Interview with Andrea Dasha Reich by Pamela Beck

Reich was born in the Czech Republic in 1946 to a progressive and creative family. Intellectually at odds with prevailing Communist ideologies, the family emigrated to Israel in 1960 where Reich studied at the Bezelel Academy in Jerusalem before moving to NYC in 1966. Her early success and travels as a corporate executive and designer in the fashion/textile business, exposed Reich to unusual hand crafts, exotic objects and a variety of colors and textures that later appeared in her art work.

Pamela Beck

Pamela Beck

There are as many ways to think about art as there are to create it. Join Pamela Beck in her column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world.

Andrea Dasha Reich Artist Statement:
“I’m as affected by the frog I saw yesterday, sitting on the lit globe of my outside light as I am by the distant memories of a gray hut I once saw in China or a blue mosaic tile I saw 30 years ago when I lived in Israel. My biggest influences come from the many cultures I’ve deeply experienced, from nature and from the legacy of art and invention passed through the DNA in the women of my family to me. These join together and feel like an invisible hand guiding me in my work, where it’s as if colors take over my whole being.” – Andrea Dasha Reich

Most recent Commission – Andrea Dasha Reich, “Tess’s Paradise” 2012 – 4′ x 10′ (with the artist)

Reich was born in the Czech Republic in 1946 to a progressive and creative family. Intellectually at odds with prevailing Communist ideologies, the family emigrated to Israel in 1960 where Reich studied at the Bezelel Academy in Jerusalem before moving to NYC in 1966. Her early success and travels as a corporate executive and designer in the fashion/textile business, exposed Reich to unusual hand crafts, exotic objects and a variety of colors and textures that later appeared in her art work.

Reich has shown in solo exhibitions in Miami, Aspen, New York City, Boston and Denver and many group shows including MASS MoCa, North Adams, MA; Zimmer Museum, Los Angeles; and State of the Arts Gallery in Sarasota that represents Reich locally. Reich is represented by Etra Gallery in Miami and Pismo Gallery in Aspen and Denver. Studio Director, Anastasia Maracle, runs Reich’s large Sarasota studio, allowing Reich to concentrate on her creating her art. Reich will be showing at Artexpo & Solo in Miami, Dec. 5-9, 2012.

Andrea Dasha Reich, “Sarasota” 2012 -48″ x 54″

1. Your work is many layered and looks 3D. Please explain how you create this effect:

It’s impossible to see the layers of my work in a photograph because it’s multi dimensional. If you think of a BLT sandwich, it’s a similar idea- one thing placed on top of another. I have the image of the final work in my mind before I begin. It can be up to 5 layers of epoxy resin that I work on one layer at a time. I start with the first layer of epoxy resin into which I put shapes, acrylic textures, metals, painting with inks and dyes and clays. Then I do another layer on top of the last. Between each layer are many materials. I continue this layering and filling in between the layers until I think the work is done. The result is an artwork that resembles glass both visually and tactically, but unlike glass, it’s virtually indestructible.

2. Both your personal style and your art are bright, colorful, bold and whimsical- are these traits that you think describe you?

Although I can be quite serious, I prefer to laugh about life and enjoy humor in others. When I work, it’s truly a pleasure for me to be in my studio. I love working. I know other artists who find it painful to make their art. But why would I want to do something that hurts me? I’m not a masochist.

3. Why do you think people are often afraid to live with bright colors?

Color affects a person emotionally. It’s easier to live in a white or cream-colored room. Colors cause bold reactions and it might be difficult for some people to have such strong feelings. It can scare them. I think certain colors can connect you with emotions you didn’t know you had. Many people don’t know what to do with those emotions once they surface.

4. What does the process of working on one of your pieces feel like to you?

I converse with my paintings all the time. I feel like a conductor. I have to keep those colors in line or encourage them: this one may be too strong, that one too shy. It’s difficult to work with color. I have to keep them all in constant balance.

Andrea Dasha Reich, “Gray Tess” 2012 -36″ x 54″

5. You lived in NYC for 33 years, mainly in TriBeCa. What’s the difference working there versus Sarasota?

There’s a big difference. It’s obviously brighter here. This led me to choosing brighter colors. Also, I incorporated nature more fully into my work and exchanged house images for flowers.

6. You often work on commission. People ask you for a particular size, feeling or color palette. Please explain how this worked in your most recent commission:

My last commission was the largest I’ve ever done: 10 feet x 4 feet. That’s the size the client asked me to do. She saw my work in a Miami exhibition and fell in love with two of the pieces. She asked if I could combine the colors of one with the images of the other. Of course, it’s not a science, but I tried to respect the essence of what she wanted and render that in this last piece. She just received the work and is very happy, which makes me feel the same as well. It’s very satisfying for me to make someone else happy. If I can do that with my art, that’s the best.

7. What would be your fantasy commission?

I would like to design a piece for a huge airport lobby. People have so much time while they’re waiting there. I would enjoy knowing that people were looking at my work without rushing. Because my work is so complex and intricate, it takes many viewings to see all that is going on. People always tell me that they see things they’ve never seen before each time they look at the same work.

8. What do you see as the role of the artist today in society?

I can’t generalize as every artist does what he or she wants. Some like to express anger, ugliness or other social inadequacies that ail us. I paint for beauty in the world and for myself most of all. I like people to be happy and touched by my art- for it to evoke emotions they may not even understand. People see different things in my work, like religious letters or special messages. I always agree, as it’s great that they see something they find important. If I would attach a specific meaning to my work, I would be taking away their imagination.

Andrea Dasha Reich, “Miami Red” 2011 – 70″ x 50″

9. What is one thing that disturbs you about the art world?

I don’t doubt the importance of museums, curators, critics, artists and dealers challenging people’s minds to understand art. What I don’t like and am impatient about is the change in art criticism. Historically, the “value” of art was the gold standard in art. Today the question of “value” has been replaced by “what does it mean?”. This opens a Pandora’s Box of endless chatter by those who have no way of knowing what an artist is thinking. (Often even the artist him/herself doesn’t know.)

10. Who are people you would enjoy spending time with and why?

Georges Sand, because she was an independent, creative woman and lived her life as she wished. Yoko Ono and Antonia Fraser for the same reasons. And Woody Allen because he shows us how to laugh at ourselves.

Andrea Dasha Reich website:

To read more about Pamela, view these links:

The Goods: Weekend News (03.30.12)

Sarasota Visual Art’s round up of information, upcoming exhibitions, and events. Michael Eade, Art Center Sarasota, iconcept Fashion Show, SANFORD BIGGERS, USF School of Art and Art History, Clothesline Gallery, Sishirprithvi Bommakanti,

Interview with Hermitage Fellow, artist Michael Eade

A current Hermitage fellow, Michael Eade, a contemporary watercolour landscape painter from New York City, recently visited Sarasota for a residency and spoke on the Ringling College campus…

Tumbling Culture by Sishirprithvi Bommakanti

The wide accessibility of creative mediums and outlets in the 21st century has led to a disillusionment of content and dominance of vanity.

‘iconcept Fashion Show’ 2012

Art Walks the Runway when Art Center Sarasota presents the fourth annual iconcept event on March 30


March 30, 2012 – On view at Ringling Museum – Sanford Biggers uses the study of ethnological objects, popular icons, and the Dadaist tradition to explore cultural and creative syncretism, art history, and politics.

Sand in the Vacuum: MFA 2012 Graduation Exhibition

March 30 – The exhibition features Master’s research project work by Master of Fine Art candidates in the USF School of Art and Art History, and provides an opportunity to have their work viewed by the public, as well as University faculty and colleagues, in a professional environment.

Clothesline Gallery Presents: WELCOME

March 31st – Spring of 2012 marks the official launch of the new and improved Clothesline Boutique + Gallery. Located on the south side of the historic Burns Court District, Clothesline showcases the best of SRQ in screen printing, fine art, illustration, and design.

Michael Wyshock – Past Future Paintings

January 28 – February 11, 2012
Fine Arts Professor will be showing recent paintings in the Willis Smith Gallery for the Academic Center at Ringling College.

January 28 – February 11, 2012
The Willis Smith Gallery, Ringling College of Art + Design

Colors are organized into groups of shapes with an arrangement that maximizes the space the marks occupy. The visual elements portraying familiar subjects are comprised from studies of community behaviors emphasizing consumption. Each piece has a theme developed from personal experiences and states of being. The two paintings – Bees and Crops were created as a pair to speak directly with each other about pollination and automobiles.

Michael Wyshock, "Crops", Acrylic on Canvas

Michael Wyshock received a BFA from the University of Delaware in 1998, and a MFA from Florida State University in 2002. His paintings and videos have been presented in over 100 exhibitions.

In 2006, his work in painting was recognized with a Pollock-Krasner Award. In the Fall of 2011, his work was included in a few exhibitions in New York City: a theater production in the East Village at the Connelly Theatre, the Big Screen Plaza in midtown Manhattan, and in the Unfold exhibition at Parsons. In December 2011, his work was nominated for an award from Madatac and presented as part of a special exhibition in Madrid, Spain at the Reina Sofia Museum. Also in 2011, his work was included in exhibitions at the Wheeler Arts Community Center in Indiana, the International Environmental Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain and in Mexico City, Mexico and at the Grand Isle Community Center in Louisiana. He currently lives in Sarasota, Florida where he teaches in Fine Arts for Ringling College of Art and Design.

Michael Wyshock, "Bees", acrylic on canvas

The Gallery is closed on Sundays

Vladislav Yeliseyev: Images of a European Journey

January 20 – February 2012
On view are acrylic paintings featuring charming views of Sarasota, in a neo-impressionistic style. Also shown are more than twenty views of European scenes done in watercolors.

January 20 – February 2012
Stakenborg Fine Art, Sarasota, FL (Featured Gallery)

Opening on January 20 paintings and watercolors by Vladislav Yeliseyev. The Artist resides in Sarasota and was born in Moscow where he graduated from the famous Moscow Institure of Architecture. His acrylic paintings feature charming views of Sarasota, in a neo-impressionistic style. Also shown are more than twenty views of European scenes done in watercolors. The show starts with an opening reception at 6PM and runs until February 11.

stakenborg gallery

Born in Moscow, Russia, Vladislav Yeliseyev received formal art training at The Moscow School of Art and later, at The Moscow Institute of Architecture where he earned Masters Degree of Architecture in 1983. At that period he was exhibiting his works in many group shows and taking part in several community art projects while experimenting with different techniques and mediums. In 1989 Vladislav moved to United States and chose New York City to be his new home. His unique ability to accentuate the artistic qualities of the architecture as juxtaposed with the natural environment quickly earned him a high reputation among the leading architects in the country.

Featured Artist: Jennifer Lauren Smith

I’m drawn to the metaphorical potential of landscapes. Probing for implied sound or rhythmic amplitude in a scene, I imagine ways of enlivening the landscape with drama, creating a feeling.

Woodwind & Kite, (2010)

What does it mean to you to be an artist living and working in Sarasota, FL?

I just moved back here after a 17 year hiatus—I grew up in Sarasota and had the privilege of going to the old Pine View which was a city block of portable buildings clustered around a couple four-square courts on Bahia Vista. I’m sure this is still the case at the new campus, but the kids there then were astonishingly creative and interesting. Everyone was so badass. Being involved in some branch of the arts and being clever and precocious were expectations, nothing really unique. The school, along with the Ringling empire ever-present in the background, has made Sarasota symbolize something more rigorous to me that than the beachy vacation destination or retirement zone it looks like upon first glance, although I’m sure I’d feel differently if I were a recent arrival. But as a result of spending my childhood here, Sarasota has been more of a muse to me through distance and nostalgia than an actual studio location.

Digital video with live clarinet
15min 22 sec (excerpt)

I’m hoping to change that now, though—to really get into it here, utilize the resources and take advantage of the way the visual and physical material here hits my consciousness. Florida is full of these amazing gestalts—the water, the sun, the swamp, the heat, the flora. These things are so gorgeous or fascinating but also so…stylized that they don’t seem like part of the reality we are supposed to suffer. I have a tendency in my work to balance soaring romanticism with an exuberant dose of kitsch, much like Florida seems to do by being its natural self: a pink and purple paradise filled with predators, swinging moss, and rock n roll. I’m really looking forward to going out shooting (video) and trooping around now that I’ve finally gotten organized.

Salvo, (2010)

How did you arrive at the structure of your work?

My work doesn’t have a certain structure. I use several overlapping strategies to get my work to occur such as pairing video with live performance, creating photo-essays, collaborating on sound recordings or live music, making sculptures… I’m interested in physical perception as a material, both in the making of the work and in the process of viewing the finished work. I dedicate myself to teasing out what I hope to be an authentic piece from the raw experience of a place, an action/ event, or a story or memory. I set myself up to projects that require a bit of learning, a bit of risk of failure. These are vulnerable states that carry through to the finished work. I guess a lot of my work is a bit emotional. They all have a little bit of sadness.

My breakthrough piece in graduate school was going to the Outer Banks for the winter and doing nearly nothing but driving through snowstorms on the beach in a 4×4. It was there that I realized that it wasn’t something that I could make work “about” but that being there was the work. I had to get the audience there to know it, to experience the immensity—not bring back a relic to show in a little white gallery. It was a real revelation at a time when I was trying to make formal sculpture.

What role does history play in your work?

I often develop projects based on places or events that I find interesting, like the project in the OBX I just mentioned. Researching the historical underpinnings of the subjects I choose to pursue is a key part of my early process. My studio is sort of a clean, library-like anomaly in comparison to a lot of other sculptors. I always start by reading and by sending emails to specialists and generally making an ass out of myself by traversing different fields, wondering if so-and-so can help my realize some vision. But, I try to leave the research behind quickly—I’m much more interested in imagination and getting something to evolve a result of the research. When there are significant historical facts associated with my subject matter or actions, I attempt to acknowledge and do away with them so I can get beneath the “obvious layer” into something more my own. So for me, history is something to absorb and get beyond. My job has to do with creating encounters and sensations.

Are there any features of your work that are discomforting, for yourself or your viewer?

I’ve never once been comfortable with a work, or even an idea. I think part of what keeps me excited to be an artist is that each of my projects have at various points scared the shit out of me, albeit emerge naturally out of my thinking. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m making art, or how I get away with doing these eccentric things in the field like flying kites or dancing tango rather than tinkering in the studio with raw materials. When I do mess around in the studio, I feel like I am wimping out of something more real. So it goes back and forth between two kinds of discomfort. Someday I hope to show my studio objects, which I call “The Catalog of Ships” after the much-despised book II of the Iliad, that no one ever reads.

Jennifer Lauren Smith
Jennifer Lauren Smith

What aspects of contemporary art would you change, if you could?

Maybe if we had a culture that supported the arts more, we wouldn’t have to talk so loud and for so long to be taken seriously, and we could listen more. It so tiresome to constantly contrast each other’s accomplishments and plans and invitations for things. If we could be less competitive we could actually have a conversation. I find that when traveling abroad people listen so much better than we do here, and my theory is that the arts are taken more seriously there, art doesn’t need to prove itself because its just part of the good fabric of life.

I also wish young artists would write more critical discourse, or that there was more of a forum for art writing from young artists. I’d really like to know how artists themselves apply critical discourse to some of the work I see in galleries or fairs—a lot of things placed on shelves or leaning against the wall or carefully arranged in a montage or tableau with a stack of books on the side. I want to understand that stuff from a more critical standpoint than an aesthetic one.

Live performance March 24, 2011 in the Fan. Richmond, VA

Thanks to Jason Dehlin for allowing us to use his home.

One of the most complicated aspects of being an art maker is the “Life Work” balance: making important decisions on when to start and when to stop and where to separate things. Do you have any advice for other artists, based on your own methodology, on how to balance a life’s work?

I read a quote somewhere that I often remember when I am struggling to arrange my time: when a fan called out a request during a live concert Neil Young replied, “its all one song.”

One of the ways I manage the dichotomy of work and the rest of it is to try and make everything matter—all the things I do. Travel, writing, swimming on my masters team, reading books—its all towards something involved in an art-making lifestyle. This sounds very moony and self-help I realize, but I get very disappointed in myself when I am not in the midst of some project happening. I have to remind myself that the process of living and the process of working can be part of the same rhythm of productivity.

My heroes are artists who take on projects outside the confines of their studios, so that the projects require a huge dismantling of ones schedule or personal affairs. When working in the field you get to be 100% there, and its both exciting and terrifying—there is all this time pressure to get something to happen but yet it often seems like something natural and authentic is better able to emerge when dealing with elements of chance. You can’t force something because you have no control. You have to faith and concentration and patience and conviction. So I just work and read and travel and write and swim until I get to back to those moments again.

Between Heats, (2010)


Jennifer Lauren Smith was born in Portland, Maine in 1979 and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon where she earned her Bachelor of Art degree in 2002. After graduation Jennifer moved to New York City where she spent several years working as a mural painter and cater waiter, and later, operated a bed & breakfast in Chinatown. Jennifer earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA in 2011.

Carova Beach, (2010)