Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Changing Your Culture

The second exhibition for 2016 was a well attended group exhibition at the Potemka Gallery in Leipzig.  This exhibition showcases the work of the gallery's artists and a few guests, me being one of them.  When I was asked to create a piece for this exhibition titled "Change Your Culture," I was not sure what to do.

After finally giving some time to see why the republican candidate Donald Trump was doing so well in the polls, I realized what I was going to explore.

Trump Trooper: NOT Making America Great Again, oil on canvas, 117 x 56 cm, ©Steve Lewis 2016

Looking down the barrel of a gun is the feeling we will have with Donald Trump as the next American president. This trooper flashing the “T” logo as a badge has been ordered to do the bidding of Trump in his efforts to "make America great again", but what consequence will this promise have for the world? We have already witnessed his sharp shooting words and verbal attacks on women, Mexicans, and Muslims during his campaign for the Republican candidacy. This image offers no hope of diplomacy. Having the Star Spangled Banner inversed as a symbol of distress and lying across the ground ironically charges this threatening propaganda. Ready for action, Trump’s trooper shamelessly stands upon the flag with complete disregard for which it stands, ignorant of the values that America is founded on.

©Steve Lewis 2016

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Trying to Figure Out the NOW!

Ever since starting this journey of rediscovering myself as an artist and writing this blog, I have been exploring the notion of NOW.  (Written large because it is important.)  I have been working on exploring what I want to say and how I want to say it.  The paintings allow me to indirectly communicate with an audience.  I feel I am beginning to establish the "how".  What I keep falling over is the "what".  Something feels genuine and current and important... worthy of my time and that of the audience, but what is the "what"?

About a year and a half ago I was getting ready to give a lesson about surrealism to a grade nine class.  I found a video called Modern Masters focusing on Dali.  While viewing it I learned, or was reminded, that Dali was a student that came upon surrealism and not inventing it.  He saw the work of Magritte and de Chirico, which inspired him to create surrealistic paintings.  Dali tapped into what was happening at the moment and became an important contributor of the movement.  This realization sent me searching of what was current.  What were contemporary artists generally working on?   Was there something beyond post-modernism?  What was the notion of NOW?

While searching the internet, I found articles on predicted movements called post post-modernism, hyper-modernism, pseudo-modernism, and meta-modernism, which often refer to social media and a return to romanticism.   Meta-modernism seems to have a large following and many are referring to this named movement.  I find myself wanting to understand the thoughts and theories that are being explained but am not quite convinced and confused.  Just yesterday I found a video from Nicole Salamone based on being a meta-modernist  She seemed so sure that she was living and creating in this movement.  She conveyed issues that seemed to be familiar to how I think or feel about wanting to portray the NOW.  I was reminded of something that I saw a few months ago.  While watching a video interview with Bo Bartlet he said "we live in a magical world" when referring to taking the time to notice the present.  This is the case since I have been working on my art again.  I believe I need to start to document these small coincidences or by chance discoveries that seem to be moments that are strung together one after the next.  I need to listen to my own suggestions that are in my head as I research and even go about my daily business.  I am sure that there is something important to come but I will only get there by placing value on each of the steps along the way.


My Autoethnography - UNNNNNNNNNNN CUT, by Nicole Salamone, 2015

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Updating My Website:

I do not know how many people are checking out my site but I am happy to have it and feel it is important to keep it up to date.  Tonight I worked on adding the artist groups that I hold a membership.  I also added better photos of two paintings that were hanging in a show and one of "The Duel" which I just completed.

The Duel, oil on canvas, 75 x 160 cm, 2015

 The location is taken from Fortescue, NJ, not far from where I grew up.   The beach along the Delaware Bay was a mess after a storm and the green-heads were tearing my son and I up as we were trying to take a series of photos of the beach, houses, and the horseshoe crabs.

The plan was to set up a great deal of tension between the two figures, making the viewer contemplate what is happening and why.  Everything is quite ordinary... at least if you have seen houses on stilts and horse-shoe crabs before.  I also was excited with the idea of cropping the head of the person in the foreground.  I wanted to bring reference to those great westerns with the duel scenes.
Final Showdown Scene from Silverado (1985)

I hope it comes across to the viewer.  It is something I would like to experiment  with further in future work.  Originally I had planned to have two gunmen by the car but was encouraged to play it down so the viewer would create the missing narrative.  I am so glad that I did. 

So let me know what you think about "The Duel" and check out my web site...

Monday, 26 January 2015

Touring through Leipzig

It has been a long time since I posted last.  It seems as though so many things have happened and so much time has gone by.  Writing these posts seemed easier before.  They seemed to flow very smoothly.  What happened?  Why has there been so much time gone by?  What was I up too?

Thinking back, everything got so busy.  The summer was full traveling to the US and then Ireland.  Then once I was back home in Leipzig, school started and I had to concentrate on work.  New teachers in my department needed assistance, a new program in grade 11 needed a lot of attention, and I had two art shows lined up, plus two more that were not planned.  That's what happened.  Wow.  It was such a crazy time getting everything ready.  All at once.

Before flying to the US in July, I was offered to display my work at Linguarama for the summer.  I loaded all the paintings up and hung them at their downtown office.  It had been years since I last hung new work on their walls.  It was good to know the work would be seen while I was away.  We had a nice closing reception in August before taking down the show.

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In September I worked with two artists to show our work at the Kirow Factory during the weekend of the Spinnerei Rundgang, where the galleries and art studios had open houses and exhibition receptions.  It was a great opportunity .  It was fun showing work along with Karli Haupt and Ewan Cameron.  It was an experience.  Karli was a great host.

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At the same time I was invited to show work in Altenburg, Germany at the Reichenbach Palace.  The exhibition was during the same weekend in September. So all six Meta-Triptychs were on display but at two locations, an hour's drive away from one another.  It was also a great opportunity.  Many visitors were there to see the art and many more were there to see the building, which was open to the public during the historical society's open house weekend.  It was also an opportunity to meet some local artists.  Included in the show was the artist group Tacheles from Berlin, Michael Fischer-Art, Beck, Yvonne Kuschel, Carolin Okon, and Anthony Lowe among others.

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Ostthüringer Zeitung, September 15, 2014

Then shortly thereafter, I was asked to exhibit all the paintings at Webervogel for the grand Gala!  This was a wonderful grand opening that I was happy to have taken part.  Catherine Chalk held a huge event with lots of press for her new textile house.  It was very well attended.

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Last but not least, I got word that I could hang two paintings on the exhibition wall in the Noch Besser Leben.  The work went up in October and will soon be coming down.  The second half of 2014 was booked with exhibitions.  I am very happy to have had each of these opportunities.  Now it is time to look forward to 2015.  With six new paintings on the way, I am working toward showing the set of 12 together in a suitable arts venue.  I think to expand to Berlin and Dresden would be beneficial.  So if you are interested and can help get my work out there, please share these posts, forward links to , and comment below.  Many thanks to all those who have helped along the way throughout 2014!

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