Friday, August 31, 2007

Buy Local!

Thank you to everyone who came out last night to see my and Helen Phillips' opening at the DDP gallery. I was delighted with the turn out, and I was honored to be able to share my art and stories about my art with you all face to face. If you saw the show and you know someone who might also enjoy the work, please let your friends, family, and co-workers know about the exhibit and the DDP gallery in Fayetteville. It is such a wonderful space, and we are fortunate to have it in our community. This marks the DDP gallery's one year anniversary as well. Dede Peters is to be commended for taking such a personal risk; running an art gallery is no easy task. She sticks her neck out everyday due to her love and appreciation of art, so that we may all come together and enjoy it. Please support this gallery and Arkansas artists.

With the growth of our region and the influx of people coming from more cosmopolitan locations, it is important that they know that Arkansas' small cities have wonderful galleries; galleries filled with the same talent and passion as they would expect to find in bigger cities, and sometimes with works of art at a fraction of the cost. Just like we strive to buy local goods, to help our local economy and environment, we should also strive to support our local galleries and artists.

I will be around at most of the art festivities during the weekend and I hope to see you out too! I plan to do a weekend round up after all the events. Enjoy!

See " Distance Learning" pictured above, as well as other new works by Megan Chapman at the DDP gallery
located at 7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5 and by appointment,
with extended hours of 11-4 on Sunday during the festival weekend.

"Intuition" Works by Megan Chapman and Helen Phillips
August 15- September 29 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Art is everywhere and all at once.

Today's blog is going to be a run down of art events in Fayetteville that are going on now, and in the next week. I am excited about all the buzz surrounding the Fayetteville Arts Festival, the third installment of the much anticipated Art Market, and of course Intuition at the DDP gallery with new paintings by myself and ceramic works by Helen Phillips. I must also mention the stellar photography exhibit "Just the other side of nowhere..." by Henry Turner at Ozark Natural Foods.

Since this is my blog, I want to give you my take on what to watch for at these exhibits...

First off, Henry Turner's photography exhibit is about to come to a close, so hit it first if you haven't already, it is only up until the end of the month. His 12x12" composite photographs of old houses, buildings, fields, and flora are mounted on birch boxes. These photographs have an aching quality that I am drawn to. The photographs appear vintage or distressed yet the way they are presented on the birch boxes is modern and clean-I love the juxtaposition. Henry participated in the last Art Market event; it was his first showing of this series and they were an immediate hit. He sold 8 pieces that night, and was then asked to show his work in Ft. Smith and he sold many works during that show as well. These are truly lovely works of art, don't miss this exhibit! "Just the other side of nowhere..." will be up for the short remainder of August at Ozark Natural Foods.

Intuition: Paintings by Megan Chapman and Ceramic Works by Helen Phillips at the DDP Gallery, This exhibit consists of 20 new abstract paintings by myself and the beautifully mysterious ceramic work of Helen Phillips. The opening reception will be Thursday Aug 30th from 5-8 and both Helen and myself will be there. We look forward to meeting you and talking about our work. The DDP gallery will also have extended hours during the festival weekend. The DDP will be open as usual on Friday from 12-7pm ( so you might consider popping in before the open space art party that night) and Saturday the hours will be 10-5 and Sunday 11-4.

The Fayetteville Arts Festival is back again, conveniently located at The Town Center on the square - August 31-Sept 2, for the visual arts, music and writing part and then again the following weekend Sept 7-9 for all the other wonderful art forms. On Friday night the 31st at the Open Space Art party, you get to help support the festival by buying a $50 ticket, and a chance to meet the artists, getting first dibs on their art while you eat good food and listen to music and watch performances before the festival really kicks off on Saturday. Then the festival kicks into high gear on Saturday and Sunday. It looks like an impressive group of artists have been selected into this year's festival. I am especially looking forward to new works by Ben Strawn. The festival is sure to please, as there will be something at the festival for everyone.

Last but certainly not least, Art Market is being held on September 1, from 5-10pm at the Parish hall at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Dickson and East Street. Jason Howell-Smith and Basil Seymour-Davies know how to put on a great exhibit. Art Market is a solid event and a sure thing. I love this concept, and I love the work that comes with this show. I participated in the first Art Market and it was one of the most exciting shows I have been a part of. I love the immediacy of it, the transformation of the space into an art gallery, and the crowds are phenomenal. The cross section of artists who participate in this event are top notch, exciting and hungry - exploring different mediums with passion and zeal. Art Market is a true asset to the community, and the artists it exhibits. Please support this event and the emerging and established talent that will be participating.

Creating art is as important for those who make it, as it is for those who view and enjoy it. Artists are a vital asset to any community. We are lucky to have this growing enthusiasm and support for the arts in our town, and to be able to showcase some of the talent that resides here. Prepare to be inspired and feel a palpable excitement as the art community comes alive.
See you there!

See " Swept in and Away" pictured above, as well as other new works by Megan Chapman at the DDP gallery
located at 7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5 and by appointment,
with extended hours during the festival weekend.

"Intuition" Works by Megan Chapman and Helen Phillips
August 15- September 29 2007

Join us for the opening :
Aug 30th 5-8pm

Friday, August 17, 2007

An Elegant Distress

I am eagerly anticipating the reception for the exhibit Intuition for Helen Phillips and myself at the DDP gallery in Fayetteville on August 30th. The show went up Wednesday, August 15th, and I think it looks great. Dede Peters, the popular Fayetteville gallerist, always does an amazing job of putting a show together. She has allowed me to view my works as if for the first time. The set up is clean and spacious allowing enough room for Helen's and my work to stand out on its own, while also letting the work mingle about sharing similarities or perhaps stories.

Helen's work is mysterious and wonderful. It is earthy and rooted, yet ethereal at the same time. I can't wait to talk more with Helen about her work. I am honored to be showing with her.

Today, I want to give you another little taste of a painting of mine that will be in the exhibit. The painting above is entitled "An Elegant Distress," it is 40x30", mixed media on canvas.

This piece is a quiet force, like a "one-two punch." It appears to be a large abstract painting divided into three basic parts; sky, horizon, and body until you get into it and see some of the subtleties. The dark band that is present in much of my work appears again, this band is made up of my favorite blue, which is actually a pthalo blue and raw umber mixed together, creating a dreamy, dark rich blue with just a hint of green.

Above the dark band we see a grey dirty cloud-like shape being stirred up, perhaps blowing across the painting. This part of the painting is unusual for my work as I usually stay away from light or faded colors preferring the darker richer colors that I am accustom to. I was actively trying to stay a little lighter on the top of this piece to see if I could still feel satisfied with the work. The top base color is a milky dingy white, tainted with pale blue, and there are little light colored breaks in the surface that could summon up the idea of rain, or movement. Another surprising detail is that under the surface of the cloud-like shape there appears a pale but almost acrid yellow. It is emerging from behind the surface and creates a little edge to the piece. Dede Peters likens it to the color of a photo that has not been properly "fixed." If the top of the painting is where the drama is , then the lower portion of the painting roots the work. The lower section is green in color with texture and a brighter yellow peeking out again from the underneath.

The title "An Elegant Distress" came from the ideas and impressions that I received from people who had viewed the piece while still in the studio. They seemed drawn to the piece and yet slightly unnerved by it. It is a clean, almost minimal piece in comparison to some of my others. There are no comfort shapes, nothing to float on the surface to soften the work. When I think minimal, I think of elegance, yet I couldn't ignore that dirty, yellowing grey mass at the top of the painting, and thought it might hold the source of the viewers or my distress. I also think the piece is tighter and more reserved than some of my pieces, like a person who is forlorn but must keep it together, they may find themselves in "An Elegant Distress."

See "An Elegant Distress" as well as other new works, at the DDP gallery
located at 7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5 and by appointment.
"Intuition" Works by Megan Chapman and Helen Phillips
August 15- September 29 2007

Join us for the opening :
Aug 30th 5-8pm

Friday, August 10, 2007

Homeward I Fall

I am busy getting everything ready for my upcoming exhibit with Helen Phillips at the DDP Gallery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The exhibit is entitled "Intuition" and features my paintings and Helen Phillips' ceramic works. I can't wait to see Helen's work in person. The show hangs August 15 with an opening on Thursday, August 30th, from 5-8pm. I hope to see and meet as many of you there as possible. It will be an exciting way to kick off the Fayetteville Arts Festival weekend. We are fortunate to have such a wealth of talent and skill in our local and regional area, as well as people willing to use their time, energy, and resources to create opportunities for artists and art lovers to enjoy each other.

Since, I have been busy painting and dreaming up new titles, and concepts for my exhibit, I thought it might be fun to offer a small preview, as well as a hint of some of the thoughts that are behind this latest body of work.

The painting above is titled "Homeward I Fall", it is 20x16" mixed media on canvas. This painting feels somewhat precious to me, in fact I almost thought about keeping it to myself. It seemed to carry a secret memo, that I might be leaking out into the world too soon.

First, I feel this painting has a lighter, airier quality than some of my work. The autumnal colors are floating about as they mix and over lap gently. If you look at my recent work you will usually find a horizon line or band across the top of the painting, in this particular piece the band is at the bottom, which alters the dynamic of the piece. Also, rather than the usual solid band, there are groove like lines within the band, breaking it up a bit, revealing the subtle colors from underneath. There is a small rectangular shape in the mid right side of the piece that calls back to my more land based abstractions, green rolling hill like shapes appear within the atmospheric painting, adding to that sense of a floating world or a dream like state. The "comfort shapes" or ovals are more playful as they drop from the "sky" and while they don't overlap they do appear to be connected as they tip toward and away from each other as they hover down the painting.

The title "Homeward I Fall," serves to tie the elements in the piece together as well as add a little story or mystery to what is being seen on the canvas. The shapes are falling, and as I have mentioned before, these shapes sometimes represent feelings or ideas, or in this piece perhaps myself or the viewer, these shapes float down the canvas "homeward." The band of blue will catch or absorb them, and hopefully the band is a soothing and peaceful place to land.

I have always been fixated on "home"- whatever it may mean, it can be a romantic idea of your place or start in this world, or it can be the home you find in someone or a new place all your own. Home is mythic and dreamy- and I love the idea of it. It means so many different things. I happen to live in my childhood home. When I walk the dog, I am walking the same route I walked as I child. The neighborhood isn't just where I live now, it has 35 years of history linked to it, and it floats around me all the time. These are just a few of the concepts that are with me in this latest body of work.

See "Homeward I Fall" as well as other new works, at the DDP gallery
located at 7 East Mountain St. Fayetteville.
Open: W-F 12-7 and Sat. 10-5 and by appointment.
"Intuition" Works by Megan Chapman and Helen Phillips
August 15- September 29 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007

No one told me...

I only had an hour, and I wasn't sure who I would see as I had never been to the St. Louis Art museum. It is almost sacrilegious to only have an hour in a museum, but that is what I had, so I had to make the most of it. I knew before I went that I wouldn't have much time, so I scoped out the collection headings online. Modern, Contemporary, and Photography- these collections would be the focus during my time there. We got the floor map as soon as we arrived, scanned it nervously and we were off; scurrying up to the 3rd level.

A curious behavior takes over me when I am in a museum, a sense of urgency rushes through me (perhaps it was anxiety at only having an hour). I want to see as much as I can, and I become a hunter. I search for certain old friends that I must at least give a cursory nod to before I can leave.

At first, I get to the section and I kind of rush through it, "Hello Beckman, I then run into my gang... Motherwell, Rothko, and Kline, (they do always keep you guys together, don't they) Hello Anselm Kiefer... ah, Diebenkorn -west coast in the house." I rush through like I am collecting stars. "Got it, I see you- you are more than a color plate in a book, more than a name and date I had to memorize. You are real, you are a celebrity and around you I am nervous, but because of you I know myself."

Then something in me shifts, now I can relax- I can walk a little slower. I step up and into each piece, I breathe them in, I have my picture made with a few of them, as if it is the artist themselves. "Hey can you take a picture of me with Rothko over there."

I walk around and around the same section. I don't want to miss anything, I want to see the work one more time to make sure I really saw it. Just when I think I have seen it all, I step
into a little room off to the side, and I see a hint of something so familiar that it calls me forward. Oh, my... is that, it is... a Modigliani.

Tears come to my eyes, I am overwhelmed to see a piece of his in person, it is my first time. There has always been a Modigliani print somewhere in the background of my life, so he feels like an old friend. His portraits of women seem like family members to me. I am so excited to find him, it is a painting of a woman but to me it is him. I am standing next to the artist. I imagine his hands moving over the canvas, I imagine his sadness, poverty, sickness and struggles. His tragic life comes out as I look at this lovely and graceful painting before me. Is that why the tears come; because I know of his torturous existence, or do I tear up for the beauty and hope his painting represents? I hope while he was painting he was captured up in a good moment of his life, and transported away from any disappointments and regrets... The painting was made one year before his death. I wonder how was he feeling then, did he have any idea that his life would end so soon. I take it in and I breathe.

No one told me, I would meet you here.