Tag Archives: Park West artist

Inspiring Nano Lopez

Nano Lopez

When master sculptor Nano Lopez steps outside, he doesn’t just see grass, trees or animals – he sees life, inspiration and miracles.

“Everything is a miracle, everything is amazing – life in general, all life is amazing,” he says. “The richness of the world is inspiration.”

Lopez grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and took trips with his family to rivers and islands. During these trips, he was fascinated by the flora, fauna and animals he discovered, and these experiences fueled his imagination in a way that has remained with him and evolved. Today, he states that his way of understanding humanity is through the path of nature.

In fact, one of the very reasons Lopez has enjoyed sculpting since the age of 15 is that he connects with nature by using clay to create art.

“Originally the first element that I worked with was water clay,” he says. “You get your hands on it, the feeling of the earth in your hands and the water, all of that is very direct.”

His figurative works are a search for humanness, for universal, hidden feelings he cannot quite name. He compares it to plunging your hand into the dirt, blindly searching for something, but you’ll know what you’re looking for once you take hold of it.

“Early on I was really in love with nature and working on the human figure and thinking about life at all levels,” he says. “That kind of thinking made me want to incorporate life and nature into the human.”

Nano Lopez

Among his various sculptures, Lopez says his “Maria” figurative works hold deep meaning to him. They combine his love of the human figure and his passion for nature. In fact, he has alluded to wanting to create a 10-foot large version of his “Maria Alma” sculpture.

“It symbolizes the human soul,” he says of Maria. “It relates to Mother Nature a lot…the beauty of life, the power of life – that is a miracle to me.”

To emphasize and contrast the natural, organic textures, Lopez incorporates mechanical and man-made textures such as gears, letters and numbers. To him, gears represent human creativity, while letters and numbers remind him of the history of civilization with math, language and literature.

“When we’re talking about animals, it brings the human part into the animals,” he says. “That gives it that richness that refers to what amazes me the most, which is the richness of the world.”

Even his palette is derived from nature. He said everything from trips during his youth to visits to the marketplace has inspired his bright colors.

“I do remember going to the markets in Colombia, they are so visual in that sense out there, particularly the outdoor markets that are so rich in colors and all that, and in the tropics the colors are pretty intense,” he says.

Nano Lopez

Even when he isn’t working on his art, Lopez loves interacting with nature. He says he enjoys landscaping, which is evident when admiring the beautiful grounds at his residence in Walla Walla, Washington.

“You go into your backyard and stand in a square foot of earth, you start to see how much is going on,” he says. “The birds go by, the bees go by, and you look down you see an ant going by, and you dig under and there is more stuff going on with worms and beetles. It’s amazing, that power of life amazes me and I want to express that into the figures.”

View the entire Nano Lopez: Master Sculptor catalog here

Albany International Airport Presents Artist Leslie Lew in “Keeping Time”

"Keeping Time", Albany International Airport, Leslie LewPark West Gallery artist Leslie Lew (shown center) attends the “Keeping Time” exhibition’s opening reception at Albany International Airport on April 8, 2011.

"Keeping Time" Albany International Airport, Leslie LewALBANY, NY — Park West Gallery artist Leslie Lew is among seven artists selected to show their works in a prestigious new exhibition. 

In Keeping Time, now on view at Albany International Airport, “Artists navigate the collective and individual mythology of nostalgia with an eye for its humorous, deceptive and often bittersweet nature.”

Lew’s signature “sculpted oils” depicting iconic imagery of American culture combined with Pop Art will surely delight the many travelers passing through the busy airport over the next several months.

From the exhibition press release:

“With humor and deep affection for the products and popular iconography of the past, Leslie Lew creates extravagant interpretations of comic book heroes, food packaging and board games. Her father was an advertising executive who developed, among other enduring ad campaigns, Sugar Smacks and its Smackin Brothers duo, who appear larger than life here in Lew’s painting.

In this tribute to her father and memories of childhood, we see the thickly sculpted, painted surface that has become the artist’s signature method. Images that we perhaps associate with mass-production are enlivened by highly textured brushstrokes and expansive scale. They are at once art and artifice – delighting in the seductive visual dynamics of commercialization while also imbued with a personal, interpretive quality that is distinctly anti-cynical.

When faced with the legendary things and characters of our youth, rendered with unrestrained enthusiasm, it’s hard not to smile, to remember the pleasure of eating animal crackers, toting the box on its little white string; to feel a little girl’s aspiration to be Wonder Woman, and to be transported by cartoon lives – so familiar and yet so unlike our own.”

KATHY GREENWOOD, Curatorial Assistant of the Art & Culture Program at Albany International Airport

“Keeping Time” is on view at Albany International Airport now through September 5, 2011. Download the exhibition invitation [pdf]

About the Albany International Airport Art & Culture Program
Since 1998, Albany International Airport has distinguished itself within the Northeast, and throughout the United States as a beacon for the arts in the Capital Region. The Art & Culture Program has become a cornerstone for showcasing the breadth and quality of the arts throughout the Region and has made the Airport a busy hub not only for travel, but also for celebrating and learning about local culture.

For more information, visit www.albanyairport.com/art_culture.php
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Leslie Lew fine art is available at Park West Gallery cruise art auctions and through our gallery in Southfield, Michigan.

Visit the Park West Gallery Leslie Lew Collection »

The Mysterious Allegories of Roy Fairchild

Park West Gallery proudly presents the extraordinary works of British artist Roy Fairchild. Often referred to as “neo-romantic,” Fairchild’s art is at once mysterious and yet accessible. It is wholly unique and yet grounded in many artistic styles…

"Gift From Far Away" by Roy Fairchild, Park West Gallery“A Gift From Far Away” by Roy Fairchild | Park West Gallery

A Park West Gallery exclusive • By Roy Fairchild

My early career was spent as an illustrator. At first, I enjoyed the challenge of tight deadlines, and the changes in style to suit the needs of the client—anything from cartoons to technical illustration. As I grew older, however, I became increasingly frustrated by the skipping from one style to another. I found that I needed to find a style that I could spend time on, to develop and grow. In short, like most artists, I needed to find my own voice.

I can’t say that I have always enjoyed painting pictures of women and flowers. I am aware that these elements are sellable subject matter and like most people, I have to earn a living. I have never tried to tell customers anything other than that. I try to paint the pictures the best I can, and give customers value for money. If they like them fine, if they don’t like them, they don’t have to buy them. Some people are put off by this attitude, while others seem to be relieved and prefer this more workmanlike approach. After all, if you buy a new car you don’t ask what the inner meaning is behind the round headlight or the way the rear bumper has been designed. Most artists over the centuries were commissioned to produce work. It may not necessarily be to their personal taste or interest.

Having said that, I have tried to balance what I saw as the commercial requirements of art with my own particular interests, and have included bits of the “real me”—whoever that is—into my pictures.

For me, the woman and flowers are just parts of the image; those parts of the painting of a more personal nature tend to float around the periphery. Much like overheard conversations at a party, it’s generally the things going on around you that seem the most interesting, not the person you’re talking to.

Much of my work has taken on a decorative/tapestry like appearance. The tapestry effect of my work evolved as a means of weaving stories, images and objects together. I spent a lot of time being dragged around old country houses with my family when I was a child, and I think that seeing all those old paintings and tapestries at such an early age has had some influence on my paintings. I look towards this way of presenting images as a natural point of reference. For me, the attraction of the finished work lies in the overall pattern and textural quality, not in any particular focus of interest. If you look up at the stars at night, it’s the whole scene that gives it a certain beauty, not any particular star.

"Cradle Song" by Roy Fairchild, Park West Gallery“Cradle Song” by Roy Fairchild | Park West Gallery Collection

Often, the paintings contain references to events that are happening in my life at that time. For example, if you look at the bottom left-hand corner of Cradle Song, it contains writing and diagrams that refer to a legal dispute that I was having with my neighbour. So in a way, the pictures are like a diary, a snapshot of my day. Usually, the true story is not in the centre, nor is it obvious. It is generally woven into the background.

I often include snatches of music and words that I hear on the radio as I work. If I receive letters from people who I like, or even if I don’t like them, then I put these in my pictures. Symbols that are personal to me, things I’ve seen, the stamps off holiday postcards; all these I collect and put down in my work.

I often repeat these objects from picture to picture. Like acquaintances, they evolve slowly. Some get forgotten, others develop and change, some I let go after a while. Just like human contact.

People refer to things like the pattern of life, the threads of existence, and I try to give that feeling of connections in my pictures.

This aspect of storytelling through pictures is seen in most cultures around the world, beginning with the earliest cave paintings.

This relates quite neatly to my initial occupation as a diagram designer. I’ve always been quite a practical person and noticed that a well-designed diagram or flow chart had a natural balance or harmony to it, rather like a scientist or engineer would describe a theory as being elegant. In my paintings I found that if I put elements together that related to one another in some way, even if it was just “odds and ends” from my memory, then the pictures seemed to evolve comparatively easily and had that same sense of balance.

I enjoy working like this. The pictures seem to develop in a natural way; each picture grows as I work on it. My work as a whole evolves slowly, organically, like a living thing.

"A True Heart" by Roy Fairchild, Park West Gallery Collection“A True Heart” by Roy Fairchild | Park West Gallery Collection

I am often asked about the bits and pieces in the border. These came about from my early days as a technical illustrator. I would often make notes and drawings around the edges to remind myself of things to deal with later. And over the years I have started to include these things into the final design, simply because I think it looks more interesting and seems to add a thoughtfulness and structure to the piece.

I just want to say that I don’t walk around being an artist, thinking poetic thoughts all day. A lot of my time is spent telling my children to turn down their music, looking forward to meeting friends, digging in the garden and fretting about income-tax and complaining that no one understands me (I have never met an artist who doesn’t complain). Some of these things you can see in my pictures—happy, sad, thoughtful or trivial—just normal stuff.

Having said all this, I think I should tell you that I am planning to change my style and move into different directions, for no other reason than that I want to see what else I can come up with.

I think that I’m still going to keep some narrative in my work. But I may focus on less superficially attractive, but more personal details of what’s going on around me. Just day-to-day events that all of us go through, and try to paint them with a sense of humanity.
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› Learn more about Roy Fairchild at Park West Gallery Artist Biographies →

Exclusive artwork by Roy Fairchild is available for purchase through Park West Gallery and its cruise art auctions at sea. Visit the Park West Gallery-Fairchild Fine Art Collection →

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Park West Gallery Artist Series Presents: Hyper Realist Alexander Chen

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, Alexander Chen“Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics” by Alexander Chen | Park West Gallery Collection

Park West Gallery Artist Series Presents: Alexander Chen
In the following Park West Gallery exclusive, hyper realist Alexander Chen discusses his beginnings as an artist in China to later moving to the United States. Chen also talks about being selected as the Official Artist of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The artist explains that he hopes his paintings  of iconic landmarks and cityscapes will serve as visual “dictionaries of history” for future generations.

(After the video, visit Park West Gallery Artist Biographies to learn more.)


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• Artwork selections from the Park West Gallery/Alexander Chen Fine Art Collection are available for purchase through our gallery in Southfield, Michigan, and at our art auctions aboard cruise ships throughout the world. 
Visit the Park West Gallery/Alexander Chen Fine Art Collection →

Watch more exclusive videos featuring your favorite artists at the Park West Gallery YouTube Channel →

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Yaacov Agam’s World Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lights Up New York City

Yaacov Agam, Hanukkah Menorah, Park West Gallery
The World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah stands in New York City and was designed by artist Yaacov Agam. Photo credit: The Corcoran Group

NEW YORK (news.gnom.es) — The World’s Largest Chanukah Menorah will be proudly standing at New York’s most fashionable plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, by Central Park, between the Plaza and the Pierre Hotels. The first candle will be lit on Wednesday evening December 1, and the full Menorah will be lit on Wednesday evening December 8. All weekday lightings are at 5:30pm. Over the years the World’s Largest Menorah was lit by New York City Mayors, Abraham Beame, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, Governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki and David Paterson, United States Senators Jacob Javits and Charles Schumer, as well as many other dignitaries.

“The Menorah stands as a symbol of freedom and democracy, strength and inspiration, delivering a timely and poignant message to each person on an individual basis,” said Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman, Director Lubavitch Youth Organization.

The Menorah was certified by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest. It was specially designed by world-renowned artist Yaacov Agam who lit the Menorah many times. It was inspired by a hand drawing by the Rambam (Maimonides) of the original Menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
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Artwork selections from the Yaacov Agam collection are available for purchase through Park West Gallery and our cruise art auctions. Visit the Park West Gallery-Yaacov Agam Fine Art Collection »

Learn more about Yaacov Agam at the Park West Gallery Artist Biographies » 
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Vanishing Visual Miracles: The Art of Igor Medvedev

Igor Medvedev, Fuengirola, Spain“Fuengirola, Spain” by Igor Medvedev | Park West Gallery Collection

The Park West Gallery Artist Video Series presents: The Vanishing Visual Miracles of Igor Medvedev. In the following segment, Igor Medvedev discusses the meaning behind his work and the importance of developing a dynamic composition in each painting.

Medvedev says that every artist is ultimately confronted with two decisions —what to paint, and how to paint it. The process by which he was able to answer those questions for himself provides compelling insight into the artist and his works. Medvedev admirers won’t want to miss this!

After you watch the video, be sure to visit the Park West Gallery Artist Biographies to learn more about Igor Medvedev and view his artwork.

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Artwork selections from the Igor Medvedev collection are available for purchase through Park West Gallery and our cruise art auctions at sea. Visit the Park West Gallery/Medvedev Fine Art Collection to learn more.

Watch more exclusive videos featuring your favorite artists at the Park West Gallery YouTube Channel

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Peter Max Paints the Cover of Austin Lifestyle Magazine

Austin Lifestyle Magazine, Peter Max, Park West Gallery“I love music.
I am a complete nut
for good music.”
—PETER MAX

Pop artist Peter Max put his colorful spin on a portrait of country singer-songwriter Willie Nelson for the cover of the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Austin Lifestyle. The artist was also featured in an article published in the issue:

From all appearances, Peter Max shows no signs of slowing down. His love of music beckons and he has plans to make an animated feature focused entirely on music. Music to the Max means that Peter Max will continue to produce iconic images set to the music he loves, “I just keep creating. I am like a jazz pianist. I improvise and keep reinventing. When I paint I never know where I will begin. I just keep going. I am more creative than I have ever been in my life . . .”

Download and read the full article “Music to the Max” [pdf]
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Park West Gallery has enjoyed a relationship with Peter Max since the 1970s, and is the artist’s largest and longest-running dealer in the world. The artwork of Peter Max is available at Park West Gallery cruise art auctions throughout the world or may be purchased through our gallery in Southfield, Michigan. Visit the Park West Gallery Peter Max Collection Online
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In Pursuit of Nobility—The Art of Robert Kipniss

Robert Kipniss, fine art prints, Park West Gallery, Morris Shapiro, cruise art auctions“Crossings II” by Robert Kipniss | Park West Gallery Collection

~ Written by Morris Shapiro, Park West Gallery Director ~

“The development of an ability to work from memory, to select factors, to take things of certain constructive values and build with them a special thing, your unique vision of nature, the thing you caught in an instant look of a face or the formations of a moment in the sky, will make it possible to state not only that face, that landscape, but make your statement of them as they were when they were most beautiful to you.”  —Robert Henri (1865-1929), letter to the class, Art Students League, 1915

As a young art student in Minneapolis one day in 1974, I experienced an artistic awakening. While wandering through an art display in a bank, I was touched by a singular work; a lithograph in dark tones of brown and green. I stopped, contemplated it for a moment and moved on.

A few minutes later I felt an urge to revisit that same work and see if I could ascertain what it was that had attracted me to it. I studied the work more carefully. In it, were a few small houses, nestled in a deep receding landscape. Trees appeared as well. Their leaves fluttered in a tangible and yet empty space, but there were no branches connecting them. As I viewed the work, I was overcome with a poignant feeling, a mood I could not associate, but felt nevertheless. I moved on to take in the remaining works by other artists in the exhibition, but I continued to feel a tug to return to that work again and experience its remarkable effect on me.

I went back yet a third time. This time, I slowed down and took in the composition, the technique used, the overall balance and order of the work. All these impressed me equally and served to heighten the mood I was experiencing at the same time. I took notice of the artist’s name then, finally. It was Robert Kipniss, American; born 1931. Little did I know at the time, what a profound aesthetic experience I had just encountered and what effect it would have on me for years to come.

Fast forward: years later. I had come to know Kipniss’ works intimately through my association with the Merrill Chase Galleries in Chicago, where I worked as Gallery Director. I had met him on several occasions and had become deeply attracted to his work. I had presented it to hundreds of collectors and observed close hand the remarkable effect his imagery had on people from all walks of life and at all levels of artistic sophistication. I had studied his history and was well aware of his extraordinary credentials, the awards and prizes he had attained and his extensive museum representation throughout the world. All of this made me a deep Kipniss fan, but I had another experience, one of which the teacher, painter and aesthetician, Robert Henri so eloquently spoke in his letter to the Art Student’s League of 1915, quoted above (ironically, where Kipniss studied also in the late 1940’s). 

Robert Kipniss, Park West Gallery, cruise art auctions, Morris Shapiro, fine art prints“Sentinels II (first state)” by Robert Kipniss | Park West Gallery Collection

It was a warm early autumn evening. I was relaxing outdoors sitting with family and friends and as dusk crept in, I was observing the sky through a close-knit group of trees a few feet from me. As I looked up I caught a moment of fleeting, transient beauty. The fading light had created a splash of leaf silhouettes flickering in the gentle wind. All I could see were the silhouettes of the leaves, without branches connecting them to the trees, the fluid dark trunks all set against a deep blue-grey sky.

It was, as I realized, a “living Kipniss moment.”

It occurred to me at that very instant that my experience was a reflection of the finest compliment to an artist that can ever be paid; my perception of nature, my experience, a visual miraculous moment, was enhanced and even attuned by my familiarity of Robert’s work. His “vision” had awakened my experience, allowed it to happen, and implanted more deeply my appreciation for life and the beautiful visual miracles that surround all of us continually, if we are only “in tune” enough to see them.

This phenomenon is not unfamiliar to Robert Kipniss. It is in effect that for which he strives.

He has said, “I may be painting trees and houses, but when I look at them, that’s not what I see. I see an atmosphere, a moment, a quickly passing experience that I’m trying to capture. My art is an art of intensity, of delving, of exploring the soul.”

The experience of viewing a Kipniss work is one which requires a determined engagement and attention on the part of the viewer. As I often say: “You have to go to great art. It doesn’t often come to you.” At first view, a Kipniss work may appear so subtle that one will walk right past it. But those who linger are rewarded.

His images draw us in with a confluence of impressions, personal associations and feelings only hinted at. Feelings which suggest past experiences derived from our own trace memories and perceptions of nature, remembered somewhere deep within us. We may not be conscious of these visual or immersive memories, but Kipniss’ works seem to psychologically engage us and pull these impressions forward into our conscious minds. Some say that the experience is “surreal.” Others call it a form of visual “déjà vu” as if they “remember” a scene, but can’t quite “put their finger on it.” His works have been called “imaginary landscapes,” “surrealist landscapes,” “dream landscapes” and “trance-like.” To Kipniss they are his means to, “grasp that which we can never possess, except for the moment.”

Although every work of art may be perceived and evaluated in terms of both its form and its content, in Kipniss’ work it is difficult to separate them. Much of the dreamlike and captivating quality of his works is derived from the absolutely meticulous compositions he constructs.

Every spatial, proportional, tonal, textural, and formal relationship in a Kipniss work is perfectly calculated and arranged. The eye feels no tension while moving through and into the illusionary spaces he constructs. Every element supports and engages another and another, which creates an overall effect of extreme ease and mystery at the same time. Renaissance painters would often refer to their painting compositions as “machines,” whereby every element would be tightly controlled, and “bolted” down to allow the work to “run” smoothly for the viewer. In Kipniss, they “purr” along in perfect balance and the longer we observe the more we “feel” his mastery in depicting mood and a sense of wonderment.

Robert Kipniss, Park West Gallery, fine art prints, Morris Shapiro, cruise art auctions at sea“Appoggiatura” by Robert Kipniss | Park West Gallery Collection

Commenting on Kipniss’ works in a 2007 catalog, Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for the Mississippi Museum of Art, Daniel Piersol observed, “The issues of time and place are subtly but unmistakably invested in every Kipniss image… his captivating images are not merely nostalgic; rather, they are freighted with a haunting reverie. Through his masterful use of subdued color and purposefully structured compositions, the painter controls the viewer’s ability to ‘read’ or comprehend his images, thereby causing one to linger before them.” 

These compelling characteristics of his work are well suited to the challenging and highly demanding technique of mezzotint, which Kipniss has mastered and employed for decades. Few ever attempt it.

Briefly described, a metal plate is pitted across its entire surface by either using a “rocker” tool or by machine (which Kipniss prefers for predictability). The plate, if then printed, would produce a rich, velvety and solid black, characteristic qualities which are unique to the “alchemy” of intaglio printing. The artist then works the pitted surface with a burnisher, smoothing out areas so that the more he smooths the area, the less ink will reside in the pitted grooves and indentations and consequently print. The artist therefore, is in essence, working backward from dark to light. This laborious technique creates the broad tonal variations and dramatic contrasts which are important in Kipniss’ works and can be so effectively employed through the mezzotint process.

Kipniss commented as follows about the technique: “The nature of mezzotint is that it is about objects emerging from darkness, catching light and being defined by their shadows as well as by their highlights. If you wanted to do something lighter or airier, you would use a dry-point or lithograph. That’s what happens in mezzotint and is why I really fell so much in love with it. It enables me to achieve the density that frequently eluded me in lithography.”

In an age where so much of art has become concerned with creating something “new,” something “novel” and something which focuses more on definitions of what is and isn’t art, Robert Kipniss is an artist of immense rarity. It is refreshing to see his work so embraced by museums, galleries and collectors all over the world and a testament to the quality of his artwork and his enduring message.

To once again quote the words of Robert Henri, a legendary hero to those who devote their lives to the pursuit of aesthetic beauty, often at great struggle and personal cost:

“It is not too much to say that art is the noting of the existence of order throughout the world, and so, order stirs imagination and inspires one to reproduce this beautiful relationship existing in the universe, as best one can. Everywhere I find that the moment order in nature is understood and freely shown, the result is nobility.”

I invite you to take some time and enter into the world of Robert Kipniss’ art. I believe once therein, you will also be one who discovers “nobility.”

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The artwork of Robert Kipniss is available at Park West Gallery cruise art auctions throughout the world or may be purchased through our gallery in Southfield, Michigan. Learn more about Robert Kipniss at Park West Artist Biographies or view selections of the artist’s works in the Park West Gallery Online Collection.

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