Posts tagged Emotion
Katherine Rutter
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Katherine Rutter was born in 1984 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2007 she received her BFA in Photography/Drawing from the University of Central Arkansas. She has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum and the National Museum for Women in the Arts traveling exhibition in Arkansas, as well as participating in a residency and exhibition in Tulum, Mexico. In addition to exhibits, she has been commissioned for multiple mural projects in California, Colorado, Arkansas, Mexico, and Nepal. Interacting with communities is an important part of her practice, including volunteering with Creativity Explored in San Francisco and teaching a workshop at a children’s school in Kathmandu. Her work explores ideas of femininity, beauty, and connection, with fantastical narratives of drawings and paintings. She currently lives in Ukiah, California.

My practice explores how we navigate our emotional beings within the complexities of femininity and beauty. The vernacular expressions and innate desires we have as humans to connect to ourselves and to nature are addressed throughout my work, requesting a deeper understanding of what it means to live. My drawings often begin by ‘painting’ with hair-like algae, an intuitive process that allows me to connect with my subconscious like one might find images in clouds. The algae provides a certain aesthetic quality while also nodding to my Southern roots and its folk tradition of found materials in art. Themes of nostalgia, vulnerability, sexuality, wonder, subtle humor and the struggle of the unknown reveal a tender experience of humanity.

www.katherinerutter.com

Qiurui Du
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Qiurui Du is an artist from Beijing, China and is currently based in New York City. Having grown up in an artistic family his love of art grew tremendously. Queer identity and life experience give Qiurui a unique point of views and inspirations in art. As an introverted person, he expressed all his emotions and ideas through colors and images, and he believes art is a way to tell stories. In Qiurui’s work, he deconstructs his inner fears, love, and Chinese pop cultures, and the subject matter in Qiurui’s artworks is also inspired by his surroundings as well as daily experiences within the social framework. He creates corny scenarios with bright colors and flat images to bring the viewers into an illusionary dimension, where reality and imagination have been combined. In the Qiurui’s recent solo exhibition “A Bizarre World” (May, 2018), he has explored his childhood memories in his hometown Beijing with the particular attention to the social conflict and pop cultures that were influenced by China’s tremendous development and used acrylic to create a colorful imaginary world with black senses of humor to address the social issues, such as environmental problems, the conflict between poor and rich, and traditional Chinese lifestyle in Modern Chinese society.

Statement

The series of paintings "The Adventure Of Dama Wang" is inspired by my childhood memories with my grandmother. My grandmother liked to take a walk with me after dinner every day. It was like an adventure because every day we could see different people and discover exciting events in the city. In the artwork, I have explored my childhood memories with the particular attention to the social conflict. The character - an old lady with a purple cloth and big hair is a representation of a group of middle-aged Chinese women who rushed to purchase gold and stocks as an investment without thinking. They were also profoundly influenced by Chinese tradition, willing to serve in the household and concerned about daily expenses in a developing society. Through the character's eyes, she sees a " Pengci" ( It is a Chinese term referring to the practice of scam such as being hit by a car intentionally for money ), characters from Nothern Chinese Nianhua, and people who enjoy their happy hour. The corny scenarios with bright colors, characters, in which are inspired by people I saw in Chinese memes and pop culture, and flat images bring the audiences into an illusionary dimension, where reality and imagination have been combined. It is a satire and a celebration of modern Chinese society.

Instagram: @qiuruidu   

www.duqiurui.com

Unconventional Forms: Interview with Deane McGahan
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Interview by Alicia Puig

Deane McGahan is contemporary sculptor currently residing in the Seattle metropolitan area. As having grown up in the Northwest, her aesthetic sensibilities are deeply rooted in the region. Not only as an appeal to the natural beauty at her doorstep but the lived-in experience of people, the effectual charge of living, which Seattle and its many haunts have afforded her.

"This new body of work is inspired by the desire to create unconventional forms. Shapes that push the boundaries of the material employed. Altering what ordinarily is the solid uniformity of concrete into casts that seem pulled, stretched, in transit. To take the stone and make it rip, blend, emote. To revise what is normally the process of casting the wet matrix of concrete into a solid block. To discover instead a form that looks like a sound wave instead of a static obelisk. A reverberation rather than an inert constant.  

My aim is to create work that inspires, connects and contributes. Work that bridges the abstraction of human emotion and solid objects. If there is a message in my work, it is the suggestion that untamed feeling might be captured for a moment in the immutable. A snapshot, as it were, of flow caught in an object and held in stasis."

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How did you first become interested in art and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?

I always knew from a young age that I wanted to fully pursue art. I studied commercial art in college where I sort of fell into making video games before gaming jobs were a thing. Over the course of 25 years, I primarily worked as a 3D environment artist on AAA titles. It was a great way to make a living, but over time I felt the need to build more tangible things, made real, be effectually experienced. Shifting from 3D modeling to sculpting felt like a natural shift, as I found that the spatial awareness I developed in the digital world was applicable to the real world.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind your artwork or a specific series that you're currently working on.

On a high level, my inspiration fuels from how we evolve through creativity. I'm obsessed with connecting the dots of human growth and art. I have to sculpt every day or something feels wrong. It's like a raw encoded emotion in me to create or die. Capturing these feelings through new shapes and space helps me navigate life. That, and it feels damn good.

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What mediums do you use and how do they add to the effect of your work?

I primarily sculpt with concrete because the medium itself connects back to my inspiration for evolving. Normally it's cast into solid blocks for function but to revise the process, experiment, and present new shapes highly influences my work. It's also not a very forgiving medium, which forces me to make lots of decisions in the moment while it's still in a workable state. Ultimately the process itself defines and continues to evolve my style.

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Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?

My space is quite small for sculpting. I'm constantly rearranging to make room for projects. Right now I'm fine with that, as I've learned that the most important thing about a creative space is to not let it dictate your ability to move forward. I figure it out as I go.

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Can you tell us about how where you reside and grew up has influenced your art?

Currently, I live in Seattle but I grew up in Portland and have been in the Pacific Northwest most of my life. The beauty of our region is a given as an influence in my work but the lived-in experiences of the people and the city really drive me.

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Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?

I'm excited to share that I'm going to be part of the Relish group art show opening on June 7th. It's at the new 9th and Thomas building in South Lake Union. It's great to see non-traditional curated shows starting to pop up around town.

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Genevieve Cohn
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Genevieve Cohn was born and raised in rural Vermont before attending Ithaca College for her undergraduate degree in Art and Culture & Communication. She received her MFA in Painting from Indiana University and was awarded the Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship following her graduate studies. Genevieve has shown nationally with works shown at ARC Gallery in Chicago and The Painting Center and Pace University in New York City. Genevieve has been an artist-in-residence at The Vermont Studio Center, The Ragdale Foundation, and AiRGentum in Seville, Spain.

Statement

My paintings walk a line between the real world and a world shaped by emotional perceptions. My practice and research focus on projecting possible communities of women by drawing from both a historical and imaginative past, present and future. In an age where the role of women continues to be examined, I am interested in challenging tradition to champion the full humanity and nurturing rationality of successful communities of women. I utilize imagery and ideology from the Women's Land Army and female separatist groups, as well as inspiration from literature and contemporary culture.

www.genevievecohn.com

 

Jamie Bates Slone
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Jamie Bates Slone is a sculptor living and working in Norman, Oklahoma where she is Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Oklahoma. Jamie received her MFA from the University of Kansas and her BFA from the University of Central Missouri. Her work addresses the fragility of the human spirit in relation to her personal history with physical and mental illness.

Statement

Through conjured memory, I revisit my personal history with physical and mental illness. My current work is a reflection of those memories with an emphasis on the relationship between human biology and human emotion. By using the figure as metaphor, I am able to reflect the sentiments often correlated with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, and loss.

In my studio practice, anxieties about my own physical and mental health and obsessions with mortality manifest themselves in the choice of scale, charged surfaces, and uneasy body language within the figures. My surface choices are derived from diagnostic imaging of the human body focusing on their color and visual texture. My intent is for one to imagine the surface of the skin as a reflection of what is happening inside the body and mind. These are ideas that are continuously shifting and evolving as I think about how I want these objects to be perceived

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Katherine Fraser
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Katherine Fraser is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and of the University of Pennsylvania. As a student she received the Thomas Eakins Painting prize, the Cecelia Beaux Portrait prize, and the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Award, among others. Since graduation she has been exhibiting throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and nationally. Katherine grew up in Maine as an only child, and finds that experience often reflected in her work. Her subject matter comes from memories and experiences that feel in some way universal. By portraying singular figures in sparse settings, she explores the idea that being alone makes us feel most alive and connected to our true nature. She is represented by Paradigm Gallery, in Philadelphia.

My paintings depict moments of quiet reflection and insight, of wonder, vulnerability, yearning, determination, humility, strength, and growth. I see a duality in every moment, and beauty in the tension of opposing emotions existing in a single facial expression. As every person, and every experience is multifaceted, every painting is meant to express a dimensional idea. I am fascinated by the mutability of memory, by the way emotions can shape perception, and the way we unconsciously create narratives to understand our experience and explain our identities.

I paint out of my sincere desire to respect, express, and share the tender qualities that unite us. Compassionately and with a generous heart, I seek to portray our continual need to reckon expectations with truth, and the struggles we endure to feel satisfaction with our choices. My goal is not just to make aesthetically beautiful paintings, but to create works that touch and resonate with the complexity of real world experience.

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Forrest Lawson

Forrest Lawson is a multi-media sculptor who explores complicated issues experienced within the LGBTQ+ community. Lawson has participated in multiple exhibitions throughout Florida, was featured in Artbourne magazine in 2017, and was commissioned to install a public art sculpture on the University of Central Florida campus. Lawson will obtain his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Central Florida in December 2018 and plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree upon graduation.

Through sculpture and assemblage, my work explores the array of complexities experienced by individuals within the gay community. I create work to reveal internal and external resentments with a variety of mediums and symbolism. As a tribute and a memoir, my practice touches on feelings that resonate personally and universally. I hope for viewers to engage with the work emotionally, and to question their own similar or dissimilar experiences. My work is merely a glimpse into the often unknown or unrecognized struggles of being gay.

Ekaterina Vanovskaya

Ekaterina Vanovskaya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2015. Ekaterina has exhibited nationally including New York City and Chicago. She completed the Artist in the Marketplace Program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently participated in the Governors Island Art Fair, New York and the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Ekaterina has received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant in 2017. Ekaterina teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ and Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

Statement

Pale, distressed figures inhabit my large-scale oil paintings. There are several repeating themes in the paintings: loneliness, nostalgia, longing, melancholia and a search for a sense of place. There are often figures depicted doing mundane tasks, or caught in a state of hesitation or fear, in forlorn atmospheres. A specific emotional longing translates into a painting.

I was born and spent my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia and memorable childhood experiences frame the core of my work. These memories symbolize isolated experiences and therefore have a strong emotional impact. The physical places I no longer occupy and they do not exist in the same state, as when I knew them, all is imagined.

How does our past impact our emotions, responses and ways of being? These perceptions of our childhood inevitably define the way we live our lives today. Painting starts to serve as reconciliation with the self. It is as if I am painting about a secret that nobody else knows.

Between Love and Fear: Interview with Horacio Quiroz

Based in México City. After working for several years in advertisment industry, I began my self-taught painting studies in 2013. 

I graduated in Graphic Design from Universidad Iberoamericana. Following this, I worked for nearly twelve years as the Creative Art Director for various renowned international advertising agencies, such as Publicis México and Zeta Advertising. As a publicist, I learned to work under pressure on several projects at once; I gained a thorough understanding of how the industry works through dealing with customers, planners, brand managers, designers, producers, models etc.

Despite working full-time as a publicist, my artistic education never stopped, as I was always learning from the work of other art directors and great photographers, whom I was fortunate to work with both here in Mexico and abroad. 

In 2013, driven by my passion for the visual arts, I decided to leave behind advertising and devote myself entirely to artistic activity, to somehow reconnect with the spontaneity I had in my childhood. Thus, over the last four years, I have launched myself on a new career path, experimenting with various self-taught techniques of pictorial representation, formats and themes, which have guided how I define my vision and identity as an artist. This change in my life has given rise to deep personal introspection, closely linked to what now shapes my body of work.

Photo courtesy of  http://www.fabianml.com/

Photo courtesy of http://www.fabianml.com/

STATEMENT

My work is a reflection on the human condition, linked intimately to my psychological and therapeutic evolution. I view the body as a mechanism that not only functions physiologically, but as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

Everything around us has a dual manifestation. We have day and night, good and evil, feminine and masculine, love and fear, etc. This is so obvious that it is taken for granted. Consequently everything, absolutely everything that exists, has to be composed of the duality of these opposites. In my work, these apparently discordant forces are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity.

Starting with the body’s emotional fluctuation, I explore the oscillation between love and fear as primary antagonistic vital forces, using the human body as a tool to represent the constant movement of our reality. This permits the incarnation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies, similar after a fashion to x-rays of the experiences that we undergo as people while evolving.  

In the same way, my painting explores the boundaries of the tensions between the aesthetic and the non-aesthetic on the same support. It probes the resulting dichotomous movement between the beautiful and the grotesque.

www.horacioquiroz.com

You went from working in advertising to leaving it behind and becoming a self-taught artist. Can you tell us about that transition and how it affected your work?

No doubt working for many years surrounded by talented creatives in the gestation and production of visual messages educated my eye and my aesthetic conception. I acquired the discipline and understanding to realize that good ideas take time. However, in my case, advertising showed me that which I didn’t want to be.

From my personal point of view, advertising sells via deception, projects idealized scenarios and nonexistent archetypes. Needs and products are newly created to prevent large corporations from losing market share, preying upon people's anxieties.

Advertising generates plausible realities, where there is no room for polarity, much less negative emotion. It presents a reality devoid of substance, where the only purpose (with the sole intention of selling) is to make you believe that buying a certain product will make you "happy".

I was exhausted from being part of this vicious circle that feeds the collective unconscious with ideas and concepts, in which I don’t believe. This situation was compounded by my own extreme anger and frustration at having abandoned drawing and painting for so long (these were natural and extremely satisfying activities during my infancy and adolescence).

Similarly, I was annoyed with myself for ending up working in publicity. Since this had never been a planned decision, but rather where life and circumstances led me

Although being a painter was something I greatly desired, the fear I felt was proportional to my love for doing it. The process was not unlike coming out of the closet, but this time as an artist. I didn’t know what it would be until I was able to actually experience it. Before that, it was nothing more than a vague idealization, a world unknown and undiscovered, somewhere completely cut off from ads and ad agencies.

I built a small studio in my house and locked myself in there to teach myself to paint. This forced me to realize that I needed to rethink what I wanted from my life, where I wanted to direct it and what kind of person I wanted to be. I also realized how closely linked my personal life was to my professional work.

Via psychological therapy and introspection, I have sorted through many personal issues, nothing out of the ordinary, existential problems we all have. The painting also emerged as part of that cathartic process and, just as I did as a child, I took refuge in my drawings to make sense of my existence. The painting now began to function similarly, helping me let go of frustration, fear, and anger.

Accepting that I was petrified with fear was key to moving forward. In the same way, I realized that when you act with love, doors open.

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How do you go about starting a new painting?

My process varies from painting to painting. It oscillates between the freedom of expression when drawing/painting and in conjunction with photographic references. Sometimes I start from a mental sketch, sometimes from a photo. I try to visualize an already finished painting, although this visualization changes a lot during the process: Sometimes things turn out very differently to how originally imagined them. As soon as the feeling comes over me I just let it happen, I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I do like to put a lot of emphasis and detail in the eyes because I think they transmit much so much emotion/information. A lack of patience is a big obstacle for me; I struggle to control my temperament and I despair of the process, I need to breathe slowly, relax and maintain communication with the canvas, so as not to get lost. I have a hard time concentrating.

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Can you tell us about the distortion of the figure in your paintings? When did you start painting in that style?

My style simply came about, it wasn’t conceptualized. I can’t give you some rational explanation of how it emerged. What I can tell you, is that when I began my career as a painter I was weighed down by years of frustration and career dissatisfaction. So when I decided to change my profession and dedicate myself to art, painting functioned as a catharsis representing the internal exploration of my psychological processes.

Considering that humans are an amalgam of dually-opposed, antagonistic elements such as the body and the spirit, I can view this humanity as a physiological mechanism, but also as an emotional vessel that contains our entire temporal and spiritual history. In this way, the body perceives matter and space, through which it learns to experience its own humanity.

In my work, these apparently discordant, dual forces of reality are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity, as a representation of the movement of the human body. This dynamism facilitates the creation of mutant emotions through the creation of impossible anatomies. Similar, I like to think, to x-rays of people’s experiences while they are in the process of evolving.

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How have your paintings evolved over your career?

I guess my style has evolved over a few years I've been painting. Compared now to the past, the color palette is much more varied, the compositions are more complicated and the aesthetic, although still surrealistic, is less grotesque or obscure. My work has always been a reflection of my emotional situation and the evolution can obviously be attributed to that.

Yet I feel my career is too young so I can see a quite clear evolution I think need more time and space to notice it by my self but aesthetically speaking, it would be difficult for me not to continue painting human bodies. However, in terms of specific themes, I have no idea how the content of my work will be developed over time. Actually, I tackle topics such as transsexuality, feminism, homosexuality and emotional disability, because these are the social issues that interest me. In the future I suppose, I will continue to touch on those issues that affect society.

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On your website you have a few installations that you have done, can you tell us about those? How did they come about? How was creating them in comparison to creating a painting?

Yes, those installations are composed by drawings, sketches, and quotes during the creative process on the making of a painting or a whole body of work, it is a natural process to me where all the ideas come together. The paper works installations are just about to share what is going on the walls of the studio while creation is taking place and bring that intimate process into the gallery.

This time, I've also been playing with garments for the installations. My interest is to take the painting out of its dimension and propose a different approach to the pictorial image through a three-dimensional object, which in this case is a garment.

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What is the best piece of advice you can give to artists looking to transition out of a day job and focus solely on their art?

I would say don’t be afraid and do it as long as your desire is true. You must also plan your finances.

Where do you hope your work will go moving forward?

I don’t like to think about that I prefer to keep working hard and be ready when the opportunity comes.

Finally, I just want to invite you to my solo show "Polarities" in NYC at Booth Gallery on view now through October 20th. This is my debut solo show in the US. The collection includes 11 paintings, 4 of which come paired with garments and almost 50 works on paper.

Photos courtesy of Fabian Ml

Psychological Portals: Interview with Valentine Aprile

By Sarah Mills

Valentine Aprile is a multi-disciplinary artist.  Her eclectic arts education includes The University of the Arts (drawing/painting, modern dance, and arts in education), The Art Students League of New York, Nimble Arts (VT), The Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory, and The Martha Graham School of Dance. Previously she has won varied arts awards in Philadelphia, her past creative home. As a visual artist her work has been shown in galleries, museums, and alternative art spaces nationally and in the UK. She is currently based in New York involved in multiple projects, directing, painting, and occasionally leading workshops. 

Statement

I am creating psychological portals, or visual meditations, marrying abstraction and life study by utilizing both traditional techniques and intuitive improvisation.  My work is informed by observation of human behavior and sociopolitical events as well as my own life experiences. I experience the world from the perspective of a woman artist and a single parent of little means striving to move forward in a patriarchal wealth based society. Yet I see magic and potential for change and remain optimistic.

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How did you start merging abstract work and figure studies?

I started playing around with the idea a little bit in college. I've always been more interested in psychological stories and imaginative play than just trying to recreate what I see in front of me. However, learning the technical skills needed to be able to understand and create form and space etc has proven invaluable. At some point, I became more interested in performance work and the capabilities of the body and expression in that regard. I've always tried to bring my visceral understanding of that to my visual work. However, it wasn't until after I had my daughter, in 2005, that I started seriously experimenting with the idea. More so in the last few years, and I look forward to pushing that process further in coming work.

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Can you tell us a little about your figure drawing process?

LOL!! When I draw I love to start out big, or open, and loose. I always work standing up whether drawing or painting no matter the size of my page or canvas. I like to be able to move freely, I feel like it allows more of a natural energy to flow into the work. I'm very interested in movement and sensuality. The challenge comes in keeping that sense of movement as the structure is built more solidly. ..that is, if I continue a straight up drawing beyond the gesture, which I rarely do anymore. However, when I do, I think my background in dance helps me quite a bit in that endeavor.

In dance, there is always this intense push and pull, this sense of controlled opposition, of going beyond what is pedestrian, ordinary, or 'real'. It's the yummiest. However, that being said, If I'm 'drawing' with my paint within a fuller composition, whatever sense of movement or lack thereof in the figure or portrait is dictated by the direction in which that painting takes me. Ah, so it seems my drawing process is actually quite different than my painting process... When I'm drawing I'm focused on the figure and what the figure is saying and adding compositional elements to support that. When I paint.. well...

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Describe your process for your paintings. How do you plan and execute each work?

I don't often plan out my paintings before I start. I usually begin by just getting some paint on the canvas. I love color and love watching it move and change as I improvise with additive and reductive methods trying to get to something interesting that flows well. I also make stencils that I can use to help create pattern and movement. At a certain point, I decide what kind of figure or portrait would work in that space. Then there's a back and forth between that figurative element and the surrounding space as I begin to see and refine what I'm trying to say with the image. Sometimes I choose colors to start with based on a feeling or mood I'd like to experiment with. Occasionally though I'll look at a blank canvas and imagine the face or figure of someone I know.

What I know about their personalities, how I feel about them, and how I see them in the larger world all come into play. I never sketch anything on the canvas first though.

What inspires you in your day to day life?

Environmental issues, socio-political issues, inner struggles, love, passion, and all the beautiful people in my life. I am particularly inspired by those who have an understanding of what it means to fight for something.

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What has been the most exciting moment in you art carrier so far?

Every day that I get to create and make new discoveries about myself, our world, the people I know.. that's what's exciting. Every time I get to share that work with someone else and see that they feel involved can relate, are touched somehow..that's also exciting...and teaching is exciting. So I really don't have a specific 'moment'. It's all of the moments.

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What are you currently working on?

A few things. I've actually started painting on an older canvas which used to be titled Pile-up. The new title is Onata. I'm adding a figure and it's giving the piece a whole new vibe. My daughter Onata is my model. It's technically challenging because the figure is small in comparison to the way I usually work. I'm really enjoying it though, it's been quite a while since I painted a full-ish figure of any size. In the studio photos at my work table, which I rarely use, I was working on attached work sample file number 3.

Also, a work in progress and the only one done on paper. That one is a watercolor and graphite. It's my second ever experimentation with watercolor and also uncharacteristically small as far as the figure is concerned but that movement in the figure and the passion embodied, I just really love working with that. I'm also working on finishing up an indie TV pilot as the executive producer. It's called VAL and it's about being a struggling single parent in New York trying to reach creative goals and still be a good mother and provide. From my point of view, it's not just about providing for her but also teaching her about tenacity, morals, ethics, love, strength etc...and how to be a genuinely happy well-rounded person who isn't afraid of feelings. All the juicy bits of life. Part of all that is leading by example. I will never give up on what I want for myself because I wouldn't want her to do that.

Additionally, I have a performance installation piece called Running Through the Woods that I'd love to bring to Philly. It's dark but the message is positive and runs along the same lines of never giving up. The artwork for the installation was done quite a while ago as a collaboration with James McElhinney. I've attached some of those as well. I set the poses and did the posing and he did the straight figure drawings. Then I manipulated them by adding, subtracting, or altering.

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What is your favorite thing about working with fluid paints?

The layers. The movement. The allowances for the delicacy that I can mix with texture or heavier marks should I choose. Really beautiful things are allowed to happen by chance and I get to decide whether I want to keep them or not. Sometimes those beautiful accidents can shape a whole painting, like Bed of Roses.

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Alvīne Bautra

The realistic paintings by Alvīne Bautra depict people dissolving into empty space. Painting compositions embody the feeling of movement in slow motion. The multiple and overlapping faces and body parts seem to slip away, however, the characters glance straight to the viewer with expressions of indifference, slight or grotesque smile and boredom.

Alvīne Bautra paintings reflect human existence. The inner world which faces unknown thoughts and emotions which are not noticed to others. Unknown about known. The artist also considers movement as a metaphor of human being, the humans’ multi-layered nature, diversity and also uncertainty. Through the paintings she outlines the complicity of human mind and body in the existence. It is individuals’ transformation that leads into the unknown.

In 2016 graduated from Art Academy of Latvia Painting department, BA. Currently studies in Art Academy of Latvia, MA. In 2014 studied at Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee in Germany.

Alvīne Bautra was born in 1990, currently lives and works in Riga, Latvia.

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Using Art To Connect: Interview with Jordan Segal

At a young age, I watched my mother die of cancer, struggled with my own medical and learning challenges, and grew up literally across the street from the World Trade Center. As I grew older, I realized that the experiences of trauma and loss are universal. In sharing my experiences, I felt more connected and less alone. In my art, I feel it’s important to start with my own experiences in order to develop my concepts with sincerity. Paintings need to be honest. To be honest at times requires us to be confrontational, especially when dealing with subjects on the difficult sides of life. 

My work combines iconography and mixed media to emulate interior emotional and psychological moods. The canvas is the arena where my characters reside and tell their stories. The characters are slightly strange and their environments are off-kilter. My images have sharp edges. My style aims to cut through resistance and open the way for the artist and audience to know, to process, to understand and heal. Like words in a poem, I arrange symbols to create a world that is relatable, but mysterious enough to allow the viewer to construct his/her own meaning. Like a poetic memoir, I explore my story to offer others a window into their own personal stories and to construct their own meaning. 

Iconography is the foundation of my compositions, but the materials are the emotional core of the narratives. I use painterly techniques that become at once figurative and abstract. My surfaces become textural elements that harmonize with my characters’ inner lives. I ascribe to no rules or self-imposed constraints when working. I sand, scrape, paint with a brush, smear with a pallet knife, engrave with box cutters, create hard edges with tape, mix materials like sand and plaster, paint with computer programs and witness the effects they have. The process of layering and experimenting culminates in paintings that take on a sculptural form. I finish a piece when the rhythms of the materials harmonize with the world of the character or narrative line. 

As my historical mentors James Ensor, Enzo Cucci, and Philip Guston understood, we can push the boundaries of realism while staying truthful. For me, images are incredibly powerful when enhanced with the expressive and abstract languages of texture and color. Through the worlds I create in painting, I hope to touch others and be touched.

www.jmsegal.com

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Give us a brief story about your journey as a painter. How has your work evolved over the years?

My journey as a painter really began during my senior year of highschool, when my mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, passing away nine months later. Losing a loved one really shakes up your conception of the world, and puts life in perspective. Upon entering college a few months later, I was not interested in doing anything besides what was important to me. I realized that spending my time making art was the way I could make meaning out of life. 

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You mention your heartbreaking experience with loss. As difficult as it is to be open and vulnerable in our practice, do you feel it has helped you be more connected as an artist? If so, how?

Experiencing loss has helped me feel both more connected to myself as an artist and more connected to the work of others. I have a large range of experiences, both good and bad, that allows me to connect with paintings across any emotional spectrum - from an optimistic and energetic still life by Raoul Dufy to a brooding grey landscape by Anselm Kiefer. As an artist, I can create emotive work that is either ebullient or macabre depending on what I am trying to express. 

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What advice would you give other creatives in terms of being transparent and open about their experiences in their work?

My advice is to never be contrived. I think the strongest work just flows out of you. It is ok to create stupid work as long as it sincere. If the art is honest, at least some people will be able to relate to it. I believe that ideas come naturally from working, not the other way around.

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What inspires you? How do you enjoy spending your time when you are not painting?

My inspiration is whatever is around me: People, New York, my cat. But, to be honest, I have a pretty limited range of things I really like to do. I love looking at art, reading, and watching movies. Modern and contemporary art is the most inspiring thing in the world to me. I feel very connected to this very human mode of communication and always feel energized after looking at some good work. Aside from the art of others, reading a good book or watching a movie can be very impactful. I feel inspired by any art form really, especially if it is odd. The stranger the better. If something really hits me at an emotional level I feel the need to express that feeling in my own work.

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Share a piece of advice that has helped your career so far.

A professor of mine at Bard College told me that “Making art is work, it is not always fun.” I think this has stuck with me. A lot of the time I don’t feel like working, but you have to be consistent. You have to put in the hours, as opposed to waiting for inspiration to strike. I think I have come very far simply through sticking to a regimented working schedule - whether I like it or not.

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How has living in New York influenced you as a painter?

Most of my work has to do with my thoughts and feelings about New York City. As someone who grew up here, I feel rejected by my own city. It is no longer a place where bohemians and artist can really live, it is for the rich. Much of my work as a painter has been about what it means to be a working adult in New York and how I feel that this city limits you. It’s tragic because I love this city, but it is pushing me out.

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What do you hope to accomplish this year?

I hope to create a new body of digital paintings this year, building off of some of the work I did last year. My work has been somewhat scattered in recent years and I would like to take one medium and one idea and push it as far as I can. I see a lot of potential for my digital paintings and would love to see where this work takes me. My other main ambition is to figure out how I can add a research component to my art without feel like it is forced. If I could figure out how to successfully do that, it would be a major personal and artistic triumph.

Extremities of Human Consciousness: Interview with Sienna Freeman

Sienna Freeman is a San Francisco based visual artist and writer. Her visual work has exhibited across the United States and internationally in Switzerland, London, Belgium, and Canada. Her written work has been published on DailyServing.com, ArtPractical.com, and in the California College of the Arts’ Sightlines journal. Freeman earned an MA in Visual & Critical Studies and an MFA in Fine Art from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Statement

My work draws upon significant personal experiences that illuminate the extremities of human consciousness: altered or heightened states of physical, psychological, or emotional condition. In these cumulative moments, which are characterized by their intense, transgressive, revelatory, and often dream-like nature, I find terrain for contemplation and investigation. Seeming to exist simultaneously in dichotomous spaces, perhaps pulled inside out through opposing forces, these dialectical borderland instances expose the complexity of territories between the intellect and the senses, places where the logical mind and subconscious interface with a deeper sense of being.

Through the fragmented, layered, and surgical process of collage, I seek to investigate these surreal areas of radical opposition. Modifying my own photographs, appropriated images, and found objects, aspects of my process can be looked at much like a combination of stream of consciousness and constrained writing techniques. I manipulate and assemble source materials as I go, working within a fixed set of thematic, conceptual, or visual constraints. In dialogue with historic techniques and concepts utilized by the Surrealists, these methods allow for an automatic processing of visual information on a semiotic level, an intuitive sense of sight that is both linked to and detached from our contemporary mass media experience and corporeal understanding of the world around us.

My most recent work investigates fusions and fissures between the imaginary-visual and the material-haptic as tied to perceptions of selfhood and otherness. Here, the material of cloth is metonymic for the boundaries of the body, both formally and symbolically. Culled from the most intimate to commercial sources, such as my own closet to bridal shops on Amazon.com, satins and silks in hues associated with both the inside and outside of the body (blood red, chocolate, taupe, pink) are photographed, dissected, rearranged and then cast in plastic resin, becoming image-based icons for thresholds of (dis)embodiment, corporeality, cyclicality, and circumscription.

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Tell us about your start as an artist.  When did you decide to follow the creative path? 

I was raised by a family of artists, so I was surrounded by people who lived a creative lifestyle, which made it seem like an attainable and possible choice.  When I was a kid, my dad played in a punk band and my mom was a weaver. My grandfather was a prolific self-taught painter.  He helped me pay for undergrad and bought me my first real camera. I didn’t grow up with money, so I never felt comfortable without a consistent financial gig. I suppose that is where choice came in for me.  While I have never considered a life path that did not prioritize making stuff, I did choose to pursue a professional career in the arts outside of my studio practice that had meaning for me.  Early on, this meant working in galleries to support my own work and the work of other artists.  Now that means working in non-profit arts education, which allows me to support and learn from some pretty brilliant makers and thinkers while sustaining an active studio practice.

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What is your work about? 

This new work is inspired by self-experiential moments when the imaginary-visual and the material-haptic bump up against each other, those instances when you perceive yourself as both connected to and removed from your own sense of being.

Making this work, I have been thinking about the word “circumscription” a lot. I’m interested that it means both the act of being limited, defined, or restricted to part of a pre-determined taxonomy, and also the implication of a metaphorical and/or physical surrounding boundary.  Looking at the body as a structural metaphor, the skin serves as a boundary between our internal musculature and the external environment. But it also serves as a cultural signifier for identity in terms of race, gender, and age. While our skin itself circumscribes, the cloth we wear to protect our skin adds another layer of literal and symbolic circumscription.

I am interested in what it means to consider cloth and skin as metonymic, while acknowledging the distance and closeness between the two as we encounter them through touch and vision.  I am also interested in considering this type of perceptual experience beyond that of just the individual, how we experience ourselves as present and absent in the context of collective or communal bodies, and whether such contexts are systematically imposed upon us or we self-subscribe (or are circumscribed) to them. 

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How do you feel the materials you use contribute to the overall meaning of your art? 

The collages that I have made over the past year or so are primarily assembled from self-produced and found photographs of skin and cloth. Photographs of the inside of my own body from a recent ovarian surgery also serve as source material, along-side photographs I’ve shot of liquids in motion, as well as objects that bind or constrain, such as rope and ribbon. The found images are culled from specific types of printed matter, such as wedding magazines, obscure 1970’s porn, and targeted genre publications like “Horse & Rider.”

These source materials are hand-cut into a variety of similar shapes and then arranged intuitively in a non-systematic order, a process that concurrently confuses, conflates, and illuminates the multitude of meanings attached to each image source.  Often, it is difficult to discern which is which in the final piece—a concept that has been driving this new work. They are eventually glued down and cast in a sheet of plastic resin. 

The medium of collage is pretty essential to the overall meaning of work that I make.  My materials and processes are intentionally in conversation with those utilized by historic Surrealists, although perhaps more inspired by the school of Georges Bataille then André Breton. I think about Surrealism a lot—how surrealist goals and tactics were driven by the desire to disrupt social norms and challenge oppressive systematic ideologies.  This seems more fruitful then ever given our current climate. 

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What inspires you to keep creating?

There is just a drive there that tells me to do it.  I choose to listen to this drive, ignoring all of the practical reasons to not do it.  I also feel motivated by my peers and want to contribute to a conversation that is bigger than me and my own motivations. I believe that critical dialog with other folks (artists and not) about meaning and possibility is essential to all types of growth and feel that my creating artwork is just another way to participate in these conversations. 

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What would a dream life look like for you? 

I am already lucky to do what I love on a pretty consistent basis with the support of some pretty amazing people.  But, a dream life for me would have to exist in a word with real equity. For example, I would like to no longer have to pay for and then be taxed on tampons as “luxury goods.” While I’m dreaming, I would also like a lifetime supply of New York pizza and bagels available for delivery to me 24 hours a day in San Francisco, because they are just not the same here. 

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Share a piece of advice with or readers for trying something new in the studio and overcoming blocks.

It sounds cheesy and everyone says it, but just working through it usually pays off—even if you know what you’re making sucks and you aren’t having fun.  I think giving yourself the space to experiment while knowing that failure is part of the process can be liberating.  It can allow you to make the most fruitful mistakes and discover something new in your practice without feeling the pressure to actually produce something good. 

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What are you currently working on?

In addition to these collages, I have also been working on a series of soft sculpture pieces. Textiles, which often appear as image-based icons for thresholds of corporality and cyclicality in my collages, have only recently made their way into my practice in their actual three-dimensional woven forms. I am not sure they are any good at this point, but I am really enjoying working on them and excited to see where they go. I also just curated an online show for the NIAD Art Center in Richmond, CA and am working on a long-term collaborative project with the San Francisco poet Justin Robinson. 

Julio Rodriguez

Julio Rodriguez is a visual artist whose paintings are the result of an urban experience. Using photographs he takes from daily explorations of the landscape, he makes paintings that are formed from the structures, textures, and colors of the city. His work uses these elements as a visual vocabulary to engage in a dialogue about emotion and identity. He received his BA in Studio Art/ Art History at San Francisco State University in 2016 and now lives and works in the East Bay.

Hillaree Hamblin

Hillaree Hamblin is a fine artist and arts educator living and working in Houston, Texas. Her work has been shown in Germany, London and at various art spaces around Houston including Lawndale Art Center, Samara Gallery and Box 13 Artspace. In 2013, she received her Bachelors in painting from the University of Houston and this past May graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts from Houston Baptist University.  Recently, she taught an experimental 3D workshop at Art League Houston for their 2016 Summer High School Studio Art Intensive program and currently teaches art classes to elementary, junior high & high school students.

Studio Practice

Using a conglomeration of experimental processes, my work uses intensely remembered emotions as the catalyst to create works that represent the essence of a memory or event.  The resulting pieces are both 2 and 3-dimensional structures, containing caught fragments of the past infused with personal reflections. How do we make tangible the intangible? What is the physical formation of an emotion or a highly charged memory? In this search, I’m asking myself and the viewer how can we better document our past. In an age where we have what seems an unending amount of digital options, why does it feel like it's harder to retain memories or real emotion? My studio process is an experimental laboratory of sorts, at times somber, at times lively, at times chaotic-always in flux, always searching for the best way to make visible that which cannot easily be seen, created or rendered. Elements from these tactile formations of intangible emotions are broken down and reformed, in much the same way sediment and strata are layered.  In giving such a fragile and constantly changing entity such as memory a physical form and life, I hope to simultaneously document and enshrine my own personal history.