Studio Visit: Anthony Falcetta

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Anthony Falcetta is an artist living and working in Massachusetts.  His work can be seen in PLEAT's November 2017 exhibition as well as anthonyfalcetta.com

Please describe your work.
My work is a way to distill my experience of seeing and inhabiting physical space. Making paintings is an analog for looking at, moving in, and responding to the world around me -- a way of understanding or processing that results in these interesting material objects. At their simplest, they can be symbolic like maps or diagrams. At the other end of the spectrum, they're like ongoing situations, with an underlying tension that keeps them from relaxing into pictures. In practical terms, my paintings rely on texture, colors interacting beside and behind each other, a mix of gestural brushwork and geometric shape-making, and a process of building up layers, tearing them down and reworking everything. It's always improvisational and responsive -- pushing things until they lose balance, then running around shoring them up.

What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices?
I've got a strong sense for space, and how it's weighted and shaped by form -- architecture, natural contours, street structures and so on. I tend to "feel" a place acting on me before it makes sense visually; understanding takes time, and I think my work re-enacts that. As a painter, I operate in pretty binary terms: fast/slow, thick/thin, organic/synthetic, hard-edged/gestural, rough/smooth and so on. It's simplistic, but these little oppositional tensions can add up in the matrix of a painting. In the end, there's this sense of things happening throughout -- on the surface and underneath, in every layer. It keeps my eyes and my attention moving around a piece in a way that feels like being out in the world. I love that in painting every move is built on and responds to the ones before it, so what you get at the end is a compilation of experiences and a record of changes. This feels like the operation of growth and memory to me.

Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them?
Early: Hopper, DeChirico, Joseph Cornell... for their concerns with structure, containment, memory, mood, and the complicated relationships of people and their inner 'scapes to their external surroundings. Later: Johns, Rauschenberg, AbEx... for curiosity and freedom, for the blurring of boundaries between object and image, and how color, form, and movement could be freed from the obligations of rendering and depiction. And then there's Richard Diebenkorn, whose work checks so many painterly boxes for me -- color, gesture, edges, visible edits, layering, buried architecture, overall composition -- while embodying a deep stubbornness acting in tandem with a deep hopefulness. I think as I keep maturing, and have more visual and verbal conversations with other artists, the process of being influenced is changing. I look at all kinds of things from all kinds of creative sources, and they educate and stimulate and challenge me, and I respond by filtering them through the studio-language I've created for myself over time. I definitely get hot crushes, but my own studio work is still my long-term sweetheart.

How has social media affected your studio practice?
I look at dozens of other artists' work daily, and it's a vital reminder that *so many things* are possible for painting, all the time. It can be a great motivator on those days when the work feels dull or stalled out. The other side of that coin is the tendency to compare, or have a brief fit of FOMO, but I think that happens to humans in any setting, and I can (usually) get far enough away to see it for what it is. Otherwise, it's exciting... processes are shared, ideas get floated, announcements are made, friendships form long-distance, and shows get curated among artists who might never have met. At its simplest level, it allows creative people to discover each others' work, and express support and encouragement, and that's really valuable.

Studio Visit: S. Nicole Lane

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S. Nicole Lane is an artist living and working in Chicago.  Her work can be seen in PLEAT's October 2017 exhibition as well as  http://livelaughpeg.club.

Please describe your work.
My work is driven by my interest in the body, flesh, sexuality, and creating non-binary forms. I want for my pieces to display something that appears to be somewhat familiar, but estranged from solid factual anatomy. Looking at an ear canal is where I may begin my research for a piece and ending in a myriad of folds is where it may end. 

I want for my work to center on the skin, and natural structures, while playing around with the absurdity of the human form and sexuality. 

What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices? 
My work is influenced by my actual "work," as in my paying job as a journalist. I'm not sure what came first, writing or art, but both are inexplicably intertwined. My career as a health and sex journalist influences my curiosity towards shapes and the interior components of our body's, mostly bodies with a cervix. 

Struggling with my own personal health problems, I engage most of my thought processes, anxiety's, and mentality around my shell, my skin, and my figure. Because of the constant desire to understand my condition, I respond to the dissatisfaction by creating slick, artificial parts that hold no purpose in the larger scope of the human body. 

I want to create pieces that are playful and repulsive — sick and restored. 

Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them? 
Everything Eva Hesse. John Coplans and his self-portraits as an aging man — so influential to me as an artist! Francesca Woodman's work and life are still close to my heart as it explores and expands on the body. 

Others include: Louise Bourgeois, Ana Mendieta, Agnes Martin, the Viennese Actionists. 

How has social media affected your social practice?
For a few years, I would obsessively check Tumblr and compare my work to others. It became a such a problem that I would spend most of my time scrolling on my computer rather than working on my practice. After some effort, I decided to remove myself from that form of online networking and disconnect myself from comparison. However, I find Instagram such a fun and positive space to share work and find artists who you can connect with on a visual level. I've found out about art galleries, residencies, collectives, and fellow artists through the platform. 

I think it's important for us to connect across the world or even in our own city.