Our Gallery Manager Dylan sent through some interview questions to Ariana, expanding on her art making, ideas, process and how she is coping in isolation.
DF: Firstly, How have you been coping with this strange time we are in currently?
AL: I think that making art every day has really helped me cope quite well over the past few months. It’s hard to even put into words how I’m feeling at the moment, other than that it’s a really strange time to be living through.
DF: Have you been feeling motivated to paint and draw?
AL: I still feel as motivated as ever to paint and draw, maybe even more so now. It’s pretty rare for me to not feel motivated to make artwork, although I do feel like the way I paint and draw has changed slightly. With all the free time of lockdown I’ve found myself spending a lot more time on each work than I would have before. I think that the work I’m creating has become far more controlled and densely detailed than it would have been in normal circumstances.
DF: As an artist do you have set studio hours or do you just squeeze it in when you can?
AL: I don’t generally have set studio hours. My hours change week-to-week depending on my schedule.
DF: Your artwork is the result of intentional and spontaneous mark making, the outcomes speak very much to the process of creating. Can you talk about what influences these gestures? Your mood or music playing in the studio for example..?
AL: Music is a big influence on my artistic process. I’ll often find a few new songs each week that I continually listen to over and over while I work. I’ve found that listening to things repetitively can either facilitate more consciously controlled drawings or it can help me paint more intuitively and spontaneously. I’ll also often listen to podcasts to keep my mind preoccupied with something completely separate to the work that I’m creating. I’ve found that focussing on something totally unrelated to my work can allow for moments of chance and unexpected compositional decisions.
DF: I fondly associate your paintings with the consistent use of mainly primary colours (blue, red, yellow). Is this a conscious choice?
AL: I have always found myself gravitating towards bright primary colours but it’s almost never a conscious choice. My use of colour is usually spontaneous and intuitive. I have found that I naturally begin works with bright primary colours and I then add more colours as the works progress. I don’t often think about the relationships between colours until after I’ve finished the work and can step back from it.
DF: Your current solo exhibition with us, Unfold, Fragment and Disperse is a beautiful, cohesive body of work. Did you work on more than one piece at a time or do they flow on one after another? How do you decide when a work is complete?
AL: I’m usually working on three or four pieces at once. I’ll often start a new piece to avoid overworking the original work and then I’ll return to it later. I’ll keep working on a piece until it has reached a level of balance that feels resolved to me. Often this isn’t really a conscious decision but more of an intuitive feeling. Sometimes I’ll think that a work is complete and then a few months later I’ll begin working on it again. For this show, I’ve been working more on clay board because the surface can be reworked multiple times. I would often create an entire piece on the board and then erase sections of it a few months later. I would continually erase parts of the work and then add new layers until the piece felt resolved. Often these layers cannot be completely erased so remnants of past iterations become part of the final resolved work.
DF: When I first saw your work at the RMIT Grad show I was so taken with the large scale installation you created. It looked to me like a huge collage, using sections of paintings you had cut up and arranged. Can you talk about how your work has evolved from that point?
AL: After making that piece I began my Honours year at Uni and I started to think more about how I could create single compositions that captured the same sense of movement that my Grad show installation did. During Honours I started exploring the relationship between chance and control in abstract drawing processes. I started experimenting more with gestural abstraction and automatic drawing techniques, like drawing with my left hand or with my eyes closed. Since that project I’ve really focussed on the idea that drawing can capture a sense of an artist’s process. With each new series of works I’ve continued to explore this idea while still pushing myself to create new and unexpected compositions.
DF: Where do you see your work going next? Is there anything you want to experiment with or try?
AL: During the last couple of months I have found that my works on paper have become much more controlled and densely detailed. I’d like to continue exploring this direction in my work and think more critically about why my work has evolved this way over these past months. I’ve always been really interested in how negative spaces function in my work so I’d like to continue to explore this more consciously in my next body of work. I’m also currently interested in experimenting with the scale of my gestures through creating very small detailed works on paper.
DF: Anything else you want to add?
AL: I can’t think of anything else to add, other than to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions. It’s been really interesting to have to examine my own practice and think more consciously about my own artistic processes.
To see Ariana’s exhibition online click here or visit it in person Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9-4.