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Our net review presents a selection of artists whose works shows the invisible connection betwen inner landscapes and actual places. Apart from stylistic differences and individual approaches to the art process, all of them share the vision that art is a slice of the world to be shared. An artwork doesn't communicate anything: it simply creates a mental space. Language, gestures, or rather a masterly brush-stroke of a painter are nothing but ways to invite us to explore our inner landscapes". Thirty years have passed since this Borgesean deep and at the same time provocative statement has been written by the fine Italian writer Giorgio Manganelli.
J u n e
“Anyone can create art—it can happen at any point in one's life, and can be made as often as one desires. One does not need to have made a body of work to be an artist. Once an individual has created an authentic expression, they have created a work of art. A successful work is one that can elicit a response—be it positive or negative. I do believe that there is a sharp contrast between traditional and contemporary art. ”
“My art takes its cues from visual languages developed in various scientific arenas and which are used, in part, to make huge amounts of information digestible. I am interested in exploring how the reductive nature of these languages creates the comforting illusion of a more complete understanding of their subjects. ”
To Life - pendant
“The natural beauty of stones inspires me. The individual stones tell stories that guide me in creating a piece of wearable art. The industrial qualities of oxidized metal next to the magnificence of earth’s raw gems create juxtapo-sition between the manmade and the natural”
Celina F. Lage
(Brazil / Greece)
“I think a work of art is defined by the current values of the system of arts. We know that from time to time these values change, depending of the artistic practices, the institutions, the market, the politics and other factors.
Simon Coates and Zahra Jewanjee (United Kingdom - Pakistan)
“Zahra and Simon re-worked the Microdot track from UK band's The Untied Knot's new album Rien N'Existe.Using the original track as the foundation for the piece, Zahra and Simon constructed a fictional local radio broadcast made up of field sounds recorded in and around the landscape of the city.
J u n e
Kevin L. O’Brien
“I am a proponent of Pan-Global, Industrial, Supra-Expressionism which attempts to utilize materials from global industrial culture within works created as art. The juxtaposition of the bold expressionistic strokes on the stark, bland industrial materials causes a good deal of tension. “ Electic Reindeer 2
“The aesthetic manifestation of my creative process includes the use of a variety of media and often employs elements of humor, irony and cynicism alongside a deeply earnest interest in the human condition” Sunrise at the Highway
“I am inspired by the actual (physical / mental) space. The ‘hard’ panorama is a representation of the physical space and refers to the observable form of city buildings and asphalt. The ‘soft’ panorama refers to the experience, the subjective experiences and expectations of users of a place.”
Wall of Courage
Miracle on a tricycle,between city and nature
“For ever so long I have been fascinated with crumbling, abandoned buildings and with other, often discarded items. I have often wondered what held such interest for me in these otherwise forgotten places and things. Then I realized why. When I see them I feel a story is hidden between the fallen boards and broken bricks, somewhere in the lost bolts and washers.”
“I explore the psychogeographical symphony in a multi-media art practice that includes performance, video, installation, sculpture, Chinese artist, not traditional and not westernised, but myself at present.”
Arnaud Brihay (France)
Arnaud Brihay principally works with photography, video, mixing often these media to art installations. His photographic work reflects his frequent travels and trips around the world, wanderer catching loneliness, strangeness or intimate scenes which he gently violates.
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Rina Dweck (USA)
An artist’s statement
Project Face is a yearlong social media exercise in which the Brooklyn-based artist diligently shot 365 self-portraits for her Facebook page. Her body of photographs ranges from the macabre to the testimonial, reflecting her fascination with pop culture, voyeurism, media, and classical portraiture. The following images are all personal interpretations of the face within a landscape. A painter and makeup artist, Dweck’s usage of one canvas, her own face, reveals the way in which one artist can create a narrative through disguise. Through the application of makeup, outlandish fashion, and the usage of props, Dweck conjures up scenarios rife with allusions from history and pop-culture. Recalled are details from the artist’s life and her cultural surroundings: music videos of the 1980’s, glossy magazine shoots, fabric patterns, and symbols of Jewish culture. Her works stand alone as individual self-portraits, but come together most fully as a whole, confronting the viewer with the intricate, almost meticulous, nature of both a daily and a yearlong process.
Rina Dweck graduated from NYU in 1998 with a B.S. In Studio Art. Dweck studied painting with Diane Green and has exhibited internationally. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
An interview with
Rina Dweck A warm welcome to LandEscape, Rina. I would start this interview with our usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, do you think that there's still a contrast between tradition and contemporary?
Anyone can create art—it can happen at any point in one's life, and can be made as often as one desires. One does not need to have made a body of work to be an artist. Once an individual has created an authentic expression, they have created a work of art. A successful work is one that can elicit a response—be it positive or negative. I do believe that there is a sharp contrast between traditional and contemporary art. Today's art lacks a certain amount of authenticity. There is less art being made simply for the sake of art. an interview Before elaboratingwith on your art production, would you tell us about your background? You studied art at NYU and you’ve taken classes at the prestigious Parsons School of Design, which is considered an important design school I would like to know your point about formal training, and especially a certain kind of training could stifle a young artist's creativity...
Sides Rina Dweck Untitled (Birth)
know them tinherently. There are principals within the realm of art that can be taught, i.e., Composition, color, perspective, balance, etc.. It's important to continue to learn throughout life, but I believe that an artist can learn both by making and by being taught. I feel that my life has been full of lessons and I was grounded very early in this way.
Training an artist is a challenge. A teacher wants to keep inherent creativity intact while simultaneously teaching the student the language of art. The best teachers are those that can keep true individual talent intact while simultaneously teaching the traditional language.
My mom is an art teacher, and although I resisted being an artist at first, my earliest lessons were taught by her at home. My dad was a textile designer and I also watched him create on a daily basis. I learned both from the structure of my mom’s teaching and also simply by watching my dad, who had no formal art training but innate creativity. My work is informed by both examples.
Those teachers don't impose or project their own style or influences onto the student. They challenge the student’s perspective, providing alternatives and knowledge. Yet tradition and what I call the language of art are still essential to creating. It's a fine balance. Some people are taught rules, and some people 6
#10 Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you focus on in your work?
technical came naturally because I had many years of training. As it was a photo a day project, the planning was random and went according to the schedule of my day-to-day life. I would plan ahead for some shots, but certainly not all. In other scenarios I would make sure to have lots of materials and found objects on hand so that I could just grab at things if time was an issue.
Project Face started in 2011 and was completed a year later. It was a period in my work where I made art exclusively for my own selfexploration. Even though I shared it with others it was more about keeping to my commitment than caring about the reaction, (although the reaction definitely informed my process). Ultimately, it helped me figure out how and what I wanted to say; I channeled everything Iâ€™d learned over the years into this one idea. Being
There was a balance of spontaneity and planning. Using the iPhone added an accessibility to the work that was approachable, nothing was edited or Photoshopped. 7
#87 The Worms Always Win Let's focus further on Project Face: how did you come up to the idea of using your own face as a canvas?
I had been painting since college and I needed a change. I was wasting a lot of time on Facebook and not expressing myself enough. Also, as a parent, I was frustrated with time constraints on my creativity. I decided to combine my love of costume, makeup, and disguise with the skills that I knew, the time that I had, and a social media venue that would get my images into the public domain. Ultimately, all that time on Facebook became the motivation for this yearlong project. Let's talk about the Project Face as a project from and for net. From the beginning net art has been self-referential, referring to the computer, the World Wide Web, or in some cases, the technology available for working with a computer. In using images from the "real world" but at the same time taking web based approach, I'm sort of convinced that your project has created some kind of fusion
#269 Last Hurrah
Rina Dweck of net and real world representation... do you agree with this analysis?
That is absolutely correct. This is why it’s hard to explain to people until they see it with their own eyes. I’ve found that people are often used to seeing art that’s either very traditional in terms of materials used, or nouveau technical. I think I've taken traditional subject and given it a nouveau technical twist. This makes the work accessible, which I think is my greatest accomplishment. My work resonates with a large audience. If we give a glance to the current online ecosystem, we find a large number of virtual spaces where there are many works that are accessible for immediate feedback and it goes without saying that they attract massive attention. What is your take on the impact of networked technologies on Art?
It's interesting. The world has gotten both bigger and smaller simultaneously. We can
#267 A Different Kind Of Blue
access something that has been produced thousands of miles away, but we also may never see something that is worth seeing because it has gotten lost in the sea that is the an interview with world wide web. I love that one can pull up all kinds of information on an artist, see, learn and even communicate. But at the same time there is such a saturation of information itâ€™s a challenge just to get oneâ€™s work noticed. On this note, do you think that this symbiosis between net and Art will lead to an irreversible process? By the way I read somewhere that you have stated that Google is your muse...
The way all types of media enter our lives is irreversible. People who don't even use computers are impacted by the onslaught of new ideas that surround us in this digital age. My strategy is to embrace and adapt. We cannot stop evolution. The more time passes, the more I feel that my viewpoint is turning anything but popular, I'm still convinced that art should have an ef-
#356 Dust To Dust (Earth Day)
Rina Dweck effect, or at least should communicate something, and I would widen the meaning of Art to include any human activity... What's your point on this? By the way, do you think that art can steer or even change people's behaviour?
I think I touched on this idea in answering your first question. I think that this thought is independent of media and mass popularity. Cavemen, or indigenous people, prove that art is inherent in us as humans and that many of us feel a need to communicate in this way. The key is authenticity. It’s about believing in what one is trying to convey. I’m not sure if art can steer behavior per se, but I feel like if art is absent from our world then something about humanity will have been lost. I think of art as being the dripping water onto the rock. It might not create an intense shift, but it is something pervasive that creates subconscious but important change. Just wondering if you would like to answer a question that we often ask the artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the most satisfaction?
The biggest satisfaction is that I can satisfy myself and others at the same time. That is, doing what I love and being a success! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts with us, Rina. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Yes! I'm working on a new self-portrait project whose working title is called Sides. It’s a post Project Face exploration of the idea of perception. I wanted to retain that sponta-neous tone so I decided to shoot with a large format Polaroid that prints really big—20 x 24 inch prints. My goal is to have several shoots over the course of the next few years and show the pieces together, though this time in a gallery context rather than through social media. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian Hatfield (USA)
An artist’s statement
“My art takes its cues from visual languages developed in various scientific arenas and which are used, in part, to make huge amounts of information digestible. These include scientific illustration, museum presentation and diorama. I am interested in exploring how the reductive nature of these languages creates the comforting illusion of a more complete understanding of their subjects. Simultaneously, I borrow from the language of nineteenth-century Romantic landscape paintings and religious iconography, which also attempt to distill vast and mys-terious subject matter into comprehensible portrayals. “Recently, I have begun to include pop culture references such as Godzilla and Freddie Mercury in my work. I use this imagery alongside the scientific, religious and romantic elements in an attempt to further question the accepted hierarchy of visual culture. I position the pop-culture references parallel to the philosophical, scientific and spiritual to consider both their disparities and their similarities. Additionally, I hope to examine the way lowbrow figures are imbued with meaning. This can happen in obvious ways, such as the hero worship of entertainers, or in more complex ways, such as how Godzilla, a man in an unconvincing rubber monster costume, can simultaneously exist as an enduringly popular B-movie icon, a complex symbol of the U.S./Japan political relationship, and as a metaphor for the des-tructive potential of nuclear power specifically, and humanity’s tampering with nature in general. “I am not implying that science, religion, fine art and pop culture are equivalent. I am, however, interested in how our yearning for meaning, comprehension and control affects the development and function of all of these disciplines. This sometimes causes an interesting blurring and overlap, where one or more of these areas begin to operate in a way traditionally reserved for another.
www.adrianhatfield.com A detail from King of the Impossible
An interview with
Adrian Hatfield Hi Adrian, we would give you welcome to LandEscape with our icebreaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what could be the features that characterize a piece of Contemporary Art?
We live in a time when the definition of art is wider than ever and varies drastically depending on whom you ask. I tend to have a broader definition than most artists I know. I would define art as “Any creative activity”. So, is a fireworks show, a public garden or a mediocre sitcom art? Yes on all counts. The more interesting question for me is: Is it good art? Because there are few if any defined rules of art, the ways art can succeed or fail are nearly limitless. When artists make art they tend to have some boundaries, usually self-imposed, that they work within. In many ways, being an active and thoughtful consumer of art requires more openan interview with minded critical thinking than being a producer of it. By the way, do you think that there's an ultimate contrast between contemporariness and tradition?
Adrian Hatfield in his studio
I think the big difference is that, more than ever before, we live in a time when anything goes. I sometimes hear artists get absolute in their definition of what contemporary art is. I see any rule about what valid art must or cannot be as a foolish version of the old “Painting is dead” line. Painting has been declared dead many times…
(photo by Izabela Steciuk)
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a Master of Fine Arts, that you received from the Ohio University, about ten years ago: how has this experience impacted on the way you work today? And how has your art developed since you left school?
Yet it still keeps popping up. The really wonderful thing about being an artist today is that the doors are blown off the barn. Fixed boundaries between different media are absolutely gone. One can chose to make art using a traditional medium like painting or printmaking, or one can mix media or move in an entirely unique direction. It’s a very exciting time.
My time at Ohio University was fantastic. Critiques were tough. Faculty insisted that students be articulate and detailed in backing up their comments. The faculty as a whole was strong and diverse. One professor in particular, Guy Goodwin, was running the visiting artist program, which was very well funded at the ti14
and the natural world. Readings and study helped give a deeper language and understanding to these subjects, as well as knowledge of artists both contemporary and historical who have dealt with similar issues. Learning about the concept of the sublime also had a huge impact on my work. Before getting in the matter of your art production, can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
Generally I produce paintings until I get interested in a problem for which painting isn’t the best solution. I have been completely sedu-ced by the material of oil paint. Luckily for me, its history and communicative properties lend themselves well to my conceptual inte-rests. I have little formal training as a sculptor, so when I get an idea I usually design in my sketchbook and then sit back and ask myself: OK. How can I make this work? It’s usually a fun exercise when I have to leave my comfort zone of painting and familiarize myself with new materials. Other times it’s frustrating as well. Since your Art has clear references to Science, I cannot do without posing you a question about a subject that fascinates me a lot: the relation between Art and Science: do you think that there's a synergy between these (apparently) different disciplines?
me. Guy had been an exhibiting artist in New York for decades and had a lot of connections. I remember that at one point Matthew Ritchie was on the newest cover of Art in America. We asked Guy if he could bring Ritchie in as a visiting artist, to which Guy responded by cussing us out for being spoiled and unrealistic. Two months later we were all having studio visits with Ritchie.
Oh yeah. I think the synergy stems from the fact that, at their most basic, both are trying to engage, explain and communicate about the world. My parents are both scientists, and growing up in that household really affected my worldview. Although I didn’t go into the sciences myself, it instilled in me a real sense of wonder and fascination with the natural world. I think a lot of scientists are brought to their field by an insatiable curiosity. Later practical realities funnel them into particular areas of specialty. In very different ways, science, art and religion
Another aspect of school that was helpful to my growth was the academics. Ohio had a heavy focus on art theory, history and criticism. I had always been interested in science 15
are all trying to address the really big, some would say unanswerable, questions. What I love about science in particular is that it is in this constant state of self-correction, growing and changing as more information is gained. I remember as a young child asking my dad if science was always right. His response was “No, science is always wrong, which is why I have a job. Scientists are working to fix the mistakes in science.” Now let's focus on your pieces: I would start from your recent 3D work King of the Impossible, that our readers can admire in these pages: what was your initial inspiration?
One of my interests is the visual strategies scientists use to communicate complex ideas or huge amounts of information to the general public. The solutions are often really ingenious, but the tradeoff is that sometimes they make the concept/information seem much simpler than it really is. King of the Impossible was inspired by those
evolution tree illustrations, which I think have the strengths and weaknesses I just described. I wanted to mash it up with museum diorama, which I’ve always thought were an amazingly fun way to convey information. Evolution is such a beautiful concept, and it blows my mind that in this day and age it is still in any way controversial or seen to be in conflict with religion. Forget for a second that there is absolutely no scientific doubt that evolution is a real phenomenon. Can you imagine a more amazing and awe inspiring reality than that every living thing on the planet evolved from the same ancestor?! I’m not a very religious person, but contemplating stuff like that brings me pretty close to a spiritual moment. By comparison, I find Genesis to be beautiful mythology but far less moving. By the way, I'm very curious to know something about your recent experience at SIM Artist
Residency in Iceland. I assume it inspired your painting Icelandic Landscape?
Yes. Iceland is such a beautiful and unique place. I had a great time at the residency but an even greater time exploring the island. I packed in as much hiking, climbing, scuba and driving as I could in the time I was there. I had originally planned on doing a whole series of paintings based on Iceland. Currently, I’ve kind of moved on, but I might return to it.
Icelandic Landscape, oil on linen, 10”x10”
Another artwork of yours on which I would like to spend some words is Glory Days: by the way, a feature that has impacted on me is the nuance of blue, which is a recurring color in your palette... Any comments on your choice of palette or how it has changed over time?
I think I originally started using a lot of blue in my paintings after I began scuba diving in the late 90’s. I had one experience in the ocean where I was about 80 feet down in very deep water. In every direction I looked I just saw a King of the Impossible
deep blue. To be floating in that blue void was an exhilarating and unsettling experience. Since then, I think Iâ€™ve tried to use that deep blue to convey a sense of mystery as imagery appears and disappears in and out of it. Glory Days is another Iceland-inspired piece. Some of the other residents and I heard that a large dead whale had washed up on shore on the West part of the country, so, in a very Stand By Me moment, we set out to find it. Those big sperm whales always held a special place in my heart, primarily I think because of all the stories and illustrations I absorbed as a kid of titanic battles between them and giant squid. Finding it was an amazing and kind of sad experience. Glory Days seemed an appropriate title. Your artworks have been often awarded, and it goes without saying that a positive feedback - and especially an award, is very important to support an artist: I was wondering if the expectation of positive feedback could sometimes influence an artist's process. Do you ever happen to think about whom will enjoy your artworks while you conceive a piece?
Thatâ€™s really a great question. I think artists at every level of their careers feel these kinds of
And we couldn't do without mentioning the first piece of yours that first attracted me: Piscina. Could you take us through your creative process when starting this stimulating project?
pressures. I’m certainly aware of my audience, and they are a crucial part of my practice, but I try not to pander to them too much or over think what will win me praise or awards. One of the great things about being an artist is that we have the very selfish privilege of immersing ourselves in the things we love. It would be a shame to give that up in an attempt to please the jury. Instead, I try to focus on making the work I want to see and have faith that others will enjoy it as well. The artworld is a fickle entity, and what’s seen as most current or relevant is constantly changing. I try to stay abreast of what’s happening and let it influence me when it’s appropriate, but I never want to chase a fad, which is a losing game anyway.
I had just finished King of the Impossible. Those big diorama pieces are a bear, and I needed a break but wasn’t quite ready to put away 3D work. I had found this weird little curio shelf in an antique shop and wanted to use it. It had an almost outsider art vibe but also seemed to be meant to hold something of reverence, kind of like a home-made reliquary. I decided to gesso over the back panel and paint a landscape that was heavily influenced by a Frederic Church painting. I finished it off by adding little diorama elements. It’s one of those pieces that you think is just going to be a one off and ends up influencing your direction quite a bit. Just wondering if you would like to answer a cliche question that we often ask to the artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Well, actually ain't that cliche...
I enjoy making my pieces, but they are a lot of work! I think finishing a piece I’m happy with is the single biggest satisfaction. Talking with people who are interested in the art is probably the second biggest satisfaction. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Adrian. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I currently have a number of local exhibitions planned here in Detroit, am attending the Brush Creek Foundation residency in Wyoming this summer and am sending out proposals for solo exhibitions around the country.
From the Silfra series, 2012
Rebecca Belz (USA)
An artist’s statement
“The natural beauty of stones inspires me. The individual stones tell stories that guide me in creating a piece of wearable art. The industrial qualities of oxidized metal next to the magnificence of earth’s raw gems create juxtaposition between the manmade and the natural. “The latest collection of body adornment represents the cyclical nature of life—from creation to death the pieces evolve with the growth and evolution of the materials. Time and external forces cannot be controlled, but the piece continuously transforms. The stones remain as permanent reminders of the ones we leave behind, while the plants and metal continue to deteriorate with time. The stones remain constant as an unchanging emotional connection the wearer has with the deceased.”
Rebecca Belz Rebecca Belz has studied at Memphis College of Art Memphis, TN Masters of Fine Arts Candidate 2012 Emory University, Goizueta Business School Atlanta, GA Bachelor of Business Administration May, 2008 Concentration in Marketing with a minor in Hebrew through Emory College EXPERIENCE Becca Belz Jewelry Founder and Designer January 2010-present e • Design and produce handmade fashion jewelry • Sell to boutiques nationwide
An interview with
Hi Rebecca, welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And how an object can reveal the mark of an artist?
There are so many theories on what defines a piece of art, but I will say there is definitely art for everyone. The line between the art of jewelry making and the commoditization of jewelry ma-kes jewelry as an art a very interesting subject to study. Traditionally artisans studied metalsmithing at an early age through apprenticeships, and they developed high levels of accuracy and craftsmanship in their work. Now, with the art jewelry movement, artists are creating pieces of body adornment out of various materials that one may not consider jewelry or even art. Sometimes a piece of art has an underlying concept to justify it as a work of art, but sometimes a necklace is an interview with just a necklace. Moving from one-of-a-kind pieces to production pieces one may feel as if you lose the mark of an artist. I believe having an original design constructed with intent allows the artist to reveal their personal mark even when a piece of jewelry is manufactured to sell in a commercial setting.
Rebecca Belz courses, mostly in jewelry making. One summer in high school I attended a jewelry making camp in San Miguel del Allende, Mexico and fell in love with the process even more. While in college I took a few continuing education courses at a nearby school, but I had no “formal” training in art. After college I moved to New York City and worked as a production assistant for a fine jewelry designer and as a marketing assistant for another more production based jewelry designer. Working both in the diamond district and SOHO, interacting with craftsmen and jewelers, I learned a lot and realized that this is something I want to pursue for myself. I am a firm believer in continuing education throughout one’s life and getting my MFA was the perfect opportunity for me to take a break from the business mindedness I was accustomed to and
Before getting in the matter of your art practice, would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that it all started off as a childhood hobby, then you took classes and you studied at Memphis College of Art. I would like to ask you: what's your point about formal training in Art?
As a child I had a “business” making jewelry out of string and selling it to my friends and family. Looking back on it, it was very silly but at the time I thought I had a unique product and was going to be able to retire young! I was very crafty, and my parents nurtured that creativity by signing me up for art camps and continuing education 22
target the right customer and commission a piece to his or her liking. My education, as well as previous work experience, has helped me find a balance between my personal taste as an artist and the knowledge to know what sells in the marketplace. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? What is your studio process typically like, and how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece?
I begin each piece studying the stones I am going to be using in the design. The stones I am visually drawn to are organic in shape and have unique forms that guide me in creating the rest of the piece. My goal is to take a natural stone from its original landscape and create a wearable habitat for that stone that seems as though it is its in-
To Life Rings focus on developing my art. This first year in the program has expanded my formal art vocabulary and skills in ways that I didnâ€™t think possible. By the way, you hold a Bachelors in Business Administration, that you have received from the Emory University, Atlanta. How has this artistic outreach influenced you?
Having a business background has been instrumental in being able to do what I love to do full timeâ€”make jewelry. Many new artists graduating from art school do not know how to transition from the world of making art for their own pleasures to branching out and making profits by selling their wonderful pieces. The talent is there, but the ability to account for the materials, time, and other hidden costs when pricing a piece may be lacking or the ability to
To Life Level Ring 23
tree bark that grew over an old rope, and wis- teria growing along a power line. The beauty of nature taking over manmade materials inspired me to begin creating this series. I am used to having complete control over my designs, but with nature we have no control. Creating these wearable vessels allowed me to be freer with my work. I delved deeper into this concept and realized it was the passage of time that interests me—birth, death, and renewal. Time is conti-nuous and people, plants, and all things living evolve through many life stages. The idea of the jewelry physically evolving excites me, and thus I began creating this series. I have researched many plant species, and it’s an ongoing experiment I am very much enjoying.
Folded Rivet Cuff
tended home. I then do a few concept sketches, but usually I am so eager to begin working that I do not go into too much detail with my drawings. I let the piece evolve through its production phases. If I encounter a roadblock I will tweak the design, and it will usually turn out more successful than the original idea. Once, when setting a stone, it slipped from my hand and fell on the cement floor shattering it to pieces. I was devastated after spending hours making the perfect setting for this obscure shape. Knowing I could not find a replacement stone, I decided to incorporate cement in this piece and set small metal granulations in the cement in a pattern much like a French cobblestone garden. I didn’t miss the stone at all! When I have an idea of what I want a piece to look like when finished I will find the best matematerials to achieve the desired result.
A Rebecca’s sketch
A line of you artist's statement that has impressed me is "the stones remain as permanent reminders of the ones we leave behind, while the plants and metal continue to deteriorate with time". But at the same time I can recognize that your art is capable of communicating a feature that I would define as a liquid perception of the time...
Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your pieces To Life Rings & Pendant that our readers can admire in these pages and that seems to be part of a series: could you take us through your creative process for this project?
I am of Jewish heritage, and in Judaism there is a custom to put rocks on the tombstones of your loved ones when you are visiting the graveyard in lieu of flowers. There are many different Rings reasons forEnamel this custom, but the one that resona-
Walking down the street I noticed a root system breaking the cement on the sidewalk, 24
To Life Pendant
your inspiration for this piece? By the way, does your process let you to visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
tes most with me is the notion that flowers die, but these rocks will always be there in the same form to give comfort to other visitors that their loved one is not forgotten. Also, as you are holding this rock in your hand it leaves a physical impression upon your palm that gives you a physical reminder of the deceased.
The bright colors used in this collection were a great departure for me. I had previously created this style necklace using natural freshwater pearls, and after doing some research on what colors were on trend for jewelry I decided to try something new. I wanted to incorporate different materials to create different colors and textures so I used Czech crystals, freshwater pearls, and semi-precious gemstones such as agate and turquoise in these pieces. I have never taken a
This idea that even after death the person is still with us spiritually is very important to me, and the sto- nes constant form being a permanent reminder allows for this idea to flourish. I would like to spend some words on your pieces entiled Chunky Chain Neon: what was
color theory course, but I have a small knowledge of the color wheel and I am able to put the colors together prior to assembling the piece. I am able to recreate these pieces with different color palettes according to a clientâ€™s needs, which is important when doing production work.
Chunky Chain Necklace with beautiful blue/brown Agate, 16" with extender Pictured in Antiqued Brass
an interview with Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit funny, I must confess you that dealing with stones couldn't not remind me the old Carol Channing's song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend": people often use to refer to jewels thinking essentially about the commercial value... What I like of your pieces is the capability of going beyond these stereotypes, that's why I suggest to our readers to give a more in-depth glance at www.BeccaBelzJewelry.com. By the way, are there any other pieces of yours on which you would like to tell us more?
I am glad you noticed that. For instance, when most people think of pearls they think of oldfashioned traditional strands of pearls. I love mixing the natural pearls with oxidized base metals to create juxtaposition between the rough and edgy and soft and sweet. As an artist I want to create something unexpected and this is my way of doing this.
Chunky Chain Neon 2 26
Rebecca Belz Just wondering if you would like to answer to artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Well, actually ain't
I would have to say my favorite part is the actual creation process. Working alone in my studio is very meditative. I get into a rhythm and I could be in there for hours and lose track of time. The best feeling is knowing I am creating a piece that someone is going to fall in love with and wear for years to come.
Beautiful golden citrine with Chunky Antiqued Brass Chains 16" with 3" extender Lobster Clasp
Thanks a lot for sharing with us your thoughts, Rebecca: nothing has left to say than asking you about your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
My work continues to evolve every day. I plan on using the techniques I am currently learning in school and apply it to my professional art practice. I hope everyone continues to follow me either by going to my website or becoming a fan of Becca Belz Jewelry on Facebook. I love hearing feedback, and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. email@example.com
Celina Lage (Brazil)
An artistâ€™s statement
In many societies and in many social classes, even mentioning the need to urinate is seen as a social transgression, despite it being a universal need. In the countryside, it is more acceptable than in a street in a town. In the latter case it is a common transgression. This human need is a everyday practice that by convention are intimate, hidden human action, usually confined within four walls. The act of urina-te, its practice in the countryside, its documentation and its exhibition, and also the act of gazing are the main subjects of these digital photos.
The gaze and the body's need
tally revealed, but discretely suggested mainly by the man's poses, in relation of the position of his legs, his arms and his head. Another interesting point is that the man is a famous underground rock singer of the Greek band Lost Bodies, named Thanos Lost, fact that add to the photos some additional interest, since the photos reveal intimate moments of a public figure, out of his usual context â€“ the alternative urban music scenery.
Some people like to do their everyday needs in an open place, to enjoy nature and for this the countryside is the best option. Traveling during 10 years around Greece with my husband, I started to shot some amazing photos registering that very unique moments. The act of urination in this case is combined with the act of gazing the landscape, transcending the physical act by itself and bringing it to an aesthetic dimension, bridging the gap between art, nature and social conventions.
In this work, the spectator himself becomes part of the photos, multiplying the gaze of the man photographed and the photographer insofar as he remains one more spectator gazing. The roles of the man, the photographer and the spectator, as an infinity mirror, multiply the gazes. The diferent gazes thus blurs the boundaries between the roles until it becomes unclear who exactly is gazing at whom or what; the gaze becomes a mode of interaction between spectator and the work of art, uniting its actors in a single moment.
The serie of digital photos presented here shows a man backside view situated in diferent locations in the countryside, sometimes looking down, sometimes looking to the landscape. The act of urinate is not to28
current vice-president of the Brazilian Committee for Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures (member of the International Association for Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures), for she won the prize Golden Wreath from the Ecumenical Hellenism Foundation. In 2003, she was granted with a postgraduate fellow of Onassis Foundation for research visual arts and cinema in Greece. Since this time, she had experimented in the field of archeological photography and stereoscopic photography, traveling and shooting many locations in Greece. In 2004 she decided to move to Athens, and she started to develop many solo projects as well she started to act in multimedia performances with renowned Greek musicians, as Thanos Lost, Anastasis Grivas, Thodoris Zioutos and Nikos Veliotis. At the same year, she organized and played in the happening called James Joyce's Echoes in the Small Music Theater, in Athens, which included visual projections (digital poems), electronic music and sound poetry performance, for she was invited to participate with the artwork in the exhibition Rejoyce Auckland in the Central City Library of Auckland, in New Zealand. In 2007, she was invited to present in Spain the multimedia performance Circulos Poeticos in the Festival Pass-World II: Destino Brasil, organized by Electrica Cultural Productions and by the Internacional University of Andalusia (UNIA).
Celina Lage (A photo by Matthew Brown)
Celina Lage is Brazilian academic researcher, curator and artist, PhD holder in Comparative Literature, Master in Theory of Literature, currently based in Athens, Greece.
From 2001 until 2010, she curated the event Night of Poetry and Absinth in Belo Horizonte, Brazil at the Salsaparrilha cultural space. The event had had ten editions and had presented poetic, music, dance, video and theatrical performances, including artists from Spain, Greece and Brazil, as well the active participation of the public. In the next few months, she are going to assume the position of Professor of Mediation and Curatorship in Art and Culture in the famous School of Arts Guignard of the State University of Minas Gerais (UEMG), in Brazil.
She often moves herself among different languages, as 3D illusion art, stereoscopic photography, digital poetry, sound poetry, multimedia performance and experimental mu-sic. Her academic researches have focused mainly the relationship between literature and visual arts, resulting in the publication of books and papers about ancient Greek literature and philosophy, cinema and visual arts. She worked as collaborator in the Postgraduate Programme of Graphic Arts/Mul-timedia of the Hellenic Open University, Greece. She is the founder and 29
an interview with
Celina F.Lage A warm welcome to LandEscape, Celina. I would start this interview with our usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? I do think that your answer will interest our readers since you are a very multidisciplinary artist...
I think a work of art is defined by the current values of the system of arts. We know that from time to time these values change, depending of the artistic practices, the institutions, the market, the politics and other factors.
Celina Lage (A photo by Matthew Brown)
It is important to bold that the real value of a work of art is defined with the passing of time â€“the works of a very acclaimed and famous contemporary artist could be totally forgotten and excluded of the art tradition in the next future, as the works of an unknown underground artist could be revealed by the next generations as a key to revolute the concepts of art that we know nowadays. In this sense, a real work of art maybe could be defined as a work that resists the passage of time, that are able to be read again and again, that could generate infinite interpretations, that could reach and enchant the public in different contexts and with different backgrounds. In this regard, the work of art is incomplete and only the public has the power to complete it - the work of art is always a work in progress.
to Brazil. This multicultural heritage, adding to the fact that I chose to migrate to Greece ten years ago, of course have influenced me in many aspects. For other side, crossing the borders among the arts and mainly experimenting new languages are practices that I adopted as a method of artistic creation. For me, borders exist to be trespassed. I am always interested to consider how formal training in Art impacts on students, specially since many years have passed since they have left school. How big is the influence of your studies in Comparative Literature and in Theory of Literature on your current art practice?
I think every school of arts is a point of depart. A formal training could provide to a student some additional experience that he probably cannot find elsewhere, as the contact with some professor that could inspire and even influence him, the possibility of sharing ideas with other students, the net of contacts that could be established, and also someone can learn how the system of art works, from the formal point of view.
Before getting in the matter of your works, would you like to tell us something about your background? By the way, how important is for you the role of your frequent intercontinental travels?
The act of crossing borders defines my life and also it defines my art. Traveling and migrating is a way of life that I inherited from my ancestors, since my great grandparents were Lebanese, Portuguese and Italians that migrate
Definitely no one school of arts can produce an artist, this is a path that begins after the school, 30
The gaze and the body's need
Now let's focus on your work that our readers can view in these pages and that you have introduced in you artist's statement. I would like to ask you: how has this project developed during its long preparation?
when someone must walk standing on his own. For me the formal studies on Literature and Classics were an interesting experience, since they provide me theoretical instruments to think and understand more aspects about arts in general, about the mechanisms of the aesthetic tradition, and also provide me the necessary formal research and pedagogical training, so I am able to act as professor and as researcher.
Has it allowed you to discover aspects that you didn't previously foreseen?
In the past (about 20 years ago) I used to do experiments with analog photography, developing back & white films (my favorites) in an improvised lab in my home. Each pic was a surpi-
It is no doubt this experience also have enriched indirectly my formation as artist. 31
se, because it was impossible to know before the photo developing what will be the final product. The transition from analog to digital photography did not stop to surprise me. In fact, the concept of this project was born when I was looking a photo in my computer, days after it was shot. It was for me a kind of revelation, so surprising as the analog film developing. When a saw the image of this man urinating and gazing a beautiful Greek landscape, then I realize that this image is something more than a simple photo. In the next years, I followed shooting these ephemeral moments, and now I decided that is time to share my gaze with the public. The concept that firstly leaps out is the juxtaposition between transgression and universal needs: I'm sort of convinced that this apparent dichotomy has something to do with not only with the inevitable social habits. Rather, I would go as far as to generalize this contrast: the sense of transgression might act as a spring that in a certain sense forces us to satisfy our universal need... Do you agree with this analysis?
I agree with you, this is a very interesting point. We can think also that the art has a transgressive character by nature, that the human being is also a transgressive being, and that the sense of transgression is a force that moves someone to act. It could has a negative character, but also it could be a productive, positive force.
The gaze and the body's need
Ulysses or Stephen Dedalus or even Perrault's Capuchinho Vermelho, both real ones like famous rockstars are deliberately separated in our imagery from what we have previously defined as "inner needs"... of course, it might be easy to answer back saying that it's an aspect not functional to the image of the character, however, this still perplexes me... what's your point?
The transgression, for example, is the essence of the rock & roll as well as many other artistic movements. As you remarked, one of the actors is Thanos Lost, who is a public personality, being a famous Greek rock singer... Now I beg your forgive in advance for a personal observation that I couldn't do without sharing with you: every characters, both invented ones like
In my work the actor is presented backside view, we cannot see his face, so we cannot identify him. This additional information â€“ that he is a famous singer â€“ probably is something 32
aspect of his personality, that could define him as a human being and also as an artist. By the way, since our magazine is entitled "LandEscape" I couldn't do without asking you: what is the significance of the landscape and -in a wider meaning, of the background- in your Art practice?
For me landscape is not only the beautiful image that you can see with your physical eyes or register with a camera lenses, but it is much more. It is all the things that can be projected by the mind's eye, all the camouflaged beings that are hidden in it, and the mirages that I would like to be true. I can give you an example: When I look to the Greek landscape, I imagine automatically that this landscape is changing, it is in movement, because Greece is a high seismic country. I think that the landscape that I see now is not the same that the ancient Greeks saw. At the same time, I know that in the past mythological beings and gods were believed to habit everywhere, so there is a beautiful mythological geography. I think all the trash and the destruction of nature, I think the wild animals, the archeological sites to be revealed, and finally I think the economic crisis and who is going to be the next owner of this landscape. I would come back to one of the features of your Art that has mostly impressed me: your multidisciplinary approach. In particular, I would like that you tell us something about James Joyce's Echoes a happening that have been held in the Small Music Theater, in Athens. By the way, besides playing in it, you have also organized it: How does the curatorial scene in Europe operate in comparison to the Latin American scene?
that interest mainly his fans. His fans usually see him up to a stage, singing with a microphone, illuminated with colorful spotlights. The imagery of him that is largely produced and circulates in the press and in the internet is the image of a rockstar. In this serie of photos, he is presented not as a hero, as you pointed very well, but as a man, a human being with inner needs. We can think that there are also fundamental human needs represented here by the act of gaze, as freedom, leisure and creation. I think this combination of needs â€“ inner and human â€“ can reveal some important
I conceived the happening James Joyce's Echoes for the centennial celebration of 16 June, 1904, the date on which James Joyceâ€™s novel Ulysses takes place. This date was celebrated in many 33
cities of the world, and I had the privilege to celebrate it together with some of the best experimental Greek musicians. For me it has a special meaning, not only because this event took place in Greece, where the Homer's Odyssey was created, but specially because Anastasis Grivas, a musician who was born in the Ulysses' island, Ithaca, accepted my invitation to participate composing electronic music and playing his handmade custom strings. Its was not easy for me to curate and to play at the same time, but for another side I consider organizing an art event as an extension of my artistâ€™s practice. About your second question, as we live in a globalized world, there are many similarities between the curatorial scene in Latin America and in Europe. Currently, because the economic crisis, we observe in Europe that the state investments in arts are decreasing. For another side, in Latin America, we have an increasing number of new art spaces and state investments. We can observe also a cultural exchange â€“ Latin Americans curators acting in that leaded the curatorial team of Manifesta 9 in Belgium, and Europeans curators acting in Latin America, as Charles Esche from Scotland
The gaze and the body's need
Your works have been exhibited all around the world from Brazil, which is your native country, to Spain, from Greece to New Zealand: what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What are the difference -if any- between exhibiting Europe and exhibiting in the America? By the way, when you show in Latin America are you perceived as Brazilian artist or an European artist?
that in Europe always people see me as a foreigner, but they cannot perceive immediately from where I come from. Based in my physical characteristics, sometimes people in Europe think that I am Russian, North American, French, etc. In Brazil, people perceives that I am Brazilian, despite of some rare moments that people thought that I am Greek. I love to travel, to meet new people, to share moments and every opportunity to present my works is for me an opportunity to learn something new about myself and about the others.
I enjoy very much to travel, to learn new things, to know people, to share experiences. I think 34
my works (positive or negative), when someone read my books and papers, see my videos or listen to my compositions.
The gaze and the body's need
Let me thank you for sharing with us your thoughts, Celina. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
You're welcome. In the next few months I'm moving to Brazil since I'm going to assume the position of Professor of Mediation and Curatorship in Art and Culture in the School of Arts Guignard of the State University of Minas Gerais (UEMG).
we're always interested in hearing the answer to. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I'm excited about my new position, I'm happy with the fact that I'm going to work together with excellent artists and to be part of a University that is committed with the democratization of the knowledge in all levels.
For me there is a big pleasure in the act of creation by itself. When I'm working with art, there are a very few moments that I think I'm in paradise. Additionally, I feel satisfied when I'm presenting my works for the people, when I'm curating some event and also when I perceived that people enjoy it. I'm very happy also when I read some reference or critic to
I hope to establish new national and international collaborations, and to follow teaching, researching, writing, curating, creating art. firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
Simon Coates Zahra Jewanjee
credit to Harpers Bazaar Art Arabia
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
Zahra and Simon re-worked the Microdot track from UK band's The Untied Knot's new album Rien N'Existe. A high-quality MP3 download of their Microdot - Radio Al Barsha Version sound piece along with a text explaining the methodology behind the work was available to those who ordered the album. The work itself takes its name from the Al Barsha area of Dubai where they have a studio and, using the original track as the foundation for the piece, Zahra and Simon constructed a fictional local radio broadcast made up of field sounds recorded in and around the landscape of the city. 2
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
An interview with
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee A warm welcome to LandEscape, Simon and Zahra. We would start this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the main features that characterize a piece of Contemporary Art? Simon: For me, a work of art can be anything as long as it’s presented in an intelligent and challenging way. Carl Andre broke the mould in defining what art is in terms of society and the likes of Martin Creed continue in the same vein. It’s probably easier to ask what doesn’t define a work of art. As for the main features of a piece of contemporary art, I guess the answers the same: contemporary art can be anything as long as it’s really good. Zahra: A work of art is anything presented that
inspires and stimulates, that intrigues the senses an interview with and or the intellect. To me the process of making art is far more important that actual conceived piece, whether if it is contemporary or traditional art doesn’t matter. Potency can be applied to any medium. We would like to ask you something about your backgrounds. We have read that both of you have a formal training: Zahra is a graduate of the National College of Arts in Lahore, and Simon has studied at the Harrow College of Art. How training has impacted on your art practice? Moreover, even though I do guess that this might sound to you a bit rethorical, would you tell us what does it mean to be an artist in Dubai? I'm sort of convinced that there are too many stereotypes on this subject... Simon: One of the best decisions I ever made was
to do a Foundation Course. Not because of the range of media I tried but in terms of the lecturers I had. I was very, very lucky and their words resonate in my ears even now. So, to me, formal 38
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
art education only helps if a student works hard, has a genuine talent and is a realist. The majority of arts graduates these days end up working in jobs that have nothing to do with their training, so work hard, learn as much as you can but be realistic about what happens after the last day at college. Working as an artist in Dubai isnâ€™t spectacular, The art scene is immature and what there is of it is very commercial. Dubai itself is ideally placed to function as a trading post so thereâ€™s a lot of art travelling through here on its way somewhere else, some of it good, some of it bad. Plus, Dubai is still grappling with the notion of conceptual art so thereâ€™s a lot of room for change. Zahra: I graduated with a degree in Fine Arts, and yes the training had a tremendous impact on me. It taught me discipline and focus: and how to be technical yet indulgent at the same time. I discovered a great deal of myself during my final year of the program, which helped me to question everything around me. In Dubai being an artist has positive and negative, it feels like its still waiting to happen. Which is good because there are so many potentials yet a times its difficult as its still establishing itself. Here the social narratives in my Painting and Photography have now transcended into Sound as a medium. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work? Simon: We tend to work on a laptop in my studio. We use a lot of field sounds which we process through programs like Audacity and Avid. Zahra: As Simon explained. Now let's focus on your artwork Microdot: can you describe a little bit about your creative process for this work? Zahra: is a very important piece to me because it
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
was one of the first sound pieces that Simon and I created. I feel that it has a real intensity and balance that relates directly to the existential philosophy of the Untied Knot. Simon: I’ve known Nige from The Untied Knot for years and had suggested doing some artwork for their album ‘Rien N’Existe’. It then occurred to me that it would be cool if Zahra and I could take one of the album tracks and give it our own treatment. Hence, they sent us ‘Microdot’. Sounds plays a relevant role in your pieces. Do you think that studying an acoustic instrument is absolutely necessary to get ahead into a career in Contemporary Music? It seems that a "traditional" training is an advantage for developing experimental music... Zahra: I don’t think its true at least in my case; I have never picked up any instrument. I am sure studying may help technically but I think Sound comes naturally to those who understand the structure and aesthetics of it. And now I find it so magical when I am working on Sound it feels like it is coming through me and I have no control over it and I am just the mediator. Thanks to Simon for recognizing that in me. Simon: I don’t know if I agree. I can play the guitar (very badly) and it hasn’t really helped me in my sound projects, either solo stuff or with Zahra. However, I did work in the music business for quite a while so I think the fact that I was exposed to some really interesting music has helped me.
Vipralambha - work plan
Another work on which I would like to focus is Prufer Sequence, an algorithm based composition: in my opinion, Art and Science (especially Maths) has many common points, however what's your point about this? Moreover, how new technologies has impacted on your process?
frustration than reflect order. Zahra, on the other hand, is very much interested in order (and the chaos that exists therein) and the science of patterning. Zahra: Like Simon mentioned it was a result of an ongoing questioning of everything. I like maths and geometry and sequences in nature but the work is not mimicking any patterns its more of a automatic response rather than a structured formula.
Simon: ‘Prufer Sequence’ was made in reaction to a conversation that Zahra and I had about chaos and order. The artwork that I make interrogates areas that are almost diametrically opposed to maths or science and is more likely to address
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
having a proposal accepted is feedback enough as it shows that we’ve somehow done a good job. In terms of audience, I’m more on the side of seeing what people will endure whereas I think Zahra is more sensitive to how people respond. Zahra: Constructive feedback is always welcomed. When making a piece I try to put myself in the place of a listener, this allows me to understand the perspective of the audience. I want to satisfy myself and in doing so will hopefully satisfy others. I personally find absolutely fascinating the fruitful collaboration that you have established together: especially because it reveals a symbiosis between two apparently different approaches to art. Could you tell us something about this effective synergy? Simon: ‘Vipralambha’ was our first piece. I’d read something about a collective who were looking for work that melded Indian and Pakistani sounds. I had some field sounds that I’d recorded in Kerala and I knew that Zahra had some film (with sound) that she’d recorded in Lahore. All we did was sit down and work out how we could make each other’s sounds fit together. Zahra: We both decided to work with sounds we had previously recorded. In some ways our approaches are very similar so it was not difficult, and we both get on well so we collaborate with each other without a problem. The result is work that is both rewarding and fresh.
You have taken part to lots of exhibition, and we would like to remember that your first project Vipralambha (Union Through Separation) has been recently exhibited at the Obserwatorium Urban Sound Festival in Turon in Poland. How important is for you the feedback of your audience? By the way, when you conceive a piece, do you think to whom will enjoy it?
By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists? Simon: Zahra hadn’t really made sound work before we collaborated so it wasn’t especially a
Simon: Feedback is always welcome, although often
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
A still from Absence of Presence
a synthesis in terms of our practices. Although we both do have similar tastes in things like art and books, which means that we share certain philosophies.
ideas and agree often on philosophical issues. This clearly helps when collaborating. Now here's our cliche question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Therefore I think that the work we made together reflects those philosophies. We certainly explore all our thoughts, theories and ideas before we start a new piece and we bear them in mind throughout the work process.
Simon: And here’s my cliched answer: I’m hardly ever satisfied with anything I make. Sorry but it’s true. I think I have an affection for some of my own older pieces and I feel very affectionately about things like ‘Microdot’ and ’Vipralambha’.
Zahra: I agree with Simon, we share many 42
Simon Coates & Zahra Jewanjee
Iâ€˜d still like to do them again though. Zahra: I really enjoy being in the middle of the project with all the possibilities still on the table. Then finding a level of perfection that satisfies me to the point that I can let it go.
piece playing on the experimental radio platorm Radius (www.theradius.us). It's called 'Stateless' and is the longest piece we've worked on together, clocking in at over forty minutes in length.
Thank you for this interview: my last question deals with your future plans... Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
As well as listening to the work, people can download a set of Zahara's photographs that help to underscore what 'Stateless' is all about.
Simon: We currently have a brand new sound
Kevin L. O’Brien
Kevin L. O’Brien (USA)
An artist’s statement
“I am a proponent of Pan-Global, Industrial, Supra-Expressionism which attempts to utilize materials from global industrial culture within works created as art. The juxtaposition of the bold expressionistic strokes on the stark, bland industrial materials causes a good deal of tension. The bright colors used in the textures further differentiate the energy of the expressionistic strokes from the dullness of the main materials. I say Pan-Global because it is my belief that all cultures have been absorbed into the Industrialscape, in one way or another, andit is an artist's job to rediscover culture, and redeclare it boldly, without hesitation, using the new vocabulary they have been given, because there is no going backwards. It is "Supra" because an attempt is made to make the expressionistic content real, very real, by accentuating it's physical characteristics. Reverence for the fine finished patinas that normally apply to art, as in art school or commercial art can be dispensed with for the boldness of an energy more sympathetic with rock and roll (e.g., Jimi Hendrix), r & b and/or jazz music (e.g., Coltrane).
Coltrane In The Groove, 2012 Acrylic, plastic parts, glitter; 40 in X 32 inches
ther, and worry about loose hanging edges, polish etc. were lost. Of course, there was a new vocabulary of objects that needed to be created and new motifs that needed to be developed and depicted using this type of expression. My symbols were inspired by Klee, Dubuffet, children's art, the "early" people of many different lands. Of course, everyday objects depicted as in Pop were sucked into this imagery through the indus-
The high-power and energy of these musical expressions had a dramatic impact. Use of industrial materials in new combines (as influenced by Rauschenberg et al.) further stressed new ideas of how materials might be combined, and but also marked a work as having that "finished" look, of which I am not fond. A new primitive kind of "carpentry" skills were developed to hold these materials toge44
Kevin L. Oâ€™Brien
gy of the subject into separate snippets that then fit back together in a manner that makes the whole clear! The effects of Surrealism on my work helped break things up into new arrangements, pieces, relationships, even melding forms together. Its super-focus and startling sharpness helped provide a basis for the glistening effects I like to add to some works, as if glowing within an industrial subway, or a modern cave. The rearrangement of shape and form helped me to melt normal shapes into new forms, which could better be used to express their industrial energy. I do not feel that use of the basic materials of painting has been exhausted, or that art now must explore new materials/media to be able to make a valid statement. New media often provides a false feeling of physical, conceptual innovation that ends up ringing hollow. Finally, since, to me, the spiritual is directly self-evident, it is also present in my work. The political and socio-political world are foreign to my art. Kevin L. O'Brien (kLoB), a short Bio Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting - University Of Massachusetts, Cum Laude 1974 Studied with John Grillo, a student of Hans Hoffman. 1976 â€“ 1979 Had produced a large body of works. Began to show my work to various art establishments, hoping to get exhibited. Met with Carl Belz, at Rose Art Gallery at Brandeis. He reviewed my slides and decided to come to look at my work. At about the same time, I showed my work to Gillian Levine, a co-curator with Elisabeth Sussman at the ICA, in Boston. She viewed my slides, then wanted to see it exhibited. I set up an exhibit in my yard, cellar and garage with about 40 works, some of them large (you can some of the exhbits on my Web site). Giilian came in the morning, and then Carl came in the afternon.They both were encouraging.
trial-scape. I try to develop a symbol from pseudo-figurative state, along a continuum until it becomes my own. The symbols might be fashioned more in the brute manner of Dubuf-fet, young children or early cultures, as fit more with expressionistic force. But this work cannot be relegated as being "Art Brut", or stereotyped in a similar manner because of its continuous relevant innovation in industrialism. I try to break the ener-
1979 - Helen Shlien Gallery on Congress St. in Boston was also encouraging after viewing my slides. 1979 - I procured a month long exhibit at Boston City Hall in a long corridor. Please see Web site, http://www.klobart.com, for more recent exhibition history.
Kevin L. O’Brienn Martin
an interview with
Kevin L. O’Brien Hi Kevin, a warm welcome to LandEscape. We would start this interview with our usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what are the features that mark a work as a piece of Contemporary art?
Well, I must say, I have thought about this a lot, over the years. I have done a lot of art with children making their first symbols, including my own 2 beautiful children. Young children all over the world (almost) at certain ages make marks with media. Some of it for them is what was described as “the discovery of motoric activity,” when I was studying art education. But as artists, based on my views of art, we must do more than just make marks - we must make a certain “blob” of marks that hangs together by itself, and yet stands out from other marks. The hand of the artist must be self-evident - industrially produced items will not do.
Kevin L. O’ Brien
with John Grillo, who was a student of the well known abstract expressionist painter Hans Hoffman. By the way, how much in your opinion does training influence art? And how has your art developed since you left school?
John was a great influence, although if you compare our work, you won’t see any similarities. He influenced me at a time when my work was going through its most violent spawning period. He had a certain philosophic approach, and was not afraid of getting involved with his work.
Concept, by itself, is not enough for me, nor is the use of the newest media in the world, even if never ever used before (I also have the equivalent of a Master‘s Degree in Instructional Television/Media - a CAGS). I need to see some type of symbolic represen-tation, one that can be applied elsewhere in the world. If all of the above is true, and the work is done during the current time, and is not simply a copy of other art works, then I would say it is contemporary art. I do not shy away from the concept of originality, although I believe we operate in the collective consciousness.
I caught some of this influence. I would travel down to his place in the Village with him, and he introduced me to an art community. He talked of Hoffman now and again, and those were sometimes inspiring moments. Philosophical training is the biggest help in influencing art - but there has to be an active creative spark in the prospective artist. Since school I have developed my various styles and explored different materials, methods, motifs, ideas, etc. - I did installations in the 1970’s - you can see them on my Web site, some of which I produced for a private show for the Curator of the ICA in Boston, and the Curator of the Rose Art Gallery at Brandeis.
Would you like to tell us something of your background? I have read that you hold a BFA in Painting that you received from the University Of Massachusetts, where you studied
Kevin L. O’Brien
Electric Reindeer 2 2012; acrylic, brown paper bag, aluminum foil, wax paper, newspaper, glitter; 34 in X 24 inches
Before getting in the matter of your art production, would you like you describe your methodology when creating your pieces? By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
unscripted. I actually hope that I don’t know what the work will look like before it’s done that’s too boring for me. Since I accentuate high-energy, it moves at high speed. The materials I use exhibit their own forces in ways that I can’t always predict, and I must react. I will often play music, like high energy jazz, when painting. I have failed with a particular piece on occasion, and was forced to scrap a work.
Well, I always take risks. I never re-produce the same work over and over again (I‘d like to think!), and instead of hard-work, I would say opening up is the key. I may do a sketch, but it is more a type of crude plan. I expect to react to the materials, and the assembling of the work as it goes along, so that it is actually a certain type of ritual performance,
Now let's focus on the artworks that our readers can admire in these pages. I would start from Girl with Golden Hair and Electric Reindeer 2. Could you tell us something
about your initial inspiration for these interesting pieces?
Girl with Golden Hair is a portrait created by painting at very high speed, and is influenced heavily, in my mind, by surrealism and itâ€™s breaking down of control over normal arrangements of well-known forms, in favor of other arrangements that might be more powerful (so in this sense, combined with expressionism). I tried to paint on bland industrial cardboard to accentuate the paint. I tried to use simple, primitive colors, tense, energized strokes, and left the background bare so the figure could contrast with it, and be left as it was. You should be able to see the energy in the eyes, etc. Electric Reindeer 2 is a rendering of a animal from the Northern Hemisphere, the colder portions thereof, and I have tried to depict it using simple, bold colors, energized shapes and, in this case, provide an environment for the animal, too, by including grass/sky. Animals have been important/powerful forever, and I try to balance biting off gleaming chunks of life here, with freezing the animal as a hieroglyphic, in deference to the high spiritual significance it may have had for northern tribal groups. And we couldn't do without mentioning Coltrane - in the Groove! which has mostly im- pressed me and that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: I can feel an effective synergy but at the same time a creative contrast: can you describe a little bit about your creative process for this piece? Moreover, can you talk about the development of your imagery?
My imagery has derived from changes I have made to various forms over the course of my career, and also from symbolism inspired by artists like Klee. I have altered the materials in various ways, thereby discovering new Girl with Golden Hair
2012; acrylic, plastic parts, glitter; 32 in X 40 inches
shapes. When working on this particular piece I had a number of special discoveries, when I found materials to represent something similar to what I had been thinking of in scraps of mixed up pieces. Some of the materials I picked to go together from the start, some I found after looking at many different materials. The way the pieces are arranged is supposed to have musical significance of a sort, and the Groove, itself, is a visible part of the work, by intention. The speed of the music is represented. By the way, I'm sort of convinced that music brings a temporal aspect to paintings and paintings bring a physical aspect to music: could a symbiosis between two apparently different media give birth to a completely new kind of art, or just reveal hidden features of what we use to call "tradition"?
My work attempts in some way to mimic the serialization of notes over time, but attempts to cut a path across the places where the marks would normally be made, to depict moving, living life. I call it â€œhigh-energyâ€? to stress this the energy should still be there, but not be encapsulated in a specific time slot. If I were a musician, I may try to do the same thing, but in reverse. You have defined your Art as Supra-Expressionism, and as you have explained in your artist's statement, you attempt to make the expressionistic content real, by accentuating it's physical characteristics: I find this very stimulating...would you like to elaborate a bit this concept for our readers?
I try to accentuate the texture, energy, feeling of a piece to make it more powerful, then put the images in a context where pieces of things from our everyday life can render new meaning. The materials I use are found throughout industrial cultures - our food or other supplies are delivered in them, for example The accent I put on the work is supposed to make it more perceptible from its background surroundings, while the materials I use are supposed to be de49
rived from a list of materials in common occurrence. This particular jux-taposition of unusually distinct images built in everyday materials is supposed to render the image as being more real than just every-dayness. Not to mention that the feedback of the audience is important for everyone who has something to communicate. When you conceive a work, do you think to whom will enjoy it?
It is perhaps a limited set of viewers that I may inadvertently be targeting. In some ways, one must be willing to accept how I render things, in what may be an unexpected way. One may have some artistic vocabulary behind them to do this, but then the force I use and crudity of it, at times, may insult their well-trained sensibilities. It is not my intent to limit my audience in this way, but it is more important to be truthful to what I have discovered is required for my own work. often ask to the artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
When I have performed a work, taken chances, crossed boundaries, went over edges, expressed powerful energy, and I can look at the piece and see all of that in it, instead of a ball of confusion, then
Electric Reindeer 1 2012 acrylic, glitter 22 in X 28 inches
I feel a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes at this point I feel as though I have held the powerful, throbbing fibers of creative energy in my bare hands, and lived to talk about it! Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts, Kevin. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I have a number of works that I have planned, based on the places my last works took me to. I will be exhibiting at the Parallax Art Fair in NYC in May (perhaps in London, too), and the Danforth Art Museum in June. I hope to somehow get my work exposed to other places, also - I have been talking with a gallery in Vienna and an art fair in southern France. I am trying to extend my exposure so that I can continue to exercise my creative energy, which is important to me, in a religious and yet physical type of way. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about my work!
see Web site, http://www.klobart.com, for more recent exhibition history.
Stuart Gibson (USA) An artist’s statement
“The types of occurrences and subjects often qualified as fleeting, happenstance or peripheral to the greater worth of one's existence serve as my primary inspiration. “Using personal experience as my source material, I employ the methods of ethos, pathos, logos and semiotics to convey my shifting existential suppositions. “The aesthetic manifestation of my creative process includes the use of a variety of media and often employs elements of humor, irony and cynicism alongside a deeply earnest interest in the human condition.
Stuart Gibson is an artist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He holds a BFA in Studio Art, that he received from the University of Arizona, and then he received a MFA from the same institution. His artworks have been exhibited all around the USA. www.stuartjgibson.us
Drop, Mixed Media installation with pine needles and treated steel bed frame,
an interview with
Stuart Gibson First of all we would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of Art and what could be the features that characterize a piece of Contemporary Art: it's just a matter of making Art during these last years?
An artwork s existence or lack there of, is completely defined by intent. It is only after we can identify the presented work s intentionality that we can then begin to assess the quality and relevance of the work. Attempts at defining an art object as contemporary are all too often based on the fact that a work has been completed recently. I believe that to be truly contemporary the work has to be â€œof this time,â€? in that somewhere in it s creation or existence the work must relate or at minimum acknowledge modernity in both the current world as well as larger canonical trends in art making. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MFA that you received from the University of Arizona: how has this experience informed you as an artist? And how has your art developed since you left school? I'm sort of wondering if a certain kind of training could even stifle an artist's creativity... what's your point?
Stuart Gibson overarching media throughout my studies. Technically, I was seated within the Photo program-but I was allowed to take classes in all of the departments and found myself in just as many painting and design courses as photography-all the while I wasn t making any photographs, paintings or design work-but mostly sculptures, prints and performance scores. I was very fortunate to work with so many brilliant mentors and colleagues-graduate school became a very magical time for me and certainly supported the development of what is now my professional practice. As an Artist Educator now a big part of my teaching philosophy revolves around giving the student clear objectives that are both attainable and concrete as well as open ended. I think that art school education can become too prescriptive, most often when the spirit of creative inquiry is sidestepped or overlooked for the predictab-le acceptable solution to the design problem at hand.
I came to art almost accidentally. I was in undergraduate school studying to an environmental science degree when I became absolutely seduced by the history and practice of art making. My curiosity was really piqued by non-traditional art forms and movements that blurred the boundaries between Art and the outside world. I was incredibly intrigued first, by Dada then later Fluxus and Conceptual Art, Performance and Land Art. My connection to working in more traditional art media came later, just as my interest in studying those forms historically-but over time I have developed a deep affection for the whole of the history of art. When deciding upon an appropriate MFA program to attend, finding one that would support my interests in working in a multiplicity of media was a key element. When accepted to the program at UA I made sure that it was explicitly stated that I would not be tethered to any single or
Before starting to focus on your artworks I would like that you tell us something about your creative process and especially about your set
Stuart Gibson on the other side completely different-yet still related to the initial idea somehow. Now let's focus on the artworks of yours that our readers can admire in the following pages: I would start from Highway Sunrise. A feature of this piece that has mostly impressed is the the stimulating lighting techniques which gives such an irreal appearance... That piece is a straight photograph (unaltered digitally except for cropping) that was taken when I was out at sunrise on morning on my bike. I was passing over the rocks surrounding the train tracks and carrying the bike on my shoulder and I came to the graffiti on that wall with the sun at my back and saw what became the image and thought it was beautiful and sort of magic and so I quickly took a photograph. Another pieces of your on which I would like to spend some words is To Pine that, as you have explained, was executed as a meditation on the act of longing. Could you take us through your creative process when developing this project? To Pine was initially conceived of in 2002 and through ongoing concept development the work itself was executed in 2006-2007. The idea was linked to old meaning of “pining” for something or someone-to long for. And I was very interested in the play on words and the concept of longing so I would select these pine boards from the storeperfectly ready to be put into use and I would then perform the act of sanding them by hand using a hand block and I would move through 60, 80, 100, 150, 220, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper on each side of the board including edges. This act gave me time to meditate on longing as I developed a relationship with each of the boards as individuals. The boards themselves become something other than a building material-even though that is what they still ultimately are, which I felt was akin to longing for something or someonewe evolve the thing to meet our desires and expectations, even though the thing is still a thing. The boards were shown standing upright in several different configurations-seen here they are in one layer and exhibit themselves as both sheer poten-
Early Morning Day After St. Patrick’s Day Digital Color Photography, 2012
up for making your works. By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? My creative process is interwoven throughout all of the parts of my daily existence since I have limited time to spend in my actual studio, I have evolved to have sort of a portable studio with me at all times. I keep running notes in my iPhone and use it as a portable computer and camera-for both photographs as well as visual reminders of people, places, and things. I don t really previsualize works-but do previsualize the aesthetics. As in –I want to make a series that have a very “Indian Summer, Nostalgic” type of feeling and then figure out what materials and visual treatments might be the best to use to achieve that outcome. Often times it takes me years to move from the initial idea to the completed piece, the gestation period involves lots of changes and works will often come out
tial to build or create something and also as manipulated and changed. I challenge the viewer to look at the individual unique characteristics, their curves and knots and imperfections and to ponder the individuals as well as the group and their assigned values as building materials, as sculptures and as relics from a performative act.
Sunrise at the Highway, Digital Color photograph, 2008 By the way, I can see that you experiment with different materials a lot, and I can recognize that the wood inspires you: how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece ?
I try to use any material that I see to be conceptually or aesthetically relevant in the work. Any material that I can justify is a welcomed addition. I am currently using a great deal of tempered glass for some works. I ve had a longstanding relationship with wood-I love working with wood. To Pine, 2006-2007 installed dimension variable
Trees have always been very interesting to me because of their lifespans, markers, reproductive patterns etc.-I like to use the tree as a stand in for the human character.
timbers of pines individually selected and hand treated With a palmblock from 100 to a 200 grade automotive finish sandpaper 26 of 43
Stuart Gibson piece. I wanted Drop to exists as a sort of surreal imaginary space, an imagined bedroom. The pine needles surround the bed, rather than it sitting upon them, that was important to me. I wanted the needles to have dropped all around the bed rather than the bed to have been dropped onto them. The pieces that are made of wood and in this case, needles have wonderful physical qualities including the scent of wood and/or pine. I ve grown unable to smell the pinewood but I am told that the works and my studio itself always has this scent.
The Doormat Suit, mixed media sculpture, 2008
And we couldn't do without mentioning Drop: again, I have been struck with the effective lighting techniques that you have employed: would you like to tell us more about this feature?
As you have remarked The Doormat Suit can also function as a fully wearable piece of art that can be used for live performative actions: how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? When you conceive a piece, do you happen to think to whom will enjoy it?
Drop is a sculptural installation that is best presented in a room that has been painted a very dark gray color and very dim overall with high points of lighting occurring in controlled spots that are installed on the floor and ceiling level.
The Doormat Suit originated as a prop for live performance in 2005. The suit depicted here is the 4th incarnation of the suit because it has taken quite a lot of finessing to get the suit crafted in an acceptable way. I stopped engaging with the concept of using the suit for live performance a few years ago, decided that was too heavy handed and that the suit itself was extremely effective at stan-
I think this piece is most conceptually effective in a very dim space because I wanted to create moments of slippage-where the installation becomes activated by viewer engagement, that engagement being the viewer stepping onto he dried pine needle perimeter surrounding the larger
Stuart Gibson ding in for me-as the performer. It performs all by itself and does it better than I ever could. I can wear the suit as a suit but we don t need each other to perform its role as we move through space. When conceiving of work I definitely try to think through the whole gamut of conceptual questions, a big one being: how will an audience come to understand this work? It s extremely important to be aware of that subject, particularly when one makes work that employs a critical and/or ironic lens to our daily human existence and interac-tions. I don t want to accidentally assault my viewer, if they are to be assaulted it must be purposeful. I want my viewer to be able to reach the work somehow. To be able to enter into the pieces as an observer, voyeur, co-conspirator or willing participant. The work comes from an earnest position of existential inquiry, yet I aim to maintain a critical distance that allows the works to show sentiment but not exist as sentimental. Like life-sometimes the work is funny, sometimes it s hard to believe, sometimes it tells tales of courage or cowardice, victory or defeat. The photographic works especially demonstrate the relationship of the work to my life and my practice of making works drawn from my life experiences because of the very nature in how they are created, in that they are completely unstaged documents of real life events. Sometimes I feel like these are 21st century commentary on manifest destiny and sometimes I feel like they re outtakes from a blooper reel, but regardless, they are markers of real lived experiences. Another interesting work of yours is Pallet, that you have conceived while you were working at To Pine. Do you think that there's a similar channel of communication between works that are conceived in the same time?
I definitely think there can be a lot of commonalities in works that are conceived in the same time period. I love working in series, groups and bodies of work rather than further spread out isolated pieces because of the push/pull relationship that the works can have with each other. Pallet was conceived of while I was in the middle of the Pine project, and I am sure that I would have never thought of it if I hadn t embarked upon the Pine project in the first place. Yet Pallet didn t hold the same type of personal lamentationI was less interested in the act as I was in honoring this object (that is often treated as only one step above kindling or trash) as crucial to the whole of our modern ideas about existence. Pallet took years to finish and 3 test pallets while in the process. I stole the pallets from distribution centers and had to figure out how to best take them apart without damaging them more. The pallet that I ended up finishing is actually a soda pallet-which is square, unlike the rectan-
Stuart Gibson gular general merchandise pallet. I d be lying if I didn t say that this work was inspired in part by my years of experience working in shipping and receiving for retail chains. I ve unloaded more pallets than I can remem-ber. In the making of Pallet it was extremely important to me that much like To Pine-the work must exist as both the thing itself (a shipping pallet) as well as a newly invented thing-with newly assigned meaning. The work is to be displayed without a floor plinth or barriers and part of the magic is it s ability to surprise the viewer if they are willing to linger on the work for just a moment, long enough to realize that it is now named a work of art rather than a tool for transporting goods. question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I find making artwork to be super challenging most of the time, ideas might come easily but the good ones are rare so I have to say that when things are lining up and work is coming together. Clean, slick and smart-that s when I am most excited. Making gets my adrenaline going every time, but there s nothing like making something when you know it s really coming together successfully. I get great satisfaction when I work out a concept-whether or not the work is completed (or even began, which is often the case). I spend so much time working on artworks in my head and notes that major breakthroughs often come into fruition in that form rather than in the process of creating the physical art object. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, Stuart. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I am so happy to say that I have a joint solo exhibition “On Longing,” with my most brilliant colleague and wife Carly Zufelt this coming August in Kalamazoo Michigan. I am also knee deep in a new multi-media body of work called “A Field Guide for Modern Drifting,” that I am hoping to find exhibition opportunities for as early as this coming Winter 2013-2014. I have also had work recently added to the prestigious collection at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and been awarded two residency opportunities, one here in the United States and one in Newfoundland the exact dates of which have yet to be scheduled. I plan to keep moving forward with my career and keep making work that engages me, those who surround me and hopefully new audiences near and far. I feel optimistic, lucky, light hearted and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the contemporary canon and I plan to do everything I can to make a lasting and meaningful contribution.
The Doormat Suit, mixed media sculpture, 2008
Baukje Spaltro (Belgie) An artist’s statement “The demand for our WHERE is meaningful than ever, more meaningful than those to us WHAT. We must focus on the place that people create to be who they are.This place I have given the name ATMOSPHERE. Spheres are space creations as immune function. .” Peter Sloterdijk, from Spheres 2003
“A PANORAMA is about the perception and experience of their own environment, the sphere. I’ve always felt the need, to paint my vision of my environment. I am inspired by the actual (physical / mental) space. The ‘hard’ panorama is a representation of the physical space and refers to the observable form of city buildings and asphalt. The ‘soft’ panorama refers to the experience, the subjective experiences and expectations of users of a place. Miracle on a tricycle,between city and nature
Between 2005-2008 I worked in Amsterdam on BAUC (Amsterdam Breitner Under Construction), a tribute to the ‘hard’ city full of pits/ constructions views. In 2008 I painted my series INCANTO, in the colors of my perception of the Tuscan landscapes. Here I made the first soft panoramas. Betwee 2009-2011 I worked on ‘soft’ views: in KANTIJ. Drawn or painted, which is visible?
2008/2009, mixed technique on linen, 185 x 270 cm
the own identity’. In what sphere are you? Through color I catch the different Sphere I notice. I research the tension between the perception of the person inside and the outside world. What image to follow? Color or drawing? Front or back focus? Drawn or painted, which is visible? Is the Reality of a SPHERE not always double-interpretable?
Since 2012 I paint the ‘Spheres’, inspired by the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. “It’s not a matter of knowing who you are, but to understand where you are”. The Sphere (company, environment, place, future) is a personal and important place that creates and defines
Breathless as atmosphere; as the personal perception of time, place and expectations. SPHERES are about the personal view of the positive as negative. In Breathless1 the inner 60
in their own personal inner world. Also breathless. How different can a word be, how different the meaning of the atmosphere. It’s the color of the atmosphere who defends the meaning of the place, time and expectation. We are defining the atmosphere through our perception, we are making our reality. I work with the power of color, creating a two dimensional space, in which everyone discovers his own personal sphere. The Sphere (company, environment, place, future) is a personal and important place that creates and defines the own identity’. In what sphere are you? Through color I catch the differents Spheres I notice. In the Sphere I research the tension between the perception of the personal inside and the outside world.
Baukje Spaltro, a short bio postHBO course Hogeschool Amsterdam Project Management (Amsterdam 2002) MA painting Academia Belle Arti di Brera prof. F.Breschi (Milano - 1997) course ‘explore the art market’(Amsterdam 1995)
and outer space of today’s western society. What’s happening outside and insight. So is the meaning of breathless as well female journalist is looking at the viewer telling with her look how breathless the hole Syria problem is. She is strong and the word conscience. If you look good you discover that the soldiers in the background are weeping.
MA painting Phil Bloom en Jurriaan van Hall (Amsterdam 1993-1994) course ‘Art is business, entrepreneurship is an art‘ (Amsterdam 1991) BA painting + theaterdesign Hogeschool voor de Kunst Utrecht (Utrecht 1986-1990)
In Breathless 2+3, the meaning of breathless, is from the inner space of a cocooning happy couple. They are breathless and listening and absorbing information from the outside world 61
An interview with
Baukje Spaltro Hi Baukje, a warm welcome to LandEscape. Let's start with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what are in your opinion the distinctive fea-tures that marks the contemporariness of a piece?
Hi, nice icebreaker question. For me a peace of art is an image that is strong, seductive, powerful, autonomous, independent and perceptive. It tells and speaks for it’s self in a own language. That’s it. Very important it’s an eye language and not a brain thing. This eye language communicates through shapes, lines and colors, and tells mostly a unconscious thought about this society, world and the perception by me about it. The marks about the contemporariness of a artpiece are the way the image is made. This eye language is defined by the culture, the society, thoughts and especially the language and grammar of the current time. I would like to ask you something about your background: I have read in your bio that you have studied both in the Netherlands and in Italy, at the prestigious Accademia di Brera, in Milan. How much formal training has impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays? Please tell us something about your evolution as an artist and what has lead you to become the artist you are today.
in Amsterdam I’m the Italian artist and in Milan I’m the Dutch painter. I will always be the foreigner, who perceives from the outside of a culture. From my studies I’ve learned to think autonomous / out of the box from the Dutch Art High School. In Milan I’ve learned not to be afraid to use esthetics, to use colors.
I’m half Italian and half Dutch. I was born in Italy, then my parents split I went to the Netherlands, studied there my BA Fine Arts, then I made my MA in Milan at Brera. I always travelled between those two cultures. So I see the world from two perspectives. That’s how I discovered the powerful role of culture and civilization of a a country. How important language is, the spoke and eye language. My perception of things in society is layered. So to speak I’m also homeless because
In the Netherlands I’ve learned to draw in a free way, not to be captured from old theories and techniques. In Italy I’ve learned to think big! But the most I learned by myself just to do 62
Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work?
As said I paint, so I can study the thought and image, my perception of the zeitgeist (my time, society and space). I do this in a serial because each period I’m into a special thought, I want to study something specific. I started with the human skeleton, then the human face, then the body. Three series made between 1994 and 1999. In 2000 I started with the space around mankind, first thoughts about the human role into society then thoughts about mankind and his own identity. From 2000 the space around is determined. Each series is a study to discover. So I start with ideas feelings, opinions, then I make scetches and start to paint. Very important I work with an ‘anti – logic attitude’. I want to create from my subconscious. Because I’m in the same mood, I use the same colors and pictorial elements. But as soon I catch myself of thinking or designing a picture I change completely my work attitude and start to boycot my self. Last years I work with a lot of thin painted layers. I make sketches, also with color hints. Once I start the painting I put everything away and start to paint, from my thought and subconscious. Leading in this process is to watch good to see what happens on the canvas. So that the canvas tells me how to proceed, and not my mind. It’s all about learning to see good, to perceive and to learn the power of an image/colors.
things and keep on painting, without listening how to do things but just discover them by myself. After the formal training I just continued to paint, and each period I had a main thought to research, so I started to paint a series.
If I notice to be working safely I completely change my strategy. I close my eyes, grab a color and just start to use this. Whit this I obtain strange color combinations. I see that unlogical choises shimmering cause. The most important thing into my work is that I want colors to shimmer on the flat surface. This happens only if I dare to make strange choices on the canva-
Only at the end of a series I discover what the series is about. Once I have an explanation/answer for myself what I’m doing the series was finished. My motor is the drive to discover how things are made, where a thought is about. 63
es, the unexpected are always the best combinations. My ‘anti-logic attitude’ can also be destructive, because I just act, make subconscious choices. Not always an improvement for the work, but always an adventure to create. Through the years I develop an own mixed painting technique. I make my own medium, and I use acrylic neon and oil colors. I also use pens, pencils, markers and other graffiti materials. I work with color surfaces and drawings. Now let's focus on you works: let's start from the Incanto series, which, as you have explained, has been inspired by Tuscan landscape or -it would better to say- Tuscan Panorama. By the way, it seems that you have a close bond with Italy... isn't it?
I’m half Italian, there are also my roots. I love colors, energy, sun and landscapes. In 2008 I’ve worked for one year in Tuscany, in the artist in residence Frantoio, in a medieval village. Here I discovered the beauty of a wide landscape. Because I do not want to capture the realistic view of my surroundings, but I paint spheres, I prefer to talk about PANORAMAS instead about Landscapes. In which I like to focus on the relationship subject surrounding.
perception of the Tuscan landscapes. Here I made the first soft panoramas. Incanto, means enchantment in Italian, and talks about the beauty the colors of Tuscan Landscape for me in those period. These are my first ‘soft’ panoramas. Soft because these are images created from my perception of the Tuscan Landscape. In those days I’ve met my current husband. I went to Tuscany to make ‘hard’ panorama’s about Amsterdam.
A PANORAMA is about the perception and experien-ce of their own environment, the sphere. I’ve always felt the need, to paint my vision of my environment. I am inspired by the actual (physical / mental) space. The ‘hard’ panorama is a representation of the physical space and refers to the observable form of city buildings and asphalt. The ‘soft’ panora-ma refers to the experience, the subjective experiences and expectations of users of a place. Between 2005-2008 I worked in Amsterdam on BAUC (Amsterdam Breitner Under Construction), a tribute to the ‘hard’ city full of pits/constructions views. In 2008 I painted my series INCANTO, in the colors of my
I want to look what happens if I paint my subject, the constructions views of Amsterdam, from a distance. Instead of construction views I’ve made a series full of enchantment, energy, colors, an ode to life, beauty and love. I was in love so my inner world, and my perception of the Tuscan landscape was full of vivid colors and the human figure came also back into my work. 64
Baukje Spaltro Another stimulating artwork of your is Red Network, from the KANTIJ series, that our reader can admire in the following pages. What was your inpiration for this pieces? By the way, could you take our readers through your creative process when starting a new project?
Between 2009-2011 I worked on ‘soft’ views: in KANTIJ. Drawn or painted, which is visible? After INCANTO series, I was back in Amsterdam and into a new mood, sphere. I was intrigued by the layers of perception, by the fact that reality is subjective (zeitgeist thought). I start to paint more thin layers and to make pictures with more depth. I was fascinated by the combination of drawings and color spaces. The balance and also the tension between abstraction and figuration. Important to mention is that I make the things I’m in, the mood the sphere I’m in inspires me to paint. So during a series I most of the time I don’t Multatuli in Vinci, 2008 / 2009, 109 x 200 cm,mixed technique on linen INCANTO betovering
Incanto (over 43 jaar), 2008, 65 x 180 cm gemengde techniek op linnen INCANTO - betovering
realize what Iâ€™m investigating. Now that the KANTIJ series is closed I realize, I see what I was doing.Red Network is inspired by a street view of the medieval village in Tuscany. Here I just used color and lines to show that reality is subjective. If the viewer is patient it will discover depth and figuration into this abstract image. But if the viewer is impatient it will only notice splashing paint and an unfinished picture. I like when a picture is open, or unfinished a kind of interes-ting edginess. Then the viewer can finish himself the picture.
La vita va .....Mimmo & Mario (from KANTIJ series) 95 x 145 cm mixed techniques on linen 2011
Purple Red Network, 2011 oil/mixed technique on linen
There's a couple of paintings of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words: Geef me een kanten sluier which means Give me a lace veil. and La vita va... Mimmo and Mario. The feature that has struck me is the synergy between the subject and the colors.
Description: It's not what you think it is, but what is it? Colorfield: a timeless landscape which defines where we are. Rather than presenting a factual reality, I conjure the realms of our imagination, our sphere (networks). My work express the atmosphere through abstracted figuration. The first reaction is this is a drawing, what is it? The spectator searches for information so he can orientate himself into the timeless landscape.
So I can recognize an effective symbiosis between two apparently contrasting elements: vivid colors and contemplative -I dare to say "eremitic"- messages. even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit exaggerated, do you agree with this analysis?
Only after a few minutes, after the eye got used at the colours, the spectator discovers a little child in the middle. This work expresses the atmosphere through abstracted figuration.
I like your analysis! La vita va... Mimmo and Mario. Is inspirated by a family picture with my old Italian twin 66
Give me a lace veil is the main artpeace of the series KANTIJ, because of the different layers into it. Here also there is the subjectivity of reality. “reality is layered, a painted space has depth and is also layered” There is a layer under this picture of the famous statue of Cupido and Psyche door Antonio Canova. Also the contradiction between vivid colors and gloomy images is for me interesting to create depth, I make a panorama, I show a sphere. But it’s the viewer who completes the picture finally, he chooses which direction to finish the image. In the Netherland we have a way of saying to talk about subjectivity; we say: do you see the glass of wine half full or half empty? How you look at things depends how you perceive an image, or how you see reality. In your recent KANTIJ series we can recognize a recurrent presence of the green color, as in the interesting Green Conversation, in the following pages: could you tell us something about this feature? By the way, does your process let you to visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
I work unsubcounsius as I already said.I just act into a mood, then the colors comes out and also images starts to evelop,layer by layer. Iam like a tourist in a new country, I have to orientate myself, the take position, and start to learn a new language. Each subject, painted space and color field, has it’s own grammar.I start with a mood, impression, but then the process of creation has to take over. Otherwise I think to much and make only crap.Green Conversation is a painting of my actual series SPHERES. Green came in the latest series. I think as a heritage from my working period in the Tuscan AIR of 2008.Green is the color for the mood and space/sphere I’m in nowadays. For me it represents nature, calm, tranquility. But I’m now still working at this series so I’m now discovering what this color means and how it works. Discovering the grammar of green.
uncles. I was shocked when I saw this wedding picture of 3 years ago. I didn’t see them for years but in my memory they are always young. But in the picture the are old men. I was touched by the picture because you could see into it that live goes on (meaning of the title), behind the old men there is already the new generation. Here I drew Dutch and Italian trees; into this image I made an interesting tension between drawing and painting, between subject and color spaces, the colors are in balance but also shimmering. These two paintings I created due to my ‘anti-logic attitude’, Here the paint, canvases, my subconscious created those autonomous images. Which I’m very proud of. 67
It's clear that concept of landscape plays a crucial role in your artworks: and, since our magazine is called "LandEscape", we cannot do without asking you: what is the significance of the landscape in your art?
Last ten years I paint panorama’s (hard, soft and spheres). Panoramas are subjective views, perceptions of places that sourrounds us. Those places can be inner-, outer places, thoughts or cultures. A PANORAMA is about the perception and experience of their own environment, the sphere. I’ve always felt the need, to paint my vision of my environment. I am inspired by the actual (physical / mental) space. The ‘hard’ panorama is a representation of the physical space and refers to the observable form of city buildings and asphalt. The ‘soft’ panorama refers to the experience, the subjective experiences and expectations of users of a place. SPHERES are about the personal view of the inner and outer space of today’s western society. What’s happening outside and insight. So is the meaning of breathless as well positive as negative. In my commission Connection different clients are sitting on the same bench. Everyone has his own inner and outer sphere. They are a group but also isolated each one from each other. Every person is alone but and absorbing information from the outside world in their own personal inner world. How different can a sphere be, how different the meaning of the atmosphere. It’s the color of the atmosphere who defends the meaning of the place, time and expectation. We are defining the atmosphere through our perception, we are making our reality. I work with the power of color, creating a two dimensional space, in which everyone discovers his own personal sphere. The Sphere (company, environment, place, future) is a personal and important place that creates and defines the
Green conversation 1 2011/2012, 70x110 cm, mixed on techniqueon linen
Description: Green Conversation - Every picture is unfinished, an image with drawn elements and color fields. The spectator will finish/complete the panorama with his own perception (personal experience). Each landscape is made of different layers. Together they create a timeless landscape which defines where we are. Here into a green conversation, the image has different rapresenations, of a group (background) and two women (foreground drawing). It's de spectator who chooses what he wants to see, to experience. The spectator eye has to discover this image, it takes a few minutes to see all the layers and to discover what this sphere image is about. 68
artists has the guts to discover through the creative process. Just do, just go travel, be adventurous and learn to stay open minded, think out of the box etc.Artists are discovering how images works. I think we humans learns more from images then from rational theories. Now here's a cliche question that we often ask to the artists that we happen to interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
To be the captain of my own life. I can travel, in my inner and outer world, discovering thing every day things. I feel like I am a kind of Alchemist, magician of colors. I would like to learn people more about art, the power of creating and colors.But it’s also very though, not always enough security about income, exhibitions, but especially strong work! But it’s the best job and the best way of life for me! Thanks a lot for this interview, Baukje: Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I’m now focusing into my series SPHERES. So next year a few solo shows. This year I make a few groupshows in Amsterdam, Soest, Naarden, Milan and London. Last year I had a great commission CONNECTION.
own identity’. In what sphere are you? Through color I catch the different Spheres I notice. In the Sphere I research the tension between the perception of the personal inside and the outside world.
I would like to invite the readers to look at the making off film. I put this on my website www.spaltro.nl under projects. Here I worked together with psychiatric clients and workers, we made together a triptych of 1.7 by 7 meters! It was great to do, to feel the synergy it had, and the result is a beautiful art of peace in which more clients are painted on a bench in the Vondelpark.For al interested readers on www.spaltro.nl you can follow my activities, see my different series, and different pro-ject+films.
In your artist's statement you have mentioned a quote of the german philosopher Peter Sloterdijk: “it is not a matter of knowing who you are, but to understand where you are”. I'm sort of convinced that some informations are hidden, or even "encrypted" so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
It’s important to get conscious, to know where you are. What is your own sphere? Through which you perceive the reality. This getting counsciuos is a role for artists. Because only
If you mail me at email@example.com I’ll put you on my mailinglist. 69
Kelly Hendrickson (USA)
An artistâ€™s statement
For ever so long I have been fascinated with crumbling, abandoned buildings and with other, often discarded items. I have often wondered what held such interest for me in these otherwise forgotten places and things. Then I realized why. When I see them I feel a story is hidden between the fallen boards and broken bricks, somewhere in the lost bolts and washers. These things were once probably someone's new pride and joy. What have they seen, what history witnessed, what squeals of joy or wracking sobs have they heard? How many tears landed on the now empty window sills and seeped deep into the wood and the history of that old house? The story is what called to me and what I want to re-tell in my art. The story is sometimes in the subject matter and at other times it is in using the actual articles themselves in my art. My desire is to bring honor of place and belonging back to them. While I might not know their actual history, I do feel the tale they can help tell. One story can be very individual and another can be more of a general concept of a place or of a group of persons. As I work on a piece, I become absorbed in the story. Often it takes directions I did not notice at the beginning and the whole process is one of discovery and exploration. In the end, the finished work provides several layers revealing different aspects to the individual viewer. I prefer to leave the story rather open-ended so the viewer can resonate with the part that is most clearly revealed to them. Shakespeare said, "the play's the thing". For me, it is the story within the art. As you consider my creations, I hope you will engage with that story. Perhaps you will find within it bits of your own life calling back to you. Solitude
An interview with
Kelly Hendrickson Hi Kelly, welcome to LandEscape: First of all, I would like to ask you what in your opinion defines a work of Art and what could be the features that characterize a piece of Contemporary Art: is it just a matter of making Art during these last years?
I'm glad you added the "in your opinion" phrase. I have come to the conclusion that ART is truly in the eye of the beholder. I have seen pieces win Best of Show which "in my opinion" were quite inferior to many others in the exhibition. Some work I have seen online and at galleries I would not consider ART. But that is the art world through MY eyes and MY heart. Then again, I have seen pieces that resonate deeply with my soul...but could not put into words just why it reached out to me. Is THAT the whole issue...or at least a big part of the issue? Is ART one of those ethereal things that diminish when one attempts to put it into actual words? I am a member of several online artist discussion groups and it amazes me how such serious divisions spring to the surface over what is often just a simple comment or observation or question. Perhaps it is the words used that invite such vehement response. But are those words really indicative of the feeling and soul of ART? Now if you are expecting a solid answer from me on this one...you'll have to wait. The jury in my own mind is out on this topic. But I will say that I definitely am leaning in the direction of the ethereal.
a caveat or asterisk with further explanation. Then on the other hand I would love to just say, "I'm an artist. I hope you like my work." Then the viewer can make their own caveat or asterisk explanation. I might lean more toward the label-less concept because I existed for so long in the more structured corporate world. Art to me is freedom and I'm loathe to relinquish that freedom and will do so only when forced.
As for what characterizes Contemporary Art, I have a confession to make. I am not a fan of labels in general. Oh I know we often need them. I have filled out enough calls for artists submission forms to be well aware of that fact. I suppose we need labels or categories to level the playing field for the jurors to have guidelines in order to make their decisions. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and play by the rules. (Did I mention I'm not really a fan of rules either? But that is perhaps for another time.) I have often found that categories and labels tend to be stifling for me. I am a Mixed Media Textile artist because that is the category that most closely fits my work. But I almost always feel like I want to add
Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you are a selftaught artist: do you think that a formal training -or better, a certain kind of formal training- could even stifle an artist's creativity?
Now that is a very interesting question! I've only said it to a couple of people out loud actually. But I have NOT taken classes often because I don't want to be overly influenced by what others say is the "rule" (there is that "r" word again). Why don't I shout that
Kelly Hendrickson Arts degree? Perhaps...perhaps not. I'm just not willing to take that chance. It is a step that "in my opinion" cannot be un-stepped. And before someone gets upset and defensiveâ€Ś I'm not saying that formal education is not valuable. It is just not the path I have chosen to take. Before getting into the matter of your art production, can you tell us something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work?
I'll start with my set up. I have a large studio I suppose. Although I've threatened to build an addon! If you saw the photos of the opening party, you would not recognize the space as it is today. It is definitely a "working" studio. I have the joy of surrounding myself with a plethora of textiles, found bits, dyes, paints and all manner of tools and objects. I used to watch some of those hoarding shows on TV. Oh I could watch and wonder how on earth a person could ever get to such a state. That is until one of the "hoarders" was an artist! Oh I know only too well that dangerous phrase, "I might need this sometime." I do try to be realistic but have to admit that it sometimes pains me to throw something out. Thankfully I have a VERY good friend who occasionally spends an 'organization' day with me. She can be objective and has helped keep the collections under some modicum of control. The fact is thoughâ€Ś that I HAVE used items that have been in my studio for years, just awaiting their moment to shine. And some bits have often been the inspiration of art.
from the house-tops? Because it just doesn't sound right now does it? It might sound like I know better than my "betters". But that is not it at all. It goes back to the freedom issue again. I want to discover my own voice and expression. That doesn't mean that I will discover that blue mixed with red does NOT make purple. Some Rules are immutable. But as I move bits around to "audition" them for their proper place in the art I'm working on, it seems to find its home quite well without a lot of thinking. I don't want the temptation to overthink my art. I'm transported when I'm in the middle of a piece and it is just flowing onto the medium of choice that day.
My process varies. It sometimes depends on the source of the inspiration. One of my favorite questions is "What inspires your art?" My response is, "The easier question to answer is what DOESN'T inspire my art?" But usually, the inspiration comes and I know generally what it will look like. I know I"ll hear gasps of disbelief or disapproval if this inter-view was in the presence of other artists but I don't use a sketchbook. I clear my work island and pull out all the possibile pieces, bits and tools that will accomplish my vision. Then I get off to a rudimentary start. This is easier when working with the textile portions of my work. Textiles are very mobile and I can put down several pieces to see which fits and expresses the inspiration. But this is a fluid process. Even at this point and especially as
I'm so totally excited and happy to be making art that comes from my heart as much, if not more, than from my head. So is that where inate talent comes in? I have an eye for color and composition without formal training. It's just there. Would it be different, would my art look different if I graduated with a Fine
I get further and further into the piece. it evolves until the end. While it still encompasses the original inspiration, it is often not exactly as I saw it in my vision at the beginning. I LOVE the serendipity of it all. It keeps the work exciting and full of discovery. Technical aspects are the servant of where a certain piece wants to go. I'm thrilled to have so many tools and techniques in my "toolbox", all those things I mentioned above that surround me and are close at hand to be there whenever needed. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start from Solitude (that you have effectively defined as the ultimate expression of Land AND Escape) and Shattered Lives that our readers can admire in these pages. Could you take us through your creative process when starting these pieces?
"Solitude" was born when I was playing with batiks and creating pieces using the designs and colors in those beautiful textiles. The batiks themselves will often inspire the actual piece. The first textile I had was the wavy blue. It just HAD to be water. Then the piece appeared as the beginning concept. It looked so peaceful and reminded me of several canoe trips to the boundary waters area of Quetico Park in Canada. No motors are allowed in that particular area. The sounds that take the place of our daily cacophany are the rythmic whoosh of the paddles in the water, loons calling across the lake and the wolves in the distance. It is the place I think of often when life gets hectic. The beauty of the landscape and the lakes so clear you can actually see what is below the surface. It is renewing to the mind and the body and the soul. "Shattered Lives" was inspired by a group challenge theme of "The Days of Wine and Roses". I'm old enough to remember the movie (yet Solitude Limbo
Kelly Hendrickson another true confession!) and the darkness and despair of it. It was difficult at first to relate to such a sad topic but then the inspiration came. I wanted it to be dark. I have seen the shattered lives caused by alcoholism and found that the background technique communicated that shattering just like I wanted it to.The wine textile is one of those pieces that had hung around my studio for a couple of years, a leftover from a fabric dyeing experiment. It fit perfectly for the spilled wine. I felt the wine needed to be spilling just before the glass itself crashes to the floor. It is indicative of the lives shattered long before the final stages of alcoholism occur, whether the cycle is ended by destruction or renewal. There is always much mending to be done. Moreover, as you have explained, you have taken inspiration from your trips to the Boundary Waters of Quetico Park in Canada. Do you think that experience as a starting point for creating a piece is an absolutely necessary? How big is the role of imagery in your process?
Imagery plays a big role in my process, especially in the inspiration. I am laughing just now because I was ready to say that it is not always a personal imagery. But as I looked at all my art work, I discovered that only a piece or two does not involve some sort of personal response to an inspiration. I have often heard advice given to writers to "write what you know". I suppose I "art" what I know more than I had even realized. But that is a good thing I believe. I create from my heart and my soul so that would seem to require some sense of personal investment in the piece. For instance, one of my pieces was made as an homage to Victor Vasarely. It is a pop-art black and white piece inspired by his "Markab" At first glance this might seem to be a piece totally unrelated to any personal imagery. The personal experience part of this piece is the discovery of Vasarely's work itself. I happened onto it accidentally in an online article. I had never previously been involved with pop art other than Warhol's soup cans. But when I saw his work displayed in a very old church, the juxaposition fascinated me and I found that his work was really quite exciting. So his work woke up in me an appreciation of another area of art yet undiscovered by myself. What artist can't celebrate such an expansion of their artistic appreciation. A relevant part of your art production is focused on textile works: I suggest to our readers to visit your website at http://www.kellylhendrickson.com/index.html. I personally find very stimulating these mixed media pieces: textile gives a the tactile feature that fills the immateriality of the idea behind an artwork and allows to establish a tangible contact with the artistic idea during its developement...
Texture is one of the aspects of Mixed Media art that I love. The depth and dimension it adds to what I do hopefully makes it easier for the viewer to feel a connection with a piece. In fact, I have thought how I would like to do an exhibition with signs all around that say "Please touch the art". It is not an idea I'm willing to give up on just yet. I think it would be GREAT FUN both for me as an artist and for the viewers who
Kelly Hendrickson off and be destroyed but while I get close to the edge sometimes, I'm still here...still safe in the maelstrom...still hoping and existing. I can recognize a subtle political feature in Wall of Courage. It goes without saying that Art can play a role in facing social questions, but I was wondering if Art could even steer in a certain way people's behaviour... what's your point? By the way, what could be the role of an artist in the society?
Most, if not all, political and social awareness topics deal with very strongly held beliefs and therefore touch something very deep in our phyche and emotions. That is why it is usually unwise to discuss these over cocktails or dinner. Emotions run quite high on these topics. Art by its nature seems to resonate with people on an equally deep level. I believe we can speak to situations and issues as artists that can touch the heart and inform the mind in ways that letters and words might not be able to. That would be my hope. The issue of "artist as change agent" becomes less
would become no longer JUST viewers but more like participants. When I do that exhibition I'll let you know! Other artworks on which I would like to spend some words are California Poppies and especially Limbo, that our readers have admired in the previous central page. What was your initial inspiration?
"California Poppies" came from the years we lived in California. They are a wildflower that grows along the roadsides there. Their orange flower is so joyful and simple. California holds some very special memories for me and this piece is an expression of that continuing connection. "Limbo" is a piece that was inspired by my life in general and specifically at the time I made it. It was a time of so many unknowns, so many things which happened and threatened to happen that I had no control over nor could I effect change. I often felt like the green lush valleys of security beckoned in the distance but I was barely balanced on a small rock, separated for the firm cliff and floating dangerously over the chaotic abyss. The rock I found was my faith. That is what keeps me from crashing into total despair and hopelessness. It may be small at times, but it is as solid as a rock and able to support me in whatever crisis looms on the horizon. At times I feel like I'll fall
Kelly Hendrickson personal level but in society as a whole. The minute I heard of this exhibition and the reason for it, I HAD to participate. I was so honored when my work was accepted. Some of the comments received so far, several from other artists have been gratifying, of course. The question regarding the importance of feedback on my work is an interesting one. I've thought about that many times. Here's where I am today. I make art that comes from my heart and soul. They all mean something to me. Where I send them, how I price them and what I'll do next, all start at that point. For instance, I know there are formulas out there for pricing your work... I haven't read it because I don't really want to be influenced by it. I determine what I think my art is worth and that is the price I place on it. Would I feel adequatly compe-nsated if my work didn't return home. Some might consider it too much, others too little. And they are allowed to price their art as they see fit. If someone sees my art and values it as much as I do then the price will be appropriate.
But purchasing is just one form of feedback. One of the advantages of age is the time to figure out what feedback really matters and to develop a rather thick skin to be able to survive it. What matters to me and gives weight to the feedback, whether good or bad, is the way it is given. I can tell if someone is really honestly concerned that my work become better and therefore give suggestions or critiques that will steer me in that direction. And I am free to accept or reject that feedback. Most of it I accept because one of my joys is to continually learn and improve.
altruistic when the message is not one of help and hope but of dispariging and ridicule. If we are going to affect the mind and souls of our audience, it needs to be toward the positive, not wallowing in the negative. I would hope if we take on issues of social awareness, that our goal would be uplifting to those minds and souls, not a further diminishing of them. Your pieces have been often exhibited In particular, the aforesaid Wall of Courage and Tears of Joy are scheduled to tour Canada with Celebrating African Grandmothers an interesting event that will be held during the second week of May.
But sometimes even constructive criticism, while valid on some level, doesn't really meet the goal I have envisioned for a particular piece. Those who critique to be cruel, I just ignore. The sting only lasts a short time, hence the advantage of thick skin. I would like to say it doesn't bother me at all but that would be untrue. The other aspect is that I have chosen to surround myself with people of integri-tyâ€Ś not "yes" people that would praise a work even if it was awful. They are people I trust to be honest AND constructive. These people have so often helped my work improve and become even more than I had hoped. Those are friends worth having...and keeping for any artist.
How important for you is the feedback of your audience? By the way, when you conceive a piece, do you think of whom will enjoy it?
I am very honored this year to have been accepted in as many exhibitions as I have been. "Wall of Courage" and "Tears of Joy" both were inspired by an issue I was previously unaware of - the number of grandmothers raising their grandchildren because of the death of the parents due to HIV/AIDS. I'm a grandmother and even under less stressful conditions, I have shed many tears over the situations surrounding my grandchildren. I want more than anything to shelter them and provide for them an environment of love, nuturing and respect, not only on a
Kelly Hendrickson Just wondering if you would like to answer to artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Well, actually ain't
of some inherent value to what they express. Otherwise they would have drifted off into obscurity long ago. This question is somewhat akin to "What inspires you?" It is easier to list what aspects I don't enjoy. There are precious few. My least favorite is cleaning up after a particularly exhuberant creative time. In other words, when it looks like a hurricane just passed through my studio. I enjoy the moment when an inspiration hits. It is like a lightening bolt sometimes and other times it comes at the end of an evolution of thought and emotional investment. Either way...that 'Eureka' moment is someothing I will never get tired of. It gets the adrenaline pumping and I can hardly wait to get out all the bits and pieces and toys and tools and get to work. I enjoy how a work comes together and morphs during that process. If I might us another thread, etc. will tell me where it wants to go. I promise sometimes I can hear the sigh when it is finally in its correct place. Or perhaps that sigh is my own satisfaction, but the result is the same. It's just right. Then the finishing touches, like putting on jewelry after your makeup, hair and clothes are all in place. That little something that adds just enough. When I get to the part of final preparation and adding the hanging mechanismsâ€Ś well if I HAD to chose a part I like least that would probably be it. But at the same time I love the clean finished look it gives. LIke the final signature. It's done. I even enjoy taking my work to my shipper and sending it off to visit a gallery or exhibition. It's kind of like sending one of my children off to summer camp. Except that I know there is a chance that one or more of them might not return home. But again, if someone resonates with that particular piece and wants to own it, I know it will be given a good home. So, as you can tell, I basically enjoy all aspects of the process. Each has its own value and contribution to the work of art.
Wall of Courage
Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Kelly: nothing has left to say than asking you about your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? This year, 2013, I have dedicated as my year of "Investment". Of course that means money but on many other levels as well. I'm investing more in getting my work "out to the public". Getting some of that feedback that encourages growth. That is why I'm entering shows and exhi-
Creation - Other Textile Art Gallery. Published in Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts
it was one of his passions. I'm very excited and have the 7 pieces already in mind. The second series is a group of works taken from my own macro-photos of textures and things that I found inte-resting. The third series is very different for me. It is a set of 11 pieces based on the artistic manhole covers designed by artist Kate Burke.These manhole covers a displayed in the sidewalks along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Kate was kind enough to allow me permission to use these beautiful pieces of public art to translate into my medium. This is a series that has taken time to develop and refine. The final series as it is now I'm very excited about. I plan to continue entering shows and exhibitions as I'm able but with three series to work on, the number of entries will by smaller. And I hope to discover more areas to explore in the art world.â€Ś such as this interview.
bitions. I'm also investing in broadening my work. I've been privileged to have my first Public Art acceptance this year. And one of my pieces has been in a publication. I have had a blog article published. And now this interview. These all support and lead to the upcoming steps in my profession. I am currently concentrating on three series of work. These will be the main part of one of my goals for 2014â€Ś my first solo exhibition. The first of these series is a simple title of "Pecans". This series is inspired by my dad who passed away recently. He was a pecan grower and
I have enjoyed this process very much and hope your readers will find it as enjoyable to read as I have found answering your very interesting questions. Thanks so much for this amazing opportunity.
Yuan Zhang (China - United Kingdom) An artist’s statement Use your own light and return to the source of light. -Lao Tzu
“ I'm from Beijing and I’ve been living and studying in UK since 2009. I explore the psychogeographical symphony in a multimedia art practice that includes performance, video, installation, sculpture, Taoism, I see myself as a young Chinese artist, not traditional and not westernised, but myself at present. “As every moment is temporal, my feeling is constantly shifting. I see my practice as an ongoing journey, only a record of a immanent world of myself. I believe in eternal return and the powers of nothingness. Each separate being in the universe, returns to the common source, returning to the source is serenity (Tao Te Ching Chap.16). I regard everything as hermaphroditic existence, Gravity is the root of lightness, stillness is the master of passion, and the possibilities (Tao Te Ching Chap.26). The thought leads me to give my work the quality of duality and the theme of seeking.
An interview with
Yuan Zhang Hi Yuan, welcome to LandEscape. Let’s start with our usual ice-breaker question: what, in your opinion, defines a work of Art? And what do you think are the distinctive features that mark the contemporary peculiarities of an artwork? One of the most important elements within a work of art is participation. By participating in the resonances, the viewers, the artists and the passers by are able to hear the poetry within the work. Repercussions generated within this encounter invite us to give greater depth to our experience. Once reverberated, the poem possesses us entirely in “a veritable awakening of poetic creation.” (in Bachelard, G, 1999) This awakening is rooted directly into our everyday lives and enables within us a transcendence of the ordinary, and a glimpse beneath the skin of familiarity. When talking about art today, we are ever more susceptible to thinking about it in terms of its confusions and contradictions. According to George an interview with Brecht, this sensibility is symptomatic of a difficulty in finding convincing attitudes within the contempo-rary a world where we are confronted with an ever-greater number of positions. (in Henry Martin, 2000) Contemporary art does not solve problems; it provides potentials. I am extremely interested in artists who attempt to articulate deep truths within their practice. For example, Picasso once described art as a lie that brings us closer to the truth. I like this observation for, whatever our perspective, we are not solely dealing in emptiness, but in a deeper meaning beyond tangible form.
your creative process and especially about your set up for making your works. By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? I invest the ordinary experiences of my everyday life into my artistic practice. Montages of dreams and unconsciousness memories are thus transferred into a more universally perceivable realm through their becoming material, and sensorial. Therefore, the material of my work is derived from my experiences, memories, imagination, knowledge, emotions, etc. I think of this ‘material’ in terms of it being a sort of supermarket within my mind. With my personal psychological supermarket in mind, I work by making a sort of shopping list whereby I map out a story through selecting certain experiential ‘products’ and combining them as if ingredients within a recipe. When creating these recipes, it is important for me that I deal with the ingredients with honesty and respect.
The whole reason behind being an artist is to uncover "an eternal void, filled with the infinite possibilities." (Tao Te Ching) Here, the artist is able to reveal deep, and sometimes unseen truths. To reveal these truths, however, implies that one knows what they are - which isn’t often the case. Searching therefore, whether in light or in darkness, it is the artist’s job to feel through the connecting threads and, if they are lucky enough to stumble upon a sense of truth, their challenge is to make this truth visible.
Before getting in the matter of your art production I would like to ask you something about
ves everything that is not a part of it, so also does the film-maker, from a 'lump of time' made up of an enormous, solid cluster of living facts, cuts off and discards whatever she does not need, leaving only what is to be an element of the finished film.” (1989) I see this as a process of “practicing eternity.” To discover that nothing is too small for clear vision, or too insignificant for tender strength. (Tao Te Ching) Sometimes I draw a story in my mind and then locate it within reality and project the fantasy into real world. Other times, I will cook the fragments of a moment, a memory and a fantasy into a sort of metaphorical soup. Most of the time though, I am learning and discovering throughout the process of making. Given that the ingredients of my work are sourced from everyday life, the result is not ever immediately obvious, self-evident, or straight-forward. Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work? I explore psychogeographical symphonies within the theme of everyday life, in a multimedia art practice that includes performance, video, installation, sculpture, photography, and print. This line of thinking leads me to give my work the quality of duality and the theme of seeking. Now let's focus on your work, ‘Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra’: what was your initial inspiration for this work? By the way, could you take our readers through your creative process when starting a new project?
Thinking deeply about their relevance on an individual basis is a crucial way in which, I feel, we are able to see through the barnacles of complexes that cling to our lives, and to unpack them sensitively. (in Bachelard, 1999). For example, when working with video, the substance of the work is taken and chopped into pertinent and meaningful elements. Within this process, I am always careful about what I choose to chop, for the bond between the captured and its original reality is always inseparable. As some ancient Chinese philosophers said, No fish can survive if the water is too
At afternoon teatime, I dipped a large hand made tea bag (85cm x 55cm x 25cm) into the source of the River Thames, at ‘Seven Springs’ in Cheltenham. Once the large tea bag had been soaked in the spring, the performance was completed by pouring milk into the water and then tying the tea tag (25cm*25cm) up high upon a tree branch. In a humorous play on words, the large tea bag was ‘branded’ through a tag made out of a piece of cardboard, which was attached to the bag and decorated with the brand name ‘YUANNINGS every-day’. This tag was then collaged with a skin toned, oil-painted background and, on the back of the tag, a collage of ‘feminine’ imagery cut from fashion magazines provided a particular context of the everyday, as experienced by many women within contemporary society. Based upon the well-known ‘Twinnings everyday’ brand of tea, the hand made tea
clean. Upon transformation (usually by scale chan-ging, content or form replacement and mon-tage), the ingredients within the recipe are superimposed onto, or inject into a scene from within my everyday life. I see the process of working with video as being akin to sculpture; it is sculpting in time. For example, just as a sculptor takes a lump of marble, and, inwardly conscious of the features of his finished piece, remo-
A sequence of stills from Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra
bag is intended to enhance a sense of ordinariness through playfully increasing the size of this everyday object to a humorously monumental scale. Perhaps my subconscious or conscious awareness of play-fulness is informed by the project’s psycho-geographical nature - as noted by Merlin in the introduction session for his book Psycho-geography: “So urban wandering will be
lives in London, I commute from my flat to school on a bus, which passes across the River Thames through Vauxhall Bridge. The river is somehow centered within the recurring scenes of my everyday life within this city and has therefore, for me, a certain sense of liquidity to it. This liquidity, which projects onto my retina, causes endless reveries. If the river is a large cup to me, or to the people, and if it were as if an eye upon our planet earth, then in preceding projects I shall look forward to exploring other common features upon the face of the earth, as sites of psychogeographical exploration. The term of psychogeography, which Debord’s oft-repeated definition of ‘psychogeography’ describes is “the study
neur and the stalker. The rigorous and the playful and subjective methods of the surrealists.” (2006, p.11). Within the video, the stream of milk and tea meandered towards the city of London, passing under Vauxhall Bridge and flowing steadily eastward towards the North Sea, before dashing into outer space, where the liquidity of the stream is mirrored by the constellation of Hydra. In general, I am curious as to the effect that the River Thames has upon local peoples everyday experiences. For me, I feel that it is a gentle, friendly river and that, through its cycles, my mind is continually refreshed. The hydrological cycle of the river has thus been a key inspiration behind my creating this art project about afternoon tea. Acting as a sort of allegory, this project is intended to provide a contemplative reflection upon surrounding lifestyle and cultural experiences which are soaked into our daily lives. Through these experiences, I feel, there is often a juxtaposition between intimate personal experiences, and a shared universal experience. Thus, through using these ‘well-known and highly symbolic’ sites for my public art projects, I aim to generate a means through which to observe the everyday within the context of a universally shared experience. For example, if we are to regard the River Thames as a large teacup upon the eye of our planet earth, then this is an experience which can be shared by all of mankind. As a student who comes from a remote country and li-
ment, consciously organi-sed or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.” (Coverley, 2006, p.10) Talking about the act of walking in the city, scholar of philosophy and social sciences, Michel de Certeau observes that what “makes things go” in relation to dreams are “the figures of these movements (synecdoches, ellipses, etc.) [which] characterize both a symbolic order of the unconscious" and “certain typical pro-cesses of subjectivity manifested in discour-se.” Thus, the similarity between discourse and dreams, for him, has to do with their use of the same "stylistic procedures" and therefore “includes pedestrian prac- tices as well.” (1984, p.102). In the case of its “include[ing] pedestrian practices”, I have myself invested the ordinary experiences of my everyday life into my practice. Montages of dreams and unconscious-ness memories are transferred into a more universally perceivable realm through their becoming material, and sensorial. This is attempted through use of “stylistic procedures”. Thinking back to the moment when the project ‘Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra’ was conceived, I can remember that I was drinking tea as usual at the
A still from Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra
afternoon teatime, using my recent favorite recipe green jasmine tea with milk and one spoon of sugar. Suddenly, I felt as if this everyday experience held a profound level of importance, an importance which I should celebrate. In China, jasmine tea is so common that it is seldom paid any attention.
in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s.” (2007, p. 219). Since I’ve been living here in Britain, I have found that I have regularly drunk my tea in accordance with the British tradition - with milk and at teatime. For me, through obser-ving how this simple everyday experience of drin-king tea with milk has been influenced by my current living environment, I feel that I can better understand how the ‘psychogeographical’ term - as outlined by Debord - has transformed my own sense of self through my daily experiences.
For example, if you go to a restaurant in China, the first thing they would do is provide you with a beverage of jasmine tea and, if you ask for a cup of tea during the flight to or from China, you would also most likely be served with jasmine tea. In contemplation of the everyday and its relationship to cultural customs and practices, I find it interesting how uncommon it is in China to add milk into tea and, although milk tea is drank in china, it is generally served in ways dissimilar to how it is taken in the UK. For example, people would neither place the milk alongside the tea, nor would they add the milk into the tea once boiled, but instead they would drink the tea base mixed with milk, which is called Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea. This means of taking tea originated from outside mainland of China, as Martin, L.C., has commented: “[Bubble tea] is a Taiwane-se tea-based drink invented in tea shops
I’d suggest to our readers to visit your website
http://www.zhangyuanartwork.com. I found lots of interesting pieces. In particular, I have been impressed with Nostalgia and Wine God, which is still a work in process. Especially in Wine God, I've found a stimulating mixture between apparently different transcultural features: a symbiosis that crosses what in my opinion are artificial cultural borders... I would ask you how do you decide upon which materials you incorporate within a piece?
Yuan Zhang nostalgia emerges as if ignited by gloomy weather, other times it is evoked from having watched a movie, or from reading a book. The Nostalgia I present here though, is more than simply just a longing for home, it is a metaphor of humanness. As French philosopher Gaston Bachelard once observed in his book ‘The Poetics of Space’ (1994), home isn’t only a geographical place but more, a psychological, inhabitual space. Nostalgia is homage to the memories, which not only consist of happened events, but also dreams and reveries. (in Bachlard, 1994) In an environmental concern, the Nostalgia I present is simply an expression of my desire to return to the days of old and to the memory, when laundry was hung outside to dry. Regarding drinking wine as an interfusion everyday life activity, Wine God flows from everyday life to artwork naturally. Drinking wine brings pleasure, poetic, romantic and is sometimes even related to sadness and depression. When blood starts to interfuse with alcohol, our mind begin to dissolve, as the boundaries surrounding the conscious mind are loosened. In wine god, visually, the elements within the picture frame are integrated into one and other. Here, the similarities of the figures merge and create a sort of visual correlation between these seemingly disparate cultural symbolisms. Through this process, depictions of re-
Bleeding Snake In Nostalgia, I again explored a similar theme of the everyday within a performance, which involved me hanging laundry. Focusing my video camera upon the back yard of my current abode, I recorded an array of rust-red square brickswith (50cm x 50cm), which are laid an interview upon the ground and captured the wild grasses, which grew between their cracks. The background looks as if it were divided by those bricks into sections, which was further emphasized by my positioning of the camera: looking down at the scene from above. I feel that the positioning of the camera gave the frame a certain visual flatness to the video. This, acting in a similar way as, for exam-ple, Edward Muybridge’s famous use of a mathematical grid, brought also a sense of a surrounding matrix into the work. Only the activity of my performance was recor-ded in the video, no other people were present in the scene. At the beginning of the video, I am washing the red fabrics in a translucent plastic basin. The water is colored. Then, after I pin the fabrics up with red and white plastic clips, one by one, the fabric letters N O S T A L G I A can be recognized within a mess of hanging cloth. At last, I leave the ‘nostalgia’ to dry into the air. With psychogeo-graphical concerns in mind, I find it interes-ting to consider this everyday act of hanging up laundry in terms of its holding a universal experience. After all, regardless of our time, our space, or our surroundings, the activity of laundry will always be continued in a similar fashion within our everyday lives. When I do the laundry, sometimes a sense of
A still from Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra
laxation, revelry, sadness, fertility, drunkenness and madness, from both western and oriental depictions of drinking wine, are interfused into a celebratory sense of harmony, where no one position is upholded, or championed. I was learning Chinese traditional painting for a while when I was young and am very interested in the aesthetical decisions within it - both within a visual or philosophical sense. In a lot of ways, I see the cultural conventions within Chinese traditional painting as
A still from Me, the tea, the River Thames and the constellation Hydra a sort of metaphorical self-portrait, albeit a very particular portrait of a particular sense of identity.
He is one of the most prominent figures in the flourishing of Chinese poetry in the mid-Tang Dynasty that is often called the "Golden Age." He often engaging in the pleasures of food, wine, good company, and writing poetry: his poem "Departing from Baidi in the Morning" records this stage of his travels. Many of the Classical Chinese poets were associated with drinking wine, or more precisely, alcoholic beverages, such as choujiu, baijiu, or even grape wine. In fact, Li Bai was part of the group of Chinese scholars during his time in Chang'an, called the ‘Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup’, as mentioned in a poem by fellow poet Du Fu.
The element Backgroud image - The Penglai Isle of Immortals by Yuan Jiang (1708, Colour on silk) In Chinese mythology, the mountain is often said to be the base for the Eight Immortals, or at least where they travel to have a banquet, as well as the magician Anqi Sheng. Supposedly, everything on the mountain seems white, while its palaces are made from gold and platinum, and jewels grow on trees. There is no pain and no winter; there are rice bowls and wine glasses that never become empty no matter how much people eat or drink from them, and there are magical fruits growing in Penglai that can heal any disease, grant eternal youth, and even raise the dead.
However, Li Bai is of special note in this respect. As John C. H. Wu put it, "[w]hile some may have drunk more wine than Li [Bai], no-one has written more poems about wine." Or as Burton Watson put it, "[n]early all Chinese poets celebrate the joys of wine, but none so tirelessly and with such a note of genuine conviction as Li [Bai]."One of Li Bai's most famous titles is Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day. A translation by Arthur Waley): is as follows: Waking From Drunkenness on a Spring Day, Life in the world is but a big dream; I will not spoil it by any labour or care. so saying, I was drunk all the day, lying helpless at the porch in front of my door. When I awoke, I blinked at the garden-lawn; a lonely bird was singing
Figures This Caravaggio’s youthful wine god Dionysus (also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus) is the Greek god of wine and fertility, who lays semi recumbent on a mountain in Penglai and is adorned with a crown of grapes. The one lying on an other mountain behind his is Li Bai (701 – 762), which was one of the most acclaimed poets in the history of Chinese poetry.
Yuan Zhang a piece do you think to whom will enjoy it? I’m very interested in role that the imagination plays within the invisible space between living entities. Through this project then, I sought to use the act of drawing an imaginary door as a means of creating a sort of echo for an imaginary sense of escape. The drawings of doors were thus used metaphorically and symbolically, as entrance ways in which an emotion exchange between the participants is possible. I am inspired by artists such as Martin Kippenberger, who activates the imaginations of his audience through allowing the surroundings to complete the reading of his work. For example, in the 1990s, influenced by the Lost Art Movement, Kippenberger had the idea of an underground network encircling the whole world. (Schmidt-Wulffen, 2002) Located on the Greek island of Syros and in Dawson City, Canada, false subway entrances were constructed as part of a fictitious railway: The Metro-Net World Connection. (1993–7) Here, a sizable length of subway grating, complete with the sounds of trains and imitation
amid the flowers. I asked myself, had the day been wet or fine? The Spring wind was telling the mangobird. Moved by its song I soon began to sigh… and, as wine was there, I filled my own cup. Wildly singing, I waited for the moon to rise and, when my song was over, all my senses had gone. Those nudes are from Bouguereau’s painting The Youth of Bacchus; they are drinking and celebrating on earth, in the sky and on grapes. The slight disorder suggests the undercurrent drunkenness, madness and pleasure as an ongoing moment on Penglai. Simply, This Wine God, depicts a scene of drinking and all that is encompassed within this, culturally, morally, ritualistically… it is all the same, and in harmony, within my own version of Penglai Island.
And I would like to spend some words about your series Escape: in particular "Draw you door" creates an interaction with the environment... what do you try to communicate through your work and what role plays your audience in your process? When you conceive
Wine God (series no.1), digiral print
Yuan Zhang gusts of wind were constructed. The work was exhibited posthumously at the Venice Biennale. (Smith, 2005) For my art practice, I am interested in how different geographical environments could effect the comple-tion of the artwork. Therefore, through adopting a similar tactic as Kippenberger, I seek to activate the experience of the artwork in a way in which the rela- tionship between place and participation are integral to the completion of the work. Thus, the work can be discovered through a relationship between these elements so that through this discovery the work moves closer and closer towards a finite personal experience, but without need for resolution. I made 3 artworks for the public art project Escape at Platform. The project, ‘Escape - draw your door’ (imagination, chalk. endless m * 1m * 2m), was conceived through an interest in the idea of creating a space within a space. Starting with the simple act of drawing a basic white ‘door’ with a piece of chalk on the long empty wall, my intention was to concretise the idea by making the unseen manifest. Alongside the door, I attached a piece of balsa wood and placed some chalks on it. Upon this board was an introduction, prompting people towards picking up a piece of chalk and drawing their own doors. People can put the chalk in their pocket and whenever they want to escape, or if they ever want to explore another unknown space, they can do so symbolically, through drawing a door and jumping into it. The second work was called ‘Escape - the Water’ (sound of water escaping, two speakers and CD players). Here I installed speakers and a CD player outside of a swimming pool, next to a glass window, which stands 10 meters from the entranceway to the library. The work consisted of a 10-second sound of water flowing, played on a loop so that every 8 minutes, the sound of water from the swimming pool would “run through” the glass window and “flows” gently into library. The third work is called ‘Escape - the Cloud’ (cotton, 0.1m * 0.2m * 1.5m). Here, I installed a “cloud” in the library. This site specific installation involved me using the existing architectural features of the building as inspiration. The library room had many white columns (0.2m in diameter), with pieces of round glass (0.8m in diameter) attached on the ceiling, cutting holes through the ceiling of the space, and into the sky. The “cloud” was attached to the upper part of one of the columns (0.2m dia * 1.5m) so that it hung within the round glass ceiling features as if it had transcended from the sky, down to the earth and into this human, constructed environment.
Untitled, Fabric, lace, ceramic, wood, glass, stone 89
Yuan Zhang This experiment of seeing how different geographical environments effect the completion of the work is approached by providing small pieces of information so as to activate the viewer’s imagination. Fundamentally, this means closing the eyes material eyes seeing through the eyes of your imagination. Therefore, different readers are able to hold different interpretations of the work, based on their own unique experience, personal knowledge and experience. However, I think that it is most powerful when it breaches merely the individualistic and touches upon shared human experiences… then you can share in the knowledge of deeper truths, and feel more than just words and prose.
The concept of environment and of landscape plays an indoubtely important role in your art practice: moreover, since our magazine is called "LandEscape", we cannot do without asking you: what is the significance of the landscape in your art?
Escape – Chalk and the door
The same as Bachelard claims: if a person favours one of the elements as his poetic landscape, then water is my oneiric element. I often see the world as a live TV show, and as a stage. I wonder, if I were to cut the stream of consciousness, lengthwise, what would one single moment contain? So an interview with many layers encompass our everyday lives… the physical layer could be that I am sitting on the bus 436 across the Vauxhall bridge in a morning with a Jarvis cocker’s song in my ear, though other layers within my mind could be a recollection of a fragmented memory… the cherry tree in our old house, the dream I had the night before, or the imagination of a Spaghetti with Mussels, Garlic & White Wine which I’ll be cooking this evening. A sense of liquidity in my mind always flows across my eyes when seeing the world. It’s a bit like seeing the world through rose-coloured, liquid glasses. I feel that it is this liquidity of the everyday-life-montage that causes us to dream and, to project our streams of consciousness into reality.
that, in whatever I do, if I do it with an honest heart and good attitude, then positive happenings are likely to follow. This sort of recognition also made me feel less lonely. Whether we are prepared to admit it or not, a reinforced sense of identity brings us a greater sense of security. I believe that when I gather some everyday life fragments into reverberations, the shared experiences that I gather help to bring a shared sense of identity into being. So I would relate my work to the beauty the infinite possibilities within everyday ordinary life more and more. For this part, I think the award tells me that I am on the right track.
ask to the artists that we interview and that it's always interesting in hearing the answer to: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
We would like to mention the Graduate Prize Award that you have recently received from the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, but do you think that an award could even influence the process of an artist?
Poetic interaction, positive energy, activate imagination, openness… a symphony of fragments. I intend for my work to suggest a point of view, through which I am able to elevate a sense of beauty and profundity in a meaningful, but approachable manner. Deep, personal and philosophical reflections upon life are thus coupled with a playfulness and ordinariness. Through this approach, I seek to elevate our consciousness towards everyday life, especially with regard to “small things”, which we so often take
I put my whole self into the work, and frankly speaking, I didn’t have expectations for any awards. At least, I didn’t think about it. I was deeply touched when I was told that awarded by RGI. This event makes me believe
Yuan Zhang instead of being the place itself. Hence, I think what I truly desire to present, shall be based around the concept that ‘the art is not put in a life, it is that life’. So my life attitude, and the placement of my artwork has inherent reverbe-rations, not just upon the physical objectness of my work, but upon the relationship it has to its surroundings as well. Through using my own light, and trying to return to the source of light, I aim to channel my positive energies into both the pursuit of and articulation of deep truths. Nothing is too small for clear vision, nor too insignificant for tender strength. firstname.lastname@example.org
for granted. The mysterious flows through the highest of mountains, and the lowest of valleys.
Thanks a lot for this interview, Yuan: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? When you chase a dream, especially one with plastic chests, you sometimes do not see what is right in front of you. Contemplating a comment made by artist Michael Heizer, that “the art work is not put in a place, but it is that place” (in Beck, p. 155); I started to understand that, although these works are all made by my heart, they’ve been “put in the place”
Escape - Will a piece of escaping water feel happier?
Arnaud Brihay (France)
An artist’s statement
Arnaud Brihay was born in 1972, in Belgium. He lives and works in Lyon, France. He studied photojournalism and audio-visual communication at I.H.E.C.S. Brussels. Arnaud Brihay principally works with photography, video, mixing often these media to art installations. His photographic work reflects his frequent travels and trips around the world, wanderer catching loneliness, strangeness or intimate scenes which he gently violates. On the other hand, he produces videos approaching, among others, either instinctive sensuality, intriguing portraits and moving sequences extending his photography work. His work was exhibited in many events, biennials and cities such as Shanghai World Expo 2010, Traffic Dubai, Bruxelles, Paris, Lyon, New Caledonia, … RECENT GROUP EXHIBITIONS: 2013 -100x100=900 (100 videoartists to tell a century), "1959" curated by Enrico Tomaselli Global project for 50th anniversary of video art (Argentina, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Peru, USA) (VIDEOFORMES FESTIVAL, Clermont-Ferrand, France, March 2013) -SAVE THE BEAUTY, installation print (Museo Pino Pascali Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Taranto, Italia, March 2013)
Lives freezing video HD, 3.30 min, 2012 Hit the road Jack and don’t you…