Attendees of the March Ringling Underground will encounter three contemporary artists: Emily Elliott, Dustin Juengel, and Zach Gilliland. Artist Liaison Natalya Swanson spoke to each of them about their artwork and process:
“I am constantly tinkering in the studio, trying new things, making new forms, honing my skills and dreaming up the impossible. When I have an idea, I try it. Not all approaches work, but I attempt everything and eventually the dots begin to connect. The key, for me, is to simply be working. As Picasso said, “inspiration exists but it has to find you working”.
I search for the simple and the organic as a jumping off point. Then I find the subtle complexities that give the piece depth. Once a project begins to take shape I send it to the moon and back, building it up and ripping it back apart. This process is extremely important for me to filter out unnecessary information.
My work appears simple at first glance, but upon further inspection questions begin to arise. Thats where, I feel, the magic lies. My ultimate goal is to pull the viewer in from a distance, keep them looking up close and then leave them wondering when they turn away.”
“Painting offers a space to engage with different interests and negotiate experiences. I am not aware of an overarching agenda for my paintings, it’s too complex, I think it’s more of a search.
My recent works include grisaille oil paintings based on photographs. The limited palette allows me to focus on other aspects of technique, for example: modeling of form, economy of paint handling, and scale. The effects of light and the surrounding environment become more apparent on the gray surfaces, creating tension between the illusion of the depiction and the painting as an object in a specific location. I want the viewer to be able to enter into the painting and simultaneously become self-aware of standing in a place looking at this thing.”
“My work is an exploration of emotional and psychological responses to human interaction and the desire for intimacy. I use the body as a metaphorical
battleground where the struggles of the mind take on a physical form. The figures are infected and transformed in reaction to their trauma. Each bump, scar, or mutation represents the fractured sense of self, torn between the desire to connect and need to protect oneself. I am interested in complicating those instincts, creating a dynamic energy between the push and pull of the psyche. This piece captures the moment before separation, where there is no clear victim or perpetrator. Instead they are both at once for and against each other.”