Loving how Theresa Bloise’s work explores the idea of scale, from macro to micro, playing with how we interpret size, monument, and landscape. I’m of course especially into her use of vivid hues and visual elements like drips or shadows that make us question what we are really looking at. More at the links below!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I grew up in Massachusetts and earned my BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I recently camped for two months as I drove cross country with my little dog Betty. I took photos, collected rocks and made paintings—I hope to be a full-time nomad one day.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
In second grade art class I made a painting of a parrot. I remember my teacher and family adoring it. I loved that feeling and can’t think of a time when I ever considered doing anything other than painting.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Working in the tradition of landscape painting, I play with perceptions of scale. My work combines an array of visual material; from massive geological features to tiny bits of glass and plastic. I intend to create worlds that exist in a liminal space; both still life and landscape: microscopic and monumental, primordial and apocalyptic.
I recently completed my first site specific painting installation for the Wassaic Project Summer Show. This work involved a twenty foot tall painting, sculptural elements, and lighting effects. Working with so many variables pushed me out of my comfort zone, but in the end I was happy with the results. I hope to have more opportunities to create site specific work.
What is your process like?
I take pictures and collect little rocks and bits of debris. These photos and objects often spark an idea for a painting that I usually sketch out in in photoshop.
While the compositions are planned out, the painting process is fairly improvisational. This involves experimentation with spraying, pouring, masking and stenciling as well as playing with materials like gold and silver leaf and vinyl sheeting.
I’m usually working on two or three paintings at a time. Sometimes I finish them in a week. Sometimes it takes a year.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I read an article a couple years ago where Wendy White said “the thing that bothers people about your work is usually the most original aspect of it, so you should probably do it more.” I often think about this quote when faced with uncomfortable feedback. As I’ve gotten older I try to be more strategic about absorbing criticism, only internalizing what makes sense for the work I am trying to make.
What is your studio like?
I’ve moved four times since first renting a studio in Brooklyn and I think I found the perfect one. It’s located in Crown Heights on the ground floor with lots of other studios. It doesn’t have any windows which is perfect because I like the light to be even all day. It’s well heated and I have my own slop sink; two things that that seem very luxurious in New York City.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
As a child I imagined the life of an artist to be somewhat monk-like. Being an introvert this was really appealing. Sadly, in reality, making the work is only part of it and personal relationships seems to be nearly as important. I have started to find ways to enjoy the networking and social aspects of being part the art world though it still feels really awkward and emotionally draining…but I suppose I am not alone in those feelings.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Metaphysical, Landscape, Trickery
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on some small paintings inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics.