Friday, January 27, 2012

Maria Korol - Painter

Maria Korol

Altered Esthetics Featured Artist
February 3, 2012 through the ends of the month
Opening Reception
Friday, February 3, 2012, 7pm-10pm
Artists' Discussion
Saturday, February 18, 2012, 1pm-3pm

Name: María Korol
City/State: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Email: profile:

María Korol is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she worked as a modern dancer until 2004, when she moved to the United States. She gave up her dancing career as she realized the right artistic discipline for her was in the visual arts. In 2009, she graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in Studio Art, focusing on drawing and painting. She has been working from her studio in Long Beach, California, and now in Saint Paul, Minnesota on a series of figurative paintings of women writers and intellectuals as well as a new project about trauma, fragmentation, and childhood memories. She has exhibited her work throughout Southern California and most recently at Altered Esthetics gallery in Minneapolis.

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

My latest work, Fragmented Self, is a series of self-portraits based on my childhood. I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a leftist family during the right-wing dictatorship and experienced the restoration to democracy. I am interested in working with the themes of familial miscommunication, estrangement, confusion, and trauma. The source for these paintings is photo-collages I create out of my childhood snapshots. I try many different compositions until I find a combination of images that seems both visually attractive and with narrative implications that fit my story. I often write a poem or short prose piece related to the final image. The conceit in Fragmented Self is the broken-up surface space where the setting is recognizable yet nonsensical, and the figures clash and collapse, acting their parts, suggesting a general mood of angst.

Previously, I was fully focused on straight portraiture. I think my new work is a logical evolution from that to a more complicated and layered representation of ‘self,’ and the ways to capture it visually.

"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?

I think art is anything a person makes or does intended to provoke thought or feelings (or both at its best) that are not mainstream, commonplace, or ordinary. What I mean by this is that art should induce people to think and feel in a way they usually don’t when they are at work, watching TV, or shopping. It should be arresting. It should expand one’s perceptions making life more complex and interesting than before. I think there is no limit as to how the artist may seize the viewer’s imagination.

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

Two pieces of advice keep coming back to me when I’m working. One is that I should not be afraid of trying on paper or canvas any idea that comes into my mind. Even if something tells me the idea is stupid, the best way to know if it works or not is to try and follow it. If you trust the process, it will take you to new ideas even if the original one was not sound.

The other piece of advice comes from a modern dance teacher I had years ago back in Argentina when I was a dancer. I think it applies to visual arts beautifully. She told me that I should make my movements as big as I could even if they seemed clumsy in the beginning. She said it is always easier to carve into form something that is too big than enlarge something that is too small.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

I work in a pretty big room in my home. It has four windows, two of which face south so I get a lot of sunlight in the afternoon. The other two face west so I can see the sunset. It’s the warmest room in the house. I use this room for art-making, reading, sewing, exercising—pretty much everything I do takes place in this room.

I brood a lot when I start working with a certain concept. I am not exactly impulsive in the way I approach my work, but I do follow my instincts. When I’m engaged with a topic, I brood in the shower, working out, eating. I guess it’s like daydreaming. I try my ideas on paper by writing them, and making small drawings and paintings but of course there is much frustration and failing before I start to feel satisfied, if ever, with the way the ideas end up looking visually. I tend to work on a series once I find an effective way of treating the topic I’ve been brooding about.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Samantha French

Ken Johnson

Hui Zhang

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

I love the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I’m looking forward to the Rembrandt in America exhibition that’s coming to the MIA in June. I also love the Walker Museum, and the galleries in North East Minneapolis.

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 to promote in the near future?

I am the featured artist for the Crossing Borders exhibition at Altered Esthetics gallery in Minneapolis. The opening for this exhibition is on Friday February 3, 2012. (Event Info)

I will also participate in the exhibition Belles Lettres in March at the same gallery.

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