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!
I think original art is one of the MOST important design elements in an interior. It reveals the personality of the inhabitant, elevates the other surrounding items, and adds a magical dimension to any room. Working on the art for the Southeastern Showhouse was a dream come true. Two of my favorite artists, Brad Thomas and Alexis Walter created works specifically for my spaces and my favorite Charlotte galleries, The New Gallery of Modern Art, Hidell Brooks Gallery, and SOCO Gallery allowed me to curate my own dream installation from the artists they represent, many of whom have become friends. The majority of works are by Southern contemporary artists with a nod to my NYC days represented by Stephanie Hirsch and Scott Duce seen below. By playing with scale, unifying colors, and juxtaposing different mediums, I tried to create harmonious compositions throughout the spaces.
Perhaps it is the English major in me, but I have always been drawn to works of art that incorporate words. The use of language in art to evoke certain emotions can be incredibly powerful and subjective to the viewer. Since everyone has different feeling or connotations of words, using text forces the viewer to reflect. From the medieval illuminated manuscripts to the contemporary works of Mel Bochner and Barbara Kruger, text and art have been intertwined for centuries proving the power of language in art.
I was delighted to see the new works at The New Gallery of Modern Art of Aurora Robson that combine both abstract art with wordplay to express her viewpoint on the state of humanity and the environment today.
Every time I see an image of one of Elliott Puckette’s ethereal paintings, it stops me in my tracks. Whether I stumble across it on a gallery wall on the pages of a design magazine, or on an Instagram feed of a favorite designer, I am always enchanted by the duality of simplicity and complexity of the lyrical lines of her art. Her distinct hand can be seen in the motions of of her work that resemble musical notes or calligraphy. To complete these works, she either uses a razor blade etching into a prepared ground or drawing in ink on an expanse of paper. The works look effortless and as if there is absolutely no room allowed for error which I find fascinating. I am over the moon to see her work in person at the upcoming opening at SOCO Gallery next month.
Leading the way for the Charlotte art scene in Miami is Jerald Melberg, who was the first of the Queen City’s galleries to show at Art Miami. Art Miami is the leading international contemporary and modern art fair that takes place in the midtown Miami complex in the renowned Wynwood Arts District. It is one of the most important annual contemporary art events in the United States, attracting more than 82,000 collectors, curators, museum professionals and art enthusiasts from around the globe annually. Entering its 27th edition, Art Miami remains committed to showcasing the most important artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries in collaboration with a selection of the world’s most respected galleries.
Jerald Melberg Gallery prides itself on enjoying a fine reputation based on years of honesty and integrity among our colleagues and collectors. We provide the professionalism, proper knowledge, and expertise needed to place quality works of art in any public, private, or corporate collections.
The gallery proudly represents artists from all geographic regions of the United States, as well as Argentina and Spain. Equally diverse as our artists, are the types and styles of art they create. Among these are artists of such stature as Romare Bearden, the master American collagist of the 20th century; Wolf Kahn, considered to be the premier living American landscape painter; and Robert Motherwell, one of the leaders of the American Abstract Expressionist movement.
Jerald Melberg Gallery has worked with numerous prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, NY ; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH; and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. Jerald Melberg Gallery has also advised Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Texaco, and Mitsubishi, as well as the United States Department of State. We also consistently loan works of art to United States embassies around the world.
Lee Hall, CRETE: MOCHLOS MORNING 2015
Mixed Media on Canvas
50 x 50 inches
JMG18281 / LH.1627
Lee Hall has pursued careers as artist, educator and writer. Her paintings allow us to share her love for subtle shapes, variety in texture and civilized muted color relationships. Her works are poetic landscapes, many deriving from the tradition of abstractions produced by meditations on nature, a tradition, which encompasses the painters of the Sung Dynasty as well as modernist, John Marin and abstract expressionist, Helen Frankenthaler.
Raul Diaz, APILADOS 2016
Mixed Media on Wood Panel
32 1/2 x 20 7/8 inches
Raul Diaz was born in 1952 in Cordoba, Argentina, where he continues to live and produce his art. Although Diaz studied architecture, he could not avoid the overwhelming call within himself to be a painter. Self-taught as such, he has emerged as one of the most prominent artists in Argentina. Raul Diaz has held shows all over South America and is included in numerous major collections. His dream-like paintings create ethereal textured environments, which are both mysterious and compelling. Through his technical invention and virtuoso creation of atmosphere in the physical surface of the paintings, Diaz explores the inner parts of the human soul. Undeniably nostalgic, the paintings are a look at the child we all once were, while revealing the anxieties and obsessions of the artist’s own spiritual adventure.
Wolf Kahn, GREEN REMAINS 2014
Oil on Canvas
66 x 52 inches
Wolf Kahn was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1927 and emigrated to the U.S. as a child. After attending classes at the New School for Social Research he studied with Hans Hofmann at his School of fine art in New York City. In 1951 Kahn received his B.A. from the University of Chicago. An internationally acclaimed artist, Kahn has been honored with numerous awards, including both Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Design, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and has served on the New York Arts Commission. Kahn has come to be widely considered the premier landscape painter in America. Color is Wolf Kahn’s signature and he says this about his work: this is my primary interest. I am always trying to get to the danger point, where color either becomes too sweet or too harsh; too noisy or too quiet.Always striving to keep his art ‘tough’ and to keep an ‘edge’, Wolf Kahn makes landscape paintings with unmatched luminosity.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), ORANGE LYRIC 1989
Carborundum Aquatint on German Etching Paper
17 7/8 x 23 7/8 inches (image)
27 x 32 inches (paper)
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was the youngest member of the heroic generation of post-war Abstract Expressionists who revolutionized painting and shifted the art world’s attention from Paris to New York. He is also the only one of the group (which included Jackson Pollock, Hans Hoffman and Willem De Kooning) for whom printmaking became a major preoccupation. Motherwell’s work as a printmaker as well as a painter distinguished him, both for his innovations in graphic media and for his stunning images.
In addition to these artists above, the gallery will also be presenting work by the following artists at Art Miami:
Click here to read about The New Gallery of Modern Art showing at Scope.
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.
Do you know the difference between a Boucherouite and a Beni Ourain? In anticipation of my upcoming Moroccan adventure, I am studying up on my terminology to prepare myself for shopping in the souks. I always advise clients to think of rugs as artwork for the floor. In the same way I like to bring out the colors of clients’ artwork for their interior palettes, the same concept applies to the rugs. Rug making is a cornerstone of Morocco’s history and tradition. Every rug tells a story about the artist who created it incorporating symbols and talismans.
I was fascinated to learn that all of the rugs or “zerbiyas” are made by one of the forty-five Berber tribes in the country. The majority of rugs are handmade by women in wool on a loom and each tribe is known for their specific colors and designs. Each one can take from 10 days to 6 months to make. The 3 main types of rugs are Boucherouite, Beni Ourain, Azilal or Ourika.
“Boucherouite rugs are specific to Moroccan berber tribes. In these, often very modest, households, the Berber women weave Boucherouite rugs out of discarded scraps of material. A thousand scraps of cotton, nylon and occasionally wool are woven into these fabulous boucherouite decorative creations.The contrast between the poverty of the materials used and the richness of the final composition adds to these awe-inspiring works of modern art.
The sheer honesty of these artistic creations, their bright colors, their lyrical abstract movements and their modest prices are of great interest to the younger generation who appreciate their authenticity and aesthetic value.We become stirred by such carpets, moved by the knowledge that they were never conceived as artwork, developed at the whim of its weaver and influenced by the buried memories of their ancestors.
The Berber women weave through movement of their fingers, with no drawings or predefined designs, exactly as the different brush works create a painting. This is how each “boucharouette” tapestry becomes a unique work of art and how the limitless sensitivity of the Berber women can be expressed with no premeditation. The cultural influences of these Berber women can be traced back to the dawn of time; the ever-present diamond motif has existed since Neolithic times. These works reveal traces of thousand-year-old civilizations, revealing signs and symbols of even more distant history.
As Frederic DAMGAARD notes, in his excellent book “Tapis et tissages, l’art des femmes berbères au Maroc”, it is judicious to compare the tapestry work of the Berber women to a musical instrument: “It is easy to compare a Berber woman in front of her loom, to a pianist in front of his piano. Both compose a beautiful melody, with rhythms and harmonies, with colors and notes. Their scores remain flexible leaving space for personal improvisation. Both have access to large repertoires that can be interpreted according to personal whim and sensitivity.
It is fascinating to state how the strong and sublime graphics of these Berber carpets and rugs has inspired many modern artists. It will always be astounding to notice the same notes that run through Berber carpets apparent in the works of KANDINSKY, KLEE, MONDRIAN, POLLOCK, or many other abstract artists.
Beni Ourain carpets are considered the most prestigious rugs in Morocco, made from the very finest wool. every rug is one of a kind. The rugs are authentic tribal rugs fully hand-woven by women of the Beni Ourain and other neighbouring Berber tribes that reside in the North-Eastern Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Winter is rough in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains where the lowest temperatures in Africa are observed. To protect themselves from the cold, Beni Ourain tribes, who lived in traditional tents, had no alternative other than to produce thick wool rugs to insulate themselves from an hostile environment.The Beni Ourain rugs were not intended to have a decorative purpose, they were traditionally used as bedding and blankets to keep them warm with their thick pile.
Because of their landlocked and mountainous location in the northern Middle Atlas, the Berber tribes of Beni Ourain have never been influenced by the Arab-eastern designs .Their rugs have kept their originality, reflecting archaic appearance of minimalist designs, composed of black and brown asymmetric patterns of diamonds,lines and triangles, in an off-white, cream background. The Beni Ourain tribes spend the summer with their herds on the heights of the range, over 2000 meters and come back down in the grassy plains with the first snowfall. The herds of goats and sheep enjoy a rich and abundant food throughout the year providing a high quality wool to produce the most appealing rugs of the world.
The Beni Ourain rugs very artistic designs have inspired many European artists such as Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier (who matched the Berber rugs with sleekly designed furniture), Paul Klee and , as well as most famous modernist architects in the 1920’s and 30’s . They got trendy by Henri Matisse, who called them “The huge whites”
“I don’t see them as trendy; I see them as timeless” and ‘’this quirkiness is exactly what makes these rugs appealing to interior designers. They give a room, particularly a cold, modern room, warmth and patina as well as a dose of ethnicity,” said Timothy Whealon of Timothy Whealon Interiors in New York about the Beni Ourain rugs.
The charm, luxury and simplicity of these Berber rugs make them the most famous and appreciated carpet in Morocco and a worldwide interior design reference. These tribal rugs seem to combine a modernist taste for minimalist linearity with the graphic symbolism of primitive art. The tribal graphics pair well with contemporary and traditional space designs.
Azilal Rugs or Azilals, as their name suggests, originate from the craggy and steep Azilal (Moroccan Berber Region), located in the remote and hard to reach High Atlas mountains. Only performed by women of this region, Azilal rugs are made from virgin raw wool by alternating composed patterns of one single knotted line and one or two woven lines, according to a cultural ritual that mothers are passing down to daughters for generations.Azilal carpets are often associated with another name “Ourika” to actually refer to all the rugs that are produced a little further south by the High Atlas mountains tribes.
Azilal rugs feature great creativity in terms of design; they combine irregular and abstract patterns with numerous Berbers symbols and diamonds based graphics. They are often decorated with colored materials such as wool and cotton tainted with vegetable dye or threads of recycled cloth of different colors. Azilal carpets’ background is ivory /cream, made of natural virgin wool. Azilal carpets are works where every peasant woman of Azilal region tells her story. Rural life, motherhood and childbirth are patterns’ main topics. Actually , weavers appropriate tribal signs of their ancestors to express their wedding, pregnancy and daily lives. These rugs were not woven for commercial or profit-making purpose, but only for home use to cope with the rough high Atlas cold. Currently, in Western countries, in addition to Azilals’ regular use as carpets, they are widely introduced in interior decoration as beautiful wall ornaments or design elements.
Fruits of weavers’ imagination and genuine works of art, comparable to abstract paintings, Azilal rag rugs are rare and were almost unknown in the market until the years 90. From Paris to USA and Tokyo, many galleries exhibit Azilal carpets as works of art. Their originality and immense strength in terms of graphics have deeply inspired artists such as Matisse, Paul Klee and Le Corbusier.
Images and rug history via Morrocan Rugs.
I was delighted to be included in Charlotte Urban Home this month for their Design Board feature. I am always preaching to my clients to start the design process with the art. It is a dream come true when it actually happens! For my favorite art collecting clients, I was thrilled to create the following scheme for a project we are currently working on.
In addition to the items above, we have also created a bar nook clad in antiqued mirror, and bejeweled with custom brass hardware for the finishing touches. The walls have been lacquered, the furniture and fabrics are on order and we install in a few short weeks. Of course, I am most excited to hang their works of art on the glamorous ebony backdrop to make the pieces pop even more!
Be sure to check out the entire issue featuring fabulous modern interiors by clicking here.
I am obsessed with details. Finishing touches such as the trim on a drapery panel to how a work of art is framed can make or break the overall design. As a self professed art addict, I especially love working with clients, artists and my local framer to showcase the works of art to make them shine.
Later this month, I head to Las Vegas (my virgin voyage!) to attend the West Coast Art & Frame Expo as part of a Design Blogger Tour organized by Steve and Jill McKenzie. We will be seeing the latest and greatest introductions in framing as well as a variety of new forms of art reproduction.
See below for some works from my personal collection and client portfolio on how the variety of framing elevates the art.
A client’s colorful interior in Birmingham features large-scale works on paper by Windy O’Connor. The champagne toned metal frame pulls out the brushstrokes in the painting and still anchors the space. Dark oil rubbed bronze picture lights tie in with the stair rail and door hardware. A bold 19th century rug brings out the orange in the paintings and introduces the palette for the house.
In my library, a commission by Favorite artist Amanda Talley through Hidell Brooks Gallery provides a a focal point for the fireplace wall. A dark floater frame punctuates the darker strokes in the painting. The interior of the bookcases are painted to repeat this color.
This is the beginning of a gallery wall in my living room. A variety of watercolors and small paintings collected from our travels tells the story of our treasured memories. The wall has grown and been rearranged to include other paintings seen here…
A contemporary collageby Brad Thomas is placed in a gilded frame with a block motif to play off of the curves in the artwork. The work is floating on a linen mat in order the appreciate the intricate detailing and writing along the edges of the work.
Several of my favorite works have been found through Gillian Bryce who shows at 214 Modern Vintage in High Point as well as Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta. This oil painting by Bernard Segal is in a vintage gilt frame and enhanced with a linen mat and fillet to make the work larger. The empty space of the linen mat gives the viewer a chance to appreciate the small compact bursts of color in the painting.
Another work by Bernard Segal, this is one of a pair of watercolors. I framed the works in a simple gold frame which pulls out the gold in the painting and floated them on a linen mat in order to appreciate the deckled edge of the paper.
A “pile” by Selena Beaudry (also through Hidell Brooks) is floating on a white backdrop and framed in a deep modern white frame giving the work a shadowbox effect. Our dirty pink entry hall walls enhance the pinks found in the watercolor.
One of my prized possession is an interior rendering by the Dean of American Design, Albert Hadley. A charcoal mat enhanced his pencil rendering and make it extra special.
I found this abstract encaustic at the Marche Biron in Paris. Maurice Morel came to Paris in 1927 to pursue his double vocation of artist and priest. He found a mentor in Artist-Poet Max Jacob, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who was a close friend of Pablo Picasso and other artistic-literary notables of the period. In 1933, Morel helped stage a ground-breaking sacred art exhibition, Art Moderne d’inspiration religieuse, which included works by Picasso, Andre Derain, Tsuguhara Foujita, and Georges Rouault, who would become the priest’s lifelong friend and supporter. I fell in love not only with the work, but in the way it was framed….a frame within a frame. An ingenious way to add importance to a special work.
The starting point for the entire design scheme was this pastel confection by Kate Long Stevenson at the beloved “Pink House,” a center for breast cancer survivors herein Charlotte. She donated the work in honor of her friend. Again, we used a floater frame to set off the painting from the brick backdrop while pulling out some of the darker tones in the painting.
Be sure to follow along as we take in the sights of Vegas with my fellow design blogtour pals… Holly Phillips of The English Room, Tami Ramsay and Krista Nye Schwartz of Cloth & Kind and Vicki Bolick of The Ace of Space. We cannot wait!