31 August 2010
Lori Surdut Weinberg
1. Where and how would you display your work in an ideal situation?
I would ideally show my work in a well-known gallery in an international location. I have had shows in Philadelphia and Boston, and it's been a lot of fun. I would like my shows to attract a lot of people from various parts of the world and get as wide of an audience as possible. I have traveled throughout Europe, and I think my work would speak to that kind of audience. A metropolitan location would be ideal.
2. If expository writing is good at elucidating and proving a point and
descriptive geometry gives us the tools by which to map objects in space
in relation to one another, what kind of an apparatus does art afford us?
What does art do best?
I think art clarifies a point; it gets to the essence of an artist's vision and expression. It's about individualism and evoking an emotion in the viewer. It's a sort of mirror into the artist's soul and a visual way of connecting.
3. What can you expect from your audience/fans/viewing public? What would you
like them to know about your work?
I always aim to evoke a mood through my work and to engage the viewer through my landscapes. Sometimes, I leave areas fuzzy or undefined in order to encourage the viewer to use his/her own imagination. I provide a focal point and leave the rest of the work loose. My work addresses the same issues the Impressionists were engaging.
Although I have worked a lot with oil pastels, and I like oil pastels, I have recently discovered water-soluble oils. You can move around the paint just like you can with regular oils, and you can do larger pieces. You don't have to put them under glass, which is nice. Oil pastels on the other hand are more intimate, and I started using turpentine with them. This was written up in Artist's Magazine, and it was very exciting to see my experiments in print. I teach at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and what I have learned through teaching is that experimenting, mixing different media and exploring with your technique is how you get different and interesting results. You create your own way of painting, and you start to discover things.
Lately I have been working with water-based oils, and you can really manipulate them to look like watercolors or you can lay them on thick and move the paint around with a palette knife. My work is about building up texture and the contrast between smooth and rough gestures.
4. Marcel Duchamp said - "Enough with retinal art!" What is your reaction as an artist to this statement?
Good question. I would agree with Duchamp. Art is about creating a relationship with the viewer, and the viewer doesn't have to see everything. If you want to get that specific, why not use a photograph? I am trained as an illustrator. I got my Bachelor's degree from RISD and a Master in Art Education from there as well. My mother was an art teacher, and I became her assistant. I enjoyed seeing the impact on students. Teaching is gratifying. As an artist I have had to be versatile. I have applied my experience and training to book illustration, greeting cards, creative art direction and teaching. To be honest, first, an artists works for himself/herself, and then, he/she makes art into a craft in order to make a living. The more versatile and skilled an artists is, the more marketable his/her work will be. You paint for your own enjoyment, but the thrill of selling something never gets old. Someone saw your work and wanted to have it in his/her home.
5. Do you think that there is still room for art movements in today's
Sure. There is abstract art, realism...But art is global these days. Between the computer and the internet, art has shifted. I think of a movement as people working together to create their own approach to painting, but the market dictates a lot too. It's interesting to see what gets promoted. For instance, people who don't know a lot about art will naturally rely on galleries for a sense of what is "good" art.
I see a lot of trends in my students. After decades of work on the computer, hand craft is making a come-back. Computer-based art looks very similar so students want to infuse their work with something different. They want to bring life back into their work, so they work with me. On the computer you can't stop that line. It just goes on forever, uniformly. Paradoxically, you can control more variety with your hand. There is a place for the computer, but when you put the two together, computer and hand craft - that is when you get an interesting result. But I am finding increasingly that people are missing drawing and work with scanning to marry it to computer generated work.
I teach greeting card design, children's book illustration, and I also coach/mentor undergraduates and graduate students who are applying to art school or want a career change. I help people find jobs. I also enjoy classroom teaching. Mentoring is a great journey.
6. What is one question you wished we had asked you about your art? Please
feel free to answer it.
I guess I would ask what makes my art different. My response would be that my delicacy of hand, the softness of my work, how I see the world and make the ordinary into the extraordinary are some characteristics that stand out. I find beauty in the in everyday and I memorialize it in paint. Some of my favorite artists are Monet and Degas, as well as Bonnard and Vuillard. There is a lot of drawing in Degas's work. I am fortunate enough to see beauty in everything, and this is why it is important that I capture it in painting.