Coming up, some highlights from Wednesday night’s busy Open House with artists Teodora Zamfirescu and Matt Shane: Teodora’s open critique sparks art debate, Matt Shane reveals his “Horror Bob Ross phase,” late guests provide impromptu art reviews, artists ponder identity swap, and badminton acrobatics on the lawn…
Early in the evening, Teodora invites guests upstairs to her studio where the walls are covered in finely detailed sketches and illustrations.
Teodora opens an informal critique to her guests, asking for input on her most ambitious project, a large scale illustration combining Dawson inspired elements, piles of multiplying antlers, an overflowing river of tires, a cozy trailer cabin, a tiny boat sailing away, and countless other minute and intricately outlined objects.
Large illustration by Teodora Zamfirescu
While many see elements of Dawson in the work, most agree the illustration represents an imaginary “anyplace,” that an unknowing onlooker could interpret as a depiction of non-specific rural landscape.
Getting into a description of her process, Teodora explains that her work combines elements from both her past and present moments in Dawson. Meg Walker’s comments spark a debate about how disclosure of the artist’s intentions can change the audience’s interpretation of the work. While some find the additional information enriches their understanding, others prefer to explore through their own associations, uninfluenced by further explanation.
Teodora discusses similarities between her and Matt Shane’s work, noting that they both portray imagined landscapes devoid of human presence, yet marked with evidence of mankind’s impact on the environment. While Teodora’s work is more controlled and precise than ever, Matt’s current painting provides proof that Dawson has succeeded in getting him to “loosen up” a little.
Intentionally or not, the two artists seem to have exchanged some elements of their practices. Matt and Teodora agree that their favorite work is the result of collaboration, a sort of exquisite corpse in ink resulting in the birth of some delightful and curious creatures.
Downstairs, Matt leads the audience through a slideshow outlining his growth as an artist, starting with his date of birth in 1981. For many years, Matt has been fascinated with the impact of mining on urban development, and the ghost towns resulting from the rapid population growth and depletion in regions that depend on primary industries.
The painting that he has been working on during his one month KIAC residency is a continuation of his ongoing fixation with industry and natural environments, making Dawson a perfect fit for his practice. His current painting is decidedly fleshier than his previous landscapes, and is reminiscent of rotting inner organs. Yet, like his previous work it is also disturbingly evocative, depicting a fanciful world that plays upon the tension between notions of utopia and dystopia.
Matt’s slide show reveals his influences, from his travels in Asia through to his Bob Ross phase. Matt almost had the Bob Ross style nailed, but something was always a little off, resulting in a sort of nightmarish effect.
Latecomers ask for a guided tour, but are instructed instead to look at the art and do some work of their own. They depart into the house and return with opinions and brief presentations. Spenny comments that Teodora’s large illustration speaks to him specifically of Moosehide. Dan Sokolowski picks up on the exchange of habits between Matt and Teodora, leading them consider an artist persona identity swap.
Badminton on the lawn concludes the evening- a bit of sport to compliment the art.