Spotlight on Intersections@5: Jae Ko

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

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Installation view of the Intersections@5 exhibition, with Jae Ko’s Black #22, 2014; Black #23, 2014; Black #24, 2014 at right. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

I wanted to make a reduction in scale from my large paperwork, and as we all know when we reduce the scale of large objects, detail is increased. What I’ve done here is a very large reduction resulting in a very large introduction of hyper detail. The vinyl has allowed me to introduce this hyper detail by its flexibility; I am able to form, bend, and cut it to achieve a state of detail that is unattainable at a large scale. In addition to the change in detail there is an obvious change in form, from biomorphic to rigidly geometric…I enjoy playing with these disparities.

Jae Ko

Spotlight on Intersections@5: Linn Meyers

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.


Linn Meyers, Untitled, 2014. Gift of Lucinda and Carlos Garcia

The unmediated directness of making a drawing is the result of a line being an extension of the hand and the body. The line is universal.

At the Time Being was a site-specific wall drawing made in response to Van Gogh’s The Road Menders. I chose Van Gogh’s work as a starting point because the method that the artist used to apply paint to his canvases shares some of the same qualities of a drawing.

Twenty-five years ago, I began my career as a painter. Over time I became enamored with the distilled qualities of drawing, and eventually drawing became my primary focus.

While working on the Intersections project in 2010, however, I found that I was not only drawing on the wall, but also using a paintbrush to enhance the image. That return to painting as a mode of expression during the project at the Phillips has stuck with me, and Untitled, 2014 is evidence of that. The piece blends drawing and painting; it puts the two modes of expression on equal footing. The lines in Untitled, 2014 have a calligraphic quality that was achieved with a paintbrush; however, the act of making a line is, in and of itself, an act of drawing.

Linn Meyers

Interview with James Bullough, Part 2

As artist James Bullough creates a mural at 905 U Street, NW, The Phillips Collection asks him a few questions about his vision and process. Read Part 1 here

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Artist James Bullough on day 4 creating a mural at 905 U Street, NW.

How do you feel your mural proposal speaks to the U Street neighborhood? To the city at large?
Without giving too much away, I wanted to bring a calm and relaxing piece of art to an area that is anything but. The underwater color pallet and sense of quiet calm that the floating figures will create will be a nice relief from the chaos and hustle of a busy city street. Just below the surface, however, this piece may also speak to the feeling often shared among people living in a big city; that they are lost in a world that’s too big for them, one that they are powerless to impact or even be seen in… then again, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with that.

What is most challenging about being a mural artist?
The most difficult part for me in creating any work of art is developing an interesting and innovative idea for every piece. I try to do something new with every painting, but as my schedule for both mural work and studio/gallery work fills and fills, it becomes increasingly hard to come up with new and interesting ideas at such a rapid pace. I have a very high standard for myself and keeping up with my own self imposed criteria and criticisms is a major task to say the least.

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Mural artist James Bullough in action.

These questions largely focus on your mural painting. Have you or do you work in other mediums?
My studio work is mostly one of two mediums. I paint with oils and I draw with pencil. My oil paintings can be on canvas, panel, or often times on interesting pieces of wood that I find on the streets of Berlin or on my travels. The subject matter of my studio work tends to be more provocative than my public artwork and often revolves around the female nude or semi-nude figure. Pencil illustration is another love of mine but in the art world, unfortunately, an oil painting has a much higher value than a pencil drawing and as I have streamlined my painting process over the past year or so, it takes me about the same amount of time to do a nice pencil drawing as it does to do an oil painting so I haven’t done much drawing lately.

Are there any artists, art historical or otherwise, who inform your work?
One of my biggest influences historically was Egon Schiele who painted the human form in a groundbreaking and innovative way even though it cost him greatly. The Avant Garde nature of his work is hugely inspirational and motivated me as a developing artist to push myself.

To be honest though, most of my influences are and always have been young contemporary artists. Specifically, people around my own age and with similar aesthetic sensibilities. Artists like Conor Harrington, Erik Jones, Jaybo Monk, Etam Crew, and pretty much any living realistic oil painters. Feeding off of other artists’ energy, drive, and motivation is one of the biggest things that fuels my fire and pushes me to stay on top of my game and keep competitive with an ever-expanding and increasingly exceptional group of peers.

How has your work changed over the years?
My work is constantly changing. The realism is getting more and more real as I have more experience with my materials and techniques and I continue to push myself to dissect, fracture, distort, and manipulate my subjects in new and interesting ways. Hopefully this process will continue and the “changing” will never stop.