Season's Greetings to all. May this holiday be filled with peace, love and charity for all. Let us create the New Year with optimism, a respect for the earth and all its creatures, and a renewed allegiance to democracy, freedom, truth and the pursuit of happiness.
I have a small piece in a group show of present and past Gowanus artists at the 313 Butler Gallery. If you are in the area, drop by- there are many nice artworks in the show and it's up for a while. There is a silent auction so bid your heart away if you see a piece you love.
313 Butler Gallery, 313 Butler Street (near Third Avenue) , Brooklyn NY 11217
Artist Jen Ferguson and author John Perrotta are doing a book signing at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, NY on August 22, 2017.Read More
I am honored for my work to be included in a show of "Downtown Legends" featuring prominent local artists' interpretations of historical landmarks in Downtown Brooklyn. The show is organized by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. The exhibition will take place at the Brooklyn Historical Society from December 9th through the 31st.
The Brooklyn landmark that I chose to paint is the old Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, a truly spectacular example of neo-classical architecture built in 1908 by the famous architectural firm Mowbray and Uffinger. Designed to awe its customers, the interior is a vast cavernous space with an imposing rotunda of marble columned, crowned with mercury dimes. The idea behind the Dime Savings Bank was that anyone could open an account with just a dime, and the dime motif is everywhere. I can't imagine a more effective way to be inspired to save than looking up at this majestic sight. Encircled by these marble columns is a giant clock, truly the centerpiece of the room. Normally I don't paint interior views, but this one was too good to pass up.
Myself and the other artist who will work with this subject were given special permission to enter the bank and take photographs. I invited photographer Catherine Talese to join me, as she excels in this type of photography and she was kind enough to share her beautiful photographs with me to use as reference (these here are mine, not at all as good!) We were able to see the vault in the basement- it was the stuff of bank robbery dreams. Naturally we looked in some of the safety deposit boxes to see if anyone forgot their stash; alas- we came away empty-handed.
The painting I'm working on is on the larger side, 45 x 65" approximately. My approach was to get the drawing close to accurate, and then start stripping away until I get at its essence. I'm hoping to hit upon the spiritual feeling you get walking into such a grand space. The bank definitely seems like a "church of money" so to speak. The idea of saving as a moral goal is echoed even further by the quotes about saving and frugality which are literally etched in stone on benches around the rotunda. One of my favorite sayings: "the mind that is anxious about the future is miserable." I couldn't agree more.
Here are a few shots of the painting in progress. It's likely to change a lot before it's completed but these will give an idea of my process and the general feel. I'll post the completed work soon. Enjoy!
Jen Ferguson's monsters and men art at Urban Folk Gallery's Annual Halloween art show, 2016Read More
Artworks by BOE Label Artists-Part 1
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 30, 7-10pm
Exhibition Dates: June 22 – August 2, 2016
I am participating in a group show of Brooklyn Oenology label artists this month. I created artwork for two BOE wines, a Merlot (sold out) and Riesling (still some bottles available.) I will be exhibiting one painting, which is shown here. It's one of my newer pieces. Below is the official press release for the show- and the wine labels I created. hope to see some of you there!
Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY, June, 2016 —Brooklyn Oenology, the first urban winery in New York and pioneer of “Brooklyn Terroir,” will celebrate its 10th anniversary in June 2016.
The Tasting Room will host two gallery shows during the summer that pay tribute to the artists whom have contributed to BOE labels over the past ten years. The first will be on display June 22 - August 2 and the second show will run August 3 - September 12. In total, 28 artists will participate in the showcase, showing a mix of new and favorite works.
The new releases of the 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Merlot will feature limited-edition labels, commemorating the past 10 years of BOE. A limited quantity of these uniquely labeled bottles will be available for wine club members and for sale in the tasting room.
The opening reception of Retrospective Art Show: Part 1 is on Thursday June 30th, 7 to 10pm. BOE will feature $2 off glasses of the new releases of the 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Merlot, which feature limited-edition commemorative labels, 10% off bottles of the wine to go, and complimentary snacks.
Retrospective Exhibition Part 1:
June 22 - August 2, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday June 30, 7-10pm
Fanny Allie, Julie Combal, Sezes Devres, Rob DeOude, Patricia Fabricant, Jen Ferguson, Sonomi Kobayashi, David Kramer, Noah Landfield, Jemal McClary, Chris Smith, Michael Sorgatz, Jeremy Wagner, Sarah Walker
I had a great time participating in Firehouse Gallery's artist talk earlier this month. (I also won "Best in Show," a giant honor given the quality and range of art, and they presented me with a check!) Several of the participating artists were there to speak about their work, as was I. It was informal but informative. A warm group of creative people and interested observers had an interactive tour around the show and we all learned about the unique motivations, inspirations and view points of each artist present. And I was impressed by the strength and quality of the art community in Orange, NJ.
It's hard to communicate in words what is expressly visual; artists spend so much time with their work alone, and at least for me, the running dialogue is never "what does this work mean?" or "how can I connect this piece with my philosophy of existence?' but rather mundane thoughts about what's for dinner, lists of unaccomplished tasks, and scheduling all the other fun things I plan on doing after painting. But I was able to find a few genuine themes to mention briefly:
- The idea of my process being that there is no set process. Each painting begun as if amnesia had set in, and I'm painting for the first time. This sounds fairly implausible, but to large extent that is how I feel, each new work having it's own rules and unknown destination, and requiring a retrofit approach to technique.
- The idea of my paintings having a lot of "pasts" due to the extensive layering. Secrets lie beneath the final surface; whole other worlds, figures, structures etc. have existed, been obliterated or greatly altered. Many changes of mind occur while working. (I mentioned that I thought because of this fact, it might be quite impossible for a forger to try to recreate my style.)
- That in the evolution of a painting, plans are useless. Allowing the paintings to become what they seem to "want" to become, or what my subconscious must want, along a meandering garden path of mental foibles, makes all premeditation folly.
I hope to write extensively on the philosophy of painting someday. I'm constantly writing notes while painting in the hopes that eventually, I'll have organized thoughts about the subject that will be worthy of an essay.
I'll be speaking at Firehouse Gallery in Orange NJ on June 11th, 2016. There is a closing reception of Open Orange, an annual exhibition of regional art hosted by the Valley Arts Organization; my art was chosen "Best in Show" and I'm very honored.
In addition to myself, a few other highly accomplished artists in the show will also speak on their work. Presiding over this year's show were Tricia Bloom, Curator of American Art at the Newark Museum, Diedre Harris-Kelly, Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation, and Marie Samuels, who serves on the acquisitions committee at the Parish Art Museum and is the Executive President of Artadia.
The event is at Firehouse Gallery, 580 Forest Street, Orange NY on Saturday June 11, 3-5 pm.
I will be speaking on non-process, the meaning of place, and how to tell fortunes by the interpretation of random brushstrokes.
My studio is located in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn. Ever since I moved my studio here, I've been astounded by how much support local artist receive from just one organization: Arts Gowanus. Headed by Abby Subak, and aided by a steadfast crew of loyal hardworking and thoroughly involved staff and volunteers, the group is a cornerstone of the arts community in Brooklyn. Running everything from workshops to help artists learn to better their careers to the yearly Arts Gowanus Open Studios, the organization is a huge benefit -directly and personally- to us artists here.
Every year they hold a benefit event- where you get to pick and take home an original artwork by a local artist. Last year it sold out, and was tremendous fun. This year, I am donating a framed watercolor titled " Sauvage." It's a study for a new large painting. The image is 9 x 12" and it will be framed to 16 x 20" I actually have an opening in Williamsburg the same evening, so I won't be able to attend, but I am honored to donate it as a support to Arts Gowanus. Here is a link to the event page where you can register!
I'm so pleased to have one of my paintings included in this superb exhibition at Site Brooklyn. "Landscape: A Sense of Place" is the perfect show for my work, as the idea and feeling of place is central to my work. I walked by the gallery the other day, and the show looks fantastic; a large variety of interpretations of the theme, and excellent quality of work. If you love painting you'll love this show. I believe there are also some great photographs too. The opening is Wed. May 25th, 6-9 pm. I'll be there!
Landscape: A Sense of Place curated by Annette Rose-Shapiro of ARTnews
May 25 - June 26th, 2016
SITE Brooklyn Gallery
165 7th Street, Brooklyn NY (Next to the Bell House)
Exhibition Curated by Annette Rose-Shapiro
How does an artist frame a landscape? Inevitably, it is an act of choosing: what goes in, what goes out? Poussin and Lorraine first brought landscape, which was previously relegated to merely backdrop for other images, into a subject of its own. After the Impressionist revolution, by the 20th century, the definition of "landscape" expanded considerably. Photography became widespread. Also, it included cityscapes and the explosion suburban subjects, conceptualization, abstraction, and gesture. Artists also brought in other materials such as video, collage, or elements earth or city themselves.
Fundamentally, landscape posits the challenge of how we view and engage with the world around us. This exhibition seeks to show how contemporary artists take up this challenge.
I'm participating in Urban Folk Art Gallery's Annual Brooklyn Bridge Show, which opens Friday May 20th and runs through June 20, 2016. The show is a well rounded and diverse example of contemporary Brooklyn artists' interpretation of the our local architectural icon, the Brooklyn Bridge. Urban Folk Art always puts on a smashingly fun opening; there are sure to be lots of friendly people and great art to peruse, so swing by! If you miss the opening, the show runs through June 20th so there's plenty of time to stop by and pick up an affordable, awesome piece of Brooklyn Bridge art.
The Annual Brooklyn Bridge Show, May 20th-June 20th, 2016
Urban Folk Art Gallery, 101 Smith Street near Atlantic (Map Here)
OPENING Friday, May 20th, 7-10 pm
I'm very pleased to have two paintings included in the 12" x 12" group show at Roig Gallery in Hoboken. The opening is Thursday, April 14th, 6-8 pm; Roig Gallery is located at 252 First Street, Hoboken. The gallery is a short walk from the PATH and ferry terminal and Hoboken is filled with restaurants and bars to enjoy after the opening.
The two paintings I'm showing are both inspired by Hoboken. Hope to see you at the opening; the show runs through May 14th.
12" x 12"
252 First Street, Hoboken NY
When my watercolor paintings need a little "umpf" it's time to break out the farm fresh eggs and stir up a little egg tempera. An almost impermeable substance, egg tempera can add a lot of dimension to a watercolor. Purely speaking, it's not for use on paper- it's more appropriate for sturdy backings like wood. But if you're using massively thick Arches 300 gram paper, it may be used in moderation without causing worry.
As an oil painter who uses paint to build up surfaces and then alter them over and over, adding tempera layers to a watercolor can bring the medium closer to what I prefer. I love seeing light, spontaneous watercolor paintings, ones that showcase transparent effects and ways to use the white of the paper. But I usually revert to my old ways of layering, and so constantly seek for ways to add substance to the paint. Every artist has their tricks, and this is just one of them. I remember seeing Andrew Wyeth watercolors at an exhibition that were heavily worked, scraped and layered and feeling a kindred spirit.
Building up an image bit by bit, paint stroke by stroke, helps to make the painting feel like more than just a flat surface. I'm trying to bring a luminosity to the image, and a past that the upper final layers have to be viewed though.