How do your paintings take shape?
Making paintings for me is like a conversation, or a series of constant decisions. I make the drawings and then turn the drawings into paintings. There’s always a transformation or shift going from paper to painting. It kind of shifts shape and size and fits on the canvas. And also, the painting becomes very different from the drawing and it’s a very intuitive process, so the drawing always gets abandoned initially and then the painting becomes something that can stand straight for itself.
Philip Guston says that in the beginning of a painting everyone’s in the studio—like all of your thoughts and people who are on your mind—and little by little everyone leaves and finally the painter leaves too, and then the painting happens, and it becomes a painting. I’ve always thought about this description, and it’s for me very true.
When you choose what to paint, do any subjects or symbols or images occur that you would never want to touch?
I want to say I’m open to everything, but that would be a lie, because no matter what, we all have a small path that we’re walking on and it’s somehow there, you know.
Have you been making any work directly about the pandemic?
No. I never really do that, but my paintings became very black. I started using a lot of black and red, and I was surprised by that. But that happened during that time, and then it became blue. It’s almost like you practice, you go to the studio and play the music and rehearse, and then when the painting happens it’s more like a performance, not like practice. So then it happens, like Keith Jarrett on the stage when he just improvises. But it’s not really improvisation. Because he brought something with him.
Andrea Marie Breiling