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  • Exploring A ‘Visual Language’, Interview by Nicole Teitler

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    Original post at The Independent

    What influenced you to be in the creative world?

    I didn’t grow up around artists at all. In fact, I wasn’t really conscious about what art could do till I went to college and learned about art. It was odd but while I loved making things and drawing as a child, it really didn’t occur to me what it is to make something.

    By making something, I mean putting things together to create a wholeness with momentum to move us. It’s about ways to transform the sum of each element into more than the simple equation, to activate the elements with an unknown something to reveal how things really are. I believe dealing with art is one way to be human, with its human deficiency as well as the unknown potential of what we are made of.

    How does your creative process differ from sculpture to painting?

    The process of painting is one of the most fascinating things for me. It’s a struggle to open myself, observe, and free elements as a cohesive dynamic or narrative emerging before me. I accept, affirm, and become one with the momentum to explore the process. It’s a way to surrender to the material reality while firmly grounding myself in the essence of my being. It’s highly pragmatic, yet, it is also open to the mysterious potential of our fundamental nature. If it sounds strange, well, yes, it is, and the end result can be also very strange but somehow it resonates with my heart.

    Sculpture making shares the same aspect of working with the unknown, especially at the beginning of the process, when I come up with the core idea. But the process then becomes more methodical as it involves assembly of materials. It’s like growing a seed slowly with caring hands and heart. Both ways are valid and effective for me.

    What are your pieces about? Do you focus on a particular motif?

    When I started making art a few decades ago, I was very strict and conscious about not relying on recognizable symbols, images, or narratives. I was aiming to speak a “visual language” based on our perceptions of form elements such as shapes, lines, tones, colors, contrasts, and so on. I thought that was the way to transcend our differences as people and speak some sort of a common language.

    I see that even what we regard as ideal principles — “freedom,” “democracy,” “justice,” “humanity,” and so on — are rather artificial within the narratives we are forced to consume in the authoritarian hierarchy of money and violence. I see that our perceptions, for example, are largely based on values, beliefs, and norms cultivated through the pragmatic necessity of surviving within the capitalist hierarchy.

    What are your pieces about? Do you focus on a particular motif?

    When I started making art a few decades ago, I was very strict and conscious about not relying on recognizable symbols, images, or narratives. I was aiming to speak a “visual language” based on our perceptions of form elements such as shapes, lines, tones, colors, contrasts, and so on. I thought that was the way to transcend our differences as people and speak some sort of a common language.

    I still subscribe to the basic idea, but as I get older and see how our world operates, I see that our nature as humans and our relationship to our material reality aren’t that simple. I mean, it is a challenge to express what it is to be human, when our perceptions are so systemically and structurally skewed by the framework of our time.

    I see that even what we regard as ideal principles — “freedom,” “democracy,” “justice,” “humanity,” and so on — are rather artificial within the narratives we are forced to consume in the authoritarian hierarchy of money and violence. I see that our perceptions, for example, are largely based on values, beliefs, and norms cultivated through the pragmatic necessity of surviving within the capitalist hierarchy.

    How did you get involved with Duck Creek?

    I have worked with the director Jess Frost in the past, and she encouraged me to submit an exhibition proposal. I live close to Duck Creek and I have been familiar with the beautiful space so I am very much grateful for the team at Duck Creek for allowing me to show my work there. It is important that the town is supportive of the arts, and it is great that the community-based efforts have been made to offer a venue for art, performance, and music in the area.

    Do you have a favorite work you’ve done, thus far?

    I always try to pursue new possibilities. So naturally, I think I’ve been always interested in the work I am doing at the moment. But it’s also nice to see old works and find some parts refreshing, intriguing, or even surprising. The thing about art is that the crucial part is always the part that mystifies and triggers a sense of awe. It allows us to be a part of a larger reality, even though we don’t really understand it. That way, it allows us to be humans with dignity somehow.

    What’s ahead for you?

    I feel that I have so much to do in so many directions. Life is just too short.

    The Arts Center at Duck Creek is located at 127 Squaw Road, Springs, East Hampton. Learn more at the website http://www.duckcreekarts.org.

    nicole@indyeastend.com

  • Painting Show at Arts Center at Duck Creek

    In Art, Artist, Exhibition, News, Painting on

    Friends,
    I’m very excited and happy to announce that my paintings will be at one of the most beautiful art venues in the region, Arts Center at Duck Creek (127 Squaw Road, East Hampton), from June 1st through June 23rd.The opening reception is June 1 from 5-7.

    The work shown will be selected paintings from 2013 to 2018. 5 years worth of struggle, surprise, revelation, joy, heartbreak and achievement will be on view at the splendid 19th century barn.

    I have lived in the area for over 20 years. Unfortunately, I often realize that I barely know many people who are supportive of arts in my own community. I will be gallery-sitting through most of the duration of the show, Thursday to Monday, 11 to 6. Please come say hi. Please spread the words, invite your friends and family members to see the show. I ‘ll be very happy to meet you and chat.

     

  • A New Piece, #86

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    This one grew at the edge of my mind for a few years. I worked on it on and off, and at some point, it really started to show something remarkable. It’s always exciting to see ideas merge to consist of a wholeness with a life of its own.

    #86, 26″ x 25″ x 5 1/4″, painted resin, 2016-19

  • A New Piece #85

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    Here is a new piece. I don’t quite know if it’s a sculpted painting or a painted sculpture. I started it as a painting—it does have layers of paint underneath, but I ended up finishing it with resin, which I used to cover a previous piece, #82. You don’t see much paint on it, but I certainly treated the surface as if it were a painted surface.

    #85, 48″ x 60″ x 1.75″, canvas, resin and acrylic, 2019

     

  • Wall Sculptures at Freud Monk Gallery

    In Art, Artist, Exhibition, News, Sculpture on

    Freud Monk Gallery is having an online exhibition of wall sculptures which opens on March 1st.  They are showing some of my pieces.

    I’ve been enjoying their Instagram posts and the site has intriguing interviews by the artists in the current show.  Sign up for email notification at their site.  Their page has a link:  @freudmonkgallery

  • #32 added to the site

    In Art, Artist, News, Sculpture on

    A piece from 1998-2001 has been added to the sculpture section of my site. I’ve been conscious of the fact that many people who look at my work do so through the Internet. I’ve learned how to document the work and I believe I’ve done a decent job. But obviously, looking at the work through screens with their limitations curtails the appreciation. Certain pieces will appear better than others as some aspects are easier to perceive than others on screen. It is completely impossible to convey the significance of certain others. But having said that, it is absolutely mind-blowing that we do more or less recognize visual languages across the globe while many of us don’t even speak the same language. Our governments might even consider your governments “enemies”, building nuclear weapons, badmouthing peoples based on their nationalities and so on. But we have the same language to build our friendship.

    #32, enamel, oil, plaster, tar and wax, 38″ x 36″ x 1.75″, 1998-2001

  • New Print, B19-03

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    Here is a new print.

     

  • New Painting, Untitled Painting 034

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    Untitled Painting 034, 60 x 48 inches, acrylic on wood, 2018

    Detail


    Detail


    Detail

    Detail

  • Escape From Themselves by John Steppling

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    In a world where obvious fraudsters play God, hellbent on domesticating the people in their invisible, yet potent, imperial cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism, people suffer from various forms of mental deformities, engaging in psychotic defenses acting as unconscious as well as conscious gatekeepers of the very oppressors.

    How then, could we raise and mobilize our awareness against this destructive trajectory of neo-feudal, neo-caste, neo-colonial system of capitalist hierarchy? And for artists, how do we share the essence of what it is to be humans when our lives in the cage blind our true potentials and our true missions to be humans?

    John Steppling’s latest blog post focuses on how the authoritarian hierarchy imposes us various feelings of guilt, which in turn, manifests in alienation, depression, anger and ultimately a form of complacency within the framework. The elaborate mechanism of the domination creates an extraordinary circumstance for artists. How do we even do what we do?

    John suggests that artists take a deep breath and reflect, for such a realization can be a catalyst in prompting a true growth as artists of our time.

     

  • New Sculpture, #84

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    #84, 11 1/4 x 17 x 18 1/4 inches, acrylic, enamel, found object, plaster and resin, 2018