This week at the Brooklyn Clubhouse we chatted with resident Gina Furnari about the progress of her small paintings project.
Q. Could you give us a summary of your project?
A. My project is a series of 200 small paintings (2 x 3 inches) to be exchanged for personal responses (written or visual). The paintings themselves are personal collections of visual data, colors, textures, and patterns I see around me everyday, and wish to explore further. They are a sort-of record of my life experience and I’m hoping to see the ways they intersect with other peoples lives and experiences. I’d like to know why someone chose a particular piece, if it sparks a memory or an emotion…If there are stories to be told, I want to hear them. While the paintings alone are my side of the story the project will be a shared narrative.The exchange will take place towards the end of my residency at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. Every letter, story, or original object will be photographed and appear here alongside the painting it was traded for. My goal is to connect with others using my artwork as a catalyst. The project will create a platform to share and meet new people acting almost like an ice breaker at a party. Hopefully resulting in a shared sense of pride and ownership.
Q. How does working with a small size change how you compose and create your paintings? Do you prefer this size?
A. Working this small has changed a lot about how I paint. There is very little planning needed to get started, and the first few marks determine how each painting will go. It’s almost like algebra for me. I have a set amount of space and a set material and then I can solve for whatever problems present themselves. A lot of these have shifted dramatically from my original intention. Those shifts are pretty visible because watercolor is additive so the darker paintings are often the ones where it took a longer time for me to figure out a composition that I was happy with. These paintings are also much more spontaneous than any of my other work. I get to experiment more with types of brushstroke and color combinations that I don’t normally use. I think scale is part of the piece. There are things I can do at this size that I couldn’t if they were larger paintings.
Q. What are some of the everyday things that inspire you?
A. I’m really crazy about color and I’m most often inspired by my environment. I don’t think it’s ever really possible for me to capture a sunrise or a great city or landscape as they are but, I love working from the general patterns and impressions they leave behind. I turn to the web a lot as well, I like finding great pallets or compositions and playing with them for my own purposes.