My parents worked in horticultural services. They were gardeners belonging to the City Hall, but my mother always painted. After studying for Abitur, I majored in horticulture at Humboldt Universität. After graduating, I worked as a gardener for five years, but my real passion was for art and books. Thus I eventually returned to university, majoring in art at the Hochschule fuer Grafik und Buchkunst Grafik und Buchgestaltung. Completing my master’s degree was a deeply satisfying experience. While I was working in horticultural services, I realized that excellent skills were the pre-requisite for success. Plants do not thrive if they are not watered sufficiently or grown at the wrong temperatures. This rule also seems to be applicable to painting.
Feminism, to me, means equality between women and men. This point sometimes makes me look like a human rights activist. I want woman to be independent, wise and beautiful and to have equal rights with men in all aspects of society, both family and work life. I believe that a true partnership between women (Yin) and men (Yang) could see our society develop into a more progressive one.
The exhibition was in development for over a year so there was plenty of time to prepare and select the right works. The space of a gallery is always very important to me in deciding what to show so I created a gallery like environment in my studio to help me to figure out when the works were ready. The paintings were all completed bewteen 2013 - 2014 and the exhibition is called Green Heart in reference to my deep interest in the natural world and the depiction of women as a positive and active force.
I first saw a work in casein at the Maria Santa Novella church in Florence. The fresco on wooden board was shining brightly, forgetting the passage of the time. I had experienced numerous difficulties working in acrylics and, since oil took a very long time to dry, I began to work in casein. There are technical challenges but I am used to working in casein now. I create my own colors, and I can produce pure colors without the mixture of the additives.
The basis of a successful work is always good composition of color and form. Even the cleft is welcomed as beauty and comfort in my works. Of course the stories, tying up certain situations, history or experiences, become excellent foundation for the works.
Painting figures allows me to place people in the center of my world. As I am most interested in the world of women at the moment, the people appearing in my works are mostly women. When I begin a painting, I have a very clear idea about the color, shape and composition, as if I can see an imaginary painting in front of me. Unfortunately or fortunately, this image is not often found in the finished work. At some point, the painting is made on its own. It calls together the best elements of my imagination so that in a sense I act as a craftsman, using my tools to bring the painting together. Hence I am often surprised by what my paintbrush painted. Dreams, hopes, the past and what will come in the future are all contained in my works.
All artists who make great works inspire me. I like going to exhibitions with other colleagues. I went to the Sigmar Polke exhibition at MoMA in May with a colleague Ena Swansea, and we unexpectedly learned many things. It is not important whether the artist is a sculptor, painter, graphic designer or video artist. Rather, I just enjoy discovering great art - although I can be slightly jealous for not being able to have come up with such magnificent ideas myself!
To me, inspiration does not appear directly but appears through a unique passage. I went to see the SeMA Biennale, Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers, in Seoul and was deeply touched. It was a wonderful and astounding exhibition. I discovered the familiar in the unfamiliar.
There is an exhibition coming up in Marbella, Spain and another exhibition is being prepared at Michael Kohn Gallery in LA next year.—[O]