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A r t November 2014

WESSEL MIDDELBOS SARAH STOLAR BILLIE RAE BUSBY BRICE BOURDET ANNIKETYNI MADIAN NAZ SHAHROKH MARC LEE DAMIR MATIJEVIČ Settee, 2011, detail Photo by Damir Matijevic

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Summary

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.

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Brice Bourdet (France)

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" Ritualized and common locations where man has ceased to evolve, a deconstruction of a sham and seamless social illusion in which people roam aimlessly but also protect themselves from each other by means of consumerism, material goods and comfort. "

An approximate 45° incline

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Naz Shahrokh

(UAE / USA) " I strive to reference a harmonious meditative visual experience. Along with the use of detritus often, either synthetic or organic or the mélange of the two, I attempt to transform the typically disregarded and commonplace materials into something less ordinary. "

Sarah Stolar (USA)

Piken på broen

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" My drawings are a record of emotive internal events. They are a map to navigate my internal psyche and a witness to my subconscious. These landscapes, while familiar in composition, feel uncharted, dreamlike, and ethereal, evoking a visceral experience of exposing an inner truth. "

N o v e m b e r

2 0 1 4

Windows

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Marc Lee (Switzerland)

The work by Marc Lee makes us think about the properties of the digital realm and what happens to the data that is generated by people all over the globe. We can’t tell yet, what the consequences of archiving these often personal and emotional posts are in the long run.

Wessel Middelbos (The Netherlands)

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" In my work I use my fascination for transformations of landscapes. The essence of contemporary landscape I think is movement and change. The landscapes I paint are a translation and stacking of various processes in the landscape wich are connected with each other. " dawn, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 cm, 2013


Summary

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Damir Matijević

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(Germany/Croatia)

from Job Interview

Anniketyni Madian

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(Malasya)

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Billie Rae Busby

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Bali Belulai V, 5ft x 7ft, 2013, woods

Drawing inspiration from the Pua Kumbu textiles of native Sarawak, the contemporizes tradition to create pieces that, despite their precise linear detailing and inert medium, flow in an effortlessly organic manner. A ceremonial cotton cloth woven by Dayak women in Sarawak, the colourful patterned Pua Kumbu textiles are considered sacred.

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" For me, Photography is a melody of light and soul. It is evidence of a singular moment in time and space, where we find our own reflections. Often, in contemplation of my surroundings, I find myself seeking a deeper meaning. " € €

(Canada)

"I am not a traditional landscape artist. I experience a paradoxial attraction for both rural and urban scapes. I am stirred by the sharp, significant lines that construct both places. My quest is to find balance in the void of the solitude prairies and the visual complexity of the modern city.I paint hard, crisp edges by masking off areas and adding smooth layers with a palette knife through control and precision. The Outlook

(USA)

The camera has lead me to understand that the surface of things are endlessly beautiful; that slow and careful observations of the external world will lead one to deep introspection; that the tension between the photograph and the ‘real’ world will never cease to engage peoples’ imagination; that photography is a form of thinking; that, nothing is ever what it seems to be; and that, one’s intentions

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Los Paramos

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Thomas S. Ladd


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Brice Bourdet (France)

French artist who focuses on the breaches of our Western modern society. Ritualized and common locations where man has ceased to evolve, a deconstruction of a sham and seamless social illusion in which people roam aimlessly but also protect themselves from each other by means of consumerism, material goods and com- fort. With intriguing but also subtle stagings, his photographic work points out various aspects of a society in which landmarks fade slowly. A world ruled by a disenchanted feeling.

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Newspapers (Series: Accumulation) 2


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Brice Bourdet

An interview with

Brice Bourdet Hello Brice and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

Hello. This is a question that can be debated for days and days, but I will try to give a concise answer. I think what makes the strength of art work today (at least for me) is the ability to reflect, tell, ask or provoke the time or the society to which it belongs, a whether with sublimity, or ingenuity, or irony, or humor, or subversion. Wow, I think I gave the shortest answer in the history of the magazine.

an interview with Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly influenced you and that impacted on the way you currently produce your Art? By the way, what's your point on formal training? I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

My background? Hem, I think that my background has nothing very exceptional., except that at first I studied business studies, before reorientating towards studies of art. Many people will say that the two are linked, and in my opinion they are not completely wrong, but that's another debate. For the question of particular experiences, I would say that it is at first any a story of meeting people (in any case for me). Whether it is the highlyrated professors or the students, these people tempt you to exchange, to discuss and to experiment always more. And in time find yourself artistically.

Brice Bourdet

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Brice Bourdet I think that what can stifle the creativity of a young artist it is the lack of question, the lack of exchange, the lack of meeting. If you never put anything in question, and if you take things as they present themselves to you, then, yes, it can stifle creativity. 3) Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I would say that this can vary between one day (like with the photo series "An approximate 45 ° tilt") and two months (like with the photo series "you are here" , if I intend to do post production and all the different montage tests I do before I go with one). My images often rest on the combinations of a place and a person. First of all I have to find a place which will allow me to work without being disturbed and without disturbing too much. Then comes the help of someone. Either model or subject (in this case, it is the person that comes before the place). Once I have both I set my camera and I try not to forget any details. Instead, the distance, the relationship to space and place of the individual, colors, shadows, objects, their orientations, lines, geometry of the place, and once everything is in its place, like in a Master´s tableau or in a movie scene. So at this point, it's time for me to make an image. I was never good at snapshots, for the decisive moment “l´instant décisif”, as called by Henrie Cartier-Bresson, or just being there at the right place at the right time, but it does not disturb me. I found my method of work, and in a society where everything goes faster and faster, I am content to need several hours of organization to make an image. Then I make sketches, scrawls, which become scenes, which become images, which become series. Marinda Scaramanga

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Brice Bourdet

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Milda: ici c´est ailleurs (Series: You are here)

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with You Are Here that our readers have started to admire in the pages of this article… I would suggest them to visit your website directly at http://bricebourdet.com/oeuvre-en.html in order to get a wider idea of this stimulating project... in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

afraid to do something too stereotyped. So I thought long and hesitated. Then one day she showed me a picture she had made. It was an almost empty room with just a bed and hung beside the bed, there was a small picture of a landscape. (Probably the country of origin of the person who lived there.) I found the image very strong, and I said: “yes that's right, I have to create a mix!” A mix of pictures of where people are here today and where they come from. This mix and its feeling is sometimes difficult to explain. The person I was photographing gradually became living borders, but linking the two countries more than #196 Winter

I would say that the basis of this project is also about meeting people. When I went to live in Germany, a friend put me to the challenge of working on the concept of "the stranger". I was 8


Brice Bourdet

Carla: ici c´est ailleurs (Series: You are here)

your work: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background... and I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto 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?

separating them. And confusion of the picture relates to me, of the ambiguity of living between two countries, two cultures. A bit like those mornings when, barely awake, we need a few seconds to remember and understand where we are. During these few seconds we are everywhere at the same time. One of the features of You Are Here that has mostly impacted on me is the way -by an effective usage of juxtapositions- you have been effectively capable of re-contextualizing the idea of landscape and of environment... so I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape suggested by

No, it is not a passive landscape, because this landscape is born of personal experience of the model. The subjects of these photographic series all have different nationalities and have been living in Berlin for a short time. The pictures are

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Brice Bourdet

Eduardo: icic c´est ailleurs (Series: You are here) 8


Brice Bourdet

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Library (Series: An approximate 45° incline)

Another interesting project of yours that have particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled An approximate 45° incline: it is very ambitious in terms of resources and creative scope... From a merely compositional viewpoint, I have highly appreciate the sense of contrast revealed from the strainghtness of the backgound and the inclination that gives the title to this stimulating series: How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for these images?

taken in two steps. First, each model is photographed in his new bedroom, here, abroad. Then each protagonist provides photographs of his town, village or region of origin. I then put together a new place which could be called “here is elsewhere”, made from pieces of places that are familiar to them. A new definition of “home sweet home”. In the end each subject becomes an imaginary land in himself, creating a certain complicity between his past address and the new one, with a piece of Berlin and pieces of elsewhere. But this time, without borders.

In a world in perpetual motion, this photo-series #196 Winter 12


Brice Bourdet

School (Series: An approximate 45° incline)

is like making a break or looking around, and asking what is wrong and what he can change.

we comprehend our impulse as a result of our living space? In the photo-series « 45° » the places are shown like hinderance from their originals' functions. The body positions itself in a place of change, in a questioning manner. This body confronts its place of life and evolution in order to question it or perhaps to interrogate itself.

Initially I wanted to express the feeling of not always feel out of place in the society. But The photo-series « An approximate 45° incline » speaks about someone who is not compatible with the city, with our modern society. Humanity has lost its references to nature as well as to the civilization. Do we still evolve ourselves in a world built and arranged to fit our imaginations and our corporal dimension? Or is our evolution led? Is it the space, surrounding us, which is made according to our movement capacities? Or could

In these last years we have seen a great usage of digital technology, in order to achieve outcomes that was hard to get with traditional techniques: do your think that an excess of such techniques could lead to a betrayal of reality? 13


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Brice Bourdet

Amphitheater (Series: An approximate 45째 incline) 8


Brice Bourdet

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Moscow 200 (Series: Homo-Touristicus)

ĂŹA betrayal of reality in the world of the art? Or in our daily life? You know I had a teacher who said that simply framing a picture, is already changing the reality. We choose what we want to

go in and what we want left out of the frame that we did not want to show. I believe that today, especially with social networking, it's the same thing. It shows only the best pictures of yourself #196 Winter 16


Brice Bourdet

Dresses (Series: Accumulations)

or vacation, with or without filters, and a picture is made whose frame part is of the computer screen or smart-phone screen. But the question is who betrays reality, new technologies or our way of life where we always try to get more?

steer people's behavior... I would take this chance to ask your point about this. Do you think that it's an exaggeration? And what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in our society?

I definetely love the humour of Homo Touristicus, and I can recognize in it a subtle but deep social criticism as well as in other works of yours, as the interesting Accumulations which I have to admit is one of my favourite ones... even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion about socio political issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can even

I admit that I share your enthusiasm and your opinion a little bit, because I also think that the arts can play an effective role in raising public awareness of socio-political and environmental questions. Art is a form of communication, and of course Art can communicate abaut all subjects. With the series"Homo-touristicus" I try to ask about the abundance of images abundance. Both those images that we endure, or images that we produce while forgetting to enjoy a 17


Brice Bourdet

Market halls (Series: An approximate 45째 incline)

moment beceause we are too busy making an archive of that moment. I have not exhibited this series as it is not finished, but I sincerely hope that the audience will be led to ask questions about their own relationship to the picture. I think the art motivates people or invite people to form their own opinion on things and the world in which they live. Anyway I see it like that. So the role of the artist, is a trigger.

if an award -or even the expectation of positive feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Yes, of course feedbacks and rewards are not comparable incentives for artists. But I think if we do work to follow a trend or to please or to get something, I think we end up getting lost, and we just produce the imaginary commands to try to win a particular prize. No, what is hard is to invest in a work, in a project that is important and this

Since 2004 your works have been exhibited in several occasions and you recently took part to the 18th Biennal of Photography of Nancy. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, encouraging him: I was just wondering 18


Brice Bourdet

Parking (Series: An approximate 45° incline)

work, this sincere work, meeting its public. It is also a very large reward, when people don´t say just "I like" or "I don´t like”, but when the work creates a real debate. When people come to me to tell me that my images are animated, or triggered, or question, or recalled home, or that my images have amazed or amused. At this point, it's almost as if the work has become autonomous and they did not need me. Just the public.

questions. It was a pleasure. So for me there is the continuation of my project "Homo-touristicus" which is very new and still developing. And for all those who wish to follow the evolution of my work and be informed of my next exhibition there is a facebook page "Brice Bourdet visual artist ". You can view the page without having a facebook account.

Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Brice. 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?

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator

Thank you to you for the relevance of your

landescape@artlover.com

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Naz Shahrokh (UAE) Landscape and nature act as important sources of inspiration throughout my work. I strive to reference a harmonious meditative visual experience. Along with the use of detritus often, either synthetic or organic or the mĂŠlange of the two, I attempt to transform the typically disregarded and commonplace materials into something less ordinary. I am drawn to the tactile process of assembling, collecting, giving new meaning to materials. The process of creating order out of chaos is a meditation and process that is deeply meaningful. As often as possible, I strive to find a connection in my studio practice that is significant in conjunction to society, the individual, personal experiences, and like a narrator or a poet, through the use of collecting objects and images, like words, I assemble visual narratives. Naz Shahrokh

Naz Shahrokh is a visual artist who lives and works in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She was born in Tehran, Iran, she spent her childhood in Paris, France, and adolescent years in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA in Painting, and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Her current work involves photography, drawing, video, and installation. Naz has exhibited her work internationally and awards for her work include the Change Inc. (the Rauschenberg Foundation) Grant, Captiva, FL, and the Artist-In-TheMarketplace Fellowship, the Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, TimeOut Abu Dhabi, the Connecticut Post, the Advocate and Greenwich Time, Contemporary Practices, and ART PAPERS, and is included in public collections internationally. Naz is currently working on several projects connected to land art, where she is investigating the landscape of the UAE, as well as a body of work linked to Cartography.

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a sequence of stills from on the road (be fekret hastam), 2013 Single channel video; 6:40 minutes 21


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Naz Shahrokh

An interview with

Naz Shahrokh Hello Naz, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? A work of art is a vehicle (a form) that expresses— this can be found in all fields of aesthetics—from the visual to the sonic to the literary. By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? This is found in the form and content of the work— we are at a specific place in time, and the form and content of the work expresses this.

anyou interview with a dichotomy between Do think that there's tradition and contemporariness? A work of art taps into time, and reflects from the energy and reality of this specific time. Artists have always been the vessels for this. In my opinion, tradition is the past and contemporariness is today but time is not necessarily linear, I believe it to be circular, as history is constantly repeating itself with new narratives. I believe we follow in tradition, and add a sentence or two as we advance forward. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you hold a BFA and an MFA in Painting, plus a MS in Art History that you received from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn... How have these different experiences -and especially travelling so much in your childhood and adolescence years, when you moved from Iran, to France to the United Statesimpacted on your development as an artist and on the way you currently produce your artworks? 22


Naz Shahrokh

My formal training at Pratt took place during the 90’s, and I was fortunate to work with many professors who were young adults in the 50’s and 60’s in NYC. Their way of training us was to live in our work. We were not trained to think about how we would pay our bills following school—that did not matter—all we had to concentrate on was making work and being committed to it with all of our soul. This training taught me to live inside my work, and allowed for me to learn to process the content into form, by analyzing and taking risks with an emphasis on investigation. Pursuing a Masters degree in Art History is one of the best decisions I ever made—this program gave me time to think and reflect and research in the areas of my interests and to also gain further knowledge. I am inquisitive, and I have many questions of which I need answers for, and art history and metaphysics answer many of these questions. Regarding my childhood and upbringing, my studio practice is an extension of my life and experiences. Everything that I express in my work is an extension of this reality, both past and present. I weave in my work a conversation subjective of my experiences, and attempt to also bring forth current states of mind—from the immediate (physical reality) as well as what is in my psyche which is infinite. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

Process is essential. As I work full-time as a faculty Marinda Scaramanga

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Naz Shahrokh

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On the Road (for Jack Kerouac) 2013 Collected spices and herbs in plastic bags 288 feet x 6 ¾ inches (89 meters x 17cm) Installation at the Royal Stables, Abu Dhabi, UAE

ìmember, I am not able to live with my studio practice solely. I collect various materials daily and continue submerging myself in thinking about the work(s) when possible.

piles, or I collect objects that are significant to me that day. My work is labor intensive, and I need blocks of uninterrupted time to complete a project. Sometimes the process of collection takes on years prior to the work being completed. In addition, I tend to multi-task and work on several projects simultaneously. #196 Winter

For example, in the act of “recycling”, I collect daily my papers and compile them nicely into 24


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a sequence of stills from on the road (be fekret hastam), 2013 Single channel video; 6:40 minutes Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from On the Road (be fekret hastam) that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. This video is a conversation with Jack Kerouac and his novel “On the Road”: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

witnessed the talks of Zen scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki at Columbia (including Agnes Martin, Rothko and Cage, amongst others). During the time while I was in college, Ginsberg was still alive, and he was quite active in NYC those days. I remember hearing him read his work at MoMA and elsewhere. The Beats for me carry a sense of freedom, and they followed their “truth”, albeit theirs was built on decadence but also of selfdiscovery. The latter is what I am focused on.

I came to know the Beats during my college years. I had a wonderful professor, Daniel Gerzog, who taught a literature course who introduced me to the work of Ginsberg and Kerouac. I believe this generation of aesthetic souls to be instrumental—an entire group

The scroll for “On the Road” by Kerouac is present symbolically throughout several bodies of work that I produced in 2013—I tend to appropriate sometimes without even knowing—

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an interview with

Stratosphere, 2002-2004 Approx. 11000 collected bottles on floor 10 feet x 6 feet

certain sense explores the cultural disconnect that lies between understanding our relationship with the natural environment and our drive toward economic prosperity: although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

but in this body of work, I purposefully transpose a scroll like form reminiscent of his scroll, which to me represents a longing for being able to exist within my studio practice void of interruptions. I think when one is focused in this way; the tapping into oneself is easier. Moreover, more often than not (and since 1995), I listen to Kerouac’s Poetry for the Beat Generation while working in the studio. This is one of my most treasured possessions. Through exploring the practice of consciously living in the now, while walking through the journey of life, I daresay that your work in a

Not at all and I agree completely. Artists can be 26


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personal experience from real world is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process, both for creating a work of Art as well as for enjoying it... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I agree. I do think however that if an artist experiences a spiritual practice in which they disconnect, for example someone like Agnes Martin and her process, then there is a disconnect to personal experiences as their work is an extension of their spiritual reality, and I believe this experience to be universal and not personal.

great generators for positive change and for adding knowledge. This sentence belongs to the philosophy found in Zen Buddhism, of “being in the moment�. By doing so, we are always connected to our path. By the way, I would like to take this occasion to introduce our readers to Stratosphere, an installation from bottles that you conceived in protest at the New York City mayor's decision to stop glass recycling... as most of your creations, this stimulating piece is strictly connected what we use to define real world... I would like to ask you if in your opinion

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Haft-Sin Zazen, 2010 Gold and silver thread and salt on linen 6 ½ ft x 13 ft (200 cm x 401 cm) Installation at Ghaf Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your approach and I have highly appreciate the way you are capable of creating such an effective symbiosis between elements from different techniques, re-contextualizing the idea of landscape as in the extremely stimulating installation entitled Haft-Sin Zazen which has particularly impressed me: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way

to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Absolutely. I think it is now that we refer to the interdisciplinary approach, but this has been the case for generations. A new discovery in science has always altered artmaking throughout history. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is 1, 2, 3, 4. #196 Winter 28


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Column, 2009-2010 Collected and folded newspaper from The Nationa l and fishing line against wall 10 ft x 7 inches x 11 ½ ft (305 cm x 18 cm x 29.5cm) Installation at Ghaf Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Yin and Yang Meet in the Desert: I would go as far as to state that with this work you have created such a bridge between the inner real feature of an image and the abstract feeling that comes from human manipulation and I think that this brings a new level of

significance to the surroundings on which you focus the viewers' attention... I'm sort of convinced that some information & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles

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an interview with

of an artist could be to reveal unexpected

Nature... what's your opinion about this?

sides of Nature, especially of our inner

Yes, of course. I think often times we are 30


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1, 2, 3, 4. Yin and Yang Meet in the Desert, 2013-2014 Digital C-print, thread, color drawing media and ink 4 x 4 inches (11 cm x 11 cm) 31


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an interview with

confronted in an artwork with new knowledge, ideas, or moments of discovery and beauty. Art is the vessel that expresses, and each artist has his/her own reality which they bring forth. In 34

conjunction to these series of work, they are indeed very personal. Thus, I let the viewer experience what he/she can take from it, but my own conversation is kept hidden in these series #196 Winter


Naz Shahrokh

confronted in an artwork with new knowledge, ideas, or moments of discovery and beauty. Art is the vessel that expresses, and each artist has his/her own reality which they bring forth. In conjunction to these series of work, they are indeed very personal. Thus, I let the viewer experience what he/she can take from it, but my own conversation is kept hidden in these series as the project statements are broad somewhat to share the general process.

motion. The scene is non-existent and existent. There are clusters of creatives coming from everywhere, from the expats who work in various sectors, to the “scene” in Dubai which adds to ours, and of course the various cultural events that occur. It is too early to tell, but since the UAE is becoming a hub of sorts for the creatives of the Arab world, its significance will be known a few years from now. The investment is wonderful— art is the vessel of culture. Through it, one can find repose, knowledge, and a confrontation with numerous realities. Art is a vessel of exchange— what is happening here is real, as we are lucky to come to know the various realities of various places close by and afar.

During these years you have exhibited your artworks in many prestigious cultural occasions around the world, and moreover you have took part in a huge numbers of artists' residencies as well as panel discussions and workshops in the US, Egypt, Italy and the UAE... Could you tell us something about the impressions that you have received in these occasions?

Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Naz. 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?

The feedback is important—but in the same token I must remember to stay disconnected if I can which is very difficult. I express what I need to express in form—sometimes it is well received and other times it is not.

Thank you as well... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

I am working on several projects simultaneously. There are several land art projects that will materialize in the future both through video and photography, as well as a series of studies influenced by cartography. Another body of work is quite personal, a series of sculptural objects, but these will take time to materialize as I’m in the midst of living what I will be exploring.

I hope the viewer can take away a sense of repose but sometimes also a sense of synergy— the fact that we’re all connected. And I couldn't do without posing you a naif question that I'm sure you t have been asked thousands of times: would you like to tell our readers something about the artistic scenario of Abu Dhabi? What are -if any- the main differences that you have noticed in comparison to the so-called "Western Scene"?

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator landescape@artlover.com

Abu Dhabi is like NYC in the 50’s but in fast 35


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Sarah Stolar (USA)

An artist’s statement My drawings are a record of emotive internal events. They are a map to navigate my internal psyche and a witness to my subconscious. These landscapes, while familiar in composition, feel uncharted, dreamlike, and ethereal, evoking a visceral experience of exposing an inner truth. The division between the realm of memory and reality is explored through the dynamics of the landscape; there is a physical world around us, and there is also the internal perspective. The low horizon line acts as a grounding element, both literally and metaphysically, connecting the earth’s reality and the imagined celestial sphere. Images borrowed from school-girl notebook doodles, fairytales, and religious stories are engulfed in turbulence, recalling storms, explosions, tornados, and other energetic surges. Ultimately, these representational images function as autobiographical metaphors, yet allow for the viewer to establish their own interpretation based on their life story and connection to the symbolism. The drawings stem from intense personal experiences, often dark and heavy-hearted, in a cathartic effort to make melancholia beautiful. I work with a variety of materials including pastels, water soluble crayons, inks, pencils, charcoal, and anything else that will make a mark. My drawing process is tactile, messy, intuitive, and exploratory. I honor the true nature of each medium, allowing myself to lose control of it, like when ink drips or charcoal smears. Each drawing is a journey of creation, destruction, and restoration. This physical act of reworking, redrawing, sanding out, and painting over satisfies my need to drop into a flow state, surrendering myself to the materials, and allowing chance to dictate the outcome of the drawing. This layering, covering, and revealing illuminates the intangible and grasps on to fleeting thoughts, emotions, and stories that are often unexplainable. The process also speaks to the overall human desire to hide from the uncomfortable and “fix” what is not working. The act of drawing in this manner enables my complex psychological concepts to be transformed into a record of momentary scenarios. The

Book of Drawings, handmade book with Stonehenge paper, collage, and various, 2014; photo by Jeff Medinas accumulation of the work is a diary of mark-making, a sketchbook unbound. The drawings are a doorway into my creative self, an act of meditation and revelation. Sarah Stolar is an interdisciplinary artist who lives in the Bay Area. Her primary focus is drawing and painting, however she also works in multi-media installation, film, and video. She grew up in an art

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watercolor, colored inks, water crayon, Sumi ink, acrylic paint, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, marker,

studio/school environment, received a BFA in Painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and a MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she currently teaches. Sarah Stolar is also involved in collaborative projects with several notable performance artists, she has worked on two feature-length films, and curated five gallery and museum exhibitions. Selected visual art and

performance exhibitions include the Donaufestival, Krems, Austria; Anti-Contemporary Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Currents 2011, Santa Fe; 53rd Venice Biennale; and a solo exhibition at the Bohemian Gallery & Museum of Contemporary Art, Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Sarah Stolar

An interview with

Sarah Stolar Hello Sarah, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Thankfully, Duchamp gave artists permission to call anything art by simply proclaiming it to be so, regardless of the materials, durability, or practicality of the work. He opened the door for nontraditional methods and media, the ephemeral, and placed emphasis on the idea over the result. I agree with this definition of a work of art—it is anything that is made by the artist, be it physical, conceptual, functional, or formal—and the artist an with mustinterview be able to defend their decisions. What marks a work of contemporary art has a lot to do with context: the context of its display, the intended audience, and how it fits in with the expansive dialog of art in the 21st century. The fact is, “contemporary” means “happening now,” so artists need to be aware of what is going on around them and the aesthetic shifts in how we see the world. Contemporary art responds and reacts to growth and change in beauty, it doesn’t ignore it by stubbornly gripping to the past. That being said, I believe tradition is important. The traditional foundations of art play a huge role in my work, and as an educator they are at the core of my teaching philosophy. The key is to use traditional skills as tools to communicate conceptual ideas. The dichotomy between traditional and contemporary art occurs when there is an absence of intention or lack of consideration for the current discourse in art. There is nothing wrong with just painting a perfect apple, for example, but that is all it is— a nice

Sarah Stolar with her dogs, Gesso, Leonardo da Vinci, and

traditional painting of an apple. As a painter, I can appreciate it for all its inherent qualities, but contemporary art is going to have something more evocative to bring to the table. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you hold a MFA that you have received about ten years ago from the San Francisco Art Institute: moreover, you had the chance to attend the Studio Art Centers International in Florence... How has these experiences impacted on your development as an artist and on the way you currently produce your artworks?

I was born an artist. There was no other option for 38


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during this time that I did a semester at SACI in Florence. I received a great deal of formal training while at the Art Academy—strict Art History, figure, color, materials and techniques— but I was expected to take that knowledge and apply it to current principles. The critiques were grueling. I really learned how to be an artist at the Art Academy. My time there was invaluable. I didn’t want it to be over. Before I went to SACI in Florence I had never been abroad, and I had developed a deep love for Italian Renaissance art in college, so to study there was both amazing and overwhelming. I immediately reacted by abandoning traditional painting for street performance and large black abstractions. I didn’t understand how to make representational images while surrounded by so much history, opulence, and perfection. The semester at SACI planted a small seed for future interdisciplinary works, but it happened very early in my development as an artist. Later while in graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute, I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba to study performance art with Tony Labat and Tania Bruguera at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. This residency certainly had a far greater impact on my current work. It was here that I learned about collaboration, documentation, performance as sculpture, endurance, and the ephemeral. It was a threeweek bilingual class with 30 American and Cuban students.

Sharpie; photo by Jeff Medinas

me. My mother Merlene Schain, an accomplished artist and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is a descendant of the German painter Adolph von Menzel and the founder of a well-respected private art school in Cincinnati. Art is in my blood. I grew up in my mother’s art studio watching her paint, and would accompany her to school where I would draw the nude model at six years old. She began exposing me to Contemporary Art at a very young age; the first museum show I remember was with Andy Warhol and James Turrell at the Temporary Contemporary Museum in Los Angeles.

The collective growth of the artists involved, and the New Genres department at SFAI as a whole, imprinted themselves on my work forever. SFAI gave me access to celluloid film, digital video, and space to create installation, while still supporting my drawing and painting. Most importantly, because of SFAI’s history as a platform for unorthodox and controversial art, I was able to explore certain personal themes within my work in an objective and safe space. This cracked open an entire world for me—one where concept dictates the medium I choose. When I work in my studio now, I see the result of my diverse educational experiences.

I went to the Art Academy of Cincinnati for my BFA in Painting in the late nineties, and it was 39


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Perfect (reprise), single-channel video in-progress; photo by Jeff Medinas

The Art Academy of Cincinnati gave me the building blocks and the San Francisco Art Institute taught me how to knock them down. And my mother is still my daily mentor.

oil paint unless I have an entire uninterrupted day, a very short video work can take up to five years to complete, and drawings can happen quickly and sporadically throughout the day or become deeply involved works of art that take several days. Because I work with autobiographical themes, content is never an issue. I have enough ideas to work with to last my lifetime. The decisions I make are about how to communicate these stories in an interesting way that reveals just enough information to evoke mystery and contemplation within the viewer. I have to figure out the best material use and how that material will serve to deliver my intended message and emotional qualities in the work.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I work in my studio every day and I am always working on several different projects at once, usually with each project in a different medium so I can move from one to the other depending on what is going on in the moment. I don’t have one specific technical method of preparation, it depends on the project, concept and materials I am working with. For example, I won’t even touch

The drawing area in my studio is always set up with two work surfaces and all supplies out. I don’t like anything put away where I cannot see it; I want to be able to access anything at any time because drawing is the most important aspect of my creative process. I respond to the #196 Winter

Tree Abstraction 5


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Road End Mountain Top (detail), 38x50�, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, acrylic paint, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2013

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an interview with

Stronghold Watercolor, colored inks, water soluble crayon, Sumi ink, acrylic paint, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, marker, collage on Stonehenge paper 38x50�,2014

immediacy of the materials and find that when I allow myself to draw without questioning every mark, a conversation starts to develop where the work begins to inform me of what needs to happen next. This, along with years of working with the same imagery and themes, enables me to drop in to a flow state. It also means there are

a lot of failed drawings, which usually end up getting reworked or cut up. The imagery and mark-making in the drawings evolve from internal, contemplative research. When I am working on an installation or in other nontraditional media, it is an entirely different process that is much more methodical and 7


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The Aerialist Watercolor, colored inks, water soluble crayon, Sumi ink, acrylic paint, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, marker, collage on Stonehenge paper 38x50� 2014

already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit your website directly at http:// www.sarahstolar.com in order to get a wider idea of your current artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this project?

technical. The research is practical and involves problem solving with conceptual ideas. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Stronghold and The Aerialist, a couple of interesting pieces from your recentdrawing series that our readers have 8


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SOS Watercolor, colored inks, water soluble crayon, Sumi ink, acrylic paint, colored pencil, pastel, graphite, marker, collage on Stonehenge paper 38x50� 2014

What was your initial inspiration?

from drawing. As a student, I was fortunate enough to have professors who emphasized drawing and who placed a high level of importance on using it as a tool within a greater artistic practice. Drawing was paramount at the #196 Winter

As I emphasized in my response to the previous question, drawing has always been at the root of all of my artistic production. Everything stems Tree Abstraction 44


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Kali I, 22x30”, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2012

Kali II, 22x30”, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2012

Art Academy of Cincinnati. I was highly influenced by the amount of drawing I experienced there, and various ways I saw it being manipulated. Many of the marks, symbols and images I use today I can trace back to sketchbooks from that time. The visual language in this series is one I have been working with for over twenty years. I affectionately call it my cast of characters. Some of these characters include raindrops, keys, hearts, stars, bees, fences, waves, walls, bricks, doors, stairs, towers, and castles. And then there is a crew of abstract characters— loops, lines, spirals, blooming marks, balls of scribbles, and graffiti-like non-words. It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment of inspiration for this series.

an icon or a totem. The paper-cut fence is a metaphor for protection, and an image that is repeated in my work often. It is interesting to see how I can add one of these elements, like the fence, and change the whole story of the drawing. The Aerialist shows another group of characters that has recently emerged in my work—the silhouetted or outlined female figure, who is also a performer, or some kind of angel or demon. I daresay that your interesting piece entitled SOS explores the cultural disconnect that lies between understanding our relationship with the natural environment and our drive toward economic prosperity: although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art - especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

It makes more sense to say that the work has evolved over a long period of time. The stories I am telling are not literal, but rather attempts at capturing deep-seeded experiences, many of which go as far back as childhood. The meanings of the images evolve too. For example, the heart you see in Stronghold at one time may have represented one particular experience, but as it has traveled through my work with me it has taken on a multi-layered symbolic meaning, like

No, I don’t think that sounds exaggerated, 452


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Kali III, 22x30�, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2012

Kali IV, 22x30�, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2012

especially in this age of multi- and social media. Touching back on an earlier question about traditional and contemporary art, this is another instance where the dichotomy between them an interview comes into play. It with doesn't matter if an artist creates work with blatant sociopolitical content, or approaches it from a more subtle point of view; a contemporary artist is engaged with her environment and is allowing her reaction to it to filter into her work in some kind of way. She in turn makes work that invokes a moving experience for the viewer—one that may spark social change or one that may require thoughtful contemplation. Artists hold the power in that way. SOS is an image with a multifaceted meaning. The spiraling smokelike tornado images are directly influenced by news images, specifically images of the Iraq oil fields burning, but the drawing is not a statement about burning oil fields. I am drawn to the imagery, and fascinated by the story, and it is massive and gut-wrenching, so I use it in an abstracted way as a metaphor for personal narratives. SOS is the international distress signal and the title of the work, meant to be a clue to help the viewer understand that this image deals with some sort of state of peril. And then you see that the little

campfire image is small against the wall of smoke, sending out its call for help, and it feels a bit helpless. The viewer is invited to interpret this in any way they want. They may personify the campfire and create an internal psychological story, or they may see the external perspective of the destruction of our landscape, or some similar narrative. The drawings are open-ended. Although I may have specific ideas when I am creating a drawing, the viewer has the opportunity to come away from the work with an entirely different interpretation. If the piece evokes an emotional response and deep thought, then it is successful. Another pieces of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words are from your Kali series: one of the features of these works that have mostly impacted on me is the effective mix between white background and the intense tone of red, which creates such a dialogue rather than a contrast: it seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension and intense emotions... I can recognize such interesting feature also in Windows...By the way, any 46


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Honeycomb, 22x30�, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon, collage & gold dust on Stonehenge paper, 2013

comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

demon. She became enraged and drunk, and almost destroyed the universe out of an act of love. The image of Kali in my work is fairly new, only emerging in 2011 in a painting as a selfportrait, followed by these drawings, and now in a video currently in-progress. Placing her in the landscape seemed like a natural response, considering that she is the intermediary between the sky and the earth who stops the blood from falling.

Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction, time, death, sexuality, and the liberator of the soul. She is associated with the color black and the image of a bloody tongue. In short, Kali won the great battle by drinking the blood that fell from the dying demon in the sky, because every drop that fell to the ground turned into another 47


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The Pot Room from Hospital, approx. 18" sq., four-channel video installation with sound, plywood, drawing materials on Stonehenge paper, digitally manipulated photographs, inkjet prints, dollhouse lighting, motors, LCD screens, iPod speakers, found objects, studio junk, brackets, etc. 2010-2011

She also stomped on the bodies of her enemies on the battlefield in her fury, and in doing so crushed Shiva. These drawings retell the story as a self-portrait. Sometimes I set up certain conceptual rules for myself when working. In the Kali drawing series, I wanted to leave a lot of the paper showing in order to place emphasis on the heads and the symbols. Even though the marks are expressive, I wanted to apply them in a thoughtful way, so that slowed down my process leaving more white space exposed. The resulting contrast created a tension and rawness that communicated the

story well. Creating Windows two years later was a completely different experience. Some of the same images reappear, but this piece is far more layered and involved in its process, and the paper is entirely covered. Red is an interesting color to work with. It’s so rich and brings about so much emotion and sensuality, and leaves so much room for interpretation. I have noticed that my palette is getting brighter and more colorful. I never think that I make colorful work, but I do. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your approach and I have highly appreciate the way #196 Winter

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The Bathroom from Hospital, approx. 18" sq., four-channel video installation with sound, plywood, drawing materials on Stonehenge paper, digitally manipulated photographs, inkjet prints, dollhouse lighting, motors, LCD screens, iPod speakers, found objects, studio junk, brackets, etc. 2010-2011

you are capable of creating such an effective symbiosis between elements from different techniques, re- contextualizing ideas as in Hospital, an interesting four-channel video installation that our readers can get to know at http://www.sarahstolar.com/hospital :have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

the concept. Over the years I have somewhat figured out where to go for a specific kind of project; however, sometimes I have to explore the same theme in several different disciplines before I hit upon the strongest solution. With Hospital I knew a multi-media installation was the only way this particular theme could be conveyed. I had made several dollhouse-themed works prior, and I had specific ideas I wanted to accomplish with sound, video, and light. All of the process drawings were created with the ultimate intention to build this piece, and a lot of planning took place. The original drawings were done in

Absolutely. All my work is dependent upon finding the appropriate medium to use to communicate 49


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an interview with

Video still from Bleeding Heart, digital video, looping projection, 2007

Bleeding Heart (which have particularly impressed me: I definitely love the way you have been capable of mixing the idea of the tenderness which emerges from the tones that you choose for the video, and the inner struggle revealed from the story that you tell with it: by the way, your works often reveal a clear reference to real world... and they remind me the well-known Picasso's quote "Everything you can imagine is real" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience from real world is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do

2004 and the first installation of the piece was in 2010, and later in 2011 for Currents in Santa Fe. I had to think about it for five years before I could build it because of the complexity. Drawing is what connects all the disciplines together. While I work on installation or sculpture, I will do drawings of the same themes before, during, and after the project. These are not maquettes, but rather immersive investigations, and they become interesting drawings in their own right. And I couldn't do without mentioning another video installation from yours, entitled 50


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Video still from Bleeding Heart, digital video, looping projection, 2007

you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

times they are derived from a more intuitive place and therefore I have to communicate those ideas from a more abstract or conceptual point of view. It is not necessarily important that my specific story is told. I don't want the art to become some kind of play- by-play diary of my life. It is far more interesting when the art is multilayered and interpreted in many different ways, and because of that I am always toying around with deciding how much information to give away.

All of my work is autobiographical, so no, it is never disconnected from direct experience. I don't know how other artists make art about concepts that are separate from what they know. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that I cannot do it. All of my work starts from within. Sometimes my concepts come from very literal experiences, like something specific that happened to me, I witnessed, or I went through, and I can illustrate it in a very clear way; other

The general theme of Bleeding Heart is exactly 51


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Windows, 38x50”, watercolor, sumi ink, colored ink, acrylic paint, marker, graphite, water soluble crayon & collage on Stonehenge paper, 2013

what you stated—an inner struggle. It is about feeling something so deeply that you want to “rip your heart out.” I have heard many interpretations of this video, especially from women, that it feels like it's touching on themes of pregnancy trauma, sexual abuse, and so on. It is uplifting to know that the video transformed from one personal idea of mine into a scenario that presents multiple emotional situations and ultimately brings about so much emotion in

others. For me, that means the work is successful, and I think it is successful because I was connected with the entire experience of the work. My direct experience is often emotional, therefore it comes across through my creative process. In these years you have exhibited your artworks in many occasions around the world and I think it's important to remark that you #196 Winter

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took part to the 53rd Venice Biennale as well as at the Donaufestival, and that you had a solo exhibition at the Bohemian Gallery & Museum of Contemporary Art, Montevideo, Uruguay... Could you tell us something about the impressions that you have received in these occasions? By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

Austria are the most current, and by far the most accomplished and my favorite. For this body of work I had nine assistants, and a wardrobe was made for Annie, Beth, and several performers including Peaches and Keith Hennesey. The collaborations challenge my creative process in new ways that ultimately filter into my personal work. I get to work with interesting materials like fiber-optics, auto parts, and insulation foam, and then try to transform these materials into something illusionary. I have to consider the performers’ movement, choreography, and relationship to the space they are performing in. And then there is the practicality—they have to be able to walk and sit down. I love working with Annie and Beth. They are so open and give me the freedom to create what I want. And they will wear anything. I love designing Beth’s codpieces. The Dirt codpiece consists of six dangling mossy balls. It is very sensual, and dirty.

I am very grateful for my international experiences, and of the three you mentioned, the Biennale and the Donau Festival were collaborations with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. I create the costuming and wearable art for their Ecosexual Weddings, which are performed all over the world. These performances are part of a life-as-art project that Annie and Beth have been working on for over a decade where they are shifting the metaphor of Earth as Mother to Earth as Lover. I have traveled and performed with them many times, the first being at the Venice Biennale for the Blue Wedding to the Sea in 2009. When I created these costumes, I had never made anything like them before. These were not simple seamstress pieces, but rather elaborate costumes with wearable sculptural forms that also had to be functional and transport well. It involved tapping into every discipline I had been working in up to that point as well as learning new techniques, materials, and how to work with assistants. It was the biggest and most important collaboration I had ever worked on and I was anxious the entire time, but failure wasn’t an option. Many pieces were reworked and torn apart; Annie’s dress was completely scrapped and rebuilt at one point. Touching back on the importance of merging traditional skills with nontraditional methods, if it were not for the extensive foundations I received in materials, space, and especially the figure, I’m not sure I could have pulled it off. Ultimately, the outcome was so successful we continued to work together, and still do today. The Dirt costumes for the Dirty Ecosexual Wedding to Soil in Krems,

The show at BGMOCA in Montevideo was my first solo exhibition. I exhibited over 30 new drawings, some that are pictured here, all medium to large scale. The show was sponsored by the Uruguayan government and the Minister of Culture, so as part of the exhibition I traveled to Uruguay to teach drawing workshops in the museum. I created mixed-media and conceptual projects based on my drawings where we walked through the museum and looked at my work, discussed it, then sat down in the middle of the room and made art. This was a very special experience for me—to interact with students and my work in this way. The community was highly interested in the show, with several news articles and radio shows; overall it was a success. Uruguay is a beautiful country on the cutting-edge of liberalism, so it makes sense that Montevideo is a city that is open and eager for new art. I think it is important to consider the audience when creating work. The artist has to know who they are making work for in order to understand its greater context. That being said, I make what I want. I don’t try to force work to fit into a room filled with a specific audience. My work covers 54


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Studio shot of Dirt, wearable art costumes by Sarah Stolar, for Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens Dirty Ecosexual Wedding to Soil performed at the Donau Festival in Krems, Austria

Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Sarah. 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?

such a broad range of disciplines and aesthetics, I’m not sure I can classify it into one particular category. I can say that the work is sometimes difficult in its content, but I am always looking for an underlying beauty. I use feedback in two ways. While a work is in-progress I have a select group of artists that I respect who I go to for tough critical feedback. I listen to them and will often rework based on our conversations. After the work is finished and out in the world, I listen to the viewer’s interpretation for insight into a deeper meaning. As the maker, I am often too close to the work to truly understand all of its layers. Feedback is crucial.

I am in the process of creating a new body of work and I am also working on a couple of collaborative projects. One is designing and executing an exterior for the Pollination Pod - an Ecosex research vessel/ film studio/minilibrary/movie theater camper that Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens will take across the country on tour in 2015. The other is a collaboration with 54


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Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens wearing Dirt, wearable art costumes by Sarah Stolar, and performing Dirty Ecosexual Wedding to Soil at the Donau Festival in Krems, Austria

Cherie Carson, Director of UpSwing Aerial Dance Company in Berkeley, CA. The working title is Mi Corizon (Tangled Up) and will premiere in 2015. It is a multi-media dance performance about the boundlessness and universality of the human heart. For this I am creating analog and digital animations for projection onto aerial dancers. My

other new work consists of large-scale oil paintings of portraits of women, a continuation of the drawing series represented with some video investigations, and a new video installation. an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator landescape@artlover.com

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Marc Lee (Switzerland)

With Pic-me you can virtually fly to the locations from where users send randomly selected posts to Instagram, thus creating another view on how the media handles posts on social networks. One might describe these posts – images or short videos accompanied by comments, tags and geolocalization – as a kind of digital small talk or personal conversation. Different than face to face conversations, these fleeting thoughts are accumulated and archived by governments, corporations, and research institutes and then transformed into everlasting stories as well. We can’t tell yet, what the consequences of archiving these often personal and emotional posts are in the long run. The work by Marc Lee makes us think about the properties of the digital realm and what happens to the data that is generated by people all over the globe. Description Using the app Instagram, any moment shared as a picture or a short video with the whole world within seconds. Squared and anachronistic due to the filters adopted and usually accompanied by short descriptions and geotags, the posts reflect the lives of their users just as diary entries do. Marc Lee's latest online project Pic-me sets the posts in context to the environment of the user and locates them on Google Earth. In the typical zoom mode that allows us to "fly" towards a specific destination on the globe within seconds, users will be localized by their address. It is also possible to search for specific users and tags: For example http://pic-me.com/berlin selects 56

Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send post

Instagram posts that are tagged with the word "Berlin". The user’s trail can also be traced by clicking on his or her profile picture. Many users are unaware of features such as geotagging being activated by default on social media platforms. Much additional personal information is therefore revealed unintentionally. In the clash of the Internet giants Google and Facebook’s Instagram, Pic-


s, online project, printscreen from www.pic-me.com

me questions the personal data tracks left on the Internet, their ambiguous status between anonymity and the accurate visibility and localization of the individual. What happens to these personal and often emotional stories that are collected in huge databases by commercial enterprises, research institutions and governments? What are the consequences of such data archives? What kind of paramount

stories do they tell, and what is the individual’s role? Even though it remains to be seen which long-term implications and consequences this collecting and archiving may have, it is worth thinking about it already now.

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An interview with

Marc Lee Hello Marc, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Hi LandEscape. Thank you very much for your valuable questions. In my point of view, if an artist declares something as art, it’s art – that simple. I do not experience a dichotomy. In tradition and contemporariness the main subjects which art is addressing are the same. Maybe because the big questions e.g. who we are? where we go?… are still not answered or even less answered than centuries ago, same people say. But the media, an interview with pushed primarily be technology (e.g. photo-, video-, new media art), have change a lot. Throw new inventions, new questions and discussions occur and this is changing the art. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you have studied New Media and Installation at the University of Art and Design: how have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point about this?

Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send posts, on

Probably because there live including lifestyles and interests has more in common. I’m manly creating€network-oriented interactive projects. They locate and critically discuss economic, political, cultural and creative "issue-clusters" that are essential for communication processes in digital networks.

Studying Art, basically we learned networking, creating concepts, design, material and technology skills. Sporadically there are teachers which are narrow minded and can stifle young artist's creativity. But students are clever, helping among themselves. Usually students learn more from classmates then from teachers.

Before starting to elaborate about your

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line project, printscreen from www.pic-me.com

production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

content as a base. In traditional photographyand video art, it's an artist group or single artist who decides, what will be shown. Using user generated-content, people all over the world receive a voice and share their thoughts and stories. In that way we are able to reflect our life, hopes, wishes and especially the culture of the younger generation much better. I believe this can have a wider and substantial

In many projects I'm using user-generated Marinda Scaramanga

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Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send posts, online project, printscreen from www.pic-me.com

where users send posts that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.1go1.net/pic-me in order to get a wider idea of this interesting project. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this work? What was your initial inspiration?

meaning then traditional art. In addition using user generated content in online projects, some projects have a sculptural and installation view. Combining these two, it’s possible to make synesthetic experiences. Within that we can involve more senses like touch or smell and face to face communication. This is not possible in pure Internet art for example. Often I’m using one year realizing a new work. Between that, sometimes side projects arise. Like the Pic-me project for example.

The profound digital information and communication revolutions we are exposed to are unique in the history of mankind. How can we capture their scope? Where do we start? To understand the present situation, I try to give #196 Winter

Now let's focus on your artisitc production: I would start from Pic-me - fly to the locations

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Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send posts, online project, printscreen from www.pic-me.com

I daresay that Pic-me explores the cultural disconnect that lies between understanding our relationship with old-fashioned everyday life and the consequences of our drive technology: I can recognize such a subtle but effective social criticism in this and although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that convinced that Art especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

social network users a voice. They see things in the immediate vicinity. Their posts are personal points of views and a window to a changing world. As a gigantic sum they provide a comprehensive picture of the world. A mirror of our society. They create awareness and move the global perspective in the foreground. Working on a larger project, visualizing user-generated content in various forms, I made a test, how to visualize the user’s position on maps. Therefore I tried the google earth API. One test came out quite well. So I improved it a bit and set it online. So Pic-me is a side project and it’s maybe better than the large project which I’m still working on, haha. 61


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an interview with

Pic-me - fly to the locations where users send posts, online project, printscreen from www.pic-me.com

Maybe not steer, it’s more a political or a religion thing I think, but critically reflect our live and surrounding including sociopolitical, economic and cultural issues. It’s a good sign, if critical

discussions and discourse starting among visitors. Maybe this is one of the main targets of art.

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From Pic-me Online project

assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

Hm, yes and no. First I like to mention, art uses technology as soon as it exists in an affordable way. To remember photography was developed, photoart followed. Then the same happened with film and video and now we have computers. Countless computers, thinking of smartphones, tablets, laptops, cars‌ and new media art followed. Maybe at a first glance it looks the same, like a photography and an photoart is difficult to distinguish. If we look deeper into it, it becomes clear: different targets, different meanings, different contexts‌

By the way, I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between Art and Technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to

From Pic-me Online project

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10'000 moving cities - same but different Interactive Net-Based Installation

10'000 moving cities deals with the world of information, user-generated content and news about places, cultures, people and movements. Visitors can select any city or place, using a digital interface. About the chosen place, the Internet is searched in real time for latest text, image, video and sound informations. Four projectors and eight audio speakers project the results into the space. Visitors are able to walk through the model and experience the information in 3D. Attracted and inspired by images and sounds, visitors explore the places and perceive fragments of the immense amount of data. Additionally audio and visuals constantly change, they are never the same, always in movement as the place as itself. Just as all cities in the world are different, so different and alive appear the projections and sounds. Each new request creates always new representations of the real world as a combination of visitors and digital matrix. User-generated content is the source of the audiovisual information not censored nor chosen by a certain community, rather produced by the public including visitors maybe. Each request enables us to join and actively participate in the social movements of our time. Visitors can search for cities and towns in two different ways. The first option involves choosing a city by sliding the mouse arrow across the map and clicking on a pre-existing blue or red pin. The mouse wheel enables visitors to zoom in and out of the map. The second option involves clicking on "Search" and inserting the name of a city via the keyboard on the screen, then clicking on "go!".

10'000 moving cities - same but different, Interac

Through this work you will be able to discover cities you've never even heard of before. In China alone, there are over 100 cities with over one million inhabitants (marked in red). We would like to give you the opportunity to discover #196 Winter 64


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tive Net-Based Installation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

these and 10,000 other places through a multimedia experience. The precise projection surfaces on the objects can be adjusted by the software, using adjustable masks.

Thus, it is only the object which are projected and not onto the floor. This gives the impression that the objects themselves radiate the image the objects becoming screen.

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an interview with

10'000 moving cities - same but different, Interactive Net-Based Installation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is an extremely interesting Interactive Net-Based Installation entitled 10'000 moving cities same but different. What has mostly impacted on me of this work is the way you hav been capable of creating a bridge between the unsuspecting landscape image and the truth about what happens there, bringing a new level of significance to the sites on which you focus the viewers' attention... one of the features that has mostly impacted on me of this project is the way you have been capable

of re-contextualizing the idea of environment itself... I'm sort of convinced that some information & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- 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 opinion about this?

I like your fundamental question. Influenced by a Taoism saying: It’s difficult to trust our self - our inner Nature. Rather we search outside in books, discussions and discourses. The truth is that we 66


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10'000 moving cities - same but different, Interactive Net-Based Installation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

have to find inside ourselves. In my artist practise I’m creating online projects and installations, in order to generate discussions and discourses among viewers. Is this a contradiction? The consequence would be doing nothing, just focusing on the inner Nature in the present moment. But I’m not able to do that. In the work '10'000 moving cities - same but different. http://www.1go1.net/movingcities I tried to express the enormous amount of cities, the countles lifes which exist simultaneously and which are constantly changing. Every time a city is clicked on the map, even the same city, the audiovisual presentation is different, because the content on

the internet is constantly changing. And at the same time it expresses the globalisation. Places are looking more and more the same mentioned in the concept of non-place elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé – which I know from the you, haha. If we look at the online ecosystem, we are stricken by an enormously great number of web services that present works which are accessible for immediate feedback on a wide scale and attract massive attention. Their authors rarely claim them being the works of art or seek a legitimacy from the artworld, 67


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10'000 moving cities - same but different Interacti


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10'000 moving cities - same but different Interactive Net-Based Installation, Interface in Korean


Marc Lee

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an interview with

O-N-N Terminal, Knutwil, Switzerland

O-N-N Terminal, Edith-Ruß-Haus, Oldenburg, Germany

even they often act anonymously... maybe that the challenge could be to rethink individual authorship so that it is no longer synonymous with capitalism but rather with what Guattari calls ‘resingularisation’, an individual or collective struggle against homogenisation of institutional domains... what's your take about this?

http://www.1go1.net/onn we made a peer-to-peer news network to bring together the creative and communicative potential of Internet users in order to better represent the opinions of each individual in the media landscape. Because through their presence in the public, influential media conglomerates determine which topics are newsworthy. At the same time, due to economic reasons, they have to focus on their largest audience groups. This leads to a focus on the lucrative „average consumer“. This economically driven process reinforces the over-simplification of

That’s a wonderful and important question. We are really walking the opposite direction. With the Open News Network (O-N-N) 70


Marc Lee exhibited in several important occasions around the world: from Switzerland to Germany, from Japan to India and China: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist I sometimes happen to wonder if an award -or better, the expectation of positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

The question focuses on the word genuine. As we know, art is one of the biggest businesses: very rich people usually invest in art. I do not want to privilege one profession over others, but I guess generally for art trader’s it’s genuine for artists is not. Feedback probably plays a bigger role then we think of. Sometimes I optimize the work for the next exhibition influenced by user’s feedback. Often the key of getting meaningful feedback is to ask focussed questions. I continuously think of the audience while working on art. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Marc: 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?

O-N-N Terminal, CeC & CaC, Delhi, India

About five years ago, I started doing traveling projects in different surroundings and countries. I just start walking in one direction, usually for three or four days. Without target, without expectations. I like to encourage you to try this is well. You learn so much. Taking a sleeping bag and floor mat with you helps. It’s very easy.

the news media. Many people cannot identify with this „average” arrangement and feel like they are not represented in the media landscape. This is where O-N-N steps in. Going beyond the established frontiers of news distribution and media technologies, members of O-N-N communicate using peer to peer networks to try to get individual opinions established in the real world.

Everybody can do it. Just starting takes a bit courage. Today I call it landescape project, haha.

This sounds like a drop on a hot stone, but how else should we start?

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator landescape@artlover.com

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Wessel Middelbos (The Netherlands) An artist’s statement

In my work I use my fascination for transformations of landscapes. The essence of contemporary landscape I think is movement and change. The landscapes I paint are a translation and stacking of various processes in the landscape wich are connected with each other. The painting is a universe of it’s own but it gets it’s feeding from the world around him, tastes from it, chews on it and distils a new world. In my paintings various pieces of time and space are mixed up and make a composed landscape. This brings in the possibility to create multiple distances and perspectives in one image. Furthermore, the abstracted character does not indicate a specific landscape, but the processes moving within, shifting and pushing it forward; a landsape very liquid, changing, drifting, on a journey.

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dawn acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 cm, 2013 2


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An interview with

Wessel Middelbos Hello Wessel, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Now that is always a difficult question. There is a quote of a Dutch poet of the 19th century, Willem Kloos, who stated that ‘art is the most individual expression of the most individual emotion’. I can very much relate to that. Everyone's emotions are highly individual I believe. So if you analyse your emotions, you canregocnize and an interview with define your interests, your fields of fascinations in this world and combine that with the technical skills you have, you may get quite far. So an artist is someone who makes things to show what he thinks, experience, see or feels. But no one can be sure of it I believe, I mean if it’s art or not. It cannot be defined like matters in science or mathematics. No laws of nature. But that is what makes it fun in the fields of art. It’s a playground. And everything can be used to play with. I think contemporary art somehow catches the Zeitgeist. But you know, opinions may vary of course in labeling art or artists. I think it has nothing to do with time. It’s not that art made today is right away contemporary art. Lots of artists still work in Modernism or Postmodernism. I don’t believe in cultural progress in time and space, but contemporary art can use out of tradition what it needs to make images with the illusion of progress.

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Wessel Middelbos Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you have studied at the Academie Minerva in Groningen, where you are currently based... How has this experience impacted on your development as an artist and on the way you currently produce your artworks?

My training at academie Minerva was a period of learning and exploring. The couple of years working and studying there gave me time to develop. Time to grow. To find out what my interests are considering techniques, filosophies, and attitude as an artist. During my study I became very interested in fundamental painting. This school, this movement, investigates the basic principles of painting. Things like form, color, structure, texture, sizes of the canvas, ways of applying paint. It was really good for me to operate for a while in such a severe manner. But after a few years I was fed up with it. It felt like a prison. And than I broke out and the sky was open. It’s good to be limited for a while to appreciate the freedom you feel later. What I mostly gained from that period is my wish and aim to let the material, the paint, play an important role. Rather than to let it act as a clear figuration. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

For the last couple of years I always work at several paintings at the same time. At this moment I work on fifteen canvases simultaneously. And they’re all at different stages of completion. I do this to avoid the idea of a final product while I’m working. Marinda Scaramanga

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Wessel Middelbos

Then the pressure is off of making a good piece. From the fifteen pieces I am working on now, later in the proces it will turn out wich ones are good and wich ones are not. The choice on wich paintings to work on each day is taken mostly randomly. Sometimes I know what pieces I will handle that day, but most of the time I choose in the moment. I walk around in my studio and I look at the paintings and for wich ones I have ideas for at that moment; those I will work on. So it’s a very organic process. Besides that it’s a more practical matter. I don’t work wet-in-wet, cause the image will get blurry. So every layer has to dry before adding another. The preparation for the actual paintingsession takes far longer than applying paint itself. It could be an hour preperation for 5 minutes of painting. I stretch and prepare my own canvases for instance. Choosing the colors takes time. Taping the areas that I will cover. And of course a lot of viewing and chewing on possibilities. It happens that I make a work in a small period of time. Let’s say it consists of two or three layers, painted in a few days. And that is very surprising since often it isn’t so. Mostly it’s slogging. And when to decide something is finished? At a certain moment I create something and it surprises me. Something happened. And I don’t have the idea that I did it. I made it of course. With my hands, my tools, my head, but it’s not deliberately towards a point. I don’t work like James Rosenquist, an artist who I greatly admire. He makes the sketch and then executes it at a large scale. I can’t work like that anymore. I used to. But at a point I realized that the planning took out the spirit and energy in my work. Also a couple of years ago my interest of the planned out landscape of contemporary landscape, especially in the Netherlands, was shifting towards a landscape that is on the move, in transition. So I wanted a more painterly image of a landscape in motion.

Wessel Middelbos

already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit your website directly at http://www.wesselmiddelbos.nl in order to get a wider idea of your current artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these projects? What was your initial inspiration?

The genesis of my work is always the vaque image in my head of a landscape in motion. A landscape changing. Whether it is changing by human interference or the elements of nature. Currently my interest of the changing landscape has its focus on the forces of nature ; water , fire, earth, air. These are eternal processes. But of course, in the background is the idea of contemporary events . Human effects on nature

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would start from Dawn and Between that our readers have Tree Abstraction 76


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waystation winter acrylic on canvas 25 x 25 cm 2014

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water light body 50 x 150 cm acrylic on cotton 2013

although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's Captions behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

wich cause things like rising water, floods, forestfires, expanding deserts, etc. Here in the region of Groningen where I live, gasexploitation causes earthquakes. So, if you look at my work you can associate it with nowadays events, but you can also relate it to a more timeless frame. I leave that up tot the viewer. While admiring Water light body and Waystation winter I thought that through these works you aimed to express the idea of transition, and I would go as far as to state that this highlights the different aspects of the relationship between public landscape and natural environment... and I daresay that your work in a certain sense explores the cultural disconnect that lies between understanding our relationship with the natural environment:

With ‘Water light body’, I wanted to get a mood of water, sea, wind, maybe pieces of ice, the light changing the colors and shapes, etc. A whirl of elements. Same goes for ‘Waystation Winter’. And yes, the ideas of transition and transformation I tried to put in and I think they can be read. And what’s most important; they got energy. That’s one of the main things I’m trying 78


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between acrylic on canvasboard 25 x 25 cm 2013

to accomplish in an image; a sense of energy that gives the image it’s own face, so to say.

canvas and I know just before I touch the canvas, the sweep I’m about to make can be good form or an empty spot.

To make art only and completely a tool to get other aims done, I would do art wrong, I think. First and foremost there is the image (of the painting); an ordening of color, lines, tones,etc. And the image wants to get itself across, for the sake of itself. Art is not advertisement. Art is not illustration. Art is not decoration. What If i ask myself; why do I paint? Is it to get my worries about the natural environment across? Is it to feed people’s minds about a certain political view? No. I’m not an activist. I paint because I like images. And because I love paint. It’s magical building material. I want to explore this stuff. Get to know the possibilities and limits of it. Painting is magical. The moment I apply paint on the

But of course, art is a part of this common world we live in and gets influenced by it and comments back on it. So i’m interested in making images and I’m also occupied with contemporary landscape. And I bring that into my painting. But the painting is not and will never be a vehicle for my moral views. There must be room for people to bring their view into. Also, the paintings are never ‘fixed’ for me either. They all have an open end to me. And that’s good. I can view them and never be done with them. Like a song you can hear a thousand times over and over again. In my work I use my awareness of changes happening in contemporary landscape but I also know it’s an 79


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from the inside or in other faces acrylic on canvas 24 x 30 cm 2014

catch great small: one of the features of these works that have mostly impacted on me is the effective mix between white background and the intense tone of red, which creates such a dialogue rather than a contrast: it seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension and intense emotions... I can recognize such interesting feature also in oh no it is just another journey I graze air rock soil and #196 Winter

epitome of eternal forces like conflict, decay, birth, death. But you know, I do like to make people look better. Sharpen their view. But they got to make their own choices, in a direct or more unconcious way. Another couple of interesting pieces on which I would like to spend some words are entitled From the inside or in other faces and Turn Tree Abstraction 80


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turn catch great small acrylic on canvas 30 x 40 cm 2014

steel...By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

love she lost, she was asked;’Did you ever see him again?’. And she answered;’From the inside or in other faces...

The titles I choose are always related to things like change, movement, transition. ‘From the inside or in other faces’, is a quote out of the film Seraphine (2008). The film tells the story of French painter Seraphine de Senlis. About the

Wich reminded me of things loved an lost, but also of the transformation of things. Things fade away and come back in other forms. To me there is a little comfort in the fact we’re made of stardust. 81


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an interview with

oh no it is just another journey I graze air rock soil and steel acrylic on canvas 30 x 40 cm 2014

Thank you for appreciating ‘Turn catch great small’. I need contrast to create a dialoque. A dialoque between the colors, the shapes, the different grades of tranparancy, the texture of the paint,etc. I work just as often from dark to light as from light to dark. I use a lot of color, except for the so-called earthcolors, mainly because they lack energy and freshness. But who knows, maybe

in the future I’ll add them. Around the time I graduated I mainly used dark tones. Around 2003/2004 the colors got brighter. From 2005 trough 2010 colors were dimmed, pastelshade. The last couple of years colors are getting brighter again. Wich suits better the transparant shapes and sharpen them more. The spatial effect gets clearer. So the palette changes over time and 82


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look ahead acrylic on cotton 40 x 80 cm 2013

may very well continue to change to evoke discoveries.

newpapers, internet, novels, artbooks, to experiences like a walk in the fields, or a drive in the car through new environments; sensorial experiences. The waterlike part on the right from ‘Split field sun’ points to the the sun glittering on the water of a lake I daily pass by on my way to the studio. And also ‘Look ahead’ has that echo of water, of liquid substance, changing for ever.

As you have stated once, the landscapes you paint are a translation and stacking of various processes in the landscape which are connected with each other... this has reminded me the well-known Picasso's quote "Everything you can imagine is real" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience from real world is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

And I couldn't do without mentioning Collecting Endings and Running Episodes, which is one of my favourite pieces of yours. By the way, many contemporary landscape artists have some form of environmental or political message in their works: do you consider that your images are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

For me, I can’t imagine a creative process that’s disconnected from direct experience. Because I get my feedings, my fuel for my paintings from the things I pick up in the world. Everything can be material for input. From items that show up in

Like I statet before, I don’t like my paintings to be 83


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Wessel Middelbos


Wessel Middelbos

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running episodes acrylic on canvas 30 x 60 cm 2014

an illustration of an idea. The painting must exist for it’s own sake. The image is the image. Willem de Kooning said that content is a glimpse. And I think he’s right. Like my paintings the content is very liquid. And I hope the content is not fixed. Although I have my ideas during the process of making them. And I have my associations with them. But I don’t want to read aloud because I want people to read themselves.

some good, evenso if it contains arguments that can be used to improve the work in the future. While I’m working in my studio the outside world is far away. At that time I can’t let the outside world and their opinions get in the way of my thoughts and the paintings. It just wouldn’t be right. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Wessel. 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?

Since 2004 you have exhibited your artworks in many occasions:and I think it's important to remark that you have been awarded as well... Could you tell us something about the impressions that you have received in these occasions? By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

Gradually I’m also working on a larger scale canvases now (again). For a few years I worked mainly on small to medium size canvases. But I feel now it’s time to open up new areas and discover new horizons and new landscapes. There are a few shows coming up I take part in. The first one opens in a few weeks in CBK Groningen. (www.cbkgroningen.nl) You can also follow me on facebook or check my website #196 Winter www.wesselmiddelbos.nl

Criticism of other people on what you do is part of the game. I don’t mind criticism, whether it is positive or negative, as long as it is well substantiated. It’s good to hear positiv reply of Tree Abstraction course. But also negative critic can do your work 86


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Damir Matijević (Germany/Croatia An artist’s statement My Vision For me, Photography is a melody of light and soul. It is evidence of a singular moment in time and space, where we find our own reflections. Often, in contemplation of my surroundings, I find myself seeking a deeper meaning. Recognizing the intimately whispering interplay of my souls vibration with the space around me, my soul is forced to express itself through images. This is how I discovered photography; as an outer reflection of my souls inner vibration. I pass these photos on to you with trust. View slowly. Contemplate upon them until you are able to pick up each subtle nuance. Look for the whispering of your own soul as it awakens memories, emotions, and little enlightenments that you have yet to discover within yourself...leaving only footprints behind!

Silence In this today's modern era, when the noise and bustle are becoming more a form of violence to People, a real privilege is to find a time and place where one can relax and return to its true nature, itself. People yearn to some place where they will be able to deeply relax, where they will be able to enter into the silence to re-learn to hear and listen.The man is deeply connected with nature. In the silence and through silence we feel unity with what we observe. This gallery shows photographs of places where you can literally immerse yourself in the picture and feel all the beauty of nature that surrounds us. Damir Matijević www.damirmatijevic.com


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Damir Matijević

An interview with

Damir Matijević Hello Damir and a warm welcome to LandEscape. To start this interview I would pose you my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

Art is for me intimacy! Art is the "form" of content and form is one's identity. Therefore, the content becomes a work of art when we bring in the content our own intimacy, our energy, our strength, our spirit. The main features of the contemporary work of art would be initating the interaction between people, initating emotions, expressing different views and providing new thinking about the an with worldinterview and the space that surrounds us. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly influenced you and that impacted on the way you currently produce your Art? By the way, what's your point on formal training? I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

My educational background is in mechanical engineering, I graduated at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, 1996, Zagreb,Croatia.I am employed in „Končar Group Company“ and work in the tehnical office as a designer , in a 3D modeling program. I tried some amateur painting for a few years. I started doing photography in high school when I was hanging out with my photographer friends, revealing all the secrets and magic of making

Damir Matijević

photographs, both with camera and in the darkroom. Magic is a small word for experiences that grew into a passion for the photography. Very soon I realized that photography is not just a picture, but much more the important thing is not what you see on the photo, but what the photo hints at you, what comes out of the photo to you, something that touches you or imbues you….that the photo is only a fragment of reality, which can initiate nostalgia , longing, joy, anxiety, peace ... . something sooths or excite us. In other words, everything I've learned about photography was through my own experience, through reading literature , through the exhibitions where spent many hours looking at photographs of old masters and searching in them something that could attract me. What I recommend to others,


Damir Matijević

Orbs, 2012 Marinda Scaramanga


Damir Matijević

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Orbs, 2012

The Other Side, 2012

is the photograpy must be viewed in isolation, and that they should create their works without other people's suggestions and opinions.

something. I like to give in to the moment and often a photograph finds me …………. I always carry a camera with me.

2013. I became a member of the Croatian Association of Artists.

All my photographs are made with film based 6x6cm TLR and 35mm camera and are available as classic Silver Gelatin hand Prints in black and white on a Baryta base photographic paper.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to me something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Silence that our readers have started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit your website directly at [here we cold insert a link to your website] in order to get a wider idea of this stimulating project... in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this series? What was your initial inspiration?

All my photographic projects arise spontaneously, the idea is also spontaneous when I least expect it, whether I walk in Nature, in the city or simply read a book or talk with people. I experience the world creatively, it is a stage where you can always be attracted or get encouraged by

Modern man is exposed to overwhelming noise, many words and pictures …A rule is, people are #196 Winter 92


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Morning Runner, 2012

Transit, 2011

imposed on that it is with more important "to have" an interview and not to "be"and in that rhythm of time , people loses a step with himself and with true values​​. Noise, stress and lack of time are increasingly becoming the everyday man, and silence, silence is becoming a luxury selection of only the few.

reminders of human existence... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

For me personal, experience is very important, without it you almost can not get in touch with what you are creating and what you want to show...

We forget that silence is the beginning of awakening from this unnatural state, that in the silence man is reborn and discovers the meaning and all the beauty of the world. Silence soothes, it is creative, in it man can find answers himself and other people. Silence is not emptiness but fullness of everything.

One of the features of your work that has mostly impacted on me is the way your monochromatic approach is capable of forcing the viewer to re-elaborate and to recontextualize the idea of landscape and of environment... so I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape suggested by your work: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background... and I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden,

To get rid of misconceptions and noise of the world, one needs to get in touch with nature, in it we become free ... I notice that this work is capable of establishing a presence and such an atmosphere of memories, using just little

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In front of a Wall, 2013

Fata Morgana, 2013

or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected connections between Nature and our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

such techniques could lead to a betrayal of reality?

Digital technology presents many options for creative expression to everyone and every man has freedom how he will use it. That is the freedom and the richness of of Art. Where is the limit I do not know, only time will show where digitalization will take us.

That is it, the nature and we are in a deep ,lasting, unbreakable relationship. Wether the man will recognize himself in it, it depends on him. One should know how to "look" and how to "listen", but more importantly is how to "see" and how to "hear".

By the way, manipulation in photography is not new, but digital technology has extended the range of possibilities and the line between straight and manipulated photographs is increasingly blurry. Do you think people’s perceptions of what a photograph is are changing as a result?

Often I give my photographs names, because I try to keep the viewer further engaged and encourage them to think a little deeper and to dive into the photography.

That question I leave to experts, I just take photographs ...

In these last years we have seen a great usage of digital technology, in order to achieve outcomes that was hard to get with traditional techniques: do your think that an excess of

Your photographs often seem to focus on moments of physical or emotional tension

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Stairs, 2013

Stairs, 2013

between people. What attracts you to these an interview with moments? Do you intervene when you are shooting to stimulate tension or do you take more of a ‘fly on the wall’ approach?

feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

People are my eternal inspiration. When I photograph someone I tray to be spontaneus, to take a photography when they are unaware .

Photography is an integral part of my daily life and I do it solely for yourself, for my own pleasure, without suggestions and thinking whether to appeal to someone or not. Later, when I exhibit my photographs in galleries, the public certainly responds to them.

A moment of squeezing the trigger is the most important, I do it by intuition, my aim is to capture a feeling or an emotion in the photography, at that time a sort of bond is established between me and people I am photographing.

There are always those who like and those who remain skeptical. But this is normal, the photography is only a fragment, its weight depends on what it shows as much about whoever is watching.

During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions and this year you had two solo exhibitions... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, encouraging him: I was just wondering if an award -or even the expectation of positive

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Upswing, 2013

Walking on the Edge, 2013

positive and negative. Everyone is happy when getting one, but I think they are not that important. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Damir. What's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

As far as future, I am thinking about my first monography. I have not yet decided whether it will be in the form of "Portfolio" or one of the themes the collection that you can see on my website. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and photographs with you and your readers. #196 Winter 9


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Anniketyni Madian (Malaysia)

Drawing inspiration from the Pua Kumbu textiles of native Sarawak, the contemporizes tradition to create pieces that, despite their precise linear detailing and inert medium, flow in an effortlessly organic manner. A ceremonial cotton cloth woven by Dayak women in Sarawak, the colourful patterned Pua Kumbu textiles are considered sacred. Pua Kumbu are involved in several lifecycle rituals and special events, including the birth of a child, coming of age celebrations, receipt of an important item to a longhouse and to screen a corpse prior to burial. The act of weaving Pua Kumbu itself represents a deeply spiritual and socioreligious undertaking. A sacred activity obligatory for all Iban women, the act of weaving establishes womanhood and worth, in a society with incredibly specific gender roles, and where spirituality is intrinsically linked to every aspect of daily life. The weaver thus takes my place in the spiritual regeneration of the traditional values and religious norms of my people. As a female sculptor, uses Pua Kumbu as my starting point conceptually. The modernity of my sharp slim lines as they reach out, while imbibed with a strongly Sarawakian flavor, is thoroughly current. It’ relating with my heritage with a symbol that is highly traditional, visually and conceptually, cleverly makes my aesthetic presentation in a manner that fits in with the currency of the developing society and also my. Visually arresting, my sculptures are the product of an intensely detailed process, going a long way in explaining my ability to create an atmosphere of movement in static, wooden sculptures. Drawing inspiration from kinetic artists such as Theo Jansen, architects and engineers, I has spent much of my young career working on ways to incorporate the neat technicality of construction into my artistic practice. I begins with delightfully fluid drawings: a crucial part of my working process, as planning is key to the success of each sculpture. These drawings act as plans from which the two-dimensional Pua Kumbu patterns are translated into three-dimensions, gaining sides, depth and perspective in the process. Each slice of wood is minutely detailed, with several shapes and edges cut in. The cuts need to be perfectly aligned in order to fit neatly together for the final aesthetic, and create the smooth, seamless flow running through these hardwood sculptures. My insistence on personally fabricating the entire sculpture provides a rapport between myself and my sculptures. This bond is evident in the immediate progress that I makes technically and conceptually from piece to piece. My sculptures are part of an early foray into working in hardwood. The draw of this new wood is clear in the richness of colour that extracts with the beautifully polished finishes applied to the pieces. It’s gives dedication to my sculpture and wonderful ability to narrate heritage and traditions in the language of a new generation.

Anniketyni Madian


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Bali belulai #1, 5ft x 5ft, woods, 2014


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Anniketyni Madian

An interview with

Anniketyni Madian Hello Anniketyni, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artwork as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Hello LandEscape and to all the lovely readers! It’s my pleasure to be part of this interview and to share my views with all of you. My name is Anniketyni Madian and I’m a female sculptor from Malaysia. I’ve been in the art scene for some time now and over the years as I learnt new things, my opinion of art has been constantly changing. To me, a work of art, whether it is a an interview with painting or sculpture, is one that has high aesthetic value and at the same time is creative and intrigues the audience. I think contemporary art is a reflection and result from our modern day society. With the growth of technology and new global environment that is culturally diverse, many artists now work in a wide range of mediums, not limiting themselves to just traditional methods. You can’t help but to get amazed with all the new experimentations and explorations that is taking place all over the world. It’s almost like a movement that is moving coherently with time. It’s very inspiring to see artists going beyond barriers to come up with new, exciting ideas. You can feel a sense of freedom in them. Of course, in comparison traditional and contemporary works are poles apart. I think traditional art is a work of class and requires sharp skills and a lot of practice. But I do feel that traditional art back then was conformed within a

Anniketyni Madian

school of thought and there were certain rules to reach ‘perfection’. Their exploration was limited to certain materials and ideas. Nevertheless, I believe traditional skills serve as a good base in current time and they are essential before you decide to explore contemporary works. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you hold a Degree (Hons) in Fine Art, Majoring in Sculpture that you have recently received from the UiTM... How has this experience impacted on your development as an artist and on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of


Anniketyni Madian name for myself in the local as well the international art scene. I think formal training helps build good foundation and sharpen the existing skills of an artist. But I believe that alone is not enough. You need to constantly look for inspirations and keep yourself updated with what’s going around you. I normally do a lot of research to help develop my ideas and see how I can grow from there. To make sure that I’m always on track, I keep myself busy with exhibitions and art residencies. This helps me to meet different people and hearing their feedback helps me see things in different perspectives. Coming back to your question again, it depends on an artist of how they make use of the formal training provided to them. It can either stifle or make them grow. For me, it was a great tool that built my confidence and helped pave my path in the art industry. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...what's your point?

I was born in Kuching, Sarawak, on the remote island of Borneo and my thirst for new experience and knowledge pushed me to move to Kuala Lumpur to further my studies in UiTM. I must say that formal training in this notable institute had been a good learning curve which provided a lot of exposure and good opportunities for me. In Malaysia, there are not many female sculptors and to penetrate into a scene which is largely dominated by male artists was initially a struggle. However, I did not give up and with constant perseverance; I believe I am now slowly making a Marinda Scaramanga

As you would have noticed by now, my sculptures mainly focuses on fine and intricate details. I start by planning and drawing the designs. Once satisfied, I transfer them to woods. Because my drawings are normally two-dimensional, translating them into a three dimensional form requires a lot of understanding and patience to ensure the details are precise and turns out as envisioned. I like to play with the element of space and enjoy creating interesting depths in my sculptures. As most of my works require detailed finishing, I need to use more than one tool for my sculpturemaking. My paraphernalia mainly consist of bandsaw, sander, drill and jigsaw. I like to make sure that all my works are smooth,


Damir Matijević

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Bali Belulai III, 5ft x 7ft, Mixed of hardwoods, 2014

of these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

perfectly aligned and try not to rush with a piece until I’m completely satisfied with the outcome. Hence, the whole process of making one sculpture, from preparation to completion can take up to a month or more.

Although I’ve moved to the city and Kuala Lumpur is now my second home, I’ve never forgotten my Sarawakian roots. My inspiration for these pieces was derived from an element that is close to my heart, the Pua Kumbu textiles from my nativeland, Sarawak.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Bali Belulai I and Kumbu Muau that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article: I would suggest our readers to visit your website directly at [here we could insert a link to your website] in order to get a wider idea of your current artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis

The word pua in Iban means 'blanket', kumbu means 'to wrap'. Together, the two words mean a 'grand blanket'.€But pua kumbu is not just a mere blanket. In my community, it is woven by Dayak woman and is considered a sacred ceremonial and ritual textile. The exotic textiles are #196 Winter 5


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Bali Belulai #3, 4ft x 4ft, woods, 2014 6


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Bali Belulai #3, 4ft x 4ft, woods, 2014

Bali Tebekang #2, 3ft x 3ft, woods, 2014

incorporated in nearlywith all our rituals and special an interview events from child birth, coming of age ceremonies and even burials. I decided to use this important element in my sculptures, incorporating my own interpretation which helps create a modern and contemporary feel in my artworks. It’s my way of paying homage to my motherland and her beautiful culture.

pieces interesting! I always grab the chance of exploring new ideas when producing my sculptures. I invest a lot of time and effort to ensure that my works are constantly progressing for the better. In the beginning stage of my career, my works revolved around spiral, coil like staircases and is often characterised by organic shapes. Over time, my style evolved and I begin enjoy working on intricate and detailed pieces. Now, my works have grown to become more geometrical and I spend a lot of time on each piece to ensure every detail is precise to give a more 3D feel to my works.

Another interesting pieces of yours that have particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words are from the Barrel Vault series: one of the features of these pieces that have mostly impacted on me is the effective mix between a neutral background and thoughtful tones of red, which creates such a dialogue rather than a contrast: it seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension and intense emotions... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Experimentation is a recurrent and very important feature of your Art: I definitely love the way you draw inspiration from the Pua Kumbu textiles of native Sarawak and you reelaborate the related patterns... I think that this allows you to go beyond the dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness...

I’m glad to know that you find these particular 7


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Bali Belumpong, 2014 4ft x 7ft, Mixed of hardwoods

while crossing the borders of different areas have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

exploring and experimenting to learn new techniques of sculpture-making with different materials and tools. Combined together, the result as what you see now has been a very satisfying and enjoyable one for me.

Yes, precisely. Although my works are derived from a traditional element, but the approach used is a modern one. The textile has existed in my community for a long time now but I am now living in a modern era. And that’s the result that you see in my works. While I retain the concept and tradition of my culture as the main inspiration, I incorporate my thoughts and own ideas to it, creating a contemporary feel to my works. From what I see, I think both these elements blend and flow well together.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your sculptures are the product of an Intensely detailed process and that I have highly appreciated is your capability of establishing a deep intellectual interaction, challenging the viewers' perception and forcing them to explorate the work in a threedimensional space... I would go as far as to state that this, rather than simply describing and showing something, pose us questions: and in a certain sense forces us to meditate to the way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner one...

To me, a good artist is always experimenting and doesn’t limit himself to just one school of thought. During my residency program, I started

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Kumbu Muau II, 2014 Mixed of hard woods, 5ft x 7ft

words what I wish to achieve through my art. Yes, I never wanted my work to be mere decorative piece. Instead, I always like to challenge my viewers to see beyond what is presented before their eyes and if possible to have a conversation with my works. I always leave it to the audience to interpret the works in their own ways and to come up with their own ‘story’. That way, it makes it more interactive and interesting. I put a lot of heart and soul into my works and many have told me that it does come through my works. I have strong attachments to my culture and that’s the message that I want to portray. But I don’t wish to limit my audience’s imagination. If they can feel the emotions and

thoughts involved during the art making, then I believe I have achieved my purpose. You also remarked that by personally fabricating the entire sculptures you get a deep rapport between your self and your sculptures... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience from real world is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think personal experience and creative process are two things that are interdependent. My personal experience in life played a big role in my art career today. My father was a part time #196 Winter 9


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Bali Belulai #3, 4ft x 4ft, woods, 2014

Kumbu Muau, 5ft x 5ft, woods, 2013

carpenter at my hometown. an interview with I was born in a big family and had 7 sisters as my siblings. When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time watching my dad at work. Sensing the interest in me, he started teaching me the name of the tools and some basic carpentry skills. He even taught me how to handle wood cutting machines which still remains fresh in my memories till today.

achieve his goals. With effort and hard work, it still can help elevate you to another level. So far your works have been exhibited in several occasions... it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award or better, the expectation of an award could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

Whatever that I’ve become today, I owe it to my father. If he never realised or nurtured the interest in me, I wouldn’t have pushed myself or came this far to feed my artistic side. Same goes to my source of inspiration; they are related to my culture and where I came from. But then to completely brush aside and say that an artist can only expand his creativity through personal experience could be a subjective statement. I think personal experience does play an important role in developing your art career but at the same time it depends on the artist himself. If he is passionate and has strong interest, he doesn’t necessarily require practical experience to

As I mentioned in one of my replies earlier, audience feedback is very important to me. I think every artist need some kind of reassurance or encouragement to keep going. This is important in developing oneself as an artist. For me, I do not work aiming for an award. Of course, this recognition is a great boost in any artist’s career. But I think the most important thing is to be true to yourself, your art and most importantly to keep pushing the limits. Sometimes, without 11


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Bali Belulai V, 5ft x 7ft, 2013, woods

realising we get trapped in our comfort zone and to break out of it, it’s important to keep yourself inspired and motivated. For me, hearing from others helps me see things differently and gives me ideas to improve on things that sometimes I tend to oversee. It happens when you are too engrossed in your work. So far, I’ve had great feedbacks. Most of my friends enjoy watching me at work. As I handle quite huge artworks, they are sometimes shocked and impressed at my capability of working on such big scale sculptures. It does

give me a sense of satisfaction and pushes me to do more. I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art... since you are experienced as a Art Exhibition manager I think that our readers will find your opinion very interesting...

I think being an artist is a self-business! Why do I say that? When an artist exhibits his work, he is indirectly promoting himself by putting up his work for sale. 12


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realise whether he treats art a money making career or just have an expensive interest. This is extremely important. Many artists always have this fear or doubt that they cannot sell but the truth is nobody knows about their artworks more than themselves. Sometimes an artist has to become a direct-to-audience marketer. That’s a subtle way of striking a business deal. So they need to be more proficient and try to establish relationships with new collectors. They need to understand their target audience and tap into it to make the most out of it. For young and upcoming artists who are not familiar with the art market or how to start, there are plenty of art galleries that provide good connections, strategic marketing and financial perspective that act as great selfadvertisement to both local and regional buyers. It’s not only a great platform for exposure but also a good kickstart for those who are still unsure on how to get started. Of course, it all becomes familiar over time and you will realise who your potential buyers and collectors are. Once you have established a name for yourself, you don’t have to worry much about selling yourself. Your artworks would start selling by themselves. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Anniketyni. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Currently, I’m attached with Rimbun Dahan and undergoing a 6 months residency programme. I started in July 2014 and the programme will end in March 2015. Next year is going to be a productive one for me. I’ll be participating in a Duo Exhibition with my friends at Artcube Gallery. I’m also excited to share that I have been selected to join the Art Expo Milano 2015 and a group exhibition in London. Soon after, another residency programmes awaits me at Vermont Studio Center. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank LandEscape for this interview and feature. Also, thank you to all the readers for your kind support. Do wish me luck and keep following the updates for my upcoming projects! #196 Winter 9


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Billie Rae Busby (Germany/Croatia An artist’s statement

I live in a big city. But I grew up in a small community in the Canadian prairies. There is a wave of nostalgia that rushes over me when traveling along the highway back to my hometown. The familiar terrain is welcoming and friendly. I am overwhelmed by comfort and excitement. It is a sense of home. I am not a traditional landscape artist. I experience a paradoxial attraction for both rural and urban scapes. I am stirred by the sharp, significant lines that construct both places. My quest is to find balance in the void of the solitude prairies and the visual complexity of the modern city. I paint hard, crisp edges by masking off areas and adding smooth layers with a palette knife through control and precision. The diagonal lines intersect and overlap to create perspective and break open the flatness of the land into geometric planes of strong colour interactions. By varying the size of lines and angles on the canvas, I can manipulate the space and accentuate the vastness of the area. My initial sources are photos taken while traveling through the prairies, but I deconstruct the image by instinctively selecting colours and lines to form a specific rhythm and light for each painting. The lines replicate the movement of a vehicle through the sprawl to expose an assortment of effects and conditions. The composition is layered and distorted to create contrast and the notion of seasons and time. Through each painting, I feel more connected to who I am and my surroundings. These paintings are abstract landscapes. The process involves the opposition of strong, decisive marks to form a vaguely familiar location. I experience great anticipation to see and interpret ordinary places in a fresh, new context.


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Billie Rae Busby Hello Billie, and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what does in your opinion define a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Thank you for the warm welcome. It is fascinating to me how art can be so debatable and polarizing. Over the years, I have less judgement on what I think is a work of Art and I am open to the conversations an interview with surrounding all art, especially contemporary art. Overall, I believe that contemporary art showcases newness and a mindfulness about today. For my work, tradition and contemporariness are interlaced. I borrow from traditional methods because I use paint on canvas to create landscape scenes. However, my work is contemporary because I employ an abstract, hard-edge technique in a specific way to challenge the way we view a sense of place, time of day and climate. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you hold a BA of Fine Arts that you received from the University of Saskatchewan and you later pursued your studies at Alberta College of Art and Design, focusing on several disciplines as Mixed Media and Silkscreening on Fabric. How has these experiences impacted on your development as


Billie Rae Busby

an artist and on the way you currently produce your artworks?

I’ve been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. My mother was very crafty and would be crocheting, quilting, sewing in her spare time several days of the week. So, I grew up with a casual appreciation for a variety of creative artistic pursuits. Since high school and during much of my time at the University of Saskatchewan, I specialized in drawing. My work at that time was extremely representational. However, I became unenthusiastic and yearned for a new style to satisfy my creativity. Hence, I enrolled in plenty of classes at ACAD to try out different methods. In each one, I found tidbits of inspiration such as layering in Silkscreening and the freedom of Mixed Media. I specifically became re-inspired through a painting course by Christopher Willard (currently Head of Painting at ACAD), who pushes his students to have courage in their individual art practices and to be okay with “wasting” paint. Through his mentorship, I finally did find my voice. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

Since my work is an abstract interpretation of landscape, I take a lot of photos of my surroundings; the sky, clouds, fields, weather, whatever catches my eye. I am certainly not a trained photographer, and these photos are simply a basis for inspiration. I may mix together compositions and colours to try to capture a moment or idea of place. Marinda Scaramanga

Billie Rae Busby


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Billie Rae Busby

Unless I am working on a commission, I rarely sketch out my work prior to painting. I will work out much of the ideas in my head first, then I paint with brushes and palette knives on canvas. And I use a fantastic amount of masking tape to create the precise, hard-edges. While I may have an initial vision, I love to let the paint take it where it wants to go. I take risks and trust my artistic instincts in pursuit of finding delight in the result. Unlike when I created representational drawings, I find my current process very liberating, frustrating and motivating. I am not bored and constantly full of ideas. Yet it often takes me a month or more to finish a work as I need time to stew over it and let it settle. As per my favourite phrase by Rothko in the play “Red”: “Most of painting is thinking. 10% is putting paint on canvas; the rest is waiting.” Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Horizons and Night Light, a couple of interesting pieces from your recent painting series that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit your website directly at http://www.billieraebusby.com/index.php#.VE GLoFeYlac in order to get a wider idea of your current artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

Night Light

staring out the window. I clearly remember the moment when I saw the lines that I had been painting. I saw them everywhere. In the sky, on the fields, in the open land. It may sound cliche, but my simple world was changing forever and I was literally seeing things in a new way. I have been painting abstract landscapes with a hardedge technique ever since. My mom passed away in 2008 and our first daughter was born six months later. In learning to not to take things for granted, I became more aware of the beauty and power of our natural surroundings.

The genesis is very personal for me. In 2007, I was taking ACAD painting classes in which instructor Christopher Willard taught me the hard-edge technique by masking off areas to create stripes and geometric shapes. I was fascinated by the method. In one class, he asked me why I was so interested in painting lines. I casually shrugged, “I don’t know”. Over the next months, my husband and I were travelling several hours back and forth over the Canadian prairies to my hometown to visit my mother. She was battling cancer. My husband drove and I was the passenger, often blankly

Many contemporary landscape artists such as the photographers Edward Burtynsky or #196 Winter 5


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Horizons 6


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North Forty

Michael Light have some form of environmental or political message in their works. Do you consider that your abstract landscapes are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could

play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I am especially a huge fan of Edward Burtynsky’s 7


Billie Rae Busby

in 2013. It consisted of 36 – 12” x 12” minimalist acrylic paintings on panel. Each panel showcased a different colour palette but the horizon line was consistent. It was intended to display that an individual piece is very unassuming, yet together, it created a vast grouping that may seem overwhelming. It was a statement on the growth of modern cities and suburb culture. It was the first time my abstract paintings had a conceptual and sociopolitical application. Another piece of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words are North Forty and Altitude: one of the features of these works that have mostly impacted on me is the effective mix between white background and the intense tone of blue, which creates such a dialogue rather than a contrast: it seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension and intense emotions... I can recognize such interesting feature also in Stop and Go, where the dark background seems to reate such a prelude to light...By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Colour theory is very important in my work, and it is an area that I continuously try to test. Because I use a hard-edge technique, clouds will never look exactly like clouds per a traditional painterly style. So I use colour and lines to create the energy and movement of clouds and sky. As I become a more confident painter, I resist the temptation to use authentic colours and instead apply a palette that establishes mood.

work, who is fellow Canadian. The complex layers of his context is admirable. Much of my work is very neutral. Generally, I strive to create a vague sense of place in which each viewer may pull a memory or emotion that is personal to them.

For example, the subtle piece titled “Cabin Fever” was created during a blistery cold winter month in which I was nearly inflicted with seasonal affective disorder.

However, I did create an installation piece titled “Sprawl” Settee, for 2011 a show at the Art Gallery of Calgary 8


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#196 Winter

Altitude 5


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Stopped Steps, 2013 scape

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Stop and Go

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Cabin Fever

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Power Lines 5


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As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your quest is to find balance in the void of the solitude prairies and the visual complexity of the modern city. Would you like to elaborate a bit this concept for our readers? By the way, I would go as far to state that in a certain sense your abstract landscapes try to fill the dichotomy between these opposite ideas, creating such a bridge between the perception of Nature and Modernity..

Thank you for that statement, I take it as a huge compliment that you see my work in that way. The hard-edge technique with flat areas of colour allow me to create an architectural element to my work. It may be a paradox, but I am inspired by both skyscrapers and fields of wheat. For a painting such as “Headlights�, I simply throw in the essense of a car through a yellow streak of light below the horizon line.

Whereabouts (No.1)

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Stopped Steps, 2013 scape

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Headlights 7


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Latecomes

And I couldn't do without mentioning Farther and Latecomer: I definetely love the way you have been capable of mixing the idea of the tenderness which emerges from the straightness of the geometries that you choose, and the inner struggle revealed from

the story that you tell with it: by the way, although marked with a deep abstract feeling, your works reveal a clear reference to real world... and they reminds me the wellknown Picasso's quote "Everything you can imagine is real" I would like to ask you if in

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my mother, I think that the creative process is the strongest when it is connected to direct experience in some way. Most of my favourite artists such as Kim Dorland, Peter Doig, Richard Diebenkorn, Agnes Martin, Lawren Harris, and Sarah Morris, showcase a connection to something real or experienced. In these years you have exhibited your artworks in many occasions and you have recently participated to Scenes of Western Canada in Vancouver... Could you tell us something about the impressions that you have received in these occasions? By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

When I receive feedback, I am often surprised how different people like different works. And they seem to connect to it for different reasons such as the colour, mood, movement or sense of place. That encourages me in the way that I feel like I still have a lot to say in my artwork. This past spring, I was awarded a prestigious commission with Foreign Affairs Canada to have my designs be used in the renovations at Canada House in London, England. I am still humbled by the honour. As well, I recently completed a temporary public art commission for SAIT Polytechnic. In addition to being a professional artist, I have a successful career in marketing and communications at SAIT. It is rewarding to present my artwork in front of my colleagues and students at an innovative post-secondary institution. your opinion personal experience from real world is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

As mentioned in the personal story about losing

Through the recent string of exhibitions and highprofile commissions, I find that my abstract work is resonating with a larger audience. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Billie. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming


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up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Well, I have two lovely young daughters, a busy career in sports marketing, and a devotion to my art practice. So, my next goal is find more time in the day. Thankfully I have a supportive husband, and I am close with my father who has been a lifelong cheerleader. Through their support, I am working on a new body of work to be showcased at the Calgary Stampede in July as part of the Artist Ranch Project. As well, I have a solo show scheduled for the Okotoks Art Gallery in September of 2015. Bring it on.

Exhibition

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From the Los Pรกramos series, No 42: El Angel, Ecuador 1

#196 Winter


Thomas S. Ladd (USA)

The camera has lead me to understand that the surface of things are endlessly beautiful; that slow and careful observations of the external world will lead one to deep introspection; that the tension between the photograph and the ‘real’ world will never cease to engage peoples’ imagination; that photography is a form of thinking; that, nothing is ever what it seems to be; and that, one’s intentions never materialize… something more exciting always takes over.

Thomas Spencer Ladd Associate Professor, Chair Design Department University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

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Thomas S. Ladd

An interview with

Thomas S. Ladd Hello Thomas and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there's still an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

It is very difficult to define a work of art. Much has been done by visual and performing artists over the last two centuries to expand the traditional definitions. This includes exploring new materials and processes, stretching the limits of representation, overlapping genres, and asking questions about what constitutes an aesthetic experience. There are no identifiable features, no common traits, or unique an interview withqualities of representation within the arts. There is no single definition, milieu, or canon, and the authoritative gatekeepers or critics who oversee "legitimate" expression are changing. There are many outlets for sharing representation. That is positive, allowing for a wide array of representation and expression. I am excited about the future. This open landscape can be difficult to navigate and there are some anxious or difficult questions to resolve, or maybe not resolve, for emerging artists. Yet, none of these conceptual problems should stop anyone from making new work. The best way to resolve the ambiguity is to make something, then make something else, then make something new, and so on. The process of making will lead to new ideas, and elicit new responses to media and new inventions. Or maybe someone may reject the new and embrace an ancient tradition. There is no other way, even if your work is conceptual. It must manifest itself in some manner, and you must make something.

Thomas S. Ladd

All of us work from a process that grows out of a direct experience with materials, and with a large array of concepts and historical works that inspire us. Ultimately, we do what our bodies and minds can manage or control; that is different from person to person and shifts from place to place. There need not be a hierarchy of quality or superiority, just cells that host different perspec-tives in different places. e will gravitate to those cells to which we can contribute or to that to which we respond. Art is contemporary when it collectively and individually addresses the present conditions of our


Thomas S. Ladd

From the Los PĂĄramos series,

From the Los PĂĄramos series,

El Angel, Ecuador

Cotocachi Reserve, Ecuador

The paramo, which is located at high elevations in the Northern Andes, is an austere glacier-formed grassland which is windy, cold, wet, and blanketed by clouds. The land has long been the home of indigenous communities who have grazed livestock and cultivated tubers. Unfortunately, the landscape is changing rapidly. Mining concessions, agricultural encroachment and population growth have transformed most of the land, in some cases irreversibly. In order to document these sublime places I have received generous support from Proyecto Paramo Andino and financial assistance from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

external world. Art is always informed by traditions, which are always, and obviously, related to history. They are linked. It is naive to think otherwise. How can anything made in the moment be anything other than contemporary, and at the same time, not reference things made before it? It is impossible. Some lines are clear and straight, while others are foggy and meandering. That is wonderful. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have received advanced degrees from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Rhode Island School of Design: how has formal

training that impacted on the way you currently produce your Art? By the way, as an experienced professor as you are, I would ask your point on formal training: I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

I came to the visual arts through an interest in music. I worked for a record store during summer vacations while in high school and college. I had a simple job—I put the inventory out on the retail floor for people to buy. The customers expected that I knew where to find the records they wanted and that I knew something about all the artists.


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From the Los Páramos series,

From the Los Páramos series,

El Angel, Ecuador

Cotocachi Reserve, Ecuador

I worked at this job for four or five years. When I began, there were musicians I did not know and some genres of music I had never heard. Over time, I became fascinated by the marginal, the experimental, and the less well-known musicians. I was young and questioned just about everything; for good or bad, music and art were included.

and Ken Quill. Each was dedicated to the educationof his or her students. I found my way there. The camera was a natural choice, as it allowed so many of my interests to come together. The environment became an aesthetic experience that I could record, much like Cage enjoyed sound versus music. The mundane could be transformed into something different through the intervention of the photo-graphic frame. There was a craft and exactness to the exposure, development, and creation of a beautiful print. This was much like classical music training. It was earthy, bound in routines—it had a daily chore-like quality. I could structure my day around photography and I could get out of the classroom. This seemed to be the perfect solution for a person who lacked direction and exhibited attention problems.

Eventually, I came across musical recordings composed by John Cage. His work was very exciting, and everything was turned on its head. Serious, funny, irreverent, spiritual, non-western, etc… When I was young, I couldn’t get enough of contrary points of view. Cage led me to Marcel Duchamp and other contemporary artists that questioned traditional modes of expression. At the same time, I was studying classical guitar, which was steeped in history, technique, and romantic expression. The training focused on technique to produce a prescribed expression of beauty. I appreciated both points of view. ut, I did not gravitate to either extreme. I attended a small college is south Georgia where the visual arts faculty took me under their wing and helped me find my path. I remember them all vividly: Pat Steadman, Tom Raab, Aubrey Henley,

My formal education continued. I studied with Carl Toth at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He was a brilliant photographer, educator, and theoretician. His work truly inspired me and caused a shift in my photographic practice. He constructed or fabricated photographic images. His way of working made me question traditional assumptions about how photographs are "taken." I hadn't thought much


Thomas S. Ladd

From the Los Páramos series,

From the Los Páramos series,

Lake Puya Puya, Ecuador

Ozogoche, Ecuador

about using the camera to literally "make" a picture. So, I emulated Carl and made still lifes that weretaken with a camera. He introduced his students to contential theory, literary criticism, and a thoughtful approach to representation. It was current at the time. I wasn’t particularly original; although I may have thought so, I copied. So much of a person’s education is mirroring, even if the goal is to make a unique body of work.

I don't think the formal education was stifling at all. Yet, I must confess, I was a bit of a bastard at times. The frustrating questions that come up while a person is so focused on one thing can bring out the good and the bad in everyone—students and teachers.

I also studied Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, where I came to understand how visual messages can be controlled and disseminated. The design process became important to me. The whole dialogue was completely different. The program was formal and theoretical. There, I studied with a number of wonderful, thoughtful, inspiring professors: Franz Werner, Nancy Skolos, Tom Wedell, Hans van Dijk, Tom Ockerse, Hammett Nurosi, Donald Keefer, and Jan van Toorn. They worked tirelessly with the students. We were all passionate about the process of making, communication, typography, and the craft of graphic design. This led to a rethinking and realignment of my process. My work became more political, more controlled, more intentional.

From the Los Páramos series, Ozogoche, Ecuador


Thomas S. Ladd

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From the Los Páramos series,

From the Los Páramos series,

Ozogoche, Ecuador

Páramos Road, Ecuador

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your an interview with work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

It is slightly different when I make still life images. I do construct those images. But, there is still the process of creation, discovery, remaking, rethinking, and moving forward. In the end, what you make is generally much more interesting than what you imagined you would make.

Before I begin my landscape photographs, I research the site or location of the images. I mark out a place and then walk within the space to make the photographs. I don't think analytically while I am making the pictures. I respond. The thinking occurs before and after the images are made. There is a decision to shoot within a space and then a decision to edit the images. So many things change after the images are made. Once you see the images, you have to begin again, reassess what you are doing based on the photographs, and then move forward. I go back to the same places over and over again. I ompletely understand the motivation of Giorgio Morandi. It is impossible to exhaust a subject, especially a large section of land. If I tried to find a picture that matched what I imagined I would not make any photographs. They wouldn’t exist.

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Sheep Pasture Gardens that our readers can admire in the following pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit http://www.thomasladd.com/sheep_pasture_garde ns.html in order to get a wider idea of this stimulating project... in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this work? What was your initial inspiration?

The initial inspiration grew out of two parallel activities. First, I was inspired by a poem by Wallace Stevens, titled "The Plain Sense of Things." In that poem, Stevens describes a bleak winter landscape and then connects that description to profound philosophical reflections on aging and the eventual loss of imagination. It is a poem about the creative process and its connection to the body and things around us. What I found so remarkable is two-fold. First, the imagery is vivid. It reminded me a of a


Thomas S. Ladd

From The Sheep Pasture Gardens series The Sheep Pasture Gardens are community vegetable gardens which are tended by residence of North Easton, Massachusetts. I began to make photographs there as a refuge from my busy and noisy life. I could focus on the beauty of the landscape, reflect on changes of the season and admire the elegant structure of plants. Yet, over time the garden landscape became less fanciful. During my visits I noticed that food was left unharvested to rot. The gardens appear to be therapeutic hobbies—not essential to the people who cultivate them—and were often forgotten. This promoted me to question how gardens are used by people who truly need them. My research lead me to learn about poverty farming within the Andean Communities of South America. I decided to visit. Presently, I am working on two complimentary projects: the Sheep Pasture Gardens and the Cloud Forest Gardens—each serving a different purpose.

photograph by Eugène Atget, titled Parc de Seaux. Mar, 7 h. matin, 1925. The image fits the poem perfectly! It was inspiring. At that point in time, I had not made photographs for several years. The second remarkable thing is that a bleak poem about the end of imagination made me get up and move, I began a series of winter landscapes. One of Stevens’s greatest poems grew out of the despair that he could not write anymore. I took long walks near my home, in the cold, revisiting the same places over and over again. The "Sheep Pasture" gardens are places I visited. Once I was in that landscape, and once I had a number of photographs from the place, my ideas changed.


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Thomas S. Ladd

The garden became political, not a place for romantic musing on nature; it was now about nature and culture. I will continue to make photographs there for years to come. There are so many variables and constants that they are often hard to grasp. Another interesting series of yours that has particulary impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is Los Paramos. This works is capable of establishing such an atmosphere of memories, using just little reminders of human existance... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

That is an interesting question. Los Páramos, believe it or not, grew out of the photographs made at the Sheep Pasture. As I made images at the community garden, I noticed that many of the vegetables were left to rot. They were not grown for food, but as a therapeutic hobby. I found a great deal of waste, and I began to think, “Where doesn't this happen? Where does it count? Where is the environment valuable, threatened, precarious?” I researched poverty, agriculture, and environmental destruction. It led me to mountain farms in the Northern Andes. I found a guide and traveled to Ecuador, where I photographed kitchen gardens, so completely different from those in Easton, Massachusetts. They were small gardens in the cloud forest cultivated by people who truly needed the food that they harvested from those gardens. While I was there, I visited the páramo, a beautiful cold, windswept landscape between the tree and snow lines of the northern Andean Mountains. It was sublime. I knew I had to do a body of work based upon what I saw there. It was out of the EXPERIENCE IN the landscape that I found the sublime and beautiful. The concrete and the real created an atmosphere that pointed towards less tangible things—to spirituality, to the mysterious. My body grew tired and my hands got dirty as I hiked into that sublime landscape. Mountains can be spiritual places, but you can't get

From Los Páramos (Ozogoche, Ecuador)

to remote places praying on your knees in a church. I found a great deal of healing energy there. Yet, the páramo is a real place, with real problems, and is not protected simply because of the way it makes some of us feel. It is threatened, it is political, it is a frontier for agriculture, and IT IS NOT A BUCOLIC PLACE. And, yet it is. It is where poverty and the environment clash. It is sublime; it is real. It is a terrain that is being neglected and exploited by both


Thomas S. Ladd work: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background... and I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- 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?

There is nothing neutral about the landscape, or simply sentimental, or passive. It is where we live, we inhabit, we cultivate, we manage. One of the roles the artist can play is by exposing the tension between the political and the aesthetic. To make us look at the ordinary in new ways, to question traditional assumptions on the landscape, and to form a better or more sophisticated dialogue about how nature is represented in our culture. Sometimes an artist can make something that arrest our attention, that make us look, or see something in a way that we may come to political conclusions, powerfully persuasive ones, like… "let's leave this beautiful place alone, let's preserve it." Maybe, the picture doesn't need an overt political message to be persuasively political. By the way, as you have remarked, your research for Cloud Forest Gardens lead you to learn about poverty farming within the Andean Communities of South America... even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could

indigenous people and industrialists. That tension is all at once interesting, sad, and human. So many people get confused; the bucolic is political—it isn’t just sentimental. We don’t seem to understand that anymore. And since our review is called "LandEscape", I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape suggested by your

From Los Páramos From Los Páramos


Thomas S. Ladd

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Odd Shoe from the series Close Wander

from the series: Sheep Pasture Gardens

play an effective role not only making aware public opinion about socio political issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can an interview with even steer people's behavior... I would take this chance to ask your point about this. Do you think that it's an exaggeration? And what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in our society?

It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, encouraging him: I was just wondering if an award -or even the expectation of positive feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Yes, I have stated this before; your reading of my work is accurate. We cannot overlook the social and political aspects of photographic representation. It frames elements in a way that creates questions and dialogue and provokes reaction. So, yes, if it is seen in the right place, presented with a sophisticated voice, and received by a thoughtful audience, the landscape image can steer people's behavior. It can make them question what they see and what they assume. They can find beauty in the ordinary and they can also start to reexamine their traditional, maybe sentimental, notions of the landscape. There is no singular path in the persuasive voices of artists. Yet, as annoying as some can be, they are often very effective at communicating complex ideas.

Feedback, whether positive or negative, is important. This “making stuff” business is about communication; it is about sharing, dialogue, and realignment, adjustment, and moving forward with new works of art with new ideas. For some, it is about collecting objects. But for most artists, it isn't about the object—it is more often about the dialogue of materials, the stretching of representation and the communication that can occur through various forms of substitution and replacement of signs. It is about exploring. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Thomas. My last question deals


Thomas S. Ladd

San Carlos, Ecuador from the series: Close Wander

with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Yes. I am starting a new body of still life images that integrate the landscape.

LandEscape Art Review November 2014 Special Issue  

submit your artworks to: landescape@artlover.com

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