We've been enchanted by Andrea DeJong's paintings since February 2015 and are ecstatic to fiiiinaaaly have her in a show.
The paintings we selected for Malaise add to the show's general sense of unease with disorienting perspectives and mysterious figures. We promise you'll become as obsessed with her work as we are.
The show theme, Malaise, was created after artists submitted their work. How, if at all, do you think your work relates to the theme?
As far as the show theme you all chose and its relation to my work; it's an interesting word, and not one I can honestly say I try to emphasize. I'm interested in finding the boundaries between figuration and abstraction and perhaps discomfort happens at that place for others, but I guess I just look at it as something wonderful and fascinating. Something that, if you tilt your head too far to the left, you'll miss. I try to be an active observer of the world and its hidden sides.
I think "malaise" is an appropriate word for my current art practice however, haha. I've been traveling since I graduated from school, visiting these places that have inspired me so much from my midwestern studio and find them more amazing and untouchable than I could have thought. Honestly it's stopped me in my tracks a bit and only recently have I been able to find my way in through the cracks to dwell on quieter moments of wonder, where before, I feel like my work was all sweeping narrative and wild landscapes. Traveling has killed my imagination, but the reality is waaay better...for now.
Tell us about the time you spent in Iceland at the Gullkistan/Laugarvatn Residency? How did spending time there impact your work?
It's been a dream of mine forever to visit this island- maybe it's my Minnesotan roots, but the North is magic to me. Before moving to Korea in 2014 I was able to spend all of July living on a sheep farm-turned studio with a few other working artists. We were all different disciplines (a writer, two composers, a dancer, a jeweler, a professor, a poet, a painter) and from all over the world. Before coming here I'd drawn up a plan of everything I wanted to make- all of these large-scale epic paintings with glacial backgrounds, continuations of the body of work I had been building for the past year. Luckily all my supplies got stuck in the mail or I probably would have just blindly stumbled forward making these awful things. As it was, all I had with me was a camera and myself. So I just walked. All over the farm, up the nearby mountain, along the lake. Everything I saw convinced me that my direction was all wrong, I was trying to make my surroundings fit my ideas of them instead of me being the one to bend. Of course, I panicked, felt like I was a terrible artist, and probably cried a bit haha. Anyways, to make an incredibly long story short, I went the opposite of all my initial feelings and worked small. I focused on moments, on things my brain could wrap itself around, because if I stepped back and tried to include everything it would be a mess and it wouldn't do justice. I also made a ridiculous music video about Party Wolves with my friend Lauren Baines.
It's been the same experience I've had in Korea. I came with all these expectations and ideas about what I'd see and how I'd depict it and it just isn't that way. Places I felt would bring clarity to my work are ghosts when I'm there in person. I feel distance and difference and it's good no matter how annoying.
What is your process? How much of a painting is pre-planned how much is created as you work?
I'm tweaking it as I go. I work out of my apartment on a little table at the foot of my bed, with a big piece taped to my living room floor. I'm working in acrylic when I've only ever used oil before so I'm a little frustrated, but it's given me some surprises. I usually work from photographs or on-site sketches I've done. Mashing and filtering as I go. I'm trying to loosen up my lines and push the paint as far as I can while still telling my own versions of things. I take lots of walks.
For more Andrea DeJong go to her website and be sure to check out her sculptures while you're there!
images copyright of Andrea DeJong