Linda Sgoluppi … Artist, Russian Doll, and Tweeter!
… Artist, Russian Doll, and Tweeter!
Sedcued by her brilliant talent, we are proud and honoured that internationally renowned abstract painter Linda Sgoluppi has agreed to publish a guest article in our blog, outlining the work processes and thoughts that have led to the absolutely amazing body of work that she has produced in her career so far.
- Stampfli & Turci
Transitions # 1
Acrylic On Canvvas – 122 x 122 cms
© Linda Sgoluppi
- … Artist, Russian Doll, and Tweeter!
There is no intention to portray, self-examine, conceal or reveal myself in my painting. However what drives the ‘subject’ in my paintings is the same thing that drives me and it may be that what is not intended, happens anyway.
I sometimes feel as if I’m a Russian Nesting Doll. Nesting dolls are the ones where you undo one doll and there is another inside and so on until finally, inside the inside of all those others is the tiny one at the core.
Few people can resist the compulsion to go find the last doll. Individually, apart from the last one, each doll is hollow inside. When we find another we take it out, open it to find the next and so on. We focus on getting to the core, finding the last tiny doll, but is that final core the essence of the Russian doll ?
Each discrete doll differs from the others in the visible external property of size, and one differs from the others in the hidden internal property of hollowness. From the outside, they all seem to be the same doll except for size.
Suppose you put the dolls back together one at a time, hiding each within the next larger one. You could stop at any point, and you could present what you have assembled as a complete set. Without knowing that larger ones were missing, any one of the dolls could be the exterior doll, the ultimate hiding place. So what really is the difference between the inner and the outer? Is this the essence of the Russian doll ?
Mixed Media On Canvas – 122 x 122 cms
© Linda Sgoluppi
Painting is integral to my experiences; I’m the painting the world creates. My relationship to a painting in progress is a symbiotic one, just like my relationship to the world. So, when I’m asked what I paint, the question is almost unanswerable. My reply is usually an economical “abstract painting”.
You might be thinking, what has all of this to do with a Russian doll? When I put paint on a canvas to create a painting, it is a bit like assembling a Russian doll; the paint both hides and reveals. What it hides or reveals about me, the person, the artist, is by default a certain existential awareness. I have to make my own meanings; if I didn’t I might drown in an ocean of despair at being such a futile speck in the Universe.
A painting communicates visually. The communication is on the painting’s surface and also between the layers of paint. The way I know when a painting is finished and ready to be released from the studio is when I see that the symbiotic relationship has stopped. With its independent identity, the finished painting then becomes its own ambassador, one that wants a letter of introduction.
The artist’s statement is the painting’s letter of introduction. For me it is where the unanswerable has to be answered in some way. When I write my artist’s statement I feel vulnerable. I imagine the critical knives being sharpened ready to tear me and my statement and my art apart. Do I censor what I reveal because of that? Perhaps. Does that prevent me from taking risks in the studio ? No.
Mixed Media On Canvas – 120 x 120 cms
© Linda Sgoluppi
When I first started to paint, I had no idea that I would end up painting what I paint in the way I paint. Each of us creates personal mental maps to navigate our way through life. Maps are made, used then abandoned in favour of new ones. What I say or write about my painting is part of my personal map. I talk about the map, but as Korzybski stated, the map is not the territory.
Painting has been my tutor and my mentor. My formal Fine Art training was more than a net gain of art techniques. It was the start of broader education previously denied to me. I learned to explore an abstract world beyond my previous life and to do it through painting.
The form of the painting is concrete; it’s content is abstract. The abstract content is connected to abstract ideas that have become part of my life. These ideas include maps, mapping, grid structures, language, temporal considerations, and the idea of ideas.
Each painting is pared down to its essential idea. In the City Series of paintings, I played with the idea that cities have an outer and a hidden life. The Document Series were about layers in meanings. The Terra Series combined the idea of map and surface as one, and the Interstice Series were about gaps, spaces and repetition. Do I unintentionally reveal something about myself through these interests? Possibly.
Interstice # 4
Acrylic On Canvas
© Linda Sgoluppi
Because of the symbiotic relationship I have with painting, a comment from anyone at the wrong moment can disrupt the flow of communication. For a long time now I’ve had a rule for anyone coming into the studio that unless invited, no comments are made about work in progress. If I do invite comment or I talk about the intimate communication I’m having with the painting, it is because there is a need for me to look outward for a time.
I joined Twitter.com recently. I had very little prior experience with a social network, so I observed it for a period before I started revealing myself by tweeting. Bit by bit, I began talking about what I’m doing in the studio. This is such a departure for me; not only have I opened the door to the studio while I’m working, but I’ve done it to potentially thousands.
I’ve been considering this new Twitter relationship. Twitter allows just one hundred and forty characters per tweet. It is astonishing just how much personality is revealed within that limit. I’ve wondered if this happens despite or because of the limit? Setting aside possible deliberate intention, do tweets inadvertently reveal more than we intend? I wonder.
Acrylic On Canvas 150 x 150 cms
© Linda Sgoluppi
I like painting to be demanding. I like to find stimulating questions. My paintings are my expression. So in this context maybe I’ve found a connection between the nature of Twitter, the nature of painting, and the Russian doll analogy.
In tweeting about on-going studio work on Twitter, I’m still shaking my head at myself. If a painting failed before, something thankfully rare but not unknown, it was between me and the painting and a bonfire. Now I am revealing myself, failures as well as successes in a totally public way. It’s like some of my inner Russian Dolls are exposed, standing naked on top of the Empire State Building. I’ve yet to find out how I will feel about it.
- Linda Sgoluppi
- Images © Linda Sgoluppi
Artist Linda Sgoluppi is a painter. Her studio is located near the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire England.
“I paint what’s in my minds eye, and I like that eye to keep an open mind”