Welcome back to our continued series, ONLINE → IN HOME. This week, we feature Boston based Artist, Georganna Greene. We asked Georganna some questions to learn more about her and how the current state of the world has affected her life. Georganna is a Nashville native, a supremely talented and successful emerging painter and all around good human that we are glad to know and share with you...
Red Arrow: We’ve been working together since late 2017 and you’ve had two quite successful solo shows with us. You’re now in Grad School and taking a break from exhibitions. Please tell us more about your school and how your practice has grown and perhaps changed?
GEORGANNA: I am about to enter my second year of Boston University's MFA Painting program. The main things I am delving into in grad school are twofold: logistics around my day-to-day studio operations and narrowing my attention to topics that seem to comprise the core of my work (or what I find myself thinking about the most) such as fragmented stories, erosion of memory, and time as an agent of healing. I am witnessing shifts in my language and material as a painter that have opened up new possibilities. I try to move deeper with fewer elements as opposed to working "laterally" -knowing when it's time to experiment and when it's time to commit to something partially known in the hopes of uncovering a deeper significance and learning through that experience. I think that the changes in my thinking about painting are slowly manifesting in the work like seeds planted, young stems starting to emerge from the soil. Although, I still feel like the work is very "me."
Red Arrow: How has adjusting to a new City, Boston, while also adjusting to a global pandemic, affected you? Did you have a chance to settle in a bit before the world turned upside down?
GEORGANNA: Very fortunately, I did have about 7 months to find a rhythm in Boston before the pandemic really hit in March. I had established a community with my cohort and reached enough "a-ha" moments in the studio to keep that creative momentum going through the spring semester. Like every other higher-ed student around the globe, we all had to adjust to working from home and conducting research without a grad studio. This, and knowing what was going on in the world, was all very difficult, but in some ways it challenged us to think about our practices in a "long-term" sense and became less about performing for critiques, etc.. I found it to be productive, solitary time for creating, struggling, and processing the world-wide tension.
Red Arrow: Your voice ranges from plein air and landscape works to experimental and multi-layered abstraction. I recall many times, viewing a WIP during a studio visit and then not recognizing the piece on the next visit. Please explain the materials you use and process of beginning and completing a piece. Are the plein air/landscape works a faster process to resolve than an abstract piece?
GEORGANNA: I have such fond memories from our studio visits! This question is something that I am thinking about a lot right now. When is a painting finished? How does one stay on a singular path while making a painting? When it is "right" to diverge from that path, and how do you find your way back? My materials lately have been heavy on the acrylics and gel-mediums. With these, I am able to layer, process light and pigment in fragmented, isolated ways, and incorporate photo collage into the paintings. Collage has been paramount to me moving through ideas visually with a speed similar to how my brain processes. It's allowed me to "catch" up to my thoughts a bit more, if that makes sense. I have also continued to work in oils on panels and canvases, and I've found that, as always, abstraction strongly influences my sense of interpretation and representation. Coming back to drawing from life and interpreting the landscape after a season of painting in a less structured zone is an exciting moment that measures where I've been.
Red Arrow: What is the first thing you want to do or place you want to go when things level out a bit more?
GEORGANNA: I have been wanting to explore the New England coast a lot more - Acadia and various islands off of Massachusetts and Maine. I'm hoping to make my way north with my camera and take time to write, photograph, and draw.
Red Arrow: What do you listen to in the studio?
GEORGANNA: I have really specific needs when it comes to studio ambiance I've discovered, haha. A lot of times, movie scores, composers like Jon Brion or Jacob Collier, or instrumental music (I love traditional Hawaiian guitar for example) helps me create an open flow space. On some work days, I need powerhouse energy like Feist, Maggie Rogers, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor. For evening studio sessions, I will turn on Frank Ocean, The Internet, The Japanese House, H.E.R., something along those lines. And then for some reason, if I'm in a pinch and a bit desperate for creativity energy, it's always Radiohead. Just ---Radiohead (I don't know why!).
Red Arrow: What does a typical day for you look like these days?
GEORGANNA: We are still in quarantine up here in MA, except for grocery shopping and essential errands, or running the neighborhood. I find myself cooking a lot, reading, watching the occasional show with my roommates (we just finished Little Fires Everywhere), painting as often as I can, and working on some research for school. Currently reading: Late Migrations, Margaret Renkl; Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel; Living by Fiction, Annie Dillard...Then there is always a nice long list of recommended reading from professors, or my mom sends me something in the mail and it's always good.
Red Arrow: Do you plan to move back to Nashville once you’ve graduated?
GEORGANNA: I haven't really planned that far ahead yet, but Tennessee is home. I imagine I'll be back.
Red Arrow: 2020 has been quite a year so far. What do you do or reflect on to find peace and positivity during this time, that you could share with us?
GEORGANNA: Reading, prayer, and exercise have been paramount. They fuel my tank. It sounds really basic, but when I make myself get out and jog, walk a nature trail, write down my prayers or even a poem, it is a complete resetter. I've been having a lot of extensive conversations with friends, loved ones, peers around the layers of hurt, anger, and grief being experienced in communities of color, cities, and all over the country in the wake of the global health crisis. These discussions have been educational for me, and along with a painful dose of reality, have provided a strong sense of urgency and the right amount of hope needed to face the challenge and answer the call. Lastly, painting is a way to experience the world, through highs and lows. So that has remained.