Not Random Art - Page 128

Using memory to fuel concepts for my work versus my current emotions differs from piece to piece. I use memory and emotion as a starting place for my work more than recreating experiences exactly.

I just lost my father in December 2016. Marginalia and Visiting Hours are the first pieces I made after his death. These pieces deal with women’s issues relatively directly, but their relation to my emotional experiences and memory is more complex. My relationship with my father was tenuous at the best of times, and I found the process of constructing these pieces a material way to partially reconcile elements of my relationship with him. He told me that women are second class citizens when I was twelve. Being an artist has allowed me to find and hold on to my own power as a woman. Marginalia says I am here, we as women are here, and we matter. My father finally told me in November of this past year that he respects the work I do as an artist. I am still fighting to make that true for myself in more tangible ways.

You "explore identity by utilizing natural materials, employing their forms and textures". What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

I believe that there is power in utilizing materials as they were created, just as I believe there is power in the authenticity that each of us holds. Because my practice is largely intuitive, I try to work with materials and let relationships between concepts and materials develop organically when I work on pieces. Though I may start with an idea of how I would like a piece to look, or a material I would like to use, I frequently find myself exploring new avenues of expression. An important aspect of my work that I employ in many of my pieces is repetition and multiplicity. Just as using raw materials lends strength through structure and form, creating multiple objects allows me to reinforce ideas behind the work. This also allows me to explore identity in important ways. I create work that resonates within me. Repetition and multiplicity allow me to explore different dimensions of the emotions I am trying to express within my work. I am interested with making work that is multifaceted and complex just as our relationships with experiences are.

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?

I think the level of emotional intelligence I have developed over the course of my upbringing is imbued in the work that I make. For instance, the piece Belladonna, successfully conveys an environment where the audience is forced to engage with the work with a degree of immediacy because of its size. And if they choose to participate in the act of viewing the work fully, approaching it up close, they are confronted with hair, graphite, twine, and iron. A juxtaposition of hard and soft elements, which creates an incredibly detailed textural experience. The hair I use in this piece and my other works are so important to me. Such a common material, and yet so personal, and unique to each of us. And so easily discarded and forgotten. In this way, my work attempts to combine the intellectual and the emotional experience of viewing into one cohesive thing; conceptual executions may be striking, but reveal themselves as vessels for emotional weight; details may relate to art history or reflect considerations of technique, but, at the same time, they nuance the emotional tone of the work.

Seeing the forms 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?

Yes, I do agree that my work interrogates the commercial status of art objects through various methods. The re-appropriation of found objects (often themselves vestiges of industrial modernity like ferris wheel seats or parts from naval boats), the incorporation of natural material from my own body, and the bodies of others, and the process of casting in which I explore the impact of reproduction and alteration on the integrity of objects all embody modes of critique and interrogations of the simplified status of commodities in the purview of consumer culture. These techniques, when put in the context of experiential space, attempt to engage the viewer in moments of alienation from the objects they observe; an experience meant to recall the alienation we experience as a symptom of late capitalism, but that no longer strikes us because we are numb to it. This allows placeness to operate as a dimension in a multifaceted critique, as opposed to resigning the spaces we live as reducible to to their modern articulation.

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.