Encounter with Felicitas von Gruben

European artist Felicitas von Gruben will be displaying her artwork entitled Encounters for two showings in November and December at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA.


I recently sat down for coffee and delicious homemade muffins (made by the artist herself) with Felicitas and her interpreter to discuss her upcoming show presented by the Young Poets Society at Beyond Baroque.



"All my paintings are a culmination of me, a consummation of my process, and my 12 years as a painter as well as my entire life.

I've brought 32 of my larger paintings, 'my children' with me to L.A.
'My babies' the smaller ones I left home in Germany. I currently have 25 of them on exhibit at Schinckels-Tish Gallery in Hamburg. http://www.schinkels-tisch.de


In addition to the paintings I have also brought photographs with me. They are my "Footprint Series" called Encounters. These are photographs of actual unaltered footprints in the sand," conveyed Felicitas.




When I asked to describe her work she mused,"I would like you to find your inner child if you look at my paintings. You should be open to your imagination. The paintings are meant to activate and inspire your imagination. Look at them like a child would with an open mind. This is how I also work. It is a never-ending process. Every time my work looks different and every time I find something different in my paintings. Even with the last stroke it will not be finished. So, when I observe my paintings, I'll take a break and hang them on the wall and observe them for two or three days or even a month. As I look at them, I think about a new way of working with them. It is a work between the canvas and myself. It is really private and personal. So, what I want to say with my paintings is that it is for the person who looks at the paintings. I want them to find their own story in the paintings. I think they work without an explanation. I always try to find a new way of working with the materials and colors - to put them together in ways other artists don't. To combine them to create a new form and artistic vision."

How do you choose a subject?

"There are two ways I start the creative process. One is to start with an empty canvas and the ideas come as you are working - they sort of develop as you go along. The other way is to have a subject already in mind. I have included examples of both of these styles in my show at Beyond Baroque.

My abstract art is an example of the first way: I work with a canvas and the subject is the colors, the transparencies that are created and the materials. They are not titled so you can find your own story in
the paintings.

My photographs 'Footprints in the Sand' are the second way. They are literally a new step for me. I could continue just painting but these photos are a subject I chose. They are an interpretation of different encounters. Almost a dance between the feet and shoeprints in the sand. The next step for me is an ongoing process, currently happening at the moment. I am trying to find a way which combines both the paintings and the photography. I will be showing this new developing encounter and journey at Beyond Baroque along with the other two styles. It is important to me that one sees both the paintings and photography differently. You may wonder why I am doing both types of art: it is because I am always in the process of finding a new way of seeing. To collect styles, the painting and the photos, to connect the two together."



When you are painting how do you select your colors and materials?

"It is just something inside of me coming out. What I have done the day before is in my head. It is another form of speaking that's coming out and I want to touch the other person with my paintings."


Tell us a little about your past.

"I don't like to talk about my past because it's not important. It's the past. I live here and now.
When I was a child every time I wanted to say something I painted and I made fantasy books for my mother. I painted a lot as a child and made a lot of things with colors. My mother was a great painter - very
artistic, musical and she also worked as photographer in the 50's. I didn't speak until I was four or five. I understood everything but I didn't feel like answering. I had three older sisters who talked a lot. I thought OK I can speak with my eyes and they understand me. So instead of speaking, I painted.  When I think about being a child and painting, I think about the beginning of the book 'The Little Prince'. When I was a child and painted something, for me it was a snake and for others it was a hat, just like for the little Prince."

Why have you chosen the title Encounters for this show?

"Again, I wanted to show the way I work between my painting and photography. The last two years of my life there has been a lot of change for me. So for me Encounters is about new people, my art, about how I think and how I work with my paintings. I've had a lot of encounters with people and other artists. I decided to take a step and take another step, thus the photos. And now there's the encounter between the paintings
that I have done and what I will do next.  It's even a kind of encounter to stay here in L.A. for three months. And it is giving me a lot for my art and for my artist's life. I think sometimes we have to go out to make a new experience and find new ways so it is a never-ending story.  I could not make a copy of my paintings, every painting is always unique."

Felicitas von Gruben was born 1968 in Stade, Germany and received her Master's Degree with highest honors at the prestigious Academie Charpentier in Paris. In the following years, she dedicated herself not only to photography and abstract painting, but also was Junior Art Director for the re-known advertising company David Ogilvy & Mather in Berlin. After leaving Oglivy & Mather, Felicitas concentrated on her artistic bent and began exhibiting and selling her works successfully in various major German cities. She also furthered her formal art training  by attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg as a student of the internationally acclaimed  Prof. Werner Büttner and Anna Gudjonsdotir.

 As an artist Felicitas works with a variety of materials, including colored chalks and pigments, charcoal and structural elements, which are worked into the canvas. Her artistic concept primarily deals with color schemes, structures, lines and forms. The color technique and materials are brought together so that a new form of imagery is created. The paintings contain no titles so that the viewer can let his/her personal thoughts unfold.


Felicitas artwork Encounters is being presented by the Young Poets Society at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA.

Thursday, November 18, 2004
Thursday December 2, 2004.

7 pm - 10 pm.

Beyond Baroque
681 Venice Blvd.
Venice CA 90291

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