Stephanie Theodore wraps up her first year in Bushwick with Juliette Losq's big, obsessive, post-industrial landscape paintings. In the weedy underbrush Losq toys with duality, inserting images within images that turn the isolated landscapes into both protective hollows and menacing dark domains. In Idiom, the online arts and culture magazine published by Barry Hoggard and James Wagner, Brian Dupont talks with Losq, whose images tease meaning from the abandoned industrial sites found around London. Here is an excerpt from their conversation.
JL: I was thinking about the sense that these images of marginal areas in the small works could almost be from any era. They are only discernible from their original industrial functions as being of the present, perhaps, because they have become so overgrown and, to an extent, peaceful. But I also find that tranquility eerie: they could just as easily be from some dystopian future, where everything looks largely the same but with minor disruptions or differences. The unknown figures are deliberately nonspecific, definitely organic. They could be living organisms or the pupae or entrails left behind by something now departed.
BD: The sense of narrative can seems to come from an underlying source in genre fiction, rather than documentation. What appeals to you about the creepiness or unreality found in science fiction or horror? What do you like about superimposing this anxiety on an otherwise pastoral setting?
JL: Maybe it’s having grown up in the suburbs where everything is dull and there are no extremes of nature, but I always project creatures onto a given landscape. If you show me a still pond I will imagine something rearing up out of it. I also grew up on a diet of horror films, as my father was a fan of the Universal films, and any kind of schlock horror really.
BD: Your technique of layering and masking can be stunningly complex for the simplicity that is often ascribed to drawing or watercolor. How has your engagement with the materials grown and evolved? What do you find in “drawing” that you don’t in “painting” or “photography?”
JL: People are often confused as to whether they are looking at drawings, prints or paintings when they see my work in the flesh. I’ve borrowed parts from both watercolor painting and the process of etching. I build up the work like you would an etching plate, masking off areas then inking over them until the final image is ‘developed’ and revealed. I then add further detail and watercolor washes over this. I enjoy hovering between the different disciplines. Watercolor historically has connotations of feminine domesticity, or as being a sketching medium that is used in small scale preparatory works. I like the idea of turning these presumptions on their head in terms of the scale of the work and, to an extent, the disruptions to the landscape that I introduce....Read more
NOTE: Big apology to Theodore:Art for not posting this excerpt before the show closed. And: congratulations on completing your first year of programming at the Bushwick location! We're looking forward to 2013.
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