16 June 2013

Anne Cherubim: CAN Resident Artist

"Excitable Cells," (left) and Cherubim's CAN studio space, featuring her work (right)

As the Capitol Arts Network (CAN) gears up for its "Abstraction at its Best" show, opening Aug. 2 and running through Aug. 26 at its new Rockville, MD location, abstract resident artist Anne Cherubim discusses the organization and her recent work, the "Ethereal Series." 

1. What is CAN?

Without speaking for CAN directly, my take is that it is an arts-based nonprofit, offering artists studio space to work, teach classes, come together, inspire - a space for networking opportunities and gallery shows, and of course, a space to include and inspire community. There are 31 resident artists (myself included), working in a variety of media, as well as teaching classes and workshops. Some of the artistic media we work in include painting, sculpture, woodworking, and glass, among many others.

2. How did you become involved with this network of artists?

It’s a bit hazy to me now, but there was a Montgomery County artists survey, which I remember filling out. It basically addressed artists’ needs and surveyed what criteria local artists were looking for in a working space. As you know, we do not have an organized space like this locally, where artists can work, offer classes, attend arts business lectures/seminars and network.

Essentially, CAN and the Washington School of Photography (WSP) came together to fill a void we had here in Montgomery County. This type of dynamic space is what was missing in the area.

As a working artist, who happens to be a mom of young children, I have sometimes passed up great work opportunities because of the issues of transport and rent, while I’ve been trying to stay closer to home. Another issue has been ridiculously high rent, when everyone knows the average artist cannot afford to pay exorbitant studio rent on top of home mortgage/rent. CAN came closest to having reasonable rental fees.

When CAN and WSP came together, I submitted an application and was juried in as a CAN resident artist.

3. What do you hope to accomplish during your residency? Are there any requirements that you must meet as part of your commitment?

My aim is to work large-scale, which is something I was not able to do in my workspace at home, but also I just want to be able to work in a dedicated space, not having to worry about setting up, searching for or putting away art supplies, which takes up time, leaving much less time to put toward the actually work of painting.

My aim is to finish up the last few paintings of the "Ethereal Series" and then embark on the next few series I have in mind. While I’ve had time/space constraints until now, my imagination had no such constraints. I aim to catch up to the next few series I have started painting in my head.
Again, without speaking for CAN directly, my take is that there are no constraining requirements imposed on us at CAN, and we have flexibility in our hours, with 24-hour access to our studios. Having said that, I think we all recognize that some semblance of regular hours is beneficial for people coming to find us or visit our studios to see new work.

I cannot think of any working requirements other than common sense stuff any organization would have in place. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it?

4. How long is the residency? Do you have your own or a shared studio space? When can people visit you at work?

The initial residency is for one year, with the option to renew at the end of the year. It is my own space, not shared. While it is a tiny space for the time being, hopefully I can move to a larger space if all goes well.
People can visit me between the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (while the kids are in school), and I am hoping to add weekend hours as well. CAN is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays for events and gallery shows.

5. What does your recent work look like. Pick one piece and discuss it in detail (concept and process).

My recent work is essentially the tail-end of the "Ethereal Series."

These paintings are an extension of the series that came before: "Luminosity," a study of light, particularly at night, and the ways in which it changes the appearance of things.

That work inevitably evolved into what is now a more abstracted study of light. Like most of my paintings, these pieces are built up in layers, much in the way that memory is layered with perception, emotion, time, experience.

While "Luminosity" consisted of contemporary landscapes based in realism, mostly without a vanishing point, the "Ethereal" paintings are largely rooted in a sense of place and emotion. While painted onto a 2-dimensional plane, the layers lend a feeling of depth beyond the surface. Like most of my work, these paintings continue over the edges of the canvas, free from the confines of a frame. 

My paintings can be seen as calm and quiet, allowing the viewers’ eyes to rest and be drawn in, while at the same time, energy emanates from the smallest to the largest of them. They are still and moving, all at once — a contradiction.

The image included here is of the painting, "Excitable Cells" (20x20 inches, acrylic on canvas).

I had been thinking a lot about memory and layers, the ways in which one memory leads to another, like little sparks. These memories are just beneath the surface, waiting to be remembered.

I also used metallic paint in this piece, so the image changes depending on how the light hits it, revealing more dimension to the painting, which shifts as you move around the room.

I generally just start a painting with an image of color or a color combination in mind, and I was drawn to this combination of purple and gold. The more the painting took shape, the more I started to see in it what reminded me of images of synapses and dendrites from biology class. It seemed so fitting in dealing with memory and layers.

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