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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Isca Greenfield-Sanders

Isca Greenfield-Sanders

Recently I interviewed the artist Isca Greenfield-Sanders when she visited Paulson Bott Press to make a new series of prints. You can find that interview here: http://www.paulsonbottpress.com/about/oktp/oktp_greenfield1.pdf
We continued to talk about the source for her images. Her foray into abstract imagery based on the same process is especially interesting. Foregrounding a cast-off of a cast-off. Several layers of reality to think about…

Wading I (Blue)
Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2011
70 x 70 inches
Courtesy iscags.com

Q: When you find images on eBay, you don't know what you're getting, do you?

A: No, I buy thousand-lot slides. It takes days to go through a collection. I have a light table and a set of projectors. I wear gloves and a mask, because often these things are dirty and gross. They belong to smokers. So I go through them, scan the ones I want, and rebag them.

Q: Do you throw out the ones that you aren’t going to use?

A: I have a junk shop in my neighborhood that I supply with a lot of slides.

Q: Do you sometimes get into a painting and then decide the imagery doesn’t work at all? Do you scrap it?

A: Occasionally, I think an image will have more life than it ends up having. I was trained in watercolor first. So I can make anything into what I think of as a pretty decent watercolor/colored pencil image. From that point, some things can become oil paintings, but that then is subject to the enlargement process, and some things don't enlarge well. They are wonderful small. I'm surprised occasionally when I think something is going to end up being an oil painting and then it just never gets that far.

Q: And you just don't know in advance? You just have to work it out?

A: Yeah. Sometimes you have to try it in a different way. So sometimes it can be a large watercolor, but it can't be a large oil painting, or sometimes it works as an oil, but just a small oil.

Q: I just love the blue in the print “Mountain Stream.” What color was it in the slide?

A: The slide had lost a lot of its magenta. It had turned a sickly green.

Mountain Stream, 2012
21 x 21 inches
Courtesy paulsonbottpress.com

Q: So there was no color relationship to the original slide?

A: I did multiple watercolor studies of this image. That mountain has been purple, black, gray.

Q: With the blue, you fall into it. I heard you mention abstract. Tell me more about that.

A: Yes. Part of my “Light Leak” series was a subset called "Film Edge" images. They are literally from the end of the roll of film.

If the subject of my work is in part the medium of photography—as, obviously, seen through the eyes of a painter—these are just physically the film that no image was captured on. But the celluloid itself is just so beautiful and had such strong landscape connotations. Sometimes I have rotated it for horizon purposes.

They are simple, nonfigurative landscape pieces. They will be done in yellow and purple, which is a nod to the fragility of film, because when it goes bad, it predictably goes in those two ways.

Film Edge (Yellow Tree, Pink Sky)
Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2011
28 x 28 inches
Courtesy iscags.com

Q: What else are you working on?

A: I am working on some cave paintings. Any time there's a phrase that the general non-art-world public understands and that pertains to the act of making art, like a cave painting—your plumber would know what a cave painting is—that is of extreme appeal to me.

Q: The accessibility?

A: Just the phrase, yes. I have made some paintings of figures emerging from a cave. They're completely in silhouette and seen from within the cave looking towards the mouth. So you're seeing the mouth of the cave and then the figures in silhouette and against a forest.

Q: Where did they come from?

A: They are slides from 1967. I don’t know where they are from in terms of location.

Q: Taken from within a cave?

A: This one was in a cave; for the other two I added the cave.

Q: The black is powerful.

A: It's Mars Black. It has my grid in it. My paintings are a sutured-together paper collage beneath that's sealed and then painted atop.

Q: So that's visible?

A: Yeah, there's a gridded black atmosphere in that. I let them dry for almost a year, and then they are varnished. So they're very rich, want-to-lick-it black, like maple syrup or molasses.

For more information:

Cave Painting
Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2011
42 x 42 inches
Courtesy iscags.com

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