Saturday, December 10, 2011


I just got back from an amazing trip. That's me enjoying a Robert Irwin installation on the front lawn of a Richard Meier house. More details to come.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Untitled (After Z.H.), 2011
acrylic on canvas wrapped panel

Terrible photo. First painting I've finished since I graduated.
Oh, the things you can accomplish when motivation meets inspiration.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

in progress


It didn't take long for Houston to feel like home again; here are a few of my favorite art related pieces and places in Houston.
Mies van der Rohe building of the MFAH
MFAH's new Frank Stella acquisition,
Palmito Ranch, 1961
Having a drink with Matisse at a private party at the MFAH.
The Menil Collection is my absolute favorite place in Houston;
Renzo Piano's building is unlike anything else in this city.
The Aurora Picture show put on an event where they projected vintage video games on the side of the Menil on a Friday night; how cool, right?!
Blurry picture of the current Walter de Maria exhibit, Trilogies, at the Menil; these cars are flawless.
Barnett Newman Obelisk outside the Rothko Chapel.
Cy Twombly gallery, also designed by Renzo Piano.
Inside Cy Twombly gallery, may he rest in peace.
I was lucky enough to get to go to the celebration of Cy Twombly's career at the Menil, where his son and the curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA (!!!), among others, spoke about their memories of Cy; it was absolutely beautiful.

Houston, it's good to be back. I see great things in our future.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Sorry about the hiatus; I graduated, moved back in with my parents in Houston and have been working multiple jobs while trying to search for a full-time job that might actually have something to do with art, so needless to say, I have not been painting much... until NOW! I had quite the tumultuous week last week and I finally realized that painting is and always will be MINE. No matter how bad, unstable or unreliable every other aspect of my life becomes, I know that I can always pick up a paintbrush and a roll of masking tape and slowly fall into another world. I'm feeling much better about every aspect life after just starting one small painting, I've got some big plans for a new series of small, get this, COLORFUL paintings. Stay tuned (and hound me to update more frequently)!

What better way to jump back in the game than with the man who started it all for me, Mies van der Rohe. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unus Mundus (or a thank you note for my independent study professor consisting of what I learned about myself/the grid)

The universe has an underlying system of order, it just happened to take me twenty-something years to notice the kinds of profound possibilities that were wrapped up in that system. There are things I know I can never control and then there are things that I’ve never even thought to question; I may have always pondered the meaning of life, but in all my years of attraction to the comforting sight of a sheet of graph paper, never once did I attempt to find out who designed the universal concept of the grid and for what purpose. And okay, so maybe I still don’t really have that many more answers so much as a lot more questions, but now I do know the name Euclid and the adjective Cartesian (which came from the ideas of Rene Descartes, in case you were wondering) and I know that this new Cartesian grid system led to the innovation of perspective and that it emphasized rational thinking instead of the spiritual ideas that the grid was always based on the cross. Ideas of perspective led to countless innovations in Medieval and Renaissance art, but those things have never interested me as much as the times when artists and thinkers admit that “x is already known” and begin to question what other ways these known systems can be broken down. Cézanne is my go-to man here, he abandoned illusionism and emphasized the flat field of the picture plane by simplifying nature into its geometric essentials. Mondrian also intrigues me for his logical isolation of the grid and by not quite letting his lines reach the edge, he seems to hint that what you see is merely a window into the infinite. Genius, that guy.
            But grids exist in much more practical ways than just painting, they order our lives. They give us ways to two-dimensionally describe both the passage of time and the space that surrounds us. I guess at some point in grade school we were taught how to read a grid or a map but it quickly becomes an instinctive action, we immediately understand a complex amount of information from very little given signs. An impressive feat that I always took for granted and had never considered it as a way to immediately connect to an audience through the familiarity of this kind of visual language. Once you realize the prevalence of the systems that surround you, you realize both their practicality and their power. These systems are inescapable and they control our lives much more than our mothers ever could. I keep saying systems in a very ambiguous way, but what I’ve always been interested in is architecture.
I think everyone has a couple moments in life when you really do feel like the lightbulb that is mysteriously floating above your head just starts to glow out of nowhere; I had one of those during the first architectural history lecture I ever sat through (even though I had initially entered the program with the hopes of designing cars or furniture). It was like once I had been made aware of the thought, detail and organization that has gone into every structure I’d experienced every important moment of my life in, I couldn’t exist in any physical space without being conscious of the details I had ignored for so long and the power they had always had over my life. But enough about my eye-opening experience, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my head was way too high in the clouds to function as an architect (or maybe I’ve always been afraid to have that much power over the lives of others, eh Freud?) So what do you do when you realize that what has come before you artistically is understood and therefore boring and that you don’t want to participate in the creation of the systems that actually govern our daily lives? You read a lot of books and go to art school and you eventually discover that there are ways of creating three-dimensional, site-specific works that do have the power of altering a viewer’s perception without the responsibility that comes with designing completely functional structures.
            Is it too utopian to think that there’s a way to make someone become more aware of their surroundings and the temporality of each fleeting moment? I don’t think so. Discovering the works of Gordon Matta Clark, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd and Robert Smithson renewed my hope in these ideas that have always consumed me. This idea that there can be a connection between art and architecture in a more poetic than practical way haunts me at all times, it is so empowering. Discovering these concepts that had always been foreign to me has caused me to want to consume these artist’s ideas however I possibly can, whether it means reading their writings or getting the chance to go to a place like Marfa and experience their ideas first-hand. I feel like I have so much lost-time to make up for, that these are the kinds of things I was always searching for without ever knowing they existed. But if I get into my preoccupation with the passage of time, I’ll completely lose my already somewhat incoherent train of thought.
            Systems. Awareness of these systems. Deconstruction of these systems. Finding the balance between predictable and playful. Existing in a fictional world between the chaos of the rhizome and the structure of the tree. These are the kinds of things that I want to continue to explore with my work. Knowing that I can’t escape from intellectual intuition and the structural aspects that will appear in my work regardless of how hard I try to “loosen up” and finding a way to make that work for me in different situations. Finding ways to make two-dimensional concepts three-dimensional and to convey three-dimensional structures in two-dimensions; whether this means continuing my paintings of architectural facades in which I aim to both humanize and draw attention to the details of the structures that contain and define our lives or whether it means I begin to make sculptural objects that utilize flat, geometric shapes in ways that begin to confuse the distinction between object and painting, or whether I continue to portray individuals as a result of their fragmented experiences.
            Like I said before, at the end of all this, I may not have many answers so much as many more questions, but I feel like they are the right questions, important questions. I feel like my set of tools has grown immensely, both in terms of acquiring knowledge of other artists working with similar ideas and in terms of having a new philosophical understanding of some very powerful concepts. I know now that I don’t need to know where I am going to end up before I start heading in that direction. I know that everything, all of it, is related and that the architecture classes, the periods of excessive reading in seclusion, the rejection of formal training in favor of exploring ideas, has contributed to the person I have become. I know that if I continue to explore and question these ideas, that the answers will come to me, and with them, even more questions. I know that literature, architecture and art are inseparably linked in my mind and process and that I don’t ever have to choose between them. I know that this isn’t the paper that I sat down to write and that it might not be at all what you wanted, but it came so naturally. I feel so much more confident in both my work and my ability to convey my ideas now, even if I do occasionally talk in circles and trip over my tongue. This entire experience has made me feel a lot less alone in this crazy structured universe that we live in and I guess what I wanted to get at with all of this is THANK YOU, for allowing me to ask all of the specific questions I wanted and not making me deal with the ones that I didn’t. I have grown more in this class intellectually, artistically and as a person than ever before and I think it is because your class and just being around you makes all three of those aspects seem so intimately connected. You really do teach being and I’ve never been more excited to get out of school and just be.

Eternally grateful,

Friday, April 29, 2011


So sorry for the lack of posts lately, I've been consumed with end of semester projects, presentations, papers and paintings. The top is just a peak at some of the small things I've been doing lately when I get frustrated with my larger paintings. And this lovely stack of books will continue to own my life until May 9th when I give my thesis presentation at the end of the year art history symposium.

I graduate May 12th and can't wait to be able to paint and read WHATEVER I WANT! (and devote more time to this blog. Again, sorry!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Cosmetic is Cosmic

Katie Stoltman, The Cosmetic is Cosmic, 2011
(Acrylic on canvas wrapped panel, 36" x 36")

Sunday, April 3, 2011


1 & 2 - I've been extremely stressed and anxious lately, but sometimes the best thing you can do is temporarily forget about everything that you HAVE to do and do something you WANT to do; I spent Saturday afternoon at Barton Springs with my friends Delicate Steve and it was just what I needed to clear my head and calm down. 

I was too relaxed to remember to get a picture of us at Barton Springs, so the first photo is of Barton Spring (photo via Austin Chronicle) and the second one is of Delicate Steve under the Delicate Arch, a place I hope to visit ASAP! (Check out their music here, I guarantee you will find yourself smiling!)

3 - I came home to find out one of my paintings made it into my University's Juried "Talent Show". The opening reception is tomorrow at 5 pm in the Mitte Building for anyone who will be around San Marcos, event details here. Many of my Soda Tooth cohorts also have work in the show!
(Installation shot via the gallery's facebook page)

4 - My other good news is that I got to go pick up the triangle panels I had built for my final project in my painting class. I've got really exciting stuff planned for them. Watch out Frank Stella, I'm comin' for you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

bikes rule

I promise I have some new, exciting paintings in the works, but in the meantime I thought I'd share my love of bikes! I've come up with many of my best ideas (and always run into inspiring people) while biking around town, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have a relaxing and inspiring habit that allows you to escape from your daily obligations; what do you do to escape? 
1 & 2 - Photos by the AMAZING Bobby Scheidemann
3 - I was featured in our campus newspaper in an article on bike polo; my hobby and agression-release for when cruising around town isn't enough of an inspiration. (Bobby also took this photo, like I said, he is amazing).

P.S. I mailed off my Marfa application/resumé stuff today, keep your fingers crossed for me!
P.P.S. Fang Island also rules, hence their pumpkin face logo on the rad messenger bag I had made by Psychlist, a local cycling apparel company based out of Austin, Texas.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Exercises in Style

1. The beginning of my diamondfaces! I took a Cindy Sherman photograph from her Untitled Film Stills series, cut out the face and did what I do best. I want to continue these and play with ideas of photography and identity.
2. Exploring structure found in nature with crystals. An exercise in freedom (no masking tape)! Still in progress.
3. An exercise in simplifying. Result of an extremely rare snow day in Texas; started with a geometric hourglass shape (not an X) as a way of passing my time stuck inside.
4. Progress on my Stag painting; background is pink and glares on sign are metallic. I'll post a better picture when I finish it.

I've been pretty stressed lately and am looking forward to Spring Break, Marfa and my birthday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I'm coming for you... March 11th!

Marfa, a small town in West Texas, is home to the Chinati Foundation. Minimalist artist Donald Judd, who disagreed with the idea of art being an object that could be transfered from museum to museum and shown in continually different contexts without losing meaning, founded the Chinati Foundation as a place for permanent large-scale installation works whose surroundings become as much a part of the viewing experience as the works of art themselves. 

Lately I've become obsessed with ideas of perception and the ability (or lack thereof) to eliminate the many distractions of our technologically-oriented lives in order to just see. I don't think we do it nearly enough anymore and if we could I think we'd be surprised to discover just how much our minds and senses are capable of. I think Marfa is the perfect place in that sense, a place far away from distractions that forces us to deal with our surroundings and ourselves.

If these ideas of perception and sensory isolation interest you, I highly recommend reading this book. (Plus Robert Irwin has a temporary work currently on display in Marfa!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

hard lines and neon lights

1. Bobby shot this while I played around in the James Turrell light installation at the MFAH.
2. Photo taken for my next painting assignment. The texture in the letters reminds me of early Frank Stella. I plan on painting it in a style like Robert Cottingham. (I love the pun with the word 'stag' seeing as I'm a hermit who goes everywhere alone.)
3. Self-portrait I recently finished for my painting class (the lighting and colors in this photo are terrible, better one coming soon). My painting professor's new nickname for me is DIAMONDFACE, I'm a fan.
4. I'm reading a book on Robert Irwin right now, it's wonderful.

Friday, February 4, 2011