This season, BmoreArt will feature Top Ten Lists of 2014 from a number of our contributors in a range of art, culture, media, design, events, pop culture, and anything else they care to include.
Amy Boone-McCreesh is a Baltimore-based sculptor and professor.
The launch of Match Contemporary and The Station North CSA
I am in full support of anyone that encourages purchasing local art. Both Match Contemporary and the Station North Art CSA have done a great job providing non-intimidating ways for entry-level collectors to access contemporary art and artists. Match, started by Jackie Milad and Megan Rook-Koepsel, uses an art-advising format to pair collectors and artists through studio visits.
The Station North CSA was founded by Ben Stone and Rebecca Chan and is managed by Allison Gulick. The program has been supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation, and the Warnock Foundation. The community supported art program, now in its second season, encourages bulk purchases of art shares to to shareholders and offers opportunities for collectors to select new art through artist presentations and a personal ranking system. All of these programs are making great strides to connect the public with art.
The Contemporary Cohost Series
I imagine that many will rank The Contemporary’s Speaker Series high on the list for 2014. With names like Nick Cave, Guerilla Girls, and Andrew WK, what’s not to love? Any opportunities for Baltimore to have a dialogue with the greater art world are a welcome departure from our Smalltimore (but lovely) artist community. I hope that the Contemporary will continue to act as a bridge to the art world outside of Baltimore.
Baltimore Artists Exhibiting Outside of Baltimore
This year many Baltimore artists had success across the globe. To start, Erin Cluley, a MICA graduate herself, opened The Erin Cluley Gallery in Dallas, TX. Baltimore artists Rene Trevino and Jimmy Joe Roche have already shown in the beautiful space and created interesting connections between the two very different cities. Other significant artist shows outside Baltimore include Seth Adelsberger at LTD in LA (currently on view) and Alex Ebstein at Loyal Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden! Congratulations to all Baltimore artists showing beyond the city limits including the many whose work travelled to the art fairs this year!
Pantone has a color of the year (Marsala!?), so I have a color scheme of the year. Pastels dominated my personal and artistic palette this year. I fully committed to this delicate color group during my final exhibition at Hamiltonian Gallery this summer. I also noticed pastels were prominent in pop culture and fashion during 2014. For a design application of pastels, check out the work of Anny Wang. She’s a Scandinavian designer that creates sweet and weird constructions that use just the right amount of the color grouping.
Threshold and Pattern Perception at School 33
Three plus months of my 2014 were filled with intense work on a site-specific installation at School 33 that was funded by a Rauschenberg Foundation Grant. Kyle Bauer and Katie Duffy were also chosen for this Co-(lab) piece. We worked day and night (and everything in between) to achieve a dizzying amalgamation of all of our work in their new entryway. It was an insane but gratifying learning experience.
When the installation finally opened, it coincided with Threshold, a beautifully organized exhibition of mostly photography by Milana Braslavsky, Jill Fannon, and Heather Boaz. Fannon’s new work was brightly colored, yet minimal. Stark compositions featuring cats and tropical scenes all felt like they existed in a formal limbo. Bravlavsky’s photographs were printed large-scale for the first time and for the first time she chose to show the sculptural works that were the subjects for the photos. The whole exhibition was quiet but in a very deliberate way. I was thrilled to be finished with Pattern Perception and so proud to be showing amongst the strong work of these three female artists!
Go with the Flow at The Hole
On a trip to New York this past summer I finally made it to The Hole. After reading about and missing a great abstract painting show, Xtraction, I was determined to make it to Go with the Flow. Kathy Grayson runs the Hole, a 4,000 sq ft. space in Bowery. Her past stints include writing and curating as well as a former director at Deitch Projects. The gallery features on-site and satellite shows of emerging artists.
A strangely wonderful group, Go with the Flow featured abstract contemporary painters that utilize spray paint as a medium. The floors, walls, and ceilings were covered with bright white plastic, which made the space feel like a museum-quality spray booth. The works were placed just close enough together to not make your brain explode. Wendy White, Trudy Benson, and Greg Bogin were some of my personal favorites. Although all of the works included were relatively abstract and very colorful, there was a dynamic variety throughout the show. It was an awesome experience to see so many painters that I love all showing in the same, plastic-covered room! If 2014 is an indication of things to come; I am excited for the Hole’s 2015 programming.
Maximal Interior Design
Teaching art and making art really seep into my being. Like most artists, I live in a swirl of art-looking, doing, talking, making, and repeating. In the past year I have found a renewed appreciated for Design. More specifically, Interior Design that is Maximal! There’s something really amazing about a crazy-looking layered space and realizing that it actually holds formal aspects of Design.
Tony Duquette was an American designer of many things, mostly known for his work on film and theater sets. Duquette’s most interesting works to me are his interior residential designs during the 1940’s- 1960’s. The spaces are deeply layered with texture, variety, and color, but under it all there is evidence of formal organization. Duquette undoubtedly influenced the contemporary interior designer Kelly Wearstler. Her work is also interesting, but in a slightly cleaner, less ornate way. Check out the book Tony Duquette for a lavish look into his over the top visual styling.
Sterling Ruby at the BMA
This Baltimore Museum of Art show was not wildly popular, but I found it quite refreshing. The large, soft works invaded the BMA’s Contemporary Wing from March to June of 2014. To me, the pieces were funny and sincere at the same time. The title, Vampire, and the fabric choices are obvious enough that I did not take them too seriously. I appreciated the craft aspects of the work – they felt like humans had made them. Those imperfections and the absurdity of it all was what made me love it. I suppose already being a fan of Sterling Ruby didn’t hurt either.
I live in Mt. Vernon and, like many Baltimore residents, I see stores and restaurants come and go. 2014 seemed like a year when many new stores and restaurants actually stayed open! I’m always happy when something new is able to survive in Baltimore. With talks of a new grocery store, residential development and a new pub in Mt. Vernon alone, I feel like 2014- 2015 might be the continuation of the development that is so hard to sustain in this city. Here’s to hoping!
Hamiltonian Artist Fellowships
This year I completed an Artist Fellowship with the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington DC. The end of this two-year relationship was bittersweet. I can’t think about 2014 without acknowledging the opportunities and friends gained through the program. Having a network and gallery in which to grow and make mistakes was an invaluable and I’m happy to be archived into the Hamiltonian Family. Applications for the 2015-2017 group are now open. The deadline to apply is March 2, 2015!