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Studio Visit - Anna Ayeroff

Studio Visit - Anna Ayeroff

Studio visit with Anna Ayeroff

Anna Ayeroff has been traveling a lot recently, exploring the desert and the open road as she continues to broaden her practice. Read our interview with her and learn more about her work, the thought behind her unique photography, and developing process.

Q.

What is your favorite quote?

A.

“Art is important because it changes people’s consciousness. And changing people’s consciousness changes the world.” -Mike Kelley

 

Q.

When do you make your best work.

A.

When my head is clear, my body is rested and I am alone.

 

Q.

What is your favorite sound?

A.

Bare feet running on concrete.

 

Q.

What is your biggest demon?

A.

Perfectionism.

 

Q.

What do you love most about being an artist?

A.

I can speak without having to use words.

 

Q.

What is your happy place?

A.

The desert.

 

Q.

What kind of mediums are you using these days?

A.

Cameras. 35mm, 120mm, super 8, 16mm, digital. My hands. to cut, to mark, to glue, to place, to print

 

Q.

What is your favorite color?

A.

Green. Or the blue of the New Mexico sky when contrasted by its orange mountains.

Q.

Where are you the most inspired?

A.

Outdoors. and inside.

 

Q.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A.

The pup staring at me with her chin rested on the edge of the bed.

 

Q.

What puts you to sleep at night?

A.

Warmth (the big spoon)

 

Q.

What would you draw a lover?

A.

The most perfect new world for us to live in.

 

Q.

What's your ideal life at 60?

A.

One where we are living in that most perfect new world I drew when we were younger.

Q.

What is your ideal life?

A.

In a simpler place.

 

Q.

Who is your favorite artist?

A.

I can never answer this question because I always forget who I love. But the first time I ever cried because of a piece of art was standing in front of Velasquez’s Las Meninas. My most vivid memory of crying from an artwork is climbing down to the Sprial Jetty and then being reminded of that watching JG by Tacita Dean. And the most recent piece of art that made me cry was a small Georgia O’Keefe painting that looks like a butt.

Anna Ayeroff Says

"The root of my practice, and the root of Utopia itself, is always literature and language. I can’t help but feel like “The Land of Enchantment” might be a perfect place. And that a wonderful town called “Truth or Consequences” could be even more special because of its name. Words have a funny way of making me believe."

Q.

Tell us about this series of work?

A.

This series of photographic experiments come from an ongoing project called Land/Light/Longitude. About 7 years ago, I started taking solo road trips to Utah to photograph the ruins of the Jewish farm colony where my Grandfather was born. In taking these trips, I began to explore the surrounding landscape and became enamored with it. This series of works reflects my devotion to this landscape, to these mountains, and seeks to find answers to the question “How do I move mountains?”

 

Q.

What's the first thing you do when you begin formulating an idea for a peice?

A.

I write. My sketchbooks aren’t drawing based. They’re text based. So if you open them it’s just a bunch of chicken scratch. And maybe a sloppy diagram here or there.

 

Q.

These images are so beautiful and crisp, could you tell us about your developing process?

A.

I process my film with a non-toxic developer made from coffee and vitamin C. Caffenol. This is a process rich with flaws. My film is streaked with stains. Scan it and the image is brightly colored, the scanner software strangely interpreting light as nearly neon, contemporary. Printing in the darkroom with caffenol as the developer, stains the paper coffee colored, dating it. I use cyanotypes to make prints with sunlight, time making marks upon chemistry as the sun shifts overhead.

 

Q.

Did you grow up around other creative people?

A.

Yes, my mother was trained as an architect and my father was a creative director in the music industry. Both are artists in their own right. My sister is also very creative. We grew up with creative parents and their creative friends. I feel forever grateful to have been and still be surrounded by creative people.

 

Q.

What is one artist living or dead you feel a great connection to? Someone who’s work has inspired your own practice and what you’re creating these days?

A.

I have a strong connection to Agnes Martin’s work. The repetition. The precision. The flaws. Her work speaks loudly to me.

 

Q.

Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous?

A.

I have had a few moments on the road when I don’t have cell phone reception and I haven’t seen another car for many many miles and I’m driving through a mountain pass or down into a quiet valley and I get really nervous. Feeling that isolated. Alone. But then I surrender to it. And it turns into exhilaration.

 

Q.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

A.

My initial answer is solo travel but I realize the most brave act I’ve taken was to put down my dog of 5 years who got very sick very unexpectedly. She was my best friend. She was my sidekick. And the second I knew she was suffering, the answer was very clear to me. It was right. I felt so strong in knowing that, even when feeling such immense loss.

 

Q.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

A.

My initial answer is solo travel but I realize the most brave act I’ve taken was to put down my dog of 5 years who got very sick very unexpectedly. She was my best friend. She was my sidekick. And the second I knew she was suffering, the answer was very clear to me. It was right. I felt so strong in knowing that, even when feeling such immense loss.

 

Q.

Why do you make art?

A.

Because I can’t not.

About Anna Ayeroff

Ayeroff builds imagined perfect worlds, performs rituals of place making and enacts a search for utopia through her work.

 

Read More

 

Explore

This collection explores the beauty and wonder of nature. Artists inspired by the intricacies of the world around us use Mother Nature as their muse.

 

Explore Now

"We gave our minds to it, you see, at last."
from $ 250.00 Sold
"These roads, hundreds of thousands of miles of them,"
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"In each mind was only a thready fragment of an idea of the world-"
from $ 250.00 Sold

About Anna Ayeroff

Anna Ayeroff is an artist and art educator based in Los Angeles. She works primarily in sculpture, photography and film, using her art practice as a research tool. Ayeroff builds imagined perfect worlds, performs rituals of place making and enacts a search for utopia through her work.


When she is not on the road searching for perfect places, her project, "a space (for art)", an art education mentorship program for children and teens based in her studio, is her method for moving mountains. Her work has been included in several exhibitions in Los Angeles and throughout the United States.


My paternal grandfather was born in 1911, in Clarion, Utah, a small farm colony developed by a group of Jewish immigrants who came from New York City. They wanted to live off of the land. They wanted to make a different kind of life than the ghetto life they had always known. They were radicals. The colony failed after a few short years.


My practice starts with a story. Clarion locates me in a lineage. And my practice is built from that place. People searching for a better way of life, people looking to change their worlds, the world. Clarion is my field site, my stage, my flawed foundation.


I read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s early feminist Utopian story, Moving the Mountain, shortly after my first visit to the Clarion site. Gilman refers to her text as a “baby utopia, a little one that can grow.” She tells the story of a world not so different from our own, with a value placed on community, shared space, goodness. She got me asking, “How do I move mountains?”


Driving is a way to. Mountains shift place in my window frame as I pass. Get in the van. Go.


Photography is a way to. Double exposures. Copies. Multiples. Photography is a method for communing with the past. It is my way of building futures. The photograph is recorded time. It is moments of light made still. The photograph tells a story. The dark room, the sunlight, making records of time passing.


I process my film with a non-toxic developer made from coffee and vitamin C. Caffenol. This is a process rich with flaws. My film is streaked with stains. Scan it and the image is brightly colored, the scanner software strangely interpreting light as nearly neon, contemporary. Printing in the darkroom with caffenol as the developer, stains the paper coffee colored, dating it. I use cyanotypes to make prints with sunlight, time making marks upon chemistry as the sun shifts overhead.


Time collapses. Time is performed. Time moves mountains.


My artworks are a record of my research, they are methods for searching, they are the documents of my movements back to the land. They remind me of the value of the wild, of the soil, of the giant majestic mountains. They remind me to try to move mountains. They allow me to move mountains. An earnest, perhaps naive, attempt to make the world better.

EXHIBITIONS

2016, Land/Light/Longitude, (With Everything but the Monkey Head), Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles CA

2015, Translations for Co-conspirators, DAC Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


2014, Freeway Studies #2: Inside the Quad, Ben Maltz Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2013, Anna Ayeroff, reDiscover Center, Los Angeles, CA
details coming soon..., The Bryant Loft, San Francisco, CA

2012, Pleasure Cruise, Viracocha, San Francisco, CA 

2012, Myths of Progress, Kala Gallery, Berkeley, CA


2011, Clarion Calls, Jewish Community Center, Salt Lake City, UT 

100/10∆1: Alex Harvey and Anna Ayeroff, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, CA

2010, Business As Usual, Otis College of Art and Design Thesis Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA

2009, High Noon: Same Time, 8 Different Places, Bolsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 

Out of Order, Bolsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Ménage à Trente-Sept, Bolsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


2009, John Was Here, An Exhibition Juried by John Baldessari, A+D Museum, Los Angeles, CA

2008, ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ, LA Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA

2008, Routine reinvented at Otis College of Art and Design for Allan Kaprow: Art as Life, MOCA, Los Angeles, CA

 

SCREENINGS, PERFORMANCES, LECTURES

2016, Femmes' Video Art Festival, LACE, Los Angeles, CA, Film Screening


2013, The Gringas, Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, CA, Film Screening


2011, LISTENING with Alex Harvey and Anna Ayeroff, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, CA, Performance


2010, your desires create your universe, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA, Lecture

2009, c’est l’amour, Synchronicity Space, Los Angeles, CA, Film Screening
2009, Koniotopia, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA, Performance


AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES

2016, Researcher, “With Everything but the Monkey Head” Project, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, CA
2014, Visualist is Residence, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, CA

2014, Starry Night Artist in Residence, Truth or Consequences, NM


2010, Critic's Pick for Clarion Calls in Business as Usual Exhibition

 

PRESS

She Explores, "Women on the Road, Anna Ayeroff: Moving Mountains," SheExplores.com, May 2016

Moret, A., “Anna Ayeroff: Where is She Now?”, Installation Magazine, March 2014


Cheng, DeWitt. "'Myths of Progress' Explores Post-Illusionism", East Bay Express, February 2012.

Florenkowsky, Emily. "Inquiry into the Institute of Cultural Inquiry," Meta Magazine, 2011.
Moret, A., “Interview with Anna Ayeroff,” Whitehot Magazine, March 2011


Harvey, Alex, 100/10∆1: Alex Harvey and Anna Ayeroff, Exhibition Catalog, Los Angeles, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, 2011