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Posted inArt

Beer with a Painter: Julie Heffernan

I met Julie Heffernan this past fall at a party she hosted celebrating the wedding of another painter, and was taken by her, the community of (women) artists who were gathered, and her painting over the dining table. It was the fierceness of the vision that attracted me, and the individuality of her work, which extended into the way she spoke and lived.

Posted inArt

Beer with a Painter: John Walker

I have long admired John Walker’s work for its unique combination of tough materialism and romantic lyricism. I recently met him in his studio at Boston University, where he is the head of the MFA program. My visit with Walker happened to take place on the Thursday after the Boston Marathon tragedy, and I spent Friday’s citywide lockdown with painters Gideon Bok and Meghan Brady.

Posted inArt

Beer with a Painter: Jane Dickson

Jane Dickson is best known for her nocturnal cityscapes of the old Times Square — peep shows and porn parlors — but she has also mined subjects such as Las Vegas, Coney Island, American highways, demolition derbies, and suburban homes. She often paints on alternative supports like carpets, vinyl, sandpaper, and Astroturf.

Posted inArt

Beer with a Painter: Jesse McCloskey

I’ve known Jesse McCloskey for years, but his work and words are always surprising me. They get to the heart of the matter quickly. In one of the early days after I had my first child, I wanted nothing more than to go out and see some shows in Chelsea. It still makes me laugh that this childless dude was the one who told me it was okay to bring the baby along, head into a café, and feed him when he got hungry. But that’s what McCloskey is about: keep working, no matter what it takes, or the devil’s gonna get you, and, whatever … birth, sex, and death are as natural as rock and roll.

Posted inArt

Beer with a Painter: Kyle Staver

A couple of years ago, when I was still resisting Facebook, I heard about the debates Kyle Staver was spearheading there on the topic of Renoir’s late paintings. I set up a profile because I had to know more about this independent-minded female painter who likes Renoir’s work as much as I do. Since then, I’ve gotten to know Staver and her painting “in real life.” She’s dynamic on the canvas and off, a true cheerleader for her aesthetic causes, other artists, and friends.

Posted inArt

Painting Is a Metaphor: An Interview with Rackstraw Downes

Rackstraw Downes’s recent paintings are currently on view at Betty Cuningham Gallery. Born in 1939 in Kent, England, Downes now lives between New York City and Presidio, Texas. Well known for his panoramic landscapes, Downes works for months on site in both urban and rural surroundings. He is often described as a realist but this term is perhaps better applied to his subject matter than his technique.