Artist Profile: Lisette Chavez by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant

San Antonio print artist Lisette Chavez makes her Oklahoma debut with a presentation of "Cafeteria Catholic", a printmaking-based installation exploring her relationship to the religion she grew up with and has wrestled with her entire life. 
 

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Artist Show Statement:

"A Cafeteria Catholic is an individual who selects which faith or moral teachings best suit their lifestyle at a given time……

I don’t always believe in God, I forever question my faith. Rather than leaving religion altogether, I pick and choose Catholic teachings that interest me and suit my lifestyle.  In my youth I was taught to suppress my ideas, not to draw attention to myself, not to date boys and never told about “the birds and the bees.” Because of my strict Catholic upbringing, accepting my thoughts and being myself is a constant battle. 

Within this body of work, I simulate the memory of my mother hiding my artwork with bath towels.  When confronted, she explained that she did not want to see the drawings because they scared her. The white fabric is symbolic of purity, and acts as a veil to hide shameful thoughts from the judgment of others. Hand-drawn images imply the struggle between good and evil. It is an attempt to leave the suppression of living in a conservative Catholic family and expose imperfection and impure thoughts."


Artist Question and Answers:


Q. I'm intrigued by the story of your mother hiding your art work. Were you living at home or did she do this when visiting you in your own home, and has she had a chance to view "Cafeteria Catholic" for herself and what does she think of it if she has seen it? 

A. She’s done this twice. The first time I was in graduate school and my mother came to visit me for a few days. I walked through the front door and saw that my hot pink bath towels were draped over my artwork hung throughout MY apartment. My initial reaction was to get upset and yell. After the shock wore off I laughed hysterically and wasn’t really surprised. 

I don’t know how to use a sewing machine so sometimes I ask my mother to help me with projects. For this particular installation she helped me sew the veils. The first time she helped me make them she asked what I was going to do with the veils. I told her I was going to use them to hide some of my drawings. She asked why and I told her, “It reminds me of the time that you covered my artwork because you thought it was ugly.” To which she replied, “ I didn’t cover it because I thought it was ugly, I covered it because it scared me.” In a way it was sort of sweet that we came to an understanding of one another’s perspectives. 

My family doesn’t attend my art exhibits. They’ve never felt comfortable in that type of setting so I stopped asking a long time ago. 

Q. What teachings have you embraced in your quest to be yourself? And does sharing this show feel like making a confession? 

A. I lied at my first confession when I was 8 years old. I often carry a lot of guilt because of that memory so I try to be as truthful as possible. It’s sad to think that at that age I was already concerned with being judged by others. 

I think about religion and how it forces people to carry “fronts” that can be damaging to one’s self. In most of my bodies of work I am revealing truths so yes, this work is a confession. The veils help hide drawings that make me uneasy to share with others. They’re interactive and seductive. You can see the drawings slightly through the veils but if you want to see more you have to participate. 

Q. Do the hand-drawn images wrestle with the idea of Original Sin? The examples of "Cafeteria Catholic " on your website made me curious as there's a baby with small horns and then a Jesus figure looking extra perforated and thus pained. It's where my mind went first, but if I'm totally off, what Catholic-influenced Good vs Evil struggles do they represent? 

A. The Devil baby is a reoccurring theme in my work, sort of a self-portrait. I was always in trouble for speaking my mind. When living in a religious home, ideas and actions are non-negotiable. It’s black or white, you’re right or wrong. 

Q: Do you see people hesitate to lift the veils as if they're doing something they're not sure they should be doing or not? 

A: Some are more inclined to ask for forgiveness than for permission, those lift the veil. Others look around and ask for permission first. 

Q: What kinds of books, music, art/artist, or future art events are you excited about lately and why? 

A: Right now I’m reading and old favorite, "Rosemary’s Baby." I’m currently listening to a cholo-goth duo named Prayers. I’m excited about the new Kali Uchis’ album. This summer I’ll be included in the Young Latino Artists 23 exhibition. It’s an annual exhibition at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas that highlights young Latinx artists. 


The public viewing of "Cafeteria Catholic" at Resonator runs from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m, Friday April 13, 2018. See our Facebook event page for more details.  

Artist Profile: Katelynn Noel Knick by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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Katelynn Noel Knick will show new work on February 9th from 8-11 p.m. during Norman's 2nd Friday Art Walk.


SHOW STATEMENT

A selection of works that playfully re-evaluate abstract painting through scale and space. Knick’s work is investigating the questions “What if you could step inside of an abstract painting?” and if so, “what would it be like?” 


Q/A WITH THE ARTIST

Q. I read that your childhood home was always in a state of flux, that your dad rearranged the home to better suit your family as dynamics changed, and that this sort of adaptability inspires you to alter your own home and other spaces you inhabit. How does this relationship with adaptability and change challenge you to create new work? Is it sometimes overwhelming to wipe the slate clean and rearrange, rethink what you’ve been doing? If so, do you have a process for overcoming the inertia that comes from being faced with so many choices and directions you could go with?

A. Overall, what those experiences really taught me was to embrace change and feel empowered to keep evolving. I’m a big dreamer but also a detailed planner. I use my sketchbook to document all the ideas and directions that my work could take, through lists, small thumbnails, image clippings, artist references, material studies, etc. That helps me funnel the energy and inspiration in to one place where I can always go when I want to start something new.

Q. I was taken with your artist notebook when touring through the “You’re in My Bubble: A House Art Exhibition”. In it I remember reading an entry about another artist’s use of “ugly” colors and how they espoused their merit in color choices. Can you elaborate more on that idea and how it influences your own color palette? 

A. I tend to use mostly bright, fun colors. And I like to use a lot of them at once. But I’m always trying to push my painting practice by creating new challenges for myself like learning to enjoy muddy or neutral colors as well. You know that saying “happy wouldn’t be so great if we didn’t experience the sad as well,” it’s like that but with colors. The “ugly” ones make the brighter ones that much brighter. Ashely Piefer is the artist I was referencing in my sketchbook.

Q. I am drawn to your work because it feels and looks a lot more open than most abstract expressionist work I’ve seen lately. Instead of layering up every square inch of canvas there are wide open spaces between the layers of dots, lines, and shapes. As a feeling, or as a representation, what does negative space mean to you? What is your working relationship with negative space? Has it changed over the years for you? How does it translate into your installations? 

A. My relationship with negative space has changed over the years. When I first started painting I wanted to cover the entire surface with color, starting with a background wash and then building layers on top of that. But after a few installations, I realized that the distance between the work was just as important, and when activated you can create a more dynamic space and feeling.  

Q. In your artist notebook there are a lot of inspirational ideas, not just art pieces but philosophical/existential quotes from others, and sketches for installations. Do most installations go as planned? Or are you sometimes surprised with the final result?

A. I love the planning process. Both my dad and grandfather were draftsmen so for me, starting with a pencil and paper and drawing a blueprint style sketch seems to be a natural start. Once I’m in the space working though, I would say the outcome is usually 50% planned and 50% intuitive. One thing I would like to move towards is exhibiting the sketches and plans alongside the finished project.

Q. What inspired you to create this new body of work that will be installed at Resonator for the February 9th 2nd Friday Art Walk?

A. Recently I’ve been inspired to go big with my work. I’ve been creating large paintings that are around 4’ – 5’ each. With this new scale, it allows the viewer to be encompassed by the work and the structure of the work becomes almost like a window or door to another world, creating a new realm.

I have also been doing some smaller studies lately, combining sculptural elements to the surface of the panels to create reliefs. I was inspired to try this technique after a “Not Flat” workshop I attended at Anderson Ranch.

I’m also including a very recent inflatable sculpture, this work is interactive and invites the viewer to step (or crawl, rather) inside of the work. This work was one that I had kept in my sketchbook for a few years but hadn’t created yet. I’m excited for this to be a jumping off point for new painting/sculptural work.
 

 Step into another realm.

Step into another realm.


Q. For people who look at abstract expressionism and feel a little lost or intimidated: what is something you would share with them to help them have a better understanding for this art form? 

A. I like to think of it as a form of language. Rather than speaking or using recognizable imagery, think of the colors and marks as a statement or feeling.

Q. What was the last book you read, art related or not, that really stuck with you?

A.
I’ve been reading the revised edition of Art/Work by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. That book is what inspired me to have a studio visit recently, where I hosted 10 of my peers and got feedback on my recent work. Following the studio visit, I then invited the public to see my work during my house show. I highly recommended it as a professional reference for artists.

Q. What are you listening to these days? 

A. I’m currently listening to a lot of girl punk bands, such as Bleached, Cherry Glazerr, Frankie Cosmos, and Shannon and the Clams. The loose, intuitive, and honest energies of these artists feel the most comfortable to me and encourages my practice. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while in the studio, like 2 Dope Queens for comedy, Starving Artist and Bad at Sports for art talk, and then Let’s Not Meet for the occasional scary story.

Q. What art exhibitions or opportunities are you looking forward to this year? 

A. I’ll be showing at the Hardesty Arts Center in Tulsa, OK from August – September. I’m hoping to take the inflatable sculpture concept and expand on that. It’s still in the planning stages but it will be one of my biggest, most elaborate projects yet and I’m looking forward to going big.


BIO

Katelynn Noel Knick is an Oklahoma native, creating paintings, sculptures, and installations. She is interested in exploring personal narrative, color, and spatial relations.


Artist Profile: Garrett Young by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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The closing show for Garrett Young's "Temperance" will be held on February 9 during 2nd Friday Art Walk 8-11 p.m.


ARTIST STATEMENT

The works included in TEMPERANCE reflect a period in the artist's life ripe with self-reflection, patience, discipline, and restraint.  It's representative of a time of growth, a time of letting go of self-destruction and learning to embrace a different path.  For me, instead of the uptight and prudent, "serious" work one might expect, this mindset gave way to an exploration of the weirdest notions of my mind, allowing me to dive into queerness and comedy. This chapter of my life is more about celebration of having lightness in the dark, rather than austerity or restriction.


Q/A WITH THE ARTIST

Q. What inspired you to create your spray paint series on sheets? Is this your first time working on something so large and impressionistic?

A. I've been doing large-scale spray paint portraits since 2010.  I decided to move to working on fabric (from wood, plastic, and other found objects) for the practicality of easy transportation & storage.  As far as inspiration goes, I really just like to explore light and form, and human faces are good for that.

 "Snowflake" by Garrett Young

"Snowflake" by Garrett Young

Q. Your comics are surreal. Can you talk a little bit about the Snowflake series?

A. Snowflake was a comic I drew for an anthology called Happiness 3. The plot is about a young couple whose relationship anxieties materialize into a sort of shared hallucinatory experience. In order to fit into the anthology, I was limited to 5 pages, which pushed me to experiment with what I think ended up being some interesting panel layouts. 

Q. Are some of the comic panels one-offs, on single sheets of paper, or are there more stories to come? 

A. Yes, I'm currently drawing a daily comic strip called Rasputin, and a lot of the originals from that are included in the show.  It started as an exercise in writing one-page short stories with 4 panels. There are a couple pages that relate to a larger story, but mostly they're one-offs.  I plan to collect all of them in a book eventually.

Q. What was the last book/comic that made an impression on you?

A. Right now I'm reading Sex Fantasy by Sophia Foster-Dimino from Koyama Press.  Her work has been a favorite of mine for awhile, and I'm definitely inspired by her amazingly clean style and hilariously strange stories.

Q. What music are you listening to these days?

A. Lately I'm switching between really cheesy pop, experimental noise stuff, and black metal. (Favorites include Darkthrone, Burning Witch, Trst, Xiu Xiu, Clio, Anohni, Carly Rae Jepsen, Beyonce, Robyn, and Charli XCX)

Q. What arts shows or opportunities are you looking forward to this year?

A. The Nursery in the Plaza District is having a new media show on February 17th I plan on checking out.  Right now my friend Melissa Gray has work in the Lightwell Gallery in the fine arts building at OU.  Looking forward to the OKC Zine Fest which will probably be sometime in October.  And I still need to check out Factory Obscura!

Q. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like to share about your process, upcoming projects, collaborations, or shows? 

A. I've started a monthly subscription zine called Ganymede. It's $3 and I'll send the subscriber a 16-page zine of my art and comics in the mail every month. You can sign up through http://patreon.com/doctopmaru

My friend Pat Larkin is a frequent collaborator of mine. He's made a couple of patches of my work which you can get through http://safekeeping.storenvy.com

A lot of people ask me who my drawings, paintings, etc., are supposed to be, but they all come from my head.  I've done studies in the past based on my face and faces of friends & family, but nowadays when I'm painting or drawing I just sort of make it up.


BIO

Garrett Young is a multimedia artist living and working in Oklahoma City.  He grew up on the south side of OKC, and has also lived in New Orleans, LA, and Asheville, NC.  His work ranges from paintings and comics to experimental performance and puppetry.


Resonator Artist Profile: Braden Denton by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

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As one Resonator regular put it: "Art by Braden Denton: Total Mystery. Maybe Alien. Complete Enigma. Friend and Colleague. Not a Vampire."


A quick Q/A with our featured artist for the January Art Walk:

Q. What is your artist statement for this show?
A. I don't really believe in artist statements to be honest. If I could express myself well enough with my words, I wouldn't have to make art. I guess right now my work is about love, growth, & play.

Q. What compelled you to put it together?
A.  Artists are supposed to share their work!

Q. What is something you’d like for audiences to take away from this event and your work?
A. That I love them, hopefully.

Q. What do you want to focus on moving forward?
A. Writing a story.

Q. Do you have links to other works, video, or a website you would like to share?
A. resonatortv.com

Vegan Cooking Class: Overview by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

For those just learning of this new cooking series at Resonator, or for those who haven't made it to a class yet, here are some examples of the lessons and types of dishes prepared during Andrea Duran's first two classes. Andrea currently teaches this series on Monday nights. You can view the event, sign up for a class ($10), and get her contact information through this link.

 Recipe used during the first class.

Recipe used during the first class.

 Are you just learning the basics? Not sure what you can purchase locally? Here is a list of some other items discussed in these classes.

Are you just learning the basics? Not sure what you can purchase locally? Here is a list of some other items discussed in these classes.

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The next set of photos documents a rare collaborative opportunity students had. Resonator's visiting artist from India, B. Ajay Sharma, teamed up with Andrea to present a distinctly Indian take on vegan meals.

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Below is a sample of these spices put into action!

 Ajay makes spinach pakoras after making the class a warm beverage of ginger, honey, and lemon .  

Ajay makes spinach pakoras after making the class a warm beverage of ginger, honey, and lemon .  

 Here we see the makings of a vegetable couscous salad.  

Here we see the makings of a vegetable couscous salad.  

 Jenna Bryan samples a spinach pakora, later Ajay would treat those students who stayed after class to an eggplant version as well.  

Jenna Bryan samples a spinach pakora, later Ajay would treat those students who stayed after class to an eggplant version as well.  

 Spinach pakora with served with a mint-cilantro chutney. 

Spinach pakora with served with a mint-cilantro chutney. 

 Students don't just sit and learn at these classes. They are welcome to help in the preparation of various dishes, get a sample something freshly made, or get close for a better view of the process.  

Students don't just sit and learn at these classes. They are welcome to help in the preparation of various dishes, get a sample something freshly made, or get close for a better view of the process.  

Resonator Artist Profile: B. Ajay Sharma by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

 "The Death (Mistake of the Poet)", Medium –Hand Embroidery, image courtesy of the artist.

"The Death (Mistake of the Poet)", Medium –Hand Embroidery, image courtesy of the artist.

B. Ajay Sharma is Resonator's visiting artist for the month of October.

See our calendar for scheduled events with Ajay.


Q: What's the biggest influence that pushed you to pursue performance art?

A: Well, this is a bit of a complicated question for me, but if I had to explain in few sentences, I would say it was just happened. I was not able to understand what I did in the past that led me to this art form, but then one day while I was doing my daily Yoga practice I could suddenly see my body movement in the context of space and how it comes across as an image. So that's how I realized I had performance abilities. But that is not the end of answer. After some experiences in different situations, I found myself still struggling to find my language in performance. I was looking to alternative performance practices in Europe when I met Roi Vaara and several other members of Black Market.  They helped me to think about performance and myself as analogy and this idea help me evolve my art a lot.


Q: I read that you had a residency at a contemporary art festival in Budapest, Hungary this year. What was the aim of your performance? How did you prepare for it?

A: I had an idea for the performance when I applied to participate, but after going there and looking at the political and social situations I decided to create a performance with several more layers, which I feel made my performance more informed for the audience who would see it: art people and common people who don't have a lot of engagement with performance art. I also wanted to work in a gallery space as well as an outdoor space. And I've always wanted to work with all types of people and collaborate with them, whatever their background, through cultural exchange. To inspire in them that feeling of physical involvement in a place and time.

The method I used was satirical and mocked the oppressive parts of Indian, my culture, and Western culture. To confront air pollution and the politics behind it, I used a special breathing technique and meditation process. I also used in my drawings images sourced from the Second World War. This time frame is where I pulled a reference image of people protesting against the Hungarian government. So, basically it was a way to give the Hungarian people a reference point in my work to see what I'm trying to do.


Q: What draws you to Norman, Oklahoma? And what are your plans for working with Resonator?

A:  One year ago I met Jenna Bryan, from Resonator, at Flash Crises Performance Festival in Kansas City, MO. It is through her that I developed an interest in Norman. I am interested in creating layered performances. I am looking for the Norman community's participation in my research base community practice I plan to do at Resonator, where food is the main communicative element, as it usually is for any society on Earth. These particular performances function as a social practice where anybody can join and participate.


Q: Can you tell me some background on your video "Motherland and Other Stories"? Did pieces from that work end up in "Residue of Performative Acts"?

A: First of all my idea was not to make video. It was supposed to be purely a photographic project, but after awhile certain situations and experiences made me think of turning the idea into a short film.  As for the "Residue of Performative Acts" exhibition, I got my first solo show with Galerie Felix Frachon in Brussels. This is where I started working on the video with him. The concept behind the short film is to imbue the abstract performances with a feel for what is going on in my country in pictorial and choreographed way. My short film is very symbolic. It references the extremist right wing ideologies rising up all over the world, even in the U.S. or India. 

 


Resonator Artist Profile: Katy Seals by Helen Grant

Writer: Helen Grant
 

To cast your gaze upon Katy Seals' work is to take a brightly colored trip down "the last temptation of Lisa Frank" lane. Along the way there are images that may evoke a sense of quiet strength where women in the foreground loom large despite the chaos of the landscape behind them. There are also the more irreverent scenes depicted in Seals' prints, which read as if the cadre of muses are in the midst of something showy yet utterly mundane; dare I say "basic"?

                                                                      Jarrell, TX II and I, Katy Seals

                                                                     Jarrell, TX II and I, Katy Seals

In one of these portraits a barfly, rodeo queen waves to an unseen crowd. Her eyelashes are caked in heavy mascara and an unmistakable orange glow tints her otherwise flawless skin. Curiously, however, Chanel logos grace the barfly's background. The "Country Girl" in this context finds no immediate conflict between her "All-American" beliefs and her choice of French design house. Does "good" taste transcend politics? One wonders in an era where Freedom Fries are still on the menu in some places.

                                                     Doggy Style I&II, Day Drunk, Noodler, Katy Seals

                                                    Doggy Style I&II, Day Drunk, Noodler, Katy Seals

Then there are the women who eat pizza, burgers, and corn dogs. Some women "go" bad, drive hot like a $2 pistol, or suffer from day drinking gone awry. There's a performative element in these larger than life depictions and the resulting juxtapositions, for some, will be humorous.

                                                                      Untitled, Katy Seals

                                                                     Untitled, Katy Seals

"Diamond in the Wilderness: A Solo Exhibition of Works by Katy Seals" starts at 8 p.m. See this link for the details. Below is a Q and A Resonator conducted with Ms. Seals.


Q and A: KATY SEALS

Q: What is thematic arc of your new series?

A: The theme I have been working with has shifted focus to color choice/ color harmonies, and experimenting with opacities and layers. I have been trying to mimic aesthetics of 1950's and 60's advertisements of cosmetics/beauty products and deconstructing into my own mutant approach. 

Q: What are some of the stories that inspire you to make the portraits you create?

A: For portraiture, I admire all the grotesque and awkward expressions the face can make and try and mimic that in my work. The inspiration ranges from a cynical stay at home house wife to a forlorn factory worker. 

Q: I noticed your new work uses more screentone compared to older portraits. An OVAC article said you got a grant to study printing making at the Frogman Print and Paper Workshop in 2014, did some of that experience make it into this new work, and how so?

A: At Frogman's in 2014 I studied Intaglio from Kansas-based artist, Michael Krueger. I chose to sharpen my intaglio skills to aid my pedagogical practice. Typically my personal work utilizes serigraphy, mono print, and painting but I wanted to learn safer, less toxic approaches. I challenge myself to absorb new techniques to bring into my studio and classroom, O.V.A.C. allowed for that particular trip with their educational grants. 

Q: Looking back on past and current work I noticed white women are predominately featured in the lowbrow lineup. Now that Trump is President, will the politics of the women who elected him be explored in a future series? 

A: That's a great suggestion for a series! Living in a rural location, I unfortunately have a plethora of muses.

Q: Hypothetical and just for fun: The bots on Twitter acheive enough sentience to join forces with server farms across the world. Together they suddenly evolve into our new Robot Overlords, how are you resisting? 

A: OooHHHhhh my! I'd have to say maybe my secluded location would allow for me to go rouge and off the grid to escape the grips of the Robot Overlords! Sounds terrifying. 

                                                         Kali, Katy Seals

                                                        Kali, Katy Seals



Artist Statement:

Diamond in the Wilderness is a collection of drawings and prints creating a visual commentary on low-brow Americana culture and folklore through found photos, advertisements, old patterns and illustrative drawings. I enjoy the didactic and often democratic quality of printmaking, which was historically used to expose imagery to the public. I feel that printmaking appropriately aids my aesthetic and subject matter, and I embrace the uncertain outcome of the process.

Artist Bio:

Katy Seals received her BFA at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in 2008 and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. She currently teaches printmaking at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Katy draws inspiration from cultural phenomenon of western society regarding the bizarre and the kitsch. Originally from Texas, her work often shows her Southern roots, however, due to journeys into the the depths of youtube and cable television, one can expect to see anything from a pageant queen with a bouquet of corn dogs, to giant granny panties and Snooky paper dolls.


Artist Website: http://www.katyseals.com/