Thermal.Gallery June 2016 – BenJamz “Stencilism: In the cut”

TG Goens web

On view in our 100% virtual gallery through the month of June is Phoenix artist Benjamin Goens solo exhibition “Stencilism: In the cut.” BenJam studied Art History and Art Education at university but has always had a fascination with hip-hop culture, graffiti, and the evolution of street art.  Over the last two years he has dedicated himself to learning to cut intricate stencils to create the most realistic depictions of his subjects, often taken from Art History. He sometimes uses up to 12 or more stencils in one image to create lifelike tonal gradations in his imagery.  He challenges himself to reconstruct and share the beauty of the past in a modern way to communicate to the broader public.

Visit Thermal.Gallery today on any device connected to the internet!

To view the show simply click on the gallery image above and take a tour!

New Virtual Exhibition in Thermal.Gallery

For the month of May we present a show of all new work by Phoenix artist Lisa O’Riley! Featuring 12 new mixed media paintings, the exhibition reflects inspirations of places she lived, from Hawaii to Phoenix, including tikis and graffiti writing. The influences show her connection to her past, present, and future surroundings.

Visit this 100% online virtual exhibition by clicking on the image below to redirect to our Exhibbit platform. It is accessible any time from nearly any device connected to the internet. Enjoy!

ORiley Webpage

Artist Feature: Lisa O’Riley

Phoenix artist Lisa O’Riley grew up in California and Hawaii, ended up in Arizona and studied painting at ASU, where she earned her BFA.  Classically trained in old master oil painting techniques, honed during time at the Colorado Art Academy and the Scottsdale Artists’ School, who would have thought that graffiti would be a major influence and at the forefront of her work?

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Lisa O’Riley :Merlot and the Mystery Girls”

In studying interior wall glazes and ornamental line elements of traditional painting, O’Riley saw a direct reference between graffiti work, modern murals and classical European and American murals and paintings.  Her current series of paintings juxtaposes traditional still life and urban street art creating a narrative between the two art forms–and connecting them in a timeless manner that becomes a nod to the past and a celebration of the present.  She views herself as two characters working independently back and forth in the same space sharing and molding the visual languages into a uniform statement about the similarities of their crafts.  Each painting tells the story of the equality of “high” and “low” brow art.

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Lisa O’Riley “Graffiti Says What”

In some the painting, such as “Merlot and the Mystery Girls” the still-life takes center stage with graf work added to the scene as if a tagger came along and wrote on a Pompeiian mural.  Others, like “Graffiti Says What” focus on the text and the line work of the graf, closely compared to modern Islamic art as well.  Most intriguing are paintings which incorporate the characters. “Reach for the Stars” includes the still life surrounded with graf but also gives us the visual of the tagger in the midst of adding his contribution to the work.

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Lisa O’Riley “Reach for the Stars”

O’Riley is not the first artist to mix genres, and certainly not the last.  But, what we view in her work is not gimmicky, it is a genuine narrative about the essence of painting and its roots in history.  A goup of O’Riley’s paintings are on view in the Lounge at {9} The Gallery through the end of June, with a reception Friday June 19th (Third Friday–TOMORROW).  Make sure if you are downtown art strolling in this summer heat you cool off and check out the work of this rising star!

Artist Website

{9} The Gallery

Artist Feature: Tammi Lynch-Forrest

This month I had the opportunity to meet with mosaic artist Tammi Lynch-Forrest in her Grand Ave. studio/gallery and discuss her journey to this point and her goals for the future.  Upon entering the space I knew this was not a “typical” gallery, or artist. Tammi has found her passion in mosaic.  She has poured not only her time and a significant investment into honing her skill, but from inspecting the work itself she has ingrained it with her essence.

Like many, I have not experienced much mosaic art, a fact that Tammi hopes to change with her presence in Phoenix.  I was immediately drawn to the intricacy of the work, perfectly cut shards of a plethora of materials ranging from glass and stone to precious metals—gold and lapis-lazuli—arranged into detailed scenes and forms.  She showed me some of the tools she uses to cut and shape the facets, and the planning that she goes through for each work.  This is not an art form for the impatient, it takes time, dedication, and skills learned through mistakes, trial, and error.  She explained how even some of the smallest works could consume weeks of labor.

    

The superb quality of the work she displays, many of which she created as tests or in workshops, is astonishing.  Then, she shared a revelation with me—she has only been practicing mosaic for just around five years!  In this time period she has traveled the world studying in workshops with some of the most celebrated artists learning the nuances and enhancing her skill.

          

She has recently opened this studio as her workspace but also as what she hopes to be a destination.  Her goal—other than selling her own work—is to provide educational workshops in the art of mosaic and expand the awareness of this traditional art form that is little known in contemporary art circles, especially in the U.S.

Tammi is on the verge of marketing her artwork and educational programs, with plans to focus on building her offerings this summer so look out for a fresh experience in the local art community this year!

Check out more at www.arizonamosaico.com

– Justin Germain

Featured Artist – Denise Fleisch

IMG_6656_2Local painter, gallery owner, and curator Denise Fleisch calls herself an “Arizona girl” since she has lived in Phoenix most of her life, moving to the valley when she was two with a stint in Cleveland after she married. Fleisch started painting over 20 years ago when she viewed masters such as Monet and Van Gogh and wanted artwork in her house. She says bluntly, “I wasn’t very good, but I didn’t care. I just continued to paint.” Over the years, she developed her abstract style which she links directly to the expanse, bright colors, and diverse textures of the Arizona desert. She also found that she had to be an artist, there was nothing else that fulfilled her like painting, whether it sold or not. So, she made it her career.

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When Fleisch moved back to Phoenix from Cleveland in 2002, she found the Phoenix art scene and she fit right in. She showed at the Paper Heart Gallery for five years along with any opportunity she could find in restaurants, salons, offices, libraries, and even the Phoenix Art Museum on one occasion. She also found donating her work to charities for fundraiser events became a great way for people to experience and notice her art.

In 2008, she and another artist opened a gallery Grand Avenue. With a lot of support and encouragement, she kept painting and started selling really well, which kept her gallery in business. About three years ago she moved her gallery to Roosevelt and named it Lotus Contemporary Art. She currently sells her work, shows a few other artists each year, and has some group shows in the space.

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She recalls a lot of rejection as she was establishing her art career, but she always had support too, especially from her fellow artists and gallerists locally. She learned to grow a thick skin and be persistent. In order to support her painting habit, she has to sell her art, so she has continued to build her knowledge by gathering advice from successful people around her to enhance her art business.

Fleisch’s advice to all early career artists is that even though they might not always want to run the business side of it, it is essential. She states, “It’s not just about painting. It’s about marketing, communication, social media, and having great people who love art and believe in the work. Also believing in one’s self-worth.” A key to her success has been to make sacrifices, surround herself with other like-minded, entrepreneurial artists and art professionals, and immerse herself in the local art scene. She makes a daily effort in marketing, whether it be social media posting, reading about the art business, applying for art exhibitions around the country, or sending information to other galleries.

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She shared a great recent experience that shows follow up can lead to success. She booked artist James Hernandez to show at Lotus in April 2015 and decided she wanted to do some outreach to her contacts around the states. So she had some cards printed of her work along with information about the upcoming show and sent them out. Shortly after, she received a call from a gallerist in San Francisco who is interested in showing (and selling) her work at their gallery! She also was invited to a meeting that led to an opportunity to show in a showroom at the Arizona Biltmore soon.

Fleisch is a model of persistence, which will take her career to the next level for sure.