“History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘see you later.'” -Eduardo Galeano
History takes the long view. No matter our troubles from moment to moment, they will wash away as the current of time erodes the shores of the present. Who looks to their ancestors only to see the mundane details of their daily lives? Rather we look to view, in broad strokes, the paths that have led us to our own current moment. We look with an eye to understanding where we come from without a care for what small frustrations may have disrupted that journey along the way.
Charlotta Westergren recently exhibited at 106 Green Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The show was titled Home. The show featured a painting titled Carolyn Glasoe Bailey is an investigation of loss, rendered during a time when Westergren’s intimate friend and art dealer of the same name was dying. During this time, many changes befell Westergren’s life.
Westergren says she works in themes, each show is almost like a play but her studio practice is oil painting. For these reasons, her work takes a great deal of time. Before becoming an artist, Westergren was an architect and this background informs her process and work. Of her work, Westergren explains that her “hyper-real” technique lends her paintings a very photo realistic quality that often does not translate when photographed.
Gut Renovation, the image featured in this newsletter, refers to a time when Westergren and her family were forced to leave their apartment after her two year old was diagnosed with lead poisoning. Westergren began to think about how the environment she created in their new home would affect her son in every way as he grew up surrounded by it.
This most recent show was largely about grief, although Westergren is aware that viewers may not perceive this through her brightly colored work.
Westergren was born in Sweden and spent her summers there growing up. She still spends as much time there as she can with her son in her family’s small summer home in the southern part of the country. The aesthetic of Swedish architecture and interiors absolutely finds its way into her work.
Throughout her life, Westergren has seen herself as an outsider rather than someone who puts down roots. Having a child has forced her to change this perspective.
Westergren founded her own painting school several years ago and teaches oil painting to a small group once a week.
To hear more about Charlotta Westergren’s work and process and the sweeping changes that have informed her life of late, listen to the complete interview.
Todd Mrozinski lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He says the city is a wonderful place to be as an artist with many galleries and other opportunities.
At present, Mrozinski is working on very large drawings using brush and ink as well as watered down powdered graphite. The drawings are realistic images based on his walks to the studio. A few years back, Mrozinski did a series of portraits of clouds. His current work falls more into the category of landscape. The drawings are rendered in black and white.
The extreme scale of his drawings still lends itself to the usual framing techniques. Mrozinski prefers not to have glass in front of his work and in fact has exhibited them by simply having them pinned up to the wall. This allows viewers to experience the qualities of the paper on which the work is drawn.
Mrozinski says that people have a strong reaction to his current work. They encounter his large drawings of trees as living organisms in themselves.
The death of Mrozinski’s father in 2012 impacted his work. Before his father died, Mrozinski was creating paintings of clothing to symbolize people. On the year anniversary of his father’s death, Mrozinski began painting cast shadows. It was this work that he submitted to the Pfister Artist Residency where he was accepted.
To hear more about Todd Mrozinski’s work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
The ground on which we stand, where once they stood, is the same ground on which our descendants will soon walk as they cast an eye back to where we are.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Charlotta Westergren is reading Blackacre by Monica Youn. Todd Mrozinski is reading Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh.
OUTNOW! Festival invites emerging artists and performers from across Europe to apply for the 2019 festival in Bremen, Germany. This initiative aims to showcase artists of all sorts who are just beginning their careers. Individuals and groups are invited to apply provided they have not been working professionally for much longer than three years. Students are also welcome to apply. All work submitted must be no more than two years old and must be able to go on tour. For more details and to apply, visit the website. Deadline is August 15.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.