Subtle and natural with a sense of familiarity. Kristen Giorgi the Atlanta-based painter deals in romantic figurative and abstract art that draws you in. With a particular interest in the feminine form, Giorgi depicts nudes in interior and exterior places in her characteristically impressionist style.
At an undisclosed date she will be exhibiting at her own Impossible Currency gallery with an exhibition entitled Exposed celebrating the female form in harmony with nature or balanced in tension with the harsh straight lines of interior spaces. The emotional charge behind her exterior nudes comes from the thrill and “Nirvana” of sunbathing. Escapism and memories of past joyful encounters in beautiful spaces are other themes that come up from Giorgi’s work. We get down through the layers of this contemporary artist’s process and approach.
Congratulations on your upcoming exhibition Exposed at Impossible Currency. Can you tell us more about the title?
Thank you! Exposed is a collection of works highlighting the female form captured in imagined spaces. I wanted to highlight the female form in my style of painting as I have done in past collections but with evolved context and shape. The angular lines of the indoor settings as a backdrop to the curvatures of the forms creates a new interest and emotion. The landscape of the natural settings mimic the shape of a woman’s body celebrating its organic form in the harmony and balance of nature. Many of the works reveal a painting within the piece to peak the interest of the viewer and draw you in even further exposing what is to come or possibly what already exists.
You have also exhibited at Lobster Club. How did that exhibition compare?
Lobster club is a traveling group show by artists for artists dedicated to supporting each other by coming together a few times a year in multiple cities to each exhibit one work of art each time. It’s an amazing concept because it's completely stress free compared to solo shows that for me tend to bring on a lot of stress and anxiety being the centre of attention. The purpose of the quote unquote club is truly to share and connect with each other and invite in a new audience each time.
Your nudes are often, but not always, face-less, what is the intention behind separating the figure?
There isn’t a specific reason or intention behind it. In my work I am always trying to create balance whether it's in the colour choices, shape, flow, etc so I think sometimes the piece is begging for a face or a suggestion of a face and other times it makes sense for it to be more ambiguous.
You reference abstract expressionism and figurative work; how do you prefer to research when you are creating a piece?
For my figurative work I often refer to vintage nude photography or shoots that I creative direct with women so that I can use the poses as reference. I mostly use friends for these shoots because I like to have a connection with my subjects. Usually I will draw from the photo the suggestion of the pose and shape of the body to build out the idea and composition of the piece. My figurative works always have more of a plan. Whereas with my more expressionistic abstract landscape work I get to be more free and rarely ever start with a plan. I will maybe have a colour story I am wanting to work in and will reference that from one of my many art and design books or a past collection of a favourite design house.
Can you tell us more about your process in the studio?
Most days I come in anywhere between 10 and 12. A major part of my process begins at home in the morning because I need to truly prep my system before I work so I like to take my time having coffee, listening to a podcast usually about wellness or mental health and then do some kind of exercise. Once I get to the studio I sit and make a list of what I need to do that day. Everyday is different and some days I don't actually paint at all (laughs). If I’m painting, it's bouncing from one commission to the next. It’s really nice when I have multiple commissions in play because each one is truly a vacation from the other. The second I feel a block with one I get to step away and begin something else. At the end of a workday I take time to capture images of what I did that day so that when I go home I can look at it all with a different perspective and imagine what my next strokes will be the next day.
You have almost three sides to your work: the fluid abstracted forms of landscapes, the nudes in interior spaces and a combination of the two. What kind of emotions are you trying to invoke when you paint a nude situated in an outside environment?
I suppose I am trying to capture my favourite feeling which is being in the sun and sensing that hot charge it gives the body and the soul. Laying out in nature and feeling all the stimulation of the senses being heightened is my Nirvana.
Sometimes your pieces interior or exteriority is ambiguous. What does it mean to suspend the reality of this separation?
I like the idea of having a point of view with my work and a frame of reference, but also letting elements be left for the viewer to decide what they see based on their own experiences. My favourite thing to hear about my work is the associations people have with it. It could be “this reminds me of my summer holidays in Italy” or “this looks like the Parisian apartment I shared with my former lover” For me, I am just painting a picture of a place I want to be - imaginary or real.
You like to contrast soft organic forms with angular lines, is this a reflection of the way we move through the world? As organic forms in a world that is designed with harsh lines, architecture that is utilitarian rather than biomorphic.
Once again I think for me this goes back to always needing to have the presence of balance in all forms of my life and work. If I feel a piece I’m working on is reading too soft or ethereal I immediately feel the intense rush inside me to add something harsh whether its a black shape or a sharp angle. It doesn’t feel complete to me unless a mix of these elements are present. I think this is closely related to how we move through our lives as well. We are attracted to the contrast.
Along with your apparent reference to architecture, what other art forms do you enjoy?
I have an incredible adoration and appreciation for sculpture. I am very taken and inspired by the works of Brâncuși. I would like to experiment in this medium eventually. I feel like it’s not very far away - stay tuned!
What’s next for Kristen Giorgi?
This year has been a very transitional one for me. It’s forced me to take a step back from the way I have been approaching life and work and get a little uncomfortable. Artists go through so many highs and lows in the flow of the process. I used to get super bummed and down when I was starting to experience a low moment but I have learnt to embrace them just as much as you would during a high. They’re important and lead you to the next stop along the journey. I am in talks with a gallery abroad which is very exciting and hopefully will land a collaboration partnership with someone I have been wanting to work with for a very long time. I will also be traveling to Mexico City in the autumn for the next Lobster Club exhibition!