I visited Sarah McEneaney at her home in the Callowhill / Trestletown / Chinatown North neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Judy Rifka and I met 10 years ago, when I was selecting a work of hers for an exhibition. Her studio was dense with paintings, a testament to how prolific and energetic she is.
I heard Rebecca Morris speak earlier this year in Chicago, and was struck by how she discussed becoming an abstractionist at a time when both abstraction and painting were under attack.
What I hoped to get from talking to David Humphrey were answers. The images in his paintings are zany, raunchy, and wild: a girl in a lawn chair holding monkeys by their scalps; a woman absent-mindedly marking another woman’s buttocks with daubs of paint; cats sitting beside slices of white bread partially spread with peanut butter. I wanted him to explain what it all meant.
Todd Bienvenu’s studio is filled with stacks: art books on the floor, paintings leaning against the wall. Bienvenu’s work deals with omnivorous appetites – for company, pleasure, fun, music.
When I first met Eric Aho in New Hampshire two summers ago, we were sitting in the grass in front of the bakery at Orchard Hill Farm. We bonded over the best bread in the world (really!) made by his former student at the Putney School, and the next day I visited his studio, just across the Vermont border.
In Jenny Dubnau’s Long Island City studio is a vertical mirror with adhesive stenciled letters spelling out the name “Jennifer.”
When I arrived at Catherine Murphy’s home in Poughkeepsie, New York, I was led down a long outdoor path to her studio. Murphy was working on a painting of a pie crust; she asked her assistant to put the dough on ice while she spoke with me.
Graham Nickson and I met in his offices at the New York Studio School, where he has been Dean since 1988. There was a pointed severity to our meeting-place, which offered no distractions from the task at hand.