Four11 Gallery is pleased to join forces with the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme to present M.P. Landis: Cask Hoops. The programme, now in its eighth year, has become widely acclaimed in the art world for providing artists with an original setting, space and community in which to work. Last summer, Landis was one of eight artists from around the world (Canada, India, South Africa, Taiwan, China, USA and the UK) chosen by AiR curator, Andy Fairgrieve, to spend three months at the distillery producing art inspired by Glenfiddich’s people, craftsmanship and surroundings. Landis, an established Brooklyn-based artist, focused on the use of cask hoops during his residency, an integral component of the whisky making process. Landis utilized the hoops physically, as a tool, and symbolically, as a metaphor for ‘boundaries,’ envisioning these boundaries as both individually, that of the body, and globally, as international borders.
The Glenfiddich Distillery located in the Scottish Highlands exists as a paradigm of art and perfection offering a virtually uninterrupted respite from the struggles of being a struggling artist. The programme is a time to observe, absorb, revitalize and create work inspired by new surroundings. Unfortunately, inspiration had to come via delivery for M.P. Landis due to changing Visa requirements, forcing him to contribute to the program remotely. Landis quickly decided to set up a studio in, what the artist affectionately refers to as, the “highlands” of Vermont, USA, which provided a change of scenery from his studio in Brooklyn, NY. So committed to his craft, Landis begins one work a day as part of an ongoing project titled the W.D. Series, which began in 1996. His philosophy on art is reminiscent of artists Jean Michel Basquiat and Joseph Beuys, requiring intellectual or physical interaction or both from the viewer. Committed to the importance of his materials, Landis asked for cask hoops to be sent to his studio from the distillery, with the plan to employ them in every aspect of his work. The hoops acted as printing tools, mark makers, and tracing objects and their appearance added a repetitive abstract element to the artist’s work during his residency. The viscous quality of the work is the result of multiple layers, which Landis explains as, “representing both the multifaceted process of distilling and the years of aging required to produce a superior whisky.” A natural comparison arises between Landis’ commitment to his technique and that of Glenfiddich to crafting whisky. The importance of maintaining quality, while present trends favor mass production, is fundamental to the exceptionality in any creation, being art or whisky.
Landis teaches at the summer workshop program at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. He serves as a Creative Consultant at ESP-Disk Records. He is represented by Gallery Ehva in Provincetown, MA, and exhibits with the international traveling artists’ group VERN. His work is represented in many private and public collections, including the New York Public Library, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the DeCordova Museum, the Naples Museum of Art and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Before moving to Brooklyn in 1996, he lived year-round in Provincetown, MA and spent his childhood traveling around the world with his Mennonite missionary parents.