“Dinner with an Artist” was inspired by the many dinners ANNE REED GALLERY‘s owner, Barbi Reed, has had the pleasure of enjoying with gallery artists over the years. It was during these dinners that the conversation twisted and turned to the delight of all sitting around the table. There was no more perfect way to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of artist, collectors, and staff after the intensity of curating, preparing for, and installing an exhibition. Today, we invite you to this virtual dinner table conversation with Cheryl Warrick to discuss her current exhibition: Visual Dance.
ARG: What early influences sparked your interest in art and becoming an artist?
CW: I remember watching my father draw and sketch on napkins and the papers that were in front of him on his desk. He would never describe himself an artist. He was a Retired Army Lt Col. and was very organized and thoughtful with everything. I thought his drawings were amazing. They were like watching his brain at work. Drawing was how he figured things out. My sister is also an artist. I can remember watching her creating small figurative sculptures of wax and wire coat hangers. I started drawing in middle school. I drew the figure mostly. I would pull out my sketch pad and draw everyone as they watched tv at night.
ARG: Your paintings contain many symbols that you have mentioned are important to the viewers’ “continued exploration” of your works. We notice some symbols recur in your works, such as boats, trees, ladders and even teapots. Can you explain what some of these symbols mean to you and why you choose to include them in your paintings?
CW: I think of these images as archetypes. We all know something about these objects, either on a personal note or as a symbol that represents the opening to a deeper story. We all know something about an empty chair. It could be about loss or about someone who will fill that seat in the future. Two empty chairs may imply a conversation. I am not really fixed on a meaning, and everyone will always have a different response when they see these images.
ARG: Besides iconography, you are also clearly drawn to landscapes, including your new series of acrylic works on paper featured on our sister site ARTprojectA. Are these specific landscapes or landscapes that are made-up, fabricated?
CW: I invent my landscapes. They are also about symbolic associations. We are all living with a sky above us and the earth under foot. I paint from what I call “internal knowing” and I invite the viewer to complete the painting by bringing their own meaning and interpretation to what they see. There are often, hills, valleys, waters to cross, stormy skies, bare trees or densely filled horizons. Some places seem a stone’s throw away, while others are much farther off.
ARG: In some of your works you use materials other than paint such as bits of found paper. Where do you find these materials and why do you choose to incorporate them in your paintings?
CW: I love bits of scrapbooking paper, old maps, found letters, and ledgers. Almost anything. I love putting found papers down as a way to begin. I cover them up and then they begin to form a texture and history in the work.
ARG: Do you have any current or historical role models who inspire you?
CW: I have a great appreciation for many artists and kinds of art. I am a big fan of the landscape paintings by J.M.W. Turner. They always seemed so contemporary. I also love the the work of a group of women quilt makers from Gee Bend Alabama. The improvisation, texture and movement in these quilts are really beautiful.
ARG: Have you encountered any obstacles you’ve had to over come in the art world? And if so, what advice would you offer other aspiring artists?
CW: I think all artists have obstacles from time to time. The first and most important thing in my mind is always self compassion. We are taught to take great care of our brushes and art materials, but our first tool is ourselves. It starts with being present with yourself and allowing what is there to be there. Meeting yourself as a creative person on a journey that is not linear is a real challenge. It requires radical acceptance and cultivating a practice of inner dialog that is kind. I suggest spending a lot of time in nature, that really helps.
CW: Yes, especially lately. The recent bombings at the Marathon were horrific and tragic. There are so many brave, kind people that helped one another on that day, and the days that followed. It was truly inspiring. This is a great city, alive with a vibrant caring community, culture and of course, wonderful art.
CW: I have a small studio in the SOWA district of Boston. The building used to be a whiskey factory and has been artists studios since the 80’s. The floors are sloped from the weight of the whisky barrels. There are 20 or so artists in the building. It is rather old and creaky, but it works!
ARG: Just for fun, Do you listen to music or the radio when you paint? If so, can you tell us what you listen to.
CW: I always have my ipod on..I’m a big fan of musical compilations. I listen to anything from Love is My Religon by Ziggy Marley to anything Bill Evans and everything you can imagine in between.
CW: I have no idea, I am just grateful to pick up the paint brush and paint! When I look back over more than 20 years of facing the blank canvas, something always comes. Creative life is a beautiful dance with faith, trust and action.
ARG: Thanks, Cheryl. We’ve so enjoyed sharing a conversation over a “virtual dinner” with you and look forward to more time with you in the future. Cheers!