Imurj Look: “Southern Comforter”
Victoria Powers is primarily a painter, but who has also worked in all kind of fiber arts, photography, mixed media and recycle arts. Power’s collection of paintings, “Southern Comforter”, is on exhibit in the Imurj Main Gallery exhibit, MONO a MONO. Gentile discusses her inspirations, her creative process, and why she loves what she does.
Q: How would you describe yourself & your artistic style?
A: I am a multimedia artist, meaning that I have worked, and continue to work, in more than one medium at a time. Primarily, I am a painter and have painted impressionistic style paintings in oil, abstract style in acrylic, realistic style in watercolor, and alcohol ink paint on a variety of surfaces. But I have worked in other media such as handmade paper, weaving, felting, foil relief etchings, recycle art, sculpture, and mixed media. Working with abstraction in oil paint is a more recent concentration for me.
Q: How would you describe your art/piece that is on exhibit at Imurj?
A: I have 4 works displayed at Imurj this month which are all part of a greater series, called “Southern Comforter”, of 21 abstract paintings of my down comforter. The paintings are based on 21 abstract digital photographs that I took of my down comforter. The comforter was white, but I chose red for my paintings since it is such an organic color and I wanted to abstract the images even further from the reality of the inorganic object on which they were based.
Q: What inspired you to create this piece of art?
A: When I awoke one snowy morning in February of 2015, I noticed a tiny goose feather trying to escape from the corner of my down comforter. This image intrigued me and I began to really look at my comforter. I was inspired to begin taking photographs of the amazing folds and creases, hills and valleys that I could see within this billowy bed cover. I sat up in bed and remained in one spot while I shot. I have been involved in photography my entire career either by using the camera to help me identify my compositions or by creating deliberate series in black and white 35 mm film photography. With this new Comforter series, I chose to deliberately abstract the images that I shot. After printing the photographs, I was so excited by what I saw, that I felt compelled to interpret them in oil paint as well.
Q: What’s the process of making your work?
A: With these paintings, I began by sketching each one out on canvas with a pencil while looking at a printed photograph of the part of the comforter that I wished to paint. I limited myself to only one color and did not mix it with anything else but turpenoid as a thinner. I began by putting down a layer of very thinned paint for the lighter areas with a wide paint brush, and then by blending in darker values of the color by hand with a soft cloth. The cloth helped me make smoother transitions than a brush could. I then added the darkest areas once again using a brush. The final step was to use a very thin brush to emphasize the edges of the fold and creases.
Q: Does local Raleigh/NC culture inspire or influence your art?
A: Well, the local “weather” was what actually inspired me to create this series, but I have to say that Raleigh is a great community for being an artist. There are many opportunities for displaying art here, for networking with other artists, and for taking classes in art.
Q: Why do you love what you do?
A: I am so glad that I was born with some imagination and artistic aptitude. Being an artist is so much fun because you get to create new and beautiful things all the time. And creating is such a full brain experience as well as a spiritual and physical one. I love that I can make art and feel like I am pulling from some kind of higher spirit, and that I have to use my brain to make some important and thoughtful decisions based on the principals of design all the time. I love that making art is also a “process” that involves some physical movement as well and I am definitely a mover! And then there is the fact that there is no end to the types of media that an artist can explore, not only as a separate medium, but paired with a wide variety of other media as well. I guess the best part about being an artist is creating something that entertains others with humor or beauty, compels them to identify with a strong emotion, or inspires them to think.