Welcome back, it’s another week through 2021 and I am sure you are all pushing through and hopefully this pandemic will soon be over for us all to socialise, visit galleries and so on. This week we have an interview below with Anna Van Den Hövel. Anna grew up up between the coast of Menorca, the Alpine landscape of Austria and urban Munich. Her work is immersive and tremendously expressive. There is an element of rawness that is finely tuned by the disciplined composition in each piece. Hovel’s work is pleasantly explosive and a delight to study as well as to analyse the colours and contemplate about the inspiration for each work. Please read and enjoy her words below, comment and share. Have a wonderful week everyone and stay inspired and motivated!
Who are your favourite artists? What makes them stand out to you?
For me it would be William Turner. I’ll admit that while I love Franz Marc, Kandinsky, and lots of other Modernists, I also love artworks that are stunning in a more immediate and conventional sense. And the way Turner plays with light and color is very fascinating to me. If we consider the now-diluted distinction between the beautiful and the sublime – the former pleasing, in a trivial sort of way, and the latter tremendous and awe-inspiring – I consider Turner a master at capturing the sublime.
One of my favorite descriptions of the effect of seeing Turner’s paintings on the viewer is from John Ruskin, whose seminal book Modern Painters defends Ruskin’s belief that Turner was the painter to come closest to Ruskin’s ideal of “truth to nature.” I’ll leave off with this paean to Turner from Modern Painters:
There is not a stone, not a leaf, not a cloud, over which light is not felt to be actually passing and palpitating before our eyes. There is the motion, the actual wave and radiation of the darted beam: not the dull universal daylight, which falls on the landscape without life, or direction, or speculation equal on all things and dead on all things; but the breathing, animated, exultant light, which feels, and receives, and rejoices, and acts – which chooses one thing and rejects another – which seeks, and finds, and loses again – leaping from rock to rock, from leaf to leaf, from wave to wave – glowing, or flashing, or scintillating, according to what it strikes, or in its holier moods, absorbing and enfolding all things in the deep fullness of its repose, and then again losing itself in bewilderment, and doubt, and dimness; or perishing and passing away, entangled in drifting mist, or melted into melancholy air, but still – kindling, or declining, sparkling or still, – it is the living light, which breathes in its deepest, most entranced rest, which sleeps, but never dies.
What is the process for your paintings?
My pieces do not begin with an emptiness, a nothingness. Although I start on a white canvas, my pictures begin to take from on the first layer using such materials as the mortar or soil. The surface is already alive, there is no beginning, no birth of the image – everything is an additive process. My method is very process-oriented and yet intuitively driven, as I approach the canvas without any given plan. My intention is to keep the work open and alive, in order to give it spontaneity, and free space to grow.
A fundamental aspect are my photographs, which I am constantly collecting. The curiosity for cultures as well as the enthusiasm for the diversity of nature arose from the diversity of the places where I grew up.
What is your preferred medium you use?
In my work, I use methods that create a collage by layering and blending different materials. I combine acrylic painting with materials such as reused varnish, earth or mortar. For me the natural materials create, a depth that reflects emotions and ultimately breathes life into my pictures. I experimented for years with reactions of different colors and paints in layers. These react best with acrylic paint, which is why it is the basis of my pictures.
What is your opinion on the art market at the moment? Do you find it a challenging industry? What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
It is for sure a challenge not to drown in this world- in the end it`s a tough business and people unfortunately forget it is about business and sadly not enough about the art behind. I think the art market is going through a major upheaval. The outdated concept of gallery trading is changing. Artists are more in control of their situation. We’ll see how things go after the pandemic, but I’m sure the market will end up developing in favor of the artists in the long term.
Do you have any advice for artists wanting to be represented by galleries or any advice for any one beginning their art career?
Try not to worry too much. If you work hard opportunities will come.
Did you study at art school? If not, where did you study and what?
I lived in England for four years, did my IB and Art School at Sidcot School.
What inspires you in your work?
Growing up between mountain landscapes, island life and in cities aroused my fascination with nature as well as the urban. I hold these observations photographically, I act as a tourist in my own life, historian of my being in this world. The images are generated through my visual sensibilities: places I’ve been to, things I’ve seen, people I’ve met. This is my attempt to let the past flow into the future.
Often I use the bird’s-eye view for my photographs, which makes the motif smaller, insignificant and powerless. Buildings, objects and landscapes are minimized and the eye is given the chance to take on the big picture.
How do you manoeuvre through your industry?
I try to stick to myself not losing who I am.
Do you have a routine on a day to day?
Not really as I am a freedom-loving person. Also my days change from exhibitions to studio time…