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  • Carolin Rechberg

Interview and Publication

Contemporary Art Station I Volume 2 - Middle East

Carolin Rechberg United States of America

Carolin Rechberg is an interdisciplinary Fine Artist born in Germany. She holds an Interdisciplinary BFA from the California College of the Arts, a MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and an EdM in Art and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Rechberg has taught Drawing and Painting as a Teaching Assistant in her 1st Master at the San Francisco Art Institute, and Etching, Lithography, Silkscreen and Woodcut during her 2nd Master at Teachers College. Layers of patterns and organic rhythms, guided by instinctual and considered gestures, inform the work of Carolin Rechberg. Her resulting mediums include ceramics, drawing, installation, painting, photography, performance, printmaking, sculpture and sound, and incorporate both traditional and contemporary practices. Her works challenge conventional notions, pushing the limits of the material and the medium through informed experimentations. Structurally informed by abstract expressionism as viewed through a post-modern feminist lens, her work includes the interdisciplinary and improvisational qualities of American Jazz, vocal ensembles and lyrical performance. For Rechberg, mark making is a portal to her psyche and subconscious. Her embodied understanding of traditional technique enriches and connects her work to the experimental contexts of contemporary art. Carolin Rechberg’s work has been exhibited in Solo and Group Exhibitions, in America, Asia and Europe. Her work has received numerous awards and has been published in international art books and magazines. Currently she operates through her New York based company CR Art and Design Inc, offering original artwork and design services. (Transitions II, Polyptych Woodblock, 152 x 365 cm)

1. What’s your background? I was born in Starnberg, Bavaria, Germany on the 29th of May 1988. I grew up with my mother in the same town, nestled in-between hills edging to cradle the biggest lake of Germany, the Starnberg See. On weekends I would spend time in the Bavarian mountains and marshlands, when visiting my father and siblings. I deeply feel how the exposure to the experience of the natural landscape and my own culture influenced the way that I observe and value art processes, and the environment around me. From the beginning I was involved with the arts, with crafts, music and theater. An accident which made me temporarily lose my sight with 11 years of age, steered me into a more visual direction, but generally fostered an emphasized focus on sense awareness and a mannerism to digest and come to terms with life’s experiences through art. As a child I spend a lot of time in Italy, and also travelled to America every year. Through diverse education, learning different languages and exposure to different cultures, environments, infrastructures and people of different backgrounds, I have gained a broad perspective on life, respecting and treasuring the individual contributions and exchange between civilizations, human and natural identities and properties. I have travelled through Asia, Europe, North and South America. The last twelve years I have lived in America, in San Francisco and in New York, while travelling extensively throughout. My education, travels, study of culture and nature, largely shape and will continue to influence, how I express in aesthetics. In the end I am an amalgamation of what I have been exposed to. I went to Montessori Kindergarten and Junior School, planting the seeds to a creative approach of learning and living, followed by a year at the Kurt Huber Gymnasium, then a year at the American International School in Florence, to conclude my primary education at the Munich International School. There I completed my IGCSE and IB in Art and Design. I continued my pursuit of learning and making art at the California College of the Arts (BFA Interdisciplinary), the San Francisco Art Institute (MFA Drawing and Painting), and at Teachers College, Columbia University (EdM Art and Art Education). In my 1st Master assuming the role as a Teaching Assistant in Drawing and Painting, in my 2nd Master in Etching, Lithography, Woodcut, and Silkscreen, while simultaneously managing the printmaking studios. I have been exhibited and published internationally and am continuing to walk the path of an artist and art educator. Currently I am working on establishing and operating under my company CR Art and Design Inc, to provide Visual Art sales and Design services. The intent is to offer and be commissioned for original artwork, which act as complimenting accents in the décor of private, public or commercial space, as well as to utilize my skills as an artist and designer for collaborative projects in the areas of apparel, furniture, product and textile design. 2. What does your work aim to say? The work speaks for itself. Maybe I am reluctant to define it, as the meaning keeps on evolving as I find greater understanding of it myself through time. My interpretations I see more as personal. For me each piece, embodies, is a response to all of what I experienced, lived, digested and reflected on during the period of its creation. As I use a wide array of mediums and interdisciplinary practices to understand and come to terms with the self, analyze the world, nature, humans, culture, to see and observed shared patterns, rhythms, principles, reflected in the nature of art processes and expression, the concept of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, mirrors how I see art as an element and a furthering of the art of life. Does it visibly communicate that to you? I don’t know and I would not have the audacity to demand or impose this notion. Maybe you can simply feel its energy or find its style exciting or visually pleasing. For me it is about the process, and the work created intuitively with considered gesture, surprises and educates me during its becoming and after. What my work says to me, changes and grows over time, across evolution of self, and is impacted by my state of being. It will be different to each individual who encounters it. That is part of its beauty. To let the work, define its own meaning. It is a meditation on the embodied gesture, the harness embodied presence in life. A practice of vulnerably feeling and reacting to the presence of self with material, from which spring entities with a mystical message of their own. While for me it might simply say, do you remember the recognitions and insights you had through and during the process of this piece? What you through lived in that time? I enjoy the infinite array of interpretation and personal identification by the experiencer. The lessons and recognitions ringing in my soul, incorporate into a way of life, a way of encounter with myself, the other and closely interwoven modes of operation and sectors of living. But often it just calls out, quietly or loud, I am here! A presence of its own. Can you feel me, do you want to? Follow me, discover the landscape within in me and of which I am part. What do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel? Are you aware or do you become aware of your physical, mental, spiritual or emotional body moving in dialogue with me? What is triggered in you, through the encounter with me? If just curiosity, a moment of capturing your interest and therefore the attention of your own presence is achieved, then that is the greater meaning and purpose of the work for me, as it will translate consciously or unconsciously, through sense stimulation, into the life of your own. If it simply becomes a moment to rest one’s presence in or accent the environment it then becomes a gift which re-gifts. 3. How does your work comment on current social or political issues? I have been choosing to focus on creating artwork which communicates more to the realm of heightening the greater essence and understanding of being. Superseding and underlying political, cultural and social events. Through creating artwork which finds beauty in the mysticism and meditation with the process of art, I am gathering knowledge transferable to other sectors of life, the process of living. Consciously choosing to inspire and evolve the spirit through understanding gathered in the artwork or artistic process, and therefore nurturing consciously perceived presence, through the impact of the creative encounter or with creation itself. The contemporary pace of life, its demands and responsibilities, often exceeds the pace of presence, and therefore it becomes even more important to anchor in the current moment. It is like needing to breathe, to attentively value the inhale and exhale, to better see and use the energy and life, with which we through presence manifest. My artistic practice is rooted in the conscious perception of the senses, in the becoming aware of the self in the environment and with oneself. Creating a beautiful object, or through the beauty and alchemy of the art, is a way of slowing down the moment. Assimilating knowledge and understanding through insights and principles gained in the artistic process, which extend and transfer beyond the realm of art, but into a way of living with oneself and the other. In a time when such emphasis is based on turmoil and pains of our world and cultural, ethnic or individual identities, dispersed or expanded on through the technologization of society and a widening gap between the persona in the tangible or electronic realm, it becomes even more important to find places to authentically be and just feel. That might be in the communion with an artwork, with thoughts arriving and dissipating, and focus directed more on the observation of the encounter, the experience. For myself as well as for the other, I am providing a place to rest in the perceiving of color, composition, form, material, perspectives, pattern, rhythm, scale, shape or texture in an artwork. While the artwork informs of and itself furthermore holds embodied the experiences and processes it through-lived in its creation, and after its completion, it is a presence of its own accenting the environment and our encounter with it. 4. Who are your biggest influences? Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky, Caspar David Friedrich, Georgia O' Keefe, Jackson Pollock (Transitions I, Woodblock Carving, 122 x 244 cm)

5. How has your art evolved over the years? I find it actually ironic to see similar explorations and experimentations from when I was a bare child, to having intently practiced art making for more than two decades now. As if the approach and mode of observation has remained in its core, the same. But of course, the work itself has evolved through the accruing of abilities and gaining of insights in techniques, the gathering of information on inherent material properties, through professional education and experience in my own practice. But my artwork has evolved aesthetically parallel to my experiences, the evolution of my character and persona. In the end, my artwork is a reflection of the evolving essence and presence of myself. Which includes the environmental, cultural and art historical imprint left in my psyche and embodied in my gestural mark. Over time and discovery of living and different artistic mediums, I have detected shared approaches, elements and components in the different art practices or interdisciplinary disciplines, their pertaining processes and my resulting artworks or bodies of work. An aesthetic, guided by my intuition and soul, unique to me, is establishing itself. And while I am evermore following the liberation in intuitive expression of my own mark, in later analysis I recognize the affinity of my processes or work to, or being conscious or unconsciously informed by, artists, artworks, artistic and cultural periods, and the study of the natural environment, which has shaped the past and present moment. I see embodied in all the different disciplines with which I create, simply the continuing of research into life, nature and the self, and with that each work functions as a signifier, and signpost to evolve or to reiterate the understood in the next. 6. What does art mean to you? Art is a means to express and understand the world. The artistic and creative process is the basis of human existence, informed by the perception and response of the senses in the natural and human environment that we encounter and construct. In a way art and its practices means to me the potential to heighten my sensibilities and therefore my awareness and potential of presence. 7. What’s the most valuable piece of art to you? The understanding which comes through and information which is gathered in the process of creating art. The most valuable artwork becomes oneself, the information and tacit knowledge that once has gathered through the creative process, while the artworks is symbolic of the learned, of the experienced existence and life manifesting through you. 8. What’s next for you in the future? I am currently establishing my New York based company CR Art and Design Inc, which will offer my original artwork and design services. But mainly I am looking forward to simply continuing to create bodies of work which prosper from within as well as to expand on existing series I have established over the past decade. (Witness, Mixed Media Painting on Canvas, 173x338cm)


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