I have a habit of over reaching in my life as an artist. Attempting paintings that are just a little bit beyond what I can possibly pull off, getting involved in projects with tight deadlines and, showing up to ask for the impossible has become common place at this point. While I have grown used to hearing the word no, most of the time these gambles find a way to miraculously pay off.

Preparing for this show was not one of those times.

A while back Didi Menendez did a nice profile of my work in her magazine, Poets & Artists. Not only did this profile lead to one of my first big sales, it has also lead to my work being included in a few of her other projects, including what has become and annual show at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. These shows (along with her magazine) do an amazing job of combining promising newer artists alongside bigger established names and, I am trying to work with her on a portrait show here in Boston. In other words, when she calls, I want to send her something good.

Unfortunately, something good just did not want to happen without a fight. I scaled back my original plan, then scrapped the backup plan, only to end up finishing a piece that I had nearly abandoned. In the end, all the frustration was worth it. I am happy with the finished piece and the show will, without a doubt, be great.

I think everyone has seen enough of my new piece for this show so, scroll down for the official information and a few of the early arrivals for the show from some other cool artists.

Fixation

On view from April 18th – May 11th, 2014

Opening reception Friday April 18th from 7-10pm

At the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago
1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Fixation is an exhibition and a publication of art and poetry focused on the physical or psychological preoccupation or obsession over an object or subject. Also as a focus of something that will capture our attention.

Fixation takes place in a gallery setting, print and digital formats. The exhibition is curated by Sergio Gomez of Chicago’s Zhou B Art Center and Didi Menendez of PoetsArtists Magazine.

Contributing Artists

  • Cesar Santos
  • Denis Peterson
  • Tim Okamura
  • Terri Thomas
  • Eloy Morales
  • Daena Title
  • Nadine Robbins
  • Daniel Ochoa
  • Ivonne Bess
  • Ryan Shultz
  • Michelle Buchanan
  • Jennifer Koe
  • Brianna Angelakis
  • Tracey Stuckey
  • Rory Coyne
  • Lauren Levato
  • Matthew Ivan Cherry
  • Brian Busch
  • Nick Ward
  • Jaime Valero Perandones
  • Karen Kaapcke
  • Patrick Earl Hammie
  • Miranda Graham
  • Harry Sudman
  • Marcos Raya
  • Ernesto Marenco

Contributing Poets

  • Richard Blanco
  • Denise Duhamel
  • Nin Andrews
  • Reb Livingston
  • Ana Menendez
  • Ken Taylor
  • Emma Trelles
  • Grace Cavalieri
  • John Korn
  • Terry Lucas
  • Sarah Blake
  • Kathleen Kirk
  • Tara Betts
  • Sam Rasnake
  • David Krump
  • Geof Huth

BONUS!

For those of you that think I stink, but like Margaux. This video featuring a poem by Nin Andrews will be playing at the gallery. See if you can spot her.

Nin Andrews: A Glossary of Deirdres from Didi Menendez on Vimeo.

When a new challenge catches my interest, I tend to get engulfed in it fairly quickly. Things will start out as a small side project but, before I know it, all other tasks are put on hold while I spend too much time analyzing every aspect of my new distraction. Looking at the paintings I have made in the last year or two, this pattern becomes plainly apparent. I started out making fairly loose, quick paintings playing with simple ideas. Before too long, the brush strokes started to shrink and those lose fluid strokes became the smaller and more detailed, almost pixelated patterns of my current pieces. I just couldn’t help myself, I got sucked deeped and deeped into the task of creating these pieces.

The same thing has been happening as I have had to approached promoting my shows and openings. Case in point, I have recently been tasked with organizing and promoting the annual Spring Open Studios event here in The Distillery. There is no reason this should be anything more than a simple job. But, I can’t seem to keep my mind off it. I have been talking to people about how they have approached similar events. I have been emailing blogs and newspapers trying to drum up publicity and, if I happen to succeed, I am obsessively tracking the response in traffic on the website. It has been an interesting task and, we will see this Sunday how I did. In the meantime, as an unexpected bonus of my attempts to promote Open Studios, I managed to land myself (my painting) on the cover of The Weekly Dig here in Boston. Which is a pretty fun perk.

Mirrors Eye View By Nick Ward On The Cover Of The Dig_7

I think this is a new personal best (worst?) for posts in one day… two, two posts. In any case, there is a nice little piece on Back to Back in Fine Art Today (Fine Art Connoisseur Magazines newsletter/blog) so, if you can not make it out to the show, get a feel for it there:

The opening for From Motion to Stillness was last Friday and, since I can not turn down a good opportunity for a road trip, I headed to Chicago for the occasion. I had a great time taking in the local art scene (which is a lot bigger and more interesting than Chicago locals have lead me to believe) and meeting some of the other artists who participated in the show. The event was packed and I have probably never been in the same room with this many talented figurative painters at once before, a successful opening. Didi Menendez did a great job organizing the show, maybe one day she can be convinced to put one on in Boston.

A reading during the From Motion to Stillness opening, photo by Jennifer Koe.

A reading during the From Motion to Stillness opening, photo by Jennifer Koe.

For those of you who are not in Chicago, I will post photos from the opening soon. For now you can check out some photos of the show, taken by Howard Tullman (scroll down to see the images):
tullman.blogspot.com/2013/02/from-motion-to-stillness-show-opens-in.html

While you are there, check out the rest of Tullman’s wonderful collection, including some of my older pieces, paintings by my brother in law, other artists in featured in From Motion to Stillness, and a lot more of my favorite figurative artists.

You can also see the paintings in more detail and study up on the artists who participated in this months Poets and Artists Magazine available here: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/510305 or, get it on your Ipad from Itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/poetsartists/id599430729?mt=11.

The show will be up at the Zhou B Art Center until March 10th so, check it out if you have a chance.

There have been a few good preview posts written about my show, which opens up this Thursday, at The Distillery Gallery.

Last week, the Massachusetts Cultural Council Blog, ArtSake, wrote a little something and today in The Dig you can read a little more about the work that will be in the show.

Check out the links below and then, come on out to The Distillery this Thursday for the opening reception. After that the show will be up through Feb 28th.


http://digboston.com/experience/2013/01/preview-nick-ward-at-distillery/

http://artsake.massculturalcouncil.org/blog/artsake/index.php/2013/01/16/nick-ward-recent-works-at-distillery-gallery/

I am the featured artist of the month over at Glovebox. They just posted a quick interview I did with them so, go to GLVBX.com and have a look. Also, be sure to check back throughout the month as they will be posting a few other nick-centric articles including some studio visit photos.

EDIT: Site seems to be gone, so I will repost the short interview, and images.


Congratulations on your recent Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for painting! What do you think sets you apart from other artists and for what do you plan on using the grant?

I have no idea, I guess they just like my approach to painting. The money has just been going right back in to making better paintings, it has allowed me to use better materials and spend more time focusing on each piece.

You explain that your portraits are an “attempt at capturing the essence of being human” – what is it about a woman’s face and/or body that speaks to you and what does it say?

Really what I mean by that is, the paintings attempt to visually capture the essence of someone. Yes, you can make out all these details like wrinkles and freckles, but when you take a closer look the canvas just explodes into a mess of chaotic paint strokes. I want the visual experience to relay the idea that, when you see someone, they may have a pimple or whatever but, your brain generally just skips over that and you leave with an overall feeling for their character. Nobody remembers the pimple.

Your work focuses on your subject, everyday people, how they interrelate, portray themselves and make you feel – do you translate this to the canvas solely through your visual experience or is there a personal story involved?

I am very much trying to relay personal stories through my paintings although; the stories are not necessarily true. Often the stories are based on the places my imagination goes when meeting a new person. Generally the idea is to have a simple, sort of folk art, root and then grow this really elaborate technically painted image on top of it.

In celebrating what some might find to be flaws, your portraits highlight freckles, wrinkles, scars, etc. If you were to paint a self-portrait, what would you show of yourself, literally or figuratively?

I think a self-portrait would be even more literal than my portraits of others. It’s so difficult to step out of your own brain and show yourself honestly. I would end up fixated on all those details that relay some small fragment of my story – the scar above my eye where I accidentally poked myself with a knife, the chipped tooth that I gave up on repairing after the cap fell off 3 times, the new wrinkles that are starting to creep to the surface – it would be a map to the Nick of today.

What do you think of the Boston art scene and how do you see it growing? How does Glovebox and the Distillery, your live/work space, fit into this future?

This is such a huge question, my theory changes on that daily. I will say that Glovebox, and things like it are what will help grow the Boston art scene. The new platforms that are building bridges from the Boston scene out into the world are what will ultimately let Boston take the next step.

People often ask me to participate in group shows with the stipulation that the piece should be small. I can understand that, they want to fit a lot of art into a limited space, it makes sense. Unfortunately, I have found that trying to reproduce the paintings I have been doing in a small scale just doesn’t work. Read the rest of this entry »

Somehow, I managed to find myself at the other end of the paintbrush as I sat for painter Matthew Cherry for the September issue of Poets and Artists Magazine. It was a little strange, and sort of exciting to have my own portrait painted for once and – I have to say – it came out great. Check it out along with my portrait of Matthew and a bunch of other portraits of artists at:

poetsandartists.com or on issuu.com.

I recently sat down to talk with Carina Wine of Abstraks Magazine. After reading her profile of Adam O’day I knew I would be in good hands and the article did not disappoint. So head to abstraks.com or, click on the image below to go straight to issuu.com and read the feature (along with a great look at the Distillery Gallery) in the December 2011 issue of Abstraks.

If you want to read more, check out past interviews with Poets And Artists Magazine and with my friends from Papercut Fashion Magazine.

For those that were not make it out to The Distillery for open studios last weekend, here is a great little pictorial tour of the highlights posted by our friend Liz at Flux-Boston.com:

http://flux-boston.com/?p=3418

If anyone else came through and managed to get some good pictures, be sure to send them my way!