Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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69 Nudes, 2014
10 x 10 in.
Ramos: hi Emma
Kohlmann: Hey! hows it going?
Ramos: going well, how are you? glad you can make it
Kohlmann: I'm good. still just getting up i went bowling for the first time in while last night.
Ramos: i haven't been bowling since summer camp
Kohlmann: It was a friends bday. Unlimited bowling and playing early 2000's hits. It was very nostalgic
Ramos: that's funny, i don't know what that means (2000s), I would know if you said 90s or prior
totally dating myself
Kohlmann: haha like 2001- on ward. like when i was in middle school i would go to a dance and the hits would just keep coming.
Ramos: when i was in middle school it was in the 90s and it was all booty dancing music
Kohlmann: now i cant even think of what they played. but still booty bumping music tho
Ramos: where did you grow up?
Kohlmann: i grew up in Riverdale, which is in the Bronx, NYC
my parents move there when i was five, its kinda suburban but you can get to the center of Manhattan in 20 mins
Ramos: yeah i'm looking at pictures of it - when i lived in NY i never found myself there
where were you born?
Kohlmann: Yea i feel like most people never hang out up there. Its a special place, a lot of green. My father is passionate about the outdoors and a young age wanted me and my sister to live in the wild but still have the toughness of an urbanite. I was born in Manhattan,
Ramos: I can see that in your work, the figures give me the impression of a primitive or uncivilized freedom (wild) and also awareness or structure (urbanite) of the power in an inherent sensual nature
69 Nudes, 2014
10 x 10 in.
Kohlmann: yea, i feel i am inspired by early beginnings, like primordial beings, cave paintings. When i was kid i ran around my yard with no shoes on, sometimes even in the snow. i feel a connection to nature but also feel like i just live along side it.
Ramos: there is also a sophisticated approach to these beings, the combinations of gender, the absolute nudity, and a softness or vulnerability about them that captivates me
Kohlmann: i feel them, i try to capture them holistically even when they are fragmented.
i like confusing gender, though i feel like they are often female
Ramos: i don't get confused by them, perhaps because it seems natural to have both feminine and masculine qualities, weather physical or in spirit,
you achieve a comfort about it
Kohlmann: maybe confused is the wrong word, ambiguity.. maybe, i am tired of seeing the same historical cannon of painters exploiting bodies or putting them on a pedestals.
I feel like im in arguments with them, looking at European painters, sculptors, my own private porn stash. i collect images and reuse them over and over again. I feel some kind of power to be able to change them.
Ramos: yes, you are rejecting the conventional narrative of the figure from a physical perspective - but there is more to it - the role of male and female have become more androgynous with time
if we look at fashion we see very little difference in the way genders dresses today as opposed to 200 years ago, perhaps that is also telling of an internal shift or acceptance
fashion does not apply in this case because your figures are nude, yet the gesture or expression is similar
Kohlmann: definitely! i mean in some ways i feel like i need to even the playing field. especially when it comes to sex, maybe more like abolishing roles. it seems so obvious to make this distinction, but i don't think i'm just making these images because "sex sells". i feel them, not necessarily in my own experience but my own thoughts and imagination.
Ramos: i definitely don't see sex in them as much as a sensuality in the acceptance the figure seems to have of it's own composition. And there is a big difference because your work doesn't objectify the body, instead, like you said, it is felt, it is relatable, a mirror of the collective state of being
and that's powerful
69 Nudes, 2014
10 x 10 in.
Kohlmann: its something that i think about all the time.
like am i doing this right? or am I just contributing negatively. I have this debate, and try to get something out of it
Ramos: it is about intention but also the unforeseen - you intended to actively oppose the way the body has been portrayed historically
the unforeseen is that you happened to find truth, and the development of that truth is more powerful than opposing the existing system.
opposing the existing system would be a mirror of it, and in a way objectifying the "new" body you created
exploring the truth of the androgynous nature of beings can be much more exponential because it is no longer a reflection and therefore no longer bound by the existing system
Kohlmann: yea. maybe all that, but i have a hard time identifying it. i just have to keep making things until i feel satisfied in my question. i know i will never be satisfied. and i don't have just one question.
i feel like theres a lot of things i do when i create these images. the creation aspect is easy, and usually very quick.. i find the more time i spend working on pieces the less i like them. its about the directness and intention of the brush. i often wing it. i follow my intuition. if i'm not feeling it, i have to try on working on something else. theres back and forth.
Ramos: whatever it takes to get the raw feeling on paper, because that's what get's transmitted and allows the viewer to create these feelings on their own - like a way of teleporting feelings
art is a teleporter of feeling that turn into ideas and perhaps eventually actions
art has potential
Kohlmann: haha yea that works. i agree with you. its the only thing that makes me happy sometimes. i just force myself to do it. its not about me anymore.
i'm so struck about how much you feel about my work!! i guess i never thought about the viewer in this way.