“Tenantless Pause” at Soo VAC
an excerpt of my interview with Elena Lavorato on the Soo VAC blog-
Elena Lavorato Gets to Know Exhibiting Artist Theresa Anderson
1. Can you tell me a little about the materials you use? Do you stumble upon them? Are they free? Do you search for certain pieces?
I spend a bit of time before each making spree scavenging freecycle, estate sales and thrift stores. Each sculpture is usually a mix of old and new. In the work, one shot big shot, a new slab of paint embedded with floral foam is tied with yellow electric tape around a structure of discarded wood. Heavy striped vinyl sits/ dangles off the base like a spent balloon.One of my biggest coups was being contacted by the Artistic Director at PlatteForum Creative Residency a few years to come take a look at the discards from a previous artist. She knows I’m always searching for materials that have a certain kind of history to them, texture or color. The artist had left at least 40 old stretcher bars with the edges and sides of the paintings intact. I immediately loved them. I remember seeing the notes on the sides, the residue of the making and just knowing that they’d be fodder for something. Old plastic garbage cans, bird cages, parts of lamps, sticks, wallpaper, vintage textiles such as fur, bra straps, pantyhose, picnic tablecloths, pillow stuffing, threads and ropes, feathers, tables, legs, kitsch holiday decorations, fake hair, fake flowers and all kinds of things make their way into the studio. Quite often I’ll mess around with them over a long period of time before they’re either incorporated into a sculpture or given a new home with another artist to make room for other materials.
2. Can you tell me about your sculptural practice in general and what your ideas and feelings are towards your work?
Overall my work is very circular moving between the daily drawing practice, painting and sculpture. I’m pulling apart ideas, thinking about the relationships of materials, and moving between abstraction and figuration. The sculptures represent a space of reasoning that often starts much more formally, centered around material requirements and ideas about body pivot points, fragmentation and movement. Each type of work allows me to reflect and push back into the research and notes about the ideas I’m thinking about. It’s pretty layered.
3. Why do you use pedestals to elevate certain sculptures rather than other materials? Do you build these sculptures with the pedestal in mind?
All of these works have gone through relationships with the floor, furniture and the pedestal. I’ve played around documenting the works with pedestals as a way to bring the work back to some kind of formality- a leaving off of the emotional attachment, palette cleansers. I can put them back on kinds of living furniture or the floor to reinvigorate them with another kind of physicality.
4. Do you have a memory or memorable moment of your first childhood experience with art?
Some of my first memories are of sitting in the dirt painting rocks, coding doorjambs and driving nails into wood. I had a pretty vivid imaginary world, making costumes, writing plays, singing and dancing.
5. Do you play a specific kind of music when you work that you don’t normally listen to outside of the studio?
I have a set of 171 rap and dubstep songs that I’ve been listening to since late 2011-12. My then teenage son had uploaded his song list onto my itunes and repopulated my ipod. I pair the violent misogyny with focused readings in the morning.
6. The work you will have in Tenantless Pause (granted I have only seen two pictures on our website) seems more ambiguous compared to your other sculptures which automatically trigger a connection in mind to the female body or other real-world images. Am I totally off or has your work shifted in this direction?
My work has been going more towards abstraction for quite some time. The tension between figuration and abstraction is pretty sweet.
7. Do you keep a special object in your studio that you won’t use for a sculpture but offers inspiration for your work?
Nothing in my studio is off limits. Anything off-limits should stay out of the studio. I spend quite a bit of time collecting, touching and thinking about the things I’ve put in the studio so when I’m ready –it’s incorporation happens quickly. It’s very similar to drawing practice. It’s there when you need.
For More Information on Theresa Anderson’s exhibit opening June 7th Click HERE.