From the Studio I: David Aylsworth, Tommy Fitzpatrick, and Emily Joyce

February 19 - March 27, 2021
  • From the Studio I explores the work of David Aylsworth, Tommy Fitzpatrick, and Emily Joyce, and it seeks to illuminate their ever evolving studio practices, how those practices have changed during the last year, and how these three artists navigate creating space within the compositions of their paintings. 

  • Tommy Fitzpatrick, Parapet, 2020

    Tommy Fitzpatrick

    Parapet, 2020

    Tommy Fitzpatrick's studio, a structure dating to 1882, exists on the same property as his home, and he says that living adjacent to his studio has helped him to hyper focus on his practice during the pandemic. 

     

    New ideas have sprung out of that focus. For example, instead of painting from photographs of hand-built structures, he began making his constructions digitally in an architectural software called SketchUp. Learning the software as he went, he experienced the phenomenon known to all beginners, the "happy accident." These accidents became generative, and they led him to further obfuscate the logical reading of his structures by way of erasure and irrational addition. In Parapet the digital lines of the axis and horizon are visible.

  • Example of the digital workspace in SketchUp. The axes in SketchUp are visible in the painting Parapet.

    Example of the digital workspace in SketchUp. The axes in SketchUp are visible in the painting Parapet.

  • Tommy Fitzpatrick, Dado, 2020

    Tommy Fitzpatrick

    Dado, 2020 acrylic on canvas over panel
    24 x 30 x 1 3/4 in (61 x 76.2 x 4.4 cm)
  • Wanting to further unmoor any logical reading of his digital constructions, Fitzpatrick embarked on his second innovation, his textural, troweled-on use of paint. The result is that the viewer reads the work as an object-painting first, a conglomeration of three-dimensional blocks of color, and that he or she secondly begins to dissect the three-dimensional space articulated by the image. Always, however, our reading comes back to pure paint, surface, and color relationships. 

  • Tommy Fitzpatrick, Tower, 2020

    Tommy Fitzpatrick

    Tower, 2020

    "It wasn't until the last two years that I began using non-art tools to paint with. I started using trowels and spatulas, and a lot of the things I buy from Home Depot are used for laying concrete. And those things really opened up painting for me. And whereas I'd been making plexiglass maquettes to paint from, I'm now using a CAD program to draw these forms and then I put paint on the paintings and making them into sculptural objects. The paintings are becoming singular, and they are illusionistic, but they are more about themselves than they are about portraying something. I'm really letting the paint take over and letting the paint be the first thing you see as opposed to the image."

  • Emily Joyce, Marjorie Rice, 2018

    Emily Joyce

    Marjorie Rice, 2018 Flashe paint and pencil on Rives BFK paper

    15 x 22 in (38.1 x 55.9 cm)
    19 x 25 7/8 x 1 3/4 in (48.3 x 65.7 x 4.4 cm) framed
  • The abiding compositional device in Emily Joyce's recent work is symmetry, and the three works on paper on view in From the Studio I offer clues about that choice. The three works are titled, respectively, Marjorie RiceJoan Taylor, and Amateur Starfish. While the descriptor 'amateur' is only applied to one of these figures, the starfish, it could just as easily be applied to Rice and Taylor, two amateur yet distinguished mathematicians. Both women made breakthroughs in the field of geometry, specifically the problem of mathematical tiling. Joyce describes these women as "kitchen table" mathematicians, and she is quick to point out the etymology of the word amateur, which comes from the French amateur, "one who loves."

  • Emily Joyce, Joan Taylor, 2018

    Emily Joyce

    Joan Taylor, 2018 Flashe paint and pencil on Rives BFK paper

    15 x 22 in (38.1 x 55.9 cm)
    19 x 25 7/8 x 1 3/4 in (48.3 x 65.7 x 4.4 cm) framed
  • In 1975, Marjorie Rice read a magazine column that discussed what kinds of convex polygons can fit together perfectly without...

    In 1975, Marjorie Rice read a magazine column that discussed what kinds of convex polygons can fit together perfectly without any overlaps or gaps to fill the plane. The column indicated that "the task of finding all convex polygons that tile the plane …. was not completed until 1967 when Richard Brandon Kershner … found three pentagonal tilers that had been missed by all predecessors who had worked on the problem". Rice decided to try to find other new pentagon tilers, and by October 1976, Rice had discovered 58 new pentagon tilings, and she went on to discover over 100 more. Rice had a keen interest in art, and throughout her investigations, she explored how to use pentagonal tilings as grids on which to overlay tessellations of flowers, shells, butterflies and bees.

  • Emily Joyce, Amateur Starfish, 2018

    Emily Joyce

    Amateur Starfish, 2018 Flashe paint and pencil on Rives BFK paper

    15 x 22 in (38.1 x 55.9 cm)
    19 x 25 7/8 x 1 3/4 in (48.3 x 65.7 x 4.4 cm) framed
  • Order and logic, however, provide limited explanations of Joyce's work. What to make of an amateur starfish? Of this work, Joyce offers that she "found it to be a funny and evocative word combination. I was thinking of amateur geometricians and also about pentagons. Five-armed starfish are by design "accidental" or "natural" pentagons, so I thought….maybe they have an innate understanding of geometry like these amateur mathematicians did." Joyce's absurdist logic speaks of joy and suggests she too belongs among the ranks of those who love. 

  • Emily Joyce, Ocular Reflection, 2018-2019

    Emily Joyce

    Ocular Reflection, 2018-2019 Flashe vinyl paint on canvas over panel
    16 x 20 x 1 3/4 in (40.6 x 50.8 x 4.4 cm)
  • While her works on paper are undergirded by logic, her paintings in From the Studio I are more freewheeling. She offers this recount of the making of Ocular Reflection:

     

    I started with a very simple, general geometric shape. In this case an oval, centered and proportional to the scale of the panel. I chose the panel sizes by what would fit nested in each other in my suitcase-a kind of practical geometry (en route to Denman Island). I let the rest of the compositional details reveal themselves in an improvisatory way. With Ocular Reflection, I had an idea to do a first layer of thin washy khaki green, lavender and bright yellow overlapping, masking off the central oval so it could be painted in a different manner. Then I began bisecting and carving […] and the whole painting got too chopped up. So, it's a reaction of one move to the next. I started to see things, references, etc. - like oh maybe it's a portal of energy so how can I emphasize that? The painting stayed like it was at Denman for a year or so and then I finished it at the Claremont studio. Originally, when I started Ocular Reflection, I thought it would be all washy colors and painterly treatment contained in geometric shapes, but in the end, it was better to contrast flat and washy, line and color. And it landed where it is now.

  • "Solo Show"

    Presented outside her studio on Denman Island, Canada, with Hornby Island across the water. Visible are in-progress versions of the paintings Ocular Reflection and Hornby's Reflection.

  • Emily Joyce, Hornby's Reflection, 2018-2019

    Emily Joyce

    Hornby's Reflection, 2018-2019 Flashe vinyl paint on canvas over panel
    14 x 18 x 1 3/4 in (35.6 x 45.7 x 4.4 cm)
  • David Aylsworth, Cold Cape Cod Clams, 2020

    David Aylsworth

    Cold Cape Cod Clams, 2020

    David Aylsworth has a regular and regimented studio practice: he paints Saturdays and Sundays, and for two hours each morning during the week. When quarantine went into effect, he continued to travel to his studio to paint, and he says his mentality shifted:

     

    It seemed like the pressure was off in a certain way, and for me that translated to not having quite as many rules about what I was doing. If I felt like making something more obviously landscape-y, I didn't care. I could emphasize that. I wasn't trying to make David Aylsworth paintings, I was just trying to make paintings that pleased me at that moment. It was like I was rediscovering how to apply paint. I was having more fun. 

  • David Aylsworth, A thousand reeds springing up like weeds, 2020

    David Aylsworth

    A thousand reeds springing up like weeds, 2020 oil on canvas
    48 x 48 x 1 1/2 in (121.9 x 121.9 x 3.8 cm)
  • That his recent paintings are landscapes is evident. For example, the green bushy forms in A thousand reeds spring up like weeds could almost be quoting a Marsden Hartley painting, and the title itself does nothing to deflect the landscape reading. Aylsworth points to this directness as an example of when he broke his own rules in the last year. Similarly, he points to the opposite phenomenon—the sketchy, undefined way in which he has rendered the mountain forms in the background—as another example of his rule breaking. Taken together, these moves broaden the vocabulary of abstract painting that Aylsworth claims for himself. 

  • We can read different temporalities within Aylsworth's abstract landscapes, and in this regard, the artist points to early western works...

    Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, c. 1426

    We can read different temporalities within Aylsworth's abstract landscapes, and in this regard, the artist points to early western works like those of Fra Angelico as an important influence. Angelico's work also offers a model for Aylsworth's compositions that include two or more abstract protagonists who may or may not be involved in the same narrative action.

  • David Aylsworth, If You Want It Blue, 2020

    David Aylsworth

    If You Want It Blue, 2020 oil on canvas
    48 x 48 x 1 1/2 in (121.9 x 121.9 x 3.8 cm)
  • The crispness of If You Want It Blue can be said to be more classically David Aylsworth in execution, but he describes some unexpected moments during its making:

     

    Something I kind of liked was the different colors of red. The linear shape feels like it does have space to it, with just a shaped outline. It crosses over the red pod-like shape in the background. And then I remember the painting of the white. Where there's a break in the horizon, the white south of the horizon line is painted with horizontal strokes and north of the horizon is painted with vertical strokes, and just that difference in application made a totally different space to me. These forms intersect and overlap, and it feels like the blue shape is tugging on the red shape the way a shepherd's crook would. But other people have read it in other ways, and that is exciting to me.

  • Tommy Fitzpatrick's studio

    Tommy Fitzpatrick's studio

  • Emily Joyce's studio

    Emily Joyce's studio

  • David Aylsworth's studio

    David Aylsworth's studio

  • In Conversation

    David Aylsworth, Tommy Fitzpatrick, and Emily Joyce
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