Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christine Gray at Project 4


at Project 4

April 19 - May 24, 2008

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 19, 6:00 - 8:30pm

Project 4 Gallery
903 U Street NW Washington DC 20001
tel: 202 232 4340 fax: 202 232 4341

Christine Gray's paintings represent the translation from a constructed environment to an illusionistic world. Painted from models she creates using common craft materials, the works become fantastically abstracted scenes based on objects domestic and kitsch. While gestural marks and rich textures compose much of these surreal landscapes, Gray also interposes areas where her source materials are highly rendered. This brings both a compelling balance and an irony to the picture plane.

Gray sees her work as speaking to the dysfunction of the Martha Stewart institution for its presentation of perfect craft, food, entertaining, and interior decor as an "Everyday" goal that individuals try to imitate. She explains, "I represent landscape through several degrees of mediation (first by building modest micro-sculptures, then through painting) using themes of failed geometry, failed architecture, and failed illusionism. This removal from the real reflects what I find to be a prevalent contemporary anxiety toward not only so-called 'nature' but also toward 'the real' itself."

Christine Gray received an MFA from The University of California Santa Barbara, California in 2007 and a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She has exhibited in group shows in California and Texas. She currently teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University.

If Your ever in Santa Monica!...Bill Miller's excellent Linoleum collages

Bill Miller's EXCELLENT Linoleum collages are on exhibition at Frank Pictures at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
April 27 - May 28, 2008

If you can't make it to Santa Monica Callie, check out his website:

Health Harzards in Artist's Materials, Tip #1

Urbancode will be posting health tips about artist's materials from time to time.

Health Tip #1

Some art supplies contain ingredients that are harmful to both humans and the environment. These include naturally occurring heavy metals such as lead, cobalt, cadmium, and manganese, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as turpentine, xylene, acetone, and toluene. So, how can you express yourself creatively while protecting the environment?

Know what you’re buying. The federal government requires that hazardous art supplies be labeled as such. In addition, the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) has developed two supplemental labels to help guide your purchasing decisions:

  • AP (Approved Product)—Indicates that the product contains no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic. It replaces an older AP seal as well as the CP (Certified Product) and HL (Health Label) Non-Toxic seals. The ACMI website lists all products bearing this label.
  • CL (Cautionary Label)—Indicates that the product contains toxic substances but is fully tested and sufficiently labeled with warnings and safe use information. It replaces the HL Cautions Required seal.

If a product’s ingredients are not listed on the label, consult the manufacturer’s material safety data sheet (MSDS), which lists toxic ingredients and provides guidance on spill cleanup and waste disposal. You can request an MSDS directly from the manufacturer or search the online MSDS database maintained by United Art and Education (see the link below).

Find suitable alternatives.

  • Paint—In general, water-based paints (watercolors, tempera, acrylic, gouache) are the best choice. They contain fewer VOCs and don’t need chemical solvents for cleanup. Choose paint colors made from organic pigments such as madder (red) and indigo (blue).
  • Paint thinner—If water-based paint won’t meet your artistic needs, use citrus-based solvents (BioShield Natural Citrus Thinner is an example) in place of turpentine and mineral spirits to thin paints and clean brushes.
  • Crayons—Many crayons are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax. Soybean oil- and beeswax-based crayons provide environmentally friendly alternatives.
  • Inks and markers—Water-based and varnish-free products are a good choice for illustrators and calligraphers because they contain fewer (or no) VOC's.
  • Paper—Choose paper products (including mat and mounting boards) that contain the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Tree-free papers made from kenaf, cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers can also be used.

When the time comes to dispose of these materials, check your local waste regulations. Some products might be considered hazardous waste and cannot be thrown out with the trash.

United Art and Education—Material Safety Data Sheets