something that could be is much more interesting than something that is
An Interview with Marianne LOVINK
@ OLGA KORPER GALLERY December 13th - January 24th, 2015
Private Parts by Marianne Lovink is a fantastical exhibition where organic meets non-organic. The idiosyncratic configurations appear to be crawling up the wall or flying through the air. This body of work is a continuation of Lovink’s interest in sensual, hybrid, ambiguous forms that relate to the human body. Lovink's process is rooted in science, it is highly experimental and is persistently pushing the boundaries of different mediums.
This is an evocative exhibition by Lovink that needs to be seen in the flesh!
Laura Horne-Gaul: What is the premise of your upcoming exhibition at Olga Korper Gallery?
Marianne Lovink: The show is called Private Parts and is a continuation of my recent interest in organic sensual forms that relate to the body, our reproductive organs and our hard-wired response to sexual suggestion. There are actually three bodies of work represented in the exhibition: my most recent work consisting of wall-based carved wood forms with a black patina and discreet embellishments related to aspects of bondage & male fantasy – a series of composite natural elements with graphic surface ornamentation that emphasize form and “function” in a humorous way – and a large installation called Arcadia, comprised of multiple swollen, sensual forms hovering in mid-air and adorned with obsessive ornamentation representing a personal vocabulary and a confluence of influences which include: tribal art, fetish objects, tattoos & graphic novels.
LHG: Are you conscious of your minimalist aesthetic?
ML: I have always been interested in walking a fine line between minimalism – and its opposite of excess and ornamentation. Both are seductive in their own way and I am attracted equally to both. I think that once the essence of a form has been discovered through a stripping away to the essential – it can then be interesting to introduce another layer of meaning through an addition of complementary or incongruous embellishment.
LHG: Because you are a female artist do you feel that your work is “coined” as a craft instead of art?
ML: This is a concern that I may have had in the past, but I no longer have. I can’t worry about how, in this sense, the work is perceived culturally because I have found this to be unproductive and distracting. I also believe that the most successful artworks always incorporate some aspect of craft. In my mind the two are inextricably linked.
LHG: Does craft making affect your art? If so, how?
ML: It was the joy of craft-making as a child - its expressive potential – and the challenge of developing the many necessary skills involved - that lead me directly towards a life as an artist. I have never really understood the art/craft label divide among really skilled artists/artisans and, happily I think that divide is lessening in importance in recent times.
LHG: Your work seems to be heavily rooted in the organic, what is your personal relationship with nature like?
ML: The natural world in all its aspects - is and always has been - a major source of inspiration for me in life and art. Although it may not be at first apparent, as I do make a huge effort in a social environment, I am a very solitary person. I am really happiest when I find myself alone walking my dog in the park in early morning.
LHG: How do you choose which materials to work with?
ML: My choice of materials has had a major impact on my work over the years. I am interested in the ways that the physical characteristics and limitations of every material directly influences the creative process and can open up previously unexplored avenues of expression. I think this is one of the reasons why I constantly search out new materials and processes in the studio as they present an interesting challenge and keep things fresh.
LHG: When do you know a work is complete?
ML: In most cases, I have a fairly clear idea of what I hope to achieve with a work of art…I do many sketches in my notebook and visualize various options available throughout the process, and this approach is usually leads to a clear moment of completion – but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Rather than finding this distressing – I find it liberating. Happy accidents are exciting and often lead work along a path previously unexplored and very fruitful. In these cases, I find that each piece becomes part of a larger exploration. One work leads directly to another and this process is what I find most challenging and fulfilling as an artist.
LHG: How do you want the viewer to feel when entering the spaces occupied by your sculptures?
ML: I hope that the viewer is intrigued by the work. I make an effort to make work that can be appreciated on a number of levels so I prefer each piece to be suggestive rather than overt. I would like to think that the viewer might first be drawn to the beauty of the form and then find pleasure in decoding the puzzle of its embellishment or inherent incongruities. It is also important to me that the attention to detail and finish is immediately apparent as I take great pleasure and care in this aspect of the creative process as well.
LHG: Is there an event that you may share that has impacted you greatly as an artist?
ML: One of the most difficult issues facing any artist is the desire to create a work of art that is truly original and personal, but one that also possesses the ability to communicate in some universal language. It is this constant challenge that keeps me engaged and committed to the creative process and though difficult, ultimately very rewarding.
Sentry #1 and #2, 2014, mixed media, 96" x 17" x 17"
Nymph #1 and #2, 2014, mixed media