I was recently invited by artist Alicia Forestall-Boehm to participate in an ongoing series of brief questions and answers for artists about their work and their process. Here goes!
What are you working on?
I am currently working on a new series of work on a larger scale, which will incorporate new media with encaustic. These panels will range in sizes from 36 x 36” to 48 x 60” for an exhibition at Chicago Art Source Gallery in January. I am also preparing for two more exhibitions next year: One is a two-person show with Kari Hall at Brickton Art Center in June 2015. We are exploring the common ground that we have in our art making processes. The second is a solo exhibition in the Dulgar Gallery at South Suburban College. I am also very much looking forward to spending some quality time with Shawna Moore in her Montana studio this October for an advanced encaustic teacher training week.
Why do you do what you do?
Everyone has that one thing they love and they give all their attention to. For me this is art. Making art is something I have always done and I cannot remember it not being part of my life. If there is anything in the outer world that I feel intimately connected with, it is art. We have always known each other.
It is also a practice which is healthy and nourishing for my own spirituality. It constantly nudges me to grow and to cultivate silence as I work. I love how this practice makes the artistic process feel so significant, how the final work of art has this possibility of containing something luminous.
How does your art making process work?
After getting set up to paint, my first task when beginning a new piece is to meditate, to become completely silent and embrace stillness, allowing the work to evolve from that space. This extends from the work’s germination as a seed, through its progression to a fully blossomed piece. From that point on, outwardly, it is about combinations of color, the layering of encaustic paint- adding and subtracting it, and the fire of the butane torch. Ultimately, the imagery I create is intended to be experiential, using color as a vehicle for a moment of contemplation.
– – – – – – –
Now about Alicia Forestall-Boehm, who invited me to answer these questions:
When it comes to making art, Alicia has a special way of working with her materials. She transforms unexpected media like wax, wire and cheesecloth into forms that fascinate me because they leave me with all kinds of questions about what I’m actually seeing. Her works are full of delightful contradictions – how can a single object be both soft and hard, lightweight and heavy, delicate and sturdy? I have no idea but I love it.
Personally, as an artist-friend, Alicia has been extremely encouraging and supportive. She is also one of the pillars of the FUSEDChicago community, of which we are both members.
Alicia’s thoughts about her work:
“My encaustic and fiber sculptures reduce larger images and concepts into elegant simplified forms. By paring down basic elements of color, shape and movement I am able to acknowledge another kind of space. Ultimately they become symbols of incompleteness that come together in works of art that are complete and whole. My work elevates the humble cheesecloth. When married with encaustic it becomes surprisingly malleable allowing for a broad range of sculptural treatments. The resulting works are abstract representations of urban history that often explores the physical and mental boundaries of public and private spaces we inhabit. I am currently working on an encaustic and fiber sculptural installation for a solo show at Art on Armitage in Chicago December 2014.”
One of the fun parts of this project was to highlight the work of three other artists whose work I deeply admire. Now I’d like to ask them to answer the same questions in their blogs next week. The three women I chose create two-dimensional work in oil, encaustic and mixed media:
1. Amy Van Winkle
Amy Van Winkle is an artist from the Chicago area who works primarily with encaustic. What I love most about her abstract work is found in the tiny details, which can only be fully appreciated in person. Her paintings are lush with color and beautifully minimal, but contain tiny details that enchant me. Amy has been a great, supportive friend, and it is a pleasure to share her work here. In Amy’s own words:
Amy Van Winkle
It’s simple; I create art because it makes me happy. My paintings aren’t complicated, but yet they’re full of memories and emotions. My art begins intuitively. My inspiration comes from retrospection, song lyrics, a quote, a color and, of course, the sweet little moments of everyday life.
2. Casey Matthews
Casey Matthews creates large scale mixed media paintings that I absolutely adore. Her use of color is spectacular, and her works give the sense that they have effortlessly fallen there on the canvas, though I know that is certainly not the case, and actually quite difficult to achieve. About Casey:
Casey Matthews creates rich paintings with multi-media surfaces that are both visually intriguing, and full of energy; incorporating expressive color, movement, and strong elements of design. The work combines emotional content, observation, technique, exploration, and reinvention. It is a form of vague communication and contradiction in an attempt to achieve balance and beauty. This award-winning artist attracts collectors throughout worldwide, and works from her studio on Amelia Island, Florida.
3. Liz Tuckwell
Liz Tuckwell is an artist and friend who paints primarily in oil and shares gallery wall space with me at Sacred Art in Chicago. Her works are able to be both bold and subtle simultaneously, and emanate sublime points of light throughout. About Liz:
Liz Tuckwell is a painter currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She states, “ I truly began my painting career while living in Amsterdam with little more than cheap oil paints from a local Dutch market, a potato knife and paper. Later, I discovered the use of brushes, I discovered the canvas and the story begins to write itself from there. My paintings are stories that burst forth from within me, often times telling me a story about myself. If we see art as an investigation into being, then my paintings are my investigation into my being; I paint what I feel, or rather what I am feeling comes through on each canvas.”
Many thanks to Amy, Casey and Liz for offering to share your work! Please check in with them next week to see the artists they are highlighting.