Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finding Kinship With Serbia and Iowa:

An Interview with Kristina Bogdanov and Jeff Nilan
about their exhibition at the City Art Center

The show is called PAPER. What discoveries did you make about the medium of paper?

JEFF: I discovered that paper is stronger than it looks, especially when it is woven, or made into a three dimensional structure.

KRISTINA: Paper for me has some qualities like clay. It can be quite malleable, yet very light compared to clay pieces. The very long ladders were made out of edges of printmaking paper I’d collected over the years and did not want to throw away nor draw on, so I used them as a building structure, trying to reference the layers of fiber in wood.

How did your collaboration come about?

KRISTINA: We sort of always wanted to make a show together, even with our traditional mediums -- I use a lot of photographic transfers on clay, and he wanted to cast in porcelain some wood pieces. It just happened that we did the paper show first, because we both love the paper medium so much. Even though we were not in contact about the show for almost two months during the summer, we both just worked on our pieces and it was amazing --almost shocking--that the work we created was so close and connected.

JEFF: Kristina and I have always responded to each other’s work. We feel a kinship in relation to the colors, surface textures, and patina of rural vernacular structures. Traveling with Kristina and her family to Serbia a few years ago, she and I found that we were often responding to the same things. I was able to relate a lot of what I was seeing to the things I am familiar with in rural Iowa. I think it was at that time that we began talking about having a show together.

What advice do you have for an artist who wants to experiment with making art in a style/
medium/genre outside of their traditional background?

JEFF: I hesitate to give advice to other artists, but would imagine that if they have an itch to try something outside of their comfort zone, eventually they will probably need to scratch it.

KRISTINA: I really have one piece of advice: just make it happen, do it, follow your interest and instincts. I do not think a master is determined by the medium, rather he/she chooses and fits the mediums to the vision and expression. I paint, print, and sculpt with both paper and clay, so it is really what I am interested in as a theme, as a subject matter that occupies me to resolve or tell a story about, the mediums just sort of come along.

To hear more and ask questions, come out for Kristina and Jeff’s informal Artist Talk on Friday, September 28 at 7pm. City Art Center is located at 22 E. Winter Street in downtown Delaware.