Jennifer Gillia Cutshall
INSIDE the ABSTRACT, post #5: Of Clean edges, organic form, and the impact of color & contemplation
"Quiet your mind so the body can be heard."
What attracted you to the 7th annual Abstract Sanctuary? At a time when I was personally sandwiched between two apparently disparate experiences -open hearted joy and deep sorrow - I asked, how would I move forward with such heightened emotion? My studio and my bond with clay called to me. It provided a doorway for a safe haven to explore the extremes. The work in this show is from a body of work that reflects on timeless polarities: endurance and fragility, movement and stillness, light and shadow. Within the rhythm of this exploration, the work itself provides and invites sanctuary: a calming grace for forward momentum.
Tell us a little about your process? The process of forming these sculptures challenges convention. Each sculpture is constructed from solid clay with added fibers and fired first to high temperatures followed by multiple lower temperature firings. Each sculpture is multi-positional - turn it on it’s side, turn it upside down - it will balance and appear as if a new sculpture has formed offering a shift in perspective. Does the idea of transformation influence your work and process? These sculptures offer a sense of the passage of time. They convey the smoothing away of substance from the elements, delicate and lasting layers, outlining that which has evolved and that which remains. The curves hold energy and possibility - seeds of transformation. Just as much as I create the sculptures, I believe the work informs me. As artists, while we give ourselves the space to live with questions, the work will teach us along the way.
If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? Quiet your mind so the body can be heard.
"Slow down, look around you, listen to the birds, let your friends and family know that you love them."
What attracted you to the 7 th Annual Abstract call?
I paint and think abstractly. I want to be part of a complete exhibit of abstract art.
Does the idea of transformation influence your work & process?
My working process starts with an idea but I respond to what happens on the canvas once I start. I give myself over to the image and paint. I am transformed by the process. What draws you to the medium you chose? Oil paint is a semi liquid medium and very plastic. I love moving it around, watching it drip and mix with other colors. Tell us a little about your process (I don’t believe in giving it all away). I live in a beautiful place without many people surrounded by spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and hills seeming to run into the sea. One cannot help but feel the pull of something larger than oneself. With that in mind I look to translate my experience into an abstract image on canvas. What are the strengths of the medium? Liquidity. What are the challenges? Drying and cleanup time. Do you work in other modes of expression? No but if I did I would be a writer. I read a lot and I love words. Who inspires you? I am a former medical professional. Right now I am thinking of all the people who are on the front lines of this pandemic. What do you do to get inspired? I am inspired by moving through my world. I live on the Big Sur Coast of California and I concentrate on the transitory nature of light. If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? I love the work of contemporary artist Shawn Dulaney.
What would you have coffee or tea?
A glass of wine. Tea as a second choice.
What would you ask that artist? What were you thinking?!? Or, were you thinking? Or is your approach all feeling? What do you hope your work achieves?
Having an experience with the transitory nature of our existence. How many works do you have to produce before you find a successful image? Maybe four. More or less depending on where I am in the process. I feel like I am a miner tapping the walls of the pit. When I find the “ore” I can paint several images one right after another. What was the most powerful work of art you recall viewing? It was work by a Japanese artist in a gallery exhibit in New York City. The artist had such command of the materials that I felt transported to another world. It was like the work had been produced with divine intervention. If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them? Slow down, look around you, listen to the birds, let your friends and family know that you love them.
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