Interview by Anne-Valérie Kirmann, August/September 2019
Could you please introduce us to your art making process?
Capturing light and gesture into image is how my process starts. I scan holographic paper moving and bending it, making a jpeg image that I further layer and invent compositions from the topography of color. Playing with the limits of the image data, I process images into a language by zooming, warping and drawing on computer programs. I then print these images and paint on top, sometimes completely covering the printed aspects.
The shapes I overlay are influenced by the digital tools I use, such as brush shapes, the dragging of information or digital smearing, degrading… My practice is painting based, expanded by book making, sculpture and video. I take images of my finished paintings and animate them in software. This is akin to a drawing practice or something; it helps me to contextualize the work and create a cycle that expands the work. I am fascinated by the idea of giving these transitory virtual moments a materiality.
Where does your signature color palette (dominated by shades of blue and pinkish reds) come from? Does it come directly from the scanner capture or is it generated digitally afterwards?
I use colors that have associations of superficial, narcotic, cosmetic, or frivolous, etc. I love playing with those things in these serious paintings. It is reductive even though it feels additive or invented. The color combinations are exciting to me when associated with the abstract forms, as they exist in their own artificial space hopefully challenging expectations of abstract painting. Removing hues, inverting or altering the levels in Photoshop from the scan transforms the imagery from photographic to painterly. I think of this mediated light and color as a physical material, and hope the works emit a technological glow.
When looking at your works, it is hard to make the difference between the areas that are printed and those that are physically painted. The limits are very blurry. What is the message you want to convey when mixing the real and the digital this way?
In my current body of work, the print functions mostly as an under painting. With paint I am able to blur some of the hard edges of the print, layer new forms, but most importantly delete sections. The accumulation of information, and then the removal of information is important. I repeat the printed imagery in a spread, or vertical repeating format. It creates an underlying structure that can be adhered to or broken apart in the painting stage. I am fascinated by ideas around “it from bit”, and the idea everything can be computed and is made of the same information.
The perceptual push-pull between the physical world and screens is reflected in the compositions. The hybridity creates something fresh for me. There is so much plasticity and potential between the two, it is not only a matter of translating digital affectation into paint.
You like to present your work on the floor or on 3D supports like cubes. What is the underlying idea?
The floor pieces activate the architecture, the experience of the paintings is fractured and punctuated. The cube sculptures are made of lenticular prints that shift and blur as the viewer moves around. The feedback loop of transforming light -> digital image -> physical object -> is reinforced by the installation.
It is my goal to slow down the experience of virtual space, and speed up painting space, using qualities from video and music – such as repeating frames, internal illumination or reverb – to approach imagery. The viewer can look back from one painting to another, and engage in this total environmental perspective.
Most of your paintings are made of juxtaposed areas with continuous color gradients intertwined with some types of sharp-edge narrow marks that draw rounded paths over the surface. How do you view those different elements?
The processing and coding of physical information leaves behind fragmented bits. I think about these areas as giving the virtual traces a form. I blend colors and edges to create some ambiguity of form contrasting with the hard edges and rectangle of the canvas. The push/pull effect of these elements is most successful to me when the underlying composition is dynamic. The layered hard line sections are like experiencing a shifted simultaneous perspective of the same thing at another rhythm. I am responding to using the idea of tool presets from software: dragging, distorting, and destroying already compressed information.
I title works with a word in addition to keyboard characters, getting at the feeling of typing into a browser command field. For me this touches on the contrast between the sharp edges and soft imagery in the work. I contextualize them by playing with language in an abstract way, using characters from file extensions, sequencing or coding it.
I read in one of your former interviews that you would like to work in collaboration with other artists. Who would you like to work with and why?
I want to push the language of my work into other genres when collaborating; in the past it’s been artist books, video, public art. I would love to work with a fashion designer. Working with the human body directly would be challenging but I have some ideas.
In which directions are you currently working?
I’m working on new hybrid paintings, sculpture, and a large scale exhibition idea, an immersive environment. The “sculptures” will be more like spatial interventions as barriers or screens to look at and walk through. My new wall works have more layers and distortion, and depart from the pink hued color schemes. I’m also working on a project using video and light that can disorient the architecture, blur and bend the boundaries between walls and floor.
Illustration pictures, from top to bottom: Command Field exhibition, 2018 Courtesy of The Hole Gallery Repeat XVI, acrylic on faux printed suede, 35x52 inches, 2016 Courtesy of Anne Vieux mesh exhibition, 2017 Courtesy of Annka Kultys Gallery /vapor, acrylic paint on sublimation dyed faux suede, aluminum frame, 72x50 inches, 183x127 cm Courtesy of the Hole Gallery