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Anniversary Edition

CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW Special Edition Installation • Painting • Mixed media • Drawing • Performance • Public Art • Drawing • Video art • Fine Art Photography

AJDI TARTAMELLA ELISABETA VLAD LYNNE REEVES JEHAN HANJE MELODY CROFT GENEVIEVE COHN OZIE DONNA HOWARD HILA LAZOVSKI

Don't Break These Bones, Acrylic on Canvas, 44"x44"2017 A work by Genevieve Cohn


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Be that as it may, this catalog or any portion there of may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without express written permission from Peripheral ARTeries and featured artists.


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Lives and works in Karkur, Israel

Francine LeClerque I Am Your Labyrinth, Installation

Lives and works in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA

Lives and works Detroit, Michigan, USA

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Lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

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Lives and works in Athens, Georgia, USA

Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Shai Jossef Jungle

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Abie Mackie Wall based sculptures (work in progress). Mixed media. Embroidery, stitch and paint. 2017 www.abymackie.com

Lives and works in Guildford, United Kingdom

Lives and works in Bucarest, Romania

lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Special thanks to: Julia Ăœberreiter, Deborah Esses, Margaret Noble, Nathalie Borowski, Marco Visch, Xavier Blondeau, J.D. Doria, Matthias Callay, Luiza Zimerman, Kristina Sereikaite, Scott D'Arcy, Kalli Kalde, Carla Forte, Mathieu Goussin, Dorothee Zombronner, Olga Karyakina, Robert Hamilton, Isabel Becker, Carrie Alter, Jessica Bingham, Fabian Freese, Elodie Abergel, Ellen van der Schaaf and Courtney Henderson

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Hila Lazovski Lives and works in Karkur, Israel

I’ve been creative since I can remember. In college I studied Software Engineering and worked as a web designer. Meanwhile I kept looking for the right method that will combine all of my abilities together. I studied jewelry and painted pictures, adding different metallic shapes. When I was visiting the Swarovski museum in Wattens, I stopped by a wall at the entrance glittering with thousands of crystals, and I knew I’d found what I was looking for. Back home I started to develop my methodology, a process that took almost two years. Only when I knew I have the perfect way to create the perfect artwork I could start my new way focusing on it. I bought Swarovski crystals catalog and started to explore each crystal by its color, shape, and the way it returns light. I also found a way to analyze it on the computer, so I will be able to know in advanced exactly how the finished artwork will look like and to calculate how many crystals in each color I should buy. When I'm working with 60000 crystals at around 55 different colors I must have as much information as I can before starting the process. I don't have the privilege to finish the work after 4 months and to be surprised. My art divide in two kinds. The first one is painting on canvas and the crystals are added freestyle. The second one is realistic portraits based on real images. My art is not limited to one kind of surface. I can crystallize almost every surface. It can be on ceramics, glass, furniture, bags, clothes…. I can do a view photo, members of the family photos, wedding photo.... I feel that all of my skills gathered to what I called “realistic mixed media art”. It combines my passion to beauty, glamour of jewelry and software knowledge. The outcome is always a captivating, sparkling piece of art.


Starfish


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Hila Lazovski Lives and works in Karkur, Israel Drawing inspiration from character from Pop Culture and imagery, artist Hila Lazovski's work provides the viewers with an intense, emotional visual experience: with a focus on the fascinating properties of Swarovski's crystals that she includes in her captivating pieces, her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Lazovski's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice, walking the viewers through the thin line between the “real” world and a world shaped by emotional perceptions: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

combines elements from different kind of materials. Early works of mine, for example, are penguins in the snow, where the snow was Styrofoam that I decomposed and glued to the canvas. Later on, I went to study jewelry in order to explore a way to combine different metals in my work. I then started to saw brass and apply it on canvas with my paintings.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Hila and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have been creative since early childhood and after your college's years, I studied jewelry and painted pictures, adding metallic shapes. Moreover, you also studied Software Engineering and worked as a web designer: how do these experiences did influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Another example – I always loved to create wall paintings in children’s rooms. When I painted Nemo on my son’s wall, I bought few panoramic side mirrors of vehicles and used them as the bubbles. I always felt that my knowledge in software and computers can take me to another level of performance, I just

Since I can remember, I have always tried to create mixed media art that

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David Bowie - work in process. Photo by Meital Zikri


David Bowie – “Aladdin sane with eyes open” Made of 58,300 Swarovski crystals, based on original photo by DUFFY. Photo: Ori Livney


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needed to figure out the correct path for me.

expression, the look, the eyes, anything that make this person so special. Based on the method I developed, I perform image processing, until I am satisfied with the result. Then the stage of applying the crystals one by one, on a background that I painted in advanced.

The results of your artistic inquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit http://www.lazovski-art.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work. While walking our readers through your usual process and setup, can you tell them something about the evolution of your style? Would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects?

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? In particular, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

My art is divided to two styles: First one is Painting on canvas and adding crystals free style. I mostly inspired by nature. I love to combine colors as the perfect way the nature combines them. I always look at the shapes and colors of flowers, animals, sea creatures etc.. and later try to imitate them in my art.

I think that a central idea is vivid colors and sharp objects. When I think of an idea I must feel it and connect to it. After that, I start thinking about the color palette that I will work with and the way I should use it in order to take advantage of the beautiful Swarovski’s glamour touch. On the artworks that are not based on a photo I always change things in the middle of the work so the first plan is just the basic for further changes, till the final result.

The second kind is creating realistic portraits based on real images. This is a totally different process, which requires precise preparations, and can take up to 4 months. It starts with the image selection (Including acquiring of the copyrights). The subject I select should be something or someone artistic, vivid, and beautiful, something I’ll feel I want to hang on the wall in my own house. After I choose a subject, I look at videos, photos, interviews, and try to identify the

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As a big fan of Feng Shui theory, I believe that art should provide the right energy for the place it is in. Either if it I a s living room, a children’s room or even the kitchen‌ I believe that art should be everywhere. I can tell that when children see the shiny pictures that are made for children rooms they are getting fascinated with them. They just stand in front of it and provide me with the most pure and charming comments I can get. I am making art that makes me excited and feel the right energy. Maybe being a woman related to the subjects of the art but the fact that my art involves something else make everyone that sees it respond to it and ask a lot of questions... You are a versatile artist and a crucial aspect of your work is the effective way your artworks convey the power of crystals from Swarovski: what are the properties of Swarovski's crystals that fascinate you? Why did you decide to include them in your works? When I was visiting the Swarovski museum in Wattens, Austria, I stopped by a wall at the entrance glittering with thousands of crystals, and I immediately understood that I must use this crystals in my art. They are perfect for me, as they are coming in many colors and sizes. The ability to use so many colors (more than 50) in my art enables me to reach

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Siberian Tigris - made of 40,300 Swarovski crystals. Ph

high quality sharpness, and in fact, if you look at my art from few steps away, it will look like a painting or a printed

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oto: Ori Livney

poster. The crystals reflect beautifully lights, and you just need to nod your head a bit to see the sparkling effect.

Another aspect of the crystals is the feeling. I love it when the first instinct of people who see my work is to touch it,

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Live-Lough- Love - Photo: Ori Livney

and wonder how it was made.

after the birth of your third child. How much importance does play direct life's experience in your creative process? In particular, how much importance does

Your debut piece was a picture of a mother tiger embracing her cub, an interesting work that you created just

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Ballerina - Photo: Ori Livney

play spontaneity in your work? Do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces?

connected to my personal life. First, I need to feel deep inside that I am choosing a subject that is closed to my heart. I created my debut work of the

Generally, every artwork I do is

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mother tiger embracing her cub, after I gave birth to my third child, in a very emotional time for me. Also, as a kid I spent few years of my childhood in Africa, so all of my first works revolved around wild nature. As a child I painted elephants, lions and other wild animals I met while traveling in the Safari. Other works created in parallel with my life experience, and my inspiration at that time. The ballerina was inspired by my daughter dancing, The flowers with the words “Live-LoveLough� gave me power and created at the time I decided to live my work and focusing art. A central theme of your artistic production is David Bowie, a multifaceted artist who, as you have remarked once, has always inspired you both with his music and with his approach to culture. Do you happen to discover unexpected aspects of your idea of David Bowie in the process of creating a piece of art inspired to him? I always thought David Bowie is a great singer and performer. He had a big part in my childhood sound track and I was very sad when he passed away.

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A pearl in a Shell

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Blossom - Photo: Ori Livney


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with the result as I managed to keep the look in his eyes exactly as in the original image. Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception: while clear references to perceptual reality, some of your paintings as A shell with Swarovsky sparkeling pearl reject an explicit explanatory strategy: the tones you combine seem to be the tip of the iceberg of the emotions that you are really attempting to communicate. How would you define the relationship between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? As a Gemini, I have two different sides. Usually I prefer the more figurative subjects. I love to see how an image is coming to life in my art. In “A Shell with Swarovski pearl”, I tried to show my two sides – I painted the shell on a black background, as it is in the depth of the ocean with minimal light. However, the pearl inside is shining, and the power of the pearl spread light on the shell.

Working on Blossom - Photo by Meital Zikri

Only after I started my research about him, I discovered his passion to art. He had a very big art collection and he also painted by himself. The photo that I decided to crystallize is “Aladdin sane with eyes open”. Although this is the picture that is most identified with Bowie, you can stare at his eyes forever. After crystalizing it, I was very happy

Your style is very personal and conveys both rigorous geometry and vivacious

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A strawberry

abstract feature: what influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work? Moreover, do you pay attention to the work of your contemporaries? If so, is there anyone in particular you feel inspired by?

Bambi and Thumper made of 16,00 Swarovski crystals. Photo: Ori Livney

method of the artist. I get a lot of inspiration from artists who make sculptures from pencils for example or

Artworks that I love to see and read about are visual works that leaves me stunned regarding the time and effort that were invested in it and the unique

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from the carving a pencil tip. Also, photographers who know how to catch the moment, sit for hours to capture a

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Rod Stewart - made of 61,102 Swarovski crystals, based on a photo of Iain Reid. Photo: Ori Livney


David Bowie - work in process- Photo by Meital Zikri


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drop of rain that falls in the right second. I can see such an amazing artwork and think about it days after. I am excited from the ideas, from the determination till the amazing result, and from the unusual final products. I get inspired from people who did a huge change in their life and proved that when you do things that you love, you can reach amazing results, even if it look weird at the beginning. I’m saving articles about such people and enjoy reading them from time to time.

the result no matter what the subject is, because the outcome will touched with love and enthusiasm. 11) Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Hila. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am now focused on trying to present my art to the public in a gallery. For the near future, I see my art developed in so many directions. I'm wishing to crystallize a wedding photo. It can be a unique everlasting memory from the wedding day to the couple. I want to cooperate with designers in crystalizing bags, tappets, furniture or any other crazy project they can think of. I wish to get hotel project of making a glamour whole lobby. I want to cooperate with professionals who will give their touch to the work, such as light specialists, carpenters, sculptors to crystalize 3D elements etc‌

One of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language you use in a particular context? When I make art I think first about my connection to it. I should feel it and I should imagine if it will look great on my wall and gives me the right energy. I think that when you do something that you believe in, then it will be shown on

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Meet the Family


Donna Howard Lives and works in Woburn, Massachusetts


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Donna Howard Lives and works in Woburn, Massachusetts Art tells a story. Whether that story lasts a moment in time or an eon, there it is for you to respond to. There it is for you to interpret and make it your own. I think art asks you to cozy up close for a minute and listen. And you will. You’ll listen to the ones that catch your attention. Maybe you’ll think of them next week or next year and realize how they imprinted on you. There’s art in your life, and there’s a reason you have it. It adds something to your existence! Another dimension. Maybe a smile or a laugh, perhaps a sense of beauty or horror or joy. It can give you exactly what you need. My paintings are meant to be whimsical and kind of quirky despite the sometimes-desperate cry for help they really are. I need to twist up my dark world into something colorful, comfortable and safe. Work I can laugh at and ultimately make peace with. The titles are often integral to understanding the work. My characters, the birds, cats, fish – whatever, are typically self-portraits or family members, and they help tell the stories. I believe my style of painting stems from a wish for a bit of control over an out of control life. In an effort to wrangle in the anxiety of wide-open spaces, I investigate the not-so-negative space for both its similarities and uniqueness. Layers of brush strokes build upon each other like mesmerizing little geometric color studies hoping eventually to land on a harmonious color scheme that either eases or adds to the tension. I use a nearly dry brush technique in order to have the most control over the paint.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Donna and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you degreed from the UMass Amherst in Fine Art: how did this experience influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Walking the viewers through the liminal area where representation and imagination find a point of convergence, artist Donna Howard's work provides the viewers with an intense, immersive visual experience: her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, tells stories and successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Howard's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice: we are very pleased to introduce

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Hello, thanks for the invitation to chat. I’m flattered to be included in your Biennial edition and hope that I have the right words to help you and your readers get a look inside my work and my head.

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Celebrate


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that I scribble in every day leaving me with about a bazillion images to choose from. It’s not unusual for me to have a few paintings going at the same time. I don’t use an easel. I hold the canvas in my left hand and rest it against a table or my lap. I keep the canvas moving all the time, spinning it so I can reach the right spots. Because of this my largest canvasses end at about 36”. So far. You comment that my work rejects any conventional classification and I think that’s an important layer to my story. Along with everything I had to contend with as a kid I somehow grew up with an authority problem as well. I don’t believe most of what I hear and only about half of what I see. I don’t like people telling me what to do, how to think, who to worship, what to love, where to lie my loyalty or how to paint. I try and avoid labeling myself as more than just another earthling who’d be really pleased that in a world where there are enough resources for everyone that everyone would have enough. I knew too young that it’s ultimately people in authority that are fucking the whole situation up.

I don’t know if I’d call my art education “solid formal training” as I tried my damndest to poke holes in the “formal” part. I was a horrible painter in college. Painting portraits and landscapes and Still Life was just no fun and as a result I was bad at it. As a matter of fact my advisor told me that my work had no “depth” and I think he meant it in a global sense. So instead of the painting classes I was supposed to be taking, I learned to throw pots, to weld metal, to pour bronze in the foundry. I took Calligraphy, Block Printing and Poetry. I had a terrific education but no real focus and absolutely no faith in my artistic ability. It would be 25 years until I had the courage to pick up a paintbrush again and this time it was on my terms. Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.donnahoward.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about what you once defined as the joyful anticipation of the challenges each new blank canvas present? What is your usual process and set up?

How do you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

To me a blank canvas is like a brand new toy every single time. A brand new toy that was ripped open with great anticipation and the directions were lost. There’s a second of initial panic, until you remember how much you hate people telling you what to do and the thrill returns. I have 3 or 4 sketchbooks

My subjects are all the people, places, pets and phobias in my life. The faces have been changed to protect the innocent. My paintings are incredibly personal yet the feelings I’m trying to convey are quite universal. Childhood anxiety informs all of

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my work. I compare what I attempt to portray to a Bugs Bunny cartoon, all “bright and happy” on the surface for the kiddies but as an adult you’re in on the back-story that life can be brutal as well as hysterical.

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Do you like spontaneity? In particular, are your works painted gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes from paper to canvas? I love spontaneity! At first, the painting

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(and mostly on the canvas) I seem to switch to a more intuitive approach – It’s time to explain the story’s deepest meaning through the emotion I coax out of the negative space. I like my images simple because the real focus is trying to convey the movement or music or sensation in the environment that envelops them. To help explain my process, lets look at this small series showing how The Swamp Out Back Our House evolved. I had another kid in the painting at first but it was a distraction. The painting is my best friend Sheryl and me. Back when kids played outside all day without parental supervision, the swamp out back was a place you could escape to and explore for hours. Catching pollywogs while trying to keep our shoes dry was always fun. It was a quiet place. It was a safe place. It was a place we could talk about our fears and our dreams while we blazed trails, built forts and picked blueberries. I’ve tried to give it an overall feeling of calm and safety. The water is quiet and the sun is starting to go down. It’s been a long day and mom is screaming out the back door for everyone to come home for dinner. We’re in no hurry, but it’s time to go in.

evolves according to my knowledge of composition and the entire canvas grows as a unit. Here the arrangement is fleshed out, the atmosphere is determined and it starts to take shape. Once the composition and the painting’s story are clear in my head

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected My Descent and Celebrate, a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics. You once remarked that your characters are typically self-

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My Descent

portraits or family members: when walking our readers through the genesis of My Descent and Celebrate would you tell us your sources of inspiration? In particular, how much do you draw from everyday life's experience? Kitchen Pears

The subject of both of these paintings is me. They are essentially about a physically and emotionally broken little girl. They don’t seem so scary on the surface – quite the opposite, but the child in there was suffering.

There was humiliation to follow when I couldn’t keep up with the activities of the neighborhood pack of kids. But when I dream, my legs are strong

Allow me to give you the Back-stories to these two paintings. Celebrate – I was born a little broken. My legs were crooked, so I had full casts on them for my first 6 months of life.

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and straight. I'm still heavy, but I can dance. This piece celebrates dreams. If I never dreamed, I would never have known the feeling of lithe

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movement. I never dance alone in my dreams. I dance with sisters, friends and other random people who skip through my night stories.

First comes Dad with his feet on the

My Descent – This is the family I was born into. The rest of the siblings came later.

around the time my brother Eddie was

ground. Mom next and then sister Sue. I of course have begun the free-fall that would inform most of my existence. I think it was born. That puts me around 4. I began a

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A splinter of siblings

lifetime living with anxiety and depression. I picture it as being a drastic fall into a less than adequate vessel.

Swamp Out Back Our House and A Splinter of Siblings, that show that vivacious tones are not strictly indispensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of the pieces as The

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palette, but my mood plays a big part in how I get there. A Splinter of Siblings is the full compliment of kids. I have an older Sister, a younger sister and two younger brothers. We were nothing like “The Waltons”. The chaos in my little life wasn’t so much vivacious, as it was viscous. I was stuck in it and that is the mood I’m trying to recreate. The sky is dark and the earth feels unfinished, and unstable under my feet. I use a bit of a different color palette and a tighter atmosphere for another sibling piece, Wait Til Your Father Gets Home. The mood is still one of disorder with a little panic thrown in. Here the colors want to collide with each other rather than play nice. It helps add that little bit of vibrancy and noise. My dad wasn't that scary but when threatened with him we knew mom meant business. Your works have a seductive beauty on their surfaces: at the same time we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface: we like the way Busy Purple, rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense seems to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: when discussing about the role of randomness in your process, would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings?

make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture?

I think that a close personal connection to a piece is why people buy art. I don’t think it’s necessary to find a deep personal

My color choices are made in the moment. I do have a vision in my mind of the “finished”

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Busy Purple

meaning in my work to appreciate what it’s trying to say. Any empathetic soul should be able to feel the point I’m trying to make. I Was a Little Chicken is the first painting in a series of childhood memories. In it I‘ve turned all of my people into chickens to keep the story consistent. I was fond of my Nana; that might be the source of my chicken connection. Or it might be the fact that I saw myself as a Little Chicken afraid of my own shadow. I learned chickens have many sides though. They’re tough. They'll chase you right down and peck you if they feel the need. So a little chicken has the potential to grow up and be unafraid and I find that comforting.

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The swamp out back our house

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Auntie Edna

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I like that you chose Busy Purple to discuss. It’s one of only a few abstracts I’ve done and it’s actually a working title for this one. I haven’t quite figured out how much information I wanted to give out about it’s origin for the exact reason you state; should I sway the observer toward what I want them to see? You be the judge. Busy Purple is my response to Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie. I always felt the music in the simplicity of his series of geometric shapes. I wanted to see if I could cajole a little music out of an abstract cityscape. I used the idea of Boston as my city, an impossible city to navigate in a car. I crammed all the streets and buildings together gave it a Deep Purple feel and hope that someone will hear the storied rock and roll music of my youth. Should I rename the piece? Your artworks show clear references to realistic subjects, as birds, cats, fish and flowers, but at the same time they are pervaded with stimulating abstract feature: would you define the relationship between abstraction and imagination in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? To feel safe I need to fill up the negative space around me without becoming closed in completely. To me there’s nothing empty about negative space. It’s packed with hope and colors and anxiety and music. It vibrates. It deserves my attention. Out there in the negative space is life and so far it looks a

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The Garden in Cummington

little geometric, but work evolves so I’m curious to see its evolution. We can compare the two paintings here. I tried to make Edna’s atmosphere “giggle”. Edna was my dad's aunt. Edna was big and loud! She had the best HAHAHA laugh. It made you laugh just to hear it. One thing I

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remember about Edna was her elaborate bathing caps. White, skintight rubber helmets bursting with vibrant flora. I want the abstraction in this painting to help you feel that energy around her laugh and her great caps. He Never Said Goodbye is a more somber piece. It was 1968. I woke in

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He never said goodbye


I Was A Little Chicken


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the morning to my family sitting together. No dad. Dad had left us. I wondered what would become of us. Too much for my 5 year old head. So the abstraction or the “negative space” in this case is more appropriately solemn. It doesn’t shimmy like Edna. To me it resonates as a low hum, seemingly quiet on the surface but it runs deep with a dark presence.

to see over the dining room table. I understood way too much about adult situations at too young an age and what I didn’t quite understand was just fodder for my imagination to take me to dark places. Life was scary. Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation to Earth Mother, Gallery Z. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

The theme of family is quite recurring in your imagery: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I don’t think that in this case being a woman is what informs the work as much as being tuned into your inner kid does. I seem to connect with men my age as well as women so I think anyone who was an overly observant little kid can relate to the family issues that come up in my paintings. I was never a real “girly girl”. I didn’t play with dolls or make-up. And I never had children of my own. Seeing my mother struggle day in and day out with the rest of the mothers in the neighborhood left me devoid of any kind of maternal longing. I adore my family even though I have to hold them all directly responsible for my oncedebilitating anxiety. There were 5 little personalities vying for attention in our house. Mom was overwhelmed with us all and threatened to run away pretty often. Dad was always gone. I knew we had money problems and I knew there was no Santa Claus before I was even tall enough

I have learned that I can’t paint for anyone else but me. I want the viewer to have their own experience with the work but I also want them to know everything I can possibly share about its truth. When I can, my stories accompany my work in the gallery. The titles of my paintings are like the hook in a song. I try really hard to give you a lot of information in a few words, as a jumping off point to the secret I’m trying to tell you. I think the language I use needs to be brutally honest if I want to convey my idea whittled down to its essence. Naturally I’d knock off the cursing if I was

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showing my work to children but I’m a curser. Cursing is honest. And it’s funny and adds color. And I really don’t mean to offend anyone. The closer my paintings are to nicking my and/or your childhood psyche, the more successful they seem to be. I think it’s because they are relatable and basically funny in their authenticity. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Donna. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? By exposing pieces of my past to myself I’ve been able to go through this incredible healing process. I’m figuring out the source of my anxieties and that knowledge seems to be all the power I needed to make peace with some of those demons. I’d love to use my art and my own personal journey to reach the little insecure kids of today and help them realize that they’re not alone in these feelings. I’d like to reach the little kid inside so many adults as well. Show them that while their anxieties may have deep, old, craggy roots, there’s peace out there too and it’s within reach. Or I’m going to allow myself to snap completely over the political chaos in my country and join my fellow artists in exposing the Buffoon and his court of jesters in the white house. Either way I’m looking forward to the ride.

Fats and the Raven

movie called “Magic”. In a nutshell, a down and out ventriloquist rents remote cottage and begins a journey into insanity courtesy of his overactive imagination – oh and Anne Margaret didn’t help. This is a painting of Fats, Hopkins’ dummy, the inanimate object attached to the psyche. As for the Raven? Check out the eyebrow.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

Fats and the Raven: Back in the 1970’s a very young Anthony Hopkins starred in a

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Ozie Lives and works Detroit, United States

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Ozie Lives and works Detroit, United States

My art takes a journey into the powerful energy of abstraction through shapes, lines and color. My process starts with deciding on what shape canvas I want to construct, and my theme always starts with a color combination. I began all of my paintings on a wood canvas with several layers of paint. My abstract paintings are inspired by kinetic energy and indigenous culture particularly tribal face paintings and ancient African mask sculptures, I primarily use acrylic, enamel, spray paint, paper, sand and resin in any combination, while I paint I work out ideas without attempting to control the works destiny, the painting itself takes over. Creation starts in the mind which is manifested from a simple thought to a more complex form.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

task of inquiring into the liminal area where the abstract and the figurative find an unexpected still consistent point of convergence: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Experimenting with a wide variety of materials to inquire into the notion of kinetic energy and indigenous culture, Detroit based artist Ozie 's work rejects any conventional classification regarding its style, to address the viewers to a multilayered visual experience. In his body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he successfully attempts to trigger the spectatorship's perceptual parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Ozie's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult

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Hello Ozie and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did influence the way you currently conceive your works? How did your studies in carpentry at the Detroit Carpenters Apprenticeship School influenced the evolution of your artistic research? 48


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Once I discovered my artistic ability, I began studying art history and how the art industry operates, I soon realized a successful artist has to have something unique about their art in order to separate styles from other artists,that motivated me to create my own style. My carpentry studies allowed me to apply what I learned in various classes to my work particularly wood construction, geometry and blueprint reading where I learned to draw or layout like an architect which is heavily influenced in my works Solar Mystery and X power.

How do you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? I usually select figurative subjects from ancient tribal face paintings or African mask sculptures and I kind of combine the two ideas, my non-figurative abstract paintings are best described as an artistic birth, each painting has its own characteristics and I work out ideas without attempting to control the destiny, the painting itself takes over and leads me to the conclusion. The multiple layers of vibrant colors moving in a mass sequence is what connects all my work to one central idea.

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://www.saatchiart.com/ozie in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up?

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Solar mystery, an interesting work that our readers have already started to got to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry int the notion of kinetic energy is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Solar mystery would you tell us your sources of inspiration?

First thing I decide is whether the painting will be non- figurative or figurative, from this point I decide on the shape of the wood support/canvas and I always start with a color combination followed by multiple layers of paint and texture before the final colors are applied.

Solar Mystery started with the idea that I could create something with symbols being the subject, so I decided to start

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with the triangle which has so many different meanings depending on the time in history, for this triangle I depicted the Eye of Providence found on the back of the dollar bill, all the straight lines represent time lines in history and the revolving lines represent all the stories, secrets and symbolism that follows this controversial symbol. I wanted to create an artwork that needed to be decoded which was the inspiration behind Solar Mystery. Stormy Munday is an excellent piece of art that unveils the connection between the dreamlike dimension and our perceptual reality. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? How would you define the relationship between abstraction and representation in your practice? Art is my first love but second would be music, Stormy Munday is a popular blues song that I wanted to bring to life, we all know the storms of life can bring us down but if the rain is gold that will change the outlook of a storm since gold is royalty, wealth and power. I’m finding that my abstraction is a formof representation based on the fact that its manifesting from a place of reality which is my mind.

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valley of mesa

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sugar kane & cotton

As you have remarked once, you began all of your paintings on a wood canvas with several layers of paint: how much

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importance does play spontaneity in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works instinctively or do 56


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you methodically elaborate your pieces?

I actually look at my work as a birth process, I use creative instincts to elaborate my art pieces as the process 57

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of creation is taking place which allows me to be spontaneous with ideas, color combinations and various textures. Sugar Kane & Cotton is a good example of being spontaneous and taking chances, in the last steps of creating this piece I used cotton for more texture and I used all metallic colors for the final layer, normally I keep metallic paint in my backgrounds but I really love how this piece turned out. We have really appreciated the way how the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of incise and rage, that show both tension and captivating dynamic feeling. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece? My goal with Incise was to really show the influence kinetic energy has on my work, when I paint I always have every color that exists available so my palette is very deep, Incise started with the idea of red, blue and cream but as the process went on I added green, yellow and purple, as a rule I only put colors that flow together next to each other to achieve natural looking tones. Rage I wanted a real gritty tenacious look, so I thought about a wall with

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graffiti in a rough area of Detroit so I used clay, sand, glue and resin for captivating texture, I settled on red which is my favorite color to dominate the piece, Rage happen to be created at night in the darkest area of my studio which added to the mood of the painting. You draw inspiration from indigenous culture and particularly from tribal face paintings and ancient African mask sculptures, as revealed in exodus -love- soul. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in". How do you consider the relationship indigenous culture and contemporary art? Moreover, what could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age? I also love history an my studies show art begin with indigenous people of the earth, especially the drawings on stone walls in ancient Egypt, native American tribal face paintings and various architectural sculptures which led to the evolution of contemporary art into the 20 th century. In this current contemporary age art acts as a voice for social justice, political opinions and self- expression. I believe all artists should create a series of works speaking on the current events

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of their time to record the harsh reality of life artistically.

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You are a versatile artist: you construct your canvas out of wood

and combine a wide variety of unconventional materials, including

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acrylic, enamel, glue, sand and resin to create one of a kind abstract paintings and wood wall sculptures. What are the properties you are searching for in the materials that you include in your materials? And in particular, when do you recognize that one of the mediums has exhausted its expressive potential to self?

being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? Color, textureand size is the language in my art, I prefer to create large scale works that captivates my audience, the reception of my art plays a huge role in my decision making, I live for the wow factor. I want my art to grab the attention of a person that has zero interest in artwork to stop and say wow I need this painting, by nature all humans love color and beauty, I want my audience to be more than spectators I want them to fall in love.

I’m always looking for materials that can make a cool effect when it comes into contact with paint, I rely on this materials to help build up the surface of the canvas, all textures can be used over and over until I reach my desired thickness or final layer, if we take a look at my painting Valley of Mesa I achieved this look with all enamel and spray paint and a small amount of texture, at one point the enamel and texture had served its purpose an longer added to the painting so I added 24 karat gold spray paint for a more dynamic appeal.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ozie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? First I want to thank Peripheral and all the readers for taking time to learn about me, my future projects involve creating more interior freestanding sculptures and smaller sculptures for coffee tables, end tables and shelfs.

One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Jehan Hanje Lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona

"My name is Jehan HanJe I live through my personal philosophy of A.C.E. an abbreviation that stands for my motto; Achieving Creative Excellence. As an artist I don’t simply create surreal Arts I create experiences, inspiration for others, and of course wonderful memories in which they can enjoy & reflect on for years to come. Math isn’t the only universal language, we often neglect the fact that art is along side it. Any person of any age group in any country can appreciate what I create & fully understand it as long as they have a vivid form of imagination. People often forget how interesting it is to be a human being. Surely it is amazing! As the universe created us as creative conscious being. We have the ability to create art; if you would imagine a fractal under a microscopic analysis, it continues to go in further into itself. Ever constant & a never stopping infinite chain of patterns like a composition of a crystal. What we create has the ability & the power to create ideas and thoughts within the minds of others. Those thoughts in the minds of others then can create their own form of art. This is an infinite ever going cycle that is not fully appreciated by the everyday person. To call myself a simple artist is an understatement. I prefer the term “Sorcerer of Creation” because like magic out of the vast darkness of the mind I can manifest from a hidden realm unseen by others vivid canvas pieces in which they can visually comprehend and enjoy. Words are great but there’s only so much I can tell you in writing or vocalizing. So I will allow the language of my Creations/Art to tell you the full story of what I wish to get across. it’s not simply Mind Over Matter but the fact that Mind Creates Matter. With that being said may everyone who gazes upon these images be inspired."


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Jehan Hanje Lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona Jehan Hanje is one of those creatives whose work is capable of putting his sensitiveness to create aesthetically wondrous digital art for the rest of us to enjoy. His images walks the viewers towards the meeting point between digital realm and human perception. One of the most impressive aspects of Hanje's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to HIS stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

First off I’m exuberant about joining Peripheral ARTeries & would like to thank this establishment for it’s work. I became what i like to call a Sorcerer of Creation due to the fact that i believe everything we truly do is magic. Magic is the act of manifesting ones will or ideas into creation. By definition creating art is technically magic in all actuality. The fuel behind my drive started with my wish of traveling when i was younger i only traveled on special occasions during the summer. Most of the year outside of that i lived in poverty & could not reach outside of the area my family lived in. There is no limit to where you can go within your mind. This in turn allowed me to develop creating art as a means to

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Jehan and first of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to join Peripheral ARTeries. Please tell us more about your background and what made you become a Sorcerer of Creation? Are there any experience that particularly influenced the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum and your childhood inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

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travel within myself since i was not able to travel outward at the time. From the energy of suffering i created paradises in the form of art.

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Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit 23


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http://www.psyace.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers how do you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

star birthed from the universe of my mind. They are only similar in the sense that they come from the same source yet each one is unique. How would you break down your workflow in steps? Do you like spontaneity? Are your works created gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes?

Dreams are very important to me. I would say that the dream realm is a fresh water spring & my art is the water I pull from that very source. The reason my art rejects conventional classification is because I myself am not a person who can be put into a box. Putting someone in a box in my opinion is a coffin only fit for the nonliving. Each artwork I create is a

I am a very metaphysical human being. Every creation Ive ever made has come into being in different ways. Some manifested spontaneously, others with great analytical thought behind their creation. I can say however that 24

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most just appear, when i create it feels as if i even get to observe the creation as my mind goes into an alternate state of self production. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Wave noise and Udjat heru, a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics. When walking our readers through the genesis of Wave noise and Udjat heru would you tell us your sources of inspiration? As you have remaked once your inspiration for art is travel & the daily situations we find ourselves in as living conscious beings: how much does your everyday life's experience fuel you as a creative? To be an artist is to be emotional. You’ll never find an emotionless artist, i dare say its impossible. The emotional roller-coaster i go through throughout the week and thus throughout the months is a key factor in my art. When i’m happy my art will surely manifest differently than if i am melancholy. When i created wave noise i was SPECIAL ISSUE

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actually frustrated that contemporary art has become in my opinion limited in what it accepts. The dusty static you see when looking at the artwork is an intentionally representation of the difficult task it takes to get change within the contemporary world of galleries. The colorful waves are blurred and simply different perceptions of the same. Showing that even when different artist are allowed within most contemporary establishments its because they have artwork that looks like what is already inside the gallery in question. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of tones of Flowerdelic and Rose frame, as well as the thoughtful nuances of Limb Paradise, that show that vivacious tones are not striclty indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece? My subconscious is the main factor in my creations. It tells me when to move and create. I don’t go into each individual artwork knowing what palette i will use until the majority of the main foundation of the art is created. Something that may start off SPECIAL ISSUE

red may be turn gold at the final steps of my creation. It all depends on my mood and emotion at the very moment. A child isn't born knowing what color their eyes will be, their eyes will simply be that color. That’s the 23


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best way i can explain my color palette. It’s just born & even i sit back & say interesting use of color. Even though i am the creator; after the art is finalized i become the first spectator.

Can you elaborate on how modern technology allowed you to develop as an artist? How would you consider the relationship between digital technology and your creative process? What are some of the tools 24

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you use to create your distinct style of artwork?

PhotoShop some of the tools are my custom self made computer the more powerful the CPU & GPU the faster i can render my creative expressions then i use industrial high quality printers the size of cars to canvas my

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canvas in a way that a mouse and keyboard simply cannot. Technology is always evolving. Like a library that is constantly gathering new books. I expect to append new technology In the same way other artist append new paintbrushes and paints. Your works have a seductive beauty on their surfaces: at the same time they address the viewers to explore a hidden realm that other cannot see. Rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense seems to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship elaborate personal meanings?

work. This allows me to ship to galleries anywhere in the world; a very useful apparatus for my art. I also use various drawing tablets which allows me to use a stylus so that i may precisely make curves, lines & manipulate every part of my 24

It is very important for the spectator to look into their imagination and memories when gazing upon my artworks. Their is never simply one singular meaning or reason behind my individual artworks. Each one is meant to bring out various thoughts within each viewer while at the same time extracting a particular core question. For example in my creation Cyry the core question that may manifest in someone who is truly examining the art is “can wholeness be found in fragments”. In my artwork Llliiights the core question is usually “Going, Stopping or what is SPECIAL ISSUE


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the destination.� As you can see depending on the mindset of the spectator the question will be different. Are they the type of person see it as an obstacle or do they see each light post as another land mark for where they are going? After that a rubber-band ball of ideas, questions & emotions wraps around the core sending the spectator down a rabbithole of personal reflection. My creations are catalyst that result in such effects. Your artworks often show clear references to realistic subjects, as Incension and BLCK Sapphire, but at the same time they are pervaded with stimulating abstract feature: would you define the relationship between abstraction and imagination in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? 8. Ironically the abstract aspects within my art is a distorted version of how my thoughts work. That’s why it can be found within my artwork so prevalently. When i think my thoughts are fragmented completions. At first that sounds like a paradox however it isn't at all. Instead of thinking of a single idea. I think of that single idea in multiple SPECIAL ISSUE

ways at once. An example of this; lets say you are waiting for the train. When the train arrives a person will chose one train car to get in. In my mind i have the ability to get in every train car simultaneously 23


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each on is a different version of that same single thought mentioned earlier. I apologize if anyone was just confused by such an example. insert laughter here. insert laughter here

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language is used in a particular context? I don’t consider audience reception because eventually the same person 23


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Even a child who didn't like eating vegetables when young can eventually grow into a vegetarian. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jehan. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I part-take in a hiatus every year with my artistic side to focus one developing other aspects of my life. I should be coming off of this hiatus around mid November 2017 so readers can expect a creative flood to emerge from me Just before the winter solstice. Every year I express my current moods, ideas, statuses in life & my art evolves and morphs to my emotions accordingly. Readers can expect my art-style to be drastically different while still holding the vivid surreal patterns seen throughout my prior art.

who couldn't appreciated your art will evolve as a person and that same very art they couldn't comprehend will become very pleasing to them if they cross paths with it again later in life.

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Aby Mackie Lives and works in Barcelona

Aby Mackie is a Barcelona-based artist whose wall-based sculptures are unified through a materials-led methodology combining storytelling and social commentary. Recurring themes can be identified as materialism, consumerism, value and memory. Each series investigates the interconnectedness of these themes through the language of materials. Often in Barcelona, the contents of entire homes are either thrown onto the streets or auctioned off at Encants Vells market upon the death of a final occupant. The creation of Mackie’s work is driven by the selection and repurposing of objects and textiles from these two practices in order to explore ongoing cultural concerns. This roots Mackie’s artistic process in the everyday existence of the unrecognised, uncelebrated, unknown lives of Barcelona’s residents. Mackie is captivated by the unobvious silent material witnesses to a life lived; a worn bed sheet, a stained tablecloth, a moth-eaten gown. Such artefacts bare the marks and physicality of human nature, possessing a poetic power. They are simultaneously valuable in their uniqueness and worthless in their deteriorated, decontextualized state. Each piece created from these objects is therefore both the artist’s personal expression of the hidden memories embedded in the original items, and a way to explore the recycling and re-contextualising of meaning and value in contemporary society. The experience and memories of others, imagined and real, fuse seamlessly with Mackie’s own through the salvation, destruction and discordant juxtaposition of materials. A rich mix of influences can be seen through Mackie’s work in terms of concept (the found object sculpture of Picasso, Miro, Tapies, Grau-Garriga), techniques and materials (Anatsui) and subject matter and aesthetic sense (Basquiat, Schwarz), inviting the viewer to create their own connections and interpretations and encouraging a personal storytelling through materiality. Wall based sculptures (work in progress). Mixed media. Embroidery, stitch and paint. 2017


Born in 1977 in Leicester, U.K. Aby Mackie earned her first class BA in textile design at Nottingham Trent University, followed by a Masters of Arts in fine art, photography and methodology. It is from this place of material and technical diversity that her work has evolved over the years. https://www.facebook.com/armario.barcelona/ Her art, design & collections can also be found on her website: www.abymackie.com


Melody Croft Lives and works in Athens, Georgia, USA

I am an emerging artist who captures people, places and things with oil paints onto canvas. Unlike the lens of a camera that objectively documents a moment in time and space, my lens subjectively observes. My portrait, conceptual, and genre paintings examine the status quo and social norms of modern life. I paint untraditional realistic narratives that invite viewers to look and consider the psychological, sociological, or emotional complexities of race, gender, age, and culture. A painting begins with someone I have seen whose appearance, character, situation, or personality interests me and then slowly transforms into a narrative. My portraits become "illuminations". Using newspaper and magazine print, I include poetry excerpts to accomplish two goals: first, to enhance the overall image and second, to introduce the viewer to the person in the portrait. The various colors, sizes, and fonts of each letter add to the visual dynamics of the overall painting. The poetry illuminates the portrait: adding meaning to the image, which provides the viewer a way to connect emotionally and/or intellectually to the individual in the painting. I attribute my works subject matter and style to the hundreds of young children I have been associated with for the last 30 years in my former profession as a teacher. The daily interactions with the children and most importantly, the moment-by- moment immersion into their concrete thinking rests on my canvases. My canvases embrace everyday people and objects and celebrate them via simplistic lines, shapes, values, and textures in bright colors. Painting reality in this somewhat impressionistic style breaks down life’s many complexities and forces me to live in the moment. Time does not exist as I reach inside myself and connect with the subject before me. The elements of the subject (color, shape, line, value, texture) and the feelings or thoughts that the subject may evoke in me envelope me like the threads of a cocoon. And as the cocoon provides the caterpillar a safe place to transform, the painting process allows me time to evolve emotionally and intellectually. Painting centers me just as breathing centers a Zen Buddhist. I aspire for each of my paintings to be a portal to momentary rest and renewal for those who choose to stop and look. May my work move viewers toward a more childlike appreciation of our complex world.

Melody Croft


Sitting By the Dock of the Bay, oil on canvas, 24”x26”


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Melody Croft Lives and works in Athens, Georgia, USA Adressing to a multilayered visual experience, artist Melody Croft's work provides the viewers with an intense, immersive experience: her works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, are always meaningful and successfully attempt to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which inner world and perceptual outside reality find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Croft's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of revealing moving viewers toward a more childlike appreciation of our complex world: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

Thank you for this opportunity to share my work!

Georgia Museum of Art entitled “Coming Home: American Paintings from 1930-1950. ” I had no prior knowledge about this era of American art and definitely didn’t foresee how these paintings would impact my artistic sensibility. The representational styled paintings captivated me, especially the work of the Social Realist, Ben Shahn. These American artists abstained from painting the staid images of traditional art and instead enlivened their canvases with painterly narratives of the everyday lives of ordinary people. I had no epiphany that evening but rather a realization that I wanted my work to move beyond interesting depictions of objects and people and toward narrative work that connected with human emotions.

Yes, there is most definitely one particular experience that has been influential in my work. In November of 2004, I attended the opening of an exhibition held at the

My cultural underpinning guides my aesthetic judgments. Fortunately for me, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had experiences that have vastly deepened my cultural

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Melody and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You are basically a selftaught artist: are there any particular experiences that influenced the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty?

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Because Timo Came to America, oil on canvas, 36”x24”


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since retiring from teaching. I’m not in the studio everyday nor do I keep to a schedule, something I plan on remedying at some point. Perhaps though this haphazard system is part of my process. My process, however, has a set framework. The idea comes first and when it does, I write it down in my sketchbook. The common thread in all of my ideas is life: the life I live and the life I observe others living. I probably have twenty future paintings presently on my list. If I take a random picture of someone while I’m out and about, it’s because the person or people are an excellent photo reference for an idea already on my list.

awareness and therefore broadened my perception of beauty. My liberal, humanistic worldview guides the topics of my paintings. They originate from the nuanced moments of everyday life that I observe or experience and also from my personal thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Anything I have learned about art and painting has been on my own initiative, by reading and studying paintings, and through trial and error. Being self-taught definitely allows me to approach art differently. If I don’t know the rules, they don’t limit me. My aesthetic judgments have been greatly influenced by the 6 through 10 year olds I taught for thirty years. The daily conversations and submergence into their concrete thinking are present in my paintings as simple lines and shapes painted in deep, rich colors.

When I choose an idea from my list for my next painting, I may have a photo reference filed away on my computer. But if I don’t, I mentally compose the painting and then search online for reference images that pretty much match my mental composition. If I’m painting a portrait, I think about what aspect of the person’s personality I want to include and then search on the Internet for poetry that captures that quality. Next, I draw out the painting in my sketchbook and reference the sketch and photo as I draw onto the canvas using a large sable bright paintbrush and thinned raw sienna. I work on one painting at a time, and because I paint in layers, it takes several weeks to complete a piece. I never jump immediately into another piece, with the exception of preparing for an upcoming exhibit, but allow a bit of time to pass before beginning my process again when I choose the idea for my next painting.

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://www.melodycroft.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? My studio is in my home: all four walls covered with paintings from my children and grandchildren. I always listen to music as I work at my easel next to a large window overlooking my backyard. Unfortunately, I have not developed a disciplined practice

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Because Timo Came to America and Because Tha Tha

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Port au prince, installation , West End Gallery, 2015

The Lady of Smiles, oil on canvas, 48�x24�

Came to America, a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your

analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Because Timo Came to America and Because Tha Tha Came to America would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects?

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Because Tha Tha Came to America, oil on canvas, 36”x24”


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So Much Depends, (poetry “Still I Rise” by William Carlos Williams), oil and mixed media, 36”x36”

My family is the inspirational source for these two paintings. My husband, two adult children, and I are white Americans. My daughter is married to a Hispanic American

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man and they have three sons. My son is married to an Asian-Indian American woman and they have two daughters. The idea for Because Timo Came to America and

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Madame Gautreau Takes a Break in the 21st Century, oil on canvas, 30”x30”

Because Tha Tha Came to America occurred while we were visiting the Statue of Liberty with my oldest grandson. Juxtaposed emotions rose within me as we looked at

our icon of freedom: pride for my country’s (and my family’s) growing diversity and anger towards the current hateful racial rhetoric. The paintings are

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The Bass Player (poetry “A Man in His Life” by Yehuda Amichai), oil and mixed media, 24”x24”

my personal and political expression of those emotions. “Lady Liberty,” an endearing term for the Statue of Liberty, wears the traditional

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clothing from the homeland of my five grandchildren’s grandfathers: Timo and Tha Tha. In both paintings she stands tall and proud

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Selfie‌ish, oil on canvas, 24x24�

expression of love and gratitude towards my family.

holding the tablet engraved with the title of each painting. The words are a metaphor for the positive effects of immigration but also a very personal

We like the way Madame Gautreau Takes a Break in the 21st Century addresses the

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viewers to a multilayered visual experience capable of triggering the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters: what did you draw to such stimulating superposition between the imagery from different ages? Moreover, does humour plays a role in your work? Striving to write a profound answer to this question, I read a bit about William Carlos Williams, the author of the poem in the painting So Much Depends. I was delighted to discover that he had a love for painting. Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Stella, Marsden Hartley, and Man Ray were close friends of his. In 1920, Williams and Hartley published an art magazine that showcased artists who created works that came from their experiences and sense of place. Madame Gautreau Takes a Break in the 21st Century and So Much Depends are definitely products of my experiences and sense of place. Several years ago, I read a book by the author Deborah Davis entitled Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X and sometime later purchased a book of Sargent’s drawings. One of the sketches in this second book is Madame Gautreau on the couch (the one in the painting). I paused at Sargent’s sketch and thought about Davis’s depiction of Gautreau in her novel and knew instantly what she would be doing on that couch if she were present in the 21st century: holding a Starbucks coffee while listening to music on her cellphone and looking at the screen on her Apple computer. So Much Depends, a portrait of my husband, Bob, was painted from a photo I took of him several years ago. The poem by William Carlos Williams “The Red

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Connecting…, oil on canvas, 24”x36”

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Museum Talk, oil on canvas, 24”x36”

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Wheelbarrow” is his favorite poem and was included in the painting as the narrative of how important he is to his family. Yes, I have included humor in some of my paintings, Madame Gautreau… being one of them, and whew- I am relieved to know it’s evident. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you attribute your works subject matter and style to the hundreds of young children you have been associated with for the last 30 years in your former profession as a teacher: how does everyday life's experience fuels your creativity? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? Moreover, how do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? I have to agree with William Carlos Williams who believed that strong artwork is art that connects to the artist’s experiences and sense of place. The phrase creative process is the key to this discussion because process denotes commitment and commitment springs from emotion: which is why I think a creative process is an emotional experience. All of my paintings stem from everyday life experiences. At the beginning of this year, I had a solo exhibit at a local library. While preparing for the show, I thought that since my work would be hanging in a building filled with printed stories, my show should also contain printed stories. Each painting in my exhibit, “Sixteen

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Stories” was accompanied by its story. Many of the paintings in this article were in that exhibit can be read online at my Tumblr account, thebestmelodyever. Since my experiences fuel my creativity, my paintings are first nonfictional and then, more often than not, my imagination takes the lead and provides a more interesting narrative. Connecting… sprang from my own restaurant experience. The woman’s face and the mirrored view of the restaurant is the imagined or what I call the “what if.” What if my face lost its dimensionality to express my hurt feelings and how much worse would I feel if the restaurant is filled to the brim with people talking and enjoying themselves. Sometimes the imagined is subtle, as in Sitting By the Dock of the Bay, a painting from a photo I took while taking a morning stroll in a seaside park in Bar Harbor, Maine. The painting is pretty much straight from the photo, except for the images painted in women’s sunglasses. My portraits are pretty straightforward except for the portraiture that I’ve coined as “illuminations” which include poetry. The poet’s imagination helps provide a narrative for the person in the portrait. You often combine images with poetry: what draws you to such interesting cross disciplinary approach? And in particular, when do you recognize that one of the mediums has exhausted it expressive potential to self? The first time I incorporated poetry in a painting was in the portrait of my husband, So Much Depends. Including Williams’s poem, The Red Wheelbarrow,

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Beautiful Women (poetry “Beautiful Women” by Walt Whitman), oil and mixed media, 24”x30”

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I Have a Daydream


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overwhelm it. The cool and warm tones of my yellows, blues, and reds relate well to each other and mix together into beautiful secondary colors.

was a fortunate moment of sudden insight. I loved the visual, intellectual, and emotional impact the mingling art forms created, so I have continued to incorporate them in other works.

I’ve never thought about my psychological make-up determining my choice of colors but a quick glance at a Psychology Today article says there certainly is a correlation. My paintings incorporate more reds and blues than other hues; so according to Psychology Today, I use red because I’m cheerful, optimistic, and passionate. The color blue indicates I’m reliable, sensitive, and always make an effort to think of others. Check, check, and check again: yes, these are all dominant personality traits of mine. Amazing.

I find portraiture to be a genre that occasionally exhausts its expressive potential. Sometimes, looking at a portrait is like being at a party and glancing at a stranger who doesn’t appear interesting to you and so you don’t approach the person. I find that including poetry with the image is like having your best friend introduce you to that stranger whom you had so quickly dismissed but now realize, after only a few brief exchanges, is the most fascinating person you have ever met. Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface: we have really appreciated the way the vibrancy of vivacious nuances of the pieces as Connecting create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture?

I love creating texture. I paint in layers and the third layer is magical, because that is when the surface begins to “pop.” The “pop” is the texture created when the first two layers peak through the third layer. Intermingling small pure brushstrokes of color in that third layer also makes the image leap forward. Your works are rich with symbols, as I Have a Daydream and Beautiful Women. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Morever, would you tell us something about the importance of symbols in your imagery?

My palette reminds me of the primary colors in a box of crayons. When I was small, I loved to press down with my crayons onto the paper so that the colors saturated the surface. My limited color palette accomplishes the same effect as my childhood crayons and saturates the surface of the canvas yet doesn’t

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Don’t Stare on the Subway, oil on canvas, 24”x48”

I suppose Thomas Demand would give me a pat on the back because I paint with a story in mind. The colors and objects in my paintings provide the story and are not consciously meant to be symbolic. Looking at I Have a Daydream, I see the symbolism you refer to. For example, the 1960 era city bus in the background of I Have a Daydream could be considered a symbol for the oppression African Americans experience. The brick wall fading away

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behind the woman waiting at the bus stop could symbolize the slow dismantling of a long history of racism. Yes, those two objects are symbolic in the painting; however, I didn’t place them in the painting intentionally to be symbols, but rather as pieces of a narrative dependent on the viewer to tell. Over these years you have exhibited in juried shows in Georgia, Charleston, SC,

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your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? My creative process does not take into account how the public will receive my work. I don’t censor myself. My work is my voice and I am who I am. I do, however, consider the type of language used in regard to the poetry I choose in my “Illumination paintings.” I want the poetry to lead the audience inside the portrait, so in that way I am perhaps manipulating the viewer to stay with the painting just a little bit longer. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Melody. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I received confirmation today for an exhibition in January 2018 at an area art center. I am the curator and also a participating artist with ten other artists whom I chose in an exhibit I entitled: Sight and Sound: Creating Connections. Each artist will connect five of his or her visual works to online audio recordings. The audio recording may be congruent or noncongruent with the visual work but is chosen or created by the artist to enhance the visual experience. The gallery visitors will connect to the audio recording by scanning the QR code printed on the information label posted next to the artwork using a cellphone or tablet. Scanning the QR code will direct the visitor’s device to the audio file stored on an online website, such as YouTube, and can be listened to on ear buds. For the

and Chicago, IL and have had several individual shows locally. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of

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purpose of providing an example for the proposal readers, I placed images of Beautiful Women, Because Timo Came to America, and #Wallflower on YouTube with an audio of my voice telling the story of each painting. The paintings and accompanying stories can be found by searching Melody Croft artist on YouTube. I presently am working on a body of work discussing the issue of beauty product commercials and their influence on women’s self-esteem. I am referencing famous beauty advertisements and replacing the model’s face in the actual ad with my own face. The idea will evolve as I get further into the body of work but for now, there will be a painting of me as an Avon Lady from the 1960s, another of me as the innocent sexy seductress in the Love’s Baby Soft ad from 1977, and yes, I will be Brook Shields in the 1980 Calvin Klein jeans ad: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” My work is subtly evolving technically as I continue to produce work. I’m more confident at the easel and am applying the oils in a more expressive and painterly way. My list of ideas is moving beyond social issues and into political concerns. Thank you for presenting this wonderful opportunity to me. Your interview questions provided an opportunity to analyze my work and myself as an artist.

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Nevertheless Persist, oil on canvas, 24”x30”

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Precisely Endlessly


Genevieve Cohn Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Growing up I was drawn to books such as the Boxcar Children and Roxaboxen--stories in which children were left to their own devices to survive in the wild and create communities out of stones and sticks. I too wanted to be the maker of my own worlds, worlds in which I had agency and could control the passing of time. My yard ended abruptly with a rocky ledge that created a stage upon which I built the sets to my new realities. Beyond my yard was a backdrop of farmland and forest that lead up to the edge of Lake Champlain and the flat blue Adirondack Mountains. I would collect branches from the woods and twine from bales of hay to construct forts. When the winter slowed the water into ice, I would shovel the snow on my pond into pathways and when the spring would bring its thaw, I would mold with mud. I found strength in creation, and today the ideas of agency and engagement are a significant part of my work. The imagery of my paintings walks a line between the “real” world and a world shaped by emotional perceptions. These worlds oscillate between bold, immediate foregrounds and expansive, ambiguous scenery. While the landscapes in my work verge at times on abstraction, we are grounded by the conviction of the women who occupy that space. I am inspired by women who create in a world that wasn’t built to see them, so I paint women who are strong and capable. They navigate, fix, and hold together the strange worlds they inhabit. They pull their worlds together with string, and mold mountains with their bare hands. Often their tasks seem unclear, or even futile, but these women act as anchors in a world that is wrought with uncertainty. My painting process mirrors the rhythms of my life – sometimes loose and chaotic, sometimes reactive and intensely focused. I shift between transparent washes of acrylic and thick layers of paint applied with a palette knife. Much as we learn to see ourselves differently through time and transformation, I both build surfaces up and sand away at the paint to reveal earlier histories. I speak from a place of vulnerability with my paintings, with figures attempting to ground themselves in an ephemeral world. Life and painting are complex, requiring both pushing and pulling, building and taking away, acting quickly without clarity, and then slowly realizing the best path forward. I emphasize the power of that transformative process through the materiality of paint.


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Genevieve Cohn Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA Drawing inspiration from beauty of nature and environment, artist Genevieve Cohn's work provides the viewers with an intense, emotional visual experience: with a focus on the theme of women who act as anchors in a world that is wrought with uncertainty, her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Cohn's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice, walking the viewers through the thin line between the “real” world and a world shaped by emotional perceptions: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

individualized experimentation. I didn’t make the decision to commit to painting until my senior year in college when I realized that it was something I could pursue as more than just a personal exploration. I took only two painting classes while I was in school so much of my learning was done outside of the classroom. I had always painted because it was something I needed to do for myself. It forced to me slow down and process the world around and within me. It was a genuine revelation when I realized that my art was something I could share with other people.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA of Art and Culture & Communications from Ithaca College, you joined the MFA program at Indiana University to nurture your education in the fields of Painting and Drawing: how do these experiences, along with the years that you spent in Spain and in Northern India influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

I studied in both Southern Spain and the Himalayas of Northern India while in college. Travel instigated an interest in environment and nature as fraught with psychological potential. My time in the Himalayas broadened my understanding of nature as an entry point for emotional transformation. Before my trip I had been experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety. With the changing altitude and literal changes of perspective traveling through the mountains, I was able to contextualize

I was fortunate enough to experience a liberal arts education that supported my varied academic interests before deciding to do a painting intensive graduate program. My undergraduate degrees in Art and Culture & Communications cultivated my curiosity in cultural and international studies alongside my interest in painting. My painting education in college was a combination of supported study and

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Remember the Tinman


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myself in the grander scheme of things. I was completely entrenched in an environment so much larger than myself. I became interesting in translating the impact of a physical space into my paintings. At the heart of my work is the connection between the external world and our internal selves.

how to best move forward with another work. My style is consistently evolving, especially these last two years while I have been in graduate school. While my pieces are rooted in themes of nature, the focus is on women finding strength in vulnerability, and finding strength through engagement.

The results of your artistic inquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit http://www.genevievecohn.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work. While walking our readers through your usual process and setup, can you tell them something about the evolution of your style? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

Some paintings start with a concrete idea or story. The evolution of this body of work began with me attempting to create physical manifestations of internal emotional states. I needed a way for me to take the most difficult parts of my self and turn them into something possible to face head on. I could take the experience of feeling like I am falling apart, and create this strong army of women to help me hold it together. I could take my emotional landscape and turn it into something tangible. My paintings are no longer just about myself but instead investigate larger themes of vulnerability, engagement and community.

My painting process mirrors the rhythms of my life – sometimes loose and chaotic, sometimes reactive and intensely focused. I shift between transparent washes of acrylic and thick layers of paint applied with a palette knife. Much as we learn to see ourselves differently through time and transformation, I both build surfaces up and sand away at the paint to reveal earlier histories.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Remember the Tin Man and Conversation Among the Ruins, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Remember the Tin Man and Conversation Among the Ruins would you tell us your

I work on several paintings at the same time so that I can promote a conversation among the pieces growing in my studio. I’ll have paintings going that take months to complete and small panels I can get through in a day. I can figure out something on one surface that will then help me understand

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sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects? This past year it was impossible for me to make work that wasn’t in some way a reaction to the socio-political climate fueled by the recent election. My most recent series of paintings, which includes Remember the Tin Man and Conversation Among the Ruins, are an attempt to capture the experience of engagement in the face of desperation. I found it especially important to create spaces for women to come together who maintain agency. They have control of themselves and their worlds. I draw my ideas from various sources. I research imagery and ideologies from female separatist communities and The Women’s Land Army from World War II. In including our own history in work, it helps me to create something new and help to move forward in a way that is inclusive and honors what we’ve been through. I also turn to children’s books and children’s imaginative play. The seriousness of the former melded with the innocence of the latter helps to give my scenes a complicated sense of self. I also use my own photography in which I use my close friends as subjects. This allows me to make choices based on personal experiences. Remember the Tin Man, titled after a Tracy Chapman song, was my way of confronting the conversation regarding the building of the USA/Mexico border wall. I am interested in exploring the tension inherent in creating a concrete border. In Remember the Tin Man it’s called into question if the wall being built

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Dog Woman God Woman

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Coyotes Found Beauty First

or is it being deconstructed? Is she building

With Conversation Among the Ruins, I let the

herself in or building to keep something out?

process dictate the imagery. I had a general

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Don't Break These Bones

compositional structure but then let myself

of the paint. Conversation Among the Ruins

experiment and explore with the application

went through countless reincarnations

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Sticks and Stones

where it appeared as dramatically different

We like the vibrancy of the intense tones

works before landing in this final form.

of Precisely, Endlessly and I Want I Want

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Conversation Among the Ruins


I Am


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Aquatic Nocturne

but at the same time we have appreciated the way the thoughtful nuances of your pieces, as the stimulating Sticks and

Stones shows how vivacious tones are not strictly indispensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about

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Have You Ever Bullied a Wave

settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological makeup determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture?

interest in light drives many of my decisions so I am always trying to find a balance between illumination coming from inside the painting and maintaining a structure from an organizing light source within the world of the painting. I want it to feel like my paintings are glowing from the canvas, from within the world.

I create paintings that feel otherworldly and stretch our comprehension of reality. My

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The Moon She Hides

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Death Of Myth-Making

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like you were sailing out over the edge of the world.

Part of my palette decision also comes along with using colors that I want to live with. I spend most of my time in my studio, so I want to be painting with colors that can help me address heavy subject matter in ways that I still find empowering.

I spent my time in the woods, building forts out of sticks and twine and when the winter would slow the water to ice I would carve paths through the snow on the pond. I loved books such as the Boxcar Children series and Roxaboxen where children were left to their own devices to make their own worlds.

I build my paintings up slowly. I work in transparent layers, building up thin washes of acrylic paint. Experimentation and play are crucial while I am in the studio; I spill, splash, roll the paint on and set myself up with challenges to that I’ll need to react to in order to move forward. Some level of self-sabotage is necessary so that I will continuously push myself forward.

These physical and literary spaces started as ways for me to imagine the kinds of world or lives of which I wanted to be a part. Today, my paintings are doing much the same. I have always found strength in creation; ideas of agency and engagement are a significant part of my work.

You seem to draw a lot from direct experience: with a consistent focus on the theme of nature, and especially on the relationship between women and environment, your artworks, as the interesting Dog Women, God Women and A Better Resurrection reveals a marked capability of capturing with apparent minimalism both the ideas that you explore and the stories you tell in your paintings. How much importance does direct experience play into your creative process? Do you spend a lot of time exploring the places that we can admire in your paintings or do you rather instantly capture their spirit?

All of these elements of my childhood filter into my work, in addition to my time spent traveling in some strange and epic landscapes such as Iceland and the Himalayas. I am most moved by physically extraordinary places that simultaneously make you feel like you are nothing and everything all at the same time. Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception: while clear references to perceptual reality, some of your paintings as Aquatic Nocturne and The Coyotes Found Beauty First reject an explicit explanatory strategy: the vivacious tones of seem to be the tip of the iceberg of the emotions that you are really attempting to communicate. How would you define the relationship between abstraction and the figurative in

I grew up in rural Vermont on a dead-end dirt road that overlooked farmland and forest leading all the way up to the edge of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains of New York state. My yard ended abruptly, creating a stage so that if you swung too high on the swing it looked

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your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work? Moreover, do you pay attention to the work of your contemporaries? If so, is there anyone in particular you feel inspired by?

In my attempt to create a space that reads as both believable and psychological I move between representation and abstraction. The paintings you mentioned, Aquatic Nocturne and The Coyotes Found Beauty First utilize abstraction and texture to further deepen the meaning or the story I’ve set up. The abstraction allows me to think about the painting separate from its subject matter.

Literature and nature are my leading influence outside of the visual arts. I connect deeply to writers like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez who explore ideas of the absurdity of life, time as cyclical, connections to nature and magical realism. Like I have mentioned before, travel and experiencing nature are also integral to my practice.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, the women in your paintings act as anchors in a world that is wrought with uncertainty: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? (here we have reserved space for Conversation Among the Ruins and Don't Break These Bones, that you could mention in your answer, as well)

As I am just leaving graduate school, my cohort of artists and friends have an undeniable influence on my art. I am inspired by so many of my contemporaries, but perhaps the two I will mention right now are Katherine Bradford and Judith Bernstein. I was fortunate enough to listen to a conversation between the two painters in New York City this past spring. I was floored by their conversation, as two strong female contemporary painters. I left feeling motivated to make work that is bolder and more honest and to continue tapping into communities of people who engage in meaningful conversations about art and life.

I do believe that there is a special value in me painting about women as a woman. What started as predominately selfportraiture evolved to create a space that reflects the strength that I see in the women around me. The admiration and dedication I have to the women in my own life is a jumping off point to create a universality of connectivity and community.

How do you go about naming your work? In particular, is it important for you to say something that might walk the viewers through their visual experience? Naming my work always feels like breathing new life into a painting. It is not my intention to walk my viewers through

Your style is very personal and conveys both rigorous geometry and vivacious abstract feature: what influences outside

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Port au prince, installation , West End Gallery, 2015

A Better Ressurection

their visual experience, but instead provide an alternative entry point that might enhance the way they are able to navigate the space. The titles serve as a clue to

something I hope they investigate as they navigate the worlds of my paintings. I anticipate providing my viewers with some information that ties to another medium; it

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reflecting the beauty that I see in the world, not in spite of its difficulty or ugliness, but beauty as strength that is born from learning to live with the most difficult parts of ourselves or our world.

acts as another reference point and connection point to the visual world I’ve created. I am interested in the intersection between literary and visual imagery and how each might complement and complicate the other.

I create worlds that I hope will allow for viewers find themselves in my work. I don’t make decisions for my paintings based on the reception of potential audiences, but I do paint with the hope that people viewing my work will relate and reflect on their own experiences of engagement.

I consider how my paintings can speak to various histories through their connection with found titles pulled from poems, songs, or short stories. Dog Women, God Women is a reference to Paula Rego’s series of dog women paintings. I was interested in continuing a conversation with that body of work in which she draws these powerful, physical dog women as a form of empowerment. I was so drawn to these powerful, physical women and I wanted to provide a space for my dog woman to be the maker of her own world.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Genevieve. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation to Face Forward, at the West Hartford Art League. One of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language you use in a particular context?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to share and discuss my work. This coming year I will be living in Chicago and working as a visiting professor at Indiana University Northwest. I spent the summer teaching in Italy as well as in southern Vermont. Already, my work has started to reflect new experiences and new environments. I’m curious and excited to see how my work continues to evolve as I learn to navigate a new phase of my life. I don’t yet know how this will affect my headspace and, in turn, my canvas. What I do know is how undeniably interconnected the two are and I’m excited to continue growing and evolving as an artist---whatever that may entail!

My paintings are gestures of strength, engagement and community. The women are capable and supportive and continuously working to make a world that is better off for them being a part of it. I am interested in

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Paula Blower Natural, pure and spontaneous. It is on this dimension that I propose my work's development. As a freedom and permission to multiply, separate, transform. I allow myself to be a book, to wear it. I wear the sea, I wear the repulsion, I wear the solitude, I wear myself as a child. I decide when I'm born. It's all about choices and the powerful machine that is our own mind. And this is my new childhood. Literature inspires me and for freedom of expression I try to materialize it. Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.�. I seek to explore impermanence, autonomously, using different languages, techniques, and unconventional materials most often ephemeral. Through a search for the answer or just a reaction to the personal experiences I try to express them in a playful way as a conversation with the viewer. As a request for help or just the reflection of intense relationships of dialogue with our demons. Think of the body as something volatile and immaterial. A body in constructive transformation. This body that can be object, house, a feeling of longing, yellow, slurry. I'm just a correspondent. I try to stimulate the senses and different ways of thinking the inner and outer body.

The answer is in the verse, 2016 - Photographer Marcelo Hallit


Lynne Reeves Lives and works in Guildford, United Kingdom

I’m a very eclectic artist. I like variety. This is reflected in my work. I can’t offer an explanation or reasoning as to why I paint what or which medium I prefer; there is no deep reasoning behind my art. It has become a passion, and serves me well. Having worked in oils in the beginning, I’ve now progressed through every medium art has to offer. Acrylics, my preferred medium now, when painting, offer such versatility with the addition of gels, pastes and mediums. Then of course the combination of acrylics and mixed media together allowing for endless creative possibilities, which I have had huge pleasure from. ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ - very true in the case of a mixed media painting when any small bits and pieces, relevant to the story are used in the creation. No mixed media creation would be complete for me without the (re)-use of my old dried acrylic paint, scraped from my palette, and then guilded or painted. Onto my discovery of colour … vibrant colour! With marker pens and the emergence of my ‘Big Hair Art’, which - just happened whilst doodling, whilst bored. From my first and early pieces of Big hair, with blocky colours and more limited patterns, and in the main created with ‘Sharpies’ and other basic felt tips, it’s been an incredible journey of exploration into the world of sophisticated waterbased markers which blend and smudge like any paint, and which have led me to create more sophisticated artworks. No rules; I can go where my pen takes me - arcs and curves into rigid lines and points; colour clashes, colours complimenting. erring on the side of whimsical, there is a varying predictability through them all. When exhibiting recently it was suggested these colourful pieces would make into great colouring books, for adults, once stripped of their colour. This I have since done, and self published. But, being the eclectic artist I am, I have been dabbling into the world of watercolours, and graphite drawings favouring animals and pets as a subject matter. The pleasure from graphite drawing comes from the knowledge there are no decisions to make: no colour choices to determine or patterns to choose. Merely fine pencils and chosen paper …. and of course an eraser!


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Lynne Reeves Lives and works in Guildford, United Kingdom Rejecting any conventional classification regarding its style, Lynne Reeves' work draws the viewers through an unconventional and multilayered experience. In her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages she accomplishes the difficult task of exciting the observer to „finish“ the painting by themselves, to motivate their imagination to create personal associations and interpretation: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to Reeves' stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

used oils, and progressed onto acrylics, but I had very little knowledge of the minefield of art mediums on the market today. Together with the magnitude of inspiration available, it was a daunting undertaking knowing which path to take. It was actually an exhibition by the brilliant artist Emily Lamb (granddaughter of wildlife artist, David Shepherd), that had me transfixed. The works she was showing - all African related - were to me exquisite; finely painted elephants emerging through a misty background; and in each work an imprint of pattern from a sari. I was hooked, and my art journey began with printing, collage, stencilling, and generally applying random bits and bobs to canvas.this was the start

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Hello Lynne and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty? Thank you for inviting me to do this interview and for showing my artworks. I have no formal background, but always had a great love of art. When I retired, a few years ago now, and started on my art journey I was a bit of a lost soul - not knowing where to start! In the past, I’d

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The results of your artistic inquiry convey together a coherent sense of unity:

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before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit www.lynneartystuff.co.uk in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist. Colour. Colour and more colour. That and everything that is not the norm. Originally whenI first started painting, my paintings were realistic, I guess trying to emulate the ‘Old masters’. Today, I endeavour to create only what can only be defined as very different; not the norm. So, this is what resulted in my ‘Big Hair Art’. It was whilst sitting doodling with my young grandson my Big Hair evolved. It has now developed into more sophisticated, drawings, with intricate patterns, and colours which blend and tone together, as opposed to the ‘blocky’ colours of my first works. I would classify these artworks as ‘whimsical’; where my pen can lead the way; no rules here; the bigger the hair the better; the more patterns the better; and the more colour absolutely the better. Stripped of their colour, I have now produced and self published an adult colouring book of “Big Hair Art’ to accompany the many, many other colouring books available on the creative market.

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The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way you have captured subtle aspects of the personality of your characters, providing the visual results of your artistic inquiry with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through your usual process and set up, would tell us how do you select the subjects for your artworks? I don’t. They just take effect, and the fact they are of a whimsical nature, allows the freedom for this. I am enjoying at present experimenting with soft watercolours, and particularly enjoy the contrast of harsh lines in contrast to the watery, fluid watercolours. My current work is another colouring book, following the story of cats; highly patterned cats, and for this I do have a planned concept of the work. You are a versatile artist and after having worked in oils, your media now include acrylics with addition of gels, pastes and other mediums: what are the qualities that you are searching for in the materials that you combine in your works? There does have to be some cohesion between the materials in any given painting. If not, as a whole, it will jar, so there has to be some kind of unity; and

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relevance between the materials and the subject matter.

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We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of your pieces,

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that are often marked out with intense tones : however, other works shows that

vivacious tones are not strictly indespensable to create tension and

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dynamics. How did you come about

much does your own psychological make-

settling on your color palette? And how

up determine the nuances of tones you

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decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture?

In answer to the colour palette: this really does depend on what I’m working

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on. With the Big Hair, I’d be lying if I said I just used random colours; I do have an idea in the beginning, of how I perceive the end result of a work regarding the colours used. Here again, I try to keep some cohesion within the colours used, to ensure unity within the work. By nature, I am not the most calm of individuals, and will always err on the different to the norm. This is most definitely evident in my work. Boredom would inevitably set in if I were

to create homogeneous pieces in one medium. Rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense, you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that your spectatorship elaborate personal meanings? I suppose this is so with my collages, as it is not evident immediately as to the

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subject matter, and how one individual views a piece of work - and what they see, may be very diverse to another’s. This is good; it’s creating thought processes.

gratification from the creative process itself. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lynne. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Your paintings convey a wide variety of human feelings: does your inspiration come from everyday life's experience or rather from your imagination? I consider myself not to have too much of an imagination, so I would suppose, at least, when referring to my Big Hair, for the overall facial expression and appearance, it comes down to everyday life; but for the internal patterns and colours, my imagination. With my collages, I have to have something representational to base them on; using relevant other effects to complete the work.

I am currently working on another colouring book for adults; ‘Toff Cats’ ‘Tails’ of Funky Felines. A book of highly patterned ‘posh’ cats, in various scenarios …. from dancing on a table to having over-indulged at a picnic - always with a bowler hat. Great fun! I also intend to develop the watercolours and to establish my own style. Particularly more work exploring harsh ink line drawings enhanced with patches of watercolour washes.

Before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the 1 nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Likewise, with graphite work, which I’ve been enjoying immensely. Due to the fact that no patterns or colours have to be decided on, as I’m replicating from a photo, there is no great thought process required, which makes for a remarkedly relaxing experience.

Very much so. I consider audience reception hugely when creating probably on a par with my own

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Francine LeClercq Lives and works in New York City, USA

"There is no white picture. And there is no old picture. It is always a question of current experience and current perception." Often consisting of multiples works grouped around a specific theme, my work deals with the questions relating to the perception of art, the arrangement of the work in space, the elements of the work, whether concrete, sensory, intellectual and semantic, and the synchrony between the work, its context and the receiver. The installation [3:2] consists of more than 800 cells measuring 3 x 2 inches in reference to the photographic 3:2 aspect ratio now adopted for the LCD screens of our digital devices such as cameras, i-phones and the likes. A coat of thermochromic ink is applied to the cells, causing a nuance such that they may be perceived as an opaque black monochrome, a blur or revealing the underlying image depending on temperature and location, the proximity of bodies and heat exchange. It is an experiment whereby art is the moment of a mutual dependency fermented by an active participation of the senses.

I Am Your Labyrinth, Installation


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Elisabeta Vlad Lives and works in Bucarest, Romania Exploring the psychology and symbolism of colors , mixing powerful shapes and elegance , are the main elements that describe my creations . I create with the purpose of self-exploring and self-evolution . My creative universe is based on experimenting with different moods , which I use to bring flavor to my thinking and to my paintings . I call them : elegance , strength , relaxation , energy boosting . They include subjects like cosplay , circles , cats , fruits , landscapes . I use expressionist concepts mainly , but I am also focusing on impressionist , surrealist and pop-art ideas . Even though my artistic education was based on working with oil colors , for my latest paintings I use acrylic colors .

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

Hello Elisabeta and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formation and you graduated from the National University of Arts in Bucharest: how did this experience influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making in general?

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Elisabeta Vlad's work are based on psychology and symbolism of colors and her refined exploration of the power and elegance of shapes draws the viewers through a multilayered visual experience. Her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages are marked out with thoughtful and as the same time vivacious tones and accomplishes the difficult task of inquiry into the duality between figurative and abstraction, with a particular attention on symbolism: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production

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I would go backwards and talk about my beginnings in art. The first thing that influenced me was painting religious icons, because of the first exhibition I participated to, when I was like 12. This was the first experience that brought me closer to studying art. That time, I was sick and had to

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Breast , 12x8 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017


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miss school for a week. So I chose to focus on painting icons, for which I spent like 20 hours. I continued to be preoccupied by icons in high school, making this my choice for one of the high school workshops also. I kept the feeling for icons when I paint, but I never went too far in studying this field, because they are based on cannons, and I am too creative to stick to them.

memorable paintings I was using the symbolism and psychology of colors. I am still focusing on the psychological effects of colors and images. The results of your artistic inquiry convey together a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://www.saatchiart.com/elisabetavlad in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist.

Since my early beginnings in studying art, I started to work with strong shapes. This is one of the main elements I focus on today when I paint. In college I continued this attitude and I started to treat the empty space also like a strong shape itself. I was very impressed by the way my master uses colors. I still find it magical. Many times when I paint I think about the way my college teacher uses colors, like sunset or sunrise flow of colors.

Another attitude in my paintings is the energy flow, since I read about Van Gogh’s paintings which are based on mixtures between forces that connect and reject. Also the flow of the body while doing breakdance inspired me. I used to practice break– dance in highschool. I learned about the energy that is flowing from a point to another in the human body. By focusing on energy flow I express life in paintings, like a heartbeat or blood flow.

I discovered that I have expressionist approaches in college and I still have an expressionist core, so this is a part of me. In college I developed composition based on feelings, attitudes and thoughts, by making exercises of forgetting about treating art as crafting and the rules of art. I also kept the desire to feel the real shapes of fruits, bones or studying human body.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Million dolar city and Kiwi, a couple of interesting artworks that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your work is the way you provided the visual results of your artistic

There can be a moment in life, when you can get through depression, anxiety, somebody is dying, you are not loved‌ Life tests made me understand that art can be more than beauty, so I started to read about the symbolism and psychology of colors. On my most appreciated and also my most

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Abstract composition , 16x16 in, acrylic , canvas ,2016

inquiry into the psychology and symbolism

when walking our readers through the

of colors with autonomous aesthetics:

genesis of Million dolar city and Kiwi would

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Love symbols ,16x16 in, acrylic , canvas ,2016

you shed a light about your usual process

“Kiwi” is an exercise of using the palette of

and setup?

green. “Kiwi” is a rainbow with green

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Million dolar city , 28x39 in , acrylic on canvas , 2016


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Selfportrait as Vlad Tepes , 16 x 16 in,acrylic , canvas , 2016

dominant. It’s a joy of green, the empire of green.

rainbow images recharging, joyful and relaxing after workout. The beginning of my preoccupation for rainbow palette started when I was 12, when I made a collection of all the butterflies I found in my area.

One of the types of psychological images I focus on is the idea of rainbow. I find

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Tempest , 16x16 in, acrylic , canvas ,2015

“Million dollar city” - I used the image of “Million dollar baby” poster, as a woman that struggles to survive in a crowded city. It’s also related to the rainbow palette. I used kaleidoscope to redesign Victory

Square from Bucharest, to make the city look more organized, more relaxing. As you have remarked once, your creative universe is based on experimenting with

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SPECIAL ,ISSUE Avocado 12x8 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

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kiwi , 9x7 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

Melon , 12x8 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

different moods, which you use to bring flavor to your thinking and to your paintings: how much everyday life's experience does fuel your creativity?

Lately, I started to extend this research on how my menstrual cycle influences me and which are my needs from a week to another.

Since I have a lot of inside life, I use the computer a lot. I change its background often, based on my needs. I categorized the images on folders: rainbow palette, elegant, energizing, focusing images, powerful, refreshing, summer refreshing, relaxing, sweet images.

How do you view the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your works? Some of my works are based on real figures, like portraits, cat moves, fruits. I exaggerate shapes, colors, contrasts to

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Pineapple , 12x8 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

Watermelon , 12x8 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

show the energy that impresses me on them. As a painter, I don’t have strong social qualities. I play games I may not usually play in real life. I use an inner self personality. Through painting I’m like an actor on the canvas.

many years ago, for my graduation paintings, and I wanted to continue to make more imaginary landscapes. I was never passionate about painting landscapes, I didn’t have the exercise of making landscapes, but I was impressed by how my subconscious creates them.

“Tempest” is based on the idea of guitars, melting guitars, fire and sunset. It’s based on my passion for rock music. It’s an imaginary landscape. I used this manner of painting transparencies like watercolors

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“The scream landscape” - I found that it looks a lot like Munch’s “Scream” - a fact that didn’t surprise me, since my natural tendency is to paint using Munch palette.

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The scream landscape , 16x16 in, acrylic , canvas ,2016

“The abstract landscape� - is also an example of my imaginary landscapes concept.

artworks, and we have really appreciated

Red is a quite recurrent tone in your

with intense tones as the ones from your

the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of your pieces, that are often marked out

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Vampire lady , 16x16 in, acrylic , canvas , 2017

Self portrait as Vlad Tepes and Love

much does your own psychological makeup determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture?

Symbols that create both tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how

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I want to make my paintings breath, have blood flow. I like pure and vibrant colors, I like the color explosion of contemporaneity.

Some circumstances made me start using acrylic paint. Both for the idea of trying a new technique and for the idea that acrylic is the most resistant paint. I started to make decorative objects and jewelries, for which I used acrylic and I also started to test it on canvas and other surfaces. Moving from a place to another, sleeping in the same place where I was painting, I started to use more and more acrylic. I don’t think it’s a big difference between the two techniques. You can mix acrylic with whatever you want, it’s easier to do more and more types of textures. Acrylic offers so many possibilities, much more than oil. Acrylic dries faster, does not have a strong smell, and you can clean the brushes faster.

I also like to remember the old masters of art, but I like to bring the feeling of freshness to my paintings. There is always place for lots of games of textures. There is always place for experimenting with different textures, no matter how many books about abstract art or creativity development you may have seen. One of my plans is to take time to make a big collection of sketches based on textures. I like to see textures around me like the way oil behaviors on different surfaces or rotten surfaces.

Your works are mostly expressionist and also convey influences from impressionism as well as from surrealism, especially regarding composition and imagery: do you have any figures in art history as well as in our contemporary scene that look up to?

I also use phone applications and computer programs to see if I could add some better textures to my works. For “Love symbols”, for the wings and the bodies I mixed the colors on the canvas. For the background I made a marble texture, impressionist brush strokes for the ground. You have painted in oil for 10 years and for almost 10 years you paint with acrylic: what are the properties of these media that particularly appeal you? In particular, how do you select a medium in relation to the work that you are planning to create?

I was always impressed by every art movement I learned about. My all times favourite is Van Gogh, as for contemporary I am impressed by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. I like how they make connections between their life and their creations and the fact they bring their biggest joy on high artistic levels. I like their special connection with their own works, also their complexity of ideas.

I painted in oil during the whole high school and college.

Your paintings are rich with symbols: rather than attempting to establish any

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univocal sense, the abstract feeling that pervades your works seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings?

I use to apply for exhibition calls. I believe that for every painter it is a certain public. It’s good to show yourself to the world. This is a way to evolve, not only a way to make yourself known.

My personal meanings for my paintings are not so important. I may not even remember the subject I used for one work. What remains is the biggest feeling or plastic idea that the painting offers.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Elisabeta. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I like to know people’s opinions. The purest opinions belong to the people that are non-painters. If I show a painting to somebody, I can get a precious information that could feed my creativity.

I have lots of ideas and I started some new projects.

To me, painting is a way of self-growing, I paint for my spiritual evolution. I like to show my joy of life to the others.

I have ideas that I started to focus on like 10- 20 years ago and I still work with. I have many lists of ideas on the computer, and I choose what to work on at the right moment. I think I have ideas to work on for the whole life.

You have recently had the show 'DETACHED FROM THE DECOR' at the National Museum of Maps and Old Books, in Bucharest. We would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

This year I’m working more on portraits, to continue a project of portraits I started with “Self-portrait as Vlad Tepes”. As a dream, I would like to make research on the color and images therapy and how art could affect people’s life. Thanks a lot for this opportunity, it was a wonderful experience and I wish you good luck with Peripheral ARTeries.

I create the things I want to create. I’m not a fan of having requests. If I make a portrait, people are at least 99% happy with the result. I used to do bodypainting, and people were 100% happy.

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Lazy yellow cat , 16x12 in , acrylic , canvas , 2016


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Ajdi Tartamella Lives and works in Berlin, Germany Multidisciplinary artist Ajdi Tartamella's work combines painting with performance to provides the viewers with an intense, immersive visual experience in the interstitial point between reality and imagination: her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Tartamella´s work is the way it inquires into the liminal area in which dreamlike dimension and the conscious level: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

My father is a writer and a poet, my mother a teacher and a ceramist, my sister and her husband work in the filed of performing arts and so does my partner.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Ajdi and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that influenced the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to the aesthetic problem in general?

I do not often think about it but growing up in such a creative environment has probably had a great influence on my whole creative process. I started travelling alone at an early age in the 90´s, in Europe and later on overseas, at a time when there was no internet that helped us dealing with everything, from new spaces, to knowledge, to language learning, etc. Such intense experiences have probably reinforced in me a state of “alert”, of silent listening and observation.

I find it difficult to select and choose specific life experiences that have influenced my work. I believe that they all have been, somehow, a source of inspiration. They make us who we are and determine how we perceive what surrounds us and possibly how we depict it.

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I believe this attitude was further enhanced by my University studies which focused on languages and literature. I was trained for many years to bear the slow

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of drawing the viewers through an intense multilayered experience and we would suggest to our readers to visit https://ajditartamella.tumblr.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: while walking our readers through your usual process, would you like to tell to our readers something about your usual setup and process? In particular, are your works painted gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes?

rhythm of getting to know characters, settings and events in novels, and noticing details and peculiarities that were thoroughly analysed and “discussed”. I have spent many years reading novels written by writers of the ex British Empire who have often chosen magic realism as their main genre. I have truly and deeply appreciated, and I still do, their outstanding ability to narrate a plurality of worlds and languages which vividly but openly lead the reader into well defined realities and often linear narrations. The reader becomes not only an active participant into deep and complex historical and cultural issues but also a “viewer” of the multilayered imaginary.

I do not follow any scheme when drawing. I sometimes imagine what I wish to depict as I have already a clear picture in my mind and I simply put it on paper. I draw my thoughts about culture, life, often about language or about the possible relations between these different elements. Sometimes, I have images in my mind and I just draw what “I see”. However, I also start drawing more instinctively by following the need and pleasure of the physical gesture in itself and then create the whole piece step by step. If I want to draw something that I find particularly difficult to represent and wish it to be as realistic as possible, I use realia to help the process. For instance, when I want to draw plants, I walk along the river (my beloved Po when I used to live in Italy) and pick leaves for inspiration. Finally, I do not necessarily reproduce them faithfully and I sometimes give up on my original intent of wanting to be more realistic.

Working as a school teacher for more than ten years also forced me to pay attention, even when the circumstances did not provide me with interesting and appealing topics. I personally do not relate to the concept of aesthetics in visual arts because I do not have a formal education in this specific field. I believe this to be a limitation but also a form of freedom which might have allowed me to see the limits of the aesthetic perspective. Generally speaking, I believe the desire to produce an aesthetic experience reduces the chance “to practice art” as a form of meditation, and therefore to get rid of experiences. I can say that, in its different forms, I appreciate art that is clear but open.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Harmless and Stardust and Smiles a couple of stimulating

The results of your artistic research convey a coherent sense of unity capable

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pieces that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your inquiry into the notion of abstraction is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? I believe my work to be about perspectives, relations and directions. Something that can be seen immediately, that appears as very clear and has a first strong impact. Nonetheless, at a second glance, something else can appear and be seen. The new layers that can be perceived are always in relation to the first impact. Sometimes, the relation between the different perspectives is stronger, other times weaker or subtler. I believe there is some sort of “guiding” through the relations I want to represent but also a freedom of the viewer to establish its own ones. Harmless and Stardust and Smiles both represent female characters and archetypes; an attempt to “grasp” these characters before being clearly defined. Especially with Harmless, I have circled around the idea of an “Instant Artifact”. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work is inspired by literary magic realism and the practice of martial and performing arts: how would you consider the combination between your works as a performer and as a painter? The works of a performer and of a painter

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are forms of representation. As such they can be seen as examples of the constant struggle between who we are as individuals (how to define that!?) and our persona, in the theatrical sense of the term. A never-ending battle and love between ourselves and the representation of ourselves; the private, the social and the cultural, the technique and the insight. The process of creation is similar in the two fields; relaxation and keeping a clear mind for a relaxed body. A balanced view between forms, points of view and ultimately their disappearance. The relation between martial arts and visual arts bears other qualities, if we take into account the separation that has brought to the differentiation between martial and performing arts. Martial arts are the arts that are performed in “battles” in a life or death situation. Performing and martial arts are both part of the art of movement but through history they have been set more apart. Not only have they occupied different cultural corners but have often been in direct opposition. The aesthetic form on one hand and the practical outcome on the other hand. Martial arts got marginalized in the “self defence” status by losing their major intents and original functions which contained both the need to give a practical response to a real threat but also dealt with more complex and wider perspectives towards life and death. Performing arts and dance in particular, in the post ballet era, became a medium to satisfy the aesthetic wishes of a specific audience. Both arts

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were traditionally much more mingled and interchangeable. More traditional forms of dance contain, in fact, a lot of elements that can be seen as basic martial arts training. Dancing had both the function to share core cultural concepts with the community in order to reinforce identity, spread values and patterns, and it was often a direct training of the physical and mental abilities needed for battle. Dancing held more direct practical functions (that can also be seen in the movement patterns) rather than uniquely focusing on the sensual appearance. I believe my art wishes to represent those common elements of performing and martial arts, not by adding different styles and techniques but by re-establishing a focus on the intent. I do not underestimate the value of knowledge and practice in one field but I wish to try to bring into life a more holistic perspective by representing actual and real questions about learning processes and the outcome of what one has already acquired as a human being. Martial and performing arts provided me with the method. The characteristics of literary magic realism are what one can perceive in the results of my work. Highly Educated Person and Vacuum touch the idea of knowledge, its function and its status in society. I perceive my life circumstances more as part of a cultural journey rather than a psychological or social experience. The way knowledge is perceived and valued nowadays and how it has been

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substituted with communication skills and techniques to access data, often makes me feel uncomfortable and pushes me in a defensive position. I strongly support the idea that emotions are pure manifestations of thoughts and not of some hidden mysteries of the psychological realm. Thoughts are always relatively true and independent from any need of a subjective interpretation. However, if one wants to stand up for such thoughts, one easily gets pulled towards the level of inter-indivdual competition. In order to avoid this, I draw pictures that take part in a necessary cultural debate. Considering this function, I define my work as visual martial art.

attempting to speak about reality or when trying to represent it. I, for example, have a good memory, and I believe to have storaged in my mind a great number of images that pop up when triggered, voluntarily or not. I do not define anything as my inner self nor do I refer to it as “everyday life experience”. I call it perception. That is enough. Your works are in black and white: how much does your own psychological make-up determine the tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture? I follow my idea of balance between black and white. I have tried using colours for another project (acrylic on canvas) and I enjoy the outcome. Nonetheless, when using colours, my drawing tend to have a slightly psychedelic touch that does not correspond to what I wish to represent, to my state of mind. Using black and white clarifies my intent by giving an array of representative layers but also of clear and distinctive frames. I do not previously imagine which parts are going to be black and which are going to be white; the process of determining the tones comes while drawing. For Il Camaleonte e La Libellula and il Corvo e La Volpe, I have applied my old technique which includes black markers and ink. The pieces are part of an illustration project entitled “Omnia Fabula”, for Cascina Macondo. They are the aftermath of the European project “PAROL, writing and art beyond walls,

Your works unveil the relationship between consciousness and the realm of dream: so we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process. Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? In particular, do you draw inspiration from everyday experience or do you rather aim to express your inner self? Experience is not the right term. A real tree is different from a picture of a tree or a tree that one can imagine or picture in the mind. However, all of those appear in perception. I like to think that the dream world, the world of memories and the empiric one, coexist in the mind. Some people relate more to one, others use all of them when

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beyond borders”.

in such a process, even though we might not be trained in being aware of our involvement. However, when thinking about the body and the mind as one, the criteria of “active” or “passive” are not applicable. Viewing a piece of art is normally associated to a stillness of the body and a silent mind, what we commonly call “passive”. To be able to keep this disposition, we have to be able to stop everything that disturbs stillness/ silence; this might ask for a lot of “activity”. What is called passive and active, in reality is more leading and following. Both are active and need a certain openness for perception to occur.

Dealing with your main sources of inspirations and influence, do you have any figures in art history as well as in our contemporary scene that look up to? As I have mentioned before, I have more conscious inspiration from Literature. R.K Narayan, H.Kureishi, D. F. Wallace, G.G Marquez, V.S. Naipaul, J. Lahiri, K Markandaya, M. Cervantes, V.Pelevin, S.Marai, are some of the writers who have influenced my perception. If I look inside the art collection in my mind, it is not a very well organized space. In it I see: Bosh, Goya, Picasso, A.O Spare, H. Höch, Dorian X, Joan Cornella, Adarsh Balak, etc.

One has to say that a lot of art is nowadays seen through the media and the internet. I personally find it difficult to enjoy art through a computer screen, and when this is the case, I relate more to illustration or to art that contains some sort of verbal/written communication. On the other hand, contemplating a piece of art “live” is a completely different experience. However, I have never been a big fan of museums and canonical ways of exposing art. I hate having to queue up and waiting for hours, I do not like the uncomfortability of the spaces where the pieces of art are exposed, from the too small seats to having to stand for hours. I also highly condemn the way people who work at art museums are forced to deal with their bodies. Seeing well dressed people walking back and forth, often with no chairs where to sit, I believe it to be pure torture. What I wish to say is that how our bodies

The power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same time, the role of the viewer’s disposition and attitude is equally important. Both our minds and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: what do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations? I am of course interested in the viewer´s perspective, not just when thinking about the people who are going to look at my works but also when I think about myself contemplating a piece of art. Of course both the body and the mind are involved

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and minds are involved in the contemplation of art depends on the circumstances. To me perception itself is important as I am not interested in knowing if someone perceives a frog that I have drawn as a horse. I focus more on how far the viewers are able to relate. Emotions are not a product of interpretation nor is the mind. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? No, I do not. There might be exceptions, to a certain level, for commissioned works. I surely think about the audience even though I never ask myself who the audience might be. Considering the type of language used, I experiment with my intents. If I have drawn something that contains a lot of layers of interpretations, relations and details, later on, I wish to draw something simpler, more minimalistic. I myself try to go through different creation processes and also give their outcomes to my audience. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ajdi. Finally,

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would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am going to work further on the illustration project “Omnia Fabula� for Cascina Macondo which will be published in Italy later on this year. I have planned to continue a project about the visual representation of language homonymy in relation to the study of language learning strategies. I have also created a solo dance piece in collaboration with the musician Marie Takahashi that I wish to show in different venues and events. Considering my martial art practice, I am going to work with Santa Singh Nihang to develop a piece to be performed on stage that aims at containing the flavour and character of Shastar Vidya, a martial art from Punjab. I am a founding member of RePublic Intuition which is a cooperation of artists from Germany, France and Italy that work in the field of performing and visual art by also creating dance videos. Hours of material are waiting to be cut and given shape. Last but not least, I am about to create my second line of textile products with some of my latest drawings. (www.harmlessart.bigcartel.com)

An interview by Josh Ryders, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Shai Jossef

Peripheral ARTeries // Contemporary Art Review // Special Issue  

Contemporary art review, featuring Ajdi Tartamella • Hila Lazovski • Donna Howard • Lynne Reeves • Elisabeta Vlad • Jihan Hanje • Melody Cri...

Peripheral ARTeries // Contemporary Art Review // Special Issue  

Contemporary art review, featuring Ajdi Tartamella • Hila Lazovski • Donna Howard • Lynne Reeves • Elisabeta Vlad • Jihan Hanje • Melody Cri...

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