1 May. 2015

Artist Anne Labovitz in the B.R.A

Artist Anne Labovitz visited the B.R.A this week and I got the chance to chat to Anne during her time here about her influences, her work and her practice and her love of people. In her project Conversant Portraits, Anne painted people while interviewing them, channeling their emotions onto canvas. Anne painted my portrait, however I interviewed her instead.

EF: What influenced you to become an artist?
AL: My grandmother Ella Labovitz was an artist. She used to paint me as a child, she was eccentric, loving and very intense. I recognised her spirit, it inspired me. Deeply sentimental, I have always had the need to create as early as in high school I was a photographer. As a child I was inspired and comforted by the natural world, which continues to inspire me.

EF: What drew you to socially engaged art?
AL: Social practice is compelling for me because it is a natural flow from my art making practice for 25 years as well as a synthesis of many areas of interest. I love the human spirit and the perseverance of humans throughout our existence. I studied psychology, art education in college which informed my existence and social practice.

EF: How would you describe your creative process?
AL: Utilising painting, drawing, and printmaking techniques, video, audio, my work examines the personal and universal exchanges found in contemporary portraiture. Through using expressive color, luminosity and gestural mark marking. The notion of temporality is central to my process; documenting human connections, dialogues and relationships as they morph over time. My imagery begins with, but is not limited to, the human form. Recent text-based works stem from conversations with or between subjects and serves, in part, to narrate my relationship with them. The driving force behind my work is an enduring interest in people; in the human spirit, its emotional resonance and the way over time it manifests in our relationships with others. Throughout my life and professional career I have kept journals, photos and mementos documenting my interactions, conversations and connections with other humans. My text paintings are explorations into the universality of human connections and conditions.

EF: Scenery and landscapes have inspired some of your previous work, how will your visit to Sligo influence future works?
AL: Great questions, as all of life’s experiences inform my work. Striking for me is the history here and the people. The landscape with the lakes and the rivers are stunning. I am eager to see how my visit to Sligo may influence my work.

EF: You’ve painted portraits and landscapes, how does your latest project differ to previous work?
AL: My recent work is a synthesis of several threads of concentration in my work. Including family, human interest, community involvement, art making practice, social media and social practice. 122 Conversations (122conversations.com) incorporates portraiture through human interviews in 6 countries.

EF: How different would the outcome of Conversant Portraits have been had you not interviewed the participants?
AL: The project Conversant Portraits which took place during Northern Spark at Weisman Art Museum was dependent on the interviews with participants by design. The interview process was intramural to the project, every word and interaction I had with participants was recorded into the paintings. Each successive person over the top of the last participant’s responses.

EF: Is conversation integral to your artistic practice?
AL: Great question, INDEED! Conversation and connection. Is a form of research and learning? Currently conversations are the source material of my work.

Posted By

Erin Fox

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