IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHELE SUMMERS

Wave Form

Wave Form

Interview with Esther Boehm

THIS YEAR WE FELT VERY PRIVILEGED TO HAVE VERONICA SEKULES OF GROUNDWORK GALLERY SELECT THE BEST IN SHOW (SYD DAVISON CUP) AT THE SUMMER EXHIBITION. SHE CHOSE YOUR WORK. HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
I was very surprised and it felt great to have my work chosen. It had been quite a struggle to get the pieces finished as I had a few false starts with the resin work. The precision needed with the technical side was at odds with the energy I wanted to portray in the work. The prize felt like a reward for my persistence!

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START WORKING ARTISTICALLY?
It’s happened gradually as although I have always enjoyed being creative, I had no artistic background. In the early years I went to classes with Helena Anderson (who has encouraged so many local people to improve their art). I was also interested in textiles and weaving. I made my daughters wedding dress to a design she had seen which was a huge creative challenge. It wasn’t until I went to college that I was able to give more time to artistic expression.

WHAT DID YOUR ACCESS COURSE AT THE COLLEGE OF WEST ANGLIA GIVE YOU ON THE WAY TO YOUR ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT?
The course gave me a freedom to experiment and develop, materials to play with along with technical know how. It introduced me to different ways to look at work and gain more understanding of the evolution of art. It gave me feedback, guidance and confidence. As it was a course for mature students we were a mixed bunch. I really enjoyed the company and differing approaches of the people on the course, both students and tutors.

WHAT IMPRESSES ABOUT YOUR WORK, IS YOUR EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH AND YOUR WILLINGNESS TO TRY NEW THINGS. DOES THIS GO BACK TO A NATURAL CURIOSITY?
Or perhaps a low boredom threshold -or perhaps a combination of both. I do get sidetracked and like to follow down a path to see where it leads. Then sometimes I can double back to combine something new with a tried and tested technique.

YOU ALSO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW MEDIA. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PHOTOCOPY PRINTS.
This is something I go back to occasionally, especially if I have taken a photo I think would be interesting. Using acrylic mediums to print my photos or fragments of them onto board or paper I combine with painting and collage. This has become more interesting with the advent of apps which make it simple and fun to alter digital photos. Printing with ink jet prints, sometimes the ink runs and you don’t know how much of the print is going to remain after soaking and rubbing the paper off which adds to the fun.

THE WORK YOU DID FOR THE SUMMER EXHIBITION STARTED WITH A FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR WORK THROUGH THE USE OF RESIN. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS PROCESS AND HOW DOES IT HELP YOUR VISUAL LANGUAGE?
It started with my interest in acrylic mediums and some work I did combining pouring mediums and oils and alcohol. (The alcohol was mixed with medium although a glass of wine does sometimes help the creative process!). In roaming through youtube looking for some info about oil ratios I discovered artists using resin. As I had the stands and drip tray and gloves etc. for the acrylic pouring I bought a small amount of resin to try it. While it is the most infuriating, sticky, difficult stuff to work with, it didn’t take long before I had saved up and bought some more. Combining it with the acrylic underpainting allows me to express energy and movement while the resin adds depth and that edge of unpredictability.

YOU’VE ALSO DONE SOME 3 DIMENSIONAL WORK. IS THIS AN AVENUE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO PURSUE?
In college I was pushed to try things I would never have otherwise considered such as begging building blocks from the builders which I glued together and then carved. I have since gone on to do some stone carving and it is a skill I would like to develop further. I have also explored using textiles and ceramics to make large 3D pieces. Sometimes I also like to bring a 3 dimensional aspect to pieces by using a thicker frame which is incorporated as part of the piece. Using the resin to make pieces that are more 3 dimensional is something I am exploring.

Michele in her studio.

One of my ambitions for 2018 is to have a studio rather than the small room where I work now to so I can extend the creative processes.

Contact Michele at michele37@mac.com

In her article Trip to Paradise Island Michele talks about the use of photography apps.