, dabs, irregular patches and scumbling become. It’s as if we have entered a trance-like state that is similar to the one possessing the figures in her paintings. Bradford knows her medium well enough to trust it, and, more importantly, to let her marks become evocative without nudging them into an easily definable realm...."
 - John Yau, Katherine Bradford by Life and Land, Recent Paintings, The Brooklyn Rail, June 2007

              "Just before I gave the talk on my work, I am wearing the mike amplifier and a faux tux (Skowhegan, 2009)."

Katherine Bradford was born in New York City, graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and received an MFA from SUNY Purchase College in New York.

"My favorite time at Skowhegan was this dance around the bonfire.  I am wearing a red cap because it was drizzling rain."

In the 70’s, Katherine Bradford was living year round in Maine and began to make paintings that were abstract, taking inspiration from nature.  Gradually she introduced images and symbols into her work so that at present her paintings exist in an area between abstraction and representation. 

 "Sign made by one of the participants (Skowhegan 2009)."
Bradford teaches at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant award. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Maine, and is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Portland Museum of Art.

Thank you, Kathy


Luminous :: José Heerkens

José Heerkens    Luminous Square XII, 2009  70x70 cm, oil on linen

José Heerkens lives and works in Zeeland, NB, a village in the southeast of The Netherlands.  She is fascinated by space, by light, by rhythym and color.  Her non-objective paintings and drawings are elegant explorations and discoveries, reflective of the environment.

José Heerkens     April Studio   2010

"Today is a beautiful Sunday, silent and sunny.  Spring has started very slowly this year.  The photo shows the east side, the windows are on the northside.  The total space is about 110 square meters."

José Heerkens   Color Study, 2009  30x20 cm,  colored pencil on paper

In her own words:

"I have a fascination for the endlessness of the space of the landscape (which) forms the basis of my work.  As a child, I looked at the rhythym of the trees, the colors and forms of the ploughed fields, the water in the ditches and listened to how the people talked and saw how they built and worked.  I think the need to understand life is the first step on the way to art.

José Heerkens  Written Colours, II, 2010  150x200cm, oil on linen

"In my work line is always an important means to visualize space.  Lines form and lead space toward rhythmic constructions.  I search for the life and human on one side, and the geometry, the universal standard, on the other side; space as silence and emptiness on one side, and completeness and perfection on the other side.  There is a constant dialogue between construction and intuition.  I need them both in my effort to understand.

José Heerkens Passing Colours IV, 2009  30x30cm, oil on linen

"Colour is a whole world.  Colour is light, space, energy, movement, and I strive towards a space where these qualities, in all clarity, meet.

José Heerkens   Reality of Light, IV, 2010  120x120cm, oil on linen

"The painting becomes a place where light and space seek and form each other.  In several series I leave the linen unpainted so the colour and the material of the pure linen is part of the painting.

José Heerkens   Written Colours, I  2010   150x200cm, oil on linen

"I work on series at the same time so that they develop side by side, simultaneously.  Sometimes a series goes on for years.  Some of my newest work is titled, 'Written Colours'.  These paintings show a new step in my work".

José Heerkens studied at Koninklijke Academie voor Kunst en Vormgeving, s-Hertogenbosch (Noord Brabant).  She has also had educational travels in Iceland and the Westman Islands, Singapore, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Greece, Malaysia and the United States.

José Heerkens   Reality of Light III, 2009  120x120cm oil on linen

Formeel 2010, an exhibitoion with Cecilia Vissers, opens on May 21 in Museum Waterland in Pumerend (NH).

Thanks, José



Joshua Ferry     Friendship. 2009 Acrylic and Wax on Canvas. 14 X 18 inches.

"An inquiry into color can take you just about anywhere".  So says David Batchelor in his book Chromophobia, his main premise being resistance to the argument that there exists in Western culture and intellectualism a fear of color relegating hue to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential, and the cosmetic.   

I am not afraid. As an artist whose work exists primarily within the black and white extremes of the spectrum (...black being the achromatic color value of minimum lightness or maximum darkness, one extreme of the neutral gray series, the opposite being white...), that may sound a bit unconvincing.  But remember the lessons from Color Theory 101: primary colors are necessary to create those neutrals.  It's what makes the color wheel go round...

Penelope Jones      Orange Gate   5x4.5 inches, Casein

Penelope Jones and Joshua Ferry create paintings with an emphasis on color, structure and materials, their highly worked surfaces imbuing a sense of both strength and immense sensitivity.  They make works of passion, and purpose. They are not afraid. 


I saw Joshua Ferry's paintings at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art biennial exhibition in 2008.  His dynamic use of simple imagery and color are understated, clear and powerful. Ferry creates his paintings with a focus on physical process and materials, sometimes laced with political reference, which leads him into his work.

Joshua Ferry      I Will Follow. 2007 Acrylic on Canvas. 44 X 26 inches.

"This painting started as a list of words such as; walk, skip, jump, trip, stumble, etc... Words relating to basic body movements. Then I started erasing the words with blocks of color- ultimately becoming interested in the stack of colors. Seeming too rigid, I painted over a few of them free-hand."

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971, and growing up in New Hampshire and Maine, Ferry is the youngest of four brothers.  He has lived in New Jersey for over 12 years with his wife, Karen, and still returns to Maine during the summers. He holds an MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts and a BFA from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine where he studied with James Cambronne and Johnnie Winona Ross.  He has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center and the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and has worked as a studio assistant to both Donald Sultan and Bruce Robbins in New York.

Joshua Ferry  Casket. 2004 Oil, Acrylic, Alkyd Resin and Wax on Canvas. 50 X 42 inches.

Ferry received an Honorable Mention for his work in the Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s 2008 Biennial and has also been exhibited at Coleman Burke Gallery, NYC , the Mercer Gallery in New York, the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania, and in the Portland Museum of Art 2005 Biennial.

 Joshua Ferry    Pros and Cons, 2007 is 16 X 20 inches.   
"This painting started as a grey grid.  Then, I painted color crosses into each square.  I was thinking about alter cloths, quilts, and religious banners.  Later, I thought of the crosses as plus signs and responded by painting minus signs over them."

In his own words:

"My paintings are constructed with many layers of applied and sanded paint. Making use of words, maps, flags, and found Internet photos, the imagery is relatively simple, graphically bold, and sometimes political. In addition, my paintings are about paint and exploring the line between abstraction and representation. My best paintings force me to embark on an investigative journey rather than simply depict an idea. Ultimately, I like to be surprised by my work.
Joshua Ferry Delegates 2005, Oil, Acrylic, Alkyd Resin and Wax on Canvas, 60 X 36 inches.

"In 2005, I decided to make a painting of the Maine state flag after seeing an exhibit at the Maine State Museum that showcased old Maine flags from past wars. I was imagining what it would be like if my home state of Maine was a modern day war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan. When I finished the flag image, I decided to list the names of Maine artists that had influenced me during my formative years- A way to pay homage to my art upbringing in Maine. The numbers signify important dates in my life; 71 birth, 87 moved to Maine from New Hampshire, 97 left Maine for New Jersey, 05 is the date of the painting.
  Joshua Ferry         Cross. 2007 Acrylic on Canvas. 14 X 18 inches

"Most recently, I've been working on paintings that are composed of a grid of squares with crosses in them.  Many layers and much sanding.

Joshua Ferry  Basilica Study Orange 1  2010

"The first seed of this format was Pros and Cons from 2007.  In the most recent paintings, the crosses are all the same color."


I met Penelope Jones in the 90's at Maine College of Art and we have been good friends for a long time.  Her pure abstraction pat­terns emerge from the cre­ative use of wide-ranging mate­ri­als includ­ing casein, resin, clay, silk rib­bon and printed paper. Jones' work, combining formalist interest in light, color, and surface with an attention to the evocative qualities of paint, reveals a process both disciplined and intimate. Her geometric abstractions are disarmingly personal.

 Penelope Jones    Collage #7  from Regenerations   12x11 inches, 2009

Born in Ithaca, NY in 1961, Jones holds a BFA from Maine College of Art and an MFA in painting from Cornell University.  She has been a Lecturer in Art and Visual Culture at Bates College in Lewiston, ME for 12 years. She has exhibited her work nationally, including the New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NH;  Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL and in Maine at Zero Station, Portland;The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport and the Portland Museum of Art.  She is represented by Susan Maasch Fine Art  in Portland.  Jones resides with her husband, Paul Sarvis, and children in Portland, ME.

 Penelope Jones    Installation, Bates College Museum of Art

In her own words:

"When  paint, I have a need to be both precise and spontaneous in my mark-making -- loving hard-edged lines and structures, while at the same time attracted to the playful and at times happy accidents that occur in moving paint around.  Combining these two near opposite qualities, and finding the right balance between them often drives the work in unanticipated directions.

"My source material for form and content is varied.  I am drawn to designs found in architectural details, decorative tiles, Renaissance paintings and ornamental designs from many cultures. In particular, I have been interested in designs from Islamic architecture and art. I find these designs beautiful and ingenius in their use of shape variation, geometry and repetition.

 Penelope Jones  Untitled,  15x 22 inches  oil on paper

"Along with a unity of organization, color is extremely important to my work; my color decisions are often informed bty natural phenomena such as the play of light and color within cloud formations, or the eeffect of weather on the landscape.

Penelope Jones    Collage #5, from Regenerations 12x11 inches, 2009

"Though painting and collage are quite different, the process of manipulating the surface becomes very much related and is the reason I am so attracted to both mediums.

"Last year I worked with collage to create my recent project titled Regenerations.  The project was shown at the Susan Maasch Gallery in Portland last October.  It comprised nine collage works on paper and was co-sponsored by a faculty grant from Bates College. For this project, I gave myself a challenge to work on a larger scale, and to dismantle finished paintings that I was attached to. As I started cutting these paintings—re-arranging and combining them in new order—I felt a sense of liberation and fully embraced the project.  To let go of my attachment while reusing (honoring, in a sense) my history; to regenerate from what has come before. 

Penelope Jones    Collage #8, from Regenerations,    12x11 inches, 2009
"This project gave me a deeper appreciation for collage as a negotiation between desire and response to the limits and suggestions of the found material. With collage I enjoy the process of cutting, pasting and being able to make changes easily.  I also like how found materials can inform the work in ways that cannot be anticipated.

Penelope Jones  Untitled,   19x17 oil on paper

"Collage has rich history from the Cubists on. I have had longstanding interest in the work of such artists as Kurt Schwitters, Ann Ryan, and Robert Rauchenberg —important pioneers in collage history. Because my painting has been so preoccupied with the play between surface, depth, and geometric planes, it excites me to revisit collage with its embrace of the superimposed plane."

Thanks, Penelope.
Thanks Joshua.