Josie Robertson Surgery Center 6th Floor Art Walk
Medium: Collage, burnt paper, paint
“Drifting Presence refers to intertwined forms in nature that cast shadows and reflections and introduce us to a magical world of unseen forces beyond. It is a dance that addresses the duality of living things and their temporal existence. I re-organized these floral shapes and forms until I felt the composition offered hints to a simple beauty of space, its pictorial organization and the dynamic energy existing in nature. My vision has always reflected an “Eastern” sensibility.”
Whenever I am stuck, I look at a tree. The way the structure is composed — the strength and balance of the limbs, how it is all supported — is a miracle to me. This is best done in a quiet place where I can focus and be alone. I feel a kinship with trees as a living force.
Medium: Water-based wood block
“Art, like dreams, has the capacity to bring unconscious content to consciousness. As this surfaces, art helps us find new physical images to collectively see, articulate, and integrate what has previously been denied or unimagined. In this way, we experience the world and ourselves more intimately.”
Medium: Mixed media on paper
“Yes. Very often, one of the signs that I may be working on something good, is that feeling that the work itself is directing me, and in essence I’m just along for the ride. As I work, I listen to music, very frequently the same thing repeated over and over, and eventually, I am in a new place with the work and need to stop to figure out the next steps. I will almost go into a trance, with my hand and brush responding to the marks on the paper with new colors and shapes.”
My favorite quiet place is in our hot springs pool. I get a lot of visual inspiration there, and the waters cleanse my mind as well and keep my body flexible. My other best spot is the studio, and sometimes I can be inspired by one of my own pieces if I haven’t seen it for a while.
Medium: Plastic bag between handmade cotton & abaca paper, acrylic paint
“BW20 and BW21 are from an extensive series of drawings that has evolved since my Workspace Residency at Dieu Donné Papermill. My process begins with glyphs snipped from my collection of plastic bags. These are embedded between wet sheets of paper that I make at the papermill (cotton on bottom with thin, translucent abaca—banana plant fiber—on top). After the layered paper has been pressed and dried, I complete the drawing in my studio with the addition of acrylic spray paint. Aerosol paint—colored particles delivered via air— seems essential to the drawing’s liminal atmosphere. Each image is a distinct realm, never premeditated, always in flux until a final moment of resolution. The drawings remain unnamed (only numbered); to me, they are places and states beyond words.”
I was a shy child who was enrolled in preschool at age three. I cried and protested to no avail. But one particular day, we were given art supplies that included chalk or pastels. I noticed the other children drawing lines at the top of their paper to indicate the sky, but I had this strong feeling that the sky was a vast, open space — impossible to hold in a few lines. So I proceeded to cover my entire page with blue pastel, rubbing my hand, now blue, all over the paper, totally immersed in my task, almost becoming sky.
Medium: Oil on canvas
“My paintings erupt spontaneously, often capturing my state of mind at the time. “Vetivert” emerged when I was exploring different scents in aromatherapy to bring nature’s healing forces into my fast-paced urban lifestyle. Vetivert is the essential oil of the vetiver plant and because the scent feels restorative and relaxing, it has been referred to as the oil of tranquillity.”
I am inspired by the revelatory nature of spontaneous play. Painting gives me the space to improvise freely, using a variety of techniques and tools. Most often, my work relates to natural spaces where life revels in its infinite possibilities — the enchanted forest, under the sea, and outer space. Color, light, music, and dance all play roles on my celebratory stage.
Medium: Japanese woodblock print mokuhanga wood cut
“The inspiration for “Conversation at Mt. Fuji” came from my 2013 residency at Lake Kawaguchi, Japan. For five weeks I worked intensively alongside five international artists as part of the MI-LAB (Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory) Advanced Artist-in-Residence. Each day from my worktable I faced the formidable Mt. Fuji in nature’s ever-changing dance with the clouds, seen and then - not seen, through the sculpted Japanese trees. The print comes from this joyful unfolding conversation with nature and with the visiting Japanese master printmakers, the five artists and our gracious Japanese hosts. I was fascinated by the way nature is honored in Japan and I felt the presence of art and artistry everywhere. After the completion of my prints I even climbed Mt. Fuji to the summit!”
A lot of the inspiration for my work stems from my walks and observations of nature, even when I’m in the midst of a city. I respond to nature with a passionate need to depict, interpret, and create. I often paint and draw directly from nature to later improvise and invent. Again and again, I turn to nature to nourish, soothe, and surprise.
Medium: Mixed media on board
“Generally, I approach nature through the prism of artists’ work that have continually inspired me, such as Corot’s subtly evocative late landscapes. In the work of some Argentine artists of the so-called “Escuela de La Boca,” especially those of Alfredo Lazzari, I have learned about the value of an intense emotional engagement with a place. And, from many painters in East Asia, I have come to treasure the exquisite rendering of nature through their masterfully delicate brushwork.”
I visit the Metropolitan Museum [of Art] frequently, and I often pay a routine visit to my ‘friends’ there: 18th-century Dutch landscapes, Rembrandt’s portraits, the Vermeers, the East Asian art section, and some specific pieces inside the Precolumbian (Colima and Nayarit) and arts of Oceania sections.
Medium: Watercolor and gouache on Fabriano
“All of my work comes from a base need to sort out life and my thoughts visually. A walk outside. A walk through the Met. The streets of New York City. A subway ride. Inspiration is all around us.”
[I draw inspiration from] a walk outside, a walk through the [Metropolitan Museum of Art], the streets of New York City, a subway ride. Inspiration is all around us.
Medium: Watercolor on paper
“For inspiration, I love to travel to far away places, but a walk around New York City is all I really need. The simplest is looking out my window. I am fortunate to have many amazing views at home and in my studio.”
My studio is my favorite place. It is warm, sunny, and quiet, and has a view of the Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island. My husband is also an artist, and he has a studio in our loft, which is full of activity and people from 9 to 5. My studio is a block from home and is where I go to paint, do research, work, and nap if I need to!