Anne Labovitz – Saint Paul, MN
My work concerns the human spirit, its emotional resonance and the way it manifests in relationships. Through contemporary portraiture I examine human connection and the space that connects us. Over the past five years, in addition to painting and printmaking, I have incorporated text, audience engagement and public interventions as vital elements of my praxis. My work is an exploration of how political, social and cultural platforms can be turned into personal acts of care.
My process-driven practice is empathetically embodied in my artist-led project and international touring site-specific solo exhibition, 122 Conversations: Person to Person, Art Beyond Borders (2012-2019). The large-scale work explores cross-cultural connections through Skype interviews, paintings and performative participatory art as a catalyst for social change. This work reflects conversations about generosity, friendship, reciprocity, community building, emotional exchange and how these ideas are experienced through art. Both text and imagery are present, drawing the viewer inward to experience an encounter with the subject and the collective consciousness.
Viewers immediately notice the vividness of my work. Heavily saturated pigment and color are central tools for creating my work; washes of light and transparent color skate across the painting, adhering in locations they have been allowed to rest longest. I choose colors and methods of application to visually portray the connection and abundance of human moments. Colors are chosen as a result of my emotional or intuitive response to the subject and with consideration of formal elements of composition and contrasting tone. In this way, each piece acquires its uniqueness and reflects my experience of conversations, interviews and human experiences in the world.
My painting process is a focused act of mark making and record keeping, my form of note-taking. I approach creation with the same rigor and mindfulness that I employ while engaging with subjects. My source material relies on connection with humans. I focus on embedding the painting with the essence of the subject’s beauty, resilience and spirit. This practice grew from my earlier work of placing multiple woodblocks on top of each other. Each mark is made with intent and clarity as a record, a form of memory that portrays the life force within and between people.
My use of overlapping text and color is a metaphor that attempts to unite through a common experience that humanizes each of us, including myself, through the process. I feel more human when I hear stories of others, and it is my hope that my work evokes a similar experience from Mia patrons. As an artist, painting is my vocabulary, my way of sharing my story, my exigence, and my vision with the world. Creation of paintings is my way to give back to the world, my interviewees, and my gallery visitors for the intimacy, trust and time they have shared with me.