There is an air of mystery in the captivating pieces currently hanging in Tinney Contemporary. We were lucky enough to learn more about Stasis: Heavenly Bodies from an exclusive Q & A interview with the artist, Carla Ciuffo.
Part of the mystery in Ciuffo’s work possibly comes from the medium she used to print her images on.
M: You’ve worked with printing your images on many different surfaces, why did you find printing Heavenly Bodies on acrylic to be the best medium?
C: I really wanted to enhance the negative space in the images – so the art wouldn’t be confined. I also wanted to “project” them as far as I could without using traditional 3D methods. The acrylic creates depth, and expands the negative space. It’s clean, minimal, and allows the images to “float” a bit away from a wall.
Texts also heavily influenced the elements that work through her pieces.
M: As many of your works involve lyrical imagery, what narrative pieces inspire you the most? Are there particularly poets, authors, or playwrights that you found especially stirring in relation to Heavenly Bodies?
C: Perhaps. I am a voracious reader. Non-worldly stories influence me. Neil Gaiman, a favorite. There was also one book I was reading when I began working on Stasis, The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry:
“There is lace in every living thing: the bare branches of winter, the patterns of clouds, the surface of water as it ripples in the breeze…. Even a wild dog’s matted fur shows a lacy pattern if you look at it closely enough.” ― Brunonia Barry, The Lace Reader
“I’ll pit my God against your god any day, I say to the Calvinists. It’s not their god I’m praying to…. The God I’m praying to is neither male nor female. My God is the one who exists apart from all of men’s agendas, the God who takes you away when there is no possible place you can go.” ― Brunonia Barry, The Lace Reader
The illustrative manner of this body of works is evident throughout the collection and many of Ciuffo’s other works. However, Stasis appears more monochromatic in comparison to Ciuffo’s more colorful bodies of work such as Thrill, Pandora’s Box, and, Cloud 9.
M: How was creating Heavenly Bodies different and/or similar from past works?
C: When I began working on Stasis, it became an exercise in restraint. I began stripping away color. I was searching for the essence of an emotion – the emotion that was driving the work. Stasis became a neutral, non-judgmental place of refuge. A place with infinite possibilities but remaining an “in between” space. I like to call the series “life in between”.
…The most difficult work, for me, is paring it down to its simplest form. That’s Stasis.
Though Ciuffo worked to construct an image in its simplest form, she doesn’t necessarily expect everyone to experience the same feelings from viewing it.
M: What would you like for viewers to collectively feel and take from Heavenly Bodies?
C: That is entirely up to the viewer. I’ve enjoyed people sharing their viewing experiences with me – and they are all different. One common collective emotion that people seem to feel is a calming feeling. But – with a dash of uncertainty.
The artist uniquely defined Stasis: Heavenly Bodies for us, the way she herself views the collection.
M: How would you best describe Heavenly Bodies in your own words?
C: Finding positive in a negative space. A moment of total and absolute stillness in a non-judgmental atmosphere. A refuge of sorts before taking the inevitable next steps back into life.
And we have much to look forward to from Ciuffo…
M: Finally, are there any new projects that you are currently working on? If so, do you feel comfortable sharing with us any details about them?
C: I am working on a new collaboration for a much larger installation. It would bring “Stasis” to life. The images are of tiny, mostly androgynous pod people – that reside in a garden. Let’s just say those are the “seeds” of the project