East Oaks Studio
East Oaks Studio is being founded by Joshua Larock, Michael Klein, Louis Carr and Gary Bradley. Each of the artists has been engaged in creating art with a view towards “Making a world that ought to be through the powerful work of transcendent and aesthetic beauty.” Collectively these artists represent 75 plus years of visual arts creativity.
Michael Klein: Born in 1980, Michael Klein was nineteen when he began his serious training in classical ateliers and workshops. His first teacher was Richard Whitney. One of New Hampshire's most prominent portrait painters, and a pupil to the teaching of R.H. Ives Gammell of the Boston School Tradition. After two years with workshop classes under Whitney's guidance, Klein continued studying in Minneapolis at the former atelier Lack which was founded by Richard Lack, a classical painter whose efforts were largely responsible for the revival of traditional painting in the United States. Seeking to broaden his education, Klein then left his home in the midwest to move east, where he began studies at the Art Students League of New York, most notably under the tutelage of portraitist Nelson Shanks. In 2002, Klein entered what would become his final school, the Water Street Atelier (now Grand Central Atelier), where he apprenticed under founder Jacob Collins until 2005. His passion is to depict an accurate representation of our human experience interacting with the created order around us. By poetically blending pigments from the earth, adding oil, and his inborn artistic capability he recreates the world around us and injects his personal spirit into each piece throughout the process. Due to many years training in the classical tradition under well known artists, Klein has emphasized that working from life is an important part of the creative process.
Joshua LaRock: LaRock's works are almost an ode to the past while being filtered through his life, his point of reference. This makes his emotive portraits memorable and potent and gives his narrative pieces an eerily contemporary attitude. Even when referencing Bouguereau or using a pastoral theme, LaRock imbues a shade of the contemporaneous, drawing the viewer deeper into his world. His still life paintings almost pop off the canvas and give new reverie to the ordinary. Each work is tightly rendered and thoughtfully composed; this is in stark contrast to LaRock's en plein air landscapes, which are soft touches of color carefully recording a specific moment or truth in nature.
In 2012 LaRock’s portrait submission of his wife, Laura, was hailed as ‘deserving special attention’ during the historic America China Oil Painting Artists League (ACOPAL) exhibit at the Beijing World Art Museum. Reproductions of “Laura” quickly became the best selling souvenir throughout the extent of the Chinese tour. Since his Chinese debut LaRock has been commissioned to paint portraits of many distinguished Chinese personalities including Mrs. Wang Limei, Director of the Beijing World Art Museum, Mr. Brian Lu, Vice President and General Manager of Apple Inc. in greater China, Actress Zhou Zhi and the popular Chinese singer, Yi Liyuan. This past June, another striking painting of the artist’s wife, “Laura in Black” was exhibited as part of the 2016 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
LaRock is represented by Collins Galleries, Cape Cod; Portraits, Inc.; Maxwell Alexander Gallery, LA; Stephen Ling, Beijing. He has participated in exhibitions throughout the US, Europe and China, has received a number of awards from the Art Renewal Center, and is a much sought out workshop instructor.
Louis Carr: Since I was four years old I have aspired to becoming an artist. My parents saw I had talent at an early age and began exposing me to the art world. I was fortunate to live close to a well known portrait painter in the south named Marshall Bouldin. It was his influence that ignited my passion for representational art. I started drawing portraits of people when I was a eleven, and continued to do so throughout my teen years. As I went though high school I never lost sight of my dream. I pursued two degrees at the university of Mississippi (BFA in visual art and Biochemistry). While in undergrad I began to support my self in full with my portrait work. By the time I graduated I had created a strong network and I have supported myself since with my work.
I press forward in this profession not because I chose to be an artist, But rather it chose me. My interest in the pursuing art stems from a pilgrimage for connecting deeper to what resonates with who i am. I’m not interested in becoming an artist. I am an artist. I’m interested in pushing my abilities to the brink of their potential. I’m interested in learning how to see. I believe in challenging my mind, and practicing self discipline.
I am drawn to this program because the BFA program I attended did not focus on representational art. I believe an intensive study is a training ground for strengthening discipline, which I believe is a pillar of being a prolific painter. I also have an insatiable appetite to learn. I believe this program is the most concentrated place for me to learn in my field of interest. It would be a true honor to attend this program.
Gary Bradley: “Beauty pierces the soul, in a world full of brokenness, beauty can reshape and give us fullness of life. My life’s mission is to rehumanize MY world.”
After thirty six years in the non-profit world with a focus on serving people I discovered that through art I am able to continue my life passions of making life better for others. Through painting I am able to be about the call of drawing others to original beauty, truth and goodness. This congruence of gifting and calling opened new doors to find beauty in every place and to point others in that direction. In order to see beauty one must become interior to the work and enter into its radiant space and spell. To quote a phrase of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Earths crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God: and only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” Seeing has consumed me as I seek to see and express through my painting the beauty of the ordinary, the true and the suffering of the cosmos and all its expressions. In Ms Barrets words I have removed my shoes.
My personal motivations for my work is summed up in this quote by Dorothy Sayer….. “Professional standards, the standards of ambition and selfishness, are always sliding downward toward expense, ostentation, and mediocrity. They tend always to narrow the ground of judgment. But amateur standards, the standards of love, are always straining upward toward the humble and the best. They enlarge the ground of judgment. The context of love is the world.”