SSG Activity book for April/May ICU show
POSTED ON 5.4.2016
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This project and all our outreach efforts supported in part by Bama Works and the LEAW Family Fund.
SSG Artist Interview: Chrissy Baucom
POSTED ON 4.29.2016
How would you describe your work?
I think much of my work is derived from growing up in the country. When I was ten we moved to a farm in Loudoun County in northern Virginia. At that time the area was still quite rural; lots of open space, stone walls between all the farms and the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance. I grew up riding horses and I've always loved exploring my surroundings and being outside in the elements. I like the idea of being a kind of hunter gatherer. I find things on excursions in nature or traveling and often these objects find their way into my work. So much of what I paint evokes a memory of time and place. I’m interested in the history of my subject matter; where it came from, the life it's had and it's physical oddities. Through painting and drawing, I'm trying to convey a purely emotional response through a concentrated energetic study.
You've explained how you see yourself as part historian, part archeologist. What do each of these roles mean to you?
Well, I am especially interested in European history in relation to the Romans, the Vikings and the British Isles. But I also think that being an artist requires one to be aware of everything that's come before; the whole of art history and certain cultural histories in relation to what one is making. Great art is of its time and usually says a fair amount about the society at large. So that's what's I mean by historian. You have to have that knowledge to be a responsible artist, to make truly honest work.
I am fascinated by archeology and find that it fuels a lot of my ideas.
My painting of the Antikythera Anchor would be a good example. This painting is from a photograph of a lead anchor that was found in Greece at the site of the 2000 year-old Antikythera shipwreck. This wreck also contained the Antikythera device, otherwise known as the first computer. It was an incredibly complex mechanism that was used to calculate astronomical positions. I was captivated not only by the strange wing-like shape of the anchor, but by the story that surrounds it.
I think every artist is constantly digging up stuff that means something to them personally. I like that sense of discovering some kind of unknown and finding new ways to make sense of it. Painting is a way of dusting off and revealing a new and unseen world.
What are you trying to communicate with your art, and with organic matter in particular?
I think I’m just trying to communicate my own personal obsession and fascination with these life forms or objects and find a way for me to make an interesting and challenging painting. I hope that through color and mark-making that this notion will carry through to the viewer so that they might also have some sort of emotional reaction to these specific images. The organic matter that I work with is a way to explore often ignored facets in nature. The objects can be equally interesting as both subjects for paintings or as sculptural forms. They connect me to the land, the natural environment and my surroundings and even memories of where I found them. But I hope they can mean different things to everyone. Even in their insignificance, these "relics or vestiges" have an internal story and I want to bring that to life.
What are you working on right now?
I have started a series of paintings based on these Neolithic stones that were found in Scotland. I haven't seen these in person so I'm just working from photographs, but eleven of them were found around Scotland and they are sometimes intricately and beautifully carved. They are small, about three inches in diameter, but no one knows precisely what they were used for. They could be some kind of gaming piece or perhaps used in some kind of ritual. It's that kind of question that's so intriguing to me.
Where can we see more of your work?
Well, the best place to see it is my website at chrissybaucom.com. And I just signed up on Instagram. I'm a little behind the times on that one, but I'll be posting new work there.
“Vestiges and Relics” was view through March 25. Thank you.