SHEFOLK INTERVIEW -  Arianne Keegan

Excerpt:

Can you tell us about some of the themes you explore in your work and your process?

I do not purposely explore certain predefined themes, if anything comes close it would be entropy – but not entropy as just decay, more entropy as the constant transformation. I have a hard time with categories because the more you work with them, the more you realize most of them are artificial and were never really valid. A big part is an influx between chaos and control, so if I should label my process anything, I would call it “entropy interrupted” - when it really goes wrong, and it often does because it is such a free process. Then “interrupted entropy” when it goes right.

My process is hybrid in that I put things together that might be seen as being very different or even opposed, at least from a linear time perspective, but it is always things that for me fit together. Right now I am working on a Vanitas series with floral motives, I am looking at the Dutch painter Maria van Oosterwyck as a point of departure. She was active in the 1600s. But the spur came from an interview I read with Yoko Ono where she speaks about how she consciously made a switch from “seven sufferings and eight disasters” to “seven lots of luck and eight treasures”.

I don’t think it is a theme per se, but for me, the make or break with my works is whether they breathe or not, if they are not alive, I discard them. It’s important to me that my works seem edible, not as in delicious, but as in a presence that is real in the world. I want the work to give a tactile feeling, it has to give a bodily sensation that transcends language and the conscious mind. It’s a thing that is hard to define because it is not about craftsmanship or tricks, because there are plenty of painters that use thick lustrous brushstrokes whose painting seems lifeless, and then there are painters who barely use any paint whose works vibrate.

That’s one of the places where painting really becomes interesting to me, because there is something there that we cannot understand, or at least, we haven’t discovered it yet. I think there is a big difference between knowing and understanding. And I work with and am interested in the knowing – you can know a painting even though you might not understand it – but it’s the knowing that has the most value not the conscious understanding.




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