Ellen C. Caldwell

January 29, 2014, 10:30am

Through the Rabbit Hole: An American Arts Writer in Melbourne

Last week, Lauren Gallow and I wrote about our adventures in and our emerging philosophies behind exploring the art world via Instagram in Art & Instagram: Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. And fortunately, one of my recent travel adventures began with lazy bedtime falls down the Insty rabbit hole and ended with two wonderful studio visits in Melbourne, Australia…


LEFT: Ghostpatrol, Wall mural collaboration with Sean Morris, November 2013, Brisbane. Courtesy of the artist. RIGHT: Lucas Grogan, THE CONSTELLATION 2013 ink, acrylic and enamel on archival matt board 100 x 100cm.  Courtesy of the artist.

I had been planning a holiday in Australia for over a year, but it only occurred to me a few months prior that I might want to start exploring Aussie artists on Instagram.  Luckily, I had already been following a couple and from there, my Insty-Aussie-artist network expanded exponentially.  This was also about the same time that Gallow and I began tracking and recording our Instagram feeds, forays, and falls (mostly through screenshots of artists we were feeling big time).

The month before my trip, I began looking up some of my favorite local artists, to see if they had any current shows, and to more seriously immerse myself in their work via gallery and personal websites.  Shortly, I was able to contact two of my favorites to arrange studio visits while I was in Melbourne.  – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Interview

January 21, 2014, 10:40pm

Art & Instagram: Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

A few months ago, we were discussing how we had each quietly started following a few different circles of artists in various locations around the world via Instagram.  Eventually, we started sharing our Instagram “likes” with one another through screenshots and tagging in comments on different feeds.  

We began tracking our likes and experiences as we delved into the alternative art market within Instagram.  With ever-growing social media tools like Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and of course Facebook, there is no question that the art market is expanding in exponential and unpredictable ways. The first Vine videos were recently sold as art last spring at the Moving Image Art Fair, for instance. Not to mention the explosion of new art “gallery” websites such as Artsy and Saatchi Online where you can browse and follow emerging artists. Even web giant Amazon is getting in on the game with their newly launched Amazon Art site, which sells original works of art at various price points. - Ellen C. Caldwell and Lauren Gallow


A handful of our favorite Insty artists, from left to right, top row: @xlucasgrogran@hawktrainer@m_i_s_o_.

Listed under: Art World

December 30, 2013, 2:41pm

Getting Lost in the Crowd: Francesca Bifulco at Jna Gallery

A few months ago, I saw painter Francesca Bifulco’s work at Bergamot Station’s Jna Gallery in Santa Monica.  Her “crowd series” moved and impressed me with their sheer size, the density and details of the crowds depicted, the hard-lined graphics, and the oscillating feeling between oppressivity and sensitivity that she creates. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Francesca Bifulco | In the Crowd #4, 130” x 83”,
Acrylic on canvas, Paestum, Italy, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Review

December 09, 2013, 2:35pm

Figurative Abstraction: Gretchen Batcheller at the Weisman Museum

Co-exhibited with Ty Pownall’s sculptural works in Land/MarkGretchen Batcheller's bold and bright oil paintings are currently on view at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu.  Viewers to the museum are at once confronted with the beige and ivory tones of Pownall's mixed media sculptures offset by Batcheller’s vivid and inviting paintings. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Gretchen Batcheller | Abstract Generalities, Oil on canvas, 2013. Photograph by Yao Li and Courtesy of The Frederick R. Weisman Museum.

Listed under: Review

November 19, 2013, 3:14pm

The Wonderful World of Melissa Manfull

Melissa Manfull’s (NAP #85) solo show Schemata at Taylor De Cordoba is a really great visual embodiment of the artistic process, as it tangibly shows Manfull’s growth and expanding mastery of mediums.  Since her first pieces were shown at Taylor De Cordoba in a group show in 2007, her work has changed in subject and color, though not in the detailed, inquisitive nature of her drawings psychological musings. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Melissa Manfull | Prisoner's Dilemma, 2013, Acrylic on panel, 60" x 40." Courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

Listed under: Review

November 18, 2013, 4:48pm

Jamison Carter at Klowden Mann

Jamison Carter’s solo show at Klowden Mann is explosive, inviting, and bright.  Neon bright.  White Light from Dark Matter is Carter’s first solo show at Klowden Mann and it features a variety of two- and three-dimensional works that interact and play off one another seamlessly throughout the gallery’s new Culver City location.

At an artist talk and conversation between gallerist Deb Klowden Mann and Carter, Carter explained that a phrase from a song “shards of light” had stuck with him and in this show, he aimed to make that notion tangible.  And indeed he did. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Jamison Carter | White Light from Dark Matter, installation view1, courtesy of Klowden Mann
, photo by Lee Thompson.

Listed under: Review

October 23, 2013, 8:43pm

On Race, Comedy, and Art: Devin Troy Strother at Richard Heller Gallery

In Devin Troy Strother's most recent show "Look at all my Shit!" at Richard Heller Gallery, Strother (NAP #85) packs another solo show full of his little black character cutouts or "minions" in his usual style.  Focusing this show on National Geographic and the NBA, Strother takes his characters through the jungles of Africa to the concrete jungle of the NBA stadiums.  Packed with humor, irony, wit, and satire, his shows always offer something to talk and think about.

His characters play on existing caricatured stereotypes of African Americans and speak to race quite frankly and directly.  However, it is not always clear exactly what the commentary behind his direct voice might actually be saying or thinking. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Devin Troy Strother | That National Geographic shit: "Guuuuuurl, we need to get out of this jungle tho, these nniggas are trip pin, I got a pantha and you got a cheetah, so let's see who's the lead!", 2013, painted paper, acrylic, construction paper, and gouache, 39.5 x 50. Courtesy of 
Richard Heller Gallery.

Listed under: Review

September 13, 2013, 10:00am

Where Art and History Intersect: The Kinsey Collection and Phoebe Beasley at the Payson Library

Husband and wife collectors and curators, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, started collecting African American art, manuscripts, and ephemera over forty years ago.  Their passion for this art and the very art of collecting has led to a traveling body of work known as The Kinsey Collection.

One of the places the Collection is currently exhibiting is at Pepperdine University’s Payson Library.  Original artworks, books, paintings, posters, letters, and documents are on display.  The Collection’s motto “Where Art and History Intersect” is quite fitting for many reasons.  At the opening, Shirley Kinsey said that one of the multi-layered goals of the Collection is to “preserve the past for the future,” to help remind people “where you are from and where you are going,” and to assure that viewers know “who you are and whose you are.” – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor.

Come and Join Us Brothers: United States Soldiers at Camp William Penn, 1863, Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, Courtesy of The Kinsey Collection.

Listed under: Museum Admission

July 31, 2013, 9:00am

An Icon and his Iconic Images: Mandela’s 95th Birthday

Just two weeks ago, Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday, along with the rest of the world.  While Madiba, as South Africans lovingly and reverently call him, has faced a great deal of health problems this year and more recently after a long stay in the hospital with reports of his potentially critical condition, many have taken this time to celebrate and honor his long life of service, leadership, and most famously, his fight against apartheid. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

All images courtesy of the Mandela Poster Project Collective

Listed under: Art World

July 24, 2013, 8:15am

Race & Art Matters: Three Artists’ Reactions to the Death of Trayvon Martin

After George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case, I, Iike many, felt a sense of helplessness and dismay.  On the one hand, the ruling was not altogether surprising, but on the other, the very fact that the innocent verdict is even remotely un-shocking has stirred feelings of further disillusionment, sadness, anger, and disappointment. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Byron Bradley | “Trayvon," digital, 5400 x 2700 pixels, 7/14/2013, Courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Art World, Interview

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