Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jamie Boling Interview

Happy Holidays everyone! Here's my interview with Jamie Boling.

Bret Payne: The pieces on display at Transmission are part of your "American Girls" series. The imagery in your work has moved away from your past, and we are now witness to your present experiences. Will you tell me about why you've chosen these particular images from Facebook to appropriate?

Jamie Boling: That's kind of a loaded question. Loaded because my relationship to the imagery is complicated. Loaded because my relationship with the technology that delivers the imagery is complicated. And loaded because the questions I believe the images pose are complicated. The implications of their existence is simultaneously disturbing and fascinating to me.

I'm going to tell a story here about how I stumbled onto the images. The story will be long I warn you. I find it impossible to untangle the threads that hold the ideas together and the reasons for making the work aren't so straightforward to me either, so I'll abandon my efforts to be brief and instead work to let some of the ideas unfold by remembering how I found them and what I did with them once I did find them.

I'll start by admitting that I am endlessly fascinated by media in our culture. I am exhausted by it. I am provoked by it. I am inspired by it. I love it and I hate it. Popular culture as I experience it cannot be separated from the influence and infiltration of media. Movies, tabloids, the internet, magazines, music, video games, you name it... I am a product of my experience in the world and am well aware that most of my experiences in the world are informed in some way by the media that surrounds me.

That all being said, I should also admit a few other things: I don't have cable. I don't own a TV. My internet access is random and unreliable. I rarely go to the movies. I am not an avid reader. I don't subscribe to magazines. I can't remember the last time that I bought a CD. And I don't own a video game system. Despite all of these modern deficiencies, I find it amazing that I can still manage to know all the latest news, gossip, technologies, and fashions. Media is so pervasive, the information finds ME... I don't have to go looking for it. My participation in our culture is unhindered by my choices to stand at some distance from the sources of information.

Part of the reason that I choose to live in self-imposed media exile is because I know that technology is my weakness. The first thing that I go for when I find the New York Times is the Best Buy insert. I love technology and all the guilty pleasure it can bring. I pour over the pages as I fantasize about high speed, high definition, high fidelity, megapixels, and terabytes. Limiting my access to media and the devices that deliver information helps me to remain productive. It helps me to maintain the boundaries that allow me to experience the world on my terms. It allows me some distance and some perspective.

There are times however where I binge on media-driven entertainment. When I first encountered the images that became the "American Girls" work, I was totally binging. Going to visit my folks always provides many opportunities to overindulge... all-access on-demand cable, high speed internet, big screen TV ,surround sound, etc. It is all there. Well, I found myself watching a 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' marathon in Dolby surround as I reclined in an over-sized chair with my laptop open as I surfed on Wi-Fi. One particular headline caught my eye. It was a story about girls who post pictures of themselves and their friends on a Facebook forum called '30 Reasons Girls Should Call it a Night'. The story talked about this as some sort of phenomenon and about women's groups who were up in arms over the choices these girls were making. The story described some of the scenarios that the photos captured and also posed questions about the potential negative consequences of choosing to put one's self out there in such a way for the world to see. I had to see these pictures. A few clicks later I was opening my own Facebook account and gaining access to the photos I had just read about. These images of so many wasted girls in so many scenarios was like a train wreck that I couldn't look away from. The images were disturbing for sure. But there was also something about them that I found beautiful ,honest ,unapologetic, and profound. I proceeded to look through the stockpile of some 4000 plus images. As I rummaged through, I began to notice that some of the images were visually stunning and formally strong. I was provoked and haunted by them. I immediately started a folder and began pulling the pictures that I responded to in the strongest way. (This activity of collecting imagery from the internet has become a big part of my process.) When I had finished looking through every photo that was posted there, I had amassed close to 350 images. I then began categorizing them (which is another thing I find myself doing a lot... creating a system as I edit.) The categories were as follows: Abstract, Atmosphere, Bathtub, Body Prints, Beer Bong, Cleavage, Glasses, Group Composition, Group of Heads, Hair, Hand Signals, Landscape, Marker, Odalisque, Other, Panties, Passed Out, Shrubs, Sparkle, Toilet, Tongue, Unusual situation, Vogue, Weird Face, and Wrestling. By the time I had finished organizing the images, it was clear to me that I wanted to make a body of work that was based on them. I chose 8 images to begin with.

I began making really large oil paintings in 2005. My first body of large-scale works was based on film stills from the movies I grew up with: Jaws, Easy Rider, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Star Wars, The Three Amigos, The Birds, and Gimme Shelter. Those paintings were of course inspired and informed by my personal experience with them. But they were equally influenced by the monumental French paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. There is something about the way that a large image asserts itself that I find undeniably powerful. That's the power of painting for me - it's ability to stop time and to pose questions through the image, materials, scale, and surface. I should also note that the inheritance of the history of painting plays a huge role in the way that I process visual information. There is a canon that is a part of my filter. The only way that I could imagine these images from Facebook was as large oil paintings. So I began making them.

While working on American Girls, I have had a lot of time to reflect on why I am so intrigued by the images. In a large part it has something to do with the forum in which they are shared and the fact that these girls CHOSE to post these pictures of themselves. I mean it would be way different if it were a bunch of dudes putting up pictures of drunk girls... it would be way creepier I think. But here are girls posting really incriminating pictures of themselves on a social networking site for anyone to access. I'm not sure if it represents a certain kind of freedom or if it represents foolishness... possibly both. Either way, they are out there, and they are undeniably powerful images. Powerful I think, because they represent something really telling about our culture and about human nature. After I did the film still paintings I began working with imagery pulled from tabloids and the internet. I found myself making this 6ft. x 10ft. painting of Britney Spears getting out of a car as she exposed herself (without panties) to the paparazzi... and the world. I was so curious why she would do it and was so fascinated with the amount of attention that it got in the press, that I was compelled to make a painting of it. I am fascinated with the fascination. I consumed it therefore I was implicated. I am a participant and a bystander. Tabloid culture is such a huge part of American life, that it must say something about who we are. By making the paintings that I make, I am simply trying to understand my own role while documenting this moment and the world that I live in.

I think that it is safe to say that most photographed images now rarely exist as physical things. They are processed,translated, and saved as binary code and are viewed, shared, and stored electronically. The transition from analog to digital has changed the nature of how information is shared and viewed. I can't know for sure, but I imagine that most of the pictures that I looked at on Facebook that day were captured with some sort of digital camera. Then they were downloaded to someone's computer to be viewed and possibly edited and then uploaded to Facebook. By making paintings of these images, I believe that I am able to change the interface. Paint turns these images into something physical. And by making the images into physical objects, it inherently changes the relationship between the viewer and the image. It interrupts the infinite double-click and invites a different kind of navigation,conversation, and reflection.

The longer I look at these images, I see more and more in them. I believe that they are more than simple representations of drunk girls. They represent the time that we live in; they reveal vulnerability, spectacle, indulgence, waste, disorientation, and disaster. They challenge gender roles and long-standing power structures. I believe that there is a lot to be seen in there. Maybe I'm thinking too much, but I don't believe it is too far of a stretch to see these images as an authentic representation of the past decade. They are absolutely a product of our time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Interview with Bill Donovan

I urge all of you to come out and see this show before it comes down December 27th. If you are unaware, this is the last show TRANSMISSION will be hosting at this location (321 Brook Rd. Richmond, VA 23220). I am proud to present the work of Bill Donovan and Jamie Boling in the gallery as a "last show". Stay tuned to hear about TRANSMISSION's future! This is not the end. For now, enjoy this interview with Bill Donovan, and look for an interview with Jamie Boling in the next few days to be posted here.

Bret Payne: Encoding seems to be an important aspect of your work. To share your interior world, many of the people/things you are thinking about change visual form.

Bill Donovan: I think your premise is true: I am encoding my interior world with cartoon characters. The characters and the pictorial spaces all relate to a place, person, situation, or feeling.

I started making these while on guard duty in Kandahar Afghanistan. Previously I had made work from sources like photos, or drawn from life. In Kandahar I was forced to use my imagination, and because of the stress of being in a combat zone – where I regularly saw machine gun fights, heard/felt/saw explosions, heard bullets zip by; I started to sublimate my feelings into these manic cartoon characters. I started to identify with them, and now I feel as close to them as I do real people. They are my language, for now. I think it is growing.

One thing about encoding is that until the industrial revolution all art was heavily encoded. You can’t understand Egyptian art without knowing that the Pharaohs are part symbol and part portrait, they have to be represented stiffly and much larger than the other characters in both paintings and relief sculptures. Regular people in Egyptian art can be represented dynamically, and are usually performing a job. With the Pharaoh it’s almost as if bees were representing the Queen bee, the Pharaoh is part man, part god, the high priest, and also functions as the living representation of the Sun to the Egyptians. When Egyptians looked at their art all that stuff came through, there all are kinds of codes and signs.

Since the industrial revolution painting became a lot more concerned about claiming its own distinct identity, and I feel has become a lot more careless with signs and encoding meaning. For instance, for an artist like David Salle to have been important, you almost have to not understand that pictures from the Northern Renaissance had more references, more specificity, and were just as fantastic in their range of imagery.

BP: You have recently been attempting to meld your pieces about current events with your interior world. Are the current events undergoing a similar visual encoding? If so, where could a viewer go to help them translate the imagery?

BD: Current events… I have been overwhelmed with current events during the last 7 or 8 years. Every time I looked up it seemed the world was getting crazier. I became aware of a huge disconnect between mainstream media and actual events as a soldier, and it made me into a “paranoid” person. I don’t think it was unjustified.

In the large drawing, Thinking Map, I drew people who were influencing my intellectual worldview. It was partly an experiment to see if I was coherent. The people in that painting/drawing are: clockwise from 1 o’clock; Dan Reeder, Dave Eggers, Francis Fukuyama, Alex Jones, Donald Coxeter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Buckminster Fuller, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Jad Abumrad, and Action Dan Harrington.

BP: Some of your compositions consist of "separate" drawings which are then arranged together in shapes that resemble pyramids or totem poles. Can you describe the moment and the influences that inspired this way of making compositions?

I was thinking of them as collages, but I guess they are more like arranged drawings. Your description is better than mine.

I was influenced by Diana Cooper. I have been working as her intern and now assistant for about a year, and seeing how Diana, who has a studio practice who has a studio practice that is completely mature plus hyper energized, makes work that changed the way I think about drawing. Now I think about drawing in terms of sculptural form as well as a flat image.

Going back to encoding: I think arranging the drawings adds context to the coded characters. They benefit from being next to other versions of themselves.

BP: Are some of these components set (i.e. "Ann Lee") and others interchangeable?

BD: Yes, they live next to each other like Legos building blocks. Some make more sense next to each other than others…

Pictured above: "Ann Lee" by Bill Donovan

BP: Your interest in Roman coins seems directly linked to your art making. You utilize in your paintings/drawings many of the symbols that were used by the Romans. Do these images act as different, personal symbols in your work?

BD: I didn’t realize until answering your questions Bret how much of my studio practice started in Afghanistan. I found out about Roman coins from the Flea Market vendors in Kandahar. Initially the ancient coins I saw were Indo-Kushan, Baktrian, and Sassanian; but Roman coins are more plentiful and easier for an English speaking person to understand. Latin (on Roman coins) is pretty straightforward and beautiful.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Opening December 5, 7-10pm
Show runs Dec. 5 - 27
Gallery hours: Thurs-Sat 12-5
or call for appointment
Closed on Christmas Day

321 Brook Rd.
Richmond, VA 23220
*Last show at this location! Stay tuned for more info!

Above image: Jamie Boling, "American Girl," oil on canvas, 67 x 89 inches

Above image: Bill Donovan, "Thinking Map," ink and acrylic on paper, 38 x 50 inches

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TAXONOMIC INTOXICATION; Ryan McLennan and Amy Ross, Opening Friday, Nov. 7 , 7-10pm

New work by

Above images: (top) Ryan McLennan, "Ceremony," acrylic and graphite on paper (bottom) Amy Ross, "Woodpeckershrooms," collage on paper

Opening Friday, Nov. 7, 7-10pm
Show runs Nov. 7-29
Gallery hours: Thurs-Sat, 12-5
or call for appointment

321 Brook Rd.
Richmond, VA 23220

Image below: Amy Ross, "Fairy Ring," collage on paper

Image below: Ryan McLennan, "Outskirts," acrylic and graphite on paper

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Just Good Vibes", Maya Hayuk's book available at the gallery!

Hey, you can pick up a copy of Maya Hayuk's book, "Just Good Vibes" at the gallery. If you buy it here, you save shipping charges, and you have it in your hands immediately. 96 pages of ffffresshhhhnessss by Maya. Great color reproductions and goodies you get nowhere else.
This is what it's like, only there's more of it!

So, come by the gallery and pick this baby up for $25.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Maya Hayuk's "Teen Center". This piece was done with the assistance of Alexis Semtner, Uchea, Jonathan Coward, Bret Payne, and Brian Pom-Tiki
During the opening

Paintings by Alexis Semtner

The shot of the night - Maya with Chino

Wednesday, October 1, 2008



Installation by MAYA HAYUK
and painting by ALEXIS SEMTNER

Opening Friday, Oct. 3, 7-10pm

Maya is basing a wall painting on this digital video glitch:

Alexis will be exhibiting new paintings such as:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tonight: Show closing Victor Vaughn and Ben Kehoe

Thursday, August 28, 6-9:30pm: TRANSMISSION will have a closing reception for Victor Vaughn
and Ben Kehoe.

Below is "At Some Point... What's the Point," acrylic and gouache on panel by Ben Kehoe.

Below is a portion of the installation, "Derby," by Victor Vaughn

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Victor Vaughn and Ben Kehoe

presents new work by

VICTOR VAUGHN (Richmond, Va)
BEN KEHOE (Pittsburgh, Pa)
Opening Friday, August 1, 7-9pm
Show runs August 1-30

Gallery summer hours: Fri, Sat, 12-5
or call for apppointment (804.200.9985)

This show is the premier for both artists in Richmond.

Victor Vaughn lives in Richmond, and goes to school at VCU.
He has received multiple honors in the Painting and Printmaking
department there. Victor will be exhibiting an installation which
incorporates photographs and prints.

Ben Kehoe is an artist living in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from
Temple University in 2001. Nature, pattern-based medieval artwork,
comical violence, and uncomfortable situations are his influences.
Ben will be exhibiting a new series of acrylic and gouache paintings.
His website is

Look for an interview with both artists here once the show
has opened!

Below is "At Some Point" by Ben Kehoe, acrylic and gouache on panel,
12 x 12 inches -

and "Horse and Home" by Victor Vaughn, digital print, 4 x 4 inches

Monday, June 30, 2008

Opening Thurs. July 3, 7-9pm: Erik Gonzalez and Joseph McCorkle

Below: "Chocolate Vesper" by Erik Gonzalez,
oil on canvas, 75 x 65 inches

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stephen Vitiello performs at Transmission Sunday, June 29, 5pm

Below: Stephen Vitiello with Molly Berg
performing at Transmission, June 29th

Below: Althea Georgelas, Hassan Pitts,
Jennida Chase, and Chris Silvent.
I think they are now called "Pilot Tone"
performing June 29th at Transmission

Below: Guests enjoying the performances

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

June: Stephen Vitiello and Paul Thulin

June 6-28th = Stephen Vitiello and Paul Thulin
Preview opening: Thurs, June 5, 6-8pm
Public opening: Fri, June 6, 7-10pm

Stephen Vitiello (image above, "LFO Drawing")
will be exhibiting a handful of "LFO drawings"
(Low Frequency Oscillation) as well as a new stereo sound piece.
I asked him to describe the process he used to create them:
'The LFO Speaker Drawings were created after several years
of looking for a method of 'process drawings' that would
directly reflect my processes of working with audio.
Beginning in 2004, I created a number of installations with
suspended speakers, through which very low frequency tones
were played. The tones and patterns are below our (human)
threshold of hearing, therefore we can see movement on the
surface of the speakers but we do not actually hear the
sounds. The first piece of this series was installed at
SculptureCenter in NYC in 2004. Subsequent versions were
presented in Rome, Paris, Porto Alegre, Brazil, Seattle,
Sydney, Australia and Vienna. In 2006, after a
collaboration with the visual artist Julie Mehretu in
which she created a wall drawing in a shared space with
a suspended speaker piece, I was more determined than
ever to make my sounds draw. I found that filling those
same speakers with pigment, ink and other drawing materials
and subjecting the speakers to those low frequency
oscillations (LFO), the drawing materials would be projected
out onto paper in such a way that one had a visual work
that was also an artifact of the sound. The drawings were
first shown in a solo exhibition at The Project on W. 57th
Street in New York City and have subsequently been presented
in London and are now in the homes of a number of private

Stephen exhibited a sound piece titled "Slow Rewind" in
conjunction with the LFO Speaker Drawings.
Please go here if you are unfamiliar with Stephen and/or
his work. Over the last 20+ years, he has worked with
Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler, Pauline Oliveros, Scanner,
Andrew Deutsch, Yasunao Tone, Julie Mehretu and Eder Santos

to name a few. If you are interested in sound-based/-
influenced art, this is a show you must see.
*Stephen Vitiello appears courtesy of The Project, NY.

Paul Thulin (image above, "Document T")
will be exhibiting photographs from his series,
'Dissolving Boundaries of the Self:
A Rhizomatic Psycho-History'

Here, he explains this body of work:

"My defining project Dissolving Boundaries of The Self:
A Rhizomatic Psycho-History aims to explore the relation-
ship between photographic narrative and an ongoing auto-
biographical record of my life. The sequencing and plot
of this mythical narrative is thematically linked
to historical, psychoanalytical, and confessional self-

Dissolving Boundaries of The Self: A Rhizomatic Psycho-
History is a sequential archive of imagery that presents
an ever-evolving history of my psyche as photographic
artifact. Performance and improvisational play are essential
components of this project allowing for the transformation
of real world events and personal experiences into plot
driven character development, gesture, and aesthetic.
The images are metaphorical expressions of my everyday
thoughts, emotions, memories, cultural influences, physical
impulses, and other illusive subconscious desires. The
narrative is continually unfolding and sequentially re-
structuring itself in direct relation to my interpretation
of present and past personal experiences. " (continued below)

Below: Three of Paul's glass photo-based objects. These
are transfers on broken glass plates, backed with foil
and copper sheet. They really must be seen in person.
Each measures approx. 8 x 8 inches

The series is structured as a rhizomatic narrative
organized and presented by an imagined but systemically
real Institute of the Self (IOS). Utilizing psycho-
analytically based textual analysis, archeological
image structure, and the power of authoritative
authorship, this collection of images is archived
as a living collection of interpreted artifacts
discovered within the boundaries of an examined life.
The series attempts to expose the often contradictory
and relative nature of truth offered within any
documentary interpretation or examinationof the self
and/or culture as a whole."

Paul Thulin is an artist utilizing photography to
explore aspects of personal identity, memory, narrative,
and decay. He is a M.F.A. graduate from Virginia
Commonwealth University and an API National Graduate
Fellow. Presently, he is the Director of Graduate
Studies for the Department ofPhotography and Film
at V.C.U.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bret Payne / Nicole Andreoni - May at Transmission

Here are some images from the current show.
I have been researching honey bees. Pheromones,
systems, structures of class, their role in iconic
history, anthropomorphism, their role in a global
frame of mind. This body of work is much more
graphic than some of my other recent pieces. I've
also been getting back into drawing (with acrylic
ink). I hadn't drawn in years. Yes, I paint, sketch,
build, and print, but I felt like I needed to get a little
more intimate with my subject matter (which also
seems counter-balanced by the graphic quality of
the silkscreened honeycomb patterns that I've drawn
on top of). I'm thinking of going back into a few of these
if they don't leave the gallery walls to grace someone
else's environment.

A flower? Genitalia? No, this is the anatomy of a bee stinger. This print/drawing was done on 22 x 30 sheets of gray Rives. The yellow pops a bit more in person.The one on the right, "Black Currency" is a black silkscreen print on black paper
with a black acrylic ink drawing on top.

Below is "Heart of Darkness", inspired in part by the novel of the same name by Joseph Conrad. I highly recommend it if you have not read it. How many times and how many different ways has this myth been told? I had been looking at images of honeycombs made
back-to-back, and the semitransparent nature of the wax lead me into thinking about personas. Portions of the surface are cut out to reveal similar patterns, some slightly offset, creating
further systems/patterns/filters of personality.

Nicole Andreoni's work touches upon a fleeting innocence/purity. In this body of work, she has incorporated some printmaking into her drawings. Her flowers and semi-nude portraits (all of herself and/or her husband, Andy Kozlowski) are steeped in vanitas. Subtleties in skin tones seem effortlessly acheived with gouache and tasteful luminescent layers. The flowers are labored over with true appreciation. The mundane becoming sacred, or the sacred in the mundane is a familiar motif in Nicole's work. I appreciate the lack of smiles on these "Adam" and "Eve" portraits. She is taking us up past the poison apple, but the characters are still young (a recent past show of hers had titles incorporating "Boy" and "Girl"). This cusp to me is more precious. The sub-surface experiences are bleeding through to the surface, and I feel like these characters are currently (or have recently been) dealing with either fear, embarassment, shame, or a tragedy that I feel may never be "given" to us.

These portraits are done with graphite and gouache.

Below is an untitle self-portrait done with graphite and gouache.
The flowers are linoleum prints.

Come see this show!

Monday, May 19, 2008

three poems by Hoa Nguyen

These were also in "Brooklyn Rail":
If you can't read them, go here

Jeanette Winterson on art's role in affecting political and social change

Read this in a recent "Brooklyn Rail" (just found it's online as well - An interview with author Jeanette Winterson.
Just a small excerpt that I wanted to share with you:

Rail: Can you talk a little about the role you think fiction should play in affecting political and social change?

Winterson: Art, all art, protects imaginative space. Encounters with art open your mind because they force you away from your usual little world into spaces both meditative and challenging. It is a great mistake, the biggest mistake of all, to confuse a piece of art with its subject matter—what it says, what it’s about. We can’t do that with music, and we can’t do it with abstract painting, etc. That should warn us not to do it, full-stop. Of course a novel is “about” something, but its power is in its language and its image-making. When we turn to art, we are turning away from the clock-driven busy world into a reflective space that allows us to find our own meaning and our own beat. Change is impossible unless it starts with the individual. Art is always, always, always about the individual, the one-to-one experience. Change begins when our minds change—when our hearts change. That’s what art does, and that is why governments in the West don’t ban art—that would make it important and we would fight to keep it—no, they trivialize art, call it a luxury, call it elitist, quietly withdraw it from school study, and we go along with this, and soon we are just passive consumers of goods and news items, and we lose our spiritual muscle. Art keeps your mind fit, keeps your heart strong.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Fri, April 4, Claire Watkins, Joe Deroche, Rosana Barragan

presents new work by
Claire Watkins (kinetic sculpture, drawings)
Joe Deroche (mixed media paintings)
Rosana Barragan (performance)

Opening Friday, April 4th, 7-10pm
Performaces by Rosana Barragan
will occur on the opening night at 8 and 9pm
Show runs April 4-26

321 Brook Rd. (between Broad and Marshall St.)
Richmond, VA 23220

Gallery hours: Thurs, Fri, 11-6, Sat 12-5,
or call for appointment

Claire Watkins received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institue in 1996. In 2004, she received her MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her artist statement:
'The digestive system turns food into eyelashes. I am in awe of the minutiae and delicate actions that make up everyday life. The machines I build reflect this awe and wonder. My work is intimate, curious and mesmerizing in its gestures. The translation of energy is both a functional and conceptual part of my work... With movement, I make machines that become creatures.

I am fascinated by systems found within the body and the parallel structures located outside of it; the human brain and circuit boards, nerve systems and trees. How is the brain a computer and how is it an electrical storm? The affects of electricity are curious. Neurons fire in your head with the memories of your life. Your toast gets burned. Electricity has a visual presence in my work, traveling through motors, lights, wires microcontrollers and drawings that are circuit boards. I want to expose the invisibility of electricity, a physical reminder of its presence.'

Joe Deroche incorporates poured resins, layers of glass, sculpted metals, and highly polished surfaces in his hybrid paintings. Geographical formations mixed with transparent and semi-transparent layers combine to reference seemingly fictional histories of place. Transmission is proud to present this artist's public debut.

Rosana Barragan is a performing artist originally from Colombia, South America and currently residing in Richmond. She has a Master’s degree in Dance from the Laban Centre in London and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication & Social Studies from Javeriana University in Colombia. Her performances address social and political issues in environments that challenge audience perspectives. She has received various grants and awards for choreography in Colombia, Mexico and England. Her works have been shown in different theaters, galleries, museums, public spaces and festivals in Colombia, Ecuador, Portugal, England, Mexico and the US. This performance marks her debut in Richmond.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Transmission introduces Studio 23"

Sarah Watson,
"I'm Here, You're
There", spitbite
and sugarlift

The Southern Graphics Council Conference is in Richmond this week. The show at Transmission is primarily a forum for Studio 23 to introduce themselves, their work, and their mission.

321 Brook Rd. (between Broad St. and Marshall St.)
Richmond, VA 23225

This show has been up for the month of March, and will be open throughout the Conference's entirety. Hours are Wed, Thurs (11-6), Fri (11-9), and Sat (11-6), or call for appointment.

The members of this group are versatile, extremely talented, and generous. Without them, this community would continue suffering without a resource to learn and/or practice printmaking techniques like etching, lithography, relief (woodcut/linocut), and screenprinting.

Studio 23 will be calling Plant Zero (the artist studios at 0 East 4th St. in the historic district of Manchester) home. Not to confuse you, but they will be hosting an open studio on Saturday, March 29th there from 6-11pm. You can check out their blog here.

Here's what you can expect to see at the show: Etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, linoleum prints, screenprints, and mixed media prints by the members of Studio 23 (Ashley Hawkins, Sarah Watson, Beth Noe, Cindy Eide, Kate Horne) as well as some of their associates (Trudy Benson, Bret Payne, Andy Kozlowski). Also on view are prints by the following artists: Amze Emmons (etching with screenprinting!!), Sam McPheeters, Neil Burke, Ryan Jacob Smith, Matt Wells, Amy Ross (rare collage pieces), Travis Robertson (zines and screenprints), books by Kevin Hooyman... and more!

I interviewed some of the members of Studio 23 -

Q: What process will be required for an artist to use the facilities at Studio 23?

A: At first we said street cred, and knowing not to run a metal spork through the press. Really, anyone interested should email us at and come down to check out the studio. We want to accommodate a wide range of experience and goals, and want to emphasize that all are welcome. We'll tailor tutorials/open studios to individual needs, and are always available for questions and/or visits to the space.

Q: What prompted your efforts to confirm the relevancy of printmaking techniques like etching and lithography? Have you witnessed a decline in the appreciation or understanding of these skills?

A: We're a group of print dorks who want to create a dorkdom (dorkpire?) of printmakers. It is extremely difficult for young, emerging artists to set up and run a printshop individually, as the cost of presses, materials, and maintenance is high. Thus, having a shop available for community use is critical to encouraging young artists to make prints. Prints have their own unique quality, and you just don't see that many of them in galleries. This isn't necessarily indicative of a decline in the appreciation/understanding of traditional printmaking skills, it is simply that facilities for printmaking aren't readily available outside of the university setting. We wish to make prit these facilities available, and create a communal atmosphere as community is such a vital part of any printmaking environment.

Q:Opening this up to the public is an extremely generous gesture. Having a facility like this in Richmond, outside of the confines of the School of the Arts or other institutions is a blessing for someone like me. What made you decide to open Studio 23 in Richmond?

A: We're all recent graduates of VCU's Painting and Printmaking Department, and felt a bit lost after graduating. Without the facilities of VCU, we found it difficult to create work. We started Studio 23 as simply a place for us to work, to get Kate Horne's Talking Horse Press up and running. We've decided to open Studio 23 to the public because we've met many other young artists like ourselves looking for a place to work. We're very excited to provide that place, to increase awareness of printmaking through workshops, and to be a part of Richmond's art community. We see so many people immediately leaving Richmond after graduation, and we think that sucks. We want to contribute to a community of young artists with roots in Richmond who are dedicated to contributing to the arts in the city.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jesse Albrecht part 2

Here's part 2 of the interview -

Bret- I feel fortunate to be able to showcase your work. Yours is
a voice/perspective that we don't hear much in the contemporary art world.
Have you run across other artists who are vets of the current war in Iraq?
Jesse - Thank you for the oppourtunity to be included in the show, I would have loved to take a look but my budget is broke, so hopefully next time. Bill Donovan is a vet of the Afganistan Campaign who was in the show, but I don't know anyone else from the Iraq side. Last spring Jamie and CeCe had Bill and I to Richmond as visiting artists and that was the first time Bill and I had a chance to talk about our expierence. We did so over a late night kitchen table drawfest and it was good.

B - What is the most recent change you have seen in your work?
How have they changed from the time when you first got back from Iraq?
J - Showing my work has gone in the direction of instillation with artifacts and pictures from Iraq informing where I am coming from. With Great Uncles gassed in France in WWI and his brothers at Pearl Harbor and Tarawa, my Grandfather 3 1/2 years in New Guinea and Uncles in Vietnam I am examining my family history and how that informed me and my expierence. Initially I couldn't build the pieces fast enough to pour out what I saw, did and felt. My work continues to become more refined in the emotion and expierence are represented. Performance is working its way into the mix as well.

B - Are you still making similar forms with text carved into and/or
painted onto them?
J - My last series of ceramic work was without text but relief of rattlesnakes and straight razors being some of the reoccuring subjects. The cone is the form I am still working with, abstracted to or from the human form. I crowbared the word "love" into some pots I made last summer which all ended up wedding gifts for my closest army buddies. Love N' War has been the series I have been working on for the past three years, and much text has appeared as recognition of friends back in Iraq, wishing their safe return.

B -Did you ever question your thought to write on/into
your pieces?
J - The first year back I didn't question anything I wrote on my work or why I was doing it. Now it is obvious the gap between who I was before I left and who I returned as was put into my work. I didn't want to pull anything back but the most taboo thoughts and feelings.
B - What does the Arabic script say on the untitled piece?
I enjoy seeing what foreign languages do to audiences.
What was you intent in using it in this piece?
J - Allah Akbar, God is Great(er) is the Arabic text I think you are referring to, which is off the Iraqi flag post 1991. It was used to reference some horrors Saddam perpatrated during his rule. With that piece I was screaming back about what I did in Iraq, what it was about for me. I was remembering Iraqis I met who bear Saddam's brutality missing fingers and toes. I was remembering the experience of purchasing medicine, supplies, and delivering it to a childrens hospital in Mosul. I was remembering the medical treatement I provided Iraqi children, civilians, and soldiers--remembering some of the good I did while in Iraq.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jesse Albrecht

Jesse Albrecht is one of the artists in the current show, "The Word Made Fresh".

Here's his statement for the show:
"My art speaks about my personal experiences in Iraq - what I saw, did, smelled, tasted, felt and thought. WWI, WWII, and Vietnam also sent family members around the globe--war has spanned nearly a century for my family and its effects are ever present. A year of kill or be killed shattered my personal understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Art helps me process and communicate such an overwhelming sensory and emotional experience and its daily effects. It has become a means to open a dialogue about the experience of combat--love n war--coming home. From beautiful to nauseating sights, feelings, experiences, thought and action. I can not internalize my experience. I can not forget those fighting and those fallen. "

This ceramic piece is titled "I Chose to Live"

Here's part 1 of an interview with him-

Bret: As a gallerist, I have had a real physical interaction
with both of your pieces in the current show. Both
are fairly difficult for one person to handle. I had to
have someone help me lift "I Chose to Live" off of the floor
onto the pedestal. I can read and understand what you
are communicating with the text on these pieces, but I felt
like I was tapping into a more physical understanding
of your experiences as an Iraq War Vet.

Jesse: I had been back in the United States for around eight months when I made those pieces and they were at the front end of the work I made about my experiences. The clay was a canvas, I wasn't thinking much about form, just building the pieces as quickly as possible, often an hour or two--the decoration (drawing/painting on them) was my focus, which was fast and overpowered with emotion/experience. I needed them to be thick and heavy so I could tear into them while I decorated them and not worry about them collapsing. It was a raw time personally and for my art.

Bret: I want to quote you here:
"I need to speak (through art) about my experience—what I saw, did, smelled, tasted, felt and thought—while in Iraq and now while I process such an overwhelming sensory and emotional experience my art serves as the physical through which I am processing that experience."
Jesse: I meet a lot of people who have never talked to someone who has been to Iraq. It got to the point where I felt I had an obligation to make my statement through my work about my experience because the mainstream media misses it so much of the time. And its a different experience for everyone and as it evolves...but the day to day I get here reading the papers and watching the news is not what the soldier is seeing, feeling, I wanted to initiate that conversation with people. I don't have the eloquence or space to write about the sensory and emotional experience Iraq has to offer, much less how I am sifting through my old existance in relation to who I am now...hopefully my work captures just a little bit of that.

Bret: Again, because I've been so up close and personal with these
pieces, I was even able to smell the dirt/mud/clay/mold/algae.
These all spoke to me about memory and its transient nature.
I witness so many people forgetting about what is going on.
Jesse: I am realizing memory changes with where I am at mentally/physically...people can't forget what they never knew, but that is why I am speaking about my time in Iraq. Hopefully I can bring something to people about Iraq aside from another news blip that easily blends away. I hope it initiates a conversation that helps inform people. Without an outlet the outdoor storage initiates the growth of algae...reading into it I think of the homeless veteran and relate that to my work stored behind a garage, covered with mud, ice, mold, and leaves.

Bret: Please tell me about the date on "I Chose to Live"
Jesse: For the first year or two back from Iraq I didn't want to be around people I didn't know becasue I would scan for a threat, but when I would be alone I would become parinoid to the point of hallucination at times. I would barracade myself in my studio so I would hear someone if they were in the building..."I Chose to Live" was the date of a particular night in the studio when I had a real hallucination/breakdown.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"The Word Made Fresh" Opening Jan. 4, 7-9pm

The colors seem to be a little off here. This show brings together 24 artists from all over the U.S. and one artist from France (REMED)! The opening is this Friday. There will be a puppet show by Sean Samoheyl around 7:30.

Contributing artists: Jamie Boling, Bill Donovan, Leah Beeferman, Matt Betts, Chris Lawson, Jesse Albrecht, Liam Devowski, Travis Robertson, Max Hubenthal, Mike Ball, Dean AEIOU, Cece Cole, Brooke Inman, Heather Bregman, Bret Payne, REMED, Andy Kozlowski, Anthony Meloro, Kate Horne, Travis Jackson, Chris Coy, Arthur Hash, and Sean Samoheyl