Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teri Bloch - Painter

Teri Bloch was born in St. Paul and currently resides in Fridley. In 1998 Teri received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota. For the past eight years she has been working out of a studio in the Historic Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Teri’s work has been shown locally and regionally and is included in private and corporate collections.

Teri Bloch

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I paint in acrylic on wood panels. My current work, of distilled urban images, was originally inspired by my daily commute into Northeast Minneapolis. My commute involves a five mile route down Central Avenue through Columbia Heights and NE Minneapolis. I became fascinated by the activity of the street and began shooting photos with my point and shoot camera as I drove. Because I was driving at the time, (really not as dangerous as texting) I had little control over my shots. Many times I failed to get what I was aiming for or the images were blurry, however this often resulted in more interesting images.

What began as a Central Avenue series has expanded to general urban scenes. Now when I travel around I bring my camera and shoot while driving, walking or taking public transportation; the material is endless. Even though this particular subject matter is fairly recent, it is a continuation of my interest in exploring how the dialogue between space, color, form and line communicate perceptions that have been influenced by an internal dynamic.

I concentrate on simplification of form, paring away what is unnecessary, and at times use an abstracted rendering of space in an attempt to convey something universal. I don’t title my work, other than a simple description, because I want to provide only a seed to the viewer so they can enter and create their own interpretations. Wondering is more interesting than knowing.

I have always been fascinated by the psychology of human nature and love people watching. I am interested in non-verbal communication and humans relationships to one another and their environment. I want to capture more than just a particular person walking down a particular street in a particular city but the essence of something deeper that can’t be put into words. I have been told my paintings evoke sadness or loneliness; one woman told me I should repaint them all with happy faces. However, I think the beauty and poetry of humanity lies in the acceptance of our imperfections and the tentative nature of life. The contrast of the organic shapes of the figure against the architectural lines of the city street and the psychological mood that can be created by the placement of a figure in space provides me with endless visual elements to play with.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

The best advice I was given as an artist is to bring back everything you do to your art.

No matter what you are doing in your daily life, even mundane tasks, you can use that experience to feed your art. I always keep that in mind and when asked what percentage of time I spend on my art I can say 100%. It also helps me feel less lazy when I spend an hour staring out the window- hey I’m working!

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

I am fortunate to have a beautiful studio in the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. It offers more than enough space to work and to exhibit and I love having the community of other working artists in the building. I have been told my studio is too tidy for an artist but I need external order because my mind is a constant state of disarray.

My process involves using photos, that I’ve shot myself, as a source of reference to stimulate ideas; I need some sort of visual stimulation. I continually go through my stack of reference photos because on any given day I can see something different in the same photo. I then do several pencil sketches, simplifying the forms to see if there are any relationships that pique my interest. When I begin to paint I don’t have a finished image in mind.

My biggest challenge is to get out of my own way and let my intuition, my knowledge of visual language and technical skills take over. I work with acrylics because they are fast drying and the technical aspects don’t interfere with my creative flow. I have worked with acrylics for years so I am comfortable with their characteristics. The wood panel allows me to scratch and sand and scrape to create surface texture.

When I finish I usually don’t remember the steps I have taken to completion; I have tried to take notes during the process but it interrupts the flow. When I am finished I often don’t feel responsible for the result.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

Two of my favorite local artists are Lynn Speaker, and Eleanor McGough.

Since I tend toward hiding out, one way that I have been getting to know about local artists is through the PBS program Minnesota Originals. The show consists of short well done portraits of artists and their work. A few of my favorites were: Roma Di Luna, Maren Kloppmann, and Rhea Pappas, but the list could go on. Past episodes can be seen at

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

I would be visiting with artist friends. We might go to see a show, often to the MIA or the Walker to visit the permanent collections, a special exhibition or the MAEP gallery. Two recent shows that I especially enjoyed were Yves Klein at the Walker and Eun-Kyung Suh at the MAEP gallery. A visit to the MIA usually involves a stop at the Art Cellar (the art supply store at MCAD), then back to NE Minneapolis to lunch at the Modern Café.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

Currently I am working on some new pieces that I will exhibit in my studio, during Art-A-Whirl, in spring of 2011.

A goal for this year is to set up my own website in addition to my page. Okay now that I have said it out loud I will have to do it. It has been on my to-do list for a while.

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?

I would purchase:
A telephoto lens for my camera.
Several Large panels-I would like to experiment with working on a larger format.
Good quality paint brushes and pallet knifes.
Loads of paint.

1 comment:

X said...

interesting work nice interview