Pippin Contemporary Art welcomes three new artists
Forget your familiarity with the idea of a gallery for a moment and you’ll realize what a peculiar experiment in art it really is. When 12 oeuvres come together, though their creators may have never met, they inevitably engage in an immersive visual dialogue. The works chatter from one wall to the next, forming new meanings and associations between each other.
We recently selected three new voices to add to our colorful forum, and you might be surprised by our choices. Jakki Kouffman, Jeff Schaller and Andrea Maguire all walk the line between the abstract and the figurative, and all bring new and exciting ideas to Pippin Contemporary’s creative conversation.
High Desert, Cool Shade by Jakki Kouffman
Jakki Kouffman was born in Chicago and brought up in Brookline, Massachusetts. She attended Brandeis University for sculpture with a focus on clay modeling and stone carving. After graduating, she continued her stone carving work for a year at an artist colony in Italy, then moved to New York City and switched to painting.
Eighteen years later she married and went to Juneau, Alaska, where her style and subject matter drastically shifted. The artist went from painting fragments of landscapes through window frames to capturing staggering swaths of dramatic Northern terrain.
“Nature is the force that rules your life up North, just like culture does in New York,” she says. “In Alaska, if you’re out of your house, you’re walking with the bears.” Jakki stayed in Juneau for 6 years before moving to Santa Fe, seeking a balance between the two lifestyles.
Now the artist primarily paints expressionistic Southwestern landscapes, but her technique harkens back to her time as a sculptor. Mostly using a palette knife, she pushes and pulls thick layers of paint across the canvas, a method that reflects her message.
“I’m enamored of the business of resistance,” she says. “It’s all about change and the bearing of time on these wonderful geologic formations.” Jakki manipulates paint in much the same way the harsh desert elements shape the land around her, imbuing her compositions with the swirling transience of an abstract painting.
“Breath Taking” by Jeff Schaller
Jeff Schaller is from Manchester, Connecticut. He studied graphic design at Beaver College when his painting professor discouraged him from pursuing fine art and didn’t pick up a brush until 16 years later. “I quit my corporate gig… and haven’t looked back,” he says. It turned out to be a good move. His encaustic paintings are featured in galleries across the world, and have made cameos on Friends and Oprah.
Encaustic is a peculiar medium for a figurative artist, but Jeff is passionate about it. “I paint with the wax while it’s molten hot,” he says. “You get all these little brushstrokes. That’s the part about these paintings that really get me excited.”
Jeff is inspired by the freewheeling philosophies of 20th century Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. He’s a cultural scavenger, juggling and meshing the meanings of familiar words and images in his paintings.
“I paint using things that already exist,” says Jeff. “I need to reflect on culture, past and present, as an arbiter of interpretation.” Pairs of images that at first seem disjointed—a bird and a neon sign, a magazine model and a portrait of Popeye—spark memories that allow us to forge personal connections with the work.
The way Jeff scrambles the figurative elements of his compositions corresponds with the visual vocabularies of our abstract artists. His objects and characters play among polka dots and float through hazy color fields, pulling us into a world of free association.
“I want people to bring their own thoughts and feelings into my artwork,” Jeff says.
“Young Dancer” by Andrea Maguire
Andrea Maguire, who received her MFA from Norwich University and lives in Toronto, Canada, where she teaches and holds an active studio space. She has shown across the world, with exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Ireland and Japan.
Andrea approaches painting as a process of obscuring one thing and uncovering something else. She applies layers of paint and other media to the canvas and then scrapes it away, forming figures from the abstract marks.
The titles Andrea chooses for her solo exhibitions often reflect this paradoxical task. It’s hard to image what you’ll find in “Between Creation and Chaos” or “In the Presence of Absence”. To fully understand what the artist is saying, you must open your mind and let her metaphorical meanings bubble up through the layers of paint.
“Metaphor is the connection between form and spirit,” the artist explains. “It encapsulates meaning, cutting directly through consciousness to the unconscious.” Because Andrea’s process is both subtractive and additive, her figures become vessels for ideas of death and rebirth, joy and despair, freedom and entrapment.
“The artist challenges old vocabularies… to provide a new access for the human psyche so that it can embrace the emergence of the immense dynamic whole,” Andrea says. Her work exists “in the intensity of the transcendent moment at the point at which form and spirit meet.”
Check out our individual blogs on Jakki, Jeff and Andrea, and follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds to learn more about all of our wonderful artists.