What initially drew you to your current practice?
A while back I had moved into complete abstraction and was simply naming each work “Abstraction 1”,” Abstraction 2” and so on. Even though the creation of this work was very meaningful to me, I felt very removed from the finished product. I wanted to make their meanings more evident to the viewer, so I began to name each piece after either an element from the work, or the moment in which I created it.
For example “Baba, Birthday, Sexual Harassment” is a piece in which I used a scrap from my Ukrainian Grandmother’s nightgown, a Birthday Card Envelope, and a notice about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace that I found in a kitchen where I used to work. “Bowie” is titled thusly because I was listening to David Bowie while made the work. I thought that this would at least spark the viewers’ imagination in a way that a very generic title wouldn’t.
When I began to add imagery back into my work it was honestly because I missed creating form again with my brush vs. the blocks of colour that I had been painting for so long. Photo transfers allowed me to create imagery within my work but in a still abstracted way.
When making a work, do you find that you work intuitively, and are guided by the process, or do you begin the work with a firm idea of the finished product in mind?
I always begin with an idea of what the finished product will look like, and I don’t believe that I have ever had a piece turn out as I planned it…. ever. I am extremely process based and intuitive in my practice. I begin with a collage element, or a photo transfer that means something to me, and it becomes the bouncing off point for the rest of the work. Then each stroke or image that I put down prompts the next. When I don’t know what to do next I consider it a finished piece.
When creating a collage using personal objects, does the painting become a response to the objects themselves, or is the finished work more of a document to preserve that moment in time?
It is a bit of both. I suppose that if the work were to become a response to the objects I am using, because of their personal meaning, I would be the only one who understood this response. There are some objects that I have had for years waiting to use. If anything, this makes the objects seem more valuable and creates a nervous response from me when I use them. It is the old “I had better not mess this up” response. So in a way I have had to let go of the objects in order to use them, and even more so to prospectively sell them and have them move out of my life.
It is true that there are layers of nostalgia within my work: the objects that I hang on to for years waiting to use, then finally the moment of creation, and finally the reflection on that moment. The initial work is a document to its creation, but the cycle of creating and reflecting and remembering is ongoing.