Barbara Ellmerer's Dream Visuals
Barbara Ellmerer is a Swiss based painter who pours the visuals of her encounters with dream creatures and objects through a screen of meaningful chance and a contemporary style of painting. Barbara paints objects of her subconscious manifestations with the unconstrained flip of her wrist and a surreal connection with her color pallet. Barbara's conversation flows between plants, insects, and the sensuality of being human.
Barbara is represented by the Margit Haldemann Gallery and has done various projects with other artists for the Journal of Art, Sex, and Mathematics. She also has a regularly updated blog at www.journalfuerkunstsexundmathematik.ch
The following is Barbara's interview with Allyson Thompson, Reality Sandwich contributing editor:1. What's your personal mantra?
Starting the process of an artistic output means taking oneself out of all day- business. There are several ways to reach this state. One of them is Hypnopomp, the state of consciousness leading out of sleep. In this transition phase, I can see wondrous things; make dreamlike encounters – which vanish quickly, however. In the painting process, I try to grasp these encounters without trying to hold on to them but rather letting them float. The painting therefore evolves in a state in which I let different things happen freely, e.g. the dynamics of the colour choice and the fights of which Deleuze is talking.
2. What does the role of Artist mean to you?
For instance, I ask myself, how should I depict something abstract, like the bio transmitters of a plant as a distinctly shaped, precisely defined artistic form?
Making invisible or microscopic forms visible on the canvas means to sense them, to feel them. It also means to paint these forces.
Paradoxical plants, voracious carnivores and transient luminescences get layered on the visual medium alongside each other to help me get to the root of the plant’s transmitters, the neurotransmitting abilities of medicinal plants and magic mushrooms.
I find it interesting to elaborate on plant forms, to invent them, create structures that nature could have made but which scientifically do not exist in nature (yet) and that cannot be assigned to any distinct category. I see art as an experiential possibility and through it, gradually, a kind of synthesized biology emerges.
3. What is the driving force behind your creativity?
To have the freedom to choose, where to put my focus on. E.g to do this painter's research on the perception of a visual phenomenon. With the series of paintings “Synthetic biology”I am delving into the invisible forces and some still unexplained phenomena of the plant world. I am fascinated by the creative forces of cells, by the genes for growth. I am fascinated by the phenomenon of luminescence, by the healing powers of plants, just as I am fascinated by the lethalness of many mushrooms or those that contain hallucinogenic substances. There is a theory that the legendary Soma was derived from the fly-agaric.
4. What transformative experiences have influenced your life and how has that manifested in your work?
One of the greatest adventures means the use of our eye. In my painting, this approach takes on two radically opposed forms. In the case of the plant, mushroom, and insect paintings, the painting becomes pasty, expressive, explosive. In the case of the "light" paintings, to which the "Soma-Drawings” belong, it becomes fine, gentle, delicate. Here, with regard to colour, I look for maximum reduction by absence: by reduction of colour, of material applied to the canvas. Thus, when viewed, the image data seem to be floating. As a result, I move in front of the canvas and collect as many data as possible to stimulate or satisfy the eye or the brain. The information still remains elusive.
5. How long does it take you on average to complete a piece of work, and do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
How much colour or how little, at the other extreme, will a painting tolerate? What is real matter on it, and what has already been imagined by me as the beholder? Colour, only made visible by light, is seducing, arouses the desire to precisely seize an image object. These questions have been developed over the years. So, one could say, that it has been taken years to complete one piece of work.
6. Why should people check out your work?
Isn’t this answered above?
7. How does your work affect Consciousness, and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
I wish I would have time to answer this in detail this big question, but this would take much time away from painting. So please allow me to skip this answer.