* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Visit 1: October 18 and 19, 2003, continued
The long drive through the New Mexico landscape from Albuquerque to Quemado to The Lightning Field is a gradual slide towards emptiness, a prelude. Or a subtle preparation for the eyes and mind. The practicalities of the cabin provide simple accommodations that address basic needs to maximize focus and minimize distraction.
At The Lightning Field, my experience of space began with the rational structure of the grid, which was eventually exposed by less rational behavior.
The artwork locates the physical environment in space, and my perception of the work began with the regularity of the grid. The repeated unit of the pole was not significant, only its holistic engagement between human scale and the landscape of the sky. Then the effects of light, the anticipation of cycles of change through the course of the day and night, the possibility of the unpredictable.
Laura Raicovich in At The Lightning Field
Comments are welcome!
Q: Can you discuss your process, including how you actually use Mexican and Guatemalan folk art figures in your art?
A: When I set up the figures to photograph for a painting, I work very intuitively, so how I actually cast them in an artwork is difficult to say. Looks count a lot – I select an object and put it in a particular place, look at it, move it or let it stay, and sometimes develop a storyline. I spend time arranging lights and looking for interesting cast shadows. With my first “Domestic Threats” series, all of this was done so that Bryan, my late husband, or I could shoot a couple of negatives with his Toyo Omega 4″ x 5″ view camera. For my “Black Paintings” series, begun in 2007, I shoot medium format negatives with a Mamiya 6 camera.
I always look at a 20″ x 24″ photograph for reference as I make a pastel-on-sandpaper painting, plus I also work from the ‘live’ objects. The photograph is mainly a catalyst because finished paintings are always quite different from their associated reference photos. Also, since I spend months creating them, the paintings’ interpretative development goes way beyond that of the photo.
I once completed 6 large (58” x 38”) pastel paintings in a single year, but more recently 4 or 5 per year is common. It takes approximately 3 months to make each one. During that time I layer and blend together as many as 25 to 30 layers of pastel. Of course, the colors get more intense as the painting progresses and the pigment accumulates on the sandpaper.
Comments are welcome!