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LandEscape Contemporary

A r t

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Anniversary Edition

ART

LUMA JASIM GORDON SKALLEBERG ANDREA SHEARING JARED KOVACS ELAINE CROWE ALIA MONTIJO TOMAS CASTAÑO DOMINIQUE DEVE MARYAM NAZARI Island bound, video installation. Work by Elaine Crowe


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C o n t e m p o r a r y

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Maryam Nazari

Gordon Skalleberg

Elaine Crowe

Alia Monijo

Luma Jasim

Jared Kovacs

Iran / United Kingdom

Sweden / USA

Ireland

USA

Iraq/ USA

USA

Maryam is a Persian performance artist/maker and multidisciplinary artist based in London. Her recent project as an artistic consultant is a collaboration with London Symphony Orchestra.Her works are a combination of sonic culture and visual culture which she calls acoustic scenography or acoustic/sonic as scenography. As a part of her practice, she intends to transpose the ears and eyes. She tries to use the sound art/design or acoustic and sonic imagination as a concept not an object for the performance making.

Why do I paint faces and eyes, or sometimes only sections of a face? I guess I am trying to see beyond the surface. Subconsciously we can recognize joy and sadness, maybe even a subtle lie – but are we really aware of what we are seeing?

My work explores my relationship to the landscape. Using lensbased processes as part of an embodied practice, I explore how the landscape is viewed and experienced according to gender and the body’s movement. My exploration questions the validity of binary gendered relationships, in terms of the framing of the landscape and differentiated viewpoints. Referencing the gendering of the landscape in an Irish context, I explore the relationship between the real and bodily experience of the landscape against ideal or romantic notions of landscape and femininity.

My practice is inquirybased research actualized by the body through physical exploration. Embodying inquiry and by extension living the experience of finding resolve through movement, whether intentional or unintentional, uncovers various paths of solutions. The somatic through line of my practice that begins with question, in which the answers are realized through movement exploration and then formed to choreographic structure insists that the body is the epicenter of discovery.

My faces and landscapes are painted in oil on untreated plywood and other types of wood. The unique wood grains become a part of each painting – often in serendipitous ways. Every painting is truly a work in progress to the end - I never quite know what the colors, the material and the picture will communicate until I am done. The process and the result often surprise me, and I like to surprise the viewer as well. Imperfection is often found in my pictures – a crack in the plywood, trickles, scratches, roughness – and I welcome this aspect.

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Luma Jasim is an interdisciplinary Iraqi-born artist based in Brooklyn, NY, and Boise, ID. Jasim's art deals with war, violence, and her experience with immigration and the acculturation, which rose from that. In her artwork, she uses the personal to address the political and activate the viewer's curiosity. Luma often reconstructs her memories, traumas, and thoughts on displacement, belonging, and strangeness in various mediums, including mixed media painting, performance, video, and animation. United States in 2008, she received her second BFA in Visual Arts from Boise State University, Boise, ID, and accomplished an MFA in Fine Arts with full scholarship from Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY, 2017.

My approach is documentary, or like a street photographer, I simply see the space and it tells me what I need to do. I respond with a survey of seeing the energy of life in the environment or lack thereof. I really like to act decisively and trust my instincts. Even with a landscape, because things can change in the scene, like the photograph ‘Camp on Snake River, Idaho’, I saw this driving by in my car, right then and there, I saw a relationship between the large camp and this lone truck. When I had the camera setup and ready for an exposure, I was anticipating the movement of the clouds for the light to be right, then suddenly the camp revealed some life, a little character climbed out of a camper and entered into the scene.


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Alya Montijo

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lives and works in thein Chicago, USA

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Elaine Crowe lives and works in Dublin, Ireland

Dominique Dève

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lives and works in France

Tomas Castaño

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lives and works in Spain

Jared Kovacs

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lives and works in the United States

Maryam Nazari Dominique Dève

Tomas Castaño

Andrea Shearing

France

Spain

UK / Switzerland

I believe portraits not only reveal the soul of a model but also unveil the soul of the artist. One might also say that the Whole, i.e. the portrait, is other than the sum of the parts, if the Gestalt Principles are to be applied. What about choosing a model? Defining my artistic approach is somewhat hard because most of the time everything seems so obvious at first sight. It could be said that my creative process is a mixture of technical aspects and a subjective approach (expression, mood, tension). I work from photos.

Tomas Castaño was born in Santander (Spain) in 1953. Self-taught, Tomas carved himself, based on determination and enthusiasm.

Andrea has been inspired by nature since childhood and although her work is detailed she is not simply a representational artist. Her mission explores the emotional symbolism of her He has a realistic style, his subject matter. She is paintings are very well currently working on sea drawn and he also worries paintings in which the for the composition and movement of the ocean perspective of his works. He waves express the rhythm of is a landscape artist but life, the force and strength characterized by his of nature. Its turbulence and architectural work.His work calm reflect her inner world. is characterized by a serene Following the ebb and flow and poetic realism, which of froth on the surface helps translates the artist's her to read the moods of the delight when he paints deeper waters. She is streets of old quarters, interested in exploring the antique buildings and fluidity of water against the facades with tradition. firm resistance of hard rock.

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lives and works in London, United Kingdom

Andrea Shearing

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lives and works in Switzerland

Gordon Skalleberg

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lives and works in Sweden and in USA

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Luma Jasim lives and works in Brooklyn and Boise, USA

Special thanks to Haylee Lenkey, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar, Joshua White, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Sandra Hunter, MyLoan Dinh, John Moran, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Michael Nelson, Hannah Hiaseen and Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Miya Ando, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar and Robyn Ellenbogen.

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LandEscape meets

Alia Montijo My practice is inquiry-based research actualized by the body through physical exploration. Embodying inquiry and by extension living the experience of finding resolve through movement, whether intentional or unintentional, uncovers various paths of solutions. The somatic through line of my practice that begins with question, in which the answers are realized through movement exploration and then formed to choreographic structure insists that the body is the epicenter of discovery. Therefore, it relies on the reciprocal sharing of the körper (physical, organic body) and leib (the body as center of experience, the “lived” subject body). ​I am committed to creating dance that challenges gender-reflective stereotypes; achieved through my comprehensive choreographic approach. Inspiration is derived from investigations of feminist theory, physics, politics, colonialism, inequity, injustice and temporality. My work is self-expressive and a reflection of my female perspective.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Alia and welcome to LandEscape: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit https://www.aliamontijo.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training: you hold a BFA in Dance and

Arts Administration from The Ohio State University, you attended the Broadway Dance Center Summer intensive, and you are currently nurturing your education with an MFA in Choreography, that you are currently pursuing at the Jacksonville University: how did those formative years influence your evolution as a performer and as an artist? I feel quite honored to have attended The Ohio State University and study with Susan Hadley from the Mark Morris Dance Group, Bebe Miller, Bebe Miller Company and Ming Lung Yang and


Alia Montijo photo by Danny Howard


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Abby Yager former dancers of Trisha Brown Dance Company. Simultaneously, my ballet education was enriched through continued study with professionals from BalletMet Columbus. The collegiate education provided a strong technical foundation that I was able to harness at the American Dance Festival where I danced in work by John Jasperse and Neta Pulvermacher and the following year with David Dorfman Dance. Through college and my professional career, I feel that the education crafted my technique and helped to develop my performance ability. It inspired a pursuit of technical fluency that is revealed through my choreographic work today. My graduate study has helped me to identify a personal movement language by removing layers of codified technical expectation and investigating movement that comes from my body based on the response to internal sensation, or tracking. However, technical training emerges to the surface in the investigative process and affects the presentation of the investigation. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape and that our readers have already staterd to get to know in the introductory pages of this article have at once captured our attention for the way you explored the relationship between the act of painting and movement. In particular, we have appreciated the way On Quantum Entanglement provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by unconventional aesthetics. When walking our readers through the genesis of On Quantum Entanglement, would you tell us if you how did you developed your initial idea? In pursuit of my MFA from Jacksonville University, I am studying the affect of knowledge of quantum mechanics onto the choreographic process. Specifically, electron indeterminacy and entanglement. In the process of learning, I’ve applied my understanding of the quantum


Alia Montijo

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principle, entanglement to artistic processes outside choreographic creation like my live performances of movement and paint. I’ve chose this particular quantum principle because I see it relevant to the painting dance performance. I understand entanglement as The phenomenon that occurs when quantum particles cannot be described independently even when separated by distance. Described by physicist Karen Barad, “To be entangled is not simply to be intertwined with one another, as in the joining of separate entities, but to lack an independent, selfcontained existence. Existence is not an individual affair.� I find sameness in the principle and my experience painting dance because my action has direct influence on the paint and canvas which has direct influence on my subsequent movement. Neither the paint nor the dance can exist independently and the creation of the art is dependent on the information sharing between mediums. In the creation process, entanglement inspires movement that holds the integrity of an entangled relationship. Examining the paintings, the movement traces can be viewed in clockwise and counterclockwise pathways suggesting that the entangled relationship is complimentary. I am interested in examining entanglement based it presupposes a oneness in constitution of entangled particles and relieves the give-share dynamic of two separate entities inter-acting and instead argues that relationship reciprocity is from innate connectedness or intra-action. I apply the principle onto human connection in art making because I believe in shared existence and shared meaning in relation to one another. How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much important is improvisation in your approach?


Alia Montijo and Sean Dahlberg


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My study at Jacksonville University and specifically with Ana Sanchez-Colberg has been instrumental to harnessing the potential of improvisation in my process. The movement performed during my live performance is a choreographic phrase built from an experience of internalizing the themes of the work and using different movement development methods to respond internally to the scientific knowledge. In academia, my process can be called utilizing a phenomenological approach. However, the audience provides so much energetic stimulation and I provide room in phrase to respond to the audience. Mostly, the response manifests in timing and movement dynamics, however if movement on the floor nearest the canvas compels spectators to lower their body to heighten their gaze, I respond by performing more and supplemental movement on the floor. In this way, improvisation is a tool to create in-themoment engagement with the spectator. We have really appreciated the way your work also explores the tension between the body and its surroudings, as you did in the interesting Moving from the Inside Out, that can be viewed https://youtu.be/xgFbWGP2eL0. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": as a multidisciplinary performance artist, how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the concepts that you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your practice? My current research is based in abstraction through my knowledge of quantum mechanics

and specifically the indeterminate nature of the electron. The knowledge manifests through the choreographic lens because I am a dancer, I love the art form and believe in its ability to fuse the intellect with the artistic. The physical manifestation of the researched principles are shaped entirely by my body’s response to the cognitive understanding of highly complex subject matter. Then, space is applied to the process and I


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provide room for my body to express its own reactionary language to the loosely understood principles. It is a layered process of both abstraction and physicalization. Through both, more is learned about the other. In reference to painting dance, I am drawn to the practice because dance is ephemeral, it is for the lived-moment and is fleeting based on

perception. My intent with the paint is to create a retrospective map of the movement. That way, although moments of dance are lost in the abstraction of the physical movement, the canvas because a tangible imprint of the previous moments. The canvas captures the process of exploring the principles through movement.


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As one the most recognized pioneer of feminist art, Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, your work not fall prey to the emotional prettification of a beloved subject. In this sense, your reflection of your female perspective committed to creating dance that challenges gender-reflective stereotypes is a genuine tribute to the issue of women's identity in our globalised still patriarchal and

male oriented societies. How do you consider the role of women artists in our age? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? This is a tremendous question, and I feel challenged to express my passion for feminism through the vessel of the arts. As a woman, I


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making dances with all women casts that showcase women partnering, lifting and athleticism. The commentary exists in the above alone without need for literal content. In 2018, I received a Career Development Grant from the American Association of University Women to support my continued education at Jacksonville University. My work as the Director and Resident Choreographer of the all-female identifying professional dance company, Noumenon Dance Ensemble (NDE) from 2014 - 2018 assisted to qualify me for the prestigious award. While with the company, I was committed to employing female artists and artists of color as dancers, choreographers, lighting designers, costumer designers and stage managers to provide voice to perspectives sometimes silenced by the male dominated perspective in the professional dance arts.

have felt silenced and voiceless based purely on my anatomy. Although not regularly occurring, the times of belittlement based on sex has propelled my interest and dedication to using my art as a springboard for conversation around gender inequality. Combined with my undergraduate background in Women’s Studies, I have dedicated my professional dance career to

I identify as a cisgender woman for now and I do not think that the identification provides my artistic research any special value. I do however regard my identity as fluid, and provide space for the evolution of being. I am attracted by my research of quantum mechanics and specifically the electron because according to Karen Barad, “electrons are good to journey with because they are not so easily seduced into to the times of linear history, nation and family… they cut across spacetime.” Electrons defy prescribed notions of identity through their indeterminate ontology, and I am inspired by the not knowingness of the foundational particles of our beings. The knowledge grants access to a different construction of identity that Vida Midgelow describes as, “rejecting the body as an inscribed surface…[and instead considering] the way in which identities might be fundamentally located in an (auto)corpograhy.” My current research and projects ask what unknown movement response can be accessed of the body by creating movement based on


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characteristics of the foundational blocks of cellular structure? You are a versatile artist and your works are rich of reminders to scientific concepts, as in the interesting Movement phrase based on the Fibonacci Sequence. How do you consider the relationship between artistic research and scientific method? In particular, how does in your opinion art could be used to explain science and vice versa? Allegra Fuller Synder of UCLA said of dance “Dance is more than art. It is one of the most powerful tools for fusing the split between the two functions of the brain – the fusing of the logical with the intuitive, the fusing of the analytical perceptions with the sensorial perceptions” I agree with Ms. Synder and think that dance is a discipline that requires a constant shared exchange between thinking and doing. In my current pursuit, I am trying to activate the body and not the brain as the impetus of thinking, to create a learning experience of thinking through doing. Embodying knowledge provides a tactile experience of the acquired knowledge and the knowledge from experience provides a richer understanding of the (in my case) scientific principle. I believe that there is reciprocity in learning from science and learning from art and that the discoveries acquired bare influence on one another. As a tactile learner, I need the experience of doing to understand to my best ability theoretical knowledge. It is not enough to grasp abstraction and so my fusion of art and science is how I express my curiosity and desire to learn more about abstract scientific principles like quantum mechanics. I think it is also important to say that I think dancing bodies are an expression of physics. The impact of gravity, rotation and momentum on the physical body is an example of science. I


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think a broader awareness of the the prevalence of scientific principles in art would help specific art forms like dance be more accessible, approachable and relatable. Ironically, scientific principles are abstract until given tangible explanations and examples. Dance too is an abstract art form that creates room for varied perspectives, interpretations and meaning. However, like science, artistry is rooted in formula, be it technique, choreographic methodology, investigative observation. I think there is foundational similarity between the two that is often overlooked based on the superficiality of viewing dance. Removing perceptive layers can provide for a deeper understanding of the creative methodologies. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your inspiration is derived from investigations of feminist theory, physics, politics, colonialism, inequity, injustice and temporality. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, in our globalised age? I believe that art is an expression of the contemporary. As an artist, I am creating work that responds to current cultural waves whether intentional or unintentional. I am empathetic, and I believe that most artists are also and because of the shared quality, I think artists are creating socially charged commentary in their artistic disciplines. My research in quantum mechanics has propelled me to create movement and performance environments that are not conducive to full perception, to create spaces of un-seeing, not-knowing and harness moments of audience discomfort in order to provoke introspective


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questions about the influence of visual contextualization. I’ve created this work in a time that gender identity is at the forefront of the socio-political climate. Although my artistic intent is not concerned with gender politics, as my art is a reflection of the contemporary climate, my performative work investigates how expectation permeates perception, recognized in quantum mechanics as the “observer-effect” and beyond the scope of my current research seen in heterogenous social categorization. It's important to mention that you also established Dance Avondale, a dance school partnered with the Chicago Park District with the mission to provide the highest quality of dance education that is financially accessible and culturally sensitive, with a particular focus on the promotion of family engagement and to elevate self-perception and appreciation for all its students. Would you tell us something about this interesting experience? The driving force behind my artistic pursuit is arts accessibility. Arts and specifically dance provides life shaping enrichment and I feel honored to call myself a dancer because of the tremendous freedom I have found through the discipline of the art form. Based on my experience and devotion to humanitarianism through community building efforts, I am compelled to create opportunities for all people to participate in dance by creating programming that is economically and culturally sensitive. In Chicago classical dance education upholds a hierarchical class system because dance education is traditionally expensive. Over the past 12 years of my residency in Chicago, I’ve noticed a deficit in diversity in the classroom. Dance Avondale works to minimize the deficit by offering classes that are economically feasible, culturally sensitive and inclusive.

The art that I am producing currently is incredible and fueling. It has challenged me to make thoughtful and provocative choreographic art that engages spectators and questions spectator-performer relationships. However, providing a service and igniting artistic passion in young people is far more rewarding. My heart is full to see children and their families build bonds through the studio, whether it is in family inclusive classes or during shows and recitals. I am fulfilled by helping to facilitate the creation of an inclusive and representative community that reaches beyond the studio. Efforts like this are the fabric of community building and solidarity, through Dance Avondale I hope all families feel more connected and supported. You are an established artist and you recently performed at Venice at the International Arts Festival and Chicago at the Conception Arts Fair: one of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are provided with of the the opportunity to become active participants and are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience: do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? Moreover, how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? I am incredibly compelled to manipulate the traditional spectator-performer relationship. I think that traditional relationships between artists and audiences and particularly dancers and audiences preserve an objectification of the performer, that their ability and artistry is for the entertainment of the observer. The fourth


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wall upholds a standard of idealism and I am interested in integrating the spectator and allowing their reaction to influence the performance. I think the strategy provides a heightened engagement for the observer and creates a performance atmosphere built on the exchange between spectator and performer and perhaps blurs the lines of performance. In pursuit of my graduate degree, I am studying quantum mechanics and in my most recent practical performance created a performance environment in which the audience is sitting on stage viewing dancers behind them by having their gaze directed into mirrors. The indirect observation forces the spectator to see themselves as the vessel of perception that is seeing the dancers. The spectators were also provided the opportunity to turn over their shoulder, away from the mirror to have direct observation of the dancers. However, the dancers were instructed to behave a certain way if a spectator turned around and made eye contact. In this way, I created an audience culture that provided the spectator authority over the creation process and made their presence of the stage just as much important as the performer. The spectator was watching the performer and the performer was watching the spectator. I am interested to learn how this model can disrupt prescribed identity in dance and manipulate culturally embedded perception. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Alia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My recent research uses the platform of science through the lens of dance to discover new ways of creating movement, choreographic form and shape audience culture through performance

environments. Over the past year of intensive study in the subject, I have made discoveries that lead to further inquiry about the resonance of subatomic behavior in the macroscopic field. For example, does the indeterminate nature of the electron that makes unpredictable elliptical pathways around the nucleus influence how humans interact and behave in social choreographies around central objects? Does entanglement exist between more than subatomic particles? How does the electromagnetic field influence movement between bodies and in the movement is counterpoint a naturally occurring phenomena. I am interested in exploring the subatomic because according to physicist and artist Gabriela Lemos, “On the microscopic scale, quanta play by different rules. Even though they are physically real entities, they defy descriptions as things. They show a different logic underlying their random behavior, and they demonstrate entanglement.� I see my work evolving in a way that explores the quantum through the physical realization of embodied knowledge through choreographic exploration and painting dance. In both scenarios, the outcomes fuel further investigation of the research and the material learning is beyond the capacity of theoretical knowledge. I look forward to learning, collaborating and performing inspired by my current research interests.

all performance photos were taken by Dawn Schultz of Jacksonville University and ItsLiquid Group, Venice Italy An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com


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LandEscape meets

Elaine Crowe My work explores my relationship to the landscape. Using lens-based processes as part of an embodied practice, I explore how the landscape is viewed and experienced according to gender and the body’s movement. My exploration questions the validity of binary gendered relationships, in terms of the framing of the landscape and differentiated viewpoints. Referencing the gendering of the landscape in an Irish context, I explore the relationship between the real and bodily experience of the landscape against ideal or romantic notions of landscape and femininity. This extends to image making processes through photography and printmaking.

An interview by Ralph Landau, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Elaine and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.elainecrowe.com in order to get a wide idea about your mulifaceted artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal

training: you hold a BFA in Fine Art (Hons) in Sculpture and Expanded Practice and you are currently studying for a Masters in Fine Art with the OCA, in the United Kingdom: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your work as a Special Education Teacher direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Elaine Crowe: One of the biggest influences in my art practice comes from my formal training in Art and Design,


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where I first began to hone my internal critical voice. I see this critical voice as a positive part of my process and very necessary in developing my work beyond where it is to where it can be. Currently studying for a Masters in Fine Art, my formal study continues to support and encourage me to question, take risks and go towards unknown places in my work. Running parallel with my art practice is my work in Special Education. At times these strata seem quite separate, at other times they seem to move closer together. In relation to my current artistic research, perhaps my work in Special Education accounts for my multi-sensory approach to landscape and recurring materiality. On some level, consciously or otherwise, all experiences come to bear on making. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape are centered on the exploration of your relationship to the landscape. Highligting the sense of connection with the land and its socio political history, your works have at once captured our attention for the way they remind us of the notion of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augè, for the way it expresses the resonance between the subconscious mind and its surroundings: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you

Elaine Crowe, 2016, Island Bound

usually develop your initial ideas? Elaine Crowe: My development of ideas is always very organic, often making it difficult to know where ideas really begin, especially in relation to the landscape


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which is a constant in my work. My process involves a lot of gathering – through physical making, such as walking in the landscape using various lens-based processes. These processes

trigger further making, such as printing and video work. They can also lead to texts, stories and research reading, which may not seem directly related. I always like to stay open to these seemingly unrelated ideas as they inform


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Elaine Crowe, 2017, How to Leave a Natural Sphere

my work on some level. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, referencing the gendering of the landscape in an Irish context, you

explore the relationship between the real and bodily experience of the landscape against ideal or romantic notions of landscape and femininity. Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's


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particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues in our globalised age? Elaine Crowe: I think that artists are essentially embedded in the culture in which they live, whether consciously or not. As an Irish artist exploring the landscape, it would be difficult not to respond to the significant role that landscape has played in the construction of national and gender identity – an identity based on romantic notions of landscape, nationhood and femininity. In teasing out my relationship with today’s landscape, I inherently reference those issues - referencing the past as well as questioning its significance in the present. While my work stems from this particular context, rather than to raise awareness of issues, I am motivated in order to better understand, question and challenge them.

role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": as an artist particularly interested in how the land relates to social contests, do you think that your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In

We dare say that stereograph landscape is looking at the relation between the experiential, the real and the imaginary. In this sense, your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship


Elaine Crowe, 2019, Stereograph Landscape


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with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Elaine Crowe: One of the areas I grapple with in terms of landscape is the relationship between the real and bodily experience of landscape and landscape as image, ideal or otherwise. The term ‘landscape’ means ‘shaped land’ and already suggests a framing, editing or mediation of some kind. My ‘stereograph landscape’ attempts to make connections between experiencing the landscape through the body and experiencing landscape as image - again through the body. In exploring the framing of landscape, ‘stereograph landscape’ attempts to challenge the single fixed view of landscape associated with positions of power and gendered ownership, and present it as a dual framing, corresponding to the human body and its parallax eye positions.


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Elaine Crowe, 2018, In-complete Landscape


Elaine Crowe, 2018, I Shiver and I Shit


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Elaine Crowe, 2019, In-complete Landscape


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What interests me in this dual image process is the way it exposes landscape image as an illusion and allows the viewer to actively participate in its making. Provocatively, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated once that "nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist. You can use photography in a realistic way". You can even do abstract photographs. What is your opinion about the importance of photography in the contemporary art? Elaine Crowe: Photography and lensbased processes have become increasingly central to my work and seem to lend themselves to my exploration of landscape in terms of the real, the ideal and the imagined. Photography has always played an important role in the framing of the landscape and I see my lens-based work in this context. I also consider the lens as being part of an embodied practice – a point of contact between body and landscape rather than a separation. I think artists use what ever tools are at their disposal, without hierarchy between material and immaterial processes. Photography and lens-based processes seem to straddle both these realms. Your artworks sometimes draw from the peculiar specifics of the environment and


Elaine Crowe, 2018, I Asymmetric


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we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance with the landscapes: how do you select the specific locations and how do they affect your creative process? Elaine Crowe: I am drawn to landscapes for many reasons. Sometimes they suggest narratives or questions that I want to explore, sometimes it is a more physical response to light, colour, sound, movement or scale. I also find myself returning to landscapes that connect with family and feelings of belonging. I spend a lot of time out walking with my camera and let this process lead me. While this often leads back to recurring questions, it can also lead me to unexpected places in my creative process. Manipulation in visual arts is not new, but digital technology and especially the online realm have extended the range of expressive possibilities. How do you consider the role of digital technology playing within your artistic practice? Elaine Crowe: The relationship between digital immaterial and analogue material processes underlies much of my work, especially in my screen printing processes. This relationship seems to correspond

Elaine Crowe, 2016, Island Bound

with the relationship between landscape as real experience and landscape as ideal, imagined image. I have recently reacquainted myself with analogue photographic printing processes in the dark room, as a way


Elaine Crowe

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to explore lens-based image making in a more material and physical way. The possibilities of digital technology are exciting and play into the realm of the imagined, yet increasingly I also feel the need to connect with material and

physical processes. Over the years your work has been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation to the Print Biennale, at GMIT Gallery, in Galway: how do you consider the nature


Elaine Crowe, 2019, Stereo Landscape


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Elaine Crowe, 2016, Island Bound

of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms as Instagram increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship

with a globalised audience? Elaine Crowe: I am always looking for opportunities to reach an audience, even on a small and informal scale during my making process. I find interaction with an audience hugely


Elaine Crowe

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interacting with my work. While online platforms further mediate the work, it also widens the audience and can be very suitable for my digital lens-based processes. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Elaine. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Elaine Crowe: My exploration of landscape continues and I am currently working on video projections, using both still and moving images to explore the real, the ideal and the imagined.

motivating in making, testing and refining my work. I am equally interested in showing my work in traditional gallery space to less formal spaces, including online platforms. I think each brings a particular type of audience and way of

While still at its early stages, I am excited by its possibilities for both maker and audience and its potential to challenge the single, fixed and gendered framing of the landscape. I am also researching around the concept of ‘Arcadia’ in both visual, text and narrative media, with particular interest in how it connects with the contemporary Irish landscape and issues of gender.


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LandEscape meets

Dominique Dève "French artist Dominique Deve demonstrates great and a unique and compelling insight into the range of emotions and characteristics of his human portraits. They emerge from within a swirling context of masterful paint strokes that generate movement and mystery, supported by subtle and lifelike colours and shades, such as are part of the real, untidy world. Deve is more adventurous than many artists, and sits at the opposite end of bland! His work is intriguing and worth a close look." ArtFinder Review

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Dominique and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.dominiquedeve.com in order to get a wide idea about your mulifaceted artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your French roots direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

First and foremost, I would like to thank

you all for welcoming me as an artist, and for sharing your valuable remarks with me. Indeed, living in France enables the artist to steep himself into a rich and diverse cultural world. You just have to stroll through the streets of Paris to experience that particular feeling. At the core of my artistic culture stand great painters such Courbet, Degas, Manet, VigĂŠe Lebrun, Toulouse Lautrec. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape has at once impressed us of for the way you sapiently captured such a wide variety of human emotions: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your portraits? Do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes?


Dominique Dève

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I love surprises. I sometimes start my work with a given technique, such as boiled paper for instance. That gives me the opportunity to paint on a support that allows randomness. The influence of random shakes up the way you traditionally build an artistic work. In some cases the model bears in himself all the necessary strength regardless of the technique I will use. I work extensively on the traditional construction of my portraits. Even though some lines seem to be slightly sketched, the whole of the work must

sound natural and consistent. Marked out with such powerful narrative drive, your portraits reflects human spirit and unveil hidden details of the identity of your characters to manifest: what’s your philosophy on the nature of portraiture? How do you select the people that you decide to include in your artworks? In particular, how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

I believe portraits not only reveal the soul of a model but also unveil the soul of the


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artist. One might also say that the Whole, i.e. the portrait, is other than the sum of the parts (shapes and colours), if the Gestalt Principles are to be applied. What

about choosing a model? Defining my artistic approach is somewhat hard because most of the time everything seems so obvious at first sight. It could be said that my creative process


Dominique Dève

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is a mixture of technical aspects (shades, colours, contrasts, composition) and a subjective approach (expression, mood, tension). I work from photos. I like working

on a whole series (palettes, support, techniques, theme), so that I can keep the same freshness and energy in my creative process.


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The ambiguous visual quality of your artworks allows you to create emotional impact on the viewers, and we have particularly appreciated the way your works

clearly show that vivacious tones are not strictly indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that


Dominique Dève

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you decide to include in an artwork and in particular, how do you develop a texture?

I use limited colour palettes, such as Zorn's or Rembrandt's. They make me feel safe and comfortable in my everyday work. I am originally a draughtsman and that explains why the world of colours is much more bewildering to me than the art of shapes. We like the way you sapiently create such compelling balance between reaism and such a dreamlike atmosphere: how do you consider the relationship between the real and the imagined playing within your artistic practice?

I like the idea of filigree sketching. The portrait stands in the foreground but behind it I wish viewers coud see deeper into the character's soul. In the first place, you can perceive reality with its traditional composition, and then you can proceed to a dreamlike filigree dimension with its less binding rules, twists and surprises. How do you consider the relationship between cultural heritage from traditional painting pratice and contemporary sensitiveness? In particular, how does your artistic research


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reveals a point of convergence between Tradition and Contemporariness?

I like working fast and I have to say that it is quite difficult and compelling to resume something I painted the day before (alla prima). The artistic gesture matters a lot to me and it must be confident and assertive. Whenever I use traditional composition, I also introduce more contemporary techniques into my work. With their unique visual identity, your artworks challenges the viewers'

perceptual parameters: we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Indeed, I am prompted to go beyond appearances to escape from the lines of the portrait, to bring out some hidden detail. This allows the viewer to give their


Dominique Dève

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own analysis. The relationship between the model, the painter and the viewer could be considered as a triangular one – three actors with an object standing right in the middle and that object indeed is The Portrait. Each of the characters will put all their energy to build this relationship. You are an established artist and over the years you have participated in numerous exhibitions in Paris, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Sheffield: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of

Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

I use the Internet to promote my work but I also attend exhibitions. Of course, I enjoy meeting the public and talking face to face with viewers. Still, my audience is international. Instagram and art websites suit me perfectly. In addition, I work in partnership with some photographers I had the honour to meet on the Internet.


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We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Dominique. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

I wish to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to explain my artistic approach. I plan to make an exhibition on my own at the Fondation Cognac Jay in Paris next year,

and three events are planned by December in the United Kingdom (in Newcastle region), at the Business Art Fair in Paris and ArtCheval at the Espace Bouvet Ladubay in Saumur (France). As a conclusion, I wish I could convert my work into sculpture. I am still thinking about it. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com


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LandEscape meets

Tomas Castaño Tomas Castaño was born in Santander (Spain) in 1953. Self-taught, Tomas carved himself, based on determination and enthusiasm. He has a realistic style, his paintings are very well drawn and he also worries for the composition and perspective of his works. He is a landscape artist but characterized by his architectural work. His work is characterized by a serene and poetic realism, which translates the artist's delight when he paints streets of old quarters, antique buildings and facades with tradition. His paintings catch the magic of the aesthetics of the antiques, and transmit all the warmth and humanization of unprocessed environments by modern life. He has shown his work in group exhibitions in several countries such as Germany, Netherlands, India, USA, Germany, Ireland, Rumanía, France, Portugal, Taiwan, México, Argentina, Japan, Italy, Korea and numerous solo and group exhibitions in Spain. Tomas Castaño works represented Cantabria in the Florence Biennale in the 2005 edition. His work is recognized by the distinctive style and ambience that he creates in finishing his series of old taverns. His works are in private collections of Spain, México, India, France, Grecee, England, Italy, Puerto Rico, USA, Costa Rica and Korea. In 2012 he was invited by The General Electric Company, USA to take part of the exhibition GE's 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month Art Exhibition. He was invited by the Bellarte Gallery Seoul-Korea to participate in the Ibero-American Art Fair Seoul 2012 and 2013, showing his work along with works of the prestigious artists such as Fernando Botero, Oswaldo Guayasamin, Rufino Tamayo and Roberto Fabelo. In 2015 it was selected to exhibit in the most important event in Asia ART REVOLUTION TAIPEI 2016 (Taiwán). He has been selected as a finalist for Art Revolution Taipei Competition 2017 and 2018.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Tomás and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your

artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://tomascastano.com in order to get a wide idea about your mulifaceted artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. As a self-


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taught artist are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your Spanish roots direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? As a self-taught painter, in my youth, I visited exhibitions daily and observed the different techniques that I later tried to apply in my canvases and stained and broken fabrics I learned, I never attended classes with any painter, but as an artistic influence I have noticed the work of a contemporary Spanish teacher, Antonio Lรณpez, creator of the current "New Realism of Madrid". The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently captured beauty in natural environments, providing the viewers with such multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us what did direct you to focus an important part of your artistic practice on the theme of landscape? Although my subject matter is varied, for a long time, my specialty focused on the urban landscape, the facades of commercial establishments, still existing, of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with the aim of perpetuating the canvas and keeping in memory the activities that developed in our environment our ancestors and the fear of their disappearance, the lack of protection of our rulers to preserve these jewels of the past. For this activity several commentators and critics have recognized me as an urban landscape painter.


Tomas Castaño

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CIELOS-Parque del agua1 2013 40x40

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension in New York 1930 and such a sense of

ease in Fire burning bright: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you


Tomas Castaño

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España-Salamanca 3 40x40 2016

decide to include in your works in order to provide the viewers with such immersive visual experience?

The theme New York 1930 originates in a proposal to illustrate a book about the famous Spanish and international poet "Federico García Lorca" during his stay in this city at the


New York 1930- 15x 22 oil on paper 2018


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beginning of the 30s. For this reason I looked for photographs of the time, blank and black of course, of the possible environments that the artist visited, I also looked for cars from that stage and made some compositions mixing buildings such as theaters, cinemas, etc with these vehicles and created my own palette of colors to set the scenes in those years, with ocher and gray tones, making cars stand out in the foreground. Your paintings reflect a sense of serenity and connection with the surroundings, tha you seem to draw from your daily life, as in the interesting Fish: how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? I like to observe the landscape, especially the ancient architecture of any civilization and always from any trip I return with hundreds of photographs, which I then analyze slowly and look for the one that can more easily reach the public's gaze. In the case of Fish market, I caught the attention of this showcase with a wide variety of fish, direct light on them and in the composition I added the darkness of the background to highlight the brightness that emerges from its shiny scales. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your aims to capture the magic of the aesthetics of the antiques, and transmit all the warmth and humanization of unprocessed environments by modern life. Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, as sustainability and environmentalism, in our globalised age? As I mentioned earlier in my urban landscape


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Tomas CastaĂąo

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work, as well as creating a historical-artistic archive with images of corners that are about to disappear due to modernity, it is a wakeup call to awaken the sensibility of the authorities of each place towards the conservation of these environments, since I consider that it is possible within the current urbanism the combination of architectures of all times. In addition, the vision of these ancient facades can awaken the curiosity of future generations for the activities that their ancestors developed in these places. Your artworks feature particular care to composition and details. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? Although I am self-taught, I have always been inclined towards the academic training of the old-fashioned arts, so I believe that a good basic drawing, the study of perspectives, the composition and application of appropriate colors, are the principle for that a work of art can be admired and understood by all kinds of audiences. With their unique visual identity, your artworks feature such a powerful combination between figurative reference with poetic visual qualities, to invite the viewers to capture the hidden beauty in the environment: we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the


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Tomas Castaño

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importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger

the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?


Tomas CastaĂąo

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In my series of "Tabernas, tascas ... of old Madrid" of many success in the decade 20002010, I painted many facades especially old taverns, collecting all kinds of details that

would activate the imagination of the viewer and in fact I think that I got, every exhibition on this topic was accompanied by a large number of visits, reviews and sales. Although I


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have not abandoned the subject, I currently combine it with landscape, portrait, marine and other reasons, with the aim of reaching a new audience, also thought of other cultures. We like the way you artworks convey such a stimulating combination between your mainly figurative style and such a captivating subtle dreamlike ambience: how would you consider the relationship between abstraction and your figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a subtle tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? Although many people describe my work as hyperrealistic, if you look closely at the details, you can see that in almost all my works there is a touch of abstraction, especially when it comes to reflections in crystals, water or backgrounds. Although I am not a lover of abstract art, I understand that a good combination with figurative art can result in brilliant work. You are an estabished artist and over the years you have shown your work in group exhibitions in several countries such as Germany, Netherlands, India, USA, Germany, Ireland, Rumanía, France, Portugal, Taiwan, México, Argentina, Japan, Italy, Korea and numerous solo and group exhibitions in Spain. French artist Edgar Degas, once said that “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see": how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? My art, because of its figurative nature, does not need an explanation so that the audience can


Tomas Castaño

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Tomas CastaĂąo

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see what others do not see, since it reflects reality as nature shows it, probably and over the years I have acquired a technique, say of the critics, that identifies me with my creations by the atmosphere that I create in my works. No doubt the emergence of digital media, social networks and online galleries, have contributed to the dissemination and knowledge of great artists, without these media would today go unnoticed outside their environment and in my case, in particular, has been a shuttle for my international projection. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, TomĂĄs. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? I am finishing the series dedicated to Garcia Lorca's stay in New York for the illustration of a book that will be published next fall. I'm painting on musical instruments, specifically guitars, for a museum of new opening in the city of Toledo, in which all kinds of instruments painted by great artists will be shown and finally I will strive to show my work in my city, since I am better known internationally than in my place of residence.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com


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LandEscape meets

Jared Kovacs Landscapes: The use of photography here has been as a tool for the study of anthropology and topography. The approach is documentary, a survey of seeing the energy of life and environment, the movement of light and weather, the depth of space captured onto a 2D plane. Spending time with these scenes is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, developing a window that one can approach closer and closer, and consider ideas. “Blur” is a series of images that were taken at a 125th of a second while riding a bicycle in and around the city of Edmonton. Glimpses of life, moments that occur, when something excited me or I gasped, I immediately pulled the camera to my eye without question and snapped a photograph as I wizzed by. “Looking” is an example of my interest of editing. When you read the first image (the black woman leaning on the pole next to the luggage cart), there is an ambiguity of what is going on in her life, maybe sheʼs restless and ready to go home, perhaps her trip was disappointing. Now when the second image is introduced, suddenly you feel a tension, the two images working together now introduce another layer of ambiguity. “Images along Imogene Pass”, the environment feels full of light and clarity and peacefulness, even in the shadows of the clouds. A place so freeing and open with space to move about. Then the third image, the wood acting like the bars to a jail cell, restricting the view of such a space, inciting tension. “Arunonsentences” is a self-published book I did exploring specifically the relationship between images. Similar to “Looking” and “Images along Imogene Pass” I tried to further the relationship from beyond 2 or 3 images and took the idea into a long form series. The other interesting part about it for me is that all the images are taken from an iPhone, choosing to use the iPhone for these photos was similar to how we use our phones on social media like Instagram and Snapchat, the immediacy of what we saw and the simplicity of how the camera captures it. There are multiple other ideas present within this project and oddly after the publishing of the book, the ideas kept raising new questions or revealing new answers to the same questions, as far as I know this could be the first edition or volume of this project. Iʼve included two of the many scenes that are played out in the book. Limited copies are for sale through me

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Jared and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your

artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https:// jaredkovacscameraman.tumblr.com in order to get a wide idea about your mulifaceted artistic production, and we


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would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a visual artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? I think back to doing certain puzzles and also the images from ‘Where’s Waldo’ when I was a kid. The imagery from both had detail in every which way, cluttered with detail. Of course these are designed to challenge the eye and the mind, to formalize an approach to solving. These were an early way for learning space that I later considered when thinking about photography, I didn’t really touch a camera with a curiosity until I was about 14 or 15 years old. Before then I was interested in just skateboarding, I still skateboard, but photography didn’t come directly from skateboarding. I sort of just remember waking up one morning, and being interested in arranging some of my things in the backyard and taking a picture of it all, my first attempt at working in space. Since then for me, I’ve come to learn that the challenge is space. How little or how much can one get away with. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape has at once impressed us of for the way you provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop the initial ideas for your artworks? My approach is documentary, or like a street


Jared Kovacs

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Jared Kovacs

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photographer, I simply see the space and it tells me what I need to do. I respond with a survey of seeing the energy of life in the environment or lack thereof. I really like to act decisively and trust my instincts. Even with a landscape, because things can change in the scene, like the photograph ‘Camp on Snake River, Idaho’, I saw this driving by in my car, right then and there, I saw a relationship between the large camp and this lone truck. When I had the camera setup and ready for an exposure, I was anticipating the movement of the clouds for the light to be right, then suddenly the camp revealed some life, a little character climbed out of a camper and entered into the scene. I was curious what this little character might add to the scene, so I waited and watched them interact with their space until they eventually headed toward the water’s edge and that was it for me, I took the picture. ‘Cafe Mt Robson’ and ‘Trees of South Lake, Estrella’ are similar, in that these are scenes I came across and responded to right there. I like to relate that process to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Developing a window that one looks into, looking closer and closer. But I must say, I feel the only formal process I have is how I interact with the camera. Your landscape works seem to be laboriously structured to pursue such powerfully thoughtful visual impact: what was your working schedule like? Did you carefully plan each shot? I have seldom found myself planning a shot. Often, I just explore with my camera, because of the fun and excitement in discovering an


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image and immediately spending the time crafting a photograph of it. Maybe I’ll discover an image that isn’t quite right, the light needs to be different, so I might wait and think about when to take the photograph. It all depends on the elements at play in the scene, will one of the elements I want present be gone if I wait to take the photograph in 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, later that day, or another day altogether. It’s a matter of figuring out what is important to the image, and how everything changes when something is one way or another. I really enjoy the spontaneous commitment of finding an image and capturing it in the same trip. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, photography to you is a tool for the study of anthropology and topography. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once remarked that, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": as an artist particularly interested in how the land relates to social and political history, do you think that your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues in our globalised age? For me, I think what Gabriel’s statement is missing, is the acknowledgment of time. Space and time are relative, they are very important factors for an artist, they help inform what the focus is, and how you apply your practice. I photograph for myself, to satisfy my own curiosity for understanding


Jared Kovacs

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what an image is and can be, and that understanding will change and evolve in space and time, and so far I‘ve already seen that happen. I think my work at least at the time of making it has subconsciously stemmed from a cultural moment. The environment has so much to share, looking at what inhabits it, the relationships between every subject, and each with its own story. Your works drawn heavily from the peculiar specifics of environment and we have highly appreciated the way you have created such insightful resonance with the landscapes: how do you select the specific locations and how do they affect your creative process? When I see something and I gasp, I don  t even question it, I let the curiosity take over and explore. Joel Meyerowitz has beautifully illustrated that idea, likening that moment to walking down the street and landing in a spot where you smell the sugar from the bakery, and if you move a few steps down the street, and the smell of sugar is gone! A precious space where things just feel right. Sometimes, when I work the camera on a tripod, the process can be slower and when I start to put the image together in the camera it might feel like I’ve opened a can of worms, but I still learn from that and I continue to work on instinct, on feel. Working an image into a photograph teaches me, it tells me what the subject is and who I am. Marked out with such powerful narrative drive, your portraits - as the interesting Alex and Elizabeth - reflect human spirit and unveil hidden details of the identity of your


Jared Kovacs

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Jared Kovacs

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characters to manifest: what’s your philosophy on the nature of portraiture? How do you select the people that you decide to include in your artworks? Those portraits are like a facade of a character. A portrait is a study of form, and when they dress up a facade is built over the form, sometimes that facade can reflect the form. It’s an interesting variable the dress, hair, and makeup over the body. I can see myself exploring the nude genre of photography in the future, it’s a beautiful exploration in form. Both of these occasions were a relationship that was curious about the experience of showing and seeing between the model, playing dress up, and myself, the photographer. We dare say that your Blur and Looking series are looking at the relation between the experiential, the real and the imaginary. In this sense, your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Yes, there is an ambiguity, an undefined


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presence or feeling. It’s an interesting thing to provide the freedom to explore perception, like a detective. I have a trust in the images to provoke or inspire a viewer’s own ideas about the matter of what is seen and not seen. I think the ambiguous can be appealing and unnerving together. They stick in our thoughts longer, trying to unravel and understand. ‘Blur’ uses repetition to reinforce ambiguity through the experience of moving, passing through space and time, they are photographs taken from a bicycle, wizzing by, the moment can go just as quickly as it arrived. ‘Looking’ is an example of ambiguity through editing, the experience between two separate photographs, taken at different times and place, and when put side by side, something happens. A relationship forms, particularly one with tension in the middle, the viewer seemingly becomes a bystander. This is a study of the Kuleshov effect, which was first demonstrated for editing in cinema in the 1910s and 20s, but this is applicable to editing photographs too. I recently self-published a book, ‘Arunonsentences’, and I explored this idea in the book. Reading a single image, then reading it in a series of images. How does our understanding of the first image change as we turn to the next page? How does it change eight pages later? I wanted to develop a rhythm in the layers of pages, carrying the reader along. From the first image to the last, and that’s where my title came from, a run on sentences.

Provocatively, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated once that "nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist. You can use photography in a realistic way". You can even do abstract photographs. What is your opinion about the importance of photography in the contemporary art? The eye is so free to look wherever it wants, it is seeing ideas that are happening, terrible ideas, wonderful ideas, unbelievable ideas, in the present. Photography has enabled the eye to extend the ideas of the present, in realistic and abstract ways. We have really appreciated the way your work breaks the emotional barrier with the viewers: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms as Instagram increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? The reach for discussion is further with the internet. But the nature of discussion isn’t quite the same of course. There is still value in seeing physical work, ideas in some ways can still be better communicated in person when the work stands in front of you. The gallery, the street, and the internet, are all different applications providing ways for how an artist and their art can be communicated and understood, and I’m very grateful to


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Special Edition


Jared Kovacs

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be apart of a time that enables such variety, the door for globalised reach for an individual is truly astonishing. Though I am primarily interested in the physical experience, and that is including the experience of viewing work in the book form, which can go anywhere, while an exhibition of work is limited in its travel by comparison. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Jared. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? I’m currently in preparation for a western film that begins production in January. But I’m always exploring things, I look at ‘Blur’, ‘Looking’, and ‘Images Along the Imogene Pass’ as short projects, like a short film or novella. The camera is my partner, it teaches me how to see, to go out and explore, to experience, and to be. Thank you for these wonderful questions, I enjoyed answering them! If anyone is interested in following my work, visit my Tumblr profile that was mentioned earlier and also find me on Instagram @46kvcs. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com


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LandEscape meets

Maryam Nazari Maryam is a Persian performance artist/maker and multidisciplinary artist based in London. Born in Tehran/Iran 1990. She has started to learn music from the age 8 and she attended Art and Architecture University and graduated with Bachelor in Music. Then, she moved to London and graduated with an MA in Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins /University of the Arts London. Maryam is doing her PhD at Brunel University London to complete her research and practice in performance art and multidisciplinary art. She is the core member of Tse Tse Fly Middle East curatorial team- Tse Tse Fly Middle East is a registered Community Interest Company (based in London), a non-profit arts organisation and curatorial platform that draws attention to human rights, censorship and social issues via live events, workshops and interventions.She is also working as an artistic consultant. Her recent project as an artistic consultant is a collaboration with London Symphony Orchestra. Her works are a combination of sonic culture and visual culture which she calls acoustic scenography or acoustic/sonic as scenography. As a part of her practice, she intends to transpose the ears and eyes. She tries to use the sound art/design or acoustic and sonic imagination as a concept not an object for the performance making. Maryam's areas of interest include social and political issues. Her recent projects have included commissions from the Royal Albert Hall (London), Palais de Fetes (in Strasbourg), Tehran Museum of Contemporary arts and Tehran Music Museum.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Maryam and welcome to LandEscape: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would invite to our readers to visit https:// www.maryamnazari.co.uk in order to get a

synoptic idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and your studies in music and after having graduated with a Bachelor in Music, you moved to moved to London to nurtured your education with an MA in Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins /University of the Arts London: how did those formative years, as well as your current


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experience as a PhD candidate at Brunel University London influence your evolution as an artist and direct you to develop your multidisciplinary approach? Hello to the readers of this article and you. It will be better if I start to talk about my background, which will help me to tell you more about where I am today. I had started to learn music when I was 8. My first instrument was Tombak, which is a goblet drum from Persia / Iran. Tombak is considered the principal percussion instrument of Persian music. A few years later, I started to learn two other instruments. Cello and Tar. Tar is another Iranian instrument which is a string plucked one. At the time, I was studying Math in high school. But, I changed my academic path to music when I wanted to go to university. I have graduated with a Bachelor in music - a specialist in Tar- from the Faculty of Art and Architecture of Azad University Tehran. The final project of my Bachelor included a dissertation and a performance art piece. I didn't play Tar for the practical part; instead, I designed and performed a performance art piece as a part of a performance art festival in an art gallery. My piece called "Identifying of A Famous Group" which contained a photo collection a video art of a face and hands of famous Iranian musicians. Also, I composed a cello quartet for that performance, and I played four lines. From 2012 I am still competing for this photo and video collections of the famous musicians. As soon as I finished my Bachelor, I started a Master in Music in the same college, but I gave up before finishing even the first semester. The reason was the power of the performance art world and the sweetness of the creation. I didn't want to be only a player or a musician. I wanted to work and create in various mediums of art. So, I moved to London to study Performance Design. I graduated with an MA in Performance Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design (University of the Arts London). Now, I am doing my practice-based PhD in Performances Art/Design at Brunel University London. During this time, I worked with different medium and in different positions, such as a performance designer, performer, sound designer, stage manager, curator, Artistic consultant and lecturer. I experienced the various medium of arts like performance, performance art / live performance, video art, video performance and photography. All of these things together made me a multidisciplinary artist, something that I was looking for during the years I was working on music. As we


Maryam Nazari

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Maryam Nazari

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mentioned before, I am a Doctoral Researcher at Brunel University London. The title of this practice-based PhD project is “Acoustic Scenography in Performance Art / Multidisciplinary Art�. For this special edition of LandEscape we have selected Men do not nourish, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already staterd to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewed at https://youtu.be/ WHzbpnsPmW4. What has at once captured our attention of your your sapient narrative style is the way it provides the viewers with such an intense visual experience, enhanced by unconventional aesthetics. When walking our readers through the genesis of Men do not nourish, would you tell us if you how did you developed your initial idea? I started a project which is a series one in summer 2018 in Iran. I named this project "The Art of Slaughter" series. We usually look at the slaughtering as a harmful and annoying act which it is. On the other hand, as an artist, I thought that I could give a new vision to the audience about this subject. So, I started to look at this concept with a new pair of glasses, and I tried to show it as an artistic concept rather than something like animal cruelty or promoting violence. I don't want to say that these images won't give you the sense of violence or animal cruelty. I am saying that we can look at everything with another point of view. I found the process of slaughter very similar to human life in general. I did record all the process. In this video, I'm showing the last part of the chickens' life. All the chickens look the same and unrecognisable. You can't find your specific chicken. It is precisely the life in general, and there is no exemption. For me, this video is a kind of catwalk and a fashion show. I think this video or it is better to say that The Art of Slaughter series could show the life in every aspect; Politics, nature, environment, human growth, etc. This project is significant for me. It wasn't easy to get into the slaughterhouse as a woman. We needed official permission for recording and shooting. But, I insisted, and I did my job with all of the obstacles. Imagine a young woman with a camera stands between the cows and chickens that were dying, surrounded by the walls which had been painted by blood, listening to the screaming song while blood is sprinkling on her camera's lens. I was the only women in a thousand


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meters slaughterhouse. And all the slaughterer were watching me or posing in front of my camera. I have used one of Gunter Grass's poem as a narration of this video. A young British man and I are the narrators of this video. Also, I made the music of this video. For me, it is sound design more than composition in a conventional way. My background is in music, the sound and music and the connection between the sound and the performance are fundamental to me. The presence or absence of the sound in a performance is my priority. I always thought about using music theory, but not as a theory, preferably

as a structure. I devised another piece and video art 2015 called "Birth to Death," using the technique of 'counterpoint' when composing its structure. As a result, I could find a narrative way that the interval and sequencing of the words contribute to their changing meanings. Even if you do not understand English or Persian, you hear the narration-poem lines as a layer of music and sound to complete the texture of the piece. This poem is about men's lives and how their life is relative to women, while you are watching the chickens' breast (body). The combination of these two concepts


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gives you a new meaning of the slaughterhouse, and maybe you don't think about the slaughter during the video because of the narration. I always make my videos and performances' music myself. I had some collaboration experience as a sound designer in some live performances and short films, which has been shown in the London Short Film Festival 2017.

stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, in our globalised age? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

Your work is often pervaded with insightful socio political criticism: Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once

I come from Iran. Iran has many sides to it, but usually non-Iranian people only know it as an Islamic country


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where people live under tough circumstances. When they find out you are Iranian their first question is “are you safe there?” Often people think that in Iran there is no technology, people live like primitives, there is no freedom, no social life and many other things that I may not know about. I imagine these are people who too readily trust the news on TV. Fortunately, as a Persian girl I can say NO. This is not Iran. Of course, some of those elements like the lack of freedom, primarily political and religious freedom, are true, like many many other countries or it is better to say like ALL the countries that you think the artists are free to say anything with their works which is not true. But the reality of daily life is another thing entirely. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the government used religion as a way to rule the country, and from the very beginning of this revolution people see themselves separately from the government. I was born into a country where things are complicated. For as long as I can remember we have had to lead two lives. One of them is our social life and the other is our personal life, or it is better to call it our private life. We cannot be the same person in society as we are in our homes. In particular, women who don’t believe in wearing the Hijab have to wear the Hijab in public places in Iran because it is a serious rule in Iran. Drinking and selling alcoholic drinks is not permitted, but many people do drink in their homes and in other private places. Any partners who don’t get married cannot officially stay in the same room in a hotel, but, as in other countries, many partners live together in their flats without officially getting married. We spend much time on the weekends in our private parties and private places, being ourselves and not the person the government wants us to be. All in all, with this level of complexity and paradox, it is not easy to be an uncomplicated person. And I do not want to use the word COMPLICATED as a compliment. This word made my life hard on many occasions. When you are a child, everything that you can see around you looks new. Now imagine a child who has to wear her scarf when she goes to school from age seven, and every week in religious studies classes the teacher tells her that the only way to be a good woman is to wear the Hijab and pray every day, and only then will you go to heaven. Too, if you don’t wear your Hijab and don’t pray, you will go straight to hell when you die. On the other hand, when that little

girl returns home and tells this to her mother, her mother will say ‘your teacher is wrong, do not believe her, you will not go to hell’. Therefore, as a child, slowly you realise that there is a big difference between the inside and outside of your home, and you need to consider and understand this issue and the reasons for it. What is the reason for these issues and the dichotomy? The reason was, and is, the Iranian Revolution, otherwise commonly known as the Revolution of 1979 or the Islamic Revolution, which happened on 11th February 1979. On the


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first April 1979 Iran voted by national referendum to say NO to the dictatorship and became an Islamic Republic for the dream of freedom and independence. However, that dream was just a dream as it has not happened. The Encyclopaedia Britannica has the following entry for the Revolution: Outwardly, with a swiftly expanding economy and a rapidly modernising infrastructure, everything was going well in Iran. But in little more than a generation, Iran had changed from a traditional, conservative, and rural society to one that was industrial,

modern, and urban. The sense that in both agriculture and industry too much had been attempted too soon and that the government, either through corruption or incompetence, had failed to deliver all that was promised was manifested in demonstrations against the regime in 1978. And I am the new generation who can’t understand the arguments for the previous generation’s decision. Besides all the complex details, something terrible happened in 22nd September 1980, a year after the


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revolution, continuing until August 1988. This was the Iran / Iraq war, started by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The war was marked by indiscriminate ballistic-missile attacks, considerable use of chemical weapons and attacks on third-country oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. I was born two years after the war finished, and my childhood was surrounded by words like ‘invaded’, ‘captive’, ‘martyr’, and ‘famine,’ which are big words for a child to hear. One

of the main phrases that people often used when they recalled their bad experiences to the next generation was ‘during the war time things were like this or were like that ...’. Every morning before I went to school my mum made me breakfast including a cup of hot milk. I used to protest that I did not like the milk, and every morning my mum told me you should drink it because you do not know how


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itself, on my life. These days, when I listen to or read the news, I have sympathy with the people. I think about how the kids just want to have a normal life like everyone else. Is it possible to have a normal life after war? How will those children’s paintings look? If we ask them to, what are they going to paint? A green park with many children playing and laughing with a rainbow in the background? I don’t think so... Now I am an adult who used to be one of those children. I am an example of a mind that did not grow during the war time but was affected by the war. My work comes from all the things that have happened in my mind, and it shows how I feel about the world. Indeed, if I was a black person and a minority in society, I would be concerned about racism. If I was bio or homosexual, I would have my own distinct concerns. If I was a single mom, I might have some other problems and concerns.

long the queues were during the war for just a bottle of milk once a week, and children couldn’t drink it everyday like you, and it is very good for your health and for helping you grow. Even now, I have a kind of dual feeling about my absence during those eight years of war in my country. Sometimes I feel guilty and sometimes I feel happy. The fact is, I cannot underestimate the shadow and the effect of the war and the revolution, which was an internal war

In my work, I want to express the things that people talk about which are not their choice but their life. Artists are not separate from this theory. Many artists started making art to show off because they did not get enough attention in their childhood, and all that time they were trying to find a way to be seen by the people around them. This is what is described by Marina Abramovic, who mentions in her book Walk Through Walls how the way she was brought up made her into what she is now, and the specific reason that she wanted to do something to get attention was her ‘inelegance’. She did not feel beautiful enough when she was a teenager, and she tried to cover this defect with reading, learning and gaining knowledge to mark her out from her friends and the other girls her age. As a result, artists present the world from their point of view in their work. I am a Persian woman who was born a few years after the war and after a revolution in a country with a 2500 year history. However, I see how the politic has changed the face of my country in other people’s minds. I see the effect of the war on people in my country and how it has made every day a struggle against the government for their rights. I do not want to protest with my artworks. I just want to highlight some facts that are important to me and remind the audience of those facts, even if they aware of them already. All in all, I am showing the life from my point of view to my audience. As you have remarked in your bio,you were born into a country where things are complicated: how does the


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relationship between your cultural substratum due to your Persian roots and your current life in the United Kingdom direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? In particular, Would you tell us how important is for you to draw from your personal experience, in order to make a work about themes that you know a lot about? As I mentioned before, I do not want to use the word COMPLICATED as a compliment. This word made my life hard on many occasions. Each immigrant is an artist her/himself. Because she/he brings her/his culture with her/him to a new country. On the other hand, ceremonies are one of the significant elements in performance art, and each culture has its beautiful rituals and traditions. I come from a country which has two elements as its cultural significance. The first one is the Persian roots, and the other one is Islamic culture. The combination of those cultural elements and immigration are the reasons that make me think about a more significant subject for creation — something like humanity, war, death, etc. The idea that I use this kind of themes to create my works is the result of the situation that I have grown up. As I remember myself as a human in this world, there were/are always subjects in life that are more important than my issues. From childhood to now, I ever heard the words and phrases like: political problems, war, enemies, revelation, sanctions, lack of human rights, spy and so many other words that's forced me to forget some personal issues like breaking up with a boyfriend, gender, sex and personal problems. You can understand it by looking at my works. We have really appreciated the way your work also explores the tension between the body and its surroudings. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes. German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": as a multidisciplinary performance artist, how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the concepts you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your practice? We always heard about the body as the main element in performance art. The body is something that we all have it. Not only humans but also all the alive creatures have

their own body. So, I have decided to start a new project which is a kind of body-based project. This project is not based on MY body as an artist, but it is base on the cow and chicken’s body. I wanted to talk about the body with another vision through my project “The Art of Slaughter” series. I started this project in summer of 2018 in Tehran. The video series of this project is a combination of sound and visual images. In tandem with the images of cow or chicken’s body, I have designed the sound with some spoken words which mostly give the audience the sense of superseding the cow and chicken’s body with the human’s body. As a part of this project, I went Sistan and Balouchestan, Chabahar. It is a free port (Free Trade Zone) on the coast of the Gulf of Oman and is Iran's southernmost city. The sister port city of Gwadar in Pakistan's Balochistan Province is about 170 kilometres (110 mi) to the east of Chabahar. The name Chabahar is a shortened form of Chahar Bahar. Chahar Bahar is made of the Persian words Chahar, meaning four; and bahar meaning spring. Hence, it means a place that all four seasons of the year are springtime. I selected a location in Chabahar for shooting, which called Martian Mountains. The Martian mountains of Chabahar give a fantastic view of Iran that evokes an image of planet Mars in one’s mind. The road leading you to the Martian Mountains is one of the most beautiful roads in Iran. Going to the Martian Mountains, you walk into an area that has an excellent reputation for its sky sight and offers a spectacular view. There is the Gulf of Oman precisely in front of these mountains and a road in between. I went there with a friend of mine at 5:00 AM. We had two cameras plus small red luggage which contained a cow’s head, a fake brain and fake blood. Also, I had a big knife and white sleepwear in the luggage. We had to leave our car somewhere on the road and go to the mountains on our feet. We were hearing the billow, our footsteps and the margraves’ cars that they were trying to protect that area from ISIS attack at the time. Because ISIS was very close to that city and some news said that the ISIS could get into the city and hide near Martian Mountains. We arrived at the location that we spotted a day before between the mountains. I did set the cameras, and I did


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wear the white sleepwear— it is illegal in Iran for women to be in a public place without hijab—. It was the time that I should take the cow's head out of the luggage. The head was covered with a black plastic. I took the head out of luggage but taking that out of the plastic was a nightmare. I did stand between the mountain and was screening that "NO, I CANNOT DO IT" with the close eyes. My friend told me if you cannot do it, we must leave here as soon as possible. He was trying to push me to do my plane because he knew if I left that place without any footages, I would be mad at myself and him after hours. So, I took the head out, I covered the fake brain with the fake blood and placed it between my legs-under my sleepwear- and I stood in front of the cow's head to start my performance. I done don't want to describe the video performance as its editing hasn't finished yet. I have some still images from this video performance that you can see some them in this interview. All in all, I want to say that I am displacing the animal's body with the artist's body. The combination between sound, spoken words and visual plays a crucial aspect in your artistic practice, and in particular we have particularly appreciated the way it provides the viewer's experience with such an enigmatic and a bit unsettling atmosphere: according to Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan there is a 'sense bias' that affects Western societies favoring visual logic, a shift that occurred with the advent of modern alphabet as the eye became more essential than ear: how do you consider the role of sound within your artistic research? The point is the sound art, and noise art becomes part of the visual arts. From the mid-1960s, media artists and conceptual artists were in the vanguard when it came to establishing a new foundation for sound art and pushing its expansion and development. Sound art becomes an independent form of art within the visual arts. The composers and the musicians are not the only people who created advancements in the world of sound, but the architectures and visual artists that created this progression. My background is in music, but the music or being a musician wasn't the reason for me to create sound and music. I know myself as a multidisciplinary artist and performance designer/ maker who can do sound design as well. For me, the music world wasn't the place to give me the courage to create music and design the sound. On the other hand, whenever I make the sound and music, I do this as a multidisciplinary artist, not

a musician. Because I do not feel confident enough to create them as a musician, and the reason is the feeling of being judged in the music world. Most of my live performances are the solo performance art pieces. In some points, it is tough to make and perform the solo pieces. As a solo performance artist, if your piece works well, that's perfect, because you are the only person that will appreciate. On the other side, if your piece doesn't work and you had an unsuccessful performance, there is no one to blame except yourself. For me, as a solo performance artist timing in my live performances are the most challenging thing. There is no one to direct me from outside during the performance. So, I need something to tell me when I need to finish the performance. That's why I make my pieces based on sound design. What does it mean? It means that I make a sound from the first moment of the performance to the end. Sound is a director and element which tell me that how long it passed and how long is left unit the end of the piece. So, when I have a performance and the facilitators, the technicians or the curators ask me that how long is your piece? I answer (for example) that my piece is 39 minutes. And the piece wouldn't be less or more than 39 minutes. It is somehow similar to Robert (Bob) Wilson's method when he uses exact timing. How would you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of a performance and the need of spontaneity? How much important is improvisation in your approach? It depends on what I design. When I designed and created my performance art piece "This Body Is All Bodies", which based on the audience participation, I couldn't rehearse the piece from the start to the end. Even I couldn't expect how it would be finished. Of course, I had a general plan in my design and I used my timing technique to control the time. But, the details and the live performance process was depending on the audience. I performed this piece 4 times. One and first time in Tehran museum of contemporary art/ Iran and three times in London. This piece is a kind of Sociological performance art. The interaction with the piece in Tehran was the best one. The audience felt brave enough to be a part of the piece and didn't ignore it because of the political aspects of the performance. In some of the


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performances in London, I should say that the piece wasn't successful because it hadn't enough participant. So, I can say that This Body Is All Bodies could be an improvisation performance at some points. On the other hand, I have some other performances that are all scheduled the details of the performance, and I did direct every single thing like Rondo‌Rondo‌Rondo‌ , which I designed and made it in 2017 at Kings Cross Platform Theatre/ London. It's no doubt that collaborations as the one that you and London Symphony Orchestra have established together are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project: as an artistic consultant, could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your work? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines? I have had a great experience working as an artistic consultant and a stage manager of a project with a composer/designer Amir Konjani -Jerwood Composer- and London Symphony Orchestra. This collaboration was started last year when he was a nominated composer for Composition Gold Medal Competition at Royal Northern College of Music. It is not an easy job when two or more artists work together as a collaboration. Because every artist has his/her creation method and brings and put his/her idea on the table. Ignoring or connecting different ideas from different creative minds is one the hardest part of the collaboration in the art world. Bur, most contemporary artists, do believe in the power of collaboration. I think the result itself would help the team to forget all the difficulties of the process. I do remember, my first day at Central Saint Martins when the head of the college was talking to all the first-year students from different courses. He said that you are not here to get a good mark, but you are here for two other reasons. The first reason is to learn to ask questions. And the second one is to learn how to collaborate as an artist. So, for two years, we had to participate in collaborative projects. Sometimes we were fighting. But, the results and the process taught us how to listen to other ideas, how to ignore our useless ideas and how to use the other artists' abilities and opinions from various disciplines. I think working in collaborative projects teach the artists how to


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Maryam Nazari

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behave and deal with their ego. I have different experiences in collaborative projects, for example, at Royal Albert Hall in London where I was a performance designer and sound designer. Some other performance designers and I designed commissioned to design a sitespecific performance in a collaborative project. Each of us had a group of six or more people which included the performers, costume designer and a set designer. Each group had a specific space of the Hall to design a durational performance. Under the Counter, the performance was a project that taking inspiration from the transformative counterculture era and performed as a journey through the unusual and unseen spaces at the Hall. For me, collaboration and using the other artists' opinion and creative minds a golden key of my non-solo pieces. You are an established artist and your recent projects have included commissions from the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Palais de Fetes in Strasbourg, and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary arts and Tehran Music Museum: one of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are provided with of the the opportunity to become active participants and are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience: do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision- making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? Moreover, how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? I think making an attraction for the audience in 21 centuries is a crucial element for contemporary artists. If you, as an artist couldn't catch the audience, they have something magical in their hands and that magical thing could do your job. The magical thing is smartphones. It is not easy to compete with smartphones, social media and the internet! So, I think one of the solutions is the audience participation. In this way, I can change the audience from passive to active. The audience recognises him/herself as an inseparable part of the piece, and they feel that the performance wouldn't be complete without their participation. Audience participation and interactive art are what makes art tangible for the audience.

One of the examples of this kind of works from my collection is This Body Is All Bodies Performance art. As I described the piece earlier in question number seven, it is a solo performance art piece which is an interactive performance art piece. On the other hand, it is not a good thing if an artist tries to make a kind of fake interaction with the audience. I mean the artist doesn't need to make all of her/him works interactive if the nature of the idea doesn't work in interaction with the audience. For instance, you can't put your painting on the wall or place a sculpture in a gallery and tell the audience and viewers that they need to touch the sculpture or the painting; otherwise, the artwork won't complete. I work on my ideas, hours and hours to see if it needs the interaction and the audience participation or not because the audience is smart enough to understand something artificial or inseparable from the piece and artwork. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Maryam. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Now, I am doing my practice-based PhD in Acoustic Scenography in performance art and contemporary art. I have two ongoing projects. The Art of Slaughter series is one of them, which has a photo collection and video series. This project will present as a live performance. I already published some of the photos and videos of this project. The videos showed in different countries like the US, the UK and Greece. The second project that somehow is my first multidisciplinary works. It started in 2012, and it not finished yet. Identifying of A Famous Group is a combination of the photo collection, video art, casting sculpture and music, installation and live performance. The concept of this project is Contemporary Iranian Musicians. In tandem with those two projects, I am working on two installations and translating a book about the performance in contemporary art from English to Persian. In the end, I need to thank the LandEscape team for having me.


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LandEscape meets

Andrea Shearing Andrea was born in UK but raised in Switzerland until she was 16 when her family moved to Sussex. Andrea did her Foundation Course at Eastbourne School of Art before studying both painting and sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. After 25 years in Scotland she moved to Dorset as Head of Natural History Illustration and went on to Cambridge as Head of Graphic Arts and Illustration. Andrea has married another Eastbourne School of Art painter and they have studios in East Sussex and Bergerac France. They have also converted a vintage French fire engine into a mobile studio in which they are travelling around the British coast, both passionate about painting the sea. At Edinburgh Andrea was trained by Elizabeth Blackadder, Robin Philipson, David Evans, David Michie, Eric Schilsky and Michael Snowden. She had a classical training in life drawing, costume life drawing and anatomy. In the painting and sculpture schools, as well as being encouraged to develop her own personal language she was taught painting techniques, bronze casting and carving. Andrea has been inspired by nature since childhood and although her work is detailed she is not simply a representational artist. Her mission explores the emotional symbolism of her subject matter. She is currently working on sea paintings in which the movement of the ocean waves express the rhythm of life, the force and strength of nature. Its turbulence and calm reflect her inner world. Following the ebb and flow of froth on the surface helps her to read the moods of the deeper waters. Sheis interested in exploring the fluidity of water against the firm resistance of hard rock. Andrea’s most recent work; ‘Falling Water’ combines the energy from the fountain of happiness and light with the deep inner sadness from the darker side of night. At art college students were taught to observe and respond, now Andrea spends hours simply watching and meditating in order to gain a deeper understanding of her subject matter. She makes drawings on location which are then interpreted into paintings in the studio. This year she has been developing a series of 3D paintings to challenge the tradition that paintings have to be 2 dimensional rectangular images hanging on walls. She cuts 3D structures which sit on specially designed plinths so they are seen at specific heights. She is also developing hanging paintings and 3D floor paintings as well as irregular shaped paintings for the wall thus considering all the opportunities to place paintings in different parts of an environment. Andrea's mission explores the emotional symbolism of her subject matter. She is currently working on sea and rock paintings in which the movement of the ocean waves express the rhythm of life, the force and strength of nature. Its turbulence and calm reflect our inner world. She is interested in exploring the fluidity of water against the firm resistance of hard rock. The Waterfall series combines the energy from the fountain of happiness and light with the deep inner sadness from the darker side of night. Andrea has recently won an International Competition for a solo exhibition in Santagio de Compestella, Spain. She regularly exhibits in London, New York and Europe.

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

College of Art: how did those formative years influence

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attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your

1) You have a solid formal training and you studied at the Edinburgh

your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?


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On my first day at college my painting tutor started by telling us the he was there to teach us visual grammar and that once we had learnt the grammar we were then free to say and express whatever we wanted. You need language to communicate. Observational drawing, colour and form were based on a long tradition of aesthetic understanding particular to the Scots. Our first two years were devoted to observational drawing with 2 hours anatomy a week for two years with anatomy exams at the end. We had a day's life drawing and a day's costume life drawing. (Insert Visual: Hands Clasped) The college had an amazing wardrobe stocked with every type of costume and props run by a Wardrobe Master. Edinburgh also had a huge collection of casts of Greek sculptures including the Parthenon Frieze. The other three days were devoted to painting, painting techniques, life modelling, bronze casting and basic design. The design course was based on the radical basic design course Victor Pasmore developed in the early sixties that became the model for higher arts education across the UK and was influenced by Bauhaus principles. We then chose to specialise in design, painting or sculpture for the next two or three years. I was amongst the most hard working and dedicated students and took every opportunity to maximise the use of models, studios, casting facilities, free evening classes and late evening debates on life and art. (Insert Visual: Selection from figure sculptures) We had ten hours tuition each day. Having been a principle lecture at Cambridge School of Art, I know how very fortunate our generation were with the exceptional quality and amount of tuition we received. This gave us a wonderful foundation to develop our own personal language on. Now, in British art colleges, students get very little tuition and are encouraged to find themselves in a vacuum without learning any visual grammar and having very little tuition. There is an idea that teaching students how to draw a figure from life will block their creativity. If children don't learn basic oral vocabulary and grammar, they are restricted in their ability to communicate. This was the point my tutor was making. Some regard classical training as restrictive. My


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experience is that it is the foundation for creative

language to find the best way of expressing what you

liberation. You first learn how to climb. Having done

want to say. If you really study aesthetic principles in

that you try your own ways of hanging upside down

depth you build up a rich vocabulary. The great thing is

from one leg looking backwards, climbing upside down

you can keep studying and extending your vocabulary

and taking risks. It can be a spring board into the

for the rest of your life. If you do it helps push the

unknown. The study of chiaroscuro, colour, form,

boundaries of exploration and avoid becoming a

composition filter down into the visual memory bank in

repetitive artist. The key is to enjoy trying and not to

the subconscious. Once you have learnt a language be

worry if you don't achieve what you have set out to do.

it oral, visual or musical it becomes automatic so you

Having established an understanding of basic visual

can focus on the content. Then you play with the

grammar then is the time for playing, allowing


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accidents to happen and experimenting. This we were encouraged to do ebbing sure this was a voyage of discovery and not governed by the need to succeed. One interesting piece of advice we were given was to destroy the are we were most precious about. Not doing this would restrict the painting from growing naturally and which resulted in the need to experiment in order to find the new direction. Wise words from my tutor: 'Masterpieces are not made from the intention to create one, they are the outcome of making a meaningful journey with the unexpected.' The first time I was aware of the impact an image can have on one emotionally, psychologically and physically, was when I was eight years old. We had moved to Basel in Switzerland and my parents soon took me to the Kunstmuseum. It was my first visit to an art gallery so I was wide eyed with amazement. I was completely mesmerized by three paintings. Holbein's The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb, Ancient Sound by Paul Klee and a Rothko. I walked very slowly along the two meter long naked body of Christ at about 1ft away totally captivated by the drawing, the detail and mostly by the atmosphere of death. I was hypnotised by the grid of coloured squares by Paul Klee. I now understand that the relationship between subdued subtle neutral colours and tones framing a band of luminous high chroma colours is the reason this image was imprinted on my mind for life. Looking at my student exercises one low chroma colours I recognise the influence this early encounter with Paul Klee. My memory of the Rothko was standing quite some distance away whilst completely sinking into a sea of intense ultramarine blue. I can still conjure up the physical sensation this had on me. Unlike the Klee which pulled you in, the Rothko enveloped you from outside in. No wonder I developed a fascination and love for colour! I still remember the psychological impact of what my fist experience of death and the sensation of being pulled into a world beyond the real

in the Holbein. Both deeply moving. One about the vibrance of life and the other dark mystery of death. As my recollection of these images is still as fresh as the day I saw them I am certain they continue to influence my work. They certainly inflamed my desire to draw well from observation and excel in my use of colour. As well as the sound practical grounding we were given in visual grammar we also had art history lectures three time a week; fine art, design and architecture. We were taught how to analyse the geometric structure of Renaissance paintings, the colour palette used by Paul Klee and to see the internal structure of a Rodin sculpture. I have travelled to Greece, Florence, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and New York to see the real works of art. The knowledge and understanding how to analyse imagery was the cement in the underlying foundation of my training. Artists can be influenced by other artists in two ways; one they mimic their style and in doing this borrow or plagiarise or they can gain understanding of their aesthetics which can then be fed into their own personal language in a more significant way. These form part of the underlying forces in my creative process as all these strands linked with my own inner world, drive the development of my work. The strongest cultural influence on my development in my early student years were the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Italian Renaissance artists and the Impressionists, Rodin, Gwen John and Klee. More recently Thiebaud, Stella, Gabo, Kandinsky, Malevich, Rothko and Diebenkorn. The key difference between the two groups for me is the early group inspired and informed my drawing practice and the recent group the process of refining an image into an easily legible and distilled form and consequently more powerful. This has to be a point of arrival not beginning. 2) The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of LandEscape and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention


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of your works is the way you sapiently combined geometric and abstract sensitiveness with subtle realistic references, providing the viewers with such multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you develop your initial ideas? I first want to talk about the importance of geometry in my work. From my first lesson in geometry at school aged around 10, I had a love for the mathematical structure of geometry and the satisfaction of constructing accurate geometric shapes using compasses, protractors and rulers. In art history I studied the Geometric period in Greek art and learnt about Filippo Brunelleschi, the inventor of the mathematics of perspective in painting and Leonardo's Vitruvian Man. During the Renaissance, mathematicians and artists produced treatises on these subjects which I also studied. Geometry became a key ingredient to painting just as maths in an integral part of most musical compositions. I also read about the sacred geometry used in architectural constructions and structured paintings on the golden mean. I later became fascinated by the maths and geometry found in nature. Everywhere you look on this planet, you will find that nature is based on two fundamental patterns: The Flower Of Life and the Fibonacci Sequence. The Fibonacci sequence starts like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and so on forever. Each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. It's a simple pattern, but it appears to be a kind of built-in numbering system to the cosmos and growth patterns in nature. The Fibonacci spiral is easily observed in nature. I produced a series of fossil drawings based on this principle. ( Insert Visual: 'Fossil Floating in Time') At Edinburgh we studied the hidden geometric compositions used by Renaissance artists and the use of curves, arches, triangle, circles and squares. We were given the challenge to analyse Renaissance painting in the National Gallery of Scotland from a black and white photograph and to do it mathematically. We put overlays of tracing paper and with compass and ruler had to draw

up all the circles, arcs, triangle etc embedded in the compositional structure. I could not get mine to work based on the measured centre of the painting. I then realised that the centre of the painting was not the centre of the composition and subsequently discovered that the National Gallery had had the canvas taken off its stretchers at one point and admitted to me it had not been put back matching the centre points.


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This inspired me to read The Painter's Secret Geometry by Charles Bouleau. All the observations you make observing and analysing swirl around in your subconscious memory but go on to influence how you compose without following and borrowing other artist's rules and ideas.

and how the layers link. E.g. There may be a hidden

The benefit of these exercise is that you can create your own hidden structures in the composition through having understood the visual layers involved

suggesting depth in the image without using

circle in the composition. The eyes may be aligned with the arc of the circle, then a finger, a brooch, the edge of a cuff. These visual elements then construct the top layer of the circle and point to the other unseen sections of the circle. This can have the effect of perspective means to show it. It adds more mystery. I did one painting using a strict mathematical structure


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and geometry. The subconscious memory of doing this then allows one to employ similar and less rigid structures to create a sense of layering. I became fascinated by the layering and ways of enhancing this whether it be by overlapping shapes in perspective space, using translucent glazes or hidden structures.

One of the contemporary artists I particularly admire is David Hockney. He has a clear understanding of the relationship of art and science in the work of the old masters as demonstrated by the in-depth studies he did as research for his book The Secret Knowledge. Hockney demonstrated how Renaissance artists used mirrors and lenses to develop perspective and chiaroscuro - radically challenging our view of how these two foundations of Western art were established. He is now interested in fractals - a new theory of geometry in which physical objects, like mountains or clouds, are


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hidden mathematical structures in nature. Through all my observations and understanding I am convinced that when its incorporated into art and music it gives us a cosmic as well as a spiritual connection with the universe and collective unconscious. My reason for focusing on my interest in geometry to start with is that I see this is the platform to discuss the abstract content in my work. The word 'abstract' can be used in a general way to describe art that has no relation to depicting the real world. In fact many fields of mathematics germinated from the study of real world problems, before the underlying rules and concepts were identified. These rules and concepts were then defined as abstract structures. Abstract language allows me to extract meaning from forms are said in a different way. The term 'abstract' refers to the ability to think of concepts that are outside the box, concepts that cannot be felt or experienced using just the five senses. To put it in the context of language concrete nouns or concepts are something that can usually be experienced using one's five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. An abstract image may include an aspect, concept, idea, experience, state of being, trait, quality, or feeling. So for me geometry and the abstract are intertwined.

conceived to be made of infinitely many smaller and smaller identical shapes. ''With a fractal, you look in and in and in, and it always goes on being a fractal,'' the artist said. ''The edges of things become blurred, and that seems a good thing. Getting rid of borders seems a good thing. It's a way towards a greater awareness of unity.'' These various applications and manifestations of geometry gave me an intuitive, as well as a cerebral, understanding of the importance of the meaning of the

Obviously the in-depth training I had in observational drawing, painting and modelling from life have planted the roots of my link with reality. In my early work what one might call the physical content of my work was the dominant ingredient. As students we were taught to observe and respond immediately as the impact of a first impression was something we were encouraged to capture. I now sit, watch and listen before making any marks. This gets me in tune with the essence of my subject matter. The visual language of simplified forms has come from my attempts to eliminate the superfluous details which complicate the image. I now consider the visual legibility for the viewer. In trying to answer the question clearly, I now realise that the link my work has with the real world comes from the interconnection between what is experienced through the sense of sight which


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relates us to the concrete world and the abstract geometry relating us to the inner world and the world beyond. Over the years my aim is to achieve a balance between the intellectual and the emotional, spiritual and psychological content in my work and inner and the outer, the concrete with the abstract. The opportunity for a multi-layered visual experience for my audience comes from the different elements that following intense study become integrated in the subconscious memory. These emerge, sometimes hidden, sometimes visually presented in the painting and are triggered by the conscious participation of eye and brain as a new work evolves. It is a bit like making a sophisticated paella! You have a recipe, a pile of different ingredients which are combined through a variety of processes. The dish provides a range of different flavours either from individual ingredients or the combination and reaction of several but all contributing to the experience of digesting the final platter not forgetting to add the salt and pepper! I see my ideas a bit like carriages on a train. They are complete units in themselves but connect to the carriages behind ... they build on the past and also to the ones ahead ... the future. New ideas grow out previous concepts, schemes, interests but at best are pulling you forward into new territory. If you are in tune with your creativity, innovation and invention you will avoid repeating yourself. Creativity is the act of conceiving something original or unusual. Innovation is the implementation of something new. Invention is the creation of something that has never been made before and is recognized as the product of some unique insight. Sounds so simple! Sometime ago I came to recognise that you can be creatively fit or creatively unfit. The urge and energy to seek out the new is for me the essential ingredient to creative fitness. Without this the creative journey ends in a static repetitive state devoid of discovery. The more you are in tune with this energy the more creative you become. Again this comes out of a balance between instinct, intuition, the subconscious and intellectual enquiry. Take for example the commitment I had to producing seventy paintings on the theme of H2O. I chose this theme not only because I am passionate about water

but it provided a me with a massive range of visual forms to explore, the opportunity to educate people about scientific facts, environmental issues but also the symbolic interpretation of water. When I won this solo exhibition I had not envisaged creating an image of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone Park. In researching water I happened upon a photo of the spring. Understandably it has an immediate visual impact due to the vibrant bands of colour, then I read about why the bands of colour occur and then read about the environmental problems the volcanoes below the spring may cause. At this point I was aware not only of what an iconic planetary image this is but that it can also be used as a meditative mandala a spiritual and ritual symbol representing the universe. This can then act as a funnel for the viewer to connect with nature and enter a state of awe, wonder and amazement. Part of my mission has been to lift people's awareness of life through enhancing their state of sentience. I think this is a good example of how an initial idea is born out of visual stimulation, research and knowledge, the psyche, emotions in order to stimulate sensations and feelings for my viewers. (Insert Visual: Grand Prismatic Spring) 3) New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance playing within your creative process? As the term "gestural painting" is used to describe a method of creating a painting characterized by energetic, expressive brushstrokes deliberately emphasizing the sweep of the painter's arm or movement of the hand, my slow way of working would not qualify as gestural painting. My body movements are absolutely minimal in order to have the control and focus on defining shapes and lines very thoughtfully and carefully. The fact there is a reference to geometry


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in my work means there is a need for a degree of precision but this not rigid as I am not interested in perfect rendering which for me blocks the personal. My consideration of the exact curve or straightness of each line and edge of a shape is key to my way of constructing my images. The juxtaposition of the interaction of curves which then flow into straight lines or straight and back into curves are very carefully considered. I actually use a French curves and rulers to construct some of the lines and edges but I also combine these with hand drawn lines. In my own slow world I actually think that drawing a curve has an element of making a gesture but it is only with the

hand and not the body. It is slow but this does not mean it lacks energy so I would say I do make gestures in the sense of making marks that relate to deeper emotions but as I said am certainly not a gestural painter. The role of instinct in my creativity is extremely important to me. As a youngster I became interested in Jung's theories and attended dream groups in order to understand my subconscious mind. The three components of the mind which Jung outlined were the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. I hope my creativity is linked to all three. I was fascinated by his idea of the collective unconscious


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mind and its connection to global ancestral memory and experiences. This led me to an interest in the Zeitgeist and I wrote a thesis exploring how the artistic Zeitgeist moves around the world through time and space. All these interests have influenced my creative development. I consider my initial inspiration for a painting as visceral and subliminal in its roots but as it emerges its is then processed like the birth of a butterfly. In its first phase the idea is born through what I can only describe as subconscious mulling. I get glimpses of the creative energy moving around my subconscious. I have no idea what it going to develop

but at the point when it finds the link to significant inner meaning it then seems to be processed through the conscious mind. At that point I can see an image in my mind's eye which is the trigger to start work. I then link with the real world to find the best symbolic reference of a location that is the vessel to hold the essence of my idea. This is the spring board to evolve and refine the image through the act of composing. Some artists consider composition as the first stage of making a painting as the Renaissance artists did and nothing wrong with that. Indeed as students were taught to do thumbnails of compositions before starting to plot the painting. I no longer make a


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planned composition on paper. The image in my mind's

composition as the first stage. From the very first mark

eye and reference material guide the compositional

to the very last is a process of continual composing. The

process. I am making a distinction here between the

first line I draw sets up the dynamic on which the rest

plan of a composition and the act of composing. I have

follow. I study the blank shape for quite a long time to

spent most of my life working within the traditional

envisage exactly the position and form of the first line.

right angled rectangle or square formats of paintings.

The interaction between this line and the edges of the

Now that I work in irregular shapes I no longer see

board is the anchor point on which to build the image.


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Before starting I will have chosen my palette to set the

you have done and having a mull. I actually find

timbre of the piece so there is no gap between the

conducting telephone conversations whilst working

drawing up of the image and the colouring of it. At the end of each day I have to reach what I can only describe as a pause in the composition. The act of

leaves the unconscious mind room to take centre stage whilst the conscious mind focuses on the conversation.

composing needs to be a fluent and fluid as possible.

This lets instinct take over to allow what you are doing

This doesn't mean not giving time to studying what

to happen without thinking about it!


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I am always thrilled when new discoveries that change your direction pop out unexpectedly. When I developed the shaped MDF paintings I did not initially consider how I would produce drawing that could work as shaped drawings. When working for my solo exhibition, having produced about 3/4 of the work, I realized I had not planned to include drawings and that as I am passionate about drawing this would be a terrible omission. I did not want to include traditional rectangular drawings as these would not be in harmony with the irregular shapes. I needed to experiment to see if I could actually draw on MDF. I did some small samples and then fixed them and to my delight it worked. They would not smudge. I'd primed the surface with acrylic primer and then used a variety of graphite implements to draw with including graphite powder. I also use a variety of erasers as drawing implements to make marks as opposed to rubbing out. I had to check if I could do this. I then produced the triptych of the waterfall. I was so excited as the textures created by working on hard but textured MDF created marks you simply would not get on paper. For the next waterfall drawing I deliberately painted the primer in thick paint leaving strong brush marks as a deliberate part of the textured surface. The result was unexpected. I could see my drawing now heading in a whole new direction but it happened by surprise rather than being contrived. I then went on to make freestanding 3D drawings. ( Insert Visuals: French Waterfall & ) This is just the beginning of a new journey of discovery and I have no idea where it will take me, I just know it will happen in its own way. I have a path to follow. It is thanks to this solid classical foundation that I had such a good spring board to enjoy exploring and experimenting with inner processes and visual ideas. We had also been encouraged to take risks, have accidents, not to repeat our selves, always to set a new challenge and not to preserve the part of our work we treasured most as being precious can be restrictive. These words of wisdom formed the basis to break boundaries. Having said that I am a firm believer that

exploring in a vacuum is less fruitful than having tuned in to an inner focus that acts like a search light in the dark showing one the way. 4) Your artworks are carefully detailed and as you have remarked once you often mix minute portions of the chosen colours to find the subtlest and most appropriate palette: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in your works in order to provide the viewers with such immersive visual experience? I had the most amazing training in colour in my first year at Edinburgh. The first colour home work we were set was to produce a painting without using blue on our palette. Our challenge was to convince out tutor that we had created the illusion of blue in the painting. This was my introduction to colour induction! We were taught colour in Painting classes but also in our Basic Design classes. The Basic Design course was based on the Bauhaus principles. Consequently I was introduced to Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers, all wonderful colourists who taught colour theory at the Bauhaus. Their work was a complete revelation and inspired me to do colour exercises every night. We were given weekly colour exercises to do. Each exercise had defined aim be it the spatial qualities of colour, the temperature, colour induction or the psychological expression. The value of doing colour exercises is watching what is happening when you mix colour, juxtapose them, over lay them. I learnt that the more controlled and defined the exercises the more detail you observe. Hence the mixing of minute proportions of colour. Some of the exercises we were given involved drawing out measured grids with a specific number of squares. One grid might have five squares, ten squares, twenty squares. The first exercise was to produce and evenly graded achromatic scale in twenty steps. Later learning that Gwen John used a


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tonal scale of 100 steps made my efforts look crude. She had each tone numbered and would actually plot her paintings mathematically. A Gwen John paintings demonstrates just how subtle the result can be when you mix by minute proportions. The viewer does not need to know there is a hidden mathematical tonal grid to her work but can certainly enjoy the resulting nuances enriching the image. Having made the tonal scale we then had to cut pieces of coloured paper and place them where they belonged on the scale. When photographer in black and white the effect should be seamless. The next challenge was to paint equally gradated colours or tones along the length of the grid. (Insert visual: Colour Mixing Exercise) The example below demonstrates the subtle colours that are created when you add minute quantities of one colour to another of several others. (Insert visual: Low Chroma Colour Exercise) The fact the brain remembers information better when it's presented in colour and is stimulated by colour, and that this increases the chances of the stimuli being transferred to memory shows what an active and variety of ways the brain effects our perception of colour. That colour scenes help our brains organize, compare and recall information more efficiently than achromatic scenes confirms this. I am sure that what happens is that your observations are stored in your unconscious memory and build up a library and understanding of colour. When you then add an understanding of the physical, psychological and emotional effects of colour all these observations and experience of colour control result in enhancing your painting with a richer visual experience for the viewer and boosts the expressive content of the image. Again looking into the psychology of Jung's ideas in as much as the relationship of the four primary colours (blue, red, green, and yellow )with the four psychic functions— thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition establish a whole new level of understanding colour.

The importance of choosing a palette is that this is the vehicle to create the resonance and timbre of the overall mood of the painting. If you mix a little of all the colours together, on the whole the result is a muted tertiary colour but for me it is the key to getting the best selection of colours on the palette. We explored primary, low chroma, high chroma and complimentary palettes. Now with all that experience of basic palettes behind me I have explored the same range again but instead of using black and white as the 'lightening' and 'darkening' agents using premixed agents which have a totally different effect to resulting colour mixes. As an example I might chose complimentary 'lightening' and 'darkening' agents like a pre-mixed pink for the 'lightening' agent and hookers green as the 'darkening' agents. Traditionally a painting is based on a single palette. Recently I have been exploring using a number of related palettes in one painting piece which is like conducting a full size orchestra. As an example for the Tumbling Cascade ( Insert visual: Tumbling Cascade) I used four palettes. A different one for each section. The challenge is to make the four palettes work as a whole as well as individually. Each palette consisted of five colours. Two of the colours from the top section were substituted for two new ones in the next section and so on to the bottom. The three that were retained between the palette above and the one below establish the visual link between the neighbouring sections. The two new ones add the new nuances. What I was trying to achieve was a subtle colour cascade. The fewer the number of the colours in the palette and the more minute the proportions used in the mixing the subtler the final effect is. I start with an idea of the colour range I want to achieve e.g. whether the dominant colours are earth colours, high chroma vibrant or pastel colours. Maybe three out of six or seven of the colours are chosen to produce the overall effect, then an additional two for the 'lightening' and 'darkening' agents. The last ones are what my tutor described as the salt and pepper in the recipe. Colours that stimulate the reaction between all the other ingredients by using very small quantities just as you do when you add salt and pepper to a recipe. In my recent work I have developed gradated coloured lines which act as the salt


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and pepper in the painting. (Insert visuals: Gradated Lines 1 to 4 )

In terms of how my psychological make-up determines my selection of colours, this is certainly visceral. Each of us has an innate sense of colour and it this that reflects our psychological character. Within our individual colour selection I think different colour groups within the range reflect different parts of our personalities. Psychological colour theory would confirm this. My palette is dominated by indigo, blues, violets and green indicating intuition and perception for indigo. Calmness, serenity, tranquillity, security, stability and reliability for blue with growth and harmony for green. Yellow is my middle colour reflecting the creative and optimistic side of my personality. Red and orange which I intermix so hidden but only use as pure colours in small amounts show the fiery, passionate and enthusiastic side of my nature. Of course it is more subtle and complex than that. The colours you choose reflect a far more complex range of characteristics of your personality. 5) With their unique visual identity, your artworks feature such a powerful combination between between abstract and representational visual qualities, to challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters: we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

I consider part of my role as an artist is to invite the viewer to discover a new relationship with their inner selves, be it their emotions, soul, mind, or spirit. Embodied in each work an artist creates is a selection from a lifetime of every type of experience each one has had. You can never put the whole lifetime's experience into one work. It is to this selection the viewer then responds. My best work results from a balance of the combination of part conscious thoughts and feelings and partly unconscious. I have chosen to base my work on topographic references partly to provide a link to the real physical world but also because I can provide a landscape for the viewer to make their own journey in. As a composer and conductor I can direct parts of the onlookers experience say through open or closed composition, through the choice of palette, the dynamics of abstract line and shapes. I can also give them the freedom of open spaces to dance their own dance, sing their own song or fight their own fight. I hope the multi-layered element in my work provides a journey into the depth of the painting and not just across it. I try to give them with a choice of frameworks to explore so on each viewing there are new opportunities. I want to provide a platform of choices for interpretation. One of the other key ingredient is to provide space to the viewer's experience like pauses in a piece of music. In writing this I remember my sculpture tutor demonstrating how you create spaces within the three dimensional form when drawing from life. What he called the transition between two muscles provided a breathing space. That is, when you draw the link between the two muscles as a continuous curve it becomes slurred and blurred and therefore difficult to visually digest. If you define the join with a break at each end of the muscle, with a straight line in between, each muscle can read with individual clarity with a breathing space in between. A work of art therefore needs breathing spaces for the viewer. In


Andrea Shearing

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Andrea Shearing

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the example of the two muscles joining, the breathing space is very small, however small or large, giving the viewer a breathing space provides them with the opportunity of interacting with the space in their own personal way. So they can imbue the space with personal significant content from their own life time giving them the chance to combine their own content with that of mine. I wrote about my method of constructing lines using French curves, rulers and free hand. I mentioned there were straight sections incorporated in the curves. I see the straight edges, like the spaces in the drawing of muscles, as the breathing spaces. For me this is a recent development but shows how my early training still emerges in a different way. What I try to provide is a set of spring boards on which I hope they can orchestrate their own song. It may result in a duet between them and me or they may run away singing a solo. An artist can choose whether to restrict the viewer's response, so for example religious images were designed to contain the viewer in a religious experience and not, as say abstract art, a deeper personal emotional experience. There is a role for religious, political, feminist or the radical. I am also interested in the relationship of the time it takes to create a work and the time the viewer wants to engage with it. The first time I saw one of Rodin's drawings of dancers I felt I was being guided to have a very fast intense experience compared with say a Gwen John interior which can slowly wander round in, stop, rest and depart when you feel like it. It occurred to me then that the artist's image can be like a piece of music a short canon or lengthy symphony. Music is a linear journey in time which a work of art isn't but the speed they eye travels around a painting can be orchestrated by the artist. I now carefully consider the 'speed' of a shape or line. I also think individual colours effect the speed a viewer reads a painting. I have been thinking about the fact violet light travels the slowest and red light travels the fastest. I also see darker tones

as slower and lighter tones as faster thus effecting the viewer's experience. A large dark violet shape in contrast to a small light red shape not only provides the viewer with the opportunity to sink slowly into the violet shape and ponder longer whilst skimming over the light red possibly to land in mid speed on green adds to their sensory experience of the piece. This new interest in the embodiment of time in a piece relates to my earlier interest in the Zeitgeist. A second example of early influences emerging in a new way. This is a new layer of abstract thinking that currently fascinates me. I feel more colour exercises coming on! Interesting that my meditative healing pool series are deep blue and hence my selection of the dark edges of the pool as the vessel to hold the blue. Intuitiely designed to give the viewer an image they can spend time with. (Insert Visuals Deep Pool, Blue Grotto, Blue Cave, Small Blue Pool) Over the past three years I have developed a series of 3D paintings to challenge the tradition that paintings have to be 2 dimensional rectangular images hanging on walls. I cut 3D structures which sit on especially designed plinths so they are seen at specific heights and in perspective. I am developing hanging paintings and 3D floor paintings as well as irregular shaped paintings for the wall, thus considering all the opportunities to place paintings in different parts of an environment. I want to explore other options for developing the construction of my 3D pieces. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? The question about the relationship between the artist, the art work, the presentation of the piece and the viewer is one of the most important one's an artist needs to consider. The artist is the communicator, the art work the vehicle for the message and the viewer


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the interpreter of the image. There are no set, right or wrong answers to this question as these relationships and the variables are wider-ranging and complex. I try to consider different ways of guiding the viewer to interpreting my work whilst not restricting what they personally bring to it. The artist can only control the creation of the art work but they cannot always control how it presented and certainly not who the viewer is or their responses to the work. A lot of the time an artist relies on a curator or gallery director to present their work in the best way possible for their audience to enjoy. Environment, space and lighting can affect the viewing experience of the spectator. This reminds me of an extraordinary experience I had in Greece. I'd taken a bus to the

outskirts of Athens to visit a Byzantine church. As I stepped out of the bus into glaring sunlight and looking across the almost white piazza I, was drawn to a small shaded doorway to the church beckoning me in. On entering the doorway I found myself in a short dark tunnel and through the arch I saw a shaft of light beaming down. This beckoned to me so on entering the nave I immediately looked up to where the beam of light was coming in. I remember the physical shock I had as I was gazing into the large piercing eyes of God looking down on me from the dome. I couldn't help think that this journey from the sunlit square, through the shaded entrance directing me to God wasn't given consideration. It was the most powerful experience I have had of how environment, space, position and lighting.


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By challenging the traditional view point my freestanding paintings give the viewer the option of many different view points each one changing how the image is seen in perspective. Each time someone returns to visit the piece they will have a different experience. Holbein was one of the inspirations for pursuing these 3D paintings namely his painting of the Ambassadors when viewed from the front presents a skull which is so distorted you can hardly recognise what it is. When you move your position the skull appears to be seen from the side. The exciting potential to play with illusion presents something I wish to explore further. 6) We have appreciated the way you develop the expressive potential of symbols that you

includedespecially in Rainbow Moon : how importance do play symbols and metaphors in your artistic research? In particular, how important is for you to create artworks rich of allegorical qualities Firstly let me tell you about the inspiration for the Rainbow Moon. One night I stepped into the garden. To my amazement, the moon had a clear rainbow right around it. I had never seen or heard of one before. This phenomenon is called a ‘halo’. It occurs when the light of the moon passes through a thin layer of cirriform clouds. These occur in the upper atmosphere and are made up of ice crystals. The light from the moon is refracted by the ice crystals forming a rainbow ring around the moon. (Insert Visual: Rainbow Moon)


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Months later whilst working for my solo exhibition on

include rocks around the edge and below the surface

H2O I remembered this. I wanted my exhibition to

gave me the opportunity to create the layering I love.

inspire people and value this our most precious compound that keeps us all alive but also to inform them about the wonders of water. I could have just painted the moon with its rainbow in the sky but thought this would probably be a little dull as basically you would have a blob floating in a space. This image had no personal link for me. I then had a vision of it

Rainbows have played a significant part of my life at various times. The most poignant experience was driving to visit my elderly mother. I had to stop at traffic lights at the entrance to a tunnel. I suddenly knew that my mother was going to die that day. I became anxious as the traffic lights were not changing indicating a problem in the tunnel and I was worried I

reflected in a rock pool. For me, by bringing the moon

would not arrive in time to see her. I looked out to the

down to earth also expressed the deep link between

right side of the car and there was the arc of half a

the earth and the moon. I am mindful of the lesson we

rainbow landing just beside me. I looked out to the

had as students in 'open' and 'closed' composition. An

other side and to my shock there was the other side of

open composition can lead you out of the picture to

the arc. I realised I was in the arch of a broken

the beyond which painting the moon in the sky would

rainbow. The lights changed and I drove into the

do or the closed composition would contain you and

tunnel and much to my surprise had to put the

hold you in. By placing the moon in a pool surrounded

window screen wipers on. There was rain falling in the

by rocks it holds the viewer in. The opportunity to

tunnel. My tunnel of tears.


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Two years later when I came to paint Rainbow Moon and rejected the idea of painting it in the sky and then had the vision of it being reflected in the pond, I simply knew it was an image that embedded the inner meaning I have talked about. I was not thinking about my mother when I had this vision. Three years after my mother died I have now understood that the broken reflection of the moon in the water which I could not have done had it been in the sky, was the broken rainbow I saw the day she died. The rock pool my pool of tears so unknowingly I had a produced a tribute to my Mum. It also connects to memories of child hood holidays when I spent hours gazing into rock pools on the coast of Anglesey. I was always trying to spot things hiding in the still dark waters and still am! The hidden behind the surface! 7) We have really appreciated the way you sapiently balance between realism and unique visual atmosphere that provides your artworks with such recognizable identity: as an artist particularly fascinated by the movement of the ocean waves expressing the rhythm of life and the force and strength of nature, how do you consider the relationship between the real and the imagined playing within your artistic practice? Imagination involves a network that helps share information across different regions of the brain. These different regions all work together to form mental images in our head so the initial image, produced are in my mind's eye starts and are born in my imagination. The process of creating a new idea starts with undefined feelings inside me. I then see envisage an image relating to the outside world and this makes the link my inner feelings with the outside world. The image may initially be a generic waterfall. The next phase is either to research real waterfalls to find which specific one which makes the best link with my inner feeling or to visit a waterfall and search for the section in it that best makes this connection or find photographic reference.

Reality is defined as the state of things as they actually exist outside of us. That suggests that we should all be able to understand that which exists in exactly the same way. However, this is not the case for a variety of reasons. Cognitive neuroscientist Geraint undertook research to discover the differences in the way people experience similar visual things differently. His subjects looked at a diagram of the Ponzo illusion which shows two placed over parallel lines that seem to converge as they recede into the distance. Whilst doing so he scanned their brains, noting their descriptions of how they perceived the two lines to be different that is a visual illusion . What he discovered was that the physical size of the visual cortext effected their perception. He found that the smaller a person’s visual cortext, the more powerfully he or she experiences the illusion. Those individuals with a large visual cortexts judged the size of the bars to be more similar than those with a smaller visual cortext. This established a physical reason to explain why we do not perceive reality in the same way. Add to this the fact that our perceptions are based on how we interpret different sensations and the stimulation of our sensations and in turn this effects the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. Our interpretations depend on our culture, upbringing and the environment we live in. The point I am trying to explain is that both the processes of seeing the real world and the way the imagination works are all active inside our brains with our eyes being the bridge between the inner and the outer world. Consequently, my creative process is a see saw between the inner and the my own reality of the outer world. I see it as a dance between the two and governed by the need to imbue the image with meaning. After the birth of the idea the first stage is devoted to focusing on the real location then an interim period occasionally observing my subject matter in search of information to interpret. As the image evolves the observation of the real world, be it a waterfall, cliff or cave, becomes secondary to making the painted image advance on its own journey towards standing independently in front of a viewer. I think the seesawing between the real and the imagination is the dynamo that drives the creative energy. Probably the most important ingredient is to keep the visual senses


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stimulated, to keep contact with the initial seed of the idea, to allow and intuitive journey to evolve through the perception and translation of the real world. (Insert Visual: Babbacombe Bay 1, 2 & 3) Although marked out with such powerful abstract quality, your images seem to reflect a sense of connection with the surroundings and to the idea of landscape: how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? I was bought up abroad from the age of seven where I had a very traumatic experience. This has certainly driven the connection I have developed with my subconscious mind and my creative energy. Had it not been for this I would have trained in medicine like many in my family. This experience and my genetic background have given me an unusual combination of a problem solving mind with a highly charged emotional inner world. At one stage of my career I was invited to develop 'original' concepts for children's books where I discovered how to combine these two elements. This was to drive my creativity in a deeply meaningful way. I produced over a hundred children's books, games and puzzles with twenty three international awards for writing, illustrating and games devising. However, my roots have been in fine art where there is more freedom to follow a personal path than in the commercial world of publishing so I gave up the commercial work. Just at the point when I was about to give up the children's book and focus on painting and sculpture, I became a carer for my elderly mother so devoted ten years of my life looking after her and having little time for creative work. During this period I had time to think about my mission to get back to my fine art roots. It raised the question ' How do you start afresh when you haven't painted for over a decade?' You can't go back to resume the last series of paintings you did as your life's experience have moved you on. For several years I mulled on finding the answer to finding the thread that had been severed and setting off into the unknown. Then I started to visualise free standing paintings. This excited me enormously as the idea combined my passion for colour and love of space. I had to wait until my mother died to set off on this new challenge but my time as carer gave me the time to think hard about the

direction I was taking. I think periods of reflection are so valuable and the invitation to write this article is one of those precious opportunities. At the same time I was a carer I met and married a former student's father who is also a professional painter. Jerry had worked in advertising in London as he had four children to support but at the point we met had also decided to return to his fine art roots. It turned out we had both been taught, all be it at different times, by the same tutors at Eastbourne School of Art. This is the most significant life experience to influence my work as we share the same passion for nature and drawing. I put this down to the number of hours we spent drawing and painting the Sussex coast. Although taught by the same tutors we are very different painters. He is fast, furious and gestural and I slow, calm and meditative but we share the training so can guide, understand and encourage each other's development. As we are both inspired by the same subject matter we work together in the studio and on location. As well as our Sussex studio we have one in France and have converted a 1974 Citroen HV fire engine into a mobile studio. Having a companion whose eye you trust is a precious thing to have. (Insert Visual: Fire engine) We have recently had a joint exhibition called Coastal Resonances as we share a passion for seascapes and landscapes. Although we share the same aesthetic roots our work is very different. Jerry is fast, gestural and very expressive. I am slow and meditative. When we first met we set ourselves the task of doing a page in our sketch book each day. We took it in turns to set a brief. This took us both in unexpected directions and we realised we had the basis for a very significant and interesting creative relationship. Many artistic marriages I have known end up as competitive negative creative relationship. Over the years your artworks have been showcased in several occasions, including your incoming solo at the OLALAB GALLERY, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. French artist Edgar Degas, once said that “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see": how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram — increases, how


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would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? As an artist we cannot control what people get from our creations but art is a language of communication so I hope that people can tune into my passion and wonder for nature and in doing so be inspired to look at it for themselves with new eyes. If I can inspire them to treasure our environment and value our planet that would be wonderful. I also hope it will give them a bridge to get in touch with their own inner spirit. If your work

has roots within your own psyche then people can tune into this, not to understand you but to understand themselves. There are several areas to be considered in anticipating the future. Part of being a professional artist involves running a business. When I left college virtually the only opportunities to sell your and exhibit were in private galleries and the Royal Academies. Your hope was to develop a local audience. There were no websites with artist's


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opportunities, open calls or indeed submission fees. The very fact you now have to pay to submit work for most opportunities or make a financial contribution for wall space ( I am not referring to vanity galleries) means you need to have a business plan. I probably devote two days a week researching opportunities, checking for scams, making submissions, shipping work to exhibitions, updating CVs, websites, Instagram , Face book, researching publication opportunities, photographing and cataloguing work. As an artist my main mission is to communicate with my audience and

therefore my main business aim is to expand my audience on the global stage. If I earn some money at the same time that is a bonus. My key financial aim is to cover my costs as I am in the fortunate position of having been a successful children's author illustrator I don't need to generate an income. I won a free year on the Art Majeur online gallery and am currently preparing to join the Satcchi online gallery. I have spent a year researching online opportunities. It is very clear this is the best way to build up a global audience. I already exhibit galleries in UK, Europe and America.


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Very few bricks and mortar galleries have a sizeable and significantly expanding audience and so these opportunities we used to aspire to are now less attractive. A bricks and mortar gallery with an online shop is a different matter and is certainly on my list for further research. Although my focus is on virtual opportunities and I think street galleries are restrictive, we also run our own family gallery from home. There are six professional artists, photographers and crafts artists in the family. Although the main sector of our audience is local we do have a good number of international visitors. Recently I read an article about the success artists are having running galleries from their homes or studios. The online galleries offer the buyers a massive range of choice but by its virtual nature it can't be as personal as meeting the artist in their studios and for many buyers this is part of the experience of purchasing art that they enjoy as do the artists. The opportunity to talk to your audience is incredibly valuable be they buyers or not. I therefore would not want to chose between one or the other. I think they will both influence how the art world changes and develops. Having started life as young professional artist with very restricted opportunities to sell work I think the expansion of the market through the internet is wonderful and maybe this is as good as can ever be. We definitely need to embrace it!

by taking smaller sections and may even lose their

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Andrea. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

shapes so that whatever the position of the moving

I am currently developing ideas for my next solo exhibition focusing on the relationship between the sea and dry land. This theme would also include cliffs, caves, rocks, pebbles, beaches and tide lines. An extension to my H2O and Coastal Resonances exhibitions which were predominantly water based. I also want to explore focusing in on much smaller sections of a location and magnifying them. I think there is a link to my passion for macro photography. I have a feeling that my work will become more abstract

recognizable link to their locations. I have no intention of radically changing the way I work from reference material or in developing ideas. That can end up being far too contrived. It has to be a process of natural growth allowing for the unpredictable. I also plan to create new structures. These will include more complex 3D floor paintings and 2D reliefs. Looking at the stratification of cliffs and rock structures I was inspired to explore the concept of folding paintings. My experience of making children's novelty books with flaps, folds and holes gives me a foundation for creating a new unique relationship between the viewer and the art work. I won 23 international awards and produced over 100 books, jigsaw books and games mainly with a particular interactive element on which my reputation was built. I've now had a vision of using similar structures to create art works that can be moved by the viewer to make a range of new images. They would be encouraged to adjust the positions of the various sections of the 3D paintings either on the wall or on the floor. The challenge is to create continuity of lines and parts the image still works at the interconnecting edges. Having done this in children's books I am confident I can make this work. I need to research various forms of hinges allowing pieces to fold and rotate; the use of magnets to clip the sections together but allowing them to be moved and rotated, systems to hang the sections in different positions of height and order. The title for my exhibition 'Moving Shorelines' expresses the interactive element in the context of my theme. It also allows for a broad interpretation of the title so I have room to meander in my interpretation of it. I do believe in having a clear idea of the path you are on but it shouldn't have fences. Being, rational, down to earth, a business woman, a thinker, a feeler and intuitive, having space in the plan to dream is essential.


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LandEscape meets

Gordon Skalleberg Why do I paint faces and eyes, or sometimes only sections of a face? I guess I am trying to see beyond the surface. Subconsciously we can recognize joy and sadness, maybe even a subtle lie – but are we really aware of what we are seeing? Often, I paint from old photographs of people unknown to me. This facilitates freedom in my depictions because I am not trying to capture what I know about the individual, but rather what I see. Some of my paintings inspire the viewers to create their own stories, their own perspectives. This thrills me. A recent relocation to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with its desert landscapes and open skies, has inspired new imagery in a semi-abstract landscape-style that draws on the quintessential Southwestern features. My faces and landscapes are painted in oil on untreated plywood and other types of wood. The unique wood grains become a part of each painting – often in serendipitous ways. Every painting is truly a work in progress to the end - I never quite know what the colors, the material and the picture will communicate until I am done. The process and the result often surprise me, and I like to surprise the viewer as well. Imperfection is often found in my pictures – a crack in the plywood, trickles, scratches, roughness – and I welcome this aspect.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Gordon and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production, we would like to invite our readers to visit http://gordonskalleberg.com in order to get a comprehensive appreciation of your multifaceted artistic production. We will start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. A self-taught artist, you had been working for years in your family's company. What led you to shift to art and how did those years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to the artistic

heritage in your family direct the trajectory of your current artistic direction? Some very good questions and, as such, very difficult to answer. Even though I grew up in a creative environment, art was never really a major focus. My parents were interested in good design and architecture. My mother took some painting classes and did paint for a number of years, but we never spent much time going to museums or galleries. My very talented father – an entrepreneur, inventor and mechanical designer – encouraged me to pursue photography. I found that I had an eye for artistic photography and perhaps that sparked a desire to do something more creative.


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My father wanted me to learn more about machine design, but unfortunately I did not take the opportunity to learn it from the ground up. I think I would have been good at it. Instead, I became involved with marketing and sales in our company. I was designing booths for our trade shows; this expanded into the design and production of brochures, company presentations and all marketing materials. I learned to make brochures ”the old way,” before desktop publishing – that is, manual layouts. I then taught myself to use QuarkXpress, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and I acquired some web design skills. For a

while I was fixated and infatuated with typography! Watching professionals do their work also educated me. I found that I was most happy in my job when I was able to use these tools to create innovative material for the company. I also travelled a lot and therefore was away from my family. Eventually I became quite unhappy. I was looking for a change and in 2004 I began a year’s sabbatical from the company. After attending a week-long painting course, I found the impetus to immerse myself in my art. I was surprised to find within myself a great joy in


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painting and artistic creation! After a couple of years, I decided not to go back to the job at the company. It was a very difficult and painful process to break free from expectations and responsibilities. Today I am very happy that I did it! For this special edition of LandEscape we have selected Horisont, a stimulating series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While walking our readers through your usual setup

and process, would you tell us how you usually develop the initial ideas for your artworks? I am always thinking about what to do next. I go to galleries and museums and read a lot about art and artists and along the way I may pick up an idea, maybe just a color. I never try to copy or imitate other artists; I feel that is cheating. At the same time, I try to have consistency in my work. I keep working from a few basics (faces, people, plywood or wood‌more


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landscapes), while always trying to push myself to do something I have never done before, which could be just a small step. I cannot do just landscapes or just still life paintings. I get bored after a while and need a new focus. So, I keep thinking while I work and generally have more ideas than I can process. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, when you paint you never quite know what the colors, the material and the picture will communicate, and you are often

surprised by the process and the result. Do you conceive your works instinctively or do you methodically develop your pieces? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and how important is spontaneity in your creative process? I don’t think I can just go into the studio and improvise. In many cases I work from my basics in graphic design; I often use a photograph as a start, I plan the size of my work and then I print something I can work from. But then it gets difficult and I am


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increasingly spontaneous in choosing colors and process. Since I am not schooled I don’t have a ”patented” way to start a project and it becomes a struggle to find a way. I like that and

hope I can keep it that way. It should not be easy and if it is, then the challenge is gone. We like the way your artworks challenge the viewers' subconscious level, encouraging them


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to discover a variety of interpretations. In this sense, we daresay that the aim of your artistic practice is to look inside of what appears to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the viewers the freedom to realize their own

perception. French artist, Edgar Degas, once said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." How important is it for you to invite the viewers to find personal meanings? And in particular, how open would


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you like your artworks to be perceived? You are spot on! I am always thrilled to have people tell me what they see in my art. Sometimes they will tell me the most amazing stories and often these conversations lead to pretty deep stuff‌life and death, family

dynamics, inner thoughts and struggles. Early in my artistic adventure I did not know what I was trying to say. Instead I left that to others to interpret. But one time I was challenged to explain myself a bit more and I realized that maybe my interest in the mystique of a face, an eye, was like trying to understand what a


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black hole in space is. To me the pupil of an eye became like a black hole – it endlessly takes in information and stores it in the inner darkness. It made me realize that I don’t really KNOW even those closest to me; I don’t know their inner thoughts and feelings, which can change in an instant if we are faced with something amazing or dramatic. What a viewer discerns in my paintings is personal and wonderful. You are primarily painting on untreated plywood whose grain provides your artworks with such unique visual identity. How did you come about selecting untreated plywood and how do you create the balance between its texture — especially its imperfection — and the colors of your palette? Let me start with colors. I like colors, but not too many at once. I keep a lot of paint tubes on my work table and sometimes just spontaneously grab one that I think will work. I keep a color wheel nearby, just for inspiration. I did study a lot about color theory in the beginning, just to know the basics, but I mostly go with my gut feeling. At the start of my art studies I often went to see works by other artists. I would go up close to study their techniques and what materials they were using. Once I saw a show with some great works by Swedish artist Rolf Hansson. He had made large paintings on some kind of board. I went home and found a large plywood board in my shed; that was the first time I painted on plywood. I never study the grain or consciously try to use a specific pattern or grain. Basically, I just decide if the pattern of the grain should be vertical or horizontal and then I just dive in…and I am almost always surprised by how well it works out! Sometimes the grain becomes more pronounced and sometimes less, I never can know. The grain


Gordon Skalleberg

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becomes like a finger print – it is totally unique. I really appreciate the imperfections in the wood, especially when painting faces, since we human beings are not perfect.

between the real and the imagined playing within your artistic practice?

Lately I have painted landscapes, but in most cases they are just imaginary impressions of what I like the preparations when I go to my studio to I have seen. I may use a photograph as a build my ”canvasses.” I try to make the pieces foundation - then I either simplify or make up my look really nice from the side and the back as well. own impressions. During 2018, I painted a series I was trained to provide quality and I want my of still life paintings. work to express quality all the way through. I staged these still lives in my studio, You seem to draw a lot from an actual locale and, photographed them with studio lights and then painted from my photos, thus almost erasing the as you have remarked, spending time in the desert landscapes around Santa Fe and the Four line between photo and painting. But I don’t care much for photo-realism. I want the brush strokes Corners area has influenced your work. How do to be visible. I like when a few ”rough” brush everyday life experiences fuel your creative process, and do you consider the relationship strokes at a distance can look almost realistic.


Gordon Skalleberg

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I believe our imagination is very important, not least for young people who are still developing their brains, connecting the brain’s halves. With great imagination we may be able to understand the real! Therefore, I feel I have a purpose as an artist to stimulate the inventiveness and ingenuity of people of all ages. You also created a number of portrait series. We appreciate the way you astutely provide your figures with such powerful narrative drives. What’s your philosophy on the nature of portraiture? How do you select the people that you decide to include in your artworks? To me these are not ”portraits.” They are faces. Yes, they are often painted from old

photographs of real people, but I prefer when I do not know who they are and when I cannot tell their stories. A lot of viewers, when studying my ”portraits,” start to talk about themselves and their families, and maybe even feelings. As we are all humans there is so much to learn from studying other humans. To me a photograph is a snapshot in time, just a moment in a person’s life, but a painting is more boundless and infinite...and therefore more intriguing and mysterious. On a few occasions I have accepted commissions - a recent example being Netflix engaging me to paint portraits of Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn for a production. When I do accept portrait commissions, I


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reserve the freedom to let the process guide the work, meaning that I can never predict the final result. We can agree on size and price, but I retain artistic freedom. In just about every case the result has been approved and appreciated. Marked out with such powerful narrative drives, your portraits seem to unveil hidden details of the characters’ identities. What is your philosophy on the nature of portraiture? As I am not really considering these works as ”portraits,” I am freer to just paint what I see and not add any assumptions about the identity

of the individual I am painting. I see these paintings as a part of us, as what we are. Maybe they reveal just about as much about me and the viewer as of the person I have painted? Over the years your artworks have been internationally showcased on a number of occasions. How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In your opinion, as art increasingly moves from traditional gallery spaces to street and especially to online platforms — such as Instagram - how will the relationship with a globalized audience change?


Gordon Skalleberg

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Your question poses a dilemma. Even when we visit a great museum, we cannot possibly take in everything and may casually walk by some of art history’s greatest works. Nevertheless, I am generally skeptical about social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, etc. Everything is passing so quickly. What I saw yesterday, I have already forgotten today. Celebrities may have millions of followers on Instagram and there may be thousands of comments on one single post by a famous person – who has the time and interest to read all those comments? It is so much of ”look at me, see how popular I am.”

I am happiest when a child is inspired by looking a physical piece of my work, or even when a blind person is excited to touch my paintings and explore the brush strokes, the grain, the material. My paintings are best seen in tangible form as there is so much happening in the works when you walk around them and see them from different angles. I love it when people come to my studio and we can talk about my process and we can get excited about art… and life. I love street art as it is a very generous art form - who can sell, and buy, a work of art on a wall


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of a house or painted on the asphalt? It reaches thousands of people who may never see art in museums and galleries.

currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

If it gets the attention of the accidental viewer, it has achieved a lot. I have done some and would like to do more.

Thank you! I have enjoyed the excellent questions! Questions are essential as they make you think and reflect. I have tried to answer fairly spontaneously.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research. Before leaving this stimulating conversation, we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Gordon. What projects are you

I have recently completed a series of eight paintings inspired by the Four Corners landscapes and now I am working on a pretty ambitious diptych of some unknown people. I


Gordon Skalleberg

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am currently in that difficult stage where I am wondering can I pull it off‌ again? I love the process of painting, but at the same time I am tormented by doubts and worries about the end result. Then I look at previous paintings I have done, and I dare to try to succeed one more time. This summer I have been invited by the City of Helsingborg in Sweden to do a mural as a part of a city-sponsored street art project. That will be an exciting challenge!

Inspiration is a myth. It is all about working, going to the studio and constantly searching for new concepts and approaches. If we love what we do, we will want to work - and work harder! It will keep us healthy and vital. Being an artist is a great privilege. How many artists retire when they turn 65? So, I will continue to explore and come up with new ideas as long as I am able. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com


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LandEscape meets

Luma Jasim Iraq/ USA

Luma Jasim is an interdisciplinary Iraqi-born artist based in Brooklyn, NY, and Boise, ID. Jasim's art deals with war, violence, and her experience with immigration and the acculturation, which rose from that. In her artwork, she uses the personal to address the political and activate the viewer's curiosity. Luma often reconstructs her memories, traumas, and thoughts on displacement, belonging, and strangeness in various mediums, including mixed media painting, performance, video, and animation. Luma immigrated to The United States in 2008, she received her second BFA in Visual Arts from Boise State University, Boise, ID, and accomplished an MFA in Fine Arts with full scholarship from Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY, 2017. Jasim has completed many artist residencies and fellowships, including the MDOCS Storytellers' Institute fellowship in Skidmore College in Saratoga Spring, NY (2019), Yaddo Residency in Saratoga Spring, NY (2018) Surel's Place Residency in Boise, ID (2018), The MASS MoCA residency in North Adams, MA (2017), and The AAF (The American Austrian Foundation)/ Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts, Summer Academy in Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria (2017) Luma's work has been shown nationally and internationally.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

Hello Luma and welcome to LandEscape. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://lumajasim.com in order to get a wide

idea about your mulifaceted artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training: after having earned your MA Graphic Design from the University of Baghdad, you moved to the United States to nurture your education with a BFA of Visual Arts from the Boise State University and with a MFA of Fine Arts, that you received from the prestigious Parsons


Luma Jasim Nostalgia To Baghdad Between Dark Bright Memories photo by Gregg Mizuta


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School of Design: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? Luma Jasim: My "attitude to experiment," I like that; I think I can describe myself as a curious artist who loves to experiment and challenge myself all the time; education helped me to navigate this curiosity. This fact controls a lot of aspects regarding my education and my art career in general. The uncertainty about things is always exciting for me, always looking for surprises to come along my way. In Baghdad, Iraq, I studied Graphic Design and worked on it; at the same time, I joined a group of young artists working in Animation. Both fields were important to the time I was in Baghdad. It was a sanction (economic blockade) time, the economy was very bad, but I was able to support myself working on both fields, which also helped me mentally because I enjoyed my work; it was like an escape from reality. Later on, I moved to Istanbul Turkey in 2006, to continue working on both areas for two years; somehow, I feel that it helped me to escape the danger in Iraq at that time, where the sectarian war took place. When I moved to the US in 2008 as a refugee, the first place I moved to with my family was Boise, ID. I never heard of Boise before that point, but there was no choice to pick where to go. After settling in Boise, I decided to get a second BFA in Fine Arts to explore the areas I wasn't able to try when I was in Iraq. I also wanted to feel more confident regarding my knowledge of art and to build connections in this new world.


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During these years in Boise, I build up a strong portfolio, which included painting, mixed media, sculpture, printmaking, and photography. Then I decided that its time to move to a larger city, where there would be a wider scene for art. I think art and education played a significant role in taking me places, so I end up in NYC, pursuing my second MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design. A theorybased interdisciplinary program focused on critical thinking, conceptual art, and learning about a wide range of artists from around the world. This program helped me to be more critical of my art and others' as well. I am still learning and challenging myself with new experiments. For this special edition of LandEscape we have selected Frozen Roots, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that can be viewd at https://vimeo.com/252775052. What what has at once captured our attention of your sapient use of stop motion techniques, is the way you created such an interstitial point between references to reality and the realm of imagination: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop your initial idea? Luma Jasim: It started with a project called "Long Term Vision." a serious of mixed media paintings, and it deals with the concept of distance, mentally and physically; the distance from home and the memories that hunt us, we, immigrants. After finishing the first piece, I was taken by the figure; I felt that this figure represents every immigrant who feels like a stranger trying to fit in and yet carries a lot of other virtues but somehow feels almost as


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disfigured. I felt the figure want to move in and out of the canvas. So I started animating it and then projected it on top of the figure in the painting itself, which create a mixture between the "still," "the painting," and the movement of the stop-motion animation. From that point, I started to animate other historical symbols and statues mainly from Mesopotamia; sometimes, I projected onto a mixed media that represent today's reality to create a contrast between the two, bringing two different times to the same surface. The mixed media "Frozen Roots I" has been shortlisted for the 10th Passion for Freedom London Art Festival 2018. This piece was created during The MASS MoCA Residency in December 2017 in North Adams, Massachusetts; it was also part of the "Exit 2018" International group exhibition at Gallery MC in NYC last June. Rich of symbolic references, Frozen Roots provides the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience, developing the expressive potential of symbols that you included in your work: how importance do play symbols and metaphors in your artistic research? In particular, how important is for you to create artwork rich of allegorical qualities? Luma Jasim: From a historical aspect, it has always been fascinating for me how civilizations collapse somewhere and rise somewhere else around the world. Reading about my home history and thinking of the great cultures that took place in Mesopotamia (the land between two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates,) so many great civilizations such as Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, and Babylonian — then looking at today's reality, starting with all that I witnessed during the first 30 years of my life in Iraq. The negative changes to my

society on all aspects of life because of the dictatorship, wars, sanctions, invasion, fake democracy, extremists, outsiders' interests, militias, and who knows what else. All of that led to seeing a different reality than what I saw during my childhood, a "secular society." The idea of "Frozen Roots" is that the old civilizations we had at this land are frozen, and I hope that it would wake up one day. Since October first, 2019 until now, we have in Iraq a different kind of revolution against all corrupt systems and government, a sort of revolution that we never had for a long time. This young generation average of 20-25 years old who protesting peacefully at Tahrir Square in Baghdad and many other cities are my Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Akkadians, who I was waiting for, they are the "frozen Roots" I am talking about here. With their unique visual identity, your artworks challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters to activate their curiosity. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Luma Jasim: For me, seeing good art is like having a good conversation, and this is the first thing I wish my audience would get from my art. The second essential component is provoking emotions and feelings. I think it is great to make the viewers wonder about the piece; it is not necessary to understand my sole purpose of the work but to feel the


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melody coming out of it. Also, it is interesting to hear what the audience felt and their interpretation. I think any work's interpretation would get its uniqueness through each individual, the chemistry between the piece and the viewer would be the result of a mix between what the piece carries and what the individual has in the inner self, which most likely would somehow control what they see. Many artists express the ideas that they explore through representations of the body and by using their own bodies in their creative processes, as you did in the interesting Nostalgia to Baghdad German visual artist Gerhard Richter once underlined that "it is always only a matter of seeing: the physical act is unavoidable": how do you consider the relation between the abstract feature of the ideas you aim to communicate and the physical act of creating your artworks? In particular, how importance does improvisation play in your process? Luma Jasim: Every work of art starts with the physical, a combination of thinking and feeling; It is almost like a true love relationship. The combination of that comes out of my body in different ways. When I perform a live painting is exactly how I work in my studio, I would be thinking of a particular subject, moving right and left, touching my canvas softly sometimes, hard and ruff brushes some other times. Often I use nontraditional materials and tools as well. It could be a brush, my hand, my foot, a piece of wood, spatula, and many others. Creating a texture through this variety of actions, materials, and tools would help to get to what would translate my feelings. In general, I don't like to plan every detail of any work I am doing in advance; my goal is

always uncertain until I feel it there, coming up to the surface I am working on. I mean, part of the beauty of creating is not knowing; therefore, improvisation going on most of the time, every step would lead to the other. It's like having a conversation with my acts; throwing some brushes strokes could make me see something that would direct me to my next move, but that would be parallel to what thoughts and feelings I have inside. The process of creating is as important as the final piece, and sometimes it is more critical but always interesting. Both Frozen Roots and Nostalgia to Baghdad draw from your personal history, and especially from the themes of immigration and acculturation: how important is for you to draw from your personal experience, in order to create artworks that reflect your inner life, and speak about themes that you know a lot about? Luma Jasim: Every artist has an unavoidable urge to create; most of the time, the subject of inspiration comes from life experiences. My art is my tool to document my feelings using different mediums as different languages to communicate a thought or a reaction to a specific event. Expressing my inner feelings is also an unavoidable thing for me; I simply cannot ignore the past or the present events of life. The lost I felt caused by others are representing millions of people, not only me and not only Iraqis. For that reason, I find it necessary to use the personal to address the political. So many stories I have to tell for years to come, I wish to write them down one day; now I barely have time to express them through art mediums, but one day I will start writing a book on that.


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Frozen Roots, Nostalgia to Baghdad, and Long Term Vision, All these projects are a reconstruction of memories, traumas, and thoughts on displacement, belonging, and strangeness. The memories made me wonder

about the distance in time and place; I am so far from it, yet its presence was dominant in a way, which made me think about the duality of home and abroad. Those memories are the same for a large number of people today and throughout history. I am creating a collage of


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fragmented visions represented through imaginative figures, historical symbols from Mesopotamia, and everyday site images. A major concept is regarding the relation with home, where someone was born and raised, the choices of leaving, and the consequences of staying. Displacement and the urge to leave all that belongs to us, starting a new life again not only by changing physical place but also by trying to fit into a different history and language. As immigrants, we carry with us a history, we try to keep some values, but also we have to be part of the present and to accept and adopt new values. Your artworks are marked out with such captivating combination between geometric patterns and sense of freedom, that invites to viewers to elaborate personal associations, and that provide your works with a unique aesthetic identity. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how do you consider the relation between the nature of the concepts that you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your daily practice as an artist? Luma Jasim: I think the serious "Long Term Vision" carries a contrasting combination in different ways. The black and white brushstrokes parts were created gesturally and instinctively, with a lot of immediate reaction to each move, one leads to the other. This part of the paintings represents

the present stage of how immigrants and refugees feel while the geometric patterns are more colorful, more precise, and drawn with much attention and carefulness. For me, the geometric patterns are like the candle in Picasso's "Guernica." A glimpse of memory of a beautiful thing I used to see a lot in my family house and all my relatives' and friends' houses. These geometrical shapes were also weaved to rugs by my grandmother. I played and slept on them; they bring me a smile in the mid of all other chaotic memories. There is a powerful connection with the place we live in and all the surroundings, materials, smells, textures, colors, and all the combinations, which create our environment. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated that "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": as an artist who sapiently uses the personal to address the political, do you think that your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, as the relationship between Tech and our social context, in our globalised age? Luma Jasim: There is a true on this statement I feel strongly. By examining the work of Iraqi artists in Iraq in comparison to Immigrant Iraqi artists, I noticed that most of the first group tries to depict an optimistic view to exchange the reality they live in. They had a great need to escape the environment they are surrounded with, and that makes much sense for me. in other hand Immigrant artists feels a strong nostalgic feeling to home so they, and I am one of them, we express the feeling of


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distance, and we tend to document a lot of the hardships that led us to immigrate at the first place. I sometimes feel that I am somehow responsible for addressing different events (mostly political). Most of the western audiences are not fully aware of many facts regarding many places at this globe; art is a perfect tool for documenting history abstractly and directly as well. You are an established artist and over the years your artworks have been showcased in a number of occasions, including your recent show Baghdad, at the Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms as Instagram increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? Luma Jasim: As much as I consider myself a curious artist, I tend to bring this curiosity to my audience, especially through performance. Creating dialogue with the audience through sound, body gestures, stories, brush strokes, and even the materials used. One of the nontraditional materials I use often in my performance and mixed media paint is a kind of tar material used in constraction; I also use motor oil, both I use to symbolize "oil or petrol" the main reason for all tragedies in Iraq and all the fake excuses against it. This evokes my audience to wonder why? And that is an excellent start for the conversation. Regarding social media, a lot of people have a negative attitude towards it, but I think it depends on the user itself. What are you using it for? and what are you looking for in it? For me, social media helped me track a lot of artists around the world, especially Iraqi artists who scattered


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across the globe. It didn't only bring their art to me but sometimes a great deal of what they think of and care about. Also, I feel that Instagram represents another form of gallery to my artwork, which has a mix of professional and regular audiences at the same time besides the diary aspect of it. When I look back, I can track many art events I was involved in supported by imaging and dates. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Luma. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Luma Jasim: Right now I am preparing for few art events going to take place in Boise, Idaho in 2020; a solo exhibition entitled "Allegory From Mesopotamia" at Boise State University in April 2020. I am also working on developing a public performance commissioned by Boise City of Art and Culture during the TreeFort Music & ArtFort festival in March 2020. It will be a calibrating performance with Blake Green, a composer from Boise. A combination of music, spoken words, and live action-painting. "Frozen Roots I," "Frozen Roots II," and other mixed media entitled "Speicher Massacre" are going to be shown at The Boise Art Museum as part of the 2020 Idaho Triennial from March to July. Thank you LandEscape, it is a great honor for me to be included at the 10th Edition!!! An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator landescape@europe.com

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