Inside\Within is a constantly updating web archive devoted to physically exploring the creative spaces of Chicago's emerging and established artists.
Search using the field below:
Or display posts from these tags:3D printing 3D scanning 65 Grand 7/3 Split 8550 Ohio 96 ACRES A+D Gallery ACRE animation Art Institute of Chicago Arts of Life audio blogging Brain Frame CAKE Carrie Secrist Gallery casting ceramics Chicago Artist Writers Chicago Artists Coalition Cleve Carney Art Gallery Clutch Gallery Cobalt Studio Coco River Fudge Street collage collection Columbia College Chicago Comfort Station comics conceptual art Contemporary Art Daily Corbett vs. Dempsey Creative Capital DCASE DePaul University design Devening Projects digital art Document drawing Duke University dye Elmhurst Art Museum EXPO Chicago Faber&Faber fashion fiber Field Museum film found objects GIF Graham Foundation graphic design Harold Washington College Hatch Hyde Park Art Center illustration Image File Press Imagists Important Projects installation International Museum of Surgical Science Iran Jane-Addams Hull House Museum jewelry Johalla Projects Julius Caesar Kavi Gupta Lloyd Dobler LVL3 Mana Contemporary metalwork Millennium Park Minneapolis College of Art and Design Monique Meloche Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) National Resources Defense Council New Capital Northeastern Illinois University Northwestern University Ox-Bow painting paper mache Peanut Gallery Peregrine Program performance photography PLHK poetry portraiture printmaking public art risograph rituals Roman Susan Roots&Culture SAIC screen printing sculpture Sector 2337 Shane Campbell Silver Galleon Press Skowhegan Slow Soberscove Press social practice South of the Tracks Storefront SUB-MISSION Tan n' Loose Terrain Terrain Biennial text-based textile textiles The Banff Centre The Bindery Projects The Cultural Center The Franklin The Hills The Packing Plant The Poetry Foundation The Poor Farm The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Threewalls Tracers Trinity College Trubble Club University of Chicago University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) University of South Florida at Tampa Valerie Carberry Vermont Studio Center video weaving Western Exhibitions wood carving woodwork Yellow Book Yollocalli Arts Reach zines
Get in touch:
Magalie has had a relationship with a hat-like shape for the past several years of her practice, painting the shape over and over again to create a systematic style to her work. Previously concentrating on detailed ballpoint drawings, Magalie has opened up her practice to embrace color— not settling on a final palette until several layers are built up upon the canvas.
I\W: Can you explain the motivation behind your hat series and what you gained by holding onto that particular shape for so long?
It started in grad school, I was doing sketches from old furniture, mostly chairs, and the hat shape came from an old butterfly chair. The final sketch looked more like a hat than a chair. I was reading a lot about repetition in art, and I thought maybe I should focus on one thing and see how it would develop, as opposed to every painting having different imagery and not knowing what each needed. I like to work within systems, and this system was simple: one shape, one size, and repeating it over and over again. I would repeat the shape, but the painting would change every time. The idea was to focus on the subtleties and changes. I would write every day about what was happening with the shape. It became this sort of character in my studio. It became a presence, almost like a pet shape. I would ask myself how is it changing? Is it a portrait of this shape? What are its different moods? The more I worked with it, the more it felt like it was really enhancing the paintings by getting to know this one thing more and more.
Were you viewing repetition as restriction?
Yes, in a boundary sense. With painting there are so many decisions you can make. Before I was painting I was doing works on paper with ballpoint for years. There were decisions in terms of narrative, but once they were made I would just follow through with the ballpoint application, and there wasn’t much else that would happen. When I started painting I got kind of crazy with all the different directions I could go in. It became so overwhelming that it would make me just turn around in circles. Having restrictions, especially with size, made it so I could order the right kind of stretcher and just get going. Within the limitation there is still freedom, but there is a starting point.
Do those restrictions allow you to focus more on color and developing intricate palettes?
Color, shape, and paint application, yes. It seems like the more I repeat something, the more and less attached I am to it at the same time. All of my paintings are very shape-oriented. When I draw a shape for the first time, I don’t know what it really looks like, and I get kind of nervous about it. What is it? What does it need? If I only do it once, it feels kind of stiff. With repetition, I become less attached to the original drawing and I can discover a lot more with it.
My paintings can get so tight, and until I do something that breaks that tightness and gets some air moving again, it just doesn’t finish. It is very nerve-racking. The more paintings I work on at the same time, the least attached I am to them and the more daring they can be.
How did the original hat paintings transition into what you are doing now?
The newer works are from the same shape, but I have begun to paint over the old paintings. I flip the canvas, I see other shapes, but it is still the original form. When I had the show at Corbett vs.Dempsey, those were older paintings that I painted over. Since I did that, everything has opened up. I still have the hat, but now I have begun to cut it up and dissect it. The shape itself is getting modified. I can change the orientation, and look closer into the shapes that are happening on the outside of it. I noticed at the beginning of my painting life that I was very worried about contour lines. I am so into the form that I couldn’t go over its contour while painting, I was bound by the shape. It was almost a joke to me how afraid I was. In the new work, I am making a point to have carved lines into the surface that I have to paint over.
How are you moving forward with a new color scheme for each new painting?
I have no idea. I really like to see the history of a painting, its layers. Sometimes I discover an interesting color scheme at the beginning of a painting, but then I continue to build it and try out many colors. When I start, I can’t have an idea of color because it has to be built. I am working with 11 or more paintings at a time. If I mix a color for a specific painting, I might look around and realize it is actually needed on an opposing painting. It is a very intuitive visual process. Working on this many paintings is my ideal, and is possible only when there is not a deadline.
I’ve read that you describe your shapes as human surrogates, how do they act in this way?
They look like organs. The original shape people would say looks like a clover, or a uterus, or of course people see penises everywhere. So it was the way the shape looked like something bodily, but also the way the shape became a character for me. It became a companion to me. I had this weird sentimental relationship to it. My relationship to the shape became somewhat similar to a relationship I would have with a friend. I would be mad at it when it was doing something I didn’t want. It became such a personalized relationship. When you are alone at the studio a lot, that becomes the relationship you have—with the work.
Did you notice what feelings you were experiencing towards the shape when paintings would become more or less attractive to you?
When I get angry at it, it gets better. That happened to me with a painting a couple of years ago. It was a painting called “Agnes” and I had worked on it for awhile without any preconceived composition. I got angry because it wasn’t going anywhere, and I don’t get angry very often. I took the biggest brush I had with black paint and swiped it across the painting and it literally finished it. It was so beautiful and it was such a surprise to me. My paintings can get so tight, and until I do something that breaks that tightness and gets some air moving again, it just doesn’t finish. It is very nerve-racking. The more paintings I work on at the same time, the least attached I am to them and the more daring they can be.