Since graduating from Wimbledon College of Art in 2009, Alice Browne has exhibited her paintings at Foremans Smokehouse Gallery’s Divergence exhibition and opened her shared studio to the public during the recent installament of Hackney Wicked. In 2010 Alice Browne was selected to participate in Bloomberg New Contempories, which is currently at the ICA. Earlier this week, Amelia’s Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Browne.
How did it feel to be selected for New Contemporaries?
Very exciting, and it really boosted my confidence in the studio. It has been great to meet other artists through the show.
What attracts you to the medium of paint?
I think, I’ve always found that paint was the medium which allowed me, the most experimentation. It involves more collaboration than mastering.
What were you first experiences of art or if you had to, which artist(s) have had the greatest effect on your work to date?
Early experiences of art included the Greek and Roman pottery and sculpture in the Ashmolean and treasure trove of oddities at the Pitt Rivers in Oxford. I was introduced to painting through trips to the National Gallery. I was very influenced by an exhibition of Max Beckmann’s work which I saw in New York when I was at school. Artists who have had the greatest effect on my work include Francis Bacon, Pieter Claesz, Philip Guston and Prunella Clough.
What are the financial implications after the decision has been made to start out as a painter?
It’s a constant weighing up of time, really. I need a studio – so that increases costs, so I need to work more to pay for it, but have less time to spend in there! Eventually I hope it will pay for itself.
Do you work in a gallery or maintain a part time job?
The paintings submitted to Bloomberg New Contemporaries will almost be a year old, by the time the exhibition opens, what are your thoughts and these paintings now and what are their relation to the works you are producing today?
Some of the paintings in the show were made at the end of my degree and represent the focus of a very intense studio-time, so they are quite important and I think about them often. Pink Black Pink is one of the most confident paintings I’ve made. I’m very much still exploring the grounds in which they operate, though I understand it better now.
What’s an average day in your studio?
I try to keep lots of paintings on the go (10-20 or more) so that I don’t get bogged down in the appearance of any particular painting. I expect a fair few to fail- which usually comes from overworking. I tend to go from one to the next, putting things away after I’ve worked on them. The less confident I feel, the longer I spend on each so on a really good day I could work on up to 10 paintings.
What type of paint (oil, acrylic) do you use and why?
I mostly use oil as it is so flexible and sometimes un-predictable. I use a lot of transparent colours which oil is very suited for. I do also use acrylic but usually for the more predictable priming and under-painting. If I’m not painting, my favourite medium is colouring pencils and paper.
Your statement discusses your paintings relation to “historical notions of depth relating to the flat painting surface and depth that we relate to visual experience” was there a particular painting or text which sparked your playful exploration?
My exploration was really fuelled by an interest in the range of ways that painters have represented visual space across history; from Masaccio to the trompe l’oeil of Gijsbrechts and still life painters such as Claesz, Cotan and Morandi, to de Hooch and Vermeer to Francis Bacon, Mary Heilmann and Phoebe Unwin.
I’m also interested in the way that photography and moving image represents visual space and how it changes our first hand experience of looking.
What was your relation to painting objects during your time at Wimbledon?
At Wimbledon I made quite a few paintings and photographs which described still life objects. Eventually I found that the objects got in the way; they were always charged with associations. I wanted to explore the space of the canvas or photograph rather than create an image.
How do you name your paintings?
I start with a sort of word association game and go from there.
What does the sub-title of the exhibition “painting between representation and abstraction” mean to you?
For a while I’ve felt uncomfortable with using these terms – I don’t find it so useful to be defined as ‘representational’ or ‘abstract’, so being somewhere in-between sounds about right.
Had you met any artists before deciding to be one?
A family friend is a photographer who works in Hong Kong, taking pictures of the landscape. I always thought it was amazing that anyone could do something so beautiful for a job.
What was it like to study at Wimbledon?
Very supportive with a real sense of community. I loved being in a green and quite residential part of London.
Favourite contemporary painters?
Lots! I enjoyed Caragh Thuring’s recent exhibition at Thomas Dane gallery and Robert Holyheads show at Karsten Schubert.
How did you become to be involved in Transition Gallery’s exhibition Fade Away?
Alli Sharma curated the exhibition. Its great to be included in such an amazing selection of paintings.
Alice Browne’s paintings will be on display as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2010 at the ICA until January 23rd 2011 and Transition Gallery’s Group Show: Fade Away until the 24th December, 2010.
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