Loren Erdrich Interview - The Hopper Prize

Loren Erdrich

Loren Erdrich on creating New Myths, a process that incorporates experimentation, & working with new materials.

How did you get into making art?

I gravitated towards art at a young age. As I got older, I was part of a program within my high school that allowed me to focus on art as part of my studies and culminated in an exhibition. I also had an art teacher that gave me the opportunity to grow and work independently.

What are you currently working on?

I recently opened my first in-person solo show with SHRINE in NYC. Now I’m working on paintings for the Contemporary Art Now (CAN) fair in Ibizia, Spain where I will be showing with Everyday Gallery of Antwerp, Belgium.

I create images that exist somewhere between the earthly world and the spiritual beyond.

Loren Erdrich

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

My practice is non-traditional – evoking the feel of hand-dyed garments, I paint on raw muslin with dyes, pigments and other water-based mediums, creating images that exist somewhere between the earthly world and the spiritual beyond. I began painting with raw pigments and dyes in 2016 after a friend brought me a few unmarked vials from Morocco. They were so different than the watercolor and ink I was used to – more unstable, vibrant and exciting. They launched me into a period of exploration. At the time I was painting solely on paper but a few years later the new materials drew me back to muslin and canvas.

Experimentation is a necessary part of my prcess. The work I am most excited about happens before I am overly proficient in a medium, before I know all its tricks and can bend it to my will. I find learning periods, which are so full of experimentation and trial and error, to be incredibly fruitful because they lead to the unexpected and magical. For this reason I gravitate towards materials that are difficult for me to fully control or perfect.

This body of work is part of a larger group of paintings called New Myths. They bring into existence a world of softness and possibility in which new myths may form and from which new meaning may be drawn.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

My work is not project based and follows an intuitive trajectory. At the core of my artistic practice is a deliberate and open collaboration with my materials. It is my materials more than idea-based research that provide me with an entryway into my paintings’ content.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

At the start of each paintings I usually work with the muslin unstretched and very wet so I can paint on both sides of the fabric and the color will bleed through. When the fabric is just barely damp it is a perfect time for more detailed elements. Usually mid way through working on a piece I will stretch it and then continue painting until completion.

I usually spend full days in the studio. Once I’m in the studio I basically work straight through until it’s time to go in the evening. Lately though I have been been taking a mid-afternoon walk where I go get a coffee. Patience is not naturally one of my virtues but taking a break and slowing down my process always benefits my work.

Who are your favorite artists?

There are so many. Some favorites are:
Maja Ruznic
Mimi Lauter
Peter Doig
Édouard Vuillard
Katherine Bradford
Marlene Dumas

Where do you go to discover new artists?


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