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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Jason Wheatley - Ti Kunkit

Another passion ...

Sometimes there is no meaning whatsoever behind the use of his props. When asked about the significance of rabbits in his paintings, he said, "I wish there were something to tell you. I like the form of the rabbit." That's why he painted them, and for no other reason.

However, when pressed, Wheatley confessed the significance of the ever-present stones in his paintings. "For me they represent sentimentality," he said. "They're just non-precious things that people collect as they go through life." When he stacks the stones, almost always in an unnatural fashion, they 'represents the precarious nature of collecting and stacking sentimentality. It's all going to crash down."

While such reasoning might suggest a negative approach to life, it couldn't be further from the truth. Wheatley is in love with life and all things created. He is, albeit, a little wary, but it makes for still life paintings that resonate with the subtle complications of life.

For Wheatley, the still life creates a stage upon which he can move the things of life about. "I become like a director of a picture," he said, moving his hands in the air as if dressing a stage.

Recently he's developed a fondness for Gustauve Courbet's realism. "I think it's incredible," Wheatley said." That's the realism I'm trying to get after. Courbet claims it was realism, but to me it's more 'fantastical' realism. A lot of it is sort of vague, also."
Other living artists that impress Wheatley are Claudio Bravo, the Spanish realist, and the art professors at the University of Utah, his alma mater: David Dornan, Paul Davis and Tony Smith. "I really got into Dave Dornan's work," Wheatley said. "You know? He showed me what a still life can really accomplish."


Me Manifesto:

People tend to project their own human attributes onto their pets. When animals become personified, the underlying humor provides a stage where the viewer is able to follow the story without becoming completely lost in the human drama. My work is constructed under this assumption and riddled in layers of parables, some idiosyncratic and hopefully some universal. Byrendering the animals and objects in a realistic manner the underlying meaning of the work blurs into a realm of surreal fantasy. I am uninterested in painting things the way they are, I would rather gather the mundane bits of reality around me, dust them off and polish them until they shine fantastic. I believe everyone can learn how to contort the harsh reality of mere existence into a daily routine of meaningful and magical moments. As one continues down the path of fantastic realism, the mundane is slowly stripped away, until the only two left at the bargaining table are our own fantasies and a more reasonable reality that now has no other option other then to begin the negotiations.



Article - The Idiosyncratic World of Jason Wheatley here

© Jason Wheatley

Kay Ruane

For years I've been drawing figures inside a room with micro landscapes out the windows. I think of the drawings as dioramas, or tiny graphite worlds.
At first these drawings were formal in imagery, as well as strictly black and white. Recently, I'm paying a lot more attention to details like the kind of flower, the title of a book on the table or a painting on the wall. I want these details to relate to specific themes in each drawing, with a dose of humor and sexuality.
Often the specific theme is related to a cultural disconnect, as well as a longing to be a part of a different physical reality and the culture it embodies. At the same time, there is a fear of actually experiencing the culture, or other world, represented by what is "outside the window".
The details are sometimes overabundant and take the drawing towards excess, literally invading the figure's space. There can also be a stereotypical or childlike association to the objects and landscapes, for example, a Disney-like imagineering of a "Safari" or a "Coronation".
Even though I am the model for the figures in the drawings, I use my image as a starting place and each figure then creates her own life. I use the final figures to explore my own sense of identity and my relationships with the physical world, but the figures also develop their own unique identities and relationships.

Kay Ruane

Kay Ruane is a visual artist who lives and works in Cambridge, MA. She recently had solo exhibits at Miller Block Gallery in Boston, MA and Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums around the country, including DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, the Carnegie Museum, in Pittsburgh, Lyons Wier Gallery in Chicago and New York, Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York, Ohio State University, the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA, the William E. Galberg Gallery at the College of DuPage, Indiana University and the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. In 1997 she received a National Endowment for the Arts/ Arts Midwest Fellowship Award and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship grant. In 1999 Kay was awarded the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. In 2002 she received the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center/Copley Society 2002 Residency Fellowship. She has also attended residencies at the VCCA, Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest IL, and received a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center. Kay's work is represented in many public and private collections including the DeCordova Museum, Fidelity Investments, St. Paul Companies, Travelers Express, Cargill, Incorporated and AT&T.

University of Illinois, Campaign-Urbana, BFA, 1979

Indiana State University
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

© Kay Ruane

Melissa Cooke

2011: Masters of Fine Arts, Studio Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2006: Bachelor's of Fine Art, Studio Art and Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Koplin Del Rio, Los Angeles, CA
Jenkins Johnson, New York, NY

Upcoming: 2011-2012 Artist-In-Residence, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE
2009: BLINK Grant Recipient, Madison Arts Commission, Madison, WI
2006: Paradise Lost Fellowship, Climate Change Artist
2005-2006: Class of 1930 Purchase Award, Memorial Union, Madison, WI
2005: Betty J. Frazier Scholarship, Madison, WI
2005: Emerging Artist Award, The Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts, Oconomowoc, WI
2004: Catherine Esther Hokin Memorial Scholarship, Madison, WI
2004: Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
2003-2004: Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts Scholarship, Oconomowoc, WI

2008-Present: Graduate Degree and Student Coordinator, University of Wisconsin Art Department, Madison, WI
2006-2008: Teaching Assistant, Instructor of Record, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
2006-2008: Instructor, Wisconsin Union and UW Continuing Education, Madison, WI
2004-2008: Art Instructor, PEOPLE Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
2005-2006: Studio Assistant at Silver Buckle Press, Madison, WI

2007- 2006: Judge for the Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts Scholarship, Oconomowoc, WI
2006: President of Fresh Hot Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison Print Club, Madison, WI
2006: Southern Graphics Council Conference Planning and Organization Assistant, Madison, WI
2004: Poster Designer for Clean Wisconsin, Madison, WI


Melissa Cooke is a young, up-and-coming player on the international art scene. Her powdered graphite on paper works explore themes of beauty, fantasy, violence, and identity, with the artist casting herself as subject in a myriad of thematic scenarios. Her work confronts the viewer, both with scale and stirring reflections of relationships, sexuality and gender. Her drawings are attracting attention from major art galleries, museums and collectors in Chicago, LA and NYC. Cooke is represented by Koplin Del Rio in Los Angeles, CA and Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York, NY. Her work has been exhibited in "The Wisconsin Triennial" at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, “To See Ourselves As Others See Us” at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, "On Paper" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in New York, and "West Coast Drawings VIII" at the Davidson Galleries in Seattle, Washington, The Miami Art Fair, The LA Art Show and PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in New York. Cooke's first major solo show "You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself" was exhibited at Koplin Del Rio in 2010. Cooke's drawings are in collections such as the Arkansas Art Center, the Howard Tullman Collection, the Wisconsin Union Permanent Art Collection, the Boston Public Library Print Collection, and the Southern Graphics Council Print Collection. Her work was also featured as an Editor's Selection in the latest edition of New American Painting

© Melissa Cooke


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