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June 2019 JMN

Featuring the work by:  Christopher Troutman, Rae Klein, Ariana Huggett, and Emmett Johns

Christopher Troutman Statement:

I focus on drawing as my primary means of expression in my studio research.  Typically, I collect source materials from direct observation or photographs, which I synthesize in compositional exercises as sketches that lead to final works.  Alternatively, without preparatory compositional sketches, I begin drawings as marks and line from which I identify and develop representational subjects. Figures and environments in individual compositions present singular moments within a suggested narrative, which I enhance by dividing images into sections to tell stories in multipart works. Additionally, I use multiple sections in drawings to juxtapose imagery from the US and Japan, the two places I live each summer.


My subjects are human figures in contemporary urban settings presented from unexpected vantage points in order to reveal the latent interested of everyday visual experiences. Influences on my work are artists that focused on composition and the relationship of the human figure and their surrounding urban space, which includes artists Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper, and Robert Birmelin.  Also, graphic novels and comic books have had a large influence on my work.  For instance, I work largely from my imagination after putting imagery to memory from sketching.  When my imagination proves insufficient, I return to support images that initiated my research.  As a medium, the immediacy of drawing, specifically using charcoal or ink typically, facilitates a strong connection between thinking and putting marks on paper. Additionally, the use of deep space from foreshortening and linear perspective, as well as dynamic point so view and storytelling, in graphic novels, specifically in work by Leinil Yu and Jerome Opena, has had a significant influence on my work.


Lastly, my drawings are large-scale, which I hang unmediated by frame and glass, bringing the artwork into the audience’s immediate space and making the process each drawing has undergone directly visible.  The scale of the drawings, the figures within them, as well as composition and point of view, place the audience in unexpected, and sometimes overwhelming, spaces, enabling the resonant experiences from which the drawings are inspired achieve a similar resonance with viewers.

Rae Klein Statement:

My paintings describe actions and emotion that come just before catastrophe. I am looking for the boundary where safety and fear lies. I paint control slipping through my subject’s fingers and pooling in offsetting signs around the image. I like them looming there, a series of dots my subject is trying to connect. Sometimes, my subject isn’t in the painting. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s you, the viewer. 


Oil and egg tempera are my medium of choice. I love the gummy, filmlike quality of tempera, and the buildup of transparency that oil can achieve. Both materials contribute their history to the timeless emotion I am looking for. Using these materials in the way that I paint are time consuming, but the slowness provides me enough time to look around the scene and notice what my subject might have missed during their attempt to keep everything under control. 

Nichole Rae Klein is best known for her oil and egg tempera paintings. A principle theme in her work is tense, off situations. Through painting, she explores where the line is when events cross from in, to out of one’s control. Subtle emotions from the realization that one is becoming powerless translate into visual detail. 

She graduated in 2017 with a BFA in Painting from Eastern Michigan University. Currently, she continues to paint and live in Michigan. Her work resides in private collections across the United States and abroad. 


Ariana Huggett Statement:

My work is typically site specific, because I enjoy working on location and outside of the studio. The interiors are scaled up still lifes where objects and architectural space come together. I’m drawn to nuance in color, atmosphere and structure and with how things are—what gives them their “thingness”. While my concerns tend toward the aesthetically formal, it’s the narrative of a place that ultimately makes the work engaging for me to paint. Structures and objects reveal a human history as well as a moment in time.

Emmett Johns Statement:

I have three bodies of work that I try to keep up with. Abstract/contemporary, portrait/figurative and landscapes. I attempt to work with as much integrity as I can muster, trying to avoid sentimental subjects and reach for deeper connections. Connections that express the essence of a person or place.

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