There is a wonderful new show on Buy Some Damn Art by Wendi Turchan. Wendi’s work draws you in with its dramatic colors and compositions but context from the artist alludes to other, deeper layers; “I explore moments of transformation in physical and emotional states, marking rupture, anxiety, and opportunity… Memory and time inform my ideas, as I look back on moments when I have lost control. These episodes seem to be filled with a sense of loss and liberation simultaneously, a longing for what could have been and the revelation of unexpected possibilities.” – Wendi Turchan
KATE: Where are you from and where do you life now?
WENDI: I was born in Petoskey, Michigan. Growing up I spent time living in Wisconsin and Texas. I received my MFA at the University of Oregon, and I am currently living in Milwaukee, WI.
KATE: What sparked your interest in visual arts? What keeps that spark going?
WENDI: I have had an interest in art for as long as I can remember, but I have had some amazing and inspiring teachers that motivated me along the way. I can’t imagine my life without being in the studio making things. It has become such a big part of who I am now. Seeing how my work has evolved over time has really kept that spark going for me. It is exciting to think of what could happen next!
KATE: Your paintings are a bit hard to pin down. On a purely aesthetic level they are very beautiful… even precious. However the paintings also seem to allude to fire and explosions. What’s your perspective on various interpretations of your work.
WENDI: I am very open to various interpretations of my work (the good and the bad!) Beautiful and precious are definitely words that I would use to describe my work and I fully embrace that. The world is always shifting and changing around us, I create work that shows moments of change happening in different spaces (real and imaginary). I like to play around with how these moments of beauty and rupture can bounce off of one another.
KATE: What’s your process with these pieces?
WENDI: For me, what happens in the making is where these pieces hold their excitement. I start out with a very rigid and structured plan for each piece. Inevitably along the way something happens to change that plan: a mistake or an unexpected impulse, and the piece changes. The work really starts to come alive when these changes happen and I allow myself to let go of where I thought things would end up. I always try to find a way to allude to these things either in the piece itself, or in the title.
KATE: You expand on the basic concept of painting on paper by creating works that span multiple pieces of paper. When and why did you begin doing this?
WENDI: This really started coming about through the above-mentioned process. Working on a piece and wanting to expand it beyond the limit of the original piece of paper, or wanting to cut things out and move them around. Now, I enjoy working both ways. Sometimes I stay on one piece of paper and sometimes I don’t.