Artist Spotlight: Spencer Merolla

spencer_merolla_headshotHow long have you worked in the Gowanus neighborhood?

I have worked in Gowanus for three years and was drawn to the area because of the great community… and unforgettable aromas.

About my work

My work is concerned with bereavement including the tension between public and private grief, social customs and the material culture of mourning as well as the objects as repositories of memory that retain and transmit meaning. I work with human hair, clothing, and found photographs.

Is there an aspect of Gowanus that inspires you?

I like the history of Gowanus and an interested in Gowanus as a marshland, a revolutionary war battle site, an industrial center, and a cautionary tale about environmental degradation.

Why should people visit your studio during Gowanus Open Studios 2016?

Visitors to GOS 2016 should visit my studio because it is always fun and also because my studio is in a building with so many other participating artists.

spencer_merolla_b-r  spencer_merolla_six-word-novel

What do you have on your walls at home?

At home, I have everything from small original works by artists that I love to antique wallpaper design sketches to matchboxes, souvenirs, bits of wood, and a countless list of other unexpected objects.

What is your secret talent?

My secret talent is that I enjoy memorizing Latin plant names.

spencer_merolla_qbert-prime-3

 

spencer_merolla_after-a-fashion-i

To see more of Spencer’s work, visit her website: www.spencermerolla.com

Artist Spotlight: Katie Hector

katie_hector_headshotHow long have you worked in the Gowanus neighborhood?

I have worked in Gowanus for one year.  I was motivated to establish my studio here because of the location and access to natural light.

Is there an aspect of Gowanus that inspires you?

The residential family-oriented environment is a calming respite from the bustle of Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn.

Why should people visit your studio during Gowanus Open Studios 2016?

Over the past year, I have created work that references internet culture and technological interfaces. I will have glass work, drawings, and wall sculptures on display during GOS2016.

  

What do you have on your walls at home?

The artwork of close friends.

What is your secret talent?

I quilt!

  

To see more of Katie’s paintings, visit her website: katiehector.com

Artist Spotlight: Elsie Kagan

elsie_kagan_headshotHow long have you worked in the Gowanus neighborhood

Gowanus and the surrounding neighborhoods have been my home since I first moved to New York City in 2005. It is home sweet home to me.

About my work

My paintings fuse the formal tropes of traditional genres with an energetic emphasis on themedium’s materiality. Drawing from 17th century Northern European still life paintings, as well as live observation, my work harnesses the power of pictorial space and surface presence, testing the line between representation and abstraction. Often large in scale, the work is physically active, corresponding with my arm span and the movement of my body. I use a combination of oil paint and watercolor paint suspended in vinyl to achieve a drippy dynamic vibrancy. As a counterpoint to the large-scale work, I make smaller compositions with Flashe paint on panel—intimate sketches emphasizing drawing and gesture. Dramatic and exuberant, my floral paintings depict the delicate refraction of stems in water alongside gravity’s power to drag color down a surface, seeking that charged moment when paint is at once a smear and a cluster of blossoms.

elsie_kagan_secondwind

Which artists inspire or influence your work? Is there an aspect of Gowanus that inspires you?

I draw my influences from many different places and sources, both current and historic. My work often converses with a particular point in the history of painting, along with a moment-by-moment response to the qualities of paint, color, and live observation. There are times where the landscape of Gowanus has appeared directly in my work. I am also continually buoyed and excited by the work of other artists in this neighborhood.

Why should people visit your studio during Gowanus Open Studios 2016?

Visitors will have the opportunity to see a vibrant and exciting body of work that I finished this year including both large and small scale paintings that I call still-lives. Brand new work in a more embryonic stage will also be on view. I am beginning to address my experience of motherhood in my work.  It feels vulnerable to share work that is in the beginning stages, but that is what is exciting about an open studio.

  elsie_kagan_mayfly

What do you have on your walls at home?

My own artwork at home is now often crowded out by the art created by my children. I have a small collection of artwork on my walls by (mostly local) artists that I admire. My most prized piece is by Stanley Whitney, who I was lucky to work with in Rome while at Tyler studying for my MFA.

What is your secret talent?

I love rhythm. I’ve studied some West African drumming in my time, and though I’m probably pretty rusty now, I used to be a pretty good tap dancer.

elsie_kagan_everythingisgreen

To see more of Elsie’s paintings, visit her website: elsiekagan.net

Artist Spotlight: Carlos Torres Machado

How long has you studio been in Gowanus?

I have worked in Gowanus for two years.  For me, Gowanus is an art neighborhood, you can feel it.   I am seduced by the freedom of Gowanus.

About my work

My work is a cross between the pastiche of postmodernism and the romanticism of the 19th century. I reinvent and merge explored visual languages through the use of color and linguistic tools.

Which artists inspire or influence your work?

The artists that I admire the most are those that had the personality and courage to break the art paradigms of the time periods in which they lived.

Why should people visit you during Gowanus Open Studios ?

Visitors to my studio will discover a new experience of confronting color.  The interaction between human beings and technology in the age of the digital revolution interest me.

   

What is your secret talent?

I follow my inner voice.

To see more of Carlos’s work, visit his website: torresmachado.com

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