This week SOCO Gallery presented its first exhibition of 2019 with Austin Eddy’s vibrant abstract works. The joyful compilations reflect fantastical moments from his travels where he was working in various studios around the world and interpreted through his colorful imagination. I have included a few favorites here, but pictures do not do these justice. The juxtaposition of colors, composition of forms, and layering are much better seen in person!
FEAR, LUCK, FATE, WORK, FORTUNE , 2017
To enter the world of artist Anne Lemanski is literally like falling down the rabbit hole of creativity. She is wickedly funny, wickedly smart, and wickedly talented. Her works are not only impeccably constructed with layers of various materials, but they are also layered with meaning. This brilliant combination has garnered her accolades in a plethora of solo exhibitions and private and public collections around the country. Charlotte art lovers were lucky enough to get a first look at her new work at her exhibition “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit” at SOCO Gallery open through March 16th.
Please join Jane Schwab and me for a trunk show this Thursday, February 8th revealing the beautiful creations of Danielle Rollins benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital. Her new capsule collection has been a labor of love for Danielle using glorious fabrics ranging from colorful Liberty of London cottons to exquisite floral warp taffetas and a collaboration with Brunschwig and Fils. Danielle has taken great lengths to make sure the impeccably tailored clothes can be worn in many ways from day to night…perfect for upcoming Spring Galas or Spring Break!
I think of Danielle as the quintessential “steel magnolia.” She has overcome much adversity by combating it with beauty through interior design, entertaining, and now through her new fashion line. I had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle several years ago and have reposted it again below. I am so proud of how far she has come making her dreams come true! Enjoy getting to know Danielle and please join us on Thursday to see the beautiful clothes in person…
Brad Thomas is a creative force of many talents…Artist, Curator, Teacher, Mentor, and Art Advisor just to name a few. His highly anticipated exhibition at SOCO Gallery this month welcomes the North Carolina native back to Charlotte revealing a new direction in his work.
I met Brad when he was the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Mint Museum working together on acquisitions. Through the years, Brad has become a trusted friend and colleague that I look to for art advice for clients and collectors. His layered and complex abstract works are a combination of painting, drawing, words, collage, and sculpture that slowly reveal details the more the viewer engages with the works.
Villa Oasis, Home of Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé
I became enchanted with the work of interior designer Bill Willis after a magical trip to Marrakech last September. Click here to read about our amazing Moroccan adventure. I was blown away by the interiors we saw and even more shocked to discover these places halfway around the world had been designed by a fellow Southerner. Referred to as the “Magician from Memphis,” the unknown decorator was responsible for saving Moroccan craftsmanship from extinction in the 1960s. His legendary talent attracted clients that included the Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis, and Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé. His jet set hedonistic lifestyle was not for the faint of heart. Marian McEvoy wrote in her foreword to the book Bill Willis, “A man who liked to party until dawn, Bill was happy to settle down in a place where dinner started after nine o’clock and breakfast meetings and pre-dawn gym workouts did not exist.”
The design world was all aflutter yesterday as AD published the first images of Tory Burch’s stunning 1929 Georgian Southampton home. For the past nine years, the home set on seven acres has been thoughtfully decorated under the brilliant eye of interior designer Daniel Romualdez. Together, Tory and Daniel have a quite a history….designing over 200 stores for her iconic brand while working on this 15,000 square foot project.
Their philosophy of designing over time with layers added resonated deeply with me as this is how I encourage my own clients to approach the design process. The combination of amazing art and beautifully proportioned spaces brimming with pattern and color perfectly reflects Tory’s aesthetic which is the ultimate goal for any home. Burch offers up the ultimate compliment for Romualdez, “Daniel takes people’s taste and makes it better.”
Enjoy the gorgeous images, charming article by David Netto, and the hilarious video documenting a day in the life of Tory. It captures the creative mind at work….stream of consciousness thinking and finding inspiration at every turn from Tupac and Tomatoes to LadyBugs and LaffyTaffy!
There is nothing better than experiencing a culture through the eyes of locals. I just returned from an incredible journey with the Rubelli family discovering the majesty of Italian manufacturing seeing their showrooms, mills, projects and archives from Milan to Venice. In between our tours looking at Italian textiles, leather, glass, art, and architecture, they graciously treated us to the most incredible meals, fellowship, and education that makes their Venetian heritage so unique. The Rubelli passion, generosity and hospitality were beyond extraordinary.
The New Gallery of Modern Art is celebrating their fifth anniversary this evening with a champagne reception, exhibition, and book signing by the one and only Hunt Slonem. I literally fell down the rabbit hole with his latest book on his beloved bunnies. Hopping from page to page in the book, the bunnies each have their own persona with delightful names such as Serge, Tatiana, Goldie, Harvey and Ted. His fascination with these creatures began at a Chinese restaurant when he discovered he was born in the Year of the Rabbit. He identified with the compassionate nature of the creatures, and uses them as subjects for his morning “warm-ups,” an exercise that was inspired by abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman. Hoffman would begin each day by doing a series of small paintings. Hoffman painted abstractions, Slonem paint rabbits. He often repeats imagery in this series, as he finds the act to be similar to spiritual meditation. Slonem believes that “repetition is very important” and begins each day painting, treating each moment as one of profound meditation and channeling of God or a higher consciousness. To date, his bunny paintings remain a part of his morning ritual, as well as a pivotal theme in his artwork.
Slonem’s work has been compared to the likes of Willem DeKooning, Franz Kline and Brice Marden. In his essay Quantum Lepus, curator Bruce Helander writes,” The humble pleasure offered by these minimal but accurate portrayals of a hare to a harem is that they are lovely to look at. The initial development and completion of a characteristic Slonem bunny is really quite basic, and is the secret to their spontaneity and ultimate success; his instinctive painting can be connected to the lyrical brushstrokes of de Kooning and the black and white compositions of Franz Kline, or the soft, connective, geometric lines of Brice Marden.”
The artists’ love of creatures is not limited just to bunnies. He often works with a bird or two perched on his shoulder. Exotic birds also greatly inspire the artist’s work; he has a personal aviary, in which he keeps anywhere from 30 to 100 birds of various species at his Brooklyn-based studio.
Hunt Slonem was born in Kittery, Maine in 1951; the eldest of four children. His father was a navy officer, while his mother was a homemaker who spent much of her time doing volunteer work. As a result of his father’s military career, Slonem spent much of his childhood on different military bases; living in Hawaii, Virginia, Louisiana, Connecticut, California and Washington. After completing school, which included living in Nicaragua as an exchange student at the age of 16, Slonem began his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University. He then spent six months of his sophomore year at the University of the Americas in San Andres Colula, Puebla, Mexico, eventually graduating with a Bachelors of Art in Painting and Art History from Tulane University in New Orleans.
During his collegiate years, Slonem attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he was exposed to influential artists from the New York area including Alex Katz, Alice Neel, Richard Estes, Jack Levine, Louise Nevelson and Al Held. This exposure played a pivotal role in Slonem’s artistic career, as it aided in his decision to move to New York in 1973. Three years after his arrival, Slonem received a painting grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation in Montreal, Canada and began painting extensively. However, it was his time spent in Nicaragua that Slonem credits with most influencing and inspiring his work. The country’s tropical landscape has informed not only Slonem’s process, but also his need to be surrounded by the nature he paints. As Slonem’s career progressed, he became an active participant in Manhattan’s burgeoning art scene, lauded not only for his artistic talent, but for his vibrant fashion sense. He was introduced to and befriended prominent figures within the artistic community including Sylvia Miles, Truman Capote, Liza Minelli, Monique van Vooren and Andy Warhol.
Slonem’s work is deeply rooted in the act of painting. His jarring color choices, spontaneous mark making and scratched hatch marks are the result of his ongoing fascination with the manipulation and implementation of paint. His paintings are layered with thick brushstrokes of vivid color, often cut into a cross-hatched pattern that adds texture to the overall surface of the painting. This surface patterning combines with the rich colors and recognizable subject matter to create paintings that are physically and aesthetically rich.
Slonem’s work can be found in the permanent collections of 250 museums, galleries, institutions and corporations worldwide. In 2015, Slonem moved to a new 35,000 square foot studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he continues to work. He lives in Manhattan, but travels frequently to his other homes in Louisiana, upstate New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he is undertaking the transformation of the historic 150,000 square foot Watres Armory into a multidisciplinary showcase for his own work, as well as for his extensive collections of art and antique furniture.
And if you cannot create your own wall of original bunnies seen above, you can always consider using his “Bunny Wallpaper” through Groundworks for Lee Jofa.
The creative force also has an innate talent and passion for refurbishing homes. Considering this part of his art form, Slonem has rescued, refurbished and meticulously restored a number of estates including the historic Cordts Mansion in Upstate New York and his two Southern mansions in Louisiana; Albania and Lakeside. Enhancing them with his transcendent, light infused décor, Slonem paired vintage furniture with contemporary art, including many of his own works in addition to pieces by Alex Katz and Andy Warhol. Beyond its majestic beauty, The Lakeside Plantation captured Slonem’s fascination for history. Listed in the National Register of History Places in Louisiana, it was once owned by Marquis de La Fayette whose close relationship with lifelong friends such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe, John Adams, and Robert Livingston played a pivotal role in the Louisiana Purchase. In a show of gratitude, the United States gave La Fayette the land, which is now known as Lakeside Plantation. When Slonem was young, he learned that Picasso collected chateaus, and since then always dreamed of doing something similar. Having reached that goal with these historic homes, Slonem would like for them to become part of his legacy, one day serving as study centers that can educate and inspire new generations of artists.
Slonem’s homes were the subject of an extraordinary 300 page, photography-based volume, When Art Meets Design (Assouline, 2014) A truly magical showcase of Slonem’s ability to create spectacular spaces, the book features vivid and expansive interior photography that reveals how he combines antiques, fabrics and artworks.
Please join me one week from today to kick off the inaugural Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet and Gift at AmericasMart in Atlanta! I am thrilled to be moderating a panel with today’s top taste makers, designers, and stylists who will be sharing their secrets on entertaining with style.
Foodie culture and entertaining have risen to an art form. Weekend warriors are effortlessly whipping up gourmet spreads, swoon-worthy scenes and decorative tablescapes to fill our Instagram feeds. So, what’s the secret sauce? Take a cue from Bunny Williams’ playbook, who believes there’s nothing more rewarding than having friends and family gather in your home, and makes entertaining seem effortless. Top interior designers, lifestyle experts and photo stylists dish out advice you need to know to be a masterful host—from setting the right environment, designing the menu and table, and even offer styling tips to capture the moment for social media. Learn some of their favorite go-to resources and advice on everything entertaining, dining and tabletop.
Enjoy lunch and a panel discussion with New York-based interior designer Young Huh, who’s work has been featured in Vogue, Wall Street Journal, In Style and countless national interior magazines, Audrey Margarite, vice president of design and product development for Bunny Williams Home, who helps create fabrics, decorative accessories, and furniture for the company’s private and licensed collections, Annette Joseph, author of Picture Perfect Parties and entertaining expert, editor, producer, and magazine photo stylist for Architectural Digest, The Today Show, Goop and others, and designer and lifestyle expert Danielle Rollins, author of Soiree Entertaining with Style.
The inaugural Fall Design Week Featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift will offer hundreds of showrooms and lines, designer-focused programming, CEU courses, networking, parties and more: