Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spotlight on Studio Workshops: Q&A with Instructor Erin McIntosh

Open to artists of all levels of experience, including beginners, "Studio Workshop: Biomorphic Acrylics" starts January 5. Led by Athens-based artist and educator Erin McIntosh, the workshop is held on four Thursdays throughout the month and focuses on biomorphic abstraction as expressed through various techniques and acrylic mediums, including applications for both abstract and representational works. The sessions will draw inspiration from the museum's collection, including works from the archives and many not currently on display. 

In anticipation of the program, Erin answered some of our questions related to the workshop, art and her sources of inspiration.

Erin at Vermont Studio Center. Image: Howard Romero

What are some of your favorite works at the Georgia Museum of Art?

I absolutely love the Joan Mitchell painting ["Close," 1973] and visit it every time I visit the museum.  Also, the Radcliffe Bailey painting ["7 Steps," 1994] is a favorite, I had the opportunity to study with him in both undergrad and graduate school and find his work to be alluring because of its tactile nature and its relationship to improvisational process yet, his work is highly researched and is executed with great precision.

How does a visit to the museum inspire you as an artist?
Seeing works of art in person is one of the most informative activities to learn about ways of making paintings and making art in general. To experience the physicality of an object is to fully experience it and as someone who works with a physical medium, the tactile qualities of the surface of a painting are so important to the overall experience of it. This aspect gets completely lost in digital form when viewed on a screen  viewing in person is so much better!

Erin McIntosh, Color Chord 1, 2016
Is there something you are currently working on or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?
I am currently working on a series of biomorphic abstract paintings for a solo exhibition at the University of West Georgia which will take place in the spring. I am using the techniques and processes which we will be exploring in the studio workshop to make these paintings, so it is all fresh on my brain.

What do you read, listen to, or look at to fuel your work?
I tend to read more nonfiction than fiction and gravitate towards books on creativity, teaching, and entrepreneurship. I've also picked up books more recently on science and art.  I spend a fair amount of time in the car commuting so I have been listening to podcasts; one recent favorite is The Art of Authenticity by Laura Coe. In addition, I enjoy learning about science and Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk Radio is another show I enjoy because he makes science digestible to the non-scientist. I listen to a wide variety of music but always enjoying Olafur Arnalds, Yann Tiersen and Hauschka while working in the studio. But other days, you will find me listening to singer-songwriter folk, soul, or rock.

What advice or words of wisdom have influenced you as an artist? 
Radcliffe Bailey once told me to "work as three versions of yourself" and this has greatly influenced the ways in which I work. I tend to have multiple bodies of work going simultaneously and move through these, shifting from one to the other every month or two. Working with different entry points and process helps me to keep what I am working on fresh, for example, one process relies heavily on spontaneity and improvisation while another is highly calculated and methodical. Everything ends up informing everything else and I often find myself circling back to earlier ideas.

"Studio Workshop: Biomorphic Acrylics" runs Thursdays, January 5, 12, 19 and 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The cost of the course is a $15 materials fee, which will cover all necessary supplies for the four sessions. Space is limited; please call 706.542.8863 or email to reserve a spot.

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