Artist Spotlight: Amanda Wachob

Photo credit: Maddy Halpern

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery recently interviewed contemporary tattoo artist Amanda Wachob to hear more about what inspires her to create such innovative works. Wachob has done projects with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and The Whitney. Pioneering the watercolor tattoo movement and actively bridging the gap between tattooing and fine art, she has been named one of the 50 most creative people in the world by AdAge.

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery: How has your background in photography and the fine arts affected your current practice?

Amanda Wachob: Art has always been something I've gravitated towards since I was very small. It feels like I've just always known that I would be an artist. Even though I'm not working professionally as a photographer, photography has really influenced so much of my practice. The canvases I'm currently working on are even photo-based. Having knowledge of lighting and composition, has helped strengthen my work because I can document everything properly.

AOG: How has the medium of tattooing influenced your ability to break barriers in contemporary art?

AW: There is so much that hasn't been explored in terms of tattooing as a medium, its conceptual potential and potential for art making. Tattooing hasn't really been looked at as an art form, so it's still possible to uncover new ideas. And this is what really drives my work. The thought of making a new discovery, within a very very old practice. (Tattooing has been documented back 5,000 years!).

AOG: What are your main sources of inspiration?

AW: Books, galleries, traveling, the internet, the NYC subway system/NYC in general, and being around other creatives and talking shop and bouncing ideas around.

AOG: How does your creative process differ when you’re working with a tattoo client versus a blank canvas? 

Amanda Wachob,  Weather Systems;  Tattoo ink and temporary tattoo paper on canvas, 40 x 30 in., 2019; On view in PICNIC at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery June-August 2019

Amanda Wachob, Weather Systems; Tattoo ink and temporary tattoo paper on canvas, 40 x 30 in., 2019; On view in PICNIC at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery June-August 2019

AW: I think of my clients as collaborators. We work on an idea together. With my canvases though, I'm just a quiet observer. When I'm pressing tattoo ink and making impressions, I'm patiently waiting for the image to reveal itself to me.

AOG: Many of your projects involve innovating the use of museum space; how do you think museums should adapt to reflect the modern audience?

AW: I've tattooed in a lot of different environments; a basement in Chinatown, a bong shop, at a restaurant in Ho Chi Min City, tattoo conventions and tattoo shops, I've been a kitchen magician and I've tattooed in five or six museums. Museums can be a wonderful way to educate people about tattooing. Often times the only way you can actually watch a tattoo being done, is by getting one. But in a public space, it feels more like an interactive performance. People can watch...can ask questions, and can see that the process isn't that scary or intimidating at all. It's actually quite fascinating.

AOG: How do you view the concept of permanence, in tattooing and in general?

AW: Ephemerality is a reoccurring theme. Tattooing is actually an impermanent, permanent mark. As soon as the ink goes into our skin, our white blood cells attack the ink and start to carry some of it away. Over time, the ink blurs and fades, there may always be some evidence of it, but it changes and ages, it doesn't stay the same. The only thing we can really count on in our lives, is that things will change.

AOG: What projects are you currently working on?

AW: I'm working on a new series of canvases for an upcoming solo show at Anna Kaplan Contemporary this fall, and prepping for a lecture at the Beaux-Arts this winter! Getting ready to do a little tattoo traveling as well.

View Amanda Wachob’s work at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery on view through August 18th, 2019.

Blog credit: Sigourney Schultz, August 2019

Shades of Blue for a Beacon Hill Brownstone

THE STORY - These past 6 months we have had the pleasure of working on a commission with a couple located in Beacon Hill. They came into the gallery during our Collected Stories exhibition and by chance had the opportunity to meet Holly Harrison, one of our represented artists who was on view.

THE ARTIST - Holly Harrison’s latest work, Color Fields, relates sections of color with elements of mixed media. In this new series, the bands of color serve as the subject, contrasting with her previous work that was mostly image-based. A crucial element to Harrison’s work is the mixed media component, giving each artwork texture, depth and most importantly: an imbedded story. Often the layers include old shopping lists, vintage comics, book and magazine pages, printed papers, junk mail, her daughter’s early doodles, and pieces of her husband’s works on paper. These components are covered with a wash of paint, joining the disparate pieces together while also obscuring their content. After discussing their shared love for comic books and New York City, the couple decided to commission two artworks by Holly for their dual fire places.  

COMMISSION PROCESS –  For this project, Harrison wanted to ensure the work was a perfect balance of her artistic expression and a representation of the clients’ lives and family. She spent time getting to know them, looking at selections from their vintage comic book collection as well as drawings and homework samples by their children that the couple had assembled for her to use. She also searched online and in vintage shops for antique prescription bottle labels and old medical illustrations of the brain as an ode to the clients’ careers in medicine. In additional to the personalized collage elements, the clients also hoped the finished works would aesthetically match their home in shades of blue.  

For every commission there is a conversation between the artist and clients where the artist gets a sense of the client’s preferred style, size, and scope of the project. Once the artist is about 75% complete with the artwork, they share progress photos with the clients which allows one or two rounds of feedback (or they say they love the progress and have no changes!). From there, the artist finishes the work and we set up delivery and installation. 

OUR ADVICE - Commissions are a wonderful way to acquire an artwork specifically customized for your space. If you love a certain piece, but it isn’t quite the right size for your home - always ask the gallery if there is the option to create a new work in the size you need. 

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Announcement: Wilhelm Neusser at Rijksmuseum Museum

Wilhelm Neusser, Woods (1530), 2015/2018, Oil on linen. 24 x 32 in.

We are thrilled to announce that Woods (2015/18) by Wilhelm Neusser has been selected for Long Live Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The exhibition showcases Rembrandt's impact on artists today across all media, genres and styles. Rembrandt remains best known for his mastery of the human figure, not just in his stunning self-portraits, but also in biblical scenes and those depicting bourgeois life.

Painters of the Dutch Golden Age are a constant source of inspiration for Neusser as he envisions contemporary landscape. Rembrandt’s The Stone Bridge, held by the Rijksmuseum, has hung for years as a postcard in Neusser’s studio. “Not in order to copy or imitate what Rembrandt was able to do with paint on panel (I couldn’t),” said Neusser, “but in order to draw from his incredible play with dark and light, the sublime mood and atmosphere in this painting.”

Around the time Neusser began painting Woods, he became enamored of a series of online lectures on Rembrandt by John Walsh, especially the art historian's emphasis on the Dutch master's technique and surface treatment. The forest landscape in Woods was determined by the nature of the painting material itself. According to Neusser, “the topography of the subject matter and the canvas became one.” 

Long Live Rembrandt: On view July 15, 2019 to September 15, 2019, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Landscape with a Stone Bridge, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1638 oil on panel, h 29.5cm × w 42.5cm × d 5.5cm Image Courtesy of Rijksmuseum

Summer Preview: 5 Must-See Boston Exhibitions

Untitled, 2017 by Deborah Roberts, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches. Photo Credit: Philip Roger. Image courtesy of  MASS MoCA

Untitled, 2017 by Deborah Roberts, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches.
Photo Credit: Philip Roger. Image courtesy of MASS MoCA

1.     Still I Rise at MASS MoCA
On view from June 15, 2019 
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247

MASS MoCA draws influence from Maya Angelou for its current summer exhibition, Still I Rise. The museum showcases various portraits of women of color, ranging from different ethnicities and backgrounds throughout history. The five featured artists include artists Deborah Roberts, Genevieve Gaignard,  E2 – Kleinveld & Julien, Gustave Blache III, and Tim Okamura. These selected artists have created their artworks through various forms media, ranging from photography, painting, collage, and installation. Throughout Western culture, the typical sitter for portraits would be that of a white woman, and in reaction to this common depiction, Still I Rise aims to incorporate the lacking portrayal of women of color throughout history.

2.     Ericka Beckman: Double Reverse at MIT List Visual Arts Center

May 24, 2019 - July 28, 2019
20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA 02142

Catch it before it closes; the MIT List Visual Arts Center is providing its visitors with a sensory experience through the mixed media works by Ericka Beckman. Taking concepts from her previous installations, Ericka mixes clips from various films and photography, with that of light and color. The artist’s interest in gambling and games, particularly with the video game Pokémon, are depicted in this exhibition - containing underlying social and political meaning. 

Switch Center  (still), 2003 16mm film, transferred to HD video, color, sound, 12 min. Photo credit: Ericka Beckman. Image courtesy of  MIT List

Switch Center (still), 2003
16mm film, transferred to HD video, color, sound, 12 min.
Photo credit: Ericka Beckman. Image courtesy of MIT List


3.   
2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
August 21 – December 31, 2019
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA 02210

Studio image of works in progress from Lavaughan Jenkins’ studio.

Studio image of works in progress from Lavaughan Jenkins’ studio.

This year, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston will hold its biannual James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition. The museum has selected to feature works from four different artists: Rashin Fahandej, Josephine Halvorson, Lavaughan Jenkins, and Helga Roht Poznanski. Each artist will display their newly created works that range from sculpture, painting, video, and film. The purpose of this showcase is to emphasize the influence of contemporary art and to highlight local talent from the Boston arts community. Check out their website for their upcoming summer events and free admission days!

Interested in visiting Lavaughan Jenkins’ South End studio? Email us to schedule a visit! info@abigailogilvy.com

Nicole Eisenman,  Sketch for a Fountain , 2017.  Photo: Henning Rogge. Image courtesy of  Artforum

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain, 2017. Photo: Henning Rogge. Image courtesy of Artforum

4.  Nicole Eisenman: Grouping of Works from Fountain at the redeveloped 401 Park building in Fenway
On view starting June 2, 2019
401 Park, Fenway

Nicole Eisenman’s sculptural installation is now permanently on view at Boston’s 401 park, located in the heart of Fenway. Like her previous showcase from 2017 in Skulptur Projekte Münster, this set up reveals multiple large scale figures with missing facial features. Eisenman’s work is a lovely addition to the acre of greenery next to the recently developed office building which was bought and renovated by one of Boston’s local firms, Samuel & Associates. Her installation provides an interactive space for any of those who pass by. Additionally, her sculptures breathe contemporary life into the hustle and bustle of the cityscape that surrounds it, further encouraging people to pause and enjoy the artwork. 

5.    A Seat at the Table at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
June 12th, 2019 - Spring 2020
210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125

Twenty artists have been selected to interpret and create their own seats for trailblazing women throughout history. These feminine influencers range from both the past and present. Our represented artist, Kristina McComb, has been chosen for this project and was given the task to create a bench in honor of Barbara Mikulski, the United State’s longest serving congresswoman. Come take a seat and learn about some of our states most powerful female leaders! 

Image taken by  Kristina McComb  of her bench from A Seat at the Table exhibition

Image taken by Kristina McComb of her bench from A Seat at the Table exhibition