Saturday, July 7, 2007

Recess with Therese Mastroiacovo

“Alarm bells are ringing, Willie.”
Grab your umbrella, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the torrential art downpour of "Recess," part of Mercer Union Hall where exhibiting Mercer artists reflect on their work after (and if we're on top of it, during) each exhibition.

A while back I sat down with artist Therese Mastroiacovo to talk about her exhibition in the front gallery...

The exhibition holds two main elements, one being the balloon, and the other being the installation of drawings on the opposite wall. While the balloons quite literally spell out the word, “now” (pictured) while the drawings take a more subtle approach in documenting the word and its use over the past few decades.

Mastroiacovo has taken magazine covers and dutifully reproduced them in pencil drawings, making sure to include the word “now” as a central theme, a term used widely in art magazines, either in titles or in cover stories.

CT: So, which was conceived first? The idea for the balloons, or the drawings?

TM: The balloons kind of came about as I was doing the drawings, so I suppose it’s safe to say that the drawings came first. They were gradually conceived and drawn between 2005-2007…

CT: It’s interesting that these two variations represent a timeline in different ways.

TM: The balloons are definitely a more physical approach to dealing with time than the drawings. The material used (silver mylar) will droop and sag over the course of the exhibition, while the drawing represent a large span of time based on their dates. The years aren’t always shown in the drawings, but I think it’s important to remember that the word “now” has been used in a contemporary art context for three, almost four decades.

CT: Were you aware of how comical the balloons would be? Balloons automatically spell fun.

TM: (laughs) Yeah, they definitely have their own character. It’s the same with each drawing, in a way, but the balloons have their own personalities, especially in their potential to sag…

CT: The drawings are primarily of magazine covers, was there a specific editing process as you were drawing them? In some cases they’re cut off or look as though they’ve been altered (apart from the actual drawing).

TM: There weren’t any specific guidelines, but in some cases I completely omitted the artwork. I also purposefully added the date if it wasn’t shown close to the title or logo of the publication.

CT: Did you focus on any country in particular?

TM: No, the magazines came from all over the world. In many cases, they’re also translated, but getting a global perspective on the use of “now” as it’s used in Japan as well as The Netherlands is important. By drawing them it shows a greater perspective of how we use language in contemporary culture.

And finally, I had asked Therese to respond to this video as my “idiot last question”. Unfortunately, there was a lack in communiqué after our interview and for whatever reason, she didn’t end up letting me know. (Perhaps it was a silly inquiry? Most likely.)

Therese Mastroiacovo's work was shown April - May 2007 in Mercer's front gallery.

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