A Long, Long Summer Pt. I

Hello My Dearest Bloggers,

Some of you might have been wondering, “Hey, what happened to Zoe? Was she swallowed up by Philadelphia never to return?” In summary, no. I am back in lovely North Carolina, only after having one of the most eventful summers of my young life.

I am in the process of catching up, picking up the pieces, catching my breath– Whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remain afloat when everything around me seems to move so quickly. Even the process of getting to the computer can feel like a hike, when all I want to do is rest.

I won’t give you all the details, but I will give you the delicious highlights from this summer. After my time at the Summer Painting/ Sculpture Intensives ended on August 1 with a big bang, I packed everything from my subleased apartment, drove my car to Massachusetts to visit my family for a few days, proceeded to drive to Brooklyn to see my friend Chris in his incredible brownstone co-op, and then continued my journey to Viriginia (stopping at a Hostel in Quakertown, PA along the way).

In Virginia, I saw my friends Justin and Eileen in Charlottesville, and then drove to one of my favorite places in the world, Nelson County, VA, to spend time with my friend Mary Pearl and her beautiful family. It’s hard to put into words exactly how moved I am my the scenery of Nelson County, by those alluring Blue Ridge Mountains, and by the stately poplars and oaks, covering Mary Pearl’s hand-built stone home. Chickens cluck in their vegetable garden, dogs run happily, and the house cat climbs the giant trees, only to get stuck at the top.




Not too much unlike the house cat, I was on the move, and after a short and sweet road trip, I returned triumphantly to Durham, NC to move into a new house. In these last few weeks, I have unpacked (most of…) my house, Craigslist hunted for furniture, packed a small bag, and traveled again. This time, I flew all the way to Seattle, shuttled my way to a ferry, and finally found my way to my boyfriend, Tom, who had been sailing on Orcas Island for three months. For my last summer hurrah, I stayed in a yurt with Tom on Otter Cover, and explored the too-beautiful-for-it’s-own-good island, hitch-hiking along the way.







Not the worst place to hitchhike, right?

Anyway, let’s back up a little bit. I will not glaze over the entire last couple of weeks of my Philadelphia adventure (definitely the most eventful portion). Let’s go back in time to almost 2 months ago… Was it really 2 months ago?

After my first two weeks at Tyler School of Art, my mind had expanded tremendously. Bruce Pearson, who led the program this summer, was my prominent mentor. He taught me how to be a better painter. He influenced me to experiment more than I ever had with materials, encouraging me to try painting on mylar, wood, and other plastics. Bruce, along with many others in the program, also encouraged me to play with acrylic paints, introducing me to the world of pigment dispersions and the heavenly Guerra Paint in NYC. Oh, all of the new materials I acquired! I let go a little bit… It was as if I had been on a diet for years, and this summer, I allowed myself to indulge in the sweetest pastries I could get my hands on. As they say…When in Rome! Errm, right?

During the second half of the program (or more honestly, the last quarter), I finally concentrated on my emerging body of work to prepare for the final exhibition at the Icebox at Crane Arts. After numerous critiques, and several long days in the studio, a faculty member and fabulous artist, Erica Prince, sat down with me and suggested that I experiment less and GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. She was totally right. It was then that I buckled down and created 9 mylar paintings. And yes, I was painting DOWN TO THE WIRE.

Those last 2 weeks flew by, as I painted late in the studio, took breaks to roughhouse with my friend, Jia, ate some delicious Philadelphia food, and learned a fucking ton. By the time the exhibition came around (which we titled Hot Box at the Icebox), everyone in the program was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Below are my creations on mylar–Some are just taken in my studio, and some are professionally taken. This is a glimpse of what I’d like to continue to do in my body of work…

This one gave me a lot of trouble!




I experimented painting and drawing on both sides of the mylar, which was pretty intriguing.




And here were are at the Icebox, during our very long installation day…


Here are they babies, hung up on wooden dowels, which were drilled into the concrete wall. (I’m so relieved that it worked out!)


Here they are exhibited next to the fabulous Ben Durst’s painting.




Hey! It’s me!


And here is what is professionally documented so far. Titles and dimensions will be coming soon! I hope you all enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments and/or suggestions, or anything you’d like!
















Sorry for the long wait! There is more to come…. I will post Part II in the next few days!







New Happenings…

Dear Bloggers,

Greetings from my subleased apartment. I’m a little sleepy tonight. I am trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, as I haven’t been so good about that in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been questioning myself a lot lately, wondering how to make this experience in Philadelphia the very best it can be. I have the privilege of doing that right now, of questioning. There has actually been a lot of sitting and contemplating lately. I have been contemplating life, art, theory, and the body… It is only natural that this experience would leave me with so many burning questions! And why ultimately do I question? I seek answers, yes, but I also seek constant improvement. At Tyler School of Art, there is a lot of dialogue that goes something like this: “I like where this is going, but you can make IT better by A), B), and C).” And in general, the IT that I refer to is the grand visualization I am creating from my artwork!  That IT is becoming stronger all the time, and one of the reasons is because I, the creator, stop and question, and then I question some more.

The questions are as simple as…”How do I make that shade of pink work?” “How do use this acrylic medium?” There are those more complicated questions too. One I’ve been wondering is, “How much productivity can I possibly possess in one day?” Well, that all depends. Did I sleep well? Did I eat well? Did I go grocery shopping? Did I make coffee this morning?

These past few weeks have given me some much wanted time to slow down a little. It’s kind of incredible that I don’t have to go to work right now, and my responsibilities beyond making artwork are BARE TO NONE. The consequence of such a straightforward schedule is that ,surprisingly, I actually don’t remain as focused. I may have had my coffee this morning, but does that mean I was productive? Not necessarily. I need another type of stimulation! I am not running around very much at the moment. I bike to school, I make artwork, I eat, and I sleep.

So, as one can see, a simple question might lead me towards a long-sought-after enlightened creative state. My hypothesis is that I need to not only commit to  my artwork, but to another form of stimulation as well. I’m talking about exercise!! Put on your running shoes, Zoe! We’re about to take it up a notch!

Well, enough about that. Let’s start to talk about the artwork.

I have been working larger, primarily on this large piece of watercolor paper, which I gessoed. I am oil painting on this paper, trying to be a lot looser with my forms. I am playing with the fluidity of the paint and the translucency. This is a learning experience for me, as I have never oil painted on paper, and I have never been so deliberate with my materials, versus my forms and line-work. I have already shown the painting in the first two stages. Here it is again….

Take 3

Here is a drawing that I’m pretty happy with. Here, I am playing with new materials: Tar Gel medium (by Golden) and a silver pigment dispersion (Art Guerra). There is also ink, gouache, acrylic glaze, and pastels.


Here we go. Take 4! Here I start to cut out the shapes from the paper!


A pretty palette…

And…Take 5! More cuts! And some color shifts.


Here is another painting that’s in the works. I’m experimenting by painting on clear PVC. It may be a little too glossy, but it’s kind of fun to paint on!


Here’s a painting on mylar that is mostly finished. I’m pretty happy with the way oil paint is sitting on mylar. Plus, on both this painting and the one above, I am using the Tar Gel medium again with the silver dispersion to give it some depth and texture.


It’s easier to see in a close-up…


And a close-up of the PVC painting…


Drips! Oozing! Oh my!

Well, there you have it. I’m excited to spend the majority of my day in the studio tomorrow. I will not ago until AFTER I’ve gone on a run, dammit! And then, the hard work will progress, and some of these problems will be solved…

Until next time,


New York, New York, what a wonderful town!

Dear Sweet Bloggers,

This post is now a few days overdue! I apologize. As you might have guessed, this post has a lot to do with New York–And I’m talkin’ about the Big Apple. I was indeed in New York City last week from Friday-Saturday, and it was, for lack of better words, glorious. I traveled there with my group from Tyler School of Art’s SPI/SSI and I stayed for a second day with my wonderful friend and gracious host, Russell. I had such an incredible time for several reasons. I will list them here:

I had the opportunity to meet a curator, Jay Sanders, from the Whitney!

I visited William Villalongo’s art studio and it was DROOL-WORTHY. (http://williamvillalongo.com/home.html)


I met the revolutionary Phong Bui of the Brooklyn Rail and got to see where the Brooklyn Rail is produced! The whole office was overflowing with an incredible art and book collection. Plus, Phong Bui is a BOSS. Look him up and see what I mean. (http://www.phongbui.net/index) IMG_0021

In New York City, there is artwork spilling off every surface. mural

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, we got to see the Kara Walker Sugar Baby public piece in the Domino Sugar Refinery. Anyone who has access to this exhibit, please go before it closes this weekend!!! I took some wonderful pictures of the caramelized sugar/molasses stained walls from decades of sugar production. The pictures can’t really do the exhibition justice…The smell in the factory alone was overwhelming.( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/arts/design/kara-walker-creates-a-confection-at-the-domino-refinery.html?_r=0) IMG_0030





On day two, I had my very first Chelsea gallery-run with Russell. We had a blast. We both agreed that the experience was even more enjoyable than a museum visit, since we had the freedom to come and go as we chose (at no cost!). Here are some highlights from Chelsea!

John M. Armleder’s paintings IMG_0043

This TERRIBLE clown next to Russell. Thanks for being a trooper, Russ! IMG_0045

This lovely Ann Hamilton sculpture IMG_0046

An Elizabeth Murray piece. I love her! IMG_0047

George Baselitz paintings at the Gagosian Gallery. IMG_0048

Franz West sculptures at the Gagosian Gallery. Notice anything different about them?? IMG_0053

And probably the highlight of our Chelsea adventure was Tara Donovan at Pace Gallery. I actually wasn’t familiar with her sculptures before this trip, but boy oh boy, am I going to pay attention to her now… IMG_0061


Russell and I just happened to stumble upon these cuties! What a tremendous TREAT it was to see the majority of the ol’gang!! IMG_0065

I also got to go to the most incredible paint store, Art Guerra (http://www.guerrapaint.com/), and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I took photos of, but I suggest that you check out their collection online yourself (http://www.metmuseum.org/). And then I took this bus out of the city, and back to another lovely, smaller city!


I am so thrilled to have had this arts excursion in NYC, and I cannot wait to do it again. I suppose I understand why so many people gush about this city… Since being back in Philadelphia, I have been painting, painting, and then painting some more. I definitely feel inspired after seeing so many artists (primarily painters) who I admire in New York. I can’t help but feel intimidated sometimes when visiting museums and galleries. I think, “How will I ever achieve what they’ve achieved?” What I learn more and more every day at Tyler is that painting, and simply painting is the answer to my many concerns. It is truly my passion, and the longer I paint, the more fluid my body of work becomes–and in consequence, the more confident artist I become.

I will give a sneak peak now of a current painting in the works. It is very large….Maybe 12′ across? When I say it’s in the works, it is IN THE WORKS. I have done some more to it in the past 24 hours, so I might try to post another picture later tonight. I also have about 3 other paintings in progress. Don’t worry–There is plenty more to come!!

Take 1 IMG_0088 Take 2 IMG_0089

That is all for now. I will wait patiently in this cafe as the raging thunderstorm outside dies down…



Tyler School of Art

Dear readers,

I present to you all the revamp of my blog! Excited? I sure am. I know it’s been a while (approximately 3 years?), but the reason I intend to start the blog NOW, more than ever, is because I am embarking on a very exciting new adventure.

I figured that it is very appropriate to write in this blog–The blog that I created while studying abroad in France–While I am now studying “abroad” in Philadelphia. I am at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University for the next 6 weeks (I have already completed my first week). No, I am not actually in a different country, but in some ways, it feels similar to my experience in France, as I am stretching my mind in ways I have not yet explored. I decided to come here, to participate in their “Summer Intensives” so that I may seek the wisdom of some fabulous artists and work in an INTENSIVE contemporary artists’ community. Intense, right? Kind of. It’s totally thrilling, to be honest. It is a little frightening at times, humbling, and encouraging.

What I have learned so far is this: I have a very long way to go, but it is very, very important that I am here. The faculty and peers here are going to help me better understand my artwork in its more realized form. I am going to jump into very exciting new territory and will try to grasp some pretty large concepts within my drawings and paintings. Hopefully, I will not get swallowed up by fear before I make my biggest strides.

This is my first post, where I will just start by posting who I’ve been referencing and who has been inspiring me. Think of this as a brainstorm post. I will hopefully in the next few days post some new work of mine.

This late piece by Chris Martin

Chris Martin


1980s Carroll Dunahm


Arshile Gorky (I think this is from 1942)

Arshile Gorky


Suzanne McClelland (sooo lovely)


Dona Nelson
donanelsonJoanne Greenbaum (I just met her today. HUGE artist crush)


Notice some themes here. Eh??? I’m getting back into some bright, vibrant, luscious color for sure! Keep reading this summer to see what happens next…





Celebrating, Graduating

Dear Blog,

I am terribly sorry for delay, yet again. I promised to post digital images of my thesis show sooner. But with finals, graduation, and some relaxation, I just haven’t found the time!

Since we last chatted, my artwork took new leaps, and for the first time, I felt like I had a body of work that I was truly proud to exhibit. I received heartwarming and motivational feedback, and I was so happy that I was able to share the experience with my friends and family. In addition to my own work, the rest of the thesis collection–Gracelee Lawrence, Molly Spadone, Alex Minkin, Cloud Gamble, Brittney May, and Laura McGrath–kick an incredible amount of ass, and their talent overwhelms me. What a group of young artists! With that corny sentiment, I present to you my senior thesis. Enjoy, and leave some comments if you feel so inclined.

Lineage. Ink, graphite, charcoal, and gesso on paper. (12′ across and 5′ tall)

Regenerate. Oil and charcoal on canvas. 42″x36″

Revelation. Oil and charcoal on canvas. 40″x 64″

Until Next Time,


The thesis is coming, The thesis is coming

I wanted to share my artist statement with you all. So, voila!



In landscapes the painter should give

the suggestion of a fairer creation than we know.


I am infatuated with flesh, and so I recreate it. I romanticize flesh, making new living versions of it, exploring all of its visceral splendor. The bodies that I envision in my paintings and drawings—like myself—are never satisfied in their current physical and emotional state, so they evolve. It is my greatest aesthetic desire to enliven these forms, and to depict them in their natural light.

I often lose myself in these new creations. I forget about the expectations and limitations associated with the body.  In my work I render flesh into amorphous figures—taking the shifting forms of hills, caverns, and streams—finally transforming the undesirable into the divine.  The morphing shapes portray the body as nature, creating a romance between the tender and the grotesque, the sacred and the sacrilegious.

Regenerate, for example, emphasizes the physical and emotional evolution of each form.  The multifarious body parts live in a confined space, simultaneously combining and counteracting as they strive to be independent of one another.  This painting, among others, speaks to my own dilemma about the complex—and ever-changing—nature of the body.


The thesis show is approaching fast. April 22nd! I am feeling much more confident than I was a couple of weeks ago. Once my work is officially finished, I will of course post the digital images here on the blog. They should be up in no more than two weeks.

Until Then,