Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Meet Your Maker: Fran Van Riemsdyk

Fran, you have been producing art for almost 40 years. How has your art and your art practice changed in this time?

Well…not quite forty years but it has been quite a while. My work has shifted and changed along side my own experiences but since the late 1980’s the strongest influence on the way I make work has been the ability to access computer technology. I didn’t have the first mac ever made, but I think I came close to having the second.

You have lectured in Digital Imaging and it featured repeatedly in your own work. What part does technology play in your art?

I have always worked with digital imaging in relationship to traditional studio practice. Using technology is the way I produce most of my work.
The visual images we experience each day generally come from a computer using standard imaging software. I use this same process to create works that visually interlink with the types of images we see everyday but offer different readings.

Does technology bring freedom to your work or force you towards perfection?

I use computer software in the same way as I would use any other art making material or process ie. as a tool. Although using the computer is quite a contemporary way of making art, I use it in a very traditional way. I will often spend days or weeks pulling an image to pieces to understand how it works in order to change it. Having said that, it certainly is extremely easy and quick to create certain types of images. The freedom it brings to the work is the ability to go through a multitude of visual possibilities in a relatively short period of time.

Of a Dutch/Indonesian background and having worked in Hong Kong, along with your life in Australia, means you have been privy to many different cultures. What have you taken from your experiences?

Most of the people around me come from a multicultural background so it has always seemed natural for me to be informed by different cultural bits and pieces. The work I am showing in Stockroom has its roots in my father’s history. He was trained as a horticulturalist in pre ww2 Holland and his education was rigorous and exacting. He helped me establish my own garden and I loved his clarity and attention to detail.

Is there a recurring theme in your work? What motivates you to create?

For the past 20 or so years I have been interested in how the viewer creates meaning from what they see and how this is informed by their own belief systems. My art work investigates how visual strategies used in areas such as science, or business can be applied to Fine Art to create readings that traverse both areas.

The project I am currently working on is slightly different in that it contains actual objects. This work forms part of an ongoing project which examines the role of the constructed natural environment as found in the suburban garden and how this role connects to social and cultural beliefs/behavior concerning the natural world.

How do you use space? And how do you intend to use the Stockroom space?

Generally when I have a show I consider the space first then make work that will discuss both my ideas and the space together. When I first saw Stockroom I was very excited about the concrete plinth in relation to a project that I am currently working on. The plinth is like a mini stage in a building that reveals its history both in its internal structure (particularly the brick walls) and in its location. The work that I am showing investigates ideas related to the constructed suburban garden, so Kyneton is an ideal place to exhibit this work as it sits within the country but still has strong links to the city.

After 40 years do you still get excited about new artist spaces and a new show?

Yes!!!! Each new space is just as exciting as the last.

What do you hope that we take from ‘Here With You’?

This will be a new work that consists of a series of rose cuttings and a diagram. Through the use of numbers the viewer is encouraged to mentally reconstruct the parts. Each viewer will bring their own experience and logic to this.