Not Random Art - Page 24

Hello Nicole, and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

I identify myself as an artist who strives to explore the subconscious structure within us all; perhaps, one could say, a “collective” psychology. The visuals within my art are layered, layered and complicated as each of us are in turn. My work tends to touch on self-improvement topics and I attempt to illustrate how we may find our inner talents and direction in this world. I am trying to connect viewers to these topics, open up a dialog, as well as to explore growth and personal development as seen in the imagery within my “Human Nature” series. I chose to work in encaustic because I was looking for a way to distress my photographs without enhansing them artificially by using a computer. I love early photographic processes, such as daguerreotypes and tintypes – especially photographs that have begun to decay, or those in which the chemicals have not been properly fixed.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistic as well as life background? What inspired you to be in this artistic point in your life where you are now?

My first love has been photography, yet for a long time I felt as if I wanted a more “hands-on” approach with the images. I researched various ways to transfer photographs, and ultimately came upon transferring images into beeswax. In the transfer process, images are prone to rips and tears, not fully transferring completely. Using wax gives images a faded, ethereal look that I like. Working with encaustic is really appealing because not only does it allow me to combine photography with painting, drawing, and mixed-media elements, it also adds texture and mystery to a piece.

Can you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about your identity as a participant of the visual culture?

Early on in my artistic development while in New York City, I came upon the photo construction work of David Hochbaum. I was really attracted to the way he incorporated his photography into his art. I also liked the photo techniques used by Joel-Peter Witkin and the Starn Twins. I learned then that a photograph does not have to remain just a photograph.

You talk about transferring your images directly into beeswax, and embellishing with colored wax mediums made from oil-based or powdered pigments as well as enjoying the wide range of possibilities inherent in this technique – the evocative and distressed tones, and especially the additive and subtractive qualities that come along with the process. What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular, are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

My art begins with photography that I take myself, or have acquired through public domain. I then transfer printed versions of the images into wax onto wooden panel boards. I value that encaustic painting is an extremely old medium, practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. It is also rather earth-friendly, with the understanding that the two components that make up the medium (damar resin and beeswax) are harvested in a non-invasive and recycled-type of way. Another aspect of my work is that I enjoy photographing nature. I feel we are all connected to nature, and we should not forget that. Plus, nature is a symbol for growth. I am always trying to grow and improve certain aspects of myself, and I hope others can see and take away something from that work. I call this series “Art of Nature.” The technical aspects of the encaustic process can take years to master. I learned the process by reading books, watching videos, and meeting and speaking with other encaustic artists. I began taking lessons and attended an encaustic conference, complete with various workshops with fellow encaustic artists from all over the world.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

With some of my work, I have noticed that I may not always be aware of why I am drawn to particular themes or aesthetics. My intention may not always be apparent until the art piece is finished. I would say that my art more or less communicates subconsciously, resulting in a fundamental human understanding with the viewer. My art comes out of self-reflection. It is in itself a form of visual articulation of emotion. I hope the viewer can relate, have their own understanding, and may my art stimulate a self-discovery within them.

From there I sketch my plan on to a blank canvas (always making changes and additions to the new layout). Once I am happy with that I start to add colour. My fine lines are all executed without masking; using a small brush, even hand, and steadfast concentration. Then I apply layer upon layer of colour until I achieve beautiful unyielding saturation and impeccable print-like quality.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

The emotional and intellectual relationship of my work always begin as two very seperate things. At first glance, my art may seem frivolously aesthetic .The colours are vibrant, and deliciously arresting. But then you look a little closer, even through the simplicity of the block colour and basic lines of geometry and pattern, there is always a story within… and that is when the emotional and intellectual perception of my art merge and the true beauty is discovered.

olted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray” by Joan Jonas was one of the first performance installations that really made a huge impact on me. I was living in Paris during this time, in the early 90s, with a lot of influences from different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.