THE BEAUTY OF IMPERFECTION
A Spotlite on ISCA GREENFIELD-SANDERS
Isca Greenfield-Sanders by Anita Marie Antonini
Imperfection has a perfection all its own, as the artwork of Isca Greenfield-Sanders shows. She is an artist living in New York City with an eye on the suburbs. Born with a fantastically creative heritage, she continues in the family tradition. The art of painting and photography runs through her veins.
By reworking old photos of Americana, her paintings contain grids that make for smaller abstract paintings within the overall piece. Her new exhibition, The Ocean Between, continues in reworking Americana into gridded pieces that explore what lies underneath iconic American life.
Her ten-year body of work Light Leaks is layered in memory. As Isca Greenfield-Sanders explains, “these paintings take as their subject the dead medium of film photography.” Based on a time that no longer exists, and using a so-called dead medium, Light Leaks, like all of the work of Greenfield-Sanders, explores the beauty of imperfection.
Anita Marie Antonini: Your body of work Light Leaks are paintings based on vintage photographic slides with some flaws. How do chance encounters, random finds and imperfections inspire you to create?
Isca Greenfield-Sanders: I see beauty in imperfection and inaccuracy. When something looks a bit wrong I am drawn to it, there is room to explore. The Light Leaks paintings were inspired by double exposures, lens flares and light leaks. Photography has indelibly affected human memory and these paintings take as a their subject the dead medium of film photography.
AMA: I am interested in the grids in your paintings like sections that can relate to compartments in our lives or times gone by. Please tell us about your creative process and the relationship to painting and photography.
IGS: The grids are a remnant of my process which combines photography, watercolor and oil in a single canvas. I begin by printing a vintage image onto a small sheet of rice paper. Working directly on this print I complete a study with color pencil and watercolor. Next I scan and enlarge the study to the size of the canvas, and print the enlargement in a grid of 7 inch squares. After sealing the enlarged print to the canvas I finish the painting with layers of transparent and opaque oil paint.
Each square in the grid functions as a little painting within a larger image. If the entire canvas is a peopled landscape, then the individual squares are the small abstract pieces that make up that big picture. Much like a multifaceted person, paintings have many aspects.
AMA: When I look at your work there is a beauty and a sadness that as a painting seems like it will last longer in my mind as a memory than a photograph would. Can you elaborate on that as a concept?
IGS: Thank you, that is so lovely to hear. Photography is ubiquitous, paintings are relatively rare and therefore have a certain strength to them. I paint images that are familiar to the viewer, images that I have deliberately kept anonymous and that represent an idealized version of life. Disguised beneath this aspirational façade are larger themes of darkness, fear, loneliness, fleeting youth and alienation. My palette is often the clue to my larger narrative.
AMA: Your paintings feel very personal although they are based on a moment in a time of someone else’s life. Can you explain how this intimacy translates so strongly in your work?
IGS: Instead of memory looking faded, as it might in a movie flashback, I prefer to imagine moments as hyper-realized. Highly saturated color is important to the feeling of my paintings. I often expand the margins of the captured image to include more sky, more landscape, more water, rending my subjects smaller and I think that perspective contributes ironically to the intimacy of the image.
AMA: What is next for you? We have plenty of old slides here at the PMc studio–many flawed for sure.
IGS: I’ll take ‘em!
Isca Greenfield-Sanders was born in 1978 in New York City, where she currently lives and works. She attended Brown University and received her Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, with honors, and her Bachelor Degree in Mathematics from Brown University in 2000. In 2001 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.
Greenfield-Sanders is included in many important private and public collections including The Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her work has been the subject of articles in many magazines and publications including ArtNews, The New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Elle Décor and Art Forum.
Isca Greenfield-Sanders interviewed by Anita Marie Antonini
Written by Anita Marie Antonini
Photography and Art by Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Design by Marie Havens
Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Self Portrait, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Color Banding (Soccer), Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2010, 49 x 49 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Film Edge (Yellow Tree, Pink Sky), Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2011, 28 x 28 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Yellow Parachute (Gold), 2008, Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 35 x 35 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Yellow Butt Beach, 2005, Mixed media watercolor with color pencil, 7.75 x 7.75 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Double Exposure (Soccer), Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 2010, 63 x 63 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
A Walk with Daddy (Pink), 2004, Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 35 x 35 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Silver Beach, 2003, Mixed Media Oil on Canvas, 63 x 77 inches, Courtesy & © Isca Greenfield-Sanders