It’s Tuesday-must be Baang and Burne

On September 26, 2010 Baang and Burne Contemporary will be launching their first  exhibition in New York featuring the powerful  works of artist Jane Zweibel.  Stitched Identities is a one night only event which will provide viewers the unique opportunity to view Zweibel’s work up close and meet with the artist in an intimate setting.    B+B is pioneering an exciting alternative to brick and mortar galleries and changing the way artists and the community at large interact.  Literally tearing down walls between the Artist/Gallery and public relationships, they are opening doors to a better understanding of art and artists and demystifying the artistic experience making it real and relate-able.

Self-Portrait Praying # 6  2008   Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas   40 x 16 x 12”

The following are a few excerpts from recent  B+B interview with Jane Zweibel where she speaks candidly about her work, her ideas and her thoughts on the evolution of the gallery experience.

Where are you from? How did you get started making art? Have you always been a
painter or have you worked in different mediums?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in New Rochelle. I have made art for as long as I can
remember. I never made a choice to be an artist – it was what I always did and wanted to do. I have
always been a painter first. But I have also consistently made drawing and collages. In college and
graduate school I learned printmaking and began investigating sculpture as a medium. That foray into
the language of sculpture has informed my work today. For six years I have been creating what I call
“stuffed paintings”: sewn and cotton stuffed canvas forms with paintings on the facades. I see them
primarily as three-dimensional paintings. I love the idea of merging painting and sculpture, and fusing
them into a new, hybrid medium and mode for self-expression.
Describe yourself using ONE word. How does this characteristic manifest itself in your work?

The one word I would use to describe myself would be “intense”. By “intense”, I primarily mean,“deeply felt”. People, places, things, situations, memories, and dreams, often have a strong affect upon me. This gamut of deeply felt and intense experience manifests itself through the imagery and content in my work. Self-portraiture, for example, is a central, recurring theme in my work through which I can explore larger, broader definitions and concepts of identity. I appear in my pieces in multiple guises and states of being, and my self-portraits inhabit surreal, dream-like environments. People often findmy work unnerving, dark, and edgy – albeit often tempered by humor.

Self-Portrait Praying #4  2008  Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas   34 x 34 x 12”

Working alone in the studio and be a lonesome endeavor. How do you keep yourself motivated and on track? When you lose momentum or focus, how do you to return to your core motivation?

I have maintained studios in a variety of contexts. I have worked in rented studios in buildings with other artists studios.  This kind of studio situation has afforded me the space to focus upon my work, as well as the possibility of interacting with other artists.  This has always worked as an excellent balance for me.  Even more ideal has been artist residencies, where I have been granted the time and space to develop a body of work, and to develop creative relationships with other artists.   I have fine-tuned the ability to work independently in a dedicated way.  Working towards a specific goal, such as a show, definitely fuels my motivation.  But if there is no upcoming exhibition or other opportunity, I just keep working, and the sheer excitement of seeing new work unfold is where the motivation and inspiration lies.  Of course, there have been many times when I have experienced a lack of motivation.  During those periods I sit tight, and so far my “mojo” has never failed to return.  Travel and multiple cups of coffee help!

What’s the best & worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Perhaps the best career advice I have received is that no matter what, it is the creative work that takes place in the studio, developing over time, that is the most important and driving force of an artist’s life. Without the work, there is no career. The career components — shows, grants, reviews, etc. — are essential to being and developing as a professional artist, but none of that can happen without a strong commitment to one’s artistic vision, the realization of that vision, and conviction in what you are accomplishing in your work. Stick with what is true to you – that has always worked for me – and career triumphs, interspersed with disappointments and rejections, have been my rewards. In terms of the worst piece of career advice offered to me, I can’t think of anything specific. However, I have had some disturbing and discouraging experiences in terms of reactions to my work. If I had allowed these incidents to take hold of me, they would have adversely affected my career as an artist.

Self-Portrait Praying #2   2008   Oil on sewn and stuffed canvas   40 x 28 x 12”

In a hi-tech global society that is saturated by visual images that are being exchanged with amazing speed, how does two dimensional art such as painting remain relevant?

Yes, we live in a rapidly growing hi-tech global society.  It changes faster than we do. Digitally based art forms are now commonplace and high profile throughout the art world.  Yet, despite all of it, I maintain with utter conviction that painting is not “dead”, has never been, and never will be!  I think it is a great thing for artists to have access to all of the electronic, informational age innovations.  However, I believe that painting remains totally relevant, and will continue to be so.  I think that hi-tech innovations can exist along side of painting.  I find the internet, with its vast treasure trove of visual imagery, has become a major resource for my work. Yet, painting itself, the intimate relationship between hand, tangible medium, and subject matter, is and will always be relevant.

Over the years you’ve worked with many different galleries internationally, but Baang & Burne Contemporary functions in a really different way from the traditional white cube gallery structure. Why did the idea of B&B appeal to you? How did this project come about?  What made you think it might be a good fit for your work?

In addition to typical white cube galleries, I have also shown in a variety of alternative spaces and venues. I believe firmly that there are so many ways and places to exhibit art that exist off the beaten path. I love innovation, and that includes the arena of gallery models. These new and exciting venues increase the possibilities for artists to have their work seen. When I was presented with the opportunity to show my work with Baang & Burne Contemporary I gladly accepted. I think that offering the art world, and others, the opportunity to view my work in an intimate context, and to have the chance to meet and talk with me, and vice versa, is a creative and wonderful alternative to the conventional gallery opening and exhibition. It promises to be more relaxed, friendly, and conducive to conversation and getting to know the artist and artwork in a more up close and personal way. I immediately felt it would be a good fit for my work, in that it breaks the mold in exhibition models, and my own ideas resonate with the vision of Baang & Burne’s creators/directors. I admire what they are setting out to accomplish, I like the work of the other artists represented, and they believe in my work. The latter is something you don’t always clearly get from gallerists-at-large.

Please join Baang and Burne Contemporary as the celebrate the opening not only Stitched Identities by Jane Zweibel but a whole new  way of experiencing art. Three cheers and here’s to a successful venture for B+B!

Jane Zweibel holds an MFA in Painting from Columbia University and is the recipient of grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Artist’s Fellowship Inc. She has also been awarded fellowships from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Banff Centre of the Arts. Her work has been reviewed by both Art in America and The New York Times. A retrospective of her work will be presented in 2011 at the Kulay-Diwa Gallery in Manila, the Philippines. [B+B press release]

For more information about the event, and to be notified of future events contact B+B (contact(at)baangandburne(dot)com).