FAD’s coolest contributor and advisor Interviews New York’s latest art star IVY Haldeman who is currently showing at the exciting Simuvac Projects.
Why haven’t I discovered your work before ? Why only now ? Where have you been hiding ?
If it weren’t for the internet, I suppose we would have had to bump into each other on some grimy Brooklyn street. I have been active in New York City for a few years now, but it is only recently that I have been sharing my work with the public.
Tell us a little bit about your background… What made you interested in art?
I had a sculpture teacher during college who said that when you look at an ancient artifact, as an artist, you can have a conversation with that ancient maker. Every object, in its material characteristics, its social stature, its portrayals, tells very complicated stories. I love these stories.
My mom was a textile artist and always encouraged me to draw and keep a sketchbook. My dad and I would take walks through the forest. Being a passionate biologist, he would bring my attention to different plants and try to explain how the fauna and the environment were interacting. When I moved to New York City, I carried this mode of observation with me; every piece of granite, every person on the street was somehow connected. Art seemed like the best way to engage these relationships and carry them beyond their particular worlds
Where do you derive your inspiration from and why these very human images of leisure cocooned in hot dog buns ?
About five years ago, I was living in La Boca in Buenos Aires, wandering the streets and making sculptures out of hollow clay bricks. I didn’t have a cell phone at the time, but I did have a busted up digital camera that you could only aim blindly and hope that it captured what you were pointing at. One day, I came across this mural on the side of a bodega. It featured chips, soda, and a hotdog with eyelashes and high heels. It was very charming, so I decided to return with my camera and snap her photo. When I finally got back there, maybe a week later, the bodega had burned down, taking the mural and the high-heeled hot dog with it. It took me a few years before I sat down and and really thought about that figure, but once I engaged it through drawing, it quickly it evolved away from what I had seen.
In my work, I am interested in creating quiet and dignified spaces. I like to think that even if someone found themselves industrialized, processed, edible, phallic even, there is still room for dignity. I think of leisure as a counterpoint to frenzied, endless action. In leisure, the figure can be self possessed.
How does the social and political climate in America impact your artistic expression ? If Trump wins will you move to London or Berlin and open up studio?
As painful as it might be, I do think the President of the United States is a representative of me as a US citizen. There is something very dark and frustrated happening here in the US, and I can’t ignore it.
I am thinking a lot about class, race, transparency, compassion, ignorance. I know I can’t help but speak through my work. I’m drawn to painting, because of its very particular voice. Take the life of a painting, maybe it hangs in someone’s house. The people in the house look at it day after day, perhaps for years, even if not consciously. Children may grow up around it. A painting also has the possibility of a public voice. In both circumstances, the work contributes to a conversation.
You live and work in New York, do you feel the influence of the city on your practice?
Certainly. Alumni from incredible art schools, including mine, establish communities here. New York is filled with the ghosts of midcentury Modernism, Ab Ex, Pop, Minimalism, Feminism and other giants of art history that worked here. They haunt the museums as well as our narratives as working artists. New York real estate prices determine how much time we spend partying and how much time we spend commuting. The early 20th century stairwell to my studio determines how large I can make my canvases. And of course, NYC is a port town; artists from all over the world pass through here. I’ve developed a pretty big appetite for all this variety.
What are you passionate about besides your art?
Looking at other people’s art and watering my plants.
Do you have a favourite book?
It is hard to pick a favorite, but there are particular things that I treasure: the emotional confusion and ruminations on constant housework in Doris Lessing’s The Good Terrorist, the macabre imagination on display in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the turns of phrases in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
What are you currently working on and are there any other mediums your considering?
I am still focused on these painted figures. I see a lot of possibility within this minimal world, and many ways that I can push the work further.