Monthly Archives: May 2020

Warm Waters: Allison Luce

May 30, 20

ANFA welcomes another new artist to our roster for the exhibition WARM WATERS. Allison graduated with dual BFA degrees in Painting and Art History from Ohio University, and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. An avid traveler, Allison has visited over 25 countries, deeply inspired by myriad forms of marine life found across the world. She has been a resident artist in Denmark, Germany, Canada and the US at Charlotte’s own renowned McColl Center for Art + Innovation.

How did you begin to work with ceramics? 

While my degrees are in Painting and Art History, I took ceramics classes during college which sparked my interest in working in 3-D. After college, I continued to take ceramics classes then began teaching ceramics at art centers and at the college level. 

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?          

Nature and Art History. My studio is filled with photographs of nature and images from my travels. I have traveled to over 25 countries and have been fortunate to see all different types of artwork.

Allison’s home studio

Which artists influence your work the most?

After studying abroad in Italy and teaching as Guest Faculty for Gordon College in Orvieto, Italy, I find that I am most influences by Italian artists. I am drawn to artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini and Artemesia Gentileschi. In the contemporary realm I am inspired by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Petah Coyne, & Kiki Smith.

Disquisition, Ancient Expanse installation, ANFA

You have a slightly different technique than traditional ceramicists — describe your process.

Since I come from a painting background, I love to layer colors in my ceramic work. I shy away from traditional glazes focusing instead on oxides, underglazes, paints & stains. I usually fire my pieces at least twice in order to layer oxides and underglazes.

Do you have a favorite work (installation, painting, or other) that you have ever created?

I was pleased with my installation at The Mint Museum in the 80 x 80 Exhibition in 2016. That was an exciting show to participate in. 

Ancient Expanse installation, Mint Museum, 80×80 exhibition

If you could go to dinner with one artist (alive or dead) who would it be? Where would you take them?

Bernini. Any restaurant in Rome. I am fascinated with his artwork and have made a point of trying to see most of his sculptures in Rome. I am getting closer. I have mapped them out and go from church to church and museum to museum trying to see them all. My favorite is The Ecstasy of St. Teresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. I have visited this particular sculpture at least 10 times.

The Ecstasy of St Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Santa Maria ...
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, Bernini

What are you currently listening to?

I actually listen to a lot of Italian Pop to try to keep up my study of Italian. I love artists like Annalisa, Francesca Michielin, Francesco Regna, Lorenzo Fragola, etc…

Favorite drink when you’re on the boat?     


Are there any books or podcasts that you highly recommend?

Podcasts: Makers & Mystics from The Breath & The Clay. I read Sculpture magazine and IMAGE Journal. I listen to art/ history documentaries while working in my studio.

With our theme of WARM WATERS.. if you could be anywhere right now, what is your dream trip?      

My husband and I were planning on taking a month long trip to Asia in 2021. Hopefully we will still be able to go!

Close detail of Luce’s fired clay, oxides, + mixed media pieces

“’Ancient Expanse’ explores the boundaries between perception, reality, time and space. The colors and patterns of the individual sculptures reference ocean life as well as textures found in nature. ‘Ancient Expanse’ is playful and engaging and causes the viewer to stop and think about what they are seeing. There is an element of surprise as people realize that they are not actually looking at real objects, but sculptural forms that reference nature. It blends the natural with an element
of discovery that engages the community in a dialogue about perception and reality.”

Allison Luce

Allison’s ‘Ancient Expanse’ installations are available for site specific install. Also available are small shadow boxes and individual ceramic pieces. Stop by the gallery to see her work in person.

Logan Sutton, Gallery Curator


Warm Waters: Jonathan Smith

May 24, 20

Jonathan Smith is one of ANFA’s newest artists for our current exhibition, WARM WATERS. He is an award winning film photographer originally from the UK and currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. We are more than thrilled to have him as a new addition to our roster.

How did you become ‘exposed’ to photography and what made you want to pursue it as a career?

I was lucky enough to have had an amazing high school art teacher who brought in his own darkroom equipment in and encouraged everyone in the art department to have a go at developing and printing. I was hooked immediately and spent far too much of my time in there when I should have been studying for other exams. I soon set up a dark room of my own in the basement which was leaky and definitely not up to code. One of the earliest photography books I remember seeing that blew my mind was William Klein’s, “New York 1954-55.”  It’s an early street photography book that breaks many rules with cropping, grainy printing, out of focus subjects, off kilter angles, crazy street characters—it really opened my eyes to photography as an art form, and also was one of the reasons that I dreamed of living in New York City. To be honest, I never really thought of photography as a career, which may sound strange. I just had a desire to throw myself into it and see where it would take me.

Yachts from Monte Solaro, Jonathan Smith, 49×57 in gallery

What is your biggest inspiration as an artist and what photographers are you most influenced by?

Many years ago, when I first came to NY, I was about to start school at the International Center of Photography (ICP). I was wandering around Soho with my camera and at that time I had a tiny portfolio of my work that I carried around with me. I spotted out the corner of my eye a slender bald guy taking pictures with a Leica camera. I instantly knew it was Joel Meyerowitz, a photographer who I admired and had read about in the UK. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was having one of those rare moments in life,  and I knew it meant something, so I followed him into Dean & DeLuca (a gourmet grocery) and plucked up the courage to go up to him and introduce myself and show him my portfolio. To this day I’m so glad that I did that. Long story short is that I ended up working for him and running his archive for almost 8 years. He had a profound impact on my early work and was incredibly enthusiastic about my projects. He allowed me to take time off to develop my work and ultimately to start my own studio practice. He was definitely the biggest inspiration to me in my formative years, and we continue to be in touch to this day. Other photographers who I would say had an impact on my work early on were landscape photographers such as Joel Sternfeld, Steven Shore, Richard Misrach as well as more classical black and white photographers such as Cartier Bresson and Walker Evans.

Stream #43, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

You shoot your images mostly in a 4×5″ large format camera. What is it about photographing in large format that you are connected to?

When I first started shooting with the 4×5” film camera I was really blown away by the quality of the large scale prints I was able create without losing any detail. Once I saw the nuance of color and clarity that’s possible with a large format camera, I was totally seduced. I really love that when you are using a camera like this, considering that it is quite heavy and unwieldy, you’re forced to slow down and take your time with each and every exposure. It makes you really look at the scene in-front of you and ask yourself what, why and how you are going to take that shot – as you only have one, or perhaps two to take. You don’t want to make mistakes. It makes you really disciplined and hyper-aware of what you are doing, It’s a heightened experience in that sense. Digital has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few years and I’ve finally invested in a 100-megapixel camera that I’m also using. To be honest, it is also mind blowing in detail, so for the moment I’m bouncing back between formats and enjoying that process. Regardless, I think the discipline that I learned from the 4×5 will always remain.

“By choosing to use a large format camera, which is a heavy and somewhat
unwieldy machine, I am able to observe the landscape at a much slower pace. In doing so, the moments when I choose to release the shutter have become ones where I find that all elements have synthesized into place in the frame. The photograph has thus become quite deliberate and thought out, allowing me to feel immersed within the scene around me rather than taking a snapshot from the sidelines.”
– Jonathan Smith, East/West series statement

Punta Faraglioni, Capri, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

Do you have a favorite photo you’ve ever shot? If so, what is it?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I used to be so much more precious about one single shot being my best. I remember about 20 years ago shooting a street scene in Italy where there were elements that lined up so perfectly; geometric patterns and shapes that echoed through the frame along with the serendipity of a moment that was gone in a flash, that I thought myself very clever and then wondered how I would ever beat it. I think one thing I’ve learned slowly over the years, though, is that there isn’t that single shot or single moment that is the pinnacle. Rather, it is about developing an eye over time, and finding new and surprising avenues of interest that perhaps wouldn’t have been sparked if you hadn’t first made the 1000 mistakes prior to arriving there. 

If you could go to dinner with one artist/photographer (alive or dead) who would it be? Where would you take them?

Well I could say Warhol. I’ve found him fascinating forever, but that would be too easy. There was a photographer in New York called Garry Winogrand who was long dead before I’d ever heard of him, but he was friends with my mentor Joel Meyerowitz in the early sixties. I heard so many stories about Garry that I felt like I’d known him myself. Garry was a chain-smoking New Yorker; born in the Bronx. He was a working-class guy who knew how to hustle and didn’t mince his words. He shot anything and everything that he came across, both for work and for pleasure (google him, his work is amazing). His photography was almost obsessive in nature and has amazing breadth. When he died, they found thousands upon thousands of undeveloped rolls of film in this archive because he could never catch up with developing it all. I think he was probably a bit of a mess on a day to day basis, but I’d have loved to have sat down with him and heard some of his stories.  I imagine it would have been in a diner either in midtown or the upper westside of Manhattan… and preferably with a 60’s or 70’s NYC backdrop.

Garry Winogrand | Fraenkel Gallery
photo by Garry Winogrand (courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery)

What are you currently listening to?

I’m editing away on new works from my last residency in Iceland and still have my Iceland road-trip playlist playing music of the time – Olafur Arnalds, an Icelandic musician, features heavily on it, I find it a joy to edit to.  Re:Member is a favorite album.

Olafur Arnalds - re:member - Music
Olafur Arnalds, Re:Member

Favorite cocktail?

Most things! But a spicy Margarita on a hot summer day would hit the mark. To be honest I’d love any cocktail right about now, shared with friends outdoors somewhere – I’m dreaming of when we can all do that again here in NYC.

Are there any books or podcasts that you highly recommend?

I planned to read a lot during lockdown, and even bought a new Kindle Paperwhite, but it hasn’t happened that way! I recently reread sections of “The Power of Now” which has been very helpful during these trying times, and finally read Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” last summer, which is a wonderful read about the inner workings of the restaurant industry and Bourdain’s crazy life there. I really miss NY restaurants; I can’t wait to go and eat out again.

With our theme of WARM WATERS.. if you could be anywhere right now, what is your dream trip? 

Well, where to start, I was supposed to be in Australia and New Zealand through April, so I have been dreaming about that trip nonstop. I also had tentative plans to return to the Amalfi coast this summer to continue projects there. It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to, the light the water, the food… what can I say… 2021 will be catch-up time.

Fall #10, Jonathan Smith, available upon request

Jonathan’s work can be viewed here or by stopping in the gallery. Any of his work is available even if not in the gallery— contact us for more information.

Logan Sutton, Gallery Curator