Christine Sullivan Show – The Geography of Land and Sea

Miller Fenwood Fine Arts is proud to present “The Geography of Land and Sea” by Christine Sullivan. The opening is June 15, 6:30 – 8:30.

With a degree in physical geography and studio art from Plymouth State University, Sullivan worked as the Chief Cartographer for Marshall Penn-York, a larger map-making company, and then transitioned to advertising, before she was finally recruited in 1994 to help launch a new cable television network, The Golf Channel. 15 years later she walked away from it to pick up the paintbrush and become a full-time artist.

In 2011 her work gained acceptance into several prestigious regional group exhibitions including one at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. In 2013, the Gargiulo Art Foundation named Sullivan their “Artist of the Year in 2013” and awarded her a solo exhibition. In 2015, she was awarded a merit-based grant to attend The Vermont Studio Center’s 4-Week Artist Residency program. In July of that year she was juried into her third Rochester-Finger Lakes show and was awarded the Oxford Gallery Award by juror Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. This was followed by her solo show in August at the Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE GALLERY in Provincetown, MA and in September she was awarded a jurors award for two of her large scale works in the Southern Tier Biennia. Shortly thereafter, she gave her first artist talk at the Memorial Art Gallery / Museum entitled, “The Geography of  Color.”

In February of 2016, Sullivan spent four weeks almost “off the grid” at the Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency Program experimenting with new ideas and concepts fueled by her explorations of the deep granite rock quarries of Barre, Vermont and her early years studying local geography, topography and cartography. Helpful guidance and profound influence was received from studio visits by the highly acclaimed artists David Kapp, Marie Lorenz, Kevin Appel and Xaviera Simmons.

Currently, Sullivan lives and works in Columbus, Indiana – a small yet vibrant city about an hour south of Indianapolis and internationally known for its architecture and design. Her studio is at 217 Washington Street within the Arts & Entertainment District.

“The Geography of Land and Sea” brings to the canvas a new ethos which Sullivan refers to as “universal current.” There is a common theme shaping the crust of the earth, the migration of clouds, the tips of trees, the brush of wind, and that theme is the passing of energy. This flow resonates in all manner, inert and living, and can be thought of as the earth’s electrical current, or heartbeat, as it has the same ability to give a glimpse into its health. Scenes were inspired by Cape Cod, Indiana, as well as Italy due to a recent trip there. “The Geography of Land and Sea” will include at least 15 oil on linen paintings, a good representation of which can be found below. Our Miller Fenwood customs frame will adorn all.

Come visit us at our new studio at 196 West 29th Suite B Holland, Michigan. We’re a high quality restoration studio providing services for artwork, furniture, and other treasured objects. We also produce museum-quality custom frames. Please call us for an appointment.

Member American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

William Aiken Walker Copper Plates

Beneath the years of dirt, and achieved with the fine brushstrokes of Walker (1839-1921), there was a remarkable amount of detail on these oil copper plates. Copper has always been a great preserver of oil paint, and we’re glad to say that was proven once again in this case. Cleaning was achieved through a gel system, due to the corrosive tendencies that normal cleaning solvents would have on copper. Custom frames will be prepared in the Louis XVI style embellished with basketweave demi-centers and sgraffito displayed in each corner as cotton flowers with leafs. The frames will be gilded and shadow box created to allow ample room for the copper plates to fit safely inside.

William Aiken Walker (1839-1921) was an American artist who was born to an Irish Protestant father and a mother of South Carolina background in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839.  In 1842, when his father died, Walker’s mother moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where they remained until returning to Charleston in 1848.

In 1861, during the American Civil War, Walker enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Wade Hampton in the Hampton’s Legion.  He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862).  After recuperating, he was transferred back to Charleston, where he was assigned picket duty, which gave him time to paint.  For the next two years, he made maps and drawings of Charleston’s defenses.  He was separated from the military at the end of 1864.  After the Civil War, Walker moved to Baltimore, where he produced small paintings of the “Old South” to sell as tourist souvenirs.

He is best known for his paintings depicting the lives of poor black emancipated slaves, especially sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.  Two of his paintings were reproduced by Currier and Ives as chromolithographs.

Walker continued painting until his death on January 3, 1921 in Charleston, where he is buried in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery.

WA Knip Painting

Finally got to do some work outside…

The paper face method was used to lay down the cracking of the dry paint film while allowing the restorer adhesive, applied from the reverse, to seep all the way to the front. This creates a very tight and thorough bond of protection. Our wonderful, and recently fixed, heat press helped with warm temps at a strong atmospheric pressure to further consolidate the paint film.

Willem Alexander Knip was born in Amsterdam 1883. He studied at the artscool in Amsterdam and had painting lessons in Haarlem from J.J.C. Lebeau. He lived in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas, but also regularly worked in France, Italy, and Spain. He was known for his landscapes, harbor- and town-views. He won the St. Lucasperize in 1942 and the Artist-medaille in 1953. His works are the possession of the Rijkscollectie, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven and the Singer Museum in Laren. He died in Blaricum in 1967.

Barbie Palooza

1960s era Barbie Dream House, new and original, University, and School Bus that unfolds into a classroom, with a slew of loose furniture have occupied our work tables recently. There is enough square footage in the collection to start a small community, or maybe to add to a young girl’s dream, or perhaps for an older one to reminisce about the good old days. The condition of the pieces vary but are overall, considering the age of them, in rather good shape. Our principal effort is to clean and improve the surface of these rather intricate pieces of nostalgia.

Three Muses

This a very large painting, 84 3/4″ x 72,” and there were approximately 28 areas where the paint film and gesso layer have cracked and fallen away. This was likely due to it being folded for storage. There are areas where the varnish dripped and they show as more of a golden color. And on the lower right quadrant there are some instances of bat guano.

The painting has been carefully cleaned, and the 28 areas have been repaired and finished with in-painting to conceal them. The drips of varnish were removed and a new conservation varnish was applied. This varnish also has the benefit of not changing color with age. A new stretcher bar was made.

A new frame will be made in the style of Pre-Raphealite, 5 1/4,” with regular gold. A mock-up of the frame was been included as the last picture.

The title, 3 Muses, is our own title as neither it nor the name of the artist is known. However, the work has strong ties with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Their artistic aim was a striving for deep religious feeling and naive, unadorned directness of 15th-century Florentine and Sienese painting. They used sharp and brilliant lighting, a clear atmosphere, and a near-photographic reproduction of minute details. Private poetic symbolism, biblical subjects and medieval literary themes were frequently portrayed.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood lasted short of five years, yet its influence on painting in Britain, and ultimately on the decorative arts and interior design, was very profound.

Upon completion a large moving truck will be rented and the artwork transported back to the client. If you have any information about the artist’s identity, we would love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more…

Charles Dwyer Portrait of Girl with Custom Frame

This pastel and watercolor came in troubled by a few acid stains and loose pastel. A seal was applied to keep the pastel from moving, and chemistry baths neutralized the stains. Further protection was given by an archival mount and by incorporating oversized conservation glass. The frame is a custom Modernist Dutch with 12 karat white gold.

Born in West Bend, WI, in 1961, Charles Dwyer discovered his artistic leanings at West Bend East High School. Later he received a scholarship from the West Bend Art Museum and then went on to major in Fine Art at the Milwaukee School of Art and Design. He graduated as Valedictorian.

Directly after college, his work was featured in a one-man exhibition. With money saved from the show, he backpacked with friends through Italy, Austria, Germany and Greece. Dwyer recalls being most impacted in Vienna where the Austrian artists and the moodiness brought on by frequent rain moved him. To this day, the overwhelming beauty of Europe remains an underlying inspiration.

After his European sojourn, Dwyer pursued painting, conservation and restoration work in the Wisconsin. “This job was pretty influential in introducing me to all sorts of imagery and media like the spiritual, astrological, and classical.” explains Dwyer. “I did a lot of mural restoration, trompe l’oeil, marbleizing, and mosaic. This was one of the few jobs you could get and really apply your artwork skills to.”

Commissioned to create the official poster for Chicago’s ARTEXPO ’93, Dwyer has continued to experiment and push the borders of art making, most recently reinterpreting the techniques of printmaking and photography. His spectacular, original works on paper and canvas, which incorporate such diverse techniques as oil paint, pastel, collage, and fabrics, make Dwyer one of the most important living American artists of our time.

Unveiling of Portrait for Former Hope President Voskuil

The 13th president of Hope College, Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil, was appointed in 2017 to serve while a search was conducted for the successor to Dr. John C. Knapp, who left to become president of Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. President Voskuil began his career at Hope as an assistant professor of religion in 1977. He became an associate professor of religion in 1982 and a full professor of religion in 1988. He was tenured in 1983 and became chair of the religion department in 1984, serving as chair until 1990 and again from 1992–94.

Voskuil will be succeeded on July 1 by Matthew A. Scogin ’02, who was named president-elect on Dec. 7.

The portrait artist was Larry Blovits (1936-). He is known for oil and pastel portraits, as well as landscapes. He has received numerous awards and honors in national shows since 1962.

It was our honor to prepare an American impressionist frame in 22 karat with a Greek key motif. The motif symbolizes the bonds of friendship, love, devotion, as well as the flow of life. The Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil is blessed with a joyful personality, which we believe is accentuated by the rich, resplendent quality of the gilding.

We are honored to have crafted all 13 of the frames for the Hope College presidential portraits. Here is a Holland Sentinel article that details the collection and the work we’ve done to it: Miller Fenwood completes Hope College art renovations.

Zhou Brothers “The Sun Hunter”

This painting from the Zhou Brothers, “The Sun Hunter,” was done in 1990. Mold invasions had strong holds along the bottom of the reverse and along the two sides. This is a mixed media artwork and the more turbulent surface is captured in some of the photographs. These turbulent areas were also capturing quite a bit of surface contaminates.

Da Huang & Shan Zuo have collaboratively painted together their entire art career. Their education includes a MFA in Painting, Fresco Painting at the National Academy for Arts in Beijing, and a BFA in Theater and Art at the University of Shanghai, Shanghai. They currently work from a studio located in Chicago, Illinois. The Zhou Bothers are internationally acclaimed in museums worldwide. Some of their achievements are the Distinguished Artist Award presented by the Organizing Committee of 2008, the United Nations Spring Festival in 2008, the Lincoln Award in 2006, the Golden Lion Award in 2005, and the American Immigrant Achievement Award in 2004.

A Pair of Watercolors: Loria and Lewis

This watercolor by Vincenzo Loria (1850-1939) suffered from acid burns caused by the mount it was on. These burns gave a orange color to the artwork. Furthermore, the mount had been adhered with a glue that leached onto the edges of the painting, which caused areas of loss. On the back, non-archival tape was used, and on the front dirt particulates had found their way onto the surface.

Chemistry baths neutralized the acids that were then pulled from the paper with blotters. This also cleaned the paper. The glue along the edges was removed and then in-painting concealed the areas of loss.

Vincenzo Loria was born in Salerno, Italy, and went to Naples to study under Domenico Morelli. He exhibited at Turin, Milan, Venice, and Naples. While he did do a few oil paintings, he is most known for watercolors.

This watercolor by Edmund Darch Lewis (1835-1910) suffered from being applied to a mount that contained acids. These acids migrated to the paper and through an interaction caused stains. Chemistry baths neutralized them, and the delicate task of removing the mount was also handled as this time. The pigment losses, most prevalent along the edges, were likely due to water damage stemming from a flood. These areas were in-painted, and then the watercolor was mounted on a cotton rag museum board.

Edmund Darch Lewis was born in Philadelphia. At age fifteen, he studied under Paul Weber. His initial works were landscapes and marine views. He had the good fortune of his artwork being in high demand even at the beginning of his career. Philadelphia, Cuba, and the New England were the major focus of his early career. He transitioned to Cape May, New Jersey, and Narragansett, Rhode Island. He frequently depicted schooners drifting in calm waters, churning mills, and hidden cottages. Lewis favored watercolor, but also used oils and gouache.

Due to his financial success in painting, he amassed a large and diverse collection of artworks. It included a throne that belonged to Napoleon I, a set of drawing room furniture from the Borghese Palace in Rome, and the original sketch for Alexandre Cabanel’s Birth of Venus. His mansion in Philadelphia consisted of two connecting houses and additional annexes that were filled with period furniture, china, and decorative arts. Lewis entertained in a grand style, hosting a number of exhibitions and events in his opulent home.

Lewis exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1854-69) and was elected an associate of the Academy in 1859. He also showed at the National Academy of Design in New York (1860), the Boston Athenaeum (1858-69), and the Brooklyn Art Association (1862-70).

Pair of Copper Plates by William Aiken Walker

These two great pieces of Americana are oil paintings done on copper plates by the artist William Aiken Walker (1839 – 1921). Copper has always been a great preserver of oil paint, and we’re glad to say that the foundational aspects for these two works are rather good. It’s likely that they have never been varnished and, as you can imagine, they are quite covered with surface contaminates. And due to the nature of copper and how it can corrode when contacted with cleaning solvents, we’ll have to be gentle in our approach and use a gel system. We can’t wait to see the natural colors and the clarity of the details that are already quite impressive. Stay tuned for more…

William Aiken Walker (1839-1921) was an American artist who was born to an Irish Protestant father and a mother of South Carolina background in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839.  In 1842, when his father died, Walker’s mother moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where they remained until returning to Charleston in 1848.

In 1861, during the American Civil War, Walker enlisted in the Confederate army and served under General Wade Hampton in the Hampton’s Legion.  He was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (1862).  After recuperating, he was transferred back to Charleston, where he was assigned picket duty, which gave him time to paint.  For the next two years, he made maps and drawings of Charleston’s defenses.  He was separated from the military at the end of 1864.  After the Civil War, Walker moved to Baltimore, where he produced small paintings of the “Old South” to sell as tourist souvenirs.

He is best known for his paintings depicting the lives of poor black emancipated slaves, especially sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.  Two of his paintings were reproduced by Currier and Ives as chromolithographs.

Walker continued painting until his death on January 3, 1921 in Charleston, where he is buried in the family plot at Magnolia Cemetery.