The Conversation

30 Apr 2016 — 28 May 2017 at Steve Turner in Los Angeles, United States

The Conversation, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Steve Turner
The Conversation, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Steve Turner
6 APR 2017

Steve Turner is pleased to present The Conversation, featuring paintings by Joaquín Boz and sculptures and two small paintings by Iva Gueorguieva. The exhibition seeks to reveal more about each artist through the conversation that silently takes place between their respective works. In addition, while Boz was creating his works in Los Angeles over the past weeks, he and Gueorguieva have been conversing in person and by email. The following excerpts, Boz’s in Spanish and Gueorguieva’s in English, are also revealing.

Iva: I visited your studio the other day and stood before your paintings in silence. You scratch, rub, scrape, smear and scuff…the paint moves. It’s very loud. The traces of your fingers are apparent throughout the canvases. The forms resemble puffs of smoke, stains, tumbleweeds and erased thought bubbles. The forms float, settle, gently touch but remain suspended in their own space. There are some that stretch and occupy the thinner passages leading the eye through. Standing before a large diptych I think of dusk. It’s inky light envelops the forms. Everything is hushed and yet gathering and swelling with anticipation. I cannot help but think of this Neruda’s poem Walking Around.

Here is a list of artists that I love: Conrad Marca-Relli, Gordon Matta Clark, James Brooks, Hannelore Baron, Kurt Schwitters, Vladimir Tatlin and Eva Hesse.

Joaquin: Eso es un poco lo que sucede, cada obra posee diferente energía, el proceso va cambiando con el correr de los días. Aparecen otros modos de producir gestos, a veces poseen mayor cantidad de materia, otras menos y se ven más lavadas. ¿Podemos hablar de cómo surgen tus composiciones? ¿Cómo se ensamblan? ¿Cómo se modifican con el paso del tiempo, durante el proceso de creación?

Iva: Cutting for me is a way of drawing. I think we share the same impulse and need to concentrate the energy in our hands. The act of making is the thinking. My cutting and stitching with line and color is similar to the way you pull, scratch and smear the paint. It’s all very physical. The brush touches the canvas, but the cut penetrates the surface and destroys the illusion and so do your fingers.

I started constructing these objects because I always saw the surface of the paintings as a skin full of vitality and history rather than as a passive, empty space open and ready to absorb my mark making. I wanted to hold, pull, stretch, wrap and twist the surface while I simultaneously applied color and line. The intertwining of the materials with the surface reveals the tension between the two. That tension is generative within the painting process but also connects me to the stuff of real life, to the human body and to the body of the landscape surrounding it.

Both my paintings and sculptures evolve over time. Each layer continuously changes my perception of the whole. I have to shift, look, think and feel and then respond. Over time certain concepts and narratives becomes apparent. Stories, personal experiences, political events, and memories become apparent and in turn affect my formal decisions.

Does any of this resonate with you? Your paintings feel very urban to me? How important is the city for you and all the marks that people leave on its surface?

Joaquin: Algunas veces la paleta presenta leves cambios, aparece otra serie de elementos más gráficos, el gesto real de las extremidades está más presente, en otra ocasiones hay arrastres violentos o las pinturas se encuentran más sucias, la cantidad de capas se va incrementando con el correr de los días y va apareciendo mayor información sobre el plano.

Imágenes provenientes en su obra: Varios actos esperan a una tela caída en el suelo otro montón sobre una tabla ella ensambla composiciones barrocas es difícil saber de dónde provienen las imágenes pinturas del pasado deletreadas cómo un camaleón bajo el sol las líneas nos acompañan seguido por donde nos encontremos necesitas un poco de oxigeno y voltear hacia atrás para poder salir de la experiencia pero tienes que atravesar ese callejón es un remolino.

Iva: Besides working in Los Angeles now, I understand that you created paintings here last year and that you created more in Mexico City earlier this year. What is the difference between working for a month or so in a foreign city and working in Buenos Aires? I also see that you paint on wood panel and paper. How do you choose surfaces to work on?

Joaquin: No sé precisamente cuál es la diferencia, existen diferentes aspectos relacionados a la forma de producir, existe, cuando viajo un tiempo determinado, concreto, con fechas determinadas en el que casi y exclusivamente lo que hago es ir de casa al trabajo y del trabajo a casa, no porque las pinturas necesiten muchísimas horas de trabajo, sino porque es un proceso en constante cambio. Posiblemente exista mayor tiempo de concentración, estar sumergido dentro de algo mayor cantidad de horas, eso a su vez genera una densidad particular de energía.

El proceso se inicia embebiendo los paneles, con las manos cubriendo toda la superficie, esto permite que el pigmento deslice, da tiempo para pintar, (sin aceite el óleo se traba, se empasta, seca rápido, se convierte en una pintura matérica), generalmente es bastante confuso de dónde provienen las imágenes, es como si todo fuese a partir de errores que me van guiando, o como si me fuese adelantando, como si siguiese errores de la materia y el acto. Sí existen, elementos gráficos claros, ciertos iconos, arrastres con las manos, intencionales. Los papeles que utilizo y ensamblo son poderosamente frágiles, eso me resulta muy atractivo en relación al modo que tengo que trabajar.

Imágenes en relación a sus esculturas: Una línea de hierro o varias líneas de hierro un racimo de uvas triangulares las mismas telas de la Raya de Chardin está frente a vos solo es cuestión de acercarse recorrido histórico un trozo de salmón un limón y tres vasijas a veces el piso cruje las cosas se mueven se caen de nuestras manos perdemos el control el horizonte no sabe dónde vamos cuál es el sentido I know I don’t Know I see I don’t see esa persona se mueve con ganas tantas cosas surfeando el deletreo qué estamos viendo estamos mirando hay cosas inestables aquí trama.

¿Estoy en lo cierto al recordar que creó sus esculturas en una residencia en Florida?

¿Cómo las diferentes calidades de las partes empiezan a conformar estos ensambles? ¿Cómo suavemente esos planos de color, de texturas, se van apoyando sobre las construcciones de hierro, cómo se comienzan a estructurar la líneas principales del espacio real de la obra?

No puedo dejar de relacionar estas estructuras de hierro con todo lo que vemos a nuestro alrededor, con lo que aparece en la calle mientras caminamos, desechos en la ciudad, desechos de la ciudad o desechos de la humanidad, elementos estáticos que comienzan a transformarse cuando la artista empieza a colocar de manera cuidadosa eso que vemos que no sabemos muy bien qué es. Parece materia blanda secándose y esperando otro fin, la secuencia de trabajo paralelo en los planos bidimensionales nos hace preguntarnos qué es eso que vemos. De dónde proviene.

Aquí y de la misma forma en que las pinturas se van componiendo, notamos una energía irrefrenable en el modo de hacer. La yuxtaposición de planos y texturas las torna frágiles y en movimiento.

Iva: Yes, the sculptures were made at Graphicstudio at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I started working there over six years ago making prints in close collaboration with the printers. I developed an intensely personal and creative relationship with the people there. It was I think inevitable that my printmaking and sculptural interest evolved into the current works. The sculptures are connected to the place in very direct way, since many of the material elements are gathered and recycled from debris in the area. Graphicstudio is more than a place to me. Working with others breaks down my habits of thinking and making. I am myself and not…I feel stronger and yet more vulnerable.

I start out by collecting materials and assembling the armature with the help of the sculpture assistant. I produce plates for each piece in order to generate collage material for each individual sculpture using a range of printmaking techniques. The plates are printed on linen and applied to the metal. The sculptures evolve in stages and seem to gather elements. The forms accumulate, attach, stick, drop and stretch around the armature in very organic ways. All along my decisions are infused with bits of conversion, stories, and gestures that come directly from the people I am working with. Their presence is very significant in the process, which is a very different experience from the solitude in my own studio.

Joaquín Boz (born 1987, Buenos Aires) studied at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires under the direction of Jorge Macchi. He has had solo exhibitions with Móvil, Buenos Aires (2014); Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2015) as well as at Zona Maco, Mexico City (2016). He was awarded the First Prize Salón Nacional de Rosario, Buenos Aires (2015) and his work was included My Buenos Aires, curated by Albertine de Galbert, at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2015).

Iva Gueorguieva (born 1974, Sofia, Bulgaria) received an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (2000). Recent solo exhibitions include Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, New York; ACME, Los Angeles; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Bravin Lee Programs, New York; Stichting Outline, Amsterdam and Pomona Museum of Art, Claremont. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Contemporary Art Museum at University of South Florida, Tampa and the Pasadena Museum of Art. Her work is in many public and private collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Gueorguieva received the Orange County Contemporary Art Collectors Fellowship (2012); the California Community Foundation mid-career fellowship (2010) and the Pollock-Krasner Grant (2006).