“When someone blamed Hecataeus the sophist because that, being invited to the public table, he had not spoken one word all supper-time, Archidamidas answered in his vindication ‘He who knows how to speak, knows also when’.” -Plutarch
Know when. That is, as you move through your life, listen to the vibrations around you and know when to speak, when to act, when to move and indeed, when not to. We must, all of us, take in to account the complex workings of the world around us and never presume to know what others are thinking and feeling at any given moment. Our words and actions may feel blameless and neutral to ourselves, but to those around us they could harbor layers we never predicted.
Leslie Wayne is an artist living and working in New York. She spoke to us from her studio in Hell’s Kitchen. She has a show opening on February 22 for which she is working on one last paining that she hopes to finish before the show. The series for this exhibition represent a change for Wayne, typically an abstract painter, in that it reflects this particular moment in that it speaks to the current political discourse. The series reflects her anxiety for the current state of affairs.
One series depicts windows with things seeping in or with damage. The other shows closets, often at unusual angles, indicating secrets kept among other metaphors. For the closet series, the shape of the painting is the shape of the object making them sculptural paintings. Inside the closets Wayne paints things are not orderly, a reflection perhaps of how she feels about the time we are living in now. With this show, Wayne explores trompe l’oeil and verisimilitude.
Wayne allows as how she feels we face an ominous future unless things change fast. This reflects in her work in many ways, both obvious and more subtle. At times her images are tremendously powerful leaving no question what her message is. Other times her intent speaks in a softer voice but still points in this same direction.
Please give yourself some time to hear Leslie Wayne discuss her prescient work by listening to the complete interview.
Reyna spoke to us from the South of France where she lives and works. Her studio is in the country near Toulouse. Reyna works on multiple projects at the same time. She paints as well as working in video and other media.
Some of Reyna’s work depicts very large scale representations of animals. She also explores gender in her work, examining how man and woman were created and inspects the mythology surrounding gender. She investigates the three genders, that is the male, female and male/female combined. She draws on myth as well as her own imagination for the work. Reyna also refers to texts to influence her work.
She creates video art that corresponds with her paintings. The video art focuses on the words that inspire and reflect her work. Within the bounds of her work, gender and sexuality are very fluid constructs.
Another theme in her work is sand on the beach. She creates large drawings and makes corresponding videos. She dances to feel her body and then makes big drawings to capture this.
To hear Reyna discuss her work more in depth, including her discussing of the beaches she depicts, take a few moments to listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Listen to your surroundings. And know when.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Leslie Wayne is reading Heidegger Among the Sculptors by Andrew Mitchell. Reyna is reading a lot of philosophy and poetry of late, including the works of the Sophists.
Artist Grant provides a one-time $500 award to a visual artist four times each year. The grant is open to all visual artists aged 18 or older working in any media. Note that theater, dance and music are not eligible. There are separate deadlines for each quarter. The first upcoming deadline is January 15 followed by the 15th of April, July and October for the other three cycles.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.
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