Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jamie Bowman & Marcus Michels

McGowan Fine Art announces a show featuring the work of Jamie Bowman and Marcus Michels. The show will run from May 10-June 10, with an artist’s reception on May 13 from 5 to 7 PM. This show is free and open to the public.

In the rush to soak in the imagery of a painting, viewers often forget to look beyond the figure or still life. This show that demands more of the viewer- be seduced by the lovely visual imagery but linger over the artists’ mastery of the paint. These two artists approach their different genres with a similar zest for brushwork.

Jamie Bowman, currently an adjunct instructor at the UNH studio program, chooses still lifes as the means to tell the story of how her paintings are created. Simple arrangements of flowers or figurines allows her to focus attention on the scraping, daubing and smudging she lavishes on her canvases. In “Still Life with Shell and Spoon” the weave of the linen peeks through the paint offsetting the texture with luscious strokes of silvery paint. The paintings feel more resolved than they actually are. The viewer knows what they are looking at but recognizes that edges & details disappear into the paint. Bowman states that she paints “fleeting moments of a certain experience. Moments in which, as in memories, objects begin to appear with relative clarity but then slip away quickly.”

Marcus Michels, painting faculty at Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, has a similar interest in what the paint can do when it meets the linen. In “Leandra Leaning” the scumbled paint creates an interplay of woven fabric and impastoed pigment, adding another layer to the emotionally charged imagery. The figure is deep in thought, leaning on a door way- one foot in, one foot out. “Painting the figure in an interior space is a way for me to give the viewer a somewhat voyeuristic look into the figure’s anxiety, urgency, or obliviousness to tension. My paintings are about realizing the complexity of human behavior,” says Michels. The complexity extends to his paintings with their underpinnings bared. Sketching and thin washes are juxtaposed with heavier applications of paint giving a similar voyeuristic view of the artist’s process.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Art Shipping Conundrum

Shipping of art is not as easy a task as you might think. Over the years and a few claims here and there, I have learned how and who to use.

Think that box is too big? Think again!

The biggest hurdle is insurance. Just because someone takes your money  for insurance does not mean that they will pay out for a claim. Read the fine print or ask VERY specifically if their insurance covers fine art. The major carriers- UPS and FedEx- do not insure artwork, regardless of how much money you pay to have it insured.  Currently the US Postal Service will insure fine art, but the recipient has to bring the damaged item and packing materials to the Post Office for inspection. Consider the recipient- because this step could be a hardship especially if the item was sent as a gift.

I use my local UPS store for shipping larger art work. They will use UPS & FedEx but contract through a third party for the insurance.  It is expensive but worth it. The volume of packages that all the major shippers handle means rough handling is inevitable. The third party insurance requires that the item meet their packing requirements.

I HIGHLY recommend that you let a professional pack it. The UPS store also provides this service. Packing standards are very stringent and insurance will probably not cover a claim unless you have followed industry packing standards to a T. This means at least 6" of packing in each dimension. So if your are packing a painting that is 30x24x2 the minimum the box will be is 42x36x14. I often get calls from customers saying that their package has arrived and it is as big as a couch, but it has arrived safely. A final caveat- reused boxes are frequently not covered by insurance.

I also recommend asking how much experience the professionals have in packing art. I have confidence in my UPS store because they have been working with me for years. They know what questions to ask. That being said- I always pre-wrap the art. I put a sheet of foam core on each side about 2" larger than each the item. This pre-wrapping makes me feel better about leaving something with a potential new employee who isn't familiar with handling artwork. 

A plethora of packing materials

There is a new alternative to shipping with the big guys. The US Postal Service has been trying to make inroads into small package delivery. They are reasonably priced and will insure the artwork. They also have no standards for packing. This doesn't mean that I wrap artwork in paper and send it out. My method of packing small items is to cut a sheet of cardboard about 2" wider than the piece  and about 4 times longer. Start rolling the artwork up in the cardboard- corrugated will automatically crease and fold to your piece. Tape this in place. Now repeat going in the opposite direction- remember to cut the cardboard a few inches wider. You now have about 3 or 4 layers of cardboard on each side. Tape these all securely. The artwork should be immovable in its little cardboard cocoon.

If you have artwork that is extremely valuable or have lots of artwork to move, I recommend a mover that specializes in art only. There are a few of them out there that I am familiar with. They will come into your space and carefully wrap a piece before it is put into their van to be taken to another location and crated for moving. I don't know what their claim rate is, but I bet it is very low. The companies I know are Artemis, which I have used numerous times through the Art in the Embassies Program, and Atelier 4, which I am familiar with through our participation in the AAF show in New York. If you are unsure, don't hesitate to ask for referrals.  I am also familiar with some more local and regional art handlers- call and ask!

Another little tip is to include an invoice or sheet of paper that includes your address and contact information and the information of the recipient INSIDE of the package. This enables the shipper to track you down if the shipping/tracking label has become damaged and unreadable.

So- those are my shipping tips, let me know yours. I hope everything arrives safely!