DORA: Artist Conversations

KOLT’s next production, ADORATION OF DORA, is about surrealist photographer and artist Dora Maar. It revolves around her essential dilemma: being an artist in her own right and finding her own artistic voice; versus being the muse of one of the most revered creative geniuses of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, and having her identity compromised by his vision of her.
As we move into these themes, we wanted to reach out to some of the female visual artists in the local scene and get their insight on questions of identity, finding your own unique viewpoint and expressing it in your art, and the rewards and pitfalls of being a woman in this vibrant art community.

Artist Maureen Hood

Our first artist is Maureen Hood. Maureen Hood takes collage to a new level. Each painterly vignette hints of an intimate relationship taken from a snapshot of common experience. Hood’s fragmented characters illicit recognition and identification in the viewer sparking an emotional response. Breaking up the moment into smaller, contrasting images, Hood forces the subtle re-examination of the viewer’s primal connection with the image. We are left with our own thoughts – – is it a metaphor or parody?

“I like to play against the traditional reaction to a typical, ordinary human event by placing that event in a slightly different context. What results depends upon the observer’s personal experience and response to the event and its new perspective.” ~ Maureen Hood

A native Californian, Hood received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Studio from the University of California at Davis, studying with Robert Arneson and William Wiley. She continued her studies, earning a Master’s Degree in Art with a Mixed Media focus, at California State University, Sacramento, tutored by William Allan and Jack Ogden.  Technically inspired by the works of Romare Bearden, she draws emotional strength from her own experience and her relationship with the natural environment. Hood’s work has been exhibited throughout the State and is owned by private and corporate collectors nationwide.

Maureen’s work can be seen at Sacramento Temporary Contemporary Gallery and Archival Gallery, Sacramento, California, and Artize Gallery in Palm Springs, California

1. What type of art do you create? What themes does your work usually touch on?
I work in mixed media, usually two dimensional, but sometimes three. My work is also mostly figurative.
2. What has your artistic journey been like up to this point? What has been your proudest achievement? What has been your biggest challenge?
My journey has been nothing unusual because I realized at a very early age that I wanted to be an artist and that’s all I have ever done so it seems quite normal for me. It’s hard for me to find a “proudest moment” but I guess that I would have to put that one in with the “biggest challenge” category. When I finally realized that I could not measure success by the number of art sales, what gallery carried my work, or how many write ups I got, all of which I saw as my greatest challenges, I think I experienced my proudest moment, that being that no matter what, I would always make art if for no other reason than that’s what I’m supposed to do. That freeing moment can’t be measured only continued.
3. In Adoration of Dora, the role of Dora Maar is actually played by two actresses. One is Dora, the ego, consumed by the need to be seen and adored. The other is Maar, the id, who acts as Dora’s inner voice and inner critic, pushing her to create her own work despite Picasso’s involvement in her life. How does your inner voice/inner critic articulate itself while you are working? Is it a positive or negative influence?
I think my inner voice is active all the time I’m making art, from conception to completion. Sometimes it becomes so obsessive that I need to shut it up and start over. Ha! I’m constantly in conversation with myself about the work, debating over color, textures….all those compositional elements all the while trying to balance the emotional and intellectual components of each piece.
4. How has being a woman altered your perspective on being an artist? Are there difficulties you have faced as an artist solely because of your gender?
Being a woman has not really affected my perspective about being an artist. I think that I was fortunate to embark on my path when views about women in many fields, especially art, were changing from the male-dominated ab ex environment of the 1950’s. I’ve also been fortunate that those closest to me, my parents and siblings, friends, and husband, have always supported what I do. There was never that “well, you won’t make any money being an artist” sort of conversation.
Art for me is like a meditative state. The idea is not to get too high or too low. Not to let the world affect what you know you are destined to do until you die. It has taken me many years to get to this point. It allows me to be free enough to create and communicate with others through my work. It gives me clarity of mind and soul. That’s probably pretty boring. I don’t have any stories about fighting my way to the top by hounding galleries to carry my work, pushing my images incessantly at art critics, or sleeping with my college professors (although I did tell Robert Arneson to fuck off when he said my work was too timid).
5. Have you ever sat or been depicted by another artist? If so, what was that experience like?
No, I have never been depicted by another artist. Now that might be fun. I just have to find someone to do it!

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~ by KOLT Run Creations on October 6, 2015.

One Response to “DORA: Artist Conversations”

  1. […] week, we began our Artist Conversations series of blogposts with visual artist and collagist Maureen Hood. This week, we are continuing our series of conversations with local female artists by sitting down […]

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