THE FOCUS

Rachel Bubis: You mention that your prints "explore our relationship with other living creatures as we become further removed from the natural world.” How did your passion for animals and the environment first begin? Ashton Ludden: I think we all first have that fascination with animals and the wild world when we are children. For me, I’m sure it began in my young childhood, particularly when I was between 2 and 8 when I lived out in the countryside of Western Miss...

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Rachel Bubis: You incorporate imagery of physical landscapes such as rock formations and fields of flowers as a way to portray the different layers and roles of your life. Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? If so, do you ever consciously go out into nature for inspiration for your work? Do you do any sketches? Are there any particular spots in TN you derive inspiration from? Jessie Van der Laan: The imagery I use from nature I usually...

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Rachel Bubis: You describe yourself as a queer artist and your work as exclusively feminine. "I equate the femininity in my work to be two fold. The first is a force—what would an entirely unbridled experience of our world be if it was ONLY feminine? It’s terrifying and wonderful." What’s your process in thinking about such scenarios or worlds, and coming to create the final work? I know you're a writer as well and some of your...

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Rachel Bubis: You describe your work as having “a strong connection to the bold color fields found in 17th century Japanese folding screens," and "the fluid brushwork of the 19th century ink painter Uragami Gyokudō.” What draws you to Japanese art and culture? Jeffrey Morton: I lived and worked in Sendai, Japan (about 250 miles northeast of Tokyo) during my 20s; it was in the mid-1980’s and I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to college students and businesspeople. Even wi...

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Rachel Bubis: Your work examines sinister social forces seen through the lens of “unreliable” female protagonists in culture - anti-heroines such as Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon’s attorney general, Rosemary, from Rosemary’s Baby, Typhoid Mary, and most recently, Suzanne Pleshette's character in an early episode of Columbo. What draws you to these figures? When did this interest begin? Morgan Ogilvie: Moving to Los Angeles county in 2018 to attend the MFA program in painting at CalArts amplified my interest...

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Rachel Bubis: Much of your work explores occult imagery. Have you experienced anything supernatural? Has a spirit ever approached you when sewing beads onto a Ouija board (Ie: Ectoplasm (2015)? Nick DeFord: Even though I am fascinated by the supernatural and unknown, I (sadly) have never had an unexplainable experience. I want to! I have had uncanny things happen to me, but the truth is that I am pretty skeptical of finding supernatural answers to phenomena we can't explain. It seems...

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Rachel Bubis: Your work combines text into a visual language. Can you talk more about your process in translating text/words to color, line and paint? Do you find a passage or a line and directly work from there? Can you give an example? Also, are these expressed in the titles of the work? For example: She wove during the day the sadness. Michael Giles: The process begins with the overall text on a page. As I read a book,...

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Rachel Bubis: Through language, imagery and subject, the act of protest is a big part of your work. Have the events of the past year affected your perspective or practice? Nuveen Barwari: Unfortunately, not much has changed. The only thing that I think has changed a little is the fact that a lot of us have been thinking harder about where and how we can contribute best and that doesn’t necessarily always have to be through the arts. Just be...

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