Artist Q&A with Lenora Rosenfield
Lenora was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil and in the last 20 years she is painting in a new fresco procedure, she created made of synthetic materials for building constructions, one of her researches.
How did you become a professional artist?
I think art chose me, because I never thought of something else seriously. Everything I thought since I was a little child was related to art.
When is a piece finished for you?
There is something in my body that tells me to stop. I have a feeling of being full, like after I had a big and great meal.
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
As a teenager I was first influence by Hieronymus Bosch, after by the expressionist like Goya that I conceder one of the first expressionist, and later Van Gogh. In Brazil I was very influenced by Ibere Camargo, by his brush strokes freedom to paint). American artists I was very inspired by Eva Hesse, the way she thought about art, and Robert Morris’ wool felt. Since I started to work with maps, I realized how I was also inspired by my travels and my grandparents that came from four different countries: Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Turkey. I met them all and the first one died when I was 20 years old. I was always very curious about them, how they got to Brazil and how was their lives before. I am very influence by that. I love to know my own and the human being origins, about the cave man and all the layers, what came first, and that research never ends. It is difficult to tell about my inspirations in my new work, because all is a process and a combination of moments and research that are linked.
What is different about your current body of work from previous work?
Lately I am working with planisphere and exploring my DNA map as well other kids of maps. During the pandemic I worked with the sky view I had looking through the glass ceiling in my studio. Some of these painting were included in the exhibit “When Night Falls” at Lichtundfire, NYC, this past summer. In parallel in 2018 I also worked on a tactile painting exhibition for blind people with the synthetic fresco process I described above. I made paintings to be touched and felt with hands. This exhibition aimed to provide the visuslly impaired access to the arts through tact, and to allow seers) to have the experience as the visually impaired do.The exibition is composed by the translation of ten different works of artists who have participate in previous editions of the Mercosul Bienal, along with a work of mine, in a dialogue among the various continental and visual worlds that are coasted by the Atlantic Ocean. Nine of them are arranged between two maps of my own and the others, including A Negra by Tarsila do Amaral.In addition to the tactile possibility, the public is able to explore the works bymeans of technology, that is by wearing gloves with sensors of sounds capable to interpret the color of the surface of the works. This comes from a valuable partnership with ThoughtWorks creative Technology Consultants Company.
How is your work different than everything else out there?
I think my work is very related to art history, new material, and procedures. I paint on a synthetic felt as a support with a synthetic fresco technique, something no one tried before here. My goal in this research was to keep the old fresco tradition with pigment and water on fresh plaster. Besides the synthetic materials, I paint on a support that I can move wherever I want. This technique I tested the resistence of its materials indoors and outdoors.
Tell us about a few of your career highlights or moments that greatly affected your career?
When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I told my mother that I wanted to be a visual Artist and I wanted to go to an art school. My mother put me in an art school for children. That had a big impact because it changed my life. I felt free and found a goal since then. People were impressed by most of the things I made. From that I was impressed myself because I did not have any expectations to make people like what I was doing. And I still do not. When I was 18 I got a scholarship in an exchange program and went to New York. I took art courses at the New School. That again changed my life inside me. In the end of the year I was chosen to represent my class in an exhibition in the school. That was an honor because I was a child compared to the others in the class. I had two great teachers: Joseph Stefanelli and Donald Stacy. Besides that, I lived 3 years in Florence, I was an intern at the Fogg Art Museum, and living in different cultures affected me very much.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out today?
My advice is to have a lot of information, go to the museums and galleries, and work a lot. Always keep your mind open for new things and information.
Who are some of your favorite under-appreciated artists that you don’t think get enough attention?
To learn more about Lenora and see her work, please visit www.LenoraRosenfield.com.