“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” -Stephen Chbosky
Change is inevitable. And change is important. Without it we would never progress, we would simply stagnate. While for some, change can be a source of anxiety, it can be the impetus to great things. Even when it feels as though we are losing something as changes occur, often when we look back we discover that in order for doors to open, others needed to close. Reframing change from something to fear to simply bold new horizons is the best way to seek out the silver lining in every new circumstance.
Liat Yossifor is an Israeli born artist living and working in the United States. Following an exhibit in March, she is now turning her thoughts to new work. Her method has been in transition of late, where she used to bury line under layers of paint, she has begun covering less, “pushing the work up to the surface,” she says.
For her new work, Yossifor has been observing the palate of sculptural surfaces. She wishes to mimic the look of wet clay in her paintings, something that has proven a challenge. It is the color that eludes her slightly, capturing exactly the tones needed to achieve this effect.
Her upbringing in Israel makes her no stranger to feeling alert to sociopolitical upset. Yossifer believes that “making work right now is like absorbing cultural trauma and telling the viewer fairly quickly about it.”
The current climate, Yossifor says, contributes to a return to figure, identity, and subject matter. She admits to concerns that some art today deals so carefully with a particular message that sometimes the quality of the actual painting is lost. But this urgency to create something relevant in a short amount of time is hardly new. Yossifor relates the story of The Death of Marat which was painted in haste in order to make its release timely. Because of this the painting contains much “beautiful un-worked space.”
Yossifor’s March exhibition at New York’s Miles McEnery Gallery consisted of four black on black works and four gray works. She referred to the works as “Walls.” Though a painter, not a sculptor, Yossifor’s work is filled with what she refers to as “sculptural intentions.”
The interview with Liat Yossifer was conducted in writing. The complete conversation about her work, her influences and inspirations, and more can be read here.
Jessica Ballantyne is an artist living and working in the area of Essex, England. She has just finished a series of drawings titled Sacred Nude. A meditation workshop led her to create the work exploring the link between mind and body.
Ballantyne’s previous work has also been about the female body as well as female identity and sexuality. She describes a feminist aspect to much of her work. But it was the meditation workshop that sparked change in her work, lending a psychological component to the physical being.
Through meditative practice, Ballantyne says people have the power to heal themselves and change their lives. Meditation techniques can lead to what is known as the piezoelectric effect which, in essence, lights up the brain with a jolt of electricity.
Sacred Nudes examines the body separating from the ego allowing one to view the self as other. Another forthcoming series deals with another aspect of meditation having to do with brain waves. Through paintings, Ballantyne hopes to create a kaleidoscopic effect to represent this concept.
Sacred Nudes will be exhibited in Ballantyne’s first solo show this November. She intends to create a collaborative experience with musicians and the community. To hear more about her work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Open your mind and open your eyes to the changes that come your way. They just might be your greatest opportunities.
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. Liat Yossifor recently read Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger’s Life by by Sarah Kaminsky. Jessica Ballantyne is reading Mind to Matter by Dawson Church.
Art in Action is a volunteer organization that helps bring art curriculum into schools. The organization provides comprehensive training to those interested in volunteering, preparing them for the classroom environment even if they have no experience teaching. For more information and to volunteer, visit the Art in Action website.
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