Brienne Rosner is one artist who has discovered many things about herself and her work through experimenting with mixed media and various new techniques. Her work is full of fascinating layers and textures, and she enjoys allowing the paint to form in new and exciting ways. Brienne graduated from Boston University's College of Fine Arts in 2005, and has been involved in several group and individual shows and is even part of a permanent collection at the University. She recently took some time to answer a few of our questions.
Brienne Rosner (BR): My work tends to appear abstract, but my imagery is taken from real life and objects. I paint with a large variety of layers and lots of tiny detail. I am obsessed with surface detail. I want to be enthralled with every centimeter of a piece, always having something new to look at.
I don’t like to limit myself to a particular genre of style, which shows through in both my personality and work. I gather source material from every different corner and combine them to make something new. I investigate the duality of the natural vs. the man-made, hand vs. machine, and deliberation vs. accident. I try to achieve an ambiguous scale, playing off the idea of microcosm and macrocosm, that they are one in the same.
Digital print, ink, colored pencil, watercolor, marker on Rives BFK
OA: Under the materials section of your website, you mention a specific paint that you use for your pieces. How important are the materials used in relation to the overall aesthetic of the painting?
BR: Essential. I love when people have no idea what surface they are looking at but want so badly to touch it. I use a combination of pigment-water dispersions and five different acrylic and urethane binders that are made by Guerra Paint and Pigment in New York. The most notable difference between acrylic and urethane is that the latter settles out, dissolving any brushstroke. By mixing different amounts of the various pigments and binders the paint can appear like encaustic, ceramic, plastic, or just paint. In each painting I juxtapose different textures, opacities and sheens.
In recent paintings, I have incorporated poured paints as another type of imagery. These are really experiments of combining a painter’s skill with the natural properties of the materials. Based on predecessors, the paints (made up already from prior use) are carefully selected for color, opacity and binder ratios and poured very specifically, though the natural process will always be unpredictable. This makes the paint come alive. As it dries the paint continues to interact, and I learn a little more about the relationships of the different mixtures.
BR: This past spring the opportunity to be visiting artist/artist in residence kind of thing at Lafayette College fell into my lap. Their facilities include two 44” archival digital printers and two large scanners. A professor there was incorporating acetate and backlight films in his work and I was immediately interested in exploring the possibilities of layering these different materials parallel to my layering process in painting.
Urethane, acrylic, digital iron-on on handmade papers mounted on board 15 ¼" x 17 ¾"
OA: Who are some of your biggest influence artistically?
BR: Old Eastern and Middle-Eastern Miniature painting and Macro-/Microphotography are some big conceptual influences on my work. I am definitely inspired by a huge range of artists, some for one specific reason, others only a single work and nothing else, others everything. I tend not to refer to other works during my creative process. Living relatively close to NYC I get a large dose of the museums and galleries at a single time when I make it in and sit on that for a while. Two favorites I saw in Chelsea this year are Jung-Yeon Min and Oliver Vernon.
BR: I have found that more times then not titles get in the way. Either a work finds it needs a title to explain itself, or the titles sound cheesy or dramatic. I also recognize that a title should serve a purpose, and “(Untitled)” sounds like a cop out. So I began exploring other places titles are found in today’s world. Cataloging and abbreviation seem ever prevalent as our need to produce and organize grows more expansive. In my work, each combination has a meaning that may or may not reveal itself to the viewer. With two letters followed by three numbers there is quite a large pool of titles to choose from, yet the possibilities are not infinite. This leaves my options open for linking certain pieces and series at any point in the future, but keeps me limited within the system I have developed.
BR: Good question! I am currently planning to apply to graduate schools come winter, but I always have my eyes out for any opportunity that sounds appealing. I have found it quite challenging to live in relative isolation but make the connections that would be more visible living a city.
Digital printing, hand painting on any (and many) of the following materials: Rives BFK, Acetate, Backlight film, glass 11.5"x9.5"
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
BR: Yes, coffee. My favorite is a latte made by one specific owner of a coffee shop about 40 minutes away. Since I don’t get there often, I buy organic fair trade Guatemalan coffee from a friend that owns a local independent cinema and coffee shop. Because she buys in bulk, I must bring home a 5lb bag and subdivide it for my already tiny freezer.
OA: Do you listen to music while you are creating? What are some of your favorites while painting and in general?
BR: I used to listen to music much more frequently while working, but currently I seem to rotate phases of public radio (I recently discovered the world of podcasts), audio books and music. As far as music, I listen to variety of music but some favorites in the studio include White Magic, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Cat Power, New Order, The Notwist, Fela Kuti, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, PJ Harvey, The Fall…boy it’s hard to stop…