A pile of my own used incidentals––including bras, lingerie, designer shoes, Hanukkah decorations, used paintbrushes, souvenirs, memorabilia, and concrete blocks––that I once used to hold up my paintings has magnetically migrated to the center of my studio. These articles reflect my personal connection to femininity, Judaism, romance, and notions of painting, and have become specimens, icons, and relics that are poked, prodded, stroked, rubbed, then pulled, torn, and broken apart. They become the supports for new work, connecting my past practice of painting on canvas to the more open and broadly defined notion of “painting” that interests me now.
A laborious process of making grips me, entrances me, brings me to the devotional. I get lost in the repetition of the act of making. As an intermediate step, variable elements are stained, glazed, sprayed, painted, or dipped, then at times rubbed, scraped, sanded, drilled, or cracked open. All surfaces are covered, decorated, and obliterated, with many being re-exposed to varying degrees. Methodically, meditatively, obsessively, carefully, at times carelessly but always vehemently, I make and remake. -Rachel Klinghoffer
To see more from Rachel Klinghoffer click here.
The performances by LA based Emily Mast. These are two of her most recent works, but I highly recommend checking out all of her performances on her website.
The Stage Is A Cage, 2015, performance, 45 minutes
To watch the video: The Stage Is A Cage, 2015, performance
ENDE (Like a New Beginning) Again, 2014, performance, 1 hour
To watch the video: ENDE (Like a New Beginning) Again
**All videos are from emilymast.com
Hanan Sharifa is a painter and weaver living in Oakland, CA. To see more of her work, click here.
Hallberg uses variety in media and shape as a way to break new ground, discover new objects, and explore space existing beyond the physical. The forms uncovered in her work hint at familiar and/or recognizable things – constellations, prisms, matrices, portals – yet elude us in the end. Hallberg’s latest body of work, a series of circular paintings, is inspired by the Nebra sky disc, an object associated with the Bronze Age that is said to be the oldest concrete depiction of the cosmos in the world. -Oracle
To see more from Charlotte Hallberg click here.
Amber Stucke is an artist, writer and naturalist who recently moved to Cincinnati, OH from Berkeley, CA, where she lived for ten years. Stucke received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and continued her studies at Goldsmith’s University of London and The School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. Her thesis, Embodying Symbiosis: A Philosophy of Mind in Drawing, is published in the scholarly journal Consciousness, Literature and the Arts. Amber’s work is represented at Electric Works Gallery in San Francisco. She is also a participating artist in the Based On Drawing Center, Satellite Berlin in Berlin, Germany.
I had the privilege of visiting Amber in her Berkeley studio, filled with sunlight and objects she has collected over time: driftwood, moss, shells, and antlers. After her black cat greeted me, I got to see her drawings on Symbiosis State up close. They depict very detailed arrangements of complicated organisms, done with graphite and touches of gouache and ink.
Following are some questions and answers about Amber’s artwork, relationship to nature and upcoming projects (we communicated via email):
Maxine Schoefer-Wulf: You’ve completed a series around Symbiosis State - which include drawings, two interactive installations, a limited edition artist book and thesis. What sparked your interest in visually exploring natural organisms and, more specifically, symbiotic relationships?
Amber Stucke: Growing up where the border line meets Illinois and Indiana forty minutes south of Chicago, my neighborhood was on the outskirts, touching parts of farm land, forests, and fields. I would go for many walks in the neighborhood and sit for hours in a field with hay stacks watching the sun set, red-tailed hawks fly above, black-tailed deer roam on the edge of the forests, lightning bugs and mosquitoes scan the air during dusk, and observe the different colors in the field altered by the changing light.
The first time I ever saw the word symbiosis was when I was doing research for an earlier project called Twinship: Unity in Difference. I was reading non-fiction material on behavioral traits related to both fraternal and identical twin relationships. This project stemmed from my own curiosity of being a fraternal twin myself. The word symbiosis is used to describe the strongest bond between two human beings: that of an identical twin relationship.
The word came up again but in a more indirect way through personal experiences and encounters with Lakota Sioux and Ojibwa people in the Midwest. In biology, symbiosis is understood as the interactions between two organisms and their long-term interrelationship. The Lakota Sioux have a phrase in their language called mitakuye oyasin, which translates as “all my relatives”. This phrase encapsulates the worldview of interconnectedness held by the Lakota people. It is this interconnectedness between nature and culture that forms my curiosity about symbiotic relationships.
MSW: Your drawings explore and create parasitic, mutualistic, and commensalistic relationships between and among natural organisms: fungus, moss, algae and lichen. Looking at your work, it becomes clear that you’ve studied scientific illustrations and that your drawings are guided by biology and your own observations of nature. How does this scientific knowledge inform your creation of new forms? What else comes into play in your creative process?
AS: Scientific knowledge read from academic textbooks and discussed with bioscientists, mycologists, or ethnobotanists is one aspect of the process in how I make and research for my work before I even begin to use and think about the materials connected to my project. However, I do not learn about scientific knowledge to enforce the definitions, terms or information given; meaning, I do not utilize the knowledge in a traditional academic way, which is usually taken as facts acquired through the scientific method and accepted by the scientific community. Knowledge from science informs my thinking process into my work, but the research is shown more literally in how I appropriate from visual scientific illustrations to allow for my work to sustain a constant dialogue between art and science, and between systems of knowledge and belief.
I appropriate from these visual taxonomies to create conversations between local knowledge systems of the human body and scientific classification structures. Both the rational and experiential come together within the “diagramatic realism” to further an open-ended critique of what a knowledge structure is and what it can become. I also utilize imagination within this format as an agency, which challenges the scientific framework.
If art has the power to transform experience and perception in the minds of other people, then I believe this is where drawing can be a type of scientific method within artistic research. Drawings can be based solely on aesthetic formal qualities present in the image, but it is the intention that can reveal layers of intensity and move beyond just the image present on the surface. Research is connected to this intensity in art making. It emphasizes the development of a method or system to explore or interpret information. This process of drawing for hours to achieve a state of mind of symbiosis–to become the behaviors of living organisms in the environment–is a systematic investigation to gain knowledge. The drawing process becomes a creative methodology to learn interconnection, to create new forms, and to learn new systems. Without a specific scientific method, it does not hold up against empirical research, but it can communicate aspects of unknown territory in the mind-body connection. It can open pathways for new understandings in consciousness studies and also allow for renewal of ideas in reflection and contemplation in human experience. My drawing method includes:
Formal layout appropriations
Mutualistic, parasitic, & commensalistic relationships
Detailed, descriptive observations
MSW: You arrange several organisms engaged in symbiosis on your page. In your thesis, I like what you write about the cabinets of curiosities of Renaissance Europe: collections of seemingly random artifacts arranged within a space or on a wall. Although perhaps not scientifically logical, these arrangements of artifacts invited the observer to look closely and draw independent connections between objects. As such, the viewer was invited to fill in gaps. Would you like viewers to engage with your compositions similarly to how they might have interacted with a cabinet of curiosities?
AS: I have no specific intentions in how I would like for the viewer to engage with my drawings, but if it makes a person stand in front of it for more than a few minutes and then that person starts to question or feel something that they are seeing but cannot fully explain it – something is working.
The cabinets of curiosities, also known as Wunderkammers, originated out of The Age of Enlightenment and became organized and systemized into Linnaean classification systems within the field of taxonomy. I use the visual format of a taxonomy as a tool for a local knowledge system. In taxonomy, the separation of parts to a whole and the displacement of form out of context all lead to visual engagement of learning and understanding of life around us.
MSW: In your thesis you write “when I create a drawing, I also create a synergy between my consciousness (mind and body), the paper, and matter that exist around me.” Is this synergy the manifestation of symbiosis state within your own experience and creative process?
AS: As an artist, I am drawn to investigate how my body experiences and learns from the world around me through drawing. It is curiosity that begins my journey of mind and body (mind-body). This curiosity also leads me to a journey of how my consciousness and drawing have grown together to create an internal state of mind that I call symbiosis state. Symbiosis state is a state of mind of becoming symbiotic relationships.
Under symbiosis, I imagine my own interrelationship by creating an open-ended idea of a vessel form. I do not imagine it as an inanimate object, but a living organism–a body of nature. I not only want to become the organisms that I create, but I want to make them come alive–to have energy and electricity to communicate this unknown territory without words.
MSW: Now that you’re settling into your new home in Cincinnati, what will you work on?
AS: I am at the very beginning stages of starting a new project that will connect Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands and their plant relationships, the study of ethnobotany, and local knowledge systems. Some materials to come out of this project could include: books made out of plants, drawings, prints, and a temporary library installation.
To see more of Amber Stucke’s work, please visit her website.
Valentin Dommanget is a London based artist. To see more from Valentin Dommanget click here.
Chloe Wise (b. 1990, Montreal, Canada) is known for her humorous and often irreverent works which are inspired by popular culture and explore issues of the female body and sexuality, consumerism, Jewish identity, luxury, desire, and internet culture, amongst others. She graduated in 2013 from Concordia University. Wise’s practice spans an array of media, such as painting, sculpture, video and installation. Wise is interested in the intersections between politics of identity and social media and the intersection between “real” life and online life. She has shown at the New York Brucennial, and Frieze London, and has upcoming solo shows in Montreal, Canada, and Geneva, Switzerland. Wise lives and works in New York.
As a Jewish girl and a lover of all things bread-y, Wise’s work speaks to me in a major way. To see more of her work, click here.
LPP in Conversation visits Bay Area artists in their studios and project sites to explore the research, readings, obsessions, and inspiration they use to inform their practice.
Our fourth studio visit is with David Bayus and Brynda Glazier.
David Bayus lives and works in San Francisco, CA. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. His risograph book, Stroke, Vol. 2 was recently released by Colpa Press. Brynda Glazier received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her BFA from the University of Montana, Missoula. She is based in the East Bay.
In partnership with Art Practical, all videos stream on their website.
Kelly Lynn Jones & Maggie Haas
Little Paper Planes
Video and editing by Jon Brown
To view the video: Go here.
Katy Fischer received a BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design in 1995 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. Solo exhibitions of her work include: Paintings at Space Gallery in Portland, Maine in 2010, Wandering Time at Proof Gallery in Boston in 2008,The Whole Thing at Western Exhibtions in Chicago in 2007, Here Is Everywhere at Julia Friedman Gallery in New York City in 2005, Toll Way Hills at Suitable Gallery in 2003 and Highlands Commute at Julia Friedman Gallery in Chicago in 2003. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Arsenal Gallery in New York City, Regina Rex Gallery in Queens, Mixture Gallery in Houston, The Figge Museum in Davenport, Allston Skirt Gallery in Boston, Hermetic Gallery in Milwaukee, and Gallery Joe in Philadelphia. Fischer was awarded an Artadia, Fund for Art and Dialog grant in 2004 and a Chicago Cultural Center Community Arts Assistance grant in 2002. And she received a full fellowship award from Vermont Studio Center in 2014 and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship Award from Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, NY in 2012. Katy Fischer currently lives and works in New York. -Curating Contemporary
To see more from Katy Fischer click here.
Rebecca Szeto is a San Francisco based artist who received her B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1992. Since then, she has pursued independent studies with artist mentors and participated in residencies internationally. Szeto creates the forms featured above using mostly felt, thread, muslin and polyfill. According to her website, these ” fragmentary forms are largely dictated by chance and automatic sewing of misshapen scrap edges, one to another. Their forms resist easy labels. There is a (dis)comfort that results from the inability to identify them within any cultural construct, and at the same moment, they draw on a freedom from narrative that speaks volumes – both literally and metaphorically – on the immaterial. The color-blocked objects shape-shift between 2D and 3D planes as you move around them.”
To see more of Szeto’s work, please visit her website.