Not Random Art - Page 106

I am currently exploring
more immersive structures. I anticipate the scale of my pieces to grow, and become more expansive, and dynamic, as my practice evolves.

Seeing the city landscapes present in your works, I could not help but thinking about Peter Osborn and his article "Non-places and the spaces of art", where he talks about "the idea of non-places as the spatial  dimension of a general conception of ‘super-  modernity’ as a culture of ‘excess’, ‘overabundance of events’, in which the very idea of individuated culture, ‘localised in time and  space’, has become redundant. Since your work has its roots in the "representation of otherness in consumer culture", can you relate to his words anyhow?

In fact, the city landscape you speak of is a depiction of a ‘non-place’, but only in a manner of speaking. It is not the ‘non-place’ of hyper-modernity, in way the Osborne article elaborates on Certeau’s and Augé’s definition. The abstraction on a city landscape presented here, is a place of myth, a place of significance to those confronted with the historical rupture of colonialism. This is a rendering of a contemporary Indigenous city, in an alternate timeline Americas, in which the historical redirection of colonialism never occurred, complete with a little tongue-in-cheek, self-awareness and caricature.. I am a fan of science fiction author Philip K Dick, who sometimes explores alternate timelines, and their intersections with our timeline (such as the classic Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said). I had also recently read Alejandro Jodorowsky's graphic novel, The Incal, which certainly has touches of an Indigenous futurism. It is an incredibly interesting idea to me, this fiction, in that it encapsulates the actual past, the mythic past, the contemporary and the mythic future. This type of envisioning explores the obvious historic power differentials resulting from colonization, and their role in stunting social, economic, and technological progress. I found it an extremely relevant exercise, as Indigenous peoples are often depicted as relics of the past. In America, it seems there is this simultaneous reverence and disrespect for the Indigenous population (elaborated upon eloquently in Philip J Deloria’s, Playing Indian). There is little regard for the depiction of contemporary indigeneity, while a greater emphasis is placed upon the romanticized, mythic past.

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?

I am examining the idea of agency in representation and depictions of Indigeneity. This of course, has to do somewhat with what the public is shown, and how this is all reflected in media depictions, museums and institutions, home décor, and retail commodity. My work occasionally combines objects which must be part of the viewers visual lexicon, so that meaning is gleaned from this shared referent. In these instances there needs to be some effort on my part to make sure my own visual language is reflecting this shared visual language with the viewer. Equivalencies and False Equivalencies are intentionally created in the work, precisely because the viewer is familiar with the conflated visual motif, which now acts as a stand-in for a more nuanced interpretation and understanding of Indigenous culture. I sometimes even include actual objects from retail offenders, such as Hobby Lobby, and Urban Outfitters. I suppose my conceptual strategy is somewhat reliant on the viewer being aware of this motif and exploitation.

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

As far as future projects, I am fortunate to have several pieces in, R(d)ecent, a group exhibition at Southern Illinois University’s, Surplus Gallery, in Carbondale, IL, as well as another upcoming group exhibition in Knoxville, TN, entitled Through the Open Door, at Pellissippi State’s, Bagwell Gallery.
In terms of the works evolution, as briefly touched upon above, I am playing with scale, and working with the idea of creating encompassing environments. I am also exploring the material relationships inherent in my work. Currently, I am very focused on teaching, which I find to greatly enrich my studio practice. This summer, I am also looking forward to attending the Open Wabi, artist residency, in Ohio. nullThanks you for the discussion. Best.

Your art seems to be a quest for “balance between abstract and realism, manipulating lines and colours to create a kaleidoscopic feel while remain a meticulous sense of order using acrylic and mixed media.” What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

The very beginnings of inspiration for a new painting is to look for a pose. I will often troll through images of Avant Garde fashion photography, ballet, dance, naked portraiture and/or body-scapes to find just the right one. Once I have the pose that strikes me (YES!) I take it from there, drawing up a rough sketch adding patterns and geometrical shapes which contrast the lines of the main silhouette.

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.