LB: About a year ago I began a period of time with a lot of big life changes and I guess that kind of thing tends to make a person contemplative. I began thinking of memories and the way they are stored in my head like half remembered dreams. There are things that have stayed crystal clear since childhood and others that fade. I could imagine a mind as a landscape with bits and pieces strewn about like forgotten memories. I've been interested in how certain objects trigger memories, not necessarily personal ones, but even collective memories of stories and archetypes that form a hidden language that we all know without knowing. I like the idea that the things that are missing from the picture are as important as the ones that are included. Lacuna grew from there, this trying to portray absences as well.
ME: In this new series, the works take on landscape-based motifs. Are these landscapes from your imagination or of certain places in particular?
LB: Yes! Both. The places, figures, objects-some are completely fictional, some are partially based on pictures of places I've been, mostly from hiking around the bay area. Some things are based on my memory of them rather than a reference. A lot of the still life elements are painted from life, and there are a few repeated objects throughout the series. I've also incorporated things from walks around my neighborhood.
ME: What is the symbolism of houses in your works?
LB: I like houses because they have so much meaning attached to them. They are the places where people live their lives, so they can have all kinds of connotations. A lot of these houses appear run down and abandoned, which can be a little unsettling. They can refer to a feeling of having left one's comfort zone or of a place once associated with security and comfort becoming unwelcoming. I like the way an old house becomes a time capsule holding the stories of the people who have passed their time behind it's walls. Houses often have a strong presence, even without seeing who lived in them you can sense them in the places they have left behind.
ME: Lacuna deals a lot about memories and gaps that form over time. Do you have any past memories that helped shaped this new series?
LB: While I've drawn a lot on personal memories, they are mostly just little bits of images that stick in my head inexplicably. For example, I remember seeing my brother as a little boy hold up a blue jay feather on a camping trip, spinning it about with his fingers. It seems fairly unconnected to anything, but at the same time it is. I use a lot of objects and places that I feel are evocative not just to me personally, but speak to a greater shared experience of humanity in general. We can all approach a picture from different places, but if it's successful, it will hopefully transcend those differences and bring us to a place of shared understanding.
ME: What is your art process?
LB: I usually begin a composition by sketching various elements out in pencil first. Sometimes I do a series of thumbnail sketches to decide on a composition, other times, I'll place important elements and let it grow from there. I paint alla prima (which is all in one sitting) for the most part, unless the piece is very large. I work in oils and I like for my paints to remain wet for the entire session so I have the freedom to come back to an area and mess with it. I like to premix my colors for a painting in big piles before I pick up my brush so that once I begin, there are not so many mixing interruptions. I almost never wash my brushes.
ME: What’s your daily life like? What are some things you do when you’re not painting / making art?
LB: I do some work for a production company, painting and sculpting props. I also paint haunted houses for Great America during the last half of summer every year. I'm very fond of hiking, I bring along some very patient friends and a camera and stop to chase every bug I see. I also like to knit and sew and bake cakes and pies from scratch. I have a garden full of flowers and vegetables that I love to watch grow and change. I spend time playing board games with friends on the front porch fairly often. I have a gentle black cat named Hecubus who I adore and a tarantula named Calamity who is surprisingly graceful with all those legs. There is also a cockatiel named Chip I've been hanging with since I was 13 who likes to sit on my head when I paint and destroy every bit of paper he can get his beak on. Most of my time at whatever I'm doing is spent with my sweetheart who is my best friend, my sounding board, personal chef and encyclopedia of random knowledge.
ME: What artists inspire you (alive or dead)?
LB: Oh, there are so many! I love the photography of Laura Makabresku, the paintings of Dorthea Tanning, Balthus, Matisse, Zak Smith, Manet, Pamela Colman Smith, Egon Schiele, and the sculpture of Gehard Demetz and Joe Kowalczyk to name a few. I am inspired by a lot of artist friends I feel so honored to know such as Jaclyn Alderete, Jen Renzel, Farring Purth, Alex McLeod, Pellet and so many others.
Lacuna opens July 12th at Modern Eden Gallery.
More info about the exhibition can be found HERE.