0

Artists You Should Know: Scott Wolniak’s Picks

Part of “Best of Chicago Art Magazine,” originally posted March 31, 2011.

Yolanda Green

Chicago Art Magazine wanted to find out which painters were making an impact in the art scene so we contacted a number of artists about who they think readers should know about. We asked Scott Wolniak, known for his experiments with color and texture, to name some of his favorite local painters as well. Here are just a few (but certainly not all) of the names that he listed.

Michelle Grabner

Michelle Grabner

 

Michelle Grabner
“Painting is not painting when it props up the self or attempts to tell stories. That activity is called picturemaking. Painting is larger than pictures but not larger than its limitations which are sever and singular and sweet,” Grabner tells Chicago Artists Resource. This is perhaps from where the entrancing spirit of her abstract paintings originates. There are many reasons why anyone, not just Wolniak, would pick her as an artist to keep an eye on. Her use of texture displays an undeniable awareness of the viewer’s perspective through the placement and “movement” within each piece. Whether it’s creating spirals with dual colors, or carefully developing beautiful gradients through earthy tones, her works add a touch of simplicity while simultaneously upholding complicated intricacy.

William Staples

William Staples

William Staples
Much like Grabner, Wolniak’s next pick doesn’t purposely extract meaning from the picture that a painting creates. “I think the meaning has to come from the paint, from the work in the canvas,” William Staples told New City Art. “The only meaning you’re going to get is a visual one first, and that will lead to whatever is implied within there.” With this in mind, Staples approaches painting through tradition instead of “trying to break away from something or destroy or subvert it.” He has a particular eye for form and detail, accenting when needed and paying special attention to shapes and lines within his work rather than the subject of the image itself. Through this method, however, meaning seeps through.

Rodney Carswell

Rodney Carswell

Rodney Carswell
Carswell’s career spans about 40 years and his work is nothing short of inspiring. As an abstract painter, he often works with oil and wax, showing meticulous care towards spatial placement and form. Every piece contains a solid architectural structure, creating bold statements through what could be likened to mathematical precision. Something as simple as a cross could hold the weight of the whole painting just through the careful choice in color and placement.

Gabrielle Garland

Gabrielle Garland

Gabrielle Garland
Garland’s unique style is one of the things that Wolniak admires, as well as many other fans of her work. Her drawings of landscapes and architecture, especially, are genuine and engaging. However, her paintings, which usually depict interior spaces, show the most intimacy. Perhaps it is her personal representation of each space, making the visual warped and skewed. Subtle nuances add to the intimacy, especially given the lack of people within the snapshots that she creates. The viewer is able to see the space as if it were exposed, vulnerable to the eye of the artist and the artist’s audience. Small details of each piece shine through, whether it’s a splash of vibrant color, or the way a cup of water is sitting on the table – a combination of form and personal heart seem to give Garland’s paintings a very special spark.

Scott Short

Scott Short

Scott Short

Sometimes a machine is built for the sole purpose of doing repetitious movement without human error. But as we all know, machines can create imperfections as well. For Scott Short, these imperfections are a work of art. His work starts with an image originated by a Xerox machine. By putting a piece of paper through the machine multiple times, he is able to collect random spots of ink – imperfections of the machine. After finding a particular portion of the paper that he likes, Short reproduces the image onto a canvas, down to every last detail.

“In Short’s process,” Whitney’s Museum of American Art explains on their site, “the painter and the photocopier undergo a role reversal: the copier creates the abstraction and the painter reproduces the copy. By removing the emotive quality of the artist and leaving the authorship to a machine, Short reinvents traditional painterly practice.”