Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Conversation between Kate Zimmer and Olivia Ramos.
RAMOS: Thank you for joining me Kate
it is pretty early on your side of the country
ZIMMER: Yes, for a Sunday morning, it is....But no worries...
I have been looking at your work and thought we can start with the piece "Seascape in the Rain"
it is a very active or activated piece and really makes me feel like I am there
Yes. This painting was a very spontaneous piece. I had made some marks and wasn't happy with it, so I put it away for a couple of months while I moved across the hallway to a bigger studio. I let it "marinate" for a while. Finally, one day I returned to it, and just really boldly decided to drip the paint from the top of the canvas so as to cover the entire canvas. I liked the straight lines it created, and when I stood back, I realized it created rain on the canvas, and I liked the look.
beyond the rain, the landscape it falls on is very dynamic, as if every raindrop is having it's rightful affect on the surface of the water
this is the least abstract piece from the work you sent over, would you agree?
Yes. This painting is one of my voices. My older paintings were all about bright color and the energy it evoked. There is a sense of lots of movement in the way I made my brush strokes and mark-making - a kind of slashing and swirling of quick and light and airy movements. "Seasacape in the Rain" is definitely more representational - in a loose kind of way. Most of my work is really non-representational, using color and marks to suggest energy and emotion.
would you consider the Sphere Floral Series representational?
I guess, there are representational elements suggested - like the flowers, or globes, or spheres....
My newer paintings are quite different from my 2016 and older work. The colors are more subdued, quite moody, and yet still beautiful in their quietness. Lots of grey tones and sort of a dirtied surface achieved by the use of lots of graphite rubbed into and marked up on the surface. There is a delicateness despite the dirtiness.....
what is it that made you quiet down the colors?
My art is very deeply tied to my inner landscape. This year has been a very transformative year for me in many ways - one of them being the transition of sending my only child off to college across the country. These paintings reflect my more introspective psyche, as well as the searching for a more grounded and heart-centered space. The moodiness of the colors comes from the shifting of things in my personal life and wanting to reflect this time of change.
My older paintings feel somewhat celebratory in their movement and color and my newer work feel more melancholy, searching and heart-centered.
would you say your paintings are then self portraits?
Oh, yes. I never thought of it that way, but perhaps in a sense they are!
I also have other thoughts on this as well if you want me to elaborate.
I am a very highly sensitive person. I struggle to stay energetically in my body due to being so highly sensitive to outside energies. (sorry if I''m speaking California woo woo speak!) --But it's true about how I am constantly trying to stay grounded. A lot of my older paintings are swirling with quick, light and airy brushwork and mark making. I think these paintings come from when I'm not grounded, and rather unconsciously connecting with the energy I'm being affected by. It's almost like I'm trying to paint the energy out of my space - like a cleansing.
My newer paintings perhaps are reflecting a quieter, more grounded space.
That makes sense - can you tell me a little more about these energies outside of you? what do you think they are or come from?
The whole world is made of energy - as I'm sure you know. So we are all living in a "soup" of energy at all times. The world is in a very delicate place right now- lots of fear, and anxiety and chaos. This creates just that in everyone, and when you are a sensitive person, all you have to do is walk out your front door and be bombarded by the high-intensity of it all.
so the fear and anxiety doesn't come from within?
I would like to suggest that one can be perfectly grounded, and at peace within- especially if they meditate-, but when they go outside their personal spaces (homes), they get bombarded with the collective energies. And when one is highly-sensitive, they absorb it like a sponge. Most people are not conscious about the kind of energy they are putting out into the world and that's what creates the "soup" of all these energies. Mostly unconscious reactions.... I don't want to come across as "preachy" here. lt is just something I have studied for many years and it is my belief.
beyond your art practice, do you take additional measures to clear yourself from these energies? I understand meditation is a great tool to be aware of them, but how do you get rid of them? since it is imperative to go outside.
It is a lifetime practice of meditation and becoming more self-aware. It's this wonderful cycle that happens when you meditate. You clear your mind and psyche, and then this wonderful thing begins to happen because of it. One's consciousness begins to expand. And when the consciousness expands, one becomes more "aware" of oneself - therefore a wonderful opportunity to take responsibility for ones actions. So when you go outside, it's important to be aware of having some energetic protection. And there are tools one can learn to do that - which I won't go into here....
we don't have to if you don't feel comfortable, but I think the more people that know about it the better, don't you agree?
Yes, I agree. I would like for people to just know that there are ways to learn this stuff, and so they can explore on their own time. I love living in California for the reason being there are lots of people who understand and practice this. In other parts of the country it would be thought of a crazy.
I think my art is somewhat of a reflection of the two parts of myself. Part of myself is very deep, and the other part is very soft and light. Some of my colleagues have called my new work "ethereal".
to your first point, there are people on the east cost getting clearings on a regular basis and it allows for a lighter existence
and to your second point, how did you choose to paint yourself rather than the world around you?
Absolutely. I didn't mean to suggest that only California understands this. It is world wide.
Years ago I used to paint landscapes and some still lifes. It was just a natural progression in my art practice to go abstract. I use my inner landscape as well as nature as inspiration, I suppose.
Honestly, I think my painting practice is a type of art therapy!!! ha!
I also study astrology and I think perhaps, some of my newer work is somewhat out-of-this-world, reflecting my psyche studying the planetary energies...
I'm sounding very woo woo now! ha!
ha ha not for me
Good to hear!
lets zoom out a bit then to a universal scale - how do planetary energies affect us and our everyday lives?
Oh! I think they absolutely affect us. And especially if one is "in tune" to this stuff. I have been amused time and time again at how something will happen in my life, and then I check my astrology chart, and sure enough, those energies were perfectly reflected right there! Right now I understand that Jupiter is about to enter Scorpio which may bring even more intensity to world events and personal lives - and the affects of that planetary switch will depend upon how conscious one has been up to this point. If one has been living mostly unconsciously, then they are probably in for quite an awakening in events in their lives.....
I'm not an astrologer - but you asked and this is just what I've read....
the reason the awareness is helpful is because if I am aware then I can normalize the impact, understand I are not simply going crazy.... haha
Yes, indeed. Like they say, "Knowledge is power".