Tumble by Gail Vollrath was a stop-in-my-tracks-and-stare painting for me at Artomatic. Dense blacks and brown-black (made with tar, I learned after talking with her) sank in deeply. The three light blue lines owned a kind of middle ground, and china marker poked out here and there. The piece offered a playful tension between things solid and ethereal.
I was captivated.
When I came for air, I asked her if I could interview her. I was delighted that she said yes and not "Please stop breathing on my painting." Go see it in person at the 11th floor, space 265.
What's the one thing you'd like people who
aren't familiar with you/your work to know about you?
People may be
surprised that I consider my work to be minimal. Though the final work may look very complex, most
of the movements take place in my head. No
matter the size, it can take a very long time for one piece to come to fruition
for that reason. I let each piece lead
Do you paint intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?
I don’t live my
life by a hard core plan, so it seems natural that I don’t work that
way. Everyone works according to their individual temperament. I have
learned that when I trust my thinking
(and intuition as you say), things turn out more genuine. Typically I
keep notes in a very small notebook
that I carry around. Some of what I
write down is notes on things I hear or see or words or groups of words
become titles for paintings. Sketching
has never been particularly useful for me.
Who is your biggest influence and why?
I don’t know if I
have one big influence. Living my day
tells me what to do and how it needs to be done. My formal art education was fairly academic
and comprehensive and I do try to keep up with what is going on today. As far as what I tend to look at in galleries,
I look at everything: ancient,
contemporary, conceptual, drawing, performance, and film. Reading a variety of books from popular
fiction to nonfiction, as well as current periodicals can be hugely
influential. Recently after reading the book and seeing the
very popular film, Hunger Games, I have been thinking about the lethal,
fabricated dogs that were invented to terrorize the characters and thinking of
how elements of those dogs can work as a metaphor for many things that are
happening in our world today. People
make up all kinds of things to inflict on others for whatever reason, real or imagined.
A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever
sell. Tell us about yours.
Nothing is that
precious. There are pieces that I am a
little closer to and I wonder why others have sold before they have, but I am
always happy for someone to take something home. If it can move them in some way, then they
should have it.
Thanks, Gail! I'm so glad I saw your work at Artomatic.
Susanne Kasielke (10th floor, space 145) - Amazing surfaces and here's why: "My way of expressing is abstract while the process of my art is as equally important as the finished painting. I work with handmade paper by using filler and different layers of color
(mostly oil). Between those layers of paint I use sandpaper to bring
out structure and texture. A painting always starts with one coat of gesso. The combination of
sanding and applying layers of paint emphasizes special areas and at the
same time it brings out new shapes and forms. Through the layers of
paint, the scratching and the sanding every piece of work becomes
unique." Lovely presentation: crisp and clean. A complete pro. Visit her website for a portfolio of works on canvas and works on paper.
Julie Wolsztynski (9th floor, space 215) - I recently interviewed her here, so it's probably no surprise that she's become a favorite. She's a fellow artist at Adah Rose Gallery, but we'd only recently met. She's delightful, and her photos show a sensitivity to texture and composition that make me lose myself. Digging her new series Laundromatic Etude (not on display at Artomatic FYI).
Lucio Palmieri (4th floor, space 304) - Quirky, quiet collages from old scientific illustrations. Simple but effective presentation using nails.
Kathryn Trillas (9th floor, space 905 ) - Seductive, precious monotypes. At 5 x 7", Indiana Roads packs a powerful punch. Her header for her Artomatic catalog entry says Landscapes for the Soul. Yes, they are.
Thomas Petzwinkler (10 floor, space 170) - Had some drop-dead gorgeous enlarged photos with rich surfaces mounted in segments/in a grid, but I can't find these at his website and I didn't see him in the Artomatic artists catalog. (Edited to add his new Artomatic catalog link).
Kelly Guerrero (8th floor, space 306) Big sculpture always has presence, but his pieces really resonated with me, stayed in my head. His statement shows why: "I like giving cast-offs a new life and revealing some kind of hidden
beauty in the process. My ideas are guided by ruminations over
relationships, news of the day, or historical events and the human
impulses that shape them all. Even though I may have a specific metaphor
in mind, I prefer to leave the resulting forms veiled in some
mystery—like a piece of machinery or a tool for which the original
purpose has been forgotten." His work doesn't look like he's new to making art, but when I went to look for a website, I was confronted by some beauty pageant tween's site. I want to see more by this artist! Darn.
Same remorse for Elizabeth Brown (10th floor, space 174). (Edited to add her new Artomatic catalog link). Sorry for the fuzzy photo. Loved loved loved this piece/screen of connected doors with two (I think?) lines woven through the screen. God, this was an evocative, refreshing moment for me, standing there, carried back to my childhood with the sounds of these doors slamming shut or shutting softly or easing closed with whiny squeaks. The sounds meant the regret of coming in from outside play or sometimes the rush of coming in to feed my face leftover pieces of dough from my mom's homemade pie crusts. They meant the ticklish stampede of lizard feet over my bare toes as I came outside and roused the critters from their cinderblock home. They meant warm sunshine and four-leaf clovers and maybe something not so lucky, like a water moccasin or two lying in wait. Man...