Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speeding Glance: 24 Works Artist Jean Longo

Interview by Katlyn Roberts, OVAC Intern

Jean Longo, Oklahoma City
Jean Longo, Winter Morning Fog, Pigment print on Rives BFK 8” x 8”
How did you discover printing photos on watercolor paper?
I am primarily a painter, and I take photographs to use later as ideas or inspiration for paintings.  While working in OSU’s Art Department, I provided the printing for a workshop with Barbara Robertson, an artist from Seattle.  She requested Rives BFK as the paper for her workshop.  It was during my interactions with her that I began to think about printing my photographs on watercolor paper.  I felt it would help create the right mood for the images. Since I like building texture in my paintings, I had been trying to find a way to transfer that to my photographs, and I realized the texture of watercolor paper does create a greater complexity in the photographic images.

What interests you about the abstractions and textures of nature and have you always searched for that aspect of landscapes?
The affinity I have toward nature fuels my creative drive.   I am always intrigued by the surface of natural objects and the diversity of these surfaces. Yet, I am not one to paint exactly what I see; rather, I paint objects from a distance and add texture to the surface of the painting.   I have been approaching my landscape painting not with the idea that I am re-creating a landscape, but with the aim to express its essence.  The multi-layered paintings capture some fragment of the landscape, and the colors and texture aim to add a sense of energy.

My goal with the photographs for this series (Speeding Glance) was to remove the details, yet have them recognizable as landscapes.  I wanted to capture the essence of the landscape at a quick moment in time: that second when you see and recognize something without noticing the details. Sometimes a spot of color or an odd shape draws my attention to a particular place. With the Speeding Glance series, I would see a place that interested me, and I would come back to photograph it during the start or the end of a day when there was less light, therefore allowing the landscape to appear more abstract. To enhance this sense of abstraction I captured the images while driving, in an effort to make the foregrounds appear fluid.

This interview features an artist from the 24 Works on Paper exhibition, which is on display at Rose State College in Midwest City. A collaborative exhibition from the Individual Artists of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, this exhibition tours until September 2012. See more in the catalog and at www.24works.org.

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