November 27, 2013

Zine: Women Artists: Interviews Vol. One

A journal with the dual dreaminess and eeriness reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides.

I read through Caroline Knowles' interview compilation, Women Artists: Interviews featuring Cake, Alice Mizrachi, Tara Marynowsky, Katy Horan and Angel Olosohove and was quickly taken by the humanistic darkness within its pages. The journal is a collection of interviews with female artists in several media of art, from graffiti to illustration. The zine is the print supplement to the Tumblr (formerly fuckyeahwomenartists!), presented as an outlet to highlight female artists.

The art featured was evocative of a sleepover in the middle of the summer when it gets to that slightly manic, early morning stage of exposing secrets. The interviews seemed less a collection of sterile questions and more a conversation between friends that stretched into the early morning. The questions touched on some common themes of feminism and art, however each one highlighted the artist's particular style as presented in her work situated by her style. The introductions Tricia Gilbride, Rhiannon Platt and Knowles wrote to the pieces were strikingly descriptive, as if they had become submerged in the artists' obsessions and then translated the art directly from the artists' minds into words.

"Each figure she paints with a futile pensiveness, as if aware that they can never escape the world in which they are confined" (Rhiannon Platt on Cake). The most remarkable quality of the journal was its ability to incorporate elements of darkness without being consumed by them. 

When Platt asked Cake her favorite places to wheatpaste (a style of painting), she responded with: "Like abandoned places, I guess. Or with scaffolding, but I liked the abandoned places the best."

The journal itself was brightly aesthetic, and the occasional eeriness of the interviews interwoven with the references to dreamy lightheartedness reminded me of the beautiful damnation of The Virgin Suicides.

"I am really attracted to feeling that kind of pain and violence of being a human. I respond to that a lot" (Cake).

"Right now I am looking at a lot of Victorian mourning art and watching extreme French horror films, which is funny, because just last month I was reading Russian folk tales and watching a lot of Woody Allen. My interests can be very random, but they often have something dark or haunting going on (Katy Horan).

"It's not really about the circle, it's about honing the skill and developing the muscle memory where you can create this beautiful thing wherever, whenever, and it somehow resonates with the universe" (Angel Oloshove).

Oloshove said she loved the idea of having a common thread with a complete stranger. After reading this zine, I feel that the goal was a shared accomplishment of the art featured and the raw presentation, and at the conclusion, I felt we weren't strangers anymore.

Grab a copy of Women Artists: Interviews here.

Carolyn Lang, who likes to write and travel and spends most of her free time in Middle Eastern restaurants. She is the combined effort of everyone she's ever known. Carolyn keeps track of things that fascinate her here.