Making abstractions concrete

There are certain pieces of artwork that truly speaks to their viewers due to the intricacies and delicate gestures that the artist conveys on canvas. For New York painter Joanne Greenbaum, the playful use of abstractions and shapes in space makes her work unique and, in many ways, unconventional. For these reasons, her work has been shown extensively across the world, including New York, Los Angeles and Switzerland.

Today at 4:30 p.m. in the Technocultural Studies Building, Greenbaum will continue the 2011-12 lecture series by talking about her work and experiences as an artist in the art world to date. The event is free and is open to the public.

There are certain characteristics that make Greenbaum’s work stand out. The use of lines and contemplation of solid color over soft shapes create a structural and architectural feel of space.

The creative process that Greenbaum takes to create these unique abstractions are characterized in the root of her drawing process.

“I’ve always drawn and have drawn a lot,” Greenbaum said. “At some point the drawings became the paintings – so I approach everything kind of like the drawing process, making common lines and forms monumentalized.”

As for the use of material overall, Greenbaum is known for using oil and acrylic. However, in her recent discoveries, the use of different materials can achieve different aesthetic appeals, which add a lot to her newer body of work.

“For the most part, I use traditional painting materials like oil and acrylic,” Greenbaum said. “But, lately, I have been using magic markers and fluorescent paints in my work, as well as some sprays. I like to combine all kinds of materials. When new things are introduced into the culture, I like to try them out. But, I still love oil [paint] the best.”

The Artist Lecture Series, presented by the UC Davis art studio program, has brought over a hundred different artists around the world in the past decade. Each artist has been chosen to help further the education of those interested in pursuing or understanding the art world better.

Kyle Dunn, a second year Master of Fine Arts candidate in the art studio graduate program, is in charge of organizing the lecture series this year.

“Greenbaum was chosen based on the quality of her work and the high level of achievement she has had in all aspects of her field,” Dunn said. “She has shown at very prestigious galleries and museums and has even had work on the album cover for popular bands like Wilco. I think her paintings display an amount playful sophistication that is exciting for younger crowds, artists and non-artists alike.”

Additionally, students will have a chance to directly talk to Greenbaum and ask her about her work in an informal atmosphere during and after the lecture.

“She’s an example of the sort of artists we bring to the series, engaged in the New York art scene, exhibiting internationally,” said Hearne Pardee, the art studio department chair. “She will meet with [graduate] students in their studios to discuss their work and more informally with other students.”

Finally, when asked what if she had any tips for aspiring artists at UC Davis, Greenbaum replied with the best of her abilities as an individual who reached success only by facing her own unique endeavors.

“Come to my lecture [today] because this is a huge question that I couldn’t possibly answer,” Greenbaum said. “My path was not the typical path, so if I have anything to say, it would be that not everyone is the same, and that some people will have early success, some late and some not at all. You can’t compare yourself to anyone, everyone is unique. And if you don’t keep working after school, that is ok too. But if it’s meant to be, you will find a way to make art no matter what.”

UYEN CAO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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