Carol Powell And Airom Bleicher

We put the artists currently showing at Audis Fine Art on the doctor's couch

MIrage Potentiality, Airom Bleicher
Carol Powell and Airom Bleicher are two artists working in wildly different mediums that both create works dealing in the realm of psychology. While Powell's embroidered work is intensely personal and autobiographical in nature, Bleicher's paintings seek to delineate and channel certain universal psychological truths. Considering their current joint show at Audis Husar Fine Art in Beverly HIlls, it seemed only fitting that we should put them both on the couch...

Dazed Digital: Would you say that you share similar methodologies / ideals as artists?
Airom Bleicher:
Both of us have psychological elements in our work and both of us have a disregard for the high-low divide in the art world. In terms of methodology, the early stages of our work begin abstractly and fairly organically. Carol begins by collecting found fabrics then sewing them together to an abstract form. She responds to this form when coming up with her later stages. I start with abstract expressive painting and respond in a similar way. But continue this process of chaos and plan for several transparent layers until the very end. For Carol, the process becomes much more thought out and planned after the initial stage.
Carol Powell: There are similarities in the way we work the pieces with layers, but as far as information and techniques go, we're very different. My work is autobiographical. It is therapy. Everything that falls into the work is from the conscious and subconscious mind. Mine are layers of thinking from past and present, combined together to make a historical documentation of what is in my mind, some of which is truth and some of which is stretched truth, because memory is a flakey thing. I juxtapose the cute or happy looking animals with the reality of the world I know. From a distance, it's pleasant, if one decides to get closer the paintings, however, the subject becomes less pleasant and has a definite uneasy feeling. I'm presenting the facade of how one is suppose to represent themselves.

DD:Can you talk to us a little about your collaborative project?
AB: 
We tried to have the piece be the only form of communication for this work. For me, it was about different manifestations of leadership. Carol took a finished painting of mine, chopped it up and sewed it together with pieces of fabric. She then gave the abstracted collage back to me to and I painted on it, then traded it back to her. In the midst of other projects we continued trading back and forth for almost a year.
CP: Airom gave me an old painting and said do whatever you want. It took me a while to think about what I was going to do. I stared at the painting for a few weeks and decided to cut it apart. I then embroidered the pieces and sewed them to scraps of fabric. It was then turned over to Airom to paint on. When he returned it to me, I was faced with the obstacle of oil paint. I only use water-based materials because of severe allergies to solvents and oils. The piece is very successful as collaborations go, our styles still remain and they're not overpowered by each other... a few people have told me that they think we should continue to collaborate. 

DD: How does your background in experimental psychology inform your work Airom?
AB:
 I know a bit about the human thought process and it gives me insight into my creative process. It has also helped me to direct art that I was already developing naturally into a more focused form. Our minds constantly combine associations and relationships between objects of our experience to bring about our thoughts. I try to tap into these binds at the level of pre-manifested thought.

.... and what psychological analysis would you make of Carol on the basis of her work
AB:
 I have to remember back to before I met her and had only seen her work… I think I felt there were issues of loneliness and being a social outcast, but countering these, there was her strong use of humour. I found them inspiringly resilient battlefields and dialogues of life obstacles, not to mention very visually attractive and mind-boggling.

DD: ... and could you give us your psychological evaluation of Airom, Carol?
CP:
 I don't think I'm qualified to evaluate Airom. I can give an insight to the person I know though. Airom is generous and sometimes too nice for his own good. Maybe a little self-deprecating at times. His pieces are never contrived or trying to be something they're not. They are charming and insightful. Airom has a good relationship to his world and because of that it relates well to him. Before I knew Airom, I liked his work, after I met him, I liked it more. 

DD: What do you believe the role of the artist to be in society? Do you feel contemporary artists have a responsibility to engage politically?
AB:
I think the role of the artist expose and engage human condition, not in terms of specific issues but more of a shift in thought/emotive process. It’s not the job of the artist to change minds or even set agenda, that is the job of the activist. The activist can tap into the viscera of art as a tool of change and the artist should  also dip into issues that affect them raised by the activist as toolset for creative motivation. I think it would be irresponsible to lie or disregard affecting issues but also irresponsible to contrive non-genuine affectation to issues for the purpose of feigning contemporary relevance. There are important patterns of thought responsible for a host of human accomplishments and dilemmas, that appear to be universal across time, I try to channel these when I paint. I avoid specific references as much as possible, I even try to create gender and age neutral protagonists called anthropoles. I would like to think that their relationships might apply to sentient non-humans as well.
CP: Art in society has become a luxury and not a necessity, some of it has even become a commodity, other art becomes invisible. People seem to forget that art is everywhere, from the chair they sit on to the car they drive to their coffee cup. Art is a social need but yet it's still very unappreciated. What would the world look like without art? I think that artists should just make work that suits them. If they want to approach their work with a political slant then most definitely, but I save my politics for armchair discussions. I don't think an artist is obligated to provide political views for the masses. The news media informs the public enough. People like the kind of art that they can escape into, not the kind they want to escape from.

The exhibition take place at Audis Husar Fine Art, 8670 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 114 Beverly Hills, CA 90211, May 18 – June 25

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