Hump Day Hot Seat: Giovanni Forlino

Get to know Brooklyn based artist Giovanni Forlino! He is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat on .stART here. answering questions provided by Finch & Ada. You may remember when I featured his work in an Artist You Should Know post I wrote for Finch & Ada last year. Check out what he’s up to now!

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Photo courtesy of Giovanni Forlino

1. Who are you?

Giovanni Forlino

2. What do you do?

I paint birds and plants and coming soon: FISH!

3. How long have you been at it?

I had been drawing like a maniac since I was a little boy. Eventually my drawings became thicker, and more colorful – more like paintings on paper, and then I put them on canvas and wood panels for the first time about nine months ago. Since then, I’ve made thirty-five finished paintings.

4. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I plan to make a million more paintings, and they are going to be really awesome.

5. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I’m not necessarily inspired by painters. I am, but it is more that I am inspired by people who wish to MASTER something. Like my genius girlfriend, Emma, is a barrister in London, and she is passionate about mastering everything she does. Cooking, sex, work, fitness, fashion, etc. This is what inspires me. This is a truly creative person.

6. What other types of art are you into?

I like how Jose de Ribera could paint a person’s face, with their skin truly looking like it was stretched around a skull. Also, when he painted a figure in pain, he came up with ways to stretch their skin, and bunch it up in other places, like big wrinkly foreheads, and thinned eyelids. I like how Michelangelo made arms and hands so expressive and delicious looking. I also love how he painted young people and made them so incredibly beautiful. I love Jan van Eyck. I feel like his paintings took 200 hundred people working together. He set the standard for how excellent the surface of a painting could potentially be. Wow, I guess I’m pretty old school today.

7. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

I love canned fish. I have an international collection of canned fish which I have brought back from Italy and other places. I have amazing cans of fish. Tuna, sardines, anchovies, and salmon. I love these things, especially ones of amazing quality, like Cabo de Penas brisling sardines, and Ortiz tuna, and often eat them right out of the can. Sometimes my dinner is a can of fish, which I eat with a fork, standing up. I love my lifestyle.

I love dancing so much! I wish people invited me to go out dancing every single night until 7am. I would happily sacrifice 80% of my sleep to go out dancing every night. This is why we have coffee. I think sleep is very important, but I must say, I know a lot of people who sleep WAY more than i do and have a lot less energy than I have. That’s because I recognize how important it is for my levels of energy and passion, to accomplish things I know will satisfy me.

8. What’s your favorite vice?

Blondie bars and getting inappropriately high on caffeine, everyday. And making people blush with my perverted sense of humor.

9. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I don’t have creative humps. The closest thing I have to a hump is when I think all my paintings suck. I just keep painting when that happens, or I’ll ask myself if I need to go out dancing or catch up on sleep. Thinking all my paintings suck is not a big deal. This is fine, healthy, and normal. It’s the same as anything else, like when you are walking down the street, you probably don’t have non-stop, seamless, original moments of seeing everything around you as new. Sometimes, your brain chatter gets louder and says, “I suck, and the world is ugly. It was never beautiful, and I already know all this stuff already.” You can have thoughts like that and just recognize it is part of being human, not a personal failure. Just engage with what you are doing again, and do not indulge in putting too much energy into those crappy USEFUL thoughts. They are useful for when people find it more convenient to distract themselves than to step into the unknown again, and again…

10. If someone was to write a Craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

Guy with big eyeballs who was staring at something.

11. Tell me about the last tie a project blew up in your face?

I bought a dead porcupine with the intent to make a disco ball. I was going to coat it in either aluminum powder or in microscopic glass shards using an airbrush and some oil. Then one day, I received this insane object in the mail. Big turnoff.

12. What is your most prized possession?

I just bought a pair of boots from a store called Sandro. They are dark blood-colored (nearly black), lace-up, leather, high ankle boots. So so beautiful. I have not worn them yet, but this morning, I was lying in bed with the boots and staring at them for an hour. They are so nice.

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Monday Funday: President’s Day Special

Happy Monday! I have switched up the .stART here. blog schedule and now present Monday Funday because sometimes we need a reminder of how much fun we have, especially on a Monday!

Today is President’s Day so pIease enjoy some photos I took during the 57th Presidential Inauguration Parade back on January 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C. I didn’t get a chance to attend President Obama’s first inauguration ceremony in 2009, so I was thrilled to be present for this one, and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to boot! Fun!

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

From President Obama’s inaugural address:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths —- that all of us are created equal —- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law —- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity  —- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task —- to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. 

For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

Fresh Friday Finds: Richard Ackoon

Today’s Fresh Friday Finds on .stART here. is a Finch & Ada Hump Day Q&A Alum artist Richard Ackoon. Happy weekend!

In 1999, Richard Ackoon received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His work has been featured in solo and group shows throughout New York City and abroad. Two of Ackoon’s pieces were recently accepted for the Annual GLAAD Art Auction this past November and both were sold at the event held at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

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15″X 20″ Collage on Board. Image courtesy of Richard Ackoon.

Ackoon’s work will also be available for purchase on Fab.com starting Monday, February 18 through Friday, February 22. Go ahead, and own an Ackoon!

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15″X 20″ Collage on Board. Image courtesy of Richard Ackoon.

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15″X 20″ Collage on Board. Image courtesy of Richard Ackoon.

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20″X 15″ Collage on Board. Image courtesy of Richard Ackoon.

From Richard Ackoon:

The images featured on Fab.com are poster print-ready, electronically enhanced versions of my original artworks, which are created utilizing art paper, spray mount adhesive, and an X-Acto knife.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Andi Green

In today’s .stART here. Hump Day Hot Seat is Fresh Friday Finds alum Andi Green. Get to know Green and The WorryWoo Monsters a little better as she answers the questions provided by Finch & Ada. Enjoy!image

WorryBug and Wince, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

1. Who Are You?

Andi Green

2. What do you do?

I write, illustrate and produce The WorryWoo Monsters series.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

The WoryWoos came from characters I started sketching in high school, but it wasn’t until 2001 when I really got my start. I was working full time as a creative director and was invited to exhibit work at an art exhibit on the Lower East Side. I created a series of light boxes, called The Monsters in My Head, featuring individual characters dedicated to emotions. The show garnered such positive reactions that I was compelled to leave my full time job and start my own company just a few years later. Since then, I have gone on to publish six books and create six accompanying characters called the WorryWoo Monsters through my company named after the exhibit – Monsters In My Head.

4. How long have you been at it?

My whole life, but I’ve made it my full time gig for the past 4 years.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

I’m a bird loving, dog snuggling, cat cuddling, monster maker.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

Some may say not directly in my field, but I am a huge fan of Jhonen Vsquez, the comic book illustrator and creator of Invader Zim. His art is magnificent. In the children’s book world, I have always held Shel Silverstein, Richard Scarry and Maurice Sendak as truly inspiring authors/illustrators. Their work spoke to me as a child and still does today.

 7. What other types of art are you in to? 

The world of typography and design is probably my favorite art. Design has been a big part of my life since I was a teen, turning the pages of Ray Gun magazine, and reading comic books. It is design as an art that inspired me to become who I am today. Although the design world has taken a turn since the digital age, I won’t forget how it all started. I still get weak in the knees when I see work from Barbara Kruger, David Carson or Max Ernst. And Dada was an amazing period of art with no limits – put me in from of a Duchamp piece and I feel content for weeks. 🙂

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 

I love adventure travelling. To give you an idea, I went on a trip to Antarctica last year… it was amazing.

9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Watching science fiction movies.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

I put on my favorite loud music and I run. Usually that resets my mind.

 11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook? 

Yes, I love to eat. I am a vegetarian and my favorite food is Mexican – salsa is my downfall. I love to cook, but I can’t bake – never works for me.

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate. 

Dare. Most of the time I will do random things if challenged. Last year, I went ice climbing because I was told that I couldn’t handle it. It was a challenge to say the least.

13. What is your most prized possession?

A necklace with my dog’s name. I never take it off. My dog changed my life and whenever we are not together, I feel better having the necklace on. It is my way of knowing I am always connected to her. She is everything to me.

Sunday Funday: Ann Hamilton’s “the art of a thread” at Park Ave Armory

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I visited New York City’s Park Avenue Armory just after the holidays and finally checked out what I had seen all over the internet and heard about for weeks since Ann Hamilton‘s “the art of a thread” show opened there on December 5.  It was nearly 7pm on the night my colleague David and I entered the enormous gymnasium and began interacting with the large scale installation.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Suspended from the ceiling by an intricate system of pulleys and rope, numerous swings were interspersed throughout the room. The movement of these swings, and those who were perched upon them, controlled the ebb and flow of a giant white curtain which also hung from the ceiling. David and I finally stuck around long enough to acquire an empty swing and hopped on together. Swinging to and fro, I admired that collectively, with our neighboring swingers, we were all creating this ever changing space. As a graduate of Communication Studies, one of my favorite theories is Relational Dialectics (Baxter & Montgomery, 1997): a concept that tries to explain patterns of contradictory tensions and conceptual assumptions. For example, “opposites attract” but “birds of a feather flock together”. I was reminded of this theory as David and I continued to explore the space, the elements of Hamilton’s installation, and the opposing scenarios therein.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

On one end of the gymnasium, a man and woman simultaneously recited different text into old school ’50s style microphones while on the other end, a woman silently wrote letters to be sent out to post. The end of the night seemed to be approaching as the lights dimmed and the artist herself released caged pigeons from the center of the room. The pigeons were summoned by ringing bells to a large cage near the ceiling.  On the opposite end of the gym, an opera singer walked out onto a balcony and sang a beautifully powerful aria. David and I learned that new arias were recorded each evening, and replayed when the exhibit reopened the next morning, like daily bookends for the project. There was so much going on at the same time, and in continuum, so after more than an hour at the Armory, I left creatively satisfied and eager to write this post.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

 From Ann Hamilton about the art of a thread:

Suspended in the liquidity of words, reading also sets us in motion. We fall between a book’s open covers, into the texture of the paper and the regularity of the line. The rhythm and breath of someone reading out loud take us to a world far away. As a child, I could spend hours pressed against the warmth of my grandmother’s body listening to her read, the rustling of her hand turning the page, watching the birds and the weather outside, transported by the intimacy of a shared side by side.

     No two voices are alike. No event is ever the same. Each interaction in this project is both made and found. All making is an act of attention and attention is an act of recognition and recognition is the something happening that is thought itself. As a bird whose outreached wings momentarily catch the light and change thought’s course, we attend the presence of the tactile and perhaps more importantly – we attend to each other. If on a swing, we are alone, we are together in a field. This condition of the social is the art of a thread. Our crossings with its motions, sounds, and textures is its weaving; is a social act.

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Fresh Friday Finds: Andi Green

Welcome to the first Fresh Friday Finds post on .stART here. where I’ll be featuring some fresh artists on the rise. Happy weekend!

I am continuing with a Green theme and stoked to introduce Andi Green. Her sister, Allison Green, was in this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat.

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Nola, 24″x36″ light box. Photo courtesy of Andi Green.

In 2001, Andi Green worked in advertising and had an art show in New York City called The Monsters in My Head.  She created 24″x36″ light boxes featuring characters that embodied emotions. All five pieces displayed a character, or what she called monsters, along with a Xerox-transferred story (see image above). After such an enormous response to The Monsters, Green decided to expand her idea. Six years later, she began the development of The WorryWoo Monsters series consisting of children’s storybooks and plush dolls under her newly formed Monsters in My Head independent company.

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Nola, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

Another six years later, with six books and seven plus dolls, The WorryWoo Monsters is now an award-winning series created, written, illustrated, and produced by Andi Green, a tried and true tour de force. Her dedication to technique and tradition does not go unnoticed as she hand draws and watercolors the layouts for the storybooks herself – a waning technique lost in the digital age. Green’s characters celebrate emotions both big and small, and help create a dialogue about our inner selves. Whether it is the feeling of loneliness (Nola), insecurity (Rue), confusion (Fuddle), innocence (Squeek), worry (Wince), or frustration (Twitch), both children and adults alike can relate to these stories and learn to embrace their emotions. Check out WorryWoos.com for more information and to meet Andi and her WorryWoo Monsters – Nola, Rue, Fuddle, Squeek, Wince, and Twitch.

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Rue, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

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WorryBug and Wince, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

 

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Wince, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Allison Green

Allison Green‘s “Entwined” was the first Sunday Funday feature right here on .stARThere. Now, Green is in the Hump Day Hot Seat where you can learn more about the artist as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada.

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Photo courtesy of Allison Green

1. Who are you?

Jersey City based artist Allison Green

2. What do you do?

 I create large scale, colorful oil paintings. Nature is most often my muse, and anthropomorphic trees and plant life have been my most recent subjects. I work full-time in my Jersey City studio.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I studied art at the University of Maryland, where painting was my concentration, and I also studied in Florence, Italy at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). After college, I moved to the New York City area where I have worked ever since. For eight years, I taught art at a Jersey City Public School, which was both a rewarding and eye opening experience. As my work became more recognized, I decided to take the plunge and work as a full-time artist. Soon after, Susan Eley featured my first solo show at her gallery, Susan Eley Fine Art, in 2011. She now represents my work.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would always carry around a sketchbook. I started painting with Mr. Falcone, my 9th grade art teacher in my small hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. I remember that our first art class assignment was a home painting of something we were inspired by after a class trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum. I stayed up all night painting on this giant wooden board with house paints from the hardware store. I arrived to school the next day with a 4’X4′ painting! From then on, I was obsessed!

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I never give up.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

So many – Anselm Kiefer, Kiki Smith, William Kentridge, Inka Essenhigh. In November, I saw a great show at Leila Heller Gallery by two painters who work together under the moniker Kate Eric.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I love the arts – film, dance, & theater. I always have music on when I am painting. Sometimes, I am dancing when I paint. I love it all as other art forms truly inspire me.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My sister says that I am a great “animal photographer.” I am also really good at sleeping late and sleeping for very long periods of time.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Red wine – could there be anything else? 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

1. Persistence. 2. I take breaks. I know that sounds contradictory, but they work together. Sometimes, after I finish a painting or a series that I am really happy about, it’s hard for me to move on. I feel lost, but I force myself to pick up a brush or pencil even if I am not feeling creative. I will make myself start a new study or sketch, anything to keep it moving. At the same time, I also think it is crucial to take breaks. Whether it is taking a break from painting and spending the afternoon just sitting in the studio and thinking instead or stepping out of the studio for the day to visit galleries or go to the Met, it is important to allow yourself a moment to take a breath. Sometimes, taking a day off to step away from art entirely – like a trip to the beach or a day of shopping – can do wonders for a creative spirit!

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I love food! I am a vegetarian, and I love trying all of the great, veg-friendly restaurants NYC has to offer. I also love to cook. Right now, my two favorite dishes to make are a pasta with kale and veggie sausage in a lemon olive oil garlic sauce, and a fresh salad with sautéed tempeh bacon, avocado, and tomato – yum!

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

In terms of art, both. I always try to remain true to myself in my work while always daring myself to try the things that I am afraid I can’t do, to move forward, and try harder.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My husband. 🙂

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Dan Puleo

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to the first Hump Day Hot Seat post on .stART here. where you’ll get to know some cool artists a little bit better.  I will be asking questions provided by Finch & Ada.  Enjoy!

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1. Who are you?

Dan Puleo, sometimes Daniel Jack. It depends on the weather.

2. What do you do?

Right now, I am working for a mid-century modern art/furniture gallery in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is really helping me research and develop some exciting new ventures I have planned, furniture design and simple framed works on paper. Unlike New York City and New Jersey, the market down here is less cluttered. I think it could be a fresh new market for me… if they’re even read for it. I also create mixed media paintings. I was using found objects on canvas, but I am refining and using gallery wrap canvas and works on paper. I think it’s time for marketability.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I was raised in New Jersey so I guess you can say I got my start there. I think my 4th grade teacher told me I was talented when I won a poster contest for fire prevention. When I moved to New York City is when I started garnering some attention from other artists and collectors. I lived Uptown so I took the train a lot. I would notice the difference in the maintenance of each train station I stopped at. I really liked the way advertisements were peeled off and tagged. I remember seeing faint images of fashion models underneath gyro posters underneath Newport ads underneath a flyer for a local show underneath…you get the idea, lots of layers. My dad is somewhat responsible for my love of street art. He drove a truck that was pretty accessible to great graffiti artists in Paterson, New Jersey. He liked to show my brother and me new pieces whenever someone tagged the truck. But, my dad didn’t like it too much when I got in trouble for vandalism in high school. My brother, Bobby, also exposed me to the latest skate videos and punk rock pretty young so that was a plus. Skateboarding culture played a huge role in my life and has influenced my art greatly.

4. How long have you been at it?

I was to say too long, but I guess it hasn’t been long enough.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m usually my biggest critic when it comes to my art. It still surprises me when someone really loves a piece that I thought was just whatever. I like to disconnect from the piece when I feel it’s done, kind of put it away from me and then go back later and see how I feel. I don’t like to become attached to pieces of art, most of them started as garbage and most of them will end up as garbage.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire anyone who can make a living following their passion when it come to art. I also admire people who starve just to hold on to their passion for art. That being said, I admire most artists. Robert Rauschenberg is one of my favorite artists. He recently died, and I think he may be buried here in West Palm.

7. What other types of art are you into?
Anything lowbrow, street art, pop art, signage, and furniture design.
8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?
My skull collection is growing. I just found a goat skull and a pig skull in the same garden. Voodoo?
9. What’s your favorite vice?
Miami
10. How do you make it over the creative hump?
Right now, I am at the top of the hump about to roll back down the other side. Changing location and lifestyle over the past year has been interesting. I am kind of surveying the scene down here and waiting for the right moment to release some real art. There is definitely some money to be made in South Florida, hopefully this old money wants some new art.
11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?
I do like food. I eat out a lot. I did just recently get a blender for Christmas. I want to drink most of my food from now on.
12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.
Truth. I’ve admitted most things already so it shouldn’t be too hard.
13. What is your most prized posession?
I already mentioned my skull collection so I would have to say my vintage camera collection.
Check out Dan’s online portfolio for more information. Photo courtesy of Dan Puleo.

Sunday Funday: Allison Green’s “Entwined” at Susan Eley Fine Art

By Bernadette Cruz

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to the first Sunday Funday post on .stART here. where I will be featuring fun exhibitions, shows, and cultural events. You can also find a nifty schedule of some sweet events from time to time too. Enjoy!

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Susan Eley Fine Art gallery. Photo courtesy of Allison Green

You might remember Allison Green and her work from an Artist You Should Know feature I wrote for Finch & Ada in February 2011 when I visited her Jersey City studio. At the time, Green was working on pieces for her upcoming solo show. In October, I revisited the very works I saw in progress at Green’s studio, which were now on display at the charming, salon-style Upper West Side art gallery Susan Eley Fine Art in New York City. I was lucky enough to privately view the solo exhibition, “Entwined,” joined by the artist herself.

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Light Violet Thicket. oil on canvas. 12” x 48”. Photo © Bernadette Cruz

The first thought that came to me upon walking through the doors of Susan Eley Fine Art is how fitting it is for Green’s large scale oil paintings to adorn the exposed brick walls, just as the subject matter is mostly found in the crevices and cracked pavement of the artist’s real-life urban neighborhood. Green says, “the most resilient and unexpectedly beautiful plants that exist in the urban landscape are plants that we normally consider weeds.”

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Detailed Sienna Thicket. oil on canvas. 48” x 48”. Photo © Bernadette Cruz

New York-based art critic and independent curator Lilly Wei says Green “extracts her botanicals from their contexts and deftly paints them close-up or in more wide-angled view.” With this technique, Green details the complex and intricate make up of living things, like in Queen Anne’s Lace and Buckhorn Plantains from The Healing Garden series, centered on bright, colorful backgrounds.  Within the webbed layers seen in works like Deep Violet Thicket and Sage Thicket from The Thicket series, Green personifies life experience and reminds the viewer of time and space.

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Artist Allison Green with her dog, Lila. Photo courtesy of Allison Green

Allison Green continues to paint at her home studio in Jersey City, NJ and is represented by Susan Eley Fine Art in New York City. With Susan Eley Fine Art, three of Green’s pieces were also on display at Aqua Art during Art Basel in Miami this year. Check out http://allisongreen.net/ for more information.

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Allison Green’s studio. Photo courtesy of Allison Green

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