Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Visit with Island Lake Artist Elizabeth Kuth (Part II)

THIS IS PART II OF AN INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH KUTH. Portions of this interview appeared this week in the Reader.

After examining the many canvases and resources in her studio, we walked up to the house where she shared books of drawings. Many of the drawings are with brush and ink or other various media. With a warm zeal she described the ideas behind her work.

In a statement at the Women's Art Resources of Minnesota website Kuth explains, "As an artist I believe the commitment and passion from yourself is essential to develop a high sensitivity for quality and meaning in your work. Only you have the power to do the work, endure the struggles and sacrifices it takes to translate your inner world into a medium of expression." You can read her full statement here.

While driving home after the visit I felt a surge of desire to get into my studio to paint. The following evening this wish was fulfilled.

EN: Who have been your biggest influences?

EK: A lot of my influences come from German abstract expressionism. That is kind of an intrigue to me.

EN: Where are your forms coming from?

EK: In your genes and who you are, and who your parents were and grandparents were. That’s one thing that started to come out. That interested me because I saw a lot of bones in my earlier work. These bones kept appearing, which was interesting, because my grandfather was a bone surgeon. He did drawings and did a book of illustrations of bones.

I think a lot about spaces, from early childhood. Whether it was the dock I was on or the lake,… even when I’m painting something would hit me from early on and I would go with that for a while.

Sometimes I turn a painting upside down and look at its shapes and forms and work on it as abstract design….

A lot of my images have a sense of falling. Those back there are about something falling down. By turning it upside down I might see something that ignites something in me, and I will see something different.

A lot of my things seem to have a downward position and by turning it I see a new meaning in it.

I am looking for something that hits me…. Ah! I like this better. I don’t think about what it’s going to be until it starts to become something.

(Referring to three large paintings that she is working on simultaneously.) Now these two are doing more for me than this one. This one is too still. I look for movement. Maybe this theme of falling has something to do with vulnerability.

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I do feel a need to identify something in a piece. Most of my things are figurative, filling up the whole space. There’s a suspension… but also a dominant form.

These are a couple earlier paintings of mine. Less shapes and forms, but Paul Klee-ish, something I sort of see, a playfulness.

EN: Did you know Bill Morgan?

EK: Yes. He was my teacher and mentor. Went to UWS a while in art education, but knew that was not for me. Went back later and got a Masters in Art.

I may never exhibit these things but it’s influencing me… drawing horses, capturing movement. I also work with paper, oil paint on paper, and I’m really liking them.

These were early works of mine, these early forms. I see that in a lot of my shapes… I paint around suggested forms to find the forms. The more I superimpose something, that makes more of an illusion.

Another thing I do is integrate space… I see this over and over, these forms, like bones or faces. But these lines create the magic, building up the space that way.

EN: How much comes from within as opposed to replicating what you see?

EK: No, it’s just creating and moving forms. If you go through these you’ll see how they changed so much. This one is from 2012…. This was early on, and then see how they changed. Sometimes I go back into my sketchbooks and redo them, superimposing on what was once subtle, but now evolved, showing somewhat a development. That’s what I’ve been doing with all my paintings, going back into them, so there’s push and pull. It’s not about the subject, but about forms, forms that have an emotional quality.

That’s kind of what I do.

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SEE more of Elizabeth Kuth's paintings at symbolicart.org/

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