• 13
  • 2
  • 3
  • 12
  • 4

    Matt Mignanelli

  • 5

    Jenna Ransom

  • 6

    Jenna Ransom

  • 7

    Eric Elliott

  • 15

    Eric Elliott

  • 14

    Sarah Laing

  • 9
  • 10
  • 11

    From left to right: Eric Elliott, Jenna Ransom, Matt Mignanelli and Sarah Laing

Art

Matt Mignanelli: Vermont Studio Center

Posted by Alex Moshakis,

Alongside fifty other artists and writers, Matt Mignanelli spent January working in sub-zero temperatures in a church in Vermont. The residency allows for focus, Matt says, and the amount of snow makes for very productive environments. We asked him a few more questions about the residency itself, his “studio mates”, and what it was like to work in freezing conditions…

You’ve just spent January in Vermont, as part of a residency there. What was it like working in those freezing conditions, with all that snow around?

It was extremely cold, at one point dropping down to -27 c, but an incredible experience. I grew up in North East America, but this was my first experience with temperatures that low. There was also about a 2 week period in the middle of the residency during which it snowed every day, which is great when you don’t have to shovel or commute.

The winter weather made for an extremely productive work environment, and kept the Vermont microbrews nice and cold in the snow out back of the studio!

Can you tell us a bit about the residency itself?

The Vermont Studio Center offers visual artists and writers the opportunity to live and create in Vermont with the sole responsibility of focus, and the production of new works. Throughout the program, notable artists visit to present slide lectures, as well as visiting the studios of each artist in residence. This was great, as you have the opportunity to engage these artists in conversation and critique about your work, drawing on their experience and opinions.

One of the most important aspects of the residency is the community itself. Artists travel from around the world to attend the program and it is comprised of a really broad age group. This diversity within the artistic community created such an invigorating environment, and a wide range of work to absorb and learn from.

You were working alongside 3 other artists. What was that like?

Our group was assigned to studios that were in a converted church on Main Street, stained glass windows still intact. My studio mates (aka the Church Crew) were Jenna Ransom, Eric Elliott, and Sarah Laing.

Jenna Ransom lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Working on both paintings and drawings over the course of the residency, she continued an exploration of the unexplainable energies and deep environments that nature holds. The paintings are constructed using layer upon layer of transparent washes, creating a depth in the works that is captivating. Strongly rooted in reality, the work maintains a wonderful enigmatic quality. We had a blast together in Vermont, and she makes a great 7-layer Mexican dip for football games.

Eric Elliott is a painter from Seattle, WA. Through the build up of heavy oil paint and repetitive mark making in neutral tones, his paintings of interior environments and still lifes emerge. The paintings have a special dreamlike quality to them that really engages the viewer, forcing them to look well beyond the surface to decipher the faint references that define his space. Besides being a talented painter, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy than Eric Elliott.

Sarah Laing is an artist originally from Scotland, now living in Philadelphia. Throughout the residency she was creating large scale, very intricate ink drawings of organic forms influenced by cornfields and plant life. The works were engrossing, each piece drawing you in to examine the painstaking detail that encompassed every aspect of the work. Sarah and I bonded over our mutual love of whiskeys and late nights.

Everyone was making really exciting work and it was inspiring to be surrounded by people creating such a high caliber of work. Over the course of the residency we all became really close friends, and had a couple of Vermont adventures together. One such unforgettable experience was our trip to a local watering hole, Robbie’s Wildlife Refuge. Robbie’s was as authentic as they come: taxidermy, Budweisers, and Nascar memorabilia. True backwoods Americana.

Did the environment change your work in any way?

Having the time to intensely focus on my work without any other distractions allowed for some really major breakthroughs for me. I was able to experiment with some ideas that I’d been thinking about for some time, but had not executed. I began working on a series of paintings that consist only of blues and greys, which is a new challenge for me as I strive to maintain the vibrancy in the work, while moving away from a colourful palette.

What’s next for you?

After working together in Vermont, Jenna Ransom and I decided to share a studio together back in New York. We’ve just moved into our new space in Brooklyn, which is very exciting. I’m continuing the series in blues that I began in Vermont, and am focusing on making large-scale paintings this year. I’m looking forward to see what else 2011 will have in store!

Portrait8

Posted by Alex Moshakis

Alex originally joined It’s Nice That as a designer but moved into editorial and oversaw the It’s Nice That magazine from Issue Six (July 2011) to Issue Eight (March 2012) before moving on that summer.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    The phrase “artistic intervention” has a chequered past, but we’re struggling to think of a more impressive example than Frank and Patrik Riklin’s BIGNIK. The ongoing project aims to build a huge picnic cloth by 2040, made up of 252,144 panels – one for every person in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

  2. Main

    Sure, here at It’s Nice That we love fine art. You may even walk past us on the weekend ambling around in galleries, or poring over art books in libraries. We champion some of the most exquisite architecture, sculpture and filmmaking along with some of the most groundbreaking works of art made in modern times. What you define as “art” is a personal thing, but I can tell you now that when it came to voting on content for the site (we decide on content via a voting process around a table FYI) this Presidents with Boob Faces was a unanimous “YES” from each knowledgeable, art-loving member of the It’s Nice That team. When you can see hard, skilled craftsmanship and evidence of a brave artist taking one small idea and running really, really far with it, how can you resist loving it? These are amazing, and artist Emily Deutchman should be very, very proud of herself.

  3. Main

    When something is well-designed, be it a magazine, building, fashion collection or car – it should be well-celebrated. To honour the spectacular and cutting-edge design of the brand new Lexus NX, a new digital art exhibition entitled NX-Perspectives has been launched. Gathering together some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, makers and doers, Lexus have assigned them to create a special piece of performance art inspired by the Lexus NX to exhibit in the digital show.

  4. List

    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.

  5. List

    I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “How on earth did that priest train a dolphin to carry him like that?” Or maybe you’re thinking; “Where did the photographer have to stand to capture that image?” Or perhaps, in fact, you’re thinking; “This HAS to be fake.” But all of these lines of inquiry are valid in the world of Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish artist and photographer who’s latest exhibition has just landed at The Science Museum’s Media Space.

  6. List

    You’re on the internet, so you probably like cats, right? Well, these woodblock prints by Tadashige Nishida capture all of those cat qualities that we love to love: his creepy but cute kittens are unafraid and alert, always listening and sensing, and very delicately, playfully poised. Tadashige renders the subtle lines of a cat’s body against brilliantly bold backgrounds, and it is very difficult to work out just what it is that makes his prints so hypnotically intriguing. Doris Lessing, one of literature’s best cat lovers, describes the curious creatures in the following way: “If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.” Tadashige captures these dexterous and whimsical cat attributes beautifully in his surprising, minimalist prints.

  7. List1

    The only real auction action we get exposed to regularly is top programmes like Bargain Hunt or Flog It! but recently the whole auction concept has started to be used in a way that removes our cliched expectations of a collection of people (eccentric oddballs) bidding on antiques (old stuff).

  8. List

    As artist mediums go, paper cutting has its limits, right? Fine spindly branches supporting layers of luscious foliage for example might be a challenging one to recreate with scalpel and paper, for example, as might the rippling shadows that fall across swimming pools. Not so if you’re Lucy Williams. The London-based artist is redefining the nature of mixed media artwork with her absurdly detailed paper cuts. No line is too fine, no detail too small for her to recreate, and it’s precisely this unstoppable eye for detail that’s basically crowned her the queen of the method. Her penchant for mid-20th Century architecture and landscapes has taken her work across the world in exhibitions, and her awe-inspiring portfolio spanning no small number of years functions as a fantastic heap of evidence to explain why. Rub your eyes and gaze on in wonderment at these beauties.

  9. Main

    You don’t get many portfolios as rich and as varied as Urs Fischer’s – his somewhat prolific sculptural work ranges from enormous rooms full of objects imprisoned in steel cubes, John Stezaker-esque collages and gargoyle-like characters that look straight out of Labyrinth. But you know, we’re It’s Nice That, so obviously we’re really into the paintings he did of people through history with hard boiled eggs masking their faces. Really though, these are incredibly beautiful pieces of work. Depending on how much you like eggs, they may or may not make you feel a bit nauseous. For me though, this is the best thing ever.

  10. List-

    Opening tomorrow, the Cob Gallery’s new exhibition explores Pastiche, Parody and Piracy in British artwork, exploring the age-old practice of appropriation as a means to explore new ideas. The exhibition has been put together by curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster, satirical cartoonist Jeremy Banx and artist Miriam Elia, partly in response to threats of legal action against Miriam following the realease of her most recent work We Go to the Gallery.

  11. Blotlist

    From what I can gather, these abstract paintings were made by placing the nibs of inky marker pens on top of a stack of paper. The result is an amazing blotted fusion of kaleidoscopic patterns and rainbow colours, which kind of looks like the psychedelic shapes butterfly wing’s make when seen through a microscope.

  12. Main4

    Who needs stupid real flags when fictional ones are this beautiful? Mariana Abasolo (cool name) has created these magnificent, bright images that are somewhere in-between celebratory bunting and the backs of playing cards, and make her Flickr account look like some sort of culty party. We don’t know much about Mariana, but we do know that her work hasn’t always been like this – a quick scan through the rest of her portfolio shows that she’s been making some truly curious drawings for a while now – browser windows drawn in coloured pencil and strange, surreal living room scenes to name but a few. Very impressive, Mariana. More please!

  13. List

    Remember learning about Kandinsky in junior school art lessons, when the teachers were as concerned with keeping the students from poking coloured pencils in each other’s eyes are they were with imparting the wisdom of one of the greatest synaesthetes ever known? No, me neither, which goes some way to explaining my patchy knowledge of art history. Still, I remember enough to spot the reference to Kandinsky’s paintings, which he created as an abstract visualisation of the visions he saw while listening to music, in the work of Jenn Dierdorf.