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Castine Plein Air Festival - 2

The wind blew much of the night, but by dawn, it had calmed a bit. When I woke around 2:30, I could see a moon hanging over Castine Bay, telling of clear skies. I wanted to get out early because I'd read that there was a good chance of thunderstorms. Show More Summary

Berlin postcard: Edmund de Waal’s rich austerity measures

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson /Edmund de Waal’s mesmerizing exhibition, recently up at Galerie Max Hetzler in Berlin, was inspired by the artist’s intensive reading of German Jewish philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood Around 1900. Show More Summary

Castine Plein Air Festival - 1

Castine, Maine, is always pretty at this time of year. The elm trees are tall and deep green, casting cool shadows over the white clapboard houses. Sailboats sit sleepily in the bay until the afternoon breeze kicks up, and then they wake, raising sail and heading out. Show More Summary

Cheat sheet: Summer group shows (and what curators are writing about them)

Often curated by artists, summer group shows provide a window into the hive mind. Accordingly, I’ve put together a short list of exhibitions that are organized around the themes and ideas that artists are talking about in current conversations. Show More Summary

Lucio Fontana’s ghost: Amy Feldman, Maximilian Schubert, Alan Wiener at 11R

In 1947, Lucio Fontana (Italy, 1988-1968) launched the Movimento Spaziale in Italy. The movement was primarily concerned with the utilization of neon, radio, television to make innovative art, but Fontana’s investigation also led to a series of monochromatic canvases that he slashed with razor cuts. Show More Summary

Paintings for Argosy Gallery...and More!

Beehive from Sand Beach6x8 oil by Michael Chesley Johnson The opening of my show at Argosy Gallery in Bar Harbor was a great success! As you might imagine, hearing that it just about sold out made me very happy. Following the event, the gallery asked me to paint a few more, which I was happy to do. Show More Summary

Hilma af Klint at Serpentine Gallery: Sustenance and Possibility

Contributed by Barbara Campbell Thomas / I first laid eyes on the work of Hilma af Klint (Stockholm, 1862-1944) in 1999, while an MFA student at the University of California at Berkeley. Towards the end of a particularly fruitful studio visit, that day’s visiting artist gifted gave me with a copy of the catalogue for … read more... Show More Summary

Meet the new Bob Ross: Clara Lieu and ART PROF

I recently received an email from Clara Lieu, an adjunct professor in the Illustration program at RISD. Lieu has partnered with Thomas Lerra, a manager at WGBH Digital in Boston, to produce ART PROF: Visual Art Essentials, a video series aimed at teaching traditional art making skills to high school students. Show More Summary

July 2016 Newsletter

Schooner Cove 12x18 pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson Available at Symbiosis Fine Art, St Andrews, NB July 2016Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada[NOTE: If you don't get my newsletter by e-mail, you can subscribe to it here.]It's hard to believe, but I haven't sent out a newsletter since I left Arizona. Show More Summary

Quick study

This week: Summer reading, teaching update (Parsons in the fall), Trump art, gallery closings, Picabia retrospective, and a visit to Cape Cod… Trump the muse In New York magazine: Artists Nir Hod, Illma Gore, Eric Yahnker, Rob Pruit, Jim Torok (image above), and William Powhida are making Trump art. Show More Summary

Repairing Damage to an Oil Painting

I recently received a distress call from a good patron. A painting she'd bought from me a few years ago was damaged while moving it to another house. Several spots had gotten scraped, and she wanted to know if I could repaint those areas. Show More Summary

Conversation: Jennifer Coates and EJ Hauser at PAFA

Jennifer Coates paints food–fast food, junk food–anything easy to make and portable. On the occasion of “Carb Load,” her compelling solo exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (her alma mater), Coates met with EJ Hauser,...Show More Summary

Last chance: Joanne Greenbaum’s glorious starts and fits

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The sheer ebullience and playfulness of Joanne Greenbaum’s big untitled abstract paintings, on display only through July 1 at Rachel Uffner on the Lower East Side, initially obscure the artist’s sharp and systematic attention to her own process. Show More Summary

Collaboration: Archie Rand and Bill Berkson

Before poet and art critic Bill Berkson died earlier this month, he had been collaborating with artist Archie Rand on a re-working of “Room Tone,” a poem from Berkson’s 2014 volume Expect Delays, published by Coffee House Press. “Each line of the poem is given a visual matrix that produces a synapse,” Rand explained in … read more... Show More Summary

Scotland Painting Retreat Wrap-Up: Visit to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

On the way back from Scotland and after flying into Halifax, I had a chance to explore Lunenburg and Nova Scotia's South Shore. This area has always been touted as a painter's paradise, so I was eager to see what the fuss was all about. Show More Summary

Neighbors: Marci MacGuffie @ 55 Washington

For artists who spend long hours working alone in the studio, the conversations that take place in the hallway with other artists are crucial. For the past 18 months, I’ve been fortunate to share my hallway with Marci MacGuffie, an artist known for her large-scale installations and participatory projects. Show More Summary

Men curating women

Last week “The Female Gaze, Part 2: Women Look At Men,” an exhibition that includes many rich and inventive paintings, opened at Cheim and Read. The first edition, “The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women,” took place in 2009, and the new installment, featuring work by 32 women who depict men, focuses on gender and … read more... "Men curating women"

Scotland Painting Retreat Wrap-Up: Part 5

Footpath near Comrie Everyone enjoyed the trip to Scotland so much that I am planning another retreat for 2018. This one will be held instead in two locations: first, the seaside villages of East Neuk and Fife, followed by the Isle of Skye. Show More Summary

Scotland Painting Retreat Wrap-Up: Part 4

Did I mention haggis? Or black pudding? I was a little surprised at the prevalence of these two dishes, especially the haggis. In my part of Canada, poutine (a type of gelatinous gravy served over fries) is more joked about than seen. Show More Summary

Men curating women

Last week "The Female Gaze, Part 2: Women Look At Men," an exhibition that includes many rich and inventive paintings, opened at Cheim and Read. The first edition, "The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women," took place in 2009, and the new installment, featuring work by 32 women who depict men, focuses on gender and sexuality. Show More Summary

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