Exhibition visit at Asya Geisberg, New York
Homemade Tattoo runs from September 7- October 14, 2017
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TITLE OF THE EXHIBITION, HOMEMADE TATTOO?
I had a student who had little hands that she tattooed on her thigh, right below where the shorts hit so it looked like two little hands were poking out of her shorts. I was so surprised that it was this specific tattoo for these pair of shorts she wore all the time. I was so impressed, that this was the stage of her life where this was the type of clothes she wore and she made a tattoo that went with the clothes she wore at that an exact moment in her life. It just got me thinking about that idea of artwork and making things, about trying to be right in that minute of your life. About taking whatever’s around you–even if it’s a pair of shorts that you’re wearing and work with that. And I liked the two words [Homemade Tattoo,] being a mom and having a family, I liked how there was a double meaning in that you’re always making an imprint on people when you create a home and it’s with you forever.
HOW DO YOU THINK THIS WORK DIFFERS FROM THE LAST SOLO SHOW YOU HAD AT THE GALLERY TWO YEARS AGO?
I had always been trying to give myself a sense of recovery so that I could try anything -if it didn’t work, I’d sand it down and then redo it. The last body of work covered up that process entirely, but I knew I wanted a more open, fragile space.
So as I was trying to figure that out, during that trial and error, I was sanding a lot and I got used to what the sanded remnants looked like, so it started to become more of a mark in the paintings and it also lent itself to giving the paintings more of a open, fragile space. Whereas the other paintings have a dense and centralized space. In the earlier paintings it was harder to tell how they were made, these include the process as part of the image.
COLOR SEEMS TO PLAY A LARGE ROLE IN YOUR PAINTINGS, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU MAKE DECISIONS AROUND COLOR WHILE WORKING?
I’m not 100% sure, but it’s usually a feeling that I want and then it won’t work, and then I’ll have to adjust. I think a lot of it is dictated by space, so I have some sense of what I want the painting to feel like, but then I have to try to get it to work spatially and then the color will come into play there. I’m usually trying to think about specific spaces, even if it’s just tiles or a coffee cup–that will be the starting point.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SIZE OF A PAINTING AND COMPOSITION?
Usually it’s the type of space I’m trying to make. I had three and a half large pieces in the last show, and in all of them I was trying to figure out a different type of space -would it be really scratchy and light and then a dense moment, or just consuming the whole panel. Whereas with the smaller scale, the wall is often the breathing space. You can go and push out to the edge [of the painting] easier because the wall will be part of your peripheral vision versus a larger painting where you’re more consumed and you really have to control the peripheral vision.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THAT VIEWERS CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THIS SHOW OR BODY OF WORK?
The work I like is where you really feel like the artist went on a journey-you might not even know what, or why, or where they’re going, but you can just feel this commitment to the path that they’re on. I hope the viewer would feel that commitment of trying to get somewhere.
IN FINISHING THIS WORK, DID IT ALLOW ANY CLARITY ON WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO GO FROM HERE? ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO TRY OR WORK TOWARDS?
It took so long to get this show done, so I feel like I’m still at the beginning of it. I would like to keep figuring this out because it took me a long time just to get these done. I’m ready to see what will happen with them. Now, I feel like I have a little more control over them so I’m just getting started. But, I am also taking a ceramics class right now, so I hope to make some ceramic paintings and see what that would be like.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE COMING UP THAT YOU’D LIKE TO PROMOTE?
My show is up until Oct 14th, and it might be extended until the 22nd. I’ll be at the gallery this Saturday, September 23 from 12- 1 PM if anyone wants to come and say hello!
Photography by Etienne Frossard and images courtesy of Asya Geisberg GalleryPurchase Carolyn’s work to support Youth Empowering Society in Baltimore here