I have been producing and exhibiting nationally and abroad for 41 years. I received my BFA (1973) and MFA (1976) in painting and drawing from Kent State University . At Kent I had the opportunity to study with Adja Yunkers, Julian Stanczak, Clarence Carter, Dore Ashton and many others that influenced and encouraged me.
I was born in 1951 and lived in Alliance, Ohio until I was 30 years old. After graduating from Kent State University in 1976 I began teaching as an adjunct professor at The University of Akron, Youngstown State University and Kent State University.
I maintained a rigorous studio and exhibition schedule as well.
In 1977 I met Al Leslie. He was a visiting artist at Youngstown State University, I was teaching there. We had many “warm beer” conversations. He convinced me to move to New York. I did, eventually. I moved to New York City in 1980.
As my work progressed in the 1970’s, I became interested in the historical and visual affect that photography and photo-technological application had on painters; painters such as Balla, Davis, Mattise, Rosenquist, Schonzeit, Estes, Bechtle, Fish and Close.
To expand on photo “influenced” images, I began experimenting with photo emulsion on various substrates and projecting the image on to the substrate and developing the photo image. I would then paint back into the image using various masks, templates, and frisket types. I began producing color seperations that I used as “guides” in my paintings and as preliminary prototypes in photo-mechanical serigraphy. My ultimate goal was to extract as much information from a photo image that I could and then apply it as a painter.
I maintained a strong connection with observational drawing and painting and built my color
knowledge around nature and it’s vibrant, fleeting abberations.
By the early 1980’s I found myself more interested in the structure and the abstract nature of “color shape” and the space it occupied, and less interested in the object and it’s representation.
I began simplifying the content of my paintings and concentrating on more formal aspects of composition, color theory and principles of visual perception. At this time I also became more aware of the expanding technology of acrylic polymer paint. I had been using acrylic paint, but using only what was available over the counter.
In 1981 I met Mark Golden while working as an assistant to Al Held. Al was not interested in the “new” Golden products at that time, but I was. Mark and I became fast friends. I needed a harder paint film and a less glossy surface for my paintings. I asked if he could “build” it. He obliged. We worked together to bring about a new film modifier (GAC 200) and matte colors (the Golden line of matte colors) for Golden Artist Colors. I am convinced that these developments contributed to the accuracy, spontaneity and overall success of my work.
I use masking tape , nylon tape and other resists to “draw” my images on the canvas. First, I paint the color, then I “mask” the color and I then move on to the next color, leaving the tape intact on the canvas. I repeat this process until the painting is complete. I then remove all of the tape. The first color is the most “foreground” color, the last color painted becomes the “background .” I do work backwards.
Having rejected computer tecnology for years, I succumed to it’s potential in 2003. I purchased a cutter/plotter and learned software applications so that I could draw and cut my masking templates more precisely using a computer. This addition as a tool has proven invaluable.
As my paintings got more complex, my interest in technical aspects rose expotentially. I am now able to realize my conceptual expectations on a more heightened physical and visual level.
Research has yielded better adhesives on masking tape, better liquid masking material and much improved options on rigid templates. Software became more user friendly and analog to digital and digital to analog is now almost flawless. All of the aforementioned have given me more freedom to achieve my goals.
Currently, as it turns out, I am again drawn to the photograph and the morphing process of distorting images. It may seem as though I have come full circle, but I see it as an ever expanding upward spiral. It seems that I have much, much more that I can do!
The work that I am doing now is an amalgam of drawn images, photos I have taken and manipulated, cut vinyl images, painted images, dye sublimation prints on metal and archival inkjet printed images. I continue to rely on Mark Golden’s staff and their research into digital/painting media and on the ever expanding computer technology that has afforded me and many other artists a greater knowledge base and skill set.
Up to this point I have been explaining my work in very pragmatic and technical terms.
I do have some things to say about the content of my thoughts in regard to my work.
I am intrested in narrative, like the structural components that compose an altarpiece. The predellas, the wings and main panel contribute to an overall visual story, while each component exists as it’s own entity. The fractured element of time becomes apparent as we look from panel to panel and back again.
Not unlike watching a film, as a miriad of synchronous, fleeting still images takes on another life. A vibrant dynamic patchwork of cycling images. Or the layers of reflection we see in windows on the street that compound, complicate, excite and provide a novel and ever changing view of our rapidly evolving environment. The chaos, the sounds, the smells, the fragmentation, the speed, the refraction/reflection, the streaming panoramas and a lone flickering bare light bulb viewed from a moving automobile, all culminate in the not so subtle notion that this is the order. What more can an artist look for as impetus for creating a liaison between the will of the world and the will of the “creating” mind? Much can be accomplished by embracing the constantly evolving exterior realm of human interaction and activism; some of us as observers, some as ardent participants.
It has been my wish to contribute to this grand and operatic order in a positive manner that will hopefully encourage other artists to be responsibly visionary, to demand excellence in life and to promote individualism that will sustain a level of civility that accurately defines our culture’s willingness to survive and prosper.
These works are part of a series of prints that are intended to explore the delicate balance of nature’s precision and the electronically manufactured nuances, called digital images.
Melding geometric structures, with biomorphic and naturally occurring elements has, for twenty or so years, occupied my thoughts. The ever expanding understanding, use, and affect of the electromagnetic spectrum on our world is the fabric and impetus for my continuing work.
The prints included here are compositionally based on the ‘structural narrative’ of altar pieces; altar pieces once painted on wood with egg yolks.
I hope an appropriate dose of human intervention, on my part, has been applied to all of this technology, so as to provide an adequate window for the observer to explore some of my aforementioned ‘world.’
These prints are compilations of digital photographs that I have taken, and computer generated images that I have ‘built’.
I have a complete digital studio which has, since 2006, replaced my painting studio.
The images are combined and manipulated in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The final images that are to become prints, are then color corrected, sharpened, sized and formatted for printing. I then print the images on a Canon image PROGRAPH 8300 Wide Format Inkjet Printer. All works are printed, mounted, assembled and created in my studio. All papers and inks and mounting substrate are archival. All works are available.
C. W. MUNDY
A legitimate investment in the legacy of art can only be achieved through education.
My intent is not to sound arrogant; in fact, several studies support statistics that the average adult is still visually operating with childish symbols categorized during youth and merged with a lack of understanding of the sciences involved in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Their basic appreciation of art is thus compromised by a dearth of knowledge.
Education is the recipe for the longevity of art. These are the reasons I teach workshops abroad and at home, focusing on the three major categories of traditional Realism: portrait / figure, en plein air / landscape, and still life. I teach the beginner to the intermediate to the professional. My goal is to educate students on the “science of painting,” coupled with the importance of allowing their “voice” to naturally evolve over time.
To become an artist, we have to train our brain to make specific observations.
To a child, a tree is just a tree. But an artist needs much more information. What is the color and value of the lit side? What is the color and value of the shadowed side? What is the color and value of the dropped shadow on the ground? Is it warm or cool in all of these areas? What is its basic, overall shape? Does this shape work well with the other landscape shapes? We have to train our brain to make specific and correct observations. My goal is to give students, art collectors, and enthusiasts a much larger toolkit from which to articulate and create art.
A logical approach would be to educate students in the different schools of art: Realism (traditional representational), Abstract (modernists), and Conceptual. Unfortunately, unprincipled derogatory commentaries on these various schools have been not only detrimental but deathly to the educational understanding of and, indeed, the very existence of art as a whole.
If it were up to the so-called “politically correct art critics” and their museum cronies, there wouldn’t be any support for traditional representational art (Realism). I’ve heard their pointless arguments over and over during my career: “That’s been done before” or “It’s a dead issue.” If this were true, the same could be said about the Abstract modernists. But neither comment is true. Thanks to education, I have a love for both extremes.
Necessity (for creative rethinking) is the mother of invention. Throughout the history of art there are numerous examples of artists breaking away from the accepted norm. Take Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), for example. After studying for many years with his Realist painter friend and mentor, Eugene Boudin, on the coasts of Normandy, France, Monet painted Sunrise, An Impression (1872). Monet himself recounted, “I had sent [to the exhibit] a thing done in Le Havre, from my window, sun in the mist and a few masts of boats sticking up in the foreground. They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn’t really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said, ‘Put Impression.’”
Thus was born the first painting of a totally different art conscience. Instantly, the Paris Salon critics tagged Monet’s efforts as a shameful excuse for art. Nevertheless, Impressionism is now revered as not only one of the most important schools in art history, but more importantly, one of the most poetic.
The resurgence of this noteworthy school of art today flies in the face of the unfortunate, unprincipled, and derogatory commentaries of uneducated critics and exposes the major importance in the investment of logic in education, which can change the face of art as we know it. The relevance of this magazine depends on the truthfulness of its content and dedication to education. The successful co-existence of Realist, Abstract, and Conceptual works should be a celebration of the art endeavor.
All of this discussion concerning educational concepts points us to the purpose of this article: the legacy investment. This is what Michael Crabb and his new publication, Working Title, is all about: Education 101. When it comes right down to it, the public not only wants to support art, but more importantly, wants to understand it!
Michael Crabb’s vision, along with a team effort, is a recipe for success. Educating their audience with thought-provoking articles and coupled with outstanding creative art will inspire all involved.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this publication. Let us all promote the logical educational tools of art in our communities and abroad. Without art, societies suffer.
Written by C.W. Mundy, Edited by Wendy Bernstein. www.cwmundy.com
NATHAN SKILESUtilizing circuitous methodologies such as brainstorming, stream of consciousness, and Socratic irony, my studio practice is born out of a life spent wandering through books and across the Internet. In the studio, doubt and contradiction are employed liberally to disrupt mechanical production and challenge personal conventions. Working specifically with metaphors of anachronism, word play, and the occasional visual pun, my work embraces a wide range of iconography to explore the limits and slippages inherent in logic structures.
ABOVE: “Roll It Fast, Burn It Slow, Put on the Shades so the Boss Don’t Know”; cuckoo clock, peacock feathers, rooster’s comb, trucker’s hat, and caulk. Corrugated plastic and foam rubber, 32” x 16” x 12” NathanSkiles.com
Garage references my personal history. I worked in an auto garage during college and have had several as studios since then. My practice of painting begins by considering behaviors of seeing and examining them by dissecting color into fragments. Each bit of color is painted as flat as possible directly by brush. The more solid each color is in the application allows me to maneuver compositional organization into binding multiple shapes. Strokes of paint need to fit or be attached to each other to achieve a finished surface. When each addition to the surface occurs, there is continuity in the vibration of color in accordance with the rest of the composition I pursue. Weaving color from one end of the surface to the other embeds the same element throughout the composition to offer spatial dimensionality. Making shapes fuse together often creates an edit by overlap in order to fasten it to neighboring shapes in a meaningful way.
The experiential functionality of Garage, both in execution and viewing, is handled by assumptions from previous visual experiments. These events range from creation of actual to pictorial spaces challenging roles of directional lines in relation to the mass of shapes. Avoiding any value blending is important in order for my process to identify specific alternatives for each hue, emphasizing each mark as deliberate and clean. Part of this treatment references pixel based color systems.
My procedures with experimental video also inform my paintings; thinking about the content in a single frame and its role in the larger scene often becomes the strongest influence on how to place a mark. By finding its suggested movement in the entirety of the piece, a field of visual activity becomes possible for all the marks to work together.
ABOVE: Garage 52” x 54”, acrylic on canvas, 2012 wyshock.com