Friday, September 17, 2010

meet ilana cloud.

Ilana is a born artist. But it wasn’t until recent years she found her voice. Ripping away the roots keeping her in the Renaissance, Ilana now looks to her everyday life for inspiration. Ilana's overflowing canvases provoke thought and stimulate emotions, providing her viewers with unique expierences.

nicole sardone:Your work is divided into two very different styles. Can you discuss how the shift from realism to abstraction took place?  

Ilana Cloud:I started painting when I was 3 years old. I knew from really early on that I wanted to paint and do art. I was always interested in the renaissance- really really detailed style of painting. During my first two years at BU, I realized that was not a place I wanted to go. It didn’t really match what I wanted to say as a artist. I didn’t go in that direction. I was still painting pretty realistically during that time. When I got to Rutgers I realized that I wasn’t really interested in people- I’m not a figurative artist.

I’m turning toward abstraction now. I started with landscape and went from landscape to
abstraction. A lot of the work I have been doing recently is taking a landscape image- I usually drive around at night. I take images from around my house and areas I drive in. Usually tree lines with roads, and cars. I like to make the image unreadable. So its not totally understood as a landscape. I started with this concept of a really dark painting. Something that I was really hard to see- just an out line, very little shift in tone and color. I did that because I was really looking to bring the viewer into a place where  they weren’t really sure what was going on  but they felt something was going on. I know I have seen works before in galleries, at the Whitney, the Armory and other shows that there is a very dark charcoal drawing or painting, and it draws me in more than the others. It’s because I don’t know what it is and I want to see it. I feel like at different points you can see different things that you didn’t before.

Then I went more toward drip paintings. That is really thinned out paint- lots of mineral spirits. I let the paint create the image itself. I was getting more interested in the technique and how that related to the subject I was creating. Then I went to the opposite of really thin painting and went to really thick painting. Just because I was really interested how they mixed together. I started with the drip painting and I had that for a while, then I wondered what would happen if I added another layer and if it was a totally different layer of paint. I wanted to create a different texture.

And these at the end are grid paintings. I took an image of a landscape and I cut it into pieces and rearranged them in little squares- created an abstract image that way. Which referenced a grid. And a lot of the lines intersect the grid in different ways. I found that interesting.

NS:Is the progression in your work a natural progression? Is this where your work is headed? Or are these experimental works to see “what if”?

IC:For the most part I am heading toward this final direction that I am in now. but I don’t really feel that I totally expanded on the stuff I explore in the earlier stages. I only really did it one semester. I want to go back  to the older stuff.  And continue to wrestle with the ideas I am trying to talk about. A lot of the ideas that I am trying to express is this feeling of nature that I have, its something that we often look past. We don’t often see a tree line or landscape right in front of us. We might paint it as a painting but even as a painting its just a representation of what is there. I feel like there is something lacking. So I’m trying to take a natural landscape and give it a meaning that I put on to it. I guess my interpretation of the landscape and relate it to our culture- American culture and worldly culture. Just how we treat nature and the world around us. What that does to it and what that also does to us as a civilization.

NS:Knowing these are night paintings the decision to use dark tones throughout your work is clear.  However, can you discuss the prevalence of  primary colors in your palette? What’s the driving force behind your color choices?

IC:I guess it really depends on the image and what the overall scheme of colors is.
I base it off the main image and sometimes ill heighten the  color or make the color less
dramatic. I guess its all just seeing how it effects the viewer and how it communicates something to the viewer. One of my paintings is really brown, it looked kind of dirty and had an orange tone to it.  And that one I don’t know if  it communicated it strongly. Unlike something like this. I feel like their is a strong contrast in the blues and the reds.

:Your work is all basically around the same size. Is this the scale you would like to continue work at, or do you plan on getting larger?

IC:Yeah I definitely want to get larger. I haven’t had a chance to yet. Mostly because I didn’t have the space, but now that I will have a studio I will have the space to work larger. I’m also doing a lot of print making now. My work in print making is going in a totally different direction. A lot of my work in print making has to do with language, and how language is over used, in a sense, in our culture. I’m going to try to bring that into my paintings. 

NS:Do you expect a big change in your work when you combine print with your painting?

IC:Yeah I definitely think there will be, but I don’t know how big of a shift. I might continue to work for a while in this style and transition into something that involves the printmaking techniques or what I’m talking about in print. I’m still in the early stages of understanding my ideas.

NS:Are their particular artists that you are looking at? Who has influenced your work?

IC:I always have this tie to the past because I was so interested in renaissance painting for so
long and really realistic painting. For a long time I looked at Hudson River painters. Those huge landscapes that are really realistic and kind of fantastical in their depiction. I’m influenced by Pat Steir, Cy Twombly, and Christopher Wool. I’m also looking at Abstract Expressionists, and Color Field Painters, like Rothko and Rauschenberg.

NS:Earlier you had said you turned away from realism because it wasn’t what you were trying to say as an artist. What are you trying to convey through your work?

IC:I guess I was to kind of show the opposite of optimism. I not really in a negative tone of the world. I want to expose hat we’ve done, in a way, to nature and language and our cultures and how we treat other people and how we interact. So I guess I’m trying to expose that in my work by bringing it to this night level to some people night time can be really exploratory. it’s a moment you can be by your self, and have less stress. And their are times when night is really scary and ominous, you don’t know what’s going to happen. So I want to combine those feelings into my work. I really want to engage the viewer in different ideas. I’m just going to keep working at it. I’m going to be traveling and see how that effects the view of my paintings. I really want to look at international artists and how they are dealing with problems around the world or in their country and see how I can relate that  to living in the United States.

NS:What direction are you  planning to go in for your thesis show? Are going to continue working to abstract landscapes?

IC:I think I’m still trying to figure it out. But yeah I think this is where I'm going for thesis, and see where it takes me. I want to find some way that my paintings interact with each other and speak to each other.

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