Category Archives: Interview

Margaret Withers on making art a priority and how to find inspiration

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Artist Margaret Withers is recognized for her works on paper which are a mix of narrative, abstract and modern surrealism. Her paintings explore conflicting ideas of joy and melancholy, as well as community and aloneness.

She’s exhibited her work in group and solo shows in the United States, and internationally in Brussels, Australia, Berlin, China, Vienna, and Russia. She lives and paints in Manhattan, New York.
“If you slow down how you see things to where you’re almost in a meditative state, then you can find inspiration in anything. You can look at things differently as if you’re seeing them for the first time. There’s inspiration in that slowed-down space.”

Joyce Brown: In 2011 you changed your life so that art would be your primary focus; what were you doing before and what change did you make?

Margaret Withers: When I lived in Denver, I worked for the defense contractor, Boeing. I was doing computer programming related to configuration management. I eventually moved to New York to work for SAIC doing the same type of work. Part of my decision to move to New York was because of my art. I wanted to try to get to another level, and I figured New York was the best place for that to happen. At the same time, I had this idea, this dream, that I would just get discovered. I used to imagine that someone would just wander into my studio and fall in love with my art, and that’s all I needed to do. Of course, that didn’t happen. I call it the Peggy Guggenheim syndrome. Continue reading Margaret Withers on making art a priority and how to find inspiration

MARGARET WITHERS: IN PROGRESS

  • Artist Interview

margaret_withers_studioMargaret Withers is a warm, friendly and clearly gifted artist who I met on social media.  Her work (see more of her work) really has a fluid, organic quality that I love.  We talked about Margaret’s work, life and what she thinks it’ll take to get more people inspired by contemporary art.

MICHAEL: Hi Margaret, It looks like you’ve conquered numerous genres with your work. However, I think I see a common thread. Is it a fascination with the organic or perhaps organisms? I’m sensing a “living fluidity” in your work. I don’t know. How do you see it?

MARGARET: Hi Michael, thank you for saying that, but I feel more like an explorer than a conqueror. I’m not fascinated with organic shapes or forms by themselves. I’ve tried to paint straight up abstract, but somehow the painting just feels incomplete to me. I’m not sure if this feeling of incompleteness stems from a lack of belief that the painting can stand on its own and that it’s interesting (to me) or if it’s from my own need to create a story and puzzle out of my cast of characters.  Continue reading Artist Interview

Jeremiah Johnson @ Studio Break (Interview)

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 Jeremiah Johnson

Episode 140:  Jeremiah Johnson joins us from Williamsport, Pennsylvania where he maintains a very intensive and multidisciplinary studio practice that explores life experience, culture, and folklore.  Jeremiah also shares insight into his alter ego Job Johnson, the impetus for his upcoming exhibition entitled The Story of Job which opens at  Arcilesi/Homberg Fine Art in May.

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Margaret Withers @ AHA Fine Art

Margaret Withers

For my current works on paper I layer watercolor and ink, based on color, viscosity, and texture, onto a white background to form the landscapes of my anti-story. Eyes connected by tendrils to high-gloss enamel mouths within the landscape become characters and monochromatic houses and telephone poles are woven into the compositions to evoke a kind of once-upon-a-time mythical world that is both playful and disquieting.
This series is inspired by my childhood in the rural American South of the 1970’s and conveys the interplay between the remembered physical landscape of that time and my emotional landscape past and present. My hope is that these anti-story
paintings would reveal an illuminating narrative cut, as if a flash bulb pop across the space of an implied narrative, allowing for a pause in order to engage the viewer to give them some time in this space, to figure out the story, or to pretend a new one.
“Many of the narrative paintings in this selection have rejected solipsism in favor of a more direct, more relatable manner of storytelling, or of shaping a subject.  In the best work, there is an alchemy of realism and generalization, of detail and abbreviation, of timeliness and timelessness.”

Q&A with DUMBO Artist Wynne Noble

“Long time DUMBO artist, Wynne Noble, is a potter, sculptor, teacher, artist extraordinaire. Over the years she has created work that’s appeared in many galleries, many high end stores, and has even participated in many DUMBO Arts Festivals. Meet the lady behind the wheel as DUMBO BID fellow Rachel Hamburger, sits down for a chat about art, the duality of nature, and Wynne’s pottery classes.

How long have you been in DUMBO?

Wynne Noble: I have been here for about 30 years now.

So you have seen the neighborhood really evolve over the years. How did you end up in DUMBO?

WN: Oh absolutely. I was working in Soho and then was priced out.

Have you always been interested in pottery?

WN: Always. My interested started as a young girl. I saw a potter making something clay and I said, wow! I want to be that magician.

What inspires you as an artist?

Continue reading Q&A with DUMBO Artist Wynne Noble

JoseArenas

“Artists have wedged their canvases and supplies into their apartments. Others are working in hurricane-torn basements or in temporary, borrowed spaces. As their creative spaces have shrunk, so, too, has their art — if, that is, they still make art.

It’s been over six months since some four dozen artists lost their studios in Industry City, a sprawling factory complex on the Brooklyn waterfront. Many had spent decades hopping from studio to studio, from borough to borough. But according to interviews with over two dozen of the displaced, that practice of alighting in new, ungentrified neighborhoods has, at least for them, ground to something of a halt, hampered by a common refrain in New York: Rents are rising too fast.”

“Jose Arenas was one of dozens who had found space at the New York Art Residency and Studios Foundation, a nonprofit that rented a floor of Industry City and divvied it up into studios. “Open studios brought people into my studio space, which is something I miss working individually at home,” said Mr. Arenas, 42, who lost his Industry City studio and is working out of the apartment he shares with his wife and daughter in South Park Slope. “I don’t have that same sense of community.”

Continue reading Rising Rents Leave New York Artists Out in the Cold

Interview MARGARET WITHERS by Art For All People

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Margaret Withers is a warm, friendly and clearly gifted artist who I met on social media.  Her work really has a fluid, organic quality that I love.  We talked about Margaret’s work, life and what she thinks it’ll take to get more people inspired by contemporary art.

MICHAEL: Hi Margaret, It looks like you’ve conquered numerous genres with your work. However, I think I see a common thread. Is it a fascination with the organic or perhaps organisms? I’m sensing a “living fluidity” in your work. I don’t know. How do you see it?

MARGARET: Hi Michael, thank you for saying that, but I feel more like an explorer than a conqueror. I’m not fascinated with organic shapes or forms by themselves. I’ve tried to paint straight up abstract, but somehow the painting just feels incomplete to me. I’m not sure if this feeling of incompleteness stems from a lack of belief that the painting can stand on its own and that it’s interesting (to me) or if it’s from my own need to create a story and puzzle out of my cast of characters. 

Even my earlier work, that at first glance, looks like only organic shapes, in reality isn’t. In those paintings, I made clay heads, cast them in bronze, set them in boxes and then pushed those boxes into the canvas. Or I just attached the clay heads directly to the canvas. The clay heads evolved into an oddly looking ‘chicken guy’, who then morphed into my 135 ‘guy’, which then evolved into a mouth with eyes, and now with my new time::second series (on canvas), he’s in the house or completely absent; on my works on paper he still around. It’s an odd evolution of a character that I still haven’t figured out. But this character is only half of the story because I also greatly enjoy playing with the physics of paint and the principles of color and texture. The color and texture can certainly be seen as a ‘living fluidity’ and in that regard, I do try to capture an internal earth or space.

Continue reading Interview MARGARET WITHERS by Art For All People