New artist of the month: Alice - Gur - Arie
We are very happy to present and welcome again this month to the CDG gang yet another talented artist, Alice-Gur-Arie!
Alice's work melds photography from international locations with fine art explorations of space and texture, resulting in beautiful, evocative images. You can see more of Alice's work now online!
We interview Alice as our second new artist of September! YAY!
Name: Alice Gur-Arie
Discipline: Fine art photography
Where do you live: London, with extensive travel abroad
Where did you study: I completed high school in Tel Aviv, and have 3 degrees from York University, Toronto, Canada.
Life ambition: Do everything on my "To Do in Life" list
1. Who, or what is your greatest influence on your life and art?
The answer to this is not singular. To some great extent, I have to credit my parents with nurturing the seeds of those characteristics that make me Me. My mother instilled in me a romantic's desire for adventure, and my father - who, in a different time and place could have been a successful pen and ink illustrator - fostered in me a sense of curiosity about the world, and as a young girl, introduced me to art. Both of them encouraged my talents (I am also a writer), and taught me the fundamental importance of believing in, relying upon and trusting myself.
The second significant influence on my life was the time I spent in Israel as a teenager, where I completed high school, and lived through a war. Aside from stimulating a lifelong appetite for travel, the years I spent there taught me not merely to tolerate, but to seek out and applaud "difference", tutored me in resilience, and gave me the courage and confidence to choose the more difficult road if it offered what I wanted.
The source of the third influence is my education, where I gained a deep understanding that humans are driven by a complex mix of rational as well as emotional factors. I try to apply this insight to my
art, creating images that I hope appeal to both a viewer's head and heart.
All this underpins my life and my work, and helps explain how and why I do what I do.
2. Who is your favourite artist at the moment?
I recently visited Bilbao for the first time, and spent an enthralling morning at the Guggenheim. The spectacular Richard Serra installation entitled "A Matter of Time", comprising 8 enormous sculptures of weathered steel that you walk through, is like nothing I have ever experienced before.
Sam Taylor-Johnson's "Sigh" - a multi screen video of an orchestra playing instruments without the instruments - is also a brilliant work on exhibit.
How could one possibly have a favourite???
3. Describe a typical day in the studio in no more than 5 words.
Visual storytelling, distinctive, evocative, engaging.
4. Spontaneity or planning?
Both: for some things you need to be prepared, but you always need to be able to seize the moment/opportunity.
5. What do you do in the event of a creative block?
I can't say I experience creative blocks in my practice. I might get frustrated when I don't immediately achieve the result I want, or be impatient about spending hours, days or even weeks remastering an image, but a lot of my work is exploration and trial, so curiosity, tenacity, and diversity of simultaneous projects get me through the doldrums. 6. Do you have a favourite piece of your own work?
It could be that an image evokes the memory of a certain place or
experience, or I am delighted with the texture of air that I have been able to achieve. Certainly, as time goes by and my style and technique evolve, my thoughts and feelings about earlier work change.
It also is difficult because my work covers a range of themes. I am probably best known for landscapes and seascapes, but I also have exhibited wildlife (Merlin's Forest), produced series of abstract art based on surfaces (Wake, Walls), and have a number of aerial series (Nevada Desert, Over North). So there are many images that move me for different reasons, but there is not one piece that I favour over everything else.
7. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Without a doubt, trying to keep the work fresh and individual, with each image and series, and pushing myself into uncharted waters. I consciously try to avoid falling into a pattern of what's easy or familiar, which means both finding/deciding (your question of planned vs spontaneous applies here!) new and interesting subject matter, as well as trying different and often difficult techniques in the work flow process.
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Being known in Europe and North America for producing incredible work that sits in what I call the "sweet spot" where fine art and photography converge.
9. Please recommend one piece of essential reading.
"Children Solve Problems" by Dr. Edward de Bono (famous for writing the well known book "Lateral Thinking") is an entertaining and extremely useful book that teaches about conceptual thinking as a skill. I first read it in university, but it is as wise (and amusing) today as it was then.
10. If you could time travel to one era or event, when would you choose?
If you have ever visited Iceland, you will understand when I say I imagine that is how the world looked and smelled and tasted and felt
before there were humans. Experiencing that world would be my choice.
11. Tea or Coffee?
Both. Coffee is a must in the morning, tea is a must in the evening.
12. Who would be your dream dinner guest?
You haven't specified "dead or alive" so my list includes both.
From the world of acting, Ralph Feinnes. For suave, it doesn't get better than George Clooney. For good looks and sex appeal, Johnny Depp. For musical entertainment, Eros Ramazzotti. For historical insight, any of the usual suspects would be fascinating - Napoleon, Matahari, T.E. Lawrence. For contemporary political discussion Aung San Suu Kyi, or the Dalai Lama. And if I had to choose royalty, well Prince William would certainly do in a pinch!
On a more serious note, to discuss art, the list would include Egon Schiele, for his joyous ability to make a single line sing; Frederick Remington, for his mastery of balance; Cindy Sherman, for her unrelenting exploration of reinvention; Henry Moore, for his matchless ability to make us look at his pieces from all sides and angles and see what is not there, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who needs no introduction.
13. What super power would you have for a day?
To be able to make a day last longer than 24 hours.
14. What are you listening to at the moment?
Silence, with the muffled whisper of the wind stirring up leaves, and the occasional call of a bird. There's nothing like the sound of the natural world to calm the pulse, and relax the soul.
Written by CDG
Click here to see Alice's work available online!