Not Random Art - Page 23

Hello Corina, and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. Is there any 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?

Hello NotRandomArt, thank you for having me.

My identity as an artist and human being are very much the same, they intertwine. As a human being I am extremely determined, hardworking, overly sensitive, emotional and a very visual person, these traits overlap with being a young artist in these unstable times. My work as an artist reflects my emotions, fears and my life experiences, which are altered by my own uncanny thoughts and fragments of my imagination. It is how I express my own world to other people. I am quite a shy person, so expressing myself through visual means, is somewhat easier for me than talking about it in front of somebody. I focus on portraying concepts and ideas that I am truly connected to on an emotional and personal level.

I am from a very small town in Kildare, Ireland. I am what the city folk call a ‘cluchie’ which means I’m from the middle of nowhere ‘the shticks’ as we like to call it! There was not much art culture in our town and exhibitions, galleries and contemporary art were non-existent when I was growing up, yet I was a very creative, imaginative child, playing pretend games, making things from my imagination from anything I could find, I used to collect all kinds of things from carboard to buttons to grass and weeds and keep them safe in my magic making box until it was time to create something new. My past, my imagination, my emotions, my experiences and my memories from when I was growing up and my personality itself form my aesthetics. People are full of curiosity, they are curious about who you are, what goes on through your mind, what are your fears, hopes and dreams and with my work, as an artist I try to portray and bring them on a journey into the world the way I see it, into my world to feel some forms of the emotions I once felt during different times in life. Connecting emotionally with the audience is what I strive to do.

We would like to ask you a question about your background: how does your cultural substratum relate to the way you connect with art making and its aesthetic?

I am from a small town, so small that if you blink you would miss it entirely. As I was growing up, there was a great deal of creativity around me in different forms such as, my granny was a dressmaker, my granddad landscaper and my father was a welder repair man. These were all very hands on jobs to say the least, but they were also very creative professions in their own ways and as I helped each one at some stage while growing up I felt the hands on, creative approach of these professions stayed with me throughout my life.

It wasn’t until the last years of secondary school that I had my first ‘real’ experience with art and art culture. My art teacher was the first person to influence me as an artist. She helped me zone in on my artistic abilities, made Irish art history exciting and thought me how to express myself through art. It was then, I knew that this is what I wanted to pursue in life. Due to my upbringing and to the influence my family’s professions and skills had on me, Art for me became all about the process, the journey towards the finished piece is what I live for. Trial and error and experimentation, for me this is the most important part of the artwork, it is a period in the process where you learn and feel the most. If I am creating with my hands, expressing my own self and deeply involved in the concept and processes, I am in my element, which has been the case so far.

I attended college and got my BA honours degree in Printmaking and Contemporary Practice from Limerick School of Art and Design. I didn’t have much experience with printmaking prior to college, so when we did a two-week course on printmaking in first year, I fell in love. The printmaking workshop reminded me of my father’s garage, full of huge machines and smelling of oils and white spirits, it felt like home.

For the first two years of college, I focused on traditional printmaking techniques, I chose concepts to suite the process which limited my ability to express myself. It wasn’t until third year, that I found my groove and I felt more comfortable experimenting with a variety of medias such as photography and sculpture. It was then I realised that anything was possible. My practice became about finding the medium that best suite they concept I was trying to convey which in turn gave me so much freedom and possibility.

My personal experiences in life, my family, my existence itself are the aspects that influence my practise and aesthetics. My works are a window into my own world, a world where I can express my own views and life experiences. As an artist, the concepts that I have a deep connection to and that I can relate to, is the work that becomes a success because when you become so committed and involved with the subject and process, magic things begin to happen.

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?

wings to be appreciated in all their fullness, should be observed very closely, in the same way that I conceived them. You have to put the viewer in front of the work and let him to explore it, like you are in a place and if you want to see everything that is around, you have to move your eyes in every direction.

I suggest this way to view and appreciate every work, but especially mine, whatever the way and the mean used.

What in your opinion defines a work of art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

II must admit I find this question incredibly hard! What defines a work of art??? I keep coming back to “originality” and “passion”. I think if someone has created something from scratch with his own hands, with passion, with heart and soul, whatever and wherever that spiritedness and desire stems from, no matter how beautiful or how ugly, you could call it art.

As for the contemporariness of an artwork, I don’t necessary believe there is a specific feature which defines the work modern. All art at one point in time was “contemporary” in comparison to what came before it.

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?

Definitely being female in this day and age influences my aesthetics. I guess you could say I am a feminist artist, not the bra burning, sign wielding type, but I certainly believe in equality for women, particularly in art. I empathise with women involved in the art world of history past and am awed by their courage and how far female artists have fought to shine through… but it still isn’t over yet. Through my art I believe I am conveying a woman's sense of self. Her individualism, her beauty, sensuality and mystery, her sexuality, strength and heart.

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.