Louise Lahive is in her third year as a fellow with Digswell Arts, at the Fenners Building, Letchworth
1) How would you describe your current practice (e.g.materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
I mostly use Oil on Canvas. I develop techniques of applying patterns to my canvases using different methods and materials and then I develop the oil painting over the top of this.
For example I will break up old oil paintings and work over the patterns created by the chipped paint, or I will leave the canvas in the rain and paint over the pattern left by the rain.
The starting point of my work has always been big themes, but I have not always been able to articulate this. I am interested, essentially in what we do not know and the visual arts are best placed to explore this.
I view the practice of painting as a balancing act, I am always trying to hold together conflicting theories and elements of art and life and as I move forward and always try and keep my viewer, or the presence of the work in my minds eye.
2) What are you working on at the moment (forthcomingexhibitions, events, workshops etc.)?
I am currently working on a body of work based around MRIs, I wanted to create a space for people to consider the mystery of our body’s, however it has turned out to reveal more about our personal approach to viewing our bodies and more autobiographical than I had intended.
3) What are your plans for the coming year?
To finish my current body of work, to start another project around trees in the night, I have had this in my mind for many years after visiting a large Christmas fair in Massachusetts. I could not take my eyes off the trees at the side of the fair ground lit up in the night. I have had a few failed attempts at developing this project, but this is not unusual for this to happen in the process of developing ideas.
4) What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
I don’t know. I guess I do not show my work enough.
5) What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
I think I was born with the propensity to draw and articulate visually and then I was inspired to paint seriously when I saw Cezanne at around the age of 19. Wow, I thought; ‘ he is applying thought to his canvas’.
6) Which artist do you most admire and why?
There are many artists I feel have connected with me, it is a beautiful thing when you can recognize yourself or your own subconscious in someone else’s work. I look at all art and don’t want to leave anyone out, but the artists that spring to mind at the moment are Eva Hesse, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Camille Pissarro. It is not just visual artists that influence me however; music is an important part of my life as is literature.
7) How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
Space for artists is scarce, I am very much indebted to people like George Woodcraft and the volunteers at Digswell who have worked tirelessly to provide spaces for artists to work.
Having a space over a five-year period has allowed me to focus my practice and develop links with the local community and other artists.