INTERVIEW: PAULA TEMPLE | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: PAULA TEMPLE

Interviews | September 16, 2021 |

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

Interview: Paula Temple
Luca Curci talks with Paula Temple during BODIES+CITIES SKIN, FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES and FUTURE LANDSCAPES at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Paula Temple has a painting studio in Marnay-Sur-Seine, France. She relocated to this village to work full time as a painter after a long career as a Professor of Art in the United States. Her background, growing up in Memphis, Tennessee and living and travelling in the United States, Eastern Caribbean and Europe inform her work in a variety of imagery and materials. The people she meets, how they live and work together in groups and the natural world where they live, influence her paintings. Her work is primarily figurative in challenging compositions of multiple figurative forms crowded onto the picture plane. These figurative elements are often accompanied by images in nature.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Paula Temple – I am currently reworking a “never-ending painting”. Every artist must have one of these in his or her studio. It is a large complex painting I have been working on for years and never resolved. When I relocated my studio from the state of Mississippi, USA to Marnay-Sur-Seine, France, I brought it with me. It sat in my studio always within my sight. I have cut off a section of the canvas and restretched and reworked the composition. This piece has been through so many changes and now it will be finished in France. Similar to the one I have in the current show “The Bird Watchers”.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
PL – I am from the state of Tennessee. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and have extended family throughout the state. There are a lot of influences of music, Gospel, Country, Blue Grass, Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, etc. I have grown up constantly hearing exciting sounds and songs. I am not a musician but I know many. When I talk about composing a painting or a drawing I compare it to composing a piece of music, when all the notes are composed well, it sings. When all the elements in a painting are composed well, it sings. My paintings tend to involve moving figures. I taught figure drawing at the University of Mississippi for 30 years. I make compositions out of gestural studies from life. I have the models quickly move from one pose to the next. I draw the poses many times over to achieve my compositions.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
PL – Over the years my work has transitioned through periods of art and art media. I have always been influenced by the challenge of figure drawing. It has led me in many directions. I experimented with installations, sculptural ceramics, low-key colour, relief printing, lithography, silkscreen, and intaglio. Living in the Caribbean Islands of Grenada and St. Lucia for almost seven years influenced my colour. In “The Gatherers Enter the Garden”, I used a relief block I made in the lower area to make the flowers. I have now settled into doing two-dimensional work in drawing and painting.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – What is your creative process like?
PL – I conceive my compositions abstractly. I organize the layout of the picture plane with abstract concepts and start fitting in the figurative elements. I do what I am sure of first and then think about “what if I do this or what if I try that”. That is a sure way of overworking a painting. When I am stuck in an awkward area of the painting, I do a drawing from the painting. This usually helps solve the troublesome area. I sometimes find an excuse for wanting to use a colour such as the colour yellow-green in an area by using a green apple. I also like to include “surprise colour” and contrasting objects. I like to communicate with the viewer. One of the most flattering things people will say to me “I remember a painting you had in an exhibit” and they describe it perfectly. I feel something I created communicated and was remembered.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
PL – When I begin a piece it seems to speed along with new ideas, new materials, new images and then the last fifth of the painting takes a very long time. I rework the finish over and over. It takes much longer than the previous activity on work. A few works have “finished themselves” coming to a conclusion easily, but this is rare. I am a retired Professor of Art and I devote all my time to my studio painting. Another challenging part about creating my artwork is what will happen to it when I am gone. When I look around the studio and see a lot of good work that is not exhibited, not collected, it concerns me.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – We were attracted by your latest artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
PL – I received a “Call for Submissions” from your organization about several works that they would like to have in the Bodies+Cities Skin exhibition. These works were on my website and available. This festival was a new way to show my work. I have been in Europe for five years now and welcome the opportunity to exhibit my work in Venice.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
PL – Frankly, I was intrigued by the titles of the exhibitions. It was you who decided that my work was best represented by these descriptions.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
PL – The locations, installation of the exhibits, the interviews, the professional and respectful attitude of the staff and assistants pleasantly surprised me.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
PL – I have never been in an exhibition of this type before. I have always had the sponsorship of my university or my galleries. I have no galleries or sponsors in Europe. I was concerned about spending the money for the application fees, shipping etc. I have not had many opportunities to exhibit in Europe so I decided to try this group. The exposure has been very good and I hope it leads to more opportunities.

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
PL – Yes, I did. I found you answered my questions promptly and I was very pleased with the hanging of my work and the respectful attitude to the artists and the artworks. I am pleased with your selection of my work and I would like to say that I am impressed with people who understand good painting. That is what I hope to achieve in my practice now, doing a good painting.

ptemple
Image courtesy of Paula Temple

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