Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Below is great example of the process. One thing to remember is I never have an outcome in my mind. I never plan out a piece or follow a formula. But, through a lot staring or gazing and great reflection, I tend to learn a lot from my paintings. It triggers something internal and metaphysical for me.
Here is the first layer of this painting..... it just did not feel right.
Second and third layer, I started playing with pigment sticks. Kind of cool...
Today, I decided that I did like the marks. I used molding paste. Some green and black colors.
I think this is its third incarnation of this canvas and it is still not done transforming! It will dry and tomorrow I will stare it and then as always it will tell me what do. Some of works are layered with twenty individual paintings.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Spices emanating upward from the nestled mandala-savory-space, lubricating the nostrils with memories chased from deeper places sight unseen. Light and scent (!), we enter the scene, diving in towards the hidden seam. Paintings cast in measured care, with wildness constrained by just the bare mounts in the frames ringing evenly the room, holding in each a lingering tune, of the place where spirit and thisness meet.
A lozenge for the eyes and mind. Symmetries nestled in fun-filled calling mysteries bind. Pneuma. Anasazi. Darknesses, incomplete, faint, whistling memories that you barely taste again. The deeper reaches of the mind, trickling away in kind. Lingering whispers haunting so, bartered through the colors claimed in Ka and Bardo, the journey from each piece to another bringing with it a glancing blow. A living, feeling, beautiful, explosion inward away from the evening glow.
Linearity in Lil, shocking still, organized and regal. Containment stressed on that thinness undressed thoroughly saturating the acrylic finesse of boundary and order on yet another sinking beckoning regress. Moving me back and out and around, to touch and caress, the space, the place, my girl’s soft press. The art, for me, is a seeping, see, from hand and thought outward, and in to me. The expressions from you are a simple plea, for a return, a dance, some part of me.
Art that inspires, art that plants a seed, art that pushes and bleeds.
Wabi Sabi (SOLD)
E-mail me at lisarasmussen08@gmail. com for inquiries.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Wabi-sabi "if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."
This dictionary entry for shen lists early usage examples, and many of these 11 meanings were well attested prior to the Han Dynasty. Chinese classic texts use shen in meanings 1 "spirit; god", 2 "spirit, mind; attention", 3 "expression; state of mind", 5 "supernatural", and meaning 6 "esteem
A big thank you to Danielle for making this happen.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Ka(spirit) was the Egyptian concept of spiritual essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the ka left the body. The Egyptians believed that Khnum created the bodies of children on a potter's wheel and inserted them into their mothers' bodies. Depending on the region, Egyptians believed that Heket or Meskhenet was the creator of each person's Ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions.
The Egyptians also believed that the ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it was the kau (k3w) within the offerings that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as doubleKa (spirit)
And Danielle was also featured in this great interview with Dig in Magazine. Some great press for her gallery Room and my paintings. I love her honesty and so appreciate her support!!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Medium: Acyclic on Canvas
40" X 40"
This painting was inspired by visit to the sacred site in Ireland called Knowth. This amazing site was constructed over 5000 years ago. This sacred site was definitely a thin place, were the veil between this world and the next is thin.
When I got home I created this painting in my studio. In the creative and intuitive process my arm my torso became part of the brush stroke. It is kind of dark piece, I feel that it invokes the thinning veils of our reality.
The Collector is Brazilian, Danielle Molinski, I have known her for several years. We used to work professionally at an art gallery together and she has bought several artworks from me. She resonated with this piece "Knowth" instantly and now is very proud to have it hanging on her living room wall.
Currently, Danielle is a partner at a gallery in San Raphael called Room Art Gallery. I am really excited because they are now representing me and have a pretty large and beautiful collection of my latest work. It is a great place to visit on second Friday of the month when they have a huge Art Walk. And collect some great ART!
Artist Lisa Rasmussen
Women Environmental Artists
DATE AND TIME OF INTERVIEW: July 16, 2010 1:30 – 1:38PM
MM: What does it mean to be a woman environmental artist?
LR: Well, I think the first response is what does it mean to be an artist? And then the second would be what does it mean to be an environmental artist and a woman? I am artist because that is what I do – that’s my life, that’s how I walk in this world. I feel like I’m an environmental artist because I’ve really connected with nature; always been since I was a child and for me, environmental art is about reverence of nature, it’s about connectedness with nature and nature inspires me as well. But it’s also about reaction; I feel like our planet is really in dire straits and we have forgotten to revere nature, so part of me being an environmental artist is about connection but also about reaction – I want people to remember that are connected to a nature. But then to be a woman environmental artist I think as a woman, because we are connected through our cycles, that we are a little more connected to nature of the rhythms of nature … I mean, I’m not stuck in that butI feel that with the rhythms of the moon, and nature, and the seasons, that as a female, we are connected through our own cycle.
MM: Okay, great. Do you feel marginalized as a woman artist?
LR: Again, I think in Western society, artists are marginalized, we are on the fringes. Art is, I f eel, is not respected and revered, just like nature. Do I feel marginalized as a woman artist? Kind of … you know, if you look up the top five environmental artists I think they are all men. But that is really reflective of the art world as well. The male, the white male is pretty dominant in the art world so I guess, in a sense, I do feel marginalized, but in a way I don’t because I feel, especially as an environmental artist I break out of the box of the classic art world so I don’t have to conform to their protocol or their rules. I am not constricted by it … I hope that makes sense?
MM: It does, you articulated that really well. So far, almost all of the women I have spoken to haven’t said exactly the same thing but very similar in terms, particularly in terms of the art world, as it were.
MM: And how it’s pretty well dominated by white men, and yes, you’re correct … when I first started this project, whenever you do a simple kind of search, or start looking for information for environmental artists the only people that come up are the white guys.
LR: Andy Goldsworthy? Who I love, he’s my inspiration, but he’s the top, so …
MM: That’s true ... very interesting. So speaking of what you just said, what artists have
inspired you and the kind of work you do?
LR: Well, I feel like I can go back to ancestors, you know, I think about the Shaman’s who first did cave art and their response to nature. The Shamanistic art ancestors, the roots of art, I am really influenced by and then it’s interesting Andy Goldsworthy really does inspire me, I think he is phenomenal and I have always … his work really speaks to me. I like, again a man, there are no strong references of women, unless you go to the Green Museum? Where you can look up – it’s a great resource – and you can look up all these environmental artists and you can find – it’s almost like I find kin. I don’t find somebody that could be a mentor – I find somebody I like. But I really like Chris Jordan and how he infuses mechanism within his work and how he infuses the facts, you know what I mean, that this is what’s going on. But I also like Andy Goldsworthy because he’s like on with nature.
MM: He really put environmental art on the map.
LR: Yes, he did.
MM: And, it’s interesting because whenever I talk to anybody about my topic, they say, “oh, like Andy Goldsworthy”? And I go, yes … if it only it had been “Andrea” Goldsworthy (laughter).
LR: Yes, I know. You had brought up something from my thesis I had done a lot of research on that book called Overlay, have you heard about that?
MM: I haven’t.
LR: Oh, it’s an amazing book, it really about the foundation of more like the feminine aspects in environmental art. Like Ana?
MM: No kidding … Ana Mendieta?
MM: I was going to ask you about her. So, it’s called Overlay?
MM: I can’t believe I haven’t found this … I haven’t stumbled upon this. This is … I’m a litt
lLR: Yes, I’m looking it up right now for you … it’s a phenomenal resource and I wonder what its publication … what she does, the person who wrote this really brings in the feminine aspect of environmental art. It talks about the 70s when land art was big.- shocked because I think I am doing all this research, all this literature, and I can’t believe I don’t know about this. Overlay? Wow … this is great.
LR: But I hope it’s not out of publication … I will try to get the author because it is phenomenal … it talks about even the male artists that they were more connected to nature and not trying to dominate it like the predominant 70s model that you would see … so …
LR: Yes, it’s interesting when you talk to somebody it sparks, oh yes, I forgot, I used that as a resource.
MM: Well, that’s great. I can’t wait to find it … I’m going to go the library and find it. That’s great.
LR: Yes, and if I can find it sooner I will definitely relay that to you.
LR: You can find tons of historic references …
MM: Any other artists who have inspired you in your career?
MM: Yes, a very interesting and sad story there.LR: Ana Mendieta, she was phenomenal how she was one with nature. She really brought up the feminist aspect of nature. I think that would be morelike the ecofeminism? So … and it’s interesting, her whole story is interesting how she was connected with nature and the art world really didn’t revere her until she was destroyed herself.
LR: Yes. And there are other artists that I am inspired by and I can’t think of them right now but it’s more of a kin … an alike or a peer.
MM: How do your personal experiences inform your work?
LR: I think they are my work. I don’t separate my art from my life so it’s like I take nature… I love nature and I am really inspired by nature, it’s almost a transcendental experience to all benevolent and they shade people and they give and you know what I mean? So, my personal work is like a spiritual belief so mye in nature. My work is a reflection, I started doing the tree shrines that I do because I love trees. I wanted to revere them and I wanted people to remember … in our own civilization we, eve
ry culture used to worship trees on some level and so it’s like what happened?!? And now trees are looked at like decoration or something and they are not really looked at as a life force and I mean the metaphor of trees is phenomenal too. They are benevolent … there’s an amazing quote, I think it’s a Buddhist quote but they are environmental work is almost like a manifestation of my spiritual belief and life and that it should be revered and I want other folks to also remember, oh yes, this is what we’re all about and we are connected to it.
MM: Wow, nicely said. That’s great. Is your work related to Ecofeminism and or Deep
MM: So, definitely your work is related to both … so would you consider yourself an Ecology?
LR: You know it’s interesting … I don’t try to label myself and I would never write that in my artist’s statement. But I have studied and I look at ecofeminism and I am like, yes, I’m all about that. I believe that patriarchy in our society has oppressed nature and it is a reflection of the repression of feminism and the feminine form because the earth and the natural world is feminine. So I believe that but I wouldn’t consider myself political so I align with those views but deep ecology, yes, I believe that art is ritual and it’s really about our connection to the earth. I would say I am both but I wouldn’t be like … I think if I were to write about it I would write the same thing but in my words,people could consider me both if that makes sense?
Ecofeminist or a Deep Ecologist?
LR: What’s the difference?
MM: Well, there is slight difference in that I think for some artists, their work is definitely related to the agenda, or agendas or mission of ecofeminism or deep ecology but they wouldn’t necessarily, and for many reasons, like you said, you wouldn’t necessarily label yourself or call yourself an ecofeminist but you sort of align yourself with it. Is that right?
LR: Yes, that’s true. Yes, that’s very true. I align with it but I don’t … unfortunately, labels I think in our society really narrow they kind of box you in. And I don’t want to be boxed in and I think people are like, “oh yes, you’re an ecofeminist” or like “oh, you’re one of those” … so if you don’t define yourself than you can dissolve boundaries.
MM: Oh yes, that’s good … and just so you know, your women colleague artists are in the same, some of them have articulated the same thing. They don’t like the idea of labeling it. But the reason I am asking is because ecofeminism is a huge part of what is happening and what, well you kno
w, that whole feminist and ecofeminism and where do women … the whole crux of my research is do women align themselves with it? And if not, why don’t they, which is just as fascinating to me as to why they do.
LR: This thought came to mind … a lot of times when you talk about feminism it’s almost like they are recreating what the patriarchy did but in a feminine way … so that’s what I think of a lot of feminists … it’s not like they are like resurrecting something that’s been oppressed, it’s more like they are creating a model that’s there. So, that’s why I feel like I align with those values but I don’t want to be labeled.
MM: Very interesting. And there are some women too, which is why I ask how old some people are, to find out if they want to be, there are some people who absolutely do not want to be called an ecofeminist because it’s too loaded with too much meaning.
LR: It’s very loaded and I don’t know … I went to this show in San Francisco and it was about the feminists and it had old feminist work and new … and it just seemed like … it really needs to be … it’s too loaded. There are too many stereotypes and it needs to be redefined and hopefully your
paper will do this or shed light on it.
MM: Well, I’m not … part of the problem is that there are many, many, many definitions of ecofeminism and that has been actually a part of the criticism is that ecofeminists can’t seem to get their act together to get aligned and define themselves in a really cohesive and succinct way. So … it’s really interesting …
LR: Do you mean as a movement?
MM: Yes, well as a movement and there are multiple philosophies within ecofeminism …
MM: There’s radical ecofeminism, there’s social, I mean it’s kind of like … I don’t like to make this analogy but I am just trying to think of … it’s kind of like belonging to a political party but what does that mean to someone? Well, it might mean something really different to … if you’re a Democrat that might mean one thing to you but it might mean something completely different to someone else. So there’s all this sort of layers and layers of other stuff underneath that and it’s been part of the criticism of ecofeminism and why it’s partially why it has a bad reputation or a bad rap, you know?
MM: So part of what I am trying to do is to find out if women identify or define themselves as an ecofeminist. And to also find out what does that mean?
LR: What does that mean?
MM: Yes, with deep ecology too ... because there are people who have different beliefs about that too. It’s really interesting.
LR: Deep ecology is about artist ritual, right?
MM: Well, that’s part of it, but again you see, it’s defined very differently and very broadly by different people. Deep ecology is also, depending on the reading, who you are reading and who is writing it … a lot of deep ecology is about not putting blame on anybody for the situation we are in, whereas ecofeminists tend to blame patriarchy, the domination of white male monotheistic thinking whereas deep ecologists are no, no, no, let’s not necessarily put all the blame there. Let’s split the blame and divide it up equally … because it’s a human issue and not gender related.
LR: Right, see, I believe that too (laughter). It’s like you can correlate it to the spill, the awful oil spill, that’s all of our responsibilities as well because we are all addicted to oil so it’s like it is very fuzzy. I mean if I walked everywhere I went and I didn’t use petroleum products than I could be like, yes this is bad, but so … interesting, very interesting.
MM: Yes, it’s really interesting and really thickly layered and really very controversial and I think it’s really fascinating.
LR: Yes, and what you brought up for me, is that it’s also that you can think of it as a holistic model as well. Why not incorporate all of that?
MM: Right, sure, definitely.
LR: That’s what nature is … a holistic …
MM: And that everything’s connected …
LR: Exactly … part of the web.
MM: Absolutely. How does your work relate to a desired repair of the ecosystem?
LR: I am an animal activist and an environmental activist in my core beliefs so I think when I think about the tree shrines that I do, I think about the destruction of trees, even like when I see tree cutters cutting down trees it … the insensitivity of it … it’s like I mean it kind of sounds radical but they are killing something and seems like … we don’t really, our society even sees it. You can look at factory farming and go, oh my God, that’s horrific that’s a living being that is being tortured and then killed for food, for sustenance but then when you walk around, this is just walking around in my neighborhood in Berkeley, it’s like trees are killed all the time and no one goes, oh no, that’s awful. So, even on a bigger sense when I look at what’s happening in the Amazon it breaks my heart. The unconscious acts of us … I teach inner city marginalized kids who are severely emotionally traumatized and they have no idea that trees give them oxygen and we can’t live without them. I think my work is definitely a reaction to what is going on.
MM: Sure. So do you hope for some kind of movement or momentum from your viewer?
LR: I do. It’s so cool … I want to do these around the world and I want exactly the web connection to occur … the interesting thing is that I do these installations, my environmental installations, kind of like an Andy Goldsworthy, you know where I do them on my own and then I document them. And my hope is that somebody will stumble upon them. The coolest thing is that I did one in Marin, which is across the bay in northern California, and one of my friend’s husband stumbled upon it. It was so cool … he was walking in the woods and part of what I do is feminine shrines, which is a lunar shrine; meaning half the circle is which is the whole tree, so this was a solar shrine and I think it was done around Mother’s Day, so this guy is walking in the woods and stumble upon it. He wrote something to me and he said that he stumbled upon a sacred moment, he was with his nephew walking in the woods and they were just in their own thoughts and all of a sudden they got to this … and so they were in their own internal dialogue even though they were together and all of sudden they got to this part … and they were like wow … he said it brought him home. So that was just …
MM: Oh …
LR: I know … it was just so beautiful. That is exactly why … that was the highest intention of my work is to bring people home with a big “H.”
MM: That’s so nice, wow. You must have felt so good about that.
MM: And then to have him tell you about that … that’s great.
LR: Well it was synchronistic because I was at a party and they asked what are you up to Lisa, these days in terms of your art. Well, I am trying to do these installations around the area around trees and they were like, wait, wait … did you do that one? I was like yes … oh my God … this is amazing the synchronicity of it.
MM: So, he didn’t know it was your work until you told him that?
LR: No, until randomly, three months later I am at a party and we are having this conversation so I was like … wow … and the cool thing is also, I do with the kids that I work with I do wishing trees. So there was this olive tree … but it was dying and it was in this kind of small patch of earth surrounded by concrete and it was dying so I had to do something with this tree. So what we did was, I did the spice rings with my students around and the base of the tree. It was so funny, the kids were getting into it, they were like prostrating like Buddhists (I don’t even think they knew where that comes from) but they were like wow this tree … but then what we did was I asked them to make a wish and they would tie a ribbon on a tree, I took Sari cloth and they tied it to the branches … it was really beautiful. But what was so cool about that, later as a lot of the kids were leaving to go on with their lives they were like, guess what Ms. Lisa? My wish came true. And I was like wow … the tree that was so ill looking, was now transformed into amazing, vibrant being! To see this amazing exchange of energy and know it produces these amazing olives. So, I have had some really affirmative things with my work so it’s kind of like, I’m doing the right thing here.
MM: Yes! That speaks to the second part of the question: What kind of movement? Is this your intent … to move us forward? And so you are hoping for repair?
LR: Yes, I’m hoping for repair, yes. I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel – it exists – it exists almost within our DNA – we just have to remember – it’s almost like a remembrance we have repair.
MM: Yes, I like that … remembrance … that’s a nice way to put that. An awareness, right? Like … don’t just walk by this and don’t pay attention.
LR: Exactly! And that’s the whole thing about being in nature, if you are aware you can become in a meditative state. It’s not like right, if somebody’s chopping down a tree or you’ve got to be aware that that is happening and what that’s doing to the environment. So it is an awareness and a lot of people … it’s an awakening too because it’s in all of us. It’s in us. So, it’s almost like wow … even for the kids, they had no idea about Buddhist tree worship or anything so it was like there was something being awakened within them … it was amazing.
MM: Wow, that’s very cool. It’s cool that you got them to think about that in that way. That’s awesome.
LR: Yes, it is.
MM: What media have you used to capture or conceptualize the intended meaning in your work?
LR: The media I use, I started out … well, how I started was there was this humongous redwood tree outside … I was in my graduate studies I was doing a class called Artist in Society and we had to do a project around arts in society and so there was this huge redwood tree outside my house and I loved the tree … I used to call it grandfather … so I decided, I don’t know how I decided but I was in the Asian market and I say all these spices, like turmeric and there’s something called green rice, sugar rice, and I don’t know why I was inspired by the colors – it’s very Hindu looking, but I was what if I circle this tree with these spices? So I did that and I lit candles so that’s how it began – the spices – just because of the color. And then I started to do research on historic tree worship and what people did and that is very Hindi to do that. That was big and then recently … when I was in Point Reyes doing one of my shrines there was this amazing tree, it was eucalyptus, I actually almost got arrested for doing it because you’re not supposed to … they didn’t know what I was doing so I got a little traumatized from that so I started incorporating natural elements but I still do the spices but I do them more consciously. I know there are some laws about public land but also I have been incorporating natural elements but I still use the spices.
MM: That’s cool. So, you still use the spices but you use other stuff too?
LR: Yes, like I use natural things around, even where I live right now, the pollen was insane and you know how people are like anti-pollen? They’re like … oh the pollen!! It’s always like the pollen is like the evil thing! I was like, this is what life is, the pollen. So what I did was make a pollen tree shrine. I tried to change perspective, we need to honor this … this is what makes life. I integrated the spices with flowers with the pollen. It seems like the direction I am going is more integration and even like I did a tree shrine in Salem and I could say that was very … [technical difficulties].
LR: (continued) In Salem, Massachusetts to honor the women that were slain …
MM: Oh, that’s cool.
LR: Yes, that was amazing, it was weird because I found the tree that I wanted do and I picked up shells from the beach … this is kind of like a weird thing but somebody put a sanitary napkin next to it, and I was just like oh … I was thinking of disrespect, kind of like a metaphor. Here I am in Salem and you know, talk about … what’s that called … the opposite of reverence?
MM: Yes, sort of a blatant disregard for it, right?
LR: Yes, so there I incorporated shells from the sea, which is also metaphoric …. Even when I don’t feel like using the spices, I incorporated whatever I found …
MM: Just organic things from around?
LR: Yes, very organic. And it could be … I could premeditate ... that’s when I use the spices that’s when I do it … when I want to honor something. Or if it’s not premeditated I can just do organic … whatever I find.
MM: That sounds terrific.
LR: I don’t know if you have seen the pictures but …
MM: Yes, everyone I am interviewing I am going to their website to see their work. I am also going to ask to incorporate some of your images into your artist profile for my dissertation.
LR: Love it, love it … very exciting.
MM: So, that’s the end of my questions …
Lucy Lippard, Overlay