Out of Darkness – Color, Contrasts and Movement
Katherine Olivetti interviewed me about my work and process. An excerpt is below.
JA: … how ideas come or when they come is when I’m in a soft, calm place, like in an alpha state, coming in and out of sleep. That’s where a lot of things move around; where there is problem solving and I relax my mind. I think it’s really a combination of problem solving and listening to how I feel, a visceral feeling about what’s coming through, an excitement that you can latch onto. I go, “Oh that’s exciting, let’s pursue that.” Sometimes I am inspired by reﬂecting back and forth with people, but for the most part I feel much more connected to my creative center when I’m alone, truer. I really believe that the creative process is about opening up channels. I just feel like an instrument through which information is ﬂowing. The other thing about the creative process is showing up. You have to show up for yourself, whether it’s to a physical space, or to a space in yourself, because the creative energy is always there.
KO: I guess that’s your advice to the creative individual. Show up.
JA: Yes, Here’s my advice: : listen, feel, look, observe, use your senses, keep yourself aware, and most of all show up and slow down.
Jung Journal, volume 7, number 1, 2013 published by Taylor & Francis (copyright C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco) and is available both in print and online.
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JO ANDRES’ CYANOTYPES
People still talk about choreographer/filmmaker Jo Andres’ live shows, which she staged in the ‘80’s at many downtown venues. They were dance-film-light performances that incorporated film projections and still images, shown on various, multi-layered fabrics. The combination of light and color with the movement of the dancers, backed by Elliot Sharp’s atonal music, produced a magical, holographic dreamscape. Since then she has made movies; her award-winning “Black Kites” has been shown at festivals world-wide, and she is just finishing a video portrait called “Fred”, about a 90-year old lifelong criminal. Lately she has been making and showing cyanotypes.
TOM MURRIN: Hi Jo. When did you start doing this?
JO ANDRES: In 2003. I got introduced to it by Alexandra Eldridge, a painter and a friend. She was experimenting with cyanotypes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and she called me up and said, “You would love this process.” I went to Santa Fe and I worked there with Mitchell Marti of Interbang Press and he taught me how to do it.
TM: I know cyan is blue in photography, what’s a cyanotype?
JA: It’s an iron-based photo process discovered in the 1840’s. What I do is print directly onto the paper which has been hand brushed with the cyanotype solution. You can see the brush strokes. To make my negatives for this show, I found a Xerox machine that wasn’t working well and I ran the digital photographs through it, and it created stripes, and that gives it a linen texture. So what I am doing photographically is obliterating the hard, crispy digital edges and really making them hand-made. There’s no photoshop in this show.
TM: O.K. Tell me about the selection of images. You’ve got doll’s eyes and lips and doctor’s instruments.
JA: I photographed most of these antique dolls when I was in Spain. I was impressed by the so-called beauty of those dolls, with vampiric teeth and extreme eyes.
TM: They are a little spooky, but kind of funny too. They’re great for Halloween.
JA: (Laughs.) Yes. I was kind of astonished that they make these dolls for little girls to play with because I think they’re actually frightening.
TM: What about the show’s title, “This is Beauty, Girls”?
JA: I feel it’s sarcastic, or ironic, or a comment, like “Really?” Also, it’s from another era. We are being served up a different dish of beauty these days, which may be just as horrific in the future.
TM: Are you doing other cyanotypes?
JA: I have new work on my website, http://www.joandres.com, which I’m preparing for a future show. I have taken pictures of Victorian dolls and put them over industrial sites. A lot of shots I took over the Pulaski Skyway (New Jersey) and in Brooklyn. So it appears as if there are spirits in the sky over industry. Also, I have some images of water towers that look like spaceships. This time photoshop was used in creating the layered images.
TM: I saw your shows in the ‘80’s, and there were always projected images; for the dance and performance genre, you were a pioneer in this respect. Do you see a progression from your previous work here?
JA: Sure. I started using photographs in the ‘80’s in my shows, where I would project films and slides as part of my film and dance performances. So I photographed all the time. Then and now, my interests lie in the beautiful and macabre. It’s a continuation.
Superfine Gallery & Restaurant, 126 Front St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201, (718) 243-9005, opening Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6-8 P.M. The show runs from Oct. 20 – Nov. 15, 2009.
CHRONOGRAM, November 2007 issue
“Lucid Dreaming” by Beth E. Wilson
I can heartily endorse the emphatically humble, handmade cyanotypes of Jo Andres…
The serial, framelike nature of the groupings gives them an almost cinematic flavor – and the fact that she’s using mass-produced objects (but from a different, very foreign-seeming era) marks a true Surrealist appreciation for the uncanny.
…the work itself is solid, and shows great promise, especially the recent prints made on cotton cloth, which heighten the tactility of the image, pulling the image into a markedly different relationship with the viewer.