1:10 - LACMA curator Susie Ferrell discusses the museum’s current exhibit “Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation”. The exhibit examines the premise of cultural exchange and how Western art and brands have influenced Chinese art in the present and recent past.
25:37 - Artist Zoe Walsh discusses their work. Walsh is an up and coming Los Angeles-based artist whose brightly colored works walk a fine line between abstraction and figuration while delving into issues related to trans spectatorship.
56:02 - The week’s top art headlines
Craig: [00:00:09] This is Art Sense, a podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. First up this week is my conversation with Lakmal curator Susie Farrell regarding the museum's current exhibit Legacies of Exchange Chinese Contemporary Art from the. Foundation. The exhibit examines the premise of cultural exchange and how Western art and brands have influenced Chinese art in the present and recent past. Segment two I speak to artist Zoe Walsh about their work. Walsh is an up and coming Los Angeles based artist whose brightly colored works walk a fine line between abstraction and figuration while delving into issues related to trans spectatorship. At the end of the episode, I'll be wrapping things up with some of the week's top art headlines, but first up, contemporary Chinese art. Craig: [00:01:09] So, Susie Farrell, Thank you for joining us on the podcast today. Susie, I know your title. If I, if I have it right is the Wynn Resorts assistant curator of Chinese art at LACMA. Yeah, tell us. Tell us about your your position, your your role there at the L.A. County MuseumShow More >
Susie: [00:01:29] Of Art, of course. So I joined Lark about five years ago at this point. I started out working on an exhibition here called The Allure of Matter, which was a Chinese contemporary art exhibition, and I was brought in partially to work on that show and then partially because we had just received this kind of incredible gift. Or we're in the process of working out a reception of this really great promise gift of four hundred works of Chinese, mostly Chinese contemporary art from the collection. Wow. Pretty soon after that, we partnered with the U.S. Museum, and our efforts in Chinese contemporary art just sort of took off. So having me here is kind of like our specialist in Chinese contemporary art has meant lots of great new exhibitions and projects that we're working on here at LACMA involving contemporary China. We developed our partnership with Wynn as well in Macao as kind of an opportunity for for us to curate shows there, gallery space in Macao and for them to have access to our collection as well as the Used Museum's collection. So yes, I'm very thankful to the win for providing me with my title. Craig: [00:03:10] Great. So, so the so that opportunity at the Wynn Resort and Macau. Yeah, so is that kind of a cultural exchange going the other way where it's contemporary American work? Or is it is it also contemporary Chinese that's in that in that venue? Susie: [00:03:29] So they they're kind of open to to any type of work. The show that we've done for them thus far has been Chinese artwork as well. But in our collaborations with Wynn, as well as our collaborations with the U.S. Museum, I think both are. All institutions are open to showing kind of all aspects of our different collections. Obviously, LACMA has, you know, historical and contemporary collection. The U.S. Museum has a fantastic global contemporary collection, so I think that there will be opportunities in the future to show American artwork in these spaces in Asia, as well as to show maybe non-Chinese artwork here at LACMA from the USA's collection. This is just the start. So we yeah, sure, we have a lot that we can work with. Craig: [00:04:27] Yeah. So you guys have a show going on right now. Legacies of exchange Chinese contemporary art from the U.S. Foundation. And I think that's up from last month through March of next year. Can you can you kind of give us an overview of of that show and and kind of what that's built around? Susie: [00:04:48] Yeah. So the the exhibition itself is sort of organized as a manifestation of our partnership and the cultural exchange that's going on between LACMA and the museum. Reflecting upon this history of cultural exchange and artistic exchange between China and the West. We chose to feature Chinese contemporary artists as this is really, you know, a central part of the museum's collection. And we wanted to highlight the incredible Chinese contemporary artworks that are that are featured in their collection. I tried to bring out pieces for this exhibition that would help our visitors to understand a little more about what Chinese contemporary art is within the context of the global art world. Sure. As well as Shanghai, specifically as an artistic hub and the location of the museum, and also to convey this history of exchange and collision between China and the West, right, which this exhibition is now a part of. Craig: [00:05:59] Sure. Well, you know, I used to teach art history, and one of the one of the topics we would cover was this cultural. A collaboration that resulted from the Silk Road, right, and how China sent ceramics technology west in the West, you know, brought different pigments back to China in the next thing, you know, what we now think of is something that we think of as being very Chinese is was even in its time, very much an amalgamation, right? Indeed. Susie: [00:06:37] Absolutely. Craig: [00:06:38] And I think what we're seeing in this exhibition is kind of a 21st century manifestation of that, right? Susie: [00:06:46] Mm hmm. Yeah, definitely. I mean, even this idea of the concept of the Silk Road was sort of a reflection of the mixing of cultures that that was going on. The idea of the Silk Road was kind of first came together by this European art historian. I think in like the 18th century. So originally it was really just this kind of loose bunch of trade routes happening between China, Europe, Africa and now in contemporary times. China is is really kind of reflecting on that history and bringing it into their contemporary iterations like the the Maritime Silk Road and these new products that they have going on. But yeah, I think that this history is is reflected in a few of the works in the exhibition. You know, AI Weiwei's circle of animals zodiac heads comes to mind as being based around a story from, you know, that's been going on for centuries at this point, starting in the 18th century and looking at the cross cultural exchange between Europe and China at that time. Right. And looking at the ways that that has influenced the art world throughout history and also in contemporary times and discussions of repatriation. So I really wanted to kind of look at that continuum in curating this exhibition and look at our partnership with the U.S. Museum as part of that continuum. Craig: [00:08:39] Now it's it's interesting. You know, on our podcast, we talked about the Benin Bronzes and how there's this huge controversy around what's the appropriate means for repatriation or, you know, should it be repatriated. And you know, and I think there are some similar stories around the origin of the circle of animals. Ai Weiwei is making reference to the sculptures that were originally commissioned for the Emperors Palace, but he didn't commission Chinese artists. He had commissioned Italian artists who had actually forged the works in France. If I if I remember, right, well, I guess. Eventually, during the Opium Wars, the British looted that work and in when it eventually came up for auction, there was controversy about Can you really be auctioning off these Chinese relics? But it gets really muddy because they're really not Chinese, right? Susie: [00:09:40] Exactly. Yeah. And this is a complexity that AI Weiwei himself brings up when talking about the pieces. Were these originally Chinese works, or were these European pieces to begin with and who do they belong to? He also has talked about how some of these zodiac heads came up for auction in the 20th century, but we're not really paid attention to in the same way that they are now, so they didn't even really become these national treasure until the past decade or two. Craig: [00:10:19] The exhibit, from what I understand, is it's kind of in two parts. There are two themes that are sort of loosely connected, but the the works kind of fall into two buckets. Can you kind of tell us a little bit how how you split up the display of the work there? Susie: [00:10:35] Yeah. Of course, all of the works in the exhibition fall under this kind of umbrella theme of pieces of Chinese contemporary art related to cross-cultural exchange or cross-cultural encounter or collision. There were some sub themes that naturally emerged, but not all of the works in the exhibition fall under one of those sub themes. So one of the one of the things that I saw come up again and again in the works in the use. Foundation's collection were examples of Chinese contemporary artists who had recreated or remixed or kind of created covers of European paintings, traditional classical parts of the European canon. Some of these were kind of earnest. Other pieces were quite sarcastic in the way that they were being recreated, subverting the original imagery and inserting humorous or uncanny figures in the places of the original central figures. So these recreations became one of the subthemes of the exhibition. Another subtheme of the show is branding for consumer culture brand colonialism kind of the the introduction of Western brands into China, and the works in the show reference brands coming to China as early as the late 19th century specifically. Luxury brands, the tobacco industry and also reflections of the colonial presences in Hong Kong in the 20th century. Craig: [00:12:48] So like part one, where there's sort of this appropriation or purity of Western artistic imagery, I believe in my reading. At the end of the Cultural Revolution, there was a kind of a move on on somebody's part to try to set up the exhibit of Western art in China to try to bring in what the West saw as high art. And this artwork kind of sprung up as as a reaction. Susie: [00:13:16] Yeah. So during the late 20th century, like in the nineteen eighties especially, there was sort of an influx of Western art coming into China. Some of the first exhibitions were, well, actually in the late seventies, there was the first exhibition of European painting to be shown in post Cultural Revolutionary China, which traveled both to Beijing and Shanghai and was quite quite influential. You know, a lot of young Chinese artists saw these works as foreign and exotic and enticing. At the time, the new avant garde developed in basically the nineteen eighties and nineteen nineties. I knew, I mean, post Cultural Revolution, I guess, and and at this time, the art academies were reopening. So we kind of saw the first generation of young artists to come out of China in quite a while. So these young artists were experiencing all of these new influences coming in. Also, kind of European styles of painting were being taught in the art academies at that time. And also, there was a major influx of art magazines that were brought in by the art academies themselves. So they really had their pick of different influences to choose from of of European of US artists or Chinese artists as well. Craig: [00:15:09] And so that that second part, the the one that kind of revolves around branding and advertisement, you know, some of those pieces almost feel like sixties pop pieces in terms of, you know, really looking at branding consumerism, things that Warhol or other pop artists would have been doing a couple of decades before. Susie: [00:15:32] Definitely. I mean, one Grammy, for example, one of the artists in the show has been compared pretty frequently to Andy Warhol and has said himself that he was quite influenced by Andy Warhol and also by Joseph Boyce. The surgeon song has a quite different perspective, I would say, than Andy Warhol, for example. He himself is his Buddhist and Buddhism really influences. This works as a criticism of materialism and of and of kind of luxury brand culture. And this is where his sharpened blade brand logos came from his work blade series, which are featured on the show. Craig: [00:16:26] It seems like given given the emphasis of the exhibition in terms of China's reaction to Western imagery and their reaction to Western brands, it seems like this is a great starting point for people who aren't real familiar with, you know, contemporary Asian work to kind of have an entry point in there because they they can understand the references being from the West. It's not that any sort of inside cultural information from the East, there's not a lot of that that needs to be explained because they're they're referencing things that, you know, as someone in the West, you probably have some familiarity with. Right? Susie: [00:17:15] Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that, you know, one thing that I wanted to do with this exhibition is to make it accessible to all of our audiences who are visiting last. So we did. We put in a special effort to make sure that all of the labels can be read in Chinese, and the artist names are featured in Chinese events are kind of showing the special attention to the Chinese artists and Chinese visitors. But I think that one thing about an exhibition that's about cross-cultural exchange is that I think that a lot of people from the West can also see themselves in these works. And I think a really kind of special experience about going to a museum is seeing how you can relate and sympathize or empathize with with what the artist is expressing. I completely agree with you about the kind of recognizable branding or, you know, recognizable. The European art covers or remixes, for example, might be something that our visitors here at Lakme are more acquainted with. I think that having those features of the exhibition maybe makes it easier for for people to see themselves in relation to the work. Craig: [00:18:46] Sure. And maybe it makes the world feel a little smaller, right? Susie: [00:18:50] Yeah, yeah, definitely. Craig: [00:18:52] So, you know, you don't have to answer this question, but do you have a do you have a favorite piece that that's in the exhibit? Susie: [00:19:02] Oh, that's that's such a difficult question. Craig: [00:19:06] I knew it was a loaded question. Susie: [00:19:07] I know I feel like I've been been living with these works for years with these points, and it's like picking a favorite child. Craig: [00:19:17] So instead of maybe a favorite, a favorite piece is there. Is there a favorite story behind one of the pieces that you kind of found, you know, to be a special sort of back story that kind of resonated with you? Susie: [00:19:31] I mean, there are so many great pieces of this show and just being able to talk one on one with the artists in the exhibition and hear about all the background and the details of their story like it really changes my understanding of the work. Mm hmm. I think one in particular would be should Yang's piece the pantheon. I was talking to Yang about this work in the planning stages of the show, and she was telling me about the background behind it and behind it and how. On her visit to Rome in 2013, she had gone to visit the pantheon about three times a day every day while she was there. Wow. And kind of just enjoyed watching the light change in the space as if it was like a tarot artwork of the Oculus at the top of the pantheon, of course, changes the view of the building throughout the day and finally kind of landed on this piece that has just dramatic lighting of the ceiling of the dome and the dark night sky through the Oculus itself, and the way she talked about the sort of universal experience that people have around the world and especially in relation to history and. Spirituality, as well as practices around death. I thought it was really interesting and that I could see myself having a similarly awe inspiring experience in the pantheon, right? Craig: [00:21:22] This show is up through March 13. And are there any other projects you're working on right now that you'd like to tell us about or that are like on the horizon or that we can keep an eye out for? Susie: [00:21:36] Yeah, actually, I'm about to start the install period for an exhibition called Ink Dreams, which will be selections from the Fondazione Ink Collection that promised gifts that I actually brought up at the beginning of my conversation. That's going to be opening in mid-September, September 19th at LaCour, and actually is going to be in the space just adjacent to legacy of exchange. So we'll have just an incredible amount of Chinese contemporary art. Also looking forward to that one. Craig: [00:22:10] Yeah. So is there is there a big keystone piece that you know of of that exhibit that that you're pretty excited about? Or, you know, is it just a great collection? Susie: [00:22:22] I mean, it's a fantastic collection. It's all related to ink, but kind of expanding the material of ink and the history of ink painting and East Asia to be something beyond just material. So to look at photographs or sculpture that shares the language of ink painting and the references that that ink artists today make to historical ink painting and also explain expanding beyond just East Asia. So looking at how ink art has influenced the global contemporary art world today? Craig: [00:23:02] Well, that sounds really cool. So. So it sounds like you have a great job, and it sounds like you're pretty happy with your job. Susie: [00:23:11] Yeah, yeah, that's great. Craig: [00:23:13] Well, Susie, I'm so grateful that you're willing to take time out of your day to to talk with us. And, you know, in in hopefully my listeners can can make it out. Is there if they needed any more information? You know, I'm sure LACMA has a site. Is it just lacma.org or what? Susie: [00:23:37] Dot org? And there will be a tab where you can see all our current exhibitions and information about that. Craig: [00:23:45] Great. Well, I really appreciate your time today, Susie. Susie: [00:23:48] Oh, thank you so much, Greg. All right. Craig: [00:23:50] It's been a pleasure. Current. Craig: [00:23:55] So I've been talking a lot in these spots about how my Canvia is great for finding art, learning about art, displaying art, historic works all the way up to NFTs, which you can view directly from your crypto wallet, click on your NFT, see it on your Canvia. But did you know that your Canvia is also great for viewing collectibles? A few months back, I jumped on the NBA Top Shot bandwagon and started collecting moments. Moments are NBA Top Shots version of a video trading card that reflects a particular play by a particular player in a particular game. Like any collectible, quantities are limited. I was lucky enough to obtain and sell a pretty valuable moment, which is funded by further collecting on the platform. So now I have 20 or so of these moments in the cool thing about my Canvia is that those moments can now move from the NBA Top Shot website and onto my wall via my Canvia. So just tonight, I downloaded a moment from one of my favorite hometown players and started playing it on my Canvia. The process took about 10 seconds, and since the 16 by nine aspect ratio of the full HD, Canvia is the same as the aspect ratio of the top shot moments. The collectible looks amazing on my wall. So if you want to learn more about Canvia and all the device has to offer. Head over to Canvia Dot Art and check it out. And now my conversation with Zoe Walsh about colorful poolsides. Craig: [00:25:37] So, Zoe Walsh, thank you for joining me on the podcast today to talk about your work and your process and your journey. Sometimes the best place for us to start is kind of in you, the artist words for someone who's never seen your work. How would you describe your work to them? Zoe: [00:25:55] Cool. That's a great question to begin, and thank you so much for having me, Craig. So I guess I would. I think the way I would begin to describe my work would be to say that I make paintings that are exploring the boundaries between or across media, such as photography, film, digital media and sculpture, and that in doing so, I'm hoping to propose models for trans spectatorship or more broadly to speak to entanglements of imagination and embodiment that can be a ground for world making. So it's that to me is happening in this kind of. The inherent mass registration of the address from, for example, painting to photography or another media. Practically I or in formally speaking, I use quotations from appropriated photographs usually connected to a queer archive to build a digital set on SketchUp. Make virtual renderings of that set, moving around it and then create montages, and each montage becomes a plan for a painting. And the paintings themselves are built up with adjacent screen prints and then stencils, and then after screen printing these these and why magenta paint building up further with translucent blazes in that same palette. And to the point where at times the paintings become illusionist tick and then other times surface is emphasized. And and yes, it's sort of playing with like a space between repetition and revisionism in a way. Yeah. So that that would be that would be an overview. That's probably wrong, depending on the. Craig: [00:28:12] No, no, no, no, it's fine. There's there's a there's a lot to unpack there. You know, I met you at at the Felix Art Fair, at the Hollywood Roosevelt. And I felt like your work just kind of jumped off the walls, right? I guess when you go to talk about your work, there are really two things. You know, there's the content in the form, right and the form. It's just the colors that you're able to create by using these built up screens is amazing. And then these worlds that you build are relatively abstracted. But the longer you look, you start seeing all of this content that's under there. And my understanding is that the content has intent in terms of what you're communicating, right? Yeah. A lot of these scenes, if we look long enough, we see what look like poolside party scenes, which kind of, you know, when I was coming to it with with kind of a blank slate kind of reminded me of like Slim Aarons Palm Springs sort of photography. But it's been manipulated to the point where it's it's this beautiful abstraction, but you're not appropriating slim Aarons photography. Your photography is coming from somewhere else, right? Zoe: [00:29:32] Yeah, that's that's correct. But these are the sort of the starting place actually for this series of paintings are a series of pictures made by studios in the late seventies. Typekit Studios is one of it's a major producer of gay pornography and also an early producer in the US. And the one archive at USC has a lot of material, so I was browsing through these studios still images at the archives and saw this these photographs set poolside. So that was thinking about that material. Coming back to it and wanting to work with it generated this series of paintings. So I think but then there's also other motifs like laced into the sketch upset. So I was also drawing from Julius Shulman, like Southern California modernist architectural pictures particularly like that feature Richard Moitra. So there's like I can see you could you could come to it with a variety of different sort of reference points, especially with that sort of Southern California landscape. I guess genre in mind. But but I think it's sort of it can be interesting to see, I think, different, yeah, different people doing different backgrounds in terms of what images they've consumed to the pictures, to the paintings, Craig: [00:31:04] You've deconstructed these images and reconstructed them. I didn't know about the fact that you were actually creating, you know, sketch up worlds. And so that that makes a little bit more sense. But like, you know, whenever I look at your work, there is at least one figure in each piece and you can kind of make that out. But that figure is usually silhouetted and sometimes it looks intentionally flat, like you've created like kind of like a a 2D representation of of this figure as it, you know, sits in that space. Is there a particular reason that we're not getting any more information than just kind of a silhouette for those figures? Zoe: [00:31:44] Yeah, that's a great question. Trying to distill into a simple answer a little in a little bit because it can be quite convoluted. I started doing this kind of distillation of the figure into a silhouette in in grad school. It started with cutting out, wanting to move from a space where I was making these paintings on on Photoshop, to making plans for paintings that involved like a kind of a projected light tableau or my studio. So I was cutting foam core like silhouettes from like that were based on photographs. So there is a flattening of. Occurred and then and then shining lights on those that cast shadows and taking pictures. But then when I started doing that, what became really interesting in part because it's like the silhouette itself is sort of a hybrid form between painting and photography. I mean, drawing in photography, at least one of the many like origin of drawing stories. Or is this like a young young woman's lover's shadow being projected on the wall and her tracing it before he leaves this? And that also has that relationship to photography? And then kind of the darker side of the silhouette, where in early photographic practices, it's used as like a taxonomy for like police or like as a way of identifying like criminals or potential criminality. So I think I became interested in how the silhouette could have some descriptive like. On one hand, it's great for painting because it has this like flatness that's like, I think is is is like works well in a painting space. But I was interested in how it could be descriptive but not determinative of a body and kind of like play between like it sort of shifting the way that as you move around in space, it shifts. It doesn't stay stagnant, so you couldn't really identify. It doesn't give you like all these markers of a body that you might use to surveil and capture it, but it still has some clues Craig: [00:34:06] Now, and it's really interesting because, you know, hearing you talk about having the work's kind of open up a dialog about queer and trans iconography, you know, when you look at that silhouette, it makes me think in that frame of reference that a silhouette can be deceiving. What are we to assume about the silhouette in terms of of a given gender? Right? You know, it's it's not fair to ask an artist, tell me everything that goes on in your mind, because even if you tell us everything that goes on in your mind, we still have our beholder share and we we fill in the gaps in in all sorts of interesting ways. But was that any part of it? The the the fact that a silhouetted figure can kind of play in this area of gender fluidity? Zoe: [00:34:54] Yeah, absolutely. I think it's, I think, sort of trying to it's yeah, pause for a second. Think how to answer that because I appreciate the way you're trying to get this question, which actually doesn't. People often ask me, it's kind of, but it's kind of at the heart of the of the work in that. On one hand, it's kind of I mean, in some ways, I'm thinking more about sort of trans spectatorship than like representing a trans trans body, whatever that is. So but at the same time and thinking about ID and like some spectatorship, for example, I guess I like the idea of like opening up the possibilities for what what kind of shape or body could could take in a way or what shape. Like, there's not something there. I don't. I think it could be. There's a source like the source materials paint these forms or the gay pornography, but in the painting space, there's I think you'd be kind of maybe a little bit more difficult to exactly name the the gender or the sex of these figures, I guess. It's pretty slippery. But but yeah, I think I am interested in making that process of of reading the body less like, I don't want the paintings to be about like reading the body in that way where you're like, Oh, I understand I'm drawing all these conclusions about these figures based on the specific contours of their body Zoe: [00:36:37] Just being around a swimming pool. I know that, you know, they're they're usually two types of swimming pools, like the swimming pool in your backyard, which is an oasis versus a swimming pool. That's like a public pool, which can be a source of anxiety for for anyone. And it's in, you know, physical expectations at a public pool or very binary and seems like that would, you know, be a place of anxiety? And so I guess, was there something specific about the nature of of the swimming pool that kind of attracted you to this body of Falcon photography? Zoe: [00:37:20] Yeah, absolutely. I think you said a lot of it in that. Your lead up to that question, I mean, because the pool, the idea of the pool or like the act of getting in the water and it's kind of has this allure of a a feeling and body being, you know, having this direct experience, that's not there are all these promises at the pool, but the actual like social constructs that are surrounding that space are problematic and over time, a variety of different ways for different people. Absolutely. And so, yeah, I was definitely thinking about I was thinking about that, my sort of my experience of pools like as a as a trans person and. Yeah, how it's how it's as much. There is like a sort of sort of watching this experience and sort of watching from the side in a way. And that that, to me, sort of parallel to the experience of of looking at these pictures in the archives. I think that then what I would hope to do and maybe what you're getting at with like the pleasurable ness of the painting is to have this kind of act of looking or imagining become a bridge into like being in a way. So yeah, I mean, it is in a way like a lot of the work, I guess, is in a way about a kind of visual pleasure that's happening like at a remove. But that but I think I hope that there's also in the way the paintings are made. They have these like screen printed layers beneath the thicker glasses of paint that they always have these gaps and overlaps and stuff there. There's a kind of instability to the image at the same time. Absolutely. So, yeah, so that's kind of sort of hoping to hold those things in tension a bit. Yeah. And the other thing about the pool is that it brings up this question of surface and depth. That's one of the like I feel like eternal painting questions. So that was enticing to deal with, and I think it correlates to the way again the way bodies are read in the world. Craig: [00:39:57] There's there's so many layers on the content and the form, and I think it's it's a smart way to go about what you're trying to do allegorically. And it's in the painting just couldn't be more beautiful. And so. Can we talk a little bit about how you execute these? I know that you're starting with source imagery. You're making screens. Are they lots of little screens? Zoe: [00:40:21] Yeah, they are. They are lots of little screens. I have a whole system where I'm like cycling in and out. It's kind of nutty, but it's kind of it serves me because it's like I. It's kind of all about how far I can reach right now. And but yeah, and also it's I think that there becomes a sort of like the gap, the gapping and the overlapping between the screens is, I look, I'm attached to that aspect of the work as well. So yes, and then and then having all these little screens enables me to then remix them for other paintings. But yeah, right. So, so in practice, like moving from, I order, I have I don't do the burning of the screens in my studio. I'm not set up for that, but I have. So I get I ordered the screen so well, it can. Craig: [00:41:15] It can be hard. It's hard to burn a really big screen. I'm like, you really kind of have to have a setup for that, right? Zoe: [00:41:23] Yeah. And then like all the I, I was like, I'd like to write out all the time, but I'm going to mess up the burning and the demolition process by not doing it. Yeah, right. And there's already a lot of process in my work, so I just sort of took that one out. But I so I had them burned by a place in downtown L.A. called regtech. And then and then I'll just I'll work. Piece by piece across the panel and I do. I've I. I'm using cyan, magenta and yellow for this whole series of work. So I use the same. I use paint, the same paint with just different mediums mixed for the printing process and then the painting process, which is done with stencils cut by a plotter. So they have this digital, they still have a sort of digital edge because these vector shaped forms and the paint is applied with squeegee and spatulas. So the like, as I'm working on the painting, the color becomes more saturated. It's all, and I'm moving into the tertiary, secondary and tertiary colors. And yeah, yeah, it's all. It's all translucent. So there's not really any there's no like there's no actual like painted opacity in the work. So it's all this, like the light of the bright white ground is kind of playing a role, too, and that light passes through the layers. And yeah, the color. Craig: [00:43:01] When you when you start a piece, I mean, you, you have a plan. Have you rigidly pre-planned each piece? Or have you allowed yourself to be intuitive in terms of creating on the fly? Because I feel like if I were following your process, I might try to preplan. Some of these things digitally and wind up kind of tying myself to things, but then again, you could be intuitively feeling your way through there. How is how is your process working there? Zoe: [00:43:32] Yeah, that's another really, really good question. I I have kind of two like strands of the paintings that I make, like I have paintings that are really like, they're really planned. And then I'll make a study and that becomes like, I'll do a small like 12 inch by twenty four inch painting, for example, using the same process. And that's where I can see about sort of. Changes made on the level of design or like the drawing aspect, like moving shapes around, switching things up, and then usually once I've gone through and I've sort of changed things that I'm working on a bigger painting, more of the changes from the digital to the the the painting occur along the lines of color. And it's like, that's I think that becomes really exciting and very much unknown when I start. Like, there's there's always a departure from the digital and I think that's like inherent again to like working from looking at added color mixing to working in subtractive color mixing with paint. The two will never be the same. And even the set fact gives me like this permission to let things open up. But then I have another. So that's like, that's then I use the screens that I've used for that that painting, for example, to remix for more like typically smaller paintings and those are a little bit more open. I try to keep sort of the same terms of the painting space, but they're just the sort of planning process is different in that one. They'll change more as they're made, where I'll be going back and forth between putting down a screen layer or painted glaze layer and then looking back into the computer and playing with different possibilities for shapes and colors, and they're less predetermined from the outset. Craig: [00:45:40] So do you have rules that say, I don't want to layer up more than two or three layers because it seems like some point, you know, just because of the whole CMY nature of it, things could start devolving into mud. Are you careful to only have two colors overlapping? Or, you know, does that question make sense? Zoe: [00:46:02] Yeah, no. I mean, it. Definitely. It definitely makes sense. I almost feel like the the process of becoming mud is like a lot slower. Just working on my palette in this way, like the color shifts occur really gradually the way that I work. So it actually like I almost feel like it would be interesting for me to explore going, going, trying to go to mine more often because that rarely happens. Yeah, right. I think and yeah, I think the I guess I'm maybe I'm also there's something that I'm doing in the planning where I'm kind of have that, that sort of in mind that if I'm overlapping all three at once to high level of saturation, there's going to be like, you know, like a deep kind of brown color. And that hasn't been part of like the color space in this series of paintings. So maybe I'm also avoiding that at the outset. Craig: [00:47:06] So the paint, it's like a normal acrylic, but you're thinning it with something that makes it go on more like screen ink. I'm sorry, I'm asking so many questions. I just you're a very interesting person for me to talk to because I was in my last podcast, you know, the artist was asking me, You know, how do I? How did you look at work? Well, like, I'm really attracted to color and I'm really interested in process. And so like, I go to talk to Zoe and like all I want to talk about, is, you know, color and process, right? Zoe: [00:47:36] You know, I mean, I'm happy to talk about color and process. And yeah, it's helpful for me to break it down, too, because it's like there are things that you're doing. And then until you name them, sometimes. Sometimes I don't think about what I'm doing until I articulate, you know, it's just like becomes a practice the body or something. But I the the. Or just forgotten because it's part of this, but it's actually the opposite. I'm usually like thickening it so that I can use it so that I can, like, pull it across in a translucent glaze. It sort of enable. It gives me like a level of control and also like there's kind of a minimal trace. There are like indexes of the squeegee, but they're pretty subtle, I think. So that, like the thickness is helps me do that. Yeah, I think one thing that can become like something something to watch can be when there's like a really detailed passage, it becomes like the relief can get kind of intense and then that becomes like an interesting problem. But yeah, the screen printed part like that. He is like a much thinner deposit that's sinking in to the prime canvas. But then when I'm speaking, it's it's pretty, it's pretty thick. Craig: [00:49:10] It looks like you really have a great deal of confidence about what you're doing right now. And is this a theme and a process that you you found when you were in grad school? Or was it when you got back to L.A.? How did you put the pieces together that you know, that have you with this current body of work? Zoe: [00:49:29] It's been slowly building since my last semester at grad school. I think that's when I had a kind of breakthrough with my work in terms of, I guess, the process of composition and then bringing in all these new questions like that injected this woman in grad school. When I stopped making all my plans for paintings using just like Photoshop montage to having this intermediary process where I'm dealing with like this space now using the sketch upset at that time, using like a dark classroom with just like light shining on cutouts like that that totally changed the trajectory for the paintings. And since then, I think I've been just putting things together or building on that. I had some really great feedback at the end of my at the end of my time at Yale from a local who who's one of the directors of the painting program. And she was saying that there is no there was like an illusion of transparency in my work, but actually no, no actual translucency. And then that became something that I mind the next year when I had a residency and I had had some time to like play with how I could make the paintings through translucent glasses. And then once I got back to L.A., I started introducing these other technologies, like screen printing and the vector, the vector shaped like pencil stencils cut by a quarter. Zoe: [00:51:12] And that those things like I think that those additions, those shifts helped me bring like I work for a long time digitally and for a long time. I think I was losing a lot of that work when I was moving it from digital to painting. And I think that those shifts that happened back in L.A. with those technologies like they, they've enabled me to bring more of that work into the painting space, which has been really exciting. But yeah, I mean, it's so it's just sort of been piece by piece putting it together. And I think, yeah, it's been. I'm I'm excited, like, I'm excited about where the work has now, and it doesn't feel like it's been that so, so long that I've been in this place with it. So it's like, it's definitely it's still in a way feels a little bit new to be, I don't know, like it feels as though I'm sort of hitting hitting a stride. And I kind of process like even when I was working on my solo show last summer. For me, making that work, it was still so new to me using the plotter. And you know, it's just it's shifts. It's cool to get familiar with material to the point where you like. You can anticipate differently, right? I'm like blabbering now. You know, it's Craig: [00:52:29] All I'm hearing is you're gaining confidence in your materials, you're gaining confidence in how you're executing, you're becoming more comfortable and you're probably finding, you know, nuances in terms of how you can manipulate things. And I imagine that, you know, the work is probably only going to go to a more finely nuanced, you know, direction. I'm trying remember there was a study I read about. It's hard for people to anticipate how things were going to change in the future. Right. Because we assume that we've all reached a point of enlightenment, even though we really haven't. And so people are like, Yes, I've got it all figured out. Then they come back five years later and ask them, Did you have it figured out? No, no, no, no. Now I have it figured out, but it's, you know, it's often. And so then ask them another five years later, like, did you have it figured it? No, I didn't. But now I do and said, like, we don't we it? But you know, it's assuring to us that, you know, at least in the moment, we have confidence that we're doing the right thing. But, you know, I have confidence that you're you're making spectacular work. And I I'm I love it on so many levels, and I really I really appreciate you being willing to come on and let me put you through the grinder. Hopefully, this has been been. Hopefully this has been better than. A Yale crit in the pit, right? Zoe: [00:54:04] Yeah, yeah, there's there's more opportunity to have that back and forth, I would say. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, thank you so much. It's really it's a pleasure. It's like it's always a gift to have people, other people thinking critically with interests about about your work or one's work. And I really appreciate your question. It's. Craig: [00:54:25] Absolutely. So, yeah, do you have do you have any shows coming up that we can point people towards? Zoe: [00:54:32] I have one painting in a group show that's opening in September early September at the USC Fisher Museum. It's a group show curated by Edward Goldman, and it's called Art and Hope at the end of the tunnel. So I'm excited to see that I don't know yet. The arc of the curation. So I'm like, I'm eagerly can't wait to see what the installation looks like and see what other work will be in it. But yeah, otherwise I'm just trying to, like, sort of shift into. That's it for now in terms of planned exhibitions, and I'm just going to be working on new work in my studio. Craig: [00:55:14] Ok. And if folks wanted to follow you. zoewalsh.com, right? And then what about Instagram? Susie: [00:55:22] Do I do? I do have a handle? Thanks for asking. It's Z C Walsh. That's my that's where you can find me on Instagram. Craig: [00:55:32] Well, I really appreciate you taking time out of your day. And it's been it's been a real joy talking, Zoe: [00:55:36] Oh my gosh. Likewise, thank you so much and I'm excited to keep listening to Art Sense. I really enjoyed the conversation so far. So thank you. Thank you so much. Craig: [00:55:56] And now the news. So a few weeks back, I spent some time dissecting the crazy explosion in immersive Van Gogh exhibits around the country from a whole host of providers. Well, one of those companies, Immersive Van Gogh, is back in the news this week with their announcement of a new and expanded Van Gogh experience. The exhibit is partnering with quote unquote cannabis lifestyle purveyor Happy Monkey. Now that's not mo and key. That's Happy Monkey Moo and K-Y to provide late night visits to the exhibit after partaking in cannabis. The so-called happy monkey after dark events are taking place this week and come with a price tag that's about three times the normal price. So what do you get for your one hundred and twenty to two hundred dollar ticket? Well, you don't get cannabis because that would be illegal. However, you get access to a quote unquote waterfront consumption lounge experience, basically a place next door where you can consume what you bring. In addition, you get to borrow a pillow to sit on and a commemorative bag of goodies. The team that brought you to New York is hard at work to reincarnate the iconic Barneys location on Madison Avenue in New York as a flexible, art specific space capable of hosting multiple fare like experiences each year. The building is currently undergoing renovation and will be rebranded as Art House, with a growing number of galleries reconsidering the cost of leasing a brick and mortar location. A booth inside such a venue would provide a pit to tear in New York for a season. Craig: [00:57:51] Art House will host its first event this November with a roster of 60 exhibitors, followed by another event next May. The venue will also include a number of salon style viewing rooms that are capable of hosting upscale pop up events. The former Barneys restaurant Fred's will be converted into a VIP lounge art house, will charge galleries a fee to lease exhibit space and office space, and it's implied that these fees will be comparable to costs associated with traditional art fairs. The nation of Dubai is building a national art museum that will not own a collection in what is surely a sign of things to come. The Dubai collection will only exhibit works on loan from other institutions. The Flexible Plan allows the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Art Dubai to create a world class institution for the cost of building a structure, instead of having to ask the government to also endow the acquisition of a collection. So it all comes down to curation and the willingness of other institutions to loan works for up to 10 years. But that may not be as intimidating to those other institutions. Given that most collections are far larger than what can be displayed in deaccessioning is seen as problematic at best. The museum would also fill a need for collectors in the area that are looking to bolster the value of their works by loaning them for institutional display. The Dubai collection will also include a digital museum where the work of regional artists can be brought together online and shared with viewers from Craig: [00:59:33] Around the world. Craig: [00:59:40] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to art since you can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rates show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. If you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read a transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to Canvia Dot Art. You click on the podcast tab if you'd like to reach out to me. You can email me at Craig at Canvia Art. Thanks for listening.
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