CORNERED: JOE FIG: INSIDE THE ARTIST’S STUDIO AT CARROLL & SONS
Last month, Princeton Architectural Press released “Inside the Artist’s Studio,” the second book by Joe Fig, in which 24 “painters, video and mixed-media artists, sculptors and photographers” share their production tools and techniques and the habit and strategies for getting work done — including background music, work hours and relationships with family, friends, gallerists and curators. This week, an exhibition of the same name featuring new paintings, sculptures and drawings by Fig goes on view at Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston; the opening reception takes place on Friday night (Nov. 6) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The exhibition runs through December 18. For more information, call (617) 482-2477.
Artscope magazine editor Brian Goslow “Cornered” Fig to discuss both the new exhibition and book:
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE WORK THAT’LL BE ON VIEW IN BOSTON — HOW MANY PIECES WILL BE INCLUDED?
Often we see artworks in museums and galleries but it’s the artist’s studio and the real mundane day-to-day process that intrigues me. I’m interested in the creative process and the spaces where art is made. The show is called ‘Inside the Artist’s Studio’ and evolved from my book of the same name. It includes 24 drawings (one for each artist in the book) and ten sculptures. The works portray the studio spaces of some of today’s leading artists such as Tara Donovan, Petah Coyne, Carroll Dunham, Leonardo Drew and Philip Taaffe to name a few. In some small way I’m trying to bring the experience of the studio visit to the viewer.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR RECREATING ARTISTS’ WORKSPACES IN SMALL SCALE COME FROM?
It initially came about through my own creative process. I began looking at the studio and how an artist works within that space as a form of portraiture. My process involves a studio visit where I interview the artist, then document and measure everything. The studio is inspiring and often quite large, I found that working on a miniature scale allows me to portray a vast amount of space while keeping it intimate. It gives the viewer a voyeuristic or God’s eye perspective. I like the intimacy that is required to view the works. The viewer gets up close and personal.
HAVE YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTEGRATE MATERIALS FROM AN ACTUAL SPACE INTO ONE OF YOUR PIECES?
This is an interesting question, which I’ve never been asked, but yes I have. I often take scraps or detritus from the artists’ studios, I like incorporating them into the work as it comes full circle. I’ve used wood scrapes from Leonardo Drew, canvas from Carroll Dunham and wax from Petah Coyne.
IN PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR NEW BOOK, WHAT IDEAS DID YOU COME ACROSS THAT YOU’VE FOUND HELPFUL AND INTEGRATED INTO YOUR OWN WORK?
It wasn’t so much ideas as it was practical information. Three themes that kept coming up were persistence, work ethic and generosity. The artists that are successful aren’t necessarily the most talented but they are the most persistent. As Roxy Paine said, “Persistence is undervalued and newness is overvalued”. They are also some of the hardest working people I know, they work their butt off. lastly, they’re smart, generous and supportive of their peers. Of the 120 or so artist’s I’ve interviewed over the years, I’ve found most to be incredibly generous of spirit.
(“Inside the Artist’s Studio” runs through December 18 at Carroll & Sons. For more information, call (617) 482-2477. His book will be available for purchase throughout the exhibition at the gallery.)