Monday, November 7, 2011

Gina Louise - Sculptor - Painter

Gina Louise

name: Gina Louise
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Gina Louise is a sculptor and painter born 1972 in St.Paul, Minnesota, USA. In 1994 she received her B.F.A in Sculpture from Minneapolis College of Art & Design.
 Within Louise's artwork, the most predominate propositions materialize as an acknowledgment to what she sees as both the important visual conversations as well as the tactile leftover layers of our unified human imprint upon the landscape in flux. The structural footing which visually underlies all of Louise's art is her reverence for the "Industrial Installations" of her childhood, IE. oil refineries, grain elevators and concrete batch plants.

Fundamentally, her work investigates the compositions we may pass daily which might otherwise be overlooked; the underdog compositions, the scraps of our existence.

Through her sculpture, this compositional conversation generally presents itself simply with the materials themselves. For example, the juxtaposition of steel, concrete, plastic and soft fabric elements. However, within her painting and drawing this consistently spills out as flattened form and line referencing the chosen context.

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

For the last 15 years I have been working as a sculptor, creating large scale pieces with steel, concrete and epoxy for museums, zoos, aquariums and private residences across the US. However, During the last 4 months I have taken a sabbatical from doing sculpture full time during the day and painting at night to focus strictly on the 2D work for my upcoming solo show "S.E.A.10" which opens 11.11.11 at Cult Status Gallery.

There will be 150 pieces, each one referencing a moment pulled from within the landscapes of South East Asia. In addition, I am making several pieces for the "Beauty School Dropouts" show at Gallery 13 which opens on 11.12.11.

The pieces for "Beauty School Dropouts" are a complete departure from my usual inspiration in that they are referencing the female body in the context of modern society.

While the individual pieces for S.E.A. 10 are themselves not rigidly rendered, my self imposed parameters of process were methodical in nature. My intent is that each piece is a visual conversation reduced further and further down. In this way the true disposition of each moment being referenced is able to unfold.

Part 1: pictures
I am by no means a photographer, however it was ultimately necessary to document the compositional junctures that grabbed me, so I could work with them upon returning to the studio.

Part 2: drawings
Next, using the photos as reference, I drew from them. Only 5" x 8" in size, they are small drawings meant to be held close.

Part 3: paintings
Lastly, no longer referencing the original photograph, only a completed drawing, I distill and paint said compositional moment.

At 24" x 36", each painting is larger than the corresponding drawing. However, the paintings are small enough to still feel intimate.

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

While all my artwork is an offering to others as a visual acknowledgement of the way I see, I hope that the experience of viewing my work is personal to them. it is not necessary to see the way I see, but perhaps there is a momentary shift. In turn, I do believe that it is only through making that I will ever get close to understanding the layers of our existence which I hold dear;
construction sites, 
oil refineries, 
batch plants, 
broken pavement, plastic scraps, trains, 
concrete, and steel structures. 

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
My Dad, Charlie Grote, taught me through example that to honestly create beauty, one must work ,work, work, work, and not ever be afraid of getting dirty.

Kinji Akagawa shared with all of his students at MCAD many bits of sage wisdom, but the one that I keep forever in my pocket is "you cannot create in a vacuum".

Tell me about your workspace and your creative process.

In order to be able to fully focus on my S.E.A.10 series, I set up a studio for the time being in Seattle. Here at the studio there is a wonderful south facing, sliding glass door with a deck from where I can see the mountains. Inside there are numerous older wood crates (originally for fruit and ammo) stacked vertically, holding books, tools, paint cans and random bits of colored plastic. On the wall, a sweet painting by Christopher (CAW) Williams, and by my side, Mildred the bulldog.

The crates are an attempt to create order but usually the order has to be put back together every few days as it starts to spin into chaos while I'm working.

My working methodology differs quite a bit from 3D and 2D. While work from either dimensionality consistently reference structure as form, they each commence in seemingly different operational modes. With this new body of 2D work I am simply taking the initial compositional moment that drew my attention and exploring it through the act of sifting, pulling and flattening visual information.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Shannyn Joy Potter
Christopher Williams
Allison Hiltner
John Grider / Broken Crow
Shawn McNulty
Erin Sayer and her Gallery, Cult Status.
+ ALL her ladies that currently make up THE CULT SISTERS. the original core includes the following super talents :
Mark Edward Hayden
Todd Peterson
Louis LaPierre
Tara Costello
Caroline Keefe

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
1st stop would be AMBLES for it is truly the closest thing to heaven in my mind. What could be better than a machine and hardware shop / tool bone-yard / scrap yard?! Plus the owner is .... well, someone needs to put him in a movie. Ambles is my one stop resource and inspiration destination.

2nd, the studios of Shannyn Joy Potter, Tracy Olson , Duanne Ditty, and Mike Welton in the Northrup King Building. They each consistently remind me how truly beautiful art can be to experience.

The train yard along HWY 61 by Pigs Eye.
In addition, the train yard along HWY 61 by Pigs Eye.

And lastly, My parents property in Denmark Township where they have created a 20 acre earthwork/ living sculpture.

Where do you go on-line for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
In addition to learning about artists in-depth through your interviews on LAI, the 3 sites that I simply relish are:

The Dirt Floor

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
If the S.E.A.10 show goes well, then hopefully I can start on plans to head back to Bangkok. My overarching hope for this show is to raise funding to travel back, and in conjunction with the Empower Foundation, make art alongside the amazing women who are part of the Sex Workers Union.

My desire is to have an exhibition with their artwork that is able to be shown in their home city of Bangkok and also here in Minneapolis. In the mean time, I will be starting straight away on my next 2 series. The first is inspired by the structures within the villages of Juan Mata Ortiz and Santa Rosa, Chihuahua Mexico. The show dates for this series are TBA for this but will be opening in Los Angles, CA sometime in 2012.

Concurrently, I will be embarking on what I hope is a long running series relating to spatial form and structure within major Shipping Harbors as well as processing the nature/necessity/nurture of their qualified existence. Finally, for each of the above mentioned series', including S.E.A.10, there will be a corresponding book published cataloging each body of work.

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