Alexander Ney

Got to drop in on Beyond the Surface: Collage, Mixed Media and Textile Works from the Collection at the always excellent (and fortunately local) Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University recently and just love the Alexander Ney below.

Turns out it’s an early work and not wish he’s most known for.


Katinka Mann

Katinka Mann (1925–2022) was deeply modern in her exploration of form, color, and light. This modernity was linked to her optimism and generosity of spirit. She approved of the flatness of minimalist painting and was a student of Taoism, finding balance in opposites and calmness in paradox. To highlight this practice, EFA studio program recently presented Perception of Space.



I’ve thought about the observation below several times since first seeing it on the Instagrams, as I have a good bit of loathing for academics who get hung-up on needing to be recognized as post-modern. Interestingly, I first saw the post right after giving the final lecture for my color class recently. In it, I covered artists who make color their primary subject. I started by telling them the story of Western Art that we were all taught (the story, and that it is one- which Mr Saltz points to in his comment below his repost of a Tweet). Art moves “forward.” As I’ve noted, I don’t hold to the notion that Art has anywhere to go. AND, I am sensitive to the reality that I feel, about the moment that is 2023, probably very similar to many creatives and intellectuals we would label Modernist, that I am living in a moment that necessitates change and that our past socio-economic systems and norms will not serve in the world as it is developing. One can move toward a goal without having to call the direction of movement “forward” or note it as “linear,” or attribute casualty or necessity for the movement. BTW, Jerry’s last book Art is Life is nice collection of essays from several decades.

I mentioned in my last post that I had accomplished- moved “toward”- my goal of curating an exhibit. ExtraSpectral is now open to the public, at the Truist Gallery which is on the 1st floor of the Durham Art Council building (but operated by Durham Art Guild) at 120 Morris St in downtown Durham- until June 6. Public hours are Monday – Saturday, 9:00AM-9:00PM, and Sundays, 1:00PM-6:00PM. BTW, a couple of the artists gave a talk during a soft opening which you can view on YouTube. I learned quite a bit from the process, as hoped.

I am also moving toward a large, finished painting that has been in progress for a minute, if one considers it’s effectively the 3rd iteration of an idea.

Tamara Mendels

Tamara Mendels received a MFA (Painting) from Sydney College of the Arts in 2011.

She positons her practice as “advocating for the necessity of the continued discovery of painting in abstraction. The importance of connecting with abstraction in a post modernist world in the age of media and technology is that abstraction seeks to destabilise social and cultural barriers using autonomous visual language that translates human emotion to unite people in a shared grounding experience. My desire to produce harmonious and precise works, heightened by the interplay between positive and negative spaces, utilises my cumulative painting technique of continuous applications of line and colour crystallized into the formation of the primary mark
to induce an ecstatic trance-like state of observation.”




So I will be the first to grant that in this day and age creatives sometimes refer to curating in the context of their Instagram feed. I don’t know if my feed comes off as “curated” and I am very intentional about it. I post every 4 days (3 posts) with every third one featuring other creatives.

Curating also obviously refers to organizing an exhibition. When I first began studying art in an academic setting, this activity was reserved for art historians and professionals involved in the critical discourse. I feel like that has shifted over the last decade, possibly sooner (which I wouldn’t know because of the long break I took in practicing) towards artists themselves organizing and curating exhibits.

I got back into this game to create culture- to not only make but teach about, talk about and write about creative activity that makes this life more. No there’s not a word missing in that sentence. This reason and the general context I outlined above is why I made a commitment to trying my hand at curating in 2023, and I was fortunate to have a proposal accepted by the Durham Art Guild for a show this spring, which is titled Extra Spectral.

Extra-spectral colors cannot be evoked with a single wavelength of light, rather, they can only be seen and created by a combination of them, so you won’t see them in the fantastical prismic illusion we call a rainbow. The exhibit highlights artists Jane Cheek, Jerstin Crosby, Zach Storm, Tonya Solley Thornton and Leif Zikade. All five ask color to play a primary role in drawing audiences into their work, colors in most cases that are “extra” in the recent, common parlance. This is where their commonality ends.

There is a pre-opening and artist talk on 4/6 that you can register to attend and otherwise I hope to see many of you on Third Friday in Durham (gallery will keep normal hours including recognizing Monday the high holy day of museums by being closed).

BTW, I was also successful as part of this goal in getting another show programmed at several venues, this one including my work. Open Source will open this summer at LUMP project space and Sertoma Art Center.