I visited Philly for the first time a few weeks ago. I really love the city... it seems like the perfect place for an artist to call home. It's inexpensive, full of young people, good public transportation, and the city center is intimate like a European city with old narrow brick streets.
While I was in town I decided to meet up with my newest artist friend Aubrey Levinthal. I stopped by her studio and was introduced to her friend whom Aubrey is planning a two person painting exhibition with: Lauren Garvey. The three of us drank coffee and reminisced about art school and all it's lousy jargon. The both of them attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia for their MFA's and graduated a few years ago. According to them, it's a small school with a supportive faculty and a range of student work from representational to conceptual.
Now to Aubrey's work. The descriptive words that come to mind immediately are soft, atmospheric, and flattened form; I think her work is an excellent example of painting that toes the line between two dimensionality and three dimensionality. She varies brushwork, prefers pastel colors, and is not afraid to boldly interpret in subject. Aubrey primarily works from life but doesn't hesitate to alter the composition in any imaginative manner she finds fit. Still life is her subject of choice... mainly cups, tabletops, and food. I love her compositions, the confident loose brushwork, her focus on soft light and atmosphere, the melting of representation into abstraction, and her hints of naive/primitive articulation of form.
According to Aubrey herself...
On my favorite days, reality mixes freely with a little whimsy; patterns separate themselves from their fabric homes and no one questions the flowers when they levitate off the dinner table. Most times though, when I stay with those thoughts, it becomes unnerving. Things begin to change shape and anxiety pushes reverie to the periphery.
Painting scenes from my life and memory, I slowly uncover forms, shadows and relationships not initially remembered. The unsettling air in the paint begins to contradict the nameable world of flowers, bowls and coffee cups. The paintings’ apparent delight quietly unravels into colored aberration, illusions into brushed marks.
Aubrey also operates a blog. Her "Sunday Pick" always features terrific painters that resonate with her interest in still life, composition, color, and abstraction. Visit her website at www.aubreylevinthal.com and check it out.
Here are a few paintings of Lauren Garvey's whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I visited Aubrey.
*** image are from her website www.laurengarvey.com