Sonntag, 30. Mai 2010

The works of Megan Madzoeff

The works of Megan Madzoeff

By Simone Kussatz

California artist Megan Madzoeff, trained at Art Center College of Design and Claremont Graduate University, doesn’t stick to one genre. Instead, she has a penchant for mixing abstractions with real images, inviting the viewer to submerge in her art work, as in her abstractions with ostriches that were showcased last year during the exhibit “Realities of Abstraction” in Project_210 in Pasadena. ”People feel uncomfortable if they can’t recognize what an art work is," Madzoeff says. "I’ve been always fascinated with ostriches. I love their faces and expressions. They look very curious to me. I wanted the viewer to look at my paintings the way ostriches take in the world through their eyes.”

In a fashion similar to Jackson Pollock, Madzoeff creates paintings utilizing pouring techniques, which she later contours with a palette knife. In one of her works, “Hive of vestige," she creates a bright green shape on a white background that looks like a parrot, whose left wing extends to a mountainous grey ground. In front of the painting, on the gallery's floor is a pile of dirt, providing the work a life in three dimensions. “I was so fascinated by the shapes that I created through the pouring of the paint," observes Madzoeff, "because they are things I would have not thought about on my own. And then I had this idea of worship and looked at my piece as a narrative. I don’t worship in my life, but I’m fascinated, because so many people take it seriously and there are wars over this. So, it’s kind of mocking worship.”

Aside from painting, Madzoeff, who studied film as an undergraduate, also does sound installations. In “21st Century Indexing," the viewer is surrounded by three white walls bearing an indistinct pattern in shades of green, orange, black, and blue. Fourty-two little speakers installed in the walls - each play something different - creating a chaotic sensation that refers to the overwhelming effect of the media on the human being. “I had to work in advertising and make senseless advertisements for movies. I could see how the ads and news were manipulating and bombarding people. And most people are not aware of its exhausting power. Also, in the air there is all this wireless activity happening, and we don’t see it, but it’s all over the place and I wanted to demonstrate how these multiple activities are coming at you.”

In another piece, “24 986 Miles," Madzoeff took about 4500 photos over a year, shot out of her car window during her daily four-hour commute between Orange County and the Mid-Wilshire district in Los Angeles. “I was sitting there wasting hours away in my car and then started taking pictures and documenting, and became really excited about it. Suddenly it became this big story of commuting and Los Angeles and the freeways and the trucks, and so I thought it is interesting that all our things come on trucks, yet everybody hates these trucks, because they’re big and they go slow, but on the other hand we want things in the store.”

Madzoeff belongs to the third generation of Armenian immigrants in the United States. When I asked her, if her Armenian roots come into play in her work, she said “The third generation doesn’t feel completely Armenian or American. I think one can find a relationship to this in my work. I don’t like to belong to any one thing. I’m a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Being Armenian-American gave me a different perspective and I feel I can relate to everything.”

Madzoeff is currently working on different projects, including a photography book about “24 896 Miles.” She’s also preparing for an exhibit on June 11th at the City Council Art Gallery and Performance Space in Long Beach titled “Ménage à Trois – an evening of Art, Music and Wine, benefiting a woman’s cancer foundation (for further information please visit the website “I first wanted to show my abstractions with the ostriches that I had shown last September in Pasadena and I was going to have them framed. But then I've felt I’m kind of passed that work and wanted to go back to pure abstractions, which I’ve done in the past and moved away from.”

Edited by Peter Frank

All contents of this site (c) belong to Simone Kussatz

Freitag, 7. Mai 2010

Artist Warren Long - lover of life and appreciator of nature

Artist Warren Long – lover of life and appreciator of nature

By Simone Kussatz

Artist Warren Long has been working as a professional artist for more than 20 years. He’s a regular at Hamilton Galleries in Santa Monica, which has showcased his work since 1996. Aside from numerous other galleries in California, his paintings have been exhibited in Milan, Italy and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

However, before Long got into painting, he first started out as a functional artist, making sculpted furniture, such as carved peacock chairs and large fish tables for Tops Gallery in Malibu. Influenced by artist Jim Wagner, known for his Santa Fe style furniture and paintings, Long explained that working with furniture became too labor intensive for him. “I’m not a carpenter,” he said. “What I wanted to do was to splash paint onto canvas. There is an immediate gratification in that.”

The California artist has also been known for his murals. One of his largest ones can be seen behind a high-school at Morning view Drive in Malibu. "They're a lot of work, but I like doing them. I use scaffolds."

Yet, Warren Long hasn’t always followed an artistic path. Before his brother’s death, he wanted to become a doctor and majored in ecological systematic biology at San Francisco State University. He only minored in art. But the frequent visits in the hospital to see his brother, who was an artist, made him realize that he’s more inclined to the artistic world. “I couldn’t see myself being so exact, doling out medicine. I’m too casual for that. Yet, medicine and anatomy still interest me and I often apply this to my paintings.”

Long- a prolific and versatile artist - spent part of his childhood in Mexico. His collection of work consists of animals, flowers, figurative, landscape and seascape paintings, in which he often adds skeletons and skulls to his imagery. “It’s probably, because I lived in Mexico, where they celebrate the Day of the Dead. To me death is a natural thing. I find skulls striking. You certainly will notice them.”

Long has developed his own style. He combines beauty and nature with unusual settings. Therefore his style is easy to recognize and one cannot pigeonhole him. From humorous images such as hula hooping penguins or a floating pig to elegant water ballet swimmers and lavish flower bouquets, Long knows how to express himself visually in a unique way, allowing his mind to fantasize without limits. “This is what’s going on in my head”, Long explained. “I like pigs. They are sweet. They’re kind of god’s jokes. My brother actually raised some. As far as the swimmers in the ocean - my wife was a synchronized swimmer and I tried to do that, it’s a lot harder than it looks. But I think it’s beautiful. It’s kind of funny too. It’s hilarious and beautiful.”

In addition Long has a collection of works where different atmospheres dominate the canvas, such as “Moonlit” or “Blue Number 18”, one depicting a lagoon at night and the other a life-guard station. “My wife and I like to go out swimming a lot. I find the life-guard stations comfortable and beautiful. Often there is not even a person in there, but just the fact they exist turn them into sanctuaries. Theoretically, they are there to help you if you’re drowning. There is something pretty about them. I’ve done quite a few of those with different color combinations.”

Aside from being an established artist, Long also teaches art. Among his students were actor Mel Gibson’s children who came to learn from him, when he was still teaching at a private school in Malibu. Now Gibson’s son has followed in his teacher’s footsteps and also exhibits his art work at Hamilton Galleries.

Among Long's collectors are Harry Shearer & Judith Owen, Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub, Robert and Leslie Zemeckis, Ozzie & Sharon Osborne.

For more information please visit,

The contents of this website © belong to Simone Kussatz