Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Artist of the Week

"Fairy Whores, Bliss Ninnies, and the Very Glory" mixed media on linen, 60" x 72"

Jackie Tileston

"Artists provide access to certain regions of the visible, and the objects they make become more and more secondary. They don't really "create" anymore, they reorganize. There are two dominant figures in today's culture: the DJ and the programmer. Both deal with things that are already produced. The common point between relational aesthetics and Post-Production is this idea that to communicate or have relations with other people, you need tools. Culture is this box of tools." - Nicolas Bourriaud, Interview with Bennett Simpson April, 2001

The concept of a semionauts is intriguing and quiet relevant to most of the creative output of the information age. A term coined by Nicolas Bourriaud in his book "Postproduction", a semionaut is someone who produces a creative output through the utilization of existing material, concepts, beats, words, and so on. It focuses more on building upon history and expanding the cultural signs and values, then the abstract originality that some strive to achieve. It is the blending of these various materials and genres that will ultimately create an original work.

Jackie Tileston is a Philadelphia-based painter and winner of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, and she recently debut her latest work at Chicago’s Zg Gallery. The exhibit, Adventures of the Semionauts, opened on September 7th and runs through October 13th. When describing her work in her most recent artist statement Jackie uses words like "knit", "reconstruct", "feed off", but she lays out her main objective in these two sentences. "I am interested in visual democracies, nomadic thinking, rearranging hierarchies, and trying to fuse personal expression with shared social and cultural spaces, in full pictorial glory. My goal is that my work can transform its multiple sources into a stronger, weirder, and more complex pictorial version of the world, a millennial baroque environment of inclusion." Much like the DJ we will hear from later this week, Jackie is taking these various sources found in the global/cultural tool box and combining them with equal parts imagination and ingenuity to create an incredibly unique universe.

Recently, Jackie took some time to answer a few of our questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Jackie Tileston (JT): Complex, multilayered, intense, nomadic, heterotopic, colorful, visually opulent. The day I was in the gallery in Chicago there were a bunch of high school students prowling the galleries on assignment. I heard some describe the paintings as "rock star" and "mad cool". I like that.

OA: You utilize a variety different of paints and pigments in your work. How did this "collage" approach come about? Does each type of paint represent something different in your work?
JT: No, the materials don't represent anything specific, but each material does function differently in terms of its sensual presence, and how it creates space. For example, the powdered pigments, which tend to float, have a completely different feel from the oil enamel, which tends to be very glossy and sits right on the surface. I've always been attracted to the physical realities of paintings and how they are made, and I want my paintings to be completely satisfying in this regard....We're so used to seeing images mediated by the computer and media that have no physicality or surface.

"Disembodied Under Different Skies" mixed media on linen, 60" x 72"

OA: At first I was intrigued by the names of your pieces, but then I read that you only began to name your work to ease the confusion between you and your dealer. Is there any meaning behind the titles of your pieces? Do you prefer to have titles on your work, as way to distinguish your work from "Untitled 221"? Can a clever title like "Disembodied Under Different Skies" make a piece more memorable?
JT: I've never been a fan of the "untitled #205" way of titling work, but neither do I want a title to try and "explain" the piece, which is condescending. I usually try and find titles that fit the sensibility of the work, or the experience I want to create, or are provocative/evocative. I like titles that expand the reading of the painting rather than closing it down. I do think a good title can make a painting memorable (hopefully the image itself is too). A critic from L.A. once said to me "You give good title". I was flattered.

OA: Your current show at Zg Gallery, Adventures of Semionauts, is you second show in Chicago. What is your impression of the Chicago gallery scene? How does it compare to New York and Philly?
JT: I can't say I'm all that familiar with the scene there. New York is, well, New York, and there really isn't anything to compare with it's intensity, quantity, importance, etc. The Philly gallery scene is probably sleepier than Chicago, more dominated by younger artists and alternative spaces because of the large number of art schools/universities here. In terms of galleries/collectors, we're very close to NYC, which means if there are serious contemporary collectors, they are probably shopping in Chelsea and not Old City.

OA: What does the word "Semionauts" mean to you?
JT: It's a word I encountered while reading Nicholas Bourriaud's "Postproduction" essay - I suspect he made it up. It refers to those (like DJ's, internet users, artists) who invent pathways through signs and cultures, imagining the links and relations between disparate sites. It seemed like a pretty good description of what I'm trying to do with my work, so I used the word for the title of my show. I like that people have to try and infer the meaning by combining "semiotics" and "astronauts".....

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JT: Sorry. I'm a tea hound. Earl Grey, lemon, two spoons of sugar. My house.

OA: Do you listen to music while you paint? Who are some of your favorites while painting and in general?
JT: I almost ALWAYS listen to music in the studio. It helps keep out brain chatter and maintain flow. I do have one rule, which is NO lyrics in English while I'm working - most of them
tend to whine, and that's not really what I'm going for in the work, so I don't want that vibe in my head. I listen to mostly world/fusion/ambient/indian/techno stuff, in and out of the studio. Current favorites are DJ Cheb i Sabbah, Nitin Sawhney, Karsh Kale, Loop Guru, Gigi, kirtan stuff, etc.

Jackie is currently involved in another exhibit in New York, entitled "Crazy Beautiful" at the Kenise Barnes Fine Art Gallery. The exhibit also features Julie Gross, Cristi Rinklin, Trisha Wright, and Kirk McCarthy, and it runs through October 13th.

For more information on Jackie Tileston please visit her website.

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