the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Spread on moment’s falling over the warm grid,
2010, Acrylic, Pencil, Sponge, Moss, Lead, Wood, Cigarette butts, Sedum, grass, wax., 18 x 24 x 9.5
© gregory euclide 2010
Gregory Euclide, Capture #1,
2009, acrylic paper pencil sedum sponge
Gregory Euclide, In what mist had bloomed ,
2008, ink, acrylic, paper, 30 x 24 x 9
If I was the river I was only projecting,
2008, acrylic, mylar, paper, pencil, satin ribbon, 24 x 30 x 8
© gregory euclide 2010
Struggling swept canyon's focus toward tangents ,
2008, acrylic, pencil, pen, bubble wrap, foam, waxed thread, leaves, photo transfer, on paper , 26 x 30 x 8
What Softened Clippers Making Left the Plain Barren and White
Gregory Euclide, From This Distance: Sound Pearls Gregory Euclide,
With Our Mouths Opening Your Name You Began to Move Like We Do
Because There's a There, Here is Just Fine,
2010, acrylic, cedar, cigarette butts, eurocast, fertilizer, foam, found plastic, garbage from Denver parks, insulation, lichen, moss, organic material from Denver, sponge, steel 55 gallon drum, wood lumber
Gregory Euclide, Capture #1,
2009, Acrylic paint, paper, paint can, pencil, pine needles, moss, sedum, sponge, stone, 11 x 13 x 16 inches
© Collection of Deborah and Peter Smith
© Courtesy of the artist and David B. Smith Gallery
Inside only became falling by the way rivers delivered places,
2009, Acrylic, cedar, cigarette filter, paper, pencil, polyurethane, foam, moss, sedum, sponge, 23 x 14.5 x 5 inches
Gregory Euclide, Unable to Walk Above My Knowing,
statement Gregory Euclide works primarily with paper, using it not only as a surface to which he can apply paint, but as a primary material. He is an artist concerned with the interstice of nature and humanity, and he has taken as his primary line of inquiry epistemological questions regarding experience and memory. He is a painter of landscapes, but not a landscape painter. For Euclide, landscape serves not...[more]
Interview with Gregory Euclide
Los Angeles - Gregory Euclide is a Wisconsin born artist who works primarily on paper, which he uses both as a surface and a medium. In his most recent exhibition at BLK/MRKT Gallery in Culver City (September 8th – October 6th 2007), Elucide exhibits paintings, mixed-media works and a site specific installation that explore experience and memory through landscape. He currently lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he is a supporter of wheat fields, pine forests, public transportation, wind up birds, French presses, travel, public radio and public parks.
To see more on Gregory, check out his spotlight profile.
Nancy Lupo: How and by what routes did you arrive in Los Angeles?
Gregory Euclide: This time…MSP international to LAX international. Last time…Minneapolis, MN to Minot, ND to Cut Bank, MT to Spokane, WA to Bellingham, WA to Pender Island, BC, then down to Seattle where I spent a week putting together the show at The OKOK Gallery. Down the Oregon Coast to San Francisco, where I dropped off work for the ‘Fecal Face’ show at 111 Minna. Then I made my way slowly down the coast to LA where the fine people at BLK/MRKT took me in. In all, I traveled 10,000 miles in my Subaru Forester. I tried to keep a journal the entire way of all the places I slept, what I listened to and what I saw. It can be viewed at: www.gregoryeuclide.com/TRIP/index.html. It was the most rewarding four weeks in my life.
NL: Your show is called, ‘The Walks I Take Turn to Paper.’ Can you describe the process by which your interaction with the natural world provides inspiration when you are in the studio?
GE: Experience of place and authenticity of experience are important elements that inform the process of my work. I am interested in developing a scenario where the viewing of the work mimics the discovery and experience one has while walking though a landscape. These works do this by not allowing the viewer to own the totality of the image from one vantage point. They invite and reward exploration.
NL: How and in what medium did you begin working? How has your work evolved up to this point?
GE: I started painting in high school using oil on canvas. I became allergic to the paint and the clean up always bothered me, so I started using acrylics. Because they are inexpensive and non-toxic, I could treat the process of painting much looser. I also liked the way acrylics would absorb into paper and one could draw on top of the painting and use other materials such as typeset, thread and litho tape. I was raised to think of |Drawing| |Painting| |Sculpture| - all in little boxes… That mindset is constrictive and does not reflect how I naturally experience… or become inspired. Currently, I try to use whatever material or process best expresses what I am trying to convey.
NL: How do you see your work in relation to 19th century notions of landscape painting where the painting was intended to spark a renewed interest in the viewer with the actual thing it was depicting?
GE: I don’t feel that the root of my work is nature. Nature is the bird on the surface of the ocean. If one looks at the structure of the work, and approaches it asking questions such as, “If I am to live in this work, what is my world like?” or “What does it mean to have representation and perspective presented like this?” Landscape is inspiring but it is not what my work is about. I don’t consider myself a landscape painter; because in my mind I know that I am simply using the landscape to reach something more complicated.
NL: Are the landscapes in your work real, remembered or invented?
GE: There are elements of actual locations (grass from a certain field, pine needles from a certain forest). These are authentic objects that do not “represent” anything because they are the things. The drawings are not usually of particular spaces. They originate from a collective memory of landscape – a compression of all landscapes I have experienced. I think of it like this… If one thinks of the word lake, they may have a concept of lakes that is based on what they have seen in books, heard from other people, or experienced themselves. The word lake stands for all those things at once. If asked to draw that totality, one might pull from multiple sources depending on what they remember at that moment. This is what I am doing with landscapes.
When I start drawing a landscape I do not know what it’s going to look like. I often start with a chaotic gesture and work from there using if/then questions to build up the surface. Such as … if there is water here, there will be marsh there – if there are trees here, there will be birds flying and nesting there. This process keeps me mindful of the systems in those spaces and is rewarding for me as I make the work.
NL: What were your experiences with nature as a child and how do you see your memories of these experiences manifesting themselves in your work?
GE: Nature showed me the complexity of the systems we move though. I developed a profound respect for nature, because of its vastness and unpredictability. I would wonder through the forests and fields of my childhood homes, making forts, growing gardens, drawing maps, and making objects. My earliest memories of creating are in those forests. I was making objects from found materials in the forest. I did not think of it as art, but that process of gathering what was around me and transforming it into an object that held meaning has returned again and again. My childhood was enchanting. Of course, one never realizes how wonderful it really is when they are taking part in it. But, looking back, I can see a connection between those carefree days of exploration and the exhilaration I feel when in nature today.
NL: The marks in your drawings are at times lyrical and whimsical but also at times sharp and guttural. Can you describe what determines the way in which the marks are put onto paper?
GE: Gesture conveys a lot of meaning. When I’m making the various types of line in my work I am thinking about processes in nature. I may be thinking about the way the shape of a leaf dictates the way it falls from a tree. I may be thinking about the way my own mechanism for conveying meaning (my shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand) moves and how that movement is tied to concepts of limitation of possibility. I may be thinking about how a seed proliferates from one section of land to the next. The line is never decorative it always exists more as a symbolic gesture.
NL: Your installation at BLK/MRKT Gallery is a topology constructed out of elements both natural and artificial. You have then gone into this topology and affected it in other ways giving it a kind of internal logic. (Here I am thinking about the way that water will pool and collect on the lichen and in the folds of the paper.) Can you describe this logic and how you see it as a metaphor for the process of transformation and decay evident in nature.
GE: I am impressed by the idea of having an authentic act take place before the viewer. That pooling is not a depiction of pooling water… it is pooling water. Viewers often only see the index of what has happened. The stains, the pooling, the ripped and torn paper… These are all indicators that something has happened to the landscape. It lays reposefully for the viewer to experience.
I enjoy the play between the authentic situations and the depictions of those situations. If the picture plane used to be viewed as a window to the world, then what does it mean that the picture is no longer a plane and that it is actually not a window; but, something that undergoes the very processes that tie objects to the world itself – such as growth and decay. The depiction of nature is self-aware and subject to nature.
ArtSlant would like to thank Gregory Euclide for his assistance in making this interview possible.
(All images courtesy of the artist)