Artist Spotlight: Daisy St. Sauveur

One of our favorite things about contemporary art is getting to know the artist behind the work. While the work itself tells a story, the artist’s background further paints the picture of where they came from and how they got to where they are today. We sat down with our artist Daisy St. Sauveur to learn everything about her - from growing up in New England to navigating her artistic career:

Abigail Ogilvy: Tell us a little more about your background.

Daisy St. Sauveur: I grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts- it's a tiny ocean town in the South Shore. My mom is a graphic designer/painter, and my dad works in music. I knew I wanted to be an artist my whole life, but until 2015 I thought I would study illustration (I was obsessed with anime and cartoons growing up!). I ended up declaring as a printmaking major at MassArt and I've been studying it ever since.  

AO: So what was your initial spark to be an artist?  

DSTS: Since my mom is an artist, I was lucky enough to be introduced to art at a very young age. We would see all kinds of artists- from Miyazaki to Thiebaud- I was introduced to many different styles at a young age. Making art was the one thing I could focus on when I was growing up (I probably went through five sketchbooks a year!). There was definitely a period of time in middle school when I was fascinated with anime, and I think that interest inspired a lot of the shapes and colors I currently use.

AO: How did you choose your medium? 

DSTS: While I was a freshman at MassArt, I wandered into a student printmaking show one rainy morning. The work was so fresh and interesting, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Being the impulsive person I am, I decided on the spot that I would study printmaking instead of illustration. Print allows me to work in a layered, collage-like way, and I can easily make variables and play with the piece until I'm satisfied. 

I've also started painting a lot more- primarily acrylic. Painting has taught me patience, I can't be as impulsive with it, but I've learned a lot about creating unique shapes and spaces.

AO: What is your creative process like? When you begin a new work do you have a vision of the end result?  

DSTS: I always have a vague idea of what I want a piece to look like but I never know for sure. I'll start with a sketch and then realize 'You know what? I'm bored I'm gonna scribble on this.' Or I'll cut it up, collage it, paint over it, etc. I love to push my artwork as far as I can. I try to make things as chaotic as possible while staying along the lines of the original composition. Whenever I mess up, I'll paint a big square or scribble over it- kind of like white out. I always like the pieces I "mess up" better than the ones that go exactly as planned.

AO: We love that organic chaos in your work! With that in mind, what themes do you pursue? 

DSTS: Recently I've been interested in branding and advertising. The idea of interruption seems to be a common theme in my work lately. I love working with pop culture, social media, and the visual relationship between architectural and organic forms. As a young artist, my experience is a little different from those who grew up in the 90s. The 2000s fascinate me, and I take a lot of my subjects from that era.  

AO: What are you currently working on?  

DSTS: Right now I'm working on a series of screenprints that have advertisement-like interruptions. One of the pieces I'm most excited about features a pink and yellow jungle-like pattern with a vintage Sandals Resort ad in the middle of it. I really want to explore that frustrating feeling of interruption and obstruction. I'm constantly being bombarded by commercials- from Youtube and Instagram to the radio, billboards, or even airplanes. What would it be like if fine art had advertisements too?

AO: Are there any artists that inform your work?

DSTS: There are so many artists I love, but my favorites are Jonathan Lasker, Henri Matisse, Nona Hershey, Cy Twombly, Takashi Murakami, Ricardo Bofill, David LaChapelle, and Leroy Neiman.

Check out Daisy St. Sauveur’s work at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery on view through June 16, 2019!

Daisy St. Sauveur, Side C, Etching with screenprint, 22 x 18 in. (framed), 2018

Daisy St. Sauveur, Side B, Etching, 22 x 18 in. (framed), 2018

Artist Spotlight: Daniel Herr

Daniel Herr, White Nights, Oil, chalk pastel, and collage on canvas, 56 x 56 in. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

Daniel Herr is an abstract painter whose expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colors combine to create dynamic landscape imagery. Originally from California, Herr has done numerous residencies internationally, completed his MFA at Boston University, and is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His nomadic lifestyle lends itself to his artwork’s focus on place, where one comes from, and where one feels at home. His memories and experiences with places provide reference to his work. This is specifically visible in his piece, White Nights, currently on view at Abigail Ogilvy gallery until October 28th.

Herr reflects back to when he created the painting, “There was a bridge I used to walk across at night to my apartment in Cambridge from my studio in grad school. I loved the idea that I could wake up, walk over the river to go to work, walk back at night.” The nighttime view was mostly mundane institutional buildings, but at night they seemed to have a magic to them. The river was frozen solid all winter, and as he passed over the bridge Herr kept thinking about Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh, and the idea of creating his own personal version of the painting.

Daniel Herr. Brooklyn, NY. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

In regards to titling his pieces, he adds whimsy to his work by using what he describes as “absurd phrases”.  These phrases usually have a narrative quality to them, mirroring the story like aspects of his pieces. He explains, “I like the idea that the picture can tell a story, even if not a beginning, middle, and end. It's more like a title to a poem: it references something specific that the poem isn't saying directly.” Indeed, his art is a visual poetry: expressive, emotional, and sometimes ambiguous. Embracing this ambiguity, he describes his paintings as similar to multiple exposures, superimposed on top of each other.

He continues to expand on the energetic feeling of his paintings in what he is currently working on by creating a series of medium-scale paintings based on watercolor and quick sketches.

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Daniel Herr received his MFA from Boston University in 2011 and his BA from the University of California, Davis in 2004. Herr has completed artist residencies around the world including the Molten Capital residency at Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, Estudio Nónmada in Barcelona, Spain, and the Artist Colony residency at the Inside–Out Art Museum in Beijing, China. Herr’s work is now apart of the Inside–Out Art Museum’s permanent collection as well as having been exhibited in the United States and Chile. Daniel Herr lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Herr is currently part of a group exhibition at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Nocturne, on view from 10/3 to 10/28.

Artist Spotlight: Victoria V. Nunley

Each artwork by Victoria Nunley starts with a story or memory from her adolescent years growing up in a rural part of New Jersey. Sometimes the story is specifically drawn from her childhood and other times it’s a familiar feeling like having to peel off a band-aid when you have hairy arms or going to the beach and not wanting to show skin.

Gouaches and drawings hanging in Nunley's studio.

Gouaches and drawings hanging in Nunley's studio.

Nunley’s paintings begin with a drawing of her concept which develops into a small gouache painting. While she plans 80 percent of the artwork, Nunley noted that it is hard to predict the end result of a larger painting: “When something gets scaled up so big, suddenly there’s room for even more things to happen— intensifying color, compressing or pushing space, jokes. That’s why scaling up and doing a bigger painting can be so exciting.”

V.V’s flat, cartoonish visual style speaks to her themes of the life and times of her generation. Her aesthetic pulls in the audiences; sprinkling idioms the majority of people can pick up on, which solidifies her humor in a very authentic manner. Nunley uses her experiences, both first and second hand, as anchor points for her work. She often reminisces with her best friends, who grew up with her, about their past. They find humor in times during the teenage years that seemed as if the world was falling apart. They recollect on first kisses, spreading and hearing gossip, bad advice columns in magazines, each remembering the story slightly different from each other. Nunley reflects on these moments, emphasizing that “these stories only exist through verbal retelling, and through my work”. 

In her work HOT GOSSIP, the viewer witnesses the exact moment a friend bursts into the other’s home, catching the other completely off guard and startling her. Phone in hand, blurting out the latest gossip, Nunley says the inspiration was drawn from moments of her friends rushing into her home, saying things like “Did you hear Hannah wants to fight Jen because of Tommy?!”  or, “Did you hear Dawn drove her car into someone’s house?!” Upon closer examination, the details of the poor advice magazine, hair barrettes, clothing and nail polish subconsciously inform us of the subjects age.

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While at first glance the viewers may laugh at the dramatic scenes and exaggerated expressions, Nunley wants her subjects to be taken seriously. Just like real teenagers, they are completely genuine in their feelings. Rather than the viewers oversimplifying or brushing off the subject’s emotions, Nunley emphasizing that these adolescents do not have the hindsight that the viewers do.

A MFA candidate at Boston University, Nunley's desire to be an artist predates her memory. Drawing inspiration genres such as manga, anime and cartoons, she also cites the work of artists like Mark Thomas Gibson, Sanya Kantarovsky and Jane Corrigan, among other influencers. 

Join us on January 21st for a live painting by Victoria V. Nunley from 11 - 4 pm. More details available here!